We had dinner this week with a bunch of Kaldi teammates. We chose the venue, Cyrano’s, which considering our party was probably not the best choice. Cyrano’s in its current incantation is very loud. Considering that our party comprised sexagenarians, septuagenarians and even one octogenarian, being hard of hearing was endemic to the group. Conversation across the table was difficult. Going forward, this monthly gathering will shift to a late lunch schedule and one of our savvier West County compatriots will pick the next location.

Now that the midterms are supposedly over, except for the continuing steady drip, drip of ballot tabulation and the obligatory runoff elections and recounts, life is settling into a new normal. Trump and the GOP are now in incrimination mode, fighting among themselves and I am loving it. Putin judging that the Republicans would not be coming to his rescue after all, figuratively pulled the plug on his occupation of Kherson. Let us hope that he does not then go on to literally pull the plug on that city’s upstream dam and flood the place. Although, I suspect that he will not lose this opportunity to wash away his many sins there. And then there is the question of what the heck is Elon Musk doing to Twitter?

He has just introduced his new Blue Twitter feature, where for the low, low price of $8 a month anyone can punk anyone else. Just today, “verified” blue checkmark twitter accounts posted the following, while purporting to be:

  • Pepsi: Coke is better
  • Nestlé: We steal your water and sell it back to you lol
  • Lockheed Martin: We will begin halting all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States until further investigation into their record of human rights abuse. #WeAreLM
  • American Girl: Felicity owned slaves
  • BP: Just cause we killed the planet doesn’t mean we can’t miss it :'(
  • Eli Lilly: wait a second… is profit motivated medicine… bad? sh!t
  • Chiquita: “We’ve just overthrown the government of Brazil.” The real Chiquita tried to do damage control from one of these fake verified accounts, “We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Chiquita account. We have not overthrown a government since 1954.”
  • Tesla: BREAKING: A second Tesla has hit the World Trade Center.

Since, all of these posts have now been subsequently deleted and their originating accounts disabled, these eight offending posts cost their authors a total of $64 and will likely cost Elon and Twitter $15M in lost ad revenue. UPDATE: Twitter now has “paused” issuing any more paid verifications. 

Last Night’s Deck Party

Deck Party

This photo was from last night, after all of the putting the boat away and packing work was finished. Today, all of the pictured young people have left the cabin. Dan took a carload of four with him back to Saint Louis. Anne and I did laundry, washing all of the sheets and then making all of the beds, for the next crew to arrive. Apparently, this morning’s post was not entirely clear, because some people thought that Harry had already arrived at the cabin. This will not be true until Tuesday, when Jay and Carl arrive with Harry in tow. We still have some work to do to get the cabin shipshape for company, mainly sweeping. We also have shopping and recycling to do, but those chores will have to wait until later.

And Now This


Joanie visited us. So, if the need arises for us to do some contact tracing, we can start with her. The reason for her visit was to return some books that Anne had lent her, but I think that she really wanted to see us. I invited her in and we kept six-feet apart, mostly. It was foolish and in the future, I’ll setup chairs outside, because this is how disease spreads. I heard that New York Governor Cuomo has said that fully forty percent of all currently hospitalized Covid patients in his state claim that they had contracted the disease without ever leaving their home. 

I tried something new for our special Saturday breakfast—spiced fried toast that had been transformed with an egg in a hole in the center of each slice. This was a first attempt and as Anne observed, instead of an egg in the hole, what we got was more like French toast. Still, it was a promising start. Next time, I’ll know better to make the hole bigger and I have to work on flipping the toast, without letting the egg leakout in the process, but that will come with practice. It took me a while to obtain my practice perfection at making avocado toast. Anyway, it tasted pretty good. Starting with a loaf of Zingerman’s bread, probably made all of the difference and we still have plenty of that left over.

The Missouri legislators wrapped up their annual session yesterday. Not much seems to have happened this year, what with the plague all about. For example, they made statewide, what St. Louis County had already done. That is voting by mail. Their “new” law seems like a repeat of the current law, the one that the county has already acted on. At least their hearts are in the right place.

Also in politics, we got a mailer from the challenger who is running for mayor. I had guessed right, he is upset about Altair at the Heights, the new building of apartments that is going up. His flyer questioned several other local properties undergoing or about to undergo development that I’ll have to checkout. I still have time to decide, before we have to mail in our absentee ballots.

And now this, I finally got around to watching last Sunday’s episode of John Oliver’s political comedy show, Last Week Tonight. The central theme of this episode was the US Postal Service and the trouble that it is in now. Hint: It has nothing to do with the Internet, Jeff Bezos, Amazon or even the Washington Post. Rather a 2006 law has saddled the Postal Service with insurmantable debt and left it no way to right itself. As is often the case on this show, Oliver has offered his audience an opportunity to participate and help save the Post Office. Apparantly, one can commision the Post Office to print vanity stamps, which can be quite lucrative for the USPS. This is what he has done, with a set of four Last Week Tonight themed stamps. I ordered a sheet of stamps. After I had placed my order, I was informed that because of “heavy demand” my order will be delayed. Which, I took as a testament to the power of slacker activism. 

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Who the f— is Carol? As you can see, a very happy Bob is enjoying himself at his favorite Saint Louis eatery. He swung by the house for a while, before we first went to Schlafly and then Drewes. He’s still working, going strong and enjoying his job, even when they don’t read his newsletter. I wonder if it is as long as his Christmas letter? Probably not, since the newsletter only spans a month and not a whole year. There seemed to be some daylight with Nink on the retirement horizon, but nothing definite enough to pin hope on.

He arrived fresh from his son’s wedding, who now lives in LA. His daughter is joining her brother out there too. He claims now to be a liberal, but I think that he is just slowing down with age and can no longer keep up with the rightward shift of his party. “Hello, my name is Bob and I’m a recovering Republican.”

After all of this, I walked him around the neighborhood and amazed him with my stupid human trick of extending the range of his car clicker by holding the palm of my hand behind it. All those years at Boeing were good for something. We eventually sat down on the front steps to solve all the world’s problems. 

The Old Guys’ Table

California Condor K6

I went to the hospital this morning, to visit a friend there. I had his room number and found it without too much difficulty. A sign on the door indicated that I should put on a surgical mask before entering, but once masked, I found that his room was empty. I asked about his whereabouts at the nurse’s desk outside his room, but she had no idea where he was. Finally, she suggested that I check out the cafeteria. I found him there, having coffee with a mutual friend. I got a cup too and we had our own version of the old guys’ table.

On all our road trips, we have frequently encountered the phenomenon of the old guys’ table. Be it the local greasy soup or the neighborhood McDonalds, there is usually a table in the back where old men, who are friends, regularly gather to exchange news, views and generally chew the fat. So, that’s what we did. I got to recount my travels this year and shared the above photo. It was a fine time, if not for the unfortunate circumstances that brought us all together.

My friend appeared to be doing well and was already planning his escape. I gathered though that when he was first admitted, he hadn’t been doing quite so well. I was glad to see him feeling much better and so quickly too. As we parted, we all agreed to get together again. Later, I went for a bicycle ride and as I pedaled, I remembered all of the great times that we had had together.