Saturday, October 21, 2017

aquarium plant tissue samples, two weeks.

It's been two weeks since I showed these. So probably close to a month total.

They begin as tiny samples rooting in gel in tiny jars.


A container like this can be divided into, say, ten or more plugs.

This next photo was already shown here.

Today, two weeks later the plants look like this.

Most have grown taller, some wider to fill in, others grow more slowly.


Some of the plants produce more oxygen than other plants do. Look how active they are.

CO2 is added via regular baking yeast, a scant 1/4 teaspoon, plus 1 cup sugar and one teaspoon baking soda to slow it down. It lasts a little less than a month. The CO2 is delivered by aquarium hose to a power head gently shooting out water that is aimed at another powerhead, so bubbles come shooting out and across the tank far as they can go, not very far, about 1/4 the distance across the tank  before rising to the top. There is no outside filter hooked up yet. When fish are introduced then the water filter will be put on and then CO2 hose can be pushed directly the filter's intake to be mixed with the water circulating in the filter  then shot out after the water is filtered. That has the advantage over bubbling directly into the tank by mixing the C02 more thoroughly in tinier bubbles, and holding the bubbles in circulated water in the tank for longer. 

North Korea sends Australia unprecedented letter about Trump

In September North Korea sent a letter to Australia imploring them to distance themselves from President Trump.

The letter conveyed the usual current derision we recognize from North Korea, low grade as it is still a tremendous improvement over what we've grown up with, China's "running yellow dogs" characterization of United States. North Korean diplomats, operatives, whatever, are attempting to split U.S. led coalition applying sanctions against North Korea.

Australian leadership just laughed and laughed. I made that up. The article at the Blaze says something more prosaic.

But Kim Yung Un's pleasant corpulence. And his skin, blemish free, pure and smooth as a baby's ass freshly washed and powdered. He's irresistible. To Photo poop on. I meant Photoshop. And his hair! His compelling and luxurious glorious, perfectly groomed and utterly unique, foremost among world leaders, combed up and back and moussed through stiffened, thick shining healthy flowing stygian waxen, give me down to there, hair.

Exclusive bird's eye look at Pyongyang

From the website
The North Korean authorities prefer to keep cameras close to the ground, where they can better control what is recorded: the marquee developments, smiling locals, the new restaurants. 
But visit the country as many times as Aram Pan, a Singaporean photographer, and they’re likely to eventually give you something new to photograph. 
In a recent visit to North Korea in September, Pan was given an exclusive chance to take his camera on a microlight flight over the city, filming both with a 360° camera and snapping regular photos.
And ...
Aram Pan: Perhaps it’s because I don’t see them as the terrifying people everyone thinks they are and I guess they feel that. I find that the friendlier I am, the more they naturally reveal themselves to me. There’s an old saying, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”.

Aw bless, Singapore Person. That's so sweet. It's a bit different though applied to nations designated word leaders assigned the impossible task of keeping these militant communist crackpots from spreading nuclear arms to global terrorists antagonistic to civilization and progress. Including yours. You can spare us the pedagogic axioms. We've read it in Poverbs 15:1. The Bible is often misunderstood this way. Teaching that applies to the individual isn't intended for nations. Although national leaders may bring this inspiration with them to their positions, it doesn't work that way for nations.

I must now go lay down for I find the video's fisheye photography has made me crosseyed. There might be permanent visual disorientation. Though it's interesting watching the approach unzip and the sides pull away from each other, you have to imagine what it looks like straightened out. The colors are interesting. So is the absence of vehicles. No parking for a stadium. A commenter wrote, "Must be rush hour. I saw a car."

Friday, October 20, 2017

Melania Trump donates inaugural ball gown to Smithsonian

Where it belongs. It's not the sort of dress you can wear more than once. Come on. Because everyone's seen it.

The story here at Treehouse goes like this.

* bring bring*

"Hello, Hervé, this is Melania Trump. May I call you? Can we talk? I completely spaced out planning for the inaugural ball and I only have to weeks. Can you help me, ple-e-e-ease? Pretty please with sugar on top?"

And Hervé Pierre says, "And I was like "Oooooh and clasped my hands and gasped."

He sounds nice.

That was a short story.

Then down in comments over there at Conservative Treehouse, Sylvia Avery says something more interesting than this.
I try to read everything I can about her and her clothes, but it had escaped me until Treeper here mentioned months and months after the Inauguration how her gown was designed to look like a scrolled copy of old parchment complete with a ribbon tie, sort of like you would imagine the Declaration of Independence to look. Wow. Just wow.
I can see it now that it's mentioned.  How imaginative.  

And other commenters find it so too.

*  darnhardworker: Wow Sylvia, I never knew that fact so I scrolled back to a photo of it and that is EXACTLY what it was…..makes me love her even more…what a classy couple we have in our house now….and for the next 7 years…..then maybe Don jr will run.

*  Trumppin: Oh wow! I hadn’t heard this before! but yes, I can see it now!
that clears up the thing red tie for me.. I thought it odd all this time!

*  Sylvia Avery: Me, too. A detail we were told she asked to add to the dress. Now it all makes sense!

*  patriot1783: Essentially President Trump is holding the US Constitution.

*  Marquis: Embracing. So cool.

* Grandma Covfefe: Bingo!
Oh, I’m so happy the mystery of Melania dress was solved and it is now my favorite FLOTUS, of all FLOTUSes, dress.

