Christmas in August

Watching KY play basketball the last two nights has been like Christmas in August. An unexpected treat. The games have been lopsided, but the good news is (1) no one got hurt, and (2) the team looks stellar. Maybe the most athletic UK team I’ve ever seen. They’ll be fun to watch when the season officially starts in 3 months, 1 day, 18 hours.

Another treat is that it’s Friday, and that means olive loaf at Blue Dog. Their olive bread is as good as it gets.

Weather, sports, politics, and science – all in one post

Maybe it’s me. Louisville was scheduled for biblical rain yesterday, and then nothing. Not a drop. If the drought follows me here, I give up. Time to move to a Hawaiian rain forest and really test the superpower.

I’m counting the minutes until the UK game tonight. I know the first couple of games won’t mean much, but even so…it’ll be exciting to see them on the court. If this is any indication, then wow!

In political news, I’m really enjoying the comments and tweets from the MAGA crowd after the FBI’s search of Mar a Lago. They’re shocked, shocked I say, that anyone would dare encroach upon King Rat Trump. All of a sudden government official controls on sensitive documents isn’t as important as, say, 2016 during the “lock her up” era. They’re kind of missing the point that no one is above the law, including ex-Presidents. In MAGA world, laws are for the little people. And the non-white folks.

Alright, this is depressing. The next zoonotic virus from China is loose, a Level 4 contagion, no less. I don’t think the world can take another pandemic. Stay away from shrews.

Finally, in science news, we’ve successfully profiled the Strong Force (how can the headline not be “The Force is strong with this one…”?). This is a big deal and helps physicists and cosmologists understand the basic building blocks of reality. Gravity, you’re up next.

Waiting for rain

After the drive up I-64 from Nashville, and the subsequent drive back down I-64 to Louisville, I can attest that this McSweeney’s piece is right on point. I’M THE AVERAGE DRIVER ON THE ROAD RIGHT NOW, AND I’M OUT OF MY FUCKING MIND. I do love me some McSweeney’s.

Meanwhile in Louisville, I’m plotting ways to eat all the heirloom tomatoes I can get my hands on. And looking forward to promised torrential rains and thunderstorms. And counting the hours until we can watch the Cats play hoops in the Bahamas tomorrow night.

I realized I haven’t published a picture for a while. Here’s one of a guy who knows how to have fun in the heat. We should all take a lesson.

Finally, on the news that Trump’s “home” at Mar a Lago got raided by the FBI searching for unauthorized classified documents: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha……

Eastern KY news and blues

It’s 630am eastern US time, and I’m desperate to focus on something other than my Dad’s fight to stay alive. There was a lot of drama this weekend – some related to his move back to a hybrid assisted living / hospice situation, and some related to brothers traveling on KY highways and getting stuck for hours behind wrecks.

Dad spent five days in the COVID ward, a situation I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Alone, very sick, with a doctor visiting once per day and absolutely minimal contact with nursing staff. Seeing how the hospital runs the ward was eye-opening. It’s practical and logical – minimizing contact with sick, coughing patients – but it’s a tough situation for the patients. They’re alone staring at the ceiling 23 hours per day. Dad was too sick to talk on the phone, and didn’t have his hearing aids. So, isolation. I understand the how and why of his situation, but there’s got to be a better way.

All that said, his hospital stay did allow him to build a little strength back and stabilize some of his vital signs. His discharge doesn’t mean he’s less ill, it just means that the hospital MD says there’s nothing else they can do to help him. Hospice care starts today, and I hope they can make his remaining time more comfortable.

One moral of the story – if you don’t have a living will and end-of-life directives, get it done ASAP. This isn’t something you want people guessing about in a time of stress.

But on to other subjects. The most interesting thing in the news lately is that the “failed” Presidency of Joe Biden has turned out to be the most successful in decades in terms of passing legislation that helps people. The latest rabbit-from-hat trick of passing a slimmed-down climate and healthcare bill is simply amazing. All told, in two years Biden has gotten more done than any President in the last 50 years. While I’m not in favor of Biden running again in 2024, he’s done extremely well in his first two years. Good for us, and good for him.

