Monday, June 17, 2024

A Day out for a Walk with the pups

 It is an interesting trip here because we are walking the pups in areas we haven't been.  With another 3 weeks in England, we don't have to hurry to see things ourselves. We can take our time,

In this case, that means we can take the dogs to many places. There are some, definitely interiors, that they can't go to, but I do like taking them elsewhere.

In these pictures, we are at Houghton House. It is a derelict manor house, and the grounds have been turned into horse fields or farmland.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Yesterday at Bletchley Park

Doesn't look like a military installation does it?

 We went to Bletchley Park a few days ago for a second visit. We had gone years ago with Barbara and Gareth. We loved it so we went back.

It has changed a lot. I am not putting in a lot of pictures because it is a museum, and photos of exhibits are boring if you don't go ("Oh, wow, glass gas with gas mask"). 

Last time at Bletchley, most of the emphasis was on Alan Turning and the Engma code-breaking. But since this information was presented, there have been a lot of books about the time and Alan Turning - both as his expertise in running the top secret project to break the German military codes and his experience later as a gay man caught and then chemically castrated. 

But this time there is more of a "holistic" view of the time. They did not discuss only the bomba, the code-breaking machine, but also the other needs of espionage like how to make sense of morse code in a foreign language or how to interpret silence in context.

It was quite interesting. 

I am including one photo of the library set up as it would have been in the day. This was where the military brass and administration worked.  It would have covered the whole room, but here it is.

It was a grand day out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Us and Wolfie and Chester

We’ve arrived and are having a great time with Wolfie, the girl, and Chester, the boy.  They adorable   

Chester cannot get comfortable. 

Eddie and Wolfie hanging out

Chester in the Sun. 

Monday, June 10, 2024

Headed off to Maulden

 Well, we are beginning quite a trip. Our first stop is in England, in Maulden. We are watching 2 pups for about 10 days. We are excited because they are the same breed as our old pup, Ashford - Welsh terriers. AND Maulden is in a new part of England for us.

This is Chester and Wolfie. I cannot wait.

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Harlem Renaissance Part Two

Explanation Below

Last weekend, when I went to the Met, there was a show about the Harlem Renaissance as painted by contemporary Black Artists. There were some very cool paintings by a few artists I never heard of and now love.

This work is all by Aaron Douglas. 

The top piece is explained here:

They bring a sense of motion and life. (They remind me of Italian Futurism.) The bottom two here are religious.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Harlem Renaissance at the Met

 Last weekend, when I went to the NY Metropolitan Museum (the Met), there was a show about the Harlem Renaissance as painted contemporary Black Artists. There were some very cool paintings by a few artists I never heard of and now love.

This work is all by Archibald Motely Jr.

So bright and alive.

Friday, June 7, 2024

And now, a pleasant Friday sign-off

 Animal pics from The Guardian. Full pages here.

Highlights below.

They are just young elephants playing.

What scares me (fun posts later today) - UPDATED

 So, stupid things are happening now, and it is super easy to ignore them. I don't really want to, but I cannot help it. (going forward, search on "updated" and you will get to the latest here.)

I find the actions of the MAGA and adjacent semi-militia's freak me out. I know it is ALWAYS difficult to make any analogy to Nazi Germany - but it follows a pattern in Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, and Stalin's USSR as well. First the paramilitary starts...

From upper left clockwise: Hitler's Brownshirts, Hitler youth, Mussolini's Blackshirts, Stalins, Red Guards, Trump's Proud Boys, Rightwing Boogaloo, now just massive crowds.

Then, there is a failed attack on Democracy...

Left: Nazis at the "Beer Hall Putsch," which failed but set the stage for more extensive and more violent actions. Right: Combination of MAGA voters and paramilitary in the failed riot to prevent a valid election result.

Then, a government works to include members of the"fascist," which represent a minority of voters. Still, they are loud and disenchanted with the government and make strides moving against institutions. Then, often, a minority faction wins control of the democracy. They quickly cancel democracy, jail their opposition, and then have to find a new enemy.

For Hitler, it was Jews. For Mussolini, it was Royalists. For MAGA it has been Mexicans, then Muslims,  then trans people, then gays, then women who want bodily autonomy, and finally anyone they call liberals. 

