Thursday, June 30, 2022

Doctor visit update

The bone-doc gave me the OK for physical therapy.

No activities that involve impacts (no running, jumping, plyometrics or dancing at weddings) with emphasis on flexibility, strength, balance and pain-management techniques.

I have the go-ahead to walk without the boot. She suggests that I start with shorter distances or times and work my way up.

She gave me the go-ahead to do squats and dead-lifts as long as I started with body-weight (no added weight) and did sessions/sets/reps until my left calf could support good form. Then add about ten pounds. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

If I am outside the house and have some time, I think I can simply center my body-weight between my two feet and lift myself up on the balls of both feet. I did this a few times today and forty reps is about what I can do. Part of what I see is that my nerves are educable-mentally-impaired. They can fire but too slowly (for now) to assist with balance/walking.

My first PT therapy is a week from today. In the interim, the doc told me I could walk, stretch and use elastic band exercises.

Yes, I can push a lawn mower as long as I don't step into any holes while doing it.

Yes, she thought compression socks on my injured side is a good idea. Swelling can become self-perpetuating. It limits range-of-motion and pushing that limit can aggravate it.

Her verbal commentary about the X-rays was that my bones are healing as well as can be expected. The top is healing very well and so are most of the breaks on the front of the tibia. Callous formation on the back of the tibia is less impressive but visible. There is a ribbon of callous spanning between the two broken ends of the fibia. There are no dry/uncalloused breaks.

Pretty much great news all the way around. Especially the part about not dancing at weddings.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Another trip to the bone-doctor tomorrow

It looks like three spiral breaks in the tibia with the second segment from the top split longitudinally. It takes a while for bone tissue to regenerate between bone chunks the size of medium sized dog-biscuits. The fibia was also cleanly snapped. Front view on the left and side view on the right.
I have an appointment with the bone-doctor tomorrow. I will learn if I pass Go and get to collect $200.

I hope to hear that the tibia is sufficiently healed for me to start physical therapy. The accident was 8 weeks ago. I am 63, I don't smoke and am not diabetic. I am looking forward to being allowed to walk around and to start building up muscle.

My clinical self-assessment is that my left calf is as weak as water and that I do not have enough strength to walk in any way that is normal. Some of the muscle tissue was pulverized in the accident and it was debrided in surgery. I think elastic bands might be a good choice to strengthen the remaining muscles.

Both of my calves are also "tight" and would benefit from a program of static stretching.

I also believe that I am sufficiently healed to walk moderate distances while wearing the walking cast/boot with the assistance of a cane. That would allow me to stop the muscle loss everywhere else in my body. I consider a walk of sixty minutes to be "moderate" but opinions vary.

Oddly, the lower leg is still swollen by my ankle even though the imaging does not show any breaks that low.

Stay tuned!

Food boxes

Mrs ERJ is fond of telling a story of a social worker who advised a low-income client to find a box (I think the social worker pointed at a case that used to hold long-neck, returnable beer bottles) and when client received her next check to fill the box with boxes of mac-n-cheese and cans of condensed soup and boxes of crackers.

That way, when the client had month left after she ran out of money, she could still feed her babies.

Then, when the check arrived to replenish the box before blowing the rest of the check on single-serving sized bags of Doritos and single cans of soda-pop from the gas station.


Belladonna intends to implement the same plan.

But rather than a cardboard box she will use a plastic tub with a lockable lid.

It will get the mac-n-cheese but also Hamburger Helper, pasta, Alfredo sauce in jars, Jasmine rice, crackers, peanut butter, cans of tuna fish and other easy-to-prepare non-perishables.

Even in The-Big-City there are times when you want to camp-out in your apartment. It might be after a snow-storm when it is prudent to stay off the streets so clean-up crews can go about their jobs unencumbered by frantic shoppers or perhaps at the end of a really long shift when you just don't have the stomach to face shopping.

If social unrest becomes more common then being able to hunker-down becomes pretty attractive as well.

Ten days worth of vittles is not a deep larder but it is enough food to give a body options.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Small backpacks for Bella's job

Belladonna wants to pick your brains.

She needs a daypack. She intends to carry lunch, one-liter water bottle, change-of-shoes, medical doo-dads, 3" three-ring binder.

Is 1800 cubic inches large enough or should she go bigger? The only complication is that Bella will be sharing a half-locker with a coworker and space is at a premium.

Also, please advise regarding other features like straps/webbing to take strain off the zipper.



Opportunity Costs: Antifa Leadership Challenge

The idea of "opportunity costs" is based on the fact that critical resources are always in short supply and if I dedicate a resource for task R then I cannot simultaneously use that resource for task U.

Watching Antifa's urban tactics, you cannot help but notice similarities with cowboys driving cattle or WWI Russian serfs attacking German trenches. Lots of cows and serfs and very few cowboys or officers.

