Humor

September 23, 2016

barakOn NPR the other day President Barack Obama was doing standup comedy at the White House ceremony for National Medals of the Arts and Humanities recipients.  http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/obama-arts-humanities-medals-morgan-freeman-terry-gross-228536

hillary
I thought how humorless our two presidential candidates are, but then I remembered Hillary on SNL and Donald on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:
http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/hillary-clinton-bar-talk/2916002


donaldhttp://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/donald-trump-interviews-himself-in-the-mirror/2905019

Netflix

I still do not have a working television (since 2006, when I moved to North Carolina and the cable connection was ripped from the back of my old TV), and have subsisted on NPR for the news and DVDs from the library, Netflix, and for those oldies but goodies, Casa Video for entertainment.  Have I missed TV?  Nope.  But when I moved to my present abode I gave the old behemoth (which may have been my mother’s) to my handyman as it was so old that all of the places I called to donate it said nope.  My daughter lent me one of her spare flat screen TVs, which she had thought was smart (and therefore could connect to my WiFi).  But it wasn’t.  So I continue without TV, but with the addition of an Amazon Fire TV Stick, so I can share my son’s Netflix streaming.

I watch the Gray’s Anatomy soap opera with blood, have tried Orange Is the New Black, but didn’t like it, and recently have tried a few of the newer programs that I read about in the NY Times,  Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Stranger Things.  Love this Stephen Colbert spoof of Stranger Things: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/09/14/stranger-things-stephen-colbert and another with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/09/01/stranger-things-barb-kids-tonight-show.  Tried American Crime too, but didn’t like that.  Guess I’m too picky.game-2

Would prefer Outlander, but that’s on Starz, and Game of Thrones, but that’s HBO (but can get it from Netflix DVD well after the season is over – releases November 2016).  Those have totally awesome settings: Northern Ireland, Malta, Dubrovnik in Croatia, Morocco and more for Game of Thrones (three shown above), and, for Outlander, 15game-3 game-1locations outlander-1outlander-3in Scotland, and more in Prague and England, doubling for Paris and Versailles (two shown here)

 

 

game-8game-6

game-5Plus those outfits!  A few here from Game of Thrones.


game-9

I think Daenerys Targaryen – Mother of Dragons, with platinum hair – has the best outfits (above left), but her (first) husband, Khal Drogo, had the best makeup.  Some fans really get into it:

‘I turned myself into a Game of Thrones star – now women keep proposing marriage’: Ordinary Joe put on 10lbs of pure muscle to become real-life Khal Drago – and even speaks his LANGUAGE!
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2555818/I-turned-Game-Thrones-star-women-proposing-marriage-Ordinary-Joe-10lbs-pure-muscle-real-life-Khal-Drago-speaks-LANGUAGE.html

outlander-6

 

And a few from Outlander.  Yes, those are supposed to be pierced nipples, on Louis XV’s mistress, Madame Nesle de la Tourelle (bottom left).  Read the text:
http://themuse.jezebel.com/outlander-well-lets-talk-about-those-nipple-piercings-1771565028

outlander-5Outlander Season 2 2016

A Chimp

September 19, 2016

SYDNEY, NSW - JULY 14: A Chimpanzee jumps at a glass screen as primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall holds a press conference at Taronga Zoo July 14, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. Dr Goodall visited the zoo to raise awareness of the plight of wild Chimpanzees. The zoo's colony of Chimps includes several family groups, and three of the oldest Chimpanzees in zoos. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)Dr. Jane Goodall held a press conference at Taronga Zoo July 14, 2006 in Sydney, Australia.  (This was on NPR today.  Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

Donald Trump’s antics remind famed anthropologist Jane Goodall of the primates she spent decades studying in the wild.

“In many ways the performances of Donald Trump remind me of male chimpanzees and their dominance rituals,” Goodall told The Atlantic. “In order to impress rivals, males seeking to rise in the dominance hierarchy perform spectacular displays: stamping, slapping the ground, dragging branches, throwing rocks.”

