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HugeHoneycrisp - 500 Wide.jpg

Carol and I went grocery shopping this morning, and came home with the biggest damn apple either of us had ever seen. It’s a honeycrisp, which we’ve had before, many times. However, none of them were ever like this honeycrisp. They weren’t labeled “giant honeycrisp” or anything. And while this was the largest one in the display, the others were just about as big. If you don’t eat apples very often, you’ll find a comparison photo between The Giant Apple and an ordinary Gala below:

Apple Comparison - 500 Wide.jpg

Wow. Just wow.

Yesterday, Arizona’s governor made masking optional, and allowed bars, restaurants, and gyms to open at full capacity. O dear Lord, the dudgeon; the moaning and the groaning and the predictions that everyone in Arizona is gonna die. Well, the graph of COVID-19 deaths here is down to single digits per day, and over three million people in Arizona have received at least one shot. The state is running some of its vaccine centers 24/7, and now anyone over the age of 17 can make an appointment to be vaccinated. No one knows how many people had a brush with the virus but never even noticed. It might be a lot, mostly younger, and now mostly resistant to infection. We’re far closer to herd immunity than anyone in the media or government is willing to admit.

I check that ADHS graph every morning. No one knows why we had the fall/winter surge with mask compliance at 90% here. This tells me masks really don’t help much. Some of that may be because masks don’t protect your eyes. More may be that the virus does indeed travel as an aerosol, which might be slightly attenuated by a typical mask–but only slightly. No one knows, including our supposed “experts,” who say whatever they’re told by the people who own them, and lie on demand, all “for the greater good.”

The media (and most of our elites) really doesn’t want the pandemic to end. It was a titanic ego trip for them, to pump out endless panic porn and watch people obey them slavishly and persecute others who were skeptical. There’s backlash brewing: CNN’s ratings are in freefall, and the sooner they collapse and go under, the better. Some in the medical community are now calling foul on harassing the general public. Cord-cutting may finish the job that the backlash began: Carol and I dumped cable TV and now keep cable service solely for Internet access. I’ve been investigating Internet Radio to fill the gaps. The units are basically low-end computers with network connections, and can be had for less than $200. Music is big, but there is plenty of news and weather if you know their IPs. Internet radio is basically the stake hovering over the heart of cable TV/audio, and the hammer is coming down.

Reception of our local classical radio station KBAQ can be spotty. It gets disrupted when a jet flies over the house, heading for the Scottsdale airport. (This happens a lot.) They stream over the Internet, and with an Internet radio, I won’t have to worry about multipath or other species of radio interference.

Since we’ve moved to Phoenix, I’ve noticed that an entire genre of computer retailers is missing: the box shop. By that I mean a place that would put together a custom PC for you. I had a machine built at Fry’s back in 2018, but Fry’s is now gone. I had a great box shop up in Colorado Springs. That’s where my current (aging) desktop came from. I need a new one, but if box shops still exist here, they hide well. Yes, yes, I could do it myself, and if I must I will. But having done it many times before, I consider it a bad use of my time.

Alas, the Thermaltake case I used back in 2012, their BlacX, no longer exists. That’s the one with two SATA drive slots in the top panel, so you can plug barenaked SATA drives into the top for quick backups. I suspect the BlacX was popular in the LAN party era, but like box shops, LAN parties are receding into the misty past at 40% C. Thermaltake does make a 2-slot external SATA dock, which I’m guessing I’ll end up using.

The pool water is now at 61°. We bought a new solar cover a few weeks ago. As soon as the water hits 70°, we’ll spread it out, and in another week or so the water should be at 80°, which for me is the lower limit of swimming temperatures. Winter here was nice, but it’s gone. The pool makes the summers worthwhile.

I tried rereading Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men, but the 1968 Dover paperback I have is laid out with such small type that even with reading glasses, it gives me headaches. Ebooks arrived just in time for my old eyes. I also bought the NESFA Press hardcover of Believing, which is a collection of all the non-People stories of Zenna Henderson. It wasn’t cheap, but it’s a handsome book, and will replace several crumbling MMPBs from the ’60s. Oddly, it’s not on Amazon. I had to order it direct from NESFA.

And with that, I declare today over. Time to hit the sack. Much to do tomorrow.


