krazy koati

Here's the bill

Now back to December 2020; let's take in some more of the Michigan International Speedway lights show.

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More of the cars, with a bit of the view of grandstands. I'm curious what it all looks like during the day.


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Hey, it's the logo for Waldameer's Comet roller coaster!


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A whole train depot. I don't think they have one like this at Crossroads Village, but it would fit.


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It took me so long to work out that this was supposed to be Michigan, but with a cap on the Thumb. The red streaks are, I think, loose representations of I-75 (lower peninsula) and M-28 (upper peninsula).


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A castle, one of the handful of fixtures you actually drive through.


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Ugh, the elf's on one of those annoying rental scooter disruptor things.


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Better view of the teddy bear in a helicopter.


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Ah! Ready for the 12 Days of Christmas? We wondered if it'd be the same lights as at Crossroads Village.


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Nope! Very un-Crossroads here with your basic partridge in a pear tree and two turtle doves.


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Three French hens, as proven by the Eiffel Tower there.


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Four calling birds! Also, that's their guess for what a calling bird might be.


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Five gold rings! We were hoping for them.


Trivia: When Rene Descartes's coffin was exhumed in May 1666, it was taken by cart to the residence of the French ambassador, the building from which his funeral procession had started, and by the same route. Source: Descartes' Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason, Russell Shorto.

Reference: A Place For Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order, Judith Flanders.

krazy koati

And he said here's the bill

It's a Thursday, or it was up to ten minutes ago, so here, let's see what my humor blog had recently:

Seriously, that durations-measured-by-Turbo piece was dumb and you have no idea how much time I spent making sure the data was as correct as can be.

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Santa riding a dinosaur is a companion piece to the sea serpent (as arranged). You can maybe see where the dinosaur turns around to look at Santa.


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Traditional Santa vehicles such as the train, the helicopter, and the hot-air balloon here.


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And here's the tunnels! The signs warn to not slow down going through these. The colors change in these great sweeps, sometimes front to back, sometimes rotating. It's very dazzling and a little like driving through one of those spinning-barrel illusions.


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And now ... the WPIX 8 O'Clock Movie!


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``Captain, the ship has been programmed to Reinhardt's course.'' ``You mean we're going into the black hole?''


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We made it through the black hole and could see some of the more distant lights here.


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Another animated fixture, a catapult that heaves some gifts onto the ground.


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The candy-cane windmill is a fun one.


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Here a couple reindeer share a malted.


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Procession of fish fountains as we approach the raceway grandstand.


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Some more, smaller, tunnels as we get to the stands .


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And here they are, a bunch of cars getting pit stop service from elves and reindeer.


Trivia: On the 15th of April, 1945, the US Army's Fifth Army campaign in northern Italy was supported by 2,300 tons of aerial bombardment, a record for the campaign. Source: History of the Second World War, B H Liddell-Hart.

Reference: A Place For Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order, Judith Flanders. Another of the books I got this past Christmas. So I didn't put this together until noticing the Also By ... page, but Flanders also wrote Christmas: A Biography, also one of the books I got this past Christmas. AND ALSO WROTE The Invention of Murder, another of the books I got this past Christmas. I was not intending to make it a Judith Flanders Christmas season; I was just going by interesting-looking niche history topics and putting them on my wish list.

krazy koati

Gimmie that pill

In comic strip news: Mark Trail is 75 Years Old so a happy birthday to it!

In comic strip news but also mathematics: Reading the Comics Follow-up: Where Else Is A Tetrahedron's Centroid Edition, in which I think out loud.

Now back to last winter. Deprived as we were of many of our Christmas routines, we got to more Christmas light shows. One of them's at the Brooklyn International Speedway, near the roadside-attraction district in Brooklyn, Michigan. So here's our drive here.

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The long, long, long entrance to the Michigan Speedway lights festival has a few fixtures you can see, many of them sponsor logos like this.


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Or here. You can practically see me regretting that I didn't wash my windows before setting out.


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And finally some credit for the group doing the show. You can see some of the lights in the distance.


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Better view of the lights in the remote background.


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And here we are, getting up to the Michigan International Speedway!


