Dottie from San Francisco, commenting on a New York Times article that mentions a few countries in Europe that Americans may be able to travel to, this summer:
‘After over a year of lockdown, I thought I’d be itching to travel but actually I feel the opposite. I’ve been working from home in practically solitary confinement, only broken up by daily walks in the park and weekly grocery trips, and it has made me anxious and stressed to be in crowds. I doubt I’d want to go anywhere after getting vaccinated.
Often I feel like a prisoner who’s been released back into society taking baby steps to do things that were once normal, routine. I haven’t eaten inside a restaurant in over a year. I can’t imagine getting on a plane and being surrounded by people. Let’s all hold off and wait until 2022, when most of the population at our destinations are vaccinated and we ourselves have acclimated back to normal daily living’.
Welp! I’m checking in on the Ever Given every morning (the ultra-large containership that ran aground in the Suez Canal on Tuesday). So far, it is not budging.
There is a full moon and a high tide on the way this weekend, though. That will lift the water level in the canal and may help to dislodge the Ever Given. (The Suez canal is not like the Panama canal, with its locks that elevate ships above sea level. The Suez has no locks — the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea’s Gulf of Suez have approximately the same water level).
Now we are tall and Christmas trees are small And you don’t ask the time of day But you and I our love will never die but guess we’ll cry come first of May
– lyrics from First of May, recorded by the Bee Gees in 1969
All Washington State residents older than 16 will qualify to get the COVID-19 vaccine, come May 1.
I will be one of the last group*, 1.2 million of the State’s 6 million adults, to get my shot (or two shots).
*I’m not complaining. I’m very lucky to be able to get the vaccine this early, compared to people in most other places around the globe.
The camellias* are starting to bloom here in the city. The pink one is mine, and the white one from a street nearby.
*Camellias are famous throughout East Asia; they are known as cháhuā (‘tea flower’) in Chinese, tsubaki in Japanese, dongbaek-kkot in Korean, and as hoa trà or hoa chè in Vietnamese. [From Wikipedia]
The tea plant with its little tea leaves, is in fact, a camellia: Camellia sinensis.
The deadly shooting in Boulder today, was the second massacre here in the United States in less than a week. So let me exercise my First Amendment rights, to address all Second Amendment gun fanatics.
The National Rifle Association is a domestic terrorist organization.
Of that I’m 99% sure.
(That the NRA is a domestic terrorism enabler, is borne out 100% by facts).
The domestic terrorist is almost always a white male.
More often than not, he is apprehended ‘without incident’.
(If he were black or brown, he would be shot dead).
The real ‘incident’ would usually be, what — 6, 8 .. or 10? people murdered in cold blood.
.. with an AR15 or something similar, a military-grade weapon that should have been outlawed decades ago,
.. and that the terrorist might have purchased just hours ago, over the counter (as in the case of Atlanta last week).
Is all of this the ‘well-regulated militia’ referred to in the (should-be-repealed) Second Amendment? Not even close. It’s a guns-for-all Wild West, that enables crazy people to go on killing sprees.
It’s spring break. In these times there should not even be a party, but this weekend young people travelled to Miami in the thousands, anyway. They crowded close together on the beaches, and in the streets on Ocean Drive, and then they brawled in the streets, and trashed some of the bars & restaurants.
‘Seemingly undeterred by the police presence on Sunday night in South Beach, two maskless men in their 20s, who were wearing board shorts and clutching hard seltzers, took turns snorting white lines from a postcard. Around the corner, a group of police officers stood calmly, talking with one another and shouting for people to go home.
A man who was part of a maskless throng of people walking toward Ocean Drive sipped from an almost empty bottle of cognac and nodded at the officers.
“I’m throwing it away,” he said, pointing into the distance. “It’s my birthday.” “Hurry up, man,” one of the officers said, cautioning about a police detail nearby. The officers stayed in place and continued their conversation as the group headed toward the bars that were now shuttered’.
– reported by Neil Vigdor, Michael Majchrowicz and Azi Paybarah in the New York Times
Spring arrived this morning at 2:37 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the earliest on the calendar in 124 years. (Reason: the leap year of 2000, and the observation of daylight saving time in the United States).
Here in the Emerald City it was cold (46 °F / 7 °C) and rainy.
I have walked by the Ellenbert Apartments many times, on the way to Broadway market’s grocery store, and finally looked up its history today.
The architect is Max A. Van House, a Minnesota native (born in Moscow, MN). He spent time on Vashon Island as a youth, and picked up on-the-job experience by working for a variety of architectural firms, including a stint at one in Tacoma.
All three of my regular grocery stores were out of Marmite.
Well, I want my Marmite, and so they ‘forced’ me to search for it on Amazon, where it was available in tubs. Whoah. Sign me up, got to get some of that! I thought.
‘You need only two rich people to want to buy something they can exclusively own for it to become very expensive’.
