Tilting toward windmills …

Ah! Finally a post on something other than politics. Recently I tripped across an article on a new small output, small wind turbine whose design is meant to resemble a tree!

And so I was thrown back down memory lane to the set design of my childhood filled with farms with barns and windmills dotting the landscape.  Windmills were used to pump water but somewhere between childhood and my teens, the cost of the electricity to run a pump became more economical than the cost of maintaining a windmill with a mechanical pump powered by free fuel (wind).  You have to look hard now to see a working windmill in Wisconsin.*

Wind farms which generate power measured in megawatts, like other power generation (coal, nuclear, gas, oil), are sited outside of the sight-line of large population centers. When the wind stops blowing, the power that was being produced by a wind farm needs to be replaced with power generated by other means.  We the consumers don’t see the wind turbines stop spinning, we don’t know the source of fuel for our power, and so we don’t modify any behaviors based on a change in the availability of our  “free” windy fuel source.

But! I am excited by the prospect of smaller, scalable, distributed wind generation:

  • Visibility.  Consumers can observe when the wind is blowing.  When the wind is not spinning the blades, usage can be modified to reduce reliance on electric grid power.
  • Portability. I presume smaller would be easier to re-site to take better advantage of available wind.
  • Battery storage!  Integration with battery energy storage!  When the wind is blowing and you’re not using much power — sleeping, working elsewhere — the wind generation can be used to charge a battery.  When your consumption goes back up — making coffee, cooking — the battery helps to supply the additional load. (Developments in battery technology are amazing too … but that’s another story.)
  • Costs.  As demand goes up, the market will get bigger, costs (purchase, maintenance, life cycle) will come down.
  • Better designs.  As demand goes up, the market will get bigger, designs will be more diverse.  (I am not a big fan of the aesthetics of the little tree, but hey! It’s a great start. There will be better designs.  There will be worse.  Take joy along the way.)
  • Business creator.  There will be a need for electricians and training for people installing and servicing small wind generators.
  • Other.  I leave this bullet for the unintended consequences that always come with new technologies and new development.  I know my list is incomplete

So here I am full circle tilting at windmills …

*Aside: These.people.know.windmills.  Their website is to get wonderfully lost in — windmill parts, photos, information.  It’s all here. Ball valves and Marcy cylinders. Whoa!




A shift from ‘campaign’ to ‘administration’?

Whilst reading the news this morning, I noticed that the appointment of Robert Mueller was reported on Ozy as “to investigate Russian election meddling and possible collusion with President Donald Trump’s administration.”  (Viva’s bold of administration.)

And so maybe there IS progress.  I’ll say it again, the campaign is over, the election is history, there is a president resident in the White House.  And it is unlikely there would be any repercussions from proven campaign connivery#.

But the administration.  Yes!  I believe we should demand transparency from President Trump* — that he release his income tax returns, divest or operate a blind trust.  Prove that the Presidency is not just an acquisition of the Trump Organization because it’s not operating like any Presidency I’ve seen in my lifetime.  Good grief!  Jimmy Carter sold the peanut farm …

So finally, stop looking at the campaign! It’s over and done.  Investigate the repercussions, i.e. the administration we’re living with.  Demand disclosure or fully investigate this administration’s ties to, well, Russia’s a good start …

# Conniver:  verb, to operate secretly; conspire.

Connivery: noun, the completed action of operating secretly; conspiring.  Viva suggests connivery be added to the English lexicon as she is a supporter of making nouns verbs and verbs nouns.

* Yes, Ann.  I die a little every time I type these words.

I fling poo!

Hmm.  Yesterday the Justice Department appointed special counsel, Robert Mueller, to investigate the ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.   And the (initial) response of President Trump was to point at the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton’s campaign, witch hunts


On a business trip in Denver, CO several years ago,  a t-shirt in a window just cracked me up — a brown t-shirt with a smiling monkey and the words ‘I fling poo!’ next to it and today I am reminded of that goofy, simple t-shirt.

And I am saddened it is the presidency that sparked that memory.

Sports, politics, and analogies.

I love a good analogy.  But how do we determine if an analogy is “good”?  For me an analogy is good if I’m able to draw a clear picture connecting something I know nothing about to something I know something about.  Fair enough. But analogies fall apart and the connection of politics and elections to merely winning or losing a sporting event is a simple line drawing that needs to die.

In politics sports, the losers will get on their bus and drive back to where they came from until the next election game. The winners will obviously be, well, winners and do what winners do, right?  Take the ball and go home.

But hold on.   If we turn the analogy around and politics are sports, the losing team doesn’t get on a bus.  The losing team remains in the dugout, or on the bench. Stadium center might be configured as a tennis court, a baseball diamond, a rugby pitch, a hockey rink.  Fans remain in the stands.  The stadium continues to operate, concessions are sold and whether we’re interested or not, we all live together through all the games.  No one takes the ball and goes home.

