Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

2013 in photos

Jerry Stratton, February 21, 2013

December 25, 2013: That’s what Christmas is all about

Merry Christmas from Mimsy, and thanks to Charles Schulz for knowing the answer when asked “why?”

“If we don’t, who will?”

December 5, 2013: Government-assisted water shortage

I saw several signs like these on the trip up to San Francisco for the Thanksgiving holiday. After about the third or forth time, it struck me that this is an example of Milton Friedman’s dictum that “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

If you put California in charge of the ocean, in a generation or two you’ll have a shortage of water. Obviously it’s not quite as simple as that, because the near-infinite water supply about forty miles to the west is salt water. But still: the basic technology to turn salt water into usable water is something that’s been understood for centuries.

Throughout the world, however, governments control water usage. In the United States, almost all water supplies are government-managed. Even the act of capturing rainwater is heavily regulated in some parts of the country.

Put governments in charge of a planet whose surface is 70% water, and you’ll end up with a shortage of water.

November 22, 2013: San Diego Palms

Is there anything more iconically San Diego than an adobe structure with palm trees and a blue sky beyond it? We’re a Caribbean island in the middle of the California Ocean. There’s a tidal wave out there threatening to engulf us; yesterday was wet, grey, and wet. Today there are storm clouds over the ocean but the eastern sky is fluff.

photo for San Diego Palms

Beyond this arched window is a writer in a white suit and straw hat drinking a daiquiri and constructing his short story about islanders, great waves, and hard labor.

October 22, 2013: Two Seasons of San Diego

A couple of weeks ago, in San Diego’s wonderfully sunny September, I posted a photo looking over the canyon. Here is a similar photo from yesterday morning, showing our other season. September was Sunny & Mild, we are now in Misty & Mild. We do, technically, have a rainy season, but our rainy season is mostly Sunny & Mild.

Both photos were taken at right about the same time of day (morning). Temperature on that September morning was about 63°F. Temperature this morning is about 61°F.

October 10, 2013: East is East

East to the East, and West to the West, and never the twain shall meet. Although, since Hotel Circle is in fact a loop you can go either way and as long as you don’t get impatient you’ll come back around to whichever direction you wish.

    • Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    • Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;
    • But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    • When two strong men stand face to face though they come from the ends of the earth!

This familiar quotation is often used at odds to its actual meaning in the poem, which is that strong men are brothers wherever they arise. East shall never meet West only so long as weak leaders hold the reins because weakness attracts conflict.

East and West are not geographical locations. They are any two sides. Weak leadership vastly increases the chances of strife and chaos and violence.

October 8, 2013: Round Rock Chalk Walk

We walked up to downtown Round Rock on Saturday for the annual? Chalk Walk. There were food trucks with fried cheese sandwiches; fresh ice cream from Maggie Moo’s; local music; and, after the show, beer at The Brass Tap and college football.

The shutdown does not appear to have affected any of it.

photo 1 for Round Rock Chalk Walk

The Brass Tap has no food but a whole lot of beer. Very dangerous if we hadn’t walked over!

photo 2 for Round Rock Chalk Walk

No idea if it’s true, but awesome idea for a chalk drawing. We need more car fact art.

photo 3 for Round Rock Chalk Walk

Do not handle grounded bats. If they’re in the air and they get close enough it’s open season.

October 1, 2013: No Turn on Red

Why is there a “no turn on red” on this intersection? No idea; it’s got the best visibility of any intersection on my bike route, the road is wide, straight, and flat for about a mile to the left.

It doesn’t matter to me, because I never go right at this intersection. It doesn’t matter to anyone else, either, because it is almost universally ignored.

That’s what happens when laws make no sense and they’re not enforced. It almost makes me think they originally planned to put a red light camera at this intersection and wanted to set up a revenue stream.

Actually, given that San Diego tried to get away with shortening yellow times on red light cameras several years back, maybe that is what happened.

September 30, 2013: We pause for overnight station identification
photo for Station identification

The American flag waits in Mission Valley.

On a recent vinyl foray in Portland, we acquired Republican Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen’s Gallant Men from 1968. On it is his rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner as well as his description of how Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics.

I remember when television stations did not run programming all night; at the end of their programming day, they’d run some sort of station identification before shifting to static. That often included the American flag over patriotic music, a promise that they’d be back by dawn’s early light, I suspect.

    • O say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
    • What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
    • Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
    • O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
    • And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    • Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
    • O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
    • O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
    • On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
    • Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
    • What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
    • As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
    • Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
    • In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
    • ’Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
    • O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
    • And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    • That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
    • A home and a country, should leave us no more?
    • Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
    • No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    • From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
    • And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
    • O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
    • O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    • Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
    • Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
    • Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    • Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    • And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
    • And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    • O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
September 27, 2013: Shining Colleges on a Hill

It’s hard not to be inspired by a shining college on a hill1 that had the foresight to build on a hill, especially with the bonus of overlooking a large body of water.

