Look who I tread upon in the woods? ! – Severely Limited!

You just never know what you come across when you go wandering in the woods! Not sure which is more traumatic, bumping into Hiliary Clinton or this? ( Can just hear 10 cents shouting “BOTH!”)

What is your exciting encounter when you hang out in Mother nature? 


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TOTD 8-21-18- The growing of things

In homage to my RB friend @hypatia and her earlier post on her strawberries (or watermelons, something like that), I would like to share with you all my grapes.  They’re simple concord grapes and my plan was to make jelly, but so far the birds beat me to it every fall.  I know you can put netting up, but that would defeat the original purpose of the grapes, which was for coverage around my deck as well as vines shooting up into the canopy, which is finally happening as well :).

To be honest, and here’s the twist, I don’t even really LIKE grapes, at all!  So when I say the birds beat me to them every fall, it’s more a case of me walking out and thinking “Dang, the birds haven’t eaten these thing up yet?  If they don’t get to it soon I might have to actually DO something with these grapes!”

I think it goes to our natural God-given desire to see things grow, even a suburban dweller like me has a pinch of farmer buried deep inside him.


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FoxNews: Scavengers raiding WW2 shipwrecks because…

Vessels from World War II are particularly vulnerable to scrappers because they were built and sunk before nuclear explosions, so they have little “background radiation” from the atmosphere and are suitable for building medical equipment, experts told the news outlets.

The simple solution would be to nuke the areas where the ships now are.


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Meanwhile, on the campaign side of the Democrat Party

Opinion piece by Ryan Cooper, published in “The Week.”

The treachery of Tom Perez,who heads the DNC

Ryan Cooper

Joe Raedle/Getty Images for Tom Perez

He’s serving his big donor masters loyally, and in the process failing his party, the United States of America, and humanity as a whole. Most egregiously, he recently reversed a ban on the party accepting donations from fossil fuel corporations, with the limp excuse that “[w]e’re not a party that punishes workers simply based on how they make ends meet.” The man is an obstacle to human flourishing

Let’s take a brief tour of Perez’s ignominious DNC career. After swearing up and down to treat the leftist Democratic caucus fairly, and thus convincing Keith Ellison to serve as his deputy, Perez executed a quick double-cross. He had insisted while running for DNC chair that it needed to be a full-time gig, but in September 2017 he took a high-paying teaching position at Brown. He then purged supporters of Bernie Sanders and Ellison from the top party ranks (most of them women and people of color, by the way), and substituted them with centrist Clinton loyalists.

Then in April this year, it was discovered that the DNC was paying Hillary Clinton’s post-campaign group Onward Together over $2 million to rent her email list and data tools — incidentally unlike Obama, who simply gave his email list to the committee in 2012. In May, after having promised that the committee should be neutral in primary elections, Perez personally endorsed the incompetent, corrupt Republican-enabler Andrew Cuomo in the New York governor’s race.

Almost certainly because all this cynical double-dealing alienated the party’s base of enthusiastic small-dollar donors, Perez’s DNC has been consistently obliterated by the Republican National Committee at fundraising. The RNC raised more than twice what the DNC did in 2017, a trend that has continued throughout this year. What’s more, much of those RNC donations are coming from under-$200 donors, not from the natural Republican constituency of sociopathic plutocrats. (Logically enough, leftists are sending their donations to individual campaigns instead.)

In other words, Tom Perez is being soundly whipped at grassroots fundraising by Ronna Romney McDaniel.

_______________________________________________

My comments – it is interesting to note that contributions to the RNC in 2017 were much more than contributions to the DNC. Of course, many of the “D” Party faithful are now donating directly to whichever candidates they support. So maybe overall, the Dems get as much money as those on the Right.

Just as there exists a schism on the Right, of the pro-Trump against the NeverTrumpsters, so too is there a schism on the Left. This conflict concerns the progressive Bernie Sanders side vs the Old Guard.


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CNN Sues to have Manafort jurors’ names released

So was the recent banishment of InfoWars from many social media sites MUCH more about the InfoWars petition and its activity to have Assange freed? Rather than anything at all to do with Infowars’ involvement in “hate speech?”

