Reading SEAPOWER: THE HISTORY AND GEOPOLITICS OF THE WORLD’S OCEANS

At the heart of the teeming South China Sea is Hong Kong, perhaps the finest natural harbor in the world. The first time I pulled into it was 1977, as an ensign assigned as the anti-submarine warfare officer on a brand-new Spruance-class destroyer named USS Hewitt. The captain, Fritz Gaylord, foolishly let me drive the ship as the junior officer of the deck for the sea and anchor detail. It was a complex mooring to a buoy, a huge floating concrete hulk anchored to the bottom of the harbor. The idea was to nuzzle the pointed nose of the 9,000-ton warship up to the buoy, hold it steady with the engines and rudder, and allow enough time for a handful of stalwart boatswain mates to jump from a small boat and affix our ship’s anchor to a kind of connection link to the buoy.

This was a situation that required great ship handling skills which I did not possess, at least not at that early moment in my career.

— Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans, p. 169

The Economist, 25 July 2020

Modest Changes in Behavior leads to “huge rises in coronavirus infections”: The Geometry of the Pandemic, p. 19

This article focuses on a model by Rajiv Rimal of Johns Hopkins University. And it’s a big, fat chunk of the article (maybe a third), longer than she usually manages to quote. But she wanted to share it. Knowledge is power!

When “American states began easing lockdowns . . . their caseloads were three or more times higher than in Europe, in part, argues Jarbas Barbosa of the Pan-American Health Organization, because most states never had full lockdowns. Texas had 1,270 new cases on the day its governor said restaurants could reopen: 44 per million. In Georgia, the rate was 95 per million. Disney World reopened the day before Florida announced a record 15,000 new cases in a day. Just as incredibly, in two-thirds of states, infections were rising when governors started to ease lockdowns. By contrast, France, Spain and Italy had 13-17 new cases per million when they began to re-open their economies and numbers were falling fast.

“On April 12th … 95% of the population was staying at home (leaving the house only for essential visits), with 5% ignoring lockdown rules. Based on those assumptions, his model predicts that Americans would have had 559,400 cases on that day — an accurate assessment (it actually had 554,849). On July 14th, Mr. Rimal assumed that 80% of the population was staying at home, i.e., only a gradual change. On this basis, his model predicts the country would have 1.6m cases, again not far off the actual number and confirming the impact of modest rises in activity. If people really altered their behaviour, the number would rise even further to 5.6m cases if the stay-at-home share drops to 60% and to 9.5m if it falls to 20%. In that worst case, America’s death toll could top 400,000. Such is the dark logic of geometric growth.”

The Economist concludes that “to drive the level of infection down to perhaps a tenth of what it is now (closer to European or Asian levels) … seems to require full lockdowns.”

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Good and Bad News, Brought To You By wsj 23 July 2020

Chipotle Triples Its Online Sales (and self has never eaten in Chipotle!)

Las Vegas Sands Revenue Drops by 97%

Whirlpool Benefits from Stay-Home Repairs

Dow Jumps 165, Lifted by Pfizer Shares

Dairy Prices Near Levels Before Slump

 

Noir-ish 2

Reading Elmore Leonard’s Chickasaw Charlie Hoke.

There is a “big redhead” named Vernice, looking “like a strawberry sundae in her La-Z-Boy.”

There is “bourbon over crushed ice.”

There are mentions of “a pit boss at Bally’s,” a waitress at the Isle of Capri coffee shop.

There is an “RV in a trailer park on the outskirts of Tunica, Mississippi.”

Very fun reading Elmore Leonard. It brings back all the FEELZ about Justified, the F/X series that ran for six seasons and had Timothy Olyphant! Timothy Olyphant! Who Salon’s TV reviewer described as “one tall, cool drink of water”!

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Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama, March 7, 1965

March 7, 1965: the March on  Selma

John Lewis, in light coat, on the ground

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Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

Thank you for your service, sir.

3rd Friday of July 2020: “It is time to check the snakes!”

Self hates snakes almost as much as she hates horror films involving dolls.

In Hard Target, Jean-Claude van Damme punches a snake and knocks it out. But she is not Jean-Claude van Damme.

Anyhoo, in this crucial crucial scene in The Snakes — a novel which self continues to love madly and beyond reason, despite a few questionable scenes (like the one in the barn) — we encounter ACTUAL SNAKES.

DEUS EX MACHINA, what?

Or Chekhov’s smoking gun?

Alex: “It’s time to check the snakes!”

(Self turns the page and begins Chapter 6)

Alex: “There are loads of snakes. But mostly they’re just grass snakes. They’re sort of company . . . They’ve got nice round eyes. It’s the vipers I don’t like. Asp vipers. Vipera aspis. They’re in the roof, and it pisses me off.”

Someone is going to be killed by a snake! Self is sure of it!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 103: SURPRISE

Whew, where would self’s head be right now if she weren’t doing a Photo Challenge? These Photo Challenges are really helping self stay positive during the pandemic.

