Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Tea and Oranges

A penguin, technically a feather day entry, tea cups, probably from China, and oranges. Down by the riverside.

penguin tea time

And that reminds me of a song…

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half-crazy but that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China

When we were all so impossibly young.

Monday, March 27, 2023

News From The Former Motor City

This marketing miracle should be filed under the"We lose a little on every sale, but make it up in volume!" strategy.

Ford's Chief Executive Engineer Linda Zhang unveils the Ford F-150 Lightning on May 19, 2021, in Dearborn, Mich.Ford's Chief Executive Engineer unveils the Ford F-150 Lightning in 2021, in Dearborn, MI

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.'s electric vehicle business has lost $3 billion before taxes during the past two years and will lose a similar amount this year as the company invests heavily in the new technology. – Detroit Free Press

Ford said it plans to be producing 2 million of the e-vehicles by late 2026, at which time it should be profitable. Then again, the world should have succumbed to the perils of global warming and/or climate change by then according to Greta-damus, so it may all be moot.


For many electric vehicles, there is no way to repair or assess even slightly damaged battery packs after accidents, forcing insurance companies to write off cars with few miles - leading to higher premiums and undercutting gains from going electric.

Battery packs can cost tens of thousands of dollars and represent up to 50% of an EV's price tag, often making it uneconomical to replace them.

Lessons of a long life: it seldom pays to be an early adopter.

early adopters

I’ve never aspired to be a laggard before.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

A Cat In The Hatch

Today’s Caturday post is compliments of our own Par for the Course via World of Engineering:

    schrodinger get in box

Please note: that’s German physicist and Nobel laureate Werner Heisenberg - who famously established the Uncertainty Principle – not Walter Heisenberg from Breaking Bad who was certainly unprincipled.

walter heisengberg3

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A Feather Day Morality Play in One Act



In an old abandoned ruin of a hotel, there once lived a flock of birds who had forgotten how to fly.They hopped here and there, eking out a living.

One day out of a broken skylight in the hotel in swooped a huge eagle.
He saw these birds hopping about and said, ” Hey, you are birds. You are supposed to fly. Come, I will teach you”.

And so he taught the birds to fly again.The birds soon soared and swiveled in the atrium of the hotel shrieking with joy.

They were so happy. They had found their true nature.

And so it went for many seasons.

Until one day, the eagle lay his massive body down and died.

The birds were all very sad. They spoke amongst themselves:

What a great eagle he was!
How much he taught us!
How beautiful he was!
How wise he was!
We must never forget him or his words of wisdom.

And so the birds set about writing down all that the eagle had said in a big golden book so they would never forget his wisdom.

And they built a beautiful statue of him so they never forget how magnificent he was.
And they built a temple around the statue so that it would be there forever.
Everyday, they brought flowers to the temple.
They placed fruit at the foot of the statue.
They recited his every word.
Every morning and evening.
They were pleased with their efforts.

And slowly but very surely
They forgot how to fly.

“Remember, they’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you.”

Monday, March 20, 2023

Welcome Spring Equinox

“…every year one day comes, when, although there is no obvious change in the appearance of trees and hedges, the Earth seems to breathe and it is spring.”

Elizabeth Clarke, The Darkening Green

Reflections  (at Snow Camp, North Carolina)Snow Camp Reflections

This year that day is today. I know many of you south of the Mason-Dixon line are already enjoying the warmth of early spring. In Michigan not so much, although it will climb into the lower 50s later this week. Park City is another story. Except for the past few years of drought we’ve always had snow, generally feet of it, come the first day of spring. This year, I understand from my neighbor, it’s more like yards of snow. Not as much as northern California but enough to say confidently the drought is over. The local Global Warmists are alarmed they no longer have the drought around to prove their point; cyclical weather events always eluding their notice.

In other spring news, today is also Oberon Day in Michigan.


It’s the day Kalamazoo’s Bell Brewery releases it’s summer wheat ale, Oberon, back to their lineup to welcome the return of the sun. Wheat beer was originally known as ‘white beer’ in Europe but as we all know that is racist and no longer tolerated.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

An Old Sufi Proverb For Caturday

A traveler asked a teacher, "What is the secret of life?"