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Sponsored by reindeer! Also it was just in the past year that we realized station WLAJ is known that for serving Lansing And Jackson.


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Brooklyn Products, huh? So, what, craft beer and podcasts?


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Finally --- after what felt like three hours of driving --- the admission booth! We can only imagine how long it takes when the place is crowded enough to need all that queue space.


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Candycanes and a glimpse of a tunnel which would make an impression on us.


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Merry Christmas, a sign that I think warns you of dangers, and happy new year. The full spread of feelings.


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Animated display that shows a snowman melting.


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And an animated display of a sea serpent.


Trivia: There are about 110 grams of phosphorus per kilogram of human bone. (There are 130 grams per kilogram of teeth.) Source: The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus, John Emsley.

Currently Reading: The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA's Visionary Leader George M Low, Richard Jurek. So, it includes an excerpt from a speech Low gave about how it's impossible to live without risk and one must balance risk against potential benefit and that's all true enough. But, first, this is the guy who decided to send Apollo 8 --- only the second-ever manned Apollo capsule --- to the Moon, without a Lunar Module. It's a move that worked brilliantly because there wasn't any frayed wiring on the oxygen tank. Second, like, this is 1979, so I'm guessing we're talking about how the government won't even let you put lead in gasoline anymore and some states are even thinking of making seat belts mandatory. I hope in the whole speech he gets into specifics but I fear the target was more the 1970s decision that we should have workplace safety laws for companies to ignore.

krazy koati

But I'm keen to try whatever

A happy birthday to our precious bunny. It's probably not her actual birthday but it is the third anniversary of our adopting this rabbit who'd been left at the shelter, the day after Easter, with no explanation. We estimate her age at five, making her now a senior rabbit. She's lost the food-insecurity that made her easy to train, in the early days, but she's still warm and mostly friendly, even if she has decided there's ever-expanding areas of our living room where she's justified in biting our feet.

There's no guessing how much longer we'll have with her. We had thought the shelter's estimate of her as two might be an overestimate, based on her energy. But we noticed this winter she won't summon the effort to run up the ramp in her cage, even to escape the fireplace being lit, a suggestion of greater age. Call it five, then, and hope she has the majority of a good life ahead of her yet.


I'm up to December 2020! I know, right? So here's pictures around the time we got our trees.

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So around the western edge of my common walks is this Incubator Facility called the Fledge and what do you know but they have chickens. Like this one, who's got outside the fence somehow.


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Of course I left the chickens alone because, you know, I'm not a cop.


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bunny_hugger beside one of the trees we'd cut down for Christmas this year. This would go downstairs and it's shorter than our usual but adorable.


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The tree in its natural environs. The shape was too good to pass up.


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And here I get arty with the flora around it.


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Here bunny_hugger cuts down our upstairs tree. The main building is in view in the upper right.


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The bound tree in our living room, ready for relese.


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And our bedroom tree, similarly about to be set free.


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Our tree with lights, a combination of color and white lights.


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Our front entryway, with the color lights around it. After Christmas bunny_hugger would replace them with white lights and we kept them up through St Patrick's Day.


Trivia: Two workers died of asphyxiation during launch operations for the first space shuttle. Several had entered the aft section of the shuttle as it was being flushed with nitrogen (to eliminate potential buildups of explosive gasses) and passed out from lack of oxygen. The deaths did not delay the orbiter's launch. Source: A History of the Kennedy Space Center, Kenneth Lipartito, Orville R Butler.

Currently Reading: The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA's Visionary Leader George M Low, Richard Jurek.

krazy koati

Doubt they will, doubt they will

I was mistaken about the pedometer: we did take it home with us, in a bag that I hadn't packed or unpacked. We also got a couple of mugs, lovely ones with hand painting that bunny_hugger's parents don't feel they have the energy to hand-wash anymore. We're more energetic for now so accept that chore.


Now we come to Thanksgiving 2020, believe it or not. It was a small Thanksgiving, as they go, me and bunny_hugger and our animals and all that. It would matter still.

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Sunshine has hay fever, which seems inefficient for a rabbit. The treatment? A bit of cough syrup, which she appreciates more than life itself. Here, she prepares for the morning dose.