Obviously, the great mass of BLM or RvW or outrage du jour protesters have zero training. The most the Antifa officers can hope to accomplish is to distribute signs and things to throw, point the direction of attack and to reward with promises of looting and burning. If tactics as sophisticated as flanking maneuvers or ambush happen it is by pure happenstance.


In spite of what some observers, including one high-profile Michigan based observer* claim, it seems impossible that Antifa could field enough "officers" and enough modestly-competent foot-soldiers to field 50 effective "soldiers" in one small town 30 miles outside of an urban area.

They could probably field twice that many "cannon-fodder" bodies (hence the comparison to the Russian serfs in WWI) in one small town. Their goal would be to provoke an over-reaction and to create video footage that would be the stimulus for government reaction.

The risks to Antifa are many. Locals taking out the transportation would have the soldiers walking. Few things are more humiliating to young adults than to have to WALK! Another major risk would be if the locals could noodle out the top echelons of Antifa leadership and neutralize them and nobody else.

Antifa has no problems recruiting ushers and traffic-control type leadership. They also have no problems finding people to fly drones. What they lack is a robust system for replacing the few high officers who can integrate the information and run the show with an ear-bud and hands-free mic. The potential replacements with the competence are not trusted. The zealots who are trusted lack expertise.

Attacking rural towns in any numbers would present Antifa with grave opportunity costs. They would not have the resources to close freeways and public thoroughfares in urban areas which is their current high-leverage tactic.

Even commando-strike tactics aimed at rural towns would deplete high-end Antifa leadership in short order, especially if churches, pregnancy counseling centers and other potential targets used geo-fences to identify cell-phones in the immediate vicinity.

*To the best of my knowledge no independent verification of super-competent, Antifa leadership has been offered by other observers. The "expert" runs a martial arts dojo and probably finds the free publicity profitable.

Jack fell down and broke his...

Most dental practices are switching from conventional PFM crowns and moving towards the use of zirconia for creating fixed dental restorations. Because zirconia restorations possess excellent aesthetics and are virtually indestructible, zirconia is becoming the most popular material for fabricating dental restorations.  Source
I had a dental issue this weekend.

I assumed that I had fractured one of my molars. I called my dentist first thing Monday morning and they had an opening in the afternoon.

My dentist was astounded that I had split my zirconia-porcelain crown from stem-to-stern. It had split through the valley of the molar where the porcelain was 2.0mm thick. According to the supplier of the crowns, 1.0mm is good-to-go and this split was through an area that was twice that thick. As stated earlier, my dentist was astounded and had never seen this kind of failure.

He could not imagine any normal load that could cause such catastrophic failure and attributes it to the trauma of the traffic accident. Further, he advised me to contact the insurance carrier paying for damages incurred during the accident as he believes the cost of this dental work should be submitted to them.

He believes the two month delay between the accident and the outer-half of the crown detaching can be attributed to the cement holding the crown on the stub. It took that long, he believes, for the cement to work loose.

Bonus image

Four raccoons underneath the sweet cherry tree. Mama 'coon was swallowing them seed-and-all.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Human Rib: Fragile?


There I was, in public without a responsible adult and I was wondering what mayhem I could commit with my inexpensive walking cane should need arise.

Given the fact that it was manufactured from 1.0mm wall aluminum (probably 7075-T6), it didn't weigh much more than a fart on an elevator. Using it as a bludgeon was a non-starter. That left using it as a poking-tool as the only viable option.

According to the manufacturer, the cane was rated for 300 pounds at full extension. Since buckling load is proportional to 1/length^3, shortening the cane would vastly increase its load capacity and make it more robust for side-load. Shortening the cane also makes it easier to control and lowers the possibility of a thug taking it from you.

The preferred grip is to hold the handle beneath your boob and tightly clamped to your rib-cage and have your supporting (aiming) hand palm-up and gripping the ferrule. Maximum force comes from stiffening all of your joints and rotating, similar to clearing away defenders with your elbows after rebounding a basketball.

How much force to break a rib?

Given the elevation of the cane, the assailant's rib-cage is the only viable target.

The question of the day is "How much force does it take to break a human rib?"

Location of samples.
There are very few academic papers that are not behind paywalls. This one is not behind a paywall and looks at young women ages 10-22.

Cross-section through human rib (female). Approximately 11mm along long axis and 4mm the narrow axis. Wall thickness varies between 0.8mm and 0.3mm.

The STRONGEST sample they tested of 33 samples taken from 17 women broke at 5.5 N-m.

That would be analogous to a six-inch sample supported on both ends by resting on a table and only being able to support 32 pounds applied to the center of the sample.

In my mind, that translates into about 45 pounds for a young male. Or, stated another way, poking a young thug in the ribs with the tip of my cane with a delivery force of 50 pounds is likely-to-highly likely to break one of his ribs.

