Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A "Liberal education" should calibrate the graduate's bullshit indicator

Bellatrix LeStrange and the perpetual emotion machine.
Some would justify the teaching of political doctrine within public schools on the basis of "We are teaching students how to learn. It does not matter what we teach them as long as they learn."

They might also point to the half-life of knowledge. The half-life of a "fact" in the field of psychology, for instance, is shorter than the time it takes the average student to matriculate with a Bachelor's degree. Why worry about the 'facts' students are being taught when the facts are as ephemeral as the flowers of spring?

The problem with teaching an ever changing kaleidoscope of 'facts' is that the student never has a coherent or pure-tone to serve as contrast to the dissonance of bullshit.

When every 'fact' is dissonant and syncopation occurs so frequently as to step upon each other...the graduate is doomed to never hear the sour note, the clunk or squawk.

An unfortunate dynamic in recently retired couples

Mrs ERJ and I have been retired for a few years now. Since most of our friends and family are of a similar age we have front row seats watching friends and family make the transition.

One dynamic that merits mention is how men and women react to increased time together.

Many women feel "bonded" when they live-stream their thoughts. This is not wrong, but it is more of a woman-woman mode. It can come with a price when the woman feels that there is no need for a filter.

Grumpy old men tend to live in their heads more. We observe. We analyze. We make comparisons.

Visualize a situation when the GOM has a 'lightbulb' moment.

Suppose he has been watching the dog scratch himself far more than is usual. Woman took the dog to the vet. The vet looks at her records and notices that the dog is vulnerable to alergies. It is spring. The vet recommends a common, off-the-shelf antihistamine.

The dog continues to scratch himself silly. The GOM changes the air filter. The woman vacuums the carpets twice a day. They buy dog food made from Patagonian, free-range lambs and rice grown by virginal, Tibetan monks.

And the dog keeps scratching.

Then the GOM thinks, "Maybe our dog has fleas!"

He shares that thought with the woman.

If she is in live-stream mode, what falls out of her mouth is something like "You are wrong. That cannot possibly be. I took Dog to the vet. The vet would have seen the fleas. Dog always gets allergies in the spring."

Then, after a minute of reflection the woman says "Maybe we could treat Dog for fleas. That probably won't hurt anything."

What GOM hears "You are WRONG." Then he hears a bunch of stuff he already knew so he filters it out. The only thing he heard was "You are WRONG."

If a man is alone in a vast forest and he says something, is he still wrong?
It is a joke until you realize that the woman craves "bonding" with GOM. Her instinct to live-stream has exactly the wrong effect unless she filters or changes her speech/thinking habits. Leading with "You are WRONG." will push GOM away and, at the minimum, make him clam-up.

Much preferred, lead with "Why would you think that?"

WWYTT (or 'white') is neutral, passive and elicits more information. Writers are advised to avoid the word "would" at all costs because it is the epitome of passive. In this case, however, 'would' is the perfect word.

You might give it a try if your grumpy old man resists bonding.

Monday, April 29, 2019

More California dreaming

An earlier blog post noted that the number of people who migrate to California from other states is highly dependent on the distance between California and the sending state.

What would happen if we could somehow wash out most of the effects of distance? Would that give us better resolution between the affinity between various states and California?

The bottom axis of this chart is the distance between Los Angeles, the most populous city in California and the most populous cities in the 48 contiguous states + Washington D.C.

The vertical axis is the percentage of the state's population that migrated to California in the past 20 years.

The blue dots are actual data.

The red dots are MS Excel's goal-seek, best fit with the formula of (Average distance for population * Average percentage migrated for population)/(distance^0.954) where 0.954 was the number goal seek found for the best-fit.

The seven highest affinities as measured by distance above the red "prediction based solely on distance" curve are:

Washington DC....11.5%
New York...............1.3%

The seven lowest affinities as measured by the distance the real data falls below the red curve are:

New Mexico......-1.8%
West Virginia...-1.3%

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Phrenology report from central Ohio

A man fishing

I spent most of yesterday 200 miles south of home.

