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Thursday, October 17, 2019

A Political Thought

People have different political opinions.  I accept that.  I don't always agree with the majority but I try to understand varying points of view.  And political thought has been more divisive lately. 

I spend a part of my day watching political commentary, reading politics in the Washington Post newspaper, and thinking about news.

I majored in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland.  I am not active in politics, but I think about politics a lot.

Last night, as I lay in bed hoping for the sweet release of sleep, I found myself considering President Donald Trump.  I dislike him.  But that's not the important thing that came to mind.

As I laid in bed, an odd thought occurred to me.  What if some person managed to become President with the specific intent of ruining US American democracy internally and also set out to ruin our international trade/political alliances/reputation for helping others.

Well, that would be pretty horrible wouldn't it?  And then it occurred to me that such a person would be doing exactly what President Trump as been doing. 

Seriously, what would a person deliberately trying to ruin the US reputation overseas and domestically do that President Trump hasn't already done and is continuing to do?

I'm not going to list all sorts of things he has done.  There are sites that list them and are easily findable with a simple web search.  My concern is that I actually can't tell the difference between what President Trump has done and is doing and someone deliberately trying to ruin the US.

Am I the only person who has had this very uncomfortable thought?


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Washington Nationals Baseball

The Washington Nationals, my local team, swept the St Louis Cardinals 4 games to none to win the National League Championship.  They will be playing in The World Series in a few days.  It is the first time a Washington baseball team has competed in The World Series since 1932.

The Washington teams have a long history of failure.  The joke used to be (playing on George Washington) "Washington, First in War, First in Peace, and Last in the American League". 

Teams moved away to other cities.  IIRC, one team became the Minnesota Twins, one later became the Texas Rangers, and the area was without a team for about 30 years.  I moved to this area the year the last team left, so I never had a local team.

The current team came from Montreal where the fanbase vanished after years of failure.  It was so bad, the MLB actually took over the team and moved them to Washington DC and sold them to a local wealthy family group in 2005.

The first years were difficult but the the new owners dedicated themselves to improved organization, new players,  and built a minor league farm farm system from scratch.  They traded for and drafted young players showing talent, hired creative coaches and managers, and treated players well with long contracts and fair pay.

The Nationals have experienced considerable success in recent years, winning division titles in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017, and winning the National League pennant tonight.  Some players have been with the team 10 years and new players have joined the team with great success.

One aspect of the team that impresses me is that the players enjoy playing together.  Good hits result in the player getting a "whole team dance" when he returns to the dugout.  And it doesn't matter if someone can't dance well so long as they try enthusiastically.  The excitement is contagious.

The Nationals started out the season badly.  They were 19-31 at one point and were written off by all the professional sports commentators.  And then things changed.  Injured players started returning.  The manager pushed 2 phrases:  "Tomorrow we go 1-0" and later "Stay in the Fight".

In August and September, the Nationals caught fire.  From failure, they became the hottest team in baseball.  They earned a Wild Card one-game playoff spot and won that.  Then they beat the LA Dodgers who had won 106 games (serious lots of wins). 

They earned the right to play the St Louis Cardinals who have a lot of experience in recent playoff games and won that series.  They not only won, they killed them.  They held the Cardinals to no earned runs for 35 innings.  The Cardinals got 4 runs tonight, but the Nationals had gotten 7 in the 1st inning. 

They will now play the winner of the NY Yankees and Houston Astros in the World Series.  I have no idea what will happen, of course.  But the Nationals have won something like 15 of their last 17 games and they are ready to play anyone.

If they lose, they lose (one team has to), but it has been a fabulous comeback from a bad start.  Whatever the outcome, I will remember this season.

Washington DC has a history of losing teams (other than the football team back in the 80s).  But the Washington Capitals Hockey team won the championship last year, the Washington Mystics Womens Basketball team won the championship last week, and now here come the Washington Nationals into the World Series...

It actually feels rather weird to think of Washington DC as a sports powerhouse...

I'm not actually much of a sports fan.  I don't watch games between top teams.  I do watch local sports teams when they are doing well.  Yeah, I'm a "Homie". 

But I'll watch every minute of the World Series games.  Because things like that don't come around often...

Monday, September 30, 2019

Wasted Food

Sometimes, you just don't finish doing something!

Two weeks ago, I bought a pork Boston Butt, a beef Steamship Round, and a package of 10 chicken thighs.  The pork is for smoking and cutting into cubes for pork stew and stir-fries. I pack the cubes into plastic sandwich bags 4oz per bag and I get enough for several months.

The beef is for roasting rare and slicing for sandwiches and a few 1/2" slabs to cube later with noodles and gravy.  The chicken was for "anything", so I just boiled it.  I normally bread the chicken with Panko bread flakes and bake it or saute it skin side down, and that works well.

What a disaster!  The chicken was mushy, but I did freeze them immediately.  For some reason, I kept putting off slicing the beef and cubing the pork.  Everyday, I saw them in the fridge and said "I've GOT to get at that today".  I didn't.  For over a week...

When I did, the beef had some discoloration.  The pork looked fine and it WAS smoked in 1" thick slabs, so I thought it would be preserved.  But last night, I decided I just didn't want to risk any of it.  I tossed it all into the trash.  $50 worth of meat, wasted.

I hate wasting food, but not at risk to my health.  Better safe than sorry.

I redid the chicken a couple days ago and it all turned out perfectly and I froze each thing individually.  I'll buy another Boston Butt and Steamship Round  next shopping trip (soon, I miss my pork stew and I'm out of fresh fruit too).

This time I'll chill them both and process them the next morning!  But I sure hated to waste all that...

Friday, September 27, 2019

Computer Fun

"Computer Fun" and I say that sarcastically.  I just spent 4 hours restoring processed and organized pictures that suddenly vanished.  Some background...

I use a Mac Mini.  It is small, but sufficient.  And I like the fact that it is solid state and doesn't need a fan.  It could use a few more ports, but I I have just barely enough and haven't needed more yet. 

I keep my files organized, especially the pictures.  IPhotos holds all the full-sized pictures by date.  When I crop, filter and resize them for blog use, they go into a new folder (like documents and applications do).  I think most people keep their pictures by subject.  I take too many to be able to find them that way.

So, in the Photos folder, I set up 6 subfolders"  Cats, Family, House, Other, Videos, and Yard.  Each of those folders gets a new subfolder each year (2018, for example).  Each year folder gets monthly folders (January 2018 is 1801).  Daily subfolders when I need one (January 20, 2018 would be 180120).  That may or may not seem seriously complicated, but I can navigate to any subject and day in about 5 seconds.

I did spend my career organizing information after all...  ;)

Now, also, Mac has an app called "Time Machine".  Connected to an external hard drive, it keeps automatic backs of all changes in files and by some program I know NOTHING about,  it connects to all past saves so that you can restore individual files, individual folders, individual programs or your entire computer.

And that has saved me more than once for individual files to the whole thing!  I LOVE TIME MACHINE!

So I went to add a Flashback Friday post on Marks Mews.  I choose them by scrolling through IPhotos It displays dates, and when I find one I want to use, I just go to that date in Photos (IPhotos is an app; Photos is a saved personal folder).

The original full-size picture was in IPhotos but the processed picture I wanted was not in my Photos subfolder.    And I discovered that half the pictures in my subfolders from 2016 and earlier were gone!  ARRRGGGHHHHH!

I should mention that while Mac computers have strong anti-hacking software built-in, I do use one called MacKeeper to look for adware, malware, useless files, etc.  And I was using it frequently the past few days.  I made the mistake of trying to download a TV show I wanted a quote from and ended up with a pop-up ads.

I didn't realize how aggressive MacKeeper could be defining "useless files".  It allows you to look at the list of files to be deleted, but file names can be difficult to interpret.  After reading a dozen and not seeing anything that worried me (most seemed to be if I needed to read something in a foreign language), I went ahead and clicked "OK".  It deleted almost a 1,000 files and gave me back   about a Gb memory, so I was rather pleased. 

Until I discovered a lot of processed pictures missing...  Now I'm not saying that MacKeeper did that, just that both things seemed to happen at the same time.  Maybe I got hacked at the same time.  But I am suspicious of coincidences!

So I went into Time Machine and tried restore individual folders from 2 days ago, iy didn't work.  So I looked at the Time Machine backups from a week before and those were blank.  I had to go back to August, and there they all were!

Not to get too technical (unless someone has a question), but I had to select specific folders for Cats, Family, House, Other, Video, and Yard one at a time and save one then then go back and do another. and double check because once it didn't restore (probably my fault, but that's why you check).

BUT!  They are all back now...  The Flashback Fridays post on Marks Mews is proof.

MacKeeper is a good app.  It does find adware, some tracking malware, and actually non-essential files.  But I will be a LOT more careful in the permissions I allow it in the future, LOL!


Friday, September 13, 2019

Locked CD Rom Drive

For What It Is Worth - 

I had a CD locked in the D drive and it suddenly just rattled.  I couldn't get it to play and I couldn't get the tray to open.  I was going NUTS.  Then, searching for an answer, I found a 15 year old post that said to stick a straightened paperclip into the small hole in the front.

I remembered about that soon as I read it, but I had forgotten!  Look for yourself on a Windows PC...

I didn't solve the "failure to play", but at least it got the CD out, LOL!

But when I got the CD out and tried it in the 2 tray it played fine.  I have to laugh that I'm keeping a Windows 95 (offline) working.  But I suspect I'll have to find a repair shop soon.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9-11

I will never forget 9-11.


My parents remembered The Great Depression and WWII as defining moments.  We both remember the John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assasinations.  I remember Vietnam and 9-11 and Mass Shootings more.

We think of animals as "wild" and sometimes "cruel".  They are just trying to survive.  We are the wild ones.  We don't do things like that for survival.  We do them because some of us are afraid, scared, cruel, uncaring, and fanatical.

We humans are sometimes inspired creators of beauty, invention, creative thought, and civilization.  Discoverers of mysteries of the universe.  So far as I know, no other living creature has ever looked at the stars and wondered what they were or deliberately took action to find out.  No other animal has ever contemplated its own death or what happens afterwards.

Only we.  And yet we kill each other not for food.  We cause pain for no purpose.  We commit mayhem, destruction, and death to our own kind.  We create the 4 Horsemen Of The Apocolypse in our own image because they are US...

Too many of us think "it's not the Earth the meek inherit, its the dirt". *   Way too often, we don't value those who just live peacefully; we admire those who command others and take without helping.

In the past 2 decades, we have seen the rise of hate-filled people finding each other (when once they were isolated and feeling alone) organizing themselves via the internet.  Mass murders are becoming common, as individuals are encouraged by each other to commit mayhem.

As an even minor matter, flash mobs are increasing.  Lately, people driving ATV have started to swarm areas of some cities, terrorize pedestrians and car drivers and then suddenly disappear along paths where police cars cannot follow.

Does that remind you of A Clockwork Orange"?

I'm not saying this is new.  And I don't want to say society is falling apart or that the newest generation is evil.  The ancient Greeks even complained about that.

What I'm saying is that we need to reorganize our society to provide more early intervention and therapy rather than just build more prisons and punish those different from we more peaceful types.  I think there are usually causes for hate.  And if those are addressed, the later problems won't occur as often.

* One of the most perfect songs ever written about unethical attitude was "The 7 Deadly Virtues" sung by Mordred in 'Camelot'.

"The seven deadly virtues, those ghastly little traps
Oh no, my liege, they were not meant for me
Those seven deadly virtues were made for other chaps
Who love a life of failure and ennui
Take courage-now there's a sport
An invitation to the state of rigor mort
And purity-a noble yen
And very restful every now and then
I find humility means to be hurt
It's not the earth the meek inherit, it's the dirt
Honesty is fatal, it should be taboo
Diligence-a fate I would hate
If charity means giving, I give it to you
And fidelity is only for your mate
You'll never find a virtue unstatusing my quo or making my Beelzebubble burst
Let others take the high road, I will take the low
I cannot wait to rush in where angels fear to go
With all those seven deadly virtues free and happy little me has not been cursed"

I have to add more.  I was sitting at the computer today and listening to the radio and they mentioned  the exact time the 3rd plane hit the Pentagon.  I worked sort of near there. 

I felt a thump up through our solid building.  I didn't know what it was at the time, but I understood after.   We were all focussed on the World Trade Centers at the time.  Part of our office was "Emergency Management", so we had several TVs around.  We were watching the towers fall in disbelief.

I don't recall the timeline of events all that well now.  We were just shocked and stunned.  I could know better even just re-reading the posts from the time, but that not the point. 

I was and still now so angry that anyone could do such things. 

My day went something like this (and if I have some events out of place, forgive me):

1.  Hey (Division Director) a plane just crashed into one of the Towers in NYC.

2.  OMG, a 2nd one hit (dawning awareness).

3.  I feel a thump through the building.

4.  Smoke on the horizon.

5.  The first Tower falls in real time. 

6.  We realize the Pentagon has been hit.

7.  The second tower falls.  Many in the conference room think it is a replay but I shout "its the other one".

8.  We are all just stunned.  Thought the first was a horrible accident.  It all seems incomprehensible. 

9.  It all starts to sink in. 

10.  All employees are dismissed.  "Leave now"!

11.  My office is on the top floor.  We have some roof access.  We see smoke from the Pentagon.

12.  The streets are clogged.  No one is moving.  I tell my carpool, we aren't leaving.  We are only a couple blocks away from The White House, but this old building is all stone.  We are safer her until the streets clear.

13.  We hear about a 4th plane coming for DC.  Most remaining people head to the basement.  I stand on the roof watching.  We aren't the target.  If it hits us, I want to watch.  OK, I 'm crazy.  But I wanted to see.

14.  That plane went down in Pennsylvania the radio says.  We don't know why.

15.  I watch fighter planes circling around DC.

16.  The streets are clearing.  I tell the carpool we can leave.  I'm the driver that day.

17.  Some roads are blocked.  I end up up on an unfamiliar path, but finally recognize a road,  The roads there are completely empty. 

18.  My whole carpool is crying.  So am I.  I use nearly a whole box of tissues keeping my vision "sort of' clear.  The roads are empty though...

I don't recall much the next couple of days.  I don't even remember if I went to work the next day.  That doesn't matter. 

What matters is that I developed a hate of the specific people who did that and I will not let it go. 

"Never forgive, never forget".
 


Saturday, September 7, 2019

A Night

It was 8 pm.  I read blogs.  I answered emails.  All was well...

But then the dark side came over me.  I went to a DISCUSSION BOARD!  Flails from the LEFT, flails from the RIGHT, flails from the CENTER bounded and tore.   I dodged them as best I could, facts shielding me from, so I thought. 

But after mere moments I truly was assailed by ignorance and taunts.   In spite of all facts, my best ones I plead, the armies did numerously my overwhelm my refusals to yield.

In silliness unfactual arguments did some represent, till my armies of supporters did true represent that my facts were supported, and those who supported the opposite view were soon sure to be cursed.

And leaving the sotie, perhaps Rick and Morty, I went off to find some old comical lines.

I could not find Autumn or her kind lover Winter but I did find Las Lindas and read upon those for a time.  But then I remembered The Piled High And Deeper of alt-comic fame.  And therein I sat whatching  this one and that  reading the starts of 2 comics I surely recalled that...

Amused me years ago reading about all that sh*t.  Ansd today bringing ll f those memories though,

You'ld have to begin at the start you know, and not at 6:30 am like I am now.


Saturday, August 31, 2019

How To Lose Weight

Get up at dawn

Get on the computer.

Stay on the computer. 

See dawn...

Ignore dawn.

Watch sun set.

Think "how bad would cat food taste"...?

Decide not to find out.

Make 3 egg rolls and a couple shrimp. 

Got to bed.

Sleep 14 hours...

There is a reason I have a clock in the bedroom that just tells me what day it is...

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Price-fixing

Chewy sells a case of a particular cat food at  at $38.66 per case, Amazon sells it at $38.66 per case.  Logic suggests one might offer it at $38.49 and the other at $38.67.  Or whatever.  How is that not "price-fixing?  That's illegal.

We are getting way too controlled be non-competiveness.  Everything costs the same no matter where you go.   That's wrong.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Idiots Everywhere

My next door neighbor cut down most of the hedge between her and the farther neighbor 2 months ago.  It might have been by agreement, but I wonder if they know (as only I do being here before both of them) that the hedge was planted by the previous owner of the OTHER house. 

Not all that important, but that same immediate neighbor decided to burn the dried hedge material in the back yard.  Under small dry trees.  Among other dry debris.  Next to my wood fence...

Fortunately, I happened to step out side and heard the very distinct sound of a crackling fire.

Seriously, there was dry brush from the original burning spot all the way to my fence.  I told her it was very dangerous for several obvious reasons and that she needed to put it out.  She said OK and told her child to bring water.  It came in a child's pail which the woman splashed around a bit.  But they did that several times and it appeared to be extinguished.  The woman went inside; I stayed out to watch.  Fortunately it really was out.

Who is dumb enough to burn dry brush under dry trees near a wood fence?

Just a few minutes ago, I went to the local 7-11 literally midnight, and there was a teenager who just sailed through a busy intersection (with no overhead lights) on a black push scooter.  Wearing black clothes.  I only saw him in the headlights as I turned.  And I hit the brakes.  Another driver turning oppositely almost hit him too. 

Is there something in the water that is making people stupid?