Wednesday, August 24, 2016

If marriage was (more) like baseball

As many of my regular readers know, I am a long-time baseball fan. Specifically a New York Mets fan. (So I am used to disappointment.)

The spouse is also a Mets fan (albeit one who has been known to root for the Yankees). And we often watch Mets games together.

However, I often fall asleep before the end of Mets games. So when I wake up the next morning, one of the first things I do is turn to the spouse and ask "Did the Mets win?" Or, more often, "Did the Mets lose?"

There is also a Twitter feed called "Did the Mets lose?" for those who do not have someone sleeping next to them who watched the game. And, of course, you can always go to to see what happened. Which is what I did this morning, which led to the following breakfast conversation:

ME: Mets won.

SPOUSE: 7-4 -- and Jon Niese [the starting pitcher] is on the disabled list.

ME: Well, I screwed up my shoulder again yesterday. Maybe you should put me on the disabled list, call up another wife from Triple A. Maybe a blonde or a redhead.

SPOUSE: (Laughing) Are we talking an inning or long relief?

This led to a (humorous) discussion, in the kitchen and then online, regarding whether or not I would be DFA'd, would go to rehab in Florida, or if I could request a trade. Which led me to think, What if marriage was (more) like baseball?

If marriage was like baseball....

* Spouses who were injured and were unable to perform their duties would be subject to going on either the 15-day or 60-day disabled list, at which time the non-injured spouse could elect to temporarily fill his or her roster spot.

* After three years of marriage, you could file for arbitration -- to get a better deal. ("How about you cook dinner three nights a week?" or "I want Thursday to be date night." or "You do the laundry [or clean or whatever] or I'm out of here.")

* After six years you could become a free agent, unless you decided to extend your (marriage) contract.

* If a spouse has been married for ten full years and in the same marriage for the last five, he or she could not be traded away without his or her consent.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Nature is amazing! (Lily edition)

I've been meaning to get to the New York Botanical Garden all summer. But I didn't make it there until this morning. Only to discover that not a lot blooms in August. Except for water lilies and daylilies (and lotus flowers).

But as you can see from my photos, below, the daylilies, water lilies (or Nymphaeaceae) and lotus flowers currently on display at the New York Botanical Garden are lovely -- and well worth a visit. In fact, they attracted quite a few visitors, of the human and insect variety. (I was particularly enamored with that little blue dragonfly, below, with the big green eyes, which was quite enamored with a certain lotus flower.)

Note: To see the flowers -- and insects -- more clearly, click on each photo to enlarge it. (Then click on the back button to return to the post.)

And that, son, is how flowers are made.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

If you don't have anything nice to say (or tweet)...

Don't say -- or tweet -- anything at all. Especially if you are running for President of the United States.

I get that some people believe that "political correctness" has gone too far. (In some cases, I agree with them. An emotional support rabbit? Puh-lease. Spare me.) But it's still politic to be polite, especially if you want to win voters and influence heads of state.

Did Donald Trump's Trump's father, or mother, never say to him, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all"? Did he never see Bambi?

Hey, it's OK to disagree with someone (other than me). But there is no reason, especially for someone running for "higher" office, to resort to ugly name calling, crudeness, profanity, and bullying.

Silence may be golden, but recently I've been wishing it was orange.

Friday, June 17, 2016

B is for Butterfly (and Beautiful)

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Last summer, the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, installed a temporary butterfly exhibit called Flutter Zone, where visitors could walk amongst dozens of beautiful butterflies. The exhibit was such a hit that the aquarium mounted it again this summer.

As I finished with work early yesterday, I decided to go visit the Flutter Zone -- along with a dozen or so mothers of small, awestruck children, including the cutie above, whom the butterflies, and my camera, adored.

If you live in Connecticut, Westchester, or New York City, or are visiting the area this summer, I highly recommend you visit the Maritime Aquarium... even if you don't have children. ;-)

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite photos from yesterday's visit. One of these days, I'll learn the names of these butterflies, and the flowers they like to pollinate. (You can see my photos from last year here.)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Rethinking who can be President of the United States

If this election cycle has taught us anything it's that we need to fix the electoral process -- starting with the qualifications necessary to run for and serve as President of the United States.