  1. Orvan Taurus says:

    Once upon a time I had a visitor from Australia who not only boggled at the size of meals, especially breakfast, served in restaurants, but seemed astonished at the large size of potatoes. I jokingly told him, “Well, Idaho – where many potatoes are grown – is downwind of Hanford, you see, and…” };o)

    1. Have you ever noticed that the single potatoes for sale in the bins at your average supermarket are HUGE? Occasionally, I want a baked potato. ONE baked potato. I don’t want one that would feed Paul Bunyan! But the only way to get a reasonably sized potato is to buy the 5lb bag…and if I do that, 4lbs will go bad before I use them.

      1. Heh. Note that we bought ONE giant honeycrisp. They were not in bags. We’re going to have to plan a meal around it, because apples don’t keep from one day to another. Pork goes well with apples. I’m thinking a nice pork shoulder smothered in giant apple would be tasty. I’m also going to watch the produce department at Fry’s and see if this is a fluke, or if there really is a giant honeycrisp variety being bred true in some orchard somewhere.

  2. Tom Roderick says:

    Several times a week I just eat honeycrisp apple for my lunch. About HALF a normal sized one! That monster would feed me for a week’s worth of lunches.

    I couldn’t agree more with the comment about the giant potatoes. I have rummaged through the loose potato bins for far too long just to find one that would be right for a meal and not to feed an army division.

    Sometimes less is more and more is just way too much.

  3. Paul Woods says:

    My last computer was over 10 years old when I finally just replaced it. I’ve built my own in the past, but that one was built at a local “box shop” as you say, of which there were probably at least six I could name off the top of my head locally here in the Puget Sound region. This last time around looking for a new machine, only one of those seemed to still be making custom computers, and the selection of components was very limited, and for some reason, also very low end (my first guess was they had simply not updated their web-page for a few years, but after a visit to the store discovered I was wrong).

    Looking online I had better luck, and finally found a retailer called ecollegepc. Custom machine w/o all of the RGB effects that seems to be a synonym for “custom” on Google these days. I’ve bought two from them now, and they’ve been dead stable, very happy with them.

    I do miss the local retailers though that would happily build you something, or sell you any of the parts you wanted to have. I suspect trying to manage inventory that was constantly depreciating in value had to have been a challenge though.

  4. WILLIAM H MEYER says:

    “I check that ADHS graph every morning. No one knows why we had the fall/winter surge with mask compliance at 90% here.”

    The masks have never been anything but theater. Years ago, a friend who worked in environmental science explained to me that the fancy masks you can buy with the dual filters and whatnot “only stop the basketballs.” And the danger is rarely in the big stuff, but in the small.

    The Covid-19 virus particles — I’m not going to do multiple searches in order to apply clinical terms — are, from what I have read, unreasonably small. Submicron, as I recall. So the masks in general distribution are ineffective.

    And as to social distancing, that notion has now been documented to have come from a teen-ager’s science fair project. However, if distance were a useful factor, what would it be? Researchers have reported that the velocity of a sneeze can be as much as 100 ft/sec. A six foot separation seems unlikely to be effective.

    After some considerable digging, one of the worrisome details I learned is that in the data being collected on “cases”, each state makes its own determination as to what constitutes a case. Some count the presence of either live virus or antibodies, though the latter is not an active “case”, but evidence of a recovery.

    Gathering data from Johns Hopkins sounds impressive, but they are not the stewards of the collection methods, so the numbers they dutifully warehouse are of questionable value. As our mothers often said, it’s a mix of apples and oranges.

    And then there is the Great Barrington Declaration, authored by three epidemiologists who with great care and documentation explode the myths of the lockdown.

  5. Once a year or so my Mother would come home with a couple of those giant apples. I’m sure they had a name. My sister says she thinks they were simply “Giant Delicious” apples. Haven’t seen one in 40 years.

  6. Olli says:

    “Internet Radio”

    My version of it is an old smartphone and the Tivoli Albergo Clock Radio.

  7. ed says:

    “I need a new one, but if box shops still exist here, they hide well.”

    Try the local Craigslist computer ‘for sale’ section.

    There’s a guy in my town that does custom out of his garage. His clients are mostly gamers.

    Insuspect no business “license” or reporting to the IRS is done…but that’s his problem, not mine.


  8. Olli says:

    Comfortably Numb := Isaac Newton + “giant honeycrisp”;

  9. In re. apples, I went the other way, planing chestnut (one of the edible varieties) crabapples. My Mother is from Crab Orchard, after all. 😉

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