The supreme arrogance of a court, and a public, that pretends to believe in self-rule!  Can morality be forced?    Unless we are willing to allow for diversity, we will kill democracy.  No group will ever completely agree, so society must be able to flex to remain stable.  None of us is as smart as all of us!  Have we learned nothing from prohibition, from attempting to outlaw alcohol?  Jesus himself said “let both [tares and wheat] grow together until the  harvest.” (Matt 13)

SIX Catholic jurists should not get to dictate to the entire populace without announcing they have thrown the First Amendment under the bus.  (A sixth Catholic justice, Chief John Roberts did not concur completely with the other five, but wrote a separate opinion supporting the demise of Roe v. Wade.)  Sonia Sotomayor, a seventh Catholic justice, seems balanced about democracy’s nature, and need for tolerance.  The remaining two justices are Jewish.  One, Justice Stephen Breyer, has announced his retirement at the end of the court’s term this year.  So, seven Catholics; two Jews. (I wish separation of church and state were more highly respected; and believers were more inclined to illustrate their ideals with their lives, rather than by enforcing their ideologies onto others.)

Conclusion: the First Amendment is now dead, and America is a theocracy, ruled by a half dozen Catholic lawyers.  Welcome to Banana Republic of America, where the religionista-majority judges do all the driving, and choose the route.

Photo by Liz O’Neil



If you’ve read Richard Power’s OVERSTORY, you will recall a character named Patricia Westerford, who is modeled after this author, Suzanne Simard, a forester who is now a professor.  She’s written a brilliant book which is structured like a mystery and a life quest for the holy grail of Nature’s nature — communication between species.   In my view, her discovery is worthy of a Nobel prize.  Here’s a quote from the book:

We emphasize factions instead of coaltions.  In forestry, the theory of dominance is put into practice through weeding, spacing, thinning, and other methods that promote growth of the prized individuals.  In agriculture, it provides the rationale for multimillion-dollar pesticide, fertilizer, and genetic programs to promote single high-yield crops instead of diverse fields.

She goes on to tell her account of her own radical research to prove that some forest species communicate and cooperate through fungal networks, rather than competing, as long asserted.  She faced a male-dominated culture dedicated to waging chemical warfare against nature, and was able to prove that their methods largely lacked basis or merit.  Her research has changed the industry, and the planet.

Her storytelling is lively and gritty, while her vocabulary is a bit lofty at times.  But Suzanne Simard‘s victory is sweet, and profound — earth shaking, even.

Amazon book link:  FINDING THE MOTHER TREE:  Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest

For those not inclined to read, here’s an 18-minute TED Talk by her.



INFILTRADAS : : Live Music w/Brunch

INFILTRADAS perform (today) Sunday morning @ BistroCultural (BC66)

A pleasant surprise this morning.  We went for breakfast, but wanted to get home before walking got too hot.  We heard this group’s first tune.  I found a youtube video posted a month ago. But I don’t find a website.  (They’re on facebook, which I won’t use.)

2nd-Amendment Crime Against Civil Society

The Buffalo News, 15 May 2022

Don’t dismiss this act as that of a sick person.  It’s an act of a sick society!  As a native Buffalonian, I’m wounded, and ashamed.  America is utterly intoxicated — drunk on false  “liberty”.  Mass shootings are now a daily event in America.  The Second Amendment, badly misinterpreted by a right-wing Supreme Court, is now understood to say that individual citizens have a right to own military assault weapons, when in fact the 2nd-A assigns the right to each state’s national guard: “A well regulated militia…”.   So where are these “regulations” from Congress on individual gun owners, when Republicans in Congress won’t raise a finger to control toxic gun policy — afraid of the gun lobby, afraid of losing their next election?  What have these elected officials done to defend America against gunner-bullies? — Nothing. They’re cowards.  They serve themselves.  And they deserve to be replaced.  A vote for any Republican is a vote for more daily mass-murder. (It’s ironic how Republican legislators, and their jurists, are so passionate about defending the yet unborn, while turning a blind eye to those neighbors who are already living next door.)