The Trump’s World is full of symbols and codes, This is so fun for our sanity.

Thank you, President Trump and dear First Lady Melania.

*  Fe: That is an awesome comment!

*  carrierh: Sylvia, I didn’t know this because I was not using Treeper at that time. How lovely, fascinating and characteristic of her and her love as a legal American citizen to design a dress underlining our America.

And so on, for many more.

That dress really is museum-worthy. Coolest dress I've seen in a long time. If the information placard at the museum doesn't say what Sylvia Avery said then it won't do justice to this dress or to museum visitors. The card will say worn by whom and the date, the designer and the materials.

As with exhibitions of ancient Egyptian artifacts. They will describe the materials, gold, beads or seeds whatever without mentioning each bead is hieroglyph for good and beautiful. So the necklace actually says: beautiful beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful  beautiful and it was given to the King's favorite truly beautiful princess, and if you don't know that then you miss the whole stunning effect or a beautiful young girl running around the place with that necklace. 

If you don't know Melania's dress is intended to suggest a rolled parchment and for rolled parchment to suggest U.S. constitution, and I didn't, then you miss a very large part of its excellence. And that's what museums are for, to have visitors leave more informed than they were when they went into it.  

WKRLEM: The Return of the Rifleman.......should we continue the series.

Cucks gotta cuck.

After four years of silence while Barrack Obama trashed the constitution, bungled the Middle East, facilitated Muslim terrorism, surrendered billions to Iran with a phony nuclear deal and weaponized the IRS against conservatives the Cuck in Chief George W Bush decides to attack President Trump. He didn't have anything to say about Obama. Got lots of praise for being a "dignified" ex-president in the tradition of John Adams or his own father. But now he joins the Narobi Trio with John "I am a Hero" McCain and Urkel to trash President Trump and the deplorables who voted for him.

You know what?

Fuck you George W. Bush. Fuck your endless wars. Fuck your wide open borders. Fuck you tax increases and global agenda. Sit down and shut up. You are the problem.

Some sample drivel:

"Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication"
"We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together."
"We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism — forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.   We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade — forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism."

In the last three days we have been subjected to the bleating of McCain, Bush and Obama. Three pigs who have been struck by what President Trump has tried to accomplish. President Trump is far from a perfect vessel. He really has pretty much abandoned his nationalistic platform. Jettisoning Bannon and Gorka and the people who got him elected. He has the Deep State in the form of Kelly, Mathis and McMasters running foreign policy into the ground. We are still involved in foreign entanglements. Our guys are still getting murdered all over the globe. For nothing. Just recently there was a big controversy with a Green Beret who was killed in Niger. Niger Please. Who gives a flying fuck about Niger. Why were our guys there anyway? What part of the national interest is severed by having our guys die in Niger.

You see Trump is only touching on the margins. And still the Deep State is trying to destroy him. Bush got his orders and went out to trash Trump and the people who voted for him.

He needs to shut up the way he did for the eight years of Obama.

For Trooper

Japanology with Peter Barakan, origami

"The simple yet profound world of origami" So that's what it is, profound? I always thought it was simple, idle, and rather stupid. When the narrator said that Saburo Kase, "...with his fingertips touched the children's hots" and that's what he said literally, I thought now take care there, Buddy.

This whole series is great. Each aspect of Japanese culture that's covered is tremendously well researched. The copy I watched loses audio in a few critical places, the first serious gap at the history of origami, and that's too bad because whatever is missed was really good.

I'm looking for a book to send to a child. I'm thinking of buying one in Japanese and also Japanese paper. The books in English do not look interesting by Amazon's look inside feature. The video makes clear instructional words are not necessary. It's demonstration that counts. The video demonstrates making a crane and the folds all came flooding back over decades. See, the head and the tail are the same thing as wings except folded in half to be thinner. The hands making it are nice with cute stubby little well groomed fingers.

This is not for you. It's for children. Still, if you don't feel compelled to at least try your hand at folding a crane then, well, pffffft, I just can't even. You'll notice they show a step they neglect describing. They make pre-folds that show in the video, and they are important to get the wings, neck and tail exactly right. Otherwise you end up with clumsy folds.

I was especially interested in prayer without religion. While unified activity without unified focus is absent spiritual power such as group prayer. Such as a class of schoolchildren making ten thousand cranes without knowing the purpose as they are folding then the cranes can hold no focused spiritual energy. And after all that, in both cases mentioned, Sadako Sasaki, the girl exposed to radiation from Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombing, and with great spiritual individual focus, who wished to be healed of leukemia, and Saburo Kase who became ill and was sent such a bundle of cranes produced with great group spiritual focus, both died, disproving the myth that a wish will come true. Yet the myth and the paper folding activity persist. Because it is charming and because it is engaging to children.

WKRLEM You bet your Bibby.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

John Kelly gives White House briefing on phone call to parents of Green Beret La David Johnson

The upload on YouTube titles this an emotional briefing, with the word emotional in caps. Other sites characterize the briefing as heartfelt. I do not find it particularly emotional, I am not brought to the edge of tears as other viewers have. And heartfelt is tantamount to straightforward and sensible, if at least very sensitive.

However, the instigator and her dopey agitated followers are impervious.

