Jardin des Plantes
Friday, April 28, 2017
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Monday, April 24, 2017
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Thursday, April 20, 2017
We have a huge flock of goldfinches.
There are a lot of pine siskins.
There are some white crowned sparrows.
There is a pair of golden crowned sparrows.
There are a lot of red winged blackbirds; the female isn’t red winged, nor black; but the males are.
A few warblers show up for food at the fly through feeder every now and then.
There are still a lot of chestnut sided chickadees.
And a nuthatch shows up every now and then.
And the suet feeder is a favorite for downy woodpeckers and hairy woodpeckers.
All told this composite hoard goes through about ten pound of seed and a pound of suet a week.
Here are pictures of four of the bird types mentioned.
I took them today.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
A few years ago I wrote a memoir called Screen Saver.
I used the techniques of movie directors for telling their stories: present the viewer (reader) a stream of clips (stories) that the readers’ brains were to be tasked with putting together in a coherent tale.
The clips were drawn from my life in the same random manner, without reference to time or space, that the screensaver on a computer employs when set to “images”.
Recently I decided to see if Windows 10 could handle a heavy task: get it’s Screen Saver function to access all the folders and images in my 50GB digital image file; the subjects roam the world from the ferry dock at Anacortes to Le Jardin des Plantes in Paris; previous Microsoft operating systems found the task undoable – they choked and stopped when told to do the Digital Images file.
But Windows 10 has proven to be up to the task; after five minutes of inactivity it starts to chug through the years and miles just as if it were delving into a couple gigs of images.
The result has been that, when I see it in operation, my current Screen Saver setting brings up at random a big chunk of my last twenty years.
I have decided to pick an especially meaningful Screen Saver curation every now and then and post it here on my blog.
Here is the initial choice.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Yesterday the hummingbirds were swarming around the feeders.
That always makes me want to take a chair out and sit and aimlessly shoot in the general direction of their amazing aerobatics.
Sometimes I even get a picture.
Sometimes other types of birds show up and pose also.
That was the way it was yesterday.
Monday, April 10, 2017
Albert Einstein said a lot of things.
Most Notably he said E=MC2.
But that turned out to be – unfairly, but due to geopolitical necessity, about two bombs and the huge inventory of their kindred that followed.
But Einstein said some other, for me, much more interesting things.
One of them was that acceleration equals gravity: gravity and a graduated increase in speed (acceleration) are the same thing.
That doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot on its face; it seems to fall into the category of either nonsense or irrelevance.
So set it aside for a moment with the certainty that Einstein did say it.
But Albert also said some other things: matter tells space how to bend; space tells matter how to move.
This set of assertions trickle down from the Einsteinian axiom that because light’s speed is a constant that can’t be exceeded, something has to give; and what gives is space and time and matter; gravity is just the umpire.
One way of expressing all of this is that any piece of matter makes a “dimple” in the continuum of space, the size of the “dimple” being dictated by the size of the piece of matter, and “gravity” “instructs” space that such a “dimple” will exist and what it looks like.
That is all based on the predication that the speed of light is constant and the other prime “things” have to adjust: space and time; it’s a kind of spreadsheet like relationship: change one factor and the others adjust.
But if “acceleration” = “gravity” and if ‘”gravity” as umpire tells space what the “dimple” is to look like, and if, as Einstein says, gravity and acceleration are the same thing, what if “acceleration can be brought from zero to the speed of light with no time lapse, does the “dimple burst?
Question: if the “dimple” bursts, what gives, time or space?
I vote for time.
I really wish I had paid more attention to Sister Michaelene in Freshman algebra; maybe I could have found a path in life that would have allowed me to have the skills to lay out formulaically what it is that I am talking about, with the result of having some idea whether such a thing is possible.
Just the idea of the speed of light squared causes me to want to go to sleep in desperation.
The basis for this post is Howard Bloom’s book The God Problem.
I am reading it for the second time.
I recommend it to everybody who is pretty sure the world has been around for longer than Bishop Usher said.
Everything up to my question is just reporting what Howard reported in his brilliant book.
But my question is mine alone, I have never seen it posed elsewhere (although I can’t believe that myriad people who have the math skills to have either proposed or pooh pooed the same idea have preceded me) and it is a part of a personal metaphor – a big picture -that I have personally concocted.
I wish it were mine alone but that seems unbelievable.
I suppose if I understood the math and physics of the warp drive I would be embarrassed at ever having said any of this.
I can’t remember when I found The Waffle House.
But I remember that it was the best food of that sort I had ever had; and the service was superb, and genuinely friendly; and all the people – employees and customers, a multi- racial polyglot – all seemed to know and really like each other.
I assumed it was a one off experience.
At some time later than that experience I went to a Waffle House again; and it was just the same – amazingly great, people included.
