Archive for the ‘Arizona’ Category

LOL

June 19, 2019

Laugh and the world laughs with you.

 

 

For too long, U.S. foreign policy has shamefully ignored our allies under the sea — extremely buff aquatic mammals like King Triton, ghosts who live in haunted shipwrecks, squid. But no more. President Trump, it seems, has finally opened diplomatic talks with the ocean’s Biggest Boys: whales…

Trump did not elaborate on whether his meeting with the royal cetacean took place above or below water, or what they discussed. Perhaps the effects of global warming, or the relative wetness of the ocean. Maybe the prince apologized on behalf of the overly friendly Russian-spy beluga who eagerly gave herself up to Norwegian fisherman earlier this year. Or maybe he finally told the Trumps what he is thinking.  https://www.thecut.com/2019/06/trump-prince-of-whales-tweet.html

Hot, hot, hotter

I started this blog two weeks ago, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.  This was the Tucson weather forecast:

Then there’s this week.  (The tennis team I’m on played the last game of the season at 7pm Friday, when the temps dipped below 100°.)

Seen the past two weeks

A coyote strolling along the pedestrian path at dusk.  A number of bicyclists in the early morning, zipping along in packs.  My palo verde is still blooming.

A couple of centipedes in my compost pile, along with a bunch of tiny ones.  (See centipede-v-millipede for identification.)  To have more compost to dig into my vegetable garden as the carrots and spinach are finished, and the lettuce is bolting, I was sifting it, putting the red worms and undigested twigs back into the bin – and think that in addition to the centipedes there were about 753 worms of various sizes, three times that many earwigs (see left), and a handful of pill bugs.

Many birds around.  This is the best I could do to identify the bird at the tiny pink flowers on the purple heart plant.  That patch of orange on its wing, and the yellow on its head distinguishes a verdin.  But they weren’t after any sparse nectar.

They forage almost continuously… by gleaning live foliage and flowers for spiders and small insects.  birdsna.org

A hummingbird, which has at least four feeders in my neighbor’s yard to frequent, sampled the tiny lavender flowers.

A couple of pyrrhuloxias, perhaps making a nest in the desert willow outside my kitchen window.  A quail on duty each morning, on the fence, watching for predators, and gabbling to his harem below – no little ‘uns yet.  A few white-wing doves at the bird bath, or on the fence above, and two small ones, not very good fliers, walking around the yard below, checking me out.  Their parents left them out on their own, without a Watch out for humans.

A Cooper’s hawk stood in the birdbath for a while.  My brother (the hawk expert – see: cazadero) said that birds don’t perspire but in the heat will pant or cool the bare skin of their feet in water.  My camera’s battery was dead, so I just watched it for a while.  There’s a good photo of one from two years ago at the bottom of this blog: 2017

The agave and yucca flowers are progressing.  Saw one bird (Gila woodpecker?) at the barrel fruit and a smaller bird (house sparrow?) picking the seeds, or the bugs on them,  from the brittle bush behind it.  Didn’t have time to get the camera.

Many lizards in the yard, and the cat yowls at them because she can’t go out.  The one on the left was doing his territorial pushups.

Working Out

I’m sticking with the evening tennis; there’s no longer a Sunday 10am clinic, which is now way too hot and 7am is too early for me to start.  But I’ve decided that instead of the exercise classes at the Y that I had cut back to two days a week, I need to condition for my upcoming Road Scholar trip to the Galapagos with my 13-year-old granddaughter.  In addition to seeing the various animals, we’ll be kayaking, bicycle riding on a beach, snorkeling, and hiking a volcano.  For my fellow travelers I’m picturing 15-year-old boys and their 60-year old grandpas who can hike Kilimanjaro.  Anyway, I’m now rowing, riding a stationary bicycle, and doing the elliptical, 20 min each, all in A/C, of course.

However, I do hurt a lot of the time.  I can’t keep up: A mother-of-five with stage IV lung cancer and her daughter hiked up to the summit of the highest mountain in the Americas…  cancer-mother  And one of the women in one of the tennis clinics suggested that we train for the Tour de Tucson (which you can read about here: 2012/11/16).  She’d just done a 2-week bike ride (but she is “only” 67).

Books

I’ve been reading a lot these past two months, as I nurse my sore muscles.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Singaporean author Balli Kaur Jaswal.  This was pretty funny.  (Can a murder mystery be funny?)  Interesting detail about the Sikh community in London.  I don’t know much about Sikhs, except for Kip, the Sikh British Army sapper (photo on left), in the movie The English Patient; whole Sikh families on motorcycles in Malaysia, when I worked there; and one of the supervisors on the US Embassy project I worked on in Jamaica (who mandated hardhats for everyone on the job, except for himself as he had to wear his turban).  Would recommend the book.

Rosewater, the start of an award-winning, cutting edge trilogy set in Nigeria, which received an Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, by Tade Thompson, a British-born Yoruba psychiatrist who grew up in Nigeria.  Reading scifi by black authors, and this is the best so far; highly recommend it.

Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller, a Nebula-Award-winning author.  One of many climate change, dystopian novels, with colorful characters. (I’m reminded of the skateboarder in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.) And the Breaks is a fascinating disease.  The eight-armed artificial ocean city of Qaanaaq is run by artificial intelligences, the million refugees segregated rich/poor kinda like in the movie Snowpiercer, but that was a train, and this is much better. (Is that the one with Tilda Swinton’s horrible teeth?)  Anyway, it’s rather captivating, and the native american woman’s polar bear and orca add interest.  If you can stand the violence (did you finish The Godfather?), then read this.

Severance by Ling Ma.  More apocalypse.  According to the New Yorker (review), it Captures the Bleak, Fatalistic Mood of 2018 – A début novel’s of-the-moment consideration of capitalism, immigration, and zombies.  (I don’t like zombies as well as vampires, but these are done well.)

Herland Charlotte Perkins Gilman.  A utopian, versus distopian novel.  Found it on some scifi list, and hadn’t heard of it, and I’m interested in scifi by women, so thought I’d try it.  Well, it’s from 1915 and is so outdated.  The plot has three men stumble upon an unknown country full of only women (who miraculously have virgin births – parthenogenesis – to only girls).  The author was a feminist and has all of the women and girls getting along peachy keen.  No Margaret Thatcher, bombing the Falklands, just to show that the Brits were still powerful. (Yes, this photo comes up when you google the Falklands.)