Goodall added, “the more vigorous and imaginative the display, the faster the individual is likely to rise in the hierarchy, and the longer he is likely to maintain that position.”

the-donaldA friend of mine had posted this on her Facebook page:

 

Entomologando

A friend of mine posted this video on her Facebook page. What a great website!bug
https://www.facebook.com/entomologando/videos/1363242347038096/

Reminds me of a U of A Humanities Seminars class I took entitled What’s Bugging You: Insects and Culture.1

Oro Valley

My brother shall be visiting and he’s flying into the Phoenix airport. I was looking for a possible van to bring him here, and on tripadvisor.com found this question:

I am actually staying in PHX, but may make it to Oro Valley to purchase something. Is it an Indian Reservation?

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/entomophagy/

Labor Day 2016

September 11, 2016

My daughter’s family and I were going to have a picnic on the back of Mt. Lemmon, at the Peppersauce Canyon picnic grounds.  The elevation is 4,000 feet, so this northeastern corner of the Santa Catalina greenMountains is definitely an escape from 100-degree heat, even without the forest. Beautiful sycamore trees (18 feet and more in circumference and up to 40 feet tall!1) there, with lots of shade.

But my youngest grandson was sick (germs from the jumping castle at the birthday party he went to yesterday?), with grey circles under his eyes, so he slept all day, we had our picnic lunch inside at my daughter’s, as the high was 102°, then spent the day in the pool, peppersauce-entrancealthough the water was “chilly” (below 80°).

When my children were young,  we went to Peppersauce Cave, a mile and a half up the road from the camp. It is just upstream from a stone bridge and has its own dramatic appeal1. The cave is not lovely, like Colossal Cave, which is beautiful.  (I would highly recommend it.)  You have to crawl through a small opening (photo from the Net, with opening circled in red), and the cave is pitch black, and muddy.  No marvelous looking stalactites and stalagmites, just mud and rooms to explore.  The kids loved it, but we had to have a change of clothes to get back into the car afterwards.

Next Day

Hurricane Newton was supposed to sweep up from Mexico with 75 mph winds and two months of rain in hours.  Not a drop.  But dark clouds billowed in from the west, covered the sky, and ate the mountains.  Nothing past the flat landscape of low trees but grey.  If it had been green you’d have thought that a movie was being made and the background hadn’t been added in yet.  Then a cliff poked out from the clouds and you realized, the mountains are BIG!

The view cut off reminded me of staying in an apartment my brother had rented in San Francisco, before he had a wife and kids.  It was on the second floor, and the windows looked out to a ventilation shaft, with facing windows about six feet away; most rain didn’t even penetrate.  You had no idea what the weather was like (this way before cell phones), and SF’s weather varies greatly from day to day.  So I had to run downstairs and out the front door to see if the sun were shining or if it was cold.

Day After That

Early morning (4 am?) I woke to the light patter of rain on the skylights.  Most of the day there was a mist we used to call Hawaiian mist (in Hawaii), or light rain, more like Michigan than our summer monsoons.  Good for our plants, which need daily watering in our hot, hot, hot weather, but not lasting in the sand this housing development is built upon.  (If I had been planting the garden, I’d have dug huge holes in the sand and filled them with topsoil before planting.)

My Desert

Antelope-squirrelA chipmunk in my yard this morning, but we call them Harris’s antelope squirrels.  Rarely see one in Tucson.  He was cornered (and really cute), so I had to herd him out under the gate (which may be how he got in).  I, of course, didn’t think first to grab my camera.  The photo and this from the Desert Museum’s web site2:

  • It is not unusual to see these squirrels in a plant such as barrel cactus eating the fruit. It is not know how they avoid the sharp spines of the cactus.
  • These squirrels practice what is known as “heat dumping“. When their body temperature reaches its upper limits they will get into a cool shady spot and lay down spread-eagle with their belly pressed against the cool ground. This releases the heat from its body to help cool the animal down.

1http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue/2007/07/16/57157-it-s-cool-shady-in-peppersauce-canyon/
2https://www.desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Harris’s%20Antelope%20ground%20Squirrel.php

2 September 2016

September 2, 2016

LOL

Recent obituary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68…

(I verified it: http://www.snopes.com/obituary-trump-clinton/.  It also mentioned  the obituary for Katherine Michael Hinds said that “in lieu of flowers, do not vote for Donald Trump.”)

