Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Ain’t that stupid?

Last year, the NFL staged a "game" between the broncos and saints wherein the broncos had no QB on their roster for covid-related reasons.

It was an embarrassment.

And this year, the saints (in a moment if karma) had a similar problem. All of their top QBs were unavailable, but due to a rule change they were able to get a rookie QB with no experience in the NFL (and apparently no skills) to play against the dolphins.

And the results were similar. It was a embarrassment.

There was no reason for this to happen in either year; putting on these exhibitions strictly for money is just dumb.

But at least they kinda, sorta realize it's a problem.

So after the game, they "tweaked" the rule again. Test positive and you can return to the team after 5 days, without showing a negative test. As long as you say you feel okay.

See? They fixed it.

You probably won't see dumb games like that anymore. They'll be dumb in other ways.

And pro'lly you'll have more players test positive.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Dolphins Fan Misses His Own Jumbotron Marriage Proposal

saw this article: 

Funny by the way: “Jumbotron” was the trademark name of Sonys foray into stadium-sized screens. Essentially, they were individual tv screens arranged on a board. They have been superseded by other technologies.

Sony stopped making the Jumbotron a few years ago and officially retired the product over the last year or so. 

Calling it that is really a misnomer. 

 ...and was reminded of this ad (watch it on YouTube) Real Men Of Genius, Bud Light Mr Stadium Scoreboard Guy

Sunday, December 19, 2021

I guess that’s one way to handle it?

The NFL has been struggling to deal with the number of positive covid tests, and resulting players deemed inactive, and therefore impacting scheduled games. And money of course.

Their answer? They pulled a page from 45s playbook. Reduce the number of tests administered, and you'll have fewer positive tests.

Problem solved!

What a stupid bunch of nonsense.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Hilarious to me

You hear the noise about conspiracy theories. Whether it's the moon landing, the kennedy assassination, or something more recent, there seem to always be people who believe there's a massive coverup and everyone is somehow good at keeping secrets.

And then you look at the insurrection, and hear "some people" saying that it wasn't much of anything, it was spontaneous, it was not planned.

But yet there are people looking to save their own hide, people who want to get attention, and stupid idiots who just spill the beans about everything.

It becomes obvious that what "they" were telling about its origin and what happened is a lie.

In other words, they couldn't keep something like this a secret for a few months, and not in the face of legal actions and a congressional committee.

So how in the world could a high profile conspiracy like the moon landing have possibly kept this up for over 50 years?

Surely someone would have talked. Tried to brag. Been subjected to something in their lives that would have had them open up. Had a death bed moment.

Same with the kennedy assassination. That had a bipartisan, bicameral committee asking questions. Ain't no way to keep those secrets.

Sure, there are questions and doubts about JFK, and perhaps the bow they tied it up with was a little too neat. But a vast conspiracy? Don't think so.

Friday, December 17, 2021

How do you like that?

True to form, the NFL decided that money was important and bent their own rules as it relates to covid cases.

They were clear early in the season that you needed to have x number of active players on your roster in order to play. And if you didn't have enough, too bad, you would forfeit.

Predictably, cases started piling up this week. And so they simply rescheduled some games. As though it was the plan all along.

They still can't follow their own rules. It's pathetic. What a bunch of knuckleheads.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Religion and vaccine

To me, the idea of a "religious exemption" to the covid vaccine and any sort of maski mandate is hilarious. This is a global pandemic, with a very important underpinning: the vaccine stops the spread of the virus and protects you from getting sick, and it also helps reduce the spread, as masks do. You are not only helping yourself, you are helping your community

Does not your bible teach you to love thy neighbor. Isn't the point of the son of god story to teach you about compassion, helping others, and yes, being good to yourself.

Isn't a religious exemption contrary to all of this? Isn't his idea of "personal freedom" the antithesis of thee teachings?

Man are people dumb. Sure let's make it all about you, and somehow being closer to god but not taking part in stopping the spread of a disease that has killed millions worldwide.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

What are they trying to say?

Being drunk is the holiday spirit?

Of course the NFL is still stupid

Antonio Brown was caught passing off a fake vaccine card. You know the thing that allows him to roam freely and come into contact with others sans mask. And not have to undergo regular testing. And do on.

And the league, which had promised to take this seriously, suspended brown (as well as a few other lesser-known players) for 3 games. Because that's serious, right?

It's a health and safety measure that they pay lip service to, and yet don't seem to care about. In some states (though not in Florida), what brown did is a felony. A crime.

But the NFL shrugs because they simply don't care - because at the end of the day the mostly old white guys do what they want.

Who cares about health and safety? But heaven forbid a guy stands up for social Justice … that guy gets blackballed.

Hey NFL. Fuck you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Listeners to my podcast

I knew that when I added "one little spark" to my podcast, where I talk about social issues, I would lose some listeners.

But I felt like it was the right thing to do, and as I've said, Walt himself was engaged in social issues - and his business and politics are intertwined very deeply.

So in spite of protests that "this is a Disney podcast! Why are you doing this?!" I pressed on and will continue to do so.

And of course, I saw a drop in listeners.

But here's where things get interesting. In looking over my all-time listener count, I saw a trend from where I started: my podcast grew, and grew, and grew.

In October of 2019, I had around 1,000 subscribers, and was regularly averaging over 1,500 listens to podcasts. It was going well.

But sometime in November, I lost about 300 regular subscribers, and the listens dropped off about 30% as well.

And that number didn't return, so it's not a glitch. It was a trend.

But why did I lose that base? My podcast remained largely the same until sometime after the pandemic started, maybe 4 months later. No social commentary. Nothing about anything Disney was doing that I felt strongly about.

I looked at the episodes and I'm pretty sure none were controversial. Nothing that would cause people to leave suddenly in large numbers.

The dropoff happened after I published a pair of my most popular episodes, about a the John Lennon visit, and a park visit.

Why would people leave after hearing those?

And then as the pandemic started taking over life in March, I started wavering, based on the world around us. I said some things about the company, politics, flori-duhs gubnor, and the dipshit in the Oval Office. I did lose a few listeners, but nothing truly out of the ordinary.

When I started the Spark segment, I saw an expected drop. And I got some harsh feedback.

But the drop didn't happen all at once, it was a downward trend over the course of about 6 months.

The numbers showed about 30% of my remaining listeners unsubscribed.

I have added and lost some listeners over the last two years, but it looks like my base might be trending upward-ish currently.

So as it stands today, I'm at around 50% of the listeners I had at the peak.

Yeah, my social commentary drove away some people (who I would argue have such small brains, they can't handle actually thinking). But many more left before I even started this segment (in real numbers it's around 300 vs 200).