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There she is, enjoying the sweet nectar of children's Benadryl.


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She really enjoys the shot.


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With no more syrup to slurp up she turns to licking the syringe and chinning it in the hopes that we'll leave it all with her.


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Spotted on my walk that day: Some large, heavy-looking box thing dangling across the power lines. Sure hope it's supposed to be there.


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And spotting me on my walk: a deer!


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Deer's last moments before deciding this is too much of me.


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Oh, and here's our chimney, in pristine condition, before the first fire of the season. It looks so gorgeous emptied out like this.


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The Halloween-themed jigsaw puzzle bunny_hugger finished just in time to start Thanksgiving. The board is a big one that her father made so she could easily relocate a jigsaw puzzle when we needed table space.


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bunny_hugger lifting the puzzle as part of breaking it up. A well-made puzzle lifts almost like a carpet and it's stunning to see every time.


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His Majesty, our traditional Thanksgiving plate.


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Our relatively simple Thanksgiving spread, for just the two of us. We didn't have the time to quarantine for 14 days so we could spend the day with her parents.


Trivia: The ejector seats for the space shuttle's Approach and Landing Tests were Lockheed zero-zero ejection seats, modified A-12/SR-71 units. Source: Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System: The First 100 Missions, Dennis R Jenkins. (I assume the same model seats were used for Columbia's first several flights, but Jenkins does not explicitly say so.)

Currently Reading: The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA's Visionary Leader George M Low, Richard Jurek.

krazy koati

An existential type disease

Got my mathematics blog still. Here's the stuff running there the last couple weeks:

And now, the last views of Biggby #1's old location.

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Panoramic view of the former Biggby's from the east side. In the background is the replacement Biggby's, in space that had been designed to be a bank which it turned out no bank wanted.


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Remember when these stickers were sitting beside a dining table? Good times, good times.


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The back side of the building was covered in vines, and color-turned leaves. It looked great, really.


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Path behind Biggby #1 that looks almost like a garden path to an enchanted land that turns out just to be a parking lot.


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From the back to the front of the coffee shop, though. Looks good, doesn't it?


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That piece of art behind the shell of the former everything.


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Sign to the employees that never got taken down.


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View from outside through the smashed walls to see a bathroom and the dining room.


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Glimpse of the Biggby Operating Philosophy through the opened rear door.


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The back room, though you can see all the way through to the street out front of the building.


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Hey, aren't they going to need those posters about how they totally have to verify that only government-authorized residents of the United States can make coffee over at the new place too?


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One last look, from the old Biggby into the new.


I haven't been back to this spot since taking these pictures, believe it or not. My understanding is that if all went to plan, then, what's there now is a parking lot, because that was the worst of all possible options.

Trivia: The ``twang'' --- the lurching forward of the orbiter when the space shuttle main engines first ignited --- at the Flight Readiness Firing ahead of the first space shuttle flight was 25.5 inches. The expectation was 19 inches, but this was considered ``not out of the spectrum''. Source: Development of the Space Shuttle 1972 - 1981, T A Heppenheimer.

Currently Reading: The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA's Visionary Leader George M Low, Richard Jurek.

krazy koati

He said that they'll cure

No interesting or fun side-effects like alligator transformation or turning into a puddle of goo or anything yet. Sorry to report. I'll let you know if that changes.


Later in November I walked all the way to East Lansing, paying a return visit to one particular place. You'll see photos of that today and tomorrow, all going well.

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The parking lot of the former Biggby #1, and obviously long before that, an Arby's in East Lansing. That's not my car in the parking lot there. I don't know whose it was. After I'd been photographing a while --- without going into the actual building --- someone came up and asked if I needed anything and maybe it was him, but then, where was he for the half-hour or so I spent circling the property?


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Looking at the overhang and the now-empty sign.


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What's left of the front room, with the fieldstone wall and everything.


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Looking ``out'' and through the front window.


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You'd hardly know it ever had a Trivia Question of the Day blackboard there, would you?


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Tile floor partially torn up and revealing an earlier tile floor beneath it.