I understand them, though. Without any empathy toward them. Fairly every single thing that Obama said, straight up antagonistic, grated my nerves so badly my blood pressure rose every time he flapped his lips which turned out agonizingly to be every day. I never experienced a president so insistent on making himself heard, so in love with his own voice, so addicted to cameras. To the point of buying two extra remotes so I'd have three for my two rooms where I watch television. I got really good at shutting him up, hitting mute before he finished his first sentence. Silence was better than hearing him. Then change of channel to make him go away for the moment, but not the day. Media loved him so so much they ran his clips constantly. He provided a new one every single day. So I get it. They don't like to hear Trump's voice. But I do. Just like they enjoyed hearing amazingly narcissistic Obama. I often wondered how they managed listening without becoming annoyed. Then I realized they didn't listen to him. Or else they'd be more annoyed than I was.

So suck it.

That's where we're at.

Comments over there on YouTube are interesting. Recommended. Compare them for quality between two competing groups. Trump detractors write like silly little freshmen in High School with surface comprehension spoon-fed them by Party combined with malevolency deep as Mariana Trench. 

In Red Oak, my sister-in-law volunteered unsolicited she voted for Trump because she just couldn't bring herself to vote for Hillary Clinton. "I don't know why I don't like her, I just don't." 

Bless her heart. 

No really, bless it because that's a bit dumb.

I held up my left forearm and with fingertips of my right hand ticked down the arm-post as if showing a very long detailed list. "I know exactly why I don't like her." She giggled. 

Buzzfeed in Tokyo compares ramen noodles

Had difficulty finding the video. Not in YouTube history and I thought they were comparing soba.

This is better than it sounds. Andrew comes up with a few clever puns. And it can change your idea about what Ramen is. Steven Lim's hair looks like mine did without dying it. Except mixed gray and not purple.

Today Tony's Market offered small beef roasts on sale. I bought one mostly because the price was so uncharacteristically low. Through the glass I examined the two that they had for faults. It must be a cheaper cut, it's not deeply marbled, but they were carefully trimmed with sort of feathered fat all around and trussed up with string. I'll photograph it later, probably tomorrow and post it on the food-related site down there in the blogroll. 

I formed a plan immediately. It seemed roasting the whole thing as intended would be a big wasted opportunity. Having just seen this video. I described my intention to both the young female at the meat counter and the young male at checkout, and they both fairly swooned at the idea. They're so expressive. They're all very conversational about food. I intend to slice the roast thinly as possible and wave each individual raw slice back and forth through the hot cooked broth until it changes. Then eat it slice by slice that way. Each slice contributing melted fat and beef flavor to the broth. Then drink the broth.

What's in the broth?

It's tempting to use commercial beef stock since that's so convenient and usually quite good.

And Tony's makes their own broths that are unbeatable. 

But Japanese have this act down pat. 

Like one of the videos, I'm thinking of using a fish stock. That's a bit weird. We tend not to mix fish with chicken and pork and beef. But that shouldn't stop us just because it sounds weird.

Maybe chicken broth or beef broth is better. I don't know. Here's how they make their fish stock that uses ingredients uncommon in American kitchens but very common in Japanese kitchens, kombu seaweed and Bonito flakes.

Kombu is large sheets of dried seaweed from which MSG is derived. MSG forms on the surface as the seaweed is dried. A square of a few inches is broken off and wiped with a damp towel to remove the white crystals. If the square is rinsed under water then too much flavor will be lost and if this step is ignored then the MSG favor will be too harsh and too strong. 

Water is brought to a boil then cut off. The kombu square steeps for ten minutes. It's kombu tea and it tastes like the sea smells but it does not taste like seawater. The square swells and thickens and can be consumed. It can even be cut into firm noodles. They're intriguing.

Bonito flakes are skipjack tuna that is dried then its filets are shaved off by flakes via a mandolin device. The flakes are so thin they veritably disappear in the broth but they're usually strained out. Just for clear broth. It's no problem if the flakes are left in the water. Same step repeated. The kombu tea, now kombu dashi, is brought to a simmer and the heat cut off. Bonito flakes added and steeped for ten minutes, then strained. 

This kombu bonito dashi becomes the base for a vast array of dishes. Including the miso soup that you get in Japanese restaurants. Miso, a peanut butter like mixture of fermented bean and rice is added to this dashi along with tofu and spring onion and that is what creates their characteristic miso soup flavor.

The flavor profile of this dashi can be expanded in classical ways using soy sauce, mirin, sake, and possibly garlic and ginger and toasted sesame seed oil, chile powder or flakes or sauce, curry.

Now, that right there is a very good soup. Look at you. You're an expert already.

Waving thin slices of beef through this heated soup increases the soup's fat and flavor. Soba noodles, Ramen noodles, your own homemade noodles can pump up the caloric value. 

You should have seen these two people independently when I told them my plan. They're pure delights to talk to. The young woman asked me if I'm a chef. Ha. I'm too lazy for that. 

The videos make a B F ritualized D out of everything including making noodles. Honestly, they make this look far more difficult than it is, special bowl, special rolling pin, special rolling pin technique, special noodle brush, special noodle cutting knife, special wooden knife guide and noodle spacer. special drying bowls, special boiling pot, matching special ice water bowl, special bamboo holding rack. Pffft. It's enough to make one think they cannot do this.

You can make noodles from anything. Any whole grain, even dried beans. Even masa harina. Your electric coffee bean grinder can turn rice into powder, corn in to powder, beans, wheat grain into power and all those things can be mixed with plain old all purpose white American flour, say, 50/50 for excellent variations on regular noodles. Even egg. You can use an Atlas machine to cut them into any width that you like. (A small amount of baking soda goes a very long way in enhancing elasticity.)