I just can't figure out why so many people unsubscribed. So strange.

It could be something that happened on the interwebs unrelated to anything I did. But I can't find a cause that makes sense, even considering that. Subscribers and individual listens both went down. And never came back.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Friday, November 5, 2021

The NFL is (still) stupid

 Its funny how they "investigated" the John Gruden story, and came to the totally expected conclusion that there was nothing else to see here.  Gruden was a bad apple, and that's that.  And yeah, we're not sharing anything we found.  Believe us. Why would we mislead you?

Maybe because this is the same shit that we hear about constantly. These are the comments we hear attributed to people all the time (locker room talk?).  And wanting no oversight fits into the MO.

And then there's the Aaron Rogers situation.  He "misleads" everyone about his vaccination status.  He violates the written rules that the NFL and and the NFLPA agreed to.  But he's the MVP! It has an effect on the game if you punish him.  So they are "investigating" this, too, and have already made clear there will be no suspension.  

And this ... after already punishing a few lesser-known players.  And of course after last years debacle of allowing the Broncos to play a game without a single QB available because they had to enforce the rules very specifically, even those weren't as explicit as the ones Rogers violated.

And Rogers is a complete and total douche.  What is this nonsense about him having collected information about the science being wrong, and having a homeopathic something or another that's better than the vaccine.  And he's allergic.  And maybe it could cause some side effects.  Idiotic comments like that are the very essence of the problems in society today.

What a joke.  The NFL continues to be stupid, and even the nature of just opening stadiums to fans underscores that this is all about money and power. Nothing more.  

I'll just keep consuming some of their product for free, and ignoring their advertisers - in other words, they won't be making any money on me.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

An asteroid barely missed Earth last week, and no…

So this event happened, and scientists missed it because of the direction from which it arrived, and it's small size.

But it's a reminder that we need to focus on actual things that impact life here on earth, and not wildly fantastical and inane things like the convoluted story of the return of jfk (who would be about 105), or maybe his son(?) who would be younger but was never president and also suffers from the condition of being dead.... and who would be king... or something?

Why can't we focus on things that actually matter? To enter a period of enlightenment with a renaissance of science and fact?

Perhaps we are doomed.

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, October 21, 2021

On Bannon

Of course he should be held in contempt. And treated with contempt. He should be arrested and spend time thinking while he sits in a cell.

And for him to claim "executive privilege" is (or maybe would be if this wasn't so serious - remember every single person needs to be held to account for their role in Jan 6) kind of hilarious.

He didn't have an official job. He's just a blowhard who's more of a groupie in a way.

Unless of course he's an executive like fonzie was and has an office in the bathroom. (And no disrespect aimed at Henry winkler, just sayin)

Wait. What’s this really all about?

The Washington state football coach was the highest paid employee in the state. The conference his team is in made broad "suggestions" that everyone get vaccinated. His team had the lowest rate.

And of course he refused to answer whether he was vaccinated (translation: he was not).

The governor of the state signed an order that ALL state employees must be vaccinated. And specifically mentioned the coach.

The coach said he would comply but was very wishy washy about what that meant. And then when it came down to it, he balked. Never got vaccinated and said he wouldn't. Because: reasons!

So naturally he was terminated for cause.

Of course, he's suing to get his salary.

But here's where things get a little weirder. Along the way, he applied for a religious exemption. Why those are even offered is beyond me, but whatever.

In Washington, the process is that its "blind reviewed" by the state, meaning his name and job are left off, and it's reviewed. If the reviewers find that the person fell within the criteria, they pass it back to his supervisors who then make a final ruling.

If his religious exemption had been approved, he would have stayed on the payroll but wouldn't have been allowed to coach. So essentially, he'd be paid for being a royal douche.

I had "heard" that he was rejected in the blind review. But that may be incorrect.

Since it wasn't approved, he sued. Who is he suing? The athletic director (his boss) for being openly hostile. So it's possible his boss may have been the one who rejected it.

But consider that he would be unable to perform his job if he got the exemption. So it still makes logical sense that the only course of action was to fire him.

My dude cites his extreme religious convictions for his reason. But interestingly, he's Catholic. And the pope has actually urged followers to look out for their fellow man and get vaccinated!

How that gets morphed into a religious exemption escapes me.

But that's where we are in Murica these days.

…still the bigger point is that he wants his money. He doesn't care about anything else. This is a cash grab. He signed a lucrative deal and wants to be a prince and get treated like one.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

About the Miami Dolphins

Here's a crazy fact for you: 50 years ago. Five oh. The 1971 dolphins were beginning an ascendency under Don Shula. They wound up making it to the Super Bowl at the end of season, but lost.

And the following year was the "perfect season"…

50 years. For current players, you're talking about nearly three generations that have passed!

And as for the last time the dolphins even went to the big game, that was 1984….37 years ago. Still nearly two generations.

And let's not forget that their last playoff win was in 2000. A generation ago.

Boy do they suck.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

My take on publix

It is being widely reported that the founders daughter contributed large sums of money to organizers of the insurrection and to some attorneys general that also are complicit.

Now to be fair, she is not involved in the day-to-day operation of the store, though because it's privately family-owned, the money she donated did come from customers.

This is not the first negative article to come out about the chain. They are "conservative" in nature, donate heavily to GOP candidates, are decidedly anti-gay, and make themselves known as being anti social justice.

To me, this latest revelation changes nothing. I mostly shop elsewhere, like Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Costco, Target, and some speciality markets.

But I pass very many publixes to get to those places. And there are no other chain grocery stores nearby.

So I will shop at Publix when I need a "something" to complete a recipe. And I will shop there at the times when it is advantageous to me: when there is a bogo, a sale, coupons, or other ways to stick it to them. At best, I'll be a break-even on their cost.

It's a shame in some ways, because their stores are clean and pleasant. Their workers are generally nice.

I'll just balance the convenience and essentially take advantage of them as much as I can.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Space and UCF

Although I won't be at the space themed game in person, I will be there in spirit. 

Today kicks off World Space Week, the largest annual space event that spans the globe.

The United Nations designated the week in 1999 to help build enthusiasm for the space workforce of tomorrow. The goal is to inspire the youth of today to pursue careers that support worldwide efforts to explore and learn about our planet and its place in the universe.

UCF's been doing that since 1963, when it opened its door to provide talent for central Florida and the growing U.S. space program. UCF's space-related research and our proximity to Kennedy Space Center, the birth of the space race for America, gives our students many unique opportunities.