The latest Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is: SURPRISE.

Would you like to know your future? If your answer is yes, think again. Not knowing is the greatest life motivator. So enjoy, endure, survive each moment as it comes to you in its proper sequence, a surprise.     

– Vera Nazarian

Do joing the fun!

Here are self’s recent surprises:

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These cherries from a tree in self’s backyard were so unexpectedly sweet!

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Picking more cherries!

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Her friend Jacinta O’Reilly, a painter in Ireland, sent her this beautiful card that she made herself. What a beautiful surprise to get in the mail!

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Progress: CIBOLA BURN

It’s taken self two weeks to reach page 100 (because so many things). Nevertheless, here she is!

“We’re dropping in twenty minutes,” Murtry said. “It’s a long, fast drop, and some of it’ll be choppy. I’m bringing us down just east of the Belter camp. Smith and Wei are camp leads. Our first priority is reaching and reinforcing the office down there.”

“What about the Barbapiccola?” someone asked.

“Screw the Barbapiccola! What about the Rocinante?”

expanse-burn-gorman

Casting Brilliance: Burn Gorman as Adolphus Murtry

“Havelock, good to see you. I’m going to need a minute.”

“Yes, sir.”

“So I’m putting you in charge of the ship.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. I’m leaving you in a crap position,” Murtry said.

Screaming Firehawks, the Roci’s coming in hot.

Stay safe.

Revisiting Self’s Melancholy/ What Is Going On With WordPress?

Three years ago, a short story called “This Is End” appeared in the Cost of Paper, vol. 5

It was science fiction about a character self kept using again and again, in different stories. The MC, Dragon, had a girlfriend, Her, who’d gone missing.

He doesn’t know what happened to Her (There are finite ways to disappear in space) but his favorite theory was that she was still alive, on another ship:

Floating, off to the right: the remains of the former space station, the Kobayashi Maru.

It caught fire. The wreckage drifted, was lost. Then found. Then lost, and found again.

And sometimes, when the ships drift past each other (literally ships that pass in the night HA HA HA), Dragon thinks he sees Her, gesturing to him from a window.


AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, WHICH IS A VENT ABOUT THE NEW WORDPRESS SYSTEM OF FORMATTING, WHICH IS CALLED BLOCK EDITING.

Suddenly, without warning, right while she was in the middle of typing this post, each paragraph acquired its own frame. Like it was a picture. Which, self doesn’t have to tell dear blog readers, is ridiculous.

BLOCK EDITING WITH THE NEW WORDPRESS SYSTEM OF FORMATTING IS THE WORST.

The text floats in little bubbles, and appears so unstable. One little press of the key, and the entire block disappears.

Oh no! There it is again, but then it disappears again. Sort of like Dragon’s girlfriend, lol

Why mess with a system that worked fine — at least, it did for self.

Now, instead of editing tools being all to the side, they appear in the text, right on top of these little boxes — confusing as heck! She doesn’t need to see extra little visuals on top of each paragraph, what are they doing there, it’s not as if each paragraph requires its own format.

She starts typing and whole paragraphs bloom THAT SHE DID NOT HERSELF TYPE. Oh it’s auto-fill. WordPress remembered that you typed a sentence like this before, so it makes it easy and just copies what you typed before. WHICH MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE, because where would the fun be in blogging if you just copied from something you’d written before?

With block editing, everything gets so — jiggy. Like the text needs Xanax. The toolboxes and the blocks and the menus keep floating around on the screen, as if the document were suffering from ADD, and self doesn’t know how to get the words to stop moving because they apparently move in response to every slightest twitch of a finger.

And, self discovers to her dismay, she has very twitchy fingers.

FINALLY: This message that suddenly popped up on her Dashboard: START MAKING MONEY FROM YOUR POSTS!

10 (or more) years ago, she asked a friend (who was a marketing whiz, who was being paid big bucks to be said whiz) whether she thought self could release some of her writings as “extras” for people willing to pay a very small amount — say, a dollar. And this marketing whiz (who is still her friend, believe it or not, just not the type of friend she sees a lot, really just someone she encounters occasionally on FB), gaped and said: Why would you charge for something that’s free? I mean, that’s why it’s on the internet, because it’s supposed to be AVAILABLE. You can’t charge for anything on your blog. People would stop reading. And such was self’s faith in her obviously successful friend, she let the matter drop and never explored the idea of making a little money from blogging.

Until today, 12 years later, when she saw this message.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: HATS

Bless Cee Neuner for keeping Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge so FUN!

For this week’s Fun Foto Challenge, HATS, self found a couple of pictures from her archives.

Self’s baseball-cap wearing niece, Angela, an undergrad at the University of Michigan, spent a summer as an intern at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. Self had a lot of fun hanging with her:

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The Martian is son’s favorite novel (after the Dune novels; son is an avid science fiction reader). He met the cap-wearing author at SDCC 2018:

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Finally, one of Magritte’s most iconic images, the man in the bowler hat, at an exhibit in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 2018:

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Other hats:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

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