Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday night

Today's sunrise:

And sunset:


Rainbow from 7/15/2016

Seaweed fertilizer

Gardeners swear by this stuff. They rave. We gardener types do tend to get excited when things work out well, we're basically kids at heart.

The fertilizer numbers on all of these things are not good. The macro nutrients are not their selling point. So what's the deal with these things. Fish-based fertilizer, kelp based fertilizer, worm castings, compost all sound like things that hippies do.

The newer type of grow all your own food freaks are against animal waste and recycled sewage waste based products because they're aware of the chemicals and drugs, heavy metals and petroleum products that are poured into sewers. Same thing with animal waste products. They don't want any of that in their fertilizers. They amend their soils with all kinds of organic material.

We know from grade school the American native people dropped a fish in a hole for each seed of corn. The four sisters: maize, winter squash and beans that climb up the corn stalk, and a dead fish in the hole for fertilizer. Maybe it was three sisters discounting the fish. I get mixed up with native agriculture.

The thing is, they're not actual fertilizers. They're supplements. They put into the soil all the little things that regular fertilizers don't have because those macro nutrients that plants use the most do most of the work so they get most the attention while these types of soil amendments do other things that help the plants. So the result you can expect by adding them to the soil is faster better germination, stronger root growth, stronger stems that are free of the usual things that vex gardeners, better protection from insects, more buds, less buds dropping off, more blooms.

Conversely, some organic supplements attract garden pests. Animals are attracted to the temporary scent of decaying crabs so they come over and dig up your garden.

Look at Amazon reviews and see how people don't see any difference by using seaweed fertilizer. This is for Maxicrop that has presently 156 user reviews. It's a small amount of concentrate, 10.7 ounces mixes into something like 60 gallons of water. So, a little more than half a pound for $20.00.

Negative reviews:

* was using it for my tomato seedlings and they started off great, but then developed a strange leaf end yellowing drying - some research led me to believe it was a lack of trace elements like Magnesium, Iron, Maganese, etc. I switched over to Miracle Grow then and the plants did much better.

* I used some of this Maxicrop Seaweed stuff last year, and I can't say that I noticed any difference in the plants at all.

* noticed no difference and in some cases it burned the plants not recommended. I think a lot of these reviews are written by the seller. Don't waste your money

* I am giving a poor review because of the size of the product. There are much cheaper sources for a similar product. I am sure it is effective, but way too small for $21+ .

Positive review, (sounds like someone who sells this):

* Advantages of Using (Liquid) Seaweed Fertilizer

* MaxiCrop has saved me hundreds of dollars. Once I saw how well it worked, I started buying pitiful-looking plants from the TLC tables at the garden centers for 10 cents on the dollar. I bring them home, put them in my shaded "plant hospital" corner, and pour MaxiCrop on them. Almost overnight, the plants bounce back. I tend them for a week or two, then give them away as gifts or plant them in my garden. It's amazing!

I also propagate tomato plants from cuttings, feeding them with MaxiCrop. Again, this saves me a fortune and turns out healthy, strong plants.

I read about MaxiCrop Seaweed Fertilizer from an organic farmer. Someone asked him what his "magic juice" was, and he said MaxiCrop, hands down. I ordered it on Amazon that very day.

These folks who complain about the size of the pouch don't have a leg to stand on. It's a concentrate. The description tells you the ounces and how much it will make. There are no surprises, here. Folks, 10.7 ounces will make 65 gallons!

Advantages of Using ((Liquid) Seaweed Fertilizer:

1) It promotes additional buds when applied as the plants are beginning to bud.

2) It extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables if applied 10 days before harvesting

3) It lengthens the life of cut flowers if they are sprayed with Liquid Seaweed a day or two before cutting.

4) Treating seeds or seed pieces with Liquid Seaweed prior to planting
will improve seed germination, root growth, and early seedling vigor.

5) Liquid Seaweed also can be used as a rooting solution. Place cuttings in a solution of Liquid Seaweed and water until roots develop, then plant. When planting, water in with Liquid Seaweed solution.

6) Liquid Seaweed applied to pasture crops increases the nutrient uptake, the protein content, and overall quality of the crop.

7) Seaweed organic fertilizers can be used as a soil treatment to grow healthier, stronger, and more disease-resistant plants.

8) A wide range of beneficial effects have been reported from the use of liquid seaweed extracts including increased crop yields, resistance of plants to frost, increased uptake of inorganic constituents from the soil, more resistance to stress conditions and reductions in storage losses of fruit.

9) Promotes vigorous growth and helps deter pests and diseases on fruit, flowers, vegetables, lawns etc.

10) Seaweed has more than 70 minerals, vitamins, and enzymes.

11) Seaweed fertilizers are especially useful in organic gardening. They contain almost every micro-nutrient in a fully chelated (immediately available) form. They deliver a healthy dose of natural plant hormones. Seaweed is full of carbohydrates, which the plants use as a building block and which large populations of beneficial micro-organisms use as a food source.

12) Alginates, (sponge-like starches found in seaweed), hold water droplets near the plant roots, making moisture available to them without drowning them; they also help enrich the soil by feeding myriad beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria and tiny fungi necessary to composting.
13) Research at major universities has shown that seeds soaked in seaweed extract germinate more rapidly, have larger root mass, stronger plant growth and higher survival rate. Soaking plant roots in seaweed extract reduces transplant shock and speeds root growth.

14) Several university studies have shown that seaweed can produce dramatic results in plants: geraniums produced more flowers per plant; grapes were sweeter; gladiolus corms grew larger; and cucumber yields increased 40 percent and the fruits suffered less often from softening and rotting. Improved yields after seaweed treatments were measured in potatoes, sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, apples, strawberries, okra, and oranges. Better frost tolerance, increased seed germination, and greater capacity to absorb trace elements were other documented benefits for plants.

15) Seaweed fertilizers have many benefits. They provide natural hormones and many nutrients not found in other forms of fertilizer. Since most plants absorb their nutrients through the leaves, applying this with a foliar method will benefit the plant even more. Foliar simply means placing the fertilizer on the leaf itself. As the plant absorbs the sunlight it needs, it will also be absorbing the nutrients found in the fertilizer.