See, you don't have to be so constrained as if you're opening a traditional Ramen or soba restaurant. And the great thing about this random approach is that you never end up with the exact same thing twice. 

I found small packages of sliced lamb gyros at Tony's and I bet that would work great with this. 

Come on. Be a sport. Up your game with something different from usual.

Rep Frederica Wilson politicizes the death of Army Sgt. La David Johnson

Johnson was Special Forces active in Niger.

This is the man we are talking about. This man sacrificed his life in activity projecting the values of his nation by force. Sgt. La David Johnson is the only thing that matters. And everything else is pure contrived political idiotic nonsense.

I've never listened to Sara Sanders, WH spokesperson, but everything I've read that she says is crafted perfectly.
The president's call, as accounted by multiple people in the room, believe that the president was completely respectful, very sympathetic, and expressed the condolences of himself and the rest of the country,' Sanders said, 'and thanked the family for their service, commended them for having an American hero in their family, and I don't know how you could take that any other way.
First of all, saying something along the lines of Johnson was aware of the dangers that he signed up for is not unsympathetic. Rather, it's a recognition of honor. You can easily imagine it in a eulogy such as, "Knowing the inherent increased danger Sgt. Johnson applied himself eagerly to join forces in defense of his nation."

But if you are antiTrumpite looking for offenses then you'll interpret that as unsympathetic and you'll question how being killed in Niger protects the United States. Nothing the man does will make sense to you and everything that he does and says will rub you the wrong way.

I can make this post very short by contrasting two of Rep Frederica Wilson's statements. She goes around flapping her lips so much it's only a matter of moments to get to the obvious truth of her motives. She doesn't care about Sgt. La David Johnson. Her interest lies in delegitimizing Trump.

To Local 10 News Washington bureau chief Ross Palombo:
"There's no reason to lie about a telephone call what Mr. Trump needs to be concerned about is keeping us out of war." 
Oh, but there is reason lie, distort, prevaricate, omit, translate, as your wont.

On The View (of all places):
“…the deaths in Niger of four American special forces soldiers will be “Mr. Trump’s Benghazi.” 
There it is. This is about exploiting Sgt. La David Johnson death all along.

It's what they do. It's who they are. Why else the spread of radio interviews, The View and MSNBC if not eager to provoke collected dummkopf viewers to miscomprehension?

And thank you for finally acknowledging Benghazi is irreparably damaging. Up to this point Benghazi is nothing. Don't think about it. Dismiss it. Look away. Then a Republican president is elected and suddenly Benghazi is damaging to the point of being disqualifying. You did know all along and you lied all along. Now, keep talking, please. We'll soon hear you join Maxine Waters wailing ceaselessly and futilely and amusingly that Trump must be impeached.

She's already joined San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz in politicizing catastrophe by mischaracterizing Trump's deeds and his words to her stupid and malevolent and easily manipulated audience.

So that's that. End of post. Carry on.

But wait, there's more.

So much more.

Who isn't fascinated by her hats?

They're so absurd.

I like absurd people and things. She uses them to stick out.

You know, she has to keep up the hat schtick and manage her hair. Wearing hats gives ladies hat-hair. And that right there is a problem for them. Once inside they must hasten to the bathroom to fix their smashed hair.

I know that because for a very long time I had the pleasure of knowing two very classy black ladies who both really liked wearing hats. When done right, they complete an outfit quite well.

Valorie showed me her hat collection. How privileged! I'm the only person at work who saw them on pegs taking the entire bedroom wall. Her collection is fascinating. And attractive.

But a collection of novelty cowgirl hats selected solely for their matching colors is not. It's just junk. And they honestly don't go with anything, except by matching color. They clash disastrously with large earrings and large plastic pearl necklaces. They're costuming along the line of circus clowns. They mark the wearer unserious and daft.

Let's look.

But before we do look, here's a link to women's Stetson headwear where Rep Frederica Wilson of Florida can acquire real cowgirl hats that project seriousness and sanity and not cheapness and a comedy act. The Stetsons are all very nice and quite sane.

Oooh, automatic +50pts for brilliant teeth and beautiful smile. 

2011 Town Hall meeting"
Let us all remember who the real enemy is ... the real enemy is the Tea Party ... the Tea Party holds the Congress hostage...
Wilson is among the Florida congressional delegation's wealthiest members, reporting more than $1.5 million in assets on her government financial disclosure form.

So, Wealthy by Government Person, government by the people for the people are enemies then. Noted. Yes. We are the enemy of nonsense in government.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Uranium One and the Clintons and their friends in high places running investigations

They're all colluding. They're doing the investigation into fantasy Russian interference while complicit in covering up a very serious money laundering scheme involving 20% of U.S. uranium supply, corrupted presidential candidate and her bogus foundations and the presumed enemy they're charged with investigating, the proverbial foxes guarding the henhouse. And our corrupted media just flatly does not want to cover the story of their lifetimes. Everyone of them wants to be the next Woodward and Bernstein but only if that involves catching Republicans and not Democrats.

And this is something gravely important to our national discussion.

Oh, who cares?

We'll just put you all out kicking and screaming.

You are all so very irrelevant.

I just spent time with 6 year olds more relevant to the future than you. And that's why this post is really titled "Painted eyes."