What is the gut feel among you readers? Too high? Too low? Seems reasonable?

I was dismissive until I read that if you are not breaking ribs on patients while applying CPR you are probably not doing it right.

Ribs seem rugged because they are flexible and because they exist in a mesh of muscle that allow them to seamlessly shift load to neighboring ribs. In fact, we rarely talk about a "rib" singular because they work as a system. It looks like it takes surprisingly little load to break a rib (singular) when applied as a point load.

Outside my skill-set


An iconic chase scene from my young-adulthood
One of the difficulties of connecting with young-adults with the pro-life message is that our arguments cavitate because young-adults are desensitized and cannot identify with "the fetus".

Black pixels on a white screen will not engage them. The words of this blog will not trigger "Hey, that could have been me!" should any young-adult stumble into these pages.

Words talked at them by people who are not their peers will not do it, either.

A series of short video vignettes that are stitched together have a fighting chance of being successful if it intersects with pre-programmed scenes and messages. 

I propose that these short videos be "ads" placed with various video streaming services like Youtube.


Example of the protagonist. Hopefully, every young woman can identify with the radiant joy and boundless hope of being in a wedding.

Scene one: A chase scene that resembles a recently released movie. Suggested that the scene be "lifted" from a video game because they have great graphics and the target audience is comfortable with the look-and-feel. Protagonist a 10-to-12-year-old, African-American (A-As abort their pregnancies at 3X the base-rate) in a vestal virgin or baptismal outfit or flower-girl at wedding to imply total innocence.

If I were trying to sell my generation, I would use scenes that resemble iconic scenes from Indian Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark. When I am selling to 20 year-olds I would use scenes that resemble The Avengers series.

Duration about 1.5 seconds. Long enough for viewer to identify the situation.

Scene two: A surgical environment with key players positioned like the aggressors chasing the vestal virgin.

Duration about 0.5 seconds. It is OK if half the viewers do not consciously recognize the scene the first time they see it.

Scene three: Aggressors swinging swords and spiked clubs with the vestal virgin dancing away from the weapons. Mostly holding her own but due to confined space the aggressors are successful at inflicting wounds. Iconic sequence for young adults.

Duration 2 seconds. Building suspense

Scene four: Fetus attempting to withdraw from dilation and curettage surgical instruments.

Duration slightly less than 1 second.

Scene four: Vestal virgin breaks free from aggressors and makes a dash for the door, similar to Indiana Jones outrunning the boulder at the beginning of the series. The door or the exit to the cave is symbolic of the birth canal.

Duration 0.5 seconds.

Scene five: Scissors plunged into the back of a baby's skull.

Duration 0.25 seconds.


Transition One

Belladonna moved off of our phone plan this weekend. She made the move after I informed her that my goal is to have her and Kubota off by November and then Mrs ERJ will flip over to a pre-pay. That will take our current $186/month plan down to $40.

She accommodated by making the move early.

I got to meet her boyfriend's brother while she was checking out the new phones. He attends Michigan Tech and is 3/4 the way through his Electrical Engineering program. He is working in manufacturing this summer.

Transition Two

I am done with the antibiotic I was taking prophylactically to prevent infections in the incision.

Transition Three

You can see all of the branches with dead leaves. Fireblight strikes. Horseradish plant in foreground

I T-budded pears on the four Tashkent quince. According to the internet, Potomac and Blake's Pride pears are both fireblight resistant and compatible with quince rootstocks. We will see how they do. The bark was "slipping" on three of the four quince I am am optimistic about the buds taking.

Fireblight is often self-limiting. It rages through the first year wood and extinguishes when it hit second or third year wood. Sometimes it leaves a large canker where the younger branch hits the older branch.

Trees that take this kind of damage are rarely productive. I am cutting my losses by flipping the Tashkent quince to pears. If that fails, I will remove them and replace them with trees that will "pay their rent".

Sunday, June 26, 2022

State of the Potato Patch


The row circled in red is the "before" condition
Mrs ERJ has been weeding most mornings for about an hour and she is slowly whipping the potato patch into shape.

I, being a compliant patient, sit in an outdoor chaise lounge chair in the shade and stay hydrated. I help by pointing out where she missed pulling some egregious species of weed.

Looking across the rows

Weeding is endless.

I am pretty happy that more than half the light is first intercepted by the potato plants. As soon as the indefatigable Mrs ERJ is finished with the first pass, she will start the second pass.

I am contemplating giving the patch a late shot of nitrogen because the potatoes look a little bit yellow. Weeds, particularly annual grasses like foxtail are very aggressive at scavenging nitrogen. We left the pulled weeds in the rows but the nitrogen in the dead grasses is not immediately available to the potatoes.

