Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cottage garden update

The rains are over for now, the summer heat is here. Time to add architectural elements to the garden.

The raw materials

Structure installed and tethered to the fence

Shelves and pots added

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

US Immigration, things have changed rapidly

Based on census data from households, the numbers are pretty accurate, and show the rapid decline of the immigration rate from Mexico over eight years, legal or illegal.

To get from Mexico you need a large bottle of water, suntan lotion, and good walking shoes. To get from India and China you need a plane ticket and a visa. But there are now more Indian and Chinese immigrants per year than Mexicans.

As always, politicians are behind the curve and are throwing money, technology, and people at the Mexican border, to burnish their political credentials, to make us "safe" from terrorists.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Blazing Saddles

A 40 year-old Mel Brooks movie, that is still a very funny spoof of Hollywood Westerns. But you need to be American to understand many of the jokes.

What makes it so enjoyable is it is totally politically incorrect, nothing is sacrosanct, it makes fun at Jews, whites, blacks, Chinese, rednecks, Germans, American Indians, women. But no gay jokes, gays were still in the closet in 1974.

Could it be made today, are we more correct? I am not sure.

See it, it is semi-mindless fun.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hope comes to Turkey

I have a soft spot for Turkey, but under prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan the promising start in 2003, promoting good governance, and a move towards the EU, started sliding backwards into censorship, intolerance, and corruption.

In the 2015 June 07 election the people spoke and the the Erdogan's Justice and Development party lost it's majority. His push to establish more powers as President modeled on Putin, is now on hold.

Of interest is the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) who garnered 13% of the vote and took most of the Kurdish provinces in the east. In many ways they are more ahead of the curve than western democracies, they have both a chairman Selahattin Demirtaş and chairwoman Figen Yüksekdağ, and when fielding canidates the party has a 50% quota for women, and a 10% quota for LBGT.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Kartoffel Pfannenkuchen Abendessen

Germany lives on in central Texas. The first settlers came to Texas in the 1800's and German influence is still alive today.

Each year the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in William Penn, now a ghost town, holds a pancake supper to raise money.  Most people drive at least an hour to get to the church; it is in the middle of nowhere.

They supply all you can eat pancakes served with their own homemade and home picked dewberry preserve. Despite there being no steak with their potatoes the place was swarming with happy people.

What they use the money for I do not know, but I had a good time.

A crazy person in charge of our money, but .....

NASA mission to Europa

A pure science mission with no useful purpose but the quest for knowledge. How do we get this expensive endeavor political support and funding?

This is where John Culberson, U.S. Representative for Texas's 7th congressional district, Republican and Tea party member, enters the picture. He is the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding NASA.

He is delusional, a far right-wing, god fearing creationist. He believes god created life everywhere, "I believe the good Lord seeded the entire universe," and he is willing to spend taxpayer money to find it.

He states on his website:

"In planetary science, I have been a staunch advocate for our next large planetary mission, which will explore Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Europa has a vast saltwater ocean containing two to three times as much water as we have on Earth. This water has likely been heated through tidal flexing and volcanoes on the ocean floor created by Jupiter’s massive gravitational force. The most recent discovery of venting from Europa’s south pole is an encouraging sign that the ice may be relatively thin, providing easier access to explore the depths below. I am so enthusiastic about this mission because I truly believe that when we first find life on another world, it will be in the immense ocean of Europa."

NASA has swallowed it's pride and taken the money.