We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
If governments know how to do that, I am all in as long as it does not involve distribution of soma. Maybe governments do know something, because they seem to know how to make themselves happy. Mostly, government seems to annoy and burden me, though.
Except for our technologies, I say that we live today much as did wealthy Romans. Same culture. I agree with this comment at Quora, responding to a query about whether modern-day Italians are descendents of the Romans (not much):
What is more important than the genetic aspect of the "Roman" question is the legacy which Rome left to posterity: its concepts of organized society, of the Law, of tolerance of assimilated cultures and religions (up to the moment when Christianity prevailed!), its keen interest in science and culture and, last but not least, its ability to shape a language that still survives in practically all European and American languages today in its alphabet and vocabulary. Even the language we are now using to communicate owes most of its vocabulary (48%) to the language of Rome.
In this sense we can say that we are all "Romans."
A reader asked for ideas about how to begin a fitness program after recovering from illness (with a Dr's ok, please). Same thing applies to anybody wanting to begin a fitness program. You start gradually to get your body geared up if it hasn't been used vigorously.
After a few weeks of these simple low-impact calisthenics/cardio daily, you can begin to advance, lengthen, and intensify your overall program. Ignore those calories - it's not true and it means nothing. Sure, it takes an hour to burn a donut or a bagel. So don't eat it.
These trainers talk kind of silly, but that's normal. The girl shows you how to modify if you can't keep up with the guy yet:
We went to Tucson, Arizona for Memorial Day weekend. It's about a 7-hour drive east of the San Diego area. I hadn't been there in 12-years, as part of a thousand mile circle through Yuma (Mostly Muffins are terrific then and still)-Tucson-Tombstone-Coronado Monument-Huachuka-Sedona-Flagstaff-Grand Canyon-various Pueblo ruins- Oatman. There are sights and activities worth the trip at all those spots. But that was with very young sons, so much was also missed, especially hiking.
This time we enjoyed the lively refurbished old buildings converted to bars and restaurants downtown and the scenic drive up 8000-feet on 23-miles of twisty-turny road to the top of Mt Lemmon with vistas all around Tucson.
Admittedly, you have to appreciate desert scenery, and the best way to enjoy it is walking step by step examining the frequently changing vegetation as soils and elevations change slightly. There are great walks and hikes in the Saguro National Park (actually two of them, east and west of Tucson). These photos don't show the diversity of vegetation and tiny flowers on short cacti, grasses, and bushes, or the flowers at the top of tall Ocotillo. They do show the largest cacti in America, the Saguro. The seedling is the size of your thumbnail, and most get eaten by birds or trampled or die in too intense sun and heat. The best condition for survival is in the shade of a mesquite bush or palo verde.
They'll grow in an elongated barrel shape, and flowers start to appear at the top after 6-years and later at the end of arms that grow after about 75-years. The flowers are the state flower of Arizona. Each bud flowers for just one day, and there are many buds. Flowering season is May-June. (You can see the buds and flowers at the top of the Saguros in the first photo above, and then at the end of an arm in the photo below.)
Severe freezing, winds, lightening, and disease result in Saguro damage and death. They seldom live more that 200-years. The tallest reach 4-stories in height.
Well, not really. It is planting time for tropical things like tomatoes and peppers up here in Yankeeland. Everybody likes to get an early jump on the season, but it's never worth the trouble. Annual plants do not get going until late May and June here.
On the other hand, from now on it's too late for planting shrubs and trees. Water them all you can for the first growing season, but transplantation stress and hot weather is tough. If they hold their own, next Spring they will grow fine on their own - if they like the spot you selected for them.
The great Ralph Snodsmith who had a gardening show on WQXR or somewhere for 100 years always said "Prepare a $50 hole for a $5 plant." With inflation, I'd say a $300 hole for a $30 plant.
Loosen up the roots of a potted plant, or chop them up a bit if the new plant is root-bound. After that, the hole is the thing. Double the diameter of the shrub or tree. A firm base, and fill with enhanced dirt (peat moss, planter soil, manure, whatever). I mix it all up for fill in a wheelbarrow to give the thing an easy start. Then soaker water plentifully the first year. Why? Because the plant doesn't have a sustainable root system yet, and to make it easier to send out new roots. Dry or compacted soil doesn't have the water space between soil particles in which to send new roots.
We planted a bunch of hollies this Spring. Actually, two batches. They are looking good thus far.
Definitely worth the flight just for the nice seafood supper at the Chatham Squire. I love that joint. Great chowder. I have a friend who retired to Chatham village mainly for the chowder. For the nice people too, the Congo church, the old-time architecture, the mild ocean weather, beaches, birding, and closeness to Boston.
Some discussion of his new avionics. Funny part: jumping the fence to get back. These guys are resourceful and have lots of fun. For Matt, his plane is just a sports car.
A Waste of 1,000 Research Papers - Decades of early research on the genetics of depression were built on nonexistent foundations. How did that happen?
“What bothers me isn’t just that people said [the gene] mattered and it didn’t,” wrote the pseudonymous blogger Scott Alexander in a widely shared post. “It’s that we built whole imaginary edifices on top of this idea of [it] mattering.” Researchers studied how SLC6A4 affects emotion centers in the brain, how its influence varies in different countries and demographics, and how it interacts with other genes. It’s as if they’d been “describing the life cycle of unicorns, what unicorns eat, all the different subspecies of unicorn, which cuts of unicorn meat are tastiest, and a blow-by-blow account of a wrestling match between unicorns and Bigfoot,” Alexander wrote.
You have probably never seen one, but this cat-sized member of the weasel tribe is not rare in New England woodlands. While famous for living on porcupines and squirrels, Fishers will eat anything they can catch (but they do not eat fish).
"Due to its alert, secretive nature and solitary habits, most people have never seen this interesting predator. It disappeared from the state by the 19th Century due to agricultural land clearing. Fishers have since made an amazing comeback, and now live in populated areas that offer mature forest habitat and the squirrels it preys on."
Some varieties of Serviceberry, more commonly known as Shadbush up here because it blooms during the Shad run, grow in most parts of the US and southern Canada. Some grow as shrubs, some as small trees. If you spend any time tramping outdoors, you will see them.
Some varieties are used as landscape plantings (I have used them) but most grow wild, especially in brushy edges.
The berries look somewhat like blueberries, and range from red to purple to black.
Depending on the variety, the berries can be sour or sweet. All are edible raw, and you can make jam with them too.
Serviceberry is not to be confused with the Huckleberry, also a common wild plant. Huckleberry is a common meadow edge plant.