Washington Pogo swamp

I read this, the first thing at the top of Gateway Pundit presently, and that's all that I read. The cartoon angel appeared momentarily on my shoulder strummed his harp and told me not read that. 

I asked, "Why not?"

And the little cartoon angel strummed his harp again producing heavenly strains into my right ear and he said, "Wait until they start throwing these bastards in prison and then read the details. That will make you happy. In the meantime just do what you do." 

Actually, I never understood this cartoon. We were on different planes. He was way up there ↑ over there ↖︎ and I was way down there ↓. And the ones that I did understand seemed too simple to be a cartoon. So the thing was never funny to me. I thought comics were supposed to be funny, and for kids, and this seemed to be something else. Possibly for adults. I don't know.

Know who's a good reader, better than me?

My nephew, Matthew. 

He doesn't recall this but I was bouncing him on my knee playing mechanical horse. I stopped and he asked, "Have you read any good books lately?" 

I was stunned. He was amazingly young and small for such an adult inquiry. Something like six or possibly seven. I told him the good books I recently read and then asked about books that he's recently read. He told me about an author who writes alternative stories where the reader decides what the characters choose then flip to the page that picks up that decision. I told him that would drive me nuts not reading the alternate choices. I'd have to read the whole book to see all the alternate fictions. 

He goes, "I know." 

Recently I asked him if he read Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer. He said, "In your previous apartment two apartments ago I picked up a book in your basement. It was torn in two for two books. 

I said, "That's it." 

I wasn't expected to live. I gave away hundreds of books. I was glad that he told me he picked that one. Such a strange book to choose.

It is a very fat book and uncomfortable to hold as you read. Better as two thinner books. Although not having a back cover for the first half and not having a front cover for the second half is also a pain in the butt to hold as you read it. 

He continued. I read it in High School and the outrageously obscene portions made me think, "Oh man, I can't believe I'm actually reading this thing in a High School."

Neither can I. 

Not that I can't believe reading the physical book inside the physical High School building, which was his disbelief, it's that someone so young can comprehend such a thing or have any interest. The book is beyond quite a few rather advanced readers. One such person I know threw it against the wall in frustration. It's impressive to me that a High Schooler teen would bother. Impressive they'd pick up an 800 page book and read it just for fun. But he did. 

temper tantrum, puddle

Nathaniel wore Captain America shoes with a star that lights up on the vamps (the top part, shut up, I looked it up). Cutest little shoes you ever saw. They reminded me of this video of the girl who cannot stay angry.

Nathaniel and I noticed a puddle at the same time outside my apartment and I know the impulse that puddles ignite. My brother is going to be cross if Nathaniel gets into the van with wet shoes. But I don't care. I say,

"Jump in the puddle." 

"Nooooooooooooo. Don't jump in the puddle, Nathaniel, don't jump. DO NOT JUMP. Get away from the puddle, Nathaniel. Nathaniel. Nathaniel. Nathaniel. Nathaniel! NATHANIEL!!!!!"

"Jump in the middle so all the water splashes out and your shoes stay dry."

That would be great. Keep your feet together and pound the center of the puddle.

"Nooooooooooooo. Don't do that Nathaniel. Don't listen to him. Get back, Nathaniel. Nathaniel get back. Get back, Nathaniel. Get back." 

What a bummer. 

A perfect puddle just wasted. Doesn't he appreciate how precious those things are? 

Would you prevent your little angel from doing this, or video him and this fleeting moment for posterity? 

Nathaniel scribbled with crayon on his seatbelt strap. Daniel scribbled idly on the van interior and James made him scrub it off. Daniel drew on himself and on Nathaniel with a pen a couple of times on our trip and the boys did look smashing with their temporary tattoos. Before this trip, Daniel drew all over Nathaniel's face with a magic marker right before a scheduled appointment with a photographer. Alona was so distressed that she neglected to video him. I asked her, "Why didn't you go to the photographer anyway? That's actually a more perfect picture."

After all, she was laughing as she told me the story.

I don't think whoever videoed this boy had any concern for the shoes or the child wearing wet socks. Parents sure do get wound up.

Nathaniel sported a new pair of shoes that don't blink climbing Red Rocks.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stanford Psychiatrist: The Guns Did It

As authorities admit that we may never know why Stephen Paddock opened fire, some medical authorities are offended that mental illness could have played a role.

Dr. David Spiegel:*
'The reason Paddock could kill so many people in a 10-minute span is that he had ready access to the means to do so,' Spiegel said. 'The real explanation,' he said, 'lies with guns and a culture that puts 'ridiculous firepower' in virtually anyone’s hands.' 
'There’s nothing sick about him,' Spiegel said of Paddock. 'As a psychiatrist, I deeply resent the inference that anybody who does something like this is mentally ill. It’s untrue and deeply unfair to people with mental illness.' 
No mention of Paddock's father's history; no public discussion of Paddock's habits up until the time of the shootings. No siree, Hillary has told us what we should do to prevent what happened.
*The irony of a person's name: Spiegel means "mirror" in German. I believe there's a literary device called ____ when a character is named after some trait. What is it?

Last day of James and his family's visit

James called and said he'd be over in two hours.  Upon awakening my body felt like I had been beat up overnight. Originally the plan was to go to Colorado Springs and cram a week of activities into one day but James' body felt the same way so that plan proved untenable. And Alona was cross about that. She can almost hide it.