16) Another major component in liquid seaweed fertilizers are the hormones. The main hormones in seaweed are auxins, gibbelerins, cytokinins and betaines. The roles of these hormones are essential to plant health. Most of these are only required in very small proportions. There are many different auxins and they all have their specific roles. Their main functions are the balanced control of speed of growth. They have both growth stimulating as well as delaying functions. They stimulate root-growth, prevent bud-forming or opening at the wrong times.

17) Seaweed can play an important role in the production of the plant's own auxins, because the enzymes formed with the help of trace elements from the liquid seaweed fertilizer play an important role in the formation of these auxins.

18) Cytokinins are another group of important plant hormones. They initiate and activate basic growth processes. The cytokinins available in liquid seaweed extract stimulate growth with greater vigour, because they mobilise nutrients in the leaves. They also provide protection from marginal frost (to -3 C). Cytokinins also retard the senescence (aging processes) in the plant.

19) Betaines play an essential role in the osmotic processes in plants. They help to increase the water uptake in plants and are extremely helpful in dry conditions. Betaines are particularly helpful to plants under stress.

20) Liquid seaweed fertilizers, (especially the alginates in the seaweed) act as soil conditioners. The alginates react with metals in the soil and form long and cross-linked polymers in the soil. These polymers improve the crumbing in the soil, and swell up when they get wet, and retain moisture for a long period.

Arizona garden

You guys in Arizona are lucky.

Apparently this is before he got his banana tree.

He mentions John Kohler a couple of times. We've seen some his videos. Originally through juicing and then through gardening.

I have a lot of friends in Phoenix but they're not into gardening. 

One bought a house that came with an orange orchard. Too much trouble for him. He was happy to get rid of most of the trees. 

The way the trees are watered is a truck comes and floods the whole property once a year. Maybe twice a year. But then he has to pick up the oranges. He's too old for that. It's a pain in the beau tox. He gets rid of them by setting up a stand by the road in front of his property with a sign that says pay what you want and put the money in this coffee can. 

"So how does that work out?"


Pineapple peeling three ways

Democracy Now!

I used to give Democracy Now! a listen just to see how people think who aren't me. And every now and then I'd be treated to genuine reporting. While usually subjected to straight up anti-American horse shit. It was a temporary young Middle Eastern female host who glibly characterized superficial outward manifestations of genuine heartfelt patriotism as "jingoistic" that provoked me to want to punch her in the face that put me off Democracy Now! permanently. You have to distort yourself into knots just to listen and bear with them.

But now I'm older by a decade and less tolerant than I was back then in my plasticity.

Now I say about all national media, "give these assholes ten seconds and they'll insult you in two."

I do actually say that and every now and then give it a test.

Tonight I gave Amy Goodman ten good solid seconds and she insulted me in two.

It's not so easy finding Brenton Tarrant's manifesto online. Sites have wised up a bit and decided best not to publish him. And that's a good thing. He wants his perverse politics known worldwide so to deny him that satisfaction copies of his manifesto are taken down.

Here it is, if you care to see it. I expect this will be taken down too. (If it is, I have a copy that I can put behind this.)

Of all the articles you might read about this, none give a link to the actual manifesto. When they do, the page is gone. So instead you'll get the media's characterization of what it contains. As if such dangerous information belongs to them alone. And that allows them to tell you what they want you to think it contains. It is universally characterized as "far right."

Any web search by any search terms will show this.

Media describing its contents tell their viewers and readers that Tarrant praised Trump. I read that one hundred times today.

Amy Goodman took two seconds to tell her viewers "He mentions Trump throughout the entire manifesto."

Trump is mentioned once. While mentioning others far more. Amy Goodman is trusting that none of her viewers actually read the manifesto. The whole manifesto is whacked. Tarrant does make points made by conservatives but he drives right off the rails. He cannot accurately be characterized as "far right," rather, he must be characterized as mental. He self identifies as "eco-fascist" does that sound like Trump to you?

Speaking of America he cites the 2nd Amendment. He wanted to instigate a Civil War. Not in New Zealand, of course, not in Australia, that Amendment refers singularly to America. He speaks of America as if it his own country. The only country that counts.

Reading the manifesto is a drag. It's not the sort of thing that nice people care to read. None of these people on Twitter [twitter manifesto] read it, although they claim that they did. All they're looking for is proof that Tarrant is "far right" and he was motivated by Tump.

How disappointing then when they control/F "trump" and come up with only one cite.
Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump? As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.
This is mischaracterized in media as "motivated by Trumpian white supremacy."

And what Trump policies, pray tell, would a dummkopf like Tarrant' object to? He doesn't say, but it would be the policies as described to him through media, of course. Duh.

Tarranat mentions his views are aligned with Sir Oswald Mosley, whoever that is. (someone from the little island of Britain 1896-1980)
* I mostly agree with Sir Oswald Mosley and consider myself an eco-fascist by nature. 
* Sir Oswald Mosley is the person from history closest to my own beliefs. 
* It will come in a great wave of popularity, in a great awakening of the European soul.”
-Sir Oswald Mosley
No, American media is not to be given ten seconds. Click through, the very next thing will be more valuable, even cartoons, even children's shows. Not Democracy Now!, nor any of them. They race to be first to mischaracterize what they have in hand and withheld from you  knowing their viewers are too busy, too lazy, too dull to search out and read source documents for themselves.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Hesitation and acceleration

Got out for a walk just ahead of a thunderstorm. After events three years ago I really should know better, but my young dog and I needed to get out and walk. She kept stopping to smell the wonders of the budding spring earth and all the while I was urging her to keep moving. First I heard the wind in the tops of the tall pine trees. Then it started raining, so having learned my lesson about what can happen when one is caught out in the woods in a thunderstorm we cut across the infield of the track and took a half mile off our total distance. Then we started hearing thunder off to our north. Well, that'll put a spring in your step. We were still three quarters of a mile from home so we started steppin' and fetchin'. My dog thought it was great fun - we were moving at a good clip. Within sight of home it started raining, as they say in the vernacular, like a mofo. So we started running. I am not okay with running - that is an activity at which I did better many decades ago. But we made it home safely, no reenactment of our 2016 adventure, which is good.

