Saturday, April 25, 2020

A Virus Update From Jacksonville

A friend sent me this video.

I have no authorization to use it and am violating all that is good and holy in the writ of copyright law.

But this is just too good.

I so much wish that she were real.

But I can’t believe that to be true.

Having said that, it is therefore necessary to say that she may be one of the cleverest actors currently in circulation.

Or maybe she’s real.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Just trump Stupid, Not Out Of Context, Nor Sarcastic

It amazes me that the white house staff is of such low quality that they feel it makes sense to say that a sound clip of donnie saying something stupid was taken out of context.

We all heard it; there was no editing, nor were there any editorial addenda; it was just donnie being stupid.

How can that be out of context?

As for sarcasm, donnie sounded pretty earnest; sarcasm has its own tone of voice; earnest is not that tone; I think donnie was trying to flex his genius muscles.

He did after all point to his head as exhibit A of his qualification for proffering opinions.

So sarcasm it wasn't; nor was it genius; it was just trump stupid.

And if sarcasm were what had been intended, and if the earnest tone of voice didn't belie that assertion, it wouldn't have been sarcasm; it would have been irony.

But donnie is so stupid he wouldn't know the difference, if he had the brains to intend to use one of those rhetorical devices.

Which he doesn't.

The good thing, though, is that a lot of public health people and cleaning products manufacturers are all concerned that a lot of donnie's followers will take his orders and drink the Kool-Aid; or shoot it into their veins.

That's not a bad thing.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Autumn At L'Arsenal De Paris

This is my favorite tree to take pictures of in Paris.

It's leaves never fail to be works of art.

There are a lot of chestnuts scattered here and there, and there is the oldest tree, and a couple of ginkgos and a whole bunch of poplars along the Seine that I always take images of  in various stages of their seasonal development, but this tree, a sweet gum (American name) is my favorite; it is on the path out of L'Aresenal just as one passes the cruise dock and the bistro and get back up on the streets of Paris on the way to La Bastille.

A Dragonfly

Friday, April 17, 2020

Paris: Two For 17 April 2020

Le Départ St Michel

Tour et tour

Lopez Report 041720

We are just trying to stay safe.

Here on Lopez Island.

I hide under the bed most days.

There are the makings for an additional cat under there.

Cat hair makes a nice warm coating for staying safe and for worrying.

My greatest worry is trump.

But I’m worried about the Covid too.

A lot less about Covid than about donnie, though.

But there are real plusses to all of this.

It’s nice to be able to worry all the time.

But being safe is very rewarding too.

Sure beats being happy.

I worry about all that voter fraud out there also.

I guess all of our elections in Washington State have been rife with voter fraud.

Since we are an all VBM state.

Have been for years.

But that form of voting is out of conformity with valid voting procedures.

donnie said so recently.

He likes states that only let white fascists vote.

He usually rails on and on:

"Voting by mail and all; train loads of illegals all been seen at the Safeway buying stamps and all; it's a disgrace".

It’s good to have a president that sees things right.

Hope we open up all the bars pretty soon.

I understand donnie and mikey have found a few hundred counties in the country without infections, so we can open everything up they say.

‘Course there aren’t any people in those counties, either.

But no infections either.

That's data.

That's science.

That's gerrymandering.

So donnie and mikey want to open everything up.

mikey may not, but what he wants is opaque at best and non existent most likely.

He's kind of a sponge bob from indianna, sort of a protoplasmic manifestation.

If the mikey and donnie show can’t convince everybody to stop sheltering in place, donnie is telling his supporters to shoot to kill.

He's been raving about Second Amendment rights and locking people up and all of that: you know, people like "that woman" from Michigan.

That was an easy sell; he told mikey not to talk to "that woman"; mikey is afraid of women, so he was pretty agreeable.

But back to the story here.

I am sure they they will.

Shoot to kill.


And Ol' Mitch and the boys can say that Ol' donnie and Ol' mikey were just upholding their constitutional responsibilities.

They can say it.

And I'm sure they will.

Say it.

But that will be a lie just like everything else that the slime that is masquerading as the Party of Lincoln has said for years.

I’m writing this from under the bed.

I think there’ a real cat in here with me.

I have been learning cat as a backup to having to listen to donnie bullshit.

I Got This Email From Stop-republicans.Org

It said:

"Donald Trump is trying to shut down the Postal Service!

That means NO ONE could Vote-By-Mail in the 2020 Election."

I was, of course shocked that donnie should be accused of malfeasance.

So I answered the email:

TO: Do Not Ignore, Okay?

I understand and agree with your concern about that idiot who is pretending to be president trying to abolish the post office.

