Thursday/ it’s the Seattle Kraken

It’s offical: the name for Seattle’s National Hockey League team is The Kraken (rumors had been swirling for months). The kraken is a legendary cephalopod-like sea monster of gigantic proportions in Scandinavian folklore (per Wikipedia).

The official Seattle Kraken sweater looks great (it’s not for sale just yet). The website says there is deep sea blue, boundless blue, shadow blue and ice blue in it, with ‘red alert’ for the accent lines and angry Kraken eye.

Fans will have to wait until next year’s NHL season to cheer for the team in the remade Key Arena, which will be called the Climate Pledge Arena (the world’s first certified net-zero carbon arena).

An artist’s rendering of the completed new Climate Pledge Arena (Amazon secured the naming rights to the stadium). The roof structure and supporting pillars from the old Key Arena will be kept intact.

Wednesday/ squaring off over squares

There is a case before the Bundesgerichtshof (Federal Court of Justice) in Karlsruhe in Germany, over the right to exclusively use a 4×4 square design for chocolate slabs. German chocolatier Ritter Sport introduced it way back in 1932. In 2010 Swiss company Milka started using it as well.

Now Ritter Sport alleges that Milka violates its patent that had been registered in 1993.

Update Thu 7/23: A ruling in favor of Ritter Sport came down from the Bundesgerichtshof. Milka will no longer be allowed to copy the square design of the Ritter chocolate slabs.

The square form of Ritter Sport was designed in 1932. Since then, chocolate maker Milka has also used it. Is that OK? I buy Ritter Sport now and then and I like the square design. It’s impossible to eat only one of the little blocks at a time, of course.

Tuesday/ my primary vote is in

I added my avatar, and a few annotations to the digital sticker from King County Elections that says ‘I voted’.

I mailed in my ballot for the Washington State primary election today. Washington uses a top-two primary system, in which all candidates appear on the same ballot, for congressional and state-level elections.

So the top two vote-getters move on to the general election in November, regardless of their party affiliation.

To any candidate that dares having ‘Prefers Republican Party’ behind his or her your name on my ballot: You are automatically disqualified.
Your party is a disgrace — as is that ‘President’ that you had foisted on us in 2016.

Monday/ three is just right

‘Een in die was, een aan die bas, en een in die kas!’
– Afrikaans for ‘One to wash, one to wear, and one to spare!’


I picked up my new tennis racquet from the tennis shop today. My social club has started playing super-safe and social-distanced tennis*, and I needed one more, as a spare.

*We play on outside courts only. Each player has his/ her own set of numbered tennis balls (to handle, and to serve with). Other players pick up & pass the server’s balls to him/ her with the racquet only, so without touching them.

My weapons of mass destruction: the Wilson Clash 98. I’m still experimenting with different strings. The top racquet has a Wilson Durability string that is thicker and supposed to last longer than the black string in the racquet below it. I’ve settled on a string tension of 54 lbs for now.
Higher string tension gives more control (for volleys at the net, say), but less power.
Lower string tension gives more power, but less control.

Sunday/ a flower, aflame

It’s going to be warm (for Seattle, that is) this week — 87 °F (30.5 °C) on Monday, and slightly cooler on Tuesday.

Whoa .. is it a flameball? Is it a flower? A dahlia, that I found here on 18th Ave.

Saturday/ a glimpse of the comet

I went out after sunset tonight to find a spot here in my neighborhood that would enable me to look over the trees for Comet C/2020 F3 (Neowise*).
I found it with the help of my binoculars, and got a somewhat decent look at it.  The sky is definitely not an inky black here in the city!

*Neowise stands for Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, the space telescope from NASA that had discovered it in March.

The comet is on its way back to 715 astronomical units, or AU, from the Sun. (For comparison, Earth orbits at 1 AU, Jupiter at 5 AU, and Neptune at 30 AU.) The comet takes about 6,800 years to make one lap around its long, stretched-out orbit .. so it won’t visit our inner solar system again for many thousands of years.

