Monday, April 14, 2014

Bee in the hole!!

Had a bit of excitement today as I discovered that I imported a snoozing mason bee into the house, who woke up as soon as it warmed up and was buzzing like crazy, where it was partially trapped.

A strong cold front came through the 'hood late yesterday and I woke up to a dusting of snow on the grass, this, after a previous day in the near 90s. The fauna certainly noticed and took refuge where it could be found.  Obviously. Still a surprise.

Well, because I have fruit trees in the yard, encouraging the bees to come early and stay late is something a priority around here, and because honeybees are a premium cultivation and, in terms of temperature, really picky, I chose to raise mason bees instead.'s not that I personally breed them or anything--it's just that I provide an irresistible nesting area for them, and took advantage of the cold snap to refresh the "bee condo" I have set up in a dead tree trunk 'way out back.

It's a simple matter of taking a 5/16" diameter extra long drill bit and drill a bunch of holes about an inch and a half or two apart from each other into the trunk, slightly angled downward to provide for drainage of any rain that might get in--somewhere between 4" to 10" deep--and you've got a mason bee condo.  They'll use the holes once and won't come back if you don't prepare those holes further, like, with common drinking straws of the proper diameter.  When a young bee hatches from a hole, you replace the straw and the hole's all clean again for the next use.

Mason Bee nesting tutorial

As it happens, I took an old straw out, put a new straw in, and put the old straw in my pocket without examining the thing carefully enough.  There was a mason bee that had taken refuge inside, I didn't see it, and into the house it came, via my pocket, via the straw in my pocket.

As long as bees stay chilled, they can't move very fast and can't fly at all. Same is true of wasps (and I keep red paper wasps around, too, by the way--best pest catchers ever!) and so I was able to carefully export the mason bee back outside, but making sure that where ever it was put, it could find cozy refuge quickly.

Here's what the deal looks like out back:

The pink straws are the new ones I installed, and clipped, except for the ones at the bottom end of the picture. They will be clipped not-quite-flush as work progresses. One orange straw is new.  The red ones are old and I found adult bees holing up in those, so I didn't replace 'em yet.
Anomaly--this straw is shoved far into the hole. Why?  It was windy and so all the old straws I pulled were put into my coat pocket, and this proceeded until I discovered an adult bee in one of them.  When I pulled out an old straw from the next hole, I put this one into that hole and it was deeper than the straw was cut for, and I wanted to make sure that its resident was properly away from the elements.
The straw in the center is mud-capped, which means it has a baby bee inside from an egg laid last fall. When the baby bee is ready to come out, it bores a hole through the mud cap.
Another mason bee discovered, taking refuge in the condo.  I pulled the straw out of the hole just enough to take this shot.  The bee is too cold to move much, so there's no problem.  The biggest problem would be if I disturbed it so much it won't come back. 
Cell replacement all done except the clipping.  The straws are clipped to stick out just a bit, and at an angle where there is an overhang provided for the bee that lands on the bottom part of the straw--for shade and protection from precipitation, which is why the holes are also angled downward, slightly, to keep the hole dry.
That bottom hole with the new blue straw in it is where the bee in my pocket came from. The blue straw was removed and the straw with the bee in it was put back in, and all's well in my universe. Between the two blue new straws is a flush-cut old straw with a mud cap.
Question: what kind of pest control do red paper wasps perform? They're great at killing off caterpillars, and with pecan trees, you get 3 kinds of worms, only one of which is a caterpillar--the Webworm.  Pesticides rarely get inside that tent they weave, but these wasps have that aced.  Ever since I started cultivating the wasps, I've had zero incidents of webworm infestations. ZERO.  Can't beat that.  They'll also eat other caterpillars like the Tomato Cutworm and Armyworm, and, unfortunately, the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, but that's basically a tradeoff in my book.  I'll keep the wasps, thank you.

Tuesday fauna UPDATE: This morning greeted a first time visitor to the regulars in the backyard zoo: a Rufous-Sided Towhee.  In years past, I celebrated being visited by the occasional Orchard Oriole, a bird that, from the side view, this Towhee resembles.