Good Omens The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett.  I’d recommend it if you want funny escapism; many of the jokes are groaners.  After reading it I watched Amazon Prime’s three-part series, which premiered on May 31, and I don’t know if you’d get it if you hadn’t read the book.  But did like Michael Sheen as the fussy, anxious angel Aziraphale, and especially David Tennant’s Crowley (who started off offering Eve an apple, hence his name), the shades-wearing, Freddie Mercury-worshipping, ultra-cool demon, as The Wrap put it.  His swagger was great. Had read Gaiman’s American Gods, which was cute, but loved his Neverwhere.  (Had gotten Prime free for a month to watch it but had to pay for each episode!  The quality if the videos was bad so only watched two episodes.)  Had read Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic comic fantasy novel and first book of the Discworld (a flat planet balanced on the backs of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle) series – but too silly for me.

The Beggar Maid, Stories of Flo and Rose by Alice Munro. She may have won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013, but I disliked the book, a series of short stories first published 1977.  They just seem antiquated (I don’t like books by the Brontes either) – guess that comes from reading so much scifi.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  Second time around, thought I must read this book, and tried my darnedest, but still couldn’t get through it, which Barnes and Nobel says is for Age Range: 14 – 18 Years!

The Heavens by Sandra Newman.  Kinda interesting time travel (but I preferred the Outlander series).

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.  Trending – #1 International Bestseller & New York Times Bestseller.  Have read many books and seen many movies about the Holocaust, and this is historical fiction, but its not my favorite (which is The Wall by John Hersey, about the Warsaw Ghetto, based on real life recording of events) – it seems to gloss over so much.  I know the author interviewed the main character before he died in 2006, at the age of 90, and he had no doubt forgotten a lot, but I love books crammed with details. Of course, Hersey’s book is 640 pages, where Morris’ is 288, and most people today have shorter attention spans (except for Shades of Grey).  But hey, Buzzfeed posted 46 Brilliant Short Novels You Can Read In A Day, which doesn’t even include Jonathan Livingston Seagull or Life of Pi, and I’ve read most of them.

$$$

Bought a bottle of vanilla at the grocery store – cost more than the bottle of wine!

I have lots more that I’d like to blog about, but this has taken two weeks and is already outdated.  Hasta…

Retirement

March 29, 2019

Volunteer work

I had mentioned ICS (Interfaith Community Service) in a blog a couple of years ago (who-to-help), when I started my volunteer training for Caregiving Services (just one of their myriad services).  My volunteering had obviously been put on hold when I was working in Orlando for a year.  Now I’m back to driving.  (We do this for people just out of hospital, who have no support system, relatives and so on, to get them to doctor’s appointments, the drug store, grocery store, and such.  Without us, many of them would end up back in the hospital.)

Had a young guy who had had stomach surgery for ulcers, had lost his job because he had been in hospital, and therefore lost his insurance.  Had to cancel his first doctor’s appointment as he didn’t have the copay (that had been with Banner Health – a non-profit health system!), rescheduled for El Rio Health Center.  After his appointment an administrator there helped him fill out forms for AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System), our Medicaid agency.  By the time the paperwork was completed, the lab where his blood work was to be done and the pharmacy were closed for the lunch hour so I picked him up again the next day.  Went to the lab, then the pharmacy but the pharmacist wasn’t in so we’d had to come back.  Asked if he wanted to do any grocery shopping.  Said he had no money yet for that, and he hadn’t heard of food banks.  So took him to the ICS one that has fresh food as well as canned, and set him up for a few weeks.  Then back to the pharmacy.  I am happy to report that because he is so young, he has been healing quickly, and got another job, so is doing well.

My present person has dialysis MWF, which his insurance covers, including the driving, but is with us due to heart surgery.  (Plus his wife has lupus.)  So far I’ve taken him to two doctor’s appointments, a trip to the pharmacy, to the lab, and to the grocery store twice.  Shall do that for six weeks; after that the Health Center gives cab vouchers.

The first guy I drove, back in 2017, had COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – from a lifetime of smoking, but had just gotten out of the hospital for leukemia.  (Treatments include chemotherapy and corticosteroids… usually last four weeks and are done in a hospital.)  He had a car and could drive, but could not carry his groceries to his second-floor apartment, as he could hardly breathe.  So once a week I’d drive him to the supermarket and carry his purchases to his apartment.  (He had applied for a first floor one, but it came in when he was in hospital, so someone else got it, so he’s back on the list.)  I also talked him into buying a few vegetables.  He was much younger than me, but I felt like a spring chicken, bounding up the stairs with his bags.

Also did another bit of unexpected volunteering a few weeks ago.  Was meeting a few friends at the Invisible Theatre for the play Dancing Lessons (which was quite good) and was waiting in the lobby when one of the In Charge people entered in a tizzy and told the person handing out the Will Call tickets that one of the ushers couldn’t make it.  So I asked if I could help.  Yes!  For a short stint before and after the show they put the five of us in the second row of seating!

Note: they’re putting on Letters from Zora, with Award Winning Stage and Film Star Vanessa Bell Calloway at The Berger Performing Arts Center:

TWO PERFORMANCES ONLY!
Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 3:00 PM

for which we have tickets.  (Back in February of 2017 they put on Frederick Douglass: In the Shadow of Slavery, also at The Berger, which was fabulous!)

More books

Finishing The Overstory, a novel by Richard Powers.  502 pages in hard cover from the library, but shall be sad when it’s over.  Great characters, and descriptions of the horrible destruction of our old growth trees, much on federal land.  As the NY Times review (by Barbara Kingsolver) is entitled,

The Heroes of This Novel Are Centuries Old and 300 Feet Tall.  books/review/overstory

This week

A clutch (or if you have a better name for a tightly packed group slipstreaming, please tell me) of about 20 bicyclists zipping by in their attractive lycra.

Two coyotes crossing my street in the evening, on their way to cross La Cholla (which is dreadfully being widened – the wash between the street in front of my rental and La Cholla used to be heavily vegetated, with large trees, and now it looks like it’s going to be a concrete V before the four lanes).

An elderly woman with a small dog on her walker seat going into El Rio.

Roads lined by purple yucca lupine flowers.  Lots of other wildflowers around, seeded next to roads?

My neighbor’s tombstone rose plants trailing over the fence between us, decked in white flowers.  (This photo from my breakfast room/office, with the photinia in front.)

A roadrunner behind my yard who stopped to look at me when I talked to it, then ran off on his mission.

Harvested enough spinach from my garden for a salad and a soup.

Do have a complaint (besides the denuding of the wash).  The landscape crew started cutting limbs off “my” mesquite out front at 6:30am!  #firstworldproblems  I had asked that no lower branches (the only thing between my living room window and that horrible scraped land) be taken off.  Crew leader said he had to so his guys could climb the tree to cut out the mistletoe, as they didn’t have a ladder high enough.  That poor tree has been trying to grow back its lower branches for years!