Note: MAGA states and judiciary have already passed or approved laws - which are aggressively antagonistic - to all these groups legally. Trump and his right-wing media have already called to lock up liberals who oppose them.

And then, in the past, POP goes the Democracy.

Explicit promises have already been made:

UPDATE: June 7 - 
Two professors at the University of Texas at Austin are suing for the right to penalize students who miss class to obtain an abortion out of state. The professors, John Hatfield and Daniel Bonevac, are contesting the Biden administration’s efforts to shield students from retaliation when they obtain reproductive health care, a long-standing guarantee under Title IX. They also demand the freedom to discriminate against students and teaching assistants who identify as LGBTQ.


Thursday, June 6, 2024

An understatement at its best

 Presented in its entirety - because it is a damn funny last line.

I said we are kind of screwed (Birth Control Access failed Congress)


After the overturning of Abortion rights in the country, Ed and I were worried about the right to be gay, access to contraception, access to reproductive health care, and the Republican attempt to pass a national anti-abortion law.

Well, the Supreme Court and some states have legislated that just being gay or talking about it is illegal and an affront to Christians - just by existing. We don't have the same rights to access hospitals, EMTs,  private Universities, or adoption. I guess adoption because legislators think that keeping problem children in institutions is better than having gay folks help them.

Pregnant women in southern states have to be in critical condition and in the emergency room before doctors can take any steps to save the mother if it puts the embryo in danger. EVEN in cases where the embryo has a known defect that will kill the embryo or has severe physical problems (like already being dead in the womb) or known problems that might kill the mother (say - endoscopic pregnancy). There is that.

Republicans have already promised to pass a nation wide abortion ban.

And now, tada!!! They voted to kill a measure that would protect contraceptive access. Because women are baby delivery devices, not people.

Good Grief.

Even a stopped clock - Mitch McConnell

 From the "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" files:

Mitch McConnell has written an opinion piece in the New York Times. HERE.

In the piece, he does some obligatory trashing of the Democratic President. But then his focus turns to the mistakes isolationists (cough - MAGA - cough) are making towards making the world which makes it more unsafe. He discusses Ukraine, Russia, and our lack of dealing with the world. These are pretty un-subtle comments about the current feeling in Washington due to Trump and his MAGA followers.

It is interesting.

Caravaggio at the Met

 I love Caravaggio as a painter. His work is lovely, and even surprising, given he only lived 38 years. The last 4 years in exile as he was convicted of murder in a brawl.

I saw one of his works at the Met and loved it.. I had to share. The one thing I did here was brighten the paintings. The original is on top, and a brightened version is below. The dark brooding is a signature of his style, but I am not sure if any of them are still exactly the same as when they were painted 500 years ago.

Shown in the Met - The Musicians 1595.

The Musicians lightened a bit.

The young man with the lute is his favorite subject - and probably a lover. Caravaggio, a the time, was not yet disfigured in a bar fight and is believed to be the subject / self portrait behind the young man, his lover.

I missed the name of this, but I did live the small statue in front and the picture

From Wikipedia.

Caravaggio's innovations inspired Baroque painting, but the latter incorporated the drama of his chiaroscuro without the psychological realism.[dubious ] The style evolved and fashions changed, and Caravaggio fell out of favour. In the 20th century, interest in his work revived, and his importance to the development of Western art was reevaluated. The 20th-century art historian André Berne-Joffroy [fr] stated: "What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting."[6]

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The "Floating Ladder of Norway"

 Per CNN:

It might make most people’s legs tremble a bit’: ‘Floating’ ladder for thrillseekers opens in Norway. 

It's 130 steps (so not terrible) - but it is a little vertigo-inducing.

Eddie would NOT like this!

Also, there is a cable car for going down.

Falling Birth Rates as a surprise

 Birth rates in countries around the world are falling. This is the expected outcome of development and occurs as populations get richer - the idea is that as education increases, more resources are spent to educate a few children that many needed for manual labor.

But this is not proven a complete explanation. Looking at the data in the image below, all countries with large populations, advanced or not, have dropping birth rates. I think a contributing factor must also be the wide availability to birth control.

A Day out for a Walk with the pups

 It is an interesting trip here because we are walking the pups in areas we haven't been.  With another 3 weeks in England, we don't...