This is what the rain looked like on February 24th, 2016:

This is what my dogs looked like when we found shelter at the concession stand that day:

This is what that storm felt like:

Today was mild in comparison.

Then a cold front moved through and blew away the storm clouds allowing us to see the nice sunset:

The whole time I was out there I kept thinking - there has to be a Strauss waltz that suits this adventure - Voices of Spring waltz would almost fit, but in the end I decided on this one:

Fig Newtons

If you make these, you'll be shocked how much better they are than the types that you buy, even the super great ones from Trader Joe's.

That's the idea. Not the law issued by the king of Figlandia. 

Each YouTube video shows something slightly different.

4", 3+1/2", eh, nearly the same thing.

Roll them one at a time or two or three at a time, eh, nearly the same thing.

Lemon zest, orange zest, eh, nearly the same thing.

Cardamon, cinnamon, FULL STOP! Those are entirely different. 

Her flours are weird, whole wheat and all purpose will do.

Other recipes say chill the dough for at least 8 hours.

Other recipes say cut the cookies after they're baked

Other recipes say cool the cookies stacked with wax paper separating the layers in air-tight container for 1/2 hour and that steaming is the thing that keeps them soft.

The point is, different recipes say different things and whatever you do your result will be better than the things that you buy. 

I have whole wheat grain flour that I milled myself from malted grain already toasted (that ends the malting process). It's intended for brewing. I bought the grain downstairs from the brewing supply company. It's heavily malted and its smell and its flavor are fantastic. That would be perfect for half of the flour to use in these cookies. Possibly even a higher ratio since gluten is not a quality here. No yeast is involved. 

I also made this same thing with prepared apricot preserves and those were super duper great too.



Beware the ides of March

That means "middle," right?


I know, right? 
Boy, that snow comes down and it's all wet and heavy
And you're thinking, hey, this is gonna melt.
And it does melt.
Then it freezes that night and your chariot goes skidding all over the place
and crashes and you end up in hospital.

You think this is funny?
You could have been more specific.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

You and I will always be back then

Use that title as search term and the first result will be this clip of the last episode of the last season of the cartoon Adventure Time.

They go out with a bang. The entire imagined world of Ooo is gloriously destroyed. The writers took all of their work and ruined it for the whole world to see.

A red geometrical solid form with monstrous human aspects enters Ooo from another dimension. It drops out of the sky through a hole. The earlier version of the Ice King's mathematician fiancée who has gone mad is inside its head trying to solve an equation. The red monster releases two separate monsters from its body that change forms as needed to tear up the place. One by one the citizens of Ooo attack the monsters but are beaten back. Everything built up through all of the seasons of the show is destroyed. The writers cut loose depicting the horrors of war. This is not an episode for little children.

Near the end of the destruction, Jake, the elastic yellow dog, returns to the treehouse and shrinks much smaller than usual and curls into fetal position.

BMO, the tiny computer picks up Jake and says, "How about you let me be the papa."

Holding Jake as a baby, BMO sings Jake a song.

It's a catchy tune.

Other creatures emerge and they pick up singing the song.

Their harmonizing affects the rampaging monsters.

All the remaining citizens of Ooo harmonize singing the song and the destruction is stopped and the monsters reversed. The screen turns to black and white and the monsters are blown away to dust and the red geometric form with human aspects departs through the hole in the sky connecting dimensions.

Ooo is destroyed but its citizens are not. They pick up and carry on but Ooo as it was known in the series is gone. They are stripped back to nothing and pick up from there. But at least they're alive. They appear psychologically unharmed faced with the challenge of rebuilding.

The man who voiced Jake, John DiMaggio, also voices the robot Bender on another cartoon, Futurama. It took the voice actors some fifty takes to record this song because John DiMaggio kept crying during recording. They needed his voice and emotionally he couldn't provide it. He says in another interview that he continued crying at home throughout the day.

The song made everyone cry (not me, I'm a stud). Fans are especially fond of the sweet little computer BMO. 

There is quite a lot more that follows this clip. Fin and the young version of Ice King escape the red geometric monster through a tube that opens by Jake's singing. While the young version of Ice King's betrothed stays behind in the shrinking cube continuing to calculate and is lost. The cartoon is unrelentingly cold-blooded, harsh, and horrible while simultaneously tender, warm-hearted and adorably cute. 

Like children setting crayon to blank sheets of paper, the entire thing through its eleven seasons is pure raw imagination. The writer's mindset is "now I will write as a child." 

Epicurous: wine, expert guesses cheap vs expensive

This is new within just a few hours. But, boy, their followers sure do follow. A commenter asks amazed, "How does Epicurious keep finding all these personable experts?"

Proving not all wine experts are snooty, Belinda Chang explains how she knows what she knows. And tastes of flavors are nearly impossible to describe, nevertheless Belinda does describe to us what she is smelling and tasting such that we know what she is talking about.

(I'm distracted throughout by the reflection in the glasses of the shapes of the photographers light reflecting umbrellas.)

Hand pollinating

I think VeganAthlete has it a bit wrong here, but let's watch him anyway.

Sometimes a certain species of dragonfruit is sterile. That is, the male portion of blooms are sterile while the female portion is productive. That means another plant of the same species must be around to fertilize the male-sterile plant.

VeganAthlete says and repeats that the plant needs pollen from another species, and I think that is wrong.

Otherwise, all species of dragonfruit produce blooms that can fertilize themselves so no insects or bats are needed, just a good breeze. Chiles and tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and other species of Solanaceae all have this same characteristic. That's why growers go out there and give their plants a good shake when they're blooming.

In my spot we don't have many bees. I watched some over at the Art Museum and I wondered, "why don't you girls ever come over next door?"

I think it's cool what he's doing.

He's learning. And he's sharing what he's learned. 