The master replied, "The secret of life is to make wise decisions."

The traveler then asked, "How can I make wise decisions?"

To which the master replied,"You will make wise decisions based on your experience."

"How do I gain experience?" the traveler asked.

"Poor decisions."  

2k cat in hose


NOTE: I received a radiant bouquet of posies from the MOTI yesterday but my Verizon Cloud won’t let me download pictures just now; I must not have accumulated adequate social credits yet this month. I will post the glorious pictures as soon as Big Brother sees fit to allow.


Verizon has finally deemed me worthy to access my own Cloud so here is my lovely bouquet that arrived on Friday from the MOTI. It smells like Spring in the valley and is equally delightful to the eye, all blue and lavender set amongst of deep pink roses with splotches of gold double tulips. It perfumes the entire room. Thank you, my pretties, for yet another bunch of extraordinary pretties. They are even lovelier today as the tulips have unfurled to their full majestic glory but I’m not going to temp the Verizon gods to more mischief, so you must use your imagination. Thank you, thank you!


Closeup of the unfurling tulips:





Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Wing Day Special: Three For The Price of One

The Democrat’s guide to solving inflation:

Take one chicken wing. Cut it into 3 pieces.


Now you have 3 times as many wings - so you can afford to pay the new, higher price per pound. If people complain, blame Trump – or White Supremacy. You can now sell the drumettes and wingettes at an increased price to suppliers, who will sell them as overpriced appetizers, donate the wing tips to a soup kitchen and take a tax write-off.

There. Done and dusted.

Screenshot 2023-03-14 at 09-16-06 feather duster - Google SearchA bunch of Yankee doodles sticking another feather in their cap.


PS: Beware the Ides of March

et tu bruteEt Tu, Brute?

Monday, March 13, 2023

What Would You Do For Wisdom? Mutt Day Edition

flying dog

“What I would do for wisdom,”
I cried out as a young man.
Evidently not much. Or so it seems.
Even on walks I follow the dog
. –

Jim Harrison, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry

getty bo the dogNot much, evidently.

But then, who needs wisdom when “you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy…” (h/t Joey Biden).

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Time, Again

Originally posted 3-13-22:


The Doomsday Clock was developed in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a nonprofit founded by Manhattan Project scientists following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The group’s members included Albert Einstein and University of Chicago scientists who helped develop the first atomic bomb  - serious scientists – who wanted a metaphorical way to remind the public of the high stakes involved with nuclear weapons.

All of which makes it difficult to take their current day counterparts seriously.

2022-doomsday-clock-7-1380x776_thumbThe Doomsday Clock remains set at 100 seconds to midnight in 2022, unchanged since 2020.

The current Bulletin of Atomic Scientists is comprised of a batch of Post-Normal steampunk scientists with political agendas in need of advancement. This is how they define themselves:

“The Bulletin is a media organization, posting free articles on its website and publishing a premium digital magazine…The Bulletin focuses on three main areas: nuclear risk, climate change, and disruptive technologies.” 

A media organization? That’s great, you wouldn’t want any real science going on around nuclear weapons of self-destruction. And please note: they’ve added climate change to the mix of things that lead to self annihilation. All that’s missing is a statement on diversity, equity and inclusion…oh wait!

“The Bulletin is committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The profound challenges of our moment cannot be met without increasing the diversity of background and perspective of our organization. Data show that homogenous organizations have blind spots that obscure incoming risks and areas of opportunities. The Bulletin is determined to improve diversity along the lines of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression.”

Doesn’t sound like much serious science going on around here. Confirmation: the President and CEO of the Bulletin of Atomic Science  - that’s responsible for scaring informing us how close to midnight and annihilation we are – is Rachel Bronson.

“(Ms. Bronson) earned a BA in history from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA and PhD in political science from Columbia University.”

Not physics, not math, not chemistry but rather political science: more politics, less science. But I note Ms. Bronson has written many articles about the politics of global energy. Plus she’s appeared on NPR, CNN, PBS, al Jazeera, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart giving her  all the bona fides and gravitas needed to scare inform us of pending global disaster, most likely due to ‘climate change’.