Cornell had the same foresight. Even in the depths of winter—and Ithaca had depths of winter, not Minnesota-like, but wet and dense, like the winters off of Lake Michigan—if I could force myself out of the dorm room and look east to lib slope, the inspiration the college on the hill provided was enough to climb toward it.

And when it was time to leave, I’d descend to my dorm room for rest, and, later, descend to our Ithaca house rental.

When convincing people to work hard, inspiration makes a difference.

I’ve visited other beautiful campuses, and while the architecture is often grand and the foliage impressive, if your college isn’t on a hill, it’s missing something. Isn’t that why it’s called “Higher Learning”?

photo for Shining Colleges on a Hill

Looking west, down upon Mission Bay from a position of higher learning.

September 26, 2013: Pink Revelations

When I was a child I had some Pink Floyd.1 On cassette tape of course. I’ve long since had to replace it, but I can’t remember now whether I own it on vinyl or compact disc. Which is beside the point, the point is, to get the full impact of turning the corner in the University parking lot and seeing the light streaming from the clouds, you really have to be listening to the instrumental portion of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb while still not fully awake.

When I was a child, I caught fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye… I turned to look but it was gone, I cannot put my finger on it now, the child is grown, the dream is gone…

The child may be grown, but the dream isn’t completely gone yet. And the child still has his toys, pretty much the theme of this week’s photoblogstream.2 I saw the end times riding hard upon us, stopped the car, and snapped a photo of it with my phone, which I carry with me at all times. Now I’m writing this blog post up in iaWriter which will sync between that phone which would amaze the child to a desktop computer that the child would recognize as possible, and a tablet that the child would consider the greatest in science fiction.3

Meanwhile, on the revelations front, insurance companies around the country are sending out letters telling people that their rates are going up and their plans are being canceled to meet the requirements of the new laws all at the same time that Politico is raving about how prices are going down due to that law, but if you read it closely, all it’s saying is that spending is starting to rise more slowly. Which itself is a bit weird, prices only started rising like mad about a year ago. I mean, we through they were rising like mad before that, but this year we found what rising like mad really meant. Ours went up over 30% due to “the requirements of the new laws” this year.

September 25, 2013: The best of Kelly’s

Every once in a while, I google “Kelly’s Steakhouse” to see why they closed. They had some really nice prime rib, and nice sides as well—especially the creamed spinach—and they could make a mean Singapore Sling. It was a surprise to me to bike down the hill and see the “The Best of Kelly’s is now at Trellises” sign when they closed down.

But there’s nothing on the web. Kelly’s appears to have disappeared without any wake behind them. For a long time their web site didn’t say anything about being closed; now it redirects to Trellises. Some people in the comments of various food sites seem to think it’s just a temporary close for remodeling, but there’s no indication on the front door. It’s just a closed door and an empty sign box.

I have not been to Trellises since they absorbed Kelly’s. Perhaps all is well. However, I find it hard to believe that they also took in the old-school bartenders and waitresses. The prime rib was good, but they were the true “best of Kelly’s”.

photo 1 for The best of Kelly’s

A sad sign against a sunny San Diego sky.

photo 2 for The best of Kelly’s

If they are remodeling, I fear for the geese.

September 24, 2013: The threepenny discard

If even three pennies are not worth picking up, maybe it’s time to think about not making them any more.

There’s something mystical about three discarded or inconsequential things. A long time ago, I wrote a song about finding three discarded roses on the sidewalk. Later, I used the song as a section quote in FlameWar: The Passion of the Electric Messiah. More consequentially, CJ Moloney recorded it, and true to its mystic roots, that recording no longer exists in our over-recorded world. All I could find was her Red Skies Tonight in an advertisement.

Who left those roses behind? Why? You might lose a penny. You probably won’t lose three at a time unless there’s a story behind it. And you might drop one rose in a hurry; it’s unlikely, but you might. You won’t leave three behind, simply because you have them for a reason.

September 23, 2013: Art Deco iPhone

This has been my iPhone’s wallpaper since I got the 4S about a year ago. The iOS font selection has finally caught up with it.

In general I like iOS 7. The unlock screen seems easier even without the fancy thumbprint detector. Killing memory hogs is faster. And collections seem easier, too.

I have not done any sort of detailed look at what has changed. But I haven’t seen any battery slowdown. If anything, battery life is better: normally I’d be down to 94% to 96% at this point.

June 29, 2013: So Much For “Patient Privacy”

From So Much For “Patient Privacy”:

She even started to call me by name – before correcting herself and calling me Ma’am.

There’s just one problem.

When Obamabette #1 asked me for my phone number, I told her I didn’t want to give it out. I never gave her my name, either. So there should have been no way of anyone knowing anything about that first phone call when I called back the second time.

Got this from Ace of Spades HQ. Don't really have Internet right now, but this is important.

March 12, 2013: Tuesday Morning 8 AM

Is this what they mean by life in the cloud?

  1. <- Hostess shutdown
  2. Teaching failure ->