America is falling-down drunk on its own stooopid notions as to what makes for a free and civilized society.  Yeah, “Make America Great Again” by letting every drunken loon in the land own a basement full of assault weapons, extended clips,  and ammo.  Should we put metal detectors on grocery stores and churches, and all of us buy handguns and flack jackets so we can take down the next lunatic shooter?  Well, the white racists of the so-called white race deserve to be “replaced” along with those legislators who pander to them.  It can’t come soon enough.  (Today I’m ashamed of my pale caucasian face.)
Psalm 75:1   We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks to you! We proclaim how great you are and tell of the wonderful things you have done.
2   “I have set a time for judgment,” says God, “and I will judge with fairness.
3   Though every living creature tremble and the earth itself be shaken, I will keep its foundations firm.
4   I tell the wicked not to be arrogant;
5   I tell them to stop their boasting.”
6   Judgment does not come from the east or from the west, from the north or from the south;
7      it is God who is the judge, condemning some and acquitting others.
8  The Lord holds a cup in his hand, filled with the strong wine of his anger. He pours it out, and all   the wicked drink it; they drink it down to the last drop.
9  But I will never stop speaking of the God of Jacob or singing praises to him.
10 He will break the power of the wicked, but the power of the righteous will be increased.
[Good News Translation]
. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  (2Cor3:17 kjv)


Photo of propane tanks (uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by J.Smith)


“I read the news today—oh, boy   About a selfish species which failed the grade…

BigCarbon WANTS you to believe that propane is utterly safe and friendly — that it’s not a “greenhouse gas” — that it’s good for the planet.  BUNK !   We’re choking ourselves to death by burning and leaking hydrocarbons — methane, propane, butane, insane.  I was in my backyard up north when I heard a huge explosion 20 miles away which killed seven people and leveled a four-story building, demolishing a four block area in downtown Buffalo NY, 37 seconds after the firemen arrived (and died). Yep, an employee tried to move a propane tank with a forklift, dropped it, cracked it.  Soon — BOOM.  Propane explosions are not rare, as can be readily noticed by searching.

So I was not happy when a supplier exchanged an empty tank for full, of propane for our home.  What they delivered was so badly rusted that it leaked away in less than a week.  In spite of the evidence, they said I had a leaky gas line, blaming me.  And they refused to replace the lost propane, abandoning the tank (which I still have).  They sent me a bomb, which didn’t detonate.  Well, I cancelled my account and bought my own tank, and began traveling to a local depot where it could be refilled.  But I also began to research a plan to heat hot water with the sun.  It’s crazy not to do this when you consider that we live in a hot zone that never freezes.  The lowest temperature I’ve ever experienced in Merida was in the lower 50º’s F (10ºC).   Yet few people in this zone (which includes much of Florida, Texas and the Gulf Coast) ever experience a hard freeze. So we get free solar energy year-round!  But why do we still heat water with such a risky source?  It’s time for change.  A solar thermosiphon can do the job.  And you can make your own.

Yeah, there are turnkey systems which are, in my view, often over-engineered.  I’ve learned much about water over the years on the farm, and in business.  Minerals complicate plumbing, and this certainly applies here in Yucatan, where pumps and plumbing systems often fail due to mineralization — so I didn’t want a system that relies on a pump. I wanted a passive system, using convection, as there is less to go wrong.  I enjoy plumbing (supply-side only) and have maintained four wells, and plumbed a large-format commercial photo lab.  (But I’m still a rookie, always eager to learn.)

Below is a photo of a 3/4″ plastic fitting, the flow of which has been reduced by ~50% due to “hardening of the arteries”, discovered when I modified our propane water heater for this project, which device had failed after only two years of low use — adapting it to its new role as a storage tank for my DIY solar collector.  (The tube had accumulated minerals over a longer period.)

Replacing tanks and pumps and pipes can’t be avoided, but it can be reduced.  And harvesting energy for free directly from the sun makes it more fun.  Note: I spent about $6000 pesos ($300 usd) on parts and materials to build my device.  It would have cost almost that much to replace the water heater, foregoing the cost of fuel, which I expect now to harvest for free.   “Here comes the sun, deedle-doo-dah — here it comes.”

Before I show you my low-tech design, I will share a bad design that failed, at a place we rented in 2013.  The unit had burst because of poor design, and poor maintenance.  The glass tubes appear to be vulnerable to hail and hurricane damage, since they are exposed.  And they lose heat to the breeze.

Apparently the storage tank required frequent “blow-down” to reduce minerals, which had not been done, resulting in a failure-to-open, of the pressure-relief valve. So the tank burst along a seam, below. Oooops.  Bad investment.  (Maybe designs have improved since then.)

My design uses (strong) blue, inch-and-a-half cpvc tubing, as a collector, and is then covered with clear .125-inch polycarbonate as a “concentrator”, which also shields the collector tubing from airborne trash during windstorms, and prevents heat loss by housing the tubing inside an insulated “sandwich”.  Polycarb’ is a clear plastic used in banks as “bulletproof”, but thicker.  (I would have used wider diameter blue tubing, if I could have found it, but inch-and-a-half was the max available here.)

