By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

American Robin, Libertytown, Frederick, Maryland, United States. “Very quiet vocalization at close range. Dawn song.”

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In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Beekeeper helpers.

(3) Williamson quotes LOTR.

(2) Barnett’s lawyers release the (redacted) text of his complaint, making Boeing’s Charleston plant look like a hellhole.

Look for the Helpers

“Keeping Beekeeping in the Family” [The Tablet]. “After watching his son create buzzing colonies of honeybees on Staten Island, [Jonathan] Landes was hooked. Upon his return to Melbourne a few weeks later, Landes gathered up four of his lifelong friends and founded a small urban beekeeping company called Chevra Honey, named for the Hebrew and Yiddish word for a society or close-knit group…. The idea was simple: In a city like Melbourne, where most people tend to live in houses with ample space and backyards, the chevra would help to set up beehives to encourage urban beekeeping. The hives Landes sets up are made of good quality wood. Successful placement in the urban environment requires significant considerations. ‘You say hello and go meet the person [who wants to host the hive]. You do an evaluation of the garden and neighborhood. You have to ask questions, such as if there is anyone who is allergic to bees. You ask who the usual visitors to the house are, or if they have pets,’ he said, listing the checklist he runs through with prospective hosts. ‘It’s not like a cat or another pet. People can get stressed about bees. You must be able to manage the colony.’… Today, a decade on, Chevra Honey manages around 40 hives around Melbourne… ‘Beekeeping suits me,” said Landes. “I really enjoy it. People are so nice. They are very engaged in making the urban environment healthy with bees. It’s a really good gig.’”

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My email address is down by the plant; please send examples of “Helpers” there. In our increasingly desperate and fragile neoliberal society, everyday normal incidents and stories of “the communism of everyday life” are what I am looking for (and not, say, the Red Cross in Hawaii, or even the UNWRA in Gaza).


“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

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The Constitutional Order (Insurrection)


Less than a year to go!

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Trump (R): “GOP primaries flash warning signs for Trump” [The Hill]. “In primary elections in Ohio and other states, a sizable number of GOP voters still cast ballots for former rivals to the ex-president. That’s potentially a big problem for Trump, because it suggests not all GOP primary voters are warming to him… A handful of states cast ballots Tuesday in the presidential primaries, including Ohio, Florida and Arizona. Trump won Ohio and Florida by roughly fourth-fifths of the vote, but former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley notched around 14 percent in each.”

Trump (R): “Trump has an early lead on Biden. But problems are piling up around him” [Politico]. “‘The only person who can beat Donald Trump is Donald Trump,’ said David Urban, a former senior Trump campaign adviser. ‘I don’t think we’re there yet.’ Despite it all, Trump remains in an enviable position, leading Biden in early polls as the incumbent president clocks in with historically bad approval ratings. But Trump’s advantage is also less than 2 percentage points — hardly a commanding lead — and he is still sitting below 50 percent. In the earliest days of the general election campaign, Trump’s often improvised remarks contrast with his opponent’s more carefully scripted campaign outings — and that approach brings some downsides, as evidenced in recent days.”

Trump (R): “Thus Far, Trump Has Huge Coattails. The Best Coattails.” [The American Conservative]. “President Donald Trump’s victories in last night’s primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio were foregone conclusions. All of Trump’s challengers have already exited the race and, for the third straight presidential cycle, Trump has secured the Republican nomination. This alone suggests Trump’s takeover of the GOP is near total, but there’s even more evidence down ballot. On Tuesday, Trump’s chosen candidates beat expectations. Nowhere was that clearer than in Ohio’s senate primary. The businessman Bernie Moreno bested state Sen. Matt Dolan by nearly twenty points. Moreno received more than 50 percent of the vote and carried every county in the Buckeye state….For now, however, Trump is still king and, for smaller realms all around the country, kingmaker. Trump has made 88 endorsements in the primaries thus far. Not a single candidate for federal office has lost their primary with Trump’s backing. Only three Trump-endorsed state legislative candidates have lost. Across state and federal primaries, Trump is 58 for 61 thus far. When November rolls around, the 58 winners will have the added benefit of Trump on the top of the ticket once again.”

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Williamson (I):

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Republican Funhouse

“As Medicare Advantage’s shortcomings echo in the press, key legislators still push to privatize traditional Medicare” [Trudy Lieberman, HEALTH CARE un-covered]. “[Rolling Stone’s Andrew] Perez points out that one item buried in the 887-page Heritage Foundation blueprint written to inform a potential new Trump administration has attracted little attention so far. It is a scheme to ‘make Medicare Advantage the default enrollment option’ for people who are newly eligible for Medicare, he wrote. David Lipschutz, associate director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, says the Heritage plan would hasten privatization. ‘Upon becoming eligible for Medicare now everyone starts with traditional Medicare as the default but can opt out of that program and later choose an Advantage plan,’ Lipschutz says. The Heritage proposal, however, would have people start with Medicare Advantage plans, apparently with the opportunity to opt-out. With this arrangement, you can see how easy it would be for Medicare, as we know it, to ‘wither on the vine’ since many people new to Medicare are not well versed in the difference between the two options and instead are swayed by the TV advertising beckoning them to Medicare Advantage plans.” • Project 2025 taking a cue from nudge theory. Swell.

