Monday, July 27, 2015

Wine By Joe - Not So Much

I was in Costco, and I saw this "Wine By Joe" ....  it was $12....  and I thought, "well, why not?  I'll try it".   Wine by Joe Dobbes, V.2013, Pinot Noir, Dundee Oregon.  DDF has been gravitating towards Pinot Noirs, and even though I don't like them as much, maybe she would?

It was a failed experiment.  While the first glass started off...  well... "Ok" ...  it didn't sit well on the pallet and had an unusual after taste.  I had one glass, and kind of chocked it down.  DDF, the Pinot Noir drinker, had a sip of her glass, decided firmly she DID NOT like it, and left it alone.  After dinner, I tried the rest of her glass, hoping it would have gotten better after "breathing" for 1/2 an hour.  It didn't.  Harsh, unpleasant, not to our liking.

I am not saying this is a "bad wine", we just didn't like it at all.  I had high hopes...   but, oh well.  I cannot recommend buying it...  but maybe we just got a bad bottle?  Costco is not known for storing their inventory of wine gingerly.

Warm Weather Rosés

I've mentioned before (link here) how warm weather is the best time to drink a chilled Rosé wine.  I've found 3 more Rosés that are worth mentioning here.

Each one has a unique crispness.  Each one is less than $10 at Trader Joe's.  Each one was enjoyed on a warm afternoon in my back yard, with DDF, or by myself if she was not around.

Crayon La Rosé is a new selection from Trader Joe's.  Light, refreshing, delicious, Southern French Rosé.

Côtes de Provence, J.L. Quinson 2014...  a classic staple from Trader Joe's French wine shelve.  Always a good choice.

Les Portes de Bordeaux,  Bordeaux Rosé, 2014, is a new selection at Trader Joe's to compliment the Bordeaux Superior, The Fronsac, and the St. Emillion Portes de Bordeaux that Trader Joe's has offered for a long time.

I encourage everyone to try these three delicious Rosés, if you're looking for a refreshing adult beverage.




Friday, July 17, 2015

Driving While Black & Not Using Your Turn Signal, Deadly in Texas

The death of Sandy Bland in Waller Texas is senseless, despicable, and never should have happened.  Being taken into custody for "failure to use her turn signal"?  Seriously?

She "had been was combative on the side of the road" Sheriff Glen Smith told a reporter.
Salon link here: http://www.salon.com/2015/07/16/video_shows_that_african_american_woman_who_died_in_custody_did_not_assault_an_officer_as_police_claimed/

If you pulled me over for failure to use my turn signal, and asked me to step out of the car, I would have been verbally and physically very unreceptive.  Really, a turn signal violation?  If Sandy Bland had been a rich white woman, she'd be alive today.  She either would never have been pulled over, or an expensive lawyer would have been secured on July 10th when she taken to the county jail; she would have posted bond, and she would have posted on The FaceBook about how inappropriate the sheriff's deputies had been in pulling her over in the first place for something that everyone has done at least one forgetfully, or frequently done willfully.  Forgetting to use a turn signal is not a reason to get a ticket (a warning, maybe, sure), or to be taken out of your car, or to be thrown to the ground and knelt upon by an obese sheriff's deputy, or to be put in jail, or to remain in lock-up for 3 days.

I Do Not Know if Sandy Bland committed suicide or if someone came into her cell and strangled her with the plastic bag.  I think the former is unlikely and the latter is pure evil.  Hopefully a ligitimate coroner's inquest will get to the facts clearly, and quickly.  I Do Know that there was no reason to pull her out of her car, to incarcerate her, or to leave her in a jail cell for 3 days.  Write her a warning or a full fledged ticket Sheriff Glen Smith (which she could have fought in court), Even If she is being resentful or verbally combative or physically resisting the sheriff's deputy's draconian behavior.

Despicable.