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CNN Just Sued The Government To Get The Names And Addresses Of Manafort Jurors

The anti-Trump cable news network has a long history of doxxing threats and harassment. However within 24 hours, the judge hearing CNN’s lawsuit decided that the jurors’ private information could not be released.

Link to article: https://thefederalist.com/2018/08/17/cnn-just-sued-government-get-names-addresses-manafort-jurors/

AUGUST 17, 2018
By Bre Payton

In a motion filed in federal court on Thursday, CNN and several other media outlets requested that the court release the names and home addresses of all jurors in the Paul Manafort fraud case. Jurors haven not yet rendered a verdict on any of the 18 charges against Manafort, who briefly served as President Donald Trump’s campaign manager in 2016.

The motion — filed on behalf of CNN, Washington Post, BuzzFeed, POLITICO, New York Times, NBC Universal, and the Associated Press — asks the court to provide to the media organizations the full names and home addresses of the men and women who were summoned and selected by the federal government to serve as jurors in Manafort’s fraud case.

The media request for the names and home addresses of jurors comes a day after the jury began deliberating about the verdicts on 18 fraud and conspiracy counts against Manafort. The charges, which are unrelated to Manafort’s work for the Trump campaign in 2016, were brought by the federal Office of Special Counsel, which is headed by former FBI director Robert Mueller. Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate allegations that the Trump campaign committed treason by illegally conspiring with Russian government officials to steal the presidential election from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

SNIP

Publicly outing the names and home addresses of jurors is considered ethically questionable, as outlined in this guidance sheet on the topic from the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press:

When jurors are not willing to talk, however, some people question whether it is appropriate for journalists to name jurors.

Because jurors do not volunteer for their roles, many journalists question whether they should be thrust into the limelight. According to Tompkins, both before and after a verdict is rendered, most newsrooms air on the side of caution when making these decisions.‘Generally, there is a policy against publishing juror names,’ Tompkins said. ‘Among journalists, there genuinely is the feeling that there is no good, compelling reason to identify these people.’


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Book Review: The Dream of the Iron Dragon

“The Dream of the Iron Dragon” by Robert KroeseThe cover tells you all you need to know about this book: Vikings!—spaceships! What could go wrong? From the standpoint of a rip-roaring science fiction adventure, absolutely nothing: this masterpiece is further confirmation that we’re living in a new Golden Age of science fiction, made possible by the intensely meritocratic world of independent publishing sweeping aside the politically-correct and social justice warrior converged legacy publishers and re-opening the doors of the genre to authors who spin yarns with heroic characters, challenging ideas, and red-blooded adventure just as in the works of the grandmasters of previous golden ages.

From the standpoint of the characters in this novel, a great many things go wrong, and there the story begins. In the twenty-third century, humans find themselves in a desperate struggle with the only other intelligent species they’d encountered, the Cho-ta’an. First contact was in 2125, when a human interstellar ship was destroyed by the Cho-ta’an while exploring the Tau Ceti system. Shortly thereafter, co-ordinated attacks began on human ships and settlements which indicated the Cho-ta’an possessed faster-than-light travel, which humans did not. Humans formed the Interstellar Defense League (IDL) to protect their interests and eventually discovered and captured a Cho-ta’an jumpgate, which allowed instantaneous travel across interstellar distances. The IDL was able to reverse-engineer the gate sufficiently to build their own copies, but did not understand how it worked—it was apparently based upon some kind of wormhole physics beyond their comprehension.

Humans fiercely defended their settlements, but inexorably the Cho-ta’an advanced, seemingly driven by an inflexible philosophy that the universe was theirs alone and any competition must be exterminated. All attempts at diplomacy failed. The Earth had been rendered uninhabitable and evacuated, and most human settlements destroyed or taken over by the Cho-ta’an. Humanity was losing the war and time was running out.

In desperation, the IDL set up an Exploratory Division whose mission was to seek new homes for humans sufficiently distant from Cho-ta’an space to buy time: avoiding extinction in the hope the new settlements would be able to develop technologies to defend themselves before the enemy discovered them and attacked. Survey ship Andrea Luhman was en route to the Finlan Cluster on such a mission when it received an enigmatic message which seemed to indicate there was intelligent life out in this distant region where no human or Cho-ta’an had been known to go.