The mistletoe seeds are dispersed by  birds, the phainopeplas, which have been around all of my desert yards.  This blog, more-critters, has a good photo of one, along with the description of the mutuality between the plant and the animal.  An over-infestation of the leafless hemiparasitic plant (it takes water and minerals from its host plants but it does its own photosynthesis, making it a hemiparasite) can kill a tree in 15 to 20 years.  (Walked four blocks down our main drag to take a photo of this poor palo verde that died of mistletoe.  It’s the worst I’ve seen.  Two across the road also look dead.)

Then, had to take photos of two dumb houses.  The first, which has a beautiful stucco finish, has a humongous window, with no overhang, facing due south.  The architect that designed that should not have been licensed in Arizona.  Unless that is a really super shade inside, they can never use the room. The second house,  obviously, should not have been built so close to the fairway.  The first architectural office I worked in did many Sun Cities, and our boss bragged that their fairways were wide enough to avoid that problem. 

 

 

Winter

January 31, 2019

A devastating cold front, complete with extreme low temperatures, wind and precipitation, is hitting much of the United States this week. The phenomenon, known popularly as a “polar vortex,” will move across the Midwest and Northeast, keeping temperatures in many places well below freezing for an extended period of time. (Photo: DieterMeyrl / Getty Images)  arctic-blast

Guess that’s why Arizona is so popular in the winter.  I’ve been going to tennis clinics these past couple of weeks and it’s so warm you don’t even need a jacket.  (Photo not me, just a Racquet Club shot.)

The coldest I’ve ever been in was -20° at Michigan State walking one evening in very dry snow.  (Yes, that was just after the dinosaurs died.)  Hard to wrap my head around temperatures with wind chills of -65°.  I’m sure you’ve all read “To Build a Fire”, the short story by Jack London. I think the guy was told not to go out when it was 60° below.  (?)

Exercise

I go to exercise classes at the local Y five days a week (Senior Aerobics and Piloxing – a non-stop, cardio fusion of standing pilates, boxing and dance) but the Y’s new rule is that classes over 30 need two instructors, which these don’t have.  The 10am MWF Aerobics is so popular that there is a line by 9:30.  Got there then on Monday and the last five of us were overflow and couldn’t get in!  Today there was no sub for our TT Piloxing class, so that was cancelled.  Aargh! Walked fast uphill on the NordicTrack for 15 minutes and did another 10 on the rowing machine, but got bored and left.  Guess if I had music on my cell with an earphone I could have done the 50 minutes, so must be prepared in the future.

The Government Shutdown

Dec. 26 [2018] The Federal Emergency Management Agency issues a “stop work” order to all contractors, telling them they will not be paid.  government-shutdown

Note: I was a contractor, through my company (Fluor), for FEMA.  If I hadn’t quit (end of October) I guess I’d have been home for an extended holiday, not paid.  Sure feel sorry for my compatriots who stayed on.

Impeachment

So if the Prez gets impeached and actually leaves, we’re left with the Veep.  There’s a recent, hostile (read this: NPR review) biography of Mike Pence, The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence, out by Michael D’Antonio and Peter Eisner.  According to them, Pence is a “Christian supremacist” biding his time until he can take over the presidency from Donald Trump.  Sure, Trump is not fit to be President, but do we want to replace him with a Christian Supremacist?

Back on September 5 there was a NY Times op-ed white-house-anonymous: I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration; I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. Then speculation that Pence could be the author, based on the op-ed’s use of the word “lodestar,” which Pence has used throughout his career. Check out this video from The Late Show: Stephen Cobert

But when it says that docs have been removed from Trump’s desk how do we knows that they weren’t something liberal?  Trump used to be a Democrat.  Maybe he wanted the government to fund Planned Parenthood (hah!) and Pence couldn’t stand that!

Plus, according to the Los Angeles Times’ letters editor (the bold is mine):

God’s presidential plan for Mike Pence
God's presidential plan for Mike Pence

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018.  Let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.  (Photo: Vice President Mike Pence gestures while speaking to the Republican National Lawyers Assn. on Friday. Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Permit me a brief biographical digression. I grew up in the world of evangelical Christianity, having attended schools that promoted things like biblical literalism, doubts about Darwinism, and abstinence-only education, including the lie that condoms contained microscopic pores that allowed transmission of the HIV virus (more on that in a bit). Each week, we attended chapel services that often ended with calls to rededicate ourselves to Jesus Christ, even if we were already professed Christians.

It is this background that helps me understand the behavior of Vice President Mike Pence, the pious man who faithfully serves the famously non-penitent President Trump. Just as the faithful Christians at my school were happy to perpetuate falsehoods about disease-spreading condoms if it served the greater godliness of abstinence before marriage, Pence is willing to abide Trump’s constant lying and personal moral failings if it puts him in the best position to do God’s will by becoming president.  latimes

You must read the whole article, which does quote from the above book.  Scary.  But no, I haven’t read the book.  Can’t even finish the article on Mitch McConnell in last Sunday’s NY Times Magazine (Mcconnell) that a friend says I have to read.  Politics is making me sick to my stomach and am reading mostly scifi for escapism, although said friend did lend me Dead Wake about the sinking of the Lusitania.  It is non-fiction, but a long time ago, and lots of people die (Cousin Hal – I can hear you laughing at my lame jokes), so I can stomach that reality.  Am reading more now that I am not working.  Shall mention the books (a few about memory) in my next blog, if I remember!

Last October

You can kinda tell that I had emails to myself all through the five months when I wasn’t blogging, of what I could write when I got back to it.  Today tossed out all of the FEMA letters to the troops (us) – buck up, next hurricane coming, etc.   But there’s a note from October 19th:

This morning, exiting Orlando for home in Tucson, went better than expected.  First, I had scored on a hotel baggage cart last night.  (They often could not be found at all.)  And gave my leftover food to a compatriot, just a floor above me in the same timeshare building.

I finished packing and got everything in my expandable two bags (one an inexpensive duffel) and a carry-on, not bad for almost a year away from home.  Had never used my bathing suit; had never even gone to the ocean, which I guess I should have done at least once in the year in Florida.  But skin cancer can do that to you.

Pulled up to check out at timeshare main desk and valet said he could do that for me.✔  No traffic to the airport.✔  Person checking out my Avis car got me a valet with cart.✔  ($10 but worth it, as only one bag had wheels.)  Remembered to get a receipt for $40 for second bag to expense.✔  (My AA status gives me the 1st bag free.)  Long line to hand in bags but it went fast.✔  A few minutes to finish my morning coffee (no liquids through security), then a short time through TSA pre-check, well worth the $85 for 5 years, with all of my travels.✔  Full flight, but with AA Priority (gold, not platinum), I got a seat an extra inch wider!✔

The Desert in Bloom

August 9, 2018

The red birds out front are ginormous, probably from the flood from my cracked drip line, which the neighbors reported. $100+ water bill last month for what is mostly a desert yard.  Finally, the owner agreed to replacing a whole section of the PVC pipe, which dries out underground after many years of our heat, not just one patch at a time.  Anyway, I keep a bouquet of the birds next to my computer when I’m home, even though each branch last only two to three day, there are so many to cut.

