Wednesday, July 08, 2020

It can be a lovely world!

The last few days we've been in the 105F (40-14C) area in the afternoon.  My wife and I take care of that little problem by 1) taking our walk early in the morning and 2) staying in our air conditioned house in the afternoon.  It is running between 75-80F (25C) at 06:00 but that is a bunch easier on the old bodies.  It is also a great time to enjoy this lovely corner of the world. 

We live in a valley with mountains all around us.  Watching the sunlight slowly creep down the mountain side to our west is something that I'll never tire of seeing.  You can just watch the light moving down the mountain as the sun comes up over the mountains in the east.  It is amazing.  It is also a good time to see what little wildlife we have around here:  rabbits, jack rabbits, ravens, doves and lots of other birds.  Once in a while we'll see a coyote but that is quite rare.  It is also quiet with little traffic which is important because we have no sidewalks and have to walk in the road.  By the time we finish our walk the sun is really warm.

Today I went out to get the mail and saw a burrowing owl.  They are super shy and I didn't see the owl until it flew away.  These owls don't really dig burrows but borrow used holes in the ground from others.  They will even use the culverts people have at their driveways; which is where this morning's owl was hiding when I scared it.  This is a lousy photo but it's the best I could manage. 
Wikipedia, as always, has a much better photo and lots of detail on the little guys.  Weve seen them on our walks before and we always cross to the other side of the road to give them some space.  It usually works. 

Keep on washing those hands and doing your social distancing.  Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, July 05, 2020

Happy 5th of July!

Well, apparently I missed posting on the 4th but, well, it is such an odd year maybe that just fits in properly.  Happy 244th Birthday USA!  I was reading a couple blogs this a.m. and one that I often enjoy is Sightings Over Sixty and yesterday's post was no exception.  The post, entitled "More Stuff I Don't Understand" was about the strange, strange times we are living through.  It's true:  horribly high unemployment but the stock market is fully recovered from the Covid-19 scare; there are more people with the virus but no one seems to care; the President seems totally unaware of the rest of the world; people still think he is doing a good job.  WTF??? 

Another blogger quoted this line:  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  So what the hell happened to that idea?  Equal??  Rights??  Liberty??  Why does it seem that black people not included in that sentence?  They seem much more likely to be arrested than white people.  I was checking out a fact sheet from the NAACP web site.  It has some really amazing statistics!  For example, African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites.  As of 2015 African American and Hispanic people comprise about 32% of the population but comprise 56% of the prison population. 

I don't pretend to know what is going on there; certainly discrimination by the police is part of the problem but I'm sure that poverty is a much larger factor.  26% of African American families live in poverty compared to 11% of white families.  And that isn't counting single parent families where the rate is much higher.  It is a shame that in this wonderful land that such discrimination exists.  Education, or the lack of it, is certainly a critical factor.  The same article suggests that a family headed by a college graduate makes nearly two times as much as a family headed by someone whose education stopped at high school.



I hope I haven't been too dismal here but these days are not 'our finest hour'.  The government isn't totally to blame but there sure are things that could be done differently.  The way everyday people interact is nothing to do with government but it doesn't make me proud.  Here in Nevada we've been ordered to wear masks while in public areas so, of course, we had a demonstration against wearing masks.  A large number of the people demonstrating were wearing firearms because that is legal here.  Inspections suggest that only about half of businesses are complying.  What the heck, the mask may keep you from getting ill but one's right to not wear one is oh so important.  What a place!  Take care & keep washing those hands.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Life in the 'I don't know' lane

Things are still poking along here in Nevada but darned if I know which direction they are going!  The number of people getting ill from covid-19 is increasing but fairly slowly. Our governor has decided we should be wearing masks when we are in public areas which I suppose is a good thing. At any rate the proportion of people wearing masks has definitely gone up. On the other hand some restaurants are having trouble keeping those tables 6 feet apart. Not being able to serve people because the place can't be over 50% full has to hurt! Especially when you've been almost out of business for a couple months. Still, my wife and I both thought this thing was going to be over long ago.

We are going out to lunch much as we did last year; that is 4 or 5 times a week. We are still going to the same 6 or 8 places; most of them have their entire menu back available. During the height of the closures reduced menus were the order of the day. There are occasional times when one needs to wait for a table but mostly the number of customers has declined somewhat.