Democrats en Déshabillé

“Working class Dems who campaign on economics beat Trumpists in elections” [Pluralistic]. “The Democratic Party Pizzaburger Theory of Electioneering is: half the electorate wants a pizza, the other half wants a burger, so we’ll give them all a pizzaburger and make them all equally dissatisfied, thus winning the election… But no one wants a pizzaburger. The Biden administration’s approach of letting the Warren/Sanders wing pick the antitrust enforcers while keeping judicial appointments in the Manchin-Synematic universe is a catastrophe in which progressive Dem regulators (who serve one term) are thwarted by corporatist Dem judges (who serve for life)… Jacobin teamed up with the Center for Working-Class Politics, Yougov and the Center for Work and Democracy at ASU and analyzed [the 2022 midterms]: Their conclusion: candidates from working-class backgrounds who campaigned on economic policies like high-quality jobs, higher minimum wages, a jobs guarantee, ending offshoring and outsourcing, building infrastructure and bringing manufacturing back to the US won with a 50% share of the vote in rural and working-class districts. Dems who didn’t lost with a 35% share of the vote.” • Well, now the liberals have another target for decapitation, just like the 50-state strategy, or the Sanders campaign(s)…


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

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Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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Covid is Airborne

Maybe engineering has bad vibes?


About those personalk risk assessments:


About brain damage:

Here is a link to “this thread.”

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts


1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”


[1] (Biobot) Our curve has now flattened out at the level of previous Trump peaks. Not a great victory. Note also the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger under Biden than under Trump, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.

[2] (Biobot) Midwest ticks up.

[3] (CDC Variants) As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.

[4] (ER) “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Looks like a very gradual leveling off to a non-zero baseline, to me.

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC) Still down. “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”.

[7] (Walgreens) Leveling out.

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Now up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) JN.1 dominates utterly.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US fell by 2,000 to 210,000 on the week ending March 16th, 2024, below market expectations of 215,000. At the same time, continuing unemployment claims were relatively unchanged at 1,807,000 for the earlier week. The data continued to show that the US labor market remains tight, aligned with the Federal Reserve’s latest assessment and adding leeway for the central bank to delay the start of rate cuts.”

Manufacturing: “United States Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index in the US decreased to 3.2 in March 2024 from 5.2 in February but came above market estimates of -2.3. It was the second consecutive expansionary reading since the index for shipments ticked up 1 point to 11.4, and the index for new orders turned positive for the first time since October.”

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Antitrust: “U.S. Sues Apple, Accusing It of Maintaining an iPhone Monopoly” [New York Times]. “The Justice Department joined 16 states and the District of Columbia to file an antitrust lawsuit against Apple on Thursday, the federal government’s most significant challenge to the reach and influence of the company that has put iPhones in the hands of more than a billion people. In an 88-page lawsuit, the government argued that Apple had violated antitrust laws with practices that were intended to keep customers reliant on their iPhones and less likely to switch to a competing device. The tech giant prevented other companies from offering applications that compete with Apple products like its digital wallet, which could diminish the value of the iPhone, the government said. Apple’s policies hurt consumers and smaller companies that compete with some of Apple’s services, in the form of “higher prices and less innovation,” the lawsuit said. ‘Each step in Apple’s course of conduct built and reinforced the moat around its smartphone monopoly,’ the government said in the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.”

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Manufacturing: “Airline CEOs Seek Meeting With Boeing Directors to Address Production Problems” [Wall Street Journal]. “A group of airline chiefs recently requested a meeting with Boeing’s board to express concern over the Alaska Airlines accident and production problems that have upended the industry’s plans, people familiar with the matter said…. The request to meet with Boeing’s directors is an unusual sign of frustration with the manufacturer’s problems and its leader, David Calhoun. The Boeing CEO isn’t expected to attend the planned meetings.” And this: “Boeing was taking more measures to reduce so-called traveled work, where problems with parts or aircraft are moved along its production lines and addressed later. That effort will also slow production, which West said would increase later in the year.” I don’t think Edward Deming woudl approve of “travelled work” at all. Who decided on that? And a straw in the wind: “Kayak allows users searching for flights to exclude specific aircraft. Usage of that option has increased recently. A spokeswoman said Kayak plans to introduce a new badge that will display the aircraft model in flight results in response to recent customer requests.”

