Tuesday, November 24, 2020

OK 2020, now you're just messin' with us.

 Metal monolith found by helicopter crew in Utah desert at the BBC.

Reportedly the ape-men staring transfixed at the monolith while learning quantum field theory scampered away and hid as the helicopter approached.  Well, that's what I heard.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Warp Drives – The News is Good! (or at least, "not impossible, yet")

 Still not there, but here's a 10 minute video summarizing the latest research on the matter, at Backreaction.  It's taking time to get to a functioning warp drive, but this is hard stuff.  It may in the end prove to be altogether impossible, but this hasn't been shown yet.  In the meantime it is fun to watch the progress.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Two Resources

 Much of what you see in the press regarding covid-19 is bunk, but this ongoing summary from Nature is generally good and trustworthy.  At least, it's the latest science from people doing their level best to get it right.  link to Nature  It's usually updated every day or so – as results trickle out, on no particular schedule.  

The second resource I'm pointing out today is the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME home page).  Their home page has all kinds of links to papers they're producing, but perhaps of more interest here are these direct links showing the ongoing data on infections and deaths per day along with near-future projections under various scenarios.  You can get to most any region of the world via the pull-down menu, but for convenience here are some of the more relevant ones for the usual readers of this blog:

United States | Mississippi | Louisiana | Alabama | Florida

Very convenient to have these, especially when the MSM points to one currently-exploding region of the country and begins, yet again, screaming about doom.  And while some of the projections are a bit pessimistic, the historical data are correct and the seven-day ripple has been mercifully smoothed out.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

A Few More Days Off

 Remember what I said a couple of weeks ago about taking a few days off from blogging?  Then following up with a string of posts?  Well, looks like I'll really be taking a few days/weeks/months(?) off now.  Nothing dire, just tired and busy.  No worries, I'll be back, even if it's just for a year-end wrap-up.

Been reading a ton of H.P. Lovecraft lately.  Funny, with the string of storms we've had over the past 15 years, plus the Macondo blowout, pandemic, and general political craziness, Lovecraft's writing is beginning to sound kind of down-home comforting.  House-sized invisible monsters trashing buildings in the neighborhood?  Been there, done that, got the insurance check, moved on.  I really need some time off.

On the good side, the grid power in my neighborhood is up and stable, the yard is all chainsawed out, and there aren't any storms currently headed this way.  OCMS played the Grand Ole Opry last night, that was a fun listen.  (the ionosphere's improving too, so skywave doesn't sound quite so funky)  The weather's in that stunningly beautiful mid-fall blue sky mode for the foreseeable future.  Ya take yer good where ya can get it these days.

See y'all in a few weeks.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Something Good

 Finally, unequivocal good news re corona/covid-19: Covid vaccine is more than 90% effective

"I think we can see light at the end of the tunnel," said Pfizer Chair & CEO Dr. Albert Bourla.

Plans are for manufacturing 50 million doses in 2020, followed by 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

KLEB Lives!

 A favorite little AM station KLEB "The Rajun' Cajun" was near ground zero of last week's Hurricane Zeta, and I was a tad worried about them.  Last Monday though they were back on the air, albeit at low power, likely off a portable generator.  Getting them since has been hit-and-miss up here on the MS coast, but they were coming through fairly well today.  Even though they're at low power for now, it seems probable that the tower survived Zeta and they'll be back at 100% in a matter of weeks.  Funny though, snooping around on the web, can't really find any recent stories on them.  Certainly nothing Zeta-related.

Anyway, they're definitely on the air, and that is an encouraging thing.  Where else do you get songs like Crawdiddy's Momma's Cookin' Gumbo played back-to-back with The Cure's Just Like Heaven?  The variety out of that station is astonishing.

Update 11/10: KLEB's back to full power, and we've got good, normal reception on the MS Coast again.  Woo!

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Ken Burn's Country Music Documentary Series

 Yes, you need to watch this, even if you're not a country music fan.  4.5 stars out of 5

Lots of the pre-history, the hows and whys, lots of the early development up from fiddle and banjo music, the radio "barn dance" craze and how WSM's ongoing Grand Ole Opry is the last and greatest of those shows, "Countrypolitian" music, Outlaw Country, etc., the entire 16 hour series (8 2 hour episodes) is well worth your time.  It's through, and I won't try to catalog it all here.

Now for the downsides, which are minor but worth noting.  The country-related genre of Americana music received only one brief mention, where it should have gotten at least 15 minutes' out of the 16 hours.  There may have been too much focus and interview time with too limited a handful of musicians and insiders, but hey, with documentaries sometimes you just roll with the folks who'll take the time and tell the story.  My biggest kick though is that it ends in 1996, and needs another episode to bring us up to the present.  In this nearly quarter-century, country music has taken all kinds of new directions, as has the rest of the music industry, with successful self-produced on-line publishing and a thriving live music scene.  I realize that some people are stuck in the 90s, but this is the 20s folks!

I need to go back through the series with a pen and pad, just to write down music to fetch in the near future.

OK, apart from "needs a ninth disc" it's everything it needs to be.  Recommended!

ps: Watch the extras, especially on the last episode.  The segment on "what one song do you think epitomizes country music?" was priceless.  Surprisingly, there was a pretty fair consensus among the musicians and insiders: George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today," closely followed by one of several of Hank Williams' high-and-lonesome tunes.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Movie Review: The Dead Don't Die,

 but the living shouldn't bother watching this one.