As it happens, I have some buckets that held urea prills that were rained on and they are now a big clump. I will dissolve them in water and walk down the rows and drizzle the solution in the middle of the aisleway between rows.

Potato beetles

Mrs ERJ informed me that several of the plants had Colorado Potato Beetle larvae on them so I gave her permission to spot-spray the plants. Our control plan is to spray the infested plant and one plant to either side of it.

I estimate that she sprayed 20% of the east row and a scattered handful of plants in the other rows. Since we have seven rows of potatoes, Mrs ERJ ended up spraying somewhere between 3% and 5% of the plants.

Sweet Cherries

Our sweet cherries are ripe. I planted a variety that ripens yellow cherries because it was reputed to be the most cold tolerant sweet cherry and to be less bothered by birds.

It is a pity that the cherries don't taste as good as the newer varieties.

If I had to do it again, I would plant a self-fertile variety like Blackgold or Lapins or BlackYork and Hudson as a pair of pollen-compatible cherries.

One key to successfully growing sweet cherries in the mid-West is to plant the tree where the trunk will be shaded from the afternoon sun in the winter. Sweet cherries seem to be exquisitely sensitive to sun-scald. Planting them on the north side of a barn is a classic place to achieve that.

Peppers and nitrogen

The 8 oz of 1500 parts-per-million nitrogen I gave my peppers a week ago seems to have greened-up the new leaves.

Several years ago, Belladonna was attending Grand Valley State University. I gave her a gift of two pots of flowers.

I also gave her a bottle of liquid fertilizer and the instructions to dilute it to 1/3 what the label indicated.

The pots of flowers promptly fried and Bella insisted that the fertilizer is what killed them.

There are three likely root-causes. The first cause I thought of was that her roommates maliciously poured the liquid fertilizer, undiluted, into the pots. Those are the same roommates who adopted a cat against Bella's strongest wishes. They basically gave Bella the middle finger on that.

The second most likely cause is that some drunks urinated into the pots. Hey, it is a college town. Things like that happen.

The third most likely cause is that my directive to dilute the liquid fertilizer to 1/3 of what the label specified may have been misheard or miscommunicated. Instead of 1/3 of a teaspoon per gallon of water it is possible/likely that the person applying the fertilizer diluted one-part fertilizer with two-parts water and then doused the plants.

The bottle of fertilizer was not available to check for consumption rate.

The reason for telling this story is that anecdotal evidence is likely to be missing important context. I still subscribe to the belief that pushing plants hard early in life allows them to quickly fill their allotted space and intercept the maximum amount of sun through the growing season.

Fruiting plants do well if you dial back fertilizer as they canopy-out. Diminishing fertility is one of the biological cues that tips them into fulfilling their biological imperative, that is, to produce seeds.

Happy Rich cut-and-come-again broccoli

The most common weed in this image is Marestail. Marestail is an easy weed to pull.

Grafted watermelon

Yesterday was cloudy so I moved the cooler with the grafted watermelons outside.

Shortly after the move the humidifier went Tango Uniform.

You can see the curled leaves which indicates drought stress.

I remediated by emptying a Windex spray bottle and refilling with water. Mrs ERJ and I spray the plants every time we walk by. It hasn't been enough. 6-of-the-7 plants are hanging on, but just barely.

I am tickled that they made it a week without all of them dying. That suggests that it is doable and I need to refine methods and equipment.

Presented without comment


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Delusions of Grandeur?


"The radical Christians are found in rural areas. Their towns are defenseless, they have almost no cops and their firefighters are volunteers...Forget burning cities. Cities are on our side. It is time for rural areas to feel the heat.

You (interesting choice of pronouns suggesting HE has no intention of placing himself in harms way) show up 100 deep in every rural town in a 50 mile radius intent on revolution..."

By my count, there are 46 municipalities that meet the definition of "rural town" within 50 miles of Lansing, Michigan*. To execute this "leader's" vision of shock-and-awe requires a minimum of 4600 recruits. Remember, that is the point-of-the-spear and traditionally the shaft of the spear is much larger than the point.

There are 45,000 students at MSU when it is in session which implies they would have to recruit 10% of the students to travel more than a mile from a Starbucks to regions where there is no free WIFI. But MSU is NOT in session.

At four recruits per vehicle they need over a thousand vehicles. At two per vehicle they need over two thousand vehicles...vehicles that will placed in harms-way after the recruits leave them to protest. Boy, will Mom be pissed when the Prius gets trashed!

Why the estimate of two-per-vehicle? Because the recruits will be drawn from the most anti-social elements. They cannot get along with normal people. How will cramming four of them in a car work out?

This yahoo proposes targeting on the State of Indiana. So the transport logistics went from driving 20 miles from East Lansing to Ovid, Michigan to driving 200 miles to Indiana. Logistical challenges rise at a rate of approximately R^2. That is not going to happen unless the effort is supported by governmental units. Even then, the issues of securing their transportation while protesting is a weak link. If the transportation is impaired, say flat tires or smashed glass, then the protestors are stranded in hostile territory.

