Sunday/ birds from Kitsap county

These bird pictures are from Saturday, from around our friend Paul’s house in Hansville. (Hansville is in Kitsap County, north and west from Seattle, across the Puget Sound).

A bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), far away below us, on the beach exposed by low tide, was eating a fish or a crab.
These are two very young chestnut-backed chickadees (Poecile rufescens). They are still being fed by their mother, even though they are out of the nest! She is at the bird feeder nearby, out of the picture.
The spotted towhee (Pipilo maculatus) is a large New World sparrow, about the size of a robin. The towhee has eyes that glint bright red in sunlight.
This is an adult male of Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna). Even in the weak sunlight, the scarlet iridescence from its collar flashed now and then, as it turned its head.
This is probably a juvenile Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna), with the white on its throat.
A Western osprey (Pandion haliaetus) in flight. They are superb fishers, dive-bombing into the waters to catch fish with their sharp talons.
This is a red-breasted nuthatch (Sitta canadensis), that also likes to visit the feeder. This one is probably a female. They are bossy and make the little chickadees scatter when they come to the feeder.
Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna) at the hummingbird feeder.

Saturday/ hello summer

The summer of our discontent has arrived. Our city’s traditional Fremont Solstice Parade to celebrate it, has been cancelled this year.

At least the sun still rises, and sets, as if nothing on Earth had changed.
Daylight time here (sunrise at 5.11 am through sunset at 9.10 pm) is at its peak, now just shy of 16 hrs, at 15:59:17.

There was a little rain this morning. This Steller’s jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) had a red berry in its beak, and swallowed it before taking off from the rail by my back deck.

Friday/ it’s Juneteenth Day

Google’s home screen ‘doodle’, to celebrate Juneteenth Day.

Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.

More at https://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm


The Trump campaign did good work (unintentionally) by initially scheduling his stupid rally in Tulsa, OK for today. Oh! It’s Juneteenth, had no idea (I’m parapharasing), said he, we will move it. (Moved it by one day, to Saturday).  So now many millions more Americans — at long last — know what Juneteenth is, and there will be a push from Congress to make it a federal holiday.

As for Saturday’s rally, there is the reality of Oklahoma being in the middle of a spike in Covid-19 cases. No matter. Deaf to Oklahoma public health officials, the Trump 2020 campaign will pack 20,000 adulating Trump barbarians into the Bank of Oklahoma Center. They will not be required to wear masks. Tulsa Mayor, and Oklahoma Governor — the consequences will be on you.


Sat. Jun 20: Trump delivered his usual disjointed speech; told the thin crowd he ‘wanted to slow testing down’, and called the corona virus Kung Flu.
His appearance at the outside overflow area was cancelled. The overflow area was empty.

Inside the Bank of Oklahoma Center at the start of Trump’s speech. The Tulsa Fire Dept. told Forbes magazine on Sunday that attendance was just under 6,200. The capacity of the Center is 19,000. [Panorama shot from Twitter, taken by CNN’s @DJJudd]

Thursday/ a beautiful day

It was a beautiful day here in the city of Seattle — sunny, 75°F /24°C.

Late afternoon, with sunlight still striking the peak of Mt Rainier in the distance. [Source: Space Needle @space_needle on Twitter]

Wednesday/ flowers

Here are flowers that I had found on my walk after dinner.
The first picture is of a single clematis, the next of pink and white rose campions, with their gray-green stems.
I believe the little yellow flowers in the last picture are damianita daisies.

Tuesday/ the day apartheid died

Young South Africans, wearing face masks and keeping a distance, mark the country’s Youth Day holiday in Soweto, South Africa, Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Nearly 200 young South Africans, wearing face masks and keeping a distance, marked the country’s Youth Day holiday, the 44th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto students’ uprising which helped to bring about the end of the country’s previous regime of racist, minority rule. Äsivikelane is Zulu for “Protect each other’. [Themba Hadebe/Associated Press]
June 16, 1976, is a day that saw fierce police brutality in South Africa.  Several thousand high school students in Johannesburg’s poor township of Soweto demonstrated against the minority South African government.  (In 1974, a decree had been issued that had forced all township schools to use Afrikaans and English in a 50–50 mix as languages of instruction).