Flowers on two barrels.

Only three Japanese eggplants this time home.  Photo of my veggies from the last time.  I’ve planted nothing for a year – these are continuing since last year.  Unfortunately, the tomatoes didn’t make it.

A family of eight quail, just beyond my fence.  The spring babies, those little acorns, have grown and are almost ready to be on their own.  The loud cheeping of a towhee on my bird feeder, then the birdbath – first bird I’ve seen there since I filled it last Saturday.  (Put it away when I’m gone as water in it lasts about a-day-and-a-half in this heat.)

Day before yesterday a coyote just next to the fence, walking slowly due to the 105° temp at 1pm, but still too quick for me to find my camera.

Sand

There are two issues that really get me with the Feds: government insurance so people can build back in flood zones and moving sand back into places where rich people have their summer homes.

Hurricanes often wash away or remove sand with strong winds from under the foundations of beach properties undermining the structures. This is a condominium complex in need of serious repair after Hurricane Irma in Key Colony Beach, Florida.
Photo by Robert Kaufmann – Jun 14, 2018 – Location: Key Colony Beach, FL fema sand

Wordsmithing

We used to talk about accidents; now in Orlando they say crashes and in Tucson I heard a newscaster say collisions. A bit more graphic than not-on-purposes.
Would people give more thought to guns being deadly if, instead of a shooting (which could happen to a target at a shooting range or a captive animal at a hunting preserve) we called it a multiple murder.

Disasters

Presently California is burning up. (cbsnews.com)  This is last year, which I am still working on in Orlando:

2017 Atlantic Hurricane season. In three weeks, the nation responded to three hurricanes: Harvey, Irma and Maria. At the same time, wildfires claimed lives and destroyed property across California. FEMA processed more individual assistance claims in one year than the previous decade combined.  In 2017, FEMA had 73 declared disasters, presence in 35 states, and 800 open disasters. fema.gov

A must read is: Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change. I haven’t finished it yet ’cause it’s real depressing. But we all must read it.  This just part of the Prologue:

The world has warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The Paris climate agreement… hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding… are one in 20.  If… [we] limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise of several meters and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf… Three-degree warming… forests in the Arctic and the loss of most coastal cities… Four degrees: Europe in permanent drought; vast areas of China, India and Bangladesh claimed by desert; Polynesia swallowed by the sea; the Colorado River thinned to a trickle; the American Southwest largely uninhabitable. The prospect of a five-degree warming… the end of human civilization.  losing-earth

Good News

I do look for positivity in the news.  One extraordinary merganser duck has been spotted leading about 76 ducklings. ducklings-creche  I guess if one flunks geometry it’s no big deal.  (I was thinking of when I had 44 kids in a geometry class.)

Health Care

Because I manage over ten million dollars in FEMA claims, most from three regions of hospitals which I’m getting to know pretty well, I’m understanding why Florida Obamacare premiums have gone up 41.8% from 2017 to 2018.

This is a great website: atoday.org/the-adventist-health-business

A business magazine in Florida reported 2011 annual “total executive compensation, including base salaries, bonuses, retirement or other deferred compensation, and non-taxable benefits” for the Florida based Adventist Health System as $1,062,010 per year for the lowest of the top 10 executives, to $3,191,124 for the head of the organization.  I suspect that in 2017 none of them has had a significant pay cut.

DHS

FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which sends us almost daily emails about this and that, and most of them (with this administration) make me mad.

August 1, 2018
Dear Colleagues,
I am honored and excited to be the Department’s Chair for the 2018 Feds Feed Families campaign. This year’s campaign began on July 15 and will run through October 18. Food insecurity impacts approximately 41 million American households, including 13 million children and 5.4 million seniors. This means people lack access to enough food for an active healthy life for all household members.
Feds Feed Families was created to help food banks and pantries stay stocked during summer months when they traditionally see a decrease in donations and an increase in need. There are many ways to contribute, and our Department is uniquely poised to help with a strong presence in local communities across the Nation.
Last year, employees donated non-perishable items at work, traveled to farms to harvest crops (gleaning), and even donated freshly prepared food directly to local shelters. Recognizing that families in financial crisis can find it difficult to meet the nutritional needs of their pets, Feds Feed Families has expanded the campaign to accept donations of pet food. These donations can ensure that families and pets stay together, and that these pets stay out of shelters.
As Department Chair for the 2018 campaign, I commend you for your past generosity, and invite you to make this year’s drive the most successful yet.
Sincerely,
Thomas J. Walters
Director, Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers and 2018 DHS Feds Feed Families Chair

Am I a curmudgeon thinking that the Feds want the middle class to take over feeding the poor, so actually, we’d be subsidizing the huge tax breaks they gave to the rich?  (I have been giving to our  Community Food Bank since the old days when Punch Woods was CEO.)

Political Commentary

May 11, 2018

Education

The Arizona teachers were on strike for a week.  My daughter, at home with three kids because of it, took them to Phoenix one day to join in the protest.  What a great thing to do!  Education in Arizona is poorly funded because the Republicans, who often send their kids to private schools, would rather pass tax breaks.  Here’s why I left: phew!  You can read that blog and the ones preceding it.

This from Wikiedia:

The 2018 Arizona teachers’ strike was held from April 26–May 3, 2018 by 20,000 teachers to protest low pay and cuts to school funding.  Arizona Governor Doug Ducey had approved a proposal giving a 20 percent raise to teachers by 2020 with a 9 percent raise in 2019; teachers rejected this proposal as it did not provide increased funding for schools themselves or raises for support staff. It has coincided with a similar strike in neighboring Colorado.

The walkout occurred after similar actions in West Virginia and Oklahoma, and is the third in the ongoing wave of teachers’ strikes in the United States…

The strike ended on May 3, 2018 when the Government of Arizona conceded to increase funding to increase salaries for support staff and to decrease student to counselor ratios.