The problem with it in my specific case is the 98118 Post Office was closed a couple of years ago – they sold the land to a developer who is building a high rise.

I think the new building is  going to be called “trump titty rump titty rump rump rump”.

They  replaced the Post Office that used to function there with a rump “retail” post office (you can buy stamps) in the neighborhood, and a prison like facility where all the real operational mail stuff occurs.

That facility is in an almost unreachable part of some other ZIP Code.

There is a phone number for that facility, but no one answers it, and there is a front door with a bell that can be rung to solicit service.

The bell has no effect on whatever is going on within.

No service is ever forthcoming.

So donnie has been busy as a bee already, in 98118.

My suggestion for vote by mail is to sidestep the moron.

Contract with Amazon to do the 2020 vote.

Bezos hasn't a lot of use for donnie.

You might get a pretty good price.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Florence: Mushrooms

There is a famous museum in Florence whose name eludes me at the moment, and I would misspell it if I were to remember it, so it's best left unnamed, I suppose.

A few years ago we were walking around the vast park that surrounds the building.

In the trees in the near distance there were gangs of parrots shouting over the wind.

And in the undergrowth along the path where we walked were some beautiful mushrooms.

How appropriate for a place that was once home to the Medici.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Paris: Taking A Rest A La Seine

I know the feeling.
I usually buy a croissant and keep walking instead of resting.

Ten Will Get You Twenty Five?

donnie recently slipped into a complete Hitlerian fantasy world: "When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total,” Trump said at the White House. “The governors know that.”

Turns out, the Governors don't know that.

Because it is another of donnie's delusions.

Andrew Cuomo is as good a lawyer as he is a good Governor.

He pointed out that donnie's delusion is clearly trumped by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

That Amendment says:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Since there is nowhere in the Constitution where it says "When somebody is president of the United States, the authority is total,” it would appear that the 10th pretty well negates donnie's fantasy.

In the event that donnie persists and tries to act there is another Amendment.

Here is Section 4 of the Twenty Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:

"Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office."

Of course the Constitution also provides for the removal of the president for high crimes and misdemeanors, of which donnie is guilty of daily.

And we already tried to get rid of donnie for clearly impeachable and removeable activities.

But the republicans protected him.

A clear violation of the Tenth Amendment should re-open the impeachment process.

But it won't.

The republicans are too in thrall of being in power to care about our country.

I assume the same crowd that voted to acquit a clearly guilty chief executive will protect him again.

This time they will not only protect him from from the Twenty Fifth which would seem to empower and commission the Vice President and the Cabinet to remove him from office - the man is dangerously, criminally, delusional, and by that protection, they will award the crown to the dildo.

There always used to be enough Americans in Congress to preserve the Republic in dire times.

Not any more.

I know that it is coming: the Constitution, in one fell swoop, with complete connivance by Ol' Mitch, will cease to be an operative component of what used to be called the government of the United States.

I just wish I knew why.

The Team

donnie says he has absolute power and he's going to delegate some of it to  his re-start the economy team.

God help us.


Paris: A View Of The Tip Of Isle De La Cité And One At Le Départ

Monday, April 13, 2020

Paris: The Cavalry On The Quais

I was walking back to my apartment from Fromagerie Laurent Dubois over on Boulevard St Germain at the Metro Maubert-Mutualite a few years ago when, behind me, I heard that un-mistakeable sound: the clop of horse hooves on the cobble stones (actually there aren't any cobble stones where I was, but that allusion focusses the senses on the sound when writing about it).

I have seen these mounted anachronisms other times and every time it causes a surge of joy.

I even have videos of some of those encounters.

If I ever find them I might post one.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Boeing Max 8 Debacle

I have had opinions about this industrial crime since March 2019.

As is always the case when I have an opinion, I periodically posted about the Max 8 during March, April and May of 2019.

Then I got distracted and wandered off to other subjects like a fire at Notre Dame.

But recently I read an article on line from The Verge.

Here is an excerpt, dated yesterday.

TheThe important thing to know about the 737 Max is that it was a rush job. In 2010, Boeing’s only rival, Airbus, unveiled the A320neo, a direct competitor to the 737 Next Generation that could fly farther on less fuel and with lower emissions than any other narrow-body airplane. Boeing was caught by surprise: while Airbus had developed the neo in secret, Boeing’s engineers had spent five years debating whether to design a new 737 replacement or simply update the airframe, without resolution. The neo changed that in a matter of months.


But in order to offer its own new product when the new Airbus came out, Boeing would have to rush the airplane out the door in just five years — less time than it took to develop either the 777 or the 787. The main selling point of the new 737 was clear: new engines that would increase the airplane’s fuel efficiency and range. But to hit that ambitious launch date, Boeing would have to take shortcuts on just about everything else.