Earlier after a long discussion about European bread vs American bread she said that she wants to try her hand at making real Russian rye black bread but had no idea where to buy brewer's yeast and whole rye grain might be a problem. It's an experiment.

I know. Directly below me in the street level shops. You have got to see this.

photo taken previously and already shown here.

They're variations of regular grains used for brewing. The yeast is in packets in the refrigerator section. There are several kinds of brewer's yeast available. 

It turns out this is a terribly unfriendly shop for children. "Don't lean against that shelf" and "Don't lean against that glass, and don't touch this and don't touch that. What a drag. 

The grain room floor is dusty with milled grain and the boys immediately begin scooting around in it. Then leaving the room that is kept closed to keep the dust from spreading, little boy dust footprints suddenly covered the newly mopped floor and the boy's clothes look as if they were rolled in it. I suddenly understand why the gentlemen, always so nice before, don't like children in their store. 

Children learn through their fingertips. They have to put their hands into everything. I did. Nothing was worse than being told, "Don't touch anything." That's the exact same thing as saying, "Don't learn anything." So I was happy to make the visit here short. This is no place for kids. 

With Colorado Springs out due to too much driving, James still didn't know what to do. I cannot help him decide any more than I have already suggested. Since his body feels like mine does, then let's pick the easiest thing. This disappointed Alona, but she is not driving. I must say by observing her closely she recovered from being cross admirably. She's a lot better at that than I am. The thing that worked was seeing her boys having so much fun. It's a fair comparison, they're a bit like my dogs when I stopped half way to arrest their imminent car sickness. They joyfully extracted maximum available fun with zero whinging. Climbing rocks is good as a playground. A playground is good as a spectacular national monument or a mountain that inspired "America the Beautiful." 

Good choice on play apparatus. This structure is loaded with interesting things but the grip suspended on a rail really is the most fun thing on the playground. The boys were having so much fun with it learning how to make sure it doesn't stop half way and how to swing their bodies when it does stop, that they attracted the attention of other kids nearby who had previously ignored it. And their parents. Even tiny girls who couldn't reach the grip, couldn't push off, and needed support the whole way wanted to try it. One girl was really good at this right off. The boys learned to go backwards then learned to do it with one hand. They learn physical things quickly. 

At this early point Alona was still dealing with disappointment. 

"What should we do? What should we do? What should we do?  Should we go to the Museum of Natural History for dinosaurs? Should we go the the Zoo for dinosaur animatronics? What should we do? What should we do? What should we do?" 

"James, you know I'm going to say Red Rocks." 

Red Rocks is the all-time best. 

The boys are remarkable parrots. I know the outrageous things that I say will be repeated so I had best take care what I say. Yesterday a sign in a rest area said "Don't walk in this area" and I said, "They didn't say 'please.'" Today we encountered a sign that read "No climbing" and Daniel said, "They didn't say 'please.'"

I think that's hilarious. 

There's enough room on this sign to say 'please.'

This is where Alona elevated her mood pleasantly. Wonderfully, she thinks breaking the rules is just fine. Although the boys still make her anxious. James and me telling her we climbed all over the park before they instituted all these rules made it easier to allow her own boys the same liberty. She's from Ukraine where rules are rules so rule breaking and liberty appeal to her. She asked us, "What did your parents think about all your climbing around these rocks? " James and I answered simultaneously, "They didn't know."  Had our parents known what all three of us boys got up to climbing every single outcropping dozens of times, they'd have forbidden us ever coming here and that would be one more rule we'd be forced to break. Alona and James give the boys instructions on how to be careful with each step and the boys push their boundaries far as they go. 

Both boys disappeared into this cave. I had no idea it went back that far until they squeezed into it. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ars Ingratia Artis

Overheard at Lem's:
I'd really rather not have eaten there. We've been there before. Whatever they make we can do better. And breakfast comes with our rooms. And I'd rather not eat that either. I'd rather not eat at all. I'd rather just go. But I did eat there. Because I'm being agreeable. Then later I wished that I hadn't.  
Lots of ranting at that link about good ol' American restaurant fare. Perhaps youse guys can relate to this:

That's a 6-panel piece I own called "Six Restaurants, One Burning." It depicts 6 different American fast food restaurants - Bennigan's, Bob's, What-A-Burger, Howard Johnson's, Black-eyed Pea, and a Pizza Hut. Here is some detail, upper left:

More detail, lower right:

The work is colored pencil on white stock and doesn't photograph well. But you get the picture. The artist is known for his detailed and intricate work, and so I hung this at the foot of the stairs where you can walk right up to it and examine it close-up.

WKRLEM: The way it used to be.

Colin Kaperdick is suing. ESPN is demanding that the Packers sign him.

The NFL is dead. It just doesn't know enough to fall down.

Return from Red Oak

I listened to James' plan and agreed to it while mentally adding two hours. I did wake up at 7:00 AM by the children next door as alarm. That's a strange thing. The children in rooms all around, next to mine connected by two doors, and across the hall, and down the hall, all sound the same as the two boys. The same non-language vocalizations, the same pounding across the room, the same yelling. I'm not complaining. I love the sounds of life. But I kept thinking, "Did James bring his family next door?" Then when I saw them they turn out to be girls and turn out to be different ages. And yet, the exact same sounds.