Man, you guys living in Arizona are lucky. You can grow all kind of cool things. 

Through the internet, Instagram specifically, VeganAthlete hooked up with another of his type. Another young man in Arizona is growing a whole plot of weird things not usually seen in gardens. Not all together in one garden at least. His goal is to grow all his own food. And that takes a lot of learning by study and by trial and error. Lots of error. Lots of trials.

The key: pressure point

It sort of works.

Cold air and cold water lock up my muscles quickly. They simply don't work. I would certainly drown.

π day

Today is national pie day. And that's different from National Pie day which is January 23. What, you missed it?

Everyone else was having pizza.

Why is today National Pi day?

Because in America we write the 14th of March as March 14, or 3/14. See? 3.14. And that's π.

And because:

But that's silly because it conflates π with 🥧.

π is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter and that means for any circle you can divide the circumference by the diameter and always get the exact same number and it doesn't matter how big or small the circle. And this blows the minds of mathematicians because it is a universal constant and because they are quite an imaginative lot. And that means when humans encounter aliens from outer space they can communicate through the language of maths. 

And now I must repeat the very old story told all the time all over the place. So that you can remember to tell your grandchildren and keep the thing going through generations.

A farmer values education and saves up to send his son to college. He's quite pleased with his son being the first in his family to attend college and he wants to show him off to his neighbor. 

"Come here, Boy, and show Mr. McMillan your education." 

     "How do you expect me to do that?"

"Tell him some of your ciphering." 

     "Uh. Okay. Let's see. To calculate the area of a circle use the formula:  A = π r2 and that means measure the radius and square it then multiply by pi, or stated simply, pi r squared. 

The farmer looked at his son nonplussed.

Then he looked at his neighbor Mr. McMillan. 

Then he looked back at his son.

He told his son, "Thank you. That will be all."

The son went back to what he was doing.

The farmer stepped closer to his neighbor and lowered his voice. "That's alright, McMillan, the boy's confused. He's still got a bit of learning to do. Everyone knows pie are round and cornbread are square."

Rick and Morty: Pickle Rick

Rick wants to get out of going to family counseling (therapist voiced by Susan Sarandon) so he turns himself into a pickle. He built a Rube Goldberg style anti-pickle serum device to inject him ten minutes after the family leaves for family counseling but his daughter notices it and takes the syringe. That dooms Rick to staying in pickle form.

Later in counseling Rick's daughter expresses no concern for her father being a pickle. He's the smartest man in the universe, he can take care of himself.

The viewer is thinking, "Oh man, this episode is going to be a total drag because what can Rick do as a pickle? It's too limiting."

A cat jumps up on the work bench and starts pawing at the pickle. Rick say something like, "everyone knows cats see pickles as snakes." And viewers are reminded of all the YouTube videos of cats jumping straight up from the sudden sight of a cucumber when their owners sneak one on them when the cats are preoccupied eating. Actually, only about half the cats react alarmed and the other half play with the cucumber.

The Rick-pickle rolls out onto the driveway. It suffers in the sun. It rains. The Rick-pickle is flooded into the sewer. A cockroach comes along and climbs onto the Rick-pickle.

Rick's pickle face eats the cockroach  and takes cockroach parts unto himself. Now Rick-pickle has made himself Rick-cockroach-pickle. 

The transformation is cartoon excellence.

He uses his enhanced cockroach-pickle body to build traps to kill sewer rats and further body enhancements to aid in killing more rats. Rick is a cockroach-pickle killing machine. 

Now he takes a rat brain and rat parts, hands and legs, and creates a super enhanced rat-cockroach-pickle killing machine. 

The transformation is mind-blowing cartoon excellence. The action progresses magnificently fast. The viewer wonders how did the writers get from A to B to C through the whole f'k'n alphabet to Z so quickly? The viewer (me) backs up and watches again to pick up the parts that were missed. It really is impressive cartoon writing.

Rick-rat-cockroach-pickle exits the sewer by rocket power up through the pipes into some random building that turns out to be a foreign agency housing a ruthless government agency head. Rick-rat-cockroach-pickle kills the agency head's henchmen one by one, sometimes two at a time. The action is fantastic as he moves through the building to get at the leader. 

Meanwhile Rick's family is in family counseling and that allows an entirely different set of situational cartoon writing. The segues back and forth between plot and subplot are jolting in tone while both have the same extremely strange cartoon style of intense cynicism. 

Rick-rat-cockroach-pickle eliminates all of the henchmen and goes for the leader, the most malevolent and cynical of them all. The agency head unleashes his most violent prisoner. Rick-rat-cockroach-pickle kills the lead agent and destroys the embassy. It's shown in the helicopter that Rick-rat-cockroach-pickle had teamed up with the violent prisoner for their mutual escape, they of kindred spirits.

Rick-rat-cockroach-pickle joins his family in family counseling. The therapist takes Rick's condition as ordinary therapist material. Rick-rat-cockroach-pickle explains why he disrespects therapist in one of the most beautiful deconstructions written for cartoons. Their dialogue is stunning. 

YouTube [rick pickle]

Food Wishes: flip food in a pan

It's not showing off. It really is the best way to flip food around. I thought of this tonight heating up pecans. Obviously you must use a pan with angled sides. Duh.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Things that boys do

It's nothing really. But it's something. Really.

Varsity Blues

That's the cutsie name given by media to a horrible and widespread case of corruption involving access to top tier colleges.

It's the name of a movie with the single similarity being a high school athlete desperate to get into college.

But in the movie, the character is an actual athlete and already gets good grades. He doesn't need corruption to get into college. While in real life the sons and daughters of wealthy are too stupid, too dull, too unambitious, too unchallenged, too privileged, too drunk to get into top schools on their own. They need corruption to help them. Some are so dull they didn't even know their parents went way WAY WAY out of bounds to help them.

In real life, the company that helped with admissions photoshopped photographs of poor student's faces onto photographs of genuine school athletes.

Now, how are they expected to perform as genuine athletes once admitted to school?