The march had been peaceful, but then a police convoy arrived. Not long after that, the protestors were fired upon with live ammunition, causing the deaths of several young students. There was more bloodshed the next day. The number of young people who died is usually given as 176, but other estimates put it at hundreds more.

Many white South Africans were outraged at the government’s actions in Soweto. It would be another 14 years before Nelson Mandela would be let out of jail, but at no point after 1976, was the government able to restore the relative peace and social stability of the early 1970s.

June 16, 1976. Umbiswa Makhubo carries the body of Hector Pieterson, 12 years old. The screaming girl in the picture is Hector’s younger sister Antoinette. [Photograph: Sam Nzima/Archive]

Monday/ a landmark ruling ⁠— finally

Gerald Bostock was employed by Clayton County in Georgia and suddenly fired in 2013 after a history of positive reviews at work. He had joined a gay softball league, and that was too much for his employer. When he lost his job, he also lost friends, his home and his health insurance.

Bostock’s case finally made it to the Supreme Court of the United States this year. The Trump administration had urged the court to rule against gay and transgender workers (because of course they did).

So to the surprise of many, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock’s favor. It’s finally no longer legal to fire employees that are gay, bisexual or transgender anywhere in the US. (It has been illegal in Washington State since 2006).  It all hinged on the interpretation of Title VII of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

The logic is irrefutable: suppose that a man and a woman each does the same work, or applies for the same job. Also: it just happens that both are attracted to men. If you discriminate against the (gay) man, you discriminate on the basis of sex, which is forbidden by Title VII.

Not only was the ruling 6-3, but Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, and was supported by Chief Justice John Roberts, a George W. Bush appointee. Lest we forget: George W. Bush supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, in 2004. [Graphic: Associated Press].

Sunday/ Denny Way construction

Here are pictures of the construction projects that line Denny Way just west of Interstate 5, that I had taken on Friday at dusk.
Presumably, work on these projects have started up again (while meeting the Covid-19 guidelines published by Washington State).

These are the two towers of the massive 1120 Denny Way apartment building (1,179 apartments), seen from Melrose Ave looking west.
The 40-story, 440-ft Nexus Tower on the left, with its 389 condominiums, is now complete. A handful of units are still available, including 8 penthouses (1,400 sq ft), says the website. My guess is that the asking price for each is around $2.5 million. The big expensive penthouses of 3,000 sq ft were rumored to have sold for some $5 million. On the right is the Kinects Tower apartment complex with its wedge profile (constructed in 2017).
Panning a little to the left with Denny Way crossing I-5, shows the construction of mixed-use buildings on the south of Denny Way, across from the Seattle City Light Denny Substation. I’ll make my way down there soon for a closer look. When it’s all done, there will be a pair of 44-story apartment buildings, and yet another, a 41-story apartment building.
Here is a picture similar to the one I had taken in December, from higher up on Denny Way, showing that the Space Needle is getting obscured. A few more floors on the 1120 Denny Way apartment have gotten their glass skins, but progress has been slow.

Caturday

Here’s a cute picture for caturday, as cat people like to call Saturday.
I don’t know the name of the artist.

Thursday/ what epidemiologists say

Below is a survey of the activities that epidemiologists expect to be OK to do –
⋆  Soon/ this summer;
⋆  3 to 12 months out;
⋆  Only after a year (oh no!), and
⋆  Never again (oh no! say it ain’t so).

Meanwhile, there is a deafening silence from the CDC about the pandemic.
No more coronavirus task force briefings.
Trump plans a mass rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the end of next week. (Attendees have to sign waivers that they will not sue his campaign if they get sick or die).
The death toll stands at 114,000. Are we just accepting that almost 1,000 Americans still die every day? It looks like we are.