It looks like this was supposed to be a likable send-up of zombie movies, with Bill Murray ambling around as the police chief in a small town ("A Real Nice Place"), with Adam Driver and Chloe Sevengy (sp? don't care) as his two officers.  Tilda Swinton as usual plays a walking, talking WTF, and the script has her figuratively jumping the shark (no, not literally, and no spoilers here for you).  Along with these four, the rest of the cast of A- & B-ish actors are shamefully underused.

The main trouble here is that the gags don't come fast enough, nor really hard enough.  The self-referential banter about the theme song or "this won't end well" never quite fit.  Furthermore, with the somber, nearly silent background tone it doesn't feel like the comedy that it's trying to be.  So, what's left after that?  Nothing worth spending your time watching.  Maybe the best that can be said is that, at its best TDDD borders on "so bad it's good."  But not quite.

1 star out of 5, just because the actors did what they could with this turkey.  Also, the old Pontiac was kind of cool.  Plus, having "Samuel Fuller" on one tombstone was a nice hat-tip.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Recovered, but...

 Finished the chainsawing and yard clean-up yesterday,

The Giant Pile of Debris

and the electricians showed up yesterday to touch up on Monday's electrical repairs, so now the dryer works,
but in the meantime, sometimes you've just got to do the wash.  Besides, how else would you find out that the dryer circuit's not properly hooked up?  Nothing finds a dead dryer circuit like a washing machine load of damp laundry.  Eh, the weather was nice, sunny & dry.

Still waiting for the cable internet service to return, but the end of the street that comes in on is still oak limb salad.  Just glad the AC power supply comes in from the other end of the street.  So, recovered and taking a day or two off.  Think I'll take a bike ride around BSL today and take in the sights.  And now this:

How 2020.  Well, that roulette wheel is still spinning and I've got a few days to catch my breath.  Think I'll make good use of them, starting with another cup of coffee and a bike ride.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

A Few Days Off

 Just a few.  Well, maybe more than a few.  I'm still dealing with a few items from Hurricane Zeta – nothing bad, just dealing.  And I'm tired.  Really tired.  And you don't want to hear about the little chores and snafus that make up a hurricane's aftermath.  So I'm taking a few days off.  It may stretch into a month or more.  Don't worry.  At very least, I promise a year-end wrap-up, but I intend to be back and blogging much sooner than that.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Coffeeneuring Stop #7: Henderson Point Park

 Last Wednesday, I wrote "What could be more 2020 than sneaking in a coffeeneuring trip with a hurricane bearing down on the area?"  How about coffeeneuring in a declared disaster area following Hurricane Zeta?  With MRE coffee of course...

1. where: Henderson Point Park, Pass Christian MS

2. date: 11/1/20

3. what: French vanilla cappuccino (instant, in a bag, heated w/MRE heater)

4. ride details: CX bike, 70F-ish clear blue fall day

5. distance: 11.5 miles round-trip

Continuing with Disaster Week here on the MS Gulf Coast, after chainsawing for a good chunk of the morning, I drove to the National Guard distro point at the farmer's market to restock on ice.  I didn't need the case of MREs, but the only question the guys working there asked was "How many people?"  "Two."  [turns to shout]"Two!" and four guys run up with the standard load-out, throw it in back of the truck, and move along don't slow down the line.  [rolling out]"Thanks!"  "No problem!  Next!!!"  Eh, won't have to hunt for groceries before next week, and the ice is much appreciated while finishing out the remaining fresh food in the house.

But back to the coffeeneuring.  I had to peek into one of the MREs, not having seen a standard one in fifteen years.  Hm, what's this?  French vanilla cappuccino in a mix-and-drink bag?  That's going in the jersey pocket for this afternoon's ride.

On to the ride.  Today's destination is a half-mile from this year's stop #4, but on the bay side of Henderson point, at the little park tucked next to the Bay Bridge.  Downright cozy, it seems a world away from the windswept Gulf-facing point.  Families were out with the kids on the playground, burning off pent-up energy.  Another group was down on the beach under the bridge salvaging lumber off a washed-away dock.  I took a seat on some of the larger debris, and added water to the coffee bag and the heater...



While waiting for the cappuccino to heat, I snapped a couple of pictures of the mouth of the Bay of St. Louis, including the Hwy 90 and train bridges...

And then raised a toast to another successful year of coffeeneuring...

For instant coffee in a bag, it was surprisingly good.  None of the synthetic or metallic tastes usually associated with instant mixes.  The new MRE heaters are a big step up, and had things tasty-hot in just minutes.  The drink was a little sweeter than I'd usually go for, but that's just me.  Frankly, it was a good cup of coffee, and much appreciated after a week like this one.

On the way back, I snapped a pic of the park pavilion:

It seems to have made it through Zeta without a scratch, though the rest of the park was looking pretty rough.

And that wraps up the 2020 Coffeeneuring Challenge here on the MS coast.  It has been different this year, to be sure, and it will always be outstanding in its weirdness.  Looking forward to next year already, which will assuredly be quite different: less solo, more social, and lots more coffee-shop-with-walls.

Circling back to the One Good Thing theme for this year: Right after I got home, the electrician called and said he'd be here first thing in the morning to get my power hooked back up.  Truly the one good thing I need!  Funny how these things work out.

In closing, here's a pic of the beach bench where Stop #1 happened last month:

Hm, yeah, that was quite a storm.