2019 December Winter Solstice, Betelgeuse is waning!

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off and On and Off The Road Again — 2019 December Winter Solstice, Betelgeuse is waning!

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

Grouchy ajo2019, December: The Days Are Getting Longer — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Hazel needs her dreadlocks trimmed.Evolution of The Emoji

What's So Smart About Ideograms

I am just now discovering that sometimes my "smart" phone -camera-datebook-alarm clock-magazine-check book-transistor radio-music player... does not always tell me when I have missed a call or that there is voice mail waiting. Another case where the “standards” if there ever were any have been subsumed by the options available to anyone with enough patience to burrow through layered menus written in emojis and icons. First you have to learn the language. Once upon a long ago we had Egyptian hieroglyphs/ideograms and then the written word. Now we are inexorably sliding backwards toward a new language of ideograms. Complete with an online Rosetta Stone. “Are emojis a step forwards in how we communicate or are we reverting back to the language of the ancient Egyptians?”
Emoji for Half & Half
Emoji to be used when submitting Half&Half on your shopping list to the E-grocery:

Finished with the Autumnal Equinox letter of 2019 just in time to be late starting this Winter Solstice Letter that will likely take me into next Spring to post. I used to write these letters more or less monthly. That time table devolved into less monthly and more quarterly. Only another delay and we'll be back to Semi-Annually. Eh? 

2019xi14 Annual Checkup and Other Unrelated Squibs

Looking good. Passed my annual strip search. All my numbers are within the edges of “Normal” tho some of them are a wee bit too close to the upper (bad) end of acceptability. Starting tomorrow I have to do something about that. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we may diet. You might want to sell any stock you have in Ben&Jerry's.

“We'll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one.”
Scooba photo by Tibor Antalóczy
Fixing a Scooba at The Food Bank. see the last page of the Quick Start Guide...

After you prep the machine lock the baby [and the Shiatsu] away... and:
When Scooba has completed a cleaning cycle, empty and rinse Scooba’s tanks.

Remove the tank.

Open the Dirty and Clean tanks and drain.

Rinse the Dirty and Clean tanks with warm water.

Remove and rinse Scooba’s filter.

Remove and clean Scooba's cleaning head and brush.

Put it all back together...

Replace Scooba’s tank.

Plug in the charger.

...and then in very fine print way at the bottom (might be on another page in your viewer is: All this cleaning up after the Scooba doo will take you longer than washing the floor with a mop, which exercise is better for you anyway.

Somehow or other all that reminds me of:  “Do not open shrink-wrap until you have read and agreed to the conditions contained within.”

Intermittent Rain These Past Few Days

Limmer Boot DamageMy 12-hourly observations: 0.53”, 0.13”, … Reports from the east and north are mostly in whole inches per hour. Lots of road closures due to flooding and closed-road rescues from flooded washes. Generally speaking these storm cells tend to go to one side of Tonopah or the other. Perhaps some influence of the Palo Verde Nuke Plant? Or the Weather Modification Satellites?

Funny you should interpret TGIF that way. I recently sent one pair of my Limmer Boots (purchased custom made new in 1970) to Peter Limmer in Intervale for minor repair. TGIF is an apt reminder of how I should put them on. The repair, exclusive of shipping to and fro, is going to cost more than the boots cost new. OTOH, to replace these boots would cost ten times their new cost.

November 23rd Would Be Saint George's Day in April

Peaches Halping With Orts.Bill, W1VBG (Very Bald Guy), has been gone a year. Unveiling of his bronze plaque happened as planned on the afternoon of 23rd November at El Dorado Hot Spring. The weather and Sunset Soak were great. Lunch was filling especially with Peaches filling up on Animal Crackers. She even helped us eat up all the remaining sandwiches. This picture shows Peaches opening and Hoovering  a sack of Kettle Chips.
eFoto by Mike Schrody
Thank you once again for your donations that helped with the purchase and placement of this plaque. Thanks especially to Matt & Peaches of Eldo and Camilla, formerly of Eldo; thanks to Sue and Toby and Mike, each and all for their special help. And thanks to all of us for cleaning up after and taking away all the leftovers.

The plaque is on a mount in a flower bed hard by the entrance to the Desert Pete soaking area. The flag is a Marine Signal Flag denoting SkinnyDippers in the water. The Photo Board is a collection of pictures that mark important moments in the life of Bill and Camilla in their quest for hot water and the early development of El Dorado Hot Spring.

Long Live Skinnydippers!

Remembering Bill Photo BoardI think I might never eat another shrimp. You were not the only person not there. Lots of shrimp to go around and a good time otherwise. Nice weather. Good time soaking. Prob'ly just as well not everyone showed up. There were lots of leftovers to take home.

2019 xii 1, November WX Summary

Shifting gears is the theme of this November's weather. Winter arrived like a squalling baby on the 19th. Within seconds the wind went from calm to 30, rain poured, temperature plummeted 17f degrees. You can see the before and after difference in the Degree Days figures:
1st-19th CoolingDD=65, HeatingDD=9;
19th-30th CoolingDD=0, HeatingDD=110.
Propane usage rose as the daily average temperatures dropped. Flashlight battery consumption is also up as the morning and evening observations are often done in the dark; only about eight hours of daylight these days. Here's hoping there are some remnants of Penguindian Summer hidden behind a cactus hereabouts.