Source: The New York Times, Monday June 8, 2020.
Check out this photo tweeted by Vice President Mike Pence yesterday (quickly deleted when he realized how bad it was). It’s the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign staff, in the Virginia office. Pence is Trump’s coronavirus task force leader. (Was, I guess. They claim it’s ‘over’). No masks, no social distancing. In Virgina, gatherings of 10+ people are not allowed.  #KAG stands for Keep America Great. (Great? With 114,000 dead and 13% unemployment?).

Wednesday/ the Capitol Hill ‘Autonomous Zone’

I walked by the section of Pine Street between 10th Ave & 11the Ave today, called the Capitol Hill ‘Autonomous Zone’ by the protesters. (How long it will remain ‘autonomous’ — occupying the city streets, unchallenged by the Seattle Police Department— is unclear).

Three intersections on Pine street are blocked off, and a little ‘protest village’ of sorts have sprung up all around it. There are tents, stalls that sell water and food, and other trinkets to protesters.

Around 4 pm, on the corner of 10th Ave & Pine St, and looking east towards 12th Ave. In the distance a person with a loudspeaker is talking to a crowd of 50 or so people.
Here is an impromptu memorial with candles and flowers for victims of police brutality, set up at the corner of 11th and Pine.
Graffiti on the boarded-up shop fronts further down on 11th Ave. BLM = Black Lives Matter, and Defund SPD = Defund Seattle Police Department. Critics (I’m one of them) would say ‘Defund’ is not the best word for the slogan. Most activists explain that it means among other things to ‘take SOME, BUT NOT ALL funds given to the police, and add it to the budgets for social services, healthcare, education and training’. Other things should happen that is not captured by ‘defund’. For example, the police need to be demilitarized (don’t deploy weapons of war against civilians). Already, Democratic 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has said he does not support ‘defunding’ the Police.
Trump must have seen coverage of Seattle on Fox News (far-right propaganda news network). Bet he did not pick up the phone to call our Governor, just tweets an insult with the usual stupid spelling errors. The ‘President’ of the United States, stooping down to the stupid joke that he is.

Tuesday/ 15th Avenue

The light rain that we had on and off today, stopped for a bit, and I went for a walk on 15th Avenue at around 8 pm.
The restaurants lining the street are not yet open for any sit-down customers, nor is Rudy’s Barbershop.
The No 10 bus rolled by: completely empty, with its electronic sign saying ESSENTIAL TRIPS ONLY.

The little lights on The Red Balloon toy & gift card shop bring a little cheer to 15th Avenue. Across the street the QFC grocery store has boarded up windows (to protect against marauding rioters); but I see they are open longer hours again, 7 am to 11 pm. The food pick-up sign is for the Coastal Kitchen restaurant. Pick-up at most restaurants close at 8 pm. One wonders if ANY of them make enough money, to cover even half of all their expenses.
The T-junction by Uncle Ike (purveyor of marijuana products) is getting a makeover. Those orange & white barriers are also a feature streets where police try to keep protestors away from some areas (they don’t always succeed!).
The Space Needle in the distance, seen from 14th Avenue. Time is 8.22 pm, says the timestamp from my phone. Pacific Northwest daytime is almost at its longest, with sunset now at 9.06 pm.

Monday/ a freaky little fish, for World Oceans Day

The deeper you go, the stranger things get.
– Dr. Bruce Robison, marine biologist, of voyages into the Monterey Canyon and beyond (Monterey Canyon is a sub-marine canyon in Monterey Bay, California).

One of the 13 species of the bristlemouth, a bony little fish that is about as big as a human finger.

It’s World Oceans Day.

Scientists agree that there are still hundreds of thousands of undiscovered species of animals and plants in the oceans.