At the center is an extraordinary businessman with no morals or compunction whatsoever who recognized this need of the wealthy to boost their children beyond their children's own capabilities and matched it by supplying the college sports coaches, the SAT and ACT administrators, the college administrators all corrupted by him. Through profit and non-profit organizations set up by him.

The thin guy in front, not the fat guy in back. 
He has that lean and hungry look. The sleek headed man such as sleep a-nights. 
He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.

And that right there is an impressive set of business achievements, tremendous business acumen, corrupting all those people at precise points as required and nothing more, corrupting the demand side as well and then squeezing them for maximum layout, skimming the available market, and all of that put to evil with all participants satisfied, using systems in place, to tremendous profit for each. In strict business terms the new industry is brilliant. While unfortunately amoral and illegal.

The payment for services goes through non-profit so becomes a deductible on taxes. There's the flaw on the IRS side. Funds received by the non-profit go out to corrupt otherwise clean coaches of various sports, admission exam administrators, and college admission officials.

It was the FBI and the IRS that brought him down.

So now we see these two agencies with reputations damaged under Obama administration actually do something worthwhile.

William "Rick"Singer is the man at the center. He set up a for profit organization to assist with admissions and he set up a non-profit to launder bribes to corrupt individuals at various points of college admissions process.

The kids need to have solid admission exam scores so an exam administrator was paid to allow the students more time as physically handicapped students are allowed, or the administrator actually took the test for the dull student.

Now, just like affirmative action, how is that student expected to survive academic rigor once admitted by corrupted means?

Don't worry. They'll slide by. A daughter of a particular actress who didn't know her mother had boosted her chances outrageously told her friends she was heading off to college to party.

William Singer helped the parents of 800 such unconcerned students.
Andrew Lelling, U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, reportedly claimed Singer's clients paid him "anywhere between $200,000 and $6.5 million" for his unique services.
Now, that's privilege.

From the parent's point of view, from the school's point of view, how different is this from any other form of college entry privilege? Endow a school generously, the legacy system, affirmative action. This new corruption is not so different from those forms of corruption. Except this one is terribly clever also an ultimate example of amoral business and profitably that links recognized need with supply. Kudos to William Singer for outstanding business, boo on William Singer, now go rot in prison for denying 800+ qualified young people their rightful spots. He put lazy dummkopfs where bright qualified hardworking students should be. He made colleges worse.

Interesting as the names of schools with individuals open to corruption are the names of schools without such individuals. At least this far. No one can know. Given time Singer might well have worked his way into schools not on the list. It only takes one individual to get a school's name on the list.

The Fox News article is good, more details there.

The AP article has more names of college administrators, coaches, and parents caught up in Singer's scheme. has the deets on the case and government actions.

Trails to Tsukiji

Sounds like "Sook-ji"

It's about cabbage.

And I can hear you going, "aw, crap."

The thing is, I have never liked the stuff and just recently turned on to Napa cabbage as an excellent substance to combine with a few Asian flavor elements for a very fast knock out lunch or dinner. I actually look forward to making it for myself and try not to overdo it.

My refrigerator feels empty without one of those giant cabbages in it.

With frozen shrimp for protein it's fantastic. Soon as the shrimp is cooked then it's done. The whole thing fires in two minutes. Even the crispy white parts that are so gross and impossible on regular cabbage is actually delicious on Napa cabbage. You can eat it raw. It bursts with water in your mouth, and when cooked very briefly it continues to weep in the serving bowl as you eat it and the water that's released as you go blends with stronger elements added, soy sauce and such other things added by teaspoonfuls that combines with the released water for an incredible sauce so delicious that you're compelled to drink it to finish.

And it's not just me thinking this. I've shown this to people, some even coleslaw averse, and they all have the same reaction as I do. (I even got a few people to use chopsticks.)

I enjoyed watching Zach.

Observe how he ingratiates himself to a farmer, to a cabbage warehouseman, to two cooks, to a restauranteur, to a chef.

Watch Zach's reaction to new information. Watch his reaction to new flavors. His manner is to give the person he's talking to a visible reaction they want. He says stupid funny things to amuse them. So that people who appear at first growling and unapproachable introspective and insular are immediately broken open and receptive to Zach's responses to all of the things that they tell him and show him. Zach shows his appreciation for their attention each moment as they go. He's constantly making facial expressions of surprise.

He acts a bit like a Japanese woman. He seems to occupy a space between foreigner and female. He says, "ooOOOOOOoo" all the time. Constantly receptive throughout, and to everyone. He holds his hand to his mouth as he's eating, politely and daintily, as Japanese women do. He speaks Japanese as females do. I believe all that makes him much more approachable with each person he comes into contact. It's fascinating watching him work.

Volunteer morning glories

I had the last few pounds of a 50 pound sack of potting soil inside that was leftover from last summer. Apparently I must have poured dirt back into it because I scooped some out to plant the top of a pineapple and morning glories sprung up thick as a lawn. The forgotten dirt that was returned must have been loaded with morning glory seeds. How else could they get in there?

Or maybe it was the morning glory ghost haunting me again.

No wonder they're regarded an invasive species. 

You only need one little seed and in two seasons they can take over a whole fence.

That's what I'm counting on as I go around dropping seeds in other people's gardens and other neglected spots where I notice water tends to drain and with something nearby they can climb on. 

The pineapple will grow new leaves like forming a cup inside its old leaves then send up a stalk from the center with a smaller pineapple on top. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Story Telling

I have been watching Roald Dahl's "Tales of the Unexpected" on Prime. Each episode is introduced by the writer himself and sometimes he says something interesting. In season 1 he mentioned that sometimes it takes him 600 hours to write a short story. I don't know what to make of that. I read a book of his short stories 50 years ago and I had no idea that he spent so much time on each one. Any way, with all this talk of story telling I decided that for extra credit in my final ASL class of this session that I would sign the story of how I became interested in learning ASL. So I have been working on the framework of the story which I will then translate into ASL. Since I will have to present it on Monday I won't spend 600 hours on it. I also won't get paid for it, either. So it goes.