…Before the walkout, teachers’ salaries in 2018 were between $8000 and $9000 lower than teachers’ salaries in 1990, when adjusted for inflation. Wages for teachers in Arizona are some of the lowest in the United States, averaging $48,372 per year. In 2017, Arizona ranked last of all fifty states for average elementary school pay, and second to last for teacher pay at the secondary level

But the strike ended with only a few promises.  Someone asked, What happens now?  One of our state  senators answered:

Steve Farley — Arizona State Senator for District 9, April 29

As the son of two public school teachers and the father of two daughters who got a great education in Arizona public schools, I know we need to increase pay for all K-12 public educators, including support staff, as well as restore funding for textbooks, computers, and building maintenance…

We need to do it now. We are in an unprecedented crisis in which more than half of our teaching positions are either vacant or held by someone without proper qualifications, because so many teachers have left teaching entirely or left the state because they could not afford to teach in Arizona. Our future as a society and economy depends on adequately funded and well-run public schools…

The Governor’s “plan” still does not have details in legislative form, so we do not know how he is claiming to fund the proposal. From what we have seen so far, this is not financially sustainable beyond the upcoming fiscal year, and nonpartisan legislative economists project a $300 million deficit within two years.

In the past when deficits have happened, this Governor and this legislative majority have traditionally voted to cut public education…

While the legislature is famously unpredictable, here’s my best guess on what the upcoming week might look like, so you can be prepared to act when necessary. There are no set times for any of these steps to commence.

This could be the last week of session if there is a budget deal, as the Governor has asserted. If there is a deal, it will only be with Republicans because neither legislative Democrats nor the leaders of the Red For Ed movement have been consulted.

If there is a deal, it will be a part of the overall state budget (including all funding for all state agencies and many other policy changes, not just education) and the first bills will be introduced on Monday.

Most of the action will take place on Tuesday, starting with Appropriations Committee hearings on all budget bills, with an opportunity in both House and Senate for public testimony. It is likely that the committee chairs will severely limit public testimony — in the past they have asked for three people in favor and three against with as little as one minute each. This is the only opportunity for the public to be heard in a formal setting. Not my idea of true democracy…

Later that day, there will be a Committee of the Whole on the House and Senate floor. This is where the bills will be debated by elected members and the public can watch in the gallery. Please pack the galleries. As your elected official, I need you to witness this. We as Democrats will attempt to amend the budget bills to address the true priorities of Arizona, including sustainable education funding. Our amendments will likely be voted down, but we will make the case for investing in ourselves instead of giving taxpayer money away to out-of-state corporate interests. This often happens in the middle of the night. Sometimes from midnight till 6am. I’m not kidding.

Then on Wednesday, the final vote will be tallied for or against the bills, they will be submitted to the Governor for signature, and the session will likely end.

Other bills will be voted on throughout these last days as members try to get their other priorities through, and bills once thought dead could come back to life, so I will be watching for those carefully. I suggest you do too.

Keep up the pressure. Your advocacy is working. Thank you for helping to revitalize our democracy, and stay involved. It’s worth it.

Steve

Does anyone know how it went?

North Korea

Education was last week’s News.  This week it’s North Korea.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was just there and brought back three American “detainees”.  Yesterday I heard Associated Press reporter Matt Lee (who was one of two journalists allowed to accompany Pompeo) on NPR’s All Things Considered (Copyright © 2018 NPR):

KELLY: … I want to ask you, Matt Lee – this is not your first time traveling to North Korea, not your first time traveling there with the U.S. secretary of state. You went along on the plane with Madeleine Albright when she traveled in 2000, and I’m curious what differences you saw… as you’re driving by … what do you see out the window? What’s it look like?
LEE: We arrived early in the morning, like what would be rush hour in a normal city. There was more traffic than certainly there was 18 years ago… Most of the morning commuters that we saw were either on bicycles or on foot – farmers, soldiers, people who are potentially office workers and lots of children in school uniforms walking to school along the side of the road. The city, from what I remember from 18 years ago, was not a sprawling metropolis of skyscraper-type buildings. That has changed.
KELLY: Suggests money is coming from somewhere to pay for that.
LEE: Exactly, exactly. Despite …severe sanctions on North Korea… the city is still growing up and out.

That made me think of an article I had read in the NY Times Magazine last Sunday, bank-heist

The New York Times has reported that North Korea is believed to maintain a network of about 1,700 computer hackers around the world, aided by 5,000 trainers, supervisors and other support staff. Many operations are aimed at harvesting intelligence from South Korea; others, as in the case of Sony, are intended to avenge slights, or others to reap financial gain. North Korean hackers have become especially adept at targeting the weak links in the financial system: banks in developing nations, especially those in Southeast Asia. “They are easy prey,” says Vitaly Kamluk of Kaspersky Lab, which found Korean-language coding embedded in some Lazarus Group malware and claims it definitively linked the Lazarus Group to North Korea, through an I.P. address that the group briefly used during a wave of attacks in Europe and Central America in 2017. “These central banks often cannot afford good security, good software, or hire a proper specialist to configure their network,” Kamluk says. “They are low-hanging fruit.”

Seen Today

A church across the street from the office has three Sunday morning services.  The first is in Creole.

A woman waiting in line ahead of me at a store Pickup had her hair in about 30 narrow braids.  Asked her how long it took – 10 hours!  Her son, age 7 he told me, was shuffling around doing basketball moves the entire time.  A woman leaving the store behind me had two children; the daughter, who looked about eight,  was bouncing sideways, perhaps a soccer move.  Kids have such energy!

Each evening, when I get home from work, I get a glass of wine and the newspaper and sit on the patio overlooking Sand Lake.  Much better view than my last place, which was mostly plants, although it was interesting to see a squirrel in a palm.

English Proficiency

Can you tell what this quote refers to?

“Against the luminous sky the rays of her halo were spikes of darkness roweling the air; shadow flattened the torch she bore to a black cross against flawless light — the blackened hilt of a broken sword. Liberty.”

Backstory from the New York Times: Thousands of German Students (taking pivotal final secondary-school exams) Protested ‘Unfair’ English Exam … which they said was absurd, with obscure and outdated references.  Kudos for my seven-year-old grandson who knew the answer!  english-test

Past our Shelf Life

A friend of mine in her mid-80’s, whose husband had died a few years ago, had moved to a retirement village.  This last year she hooked up with a fellow retiree whose wife had just passed away.  Serendipity!

Another friend, 94, who lives just outside of DC, and whose husband passed away a year ago, broke her hip a week ago, tripping on a carpet on her way out of exercise class!  It is DC, but I didn’t ask her if she exercised with the Notorious RBG.  (Here is a video of Stephen Colbert working out with her: RBG.)