Bonus image

*I cheated and counted the number of communities in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia and Shiawassee Counties that were not urban extensions of Lansing.


Just a few snark-free comments on Roe-v-Wade.

My memory of the original ruling back in the mid-70s is that the Justices felt they had to rule the way they did because there was a total lack of clarity about when "life begins" at that time.

They attempted to apply the standards-of-the-day to determine if abortion was murder: Did it stop a heart-beat? Were brain-waves present before the action? Was the action taken against somebody who was potentially viable?

The pro-abortion side claimed the baby in the mother's uterus was no different than a skin-tag, a finger-nail or a tumor. Any of those could be surgically removed any time the patient elected to have surgery.

The pro-life forces said that there was no right to abortion just as there is no right to punch another person in the nose...the right to swing one's arms ending where the other person's nose began. They claimed the baby in the mother's womb was a separate person.

The Court said the pro-life side failed to adequately make the case that the baby inside the mother's womb was a person. They said the pro-life side failed to prove the traditional tests of personhood...heart-beat, brain-function, viability.



Ultra-sound was invented and it shows heart-beats in real-time starting within a month of conception. Nobody disputes the accuracy of ultra-sound. It can be used to measure thickness of heart-walls and velocity of blood in blood vessels.

Various electromagnetic imaging techniques can show the same.


EEGs can detect fetal brain-waves by week six.

Ultrasound shows the fetus attempting to evade the cutting tools which is highly suggestive of a pain-response which is a brain function. Presumably the EEGs can also pick up fetal brainwaves that are consistent with "pain".


Approximately 50% of children born prematurely at 23 weeks of gestation survive.

The youngest preemie to survive was born at 21 weeks of gestation.

Sidebar: Suppose there are two bodies in a room. One is a mummified hoarder who was found in the attic of his house beneath a pile of National Geographic magazines six months after last seen in public. The other body is a six-year-old child who fell beneath the ice of a pond and was under-water for ten minutes.

Neither body has a measurable heartbeat or brain-waves.

If somebody shot the mummy, they would be guilty of desecrating a corpse but not homicide.

If somebody shot the six-year-old they would rightfully be charged with homicide because there are many cases of suddenly-chilled, "drowned" young people who were revived.

The difference between the two is that the six-year-old is potentially viable.

End sidebar.


The latest ruling by the Supreme Court does not over-throw Roe-v-Wade so much as revisit the ruling and use the findings of modern medical technology to fill in the gaps. Those are the same gaps the original Justices said compelled them to rule that the pro-life side had not made their case.


The "fetus" in the mother's womb is genetically different from the mother so the example of a "skin-tag" or tumor is spurious. The baby is a different the guy with the nose who got hit with the swinging arm. Nobody argues with DNA evidence.

Shortly after the mother has missed her first period the baby inside of her has a heart-beat and any competent ultrasound tech can bring it up on a computer monitor in real-time.

By the time the mother missed two periods the baby has a heart-beat and brain-waves.

Slightly after mid-term, the baby has a flip-of-the-coin odds of being viable outside his mother's womb.

Friday, June 24, 2022


Farmers and gardeners are always looking at the weather, our dirt and crops.

While driving around my area-of-operation I noticed two things. One is the number of fields with corn and bean plants less than six inches tall. The local farmers were very late getting their seeds in the ground on some of their fields.

The other thing I noticed is that some of the taller corn, 10"-to-12" tall was looking a little bit droughty. The leaves were not rolled and waxy looking but you could tell it was thinking about it.

So, I decided to look at the soil moisture drought indexes.

This is the soil moisture measured at 20 cm (8"). Full grown corn can mine moisture from much deeper in the soil but young corn can only pull it from the first foot or so of soil.

Area outlined in red approximates the Corn Belt. Yes, it is getting a little bit dry in my area.

This is an experimental soil moisture monitor that is closer to real-time. Rather than compiling actual soil moisture measurements (which takes time and is a lagging indicator) it takes the existing soil moisture measurements and makes adjustments based on air temperature and humidity readings.

Almost none of the Corn Belt looks to be in good shape for moisture.

Farmers and gardeners. We do like to worry.

Bonus pictures

Skorospelka quince with some fruit. The young fruit is ghostly white. I think the fire-blight strikes initiate at the blossoms. Erwinia amylovora just loves to reproduce in nectar and quince blooms (deeper into fire-blight season later than virtually every other pome fruit.

Gold Rush apple
Close up of some fruit

Thursday, June 23, 2022

The good, the bad and the ugly

First, the good:

The third shipment of books

I am a fan of Don Camillo.