Spring moves quickly. They are about two weeks ahead of us in terms of phrenology. Their flowering trees are in full-throated roar. The redbud trees of central Ohio are exceptionally beautiful.

One thing I found notable about the area we were in was that the planners used native tree species. One street was lined with Tulip Trees on one side, Sweet Gum on the other while the next street over was lined with Tupelo.

Tree swallows are nesting two hundred miles south of Eaton Rapids

An apple tree growing in cattails.
The apple tree surrounded by cattails is an anamoly. Fruit trees are usually very sensitive to wet-feet. There are multitudes of microbes that will kill and rot the roots under those conditions.

Like all things in nature, individuals vary in their abilities. This particular specimen does not seem to be bothered by long periods of saturated soil.

I purloined a small twig from this tree. I am thinking of starting a collection of Malus specimens that demonstrate exceptional ability to resist wet feet. Who knows, maybe there will be some unidentified genes that will be of use in rootstock breeding programs.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Some pictures from around the place

Day lilies do well under Black Locusts. The can form a solid mat. They are considered edible with the unopened flower buds looking like green beans.

Clover seedlings in a cow pat

Apple seedlings in a cow pat

Birch seedlings are coming up. These are the River Birch. The Sweet Birch are smaller. I intend to plant a couple of birch trees every time I take out a Box Elder.

Garlic. I harvested the tiny bulblets from the scape and broadcast across the top of a tub with soil in it. This is a porcelain type garlic.
Flowers starting to push on Krymsk #1 rootstock. This is a plum rootstock from Russia. There were a couple of bees working the flowers even though the temp is 64 and 15mph winds.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Social Justice Warriors are the new Janissaries

They began as an elite corps of slave soldiers made up of kidnapped young Christian boys who were converted to Islam, and became famed for internal cohesion cemented by strict discipline and order. Unlike typical slaves, they were paid regular salaries. Forbidden to marry or engage in trade, their complete loyalty to the Sultan was expected. By the seventeenth century, due to a dramatic increase in the size of the Ottoman standing army, the corps' initially strict recruitment policy was relaxed. Civilians bought their way into it in order to benefit from the improved socioeconomic status it conferred upon them. Consequently, the corps gradually lost its military character...

As Janissaries became aware of their own importance they began to desire a better life. By the early 17th century Janissaries had such prestige and influence that they dominated the government. They could mutiny and dictate policy and hinder efforts to modernize the army structure. They could change Sultans as they wished through palace coups.

By 1826, the sultan was ready to move against the Janissary in favour of a more modern military. The sultan informed them, through a fatwa, that he was forming a new army, organised and trained along modern European lines. As predicted, they mutinied, advancing on the sultan's palace. In the ensuing fight, the Janissary barracks were set in flames by artillery fire resulting in 4,000 Janissary fatalities. The survivors were either exiled or executed, and their possessions were confiscated by the Sultan. This event is now called the Auspicious Incident. The last of the Janissaries were then put to death by decapitation in what was later called the Tower of Blood  -Wikipedia

The comment "Forbidden to marry..." plotting of palace coups" and the self-serving growth in numbers (8000 in 1530 to 50000 a hundred years later) made me think of the bloated legions of debt ridden, men-hating graduates from our universities.

The Tower of Blood
Human nature has not changed in the last 4000 years. One of the advantages of studying history, real history not the modern tripe staggering along beneath a metric shit-ton of propaganda, is that it will give you the answers to the questions you will encounter at the end of the term.

Donald, are you paying attention?

Posting will be light tomorrow

Mrs ERJ and I will be traveling to Columbus, Ohio to watch Belladonna compete in a contest of strength and speed, technique and control.

In other news, three swallows were seen on the electrical wire along a neighbor's driveway. I am not smart enough to know if they are tree swallows or barn swallows. My guess is barn swallows because I think the tree swallows are among the last of the birds to arrive here.

Swallows catch and eat flying insects. Mid-spring has a few flying bugs but nothing like later. Things must be pretty sparse down south if they are up here already.

The truck is red-tagged for a blown brake line.

Kubota approached me last night and I knew we were in for stress as he shifted his weight from foot-to-foot and started out in his BS-and-Bluster voice.