Arcturus is a giant red star and among the brightest stars that can be seen from Earth. Polaris is also called the North Star. The Big Dipper (middle of the diagram) is very helpful to locate the comet. The Big Dipper is a large asterism (star pattern) consisting of seven bright stars of the constellation Ursa Major. Comet Neowise is visible below it, and its position will be slightly higher every day for the next few nights. 
[Source: NASA Skywatching tips ]

Friday night stroll

I walked down 19th Ave after dinner.
A few people were lined up, socially distant, for ice cream at Hello Robin.
Zeeks Pizza had a smattering of diners inside, as did Monsoon, the Vietnamese restaurant.
No Friday night music and dance at the Russian Community Center; its doors were shut.
The No 12 bus rolled by. Its scrolling letters now say ‘Masks Required’— an upgrade from ‘Essential Trips Only’, I guess.

The gladiolus (sometimes called ‘sword lily’) by the little preschool on 19th & Republican. The pandemic is roiling the ability of school districts to open their doors to students. Everyone agrees kids need to go back to school for all the benefits it will bring them and their parents. That will not be possible in many school districts in states such as Florida, Texas, California, Alabama and Georgia with spiking infection numbers.

Thursday/ the Trump White House: dishonest, disgusting, deranged

Dr Anthony Fauci, via blurry webcam, on the White House’s efforts to undermine him: ‘You know, it is a little bizarre; I don’t fully understand it’.

Jake Tapper (CNN): ‘That’s Dr Fauci characteristically being diplomatic.
Let me not be diplomatic.
The White House campaign to undermine Dr. Fauci is dishonest, it’s disgusting, it’s deranged, and at a time of a deadly pandemic, it is the ultimate in irresponsibility.
Literally more than 136,000 Americans are dead because of this virus and instead of an aggressive national testing and contact-tracing program, the White House is instead launching a smear campaign against the guy trying to save our lives’.

Dan Scavino is White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and Director of Social Media. (Jake Tapper did not call out this tweet specifically, but I would say it qualifies as dishonest, disgusting and deranged). 

Wednesday/ Rancho Mirage, 30 yrs ago

I discovered this bird’s eye view picture of the Pete Dye Challenge golf course (north of Rancho Mirage, in the greater Palm Springs area), in my scanned archives.
I took it from my seat in a propeller plane, during my very first visit to the United States, in March 1990.
My brother lived in nearby Palm Desert at the time. ‘Just so you know‘, he said, ‘Palm Springs and its golf courses are not what the real America looks like’.

March 1990: The Pete Dye Challenge golf course at Mission Hills Country Club north of Rancho Mirage, was completed in 1988.
The curved road at the bottom of picture is Dinah Shore Drive.
At the very top edge of the picture runs highway Interstate 10, going to Phoenix, AZ, and all the way east across the country to Jacksonville, FL.
The tracks of real estate in between the greens of the golf course would be developed soon enough ..

July 2020: Fast forward 30 years later to today, and we find the Pete Dye Challenge golf course temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Mission Hills North/ Gary Player Signature golf course was added in 1992.
The tracks of land have been filled up with houses/ golf course condominiums.
Rancho Mirage High School at the top left of the picture was founded in 2013.

Tuesday/ landed: CD from North Carolina

My CD from a warehouse in North Carolina landed in the mailbox today (from a bare-bones website called MovieMars).

None of the CD was available on Amazon, none on Discogs.com, none on Ebay. Amazon Netherlands does not ship to the United States, and I could order one from Amazon UK, but that would have cost $36 with the shipping cost. Yikes.

The CD is a 2018 compilation of 1980s songs from the BZN/ Band Zonder Naam (‘Band Without a Name’) band from the Netherlands. Very ‘meta’ (self-referential), that band name — I like it. I import my CDs into iTunes, old school. One of these days Apple will surely kill iTunes, and then I will have to find another solution for my music collection.