Students have helped prepared experiments that have flown on International Space Station and on several commercial space flights. One undergraduate student working with our professor on NASA's OSIRIS REx mission played a role in helping identify the best location to take an asteroid sample. Many other students and post-docs are working with UCF faculty on NASA and European Space Agency missions while others work with private contractors involved in launch operations. Our students are also well represented in NASA's Pathways internship program with 19 students last semester alone.

UCF's efforts to prepare students from across all walks of life is well recognized. That's one reason why NASA awarded a team of interdisciplinary professors a half a million-dollar grant to create transformative space technologies that support space exploration. The grant means interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students will work on projects with industry and NASA centers.

This week you'll hear about some of the exciting missions UCF is a part of and about some Knights who are working on out of this world research. And don't forget Oct. 22 is UCF's Space Game when our football team takes on Memphis. This year's theme celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the Space Shuttle program, including many Knights who worked in the program. You won't want to miss seeing the team's space-themed uniforms and special presentation.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

About the Miami Dolphins

This was the team I grew up watching and blogged about, hosted a podcast about, and enjoyed watching for a time.

Then I moved on.

And now. They suck. There's no sugarcoating it. And they're never getting better. It's just not going to happen.

They won back to back superbowls. Went undefeated. Had the NFLs all time win percentage heading into 2000. Had solid ownership and great coaching.

And now they are just astonishingly hard to watch.

Let's look a little deeper at what's gone on in the 20th century (since 2000):

* They have lost 20 more games than they have won (going 152-172, a 46% winning percentage)

* They have had 10 head coaches (and of those 3 quit or were fired during the season)

* 9 times they have had a negative point differential. One year the positive was by only a single point, and all 5 of wannstedts full seasons (in the first five years of this millennium) were positive.

* They made the playoffs 4 times (3 wildcard games losses, one divisional loss - in 2000)

* There has been no consistency at QB -
23 different players have started at least one game, in spite of two 5-year stretches with a named QB as the primary starter (Fiedler and Tannehill).

In summary: These last 21 years have just been atrocious. But I should also point out that the first 8, when there was absolutely more winning and when it still seemed like there was hope, H Wayne Huzienga was the owner. Stephen Ross took over in 2009, and nothing has been good since.

To those of you who are "diehards" and still with the team, you are suckers. Good luck.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Thinking about the virus

In what amounts to an inevitable outcome, it looks like covid-19 is here to stay for a while.

Various countries, and communities within the countries, have tried various approaches to dealing with this pandemic. And so far, no one has come up with a successful plan that is a shining example.

That's not to say we should stop trying, it's just that for now at least there's really no way to eradicate it.

And humankind isn't taking to the idea of "taking away freedom" and wants to return to a sense of normalcy.

So we'll just have to deal with it. We can (and should) make smart choices. We can (and should) get vaccinated. And then should continue to get boosters at intervals that make sense.

Maybe we can dispense with masks at some point, but certainly not yet. In spite of what some people will tell you.

And for those that choose to just throw their hands in the air, the transmission rate will remain the same, and the death rate among those infected will stay around 1.5%~2%

I guess we'll just have to move on with life and realize this is how it's going to be.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Thursday, September 9, 2021

In my opinion

This big lie. The anti vax movement. The mask stupidity. The nonsense around Afghanistan. Climate change denial. It's all interconnected and has one common thread: people simply can not accept change.

And because people they … admire? … tell them that it's affecting "our way of life" that's enough to set off the alarm that change is happening.

People simply want to be lazy and live the way they think they always have and return to "normal" (whatever that is). They can't be bothered to make a small sacrifice. To work for any sort of common good because they've bought into this perspective.

And whenever anyone wants to upend this complacency, it's easy to get belligerent or violent.

So you look around: football is back, baby! With large crowds. Theaters are resuming operation and box office receipts are huuuge. Because people want to return to what they knew before.

Give up my gas car? Believe that someone else could possibly win an election (and therefore undermine my beliefs) when the braggadocio blowhard was saying all the things I wanted to hear? And as for a virus. I can't see it and can't sent out troops after it, so god will protect me or I'm "smart enough" to not let it affect me.

Good luck to us all.

Monday, September 6, 2021

on abortion

You can debate about the relative right and wrong about abortion itself.  I;m not here to discuss that portion of it.

But what I wanted to do was point out three things:

First, its interesting that certain politicians who are all about "small government" want to regulate what women can and can't do.  And as I've heard it said, they push harder to regulate a uterus than a gun.  Which is about controlling people.

Second, there's the piece about some politicians who want to do away with abortion under the guise of religion or some other nonsense.  See my previous comment about guns - funny how they talk about sanctity of life before a child is born.  And then after that, you're on your own (and good luck!)

And finally, its this oddity that not only are these folks anti-abortion (please spare me the "pro life" nonsense), they are are also against sex education and contraception.

It seems to me that education and finding ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy are reasonable things to ask of anyone.  Keeping people in the dark is jsut a part of controlling them.  And worse, its about keeping the poverty cycle going.

If people are uneducated, have children they can't afford, and get stuck in the poverty cycle then you are controlling them.

And in many ways, you tell them they need to find their own way out, to stop being "takers," and to believe in the mythical american dream (which seems to be all that you, too, can be wealthy if you work hard!).

Its sad, but that's the reality.  

About climate change

If we stop for a moment with the political nature of the debate, and just look at what's happening in the world, we see something is happening with our climate.  More intense hurricanes.  More wildfires.  More droughts.  More intense tornadoes. And so on.

Now whether this is "man made,"  or natural, or part of a local cycle of weather (we only have reliable data for 150 or so years, over a 3 billion year span), we just don't know.  And its totally fine to debate that aspect and consider what it would take in general to deal with it.

But where is the risk in spending some time and money on investigating it further? Of understanding our world as fully as possible?  Of preparing ourselves to deal with these new issues? Rather than always spending money on cleanup and whatnot on the back end, maybe we could spend some amount on the front end. 

Heck we spent $2.3 trillion on Afghanistan over 20 years. I mean 10% of that is $230 billion.  Imagine how much we could have accomplished in that space with that kind of money.  Just understanding the weather would go a long way toward getting somewhere.

Remembering some old political ads

During the 2004 election cycle, there were these blusterous ads running for and against whatever candidates, at various levels. 

Terrorism fears were running high so they ran the gamut about one person doing well, or poorly, or that the other person would do better (or worse).

But two ads are still relevant today.

THe first showed a classroom with kids wearing gas masks.  The intent was to show that the candidate was weak on terror and a biological threat wasn't dealt with, and kids will have to wear gas masks for the foreseeable future.

