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Musings from the shed.

Rob Elshire

Trump is the loser.

1 min read

For the last 4 mornings, I have woken up wondering if the US presidential election had been called. This was the morning. Joe Biden won. Donald Trump Lost.

In an end fitting such a surreal election, Rudy Giuliani was holding a press conference making shit up about election theft at the time the announcement came through. The press conference was held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Perhaps the venue was chosen because the only place there was going to be a happy ending possible for Rudy is at the Fantasy Island adult book store next door.

Rob Elshire

Donald Trump vs. Democracy

2 min read

My old friend Trent Shepard from Urbana Illinois / Stephen's Bay NZ spent a few days with us this week. We watched much of the PBS coverage of the election yesterday. Too much really. We took a pause to bbq and have a really nice dinner sitting outside on our deck. When we finished, Trent, Robyn, and I went back out to the shed where the TV is a few minutes before Trump took the stage to speak. It was 2:30 AM Eastern time, but 8:30 PM here.

It was the most surreal thing I have ever seen. The president of the United (sic) States claimed that his voters were being disenfranchised by counting other peoples' votes. He declared that as far as he was concerned he already won the election and the voting must stop. He said he would take it to the supreme court.

We were in shock. The PBS commentators where in shock. Even though we had been warned about this scenario by Bernie Sanders a few weeks ago. Now the count goes on as does the dumpster fire that is 2020.

For me, the biggest take home lesson from this election, is that there are millions of selfish, bigotted Americans who agree enough with Donald J Trump to vote for him. Like nearly half of the people who voted. At the same time, the Democrats put forth an old, centrist, neo-liberal as the alternative. This makes me so, so sad.

The COVID-19 pandemic will rage on in America due to these selfish, bigotted people. Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, Ya'll Queda, under the leadership of Donald Trump, are racing headlong to Pyrrhic victory -- "Give me liberty and give me death". This is not fun to watch.

Rob Elshire

Agri-Tech Innovation Ecosystem Workshop

1 min read

I put this together for the first Centre for Entrepreneurial Agri Technology (Australian National University in Canberra) workshop a few years ago. There is a lot packed into this (even though the recording cut things short). This is one of my best pieces of integrative work.

Rob Elshire

2020 has frankly been terrible.

1 min read

Just a wee reminder of how fortunate we are in Aotearoa.

Rob Elshire

Friday Night

1 min read

You couldn't do anything more interesting than a Beans and a rabbit.

Robyn Johnston -- just now

This may, in fact, be true...

Rob Elshire

Data Harvest

1 min read

To the extent we do not add "value" to the data harvesters, we are invisible and outside their influence.

Rob Elshire

Kushner -- A Cheap Movie Villan Knock Off?

1 min read

I have a theory that Jared Kushner (like many of the characters in the Trump inner circle) is a cheap knock off of a fictional villan. The movie Hudson Hawk came out when Jared was 10 years old. Is it possible that he saw this movie and fancied himself the super rich sociopath Darwin Mayflower? Sounds like a posh white 'merican upper class name.... Every child must have aspirational goals.

If Jared was a brilliant self-made billionaire, he might come off as more than a wanna be Darwin Mayflower. The truth is less flattering. See below.

The one on the left.

Rob Elshire

Holiday in New Plymouth

1 min read

Auspicious Start

We started the holiday with a bus trip from Massey to town. The bus overheated on the way and had to stop to get a drink. Another passenger wished us "Good luck!" on our holiday.

Later that day....

When we arrived in New Plymouth, we checked into our hotel and noticed there was an awesome sunset underway. We went to the waterfront and took in the display.

Dressing up!

Just before the lockdown, Robyn got a new dress at an OP Shop in Whanganui for $1. This was the first opportunity to dress up for a dinner out. I wore an appropriate tie.

We had a wonderful time getting away from things. Lots of walking, visit to a park with a greenhouse, the museum and most of the op shops.

Rob Elshire

Unsent Letter to the Editor -- Indianapolis Star

3 min read

It is a rainy autumnal Sunday in Palmerston North.With the granny smith apples ripe and ready, it is a good day for pie making. We are under level 3 lock down for at least another week and a half, so we are not going anywhere today. Our government has been using science and the advice of trained professionals as they determine their response to the pandemic. Their actions, with the cooperation of a team of 5 million, are working. We have flattened the curve and may be on track to eliminate the virus in Aotearoa.

Yes, there are acute and will be long standing economic effects. For example, international tourism has ceased. When the borders will open again is unknown. At the same time, we all have access to health care (always). The central government provided 12 weeks of wage subsidies right as the lock down was announced. These were not loans. Additional economic support has been promised. As has a plan to change our economy to rely less on just a few industries.

This is not to say that the situation has been easy. It has not. Many are having a very difficult time of it. There is much uncertainty about the future. What will the new normal look like? Even so, a huge majority of the population supports the government and their decisions.

Meanwhile, things look very different in Indiana where I was born. See this article from 1 May 2020.

'A little bit of science' and 'a little bit of art': Holcomb gives plan to reopen Indiana

This archive link for when the above is no longer accessible.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200503085715/https://www.indystar.com/story/news/health/2020/05/01/gov...

This quote from the article says it all:

Duncan Lemp, 28, of Grant County, said he favored opening the economy completely now.

"Hoosiers are smart. Don’t treat us like we’re stupid," he said. "We already know social distancing. Trust the public. Give the people the choice to work. If they get sick, it’s on them."

Mr. Lemp seems to be the product of trickle down ignorance. The number of new cases each day continues to increase. There is no indication that the state has this under control or that they are doing enough testing to have accurate counts. It is likely to be much worse than they think it is.

Governor Holcomb might be better off using a lot of science. Instead, he is allowing religious services with no restrictions on gathering sizes starting May 8.  This is sooner than hair salons, and most restaurants (all of which have limitations on capacity).  Priorities are clear.

A lot of uncecessary deaths are on the horizon. Please tell me how the economy will be better for it and why in the world the economy is more important than peoples' physical and mental well being.

My pie is done and it is glorious. On to some chewy oatmeal bickies. Then a nice roast chicken with mexican rice. We are safe, healthy, and in a place lead by smart, humane, and competent people. BTW our prime minister is an agnostic 39 year old unwed mother full of compassion and strength. Priorities matter.

Rob Elshire

Know your business model?

2 min read

In an effort to replace 110v electronics, I am looking for a set of desktop computer speakers. Rather than buying something new, we try to purchase used items which reduces our footprint and helps keep e-waste out of landfills and such. I have had a TradeMe search for local used desktop speakers for a few weeks and nothing suitable is turning up.

Today, I decided to try We Reuse I.T. Ltd. (https://wereuseit.co.nz/) on Cuba street here in Palmy. The person there was very accommodating. He said there may be some speakers out back and if I would come back in 30 minutes he would go take a look. When I came back, it turns out there were not any. No worries, no big deal.

What happened next just baffles me. He suggested that I try the Warehouse. I explained that I was only interested in buying used. He said they were cheap at the Warehouse. I explained that it was not about price, but rather not buying new. He seemed confused that I would rather keep looking for a used item when new was cheap. I pointed out that I was actively trying to support their business model! I am not sure that it registered with him.

Ugh.

Update

Ended up finding a used set of powered speakers for a gold coin donation the next day.