If you venture forth to build your own, be sure to use tubing that is rated for hot water!  If you can’t find blue, you could use “yellow”/beige/normal cpvc tubing, painting it black; but the blue probably absorbs more heat due to its darker color throughout.  (Paint might flake off.)  Don’t use hydraulic pvc, as it transmits light which will grow algae.  And don’t use thin “sanitary” drainpipe, as it will melt and collapse.  Be sure to use cpvc cement on all fittings, first “cleaning them” with cpvc solvent before applying cement, to soften the plastic before bonding, installing parts with a twist to make a good adhesive seal.  This should prevent leaks at joints, which are frustrating, especially when there are so many bonds in such a manifold.  Don’t build a “sprinkler system”!  And be sure that there is always water above the manifold (the collector tubes) in the supply tank.  If your tank is drawn down below the manifold, you will collect no energy, as convection will cease to recirculate the water, due to lack of “head pressure”.  (Adjusting the fill-level of a rooftop tank is easily done simply by sliding out the cord of the float valve, shortening it to maximize the fill level.)  I’ve adjusted mine never to fall below the shoulder of the tinaco, our 1100-liter rooftop tank.  Also, avoid dead-ends when designing your manifold.  Convection moves in one direction only, with help from gravity; it doesn’t have a “reverse”.  Circulation wants to be circular.  Think like water.  Also, dry-fit your manifold before gluing, to study this flow.  Avoid sharp turns by using 45º (codetes) fittings instead of right-angle 90º turns (codos), as this enhances flow.  Chamfer the interior of all tubing edges, removing burrs that could slow the flow.

For much of the year the water stored in the rooftop tank / tinaco flows by gravity into the home at about 82ºF (28ºC).   Without any heating system that’s tolerable for a refreshing rinse on hot days, or even for a cold shower — but if much colder, as in January, when hot showers are preferred, it would not be pleasant.  This system will not deliver scalding-hot showers. However, reasonably hot showers can be had without burning hydrocarbons, getting by with a little help from our friend, The Sun. . .  Here it comes.

UPDATE (29FEB,2024):  As December/January are cold, I’ve installed a supplemental propane heater, made by Bosch, with a six liter water tank, supported by a very small propane tank.  I’ve added bypass valves to allow me to redirect the solar hotwater during warmer months, shutting down the appliance, and shutting off the propane.  This allows me to bypass the 6-liter tank which includes a sacrificial anode intended to reduce mineralization inside the tank.  The anode is replaceable, but why let it dissolve while doing nothing?

CONCLUSION:  heating water year-round with propane is wasteful, dangerous, stooopid.  Tempering it with sunshine, is smart, practical, affordable.  Be a good Scout – let’s try to leave the campsite better than we found it.  It’s been said that people in hell want ice water.  Hot showers from flaming devices are surely contributing to bringing hell on Earth.  Please consider a solar hotwater approach.  (Note:  At our house we still use propane as a cooking fuel on the stovetop, which lasts and lasts; but we close the tank valve at night.)

One of the principles of successful living, established by the Stanford Marshmallow Test, is “delayed gratification”.  Those who “gotta have it now” are more likely to have a failed experience in life: unhappiness.  Do you really want a hot shower right now, at any price, even if it means humankind will soon choke itself out of existence ?  (May your grandchildren survive to wonder why we’ve been  so careless.)

NOTE :  My design, as configured, does not promise a hot shower, but rather a lukewarm shower, very suitable for the subtropics.  (In part, this is due to a long copper line inside a concrete wall, which I can’t insulate, dissipating heat.)  I will be collecting data and observations gleaned from operating it over the next several months, which I will share here.  I may modify the orientation after January, re-tilting it northwards to capture more energy from the northern track of the sun, if it isn’t enough  during January.  Presently the system boosts the hot side of the shower stream by ~10º, from 80 to 90ºF  by 10:30 a.m. — adequate for our needs.

Friend Jim Conrad over at BackyardNature cooks eggs with a passive solar cooker which he designed.  He starts ’em in the morning, and they’re ready by dinner. (He is also developing a solar sourdough bread.)  I admire his example.  For a guy with a size 14 shoe, he has the smallest carbon footprint of anyone I’ve ever met. But my wife and I like to cook, so we’ll continue to use some gas.

BELOW is a slide-show of my project to help you imagine your own.  (Ask a friend to help each other if you don’t have the handyman skills to do this.  Two heads can git’er’done !