Manufacturing: “Boeing whistleblower’s lawsuit against aerospace giant continues despite death” [WCSC]. “The Charleston County Coroner reports Barnett died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, but has not formally ruled on a cause of death.” Meanwhile, the suit continues, and Barnett’s lawyers have released “a redacted copy of the Amended Complaint (filed May 4, 2021) and the Court’s May 31, 2022 decision denying Boeing’s Partial Motion to Dismiss.” And:

These complaints in the suit include:

  • Boeing maintained an “illegal” program not approved by the FAA “that allowed mechanics to inspect and approve their own work” known as “Multi-function Process Performer” to meet deadlines; Barnett’s performance rating later went from a 40 to 16.
  • Managers “pushing Barnett to work outside of the proper procedures”
  • Parts were “stolen” from one airplane and installed in another without any documentation; all corrective action was “canceled” without an investigation
  • In August 2014, the company failed to clean up titanium slivers from fasteners used to hold down floorboards that littered wire bundles and electrical components despite potential electrical shorting. Barnett was later removed from the project after complaining.
  • In September 2014, Barnett learned he was issued a corrective action plan for documenting process violations in writing one month later against company rules to immediately notify employees claiming it was a “surprise attack.”
  • In July 2016, Barnett was ordered to “let it go” after objecting to close out more than 400 nonconforming Shop Order Instance parts without investigation while discovering 200 that had been “pencil whipped” or fabricated.
  • In August 2016, Barnett was criticized and removed from an investigation into emergency passenger oxygen tanks where it’s estimated approximately 25% in 787s are not functional, after he pushed for leadership to investigate.
  • In September 2016, Barnett was removed as a team leader after discovering that all previously delivered airplanes and missing/incomplete/incorrect serial number data after urging corrections and notifications to customers were needed
  • That same month, Barnett’s manager reportedly “took a defective part” from the scrap bin and had it installed on another airplane without any documentation or rework against FAA requirements and the company’s procedures. Barnett claimed he was blocked from a 737 Propulsion Quality Manager position after filing an HR complaint, which Boeing found was “unsubstantiated”

WCSC is a local South Carolina TV station. Meanwhile, the only story on Boeing from the prize-winning Post and Courier is a reprinted transcript from The Street: “Boeing expects major financial impact from recent incidents.” Priorities! Meanwhile, from a second TV station–

Manufacturing: “Lawyers for Boeing whistleblower release full complaint against the company” [WCBD]. A more detailed and prosy version of the complaint. On the “Multi-function Process Performer”: “During this time, Barnett claims that Boeing upper management pushed for quality to deviate from the rules so that production would meet deadlines. One way, in particular, is through the Multi-function Process Performer (MFPP) program. The MFPP program allowed Boeing mechanics to inspect and approve their own work, Barnett claimed. This program was allegedly implemented without FAA approval and was in direct violation of Boeing’s Production Certificate from the FAA pursuant. The Senior Quality Control Manager objected to the MFPP program and pushed for Boeing to follow the rules. Barnett claims that in response to the Senior Quality Control Manager’s objections, he was threatened with termination by superiors. The complaint says that this Senior Quality Control Manager then reached out to contacts in Seattle and was transferred with a downgrade in 2012 back to the state of Washington. In 2012, Barnett also protested against the MFPP program, saying it was illegal; however, no investigation was conducted.” • Once agaim, nothing from the Post and Courier. Really, somebody should contact management… And from another local TV station–

Manufacturing: “Boeing whistleblower’s retaliation complaint revealed after mysterious death in Charleston” [ABC4]. “The next month, Barnett filed an ethics complaint against leadership for retaliation, a hostile work environment, and being blacklisted from acquiring other positions, according to the lawsuit documents. It also says he requested his complaint be investigated by someone outside of BSC. He was told it would be handled outside of BSC, but was . The complaint says that same month, he sent an email to Boeing Corporate Ethics in Washington, D.C. and voiced his concerns about the handling of his complaint. After being assured Barnett’s concerns would be properly investigated, it was once again in South Carolina, according to the complaint.” • Obvious pressure from the head office. And Is the head of HR in Charleston the Post and Courier’s editor’s brother-in-law, or what?

Manufacturing: “Whistleblower John Barnett claimed Boeing managers spied on him before his alleged suicide” [New York Post]. “Boeing whistleblower John Barnett claimed the company’s management had been spying on him in the bombshell court case he was working on when he was mysteriously found dead…. Another section of the lawsuit stated: ‘In June 2014, Barnett submitted a complaint to Corporate Ethics against [redacted] for violating procedures, ignoring process violations, pushing Barnett to ‘work in the grey areas,’ and …. ‘That’s the way it’s done there. There were always moles who would throw you under the bus to look good to the big bosses. They weren’t about team unity; you never know who you could trust,’ a Boeing mid-level manager, who asked to remain anonymous over fear of losing their job, told The Post Wednesday.” And: “‘It is a criminal felony offense to not properly document the build record of an aircraft. By pressuring Barnett to not follow processes … Boeing was ordering Barnett to commit a felony offense.’” • Sounds like a hellhole. No wonder Qatar Airways refused to buy 787s made in Charleston (preferring Everett, WA).

