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.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The European Union Cookie Catch-22

For at least two and a half years now, my every visit to the blogger control panel is greeted with this ominous message (bold added):
European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.

As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to explain Google's use of certain Blogger and Google cookies, including use of Google Analytics and AdSense cookies.

You are responsible for confirming this notice actually works for your blog, and that it displays. If you employ other cookies, for example by adding third party features, this notice may not work for you. Learn more about this notice and your responsibilities.
If I click the link to learn more, I get an even more stern warning:
If you have edited your blog in a way that hides this notice, it will be your responsibility to notify your visitors about cookies used on your blog and if necessary, obtain consent. Also, if you have added other blog features that set cookies, including third-party analytics or advertising services, you’ll need to provide additional or a different notice.

It is your responsibility to determine, based on your cookie use, what else would be appropriate. If you choose to use a different notice, be sure you still comply with Google’s EU user consent policy. Learn more on generating cookie notices.
Then there is this parting fine print:
To see the notice if you’re outside of the EU, view your blog and change the country code, for example or If you use a custom domain, you won't see the notice outside of the EU.
Since is a custom domain, that means I would have to travel to the European Union in order to determine if the cookie notice is appearing correctly.