Mrs ERJ and I planted the extra watermelon seedlings from the grafting project. We put in 4 Blacktail Mountain, 6 Kholodoc, 5 Wibb and 6 Wilson Sweet. Unfortunately, we had Zeus out in the garden and he decided to help by digging...digging out the newly planted seedlings.

A grafted Lehman's Delight persimmon pushing buds.

A cluster of Saint Paul grapes. Saint Paul is a creation of Chateau Bortnov

Good fruit set on this pear tree

The bad

The east end of the garden looks a little rough.

The orchard needs mowing

I did a little weeding. At age 63 I am getting the hang of flipping the hand-pulled bundles of weeds so the roots land on top of the tops from the previous handful. That reduces the likelihood of them re-rooting and continuing to grow.

The ugly

The potato patch where I was weeding

Fire-blight strikes on quince. This is Tashkent which appears to be the most vulnerable.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Sodom, a slightly different perspective

Possible location of Sodom (modern Tell el-Hammam). Plains of Jordan circled in red. Geographically similar to California Central Valley although much smaller. Sodom location identified by sunburst symbol.
Location zoomed in. Location is at the eastern tip of a finger of fertile land. The road (potentially ancient trade route) leads to the northern rim of the plains of Madaba.

One of the intriguing things about the Bible is that you can read it several times over the course of your life and see vastly different messages in it. Outside of a few, immutable foundations of faith, there is no one "right" way to interpret the Bible.

The following discussion of the account of the destruction of Sodom will bother some people but I ask you to bear with me. 


Three men (angels) passed by Abram's camp in mid-morning. Abram insists that they stay with him for mid-day meal. He kills a calf and shows them extreme hospitality. It is very likely that Abram offered hospitality because he knew what fate would befall the men if they went into Sodom. The angels promise that his wife, Sarah, will have a child.

God then tells Abram that he intends to destroy Sodom because of the "grave" sins they commit. Abram's nephew, Lot, lives in Sodom. Abram is able to argue with God and get Him to agree to not destroy Sodom if 10 men (likely to be households) of virtue can be found.

Genesis Chapter 19 (New American Bible Translation)
1 The two angels reached Sodom in the evening, as Lot was sitting at the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he got up to greet them; and bowing down with his face to the ground,
2 he said, “Please, my lords, come aside into your servant’s house for the night, and bathe your feet; you can get up early to continue your journey.” But they replied, “No, we will pass the night in the town square.” (Joe comments: If the two angels/men were traders they would go to the town square to gather price information. What commodities are abundant locally. What was needed)
3 He urged them so strongly, however, that they turned aside to his place and entered his house. He prepared a banquet for them, baking unleavened bread, and they dined. (Obviously, Lot knew what the townsmen did to foreigners and traders)
4 Before they went to bed, the townsmen of Sodom, both young and old—all the people to the last man—surrounded the house. (Key point implied in this sentence is that women and children are not "people", only men have rights. Also, so much for finding ten households of virtue.)
5 They called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to your house tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have sexual relations with them.” (Translates to..."we are going to rape them". Rape is a crime of power and dominance. As the "catcher", the two strangers would be turned into "women" and would therefor not be human and have no rights)
6 Lot went out to meet them at the entrance. When he had shut the door behind him, (By shutting the door, he was telling the crowd that what was inside the house was off limits)
7 he said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not do this wicked thing! 
8 I have two daughters who have never had sexual relations with men. Let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you please. But do not do anything to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” (Yeah, he offers his virgin daughters and claims sanctity of the home for the travelers, Like I said, women and children were not considered human and didn't have any rights)
9 They replied, “Stand back! This man,” they said, “came here as a resident alien, and now he dares to give orders! We will treat you worse than them!” With that, they pressed hard against Lot, moving in closer to break down the door. (This sentence confirms that the impending rape is about dominance and power and not about satisfying sexual urges. Otherwise they would have accepted Lot's offer of his virgin daughters. So the sins of every man other than those of Lot's household were sins against hospitality and sins against the sanctity of the home. Their sins were much bigger than two men doing the wild-thang)
10 But his guests put out their hands, pulled Lot inside with them, and closed the door; (Divine intervention. They did that through a closed door)
11 they struck the men at the entrance of the house, small and great, with such a blinding light that they were utterly unable to find the doorway. (Note to self: Some angels pack flash-bang grenades)
12 Then the guests said to Lot: “Who else belongs to you here? Sons-in-law, your sons, your daughters, all who belong to you in the city—take them away from this place!
13 We are about to destroy this place, for the outcry reaching the LORD against those here is so great that the LORD has sent us to destroy it. (General Christian belief is that all sin is an abomination to God. For example, all sex outside of marriage is a sin. Roman Catholic theology holds that there are Mortal sins (potentially causing death to the soul) and Venal
Venial sins (which injure but do not necessarily kill the soul). It is possible that this distinction evolved when the RC Church served as both religious and civil authority with the Mortal/Venial distinction similar to Felony/Misdemeanors.
14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had contracted marriage with his daughters. “Come on, leave this place,” he told them; “the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
15 As dawn was breaking, the angels urged Lot on, saying, “Come on! Take your wife with you and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.”
16 When he hesitated, the men, because of the LORD’s compassion for him, seized his hand and the hands of his wife and his two daughters and led them to safety outside the city. (I guess the sons-in-law stayed in Sodom)
17 As soon as they had brought them outside, they said: “Flee for your life! Do not look back or stop anywhere on the Plain. Flee to the hills at once, or you will be swept away.” (To the north or east)
18 “Oh, no, my lords!” Lot replied to them.
19 “You have already shown favor to your servant, doing me the great kindness of saving my life. But I cannot flee to the hills, or the disaster will overtake and kill me. (That is, he will be recognized as being from the Plains of Jordan and the hill people will extract retribution for the lack of hospitality that was shown to travelers from the hills when they went to the plains)
20 Look, this town ahead is near enough to escape to. It is only a small place. Let me flee there—is it not a small place?—to save my life.” 
21 “Well, then,” he replied, “I grant you this favor too. I will not overthrow the town you have mentioned.
22 Hurry, escape there! I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” That is why the town is called Zoar.
23 The sun had risen over the earth when Lot arrived in Zoar,
24 and the LORD rained down sulfur upon Sodom and Gomorrah, fire from the LORD out of heaven. (About when the women would be stoking the fires for breakfast and most of the men would be inside their dwellings)
25 He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil. (I am not going to speculate regarding physical manifestations that resemble the description only to note that sediment filled bowls like the San Bernadino valley have an amplifying effect on ground tremors)
26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
27 The next morning Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood before the LORD.
28 As he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region of the Plain, he saw smoke over the land rising like the smoke from a kiln.
29 When God destroyed the cities of the Plain, he remembered Abraham and sent Lot away from the upheaval that occurred when God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living.