My Desert

Two days ago we had a terrific storm, lots of rain and wind.  ‘Course, this lasted maybe 20 or 30 minutes, but knocked out two of the stoplights on Oracle.  However, when I got to the college, no storm.  (When the weather person says 30% chance of rain, I figure that 30% of the city shall get rain.)

Yesterday there were myriads of clouds north of here, and two partial rainbows, one over the Catalinas, another among the clouds, which would make it hard to find that pot of gold, unless you’re a skydiver.  Unfortunately, no rain hit here.  But it was “cool” – 94°, until you read the small print – feels like 105°.  The humidity keeps your skin from feeling that every droplet of moisture is being sucked from it, but we Tucsonians aren’t used to sweating…

This morning I saw one rabbit, a few quail, some doves, and goldfinches on the birdfeeder as I had filled it again with Niger thistle seeds.  Plus a loud squawk, almost like a duck.  It was a raven on the neighbor’s roof.  (Nice video of a raven’s call, if you can get past the annoying commercial:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDv_PlrBg14.)  The right side of the screen advertised a video on the difference between crows and ravens, and it was interesting too.  (My cat watched it for a few minutes, attracted to the bird “song”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9-wTnqIidY.)

Many years ago I had taken a (motorized) raft trip down the Grand Canyon.  Each day, for lunch, we would stop at a sandbar, guarded by a pair of ravens (who are believed to mate for life).  We made our own sandwiches, sans plates or paper napkins, and balanced the potato chips on top.  I believe that the soda or beer, which had stayed cold by being kept in a mesh bag, dragged behind the raft as water temperatures in the Colorado River average 50° year round, was in recyclable cans.  We returned the cans at the end of our lunch.  After we had boarded our rafts to continue our adventure, even before we pulled away, the ravens descended upon the sandbar to find any crumbs that we might have dropped.  Obviously, the sandbars were immaculate.  Each sandbar was “owned” by a pair of these intelligent birds, although not a one voiced Nevermore.

Last week, still August, PetSmart had their Halloween costumes out.  (Yes, costumes for your dog or cat.)  I really do dislike the holiday creep.

Insomnia 

Having trouble getting to sleep at night? I have a new sedative that a friend recommended: Middlemarch, by George Eliot.  A page and a half and I’m out.

Spike Jonze

A friend had posted this on her Facebook page:
http://nofilmschool.com/2016/08/watch-spike-jonze-kenzo-commercial and my brother mentioned: Spike Jonze is kind of well known for his ‘musicals’ — check out his Bjork video from the 90’s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEC4nZ-yga8&list=PLH3U5LaE2-0YETfe5BFkOeZCcfZeeWy-9.  Enjoy.

Good News, Bad News

August 30, 2016

Well, this isn’t news, just two items that made me laugh.  First, the one paragraph in the book that I just finished (The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson, which I discussed in my last blog) that made me laugh out loud:

Years ago, when my wife and I were just dating, she took me on a day trip to the seaside at Brighton. It was my first exposure to the British at play in a marine environment. It was a fairly warm day — I remember the sun came out for whole moments at a time — and large numbers of people were in the sea. They were shrieking with what I took to be pleasure, but now realize was agony. Naively, I pulled off my T-shirt and sprinted into the water. It was like running into liquid nitrogen. It was the only time in my life in which I have moved like someone does when a piece of film is reversed. I dived into the water and then straight back out again, backwards, and have never gone into an English sea again. 