The new engines, which were larger and heavier than the ones on the Next Generation, did indeed make the Max just as fuel-efficient as its rival. But they also disrupted the flow of air around the wings and control surfaces of the airplane in a very specific way. During high-angle climbs, this disruption would cause the control columns in the airplane to suddenly go slack, which might cause pilots to lose control of the aircraft during a dangerous maneuver.

Boeing could have fixed this aerodynamic anomaly with a hardware change: “adaptive surfaces” on the engine housing, resculpted wings, or even just adding a “stick pusher” to the controls that would push on the control column mechanically at just the right time. But hardware changes added time, cost, and regulatory scrutiny to the development process. Boeing’s management was clear: avoid changes, avoid regulators, stay on schedule — period.


So the development team attacked the hardware problem with software. In addition to the standard software suite on the 737 Max’s two computers, Boeing loaded another routine called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). It would run in the background, waiting for the airplane to enter a high-angle climb. Then it would act, rotating the airplane’s horizontal stabilizer to counteract the changing aerodynamic forces.

On paper, it seemed elegant enough. It had a side benefit, too: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn’t scrutinize software as hard as it does any physical change to the airframe. So MCAS was approved with minimal review, outdated computers and all.

But Boeing’s software shortcut had a serious problem. Under certain circumstances, it activated erroneously, sending the airplane into an infinite loop of nose-dives. Unless the pilots can, in under four seconds, correctly diagnose the error, throw a specific emergency switch, and start recovery maneuvers, they will lose control of the airplane and crash — which is exactly what happened in the case of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The second crash grounded the 737 Max. Since then, Boeing has been working to fix the software issue and get the airplane approved by regulators. But it’s been slow going.

This was of intense interest to me because of what I have been saying since March last year.

And I am totally unqualified to have been saying what I have been saying.

The old saying about even a blind pig finds an acorn now and then seems to apply.

Here are some of my totally unqualified observations.

Boeing 737 Max 8: 12 March 2019

US airlines that use this aircraft and the FAA who supposedly keep an eye on the airlines in the interest of the safety of the citizens of the United States all say that any grounding of the aircraft would be premature.

We need more data they say.

I guess some people might be ok being more data.

But I am totally uncomfortable with the proposition.

After all, more data is probably not no new news, but is instead more crashes.
How many does the FAA need?


I’m not going to volunteer.

Boeing 737 Max 8–Follow On: 12 March 2019
In my most recent post I pointed out that the FAA doesn’t want to ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 until they have more data.

I further wondered if that additional data might be the obvious – more crashes.

Putting two and two together I said that I wasn’t going to volunteer for that gathering of data.
Now, tonight, on the PBS News Hour, I just heard that the FAA has told Boeing that flying the 737 Max 8 involves a “risk of impact with terrain”.

Since it’s only a risk, and at that, only a risk of impact with terrain, I withdraw my concerns.
I would hope the related passenger safety briefing will include the fact that the FAA has said that this plane may have impact with terrain.

Not An Admission Of Fault: 29 March 2019
Boeing today has said that its fix to the control software for the 737 Max aircraft “is not an admission of fault”.

A Boeing Press Relations Factotum elaborated:

“No admission of fault; just an alternate flight pattern system based upon the  clearly stated preferences of the flying public: they would prefer flying on planes that don’t fly uncontrollably, in an attitude vertical to the surface of the earth, and into the ground.

“They have spoken and we have listened”.

Why I Really Don’t Want To Ever Fly On A Boeing 737 Max 8: 26 April 2019
I hate trying to be safe.

I have posted to this blog numerous times about how I feel about “being safe”.

I think that being safe is tantamount to being dead.

The mental state of a safe being is similar to a deer in the headlights.

That is a state of existence I find to be really unattractive.

But being stupid is something the avoidance of which I DO endorse.

My understanding of the ongoing Boeing 737 debacle is that, to provide an apparently new plane quickly and economically to the airlines of the world, a plane that needed to be better, cheaper to fly and requiring no pilot training investment, Boeing did the obvious: they hung newer, bigger, more powerful and – I guess – more economical engines on a tried and true airframe, the 737, which has been in production since 1967 or thereabouts.

There being an enormous amount of sunk costs in that old an airframe, the Max 8 looked to be the cash cow of ever existing cash cows – probably exceeding the IBM Selectric typewriter.

The only problem with the idea has been that the 1967 airframe decked out with 2015 engines presented an anomalous silhouette to the slipstream.

All the implications of this remain unknown.

There have been only two data points so far.

Those data points are what we used to call fatal crashes.