Home

April 22, 2018

I do so like being home, spending time with family and friends, and working in my garden, even if it only is for a week of “rotation”.  Harvested four round carrots (easier to grown in the desert hardpan soil), two stubby bell peppers,  five small japanese eggplants, and one ripe cherry tomato.  The squash is in bloom and there are dozens of green cherry tomatoes, but the brussel sprout plant is not producing yet.  These are all plants that didn’t die back in the winter.  I’m working my own compost (produced by slow but steady worms) into the soil to plant more on my next visit home.  The Abert’s towhee is enjoying water in the birdbath; fun to watch him revel in it.  Quail investigating the yard; guess they haven’t had chicks yet.  And lots of collared lizards enjoying the sun.

Wednesday friend K and I saw an art movie at the Loft, Leaning into the Wind – Andy Goldsworthy.  I love his work, and have two books of it, but now he’s doing a kind of performance art (like climbing through hedges, as in this photo).  Here’s a trailer: into the Wind

The next day we took a tour of University of Arizona’s Environment + Natural Resources Building II by Richärd+Bauer Architecture.  Awesome building which earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – I am accredited in it) Platinum Certification.

The vision for the Environment and Natural Sciences complex (ENR2)… sustainable design. The University’s goals: this project is the centerpiece of environmental research, the building should have a definable iconic identity… serving as a living and learning laboratory, and be the most sustainable on campus…

Organized about a central “slot canyon”; curvilinear anodized aluminum ribbons define the walls of the central canyon, recalling the terra cotta walls of the natural canyon, leaning overhead, and falling away. The vertical striations of the anodized scrim recall the desert varnish pattern of the Navajo tapestry and the canyon walls. As in the natural environs, each terrace reflects the elevated desert floor, with native trees, grasses, shrub, and stone. The canyon floor is a sand and stone dry bed, which gathers the rainwater and guides it into storage cisterns for reuse…

https://www.richard-bauer.com/work/environment-natural-resources-2/

Walked the U (of Az) this morning w/ friend B and her dog, and brunch at the B-line.  Weather lovely: 64° feels like 84°.

LOL

You must read 40 Sea Gulls Wrecked His Hotel Room. 17 Years Later, a Pepperoni Pardon.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/14/world/canada/sea-gulls-fairmont-empress-victoria-nick-burchill-pepperoni.html

Florida Art

I’ve not been posting as often because I spend at least 7 3/4 hours a day on the computer at work, so I’m not enthusiastic about working on my tablet on weekends. But St. Petersburg was fun a few weekends ago. I had to go to the Dali Museum. It was built by Reynolds and Eleanor Morse who, in 1943, married, became friends with Dali, and bought their first work of his.  In 1982 they built this museum to house the largest collection of Dalí’s works outside Europe.  The architecture was amusing.  Those colored ropes, trailing from the tree in the wind, are made up of the bracelets we got when we entered the museum.  When you leave, you contribute to art.  The spiral staircase is in the center.

Dali’s style changed with the times.  Here are some of my favorites.  Love this Post-Impressionist scene, Cadaques, 1923.  (Cadaqués is a town in Catalonia, Spain where Dali spent summers as a boy and later made his home as an adult.)

The Portrait of My Dead Brother is huge – 69 in x 69 in.  This older brother was also named Salvador and died at the age of two, before the second Salvador was born.  When you’re close to it you see only the cherries (click on the photo and enlarge to see them) – the two under his nose have joined stems representing him and his brother.  Sorry not great focus – I was using a phone to photograph.  Had to take that one from a room away.

This Surrealistic self-portrait of Dalí surrounded by the elements of war, Daddy Longlegs of the Evening–Hope! was painted in 1939 in the US, where Dali and his wife sought refuge during World War II (The daddy longlegs spider, when seen in the evening, is a French symbol for hope.)  This was the Morses’ first purchase, a wedding present for themselves.

You’ll have to look up this Surrealistic painting, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, to understand all of the references.  It took over a year to paint and is so large, over 14 feet tall and 9 feet wide, I couldn’t get back far enough, with the crowds of people, for a straight shot.  It is amazing.


There is a room where you put on goggles and earphones to move through space made up of symbols in Dali’s paintings.  Sound has been added.  Much fun!

Even the gift shop has Art: this car.

Then the Imagine Museum, a glass museum, which was free that family Saturday, with children doing projects in the cafe area.  Can’t imagine them touring the glass exhibits.  Asked one of the women in charge – she said it was “a challenge.”  I have the names of the artists who did these marvelous pieces, if anyone is interested.

This is not my best photograph.  These are all glass copies of plastic containers.

 

This is all glass.  Amazing.  I had lots more photos, but can’t find them now.  Took them with my FEMA iphone.

 

Anyway, am leaving Tucson tomorrow morning to get back to work.  So figured I ought to post this.  Hasta…

Worst State in the Country

February 3, 2018

I was surprised when NPR’s Whad’Ya Know? (a two-hour comedy/quiz/interview) host Michael Feldman asked this question this morning, What is Florida worst at? and the answer was Everything!  Newsweek published Florida Has Been Ranked the Worst State in the U.S. (I added the internet photo of an I-4 traffic jam.)

Florida is officially the crème de la crappy of all 50 states, ranking dead last on a list of best to worst locations in America.

Thrillist released a definitive ranking of the states in July with a… ranking system based on, literally, “everything,” …contributions to America: important, well-known people, inventions, food and drink, and unique physical beauty and landmarks.

So what makes Florida so god-awful?

Could be the humidity, the atrocious traffic and… “Florida is where bath salts and Creed and the Great Recession all got their starts. It’s where Donald Trump has chosen to hang out for seven solid weeks during the past year. I mean, c’mon.”

“When putting together a list such as this, there can be some temptation to defy popular expectations and go against the grain,” the site said. “However, Florida’s awfulness résumé is so staggeringly impressive that it couldn’t go any other way.”

…The state that likely broke most every prediction by topping the list was Michigan.

Despite Detroit’s bad rep, the site argues that Michigan has more coastline than any other state, except for Alaska. The site also mentions the undeniable beauty of the Upper Peninsula and its residents’ willingness to apologize for their creation of Kid Rock.   florida-worst-state-country

Was surprised also when Michigan, where I grew up, got best.  We lived in Detroit (between 7 and 8 mile, which Eminem rapped about).  Back then, before it got its bad rep, Detroit was the fifth largest city in the country, the Motor City.

I graduated from a nationally recognized high school in downtown Detroit, Cass Tech, which had been built in 1917, and have good memories of that.

Sorry I never got to the U.P. to see its undeniable beauty.  A cousin of mine went to college there, where you could ski to class!  Nostalgic about camping trips to Interlochen State Park, in the upper part of the Lower Peninsula, near the internationally renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts.  You could see a solitary musician, such as a french horn player, sitting in the middle of the forest, practicing.  I was never a good clarinetist, never getting past second clarinet in our high school band (it was an excellent band – our director left to lead the Michigan State marching band) but my brother was great at the saxophone; too bad we couldn’t afford to send him there.