Its ironic, in a way, that 16 years later we're dealing with a more natural threat from a virus, and we're debating about students wearing cloth masks, rather than gas masks. But the premise is the same - there's a threat and students have to wear masks ... for some of the foreseeable future.  And yet, the tone of the debate changed in that time.  We can't seem to take a virus as seriously as we would have had it been a tangible foe, who we could beat with our army.

The context of the second was a never ending war in Afghanistan.  There's a woman holding a child, and the caption reads "you can't have him" - clearly shining light on small child being possibly drawn into service in that endless war in 16 or so years time.

And sure enough, the war was endless, going on for around 20 years.  Again, that one came true, though it was still a volunteer army as it wound down.

Crazy, isn't it?


Friday, August 27, 2021

Personal freedom

I was thinking about this notion of "personal freedom" and making vaccines and mask mandates about individual liberties, rather than the common good.

It's ironic when you think about how the framers of the constitution set it up as a collective good and it even starts with the line "we the people…" As opposed to "hey it's all about me"

You have rights and privileges, but must act for the common good. To use a famous kennedy phrase "ask not what your country can do for, but what you can do for your country" is spot on in today's world.

And what of the parallel to personal liberty known as "personal accountability?" When you talk about your freedoms, who are you accountable to? Yourself? Your family? Your friends? Your community? The nation on the whole?

Get over yourself and do what's in the best interest of our nation. One whose constitution you *think* you know and understand. But in our experiment, you surely can't appreciate.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Holmes Dissenting in Abrams v. United States, 1919

This is a really interesting dissenting opinion. And it's well worth reading. 

"Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition. To allow opposition by speech seems to indicate that you think the speech impotent, as when a man says that he has squared the circle, or that you do not care whole heartedly for the result, or that you doubt either your power or your premises. But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas-that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment. Every year if not every day we have to wager our salvation upon some prophecy based upon imperfect knowledge. While that experiment is part of our system I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country. I wholly disagree with the argument of the Government that the First Amendment left the common law as to seditious libel in force. History seems to me against the notion. I had conceived that the United States through many years had shown its repentance for the Sedition Act of 1798 (Act July 14, 1798, c. 73, 1 Stat. 596), by repaying fines that it imposed. Only the emergency that makes it immediately dangerous to leave the correction of evil counsels to time warrants [250 U.S. 616, 631] making any exception to the sweeping command, 'Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.' Of course I am speaking only of expressions of opinion and exhortations, which were all that were uttered here, but I regret that I cannot put into more impressive words my belief that in their conviction upon this indictment the defendants were deprived of their rights under the Constitution of the United States."

You can also hear the deeper cut of this story on a RadioLab episode:

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Up With People - Freedom Isn't Free

Back in the 70s and early 80s, Up With People achieved some national acclaim. I had s teacher in middle school who was friends with the founder/director, so they were at least popular in my school. 

When we’d do musical productions, they would often include at least one song from the repertoire. And we learned the words to many songs. 

Lately, this one has been running through my head. 

You gotta pay the price. You gotta sacrifice for your liberty. 

Wear a damn mask. And get vaccinated. 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Commentary: Simone Biles was abandoned by U.S. Olympic officials, and the torment hasn’t stopped | The Seattle Times

Makes you think….

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Transgender weight lifter

Interesting read

Sent from my iPad

Life imitates art (in a clueless way)

Watched this clip and thought about how stupid these healthcare workers are. Then, at 1:38, one of them says something about opinions:  

... and I could only laugh as I thought about this exchange on the big bang theory:

It’s played for laughs, as the mother character says something so stupid that no one can take it seriously.

Truly, talking to these holdouts and anti vaxxers is like the comedy hour.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Auburn’s new football coach raising alarms

We need to see more of this kind of reporting. The message has to be clear: get vaccinated. Adding "dumbass" is optional.

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

Monday, July 19, 2021

The virus

I'm a tolerant guy. I can accept various points of view - so long as you can intelligently defend your position on something.

But now we've reached a point of stupidity where "self selection" is happening and survival of the fittest is playing out, right before us.

People are refusing vaccines because…they think they know something?, and they understand "their own bodies" whatever that means.

They are wrong. And it's on them.

I have no sympathy for how they're being singled out, or (heaven forbid!) discriminated against. And limited sympathy for the families for those refusing vaccines who get sick.

Monday, June 28, 2021

The surfside tragedy.

The events that unfolded around the condo collapsing have really hit home.

I'm a native of south Florida, lived near the coast for all of my youth, and still reside here in the southern part of the state. I also happen to be a professional engineer in the state - even though I don't practice in buildings, I still take it personally when an engineering issue surfaces that affects people; we as a group are a part of the public trust.

So there are many connections for me.

But there's another thought that crossed my mind.

Back in 1979 or so, when I was in middle school, one of my teachers (who perhaps was a little eccentric) was talking about the buildings being built along the coast of south Florida.

He had some issue with construction on the sand and construction techniques. 13 year old me remembers some bits of what he said, but in all it was about money and shoddy construction.

I recall him saying something like "One day it will catch up." That thought has crossed my mind a time or two, but never really concerned me.

I remember talking with my dad (also a professional engineer who believed in "the system") about it; he took the altruistic view that the engineers and such would do their job. And there maybe shouldn't be concerns.

And here we are a little over 40 years later, and a condo built in that era suffered a catastrophic failure - perhaps because of an engineering or design issue (at least that's how it appears…The report on the building, and others like it, would certainly seem to paint a picture of many mistakes being made) …. So it turns out that my old teacher was probably right, after all.

* for the casual reader, I am not providing any sort of engineering analysis, or otherwise presenting a professional opinion. I am stating my personal opinion, based on things I've seen in the media. I note my professional affiliation simply to show how deeply personally connected I am to the events.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

That’s odd

One of the cruise lines ran a short "test cruise" with some number of passengers. They all tested negative for coronavirus before setting out. And when they returned, two tested positive.

There was reportedly a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people on board and these two were apparently vaccinated.

While they didn't get sick (and as far as we know, no one else did either), it is strange that they tested positive after being confined on a ship for a couple of days.

Then there was another story about a ship that was getting ready for the first sail of the season had 9 crew members test positive, putting that on hold.

This case is likewise bizarre. For the most part, the crew reportedly had been mostly vaccinated.  And you have to understand that most cruise ships have been sailing "in circles" for the last 15 months with their crews on board.

It's not like they could dock the ships. And with international crews whose countries went through various stages of lockdown, it made sense.

It's fair to say that some were able to leave at times, but until this latest test, none had tested positive before.

So there's something going on. And as a way of looking at this, consider the various norovirus outbreaks that have happened on cruise ships, and how they continued for long periods in spite of the best efforts in sanitation. 