That voice is an amped up version of a man-about-town confiding to another man-about-town.

"Dad, I need the truck tomorrow. I promised my girl-friend I was taking her to lunch." Kubota said.

"No can do. The truck is not safe to drive. You will have to find another way." I said.

The conversation went downhill from there.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Spring marches onward

This is a mom-and-dad day.

Mrs ERJ was not impressed with the solitary bees hatching out of the wood pile.

The face shown in the photos is warmed by the western sun. Mrs ERJ was trying to unload groceries and the bees decided she smelled nice. I don't think they sting but Mrs ERJ found them annoying.

The apricots are just starting to bloom. They will be bee magnets for a while, just like the pussy willows were before them.

I picked up some shallow fruit boxes at the local grocery store and filled them with potting soil. I started Mrs ERJ's romaine and leaf lettuce. I also started the cut-and-come again broccoli.  I am also trying a fragrant, weedy, medicinal plant called Sweet Annie.

The seeds were tiny. Five-hundred seeds were like a pinch of dust. My success rate with seeds is proportional to size. I hold little hope that I will get these to grow, although the fact that they are a "weed" gives me hope.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Morality of dwarf tossing

A recent commentor invited me to discuss the morality of dwarf tossing.

Let's start by discussing pole vaulting. The pole vaulter builds up kinetic energy, plants the pole and his forward momentum deflects the pole which is little more than a spring.

Leaping upward, the potential energy that is stored in the pole is converted into kinetic energy (the upward speed of the vaulter) and a different kind of potential energy (the height of the vaulter's center of gravity above the floor).

After releasing the pole and, hopefully, clearing the bar, the vaulter falls to the padding below.

The short video shown above captures Mondo Duplantis from team Geaux Tigers clearing a 19' bar and then falling to the padding below.

Is that morally suspect?

Most people will answer "no" because the vaulter is an adult and he is consenting to the activity. Also, due precautions are observed regarding safe management of his energy before, during and after the event. So pole vaulting is morally "OK" even though the energies involved are five times the energies involved in dwarf tossing.

As long as those conditions are met for dwarf tossing, why would there be any objection?

Would you discriminate against jockeys (people who ride horses professionally) because they are small? Would you deny them a chance to put money in their pockets for a time-honored activity that is mutually consensual, does not spread communicable diseases?

I venture that riding horses is significantly more dangerous than getting tossed by a college coed.

ERJ Travel Tip

Traveling can be arduous when you find yourself seated on a plane with somebody who wants to talk.

Most people can take a hint. Always have a book you can pull out and start reading. You will be surprised at how quickly bores stop giving you details about their lives and family.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The end of an era

Mrs ERJ and I started attending our children's sporting events in 1996. We started with "T ball" and soccer games. Since then we have always had a child involved in sports of some kind, even if it was just dwarf tossing.

Belladonna will be graduating from college soon. Her final "athletic" event will be a dwarf tossing event near Corpus Christi, Texas at the end of May.

Mrs ERJ put her foot down. We are going. It will be the last sporting event we will attend as parents. She made the hotel and plane reservations. We will be there a couple of extra days so we can transition toward empty-nesters.

I beg my readers, are there any notable Do-Not-Miss attractions in the Corpus Christi area at the end of May? The attractions can be reptilian, cactilian or BBQuilian in nature.

PS: One of my extended family informed me that it is not healthy to argue with Texans. They will shoot you. Like, that would not happen in Detroit?

Free tuition is not free

(Michigan's Governor) is asking the GOP-led Legislature to swiftly authorize tuition-free community college or technical training for nontraditional students — those 25 and older without an associate's or bachelor's degree.  Source

"Free" tuition is a cornerstone issue for progressives. What is there not to like?

I can think of a few things.

Any time you have carve-outs you create winners and losers.

Why would anybody enter into a community college or go into technical training at age 23 or 24? If they wait just a little while they can go for free!

Two things will happen because of that. Some will put their lives on hold and become life-time slackers. Others will tread water for one, two or more years and enter college only to learn that they are not college material.

Time value of money suggests that this will be extremely expensive for them. They pissed away years of their lives.