Another notable thing squarely in my sight is the binary nature of water in the US. As a resident of the west and the midwest, the different couldn’t be more obvious. It’s getting wetter east of the Rockies (more hot humid weather, more rainfall), and getting much drier west of the Rockies. Two Americas. Rainfall here in KY is intense this summer, with long-term trends showing more and more extreme weather including more precipitation. And the exact opposite in southern CA. It’s fascinating, but long-term terrifying. I fully expect to see giant pipeline projects running across the Rockies to bring eastern water to the west. And dozens of desal plants to bring water in from the ocean. That’s a 50-year project that should start now, but won’t start until enough people die or are disposessed.

Last but not least, UK plays it’s first exhibition hoops game in two days, in the Bahamas August 10th. I can’t wait!

California to Tennessee to Kentucky

Greetings from Etown. I’ve been here a whole seven hours and now have the strong urge to watch this Cameron Crowe movie. Always liked that one.

First observations last night upon landing in Nashville:

  1. Southwest tried pretty hard to screw us over with our Houston-Nashville connection, but a brisk run between gates and some heavy-handed arguments at the gate got us on board our scheduled flight with minutes to spare. There’s a longer story there, but Southwest’s legendary customer service took a hit.
  2. Outside, it was really hot and humid. I’m mostly OK with hot and humid, but this was equatorial.
  3. I got 2-3 days worth of exercise just walking from our gate to the rental cars at Nashville airport. It was better than catching a shuttle, but…damn.
  4. Avis was good enough to give me a different car after I questioned the first one. It was a Jeep that sure looked like it had been in a wreck. Wheels and tires way too small; something just looked wrong about it. So we ended up with a nice Rav4 with a noisy, air-leaking windshield. Win some, lose some.
  5. Truckers on I-65 are assholes. At least a few of them. Had at least one of them playing the block-and-box game with me for quite a few miles. Definitely decided he was going to control the road.

From here we drive northeast on the Bluegrass Parkway, a route I’ve never taken. Another first. We’ll get to Lexington too late for any hot Spauldings’ doughnuts, sadly. And then on to Ashland and Kings Daughters Medical Center to see Dad. His medical record indicates he’s still with us – he can’t really talk on the phone, too weak. It’s a little too early to declare victory (reaching Ashland while he’s still here/there), but odds are now decent.

On the road

Travel day today, so not much to say. Heading for eastern KY where my Dad will make the transition from a hospital setting to hospice care. Our planned weekend in Nashville is cancelled; we’ll just land and drive northeast from there. Hope to see our Nashville friends in the not too distant future.

Tribes and the circus

This is just depressing. I thought the headline was interesting, but the more I read the more I realize how many people have grabbed onto “MAGA” as their new religion. Not just politics, but religion. A concept/cult/lifestyle/movement they believe and take joy in.

It *is* interesting that there’s no equivalent on the liberal side of things. We generally don’t put our leaders on a pedestal or T-shirts. We don’t stick to the talking points (e.g. “ˇTrump won”) and deflect any information that might contradict the party’s belief system. And we definitely don’t have the professional branding and meme-generating machine that conservatives have. The conservative movement seems to love a circus, and the liberal movement…not so much.

The fact that these folks pay to go to conferences and wallow in the hard-core conservative political mud is the depressing part. They love the movement, the same way I love UK basketball. That tells me we’re NEVER going to win them over to a more moderate point of view – they’re just too invested in the MAGA cult. It has become a lifestyle, deeply ingrained in every aspect of their identity.

I’m not sure where else to go with this. People will be people, and tribal behavior is inevitable. I suppose we’re witnessing the formation of a new, well-funded tribe that likes to get together and make a lot of noise.