I can't imagine the coronavirus will be any easier to contain. In fact, I'm sure it will be harder. 

And once again to the foolish who decide that the virus is a joke and decide to take a cruise unvaccinated: good luck. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Follow up on mask wearing

A friend and I were discussing the idea that vaccinated people don't need to wear masks. The outcome….

Of course, masks are there to protect *me* from you. Not the other way around.

So when businesses glibly say "if you're vaccinated, feel free to not wear a mask," they are implying "and fuck the idiots who chose not to get vaccinated"

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Unclear concept

I've seen a number of signs in different places of business telling people "if you are vaccinated, feel free to enter without a mask. But if you are unvaccinated you need to wear a mask."

What baffles me is the fact that I am wearing a mask to protect others. Not to protect myself - that's the nature of a virus.

So telling the vaccinated to go about their business is the opposite of how this is supposed to work.

But that's Murica for you I guess.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Going pescatarian

Last year, I wrote about switching to a mostly plant-based diet (ie vegetarian), with some fish mixed in (so pescatarian).

It’s been a year and I can honestly say that I do not miss meat whatsoever.  This transition has been great for me and I have really taken to it  

When I last wrote about my experience, I wondered if I would try lamb again.  I won’t.  A friend had some at a small gathering we went to, and while it looked appealing and smelled good, I wasn’t even tempted to try it.  

And as for BBQ, the thing I missed the most was the smokiness and sort of the texture  I have been able to replicate that fairly well in plants.  I get my smoky “meatiness” and it’s satisfying with a little sauce.  I don’t miss it and I won’t be going back. 

I’ve managed to cultivate a number of recipes to give me the flavors and textures I want.  And that makes me happy.  

I would also say that in general my health has been good, and I generally feel better than I had previously.  I know some foods would give me a headache or make me feel sluggish.  That has not been the case since I changed my diet.


Tuesday, June 8, 2021

People am stupid

As the pandemic took hold in this country, I struggled to put together my disney podcast on a regular basis.

The uncertain future, and the fact that the happiest place - where you could cast away your troubles - was closed made it tough sailing.

And that's when reality and fantasy collided in a different way. Disney is deeply embedded in politics. Look … Walt himself testified at the McCarthy hearings. There was always a need to ingratiate himself with politicians to get what he wanted. And, of course, disneys relationship with the state of Florida is nothing short of a political maneuver; we might not have disney world if it weren't for politics being at the forefront . And never mind the shnizzle the donald pulled to get himself into the hall of presidents.

Make no mistake: disney and politics are inexorably linked.

Overall, I prefer to stay out of that conversation because I know people just want to talk about the "fun" disney. I can be respectful of that and tried to always frame it in a historical context.

But here it was. Right in my face. The Donald was saying this would go away. The pinhead gov of Florida threw caution to the wind and did everything he could (and still can do!) to get disney world reopened because it suited him and his politics.

So I said some things about it and then I took a break.

And came back to something unexpected.

Disney world had re-opened, and I started hearing from some whackadoodles about how they wanted to - very selfishly - have a vacation for themselves. And how dare anyone stop them, or disney make them wear masks, or limit attendance, etc, etc. pandemic be damned!

Disney wasn't right here, either. Clearly, this was a money play. Sure in a way there was some relief to the nation, and you kept people employed. So winning, I guess? But it was a calculated risk.

So I came back and talked about it. I kept at it for a few months, going back and forth talking about history, and talking about what was going on at disney. Again with my point of view. I wasn't singing anyone's praises; I was being honest.

But some people can't handle that.

An election. A fucking insurrection. Bad behavior all around. I played the hall of presidents without the Donald speaking and reminded that disney will have to deal with what happened, in due time.

And I took another break because it was just too much, once again. People wanted to have fun with disney and not worry about the politics. They were, in a word, selfish.

I saw my listenership drop, and got rather a lot of feedback that I was a libtard and why couldn't I focus on disney? Some of it was downright nasty.

Ummmmm. Yeah. See my previous comment about how things are linked.

If people heard me and decided to think that of me, then my message of hope, of a better future, of this connection, got through.

And the fact that I struck a nerve tells me that people are stupid. They choose to follow the dumbasses of the world and be blind to reality. That's not at all fine, and our poor education system shines through. But first amendment, AmIRight?

But … I am going to speak. To stand up for those who are being silenced. Against the disney corporation where it needs it. And certainly against politicians who are connected to disney.

And that's when I redefined myself again and started talking only about history, and added "one little spark" to my podcast to hilight a social issue of the day.

Someone has to speak up. And if you don't like it, then feel free not to listen.

Disney and politics. They have been, and will always, be linked. And if you can't see it, or that bothers you, well that's a you problem.

As I used to say "my podcast, my rules"

Monday, June 7, 2021

What a cluster..f*ck. Cruise edition.

Last year, as the pandemic was taking hold, VP pence, senators rubio and Scott, and gov desantis stood at the cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale, and made clear their aim was to protect the cruise industry from harm during the pandemic.

It was clear they were only talking about this huge moneymaker, with its tourism dollars and financial contributions to their political campaigns. Not to protect people or the general business. No this was about protecting their wealthy donors.

Flash forward and pence is gone. And rubio and Scott have different priorities. They are still be interested in political contributions, but they've stayed oddly quiet on this issue. It should be obvious, of course, that they are only in it for themselves.

So desantis is on his own. He wants the industry to bring tourist money to the state. He wants to help them so he comes off as some kind of hero, financially, and to try and help his own re-election.

He issues some BS orders and has legislation that gives him supreme authority in the state. Over municipalities. Over tourist related business. And effectively over the cruise industry.

The CDC issues guidelines for cruising. Those don't meet with what he wants and he sues. They try to mediate. That goes nowhere.

So cruising is stuck. Executives of the cruise lines have no idea what to do and engaged their lawyers to figure it all out.

Some are running "test cruises" this week, with no idea how that will go. And it's completely unclear whether/how sailing will start in July.

And then there's this little nugget. If this doesn't get worked out soon, or even if it does in a nuanced way that it tilts toward Florida, some cruise lines not leaving Florida will be impacted and may not be able to sail at all.

Take the Alaskan cruise lines that already made arrangements to leave from seattle and not stop in Canada. They had to make some legal changes to accommodate.

And some of those may not be doable for these large companies that do business in multiple states because of the flori-duh rules.

In short, desantis is in it for himself and he's left everyone scratching their heads just to score some sort of "victory" for himself.

That's your ball licking trump supporter right there.

Monday, May 31, 2021

An open letter to my GOP senators

Subject: you are wrong about the January 6th commission

Either you are complicit in the actions on that day, acted against our government yourself, or you are supporting protecting those who were. In any case, you are allowing a seditious act to have been committed and are endorsing it.

