On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog

Random header image... Refresh for more!

Under Fire & Potential Fires

I’m down in my weather shelter as the morons have started the barrages of fireworks and occasional firearms with no regard for the clock. This is normal on the Panhandle. While Florida has restrictions on fireworks, a quick trip to Alabama can provide you with near military grade explosives.

Another threat is on the rise this year: lithium ion batteries. There are a lot of electric scooters and bicycles zipping around. They have to be charged, and if you don’t watch them closely when charging you may be in for a nasty surprise as the batteries ignite and burning down your house or apartment. Lithium is an inflammable metal that is surrounded with an inflammable electrolyte in the battery case. Normally nothing bad happens with the smaller batteries in phones, tablets, and laptops. The charger for my battery operated tools shuts down automatically but things involved in transportation, like Teslas, e-bikes, and e-scooters apparently aren’t as well regulated.

This produces the next problem, putting out a metal fire. Water is your worst choice. Water may separate into hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of some burning metals and cause an explosion. Copper powder and soda ash are the best solution for lithium fires. Local fire departments are not likely to have what they need for class D [metal] fires, unless they have a manufacturing plant in their jurisdiction.

Get and use a timer for your chargers to ensure they don’t overcharge your batteries. Don’t get too worried as you will probably be flattened by an SUV before your battery ignites.

December 31, 2022   No Comments

Have You Been Nice?

Grandfather Frost

That’s Grandfather Frost [Дед Мороз] and he is the Russian ‘gift giver’. He is assisted by the Snow Maiden [Снегурочка], but ever the jolly, fun-loving people, the ‘gifts’ are a bit different. Threats of coal or sticks would be weird to a people who are trying to stay warm, they would consider them welcome.

Generally there are sweets, maybe salo [salted fatback], and other high energy food.

For the ‘naughty’ list there is the staff. You don’t get beaten, merely touched, which turns you into a popsicle. [I told you they were fun-loving.]

Tonight’s the night – you’ve been nice, right?

December 31, 2022   No Comments

Happy Sales and Returns Day

Wren

Time again for my annual rant about a Christmas carol …

While December 26th is celebrated by a lot of people in the US in shopping malls returning gifts or taking advantage of inventory clearance sales, there are other celebrations.

It is the first day of the Kwanzaa celebration, which is explained at the link.

It is Boxing Day, a celebration of noblisse oblige when the upper classes bestow gifts on the lower and the contents of the poor boxes are distributed. Under the feudal system this was part of the “contract,” the mutual system of obligations that tied the system together.

As the feast of St. Stephen it honors the first Christian martyr, but Ireland’s Saint Stephen’s Day celebration is a bit different and is the reason for the wren on this post.

However, this post is really my complaint about “Good King Whatshisface.”

[Read more →]

December 26, 2022   Comments Off on Happy Sales and Returns Day

Gold, Frankincense, and Purr…

Cat Creche

December 25, 2022   Comments Off on Gold, Frankincense, and Purr…

Spirit of Catmas Past

Merry Catmas!

Cat Blogging

HO! … Ho? … Whatever.

[Editor: Sox, Dot, and Ringo being as merry as they were ever likely to be.]

December 24, 2022   Comments Off on Spirit of Catmas Past

Happy Christmas

Holly, Robin & Mistletoe

The broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is available on the web from the BBC World Service.

The British have some wonderful Christmas customs that have survived the incursion of Christianity, especially the Puritan party poopers. Stealing customs from the Celts, Germans, and Scandinavians, they have created a wonderful holiday that I fondly remember from time spent there.

The bird is a European robin that is featured on British Christmas cards, as it is a Winter bird in England, unlike the fair-weather laggard of the same name in America. It is bracketed by holly and mistletoe. All go back to the druids and solstice celebrations.

If you read the Harry Potter books you will get a taste, but not the full effect of a British Christmas. A full-on Christmas dinner is wretched excess to the nth degree – Thanksgiving on steroids.

The BBC has the background on Father Christmas.

December 24, 2022   Comments Off on Happy Christmas

Happy, Merry, Joyous Whatever!

Evergreen

Ho Ho Ho!