Our daughter has moved to Austin, TX and is renovating a house. It is taking MUCH longer than anyone could have expected; even getting cabinets delivered was delayed. We had planned to visit her and help her get set up; now they are talking about closing the Texas border. Who knows if we'll get to visit anytime in the near future much less visit to help her arrange things in her new home. That's not going to make any of us happy.

I found a recipe for 'Keto Meatloaf'. It calls for the use of ground dried pork rinds (chicharrones) rather than bread crumbs but two other things popped out. Ordinarily you might use ground pork in meatloaf; this recipe uses Mexican Chorizo (the moist, loose kind not the smoked sausage Spanish kind) and then is wrapped in bacon and covered in tomato sauce! It was really quite good if you like spicy things. (The chorizo has spice and you are to add a chipotle pepper as well.) Here is what it looked like before cooking.

The recipe specifies that sort of pan; not a loaf pan.  Of course there was quite a lot of fat that collected in the bottom but everything got done; even the bacon. 

Of course we've had a few nice sunsets.  This one was especially nice.

Well, that's all the news from this space in Nevada.  Thanks for stopping by; keep washing those hands!

Friday, June 19, 2020

Quiet times

We have always liked going out to lunch so now that the quarantine is loosened a little we have been visiting our favorite restaurants again.  Some are clearly doing better than others with the new restrictions. One of the restrictions here in Nevada is social distancing which basically means the restaurant has half as many tables as it used to have. Most have recovered reasonably well but one in particular has become slow as molasses. It is too bad because it is a nice little place and they are going to lose the business of working people. We retired people can put up with an hour and a half lunch but not people who have a job and an hour lunch.

This whole racial problem has my wife and I just dumbfounded. My wife is more than vocal about the problem of inequality for women but at least she is a white woman. I guess that as a white man I've just been blind to what is very obviously a huge problem. Somehow I thought that the changes made years ago had fixed things. As a programmer and manager I worked with black men and women; not a lot of them but some. I was always more worried about the quality of their code than the color of their skin. Clearly there should have been more opportunities for people of color.

A couple days ago a story was revived about another black man, 50 years old, was killed by police back in September but this one was in Las Vegas. He was stopped for riding a bicycle at about 6 a.m. without a light. Then he ran! Granted he had illegal drugs on him but, really? We take our morning walk before 6 a.m. Should we have a light? What B.S.! You can be darned sure that if we ever see a cop when we are walking we won't be running away!

Then we watched Samantha Bee on tv the other night. She had quite a piece on the fact that a lot of equipment is based on a standard male figure. I don't remember the exact numbers but it was about 5'9” and 150 lb. This figure is used to determine sizes for things; everything from face masks to seatbelts. Therefore, a woman who is 5'2” can't get things to fit right. She had two female doctors on the show who spoke about dealing with Covid-19 patients while their masks didn't fit their faces properly! Talk about a nasty situation. She also had a statistic about the much higher likelihood of a woman being injured in a car crash than a man.  That link claims women are somewhere betweeen 50% and 73% more likely to have serious injuries!  Jeez!

Well, sorry about this being such a serious post.  I'm going to try to go out and take pictures of flowers or something for next time.  Take care & thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Hmmm

I wrote a couple times ago about watching Live PD and enjoying watching the officers try to do the very difficult job of maintaining law and order.  Part of the reason I've enjoyed it is that our Nye County Sheriff's office has been one of the units involved.  This morning I found a bit about the dark side of the show and the departments that are being followed.

Apparently a black man, admittedly a very large black man, was being chased for failing to dim his headlights.  At the end of the chase, he was tased several times and died at the scene.  Here is a link to the story.  Certainly he had existing medical problems but I'm pretty certain the tv show didn't share the footage of him dying at the hands of the officers.  The whole story sucks.  There are so many stupid things going on by almost everyone; it's just dumb.