One perspective

Most "sins" are behaviors that diminish, degrade or destroy human lives.

"Trade" was an emerging technology in the late-Stone age and early-Bronze age. Salt, metals, gems, knappable rock, hides, spear shafts, cordage, glue, tools, spices, medicines, animals-on-the-hoof and so on were being traded from valley-to-valley and from highlands-to-lowlands.

A commodity that we take for granted, salt, is the difference between being able to successfully colonizing a hot, salt-free zone and having all of the colonists perish.

One potential hypothesis is that the entire plains area had adopted the Mad-Max, Prison-rape culture and that had killed trade. Yes, they were sinning against ancient, desert-culture of hospitality (and the juxtaposition of the Abram-Sarah story suggests the overarching message of this sequence is about hospitality more than a particular manifestation of inhospitable behavior) The raping of travelers was just one part of that. But the crime against humanity was that they were destroying the break-through technology of trade and degrading the lives of everybody who would benefit from it.

Parallels to today

One side of the political spectrum seems to be mimicking the sins of Sodom in the sense that they are dehumanizing all who disagree with them. They are taking away our voice. They are trying to take away our means to self-defense. They strip us (mostly men) of our authority to parent. They promote no-knock raids and red-flag laws that violate the sanctity of our homes. They dehumanize us in every way they can find.

Further, the policies of that side of the political spectrum create the same Mad-Max, Prison-rape culture seen in Sodom. Our cities are no longer fit for trade and commerce. Outsiders are routinely attacked out of principle. And I don't even need to bring up "Pride" to state my case.

I read the first installment of this franchise. This story does not end well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Watermelon update


The grafts are still looking perky after 24 hours. I am stunned. Since cleft grafting seems to work as well as splice, it would be easy to automate a cutter with a "V" groove and a razor blade that guillotines into the center of the squash stem. Sort of like a pill splitter.

I added a 5000K light to the red light and covered it back over with the plastic.

Look who came to the party

The Wilson Sweet seeds finally decided to make an appearance. They may be slow but they certainly are uniform. They all showed up this morning.

I will not try to graft any of these on top of squash roots but will move them to the garden in a day or two.

A Belated Thank-you

I have a guardian angel out there in the readers who somehow got a hold of my mailing address and has been sending me boxes of books.

His emphasis has been on the kind of books you might put in a time-capsule or the Professor might have taken to Gilligan's Island or the kind of book that Irish Monks might have laboriously copied to save the wisdom of the Ancient world.

With Mrs ERJ home, I am no longer battered from pillar-to-post and I want to tell W. B. "Thank-you!!!"

As a thought starter, here are the contents of one of the boxes he sent:

Cows, Pigs, Wars... is an interesting book. The author claims that seemingly inexplicable characteristics of an evolved society are keystones to its survival. We might not be able to explain why they are important but we monkey with them at our society's peril.