In other news I got my young dog to sit for her 11th birthday portrait today. Treats were involved:

My old dog was enjoying today's sunshine white the cats watched:

I found a live oak tree while walking the other day:

That's not a good picture of it but after walking past it for years it finally dawned on me that it is a live oak (Quercus virginiana) - I have long wanted to work with the wood from one of those but since that one is on private property I will have to find another. But at least now I know what I am looking for.

I also found leopard lilies (Lilium pardalinum) growing in the wild, but I can't get the picture to load. Imagine seeds that look like blackberries and you won't be far wrong.

That's it - must keep moving, things to do, places to be.

Morning coffee

Over a decade ago a friend was way into water. He drank water all day long. He knew all about water molecules and what happens to them when they're municipally treated, he knows what other particles  they contain, how the molecules are reorganized through osmotic filters, and he knows about so-called water memory. He's metaphysical about water.

Denver water is fine. I think it's great straight out of the faucet. But he thinks it's terrible and needs a lot of help.

My brother put a small filter directly onto my water spigot three apartments ago. My friend took that small one off and attached a 10-stage filter that's separate.

It really does work. But I cannot tell the difference. I know it's effective because I use it for the aquarium and the neon tetras breed in it, and they're an incredibly sensitive species. You'd think the Amazon water is hard due to all the clearly visible dark tannins, but that is just stain. All the minerals of the Amazon are locked up in the canopy, the ground holds nearly zero minerals. The water is incredibly soft.

Fast forward fourteen years to a new apartment.

Literally brand new. Nobody lived here before.

Another different friend stops by for morning coffee.

I was fixing two large cups by way of the AeroPress.

I filled a cup using the 10-stage filter then realized I hadn't used bleach to clean its tip since using it to fill the aquarium. So, for the second cup I used the regular tap so my friend wouldn't get aquarium germs.

He saw me make that switch, and being a basic asshole who likes to catch others to make himself feel intellectually superior, he goes, "Oh, so you use the filter for yourself and use the regular tap for me."

I dumped out the water and re-filled it using the filter, silently admitting the fault.

Heated the water, made the two large cups of coffee separately, actually a quart each in Mason jars. The AeroPress makes espresso and that's diluted with the remaining heated water. Weird. But it's delicious as coffee gets.

Then sitting down with his cup in hand he doubles down on his accusation against me.

"I can't believe you sometimes. You filter your own water but not mine."

Tut tut.

     "Here's the thing, John. The hose for the aquarium is attached to one side of this filter and I get mixed up which side goes into the tank and which side goes to this filter."

His eyebrow went up.

"And when I drain the tank then the filter side goes into the toilet. It's held in place by the seat with a hole in it where your butt cheeks hang out and your poop passes through and sometimes splashes back up. So either the aquarium or the toilet side of the hose touches the tip of this filter and I forgot to clean it with bleach. And I realized that after I filled my cup and I was saving you from that toilet/aquarium water  hazard but then went along with you since you're being an asshole about it."

Oh how we laughed. Because there really isn't that much of a danger. But I do need to remember to wipe off that tip with bleach just in case.

Faith in people

I'm over at Legal Insurrection reading about Nancy Pelosi putting the nix on impeachment of President Trump. It's a new entry on Legal Insurrection so presently it has only three comments. The piece is written by Fuzzy Slippers and it contains a bit about Tom Steyer going ballistic.

You know, for a billionaire, the guy is a total dope.

An angry worked up crackpot dope.

With money to burn on his crackpot conceits. All while calling Trump narcissistic. Actually, they both are.

And his Twitter followers are equally idiotic. There are not two working brain cells to rub together between the whole group. Just look at them. He rages vacuously. His dopey followers still think Hillary won the election and it was stolen by Trump. There will be no talking sensibly to these people.

While an earlier piece on Legal Insurrection written by William Jacobson has 52 comments. It's older so has more time to collect comments. It's about Nancy Pelosi having fear in her eyes making excuses for antisemitic comments made by their new Islamist congresswoman, Ilhan Omar. Jacobson goes on to explain that Pelosi recognizes a very serious problem within their caucus, one that is ruinous for their party's ambitions.

Here are two comments to the article:
This disgraceful act of moral cowardice and bankruptcy by the goose-stepping, collaborator Dumb-o-crats, in feckless obeisance to their most odious, radical and bigoted members, and, in service of Islamic totalitarianism and supremacism, will not be forgotten by all Americans possessing moral probity and clarity, irrespective of religious faith or political allegiance.
Then, responding to that:
The number of such Americans diminishes by the day. Such is the power of identity politics fueled by the racial spoils system known as affirmative action. 
I think they're living too much online. Generally, real people are not like this. These are the outliers receiving outsized attention. I'm seeing quite a lot online about Ocasio-Cortez arguably among the least important members of Congress because of her newness and rawness and because she is so outrageous and so stupid. As if she represents the future of politics. As if she represents her generation. She does not.

I skip nearly everything about her. Why feed the beast? But, out of curiosity I did watch one of her cooking videos. She took half an hour to peel sweet potato. She is an idiot. She spoke entry-level politics as she peeled it. So the video is about her talking politics not about cooking a sweet potato.

First, whatever she intended for the sweet potato, it's better roasted in its skin. Then its starches turn to sugars concentrated instead of diluted in water, and it virtually leaps out of its crisped skin. So, she doesn't know what she's doing and she doesn't know what she is talking about. Yet all the questions and comments from her stupid supporters that run up the screen as she is talking are sincere. They're dumb, but sincere. Except for the few conservatives who interject sly contrary remarks that go over everyone else's head. Like cartoon foxes among fuzzy little bunnies.

It's a deplorable, poorly edited, very poor quality video that no sensible person would upload.

You only have to step out a little bit and interact just a trace to know young people at large are not like this. All millennials do not live in their parent's basement pining for socialism up to their necks in debt for educations in intersectionality.

Sunday I thought, "Go meet some young people."

So I did.

I stepped out to the new food court for the most expensive meal possible there. Just sitting by myself on the back end of the sushi bar put me in contact with everyone working there, eventually each worker came up to the sink on the other side and had a few words with me, and the few customers who circled around to the back next to me and behind me. To a person, they are all normal and upstanding people out to have a nice relaxed time.