So here’s my advice: forget about the Steampunk Scientists’ Doomsday Clock.

Steampunk-clock-designed-in-the-stylSteampunk clock designed in the style of an Astrolabe featuring wings and dials, cogs and gears

It’s nothing more than political science fiction. The only clock you need to worry about is the one that stole an hour from you last night.


To quote that wise old Indian Native American: “politicians are the only ones who think you can cut an inch off one end of a blanket, sew it on the other and make it longer.”


It’s hard to believe I wrote this last year just 2 weeks before they bored into my brain to confirm what the MRI indicated: metastasized tumors. I no longer perceive time as I once did and will never whine about Daylight Saving Time again, although I pray God lets me live long enough to break that promise.

I’m growing stronger bit by bit, day by day and am most humbly grateful to be here. I will try to post a new open thread Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for awhile and see how it goes.

As always I thank you for your prayers and good thoughts and wish everyone a lovely, peaceful Sunday.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

“Sensitivity Readers” v Little Chocolate Brown Men

“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” – Philip  K. Dick

A society that consistently bows its morals, principles, conventions and rule of law to the will of lunatics, morons and delusional fringe elements with only a marginal grasp on reality cannot last for long.

While I am perhaps the only person who actively dislikes Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, at least the movie version,

Oompa-Lumpas-and-Willy-WonkaBut not because of the politically incorrect little chocolate brown men working there

I will defend to my death the WWII fighter pilot’s right to write it without having it bowdlerized by woke hipsters a generation or two later. Certainly not when the leading advocate for rewriting the author’s popular children stories defines herself itself as “non-binary, asexual, polyamorous relationship anarchist who is on the autism spectrum.” How long, oh Lord, are we expected to bend our will to the word salad of the lunatic fringe?

brains and donutsWith inflation they’re up to 6 bits but still a bargain for the food challenged amongst us

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Power Schtruggles Continue

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected. - G.K. Chesterton

This has been an eventful week: CT scans, echocardiogram, MRI, blood labs, oncologist and then infusion day on Thursday. Thursday, incidentally, started with the loss of power at 4:30 AM, lasted for 3 days and required an unplanned and undesired visit to the nearest Holiday Inn B&B available – which was 30 miles away. We are told the outage was due to a “historic” ice storm here in SE Michigan; historic only if you’re under 5 or have a very bad memory. The only thing historic about it was the extent to which utility companies have been allowed to shirk their most fundamental responsibility of providing adequate, reliable service.

I certainly understand force majeure. But I also understand that when you spend your time chasing the dual unicorns of wind and solar “alternate” power to make your government overlords happy it’s a fool’s errand. What kind of an idiot encourages their customers to use less of their product? So while you look for places to stick more solar cells (in Michigan!?!) and Cervantes windmills while simultaneously decommissioning coal and nuclear power plants you allow the existing infrastructure to rot in place because the alternate energy crap keeps the Public Service Commission off your back.

calvin we still have weather

Funny then how you get more, bigger and longer outages when weather does happen. 

I could rant on for pages, having spent my career working for utilities and energy companies but I won’t, life’s too short. Suffice to say that today’s energy companies have made their deal with their governmental devils in order to maintain as much of their business model as possible.

promised soul devil calvin

The regulatory compact which grants  monopoly access to customers within a geographic territory in exchange for the utility promise to provide reliable, nondiscriminatory power at lowest cost has become a complete farce. Even where unbundling and deregulation took place before ENRON’s demise brought it to a screeching halt the benefits haven’t been realized. If anything, government regulators and energy company providers and distributors symbiotic relationship has grown tighter and more nefarious. Along with everything else that’s wrong with the world today add the regulation of utilities.