But one additional data point that does seem to be documented is that when these new software-craft are in a steep climb and are using maximum engine throttle (we often refer to that condition as “takeoff”) the software puts the plane in a nose down attitude.

That, of course, if allowed to persist, would result in what the FAA has described as “risk of impact with terrain”.

It turns out that Boeing had realized at the outset that that was the problem of the old air-frame with the new engines in the slipstream.

“No problem” said the Boeing slipstream factotums; “we will analyze the slipstream with sensors and feed that analysis to some software in real time and, voila, we will have a modern aircraft in the slipstream; there will be no ‘risk of impact with terrain’”.

Something about that didn’t work.

So I would have to call the Boeing 737 Max 8 (and 9) the pretend aircraft for the people who worry about being safe but don’t mind being stupid.

Max 8 Once More: 29 May 2019
Last year a Max 8 crashed in Indonesia.

Boeing and the FAA looked at each other, shrugged and – I think this might be true – suggested pilot error.

As time went on there might have been some small mention of software, but I’m not sure and I’m way too lazy to try to do any research.

Early this year another Max 8 crashed.

I do remember that Boeing and the FAA resisted grounding the plane at that time because they needed “more data”.

I couldn’t help wondering how many more crashes would be needed for a complete data set.

At that time the FAA did acknowledge that the Max 8 might have a proclivity for coming into contact with the terrain.

Also the software issue became an issue.

Boeing said that they had made some software tweaks and everything was good to go.
By this time the rest of the world had gotten pretty nervous and had grounded all Max 8s.
Finally US airlines began grounding them and finally Boeing and the FAA agreed that that was probably prudent.

I assume in various backrooms there was a lot of discontent about not getting any more data.

Since then Boeing has been feverishly working on “the software”.

That has been quite a long time now.

And, last I heard, they are still working on it.

There must have been more than a tweak involved.


In mid-May I posted this observation as someone who had seen a debacle coming, ever since Boeing started thinking great thoughts in lieu of being a great manufacturer.

Thoughts On Boeing: 5 May 2019

By the time I was born in early World War Two Boeing had become a great company.
That greatness was the result of a fortuitous confluence of factors.

A high level distillation of those factors can be described: great organized labor, great entrepreneurial management and great get-your-hands-on-the-products-and-processes executives, all three of whom were imbued with deep scientific curiosity, engineering ability and fanatic commitment to quality.

And those managers, engineers and other skilled workers and executives lived – together daily – on the shop floor.

And – I think this is probably true; it’s hard to imagine otherwise given the culture of those long ago times – they all ended up after hours in the same Renton, bars, grills and taverns; they probably kept talking – in the egalitarian environment that bars, grills and taverns can foster – shop: what was ahead of schedule; what was behind schedule; what was going well; what was screwed up; how to keep getting better and how to fix the problems.

That all produced airplanes like the 70 year old B52 which is still a central part of America’s air war capability.

Or the, until Max 8, flawless (yeah I haven’t forgotten the batteries, but that got fixed quickly and transparently and permanently) string of 7XX airliners.

Have you ever seen the 707 doing barrel rolls over Lake Washington?

So how could that company get to the Max 8?

Of course I don’t know.

But I think it has to do with the fact that a few years back a cadre of executives having no cultural or hereditary relationship to the Renton Culture decided that they needed to remove themselves from the sweaty stench of the managers and workers.

They moved off to Chicago and began thinking great thoughts in tall buildings.

In that environment, far from “the egalitarian environment that bars, grills and taverns can foster” it is easy to imagine how executives could have spun – to each other – a plane whose design point: quick production, cheap cost and no pilot training, but which was really a lumbering disaster needing sensors and software to keep it from crashing, as a no sweat slam dunk.

And then they spun it, slam dunked it and lied, misrepresented and obfuscated its problems, not the least of which is that the spinners are all off in Chicago.

And two planeloads of human beings have died because of the ivory tower spinners.
I think the Chicago tribe should all be fired and replaced post haste, with promoted-from-within managers and workers from Renton.

And their prime directive should be get back to the bars after work and hammer out – once more and again – what it means to be a great company: what it means to be Boeing, a Seattle company.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

soup a l'oignon

This is what we had for dinner tonight.
It's a New York Times recipe.
I have modified the carmelization instructions to use one seven quart cast iron contrivance on the large burner of a gas stove at max heat with a lot of long handled wood spoon tossing of the onion fragments; it takes 20 minutes and they are perfectly carmelized.

Here is the progression:

And then there was a pink moon:

An American And His French Cousin

This is a chestnut backed chickadee.
I took this picture on Lopez Island.

This is a European chickadee.
I took this picture in le Jardin des Plantes in Paris.
The yellow is a nice touch.