Sunday/ a billion dollar criminal enterprise

The Lincoln Project is holding accountable those who would violate their oaths to the Constitution and would put others before Americans.
The Lincoln Project


Trump used his pardon power corruptly on Friday, to commute the prison sentence of his personal advisor Roger Stone. Here is the transcript, and stills from The Lincoln Project’s political ad, made in response to it.

It’s not a campaign.
It’s a billion dollar criminal enterprise.
Donald Trump says he’s running on law and order.
Who’s he kidding?
Trump’s campaign manager is a felon.
His deputy campaign manager is a felon.
His national security advisor? A felon.
His foreign policy advisor is a felon.
His personal lawyer is a felon.
His longtime personal advisor? A felon.
Nixon was BAD.
Trump is WORSE.
Now, Trump saves Roger Stone.
Stone lied to cover up Russian involvement in Trump’s campaign, to protect Donald Trump.
Seven felony convictions.
Trump: ‘I am the law and order candidate’.
Trump is the most corrupt president in U.S. history.
There is only one way to end the Trump crime spree.
Throw him and his crooks out of office.
On November 3rd, vote for justice.

It’s not a campaign.
It’s a billion dollar criminal enterprise.
Donald Trump says he’s running on law and order. Who’s he kidding?
Trump’s campaign manager is a felon.
His deputy campaign manager is a felon.
His national security advisor (Michael Flynn)? A felon.
His foreign policy advisor is a felon.
His personal lawyer is a felon.
His longtime personal advisor? A felon.
Nixon was BAD.
Trump is WORSE.
Now, Trump saves Roger Stone.
Stone lied to cover up Russian involvement in Trump’s campaign, to protect Donald Trump.
Stone lied to cover up Russian involvement in Trump’s campaign, to protect Donald Trump.
Seven felony convictions.
Trump: ‘I am the law and order candidate’.
Trump is the most corrupt president in U.S. history.
There is only one way to end the Trump crime spree. Throw him and his crooks out of office.
On November 3rd, vote for justice.

Saturday/ summer days

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).
*A heat dome occurs when strong, high-pressure atmospheric conditions trap hot ocean air like a lid or cap.

‘Garden Party in Wonderland’ .. postcard from Germany, circa 1930. I found it on a website called AbeBooks. 
P.S. That would be .. apple juice, that the jovial guy in the apron is serving up?

Friday/ mystery bird: solved

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 (sayla- 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.

Thursday/ hydrangea time

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).

Hydrangea is a genus of 70–75 species of flowering plants native to Asia and the Americas. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably Korea, China, and Japan [From Wikipedia].

Wednesday/ the future: even more impossible to foretell

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 with no 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.

What does your model predict for that scenario?

The staggering failure of the Trump Administration and their corruption of the CDC. Where will that blue line be in November?

Tuesday/ another 4×6 ‘escape’

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.

Monday/ bare face? please leave

Businesses in Washington State are required to turn bare-faced customers away from tomorrow, Tuesday.
No mask, no service.

‘You can’t have it both ways’. Posted by TheBrownOneInMT@TheBigDad3 on Twitter. This is in Missoula, Montana.
Detailed instructions from the Red Chair Salon (hairdresser) here on 15th Ave. That’s Christopher Walken*’s mug that is used to demonstrate different face coverings. Schedule your appointment online – and no ‘dirty’ dollar bills for payment, please: debit or credit cards only.
*American actor (77). Walken won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Michael Cimino’s 1978 film The Deer Hunter, a movie about three steelworkers whose lives were forever changed after fighting in the Vietnam War.

Sunday/ a sunny day

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.

Humm .. one of my favorite record stores (for second-hand CDs) is located right there in the CHOP zone and is still completely boarded up. It might already be out of business, of course.
P.S. Crude language explainer for the picture. ‘ACAB’  stands for All Cops Are Bastards. The acronym goes back all the way to the 1940s, referring to run-ins with the British police.