However, I did take art classes at Cranbrook Academy of Art, outside of Detroit, in Bloomfield Hills, at one point.  Had a junk sculpture of a fawn next to a painting  by Picasso in the Cranbrook Art Museum.  Beautiful campus, with many sculptures by Henry Moore, buildings designed by Eliel Saarinen.  But, sadly, in 1972 they sold off some of the academy’s art collection, including works by Henry Moore… a way of increasing the endowment.  I remember photos my father took of this pond.  (Dick – do you have them?)

Our little patch of Arizona did  get attention from elsewhere.  The school district  where my children attended, CFSD, was rated best in the state (see left).

The Mail

Airlines completely lost a suitcase of mine back in ’68,  and have misplaced suitcases on at least three occasions, for up to a day (which they then delivered to my door), but never, to my recollection, was mail lost.  So when the 9×12 manila envelope that my daughter sent, with my letters she’s been collecting for me, I figured it was the fault of the hotel.

But it contained documents for my taxes and coupons to pay the HOA fees on my land.  And I did not remember the name of the accountant to whom the HOA dues are paid.  So I did some sleuthing.  My bank looked up the account the checks went to, and as that was in the same bank, gave me the name of the accountant; I called him, got the amount due and the address to send it to, as it was due the end of the month.  The secretary said that she would send more coupons.  Phew!  The hotel, of course, had the envelope the next day.  I pointed it out to the man at the front desk, who said he couldn’t read my name on it because it was written in cursive!

Kudos

After Brock’s “Grip and Grin” visit (see my blog never-a-dull-moment) he emailed us this:

As I walked through FEMA Headquarters and spoke with employees yesterday, I was impressed by the positive attitude of the FEMA workforce and your flexibility during times of uncertainty. When I spoke with Regional Administrators, I heard the same stories throughout our Regional offices and facilities across the country. Thank you for being a workforce that demonstrates integrity and professionalism..

Brock

Rodney Dangerfield

An article on him (nee Jacob Cohen) in last week’s NY Times Magazine:  rodney-dangerfield.  This video of him on Carson (for those of you who are not old enough to remember  Johnny, it was the Tonight show) from 1979 is pretty good: dangerfield

Seagull

As I was walking to lunch Friday,  saw a seagull flying.  I thought they stayed by the ocean.  This photo from Rennett Stowe on the Internet.

Home for the Holidays

December 29, 2017

We get to take a “rotation” every 45 days.  So I was home for the holidays.  And it was a lot cooler in Tucson than Orlando!  When I left Orlando at 6 am last Friday it was 63°, but with the humidity at 98%, even long sleeves were warm.  When I arrived in Tucson at 12:30 (having lost a few hours) it was 57° with 24% humidity.  What a beautiful city!  The air was clear and all four mountain ranges could be clearly seen.  I did like the morning fog in Orlando during the previous week, but I do enjoy views.

After getting Uber’ed home, ditching my suitcase, and picking up my car, went to my daughter’s to make many dozens of Christmas cookies.

Shopping & Ice Hockey

What a marvelous day of shopping Saturday, which I usually don’t like.  First took my youngest grandchild to Toys “R” Us for his choice, then on to the mall and Dillard’s for my son, the middle grandson, and my granddaughter to buy the wardrobe items they wanted.  Already got my daughter and son-in-law gift certificates for their wishes.  And I didn’t even think of all of the dollars flowing from my credit card, ’cause I’m working when I hadn’t expected to.

That night my son took us all to a hockey game, in my daughter’s new SUV.  We may not be the 1%, but it’s a good year for us.  Didn’t even know that Tucson had jump-started hockey again.  The Tucson Roadrunners are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League which began play for the 2016–17 season.  (The University of Arizona had had a hockey team from 1979 to 2011.)  Because my son lives in Vancouver, Canada, he is very into hockey.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Lights in my daughter’s neighborhood.


Plastics

November 2, 2017

Many of you are old enough to have seen the movie, The Graduate, with Dustin Hoffman.  One of the famous lines was: I want to say one word to you. Just one word… Plastics.

Many years ago, when the kids were young, I took them on a trip to Costa Rica.  We saw the green turtles nesting, among other things, such as a tour of a banana plantation.  (Have you ever wondered why we have 47 varieties of apples in the supermarket and only one kind of banana?  Even though there are over 1,000 banana types, the only one we eat is the Cavendish, which can survive weeks in a ship’s hold, unlike most varieties. Yes, this is going somewhere.)  The plantation (think it was Del Monte) decided that the bananas that can be grown in Costa Rican weather weren’t as good as Cavendish, which needed more heat.  So they put plastic bags around each growing hand of bananas.  But some of the bags get blown off and washed downstream to the Caribbean, where they look like jellyfish, the food of green turtles, who eat them, which causes blockages within their digestive system and eventual death.  So – bad plastic bags!  (These photos are just two of many on this website – plastic-pollution – check it out.)

Well, one of Arizona’s most forward-thinking cities, Bisbee (!), banned the use of plastic bags.  I can go with that; I hate to see them caught on our cacti (I had a photo in one blog), and estimates for the time it takes them to decompose ranging from 20 to 1000 years1.  But our progressive state government (= Republican) said that they could not. As I mentioned in a previous blog (water), last year our legislature passed:

House Bill 2131 restricts Arizona localities from imposing prohibitions and restriction on plastic grocery bags. Retailers, grocery stores and other business interests pushed the measure after the city of Tempe looked to restrict the use of plastic grocery bags.2

So Tempe didn’t do it, but Bisbee banned them; however, last month:

Bisbee’s ban on plastic grocery bags violates state law and must be repealed, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has concluded.
The decision leaves that city’s leaders with a precarious choice: Undo the 2012 ordinance or risk losing vital state-shared revenues that pay for public services.3

Well, the country of Rwanda is more enlightened than Arizona.  In the New York Times last Sunday was an article,  Public Shaming and Even Prison for Plastic Bag Use in Rwanda:

Here in Rwanda, it is illegal to import, produce, use or sell plastic bags and plastic packaging except within specific industries like hospitals and pharmaceuticals. The nation is one of more than 40 around the world that have banned, restricted or taxed the use of plastic bags, including China, France and Italy…

Last month, Kenya put in place a rule that will punish anyone making, selling or importing plastic bags with as much as four years in jail or a $19,000 fine

Rwanda is probably Africa’s cleanest nation and among the most pristine in the world…  Children here are taught in schools… to cherish the environment. Smugglers are often held in detention centers or forced to write confessions in newspapers or broadcast them on the radio. Supermarkets caught selling food in plastic packaging are shut down until they pay a fine and write an apology.4

What’s Wrong with this Picture

On October 1, a white guy killed 59 people and injured another 527. Police recovered 23 guns from his Las Vegas hotel room and another 19 guns from Paddock’s home… [which] were purchased legally.In addition to the 42 guns, he also had bump stocks, which made his semiautomatic weapons fire like automatic weapons.  These also are legal.  This was over a month ago

Has our Congress done anything to make the bump stocks illegal?  Has anyone said that no one should own 42 guns?  Maybe one to shoot deer, but get real!

