Question of the month

Can you chill over a cup of hot tea with sugar, or does it have to be iced tea?


Question for next month (serious):

“If all you have are lemons, make lemonade.” In this adage, where does the sugar come from? Do you want to drink unsweetened lemonade just because you don’t have sugar? Actually, two questions.

Every so often I think about this adage. I’d appreciate feedback. Perhaps you know where the sugar comes from. Am I taking the adage too literally?

I’m not going to chill while I ponder these questions by sitting back to drink a cup of tea with sugar, hot or cold — or lemonade either.

Arizona Poppy

Late August, 2021 | Phoenix, Arizona

I’ve been watching the flowering plants that I see around where I live and walk. I’ve taken pictures of what I’ve spotted over the last couple of years.

I recently came upon this Arizona Poppy for the first time — Kallstroemia grandiflora. It’s a native, summer-flowering annual. It thrives on the summer rains which we have had a lot of.

A Blue Moon

Monday, August 23, 2021, Dawn | 15 Elul 5781

The Farmers’ Almanac explains the original meaning of what is called a Blue Moon. In short, it’s the third of four full Moons in one season. We’re now in the season bracketed by the summer solstice and the autumn equinox.

The solstice was on June 21st and the upcoming equinox is on September 22nd. The first full Moon after the solstice was on June 24th. The next full Moon was on July 23rd. Yesterday, August 22nd, was the third full Moon of the season, and the fourth full Moon is on September 20th. The August 22nd full Moon is the third of four full Moons this summer of 2021, so it is called a “Blue Moon.”

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the next Blue Moon will be in 2024.

This rule, third of four, doesn’t make sense to me. It seems to me that the exceptional fourth full Moon in a season is the special one so that it deserves a special name. I’m not going to argue with experts, though. I’m going to relax with a cup of hot tea with sugar.

SciTechDaily also has an article about the Blue Moon. It was through them that I found out that today’s full Moon is a Blue Moon. However, the rule of third of four didn’t make sense to me, so I looked it up in the Farmers’ Almanac also.

The first opportunity I had to photograph the full Moon was this morning at dawn. It looks the same to me as the Moon yesterday when astronomers declared it to be full. They peg it down to the minute — on Sunday, August 22, 2021, at 8:02 AM Eastern Time.

So here are two pictures at dawn on Monday.

When is the next full Moon? See the Farmers’ Almanac’s calendar.

But who picks up after their humans?

People around here are pretty good about picking up dog poop, especially in the parks. They rarely go out without a bag to scoop up the poop.

I’m posting pictures of a few signs that you see around the neighborhood that serve as reminders.

The first sign is vehement and tells people that to not pick up their dog’s poop is nothing less than a crime. And such criminals are guilty of creating a health hazard — that could come back to hit them.

The second sign is explicit but polite. It appeals to neighborliness and refrains from making scofflaws feel guilty of a crime or a social infraction.

One of the local park districts is earnest about helping the unfortunate soul who forgot a bag. By providing bags, no one has an excuse. The notice is polite — a kind reminder. This sign also has icons to teach dog owners how to use the bags. I really don’t know how many newbies there are, but anyone who has a dog has probably long ago figured out how to pick up the the poop in their own backyards.

So now on to my question. Who picks up after the human owners of the dogs? Human “excrement” is not literally poop of course. Americans are toilet trained long before they acquire trash to toss on the roadside.

The next sign is subtle about notifying humans that their littering is also a crime. It’s in legal code that the conscientious sign reader can figure out. “Here are two laws that you’re violating if you dump or litter! Just say NO!” This sign is on public open land which seems to be an inviting place for would-be criminals.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ve noticed that I’m a person who picks up human waste (sometimes). When I take a shopping bag with me and pass along public or undeveloped land, I can usually fill it. When I take a thirteen-gallon trash bag, in the course of my forty-minute walk I can usually fill it if a few days have passed since I last passed that way with a bag.

I earn cups of hot tea with sugar for my public service.

‘Flash Flood Watches across DC and part of surrounding counties as heavy rain moves through.’ Where does it come from?

According to FOX5 Washington DC:

Washington, D.C. and parts of the surrounding counties were under Flash Flood Warnings and Watches Friday morning as heavy rain poured from the sky.

And in other parts of the country, rain pours from where?

Fast food, fast litter

To my dismay, while I was walking the other day, I found the packaging of a fast food meal spread out in the bicycle lane of a nearby thoroughfare. I hadn’t gone out with a bag that day to collect trash, though. It’s not often that I take a bag, especially if I plan to walk in a developed area. I’m not going to trespass on private property. I just enter undeveloped land or public property — which may be the same thing. And I clean up the sidewalk and the curb.

But Providentially, the original take-out bag was also lying in the street. So I bagged up the garbage and took it home to my dumpster.

There were competitors, though. Ants had somehow discovered the remnants and were feasting. Ants are amazing. I can’t imagine how they know to travel yards away from the soil where they make their nests. They must have fantastic senses of smell.

So here’s a picture of what I found. (I rarely go out without my camera. I take these photos with an actual camera. Not with a phone.)

The bag is in the upper right.

Personally, I don’t eat fast food. I don’t consider it healthy. If I want unhealthy food, I’ll make it myself. Even if I were so inclined, I wouldn’t be tossing the leftovers where someone else has to pick it up.

I’m holier than they. And holistic.

Have bag, will find trash

Sometimes I take a bag with me on my morning walks to collect trash from the roadside and from undeveloped land. About three weeks ago, in mid-June 2021, I picked up trash along a mile stretch of a thoroughfare near where I live.

The first picture shows how full the bag was from that walk. And it wasn’t even my bag. I went out without a bag, but Providentially came upon a new, empty thirteen-gallon trash bag. I took it as a sign to take the bag and pick up trash.

Recently (it’s now the 4th of July weekend), I retraced my steps part of the way but then turned onto a street that crosses a wash — a dry riverbed. I spent awhile picking up the trash in the wash where the street crosses it. The second picture shows what had accumulated since the last time I cleaned up the wash, quite awhile back.

The next three pictures show perspective of what the area looks like.

Today, I walked by the wash and was going to admire my handiwork. So what do I find? A discarded bed sheet a few yards in from the street.This appears in the next picture.

Lastly, you will see the no littering sign that is prominently posted.

Mid-June. Cigarette butts have fallen through to the bottom of the bag.

Friday, July 2

The wash crosses this street.

Looking west.

Looking east.

Someone tossed a bed sheet into the wash.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

So what lesson can we learn here? One person alone can make a difference. It’s true about me. The difference that I make is that there’s a lot less roadside trash where I choose to pick it up.

But in addition, someone who carelessly tosses something away fouls the environment one person at a time. Each piece of trash has a person behind it and its own story.

I prefer to be who I am, and I’m telling you my story.

Making wealth

Men learned to make wealth much faster than they learned to distribute it justly. Their eye for profit was keener than their ear for the voice of G-d and humanity. That is the great sin of modern humanity, and unless we repent, we shall perish by that sin.

Walter Rauschenbusch

In: Benjamin M. Friedman, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021), p. 284.