Then this video, which was mentioned on NPR yesterday, Web Site Story:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtPb8g8Jl6I

Bad News

Last week got my Sierra Club magazine.  A lot of gloom and doom –

  • If Trump is elected he will bring back coal, its pollution and greenhouse gases.
  • Kids today spend four to seven minutes outdoors playing each day and up to seven hours staring at a screen.
  • IMG_6503[1]We should stop using plastic.  (There has been a plastic bag stuck high in a mesquite tree in the desert behind my house, too high for me to retrieve it, kinda a portent for the future.)
  • 44% of honeybee colonies were lost between April 2015 and April 2016, probably due to neonicotinoid pesticides.
  • A Maasai man in Kenya said that the young Maasi children grow up now without ever hearing a lion roar at night.  (Photo of me next to our Maasi guide in Tanzania at the bottom of a blog1.)
  • Coral reefs are bleaching in the equatorial Pacific, including as much as half of the Great Barrier Reef.  (Guess I should see it before it’s gone.)

And so on and so on.  Regarding the last four items, who can dispute that there are too many people in the world?  If each couple had only two children we could stop the insane overpopulation.  If I were a god, that is what I would dictate.  But none of our gods micromanage, so we must do it on our own.  How?  (I’ve already written about this in a blog2.)

Our growth is not healthy.  Governments want growth, but what we have is more like a cancer, enlarging itself and killing its host.

Everyone should read about the Tragedy of the Commons. (The concept and name originate in an essay written in 1833 by the Victorian economist William Forster Lloyd...  The concept became widely known over a century later due to an article written by the ecologist Garrett Hardin in 1968.3)  This from the Web, re Hardin4:

1. The world is biophysically finite.

  • The more people there are, the less each person’s share must be.
  • Technology (ie, agricultural) cannot fundamentally alter this.
  • We can’t both maximize the number of people and satisfy every desire or “good” of everyone.
  • Practically, biophysical limits dictate we must both stabilize population, and make hard choices about which “goods” are to be sought.
  • Both steps will generate opposition, since many people will have to relinquish something.

2. Over-population is an example of the tragedy of the commons (ToC).

  • Commons are un-owned or commonly-held “pool” resources that are “free,” or not allocated by markets.
  • Hardin’s ToC model assumes that individuals are short-term, self-interested “rational” actors, seeking to maximize their own gains.
  • Such actors will exploit commons (have more babies, add more cattle to pastures, pollute the air) as long as they believe the costs to them individually are less than the benefits.
  • The system of welfare insulates individuals from bearing the full costs of over-reproducing.
  • When every individual believes and behaves in this manner, commons are quickly filled, degraded, and ruined along with their erst-while exploiters.
  • A laissez-faire system (letting individuals choose as they like) will not “as if by an invisible hand” solve over-population.

3. The “commons” system for breeding must be abandoned (as it has been for other resources).

  • In other words, something must restrain individual reproduction. . .
  • but it must not be individual conscience; appealing to conscience will only result in fewer people with conscience in the population (assuming here that it is genetic, or perfectly transmitted by learning).
  • It should be accomplished by “mutual coercion mutually agreed upon.”
  • Sacrificing freedom to breed will obtain for us other more important freedoms which will otherwise be lost.
  • “Coercive” restrictions on breeding could take a number of forms.
  • The “right” to determine the size of one’s family must be rescinded.
  • This will protect the conscientious traits in the population.

4. The problem is then to gain peoples’ consent to a system of coercion.

  • People will consent if they understand the dire consequences of letting the population growth rate be set only by individuals’ choices.
  • Educating all people about the ToC, its consequences, and the alternatives to it, is necessary.
  • Then various restraints and incentives for low reproduction can and must be instituted.

This is one of my rants (in addition to ZPG).  I wrote about it in 2010, at the bottom of this blog:
https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/the-state-of-the-union-address/

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/birds/
2https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/world-population-day/
3https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
4http://faculty.wwu.edu/gmyers/esssa/Hardin.html

The Oro Valley Desert & Readings

August 27, 2016

The Desert

I loved to watch the wildlife at my last house – the deer, raccoon, javelinas, bobcats, rabbits (cottontail and jackrabbit), and all of the birds (especially the roadrunners and hawks).