Another group of people who will be gouged are those who matriculated with worthless four year degrees. Shouldn't they have a shot at lucrative technical degrees? It is not as if $40k in student loans and a BA in Dance Science gave them anything salable.

Wouldn't it be better to target tech ed programs (where the jobs are). Invest the money in facilities and to lower lab fees (Kubota paid over $200 in lab fees for a welding class due to the materials consumed) so more people can afford to go regardless of whether they are "left behinds" or not?

As for "free tuition" community college, do we really need more students with degrees in psychology? It is a safe bet that 9% of the students tapping "free tuition" will be in psychology and social sciences programs.

And it is not "free", at least not to the tax payers. It is expensive. And if students don't care enough to put some of their own skin in the game then I don't see why I should have to pay

Raising taxes, spending more money for feel-good programs that hurt the recipients. No wonder progressives love "free" tuition.

Monday, April 22, 2019


Many observers noted that one of the major factors resulting in people of European ancestry being able to wrestle the Western Hemisphere from the native peoples was that Europeans grasped the concept of a "campaign" while the native peoples were focused on the "battle".

Kubota helped me in Salamander's orchard today. Mrs ERJ does not want me up on a ladder using a chainsaw unless there is somebody "spotting" me. If things go in-the-ditch she wants somebody there to staunch the bleeding and to call 9-1-1. If things go REALLY in the ditch she wants them there to call the Life Insurance company.

The thing that I needed to explain to Kubota was that the tasks that seemed random and not-related were in fact part of a larger campaign.

That is the thing about campaigns. They can absorb lessons-learned and apply them to current and future efforts.

Gardeners, orchardist, musicians and computer programmers are inherently attuned to 'campaigns'.

Time-clock punchers, can-kickers, people who focus on the primacy of feelings and legalists are not.

The disciples of Saul Alinsky are kicking our backside. Alinsky's rules are rules to run a campaign.

Allowing Alinsky to write the rules is to be trapped into the 'battle' mentality. We might learn, as individuals, to dance the Politically Correct dance but we will lose the campaign.

Washington State may be the first state to recognize composting of human corpses

Washington state lawmakers on Friday passed a bill that would allow residents to take part in “natural organic reduction” of human remains, citing in part research that said careful composted human remains could be safe for use in a household garden, reports said.

Just a handy hint for those who have daughters about to embark upon dating, you will need equal weights of damp sawdust and the deceased whom you wish to compost (henceforth known as 'Chip') to maintain the ideal 25:1-to-30:1 carbon:nitrogen ratio.

Running Chip and the sawdust through the wood chipper together three times results in a well blended starter.

Coarse sawdust is less likely to pack down and will stay aerobic longer.

There is no need to compensate for the C:N ratio even if Chip was wearing biodegradable fabrics at the time of chipping.

I hope this blog post will be useful to you in your future endeavors.

Working in the orchard

2018-2019 counts as a test winter for us. We had one night when it dropped to -18F and another about a week later when it dropped to -16F. This is a pear named Shenandoah.  Shenandoah is marginally hardy for these kinds of lows, at least on P. betufolia rootstock on my soil and fertilizer program.

This pear tree is in Salamander's orchard. The ladder is about 15' tall for reference.

I topped out the tree because it will shade one row of the new trees we are putting in. It will be easier to harvest the fruit now that it is shorter. This tree has a few different cultivars on it. Once I have them labeled I will leave Sheldon and take out everything else.
Re-using wire cages that protected grapes last year.

Those wire ends are pokey.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Watching Belladonna pitching dwarves

Mrs ERJ and I were in Grand Rapids, Michigan watching Belladonna pitching dwarves.

She was all pins-and-needles. She was going to be throwing on a plywood floor and she was not used to the springiness or slickness of the surface.

Before she threw I sniffed the air and said, "Do you know what I smell?"

She sniffed, maybe expecting a skunk or a sewage backup.

"Nope." she answered.

"I smell a personal record." I said.

I was wrong, but she did the best today that she has done in the last 22 months. She pitched the dwarf 50.74 inches. It probably helped that the dwarf she drew for that round was particularly flatulent.

