Thursday, November 25, 2021

The RF Trio

 I have written here and there over time about what I really always wanted to do for a living.

I have recently found some images that document what that might have looked like.

More in Saigon 1967.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Mathematics: The Enemy Of Pipe Dreams

 We now have the trillion-dollar infrastructure law signed and going into effect.

All parties responsible are running around crowing about the cornucopia of projects that will be unleashed by the passage of this public works expenditure law: broad band, bridges, passenger rail, highways, water systems, replacement of poisonous pipes, expansion of ports and airports and on and on and on.

The trillion dollars is the amount committed to projects over the next ten years.

So, the actual amount of money is a hundred billion dollars a year.

The estimate of the cost of fixing the Northeast Commuter Corridor is one hundred seventy-six billion dollars; and caveats are added: there are sure to be overruns of unknown magnitude.

That means two or more years of the new law's funding will need to be spent on one project; maybe they can get to broadband in year three.

I guess a trillion dollars doesn't go as far as it used to.

I Have Never Been Happier About Being Wrong

 The other day I opined that the Brunswick verdict would parallel the one in Kenosha.

Instead, justice prevailed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

At Le Départ St Michel

 My favorite place to sit and eat and drink and watch the world go by is a cafe at one of the mouths of Metro/RER St Michel.

It's like the Ton Son Nhut Officers Club in 1967: if you sit and wait and watch long enough you probably will see everyone you have ever known.

Or maybe everyone you have never and would never have known if you hadn't sat there drinking and eating and listening and watching.

Here are some images.

"Conspirathon 2021"

 From The Daily Beast:

"Since former President Donald Trump decidedly lost the 2020 election, the MyPillow CEO has been on an unending crusade based on lies about widespread voter fraud. Lindell has continually promised that after his investigations prove his conspiracy theory, the election would be overturned and Trump would be reinstated. But his self-imposed deadlines have repeatedly come and gone, including a deadline for Trump to be reinstated by early August.

{PARAGRAPH DELETED - it enumerates various Lindell flailings non-relevant to the point of this post.}

"Lindell concluded his Monday evening live stream by promoting his 96-hour virtual “Thanks-a-Thon” event set to kick off Wednesday night at midnight and feature four straight days of even more election conspiracies."

Is this going to be like a Jerry Lewis telethon? I thought I heard someone say.

I guess Lindell will be better than the traditional Lions game.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Paris Still Life

 Bent Beer Can With Green Plants

The beer that is the favorite of the street people of Paris (by my informal, unscientific survey).

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Ahmaud Arbery Trial

 Now that a jury in Kenosha has ruled that an unarmed man who grabs the barrel of the gun pointed at him by an armed man is absolutely grounds for the armed man to gun down the unarmed man things are looking up for the three men on trial for gunning down Ahmaud Arbery.

Mr. Arbery was being chased by the three as he was midway through his daily jog.

The three were in a pickup truck; Mr. Arbery was in Nikes.

Apparently the Swoosh ultimately lost out to the Ram 500 diesel, or whatever it was: Mr. Arbery gave up trying to outrun it and them.

The three clearly felt their lives were threatened by this clearly hostile action - a black man stopping in the middle of white men's street - and did the obvious; one of them cut Mr. Arbery to pieces with shotgun at point blank.

That white man has testified that he was overwhelmed with fear for his life.

That worked in Kenosha; for sure it will work in Brunswick - (Georgia, for god's sake!).

Maybe today's gunfire at Hartsfield was a premature celebration of the imminently inevitable not guilty verdict.

Friday, November 19, 2021

A Response To "More About The Volunteer Military"

 I have every now and then posted thoughts I have about the all volunteer military

Wednesday was one of those times.

This time I got a response, an email from a friend of mine.

It seems so spiritually kindred to at least part of what I was saying I want to post it as part of my blog.

I am taking editorial liberty a couple of places and am formatting it the way I format my stuff.


"Here are my thoughts. 