Turn the page – an immigrant from Uzbekistan plowed a rented pickup down a bicycle path near the World Trade Center, in the name of ISIS, killing 8 and injuring 11, two days ago, and our President tweeted that he…

SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!

While the White House deemed it unseemly to have a policy debate on gun control immediately after the massacre in Las Vegas last month, Mr. Trump was eager on Wednesday to have a policy debate on immigration. He pressed Congress to cancel a visa lottery program that allowed the driver into the country, attributing it to Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, and called Democrats “obstructionists” who “don’t want to do what’s right for our country.”6

 Hello!  Is anyone listening?  This from the Brady Campaign (remember – 30 years ago a person attempting to  assassinate President Reagan shot Jim Brady in the head, which left him partially paralyzed for life, hence the Brady Bill):

In One Year on Average

114,994 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides & suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, or by police intervention.  33,880 people die from gun violence…  81,114 people survive gun injuries…7

We’re not going to ban pickups, but we should ban bump stocks and put a limit on guns!

Virga

I took a picture of the virga Monday night.  That’s a cloud trying to rain, but the moisture evaporates before it hits the ground.  However, after the sun went down, in the middle of the night, we got a drenching, with thunder and lightening.  Quite an event for the end of October.

1http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/bags/
2https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2016/03/14/arizona-legislature-approves-ban-on-plastic-bag.html
3http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2017/10/24/bisbee-must-repeal-plastic-grocery-bag-ban-lose-funding-arizona-ag-says/795970001/
4https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/28/world/africa/rwanda-plastic-bags-banned.html
5http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/02/us/las-vegas-shooter/index.html
6https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/01/us/politics/trump-new-york-attack-schumer-visa.html
6https://www.bradycampaign.org/key-gun-violence-statistics

Halloween 2017

October 29, 2017

Just a photo of one house in my neighborhood.  Makes me think I ought to do something other than give out candy…  No photos of the grandkids in their costumes yet – the night for spooks is two away.

WordPress

WordPress shut down my adding photos to my blogs, saying that I had used 3.0 GB of my 3.0 GB upload limit (a limit that I didn’t know I had).  Well, considering that my photos tend to be about 13 KB, that I have an average of 5 (or possibly many more) photos per blog, and that I’ve been blogging an average of twice a month for the past seven years, they should have shut me down me four years ago.  So I had to chuck out $99 per year for the Premium Blog, which I did, and now have 3.0 GB out of 13.0 GB upload limit (23%).

Renegade installations

 

I’ve always liked flash mobs1, including Random Acts Of Classical Music.  These are the visual equivalent – Catskill Yarn Bombers on trees, guerrilla knitting on statues (this one in Portland), Chilean yarn bombers, Lanapuerto, which translates as Wool Port (boat show here).

 

 

But now there are flash flowers, Lewis Miller with his pop-up flower installations in New York City (photos of which I saw in the NY Times), and Geoffroy Mottart, a florist in Belgium, who puts flowered beards and wigs on statues because he wants people to pay attention to statues.

TMA continued

Just one of the outfits I photographed from feature exhibition Desert Dweller, the original ad and the outfit, designed by Cele Peterson, who for more than 75 years served as Tucson’s arbiter of fashion and grace, died2… in 2010 at 101.

This photo, right, from the TMA website of the John Chamberlain crushed car sculpture that the museum owns.  Compare that to his humongous sculpture I saw in Berlin: berlin-day-three

Also from the museum collection, this Bill Schenck, Wyoming #44.  I used to own one of his large oils, Psycho Killer (shown on right), but the ex- got it in the divorce, and one of his subsequent wives didn’t like it, so it was sold.  I rather like his kitsch cowboy paintings; wish I still had that one.  Got to know his art when I as working at IBM –  they had a huge triptych of a rodeo scene in their dining room.  So we went to Phoenix  for one of his showings, met him, and bought the painting.

I also like Donna Howell-Sickles And the Dog Jumped Over the Moon.  Her art was inspired by a postcard of a cowgirl c. 1935 seated on a horse captioned “Greetings from a Real Cowgirl from the Ole Southwest”, according to her website.

Canyon Wren is by Kate Breakey. I wrote about her2 when we saw her work at the Stillness show at the Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery, at the Pima College West Campus.  (Sorry – this photo is blurred.)

CAS (TMA’s Contemporary Art Society) bought this large photo, Untitled (Dispatch), Summer by Gregory Crewdson.  From Wikipedia:

Crewdson’s photographs usually take place in small-town America, but are dramatic and cinematic. They feature often disturbing, surreal events. His photographs are elaborately staged and lit using crews familiar with motion picture production and lighting large scenes using motion picture film equipment and techniques.

From our trip to Berlin, TMA purchased two of Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno‘s spider compositions, Semi-Social Mapping of Perdita 0.638 by a Pair of Cyrtophora citricola – Four Heads.  Click on them to see the detail.

Sorry – I never got around to finishing my Berlin blogs.  Can find no photos of the lab so think that we were not allowed to take any.  We saw his studio the last day.  We were told that the spiders are not enclosed, so anyone with arachnophobia should not go in; one woman stayed out. Here are my notes:

Arachnolab – spiders at work.  Senegalese spider in open lab for a couple of weeks… Combining different species for hybrid webs.  Some webs overnight, some a month.  Biologists know which ones can coexist.

Webs natural or sprayed black (ink has linseed oil, so tacky).  After spiders are moved to another frame, paper is put under the web and lifted up.  Food crickets and flies.  Spiders from all over the globe, Croatia, South Africa, South America.  Open frames have spiders working.

I had written about Barbara Rogers in is-it-over.  This, Her Garden: Objects and Sights Remembered # 127, is just a snippet of her commission for the dining room of Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship on the ocean (16 decks).

CAS had visited Ellen Wagener‘s home studio in 20124.  This tree she did in black and white pastels, D.H. Lawrence Tree, Kiowa, NM, was donated to the museum by the Greenbergs.

I have many more photos of the exhibits, but it’s late and I’m tired, so this shall have to do.

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/the-vegetarian-coyote/
2cele-peterson
3https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/equal-pay-day/
4https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/phoenix-art/