Water again

Bloomberg adds a lot of detail today on the subject I’ve been touting for a while – the American West has a big, big water problem with no solution in sight. Bloomberg’s charts, graphs and pictures tell the story pretty well. Unless the current historic drought suddenly ends and trends reverse, the West can’t sustain the population that’s here.

This graph is the one that does it for me. This isn’t a recent problem – we’re in the late stages of a 70 year trend.

I said this to a family member last night – in the next couple of decades, I think millions of people will have to leave the West and move back across the Rockies to places where it rains. Given that prediction and probability, there’s probably a way to invest and make a ton of money. In a nutshell, the value of homes and property in the West will go down and the value of property east of the Rockies is going up.

That disruption is going to get ugly. Paolo Bacigalupi’s excellent and now-weirdly-prescient book, The Water Knife, becomes real. The investment we just made in water security may turn out to be the very thing that preserves the value of our home.

Gonzaga!

More news from Big Blue Nation this morning. We’re playing Gonzaga in the second game of the season!

Kentucky Basketball Schedule 2022-23

  • Nov. 15Michigan State (Champions Classic) | Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
  • Nov. 20: Gonzaga Bulldogs | McCarthey Athletic Center Arena, Spokane, Washington
  • Nov. 29: Bellarmine | Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
  • Dec. 4: Michigan (Basketball Hall of Fame London Showcase) | The O2 Arena, London, England
  • Dec. 17UCLA (CBS Sports Classic) | Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • Dec. 31: Louisville | Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
  • Jan. 28: Kansas (SEC/Big 12 Challenge) | Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
  • TBA: Duquesne | Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
  • SEC home games: Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.
  • SEC road games: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt

That might be the toughest schedule in all of college hoops. I sure hope Calipari and the new team are up to it.

Water 2.0 is flowing

Our new water system is working. The crews have left, no doubt to sign up their kids for colleges that they can now afford.

The system goes to a LOT of trouble to produce the clear, soft water we now have. There are five treatment filters or stages for our drinking water, and four stages purify all the other water used in the home – showers, washing machine, etc. Three stages treat the water used for irrigation. Even that water is miles better than the water we were using a couple of months ago.

Our biggest water problem was that a very common iron-concentrating bacteria is present in the water, and once the water is exposed to air after traveling up the well, those bacteria begin to concentrate the iron in the water and grow, producing red particles. Those particles, left untreated, will build up into a red/orange sludge that discolors everything and makes the water unpalatable.

We’ve lived with it so long, and had tried unsuccessfully to get rid of it through other filters, that we had just accepted that the well water quality was never going to be great. It wasn’t unhealthy to drink with the filtering we were able to do (we think), but the irrigation water looked like hell.

Now all that is history, and the biggest factor is a new filter stage called a vortex. It’s a patented stage that pushes the well water into a sand filter filled with sand (doh) and at least one proprietary mineral, then pushes it hard back into the holding tank, creating a vortex. The vortex action plus the sand filter removes the iron-concentrating bacteria. Our water has never looked so clear.

Another feature of the new system is that the water it produces will no longer harm our trees and plants. The iron and salt concentrated in our previous irrigation feed was toxic to a LOT of the flora on our property. We’ve lost a lot of old plants over the years, like some big figs, nut trees, citrus, etc. Part of that loss is drought-related, but a lot was due to hard, hard water. I’m looking forward to replacing some of those plants now that we’re sure we can keep them alive.

Soooooo….we think we’ve solved our drought and water problems here at our Socal home. That leaves 40 million other people to figure it out. Good luck.

Good news Tuesday

Woke up to good news this morning. One, my Dad made it through the night after being admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. That’s a big milestone, and now he’s in a spot where his various complications can be treated 24×7. Hope springs eternal.

Two, and not in the same zip code of importance but I’ll mention it anyway, UK signed a fantastic 6-11 center for this 2022-2023 season, Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso. It’s shaping up to be a great team and a great season. You can never have too many talented big men in college hoops. Given the state of the world lately, I’ll take any good news we can get.