Red roof above our 2nd floor bathroom is the chosen location.


Constructing piers and frame. Diagonal corners should be the highest point of delivery, and the lowest of supply. The concrete blocks are filled to add weight, preventing liftoff during high winds.  I’ve also tethered the frame to the home.


A solar manifold baffles the slow moving water during convection, collecting heat radiated by the sun onto more than 50 feet of tubing. I added one length of blonde 2-inch cpvc (which I plan to paint black) for delivery to the old heater, to increase volume.


Chamfer all interior edges, removing burrs to improve flow.  (Note: in reusing the old hotwater appliance as a storage device, I decided to fill the fire chamber with sand and gravel, displacing air which would have invited cooling, to store heat in thermal mass for quicker recovery.)

The installed system prior to painting 2-inch download tubing. (Fat tube is a roof drain.)

Also, be sure to add a breather tube extending above the elevation of the tinaco, for proper drainage, preventing glug-glug-glug when the home calls for water.  I’ve also added two beer-maker thermometers to monitor the system across high-low points ($15 each/Amazon), for learning purposes.  My design has increased the volume of available hot water from 40-liters to maybe 60.  (I’ve included a drain valve, and several threaded unions / tuercas uniónes, so I can disconnect the system if I want to modify or service it.)  Plastic valves often fail in intense sun.  Bronze ball valves are better.

Plumbing is a language about parts and relationships.  If we want our relationship with Mother Nature to remain friendly, we need to respect her.  Farting carbon pollution into her living space is not nice.  Think globally. Act locally.  Do it yourself!  (Don’t wait for politicians to solve this – they’re too busy getting re-elected.) Act before it’s too late. Form a solar-collector club, even. Help each other to save this precious planet. We can do this.

NOTE: for those living in freeze zones, turnkey solar hotwater systems exist which use antifreeze and a heat exchanger (like your car’s radiator).  In this era of Russian gas turmoil such a system might be wise and economic.  “Pay now, or pay more later.”

ROBOTICS.  Do you remember that scene from Sorcerer’s Apprentice where Mickey teaches the broom to carry water, but fails to teach when to stop?   Well, that just happened here.  There was so much mineral on the float valve that it changed the balance, and overflowed the tinaco.  It’s only water, and flowed into the downspout, like rain.  But glad we were home to halt the waste.

Minerals changed the flotation balance and caused overflow of the tinaco.


Polluting the commons is disgusting and deadly.  Having recently weaned myself off propane for heating water, I’m bummed to learn that the gas industry is daily dumping massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere.  Intentionally!  This is beyond rude. The stench of death will soon be overwhelming.

https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/space-agency-detects-methane-pemex/ :
Click READ MORE, and then NOTICE the leak map which includes Texas and Louisiana!
AND consider this excerpt from an NPR report:

Over the course of two years, during 2019 and 2020, the researchers counted more than 1,800 large bursts of methane, often releasing several tons of methane per hour. Lauvaux and his colleagues published their findings this week in the journal Science.

The researchers consulted with gas companies, trying to understand the source of these “ultra-emitting events.” They found that some releases resulted from accidents. More often, though, they were deliberate. Gas companies simply vented gas from pipelines or other equipment before carrying out repairs or maintenance operations.

source:  https://www.npr.org/2022/02/03/1077392791/a-satellite-finds-massive-methane-leaks-from-gas-pipelines















CLIMATE CHAOS : : Book Review

Climate has crushed ancient civilizations. Often, climate-change denialists dismissively argue that “climate is always changing”.  Well, it’s not mere change which is troubling, but the current trend. Like BigTobacco, BigCarbon wants us to remain addicted to their commodity, urging us to “pay no attention…”  Their propaganda is using “tribal” loyalty to brainwash a portion of the human family into believing that our present energy-tech is no big deal.  But the public is now increasingly feeling the problem behind that curtain of lies, in their own regions.  [more, below]

DROUGHT. Photo by Bob Nichols, Wikimedia Commons, public domain. 2013

WILDFIRES.  Photo by Stuart Palley/EPA

FLOODS.  (Houston) Weather nation tv dot com (fair use)

MELTING.  Greenland.  Foto: Caspar Haarløv/A P  (fair use)

VOLCANICISM.  (fair use)

FAMINE. Photo from Buzz Nigeria dot com, Fair Use.