I think the dwarves like Bella. She treats them with respect.

Frankly, I will not be surprised if, in the future, Bella starts plying dwarves in beverages that are reputed to cause flatulence.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Hyphaene thebaica, an interesting tree for xeriscapes

Looks like much of the American Inter-mountain West except for the baboons in the image
The olive baboon is the most widely distributed primate in Kenya as it occupies the greatest range of habitat types. ... Here, east of Lake Turkana, the average annual rainfall is less than 200 mm and it may not rain for several years.  (200 mm is about 8")
Doum palm (Hyphaene thebaica), are one of the tallest (up to 15 m) and most common (and often dominant) tree species on the banks of Kenya’s luggas, rivers and oases. The fruit is large, often abundant, and has a water content of >24%. The shoots of the germinated seeds are eaten by people, baboons and other species. We have encountered baboons feeding on doum palm fruits at many sites throughout the lower, drier regions of Kenya.
That night we camped within a grove of doum palms…which is always ‘interesting’. All past experience tells us that doum palms should be avoided if one wishes to get a good night’s sleep.
Photographs by Yvonne de Jong and Tom Butynski showing fruit clusters on Doum Palm.
The doum palm (Hyphaene thebaica) appears to be a keystone tree species for many mammals in northern Kenya, providing food, water, shade, and refuge. Notice the abundant, large, fruits and the dense cover provided by the leaves.  Source

Doum palm is only listed as being hardy to 20F, that is, USDA Zone 9.

There are some reasons to test that limit.

Hyphaene thebaica showing bare trunk and branching habit.
Palm trunks are often stripped of leaves. The leaves are used for fiber and building materials. It also leaves the trunks vulnerable to temperature fluctuations.

Where Hyphaene thebaica leaves are not harvested for building materials, the leaves are persistent and form a shaggy barrier around the trunk. If the low temperature excursions are of short duration, that is for a few hours before dawn, then the trunk will be protected and will not experience the radiant heat losses a naked trunk must endure.

Another reason to test the conventional wisdom regarding the minimum temperature Hyphaene thebaica can endure is the fact that the species is amenable to coppicing. That means that it eagerly sprouts from latent buds at the base of the trunk or from root suckers.

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) which has been documented as recovering from -10F shares the characteristic of suckering from the base or roots. It is most useful as a fire regime adaptation but is also very useful for recovering from freeze damage.

Pumpkin color is Zone 8 where growing Hyphaene thebaica might be a stretch. Red is Zone 9 where it should do well with little effort.
There is a tremendous amount of Zone 8 west of the 100th Meridian where Doum Palm MIGHT thrive.

Bentley-DePue Drain

One of the topics of neighborhood discussion is the performance of the upper reaches of the Bentley-DePue drain.

Last year, Columbia Highway was impassible for 37 days due to flooding.

The dashed portion of the drain, shown here, is underground. It is of an age where it is clay tile, butted end-to-end. The inside is rough and it is vulnerable to cracking and to tree roots intruding.

Another factor exacerbating the situation is that there is only 4' of drop over the half a mile of buried drain.

This chart is a sensitivity study. Numbers from this website.

In the nominal condition (18" drain, roughness coefficient of 80, 6" rain and 4' of head) it would take 53 days to move all of the water that falls on the square mile drained by the upper reaches through that drain.

12" diameter tile was evaluated to simulate degraded performance due to sediment, roots and partially collapsed tile. 24" diameter was looked at as an upgrade.

Increased head, the height of the water in the swamp, was also evaluated.

Smooth plastic pipe was also looked at. Plastic pipe comes in much longer lengths than clay tile so there are fewer joints. The inside is smoother. The walls are impervious to roots.

In the nominal condition (18" drain, roughness coefficient of 150, 6" rain and 4' of head) it would take 28 days to move an all of the water through that drain.

Obviously, much of the water percolates through the soil as the estimated times shown on the charts are WAY longer than observed.

My take-away is that drains are very sensitive to increasing diameter (good) and smoother walls (good).

This image added in response to comment by B.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Robert Francis O'Rourke meme

The camel got its nose beneath the tent flap and nobody noticed

Michigan levies a 6% sales tax on items sold in Michigan.

