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And Now For Something Completely Different September 19, 2020

Posted by Sobek in News.

Squeeze the Day September 15, 2020

Posted by skinbad in Food, Gardening.

We made a few gallons of apple juice last night. A few years ago a neighbor had a big grinder and press and was letting people use it for a few days each to get their apples juiced. It really is fantastic tasting stuff. I’ve thought about making my own setup and have also kept my eyes open for a good deal and came across this small press: https://tinyurl.com/y5tn3k2m

I don’t have a grinder, so Mrs. S. got out the food processor and that did a great job of chopping them up. The rough yield seems to be about a gallon of juice from a 5-gallon bucket of apples. I was worried the press would be too small and flimsy, but it seems to be built pretty well and worked as expected.

Terror Slithers Towards Us September 13, 2020

Posted by geoff in News.

Sad to think that government regulation of toilet technology has brought us the much-loathed low-flush toilet, when what we really, really, really need is:

Snake-Proof Toilets

Because even though this story happened in Thailand, I’m thinking I’ll no longer be able to completely relax on the john.

A Thai teen lived out every man’s worst nightmare after a snake sunk its fangs into his penis while he was on the john.

Masukarat recalls watching smartphone videos on the toilet when all of sudden he felt a searing pain in his nether region. The university student looked down to discover a nightmarish sight — a 4-foot python with its jaws clamped around the tip of his penis.

I’ve heard other “snake in the toilet” stories over the years, so the threat is real and consistent, and at least as pressing as dealing with the North Korean missile situation.

Yet I don’t see this issue on any of the political parties’ agendas.

Faux Hysteria Over South Dakota (Again) September 13, 2020

Posted by geoff in News.
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The press is starting to dump on South Dakota (and North Dakota) again:

Dakotas lead US in virus growth as both reject mask rules
Coronavirus infections in the Dakotas are growing faster than anywhere else in the nation, fueling impassioned debates over masks and personal freedom after months in which the two states avoided the worst of the pandemic.
Sounds pretty grim, until you look at the data for South Dakota (chart copied from SD Department of Health):

Doesn’t take much acumen to see that cases have been declining for the last week and a half, after a brief peak in late August (Sturgis?).

I don’t think South Dakota has much to worry about.

Pepper September 12, 2020

Posted by Sobek in News.

This is Pepper:


I have no pets. Mrs. S made it clear when we were dating that she is not a pet person, and I loved her more than pets so I was willing to marry her and accept that we would not have pets. I’m confident that I made the right choice, but I do love pets, so I play with other people’s pets whenever I can.

Also, I like to read the Ace of Spades pet thread and give the animals there virtual hugs. This week, Theresa in Ft. Worth submitted a pic of her puppy Pepper. I am officially in love with Pepper. I would definitely scratch Pepper behind the ears, if given the opportunity.

NPR Stumbles Upon the Awful Truth About Plastics September 12, 2020

Posted by geoff in News.

Probably comes as no surprise to you, as it didn’t to me, but NPR of all people just published an “exposé” of the myth of plastics recycling. I, like everybody else, faithfully toss all my plastic containers into the recycling bin every week. But I never had much confidence in the notion that it was doing the environment any good.

And it’s not:

Here’s the basic problem: All used plastic can be turned into new things, but picking it up, sorting it out and melting it down is expensive. Plastic also degrades each time it is reused, meaning it can’t be reused more than once or twice.

On the other hand, new plastic is cheap. It’s made from oil and gas, and it’s almost always less expensive and of better quality to just start fresh.

All of these problems have existed for decades, no matter what new recycling technology or expensive machinery has been developed. In all that time, less than 10 percent of plastic has ever been recycled. But the public has known little about these difficulties.

But since our sense of self-satisfaction and moral superiority was amply fed by our empty gesture, I guess we shouldn’t be too critical.

COVID-19 Update: Through 9/11/2020 September 12, 2020

Posted by geoff in News.
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We’re sitting at around 760 official deaths/day at this point. Here’s the graph, courtesy of Worldometer.com.

At the peak we were at 2256, and at the low in July we were at 519.

Two Flycatchers September 11, 2020

Posted by Sobek in News.

Willow Flycatcher:

Vermilion Flycatcher:

The Apocalypse Continues… September 11, 2020

Posted by geoff in News.
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2020 is still not done with us. Now it’s killer clouds of mosquitoes:

Clouds of mosquitoes have been so thick in southwest Louisiana since Hurricane Laura that they’re killing cattle and horses.

Farmers in a five-parish area east and northeast of the parishes where the storm made its landfall Aug. 27 have probably lost 300 to 400 cattle, said Dr. Craig Fontenot, a large-animal veterinarian based in Ville Platte.

He said the swarms are so thick that the vast number of bites leave horses and cattle anemic and bleeding under their skins. The animals also become exhausted from constantly moving in an attempt to avoid the biting insects, he said in a phone interview Wednesday with The Associated Press.

It’s time to deep freeze ourselves and wake up 10 years from now.

The Tanking of Scouting September 10, 2020

Posted by geoff in News.

Was looking at the sidebar when Michael’s 2007 post on the wimpification of the Boy Scouts caught my eye (Boy Scouts Celebrate PC 100th World Jamboree). It made me wonder how the Boy Scouts are doing these day, after allowing the participation of:

  • Gay scouts (2013),
  • Gay leaders (2015),
  • Trans scouts (2017), and
  • Girls (2019).

(The last change having been accompanied by a name update to Scouting BSA.)

So I figured I should see check on membership trends, given my fond memories of the traditional (i.e., 70’s) scouting program. Which meant, of course, that some graph plotting was inevitable:

The membership has been divided by the population of the US, so what you see is the percentage of US citizens participating in the scouting programs.

And, as you can see despite the annoying gaps in the data, the scouting program is cratering. The demise has only accelerated since 2012, meaning that all of the changes listed above did not save the organization.

Rather, they appear to have sealed its doom.

What I’m Breathing Today September 7, 2020

Posted by geoff in News.

Y’all have heard the incessant whines of the CA wimps, who apparently are “suffering” from wildfires. Well, we got ’em in Colorado too, and I’ll put our fires up against anybody’s.

This is a view of the sky from my front yard at 12:30 pm (pics taken by my daughter):

…and here is what passes for a sun in these Lovecraftian times:

We had a high of 91°F today, but tomorrow it’ll snow and the high will be 35°F.

End times indeed.

American Goldfinch September 5, 2020

Posted by Sobek in News.
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