Can't tell that there's a white streak on the breast from this angle, and so it can be mistaken for an Orchard Oriole.
I also made a point of trying out the camera on the lunar eclipse in the wee hours, too.  Unfortunately, I had to fiddle with the contrast on the following pic first before getting this result....

Rewinding to the initial parts of the eclipse....

The following shot are taken from videos I made of the event, and hereby stress the reason it's important to make videos even if it's just for the purpose of getting stills from them.  In venues where stills are permitted but video is not, it's still a major problem getting good stills all the same.

As I type this update, OETA's OKLA channel is running a repeat of Tavis Smiley--guest, Ken Burns.  At about 45 minutes past the hour, Ken's talking about time travel, not buying that history repeats itself although it appears to sometimes, and then quotes Ecclesiastes 1:9 about how there's nothing new under the sun and what has happened before will happen again (hello, Battlestar Galactica II!).  I consider this evidence that Ken has discovered time's fractal pattern at last.  Welcome to the world of time travel, Ken! Incidentally, the man who portrayed the first new Doctor in the "NuWho" era has the last name of Eccleston. ^_^

...and a late late late night Tuesday insert on the topic of Who...related, Who writer Douglas Adams, author of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...NASA just issued a newsflash that Doug Adams was right about 42 being the answer to life, the universe, and everything, and it's also called molybdenum. However, NASA failed to discover what the question was...and so Doug Adams was right about that, too.

Tuesday PM UPDATE--City Commission Study Session: Benson's good behavior went out the window after the study session was over, and I got some more great footage to post.  He took some video of me, and so did Tammy Wilson, bless her li'l pea-pickin' heart.  She still thinks she's onto something with my "secret identity", so it's clear she has no clue what a pen name is.  Neither does Benson, apparently, because while he had me on his camera, he asked for another explanation as to where I post news items exactly and had me explain (AGAIN!) MSNBC Newsvine. It all soundedd like he tried to look me up there but with the expectation of somebody NOT posting under a pen name, ha. Benson threatened court, too--friends n neighbors, the fun's just now getting to warm up.

Next time you try teh Google again, Mr. Benson, this page should come up.  You're slow, Mr. Benson, but you'll get the idea eventually. It'll dawn ya.

Tammy Wilson and beaux think I'm hot, too (she just snapped my pic on her blue machine).  Gee, I feel like a celebrity.

gri, because I know you I also have known of the other old Soviets who dream of a second USSR.  It ain't gonna happen, and taking over buildings and killing people won't bring that old dead horse back to life either.  For centuries throughout history, Europeans dreamed of resurrecting the old Roman Empire, too, and look how successful THAT was--all we got was World Wars I and II out of that aspiration. Delusions of grandeur work for nobody, and destroys everybody. Those are just the facts.  You have another fact: China, with its own delusions of grandeur second only to N. Korea's delusions. Putin wants to be the eastern alternative to the west? China disagrees.  Russia's the red filling in a global sandwich, buddy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Night Party Memorial Tribute to Bill Bergadano happening now on Radio Scooter International as I write this.  A sked conflict arose in the form of a Doc Bryant appearance, and I'm a huge fan of his.  Will post a video ere long of that, but I have to preface that with the statement that he's really showing his age via noticeable diminished lung power on that horn.  What I don't doubt is that he'll probably still be playing that thing as he asks Gabriel for a jam session.

Well, that was quite a show, interspersed with clips of Bill himself.  I never got around to processing that Doc Bryant video tonight.  What I'll do instead is close this post (til tomorrow, anyway, when I'll do an update) as Bill closed his show...."Take it away, Shirley!"

Hokay.  Here's Doc Bryant at the Red Dirt BBQ event.  Quite frankly, I've heard him do better, but, quite frankly, that was when he was younger, before his trip to Austin TX.


Am I really seeing what I'm looking at?
I wonder, sometimes. Is that real?
I remain quite amazed. Considerably so.

...penny in the air...