We can start with the guy, Mr. Ambler, who decided he shouldn't stop for the cop.  Dumb move number 1.  Well, it was very late at night after a poker game so alcohol was almost certainly involved.  He actually hits several objects with his car!  Dumb move number 2.  He finally gets out and raises his hands.  Smart move number 1.  The cop, who had drawn his firearm, trades it for his Taser.  Smart move number 2.  The guy moves back towards his car.  Dumb move number 3.  By now several cops have shown up and they use the Taser several more times because the guy isn't getting his hands behind his back.  Dumb moves number 4 through X.  Unfortunately the guy is dying by this time.

I hate to admit it but I've been stopped for failure to dim my lights.  We have wild horses and burros north of our town and you don't want to hit one of those guys.  I was using my bright lights and just forgot when I got closer into town.  Well, a State Patrol officer was one of the oncoming cars and he flipped on his lights and did a U-turn.  I saw the lights in my rear view mirror as he was turning and figured either I'd done something wrong or he was on a call and I ought to get out of the way so I pulled over onto the shoulder of the road.  I had NO idea why he was stopping me.  Well, he told me and I just couldn't apologize enough and he ended up just telling me not to be so careless.  But, of course, I'm white and I hadn't been drinking.

The thing that really bothers me is that both the sheriff's office in Texas and the tv show have refused to cooperate with the county attorney and the media.  Can you spell cover-up?  What the hell are they doing? 

On a much better note, we had the Strawberry Moon this week and I got this photo.
The moon was just rising and I was out with the dog.  Just lucky timing. 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my rant.  Take care & keep washing those hands.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Just sayin...

We had a lovely cloudbank around sunrise this morning.  I had to take a photo!
My wife and I are trying to get out before 06:00 to be able to take our walk when it is cool.  We've been having 105+ Fahrenheit  (40C) in the mid-afternoon so that ain't the time to walk!  Afterwards we wanted to go out to breakfast but our favorite place had people waiting outside the door so we went to a casino!  Believe me, I wasn't expecting that one but it was actually pretty good.  We've had breakfast at their cafe before and this time it was not only good but very uncrowded.  Cool!

Last night I was watching Conan O'Brian and really liked hearing what some of his black guests had to say.  The first guy, Sam Richardson, is an actor and writer who was born in Detroit but his family is from Ghana and he has spent time there.  Conan visited Ghana and he acted as a guide.  The second interview I saw was with Van Jones, a news commentator and author.  Both men talked very plainly about the expectations of black men.  Frankly it was pretty depressing.  Both these guys are obviously well educated and successful but given an interaction with police neither was optimistic.  Their expectation of interactions with just everyday white people is a bit better but it sure wasn't great.  Of course we have people who are openly anti-Semantic, anti-Latino and anti-Asian as well.  It's downright depressing for me.

Of course demonstrations against something like the Floyd murder are perfectly justified.  It is the riots and looting are a problem.  I've got no idea how much the police presence influences the marchers; much less how a demonstration turns into a riot.  Clearly there is antagonism at the simple presence of the police but, after all, their job is to keep order.  It seems to be a question of how much violence is acceptable on both sides and at the moment both sides seem to be going too far.  I've never marched in a peaceful demonstration much less participated in a riot.  Bottom line, I'm just confused.

Keep on washing those hands and if you are interested check out the Conan links.  Take care!

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Short update today

We still don't have a lot going on around here but yesterday evening as we were eating dinner I felt dizzy.  Then I looked up and realized it wasn't me, it was the world!  There was a magnitude 5.5 earthquake about 200 miles southwest of here in California.  We could feel the shaking and our hanging lamp moved around a little but that was it.  You are supposed to go find cover in a doorway or some such but there wasn't enough time to even move.  It probably lasted 5 or 6 seconds here.  There have been 3 aftershocks but we haven't really felt them.  I haven't heard that there was any damage in Nevada and that part of California is pretty empty too.

The casino's in Nevada got to open at 00:01 this morning and you can bet they did!  LOL  Here in our little town I was surprised at the number of cars in the casino lots.  I guess there are people who were missing the gaming.  We'll probably get in there sometime in the next week or two but we aren't the people that keep the doors open.

The gym we occasionally attend had an ad in the paper announcing that they are now able to re-open.  They went on to say that occupancy was limited to 50% of the possible occupancy but since that never happened in the past they weren't worried about it happening now!  It's great that they could have a sense of humor in the wake of losing two months income.

That's all I wanted to share.  Take care, keep distancing and washing those hands!