The item I was going to purchase from Amazon cost $66.99

Six percent of $66.99 is $4.02

Amazon charges $5.76 for tax because they roll in the cost of shipping.

Shipping is a service. I, and every other on-line shopper, are now paying sales tax on shipping. We are paying sales tax on services.

You are looking at a precedent that nobody is challenging. Every state in the union is stacking up "precedence" where they are charging sales tax on services.

What next?

Suppose you paid $400 to have your taxes prepared. If you live in a state with 8% sales tax then expect to pay $432 next year. If it is legal (i.e., unchallenged) to force people to pay sales tax on shipping then it is legal to compel them to pay sales tax on every other service.

Mechanics worked on your vehicle and the work came to $500 in parts and $600 in labor? Expect the bill to go up $48 next time because you will be paying sales tax on the labor.

Do you really expect states to NOT exploit this newly created revenue windfall?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Big D, one of Kubota's friends was visiting yesterday.

I commented, "That was a great looking rack you had sitting in your truck the other day."

Big D furrowed his brows in concentration. "What day was that?"

"I don't know. Monday?" I ventured trying to remember the last time I saw him drive his truck down the road. "Why would that matter?"

"Because I am currently dating three different women." Big D said. "I wasn't sure which one you were talking about."

I think he was joking with me.

I was able to clarify that I meant the deer antlers that were piling up on the dash of his truck. Big D likes looking for sheds.

A slightly different angle
He brought one of the sheds into the house to show off. No trick photography here. The shed is touching the milk jug. I hope that big boy made lots of babies.

In the middle-ages people thought that some types of mushrooms signified where a coven of witches recently had an orgy with demons. I have no idea where they would come up with an idea like that.

More tree planting. I think I am done with the apple and pear trees at Salamander's farm for this year. I got sixty in the "serious" orchard and forty planted out in the pucker-brush to attract deer.

You can click to embiggen. The area circled in red is where the apple and pear trees went in. As you can see from this image and the one shown above, there is still much canopy blocking light.

If I remember correctly, the distance from the horizontal line near the middle of the image to the bottom of the image is a 120 yard shot.
I sometimes get questions about the lay of the land. This is a topo of the same parcel shown immediately above. The dark red, horizontal parcel line runs through the red, dill pickle where I am planting the trees.

One American Elm shaded one of my plantings of nine pears. I did not want to bother with dropping the tree so I ringed it.

To Much Information
Pyrus calleryana rootstocks. Oregon State University says this about "P. cally"

Trees on seedlings of P. calleryana have shown about as much decline as trees on Winter Nelis seedling and somewhat less decline than trees on Bartlett seedling. P. calleryana is not sufficiently winter hardy for use in areas where winter injury has been a problem. Trees on P. calleryana are vigorous, but in contrast to most vigorous stocks, they begin bearing at an early age. The mature trees are slightly smaller than those on P. com-munis seedling. P. calleryana is resistant to oak root fungus, Phytophthora root rot, and crown gall. It also tolerates wet soil better than other stocks. It is subject, to lime-induced chlorosis. Seedling P. calleryana is often the best choice of seedling rootstock for any pear variety but particularly for Cornice, Bosc, and Seckel.   -Source
Fruit ripening data from Adams County Nursery. Data is from southeastern Pennsylvania but is fairly accurate for my part of Michigan. Leftmost vertical line is September first. Rightmost vertical line is November first. Michigan bow season starts October first. Michigan regular firearm season starts November 15.
I had a little bit of time so I grafted a few of the pear rootstock. My original plan was to plant them and let them establish a year before grafting. I chose Harrow Sweet and Olympic, aka Korean Giant aka Dan Bae. In general, the more aliases a cultivar has the better it is.

For the sake of being thorough, this is from the same source as the pear ripening image. These are apples. The vertical red line on the left is October first. The vertical red line on the right is December first.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Dilyea's Dork (Bonus fiction)

Paul Seraph actually got to meet Doug Dilyea at a cop charity golf event. At that time Doug was a minor celebrity in Southeastern Michigan law enforcement circles.

