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Technical Difficulties.

I was all set to write a witty blog entry about our latest adventures with washing machines when I discovered that something somewhere has changed with my WordPress configuration. I can no longer write images to the blog. This makes me sad.

I’m thinking something has changed on the hosted server so I have opened a trouble ticket. Wish me luck.

Gravel.

A couple of weeks ago I was musing about how great of shape our road was in. Well maintained, smooth, probably too much so because it encouraged folks from the housing developments up the hill to come speeding down well above the 45 MPH speed limit.

Yesterday the county highway department went through, slapped some oil down and put gravel on top of it.

The work crew went by pretty quickly. One minute we had a beautifully smooth road, the next minute we had a bunch of oil and tar flung about with gravel plopped on top. Some folks slowed down to prevent damage to their vehicle, as there was gravel flying around all over the place, but others just barreled on through above the 45 MPH posted speed limit, dust and stones flying everywhere.

The enhancements to our road have covered up any lane markings and I’m sure the county highway department is waiting for things to settle down before painting the yellow and white stripes. You can still eyeball the middle of the road without an issue but folks in this area are too busy looking at their phones, shaving and/or trying to be stylish in their ride to be aware of their surroundings, so folks are now flying down the road hugging the shoulder. The shoulder is no longer discernible from the main roadway because the county just put stone over everything.

Since I’m not riding my bike this year (due to surgery recovery) I’m doing a lot of walking, especially before work and during two short breaks during my work day. I’ve had to jump in the ditch at least a dozen times in the past 24 hours.

I get that we’re rapidly moving into a “every man for himself” mentality in the United States but when I’m driving a vehicle I still have empathy for pedestrians and cyclists, no matter how annoyingly placed on the roadway they may be. As a pilot we must give way to aircraft types that are slower and/or smaller than what we’re flying. I wish the same applied to the rule of the road.

In the meanwhile, I’ll keep leaping into the ditch as a Kardashian wannabe comes flying through the gravel at 60 MPH.

It Just Works, Part 2.

I really miss the days of Steve Jobs at Apple. While Apple is still the leader in the quality of hardware products, their Internet services can be a struggle at times.

I’m trying to manage my Apple ID two-factor authentication settings this morning. The resulting webpage looks like this.

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Sun.

Over the past couple of years solar farms have been appearing across some of the local landscape in our county. They are especially prevalent around the county buildings near the old county airport.

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I’m happy to see this type of growth in our region, as there’s a lot of open space that is being used with this clean energy generation. If Earl and I still lived on the big swath of land we owned back in the early 2000s, I’d probably be pushing for a solar farm of some sort on our land.

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While I kind of understand the community resistance to wind farms, I really don’t see why folks have fits about solar farms. Back when the Paris Accord was signed back in 2005, some of the reasoning as to why solar farms are bad for us were baffling. A retired science teacher in North Carolina was concerned that the solar panels would divert the sun away from vegetation. She claimed the solar panels would retard photosynthesis. The vegetation around the solar farms in this area are thriving. Perhaps she just wanted to throw out the word “photosynthesis” to prove to the town council that she was a scientific genius. She also claimed that no one could tell her that these panels didn’t cause cancer. So much for an open mind.

There have also been claims that the panels will suck all of the energy out of the sun and burn it out. My only response to this, “and these people vote”.

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There are efforts to build solar roadways elsewhere in the world. Basically, pavement would be replaced with solar panels which can also have LED lighting embedded in them. These panels would be wired to cabling in raceways along the roadway, which in turn would be tied into the local power grid. Imagine, all that asphalt replaced with solar panels. How awesome would that be? No more worries about an eyesore in a nearby field!

Rutgers board of gov 20110405 SolarLot

Another great idea is the addition of solar canopies to parking lots. In a previous job, when I would visit an office outside of Dallas, Texas, the biggest complaint from the local folks was that the new company building did not have a parking garage. Their vehicles were sitting outside, baking in the August Texas heat. Imagine if a relatively inexpensive parking lot canopy made of solar panels was installed over the area. Cars in the shade and electric power generation in one swoop. This would even benefit us in the northeast. Snow off the car in the winter while providing electric power for the surrounding area.