After that I went every now and then when I was anywhere near one of them.
Always the same – great on all counts.
But the acid test was when, one time on a trip, my wife and II went to one – she had never been and was humoring me to go with me to such a place.
She is really picky about restaurants.
She says she is discriminating.
“This is the best pecan waffle I have ever eaten” was her verdict.
That and she suggested the idea that we see if we could get a franchise for the pacific Northwest and leave IBM.
Waffle House has been contributing to America’s greatness a lot longer that the recent sloganeering, lying faux president started his pretend administration.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Unless some russians get killed it's of no consequence.
If some russians get killed it is, also, of no consequence (the less russians around the better).
But it might trigger a nuclear response from the russian generals who are sure that they can win in a nuclear exchange.
The problem is, they may be right: we have donnie and the dildos where we need real people who have brains and can think and can talk.
Fade to white: as the mushrooms sprout, we see Kelly Ann Conway in her knitted red white and blue elf costume shrieking "donnie the dildo had the most people in the history of the world out on the streets of Washington DC for his inauguration".
Now, fade to black.
Let’s see if I have this straight.
In 2000 the US Supreme Court awarded the Presidency to George W. Bush.
More recently, Mitch McConnell personally vetoed President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court.
That has left the Court without a ninth Justice for over a year.
Today McConnell personally vetoed the Democrats ability to exercise their parliamentary right and duties.
And finally, some time in the next days, McConnell will convene a contrived vote for the current candidate for Justice – the candidate that has been brought forward to replace the candidate previously vetoed by McConnell.
It should be also mentioned that the candidate to be put on the Court by the imminent contrived vote was nominated by a president who was elected in an election rigged by the Russians.
That’s a treatment for a pitch for a film, right?
We’ll call it The Player II, right?
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
At least from my sheltered point of view a relatively seldom used cliché has suddenly become the basis of massive numbers of apparently never ending, extremely “earnest” conversations.
Those conversations are mainly heard on NPR.
Sometimes they creep into some Sunday TV news.
But they are mainly on NPR, or its several Public Radio siblings.
So what is the previously seldom used, but now ubiquitous, cliché?
It is “white privilege”.
As an old white man, I wasn’t completely unaware that such a thing existed and that it probably more or less applied to me, life to date; but I never thought much about it; I never looked at my non white compatriots as needing to concede anything to me because of “white privilege”; I would have said in many cases that my view of the significant success achieved by many non white people was proof that, while “white privilege” existed beyond any reasonable doubt, it was beginning to not amount to much in real life.
But, since the seldom used cliché has burst into being an everywhere-you-listen basis for dividing America, I have started listening more closely.
And I have heard something – something I find totally credible – different from was my previously understood , rather benign conception of “white privilege”.
I could – here – go on at length about that previously held understanding of the term - before and after.
But that would bore me to tears, so, I would suppose that it would bore anybody reading this.
So all I am going to say is that Pink Floyd, in Dark Side of the Moon, pegged it.
They said: “No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”.
And that is it, distilled.
White people,with special emphasis on males, are the beneficiaries of a magical osmotic transfer of “purpose’ and “destiny” and “inevitability” and … whatever.
It is just theirs; it isn’t something that seems to exclude anyone; but it is, nonetheless, just theirs.
I almost want to use the German word Zeitgeist to describe it.
Since it is inherent to the species, they have no idea that most everybody else doesn’t share it.
And that has been my current view of “white privilege”.
But a better view, I think, is what Pink Floyd had to say in Dark Side of the Moon.
What they said is: “No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”.
And if you don’t know that there is a “starting line” – or where such a thing might be if you think such a thing might exist – then you will never find it; and therefore you, of course you will never hear the starting gun; so you will never be in the race.
And, I think, that is what “white privilege” is all about.
A corollary emerges: the Trump era has started because a politically significant – but miniscule in total vote – portion of the population sees its “white privilege” disappearing.
Why is it disappearing?
It is disappearing because more and more non white people are stumbling by accident, extreme talent, luck, intelligence, or all of the above, onto the racetrack after the starting gun has fired, and, because of extreme talent, luck, intelligence, etc. or all of the above are “getting ahead”; and “god fearing christian white people” don’t like that.
All the mad old white men and women who want to decry their situations, and who all say that they never had any privilege, white or otherwise, are obfuscating the fact that they at least knew there was a “starting line”.
And they knew that a “starting line” meant there was, probably, a “starting gun”.
And they knew where the starting line was was.
And if they didn’t show up on race day that was their fault.
And if they did show up and didn’t hear the starting gun and didn’t start the race, there were a lot of others, just like them who also showed up, heard the gun, and got in the race and got somewhere; everybody doesn’t win; especially if they don’t even start.
Even if “everybody” is white.