Then I walked over to the deli-sandwich counter and interacted with the workers there, a different sort altogether, and each person is perfectly normal hard working, considerate, kind, conversant and knowledgeable, actually thoughtful. Well balanced emotionally. Absolutely nothing such as you read about online.

The place is packed with young people, everyone younger than me, working class and with very young families and every single customer that I passed by and acknowledged, even little children, all respond gracefully, sensibly, kindly. Everyone is so impressively nice and well mannered.

One thing stuck out that still has me shaking my head.

I thought that I sensed early warning to go to the bathroom, but false alarm.

While in there (very nice bathroom by the way, updated splendidly from the previous occupants) they were playing a happy upbeat but exceedingly repetitive tune that sounded like ABBA. Except just a bit less interesting than the usual ABBA, a bit mundane. Something I hadn't heard before. Something new. The group is quite old, they broke up due to divorce, but I think this song is new.

Out of the stall and washing my hands, no need to because nothing happened in there but now men came in and I didn't want anyone to think that I don't wash my hands, I said to a young man who I never got a good look at because of the unspoken rule about not looking at men in pubic bathrooms or else you'll be taken for a perv, "That's a happy little ditty."

He said, "what?"

     "That's a happy little ditty."

"Yes. It is a happy song. It's upbeat. It sounds like ABBA."

     "It does sound exactly like ABBA. I hadn't heard this before."

He sensed somehow that I didn't care much for ABBA. "Whatever you may think about ABBA and their style of music you must agree they are a very good solid group."

I looked at him a little more closely. He's about thirty years old. A rather rough hewn looking fellow. Dressed black and white. Black Levis, white shirt, black leather vest. Black hair, tanned skin. Unshaven. He does not look anything like one imagines an ABBA fan would look like.

Understand, this is a young man talking to an old man trying to convince me I must appreciate ABBA and not just casually dismiss them and their music. He is speaking to a stranger. In a bathroom!

I considered saying something about singing in English because English is the language of songs, and not just any English, American dialect is the global language of music. But I passed on that to allow him further ABBA defense. I was interested in a young man defending ABBA. I thought that was wild.

It was a happy tune. It is ABBA. Neither one of us would actually buy the music or attend an ABBA concert, but both of us cannot deny their universal appeal. They have, after all, sold 400 million records. And their concerts are sold out. But the man who I'm talking to wasn't even born when ABBA was most popular.

In that short dialog he showed more common sense than very many conservative oldsters that I interact with online. He is open. He formulated his own reasoned opinion, and stood up for something unusual. I don't see that same quality among my own generation who I see as generally more thoughtlessly dismissive. It's like a blast of fresh air.

In the span of a few seconds his solid defense of old music to an oldster, a stranger, reaffirmed my faith in the sensibility of young people. And that's only one minor example among very many examples shown in the span of an hour packed in there compacted among people half my age. Online his generation is described as senseless but my experience with them daily is contrary, and it only takes a moment for their very real genuine sensibility to show through. I see them raising families. And I see them doing excellently. The young people I meet, and there are quite a lot in immediate surrounding, right here in this building, all give me faith in the future.

Just now, it happened again. On my way outside I encountered a new neighbor, a young black woman holding a small girl in her arms. Her daughter has the most outrageous hair piled up such as you see in the old films, "Our Gang." The girl waved at me.

A little angel in the arms of young woman.

"I'm glad you moved in."


"The previous renter had a yappy little dog that barked every time someone walked by. The dog thought he had to protect the hallway beyond his own door."

     "I know." Apparently the apartment left evidence of a previous little dog."

But then she asked, "Are we noisy?"

Apparently her daughter acts up sometimes but nothing is heard through the walls. "No. Nothing comes through."


She was concerned about her neighbor's perception of her enough to ask. That is not how her generation is characterized online. Her daughter is precocious toward a tall white male. All of the little kids are precocious toward me and that is not how young children are described online. Rather, they are described as overly protected to the point of being helicoptered and wary of strangers. But the kids around here are curious and they show it, they each want to interact with the white dude.

We walked together to the front door. She went down there to bring up her mother. Now, it's three generations of black females in one spot at the front door. The woman holding the child tells her mother, "Get the door for him." The grandmother, my age, backs up, goes back outside to hold open the door.

For me.

I don't need no help with no g.d. door.

But I gladly accept the grace.

That situational awareness, that grace, is not how urban interracial interaction is described online. These young people all around, so splendid, give me faith in America's future every single day.

Stargate, Amazon, Abebooks

I have Stargate on Amazon Prime playing in the background. At the 1/6 point, thereabout, I look up right as they realize the picture of the stargate that the probe sent back has different symbols than the stargate on earth. The military colonels agree they are stuck because they'll have to use the stargate in the galaxy on the far side of the known universe to get back home and no one can read the different symbols. Our goofball interpreter hero says, "I can."

They all look at the goofball like, "Whoah."

"Ok, you're in."

Just like that because that's how our military makes important decisions. Eh, what the heck. Our disbelief is already suspended.

Next scene the hero interpreter is packing to go on a trip through the stargate.

I know that book! 

It shows on the screen for only 1/2 a second.

This proves how the writers really did their research. The book is titled Egypt before the Pharaohs. It is a landmark work based on new discoveries at the time. This is the paperback version. I've seen that primitive statue a million times. 

Possibly eight times.

Sometimes the world of books is weird. 

The paperback version on Amazon is more expensive than the hardcover version. By a LOT. The paperback version is priced as a college textbook.

While the hardcover version is much less expensive. For a new one, I'm assuming.

And while at Abebooks I can buy a used hardback for $1.44.

So I bought it. Duh.

The Sartorialist


Panned on the Sartorialist. Comments there.

They like the colors. They do not like the cape. They object to the stains on his clothes. Some like his confidence.

This post got more comments than other posts around it. And you'll notice comments over there generally have decreased considerably. 

On this one, I thought the shoulder thing might be a heating pad. Others joke it's inflatable. 