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We can have such a bright future if, as a society, we stop clinging to the past of young, fairly ignorant technology and keep moving innovation forward. Both wind and sun are an unlimited source. Being part of the Paris Climate Accord, no matter how “symbolic” it appeared to be, was a positive step in the right direction.

We need to focus on building a brighter, cleaner future. Stagnant thoughts and ideas will never get us anywhere. We have a future to build. As a world, let’s all build that future together.

Truth.

Please take a moment to read the annotations/fact checks against Trump’s speech yesterday when he announced that the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

The man is either a psychopathological liar or he has absolutely no idea of what he is talking about or any grip on reality in the world. He just spews nonsense.

Fact check, people. Fact check.

Trump’s Speech On Paris Climate Agreement Withdrawal, Annotated

h/t to Steve Inskeep from NPR.

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Change.

Setting aside the debate of Climate Change and whether it exists or not, can we all agree that leaving the world a better place than we found it is the right thing to do? As humans, the leaders that share this planet with thousands of other species, shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to sustain our home for as long as possible? Our future is best painted when we find the cleanest, least destructive means of sustenance possible. Borders are a human construct. The planet is bigger than any border. We should be using our leaps in technology to find the best way to grow together. The United States should be leading the world in new technologies to generate clean, non-destructive and energy. Raping and pillaging the planet for resources and leaving destruction behind for future generations to contend with is not the right thing to do.

Enthusiasm.

Earl and I went to our local “Movie Tavern” over the weekend to see “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2”.  The movie was enjoyable and we are looking forward to the next Guardians of the Galaxy cinematic adventure.

Movie Tavern is one of those newfangled movie theaters where everyone has a BarcaLounger, a full service menu is offered and service staff can come and go at any time during the movie, all by request of a low-lit blue button mounted on the tray on the BarcaLounger. The tickets cost a little more and we often make reservations online so that we know where we are going to sit before we get there. For this particular outing we were in the middle of the theatre, three rows from top. Earl sat to my right.

As we were getting settled into the BarcaLoungers and perusing over the menus, we noticed a family coming in to sit to our right. They were dressed in what I would call “grubby Gypsy” clothes. Mom had a lot of afghans and shawls over her skirt. An older gentleman had a scruffy beard, thick glasses and a very dirty baseball cap to go with his grubby clothes. There were a few others in mismatched attire from the mid 1970s Sears Wishbook. Immediately to Earl’s right was a younger girl with long hair who played on her phone every moment prior to any action on the screen. The aforementioned mother was content knitting.

During the previews Earl moved his cup of soda from the cup holder and put it on my tray. Wild movement caught my eye; it seemed that the woman next to him was whipping her hair all over the place. She wasn’t in time with any sort of music. It took me a few moments to realize that she was having a seizure of some sort.

I asked Earl if she was alright. He answered to the affirmative but then answered to the negative when I asked if he wanted to switch seats. The mother in afghans just continued to knit and the man with the ball cap slurped on his drink. Apparently this young lady’s seizure was no big deal.

The thing is, every time there was a bright flash during the movie she went into another seizure. When you’re watching “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2”, there’s a few space battle scenes and every time a laser was fired or a torpedo was launched with great cinematic fanfare, this young woman started flailing in a seizure. Her hair whipped back and forth, her hands went in the air and she thrashed about like she was dancing some she-nay-nay. I didn’t feel bad for her as she clearly wanted to be there, but I felt bad for Earl because he was getting whipped with her long hair from time to time. I was worried that she was going to flip the BarcaLounger, or the food on her table and it was going to end up on Earl’s lap or something.

I firmly believe that anyone, regardless of mental, emotional or medical capability, has the right to enjoy the entertainment of their choice as long as it’s not hurting anyone and aside from Earl getting hair in his cup and his “space” from time to time, this young lady wasn’t hurting anyone during her seizures. However, I couldn’t help but wonder why the rest of the family didn’t locate her in the middle of their entourage, for her safety and for the safety of the other patrons around her. What if the intensity of her seizure had increased during the movie? What if she fell out of her chair?

I shared my BarcaLounger tray with Earl and we survived the ordeal. The seizures continued right up until the last space battle scene. When the credits rolled, the customer in question screamed “I am Groot!” every time the words were seen in the credits. Maybe she thought she was Groot.

I guess I was a little stunned by the family’s lack of consideration for others but again, I’ve never been in their shoes so maybe I would have had the same nonchalant attitude that they had.