Dilyea was in Paul’s foursome. Like Paul and Dilyea, the other two in the foursome were also cops.

Since Dilyea was retired and more than seven years had passed since the dork was invented, it was not hard to convince Dilyea to tell the un-edited story. The fact that Doug had a few beers before teeing off didn't hurt.

The course was selling beer for $10 a can which is how they made money for the charity. Some cops are big drinkers. Dilyea was in a class of his own.

“This is the absolute, no-shit truth.” Dilyea started his story in time-honored fashion.

“I got a call about a domestic disturbance and it was a full scale riot when I got there. The address was an unregistered “Little-bit club”. Little bit of moonshine, little bit of weed, little bit of numbers, little bit of pussy...you got the picture?”

“Anyway, I was young and stupid and thought I could dance with anybody. So I didn’t wait for back-up, I got out of the cruiser and started dancing.”

“Except I found myself dancing with a four-hundred pound man, no shit. And he was kicking my ass. He was slippery as a seal with sweat and he was slammin’ my ass.”

“Well, the one thing a cop can’t do is lose control of the situation. Problem being I had lost my service piece somewhere along the way. That was before we had decent secondary retention holsters.” Dilyea said.

Dilyea’s beer was empty and one of the guys handed him a full one.

“Anyway, this guy is batting me around like drunk Mexican hitting a pinata on Cinco de Mayo when I finally get twisted around enough to pull my back-up piece out of my ankle holster. He hits me two, three more times before I can untwist enough to stick it in his gut.”

“Did I mention he was a big guy? I jammed the gat into his gut at least six inches and pulled the trigger.”

“Nuthin happened. I pulled two, three more times and the piece won’t go off.”

“Well, finally back-up shows up and they have mace and batons and all kinds of other good stuff. They break up the fight. I find my issued service piece. And I am madder than hell. I had the guy and the gun didn’t go off.”

Dilyea need another beer and he got one.

“I talked to the department armorer. He asked me what I carried and I told him, an H&K P2000. Then he told me, ‘Your slide was out of battery.’ “

“I asks him, what can I do about that. He said ‘Carry a wheel gun’.

“That wasn’t going to do because I loved that gun. Shit, it was a .40 and it shot duty ammo. I haven't bought ammo in twenty years and I wasn't about to start.”

“So I talks to my brother who worked at the tech center. He said he would help me out but I had to make sure he got credit for the invention. I say ‘Sure. No problem.’”

Another beer.

“He shows up the next day and clamps this...THING on the rail of my piece. It is one of the pins they use in auto factories to locate parts. Said he had a couple of hundred of them at home.”

“The guys at work, they ask me what it is and I tell them it is so my piece won’t go out of battery. And they asks me, 'Whats is it called?'”
Dilyeu's Dork, aka NAAMS APS122M, half inch diameter, 1 1/4" long. Stiffer than Bruce Lee's index finger and twice as painful when it is stuck in your ribs.

“Then one of the bastards points at my crotch and says, ‘It looks like Dilyea’s dork.”

“Me and my brother were selling ten, maybe twenty of them a week. Charging $100 each, too. And my brother got them for free because the heat treat was wrong. So then he asks me, ‘Did ya make sure I got credit for inventing it?’”

“An I told him, ‘Sure, we named it after you.’”

“An he asks, ‘Hows that?’ So I tells him, ‘They named it after you, Dilyea the dork...and you are the only Dilyea who is a dork so its gotta be you.’”

Paul bought one on-the-spot.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Official start of the grafting season

Official start of the grafting season.

I put a fresh blade into the utility knife after removing the manufacturing oils with rubbing alcohol.

I grafted nine quince and three pears this morning. Eight of the quince were Claribel and the last quince was Skorospelka.

I did a couple of things differently this year.

I pre-wrapped the scion with parafilm. That is, I wrapped it before I grafted. That way I was not stressing the graft as I pulled and stretched the parafilm.

The other thing I did differently is that I warmed the strip against my forehead after tearing a six-to-eight inch piece off the roll. Stretching the parafilm activates the stickiness of the coating and makes it more flexible. Parafilm is more likely to break than stretch when it is cold.