But I digress, I was going to give you an update on my health. Obviously my eyes are getting better, for which I am so grateful you can’t even know and I can’t thank you often enough for your prayers. My scans and echocardiogram were all ok but my brain MRI was “inconclusive” so I’ve been referred to a neuro-oncologist for further evaluation. Your prayers have proved positive in the past and I will appreciate them ongoing as the schtruggle  continues.

calvin-aliens-claim-earth.fixer upper

Earth: a global warming “fixer-upper”

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Caturday Reflections

The more things change…

The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Black History month edition:

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. – Martin Luther King  (1929-1968)

Caturday edition:

Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods. - Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

cat rosette window

NOTE: My eyes are slowly improving as the steroid treatment continues, enough so that I can fully appreciate the beautiful flowers that arrived yesterday with love from the MOTI. As ever I can’t thank you enough for the joy, beauty, scent and love they bring with them. This arrangement includes bells of Ireland, saucer sized pink Japanese peonies and nearly as large vibrant yellow roses.


Add a cat and you would have absolute perfection.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Happy St. Valentine’s Day To One and All

happy valentines day picture (2)

A few random thoughts compiled from St. Valentine’s Day posts past:

Is Valentine’s Day not the best made-up holiday ever? It’s a fake holiday for lovers: lovers of flowers, chocolates, sweets, puppies…no matter who,

                valentine kitty cattumblr_njouwa2AGe1snd510o1_1280valentine heart dog nose

or what, you love there’s something for everyone.


valentine rosesroses are red

Just remember: Valentine’s Day is both an exhibition AND a competition. There’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.

boozy chocolate

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

February: A New Month


im ok

So…retina specialist yesterday. My ophthalmologist initially diagnosed my blurry vision as posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), creating large floaters. As it turned out that much is true - but likely the result of, not the source of, the problem. Long story as short as I can make it: one of the immuno-therapies I was using (Keytruda), while doing a good job of keeping the cancer at bay, began to attack healthy tissue: my eyes

My sight grew worse week by week so I kept returning, at the behest of my oncology team, to return to the ophthalmologist. When I could no longer read anything on the eye chart further checking ensued. It revealed rather severe uveitis – general eye inflammation - and the Doc put me on steroid drops multiple times a day and consulted with my oncologist as he now suspected Keytruda was the culprit. Next visit still inflamed so he did a retinal scan and found they too were significantly inflamed and added a NSAID drop along with the steroid. At this point Raj, who had been consulting with an ophthalmologist friend (whom some of you may know) for weeks, insisted on a referral to a retina specialist, who I saw on yesterday.

She found I still have uveitis, retina inflammation and also blood vessel inflammation but saw significantly improvement since my first scan and she was optimistic about reversing the situation . I ith the continuation of steroid treatment. I was expecting to need steroid shots in the eye but she feels I was responding well to the topicals and recommended staying the course for another month and see if the situation continues to improve.

My vision has improved a bit, but as both docs told me it will take awhile as it didn’t happen overnight. Yes, I know. I’ve been complaining of blurry vision since early September when the initial diagnosis of  PVD was made.  In a perfect world it would have been diagnosed then, the Keytruda link made and the infusions stopped earlier to avoid more damage. But who knows, maybe the drug did more good than bad in the intervening months and continuing it was best in the long run. I realize I’m putting my rose colored glasses on but like I said, who knows?


Besides, I have bigger fish to fry.

No news on the cancer front just now but I have another round of tests: echocardiogram, brain MRI and body scans, scheduled in a couple of weeks and we’ll take it from there. I still have balance issues and very low energy but am working on that. I thank God that my sight is beginning to improve a bit even though I have a long way to go. It had gotten to the point that I could no longer read even headline sized text  and the rest of the world was just a blur. So I’m grateful for every little improvement, which feels momentous .

I am  most grateful to everyone who has said a prayer and/or sent good thoughts and positive energy my way. You’re keeping me afloat and I’m sorry I can do so little in return other than to say thank you.

calvin hobbes if things last forever appreciateYou don’t appreciate your sight until it’s no longer there


Sunday, January 29, 2023


nothinggold.via gerard

Another great  man with talent on loan from God has passed:

Gerard Van der Leun: December 26, 1945 – January 27, 2023

a gerard andthestranger_copy

A writer of wonderful insight and talent, a poet of penetrating and reverberating verses, story teller of innumerable ‘walking around’ stories and lover of ephemera, the arcane and kinky. How one man found the time to do so much internet cruising, digging, writing and posting I’ve never been able to understand but admired greatly.  