Happy NODWISH
С Рождеством Христовым
메리 크리스마스!
Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Nadolig Llawen
Fröhliche Weihnachten
Joyeux Noël
Buon Natale
Feliz Navidad
God Jul
Rauhallista Joulua
عيد ميلاد سعيد
Happy Christmas

At 6AM CST Christmas arrived in Asia, and the excitement is building among the “rug rats” that will burst forth at any moment to waken their poor parents who have probably had about two hours of sleep after dealing with “some assembly required” and/or “batteries not included”.

To avoid any bad feelings: it is an official requirement contained in the “Manual for Childless Adults” that some form or type of device that makes loud and obnoxious noises must be included in all Christmas parcels for children [of all ages].

December 24, 2022   Comments Off on Happy, Merry, Joyous Whatever!

…And Checking It Twice

Santa listSo it’s time to get everything in line so that there will be smooth sailing tomorrow.

Obviously you need the text of A Visit from St. Nicholas [AKA Twas the night before Christmas].

But now that you’ve finished putting up enough lights to match the total electrical consumption of a third world nation, you can sit back and watch the North American Air Defense Command’s annual attempt to take out that red-suited commie’s attack on the capitalist system by giving stuff away. [Don’t worry kids, they are using the anti-missile defense system, so there’s no danger to anyone but taxpayers.]

Google has a tracker, if you don’t believe the government is up to the job.

December 24, 2022   Comments Off on …And Checking It Twice

Greetings From The Fridge

They weren’t kidding about the cold front. Today’s High Temperature of 58°F was at midnight and the line has been going down to the 25°F Low Temperature ever since. This cold is accompanied by 20mph winds making seem even colder.

The cold is forecast to remain until Tuesday.

I realize that this is nothing like what the North is experiencing, but this the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. As soon as the wind shifts to from the South the temperature will climb to the 60s as it passes over the warm waters of the Gulf. We lack cold weather anything. Central air is common, central heating is not.

December 23, 2022   Comments Off on Greetings From The Fridge

Happy Festivus

Yes, today is the celebration of the very untraditional Festivusthe holiday for the rest of us…

If you celebrate I hope all of your grievances were aired and the airing did not involve the Festivus pole being used in an inappropriate fashion.

December 23, 2022   Comments Off on Happy Festivus

Holiday Travel

ICHC cat Magi

This is a prime example of why you should make a list and check it twice when traveling during holidays. Following stars is all well and good, but can you tell the difference between a star, a comet and a meteorite headed directly for you?

This year stay safe and follow the safety protocols. Upgrade your masks and wear them at gatherings if you don’t know the vaccination status of everyone there.

December 22, 2022   6 Comments

Happy HogWatch & Solstice

snowflakeAt 3:48 PM CST the winter solstice occurs marking the longest night of the year. If everyone has been good, the days start getting longer tomorrow. Locally, the sun will rise at 6:39AM and set at 4:50PM for a total of 10 hours and 11 minutes of daylight, but tomorrow will be a whole 1 second longer.

This also marks HogsWatch, so don’t forget to put out the turnips.

December 21, 2022   Comments Off on Happy HogWatch & Solstice

Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah in Hebrew

MenorahHappy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends. I miss the latkes and jelly doughnuts my roommates received for the holiday at college. [Their grandmothers were afraid they wouldn’t celebrate or couldn’t get “real” food at that terrible Baptist university.] It was a great break.

One of the nice things about Hanukkah is that there are established “gifts”, so you don’t have to rack your brains about what to get: a card and gelt covers just about everyone.

General background at Wikipedia’s entry for Hanukkah and even more at Chabad’s Chanukah page.

[Note: on the Jewish calendar the day changes at sundown, not midnight.]

December 18, 2022   Comments Off on Happy Hanukkah!

Hideous

I have left Twitter. The final straw was the whole reporters debacle followed by the introduction of a contender for the world’s ugliest logo. He must have designed it himself or found a 12-year-old graffiti artist to design it. It’s like EGA graphics in games. It has better resolution but reminds me of early color printers and people who felt obligated to use all available colors and fonts.

December 17, 2022   Comments Off on Hideous