I know that I wouldn’t have been knitting.

Liberty.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

In case you don’t recognize it, the quote above is taken from the Declaration of Independence, unanimously signed on July 4, 1776 by the thirteen United States of America.

I bring this up because that first sentence of the quote, “That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, has always resonated loudly with me.

First of all, the Declaration of Independence talks about “their Creator”, not “God”. The use of “their Creator” is religiously ambiguous. And while folks like to translate the Bible, written thousands of years ago, six ways from Sunday, the Declaration of Independence was written only 241 years ago, and we know that these words were written by men, on the North American continent, and they purposely used “their Creator”. Not “God”. There was no religious bias in the Declaration of Independence. Christianity does not have priority over any other religion in this context.

Secondly, the Declaration of Independence recognizes certain unalienable Rights, mainly Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That one is pretty self-explanatory; everyone deserves these rights regardless of who they are. All men are created equal. Again, there’s no bias to religion here, there’s nothing that says “Christian Men”. All men.

It is reported that on Thursday of this week, the National Day of Prayer in the United States (everyday should be a National Day of Prayer with this administration, but I digress), Trump will sign an executive order. This Religious Freedom Executive Order will allow anyone to not serve someone if it runs contrary to their personal religious beliefs. So if you want to buy bacon and the clerk’s religious beliefs hold pork sacred, they can refuse to sell you bacon. If you are on a birth control prescription and the pharmacist is against birth control, they can sell it to you. If you are a gay couple checking into a hotel and the front desk clerk is dead set against gay marriage, they can turn you away and refuse you a room. If your wife is dying from AIDS and the doctor believes, just believes that she contracted AIDS through unsafe sexual practices, which is a sign of the devil in their eyes, that doctor can refuse treatment. If an emergency room attendant believes gay men should be stoned to death, he can turn Earl and I away from seeking treatment for a medical catastrophe because we are a married gay couple.

Shall I continue with all the examples of this Executive Order is dangerous, why it runs contrary to The foundation of the United States of America for nearly 241 years?

Right-wing jackals on the Internet are fond of calling anyone with progressive views a “snowflake”, yet here they are pushing this idiot in the Oval Office for an Executive Order that protects them from being offended by diversity in the world. This is not representative of the Republican Party I know, this is not representative of the centrists I know and it’s certainly not representative of the United States of America I know.

Over the past several months I have seen countless video examples of people losing their minds over some sort of disagreement in public and they’re always screaming “I voted for Trump!” and “This is the United States of America!”, as if it makes them superior in some way over the people around them, or that being an American citizen gives them special privileges over other citizens of the world. It doesn’t. There’s nothing particularly special about the United States, other than the populace seems to have gone batshit crazy over the past year or so, but folks go around spewing their Yankee Doodle Yacking as of it’s the third act of their holy gospel.

This Executive Order is wrong. I’m really hoping that some judiciary influence will rule that like many of Trump’s other Executive Orders, it’s completely unconstitutional, rendering it null and void. The problem is that it will stir up the fringe right-wing lunatics. I fear that at the very least we will continue to see a rise in all the hate action that has been occurring since Trump took office. The last thing we need in this country right now is more hate.

Trump is signing this order for one reason: to keep the Far Right happy so they continue to give him support. Honestly, I don’t think he still possesses the cognitive skills to even know what he’s signing. I think he lost it long ago and that scares me a lot.

Hang on folks, the ride is just going to get bumpier. Let’s hope things don’t completely rattle apart in the process.

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It Just Works.

I’ve just spent the last 15 minutes trying to wake up my MacBook Pro so I could write a blog entry before going to bed. After forcing the computer to power down, turning it back on and going through two black screens of nothingness, I’m here at my blog entry point.

As Steve Jobs always said, “It Just Works”.

Unfortunately, that’s the only thing that is stuck in my mind right now and I have no idea what I was going to blog about.

Why am I reminded of this Apple ad from 2002?

I should not have to restart my computer three times in order to wake it up. Especially since this MacBook Pro is less than a year old and I barely have any third party software installed on it.

I know there are other options out there but they suck worse than Apple. And if they’re not sucking, they’re sucking my data and I don’t want my data sucked for ad opportunities any more than it absolutely have to be, em, sucked.

God, I miss Steve.