The authors of this excellent book, CLIMATE CHAOS: Lessons on Survival from Our Ancestors, are deeply acquainted with the tools of climate study, and are experts in the history of significant climatic events which have caused major suffering in the past — suffering we have mostly forgotten.  Humanity has survived some profound challenges, but often forgotten the lessons.  Two hundred years ago New England, Europe and Asia had several years of deep cold, with 1816 called the year without a summer, when it snowed in July and August.  Did your gran-pappy tell you of this? (Neither did mine.)  Our authors share detailed observations of how coal soot, studied in Alpine ice cores, may have contributed to the severity of this event.  And the tools and findings they reference are intriguing and impressive. 

They take us on a guided tour of numerous successful civilizations which collapsed, due to changing climate issues. (In their sequel, will one of them be ours?)  You can travel back in time with them to Egypt, Rome, the Maya, Cambodia, Peru.  It sure beats staying home to watch the sNEWs, which ignores history at our peril. (Although it’s less detailed about the fascinating tools and methods, this longish article by a paleo-climatologist also covers much of the undeniable climate change the planet has already endured.)

Remember what the old-time farmers knew:  a drought will scare you to death; but a flood will starve you to death.

As Jorge Santayana said, those who cannot remember the past are destined to repeat it.




J6   : :    “ WHAT IS TRUTH ? ”

Fair use. Photo from CNN

“What is truth?”sneered Pontius Pilate, into the face of the man Jesus, who famously said we should know the truth if we want to be free. (see John 18:38)

J6 (January 6, 2020) is muddied in lies.  FIVE persistent lies are being repeated “bigly” by Donald J Trump and his followers. ¿Do you love truth? —  Those who love truth will want to be clear about their facts before repeating these lies, no?  

CNN has done a fine job of debunking these five persistent lies, here. I’ve put them into a table for you so they can be readily, quickly, compared.

BIG LIES :                                         FACTS :

Rioters unarmed 75+  dangerous/deadly weapons-charges,  including several handguns
“Merely protesting” : 1st Amend’t 140 cops assaulted by rioters
“Invited in” by police Hours-long  hand-to-hand combat
“Political prisoners” Dangerous, and/or flight-risk
“False flag” DJT: “fight like hell”

Of course, the biggest lie is that the election was stolen.  No evidence has sustained judicial scrutiny, not even in front of judges appointed by Mr Trump !


See these 24 photos at CNN.  Then ask yourself if any of the lies in column-1 above have the ring of truth. Or these photos from NPR.

Fair use. Photo from CNN

Don’t repeat lies !   All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for a good person to do nothing.






Pyramid of Kulkukan, Mayapán, Yucatán, afternoon of winter solstice. 2014. Dome’d astro observatory in background.

This linked article in Spanish reports that there is a tiny pyramid in Campeche state that apparently was a proof-of-concept for the construction of the big ones at Chichen Itza and Mayapan — preceding those major projects by several hundred years.  

Geometry!  It proved that the Maya could establish the equality of length-of-day/night, for purposes of understanding the agricultural growing cycle — when to plant, and what to worship (respect) — sustenance!  Mother Earth feeds us, if we respect and understand her!  (Worshipping a Creator-Principle-God, without respecting creation, is folly.). And remember, these pyramids were all done without clocks or telescopes, but plenty of ingenuity and sweat.  Where did that come from?  ¡Gracias Mamá!

The aforementioned maquette is also a cute little pyramid, at least in the photo, although I’ve not been there.   Note:  while the “feathered serpent” doesn’t actually slither down the staircase in real time, it appears to do so in our imaginations.  (I suppose it could be more vivid if done with timelapse video — and sure enough, somebody has posted it to youtube:  from Chichen Itza, about 30 seconds.)

Conclusion :  prototypes can confirm our hunches, so we can then render them successfully.

Poem : ONE FAMILY. (A Parenthesis for Now)

Una abuelita y su familia, Andalucia, España, ~1969.   Foto by MeridaGOround


ONE FAMILY.  (A Parenthesis for Now.)
The Lord loves conservatives and liberals alike. 

(We have a Patient Teacher.)

The Lord loves school children and gun owners equally.
(We have a Compassionate Parent.)

The Lord loves citizens and politicians as one.
(We have a Just Governor.)


The Lord, Father-Mother, loves Her entire family.
(All the children, black and white, red and yellow ;  even green.)


The Lord loves us, believes in us, has faith in us, cares deeply.
 We live there, and are home, safe, right now.

(Do you feel it?  Will you?)

¿ Are we ok for the next five minutes ?
(And the next ?)


Breathe it in . . .

(. . . and give it back, in the Spirit with which it is shared.)


~ MeridaGOround.com