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It looks to me like directional arrows to, I don't know, guide people swiftly through the Arby's line? Except this is pointing out the door so I guess it was there for people who'd finished eating and didn't know where to find the exit?


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The remains of the dining room. Our last visit we sat around where the leftmost pipe was.


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Looking from the front into the dining room (left) and ordering counter (right).


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The modern-art sculpture that I don't actually know was demolished, but that I don't have hopes for.


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The overhang and empty sign, with East Lansing in the background. The apartment building there is new, not two years old.


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Panorama view of the building from the west side. Someday I will take a panoramic view that works.


Trivia: In October 1910 William Randolph Hearst announced a prize of $50,000 for a flight from coast to coast that took less than thirty days. Source: First Flight: The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane, T A Heppenheimer.

Currently Reading: Thurber: A Biography, Burton Bernstein. Not a word about the short-lived cartoon The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty, just because the series came out a year after the book was finished. Tch.

krazy koati

I said what are these?

Couple weeks ago Sparrow Hospital, one of the two big hospital chains squatting on Lansing, opened up appointments for people in my category, Class XVIII, adults with absolutely no known underlying conditions. I signed up for the first slot I could get, this Saturday at 1:45 in the former Sears that Sparrow's set up as a Covid testing and vaccination center.

Tuesday morning Meijer's left a message that they had appointments available at the South Lansing store for Wednesday. Was it worth trying for a shot three days earlier? I asked the question and then realized yes, of course it was. But by the time I called back they were full up for Wednesday. They had Thursday appointments, though, and two days earlier is still two days better. Made an appointment for 12:25.

The one caution: as best bunny_hugger could tell Meijer's was giving out the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Which is vastly better than waiting nervously, of course, but I'd prefer the higher-efficacy two-shot vaccines. (We were both shocked to learn of someone who cancelled an appointment for a two-shot vaccine when a single-shot came up. Like, I understand being afraid of the needle, but so afraid over a matter this important?)

I got to the South Lansing Meijer's and at the door someone asked if I was there for the vaccination. They were asking everyone, although I suspected they might have guessed the printout of my appointment time was what prompted the asking. They set up a queue wandering through some of the kitchenware section, and though it was long it was moving well. I entered the store about ten minutes ahead of my appointment and was at the check-in desk just at 12:25. Another clipboard, for me to record my address and doctor's name and boring medical history (no known allergies, no medications I'm on, no recent vaccinations, no surgeries, no nothing) and join the queue wandering through the seasonal items. So, ah, if you need a barbecue grill scrubber? This isn't a good week for that.

So, I got to the station and the nurse asked how my day was going, and I realized I had to say this was a great day. Not sure the nurse took my meaning, but that's all right. The jab was fast and painless, I got a fresh appointment for 12:25 three weeks from then, and went to sit out my fifteen minutes. This on a set of folding chairs that Meijer set a coupon booklet titled 'Redefine Wellness' or something like that on. Many people abandoned the booklets from their chairs, forcing the employee sanitizing chairs to have to collect and discard them. It's a strange reaction to me, since, like, it's four pages of health-related coupons. Would you say you definitely aren't going to need a bottle of Tylenol before the end of the year, and wouldn't rather have that for one less dollars of money?

I have been nervous about shopping given that the pandemic is completely out of control and the governor has apparently given up on even trying to contain it. Like, to the point that I did not go with bunny_hugger to Horrock's for vegetables this week. But since I was already at Meijer's and had accepted the risk of spending about forty minutes there for everything related to vaccination, I figured to take the chance for the rest of our grocery shopping. So I hope we're stocked now with enough of the basics for a couple weeks. My guess is after two weeks I'll be reasonably safe to drop in on stores again. I did get a fountain drink from the Meijer's freestyle Coke machine, a Mello Yello Zero limeaid/citrus blast that was wonderfully, intensely tart, as happy treat.

My arm did start feeling a bit sore by evening, and moreso in the morning. The kind of soreness from a good punch, or from sleeping on it wrong, that sort of thing. I wasn't sure in the morning if I was actually sore or if I'm just 48 years old. Did decide I wasn't going to do anything productive today, and if you don't count my blog-writing, I kept to that. Don't tell work.