Additional comment as of April 19-- I checked the blog stats this morning and noticed that a number of rather old posts got hits, and although I have no way of knowing who in particular hit what, I do note that these old posts do have something in common, which is why I post this comment in this particular place. What these posts have in common pertain to a decision I made roughly 2 years ago, and, more recently, mentioned that the decision was arrived at as the result of evaluating multiple reasons, all of which added up. I say again that this is not to be taken personally, please. Even though it does involve personal stuff, it's not that every person was considered in that evaluation, and I stress again the fact that there were exceptions that had no bearing on the decision.


 Kindred spirits, perhaps? It's certainly is the case. (I guess I've simply been hit on too many times in recent weeks, that's all--sorry 'bout that) That'll work. Carry on.
...penny drops...

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

~Beacon Post 2 for gri~

I wasn't going to do this at first, gri, but I found an announcement by the Planetary Society on Facebook that made it all worthwhile to do again, and this time I won't delete this post.

And so, in response to this post on Boyah....

....I have not only posted another beacon for you but add to it this announcement....

The Bitly link in the pic will take you HERE.

It looks like your avatar is enjoying an anniversary.  Happy anniversary, Space Human!
С юбилеем, Юрий Гагарин! Вы тоже, гри!

Another shot of Yuri Gagarin.

Friday April 11 mini-UPDATE: I just checked the blog stats this early PM and just have to smile at what I saw.  And I still think that's amazing. I like that a lot. Y'all come back now, y'heah? ^_^

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A UK debate about Islam resurfaces on Facebook

...and the person who posted the video didn't give the context, nor reveal that this debate took place in July, 2013....(continued below the notes)...

 Shout out to The Nerdist. I am honored by your visit! ^_^
Note about another death in the virtual family: +George Strayline had to say his final good-byes to his beloved dog, Chief. This blog continues in mourning.

But the person who posted it tagged me, and a discussion ensued just yesterday.  Earlier I attempted to copy the HTML code and paste it into this blog, but got 'way too much extraneous Facebook stuff including my entire Profile page, so I'm going to have to do this by hand and by individual screenshots instead.

I found the equivalent video on YouTube, and here it is, although it doesn't have the Arabic captioning that the vid on Facebook had...

What I did on Facebook is do a point-counterpoint response, as follows...

The initial post plus taggings
Now, please keep in mind that each Comment I posted corresponds with a point made by the speaker in the video, and it is essential that you view the video first before proceeding.

The person who hit the Like button was the poster...who clearly did not Like the other things I had to say.

....and finally....

Prior to this, about a fortnight ago, one of Tipa's friends in Morocco engaged me in a similar debate via the private messaging system on Facebook, which turned out to be another case of a Sunni evangelism toward me for the second time this year.  I may be Muslim-friendly but that is extended to not just those who believe, as this person stated, that "Ayisha is the mother of all Muslims".  All SUNNI Muslims, you mean--and word to the wise among any other Sunni evangelists: I'm too smart for that shit.  Deal with it.

Edited to add the list of the 5 major schools of Sunni religious scholarship: Wahabi, of course; and there's Hanafi, Shafi, Malaki, and Hanbali.

Taking a side-track to the matter of scary robots in the night, now that Universal has been hiring top dollar screenwriters to "re-imagine" Battlestar Galactica yet again, and for the big screen...Isaac Asimov is a good author to keep on the night stand to resettle one's nerves.  One of the reasons I got into the mechanical end of electromechanics (read "electronic interfacing") as a science and profession is because all robots remain, in BSG parlance, "toasters".  Related to that is the discussion I got into on the TARDIS Wiki about whether or not the Doctor's TARDIS was as sentient as it was portrayed in the episode "The Doctor's Wife", where I think I proved (perhaps not to the satisfaction of the party opposite, but  at least to the reasonable reader) that the TARDIS was, in short, a self-aware appliance, but wasn't sentient.

