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Posts from — January 2021

I Got A Shot

My county does some things correctly, despite being Republican dominated. Our elections are paper-based and readily auditable. Being a non-Republican in a very small precinct it is very easy for my me to see that my vote counted. You can track your absentee ballot on-line from mailing, to returned, to being counted.

It turns out that the local county Department of Health is just as professional. The problems with the local system are the lack of a predictable supply of vaccines from the state, and the lack of personnel. When they get the vaccines, they put them in arms, not storage.

Appointments are scheduled for half-hour blocks and large parking lots are used as the procedure is drive-through. Each vehicle can have up to four people in it. As you move through the parking lot people check your paperwork and tape a paper to your windshield indicating who is getting shot in the vehicle. There were four stations actually giving shots. One person gave the shot (with a needle so thin that it wasn’t as noticeable as a mosquito bite). Another collected your paperwork, and wrote the time you could leave the observation lot. I had to wait 30 minutes, while others only had to wait 15. After your time was up an EMT gave you your CDC immunization card indicating the vaccine used (Pfizer) and the lot number. You also receive your appointment for the second dose. If you had a bad reaction, there was an ambulance standing by.

After I got home I checked my temperature and it was up one degree. I had an “almost headache”, i.e. it wasn’t enough to get a Tylenol. I was tired, but not enough to take a nap. After a good night’s sleep the only effect was a stiff upper arm that was the site of the injection.

January 29, 2021   9 Comments



January 28, 1986

Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Michael J. Smith, Commander, USN

Mission Specialist:
Judith A. Resnik
Ronald E. McNair
Ellison S. Onizuka, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Payload Specialist:
Gregory B. Jarvis
Sharon Christa McAuliffe


NASA now has a Memorial Page honoring those who have been lost in the space program.

January 28, 2021   4 Comments

Apollo 1

Apollo One Patch

January 27, 1967

Virgil “Gus” Ivan Grissom, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Edward Higgins White, II, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF

Roger Bruce Chaffee, Lieutenant Commander, USN

NASA now has a Memorial Page honoring those who have been lost in the space program.

January 27, 2021   Comments Off on Apollo 1

Burns Night

flag of Scotland

This is the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns in Ayr, Scotland. The Burns Night celebrations conducted by Scots all over the world with haggis, whisky¹, and poetry.

Wikipedia has a description of the standard celebration, but easy on the malt or you may end up with a William McGonagall morning.

In honor of the occasion a bit of Robby Burns for the GOP “leadership”:

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
For promis’d joy!

To a Mouse

1. This is the correct spelling when referring to Scotland’s “water of life”.

January 25, 2021   Comments Off on Burns Night

Australia Day

flag of Australia

The anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet under Captain Arthur Phillip at Port Jackson in New South Wales on January 26th, 1788.

Here’s the official site, and more information at Wikipedia.

[I should note that recently this has taken on most of the controversy of Columbus Day in the US, with some people noting the event being celebrated was actually an invasion. I have no right to an opinion on the controversy. Also, the 25th in the US is the 26th in Australia.]

January 25, 2021   2 Comments


Using my military training I worked out the pattern the local health department has settled into for scheduling the COVID vaccinations and was ready to strike as soon as the next round of appointments was available. I was booked for two appointments at the same time.

What was worrying was the reality that despite hitting the booking site in the first seconds of availability, I was booked for the afternoon of third and last day of this round at 10 minutes after the start. I was idling, waiting for access for 9 minutes as others signed up. The health department is using telephone ordering and ‘Net ordering through a ticketing site, EventBrite. All of the injection sites are drive-through with people staying in their cars.

With only about 15 minutes once a week to get an appointment, this is going to be a long process.

January 21, 2021   Comments Off on Success!

Rivet Ball

Fifty-two years ago, in the early hours of January 13th, 1969 I was forced to accept something that I had known for a while, but had pushed to the back of my mind: I was mortal and was going to die.

This was the first of several incidents when my chance of survival was a good deal less than 1 in 2. This wasn’t the scariest, but it was the first, and following on the heels of the terrible events of 1968, it had the biggest impact.

In the end the only “death” was an airplane, Rivet Ball, the Air Force’s only RC-135S. The military version of the Boeing 707, the fuselage broke in half, like an eggshell, on impact. A very talented pilot, John Achor, the aircraft commander, was responsible for that miracle.

I provide more detail on my other site.

January 13, 2021   9 Comments

There Are Consequences

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind … Hosea 8:7


§2384. Seditious conspiracy
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

AMENDMENT XIV to the United States Constitution:

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Impeach the Current Resident and block him from public office.

Hurricane Michael did severe damage to the Federal Correction Facility in Marianna, Florida. [Soon to be] President Biden could use some of those contracts used to build walls that most people in Texas don’t want, to build walls and make other repairs to the prison and put Trump’s name on it. It’s a poor area that needs the jobs and they voted for him, so it’s win-win 👿

January 12, 2021   9 Comments

Orthodox Christmas

Russian Christmas Card

С Рождеством Христовым to my Orthodox friends who are still waiting to see how the calendar reform works out.

January 7, 2021   Comments Off on Orthodox Christmas

Feast of the Epiphany


Today marks the Feast of the Epiphany, end of the twelve days of Christmas, and Día de los Reyes in Spanish-speaking countries.

This is the customary day for gift exchanges in many Christian cultures because it is the day that the Magi finally arrived in Bethlehem with their totally inappropriate gifts after putzing around for a week and a half because they didn’t want to ask for directions.

[Give me a break! They bring soft metal, smelly tree sap, and bitter medicine associated with embalming to people who could use a hot meal, baby clothes, and diapers.]

January 6, 2021   8 Comments

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

С Новым годом
Prosit Neujahr
Feliz Año Nuevo
Bonne Année
Felice Anno Nuovo
Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
Gott Nytt År
새해 복 많이 받으세요
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
Onnellista Uutta Vuotta

May you be safe from the idiots who think gravity is just a theory and fire off guns, failing to understand that what goes up will come down.

Given the prevalence of accurate timekeeping devices, it is amazing that the explosions that are supposed to signal the new year extend for hours beginning six hours before and extending well after the actual event. Anyone who thinks alcohol and gunpowder is a recipe for a long life should be avoided by insurance agents.

Last year I wrote:

The new year brings new opportunities, so here’s hoping that the good wins out and the world is made a little better. It hasn’t happened yet, but there’s always a chance.

Well, Trump, whether he believes it or not, was not reelected, but his incompetence left us with medical and economic disasters that will continue well into the new year. With luck we can forget about masks and social distancing this fall and kids can go back to school. I wouldn’t bet on it, but it’s possible.

January 1, 2021   12 Comments