There is a hill of desert behind the house I’m renting.  Because it is separated from the rest of the desert, typical of developers, (unless a creature, scarab_beetleusually a coyote, dares to cross the ring road around the subdivision), I can see only a few rabbits, cactus wrens (in the prickly pear, eating not the fruit, but the bugs after the fruit), doves, quail, and goldfinches.  And ants – lots of ants.  Also, recently the beautiful emerald green scarab beetles (also, according to Wikipedia, known as the figeater beetle, whose habitat is primarily the southwestern United States and Mexico).  Their photo.

“My” dove (see her photo in this blog: https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/pause/) raised one chick and both of them left.  (Not sure if there was a father around – sometimes the nest was not being tended.)  Lazy, I didn’t get rid of the nest on the back patio beam.  A week later, the dove returned, laid one more egg, and raised one more chick.  They are gone now.  Reminds me of friends who had one daughter.  When she went off to college, being empty nesters, they thought it was the right moment for the second child. As she said: One morning woke up and realized it is now or never and voila!  (Kids are 18 years apart.)

Our monsoon rains have brought out flowers on the barrel cactus and many fruit on the prickly pear cactus (called tuna in Spanish).

IMG_6493 IMG_6495

IMG_6502[1]Here is a photo of insect eggs, yellow and gold, laid neatly in lines on my bedroom window.  (Okay, I didn’t work hard enough to get their color – it was too bright outside.)  Each is approximately 2mm long.  I googled insect eggs and found no match, but all of these gorgeous others.

insect-eggs-2insect-eggs-1

insect-eggs-3insect-eggs-5 insect-eggs-4

Reading

Just read The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty.  In 1972 it won her a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was a nice novel, but I didn’t think that it came up to the quality of The Orphan Master’s Son, Olive Kitteridge, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, or other winners that I have read.  (But 1972 was when Marcus Welby, M.D, and My Three Sons were popular on TV.)

I am presently reading The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain. Bill Bryson married an English woman and now resides there and writes.  This book is a walking tour through Britain (with humour  and many snarky remarks).  I last visited the British Isles, approximately 25 years ago, when my children were young.  For the month-long vacation I had rented four cottages, two in England, one in Wales, one in Scotland (to see Blair Castle, but that’s another story), each for one week.  I remember being surprised that there was a footpath going right past the front garden of our Welsh cottage.  That’s when I learned that Britain has 140,000 miles of footpaths all across the island. 

Can’t imagine our Agro-Giants allowing people to walk through their crops in the US.  Plus, I checked, and Britain is about 57% the size of California.  I googled people who have walked across the United States, and there have been 19 recorded from 1896 to 2015.  A few more have bicycled; a young woman who I worked with in FEMA did it.  She had a hard time getting in enough training beforehand as we were working 60-hour weeks after Hurricane Katrina, and the storm had decimated most of the roads.  Also, my nephew rode across country back in his college days.  If I know two people who have done it, there must be hundreds.

But the walking tour brought to mind the walk a friend had taken with another, from Tucson to Nogales, approximately 70 miles (back when we were all younger).  Unfortunately, most of the way they walked next to a highway, breathing in the particulate matter and many noxious gases.  Their wives met them in Nogales for dinner.  (Google said that it should take 23 hours, 45 minutes for that walk, but I think they did it in half of that time.)  Believe that was the end of his long treks.

 

Pain in Tucson

August 25, 2016

waspTucson made last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, not once but twice, and both articles about pain.

The first: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/21/magazine/21diagnosis.html

The second: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/magazine/the-connoisseur-of-pain.html

Justin Schmidt with a live tarantula-hawk wasp (Pain Level 4). Photo: Robert Clark for The New York Times.

pain-index

August 2016

August 12, 2016

Seen today

A man riding a horse down the sidewalk next to La Cañada this morning.  (Note: the tilde does not show on the street sign or maps, so the voice for google maps, not knowing it’s a Spanish word, pronounces it like the country to our north.)  Just now (4:40), two coyotes trotting down the road that rings my subdivision.