Scary robots in the night are the standard fare of what runs on The Mysterious Lab of Dr. Fear--otherwise said, the subject matter of a number of Grade B horror movies of yore--and with a sufficient level of costuming and make-up, can, under a crafty master, produce passable puppet theater.  Just sayin'. ^_^

And avoid snacks...definitely avoid pizza before turning in. Oh--which Isaac Asimov book? To deal with robots, it would be "I Robot", of course. It's an anthology of short stories, some of which are humans anthropomorphizing the machinery. "Caves of Steel" wouldn't help at all.  Looking for a huge tome about some other topic? Still Isaac Asimov: "An Intelligent Man's Guide to Science".  Shorter: "Building Blocks of the Universe".  My, my, my, will wonders never cease--I just made book recommendations.

In Cylon parlance, unit NDR 113 was a "skin job"...

Edited to add that Fred Waterer's announced Facebook memorial for the passing away of Bill Bergadano also reminded me of the music piece Fred always signs off with on Radio Time Capsule on Bill's Radio Scooter International, which would be a helpful addition to this segment.  Here it is, from the Beatles' White Album...

Back to the matter of rehashing Battlestar Galactica--Universal, you had it good when BSG on SyFy was sequeled by Caprica, and Caprica died at the hands of SyFy.  Instead of obviously milking an established entity like BSG by turning it into a botched Frankenstein's monster, how about doing Caprica right.  We'll all be better off. Really. If you rehash BSG yet again, the rest of us will conclude that you suits have got the brains of a toaster.  The kind that browns bread.  While you fulfill the prophecy of the other type of toaster: "It all happened before, and it will all happen again."

Please say you'll evolve instead.  So Say We All.

Mini UPDATE on blog stats: I noticed this afternoon that there have been single hits on each of my old postings involving time travel the way THIS Clara (yours truly) does it, and teaches it.  That's either one of my TARDIS navigation students, or it's TARDIS Wiki, probably investigating my claim that I'm a TARDIS navigation instructor.  If it's you, Wiki, then you can see clearly a sample of classwork and assignments in the Introductory level, with a few minor instructions of intermediate level.  I wasn't lying!  The old timers on Tom Baker's forum can attest to the fact that, while I was there (and before I deleted my content), I was in fact the original Impossible Person Clara that predates Oswald by a good number of years before she was a twinkle in Moffat's eye.  The decade-long trail of frustrated historians I have under my belt is very very real, and mentioned in various entries on this blog. Everything I've said on Wiki is true.  Want to sign up for classes?

Even just my Russian buddy, gri, can attest to the fact that I've had this motto--like, FOREVER. I'll bet he even knows who I'm quoting here--Mikail Bakunin.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Vintage recipes redux

....but first....sorry to hear about the death of  Mickey Rooney. :'(

I've put this off long enough, my Google Plus recipe friends, so here we go. Before I get started, I want to preface this piece by saying that around Easter as well as Christmas, I usually bake up a festive batch of Challah, a very eggy braided bread, and I use the recipe found in John Braue's "Uncle John's Original Bread Book", which is an interesting collection of antique bread recipes in its own right.  And now, presenting...

This recipe and the next involve canning, and I present them now in view of the fact that people are thinking about their vegetable gardens. This probably won't get eaten until Thanksgiving, but if you're planting now, you're basically planning ahead, ha.

Appropriate seasonal recipe--you can't deny that it's gus season! 
Not bad for the first picking of the gus season, hm? Those lanky stalks won't be woody except at the first 2 or so inches at the base because these have been amply mulched with light grass clippings, which also accounts for the blanched look of the shorter stalks. Yummmmmmmm!!

Good anytime.

In my previous postings of antique recipes, I confined what I posted to stuff that was written only on one side of a file card or paper.  In this post will be recipes that don't fit that description.

Side One of a well-worn, oft-used recipe. Side Two follows...

Lotsa luck with the next pair of images....

The following pair is on the same card (from the ONG gas company), but there's one recipe per side...

An excellent recipe from the Oklahoma Natural Gas the wine selection...

Another card from ONG, but with two recipes...

Another ONG two-fer...

The recipe is on one side of this clipping, but check out the prices of groceries on the other side...