So, yesterday I posted a quick observation about the state of comments on this blog (and maybe blogs in general, based on some of the feedback).

I might have come across as rueful of the situation, hence let me clarify a few things because I fear unintended consequences from that post . . .

Namely, I fear an increase in comments due to people (consciously or unconsciously) thinking I was pressuring them (consciously or unconsciously) to comment more often.

Well, let me set the record straight . . .

Yup, still busy . . . these days are just flying by and before I know it, it’s late at night. So, more samples of photos that will appear in future posts (with others, of course). Yesterday morning, a few Northern Mocking birds frolicked in my backyard . . .

They gave me lots of opportunities to get decent photos both with the D7500 (above) and the P900 (below).

Yup, still busy . . . but, I want to give a glimpse of a few things coming up. Meaning, these are photos that will appear in future posts (with others, of course). For instance, bugs . . .

I have a ton of hummingbird videos and photos . . . I’ll need to decide what and how much I want to share, but whatever it will be, it will look something like this . . .

Of all the books I’ve read that contained math, science, and the practical application of the two, the book by Randall Munroe, What If? <<link, was the most enjoyable and the most informative.

It also gave me an insight into the mind and thought process of the guy who writes the xkcd comics <<link.

The above is his entry when the 1982 Exxon Memo to Management about CO2 Greenhouse Effect (LINK) was made public. The link contains a link to the original PDF.

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow, click HERE<<link. When you click the link, it will open in a new window, and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the Top-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow activates the option for a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

We begin with a fairly easy “find the hummingbird” . . .

. . . followed by an extremely easy “find the hummingbird” . . .

Letsee . . . what to talk about today?

Indigenous is an interesting word. A dictionary definition (there are a few variations) goes as follows:

Produced, growing, living, or occurring natively or naturally in a particular region or environment.

But also:

Relating to the earliest known inhabitants of a place.

For the purpose of this post, I’ll talk about a combination of the two definitions and how they are purposefully mangled by idiots . . . er . . . non-thinking jer . . . er . . . well-meaning people.

And I’ll begin with Hawaiʻi.

Having lived in Hawaiʻi for a few years, I was struck by the sanctimonious attitude of many of the natives. Like most people everywhere, they have a certain image of themselves, are proud of their culture and customs, and walk around with a chip on their shoulder about being ‘invaded’ by who they call ‘haoles’.

They will tell you the term refers to ‘light skin’ or ‘visitor’, but just swap the ‘h’ and ‘a’ around and you get what I think they really mean.

You see, Hawaiʻians, like most people who don’t know history, claim possession to where they live by virtue of having lived there a long time and — like most people — are not happy when outsiders ‘invade’ the place. I’m sure most readers are familiar with various conflicts around the world — and here, too — based on claims about who has the right to live in this or that place.

The thing is, at one time, no one lived on those islands. Then Polynesians came, liked it, and settled there (LINK). Later, Tahitians came, liked it, and settled there. By ‘settled’, I mean conquered the Polynesians (LINK). You know the rest; Europeans came and also settled there, and so on.

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow, click HERE<<link. When you click the link, it will open in a new window, and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the bottom-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

Photo taken at a flowerbed in front of Herrin Hospital.

The photos in this quick series of posts have all been taken with the Note 20 this May, lightly processed in Lightroom (see what I did there?), and output for this blog post.

I assume I’m not in a unique position, but it feels like it.

On any given day, either directly or indirectly, I get one or both of two kinds of inputs regarding serious topics; an anecdote about something bad, stupid, or illegal said or done by someone on the left and a corresponding anecdote about something bad, stupid, or illegal said or done by someone on the right.

I might chance upon something shared by my Facebook contacts, read a comment on a blog (or a whole blog post), get forwarded an email, or I’m outright asked about said utterances or actions.

What’s frustrating about that?

I’ll tell you . . .

Just a few things and a few thoughts I want to share.

First, THIS link about happiness and mental-well-being. The site is the Happiness Lab and it currently features short episodes on coping with coronavirus Social Distancing and isolation. You can also listen to Season 1 and Season 2 begins on the 27th.

