We have had a mild, average summer so far, with temperatures in the high 60s or 70s (18 to 24 °C). The sun still sets after 9 pm .. so even after dinner, there is still lots of time to go for a walk or to water the garden.
In the South and Southwest of the United States a phenomenon called a ‘heat dome*’ has developed, which will lead to historic high temperatures the next few weeks. It is possible for Phoenix, AZ, to see 120 °F (48 °C).
*Occurs when strong, high-pressure atmospheric conditions trap hot ocean air like a lid or cap.
I had to scroll through hundreds of Botswana bird photos to identify this white-crested helmetshrike, that I took a picture of long ago. (Googling ‘White bird with orange-ringed eye’ and several other similar attempts, did not do it).
We call a shrike laksman (say ‘la- ks-mon’) in Afrikaans: literally, executioner. The crimson-breasted shrikes in our garden in South Africa would find frogs or big insects, and impale them on the thorns of a bush before devouring them!
White-crested helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus), Tuli Block, Botswana, Jul. 1988.
A lot more flowers are blooming on my hydrangea this year, compared to last year. They are as always a deep pink (which means that I have neutral or slightly alkaline soil).
A neighbor right around the corner has beautiful blue ones (acidic soil).
I see political science professor Helmut Norpoth — who has correctly predicted five out of six elections since 1996 — gives Trump a 91% shot at winning in November. (The model places an emphasis on how much enthusiasm candidates were able to generate early in the nominating process, and Joe Biden did particularly poorly in the early Democratic primaries. The Cult of Trump barely had any opposition in the Republican primaries).
Hey, professor: add in 11% unemployment/ 40 million still out of work by Nov., and therefore tens of millions withno health insurance in a pandemic, 250,000 lives lost in preventable deaths, and 4x more people needing housing & help with meals than before the pandemic.
Here’s another 4×6 ‘escape’ photo that I found on a lamp post, of the Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland. It’s about 50 miles (80 km) as the crow flies from the capital of Reykjavik, and 75 miles (120 km) to drive out there with a car.
It was a sunny day (70 °F/ 21 °C) and I walked down to the erstwhile CHOP (Capital Hill Organized Protest) zone.
The streets are cleaned up, but there is graffiti everywhere, that will have to be cleaned up at some point. There are still a few police cars parked on street corners to keep an eye on things.
Trump is holding another (stupid, insane) political rally today, this time at Mt Rushmore in South Dakota. In the middle of an epidemic spiraling out of control in many states, there is no social distancing and no mandatory mask wearing at his event.
Besides, noted a political commentator: Trump’s politics of hate and division must fly in those faces of Presidents Roosevelt, Jefferson, Lincoln, Washington, carved out of the granite.
I learned today that there is another giant granite carve-out that has already been many decades in the making, just 17 miles from Mt Rushmore: the unfinished memorial dedicated to the Sioux leader Crazy Horse.
Here is a 2019 write-up about it from Business Insider.
I cleaned up some pictures from my old 35 mm negative scan archives.
These were all taken in the nineties in Botswana’s Tuli block — the eastern tip of the country wedged between Zimbabwe in the north and South Africa in the south.
Early this morning, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP, formerly called CHAZ) people were forced out of their turf that they had occupied for 23 days. A total of 44 people were arrested.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan had no choice. Two teenagers were killed in the last few days. and three other people were injured in shootings in or near the CHOP, since the protest began on June 8. Businesses and residents had long vented their frustration at the chaos and the noise in the area.
I saw this old news clip from 2016 on Twitter. A 99-year old woman in Miami woke up with a strange animal sleeping on her chest: a kinkajou(Potos flavus).
Luckily, says the veterinarian that took care of the kinkajou, it was a ‘domesticated’ animal. (They did track the owners down. Kinkajous cannot really be domesticated, but the animal was obviously used to humans).
From Friday, Washington State residents have to wear masks in any public setting where social distancing is difficult or impossible. The governor says he trusts the public will do the right thing, and that extensive enforcement or issuing fines will hopefully not be needed.
Seattle’s King county is doing O.K., but not great. There has been a steady increase in cases in Yakima county.
A Steller’s jay made such a ruckus in the tree in front of my house last night, that I had to go investigate. Sure enough, there was a second one on the ground, unable to fly. Oh no, I thought, I’ll have to do something.
I put the struggling bird in a shoebox, and left a message for the wildlife rescue center in Lynnwood. They called back in the morning. I texted them these pictures, and they said to bring it in.
They found an injury below its left eye; could have been the work of a crow. It was also a little thin and they were going to take care of it for a while and set it free. What could also be going on, is that the bird is just learning to fly, said the bird expert. Most fledgling birds don’t fly straight out of the nest. They spend a day or two on the ground flapping their wings (and hope they don’t catch the attention of predators), and then get going.
Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ – this takes the cake.
– Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios on Twitter, commenting on footage of Djokovic and others partying shirtless, maskless and distance-less in a nightclub in Belgrade
The Adria Tour debacle is an exhibition tennis tournament series that kicked off in Zadar, a city on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. Only: they did everything wrong, and the whole tour has now been canceled.
From the New York Times: Social distancing was not enforced in the stands during the series, and face masks were a rare sight. Players mingled freely, exchanging hugs and handshakes, playing pickup soccer and basketball, and even dancing the limbo one night in Belgrade, Serbia. At the tournament, players posed for photographs with workers, tournament officials and spectators. No systematic coronavirus testing was required of the participants before the event began, according to the organizers. Some Croatian tennis officials are calling for the resignation of Nikolina Babic, president of the Croatian Tennis Federation.
The result: Novak Djokovic (world’s No 1 player), his wife, two coaches and at least three prominent players tested positive for the virus: Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, a Serb whose wife, Aleksandra, also tested positive. Officials in Zadar were left to scramble to try to trace and test people that had contact with those that had tested positive. There had been no confirmed infections in Zadar before the tennis.
It was a fine day here in the city: eighty (27°C) and sunny.
My English-French illustrated dictionary has landed on my porch.
It is illustrated with panels from Belgian cartoonist Hergé’s Tintin characters, which is why I had to have it, of course.