"I have been a proponent of mandatory national service for decades. I thought it was a good idea in high school.  At least 2 yrs{,} not just military however.  Maybe this could be a source of person power for Biden and the Dems Infrastructure staffing. I'm certain this would be objected to as it would actually force people to do something with their  lives. It would also be a source for job training. 

"There is a large ship building company down {here} who has completed several Navy contracts. They just won a contract to build 10 new Coast guard cutters only to find out there are not enough welders available and has met with a trade school to beef up the Welding part of their school. I see major benefits to an action like this and it has been successfully done by other nations.

"I'm afraid hell will freeze over before anything like this is even whispered in the halls of Congress; something like this would require leadership and a backbone neither of which exists in Washington".

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Six Pictures From Paris

Une Cygne a la Seine

Potatoes delivered at dawn

Man and dog on the Seine

Institute de France, and, I am pretty sure, Saint Chapelle; I am total unsure where I was when I took this, though.

Canal St Martin

Boeuf tartare (sans oeuf) at le Départ St Michel

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

More About The All Volunteer Military

 Over time I have posted a couple things about the all volunteer military.

They have stated that during the days of the draft I was strongly in favor of an all volunteer military.

I was honest enough to acknowledge that that was mainly due to the fact that, in my personal experience, I had spent the first 20 years of my life making decisions based on how to minimize as much as possible the deleterious effects of being drafted - carrying a gun while wandering aimlessly through some jungle somewhere being chief among them.

None of those decisions were remotely similar to ones I would have made had I been allowed to pursue my personal preferences or agenda.

I negotiated my way through those years and its attendant life and came out the back end into a new, post military life as someone and something that had not been on any of my personal preference lists had I been able to look at life and its opportunities with a blank slate from which to start.

But I never carried a gun in the jungle, and I WAS still alive.

As years have passed and as I have had the chance to keep thinking over what I saw during my time in the military I have been left with one overwhelming memory.

The draft driven military produced a huge unsorted mélange of America's youth; we all got randomly thrown together and told we had some mission to accomplish; we all had varying accents, varying educations, varying ethnics, varying sociology; and most of us had never seen anybody like the rest of us before; oddly we all began to talk, make friends, make jokes and figure out how to, as an organized bunch of young Americans, accomplish our mission, no matter how ridiculous that mission might have been; and we talked; and we talked; and we talked; and we laughed at things as they were; and we dreamed of things that could - or should - be; and then we all went home after becoming a sum consisting of more parts than we had started being in our original, isolated, places in the world.

And that phenomenon was the fourth and final wave of that sort of thing: previously there had been WWI, WWII, and Korea.

But I got my wish and America went to an all volunteer military.

The all volunteer military has seemed to be able to fully populate itself from young people who either have few alternatives, or perceive themselves as having few alternatives; they tend to be lightly educated and generally - the hollowing of the industrial gut of America having been accomplished years ago - lack the alternative of going to work at the mill at union wages. So, nothing else presenting itself, they volunteer. I have heard that a measurable number of them are volunteering to learn the military skills to foment insurrection, but that's probably just Facebook chatter.

Anyway, that aspect of the all volunteer military does seem to provide a dangerously unidimensional human input.

Of course the mélange of which I was a part had a large complement of that sort of American also; but there were so many and so divers other complements and flavors of American youth that that complement, like the others, quickly became an enthusiastic and productive part of the give and take of the newly wrought homogenous whole; and, like the rest of us they went home knowing a lot more about what America and its people really are; and they went home having had to learn to give and take, push and pull, respect others' viewpoints no matter how much at variance with their own, and to listen to others, evaluate and compromise.

Having them be the only input to the all volunteer military makes for pretty unidimensional conversations and, probably, unidimensional, or at best, very few dreams, and little learning of new accents, ideas and viewpoints; one might say that the all volunteer military reinforces that which it is given rather than expanding and growing it as the draft forced military did - inadvertently - but did.

Isn't it odd that the draft-driven heterogenous mélange having been gone for forty or more years, we are all now at one another's throats?