Even more interesting is THIS link . . . it takes you to Yale’s most popular course (over 2M people currently enrolled for the course) which begins today, April 18th.

You can join the course for free — as I did — or pay the $49 entry fee if you want to earn a certificate to add to your resume. I entered for free; just provided my name and email address, and I was registered. There are ten weeks and it looks like there’s about 2-3 hours worth of material per week (just a cursory look, I had, so don’t hold me responsible if that’s not true).

Here’s the bio on the professor (including the links above):

Laurie Santos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. She hosts the popular podcast The Happiness Lab and she teaches the most popular course offered at Yale to date, titled The Science of Well-Being. Laurie is also the director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory and the Canine Cognition Center at Yale. She received her A.B. in Psychology and Biology from Harvard University in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard in 2003.

That blurb is from the Sam Harris interview with the lady, featured on his Waking Up app (a meditation app).

Some of what I see (looking at the titles) covers ground I’m already familiar with through reading various articles about cognitive studies and listening to podcasts, and I’ve already incorporated some of what I learned into how I live my life and how I cope with life.

Still, I’m always interested in learning more about how my brain works and controlling it to my benefit.

The class begins today, as I said, and I don’t know if it’s also the last day to register. Keep that in mind if interested in it.

Right, let’s proceed . . .

So, as the pandemic continues, I cross paths with more things that annoy me . . . no, that’s too mild. It’s things that piss me off.

Look, I spend a fair amount of time gently — and sometimes not-so-gently — pointing out to people that being “for” one political party or the other is, frankly, dumb. As is one religious belief over another, or any single ideology over another.

I cannot think of any religious, political, social, ethnic, or racial group that is completely right or completely wrong about things they believe and act on. Typically, they all have some things they get right, some things they get wrong, and some things that make them sound like they are bat-shit crazy. The proportions might change, but there’s always a spectrum.

Hence, it’s difficult for me to respect anyone who completely and totally buys into everything “their” group says. And it’s not just losing respect. 

If you are one of them people who are steeped into the culture of either the Far Right or Far Left, in short order you will cease to exist for me. I mean, I used to give a nod and a wink and let some things slide, but as I get older — and especially now — I have far less patience than I had even last month.

Truthfully, they too will likely lose their patience with me . . . and I can live with that, but then, stay out of my orbit.

What does this have to do with COVID-19, you ask? Good question; let me answer it after this photo.

Yet another grass photo as it came out of the D7500.

I’ve been doing something I rarely do. I’ve been sending out group emails.

“About what?” you ask.

What else? . . . COVID-19.

I wrote some stuff about the virus in Part One, but that was a while ago and the situation is about as dynamic as they come.  Now, I say “a while ago” and these days — the two weeks between the last post about COVID-19 and today’s offering — seem more like two months, if not years.

If you have a copy of the Hitchhiker Guide (the actual guide, not the novel) you would be reassured by the words “Don’t Panic” in bold letters on its cover.

These days, that’s difficult to do. From moral, to political, to existential, we’re constantly pushed toward panicking. Even when you have the resolve to follow a steady course, it’s difficult doing so when everyone around you is running the opposite way screaming in fear.

So, easier said than done. But not impossible.

Yes, I’m referring to . . . COVID-19.

It might be evident to some that I’ve consciously retreated from commenting on current affairs. Well, mostly. I’ll throw the odd jab here and there, but I don’t address specific topics, not even when those topics dominate the news and/or are of supreme importance to humanity in general.

But don’t be fooled. Inside, I have plenty of opinions and, increasingly, my concern for the future of this country (and the world) leads me to pessimistic estimates about the path we’re traveling.

For instance, I believe both Republicans and Democrats systematically — and for different end-goals — weaken the Constitution and the rule of law as they engage in an ideological power struggle where the public and the public interest are but pawns to be played and sacrificed.

A few years ago, it would have seemed impossible, but I believe we’re watching the dismantling of our system of government. I don’t know what will replace it, but I’m certain a large percentage of the population won’t like it . . . and it will be too late to do anything about it.  

At this point, someone might say I’m overreacting and that we’ve faced this and worse in the past. Yes, we’ve faced similar threats in the past and we — in each instance — recovered and came out of them arguably the better for it.