And I hope the current cage-match the POTUS is waging against the office of President ends soon even as I recognize there are fans in the stand who came to see exactly that.  A cage-match.   And that’s hard to take, knowing that there are others who long for this kind of sport.

With Trump’s disclosure of classified information to Russian officials in the Oval Office, I’ve reached the conclusion that the primary havoc and damage he has done and continues to do is to the sureness, the authority, the dignity expected of someone sworn in to playing the position of President of the United States.

And if you happen to live in the red, white, and blue section of the stadium, whether you like the cage matches or not, he’s damaged us all.

Because after all, planet earth, this United States this stadium is home.





Mistaken Identity

Early evening, dusky, we saw police lights rolling out our front windows, the blue and red of coming and going but in this case stopping.

And I thought I recognized the stopped car, but couldn’t be sure — my neighbor who is in high-school and, or his friends?

Certainly something is wrong, is not right when the police did not just stop the car but blocked the street from through traffic. Two black police SUVs and a cruiser. And something is wrong when the police have guns pointed at the car and its occupants.

And I watched as the driver exited the car, hands up, backing up, patted down and cuffed. And then a passenger, and a second passenger — hands up, backing up, patted down, cuffed, car emptied. Hood, trunk, doors opened. All clear.

My neighborhood is bird-chirping quiet. While the scene unfolded in the street, people walked their dogs to the corner and looked, I watched a cyclist stay the course and just pedal past the cruiser. Life goes on after all. And my husband took the dog out and while he did my neighbor came out of her house, her son’s home. What is going on? There had been no sirens, no sound of warning to get her out of the house any sooner.

Today, I wake to the thought of my own identity mistaken. I’ve seen my doppelganger in a photo. And so I do not fault the police. There are bad, evil people out there and we know that the job we ask the police to do — to protect and serve — contains all the right, all the wrong, and all the grays in between. It is not binary. The bad guys have doppelgangers. The good guys have doppelgangers. Based on photographic evidence, it appears I might have been at a Stockholm Motorcycle Fair. I wasn’t. It looks like me, but it wasn’t.

Being presented with a photo of a mirror image of oneself taken across the ocean does not register on the scale of the experience of a physical confrontation with real authority, real weapons, real and present danger while driving in your own neighborhood.

And as I put my little safety pin on today, it looks wretchedly pathetic, a minuscule token of what? Awareness? Insight? Empathy? No, it can’t be. After watching that drama with real police, real guns, real African-American teenagers backed into a wall — all that experience, all that fear, all so young. No, I don’t have nearly enough for anybody.

I’m too old to carry a security blanket and suck my thumb.

The safety pin will have to do for now.

The pigs are here.


“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” – The Pigs.  (George Orwell, Animal Farm, 1945.)

Actually the pigs have been around for a while but yesterday, punch drunk on power, they passed out the GOP replacement bill for Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, the ACA.   Then they hopped on some buses, drank some beer, and drove off the edge of a cliff around the White House Rose Garden like the lemmings pigs fearless feckless leaders that they are.

And upon closer inspection, we’re hearing news that this bill does not replace ACA benefits.   Oh?  What’s this?  The House GOP after successfully passing a repeal of the ACA after 7 years of trying, have lobbed a polished turd healthcare bill over to the Senate.  Now Senators are scrambling to write their own replacement bill!

The House GOP Playbook:

  1. Pass a piece of token legislation.
  2. Send it to the Senate.
  3. Hope the Senate rejects your bill and saves you from your electorate.
  4. Have some beers. Take a bus ride. Repeat.

And I wonder what they believe governance is actually for?  If I were new to the US, I would guess in order of importance, that House Representatives:

  1.  Get elected and get re-elected at any cost.  And by ‘at any cost’, we mean Citizens United.  And by ‘Citizens United’, we actually mean not a person as a citizen, but a corporation as a citizen; and united as in a one-sided, unilateral point-of-view.
  2. Worship at the feet of the Golden Calf of Capitalism.
  3. Anything they can get away with and still get re-elected. (Point #1)

It does not appear that lurching toward a saner, kinder, more perfect union is in their best interest.  The GOP is sick, in need of political medicine and some oral hygiene.  They have lost their way even as I am quite happy to see them drive their bus over the ledge. More equal pigs be gone and take your old ideas with you!

For reference:

NPR reporting on the passage, announcement, and victory lap in buses around the White House Rose Garden. Wha’?! For serious reals?!

(Why I hope the above link to NPR source is still here in a year …)

LA Times side-by-side comparison of May 4, 2017 AHCA plan and the existing ACA.

2017.05.06 – Update:  I removed my comparison of the two political parties as a mom- and pop-shop.   Although it was a reflection of and from when I was younger, over the years family structure, relationships, organizations have changed and I would like to explore the respective “personalities” of the political parties with a bit more thoughtful consideration.

And the mom-and-pop shop comparison is woefully dated.  It makes me feel old.  <smile>