Pearl Harbour Day Came and Went

I saw nary a ripple in the news reporting, not at all like the hoopla harking to 9-11.
2020 Calendar

The Palo Verde Generating Station

(a.k.a. Tonopah Nuke Plant) is no longer issuing their Safety Information Calendar. Twelve pages of colourful local artistry with little boxes in which to write appointments has been preempted by a booklet of six-and-a-half pages of safety information and a letter of apology. The calendar hung at the ready on my wall. The booklet, at best, will likely end up in a stack of similarly mundane catalogues. For those of you to whom I mailed those Palo Verde calendars I sorrowfully offer here this cheap imitation.

The Ides of Twelfth Month

Finally repaired TinyTruck of the ignition failure which happened last April. Ever since replacing the ignition pickup coil the motor has been hard to start on a cold morning, often resorting to injections of electrons from a booster charger; which problem being exacerbated by the onset of Winter. After trying any number of stop-gap fixes and absorbing the advice of any number of Answer-Me-This talk-show hosts I finally replaced that same part again with one from a different vendor, a different manufacturer. This morning, with the temperature outside bottoming out at 42f TinyTruck started up in the first second of cranking. Yeaaa Truck! Yeaaa Allan! Yeaa NAPA and Echlin. (Boo AutoZone; that's where the previous coil came from.)

Sudoku RevisitedSudoku Solution

For those of you who are having trouble with the Binary Sudoku puzzle included a few letters ago I offer this helpful comment>>>>>>>>>>

Fox Lunch Reprise

Last week I returned from my four hours of volunteer fixing things at the Buckeye Food Bank with the usual 35# of comestibles. Among the haul is a selection of wrapped sandwiches from the local quickie eat-here-&-get-gas place. Mostly these are rather soggy and stale but the fillings are often worth salvage. After I've done with the unwrapping and sorting I stash the remains in a sack placed atop the cooler atop the table. Tomorrow I'll walk them a quarter mile south to Lunch Rock for the Critter Disposal Squad.

Tonight tho, after supper, after dark, after tea, after toilet and finally to bed, Hurricane Hazel-Rah got spooked when the automagic yard lights came on. She tears to and fro and I have little choice but to get up and see what is the clatter. Last year, in May,  a red fox came to raid the stash; this time the fox is fatter. Br'er Fox was circling the table, climbing on the tool box, the cinder block, looking for a leap to the table top. Finally he [she?] leapt up to confront the cooler and the sack of sandwiches. All this time I am watching, ensorcelled at the window beside Hurricane Hazel. Michael, on the ham radio, is exhorting me to get my camera. My camera is out of reach in TinyTruck. Get your phone—make a video! Then Br'er Fox pulled the sack of sandwiches down on her [his?] head and beat a hasty retreat. The lights went out. Then I went and found my phone. Br'er Fox
                Comes to LunchThe image links to a 15 second 6MB MP4 Video.

Of Date Lines and Time Zones.

How often does this happen: “In 2019, the winter solstice arrives on Saturday, December 21, at 11:19 p.m. EST...” and “In 2019 the winter solstice will occur on Sunday 22 December at 04.19am.” Now, who knows why and where? Hint:

Either way Happy Solstice Everyone! No Bah Humbugging about this; the days will soon be getting longer again. And warmer too I hope.

Sawdust From The Yule Log

Yule BranchI have my new Yule Branch tastefully arranged and illuminated for the occasion. I went shopping at the Yule Tree Lot at Fry's last week and chatted with the tree keeper. I told him I lived in a Residence Vehicle and did not have room for a whole tree; did he have any branches available? And he did! Several to choose from so I'm all set for another season.

Solstice Dinner With My Extended Family

Made my famous Pickle Pie [recipe available by request] and provided a ham. Good time playing KeepAway with the dogs, binge-watching Star Wars, eating and drinking and telling storeys.

Boxing Day

Another Green Flash sunrise over the lion's rump on the ridge of the Estrella Mountains.

Pictures From Spaaace...

ARISS Page Header
ARISS 2019-1228ISS101217 slide 9/15In memory of cosmonauts Alexei Leonov, Valery Bykovsky and Sigmund Jähn, Ham Radio Astronauts aboard the International Space Station were transmitting slow scan TV images during 28 December to January 1st. The pictures are beamed down, from Amateur Radio Station RS0ISS/NA1SS via VHF ham radio and received at The Cat Drag'd Inn. Six passes a day pass over Tonopah each results in two or three images. All totalled I collected 80+ images but still managed only 12 out of the set of 15. Right-click on this image to view full size.

Happy 2020

At least we should all be able to see better the handwriting on the wall.

New Year's Resolutions Censored
Dandelion Wine Cover
Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.

Love, ajo

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton

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