Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day by Kasey Chambers

My favorite new Christmas song:

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The 2017 Thanksgiving Week of Food

Here are some of the midwestern culinary treats over the week of Thanksgiving 2017 in Michigan and Iowa.

Cupcake at a cousin's birthday party. Forget dipping your Oreo in a glass of milk.

Breakfast at the Dearborn Inn.

Godfather's Pizza at the Bedford Country Store.

Ham balls!

Grilled tenderloin steak is the poor man's turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving dinner.

Cranberry marshmallow salad.

Pumpkin pie with cranberry juice.

Brownie and Diet D. Pepper at the Massena Sale Barn Cafe.

Lunch at the Massena Sale Barn Cafe.

Pizza to go on the ATV at the Bedford Casey's General Store.

Pork dinner.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Norman Rockwell

I came across this roadside pumpkin farmstand in Hadley, Massachusetts. Or maybe it was South Hadley.

The $1.00 pumpkin pile needs some love.

The Great Pumpkin was to be found in Norman Rockwell’s hometown, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Smooshin’ It Old School

At Herrell’s Ice Cream in Northampton. I stood in line for 45 minutes at the original in Davis Square some 35 years or so ago. The wait this night was only 30 minutes. The guy behind me insisted on repeatedly singing the Bare Naked Ladies song “If I Had a Million Dollars”. I wanted to put him in a real green dress and send him home with Kraft dinner. Nonetheless, it was worth the wait.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Orange Zamboni Mop & Glow at the MFA

Seen at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Future Site of Garage B, Former Site of Lanes and Games

There is reported to be residential housing development coming too.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Chocolate Moose in Bennington, Vermont

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Herding Cattle with My Vespa

I happened on this herd of Hereford cattle in Wellesley while riding my Vespa.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Cambridge's Newest Death Trap for Bicyclists

Is this a new permanent traffic jam on Brattle Street in Harvard Square?

No the city has moved the curbside parking into the middle of the street in order to make room for a new bike lane.

What could go wrong by putting a two-way bike lane on a congested one-way street? Let's count the ways. Pedestrians aren't used to looking both ways to cross the street. Delivery trucks and double parkers are frequently blocking the bike lane. Car drivers are already mistaking the bike lane for a second car lane, and some inevitably will be fooled into turning down the street the wrong way.

But I predict the real killers will be passengers of parking cars dooring oncoming bicyclists as they pop out of the parked car. It's hard enough to teach drivers not to door you, forget about passengers, they aren't going to look.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cambridge's Postmodern Sidewalk Experiment

I walked by as this section of sidewalk was being poured so I was surmised to find it hardened in this state the next day. What happened? Did a union crew take an ill-timed lunch break?

The city did eventually dig this out and repour, but it was funny while it lasted.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

We'll Always Have Paris When It Sizzles

The Weather Channel app on my iPhone declared today was a nice day for President Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Paris accord on climate change: Road conditions wet, running conditions ideal, and the temperature a very pleasant 71 degrees Fahrenheit.

If one thought to click play, there was also a video on the impending horribles of Trump pulling out delivered by a cute weather girl highly-trained meteorologist. Elsewhere on the internet, there is video of former Secretary of State and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who signed the accord for the U.S. back in December 2015, saying "kids will have worse asthma in the summer."

I'm afraid a great deal of the political problem in this country stems from confusing the question of whether something is happening with the question of what can feasibly be done about it. I have a friend with a beach house on the sand in a neighborhood behind a seawall. The wall was crumbling with age and the waves seemed to be getting higher. The town's solution was to build a higher wall. And what else could they do?

Does it help when some of the alarmists say we are already beyond the point of no return?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Rockport on Memorial Day Weekend 2017

The town of Rockport, Massachusetts is a bit touristy, but the aptly named harbor still has some old school fishing boats and lobster pots.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trump's Great Wall Sinks into the Swamp

Here's what Donald Trump said in his announcement speech on June 16, 2015:
I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.
That promise became one of the hallmarks of his campaign, but got watered down in the Executive Order Trump issued on January 25, 2017 shortly after he took office:
"Wall" shall mean a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier.
Parse the "other" substitution: Trump is now talking about building something other than a wall, "similarly secure" doesn't mean secure, "similarly impassable" doesn't mean impassable, and contiguous doesn't say for how far. Then here's what he said on Twitter this past week on April 23, 2017:
Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.
The water is getting pretty murky with "eventually" and "in some form" as Trump's response to Mexico's highly predictable refusal to pay for his big, beautiful border wall. And Trump's attempt this past week to get funding from Congress has also failed, so there will be no "early start". Ann Coulter is livid but then she's no Yoda:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Boston Skyline

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Picturing Republican Presidents for Next 24 Years

President Donald Trump gave what many regard as his first truly presidential speech to a joint session of Congress last night, but what struck me was that he was flanked by two men who could also become President:

If Trump serves two terms, his Vice President Mike Pence would be age 65 at the 2024 election. If Pence is elected President and serves two terms, current U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan would be 62 at the 2032 election. And if Ryan is elected President and serves 2 terms, that brings us to 2040, which would be 24 years.