An independent committee was necessary to get to the truth. But I guess that's just too much for today's Republican Party. You only care about votes and money than actually protecting and serving the constitution.

Abraham Lincoln once said (to paraphrase) that the only way the United States could be destroyed was from within. It takes a willful act from those who know better to undermine our establishment.

You have shown yourself to be a coward and while you opine about foreign terrorists bent on destroying us, you turn a blind eye to domestic terrorism and the very real threat to our democracy.

History was already written that shows how incompetent you are. Your vote on this matter merely underscores what we already knew.

If you could feel shame, surely you would have some now. But we know you can't feel any.

So our only choice is to remove you from office - by our vote, rather than the means by which you wanted to allow on Jan 6th

Sunday, May 30, 2021

The pandemic isn’t quite over...

Although it doesn't get a lot of press, things aren't going so great in India or Brazil. Case rates are up, distribution of vaccine is slow, and variants have emerged that make the virus spread faster.

And so far the vaccines we have available will protect us against these variants.

By the way, we also have noted that having the virus once doesn't stop someone from getting it again, apparently.

So we've got a ways to go. Meanwhile, here in the US, things are better. And a return to something like normal makes sense if you are vaccinated. You are somewhere around 95% protected from getting a severe case of the virus, though you may get it and feel a little sick. And you can still spread it.

But now that vaccines are widely available to anyone over 12, there's no reason not to get one. Aside from some fringey bullshit, most adults should have one already, or be planning to get one shortly.

And frankly, to those people who choose to not get one, the burden shifts to you. We did our part to curb the spread. We wore a mask, stayed home, and now we have the vaccine.

If those of us who are vaccinated choose to go out unmasked and wind up infecting you, we shouldn't feel bad about it. You had the opportunity to get vaccinated. And if you didn't, well, that's not our problem.

(Disclaimer: if we know we'll be around someone vulnerable we can and should still mask)

I really can't understand eschewing the vaccine based on stupid and fatally flawed "junk science" or religion or political ideology.

On that topic, you may have noticed that the covid case rates and covid deaths have been decreasing and it's being hailed as good...

And it is. With a caveat.

Case rates have always simply been a barometer. The positivity rate has always been based on the population at large who choose to get tested.

When more people got tested, the numbers went up. But on the population that got tested, the positivity rate stayed nearly the same throughout.

Now there's a reduction in testing numbers, because large volume sites are closing, so there aren't as many people being tested. And the people who are vaccinated aren't getting tested...

In short, the positivity rate among those being tested is somewhere around the same - but the number of positive tests has been decreasing.

The death rate from covid is more specific. There's a percentage of people who died "from covid" but never got tested, and there are people who tested positive but died from "other causes"... it's been suggested that these two numbers essentially cancel out, so the death rate may be something close to accurate.

So if we look at the death rates falling over the last few weeks, we notice something: it has fallen by about 40%, which happens to be the vaccination rate.

This is surely not a coincidence.

And it would suggest that the death rate, not unlike the positivity rate, remains the same for the UNvaccinated people.

So if you need another reason to get a vaccine, there you go.

Take advantage of the lotterys, giveaways, and other things that are being offered, and join the millions who see through the nonsense.

Get freaking vaccinated.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Tampa Bay Rays minority owners sue Sternberg, say he secretly negotiated Montreal deal

In case you ever doubted that sports are nothing more than a cash grab....

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.

FAST COMPANY: Why workers are calling BS on leaders about returning to the office

I've heard the stories from others, and am seeing starting at my workplace too. 

One company said "hey, we do business face-to-face" (even though they are truly a stock trading type company) and then told workers "we never actually left; it's not a return to office...we've always been here...that was always temporary"

Why workers are calling BS on leaders about returning to the office
As vaccinations and relaxed health guidelines make returning to the office a reality for more companies, there seems to be a disconnect between managers and their workers over remote work.

Read in Fast Company:

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone. 

Proverbial 'Smoking Gun' Of Trump Camp Giving Info To Russia Seen In Doc...

Monday, May 17, 2021

Trust those around you?

The world is upside down. We have around 30% of the population that still believes the Orange menace won the election. We had an insurrection. And there are still a subset of those people who believe the pandemic is a hoax and/or won't get a vaccine for supercilious reasons.

And the CDC tells us to trust those around us as we head back out to something-that-resembles normal.

But the reality is that fewer than 4/10 people have been vaccinated. So if I walk into a room with 10 people in it, I know I'm vaccinated, but 6 of the other 9 people will NOT have been vaccinated. (On average, of course, I'm just making a point)

But don't worry! It'll be okay!

Ummmm. That trust thing really troubles me.

Maybe I'm (relatively ?) safe. But there is still much research being done on whether that's true.

It's a giant Petri dish experiment we're conducting.

On the one hand, we are still all in this together. So we should still be trying to protect ourselves and those people we're being asked to trust.

And on the other, if people are stupid enough to fill plastic bags with gas, then what's the point? Because we are all doomed anyway.

I'm not liking the possible outcomes here.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Never forget: it’s always about the money

We're nowhere near the herd immunity, as vaccination rates remain too low (we are at about 36% of the population at this moment, where it is believed 70% will need to be vaccinated!), and yet the CDC (which I never believed was political until sometime last year) made a pronouncement that we've had some sort of "breakthrough" and it's okay to take off masks and return to something-like-normal.

This is surely about the broad "economy" and wanting to let companies start to turn profits again. The Biden administration appears to be taking a calculated risk, in favor of the almighty dollar.

Disney immediately responds by reducing the social distancing and not requiring masks outdoors. Money.

The cruise industry is battling to reopen. Because. Money.

But it doesn't stop there. You have the delightful members of the GOP, who, in no uncertain terms, want to continue to be profitable themselves. They change voting laws to protect their own interests (ie money) and when companies say something about it, they tell the companies to shut up and keep donating.

And their continued support of the orange menace is also nothing more than a cash grab. The former nincompotus still has his followers, and they still have their checkbooks open. And because the gop funds are managed by the covidiot, they have to "kiss the ring" to keep the money flowing.

It's actually kind of hilarious.

Then you listen to lil marco here in Florida. He told us after parkland he'd still take money from the nra because, well, they're big donors. And then twice over the last several months, he's repeated the same thing about issues where there are big donors. He doesn't care about you, the country, the environment, or anything else. He cares about that sweet, sweet cash.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

A bit of a cautionary tale

The belief is that we'll need a 70% vaccination rate to reach a "herd immunity" meaning that there is enough antigens to ensure everyone is protected.

