Sunday, June 28, 2020

When You Vote For Stupid, You Get Stupid

Okay, I fully realize that I live in bizarro, right-wing land where the rules of common sense and rationality have not only left the building but boarded a plane under an assumed name and fled the country. Case in point is one of my coworkers, an admitted extreme homophobe, he nonetheless swoons over Trump to the point homoerotic elements of his admiration more than occasionally creep into his lengthy praise sessions.

Exaggeration? No, not when he gets that awe inspired look on his face and consistently describes the Orange Buffoon as a “man's man who has done it all in life.” His adulation of OB gets increasingly weirder, given his homophobic views, that I often come close to laughing at the guy. Something I cannot do because open ridicule would probably cost me my job.

But the one common point this individual shares with other Trump supporters is the delusion that OB is a firm, commanding leader who doesn't apologize about America and its actions to the rest of the world. More to the point Trump supporters, of all types, seem to believe he doesn't take any shit from anyone and is a superb Commander-in-Chief looking after the nation's interest. However the reality of OB's true nature has once again become exposed to anyone with a microgram of rationality and objectivity.

Case in point is that the New York Times is reporting that American intelligence has become aware that the GRU, Russian military intelligence, has offered bounties on every American and NATO soldier killed in Afghanistan. The New York Times, further reported that the Orange Buffoon and his staff, including the Vice President, were briefed on this development in late March.

Now of course, Orange Buffoon supporters don't believe a thing coming from the New York Times. And I admit, the Old Grey Lady is screwed the pooch many times, but when it comes to who I believe in this surreal nightmare we've been living in since November 2016, I'm going with the journalists.

What once again reinforces the view that Trump is just a toady for the murderous thug, Vlad Putin is the confusing reaction from the White House staff. Latest blonde bimbo press secretary, Kayleigh McEnay say that neither OB or Pence have been briefed on this situation. While the Times goes on to say the White House held expanded briefings on the intelligence assessment and that possible responses include a sternly worded compliant to Moscow. Oh Hell, my bunny slippers just ran for cover.

While this is going on the Orange Buffoon is sending 200 American ventilators to help Russia with their Covid-19 outbreaks. Russian coronavirus cases neared 300,000 Wednesday, which is surprising because just a few weeks prior their news media was saying they had the situation firmly under control. In fact, before Russia finally admitted they were having trouble with Covid, several doctors mysterious fell out of hospital windows. The key point here is that each of these doctors attempted to inform the Russian public about the outbreak before the Putin government was ready.

So help me here, the Russia government is paying Afghan insurgents to kill American and allied troops. At the same time the Orange Buffoon is constantly talking crap about anyone in this country who dares to suggest we do not have the coronavirus under control.

You would think a strong, commanding leader would tell the Russians to, at a minimum, kiss our asses. Trump has said worse to our longtime democratic allies who have stood by us over the decades. Yes, you can correctly surmise that I am not a fan of Russia in any shape or form.

More to the point, Trump's infatuation with Putin is quite similar to my coworkers misguided affection towards him. Which given how Trump hasn't said a word about the bounties placed on the heads of American troops shows how his supporters don't have any clue about what it means to be patriotic. I am just so fraking tired dealing with idiots.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Disney Hilton Head Resort Vacation Time

Been off the grid for the past week for the most part, and it felt good. My wife, daughter, and I did some time down at the Disney Hilton Head Island Resort relaxing at the pool, on the beach, and down in Beaufort. While the Orlando parks and resorts haven't yet opened, both Hilton Head and the Vero Beach Resort went back into operation June 15. It goes without saying getting out of the house and the Columbia area was fantastic.  

The main building of the resort and office. Resort policy had us wearing masks while we were outside on the property. It was a mild pain but we complied since Beaufort County is even now having a spike in Covid cases.

Tuesday morning my daughter and I made it to the beach for sunrise. Always feels good to greet another day.

Went way overboard on the sunrise pictures took about twenty that morning and equal numbers on three other days.
Tried to capture the morning light and the sea oats. Didn't work out all that well.
One lone fishermen on the beach taking advantage of the unseasonably cooler weather Tuesday morning. 
Wednesday we drove down to Beaufort to walk around and stumbled upon this cool book store. NeverMore Books located at 702 Craven Street in Beaufort. It's mainly used books but there were a number of just released novels. Great atmosphere, it sort of has a mysterious vibe inside like you could run into Poe himself or someone from Harry Potter.

Jumping back to Tuesday my wife and I decided to hangout at the pool even though it was quite cold.

Finally, my daughter graduated from high school back in the first week of June. If  Covid allows, she is going to Clemson for the fall semester.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Hoag's Object- A Special Place in the Universe

One of the cruelest jokes ever performed on humanity is its shared delusion of significance. Human cultures are filled with lies of how we occupy some special place in the cosmos symbolizing our importance. The truth being that we are part of an infinite universe that gets steadily more complicated from our discoveries and observations. The best that can be said about our species is that we are momentary sparks of awareness inhabiting a microscopic sliver of eternity.