Is it possible we need a mandatory national service for all of our youth where they are all forced to get together between the ages of 18 and 21 and perform service and figure out how to accomplish some national mission, no mater how ridiculous?

And talk, and laugh and dream - together - in all their god given American variety; and then go home when it's over permanently changed for the better?

Is it possible that forcing our youth to be Americans, as they each understand that thing, in concert with a variety of their fellows, equally assigned, might be the only way out of the mess we are in?

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Movie From The Front Window

 Yesterday I posted an image of waves in a gale.

Here's what it looked like in full motion.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Front Window

 We're having a gale here today.

And a high tide of almost 8 feet.

The gale is pretty much from the west which is perpendicular to the shore.

Can you say storm surge?

Images For November Half Over


I'm pretty sure this was on the Seine, but I think that it was in Rouen, not Paris.

Snowy day on the Seine in Paris

This was in one of my favorite places to take pictures of roses; it's on Ile des Cygnes across from la Defense.

Thoughtful pigeon contemplating the Seine

It took me a while to understand the pyramid, but now that I do, I can't take enough pictures of it.

Another from my "Life on the Seine" series

And another

Yet another

Coots family in Bois de Boulogne

Les Berges is/are here now; either way it's a good vantage for this night time shot.

On the quais at river level there are nice benches to sit and have a sandwich poulet and a glass of wine.  Sometimes vandals rip off the seat, but the lady remains.

Won't you ever grow up, little coot?

In the Aquarium Tropical

A friend of ours ran aground in front of our house.

These are European hares; we had a lot of them until the rabbit virus got here; now we don't have any.

I had never seen a nuthatch before coming to Lopez.

Sometimes out junipers have berries.  Robins like to eat them. I wonder if robins like gin?

I think this is a junco.

I thought herons were fresh water only, but we have lots of them; I have counted as many as 19 lined up the beach from time to time.

My lock screen on my birthday.

This was on a bike trip in Entre Deux Mers.  These things grow wild there; I think they might be some kind of wild melon.

I think that this was in Brittany.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Talk About Fixed: Wisconsin Trial Of The Weeping Defender

 The Judge is clearly bought by the NRA.

So why have a trial?

The Judge has declared Rittenhouse innocent already by his overt hostility to the Prosecution of Little Kyle - a patriot who somehow got possession of a semi-automatic weapon which it is illegal for him to own (at least when he shot three people with it) - and by his ruling that the dead can't even be called "victims".

I have had the good fortune to have never pointed a gun at another human being, but, if I had ever done that, I would have been intending to kill him or her; so when Little Kyle pointed his gun at an unarmed person and that person grabbed the barrel of the gun, I can only imagine that that grabbing of the barrel was a defensive measure on the part of the grabber; what would you have done?

That grabber probably believed that the gun pointer was going to kill him?

So, the pointer was OK to kill the grabber because the pointer, the one with the AR15, was under threat for his life from an unarmed person?

The fix is clearly in in Wisconsin.

I guess we need to have an audit to see if there is bamboo fiber woven into the Judge's robes?

How To Build An iPhone

 Or how to build just about every other form of electronics upon which world civilization now depends.

We don't have anything of consequence, including all the weapons underpinning America's vaunted military world dominance, that isn't crammed with chips.

That fact could drive a question: how dominant is the United States in chip production?

After all, if everything we use or might need to use - like weapons of war - can't exist without hoards of chips, we - the US - must dominate the world production of chips, right?

This graph from CNBC seems to belie that assumption.

Notice that the United States isn't mentioned on this graph.

So maybe China is more interested in strategy than they are in returning a prodigal population to unity with the mainland; maybe controlling the source of everything that makes life and war in America possible could be a nice step toward Chinese world dominance.

It would only take decades and trillions of dollars (the republicans would say that would cause inflation, though) for the United States to get into the game; TSMC, particularly once under Chinese control will continue to be as far ahead then as it is now, though.

So I guess we can quit worrying about our kids being taught Critical Race Theory: it's too much trouble translating that into Chinese.