A complex and tense encounter leaves the crew of this unarmed exploration ship in possession of a weapon which just might turn the tide for humanity and end the war. Unfortunately, as they start their return voyage with this precious cargo, a Cho-ta’an warship takes up pursuit, threatening to vaporise this last best hope for survival. In a desperate move, the crew of the Andrea Luhman decide to try something that had never been attempted before: thread the needle of the rarely used jumpgate to abandoned Earth at nearly a third of the speed of light while evading missiles fired by the pursuing warship. What could go wrong? Actually a great deal. Flash—darkness.

When they got the systems back on-line, it was clear they’d made it to the Sol system, but they picked up nothing on any radio frequency. Even though Earth had been abandoned, satellites remained and, in any case, the jumpgate beacon should be transmitting. On further investigation, they discovered the stars were wrong. Precision measurements of star positions correlated with known proper motion from the ship’s vast database allowed calculation of the current date. And the answer? “March sixteen, 883 A.D.

The jumpgate beacon wasn’t transmitting because the jumpgate hadn’t been built yet and wouldn’t be for over a millennium. Worse, a component of the ship’s main drive had been destroyed in the jump and, with only auxiliary thrusters it would take more than 1500 years to get to the nearest jumpgate. They couldn’t survive that long in stasis and, even if they did, they’d arrive two centuries too late to save humanity from the Cho-ta’an.

Desperate situations call for desperate measures, and this was about as desperate as can be imagined. While there was no hope of repairing the drive component on-board, it just might be possible to find, refine, and process the resources into a replacement on the Earth. It was decided to send the ship’s only lander to an uninhabited, resource-rich portion of the Earth and, using its twenty-third century technology, build the required part. What could go wrong? But even though nobody on the crew was named Murphy he was, as usual, on board. After a fraught landing attempt in which a great many things go wrong, the landing party of four finds themselves wrecked in a snowfield in what today is southern Norway. Then the Vikings show up.

The crew of twenty-third century spacefarers have crashed in the Norway of Harald Fairhair, who was struggling to unite individual bands of Vikings into a kingdom under his rule. The people from the fallen silver sky ship must quickly decide with whom to ally themselves, how to communicate across a formidable language barrier and millennia of culture, whether they can or dare meddle with history, and how to survive and somehow save humanity in what is now their distant future.

There is adventure, strategy, pitched battles, technological puzzles, and courage and resourcefulness everywhere in this delightful narrative. You grasp just how hard life was in those days, how differently people viewed the world, and how little all of our accumulated knowledge is worth without the massive infrastructure we have built over the centuries as we have acquired it.

You will reach the end of this novel wanting more and you’re in luck. Volume two of the trilogy, The Dawn of the Iron Dragon (Kindle edition), is now available and the conclusion, The Voyage of the Iron Dragon, is scheduled for publication in December, 2018. It’s all I can do not to immediately devour the second volume starting right now.

The Kindle edition is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Kroese, Robert. The Dream of the Iron Dragon. Seattle: CreateSpace, 2018. ISBN 978-1-983729-21-8.

For more information about the author and his work, visit his Web site, BadNovelist.com.

Here is a one hour interview with the author.  At the forty minute point, the discussion turns to the present novel.


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The Right Thing for the Right or Wrong Reason

I recently changed churches. Not in a small way, but a huge way. As a cradle Episcopalian, liturgy has become very important to me. I see the value and purpose in it. I’m very protestant when it comes to not trusting the Pope, but in some ways I might be less enthusiastic about the authority of apostolic succession given the tendency for these hierarchical churches to promote less than qualified priests.

I’m now attending a Baptist church. To call it a culture shock would be an understatement, but the teaching is sound, draws from our current culture and philosophies without politicization, and the fellowship is strong and in the neighborhood. Three things that had been lacking in the other Episcopal options.

I’m sure many of you would think there’s plenty of good reason to leave the Episcopal church, but my reasons were far more localized.

