At the dog park:
After the dog park, phase I:
Not that I was trying to read, mind you. Sometimes one makes sacrifices for one's companions.
Back in May, which seems like ten years ago rather than ten months, I started going through all my CDs in the order that I acquired them. I don't listen every day, and some (like Bizet's Carmen) take a bit more time than others (like a 4-song mini CD of Buddy Holly songs).
I've now arrived at about the middle of my collection, with a set of four CDs I bought on 19 September 1993. Holy Alternative, Batman. I had just started doing one shift a week at WLUW-Chicago, Loyola University's radio station, having made a deal to take the unpopular Saturday 8pm to midnight shift in exchange for doing whatever I wanted. They agreed, and I started the only Alternative show on what was then an all-dance station.
So the next four I've got cued up: the Charlatans UK Some Friendly, Eno & Cale Wrong Way Up, the Cure Disintegration, and U2 Zooropa.
These really take me back. Not that I'd experience my 20s again without knowing what I know now (or, at least, without the emotional maturity I've earned since then), but I did like the music.
We've spent 54 weeks in the looking-glass world of Covid-19. And while we may have so much more brain space than we had during the time a certain malignant personality invaded it every day, life has not entirely stopped. Things continue to improve, though:
Finally, today is the 40th anniversary of the day President Reagan got shot. I'm struggling a bit with the "40 years" bit.
In case you needed proof that the world didn't suddenly become an Enlightenment paradise on January 20th, I give you:
You will be happy to know, however, that Egypt has passed its 400-meter kidney stone.
The Ever Given continues to plug up the Suez Canal, halting some $10 billion a day in global trade:
Canal authorities said on Saturday that dredgers had managed to dig out the rear of the ship on Friday night, freeing its rudder, and that by Saturday afternoon they had dredged 18 meters down into the canal’s eastern bank, where the ship’s bow was stuck solid. But after a salvage team failed once more to dislodge the four-football-field-long leviathan from the sand bank where it ran aground on Tuesday, blocking all shipping traffic through the canal, global supply chains churned closer to a full-blown crisis.
Easing the bottleneck depends on the salvagers’ ability to clear away the sand, mud and rock where the Ever Given is stuck and to lighten the ship’s load enough to help it float again, all while tugboats try to push and pull it free. Their best chance may arrive on Monday, when a spring tide will raise the canal’s water level by up to about 18 inches, analysts and shipping agents said.
All the while, they must hope the Ever Given remains intact. With the ship sagging in the middle, its bow and stern both caught in positions for which it was not designed, the hull is vulnerable to stress and cracks...experts said.
I found this sentence particularly amusing: "[T]he Ever Given had succumbed to Murphy’s Law: Everything that could go wrong did, starting with the ship’s size, among the world’s largest."
The ship's size had nothing to do with Murphy's Law. Evergreen made a business decision to float a 400-meter container ship and send it down Suez. And the Suez authorities let it through. Maybe it's not so much Murphy's Law as the Omnibus Explanation: "When you cannot explain a human decision through logic, the actual reason for the decision is stupidity."
Cassie, maintaining her dignity in public:
Josh Marshall looks at the results of this week's election in Israel and concludes that only one thing has stopped the country yet again from forming a government:
It’s all such a mess there’s a serious discussion of forming a short term government which would simply pass a law barring anyone currently under indictment, as Netanyahu is, from serving as Prime Minister. In other words, a government whose sole act would be to remove Netanyahu from the political scene before yet another election.
This all brings the matter into some focus. Netanyahu has gone from being Israel’s indispensable man (in the eyes of his supporters, who are legion) to the man whose presence makes it impossible for the state to govern itself.
Removing Netanyahu from the scene is like pulling the string out of the necklace. Everything falls apart. And the new far-right nationalist party, which Netanyahu lured into existence to sustain his rule, is probably one that at least some of the center right parties wouldn’t join. But it’s Netanyahu himself that currently makes Israel ungovernable. We hear again and again that Israel is bitterly divided down the middle and can’t be governed. That’s certainly the verdict of the last four elections. But the constellation of different parties at the moment are all basically situated around him. It seems highly unlikely that a post-Netanyahu Israel would elect a government of the left. But there are various right wing or centrist governments one can imagine, with fairly broad coalitions, as long as Netanyahu isn’t in the picture. He’s like the stuck cargo ship which has to be removed before functioning politics in the country can resume.
One can hope. At some point Israel will see the back of him; why not now?
Since Wednesday, a 400-meter container ship has blocked the Suez Canal in Egypt, disrupting international trade and costing the world economy millions per day:
International efforts to dislodge the skyscraper-size cargo ship blocking Egypt's Suez Canal intensified but made little progress Thursday as the maritime traffic jam wreaked havoc on global trade.
Egyptian authorities said navigation was still "temporarily suspended" after the container got stuck sideways across the canal because of a severe dust storm and poor visibility.
That meant traffic remained at a standstill on a route that accounts for about 12 percent of global trade as the shipping saga passed the 48-hour mark.
The Suez Canal usually allows 50 cargo ships pass daily between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, providing a vital trade corridor between Europe and Asia.
Photos released by Suez authorities showed a digger removing earth and rock from the canal's bank and around the ship's bow.
More on that in a sec. The BBC explains how the canal authorities have tried unsuccessfully to get the ship out of the way:
The focus however has now turned to digging out sand and mud from around the vessel's hull.
The Netherlands-based dredging company Boskalis is managing this operation.
The ship's management company BSM says an additional specialist "suction dredger" is now in place able to shift 2,000 cubic meters of material every hour.
"It might take weeks depending on the situation" to free the ship using a combination of dredging, tugging and the removal of weight from the vessel.
These efforts have led to the meme of the pandemic:
I've spent the last few weeks in my off-hours beavering away at a major software project, which I hope to launch this spring. Meanwhile, I continue to beaver at my paying job, with only one exciting deployment in the last six sprints, so things are good there. I also hope to talk more about that cool software before too long.
Meanwhile, things I need to read keep stacking up:
Finally, check out the World Photography Organisation's 2021 photo contest results.
Cassie went to the vet this morning for the wellness check required by (and paid for) by the shelter I adopted her from. The vet took a look at the incision site for her spay surgery, which Cassie has been licking frequently. You can see what's coming:
She is not taking it well:
She looks so sad, I can't stand it. But if her spay incision gets infected, she'll need a cone a lot longer than 10 days.
Poor dog. I'll make sure she gets extra cuddle time tonight.