Sunday, August 2, 2020

Butterflies, Eagles, and Norms

Tammy and I are keeping watch over a monarch caterpillar chrysalis that's metamorphosing in our den. It formed its chrysalis on the 24th of July—9 days ago. The monarch butterfly usually appears within 9-14 days. I'd like to capture some video of it as it emerges if I'm around so I can bookend this video I took of it forming its chrysalis. I was amazed at how quickly it changed from a caterpillar to a chrysalis. 

Tammy had ordered a dozen caterpillars from an online site but they were never able to fill her request. We needed to go only as far as our backyard garden where we'd planted a few milkweed plants to find what we were looking for. We figured one was enough and allowed any others to remain in the garden. We'll be planting more milkweed next spring to attract them. 

I've got a nice rotation of riding, walking, and golfing that's keeping me active outdoors. I like the variety. It wasn't all that many years ago when my only focus was road riding. How I never burned out on a steady diet of 300-mile (480 km) weeks or more I'm not sure. Those days are likely done, at least for this life. One thing I've noticed with my gravel riding: I sometimes get pounding headaches after a longish ride—headaches that develop later in the evening after a ride and oftentimes stay with me through the next day. I thought (and still sorta do) that the headaches were the result of not hydrating well enough during and after my rides but I'm not so certain that's the reason for them. I'm wondering if there's something in the gravel dust I'm exposed to that may be causing them?

I carded an eagle last week playing with Steve at Valleywood Golf Course on the 16th hole from 173 yards out with a 5 iron. We had to wait for the greenskeepers to exit the green before we could play our approach shots. They sat off to the side and waited for us. I knew I'd hit the ball well but I couldn't see how close to the hole it finished. When we came up to the green, I asked the greenskeepers if they saw where my ball landed because I wasn't seeing it. They both replied, "It's in the cup!" Haha! How fun was that!? The last eagle I made was on the 1st hole at Wyandotte Golf Course in Winona, MI at least 15 years ago. It's a par 5 and the group ahead of me waved me on. My ball landed on the green leaving me at least 30 feet for eagle. I somehow managed to hole it out with an audience. It's funny how those memories stay with me all these years later. I'm certain my most recent eagle will have its place as well in my list of memories. I'm a simple guy. 

The COVID-19 virus continues to plague the US while Republicans continue to downplay it and appear to want nothing to do with easing the financial burden on so many who are struggling to put food on their table and pay their mortgages, say nothing of utilities and car payments. I think their plan is to offer little to nothing in the way of assistance, forcing people back to work thereby giving the appearance that all is well and that we've put the virus behind us. It's ludicrous thinking and something the virus would laugh at if it could. 

It's not helpful that we have a president who can't tell the truth about anything. The thing is, had he been honest with the American people from the outset and led us through this difficult period by being honest about what we're up against, he would've been seen as a man doing his best for the good of the country. Instead, we have a president who is clearly only out for himself and will do anything imaginable and unimaginable to win the election and retain power. Who would've ever thought that a political party would force people to the polls to vote during a pandemic when they could've ensured a safe and fair election through mail-in ballots? This is especially concerning in high-minority areas where Republicans have drastically reduced the number of polling places, forcing people to stand in lines for hours on end to cast their ballots. 

I read an article in the Boston Globe a few days ago about what happens if Trump loses the election but refuses to concede the loss? Yes, that's the sort of thing that's actually being talked about here. What then? From the article: 
"Using a role-playing game that is a fixture of military and national security planning, the group envisioned a dark 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day, one in which Trump and his Republican allies used every apparatus of government — the Postal Service, state lawmakers, the Justice Department, federal agents, and the military — to hold onto power, and Democrats took to the courts and the streets to try to stop it."
The article goes on to talk about how our form of government relies on norms, not laws for transition of power. What if a president takes it upon themselves to disregard those norms? What then? Here's a link to the article.  

I been using my rear-mounted camera to enhance my ride videos and have managed to record two dogs giving chase to me so far. Plus, I've been playing around with the TimeWarp feature on my GoPros to capture some time-lapse video. I like the effect it creates but I suppose I should be careful to not use it too much. It's pretty cool.

Edit: I nearly forgot! Tammy and I celebrated our 21 year wedding anniversary on Thursday. We took a nice drive up to Stillwater and bummed around the city for a few hours, enjoying a late lunch at the Freight House. How does 21 years get away so quickly? Our rhythm is off a little with the pandemic all around us. Still, it was nice to be able to celebrate in our own little subdued way.

That's all I've got.

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