My original church (of 8 years, 2 of my kids baptized there) had issues as a priest dealt with a sick wife and his associate went off the deep end over Trump, BLM, and Social Justice in the church. The lack of supervision over a brand new priest who was not dealing with things in a theologically sound manner sent me elsewhere.

I was happy at a new church (far away) until the priest left and the new rector has the same emotional propensity for going half-cocked on political issues in response to tragic events around him that drove me away from my previous home.

And then, I needed fellowship that wasn’t 40 minutes away, where the kids might be in our neighborhood and school, where my kids could form lifelong friendships to carry them through the school years (And to be honest, I needed mom friends in similar life-stages or older to fellowship with and be mentored by, something I haven’t had in my 9 years of parenting).

Some might agree with all these reasons for leaving. Some might disagree with on or two of them. They might think those are the wrong reasons for leaving while one decision seems like a good one.

So would they say I made the right decision for the wrong reasons? Only if they thought I was incapable of making decisions based on many factors and only capable of holding one reason in mind.

So why is it that when Trump fires Comey (the right decision) or revokes Muslim terrorist-apologizer, CIA ex-director Brennan’s security clearance (the right decision), it is then assumed that the only reasons Trump acted were the wrong reasons?

Is it not possible that Trump could have good and bad reasons for acting? Is it not possible that he acted for good reason, but the bad reasons were what kept him from staying his hand and offering mercy and another chance? Why is it that every pundit has assumed the absolute worst motives?

Some might say he has a history. A history that is based upon the same assumptions as this one. Trump talks garbage. Does that mean his garbage talk is the only reason he has?

I don’t think so. Perhaps, in assuming Trump as a one-dimensional actor, they out themselves as one-dimensional and incapable of complexity in choices, feelings, and reasoning.


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A Love Story

A Love Story

It was a beautiful day in Japan. The remnants of a typhoon had cleared out the day before, leaving a fresh clear air to roast dry in the blazing sun. Yet the temperature was not so bad, as the typhoon had departed to the northeast, leaving in its wake a gout of cool air from the north, a result of the storm’s counterclockwise circulation.

Ants scurried along a metal rail, painted by sailors long departed, just outside the temporary headquarters of the United States Navy’s Seventh Fleet. There was a concrete ledge perched along the round of an ancient rock cliff, a location previously developed by the Imperial Japanese Navy with the trademark spongy concrete and incorporation of rocks and trees into the structure. A metal staircase led to a parking lot below, constructed of steel piping and diamond-plate. A wooden picnic table and a few deteriorating benches were the more classy part, with some rejected old chairs left out to die in the elements, contributing their weathered innards to the general funk around what was now a smoking area with a bucket and a trash can.

A cicada buzzed noticeably closer than the others, and was spotted clinging to a skinny twig arising vertically from the joint between two robust branches of a magnificently spreading pine. His song began with a rasping rising call which was repeated, with increasing urgency, until it broke into a syncopated climax, a twee-gaw-ee-awww-weet chorus with ripples of accent.

A cicada is hatched and burrows underground where it lives for seventeen years, or thirteen or eleven, at which point it climbs above ground, climbs a tree, grabs on the the underside of a branch and molts to unfurl its wings. The bug’s heart, such as it is, pumps furiously to inflate its wings which then harden in the fresh air. I do not believe that the bug eats after this, although I could be mistaken. The rest of its life will be dedicated to finding a mate, and its primary mission in life is accomplished, if at all, on the strength of the rasping, buzzing song.

Our cicada continued its set list of rising calls and jazz-fusion codas, taking short breaks between efforts. An animal whose procreation depends upon a single tactic has evolved to perform that task rather well, and the clatter of these bugs can be deafening. This one was no slacker, and the song rebounded from the table, the concrete, the steel rails, so that no two places on the platform seemed to sound the same. But always it was the rising sets, and the disco-strobe aria. Of birds and bees, and flowers and trees, the bug presumably knew nothing. His mission in progress, he gave it everything.