One of the discoveries that remind me of our true place in the universe is Hoag's Object. It is a rare, nearly symmetrical ring galaxy six-hundred million lightyears away from our planet. Discovered in 1950 by astronomer, Arthur Hoag, he at first believed it to be a planetary nebula- a shroud of gas expelled from a star in the last stage of its life. The truth being that it's a galaxy with a diameter of 120,000 lightyears and consisting of 700 billion stars.

As you can see from the picture, the weirdness of Hoag's Object comes from its shape with young blue stars and plenty of interstellar gas making up the outer ring. The inner core in turn consists of older stars with little to no interstellar gas that would create new stars. There are other ring galaxies we can see from our telescopes but none as clearly defined as Hoag's.

If you paid any attention to science classes while in school, you would remember that there are multitudes of spiral galaxies like our own in the universe, as well as elliptical galaxies that look similar to the center of Hoag's. The big question of course, is what caused Hoag's Object to develop this highly unusual structure. Most reasonable theories appear to involve a collision between two or more galaxies with the aftermath producing what we see from Earth. And yes, what we see of Hoag's Object today existed 600-hundred million years ago since the light from all those stars took that long to reach our planet.

For me the truly bizarre nature of Hoag's Object is the idea that in the outer ring star formation will continue producing more planets as well and hopefully intelligent life. And unless there is a sudden influx of interstellar hydrogen from some source, the stars in the center will eventually die and not be replaced.

How would humanity have reacted if we learned our own galaxy had such a peculiar nature? Think about it, for centuries we burned people to death who dared to question the accepted idea that our planet occupied the center of the universe. That the moon, planets, our sun, and all the stars in the sky revolved around Earth.

Going beyond my idle hypothetical alien speculations, here's some real, factual strangeness to think about. Hoag's Object is so are away that its apparent width is only one quarter of an arcminute. That's about the same width when we look at the planet Mercury from Earth. Looking at the picture of Hoag's Object above you will see another ring galaxy, much further away in distance, in the space between the outer ring and the core. Given the truly rare nature of ring galaxies, the chances of that happening are astronomical. No pun intended!

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Crimes Against Humanity

You're taught to respect, maybe even revere police officers here in the United States. The usual rational being the humble police officer the only thing standing between chaos and law and order. For the greater portion of my life I bought that party line and chaffed whenever someone spoke differently. Furthermore being white and raised in the American South, you grow up hearing the adults talk about the police being the only thing ensuring certain segments of the population don't get too uppity. This comes from Southern white folks having nightmares about black uprisings for literal centuries.

Don't believe me? Drive down to beautiful Charleston, South Carolina and take a carriage tour close to the Battery. Look closely at all those ornate Antebellum houses and ask the tour guide about the scary spikes sticking out from second story windows. The short explanation being those spikes were meant to deter slaves from climbing up the walls and into the bedrooms of sleeping white folks and cutting their throats. Slavery may have ended and Civil Rights Movement may be seen as justified by most white folks now, but those fears still linger.

Personally, I grew up watching shows like Dragnet and Adam 12 that portrayed police as soldiers in a “never ending war against crime.” The fictional police detective Joe Friday from Dragnet was a trip, straitlaced and totally by the book, you would have gotten more human compassion from a T-100 Terminator coming fresh off the Skynet factory floor.

When you combine that residue of racial fears and the glorification of cops unable to do any wrong you get the bullshit situation we have now. If you find this all distasteful, you can sidestepping the racial issue completely, let's frame this another way. What we have is the economically advantaged scared shitless that the economically disadvantaged will come and take their stuff and rape their daughters producing a lot of off-colored babies. Okay if I offended anyone I frankly don't give a damn.

We're twenty years into the twenty-first century and I can still easily find individuals that spout crap that the “races shouldn't mix.” Or that God has somehow ordained humans oppressing other humans because of a difference in skin color.

This gets me to my real point. Why the fuck did Derek Chauvin have to keep his knee pressed down on George Floyd's neck for eight minutes, killing him in the process? I've seen the videos, Mr. Floyd was handcuffed and being held down by two other police officers. Why the hell did Chauvin feel the need to not only keep his knee on the dying man's neck but clearly be seen pushing down harder?

Apparently all the police officers involved with Mr. Floyd were so harden by their daily battles on the front-lines of that never ending war on crime that they had become divorced their basic humanity. What part of, “Please, I can't breathe” did they not understand?

Yes, I know the death of Mr. Floyd was not an isolated incident. Crimes against humanity like that have been occurring on an all too regular basis in this country. The thing that makes it even worse is that not only do most white folks don't give a real rip, a huge number of us will find reasons to justify it.

Oh yeah, if you didn't catch my mindset, fuck the cops. I ain't buying their pitiful bullshit anymore. You believe you're soldiers in a never ending war, well man up and deal with it. Can't hack the pressure but still want to be an essential worker in society, quit and become a grocery store clerk or health care worker. You just can't easily find a reason to kill anyone in those jobs.