And I did knock on their door at 8:00, his idealistic planned time for departure, then went downstairs to the lobby to wait developments and talk to whomever I met. I was not expecting other members of my family to appear one-by one until the whole clan assembled. I had no idea who else was staying nor anything about anyone else's plans. And they had no concern whatsoever about James' plan nor his need to get going in order to be in Denver by any reasonable time. They manipulated James emotionally to one last breakfast together at their favorite place they discovered, the Rainbow Cafe.

Later, I told James the refusal goes like this, "I said, no."

But I was saying that to the guy who emotionally manipulated me into attending the whole thing in the first place. By his impressive sacrifice of driving his family halfway and back instead of just flying the whole way. Understand that included renting a van, buying fuel, and two days driving. Now, that's some heavy duty dedicated emotional manipulation. Wouldn't you say?

I am against breakfast at the Rainbow Cafe. But I do not let it known. James is driving. It's his family put out. So I keep myself out of lobbying. See, I'm also being agreeable. Sometimes we come out of character.

"Daddy, can I make a necklace from Fruit Loops?" 

"Son, we don't have any string." 

This is where artistically minded Uncle Bo comes in to interject his unique creativytah, "Do you have any dental floss in your bag?" 

Does anyone actually use that stuff? Yes. James does.

"James, isn't it such fun sweeping out crushed Fruit Loops from the creases in the seats of your vehicle?" 

They did make two necklaces in the time it took breakfast to be served and consumed. It kept both boys focused the whole time. One boy on each side of me. I get them that way by saying I want to be with the cool kids. 

I also tried to get Matthew near me but that effort failed. My sister's family is tight. Way tight. They have this pattern of clustering together whenever out in public. It's as if they need each other. I don't think it's insecurity, just habit.

My deaf friends did this as well. This is sad, but eventually we found it best for all not to mix them. It was easier for them in groups to cluster together and that inevitably led to two separate parties in one. Nothing we thought of worked. It was just more comfortable for them, and for the hearing, to cluster together in their own groups when intermingling took more effort for both and focused dedication to mingling. Whereas when invited apart from their group then they do make the effort and intermingle just fine. But not when there was a critical mass more of them. My sister's family behaves the same way. There were two breakfast parties at the tables pushed together. So there was no real point in pushing the tables together when all conversation occurred in two groups. 

And we knew that it would. 

And still they insisted on doing this. They don't have any deaf friends, nor did they ever host parties with them included to make this comparison by that particular insight. And that caused a wildly unnecessary and ridiculous delay in departing.

I'd really rather not have eaten there. We've been there before. Whatever they make we can do better. And breakfast comes with our rooms. And I'd rather not eat that either. I'd rather not eat at all. I'd rather just go. But I did eat there. Because I'm being agreeable. Then later I wished that I hadn't. 

The drive there took eleven hours. The drive back took nine hours. The drive there we stopped for a leisurely lunch, a rather long rest involving climbing a tree, gasoline refills that involve restrooms, then a leisurely dinner. The way back was delayed by breakfast and

v-e-r-y  l-o-n-g  g-o-o-d-b-y-e-s

And we stand there in the near freezing cold shivering to prolong our hugging and stretch our goodbyes.

And our serial hugs. Then down the road another un-rushed pee break at a rest stop with nothing else of any interest.

"How did you know which bathroom to go into?"

"They have signs."

"Oh. With a little picture of a person wearing a dress and the other one has picture of a person wearing pants."

"No, the signs say, men and women."

"Oh. So you can read, then."


"This is just like Driving Miss Daisy."

Nothing of interest except for an acorn tree. With acorns on the ground. Another tree providing irresistible interest. And that means the boys must race around gathering acorns like two frenetic little squirrels. And having gathered acorns they must somehow be released. And that doesn't mean simply letting go of them. No. Anything like that, especially shaped like a bullet, automatically becomes a projectile. And what is the obvious target? You are. You can see this coming a mile away.

"You can put an eye out with those things, you know."

That's an ongoing joke that started yesterday.

Earlier James was talking about our names beginning with B, except James, and who is named after whom. Their conversation died down. I was not a part of that conversation. James was doing the talking. I leaned into it and stated James is named after our father's brother who died very young in his first car very close to their house. Before that he was blinded in one eye by a BB. gun. Because of that my grandmother kept insisting every little thing can put out an eye. Barry and I weren't allowed to own a BB gun. I couldn't have a bow and arrow. We were never allowed any type of toy that could possibly damage an eye. And where I began admiring my dead uncle who died before I was born,  I developed a resentment toward him for being so careless and ruining my boyhood fun.

So the joke is to find a blinding aspect in any innocent object, like an acorn.

I could ride all day without eating but the boys and Alona cannot. And James can live off his body fat for a week. 

Enter "salad, North Platte, NE" into your browser and see what you get." As always, James asks us to research, asks us our opinion, then does the easiest thing and that is how we ended up at Applebees. 

Their menu is designed to kill you uncomfortably. By pouring the food equivalent of lead into your stomach. I ordered the lightest thing. And it was delicious. It was a good idea in theory. Tender grilled chicken on rice and quinoa and apple drizzled with lemon juice. Then got so gassed up it released the entire rest of the way home. Out of my butt! And believe me when I tell you, that will never happen again. 

Bean soup would have been more comfortable. Stir fry with broccoli, cabbage, onions, eggs, Brussel sprouts, would have been less active.