– Sebastian Smee, art critic for Washington Post
The recent sale of the digital thing (it’s a .jpg file) called ‘Everydays: The First 5000 Days‘ with its non-fungible token* attached, has caused a stir in the art world. It went for $69.3 million.
*Essentially a digital certificate of authenticity that is a string of characters connected to a blockchain: the same concept that powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. (The blockchain means the characters sit in different physical places around the internet, and have to be combined to verify authenticity).
Is it art? I don’t know, I guess so — but it cannot possibly be worth $69.3 million. Just as the Rabbit, the Pool with Two Figures, or that duct-taped banana, cannot possibly be worth $91.1 million, $90.3 million or $125,000, respectively.
(Just for the record, Guinness World Records lists Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa as having the highest-ever insurance value for a painting. On permanent display at the Louvre in Paris, the Mona Lisa was assessed at US $100 million on Dec. 14, 1962. Taking inflation into account, the 1962 value would be around US $870 million today).
From the Latin word corona, mid-16th century, meaning ‘wreath, crown’. Architecture: a circular chandelier in a church, or a part of a cornice having a broad vertical face. Astronomy: the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun and other stars. Biology: the cup-shaped or trumpet-shaped outgrowth at the center of a daffodil or narcissus flower. Medical: coronavirus is any of a family (Coronaviridae) of large single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped spike proteins. Physics: the glow around a conductor at high potential. Smoking: a long, straight-sided cigar.
It was only 45 °F (7 °C) for my late-afternoon stroll around the block today, but hey, now there is an hour more of sunshine.
Here’s a ‘Pi Day’ picture from Twitter. (We write March 14 as 3.14 here in the United States).
From Wikipedia: The number π (/paɪ/) is a mathematical constant. It is defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and it also has various equivalent definitions. It appears in many formulas in all areas of mathematics and physics. The earliest known use of the Greek letter π to represent the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter was by Welsh mathematician William Jones in 1706. It is approximately equal to 3.14159. It has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century, and is spelled out as “pi”. It is also referred to as Archimedes’ constant.
We had sunny afternoons all week and the high touched 60 (15.5 °C) today.
Daylight Saving Time starts tonight in the United States. (‘Saving’ means shifting the day’s hour markers forward, so that the sun ‘rises’ an hour later, and ‘sets’ an hour later).
Pacific Daylight Time = Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) minus 7 hrs.
My used book with Arabian fairy tales arrived at last, shipped from Germany with snail mail.
I could not find the Afrikaans edition online — the one that had I read in bed fifty years ago as a youngster! — but I found the German translation that offers the same gorgeous water paint illustrations, on Abebooks.com.
The tales inside are as follows: How the Story of the Thousand-and-one Nights Started Little Kadi Sinbad the Sailor Prince Sayn Al Asnam and the King of Spirits Aladdin and the Wonder Lamp Ali Baba and the Forty Robbers The Magic Horse The Envious Sisters How the Story of the Thousand-and-one Nights Ends
‘While it was different for everyone, we all lost something, a collective suffering, a collective sacrifice. A year filled with the loss of life and the loss of living for all of us’.
– President Joe Biden, in a nation-wide address today, on the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of the pandemic
These are the beers I had picked up on Sunday, at the enormous store called Total Wine & More, on Armory Way. They only had one six-pack of the Beck’s left, but I got more at the Whole Foods grocery store nearby.
The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan bill is about to be voted on for the final time (tomorrow, in the House). Then it will be signed into law by President Biden.
Direct payments will be sent to 150 million households ($1,400 per person), $300/ month unemployment benefits will be extended through September, additional monthly assistance will be paid to families with children, and it will provide funding for vaccine distribution & for state and local governments, and also boost subsidies for healthcare.
In the Senate, Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan through a procedure known as ‘reconciliation’, which enables certain budget bills to pass with a simple majority, rather than the 60 votes necessary for a regular bill. (The Senate can only pass three bills a year through this process, and there are strict limits as to what can be in them).
If I have it right, not a single Republican has voted for the bill so far. Their anti-democratic, anti-everything, Party of Perceived Grievances should dissolve. You’re fired, all of you.
There are three Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournaments on the calendar this week: in Marseille, France, in Doha, Qatar and in Santiago, Chile.
Roger Federer, he of 20 Grand Slam titles fame, is making his long-awaited comeback in Doha, at the age of 39½. He last played on the tour 14 months ago (in the 2020 Australian Open), and had two knee operations after that. He said today that he is now free of pain and injury — and has no plans to retire (!).
Update Wed 3/11: Federer ousted Dan Evans (30, Great Britain) in his first match, but then stumbled and lost against Nikoloz Basilashvili (29, Georgia) in the quarter-final.
I went on a beer run today to track down some of my favorite German beer. (The grocery store was out of stock, and my own supplies were running dangerously low).
On the way back there was a break in the rain, and so I stopped at Denny Way and 5th Avenue to take a few pictures.