Tuesday, December 31, 2019

How to Hit a Million Views without Really Trying

I've all but dropped out of the blogger game, with 17 posts in 2017, 7 posts in 2018, and just this 1 in 2019. And yet somehow in that time period Ive gone from 500,000 views to over 1,000,000. That's 690,471* on the blog and 373,476 on the companion YouTube channel. Call it the power of compound interest.

Here are the top 10 posts on the blog:

17,001 John Stamos to Star with Olsen Twins in Two and a Half Women March 7, 2011
8,319 Picturing Republican Presidents for Next 24 Years March 1, 2017
7,930 We'll Always Have Paris When It Sizzles June 1, 2017
7,889 Trump's Great Wall Sinks into the Swamp April 30, 2017
7,828 Hitting the Half Million View Mark November 14, 2016
7,796 Boston Skyline April 1, 2017
7,338 How Michael Moore Dog-Whistled Trump Victory January 31, 2017
5,954 Stood up on My First Uber Ride September 15, 2016
5,808 Future Site of Garage B, Former Site of Lanes and Games September 2, 2017
4,391 Harvard Reenlists in the U.S. Navy ROTC March 5, 2011

* I should mention that 198,418 views came from a bot farm in Romania, so I'll need to do this post again for real when I hit the 1.2 million mark. Meanwhile, there is another run over on YouTube, with 124,630 views and counting on the video Calling Cows to the Bull Fight.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Starkly Living Free and Dying in New Hampshire

At Stark Park in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday, July 7, 2018.

Colonel John Stark's 1st New Hampshire Regiment repulsed three British charges at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

As a Brigadier General of the New Hampshire Militia, he defeated the British at the Battle of Bennington.

At Bennington he issued his second-most-famous quotation. Molly Stark did not sleep a widow that or any other night - she died in 1814 and John lived to 1822.

A gun-toting, baby-carrying Molly Stark has her own statue in Wilmington, Vermont, which I visited last summer.

Stark's most famous quotation, "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils" is from a letter written after the Revolutionary War for an 1809 commemoration of the Battle of Bennington. The first part, "Live Free or Die" became the New Hampshire state motto in 1945. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the right of car owners to tape that over on their New Hampshire license plates.

Final resting place of the original Live Free or Die patriot and his wife Molly on a hill above the Merrimack River on what was then their family farm. After the Revolutionary War, unlike many generals, John Stark never sought high public office.

Friday, June 1, 2018

My Garbage Is Eating Better Than I Am

On Sunday, April 1, 2018, the City of Cambridge pulled another one of its April Fools Day pranks.

These bright green curbside compost bins were distributed to residents across the city.

That brings the number of garbage cans at our three-decker to 4 - the new green one for compost, one for regular trash, a blue one for single-stream recycling, and one for yard waste. We loose lids before the cans wear out, so there are several other cans floating around the back side yard and basement. Plus we have several of the old smaller blue recycling bins. There are also separate garbage trucks for each type of garbage, and they all come by on garbage day. It's getting a bit ridiculous.

In addition to the big green bin, the city issued smaller compost buckets - our building got 3, one for each unit - to go inside the residence.

My compost bucket has been getting some interesting meals, such as this one.

And this salad.

Others are less appetizing.

What is Cambridge doing with all this compost? Turning it into methane and fertilizer:

"DPW brings food scraps and other compostables to a facility in Charlestown where it is screened to remove contaminants and blended into a slurry that has a consistency similar to cooked oatmeal. The slurry then goes into an anaerobic digestion tank that uses microbes to eat the organic material, releasing methane. The methane is captured to make clean energy in the form of heat and electricity. Remaining solids are made into a nutrient-rich fertilizer for use on agricultural fields in Massachusetts."

Friday, May 25, 2018

Hillary Clinton Was in Town to Receive a Medal

Orange prison jumpsuit, Hillary mask, "Billy Rapes Them & I Slut-Shame and Victim Blame". That's professional heckling. I had to wait in line to get this picture, while an Asian-American couple took turns getting their picture taken with the Hillary cosplayer.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

The Magically Rejuvenated Shower Head

A little CLR in a baggie goes a long way:

I should have taken a before picture to show the low water flow with all but a few of the water jets plugged. Here is the after:

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Massachusetts Militia Rallies on Boston Common

Saturday's March for Our Lives should properly be regarded as a militia rally, if you accept U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's definition of militia as meaning all able-bodied persons (OK, Scalia actually wrote men not persons). So what can possibly be unconstitutional about insisting that our fellow militia be well regulated, like the Second Amendment says?

Something to ponder: Why shouldn't the non-gun-carrying militia such as those gathered on the Boston Common, the National Mall in Washington, DC, and in rallies around the country, have just as much say over regulation of the militia as NRA members?

Something else to ponder: Most of what is being asked for - universal background checks, raising the age for owning rifles to 21, prohibiting assault rifles, and restricting magazine capacity - is already the law in Massachusetts.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Can Trump Top Reagan and Maybe Eisenhower?

Yesterday was Ronald Reagan's birthday, and Donald Trump tweeted out this old picture of the two of them from thirty or so years ago:

That brings up one of my favorite things to say to people who are very down on our current President, "I didn't vote for Donald Trump but he is on track to be the best Republican President in my lifetime." As some of the people I say this too were born in the 1950s during the Eisenhower administration, I sometimes have to add, "But maybe not in your lifetime."

Here's how I rank the Presidents we've had since World War II. I'll rank them by political party, because a merged ranking would just provoke partisan argument (you're welcome to disagree in the comments):

# Republican President # Democratic President
1 Dwight Eisenhower 1 Barack Obama
2 Ronald Reagan 2 Bill Clinton
3 George H.W. Bush 3 Jimmy Carter
4 Gerald Ford 4 Harry Truman
5 George W. Bush 5 John Kennedy
6 Richard Nixon 6 Lyndon Johnson

Where will Donald Trump rank on that list? If he's impeached he'll go straight to the bottom. But let's say that he isn't, that the economy doesn't fall into another Great Recession, and that Trump keeps us out of any major new wars or military escalations. That puts him on track to top Ronald Reagan.

But what would Trump have to do to top the Republican President at the top, Dwight Eisenhower? Let's consider five possibilities:
  1. Middle East. Peace between the Israelis and Palestinians would bring to close a mess that got started by the partition in the Truman years.
  2. North Korea. Eisenhower campaigned for an end to hostilities, and got an armistice, but the war has never been settled with a peace agreement.
  3. Iran. The seeds of our problems with Iran go back to Eisenhower sending Theodore Roosevelt's grandson Kermit to prop up the Shah.
  4. MAGA. Economic progress on a par with the 1950s but that brings good jobs to the stagnant U.S. inner cities could also be a huge civil rights advance.
  5. Climate change. If only Nixon could go to China ...
If President Trump can do them all, he may even supplant Theodore Roosevelt as the best Republican President since the end of the Civil War. Probably not quite enough for Mount Rushmore. And sorry, Donald, the number #1 slot in the all-time list of Republican Presidents is permanently taken by Abraham Lincoln.