I went there searching for hipsters. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

On the Doorstep: The One Life We're Given

Yesterday morning, after an evening spent reading about the life experiences and proclivities of a person who appeared to have spent their entire life under the influence of alcoholism and addiction in one form or another, and time taken to watch a video in which the thin curlicues of green resin and tree root formed at the point of a chisel eventually led to the revelation of a vase that reminded me of Earth in space (h/t to Windbag on SixtyG’s post);  I awoke to find a package atop of my closed computer. It had been placed there by MrM who'd found it on the doorstep earlier in the morning, and it contained a book I'd ordered earlier in the week on, The One Life We’re Given: Finding the Wisdom That Waits in Your Heart, by Mark Nepo.

I opened it to find this on the first page under the heading, Shaped by Life:  
My dear father, Morris Nepo, died three years ago at the age of ninety-three.  He was at his strongest and happiest when working with wood, when building things.  In his basement workshop, no one could suppress his love of life and his insatiable creativity.  I learned a great deal from him, though I can see now that there were many times he didn’t know he was teaching and I didn’t know I was learning.  Mostly, he taught me by example that we’re called to make good use of the one life we’re given. He taught me that giving our all can lead to moments of fulfillment and grace.  And those moments of full living can sustain us.

When just a boy, I watched my father chisel boards with care and precision.  He kept his chisels sharp. He’d always say, “Don’t stop in mid-stroke or the board will splinter.  Once you start, keep pushing all the way through.” He’d lean over the board and his hands and the chisel would become one.  A thin shaving of wood would peel away, as if he’d loved the board into giving it up. He’d pick up the light shaving from the floor and rub it between his fingers.  Then he’d rub the grain his effort had revealed and smile. In that moment, he seemed content, at peace. When I read Plato years later, with all his squawk about absolute forms, I knew that’s where my father went.  For the moment, he seemed complete. He’d rub the smooth board one more time and drop the shaving. I loved to watch the feather of wood float to the basement floor. Looking back, I’m certain this was a moment in which he felt thoroughly immersed.  

The wood shaving floating to the floor was an expression of effort turning into grace. Years later I would feel a similar sense of completion when building things myself...

With his immersion in what he loved, my father showed me that throwing ourselves wholeheartedly into what we’re given brings us alive. Craftsman that he was, he left deep messages in all that he touched, some of which have only reached me now...

Yet work as we do to carve and shape, we are carved and shaped as we go.  No one can escape the way experience forms us...

Everyone has to uncover the lessons of their own journey.  The word honor means to keep what is true in view. And so we live and honor the one life we are given by keeping what we learn in view--about ourselves, each other, and life.  We can begin by honoring the truth of our experience and learning from those who’ve loved us. Aware of it or not we each have someone who’s taught us something about how to live.  Who is that teacher for you? And what are you learning in the slow blossom of time?


Plants that look like stones.

She's hot. And she says, "butt-plants."

Her lithop garden is not that interesting. They come in large variety of shapes, colors and sizes. But nothing so fantastic as the Chinese eBay vendors will have you believe. 

They're such outrageous liars. 

They use artist's conceptualizations instead of actual photographs. 

This would be such a cool plant if it existed. But it does not. And it doesn't even fit the bifurcated form.

Duckduckgo images [lithop]

Duckduckgo images [strange dome cactus]

Duckduckgo images [strange dome succulents]

Complete psychological analysis of Trump's support

Care to see something funny this lovely Monday early afternoon?

Come on, be a sport. Everyone likes a good joke.

The Big Easy published a guest contributor, Bobby Azarian Ph.D. who presumes to analyze Trump supporters. He begins:
Whether we want to or not, we must try to understand the Donald Trump phenomenon, as it has completely swept the nation and also fiercely divided it. What is most baffling about it all is Trump’s apparent political invincibility. As he himself said even before he won the presidential election, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” 
[Our total resistance to an election is futile.]

So you see right off the author taking a thing that was widely reported that sticks in the craws of tender people, and you can expect such things as "grab their pussy" as received truths but without any comprehension of meaning beyond their thin surface. Yes, Trump said that, and it means how disgusted voters are with status quo. It means conservative voters will overlook the things that historically condemned conservative candidates, it means the usual attack lines will not work this time.

He did not say that he grabs women's pussies. He was describing the impressively beautiful gold diggers attracted to his money, not to him, and how cheaply they conduct themselves around him. He was describing how amazed he is by that. He went on to describe how one of his efforts to woo with his money failed, how one woman in particular did not fit that pattern. But all that comprehension is lost to the good doctor who insists on staying stuck on surface meaning of language, so he doesn't understand Trump supporters at all.

Not one single bit.

There will be zero understanding of Tump support in his article purporting to be a complete psychoanalysis.

There will be no point in reading it.

The author is too stupid to give any attention. And he, a doctor!

Otherwise the article would start out, "Conservative voters are so disgusted  after decades of having no representation in Washington that they rose up across several election cycles giving the proof of their intention to restructure the Republican party."

But no. There will be comprehension like that in the Big Easy's psychological analysis.

Instead you'll have what a child comprehends by watching news by Democrats for Democrat consumption. That is, presumptuous surface analysis.

And boy, do commenters let this idiot have it, pow, right in the kisser.

That's the funny part.

All that straightforward common sense real wisdom seen in comments to the article will be lost on the delicate psychologist for he is made for iceskating clean flat surfaces given him by media's Zamboni and not made for examining the unseen bulk of icebergs below the surface of floes that he is on.. All of his "facts" used to formulate his psychological analysis of supporters are spoon-fed him by reporters antagonistic to Trump, all phrases stripped of their meaning and with no comprehension beyond that straight up antagonism, such as "all Muslims are evil" and "all Mexicans are rapists" as proof of Trump's character and proof of the character of Trump's support.

Bobby Azarian Ph.D. 
"The music is very soothing. I understand everything now."

All that work writing a complete psychological analysis based on dainty surface comprehension and the only thing worthwhile about it are all the comments in rebuttal, each one with more genuine insight than the doctor can manage.