I am not saying this is going to happen, I'm just suggesting that it could. Consecutive Presidents for 24 years from the same political party has happened once before. Democratic-Republican Party Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were in from the 1800 to 1824 elections.

The Republican Party has had two 16 year runs: Grant, Hayes, Garfield, and Arthur from 1868 to 1884 and McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft from 1896 to 1912. The Democratic Party's longest span has been 20 years: Roosevelt and Truman from 1932 to 1952.

What would it take to set the all-time record for consecutive Presidencies? In 2040, Ivanka Trump will be 59. Grandma Ivanka could be our first female and our first Jewish President.

Note: Some people would count John Quincy Adams in the Democratic-Republican run, but I do not, as the party had effectively collapsed by the 1824 election. But if Ivanka serves 2 terms in the above scenario, she would set the undisputed record.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Will Brexit Move the UK from the EU to the TU?

As the Parliament of the United Kingdom gets ready for its Brexit vote, former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband is quoted:
"I can go along with the Prime Minister that 'Brexit means Brexit,'" he said. "But I cannot go along with the idea that Brexit means Trump. And nor do I believe that is inevitable, and nor do I believe that is what the British people want either."
I think Donald Trump intuitively senses that the EU will stiff the UK on trade, and the US can step into that void. It might be fun to have EU-style open borders between the US and UK. Call it the TU (Trump Union). The TU could also add Canada (but not Mexico of course) and maybe Australia and New Zealand.

I would have a few conditions:

(1) The common currency will be the U.S. dollar. Keep your pounds, loonies, aussies, and kiwis as souvenirs.

(2) The monarchy will have to go. Queen Elizabeth II can be allowed to serve out her life term but the line of succession ends with her.

(3) Standardized (not -ised) spelling with no more Queen's English.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How Michael Moore Dog-Whistled Trump Victory

A dog whistle is a high-frequency sound that dogs can hear but regular people can't. In politics, it's using coded language that means one thing to average listeners but contains a secret message targeted to specific listeners.

The socialist documentary filmmaker Michael Moore was a prominent voice from the podium at the Women's March on Washington January 21, 2017. Yesterday he was calling the Trump administration a 21st century coup.

But is it possible that Michael Moore himself may have played a key role in the trick of state that brought Donald Trump to power? Let's look at the evidence:

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention last July where Hillary Clinton would receive her party's nomination, Michael Moore published his article 5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win. The dog whistle sounded to most of us then like a warning about how Trump could win but it reads now like a call to action:
"And now The Outsider, Donald Trump, has arrived to clean house! You don't have to agree with him! You don't even have to like him! He is your personal Molotov cocktail to throw right into the center of the bastards who did this to you! SEND A MESSAGE! TRUMP IS YOUR MESSENGER!"
And who was the target subgroup? Michael Moore explained that too:
"I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes - Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin."
Those are exactly the states that turned to Trump on election day 4 months later in November. That's mighty prescient of Michael Moore if it was a prediction. But consider that the prediction may have caused the result, because Michael Moore's fellow socialists in those states heard his dog whistle and voted for Trump to give him the electoral victory.

Bernie Sanders, the socialist candidate for the Democratic Party nomination, had just spent 15 months running down the presumptive Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton. The timing of Michael's article picked up right where Bernie left off. Now, Michael Moore couldn't and didn't come out and support the ultimate capitalist candidate Donald Trump overtly. That would have cost him his left-wing credentials. He found another way.

Michael Moore administered his coup de grace to Hillary Clinton's campaign in late October right before the election with his Biggest F*ck You Ever Recorded in Human History speech:

But look more closely at exactly what he said:
"Corporate America hates Trump. Wall Street hates Trump. The career politicians hate Trump. The media hates Trump, after they loved him and created him, and now hate.

Thank you media: the enemy of my enemy is who I'm voting for on November 8.

Yes, on November 8, you Joe Blow, Steve Blow, Bob Blow, Billy Blow, all the Blows get to go and blow up the whole goddamn system because it's your right. Trump's election is going to be the biggest f*ck you ever recorded in human history and it will feel good."
That's right, connect the dots in that quote, Michael Moore said he was going to vote for Donald Trump. Politics certainly makes strange bedfellows. So what was Michael Moore really doing at that march in Washington, DC on inauguration weekend? Basking in the glow of his crucial role in the Trump victory coup.

Update: If I were conspiracy minded, I might wonder just who blew that whistle. Could it be that the socialists Michael Moore and WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange were in cahoots with their old KGB Colonel Validmir Putin?