Now on to the pictures! So here's stuff from early November, including my walking down to the Capitol the Saturday after the election.

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Walking past the former and future neighborhood center. Here they've demolished the building that used to have that nice corner-facing entrance, but you can still see the old doors and access to the now vanished sections.


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A sidewalk block laid down in June of 1908, by J F Sowa's construction company. This nearly 113-year-old block of sidewalk is not the oldest in convenient walking distance of our house. You can learn a bit more about Sowa at bunny_hugger's blog, and see what really old sidewalks she's found, too.


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The Artist's Ave apartment building, one of those things I didn't even know existed before the pandemic got me walking around town. Note that they're still decorated for Halloween.


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Though the city would, sanely, not have a Silver Bells parade, it did decorate for the event.


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The State Tree, set outside the capital. Also a gathering of Covid-45 supporters who just could not believe that he lost and America won the 2020 election.


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New around town: historical banners. This one's for the Hotel Olds, built in 1926, which in the 1960s would be taken over by the Jack Tar hotel chain. It's now the (Not That) Romney State Office Building.


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Sunset view of the State Tree and the capitol and all.


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Historical marker for stuntmen, including Clement A Sohn, who'd dive from planes using bat-like wings and Arzeno Eugene Selden, who'd do a handstand at the top of a 165-foot-tall steel pole.


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Ghost sign for ... I can't make it out ... in one of the brick buildings downtown, near 300 East Michigan Avenue. The building is a gallery today.


Trivia: An act passed in 1536 by Henry VIII made it treason for persons of royal English blood to marry without the sovereign's consent. Source: The Life of Elizabeth I, Alison Weir.

Currently Reading: Thurber: A Biography, Burton Bernstein.

krazy koati

Doctor gave me these

Happy news! I got my pfirst Pfizer shot today. Full story to follow.


It was another week of building my humor blog around other people's stuff. Here's the recent offerings:

Now let me wrap up the Halloween 2020 walk around town.

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A particularly fearsome Pac-Man-y spooky standee.


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Couple of pumpkins on the upper porch of one of Lansing's fine brick houses. Not sure what the white tubes that look like non-functional gutters do for the house.


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That well-decorated house in the full daylight.


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A nice pumpkin-decorated porch.


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And here's our own house, with the gravestones set out for the first time in years, and the autumn flag set up.


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And our pumpkins, ready for the evening.


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bunny_hugger carved a couple plastic pumpkins to give us reusable jack-o-lanterns. These are set with electric candles on timers so they light and turn off for the evening without our having to go up to the attic.


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Our place by night. We set out an honor bin for candy in case trick-or-treaters came by, but they didn't.


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And here's the house by night. There's no jack-o-lantern in the second upstairs window because there's no place to put a jack-o-lantern in that window.


Trivia: An article in the February 1895 Electrical Engineer announced the forming of the Nikola Tesla Company, with a capitalization of US$5,000. The sum seems absurdly low; Tesla later said that Edward Dean Adams, on the board of directors, alone invested $100,000. Source: Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World, Jill Jonnes.

Currently Reading: Thurber: A Biography, Burton Bernstein.

krazy koati

And when they look you over

bunny_hugger's parents wondered whether Pookie's whimpering and crying woke us up. Not me, no. I suspect Pookie covering my face wouldn't wake me up. But bunny_hugger always has a harder time sleeping than I do. We had the proper bed again, not the air mattress, but it wasn't really wide enough for the two of us and she considered the air mattress, which was deflated.

Breakfast/lunch was scrambled eggs, a specialty of her father's. We started dyeing eggs in the early afternoon, in time to get a call from her brother and the proposal to have a Facetime chat. That would eventually happen. I thought to try something and put an egg in the blue dye partway through the call, just to see what happens if you leave the egg in forever. It turns out that this comes out great, with colors as intense as you hope Easter eggs will have. It's just a bottleneck when you only have the six dyes to give everybody fifteen minutes to set. It might be worth it, though.