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Manufacturing: “Allegations of staggering criminality by Boeing spelled out in complaint by whistleblower John Barnett, released by lawyers after his death” [WSWS]. “Police, so far, have also from the Holiday Inn where Barnett was staying. In the original police report, the cops acknowledged that the hotel had security cameras installed and facing the parking lot where Barnett’s vehicle and body were located.” • Haven’t seen this on the cameras elsewhere, however.

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Tech: AI enshittification (1):

Tech: AI enshittification (2):

Tech: AI enshittification (3):

Tech: AI enshittification (4):

Tech: “Pluralistic: The Coprophagic AI crisis” [Pluralistic]. “The question is, why the fuck would anyone write the web if the only “person” who can find what they write is an AI’s crawler, which ingests the writing for its own training, but has no interest in steering readers to see what you’ve written? If AI search ever becomes a thing, the open web will become an AI CAFO and search crawlers will increasingly end up imbibing the contents of its manure lagoon…. There’s a certain intuitive case for this being a bad idea, akin to feeding cows a slurry made of the diseased brains of other cows…. But “The Curse of Recursion: Training on Generated Data Makes Models Forget,” a recent paper, goes beyond the ick factor of AI that is fed on botshit and delves into the mathematical consequences of AI coprophagia: Co-author Ross Anderson summarizes the finding neatly: ‘using model-generated content in training causes irreversible defects.’” • I’ve been muttering about AI autocoprophagia for some time, and if it’s finally propagated, I’m a happy camper.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76 Extreme Greed (previous close: 72 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 72 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 21 at 12:23:14 PM ET.

Holier than Thou

Cf. Matthew 23:1-7:

Zeitgeist Watch

“The joys of divorce” (poem) [Michael Smith, Crying in the Wilderness]. “Nothing like money, makes you hate someone–”

Class Warfare

“The Keys to a Long Life Are Sleep and a Better Diet—and Money” [Wired]. “The top 10 percent in both the UK and the US live over a decade more than the bottom 10 percent. It’s not even that they live more, they live more healthy lives. Why is that? Well the poor often don’t have the chance to exercise, their diets are often poor, and they work multiple jobs and have problems with sleep. All these things we think we can do, they’re harder if you’re poor and have to juggle jobs, child care, et cetera. One worry I have is that if we discover sophisticated interventions—like turning on stem cells and so on, or having to give transcription factors to people intravenously—depending on the sophistication of the intervention only the rich might be able to afford them. That would make the disparity even worse. Not only are the rich living longer, they’re going to live even longer and healthier.” • Yep.

“Record numbers of wealthy Americans are looking for ways to live overseas” [Business Insider]. “‘With political divisions and societal tensions at an all-time high, American investors, entrepreneurs, and wealthy families are increasingly hedging their bets and pursuing backup citizenship or residence abroad, signaling declining faith in the domestic outlook,’ [Mehdi Kadiri, the head of North America at Henley & Partners] said in the report. ‘We anticipate similar strong demand in 2024,’ Kadiri added, ‘as more high-net-worth individuals across the political spectrum seek to hedge uncertainty.’”

News of the Wired

“Flying Is Weird Right Now” [The Atlantic]. The URL is more pointed: “boeing-737-safety-air-travel.” “Flying has, in a historical sense at least, never been safer…. So what’s really going on? I suspect it’s a confluence of two distinct factors. The first is that although air safety is getting markedly better over time, the experience of flying is arguably worse than ever…. All of that is now coupled with an increase in passenger volume: In 2023, flight demand crept back up to near pre-pandemic levels, and staffing has not caught up. It is also an especially expensive time to fly. Pile on unruly passengers, system outages, baggage fees, carry-on restrictions, meager drink and snack offerings, and the trials and tribulations of merely coexisting with other travelers who insist on lining up at the gate 72 hours before their zone boards and you have a perfectly combustible situation.” • And then there’s all that damn coughing. Really kills the vibe.

“Frustrated visitors sue National Park Service over cashless policies” [SFGate]. “Three people sued the National Park Service earlier this month for its policy not to accept cash payments at a growing number of locations…. The park service instituted cashless policies at approximately 29 locations, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs said cash payments were refused at sites in Arizona, New York and Georgia.” • Good. More like this please. Is cash legal tender, or not?

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi, lichen, and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant)

EM writes: “Trees on The River Shannon (Ireland).”

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