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In March, Ann and I went to the Jacksonville, Florida area for a vacation. One thing that's different about the area is that the trees are covered with air plants (many of them are called mosses, but they're not). As a souvenir, I picked up an air plant from the ground next to the tree it fell from and brought it home in a protective box.

I've been watering it by misting it with water. Last month, I read that once a week I should soak air plants in rain water (lots of nutrients). Up to now, it's been hard to tell if it's thriving or not. It's a bundle of pale green leaves. However this afternoon, I noticed that it has two tiny purple flowers.

I think it's a Tillandsia recurvata (aka ball moss (even though it's not a moss)). Reading about it in detail, I think I might move it from the kitchen window to the indirect light of the upstairs bathroom's skylight. It might also like the occasional moist air from the shower.

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The US Navy reports that a sailor thought lost at sea, was found alive seven days later hiding in engineering. Didn't Star Trek do that story 50 years ago?
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I briefly made a chipmunk happy when I temporarily left the bird feeder on the ground.

chipmunk photo

Note the size of his cheeks. He made at least three visit to the feeder.
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While reading an article in the Boston Globe, I came across this sentence. I had to pause for a moment and realize they weren't talking about missing (404 error) beds.

"The state’s dominant pediatric hospital, with 404 inpatient beds and numerous outpatient clinics, wants to add 71 beds to its Longwood campus"
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Recently, while wandering through KMart, I saw a display of large (100 litre) bags of bean bag fill (tiny Styrofoam spheres). Since I had an old bean bag that needed to be refilled, I grabbed a bag.

Kmart's web page for the fill says:
Refill is ideal for keeping your beanbag furniture in top shape. Our whole, virgin beads easily make your beanbag fluffy and comfortable within minutes. Just unzip the zippered bottom of your beanbag, pour your new beads in, zip your beanbag up, and you're done, it's really that easy.

They forgot to mention the part where you vacuum afterwards (the new beans went in easily as they said, but the old bean crumbs would woosh out every time you released your grip on the chair and it settled down.

Ann is off to do some errands, including getting two more bags of bean bag fill. The large bag is very large and needs more, plus we have a "high back" bean bag chair that is no longer high.
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I have long been convinced that comic strip artists must communicate in some way (email, bar chats, forum, ...) and occasionally share ideas for a comic strip or give each other challenges. Two of yesterday's comic strips appear to provide support for my theory. There is no way it could be a coincidence that these two comic strip artists published nearly identical comic strips on the same day.
Judge for yourself )
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Recently, I was at a state highway rest stop that sold pink flamingos (along with other stuff).

Where was I and why were they selling them?
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At lunch, we had a brief discussion about the weather. It went something like this:
Ann: Eek, it's raining heavily.
Me: No it's not
Ann: Yes it is.
Me: From where I'm sitting I see skies of blue.
Ann: Look behind you
Before we had lunch, we could see the approaching dark clouds (and we checked the weather radar to see what was going to happen). When the rain arrived from the west, there was a brief period where the back of the house was in the middle of a huge deluge while the front of the house was completely dry.

These two photos were taken at the same time from our kitchen windows. Read more... )
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I know it's a bit silly, but I am sad about the demise of the weather site It had been my go to website when I wanted to know what today or tomorrow's weather would be. I've been using it for something like 10 years. It has a nice simple UI. At the top of the page was a static weather map, with a play button to show you an animated version of the past hour's radar images. Below that it had a summary of the weather for the next five days. It also had a button to switch to its predictions of the weather for the next couple of hours. It also used a cookie, so the next time you visited the site it would remember the town you searched for.

That was it for the UI. No ads, silly articles, extraneous details - just the information you wanted for a quick summary of the weather. Unlike, it worked in both the US and Europe (I didn't try other continents).

I used the website last night, but I went there this morning, the website was replaced with a photo of a sunset on a lake and the message:

Effective July 15, 2015, the website has been shut down.
Thank you for being a patron of our site for the last 15+ years.
The My-Cast Team

I'll probably switch to the Weather Underground, but their UI is not as simple as my-cast was.
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After counting fireflies for the MOS Firefly Watch (, I ran back in to get my camera and tripod. This is a 6 second exposure. I think I captured the same firefly doing a quick four-flash twice.