She landed near him on the underside of the larger of the two main branches of the joint. She made no sound — she did not call, nor did she move in any appreciable way. We will forgive ourselves for peering into her motives, and assuming that her silent presence was driven by the same need to find a mate as the boisterous hollering of the male. Her presence had an immediate effect, despite being out of sight below the branch. Our bug of the skinny upright twig changed his tune at once, from the long-practiced pattern of groups within groups to a constant low buzz alternating between two tones, like a heartbeat with no rest.

While continuing the tense low buzz, he gingerly retreated backward down his twig. To an outside observer, the search was over and the hunt was on. He had called to her and she had come. His descent was slow, measured. Foot under foot under foot, he awkwardly backed down the twig until at its base, his stiff wings, extending far behind his blunt body, bumped the stout branch from which the twig issued. He made a few more tentative grabs below his current grasp, but was unable to descend further with his wings stopping his rearward progress.

She waited.

He began to maneuver his body first this way, then that, without the faculty of reason to work out his problem, but possessing at least enough good sense to try different combinations. He twisted to the right, and lowered himself an additional tiny foot’s worth of progress down the twig, and was thwarted by his wings. He straightened himself up, driving himself back up the twig, and twisted to the left, once more regaining his furthest position, until his wings bumped again. He did this several time, all while he continued to thrum to her, and she continued to wait.

After straightening up again, and after a bit of a pause, he took the time to maneuver his bulky body on its many spindly legs so that he faced downward, in his desperately desired direction of travel. His wings now pointing skyward, he pressed his face against the branch below, and worked himself off the twig and onto the main branch which split at this joint. He was now facing the trunk of the tree, his wings extended behind him in the direction of the patient lady.  Perhaps the low rasp was intended for her to home in on. Perhaps it had transfixed her, enthralled, powerless to turn either toward or away.

She waited.

He cleared the twig and turned around, heading out toward the business end of this story. As he proceeded outbound, he was confronted with a choice. Or more likely he was confronted with no choice at all — he simply continued in what seemed the proper direction. He navigated past the twig whence he had come, and set out along the lesser of the two branches available to him. It may be that he perceived no joint, that there was never any choice to be made, that a cicada’s mental map does not extend so far beyond his feelers to even allow the notion of choosing a branch. He simply walked along the top of the branch, and it was not the branch under which she waited.

She wanted him. She waited for him. She could hear his song, and it pleased her. She never stirred, and he never arrived.  He knew she was there, and she still heard his song.  He continued along the top of another branch, an entire arboreal world of possibility open to him, but she was no longer in it.

Perhaps he had become disoriented in working himself off the twig. Perhaps it is always this way, and that these bugs are lucky to continue the species despite their best efforts, as they lack the ability to recognize their situation and adapt to it. He had tried valiantly, and was in fact still trying, marching down the wrong branch, singing his song to the lady who still waited.

And perhaps in deeper desperation, he will change his tune back to what once had seemed to work so well. After all, a creature such as this — who no longer craves food, nor shade, nor comfort, but wills only to find a mate or die trying — is well-motivated to try again. Eleven years, or seventeen, or even seventy may seem adequate to all purposes. But time is not kind to these small unsensing animals. Their long lifespan is but a pedestal for a moment, a brief time of flight and song, sunlight and companionship, and the moment had gone.

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Talk about a “reality distortion field”!

Steve Jobs had nothing on Elon Musk.

The latest is Musk’s “Dugout Loop” between East Hollywood and Dodger Stadium:

While the cost of building the tunnel will take many years to recoup, sources familiar with the project say The Boring Company projects to be operationally profitable by charging a fee of $1 per person, per trip.

But let’s run the numbers. The article predicts a maximum of 2800 fans per Dodger game.  With 2 trips per game and 81 games, that’s 81 x 2800 x 2 trips per year or $453,600. That probably does not cover the electricity costs of keeping the tunnel pumped down to vacuum while also being pumped dry. It clearly does not cover other electricity costs, maintenance costs, depreciation…

As we are dealing with Dodger fans, you also probably will need to pay 20 police officers.

But, let’s imagine $10 per trip. That is very high given the fact it totals to $80 per game for a group of 4. At $4,536,000, you have probably covered utilities, but what kind of labor costs do you have?


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