It makes me angry that healthful food is so difficult to locate on the road. I am disgusted with middle brow fare. I resent nearly every single element. And driving through America's breadbasket, and passing endless fields in mathematic rows and driving by all those silos, and largely comprehending how food industry works, and works very well at meeting its aims, and seeing firsthand the astonishing money involved, the impressive farm equipment is displayed right there at the road, and stopping at the places that offer food along the way where the entire outlet is dedicated to great tasting but dead awful highly industrialized food, with one thin sorry shelf for two day old salads that come with industrialized dressing,  one can see fairly clearly why there are so many obese and regularly heavyweight  people all around and concentrated at weddings. 

You should have heard them bragging about the hotel omelets. Everybody says that they're great. With no dissenting opinion.  I expected to see a professional omelet maker based on what I was told.  And further, I fully expected him or her to be rather bad at what they are doing. I expected to regret having ordered one. Now, that's bad. But they were worse than my poorest expectations. I asked the woman I saw back there, "Who is the omelet maker?" 

She answered, "Oh, we don't have one. We buy them." 

Good Lord. 

They were tiny one-egg affairs, puffed up to foam and cooked in a pan that folds in half, with scant processed cheese, or some unknown vegetable mix that I was afraid to open and look. You take them out of their wrapper and microwave them for one minute. That's industrialized food. So far removed from its origin, so full of industrial and commercial imperative that it is unrecognizable. And everyone thinks it's just great. And everyone is fat. 

That's what I leaned on this trip. The food situation in America, its remarkable abundance, is a very very very bad thing for the health of Americans and for their very comprehension of food. This is not valid food. 

But that doesn't mean we cannot have fun as we're killing ourselves. 

The Applebee's children's menu comes with games. In a corner, tic-tac-toe hatches are marked out with crossing spoons. The boys do not know how to play. They don't know the game has finite number of moves. If you go first then it's possible to win and second player must play defensive unless the first player does something stupid. So even though the boys went first, they kept being stupid. I go, "Look, five-year-old little angel, you must think about what I will do to win, not just how you wish you could win. You must think, how I will block you and how I could win" 

But they never do. I did not want to play this game, but I did not want to be a dud uncle even more. So I played. I go, "Look, Loser, since you insist on doing this and insist on losing, then every time you loose you must hop up and down, flap your arms and say, I lose, I lose, I lose."

The second time you lose you must hop six times.

The third time you lose you must hop nine times. 

Twelve times,

Fifteen times, and so on. 

The little guy loses and jumps down from his stool, races to position, and does fifteen jumping jacks saying "I lose, I lose, I lose" fifteen times. and upward. And it is hilarious

Every single time I cracked up laughing. It's too funny. 

And I thought each time,  Oh my God, look at this. Lord, look, right now. This gorgeous moment passes too quickly. Next year this boy will be different. For me this is a one-time thing, then it's gone. He will never be this enthusiastic about losing. He will never be this childishly hilarious. Let's lock this into our memory and save it to cherish. 

Blurred because he's hopping and flapping and I'm laughing.

His brother is on the other side of the table losing in tac-tac-toe to my brother and his penalty chosen by my brother is to do the chicken dance, which to him is no penalty at all. 

Then it's fun and games blocking my photo taking. They signal having enough. Then that becomes a game. 

Reserved at first they cannot maintain that barrier of caution with their little hearts so wide open. This boy kept grabbing my arm and pulling it to his chest. Repeatedly he kept returning to a tug-of-war with my arm. He wanted physical connection. These boys only just met me and they already love me. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

That Time I Went to the State Fair

Traditionally I attend the State Fair in Capital City on the first Sunday after the Fair opens. Not being one to mess with tradition I drove over there this morning.

I attempted to take more pictures than I usually do, but the ones from the hike from the parking lot to the Fair entrance were not good - it was overcast and the lighting failed to do justice to the throng of people streaming into the gates. This year, for the first time, beer and wine will be sold, but this being the Solid South, that does not happen on a Sunday morning. Another new thing is increased security - I noticed that same reality of modern life when I attended a bluegrass festival over there a few weeks ago, and this was no different - the entire mob is funneled through an array of metal detectors to weed out the random machete, machine gun or mace. Knowing that, I left mine at home.

First stop, as always, is a visit with my turning teacher in the Village of Yesteryear. He and his wife set up there every year, and have done so for close to two decades. He always makes amazing things and I like spending time talking with them. This year was no different - he carved a self portrait out of alabaster.

I saw a possible upgrade for my John Deere riding mower outside, and wondered if AllenS has one of these:

There were, of course, the usual Fair sights, minions:

Healthy foodstuffs:

And soothing rides upon which you could revisit your gustatory selections:

This is what I had for lunch:

I like the giant squash cultivars:

That one was over 1,400 pounds, and the berries of the trailing vine Citrullus lanatus were there in a show of inclusivity and a nod to diversity:

Some of those ranged over 300 pounds - mmm, mmm...

Did someone mention cookies? Cookies!

There were quilts abounding, and plenty of other homespun items:

This post is getting too long, so I will attempt to wrap this up with a picture of Barney Fife's earlier ride:

I took some pictures of the tractor pull, but they didn't turn out so well, so here is one from last year a coal-rolling diesel flat out gittin' it done:

Lastly, a picture of the waterfall - it is said that if you stand by the waterfall you will see someone you know.

That didn't happen to me there, it happened in the commercial building, where I met my bakers. But that is a story for another day. I will leave you with a song, only slightly related, but there you go.

All in all I had a great day out.