Yeah, we live in a "post racial era".  Right.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Batiquitos Lagoon Yoga Studio

Last week Thursday, while on a four hour mountain bike ride around Batiquitos Lagoon, I stumbled upon a lovely place to do yoga.  Over the weekend I had no chance to go there again...  but Tuesday afternoon I was able to get back down there with a broom and my yoga mat, covered in SPF75 sun screen.  It was a wonderful place to do yoga.
Looking South towards the lagoon island shoal where Least Terns, Plovers, and other birds nest.
And it was highly effective, as my blood pressure dropped 15 points, both diastolic and systolic numbers.  when I took it upon reaching home.  I was a wimp and drove down there, and drove back up, the 400 foot elevation rise... as I had a 6pm con call I had to get to with Asia, and didn't want to be struggling to climb the hill on my bike... but int he future I hope to be biking down there.
In seated and supine poses, the Pacific is not visible, but it is while standing. The ocean breeze is nearly constant.
My thanks to Eagle Scout Todd Fritz, BSA Troop 750  who built the platform back in 2009, and who probably had no idea that anyone would use it as a place to do yoga.  (Once the rocks and cigarette butts were swept off, the flat rock was very comfy)

My thanks also to Inez  Yoder to whom the park bench was dedicated.  I assume she played a pivotal role in helping to preserve the lagoon from commercial development (a simple Google search showed she wrote articles for the LA Times on the lagoon).

No thanks to the chronic smoker who doesn't understand that their wantonly discarded cigarette butts strewn all around the bench, probably as they sat on Inez's bench enjoying the beautiful view and ocean breeze, would not degrade and turn back into basic elements for at least another  2 to 5 years for the cellulose acetate filter internals (in ideal landfill conditions, not laying on the ground).

My thanks also to the graffiti artist who scribed "Be Yourself" on the bench...  an interesting, individualistic message, probably scribed by a teenager who was sick of conforming.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

No Big Lizard, But Lots Of Peacocks

Way back in 2008, I mentioned the lizards in my back yard in Phoenix (link here)
http://justjoep.blogspot.com/2008/06/big-lizard-in-my-backyard.html

I still have lots of little lizards in my yard...  eating beetles, little bugs, keeping my tomato plants healthy, dodging hummingbirds who menace them...   and the yard is Much more lush and green here.  But l also have another species that visits the yard.

Both the front yard, and the back yard, and the chimney (as I mentioned earlier, link here)
http://justjoep.blogspot.com/2015/07/why-dont-coyotes-eat-peacocks.html

The white peacock is NOT an albino... it has a color-deficiency mutation in its genes (the Lou Carillo ranch park rangers had it tested... and... it doesn't have red eyes as true albinos would).  The road in front of our house runs approximately east-west, and there's a fairly stiff breeze that almost always blows from the coast (3 miles to the west) down the street.  It is kind of humorous to see the peacocks with massive tail feathers 2X longer than the rest of their body, be pushed along by a still "tail wind" that even tries to "curve" their tail feathers, and turn their whole body sideways.

Maybe it's NOT the rabbits after all who are eating my flowers... maybe it's the peacocks!!


Can Powdered Sugar Be Substituted for Granular Sugar?

Can Powdered Sugar Be Substituted for Granular Sugar?

Absolutely.  But it is not a 1:1 ratio.  I had assumed that powdered sugar would be "more dense" or more concentrated, since the grains are smaller, pulverized, powdered, with "less air" between grains of sugar.  I was completely wrong.  Powdered sugar is "fluffed" with air, and corn starch is added so it won't clump.  The correct ratio is 1.75 to 1... so 1.75 cups of powdered sugar = 1 cup of granular sugar.  I mention all of this not because I eat sugar...  I avoid the stuff like poison.  But I do go through alot of it making sugar water for the hummingbirds who believe they own my yard - about a gallon a week.  Powdered sugar SHOULD NOT be used for hummingbird food.
Taken today, out of my office window, before I went on a 2 hour mountain bike ride, (yeah, it doesn't suck to live here)
Hummingbird food is best made with NO RED DYE - the red dye is toxic, and in there for humans.  Hummingbirds only go to the feeder with a hole in it, not the red one.  The multiple brown and clear feeders around my yard attest to that.  DON'T use red dyed hummingbird sugar crystals.  I actually poured my last red dyed nectar down the drain in Orange County when I found out about it, rather than poison the little creatures.