Right now, in the US, we are at about 30% of the population who have been fully vaccinated. We must remember, though, that this entire population includes children under 16 who (today) aren't eligible to receive a vaccine. And they make up close to 40% of the population.

That means that of the eligible 60% of Americans, only about half have received the vaccine. So if we extrapolate, that means that only half of the younger population will get it, too. And that only adds 20% of the population to the total number.

Which puts us at 50% vaccinated. Still much lower than what's required for the herd immunity.

In that case, the only option is to continue wearing masks and distancing.

But many states. Like Flori-duh. Have basically said "fuck that" and want to just return to whatever we had pre-covid. Exactly as it was.

Now here's the cautionary tale. India saw its infection rates skyrocket last year. Then, it leveled off, and started to decline. Some people in power made the rather presumptuous statement that so many people had been infected that surely they had reached the herd immunity.

They opened back up. And...infection rates soared once again. People who had gotten the virus previously, and even some that were tested and shown to have the anti-bodies, got the virus again.

There was no herd immunity from having it.

Now there's a story about another mutation that's evolved for which the vaccine "probably" will provide immunity. It's still being studied, but this one is 20x more likely to spread, and the severe illness rates remain about the same across those infected.

So we must remain vigilant. We must keep wearing masks to protect ourselves and those around us who can't - or selfishly won't - get a vaccine.

And we have to start seeing the vaccination rates go up here - and around the world.

Don't be a one of those folks who thinks you know your body and they can't take your freedoms.

This is going to drag on for much, much longer because of you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

FAA Warns Of Dramatic Spike In Dangerous Passenger Behavior On Planes | ...

we should be better than this. Indeed.

THE ATLANTIC: Millions Are Saying No to the Vaccines. What Are They Thinking?

The article is a non-scientific look at why the vaccine is being rejected. But even so, it provides a window into the larger issues at hand. 

The words "elite" and "civil liberties" and "liberal" come up a lot. And there's an undertone of a sense of what you might term "American exceptionalism." 

People figure they know their own bodies, are completely selfish, and don't understand a virus. They mostly care about the fact that are being told to do something. And gosh darn it, no one can tell them what to do. 

I sum it up as 'Murica. I got guns and I got religion. And that's good enough to protect *me* - so just let me live my life unencumbered by any rational thought. 

It's sad in a way. And this is what we're up against. In order to move forward as a society, we need to get a better message across. On many topics. 

We need to encourage people to think, and embrace science. 

Read in The Atlantic:

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Sports on TV

I cut the cord a while back, and that means that certain channels are unavailable to me. Among them are the (formerly) fox sports regional media channels. They air the local pro sports franchises, so we can't watch them.

And in a purely absurd move, we can't get the channels through any package (you can only get them if have local cable, which means cutting the cord is impossible) and due to outdated blackout policies, we can't watch them, even if we subscribe to the sports' league pass. I can watch every game of the Seattle baseball team or Oklahoma City's basketball team, but not my local teams. Go figure.

Anyway, I was visiting someone yesterday and the Marlins were on tv. I noticed that it's not fox sports anymore - it's the Bally network. What the frick is that?

I google it. It's complicated. Kind of. Going back, this was a small regional network that Wayne huizenga (owner at the time) invested in to get his Marlins and panthers (hockey) on the air.

Buy outs and acquisitions, it becomes a part of the fox sports regional networks and stays that way for a long time.

Then disney buys out fox - except for news, business, and sports.

News & business get turned over to the shareholders (not something they want to be in)

Sports ... well ... because they own espn, they can't own them under fcc rules and besides they don't really want it.

So they look for a buyer. Fox sports gets sold off on its own. But the regional networks get bought by Sinclair. They are this weird, conservative group that has been acquiring tv stations and having them air very specific pre-recorded things that are "opinions" that might just as well be tucker or hannity on Fox News. 

More on that topic here:

So disney makes a buttload of money. And the regional sports have a new owner - but they try to bury their affiliation by finding a sponsor: the Bally casinos!

Because nothing says sports network like a casino tie-in. 

So, in a way, it's just as well that I can't see them and don't have to deal with their nonsense. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Trump Collusion Exposed In 2021: Aide Caught Red-Handed In Russia Back C...

The word of the day, boys and girls, is "collusion"

secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.

Back in 2016, it seemed clear to me (and to anyone with half a brain) that Trump colluded with Russia in order to get elected. There was certainly enough evidence to support the theory, and the Mueller investigation bore that out (even though Barr tried to spin it, that was the conclusion).

Yet, I got into arguments with idiots who decided that anyone who said there was collusion was the equivalent of the old man yelling at clouds.

How you like me now? I was right, and now I can tell those of you who argued with me to go fuck yourselves.

Interesting to note, that as the guest points out, it would have been difficult to make the evidence admissible, especially under the circumstances. So we couldn’t do much then...

I don’t know what becomes of this revelation, but it certainly makes the case that trump was a Russian asset, who undermined “our way of life” and then aided and abetted the enemy during the Russian bounties.  

And of course, there are fools who still believe in him, and think this is nonsense.  Sigh.  We have a long way to go to “fix stupid”


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Friday, March 12, 2021

A whole new (cr)Apple experience!

Got new iPhones. For the most part, they were easy to setup, and transferring data was simplified from last time. Hey no iTunes required!

But there was a minor issue that my phone needed an iOS update, and when I tried to do that during the setup, it hung for an hour.

I had to start over and set it up as a "new phone" and do the update first. Then start over again and do the transfer.

But then it came time for purchasing apple care...that was just stupid.

We had some money on apple gift cards, so we put it on the "apple account" and then set out to sign up for apple care.

Sorry. You can not purchase it online using your apple account.

You can, however, go into an apple store and use gift cards there.

Which meant that we had to make a call to refund the money from the account to the gift card, and make a trip to an apple store to simply buy apple care.

So much for "for everything apple"

** with some exclusions, which you won't know until you can't do something.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Funny how this all works (campaign fundraising edition)

Never forget that for some people *cough* Trump *cough* elections are about money and profit. 

I saw a headline yesterday that Trumps lawyers sent a cease and desist letter to the GOP; they weren't allowed to use his likeness in any fundraisers. Only he may do that. They summarily shit canned the letter; Trump is a public figure and former head of the organization. Of course they can, in their opinion. 

And here's where things get interesting. 

As I've noted before, at some point the RNC fundraising effort (you know the machinations, data, and fundraising for the GOP) was folded into the Trump campaign. 

Politico broke that news, and you can read about it here: 

And since, they've put the keystone cops in charge of it, and according to some it's basically a mess. 