Our egg dye of choice this year was Dudley's and bunny_hugger disapproved of the change in Dudley's figure. His 60s-70s design looked like, you know, contemporary cel animation for a TV special. The redesign makes him that blobby shapeless thing you get when you're told to do a CGI rendition of a character and don't have time to design it. Worse, though, is that the dyes never seemed to fully dissolve. Maybe we didn't use hot enough water. Maybe we used vinegar in ones that shouldn't have had vinegar. But even crushing the tablets and stirring left little pellets of potential dye un-dissolved, however long we took. This wasn't all bad; somehow, for example, this caused speckles on nearly every egg, including the 15-minute ones. It's gorgeous but if you want a solid color that messed things up.

We also had an 80s Radical coloring set, bits of food dye and plastic bags to just squirt eggs into and roll around. In previous years this was the 60s Tie-Dye coloring set and it makes more sense as that. A tiny bit of dye goes a long, long way; I ended up using the leftovers of bunny_hugger's rad 80s tie-dyes and still had pretty good egg swirls out of it.

I took a nice walk around town, seeing the park and the downtown areas. You'll be seeing those photographs in ... under a year? Probably. And called my parents to confirm they had a quiet Easter and hadn't done anything much since I last talked to them Wednesday.

After dinner (Welsh rarebit) we did set up for Mice and Mystics again --- it went quicker this time --- and we resumed the chapter. Our good luck faltered, as we were getting just creamed once again by roaches, the pettiest of minions. I finally ended up using a bit of (non-limited) magic to get the last roach off the board. And then we remembered we had a party item that would have let us get rid of half the roaches effortlessly. Well, for next time, then. We did not get to the end of the chapter, but we did get a good bit closer and we are --- touch wood --- still in really great shape to succeed. Here's hoping.

We couldn't spend a second night, or even stay past midnight this night, as bunny_hugger had to teach Monday morning. So we gave our farewells, and let her parents say goodbye to Fezziwig, and set out with our half of the eggs and leftover rarebit and all. Not included: a pedometer that her father bought because he had the chance to buy a pedometer; bunny_hugger doesn't need one and I don't much care to meter my peds. But yes included: some long bamboo sticks of the kind they use to keep thick burgers together because it turns out you get a lot of food-holding bamboo sticks in an order. Then I had to come back in, looking for a lost cell phone, until bunny_hugger called from my car to say it was found. I suspected as much when I heard the phone ring.

I drove home, safe and sound, despite not having my wallet and thus my license.


More walking around the neighborhood on Halloween 2020, here.

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Person putting up a bunch of skeleton netting over the bushes.


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Some cool Pac-Man-style ghosts hanging around the yard.


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And another of those Pac-Man-ish ghosts. What's going on here?


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Here's what's going on here: this house made a bunch and gave them out. They'd get up to a dozen blocks away that I saw.


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And the most impressive standee at that house: this Beetlejuice-y land serpent. I don't know if this was meant to be included in the ``help yourself'' category and I don't think anyone else dared take it.


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This one's less spooky and more startled or a bowling ball.


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And here's someone who just decorated their backyard to the point it looks like a Northport Italian restaurant's patio dining.


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Some spooky signs plus the reminder that oh yeah, the election was still ahead.


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Tree full of ghosts here.


Trivia: The first known self-propelled toy locomotive was a wind-up produced by a Connecticut clock manufacturer in 1856. It did not run on rails. Source: Wondrous Contrivances: Technology at the Threshold, Merritt Ierley.

Currently Reading: Thurber: A Biography, Burton Bernstein. Oh, now, this is an interesting flight of fancy, from a letter Thurber wrote while in Bermuda recovering from writing The Male Animal (the play):

The only ideas I've had down here don't amount to much. I'm going to do a book of animal drawings for young and old, with text describing them: the bandicoot, the platypus, the coatimundi, Bosman's potto, the aardvark, and half a hundred others. The kind of easy and soothing idea that a broken-down playwright gets.
Nothing seems to have come of it (it was big talk while recuperating from an ordeal) but, oh, what an interesting prospect.

PS: How March 2020 Treated My Mathematics Blog, which was surprisingly good, I believe on the strength of Pi Day readers.