Rio Olympics

katie-ledecky-swimmingAren’t the Olympics great?  Something to hear about on the news other than the Election!  Here’s just USA golds, so far…

Swimmers: Michael Phelps with his four gold metals, Katie Ledecky with three golds and a silver (great article on her in the Sunday NY Times Magazine two weeks ago, before the Olympics had even started1– check out this photo of her – she’s been compared to SecretariatSecretariat), Ryan Murphy (Backstroke) with two golds, and Simone Manuel (Freestyle) and Lilly King (Breaststroke) with a gold each.  Plus Michael Phelps, Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held and Nathan Adrian with two golds in Freestyle Relay and Allison Schmitt, Leah Smith, Maya DiRado and Katie Ledecky with one gold for Freestyle Relay.

Simone BilesThen there’s our Women’s Gymnastics team (Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman) with its all-around gold and Simone Biles (who the Times calls perhaps the best female gymnast in history – her vault was awesome to watch) with two golds. (Photographs by Jeremy White; composite image by Sergio Peçanha and Jon Huang, seen in the NY Times.)

The U.S. men's and women's basketball teams will reportedly stay on the Silver Cloud cruise ship rather than the Athletes' Village during the Olympic Games that start in Rio de Janeiro on Friday. The cruise ship is shown here on Monday at Rio's Maua PierContinue with Kayla Harrison (Judo), Kristin Armstrong (Cycling) and Virginia Thrasher (Air Rifle) with one gold each.  Let’s hear it for the women of the USA!

Will Team USA, the men’s and women’s basketball teams (housed on a cruise ship!) earn their golds?  Keep watching…

1http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/07/31/magazine/rio-olympics-issue.html#/katie-ledecky-olympics-rio-the-phenom

The Horse Race

July 8, 2016

Our election

This is a very scary scenario about one of the people we have running for president.  I couldn’t even watch it to the end.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qIQbydyHwc

This is for the people who want to vote for him:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lamonte-m-fowler/read-this-before-you-taking-back-america_b_9348420.html

Australia’s election

Australia’s election was held 5 days ago (when I started writing this yesterday) and they still only have 80% of the votes counted.  But what else I find incredible is that their federal election was held on Saturday 2 July 2016 to elect all 226 members of the 45th Parliament of Australia, after an extended eight-week official campaign period. Imagine how marvelous that would be.  Only two months of blather.  I turn off the news whenever they start talking about politics now. Used to be just who was winning on the latest polls, now it all of the horrible things the front runners have said and done. I can’t even stand to read the in-depth articles in the NY Times Magazine.

Speaking of which, was astounded to read the only article in last Sunday’s Times on the Australia’s election, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/world/australia/losses-for-government-in-australia-election-could-threaten-its-majority.html?_r=0 and it was all the Horse Race statistics, no issues.  Had to google for issues: The economy, Health, Families, Education, Environment (Climate change! Renewable energy! Forests! Great Barrier Reef!), NBN (Australia’s new broadband network), Rural and regional affairs, Workplace relations1.  Imagine not arguing about guns2 or immigrants or a wall with Mexico (remember when the Berlin Wall came down?).

Brexit

(These two countries have piqued my interest since meeting Aussies and Brits on my vacation.) Here are the comments from one of the Brits on Brexit:

What can I say? I believe there is only one word – a “shambles”!  What a mess! The divisions between people are enormous – our children are looking at job transfers out of the country. Poor things – it will come good – eventually, but not before we’re six foot under & they’ve got to live with the bigoted views of some of the older generation.  The young that did vote were vehemently anti-Brexit. I believe the whole campaign was badly handled & only glad I was out of the country for 3 weeks of it! Wondering where to go hide now!!

And another friend said to read this: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/brexit-and-trump-when-fear-triumphs-over-evidence/

Our Wild West

A black man (with a concealed carry permit), driving with his girlfriend, was stopped for a broken tail light in Minnesota, and was shot multiple times when he reached for his wallet to show his license. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana a black man protestwas repeatedly shot by police officers after he was pinned to the ground. Because of this there was a peaceful demonstration against violence in Dallas, and a sniper, a black Afghanistan veteran, killed five white policemen and injured seven others, so the police sent in a robot with a bomb and blew him up.  (Photo from the New York Times: People rallied in Dallas to protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Laura Buckman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

policeWhat can I say.  Between 2000 and 2011, 4,518 people in the US have been killed by police officers.3 According to Wikipedia,

Police in Great Britain… are not routinely armed. Fatal shootings of police are extremely rare; there were three in England and Wales in the eleven-year period from 2000/01 to 2010/11.