And this latest move by trump to control rights to his own likeness builds on that. 

And while there are many examples of how this has gone wrong, one of the best summaries was in this article:

John Weaver, the chief political strategist for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, stressed that the Republican Party cannot afford to lose more members than it already has under Trump, especially given the changing demographics in the U.S. with a shrinking white majority and changes in voting patterns among those with a college degree.

In the big picture, according to Weaver, any short-term gains for Trump are far outweighed by the long-term implications for the party's standing.

"We're in a demographic death spiral, and math isn't spinnable," Weaver said. "... There's a (party) re-alignment taking place right in front of us."

In many ways, they know that if "something" doesn't change, it could be bad news for the GOP. 

And yet he represents them, anyway!

During the election cycle, by and large the Venezuelan population in Florida decided to go all-in on Trump because... reasons!

There was some chattering that "obviously" trump hated Maduro and he'd be likely to grant visas for people who were here, fleeing the regime.

Never mind that he never actually said anything about it. It just had to be true!

And Biden, well, he was a socialist, so therefore he was just like Maduro and won't help them.

Flash forward to this morning. Oh look, Biden doesn't like Maduro either. Shocking, I know. And he's not much like him, either, it turns out.

Oh, and he represented the interests of people who didn't vote for him, people who openly opposed and mocked him during the election. And without even telling them they had to apologize first.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

The conclusion to one part of my genealogy research

If you read a piece I did some time ago, you may remember that I had a family mystery with my grandmother - she had a legal issue and I thought she went to jail.

I felt determined to figure out what happened. So I dove right in. Once in a while you get lucky, and hit on a thing or two and can get rolling.

At first I struggled with her name. She used several variations of her name almost like stage names. She also did a lot of misdirection. So it was slow going for a while.

But then I found her divorce record which included her legal name. I went to the dade county court site. Nothing. Then I visited the Miami herald archives.

And bonanza. There were articles and it was easy enough to follow the story.

She held a lease on a 4 unit building (I'm not clear whether her stake was just one unit or the whole thing) and it was insured for $14,000 (it appears to have been on the contents, what's up with that)...

She found a 16 year old "troublemaker" and offered him $500 to burn the place down. Its a little sordid, because she found him via my dad, and met him on a park bench to work out the details of the fire.

She left gasoline and other combustibles in one unit, and gave him a key and $100. She offered $400 more when she got paid from the insurance. She also said she'd get two of the tenants out of the building - but not a third, elderly man.

The boy took the money, and then had second thoughts. He told his parents, and they went to the police. The police investigated and found the gasoline and arrested my grandmother, at a store she owned (I don't know where in the world she got the money for the store or this apartment; this wasn't where she lived - she resided on Miami Beach).

The trial was fairly short, and she was convicted, and got 3 years, but had the sentence reduced for good behavior.

My mom told me that jogged her memory, and my grandmother wound up paying off the attorney's fees by going to work for him as a receptionist for a few years.

That settles that piece of it, but of course raises more questions.

Now I can sleep at night. Ha.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

An intriguing family mystery of sorts

A while back, I talked about my own genealogy research.

And then this week, I got a random letter about some property a distant relative owned.

So I opened up the Family Search history and poked around, curious about whether this person was related. It turns out that my paternal grandfather had a sister, which I knew.

She travelled from Newfoundland to NY, at some point to room with my grandfather, which I did not know.

And later, she married and had a daughter. That would be my dads first cousin, who lived in NY.

And, my grandfathers sister lived in NY and died in the mid 70s. So she outlived my grandfather.

I asked my mom about it and she remembered that my grandfather was "close to his sister" ... and yet my mom doesn't think he saw her after he moved to Florida, in about 1942. And she doesn't recall my dad ever meeting (or even knowing about) his cousin. Or having seen his aunt.

Aside: my dad spent some of the summer in NY at the worlds fair in 1964, and didn't "look her up" while he was there, most likely because he didn't know she was there.

That's just strange in a way.

I also poked around my grandfathers other siblings, and they each had children, and they'd be dads first cousins as well. They were in Canada, so I get why we never saw them. But I didn't even know about all of them.

We met some of them a number of years ago, but there are more than we knew about.

It's weird how family simply drifts and loses touch. Or at least used to in this pre-connected world.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Intriguing premise

I found a show called Bletchley Circle on Amazon Prime video.  And I have to say that while the show is good, the premise is what grabbed me, and its really has stuck with me.

So here's the underlying story: while the men were off fighting the second world war, a few were left to oversee the operation of intelligence gathering, codebreaking, and determining how to best counter German actions.  But the grunt work of actually breaking the codes and understanding what was in the messages was left to a group of gifted women.  They were good at recognizing patterns, looking at threads, and generally following up on leads as they sat behind desks in Bletchley or worked with Turing on his enigma machine.

And then the war ended.  Turing was outed as being gay and ostracized and shunned for the rest of his life (before committing suicide).  And the women went back to doing the mundane chores that were allotted to women in England.  Everyone that worked on codebreaking or intelligence was required to sign documents that they would never reveal what they did during the war, under penalty of treason. 

A group of these women, upon whom the story revolves, had agreed to "never be ordinary..." and yet here we are 9 years after the war, and one is a librarian, one is married with two children, one is married with an abusive husband, and one has been anything but ordinary.  

But the bug to follow their passion and be creative and use those skills still lives in them, and they wind up chasing down a serial killer.

Its the nature of this utilizing women when they were needed, and yet putting them back into "traditional roles" after the war that got me.  Its kind of sad in a way.  They were never given their due, well perhaps until recently.  And the work they did mostly remained secret.

I wonder how much further ahead England (or society in general) would have been if they had been encouraged to continue being clever along the way?

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Another letter about impeachment to Florida’s senators.


I noted yesterday that while the house impeachment manager showed the video that *unequivocally* demonstrates that trump called for the insurrection, you had your head down, pretending to read some papers.

Almost like the apocryphal ostrich burying it's head in the sand at a sign of trouble.

When history books tell the accounts of January 6th, they will surely talk about the assault on democracy, insurrection, and sedition. And they will undoubtedly list the 44 senators who chose to vote against impeachment for their own selfish reasons.

And your name will be on that list. History will judge you for these actions. And remember you as being a self-involved coward who was complicit in the actions that day.

You are an embarrassment to florida and to our nation.

There is no mistake. Trump committed a high crime and your duty is to uphold the constitution. But you violated your own oath of office and that is your legacy.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Valley News - Dartmouth halts $200 million project after excavation goes awry

Sometimes the world is a funny place.

The construction error happened on new *engineering* school.

I guess they can literally write the book on how not to engineer a project.

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone.