Tuesday, June 15, 2021

 June 14--almost half past the month.

I really don't know where the time goes. I think part of our sense of time speeding by involves our sleeping patterns. We go to bed very early, usually by 8pm. That means that by 2 or 3 am we are wake up naturally. We might doze in our recliners for another hour but we start on the new about 4am and by 6 or 7 we turn off the TV having already dealt with e-mail, played a bit, and sworn at the idiots who take up air time speculating about the latest happening. By 9am we have had breakfast, washed the dishes, got the cats settled, and ourselves dressed. I took about half an hour before we turned off the TV to water the gardens. It would be a shame to lose all that nice color just because I was too lazy to water the plants.

Axios What's Next had a piece on "The Great Resignations" this morning. I hope this provides the link. Evidently a fair number of CEOs are finding a lot of their employees either aren't coming back at all or will quit if the businesses insist on returning to full time at the office. The reactions run the table: full time in office, full time remote, a mix and some who have decided to pursue a career change. What ever the "new normal" is it won't be the "old normal."

June 15--damn! six months of this year almost gone!

Second day of respite from the heat but no rain. The news last night said we are way behind on rainfall and the meteorologists didn't see any for a while. You know that the drought in the west is getting serious when our local news (out of Chicago) has a feature on it. We are still listed as abnormally dry but the areas of moderate and severe drought seem to be spreading our way.

We did our regular shopping today--regular in that it was mainly replacing groceries that we were out of or low on. It has become somewhat irregular as to timing. Anyway, the trip to the big box market (not Target or Walmart) we patronize showed that the pandemic is loosening its grip on us. We didn't wear masks because there weren't that many other people. Our rule is that if there is an unexpected crowd we put on our masks. I saw only three customers with masks and two of them were children too young yet to get the shots. None of the employees were masked and those at the check out  were ecstatic to not have to wear them anymore. The only acknowledgement of the pandemic was the request on the intercom that the store didn't require masks for vaccinated customers but requested those who weren't to wear masks.

I Just found this at Crooks&Liars. Although it seems plausible given the history of grift swirling around the Former Guy and his whole family, it seems plausible. But before before getting too disgusted I decided to check it out at Snopes. Evidently it is fake. Other sites are also calling it out. I think it is so sad that the rumor a scam, any scam at all, connected with Former Guy and his minions is so easily believed.

John Beckett has a piece that pushes most of the buttons asking "why do so many of us want to run away?" 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

 June 13

Another warm day and they say we won't get any rain for at least another week. I intended to do some weeding today but I have no energy to do much. We weren't out all that long yesterday but we found that as tiring as a heavy shopping day. It was nice to connect with family though most of the people there were people my brother knows and we don't. The nice thing is I can take a rest and not do anything if I don't want to. I got a bit more on my blue and white snowflake table topper and pulled out a round on that crochet table topper that has been so problem some. Thankfully only one round.

I hadn't intended to post today but I found this piece that is depressing and infuriating. I saw a couple of news segments on the new Alzheimer's drug over the last couple of days. One doctor that was interviewed admitted, when asked, that it didn't cure the condition but prolonged the progression--meaning that it would take longer for the symptoms to get severe. There was a sense of celebration since there hasn't been a new treatment for Alzheimer's for nearly 20 years. I don't see that there is much to celebrate about a drug that has the FDA approved it over its scientific advisory board objection's on the basis of "thin" evidence of its efficacy and evidence of severe side effects. In addition the cost is astronomical with most of it borne by Medicare, Medicaid and other agencies--which is to say the taxpayers. Notice the comment on how much those on Medicare will have to pay after Medicare has taken care of its 80%. Clue: it is more than my yearly Medicare payments. And it doesn't include the costs of scans and monitoring necessary to catch the adverse side effects. I think medicine has reverted to the era of the snake oil salesmen of a hundred years ago before the first Pure Food And Drug Act. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

 June 12

It is early yet but light enough to get out and water things. Also pulled a lot of weeds. Everything is doing very well and it looks like my program of watering every other day is working out. The only thing that needs to be watered every day is the chamomile. I poked a stake into it at several places in the pot and that has allowed water to penetrate better. I have been looking up whether I can split the root ball and evidently I can do that either in the fall if it is mild or in the spring. I have had to look up the information of perennials because I have never had any of those survive until this last spring.

Yesterday a blogger I often read announced that her blog has been "defunded." It is a convoluted problem. The company that places the ads on her site has informed her that their "ad partners" have gone with a rating group and based on those ratings have demanded their ads be removed. Neither the blogger nor the people placing the ads (with whom the blogger had been dealing with for several years with no problem) can appeal the decision or challenge the rating. I have seen more of this over the last about five years and I don't like any of it. Basically, some people have decided that they know better that the individuals reading the information what is good for them to read. Screw that. I read what I damned well what I want. There are various fantasies out there I can hardly believe people actually believe. I am astounded that some people equate not wearing a mask during a pandemic is asserting their "freedom." However, I am absolutely against any silencing of such opinion (fantasies, conspiracies). By the way I also can distinguish when people are really being silenced and when they are not--note to Josh Hawley here: your first publisher passing on your book isn't being silenced when you are writing opens for the bloody New York Times and appearing on news talk shows. We need to get out of this pernicious habit.

The changes--visible changes--last week were startling. Mainly in the traffic. We normally go out early to avoid crowds and traffic. We did that before the pandemic (which, incidentally, isn't really over yet). We saw more traffic than we had in the last 15 months. More people in the stores but not enough to make me put on my mask. The store employees are still masking but not the customers. Today we went to a celebration for my grand-nephew who has graduated high school. The traffic on all the highways was heavier than any time since a year ago last March. Many were probably headed for Chicago which fully re-opened yesterday. My brother is planning a trip with our new graduate and has been trying to reserve camping spots. He says many are booked for a good while in the future. People are getting out again.

Friday, June 11, 2021

 June 10

Another hot day. I got out on the patio as soon as I got dressed and before fixing breakfast so I could water the containers and deadhead a few of the plants that needed it. I hope to do the same tomorrow and get the trellises set up and the tomato staked properly. The temperature was at 80*F when I went out and already at 85 when I finished less than half an hour later. Ten years ago that wouldn't have bothered me; now--it does.

Politico Nightly has a nice piece to which I won't link. The theme is, as the author says in the first sentence, "if 2020 was 'it was worse than we thought', 2021 is the year of 'so far, so good'. " And yes I will agree that things are better but I keep a lookout for the possibility that things can get worse again.

June 11

Just like yesterday except I got out on the patio before I changed out of my sleep-tee and robe. With a 6-ft fence and given my sleep wear covers well it doesn't matter. I wanted to get the tomato better supported and staked and a couple of other tall plants caged before it got too warm. After breakfast and changing into shorts and tee I went back out to prune the tall tomato a bit and to poke some holes in the soil of the chamomile container. It drains way too fast so I suspect it is root bound. Very possible since it was planted last year and survived the winter. I am not sure what I will do with it. It is already nearly 90* on the patio so I am done for the day. By the way that isn't the "official" temperature since that hot-box of a patio can range from 15 to 20+ more than the air in the shade or outside the patio.

Well, here we are six months away from the Former Guy's administration and we have another scandal from the Former Guy--setting the FBI on the Democrat members of the House Intelligence Committee, their staffs, their families. In the name of finding, punishing and sealing off "leaks" the FBI scooped up phone records and other electronic communications indiscriminately. Why am I not surprised???

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

June 8

 Nice day. I was about to say sunny but it has become a bit cloudy. Not rain cloudy but still the sun is definitely filtered. The gardens appreciated the slightly lower temperatures and rain of yesterday.  Everything that should be blooming is and the others have nice lush foliage.

Two interesting tech stories over the last day, one good and the other not. The good is that the FBI and other government agencies managed to trace and retrieve most of the ransom paid for the Colonial Pipeline hack. No details, of course, because the government wants to be able to do it again next time. The bad is another outage of unknown cause that crashed one of the major cloud servicing companies. It is one I have never heard of but the report said it is one of the large ones. The crash took down web sites running on that site across the globe including the U.K. government, BBC, parts of Amazon for starters. Another indication of how fragile our systems are. I read a number of prepper and homesteader blogs and they have a saying that fits: two is one and one is none. If you have two of anything (or any system or procedure) and one breaks the other is available. Unfortunately, too many companies, organizations, and governments only have one tech system and no backup.

File this story under "What??? Again???" Brazil has declared a Water Emergency Alert because of their drought. Most of their energy grid runs off hydropower and, guess what, hydro doesn't work without water. This is the second time within a very few years I have read about. The last if my memory serves had people desperately trying to find water where ever they could. The main reservoir had almost dried up. I guess we can expect our morning coffee and anything made from soybeans to get more expensive.

Note on the cloud server that went down this morning--it was a glitch not an attack. That is according to this article on CityA.M. I still think backups are a good idea.

Monday, June 7, 2021

 June 7

We have a nice light rain today which we need. However, I won't be going out to tend the gardens. From the door everything looks very nice. Some plants are rather spectacular. The red rose is the first of the lot to bloom in the pots and it is covered with flowers. The pink isn't far behind. The yellow one is the newest, just transplanted from a decorative and very small vase, and won't do much this year. Its first blossoms which were full when we bought it have faded. The Asiatic lilly is also coming out in a spectacular way.

Anyone remember when climate scientists and activists told us that we should keep the CO2 levels in the atmosphere below 350 parts per million? When I first read that about 20 years ago I looked up when we were last at that level--right around 1985. According to Axios we are well over that now. This year's readings are the highest since reliable records have been kept (about 60+ years) and the highest for around 4 million years. They describe what earth was like then but I will let you follow the link.

We received the new lease in the mail today to review and sign. The only change was the rent has increased $25/month. Since that is the first increase in the 20 years we have been here we aren't complaining. We got everything signed and took it over to the office. It was nice to touch base with time in person for the first time in almost 16 months. It used to be a monthly ritual to take our rent check in and gossip a bit but the pandemic altered that. Nice that another facet of life has shifted closer to what was once normal. Evidently the rental market, for our landlords at lease, is indeed hot. The manager said that they have no vacancies and several units were rented sight unseen. Ever since the Great Recession I have speculated about "refugees" from Chicago coming out this way. Home building hasn't slowed down from what we can see and several neighbors who once lived in Chicago and who moved into units here were marking time until they either found a suitable home for sale or had one built.

I have reading and listening to the news about how slowly workers are returning to jobs that the are opening up far faster than workers are applying for them. There is a lot of speculation about why that is. Mostly the focus is on Republican governors and business leaders criticizing the expanded unemployment allowing lazy people to stay out of the job market. But others, like Charles Hugh Smith, have different explanations. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

 June 6

Shaping up to be another sunny and hot day. It is early yet so we'll have to see what happens once the sun is fully up. I have a couple of chores to do in the gardens before it gets too warm out there: deadheading, setting up some cages for the chamomile and the valerian, and getting the tomatoes staked properly before they become a tangled mess. And watering, of course--that is a daily task when the temperatures get as high as they have been.

Started off this morning with David Kaiser's History Unfolding blog. He is spot on as far as our political situation is concerned. The evenly split legislature is only a reflection of our society at large. After all a ten million (approx.) vote difference between loosing and winning in a potential voting population of about 200 million isn't a great margin. It reminds me of the scene in Elizabeth where the lords urge her to marry to solve their political problems and she replies "But whom, my lords. Some say France and some say Spain and some can't abide foreigners at all. I don't know how to please you--unless I should marry one of each." As it is she didn't marry at all and I suspect we won't get the transformative agenda Biden and so many on that side of the argument would like because we won't "be wedded" to either and taking "one of each" isn't at all palatable or compatible.

We just turned off the news--very early for us since we usually have it on until about 9am. But the first story was #45's appearance at that South Carolina GOP conference. I refuse to watch or listen to much to do with him. I am afraid the poison he and his sycophants have injected into our political blood stream won't be cured any time soon. I have a stack of DVDs featuring more sympathetic monsters. (the ants of Them! and the graboids and ass-blasters of Tremors 6)