Parafilm is similar to the stretch wrap you put over the salad bowl before you put it in the refrigerator except it is coated on both sides with wax. From the feel of the wax after the parafilm is stretched, it has some micro-crystalline wax in the formulation. Toilet bowl rings...those sticky, stretchy cheese colored rings of wax are made of micro-crystalline wax.

Once again, Tashkent showed the least twig die-back with Skorospelka running hot on its heels. One of the Skorospelka had two blossoms last spring. I am looking forward to getting some fruit off these trees either this year or next.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Irrational fear of Capitalism

The 2020 presidential primaries give us a good look into the minds of the Democratic contenders.

Perhaps more accurately, it gives us a look into what the Democratic contenders think is suitable bait for voters.

It is a bit like carp fishermen. Bread? Boilies? Worms? Corn? Fishermen use what they think carp will like. Some of that is driven by history. The rest of it is driven by personal bias. We will never know if soap is good carp bait because carp fishermen don't eat soap. Nor are we likely to learn if brewers yeast, peanut butter and soy sauce makes a good carp bait.

What we see is that Democratic politicians have an irrational fear of capitalism or they think voters fear capitalism.

Talking with liberals, I see that they are enchanted by the non-profit sector. They are loath to judge and be judged. They are certain that the world would work much better if all decisions were made by altruists.

They define "profit" as theft from the customer or workers. As a conservative, I define "profit" as the additional value created by the intelligent combination of materials, tools, intellectual property and human labor. If combining those inputs destroys value, then the venture loses money and sum-value-in-the-universe is decreased. The venture should fail.

The only way a venture that destroys value can stay in business is when coercive forces are in play.

A quick word sketch
Suppose somebody invented something great. How about a cure for Diabetes?

Then, suppose that out of the goodness of their heart they "gifted" it to the public domain.

There is a very good chance that the invention would not be brought to market because there is no "moat" around the profit. The firm that invested in developing the invention and chasing it through the approval process would not be able to protect their investment.

They would be patsies. Their competitors would be able to reap the benefits of the first firm's investment without having to invest any of their own resources.

Putting a moat around intellectual property provides the incentive for capitalists to develop promising ideas.

At this point, some readers might say, "The government can develop those promising ideas."

Sadly, the track record of the government developing technology without private industry is dismal. Without the profit incentive (increase value) the ability to tell a compelling story becomes the basis for choosing winners.

Some images from the prior week

In a perfect world I would have between 30 and 50 fruit rootstock to graft every spring. I decided to grow some seedlings for that purpose. This tub was filled with Kerr fruit and sawdust. I decided to stratify the seeds in-fruit

Unfortunately for me, the rat-bastard red squirrels like apples seeds for a snack.
90% of the large trees in this image are dead ash trees. I have Cherrybark Oak seedlings in the black bucket
This is what "muck" looks like. It is even blacker in real life than it appears on the screen.
The site is wet. That is why I want to try Water Oak, Water Tupelo and Bald Cypress.
This is what the addition to the orchard looks like so far
Crocus self-seeding on a hillside
A couple of banana boxes seeded to two types of birch, Betula nigra and Betula lenta
A fresh woodchuck hole. This will provide the dogs with endless entertainment this summer
Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis
Mrs ERJ is fond of moss. She finds it delicate and refined. The image does not capture how the shades of green change as your head moves and the light's incident angle changes. This tiny glade almost has the feel of a chapel.
A slightly different angle
The ramps Allium tricoccum are up.

And self-seeding like crazy. The tiny white speckles are urea. I don't mind giving preferred, wild species a leg up.
A small bumblebee working over a catkin in the windy, 49 degree weather. She does not seem to mind that this is not a native species. It is a cultivar sometimes called Mt Aso. This is not the most vigorous willow. I need to cut the sumac before it is completely shaded out.

Frequent reader Milton F asked what happened when I forgot to take the cages off when the trees got large. They usually open up if you only fasten the cut ends in three places, high, middle and low. I now cut the wires differently and will demonstrate in a later post.

Violets. This is a particularly thick patch of them.