The correct (and simple) way to make hummingbird food is to mix a 1:4 ratio solution.  1 part sugar for 4 parts water.  I use ordinary tap water - no softened water (the birds don't need to salt), not reverse osmosis (RO) or demineralized (demin) water, neither of which I have since I don't live in a laboratory or a power plant. And I mix 2 pints of very warm water with 1/2 a cup a sugar (remember: 2 cups  =  1 pint, 2 pints = 1 quart, 4 quarts = 1 gallon... only in the US and Myanmar...  everywhere else they're on liters).

I ran out of sugar today, making my last batch.  I was Just About to use the copious amounts of powdered sugar Dr Desert Flower has in the pantry, when I read from reputable sources (here and here) that "that's bad" (as Mr Mackey would say).

Keep Up The Good Work Luke!

Much like his father Tim, Luke Russert is doing an excellent job covering news.  MSNBC under-
utilizes him to fill in for hosts like Andrea Mitchell, and each time Luke is on...  he impresses me with his acumen, his germane & timely follow-up questions, his delivery, his maturity, and his raw skill as a new anchor.  A chip off the old block, close falling apple & such...

In 2012 I opined about missing missing his father on JustJoeP (link here)
\http://justjoep.blogspot.com/2012/05/questions-are-better-asked-with-british.html

... now I get to enjoy listening to the son.  And hopefully, for the rest of my adult life, Luke will be actively broadcasting.  Compared to others on Faux News and CNN (the place for useless info, that the watcher provides, and the network regurgitates) his same age & older, Luke Russet continues to solidly deliver news, interviews, reporting.  Impressive.

How Many People Did Jade Helm Round Up?

The answer is simple: ZERO.
The right wing conspiracy machine was in full "crazy mode" to claim that the US military, Walmart, and President Obama were planning on declaring marshal law and taking over Texas & Utah.  Ridiculous and insane, but given full credit & weight by MANY Republican presidential candidates who want to play to the extreme right primary base who come out to vote like fire ants whose nest has been stepped on by a black booted Federal government thug.

If you don't know what "Jade Helm" is, the CS Monitor back in May laid it out nicely. (link here)
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2015/0505/What-is-Jade-Helm-15-and-should-Chuck-Norris-be-worried-video

If you don't remember how Cruz and Paul and most of the Republican field reacted back in May, the internet does.  (link here).
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-stanford/the-pentagons-response-to_b_7251254.html

"J.E.Dyer" foretold of terrible things to come at "Liberty Unyielding".  Fool.

If you'd like to see a Map of "Operation Jade Helm" I've included one below.

To see how many people have been rounded up, and how many Counties and States have had marshal law imposed on them (staring today, July 15th, of course) read here (link).
http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/national/wire/civilians-begin-shadowing-jade-helm-war-exercise-in-texas/article_f3e54fa9-4b0d-5dbc-94e4-2ac1de1a6b0e.html

Yeah, "I've got some concerns" and "questions remain" ...  yes, like "how did you ever get elected, Ted?"

I am so glad I don't live in a backwards, regressive, insane Red State Dumbphukistan anymore.



Monday, July 6, 2015

Why Don't Coyotes Eat Peacocks?

The mystery that has been troubling us since we moved to N. San Diego county was solved this evening:  Why don't the coyotes eat the Peacocks and Peahens?  Coyotes are wily hunters... surely they must enjoy peacock or peahen delicacies, much as they do the chihuahua or shitzu or outdoor domestic cat.  The answer: coyotes cannot fly.

My mother in law swore that the peacocks were calling all night very near to the upstairs guest room in our home when she was here last month.  Perhaps, they were actually on the roof, as these pictures document they are well capable of reaching.  While flying clumsily, they do get the job done, and the peahens have peahen parties of 2 or more, aggregating / assembling for safety in numbers.