Many of you probably have already heard about Gerard’s death by now, the rest of you have a treasure trove of archival materials to go through as Gerard had been manning his blog for 20 plus years, starting around 9/11, I believe. Many of his pieces are priceless, timeless gems that he just freely cast out there for our enjoyment. I suspect many of us will continue to enjoy them time and time again.

Gerard was a writer’s writer, a poet’s poet, a yarn weaver’s woof and warp: and a very fine man. His integrity stands out so obviously in an age that  seems to put little value on it any more, especially in the public space.

I’ve had Raj help me collect and assemble a few of our fond memories of Gerard. It’s all I know to do. He will be so missed by so many.

Gerard was something of an unofficial mentor to me. He found my little blog in 2009 and awarded me his “Bestest New Blog of the Week”  causing a yuge boost in daily visitors. Of course I didn’t have  many at the time so quadrupling it was pretty easy but it gave me the encouragement to continue. I of course thanked him profusely and explained I was most appreciative as I was but a very small blog with a dream. He assured me “it’s not the size of your quiver, but what you’ve got it it.”

In the summer of 2010, Gerard was named Editor In Chief of the then new and exciting RIGHTNETWORK. Soon after, I received an email from Gerard asking “What sort of traffic are you seeing these days?” Curious, I responded that we're pretty tiny and we have no marketing skill in our joint portfolio. His response was “I am working on a fiendish plan. Details later. Thanks for the numbers. And remember "It's not the size of the wand. It's the magic that's in it." I imagine he had a slew of these encouraging adages that he used to lift sagging spirits. It was quite effective.

Of course RIGHTNETWORK was short lived as some of the financial backers (like Kelsey Grammer) got cold feet in the increasingly bifurcated political environment. Unfortunately my Sundance movie reviews that were to run there never came to fruition other than on my blog. But I remember when Gerard and I were discussing them I wanted to make sure he understood that I didn’t actually screen all of the movies I planned to provide reviews for. His response was classic Gerard: “What kind of a journalist would you be if you actually had to see the work you were critiquing?”

I will miss Gerard terribly.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

Moonrise at the Beach - Sam Vokey

Side Note: My eyes are no better so I thank Raj for actually compiling this post for me. I do however finally have a diagnosis and an appointment with a retina specialist a week from tomorrow. Will provide further health updates  next week.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Open Thread 1/23/23

what you see

Alas, I currently cannot see much of anything at all so carry on in my stead.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Open Thread Bouquet




The day after my infusion someone rang my door bell and hander Raj this unbelievable, lovely flower arrangement.

It made me smile!

I can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for me; prayers, cards, letters, emails and flowers. My vision has gotten so bad that the spider web of floaters blocks even my yuge 27” monitor, so Raj has to read and type for me.

Stay prayerful and carry on…

ps: I think the purple-blue flowers are anemones if anyone is curious.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Sunday Open Thread

Open Thread:

little sparrrow window snow

Have at it.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year 2023

Given the state of my eyes I can’t really post anything new but I have assembled a few excerpts from previous New Years’ posts which are mostly still relevant.

From revelry:

To those who made it to midnight on purpose to usher in the  new year I salute you. To those who were forced to make it till midnight by merrymakers in your neighborhood ushering in the new year, I sympathize. And to those who were awakened from a sound sleep by neighborhood merrymakers ushering in the new year, I empathize.

to predictions, 

I’m not making any more predictions because I just realized they’d be mostly pessimistic which somehow doesn’t seem appropriate for a New Year post. I’m still optimistic about some things but at my age it takes infinitely more effort to convince myself that logic and circumstance warrant such irrational exuberance. So I tend to conserve my optimism these days for really important stuff, like saving the world. [Relevant current article]

and resolutions:



Happy New Year everyone! We’ve made it through one Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year.

I don’t know what year that last excerpt was from but I must say, it  applies to 2022 as well.

When my eyesight improves I might just muster enough energy to make a couple of casual promises to myself.

Until then I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year.

one of us