From Critters
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After a happy life with my parents, their dog Sophie died. I visited my parents for Mothers' Day, so I got to say "Good Bye" to her.

From Sophie

A Young Sophie
(If you look carefully, you can see her mother on the other side of the door.)
More photos )
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NASA is sending astronaut Scott Kelly into space to live on the ISS for a year while his brother stays on earth. Both will be studied before, during, and after to see what changes Scott goes through.

From Random

From Random
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Curiosity got the better of me when I saw that the label said it's kosher/parve.

Maple Bacon

This natural flavor match combines the deep smokiness of bacon, the rich sweetness of real maple syrup and the subtle spice of chili pepper for a nostalgic, comfort food combination.

What they really are is a smoky, BBQ potato chip. They are tasty, as long as you're not expecting them to be bacon flavored.
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Now that there's snow on the ground, we've put out the bird feeder in the backyard. We have to refill it each day (we get a lot of hungry birds and the occasional squirrel).

This afternoon, while I was trying to put the feeder back on its hook, a little grey and black bird landed in the tree next to the feeder and then hopped on one of the perches on the feeder to get some seed before flying off.

My guess is that he must have been very hungry if he was willing to come within a foot of me.
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Yesterday, it was announced that Mike Nichols has died. Most of the obituaries talked about him as a director (starting with "The Graduate"), but I knew him has half of "Nichols and May". In the 1950s and 60s, he and Elaine May used to do two person comedy skits that became very popular in shows and on records.

If you've never heard their skits, I recommend finding them on YouTube. "Mother and Son" is a good place to start.
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There's a problem with the production meter for my solar panels. Someone from the monitoring company is supposed to come by today to swap out the defective electric meter (it's a fancy device with a built-in cellphone). He's supposed to get here some time after 11am, so I've been waiting for him.

Because of my early education, I can't avoid writing that I'm "Waiting for the Electrician, or Someone Like Him".
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A story with costumes and pumpkins, perfect for Halloween.

The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin by Janet Perlman, National Film Board of Canada
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While driving home last night, I approached a car with an odd vanity plate. At first, I wondered why someone would spell "Clark" with a 'W'. When I got a bit closer, I saw that plate was "CLKWRK", or "clockwork". I was puzzled why they had that for a plate. Possibly I could see it being on something like a VW Beatle, but it was an Audi. So I had no understanding for why the owner wanted "clockwork" for a vanity plate. Then as I passed the car, the color of the car finally registered and I realized that the plate was just half of the reference.
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The theme for the crossword puzzle in Sunday's Boston Globe is pop songs from 2013. I don't listen to pop music any more, so I had no idea what any of them are. So when Ann and I found that the answer for the "#1 Billboard song in 2013" is the song "Thrift Shop", I pulled it up on my phone to listen to it.

Hey, Macklemore! Can we go thrift shopping?

What, what, what, what... [many times]

Bada, badada, badada, bada... [x9]

I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I - I - I'm hunting, looking for a come-up
This is f**king awesome

Another popular song in 2013 is Lorde's "Royals", another song about not having much money.

My friends and I—we've cracked the code.
We count our dollars on the train to the party.
And everyone who knows us knows that we're fine with this,
We didn't come from money.

This got me wondering, what's changed in the pop song world, that songs about being broke are making it to #1?

Edit: I think people misunderstand my questions. It's not "Is this tread of singing about being broke new", but why have pop stars recently switched from writing hedonistic songs about:
"Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece.
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash."
to performing songs about being broke?
(it's seven years since the start of the recession)
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I brought a four-pack of Green Bee Ginger Soda to a party this evening (along with Maine Root's Ginger Brew soda). I was curious how it compared to other ginger beers. The ingredients list sounded promising: carbonated water, honey, ginger, coriander (except I'm not a fan of coriander (cilantro taste like soap to me).

I tried it and I was disappointed. I could taste the honey and possibly the coriander, but there was almost no ginger taste. When I got home, I looked at their website and they have the text of reviews of their sodas.

It looks like the reviewers also noticed that the ginger taste is not significant. I think I'll stick with Ginger Brew. It has a very strong ginger taste that I enjoy (it works well in a float with vanilla (or ginger) ice cream).


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August 2017



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