Flying past you, and then trotting off through your neighbor's lawn? I meant to do that!


This came after I was unloading bags of mulch from my Mazda wagon, when I noticed a peacock male with brilliant plumage eating from my neighbor's lawn.  SUDDENLY, his buddy flies past me, beside my garage and over my garbage dumpsters, after grazing in my back yard on fuchsia, seeds & bugs.  I am glad I can provide habitat for the massive fowl and the finest nectar drinkers in my neighborhood.


Had I not been trying to photograph these hummingbirds, I would have totally missed the in-bound peahens as they alighted on my roof and chimney this evening before dark. They stayed only a little while, before moving off to more camera shy roofs of my neighbors.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

First 4th of July in N.SD For Us


I just finished hanging up my American Flag outside my home here in N.SD County, for the very first time.  Surrounded by lavender, hibiscus, mandevilla, palm trees, japonica, oleander, humming bird feeders, Allen's & Roufus & Anna's hummingbirds, and flapping gently in the 72F, 5 mph, intermittent breeze 3 miles from the ocean, it struck me as particularly beautiful... even with the gray over-cast sky.


I am appreciative that I live in a country where I can speak English, and not German (link here) - and English is Still spoken around the world by more people than any other language who control more of the world's capital and decisioning making  (even with nearly 1.4 Billion Chinese, not all of whom speak Mandarin), with the most influence internationally;
We hope to replace this grass with mulch and rock in the next 2 months, with the drought

[I once, while waiting for my company car to pick me up, observed a French business man try and check out of a very poorly run South Korea hotel in Changwon, "Hotel International" - a total pit, very unpleasant, highly NOT recommended for anyone who wants a pleasant stay -  using only French.  The poor man tried and tried, but the hotel clerk just looked blankly back at him, until in broken English, and with great venom & distaste in his pronunciation, he was able to pay his bill and leave the wretched hotel].

I have been able to live & work in multiple states, without the central government approving it (unlike my friends in China, who need central approval to relocate), [link here] going from Indiana, to South Carolina, then back to Indiana, then back to South Carolina 3 years later; then to Arizona for 5, OC California for 2.5, and now Northern San Diego County, where I hope I don't have to move again any time soon.

In this country, I don't have religious fundamentalists telling me how I can dress, what I can eat & drink, and what kind of music I am allowed to play in my home without head phones, like the Basiji do in Iran and the Mutaween do in Saudi Arabia.

In this country I don't have to worry that we are on the brink of national bankruptcy, as the Republicans & many Libertarians kept screaming we were when President Obama took office (yes months earlier, in the same financial conditions under Bush, no one on the right seemed to notice or care about a growing national debt - a debt which the Democrats have once again substantially paid down after the Republicans ran it up... again)... and it is not Greece with radicals on both the left and right rioting in the streets because their government has not had a spine to be able to make any hard choices and implement any austerity effectively for the last 4 bankruptcies.

America has its problems, but it is still a pretty damn good place to live & work and raise a family.  I am grateful to the men & women in the US military who have fought to keep us free, as well as grateful to the Federal leaders (Presidents, Secretaries of State, Senators, etc) who have kept us OUT of wars over the centuries making the spilling of the blood of our military unnecessary (Sorry Lindsey & McCain, we Don't need to bomb Iran and [what's left of] Syria and everywhere else that makes you wet your bed).  It's an English speaking, free movement of labor & capital (relatively, Joe M) =-) , pleasant country where peacocks can picnic wherever they please... "freedom baby, that's what it's all about!" [Freedumb Weekend Aloft, Greenville SC, 1992, yelled by a drunk redneck next to a fully armed A-10 warthog, at Donaldson Center].