More and more has been discovered about the bristlemouth : easy in a way, since they are everywhere in the oceans — the world’s most prevalent vertebrate, by far. There may be a quadrillion – 1,000,000,000,000,000 (1015) – of them, all told. They live in the middle depths of the ocean where there is little light. They have bioluminescent spots that glow in the dark, and can open their mouths extraordinarily wide, baring needle-like fangs.

Many of them have another trick up their sleeve: start life as a male, and later, switch to become a female. Scientists call it protandrous — that is, a male-first hermaphrodite — a phenomenon also seen in certain worms, limpets and butterflies.

A mouth full of needles: a bristlemouth, which is the most plentiful vertebrate in the world. [Photo Credit: Rudie Kuiter/OceanwideImages.com]

Sunday/ another rough night on Capitol Hill

It was beautiful outside, this afternoon as I walked down to Madison Park .. but tonight there was trouble again in Capitol Hill, Seattle, with the protests.
A madman drove towards the crowds and shot a 27-year old guy. He then got out of his car and brandished his gun. He is now in custody and the wounded man is in stable condition.

As I write here it’s after midnight (into Monday morning), and I can hear the popping sounds of the flash-bangs as police are trying to disperse the crowds, telling them to go home.

Scenes shortly after midnight in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Lots of smoke.

Saturday/ go Slow

 

The Slow Mo 02 with its Apple-esque square face, all silver stainless steel, with a black dial, $300.
How to read the time. Love that last one .. would it be drama if ‘12.23’ is actually 12.24?

 

 

Is this the perfect watch for the pandemic? It’s a Swiss-made watch with one hand that rolls around the dial once every 24 hours. 12 noon at the top, of course, and midnight at the bottom.

 

Friday/ a ‘4×6’ escape to Prague

I found this picture of Prague on a lamp post here on 13th Ave.
Regrettably, I have not been the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic — at least not yet.
I had a chance to go there while I was working in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2008. Bratislava is a 4 hour train ride away.

The stone arch bridge in the photo is the Charles Bridge. Construction started in 1357 under the auspices of King Charles IV, and was completed almost 50 years later! The river is the Vltava. The light green dome just to the right of the bridge tower is that of the St Francis of Assisi Church.  [Screen shot from Google Street View].

Thursday/ geranium & germanium

ge·ra·ni·um
/jəˈrānēəm/

noun
a herbaceous plant or small shrub of a genus that comprises the cranesbills and their relatives. Geraniums bear a long, narrow fruit that is said to be shaped like the bill of a crane.

ger·ma·ni·um
/ˌjərˈmānēəm/

noun
The chemical element of atomic number 32, a shiny gray semi-metal. Germanium was important in the making of transistors and other semiconductor devices, but has been largely replaced by silicon.


I found some geranium (cranesbill) flowers on my walk around the block tonight (had to do an image search on Google).
Just for fun, below is a picture of a chunk of germanium.

Ultrapure chunk of polycrystalline germanium, 12 grams. Source: Images of Elements

Wednesday/ still protesting

Long past midnight last night, I could still hear the police helicopter hover over the protesters here in Seattle’s Capitol Hill. It is less than a mile from my house, as the crow flies.

The protesters are out there again tonight. A curfew that had been in place, was lifted, though. I really hope the ugly scenes of Saturday night are behind us.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has upgraded the charge against former police officer Chauvin to second-degree murder. The other three officers that had been with him, have now been charged as well — of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

The protesters in the crowd that are protesting police brutality against George Floyd for a 6th night, seen from the 3rd floor of a nearby building. The umbrellas are there to help deflect tear gas canisters, a Hong Kong tactic. Probably too few umbrellas, though! .. but hopefully things will stay peaceful. Also: not a good thing that so many people are gathered in one place with the corona virus still very much in circulation. What are people to do, though, that are protesting generations of marginalization and economic inequality? A 2011 National Institutes of Health study found that some 2.3% of deaths – 50,000 people – in the United States yearly, are due to poverty/ lack of access to affordable healthcare.