Tough times are coming and there will be a much greater emphasis on "Doing" vs. "Talking or engaging in fantasy".

A little bit of electricity goes a long, long way to making life easier to endure

Early tools and trades will likely be easier to replicate with native or found materials than more advanced ones.

What a great set of books.

Again, my apologies for being so tardy in recognizing your magnificent and generous gifts.

I will post pictures from the next box tomorrow.

Orientation, allergies, taxes and WWIII

 Belladonna started her new job Monday. She is going through a week-long "Orientation".

Being the ever-helpful dad that I am, I told her to inform HR that she is cis-female. Questions about orientation solved.

Belladonna was not amused.


This is one of many steroidal based nasal sprays
 A big shout-out to fellow blogger Reltney McFee. Several months ago he posted about a patient who came in and demanded a Z-Pack (it is always a Z-Pack) for a sore throat. McFee did his due-diligence examination and found no evidence of a bacterial infection. Rather, he diagnosed post-nasal drainage as the causal agent for the sore throat, perhaps due to allergies.

The patient was less than grateful when McFee suggested that he address the issue with any one of the common, steroidal-based nasal sprays that are available over-the-counter.

Well, guess who was afflicted by allergies this past week? One of the consequences of my not being able to keep the grassy areas mowed is that we have waves of grass pollen as each species solos in the great symphony of misery.

I find it interesting that each species seems to affect me differently. What ever is pollinating now makes my mucus thick and "snotty". Drainage requires a significant rattling or clearing of the throat, hence the soreness.

Anyway, thanks Reltney. The advice proved valuable to me and even if it had not worked it did not cost much to try.

Crime is a tax

Economists are fond of looking at the effects of incentives on the economy.

It should come as no surprise that positive incentives almost always increase production/demand and taxes (or negative incentives) reduce production/demand of what ever commodity or activity is incentivized or taxed.

Most taxes are predictable. In Michigan the sales tax is 6% and shoppers know that when they walk into the store.

The crime-tax is arbitrary, capricious and often hugely out-of-proportion to the item being taxed. What is the cost to the middle-aged executive who gets closed-head trauma because some street-hood wanted to steal his Rolex? The executive might never be able to work another day at his former ability.

You might visit The Big City twenty times a year to watch a show, view a ballgame or enjoy a festival. How many times would you need to have your car window smashed or your seven-year-old kid roughed-up to suddenly tip the cost/benefit equation to NO WAY? Once? Maybe if it happened once to a coworker or somebody who attends your church?

And what about the highly placed government officials who coerce foreign corporations to give their worthless children highly paid jobs? Can anybody dispute that we are closer to WWIII because of it? Some like to bandy about the term "existential threat" when arguing for their pet feelz-good causes but WWIII is a legitimate threat to human existence.

Prospect theory tells us that we feel "losses" two-to-three times more acutely than we feel the joy of "gain". Most people will choose to pay the certain cost of an insurance premium rather than face the (small) risk of total financial ruin. The random tax that is many orders of magnitude greater than the pawn-value of the Rolex or the broken window that costs a hundred times more than the value of the change they scooped out of your ashtray are real economic killers.

And here is the thing that slays the tourists: They typically pay extra (traditional) taxes for security. Municipalities often have taxes on hotel rooms and they tax the venue. So they pay the sure-thing cost and STILL have the random, capricious tax of crime.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Lessons learned grafting watermelons

Start twice as many melon seeds as squash seeds.

Start them a full week earlier. I started them three days earlier and the squash had much larger stems.

Do not get clips that are too big, i.e. larger diameter than stems.

But if you did, try a cleft graft with a single, tapered cut on the melon scion.

Making the graft about an inch-and-a-half from the squash roots and with an inch of stem below the melon seed-leaves seemed to be the happy spot for my fat thumbs.

The cleanest cuts on the melon scion were from cutting off the top inch an then laying it on a pad of newspaper with the two seed-leaves oriented like an infinity sign. Then lightly mash the stem to the pad and draw the edge of your utility knife at an appropriate angle.

Applying the grafting clips so they closed the two half-circles of the cleft graft and then pushing the tapered end of the scion into the cleft (wedge fashion) seemed to work. 

Coffee and caffeine are not your friend.

Beer coolers make good callousing enclosures.

A cheap, ultrasonic humidifier is your friend.

Clear plastic is your friend.

Red light promotes plant elongation and growth while blue light seems to shorten up elongation. 

I only grafted two Blacktail Mountain, two Kholodok and three Wibb. It will be interesting to see if any survive. At this point, it has been an exercise in the mechanics of sticking succulent scion on top of succulent roots.

I am NOT looking to get into this business but I do want to learn how to be successful at it.