Happy Fourth of July to everyone, no matter where you live!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thank You Justice Kennedy

Swing Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy, thank you for being human, reasonable, and compassionate in your SCOTUS ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges on Friday.  All of my Gay friends can now enjoy the LONG LIST of rights and privileges that Dr Desert Flower and I have enjoyed for the last 28 years, if they find the love of their lives and want to get married as well.  Thank you.  You joined your 4 reasonable SCOTUS colleagues in making the right decision, and you worded your majority opinion so eloquently.

The hyperbolic fit throwing from the religious right - and their ridiculous predictions of being "forced" to act against their faith, or to "go out of business" as Huckabee said on This Week with Snuffleupagus - is amusingly stupid.  No chicken little, the sky is not falling, but legal barriers to basic rights are.

Thanks Justice Kennedy.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Gilfoyle Kills Me

If you've not watched HBO's Silicon Valley series, you've missed a hilarious train wreck, written and acted beautifully.  In my perspective, the BEST PART of Silicon Valley is Gilfoyle.  Martin Starr plays Gilfoyle, and delivers his character perfectly.  Gilfoyle is hands-on, practical hardware guy, dead pan, ingenious, insightful, ballsy (by-passing the meter, to power an impromptu garage server farm... !!!!!).  I wish that I've worked with Gilfoyle, and could spar with him if I ever worked in an office setting again.  So very funny.  = )
LOL LOL  LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!!!!

Biggest Hawk's Fan, Left Out In The Cold

I was amused by this Yahoo News story this afternoon (link), that the brachiosaurus outside Chicago's Field Museum (an AWESOME museum, in my book) will not be wearing the world's largest BlackHawk's jersey for the Stanley Cup finals (starting tonight) because the previous jersey 'took a beating from climate change and the harsh weather'.

I always loved the brachiosaurus as a kid...  it was...  back then...   the largest land animal ever (before Seismosaurus and other behemoths ousted it)... and Spielberg liked it so much he had it in Jurassic Park.  Too bad it'll be left out in the cold this year.

If I Don't Move, You Can't See Me...

Funny how bird brains, based upon motion, think everyone else's brains are based primarily upon motion as well.  Colors, object permanence, things that are out-of-place, beauty, sound, scent... these all play significant roles in human cognition and memory.  So when I chased out the mourning doves from the grape arbor before we moved out, because they were making a big mess with nesting materials and fecal matter and their utter stupidity as the slow-and-dumb bird species of my backyard, the pair of enterprising robins who had been jonesing for a nesting spot seized the day.  The robin couple had previously built a deep, mud lined nest, 1 foot away from my shiny, polished, stainless steel gas grill, and had already begun using the grill & its cover as a launching pad & toilet.  I did not want to move robin fecal matter, so before they laid their eggs, I evicted their nest wholesale, a week earlier.

So on moving-out day, I looked up, and saw Mrs Robin, sitting on her newly usurped home.  I am sure it was not as cozy as the big, deep, mud lined and fastidiously constructed robin nest I had tossed.  It was built by clueless mourning doves after all - the same species who built on top of my 8 foot ladder in Phoenix, and who (I've read & heard from biologists) are delicious prey for Peregrine Falcons.  Mrs. Robin didn't move... her tiny bird brain thinking "that clumsy bipedal nearly hairless ape can't see me, if I DON'T MOVE... no matter what you do... protect the nest...  DON'T MOVE".  Her orange breasted mate chirping angrily from the fence, about 15 feet away, trying to distract the clumsy ape.  I left her alone.   I'm moving out after all, and her and her children's fecal matter will be something the new owners will have to deal with.

That... along with 2 nests of house finches who immediately re-took-up residence on the Bose speakers mounted on the outside of the house pointing towards the pool, about 25 feet from where the robins had nested.  The finches are communal birds, with 4 to 6 adults caring for each nest, aunts and uncles working together to help the mating pair.  The first year we lived in the house, we thought they were cute.  Cute, until the babies fledged, pooped all over the pool furniture, and had fecal matter dripping down the outside of the kitchen window (yeah, ew).  So really, the "whole neighborhood was going to the birds!" once we left...  = )