Per Article Two, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States of America:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
Clearly, it is time to amend the Constitution (again).

First of all, how many people today were around "at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution"?

Secondly, does it really matter any more where a person was born as long as he -- OR SHE -- is a citizen of the United States and has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years?

(The correct answer to that question is "no.")

And thirdly, while back in 1787, when most people didn't live past 41, 35 was considered old. Today, with people living into their 80s, not so much. So I say we should raise the minimum age to be president to 40 -- make that 45.

But most importantly, we need to make sure that the person ascending to the highest office of the land is sound in both mind and body -- and able to carry out the duties of President of the United States.

To that end, I propose the following amendment to Section 1 of Article Two of the Constitution, which I call Qualifications to Be President of the United States:

* Must be at least 45 years of age.
* Must be a citizen of the United States and have resided within the United States for at least 14 years.
* Must undergo a complete physical and mental health examination overseen by a board of certified, nonpartisan medical professionals and be considered to be of sound mind and body.
* Must take and pass a four-hour, closed-book examination [similar to the AP exams] covering U.S. History and Government, as well as World History.
* Must produce his or her tax returns for the four years prior to the year of election.

All in favor, say "Aye!"

Of course, even if such qualifications were somehow enacted, you would still get unsavory characters running for president. But at least they would, hopefully, diaqualify the Trumps (and Palins) of the world.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

House finch/cowbird nestlings update

When last I wrote of the house finches (on the blog), back on April 29th, this is what their nest looked like:

[Click on photos to enlarge them.]

Very pretty, very empty.

Then, on May 8th, I took this photo of the nest:

As those of you who follow me on Facebook know, the four blue eggs are house finch eggs. However, the brown-speckled egg belonged to a cowbird, a parasitic bird that lays its eggs in other birds' nests and expects someone else to feed its young (often depriving the host bird's chicks sufficient nourishment).

Then, earlier this week, I glimpsed into the nest and discovered that the evil cowbird chick had hatched:

Anticipating that the four house finch eggs were soon to follow, I went back out to the nest with my smart phone just a few minutes ago to be greeted by this sight:

That image of the cowbird nestling waiting to be fed is going to give me nightmares FOR WEEKS.

Will the four baby house finches survive?

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Democratic Primary Race Vote Update (No throwing chairs!)

So when this blog last printed the vote totals for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, back on April 27th, Hillary was leading Bernie by just over 3 million votes. So where do the Democratic candidates for President now stand?

Here is my updated table showing 2016 Democratic Primary & Caucus Vote Totals:

[Click on the image to enlarge it.]

As of this writing (with 96% of the votes reported for Oregon, which was the latest total as of this writing), Hillary Clinton is still leading Bernie Sanders -- by 2,890,670 votes.

Put in delegate terms, Clinton leads Sanders by 274 pledged delegates (which does not include super delegates), with Clinton having 1,768 pledged delegates and Sanders amassing 1,494 pledged delegates.

A few interesting facts about the recent Democratic contests:

* Hillary "crushed" Bernie in Guam, winning 59.5% of the vote to Bernie's 40.5%. Which just goes to show you how you need to read beyond the headlines. While it is true that Hillary, percentage-wise, "crushed" Bernie, in terms of actual votes, it wasn't a big deal -- 777 (Clinton) to 528 (Sanders).

* Clinton and Sanders were each awarded 27 delegates in Kentucky, even though, technically, Hillary "won." That's because the Democrats use the proportional method (which is not to be confused with the rhythm method, though can be just as or more confusing) of awarding delegates to candidates.

* States with large white populations (especially white, male, working class and/or young, white, male populations) and low black and Hispanic populations tend to vote Sanders whereas states that "look like the Democratic party" (i.e., are more diverse) tend to vote Clinton, which would seem to predict wins for Clinton in California and New Jersey (two delegate-rich states) and possibly New Mexico.

NEXT UP, contest-wise: The U.S. Virgin Islands on 6/4; Puerto Rico on 6/5; California, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota on 6/7; and Washington, D.C., on 6/14. So expect my next update on 6/8.