Yes, Britain has only 20% of the population of the US, but 20% of 4,518 is 915, not 3.  Or to reverse that, 5 times 3 is 15, not 4,518!(Second photo also from the New York Times: Dallas police officers responded after shots were fired during a protest on Thursday. Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News, via Associated Press)

1http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-13/election-2016-policy-big-issues/7387588
2A person [in Australia] who wants to possess or use a firearm must have a firearm licence. Licence holders must be at least 18 years of age, have a “genuine reason” for holding a firearm licence and must not be a “prohibited person”. All firearms in Australia must be registered by serial number to the owner, who holds a firearms licence, except that firearms manufactured before 1 January 1901 may not need to be registered in some states. The firearm owner must have secure storage for the firearm. Firearms dealers must be over 21 years of age and hold a dealer’s licence, and dealers’ employees must be vetted by the police. “Prohibited persons” cannot be employed by dealers. Besides other requirements, dealers must ensure that the purchaser of a firearm holds a firearm licence, must maintain a register and must notify police of each transaction. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Australia

worldmap-upsidedown
3http://masscopblock.org/how-many-people-have-been-killed-by-the-police/

Fourth of July in Oro Valley

July 5, 2016

Last night Oro Valley (just north of Tucson) had a July 4th celebration at a park next to the high school which included many food vendors, live music, bouncing castles and a climbing wall for the kids, and fireworks provided by the Hilton El Conquistador Resort at 9pm. We (my daughter and husband and their three kids and me) got there about 6:30 for pizza for the kids and BBQ for the adults, except I decided to try Venezuelan food – carne Arepamechada (Venezuelan shredded beef) arepa and a malta.

The Arepa is a staple of Venezuelan cuisine, and often compared to a taco.  However, there are a few key differences between the two that make the arepa stand out as the tastier option. The shell is a soft dough made from soaked, ground kernels of corn maize, which is placed on the griddle, giving the arepa its signature grill lines. It’s then filled with a variety of ingredients ranging from meat to veggies, cheese, and sauce.
http://www.businessinsider.com/arepa-venezuelan-food-2015-12

Malta is a lightly carbonated non-alcoholic malt beverage, brewed from barley, hops, and water much like beer; corn and caramel color may also be added.

jenga 2The park was packed (500?  800? more?) with a nice melange of people – white, black, Hispanic, Asian, little kids to seniors, two guys in wheelchairs, at least half of the people wearing red, white, and blue.  A black kid with a mohawk, a woman with half of her hair purple, a couple of little girls in special flag dresses, many adult in the fashionable torn jeans with T-shirts, two crying kids talking to a female police officer who was reassuring them that she’d find their mother. Baseball caps being worn frontwards and backwards, firemen giving little kids red plastic fire fighter’s helmets. A couple of Asian women speaking Chinese, a mixed group of young kids playing a four-foot jenga (hadn’t brought my camera – this from the internet to give you an idea – the kids in the park were playing on grass).

After the two jumping castles and the climbing wall and the stringing of two patriotic necklaces (the face-painting line was way too long), we set up our blanket and fold-up camp chairs next to the family of a friend of my youngest grandchild, who we ran into.  Bought rather expensive icies as it was still hot even with the sun going down, listened to the bands, the singing of the national anthem, and then the lights went off and the fireworks from the nearby resort started.

We couldn’t see the low ones behind the trees, but even with just the high ones it was a very impressive show.  Somebody said there were three times the fireworks as last year. Much better than the Marriott Starr Pass Resort I had watched for years from my last house1, when I wasn’t in California or Vancouver. (We did laugh that we would have had a better view from my present rental, as I’m practically across the street from the Hilton El Conquistador Resort.)

1 Couldn’t find any photo of fireworks from the Starr Pass Resort from the Fourth of July, but here are some from February 2013 (don’t remember the reason.)
\https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/february-fireworks/