Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Not a lot of time today.  We are off to Las Vegas to 1) get a pedi and 2) stock up on booze for our trip.  Well, as you might have guessed; reason 1 is my wife's and reason 2 is mine.  LOL  Sorry but I'm just too old school to have a pedicure.  When I've got dementia and don't remember where my toes are; ok, but not until. 

Had a fun experience last night.  I was out at the Weber bbq cooking some chicken.  It's just a normal gas version and the temp gauge was showing about 400 degrees.  I've checked it with another thermometer and it's reasonably close to correct.  I had my instant read thermometer sitting on the side board ready to check the chicken.  Then I noticed that it was reading 120F (49C) just sitting there!  It was about 104F (40C) ambient so it was getting a little heat from the grill but really not that much.  I got a kick out of it though. Doesn't take much to tickle me does it? 

Stay warm!

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."  Harry Truman

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


 First I'd like to make a couple of announcements.  I'm going to try to update this blog more often; I know I've said it before but I KNOW I can do this!  Having said that, I'm off traveling in a week so internet access will be spotty.  I'll do what I can! 

I've added comment moderation - I'm sorry to do it but I'm getting some comments in Chinese.  I don't know Chinese and just don't care for things I have to go have translated.  Sorry for the inconvenience but there we go.  If some Chinese person is reading my drivel then they can comment in English or be unheard.

Now; for the title commentary.  One of the investment blogs I read had a kind of minor discussion about whether we are in a recession or a depression.  It made me really happy that I'm not an 'investment professional'.  Debating semantics is fine for folks who are doing well but for folks who are losing their homes or seeing retirement dreams go up in flames; it's not so fun.  So far, I'm one of the lucky ones.  Will I remain so?  Who knows.  If I could foretell the future, I'd be a hell of a lot wealthier, more popular and probably more paranoid that I am today!

Anyway, I'm older than the people who were having that discussion and my parents were fairly old when I was born so I've heard from my parents what it was like to live through the Great Depression.  My mother was orphaned when she was 19 - in 1931.  She got a job as a waitress.  Not a great job but it was enough.  My dad was managing a dime store - anyone know what that was?  Their stories sounded a lot like what is going on now.  The big difference is that now we have welfare programs, both public and private, to keep people from standing in line at a soup kitchen.  My mother-in-law was a little younger(age 13 in 1930); she lived on her parent's dairy farm.  Back then farmers didn't rely on grocery stores very much so she basically didn't know there was a depression!  The point remains, it doesn't matter what you call it, these are not the best of times.

My folks came out of the depression knowing about saving; knowing about not wasting things.  Maybe this 'economic event' will help our country re-discover some of those values.  I doubt it but I sure wish it.

(Go read the first line of A Tale of Two Cities for yourself!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Good trip

Yesterday I had a good trip to Las Vegas; my definition of 'good' is when you find what you need and don't get creamed by some idiot.  I took the truck to cart my purchases home; it's really pretty comfortable to drive but parking is always a pain.  The turning radius must be just short of 50 ft (maybe 15m), add in the length of the vehicle, which is almost 25 ft (duh, 7.5m), and it's just not a parking lot friendly vehicle.  Usually I park about as far away from the stores as I can and take two space; that way I'm not sticking out in the travel lane.  Sorry about the whine!

Anyway, at 08:00 this morning it is warm enough outside that I closed up the house.  The weather forecast is for the high to be 101F (37C); pretty normal for this time of year.   We are planning to leave for a month just after the 4th of July and are looking forward to being in more temperate weather.  It's another trip to the Pacific Northwest but this time we are hoping to trickle back down the Oregon Coast.  It's a lovely part of the world and should re-charge the old batteries a bit.  Hell, I might even take a photo or two!

Someone opened a Japanese restaurant here a couple weeks ago so we had to try it last night.  The sushi was kind of different from other that we've had but was at least good quality stuff.  I had a more Americanized chicken dish; it was a bit overdone but otherwise ok.  It took way too long to come but I hope they will fix that.  There are two reasons for hope:  they were very busy last night and they've only been open a short while.  Presumably the kitchen will get faster and the crowd will be smaller after they've been here a while.  We live in hope.

Take care.

"And I will show of male and female that either is but the equal of the other."  Walt Whitman

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More foolishness

We have another day of stock market foolishness with it bouncing around 100 points up and 100 points down on absolutely no news whatsoever.  Glad I don't really pay attention to that stuff; it would drive me up a wall.  (I'd say 'up a tree' but we don't have many of those out here.) 

We walked this morning leaving the house at 06:30.  Even so, we were both sweating by the time we got back.  I don't think of walking as an excuse to sweat!  Pretty soon I'm heading into Las Vegas for a few items.   Between lower prices and better selection sometimes it is worth the trip.  We are spending money like we've got it!  At least neither of us is after an iPhone!  I read about people who are spending 14 hours in line waiting for the store to open.  I'm just not built that way - even if I didn't think that Apple makes a lousy product.  They are clever and beautifully designed but I think the build quality and the proprietary nature of the company is just too much to buy. 

Gotta go.  Have a good one.

“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity. ”  - Walt Whitman

Sunday, June 20, 2010


BTW, I have about 10,000 places I would rather go than Cuba, it's the principle of the thing!

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

I follow a blogger from Australia, the, I assume, well known Lee.  I find Lee to be a pretty cool guy; well educated, liberal but not over-the-top, concerned about the world we leave for our children.  He's got one advantage that I just don't see in us citizens of the United States:  he's free to travel the globe.

Just now he is visiting Cuba.  It's not legal for me to do that.  "Land of the free" - does that really mean that I'm free to do anything as long as some asshole in the government hasn't made a rule against it?  Come on, what possible ill could it do our country if I visited this over-heated island?  I've been in the Caribbean and it's hot, muggy and buggy in the summer.  Honestly, the last time this island was even vaguely important was the missile crisis of 1962.  Yes, that seemed to be a legitimate threat; yes, the U.S. needed to defend itself against missile strikes from so close a base; but NO, fifty years later we are just knee-jerking against a country dominated by a half-dead tyrant. 

Let's give up this out of date policy and just let people go wherever the hell they want.  I'm embarrassed that I can't go to Cuba.  Gives the country (mine!) a bad name and I don't like that one bit. 

"I know not what course other may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"  Patrick Henry

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Quiet Times

Things are pretty quiet these days here in the desert.  We are only looking at the low 90's (F) (32C) today so that's pretty comfortable; back to 100F (38C) in a week or so.  We went into Vegas the other day to make our usual Sam's Club run; didn't buy a lot but somehow filled up the back of the car.  We found a Costco in our travels and looked around it.  There isn't a lot of difference and if the Costco were more convenient to reach I might think about switching but as it is, Sam's is very conveniently located and the Costco is a kind of pain to reach.  We had lunch at Hooter's; it's a chain best known for the skimpy outfits the waitress' are required to wear.  Our waitress happened to be really slow as was the kitchen in preparing our lunch: chicken wings.  Not a success; we won't be back again.

We've been walking a couple miles out in the desert every morning, at 06:00 the sun feels warm but the temperature is still in the 70's (21C) so it's very comfortable.  We take the dog & she can run off the lead for a while.  It does us all good to see her enjoy a bit of freedom.  This morning there wasn't much traffic (we are walking towards a highway that is a mile or so away) and it was SOOOOO quiet.  We saw a bunny and a couple of jack rabbits but they were more alert than the dog so escaped her notice.  She likes to chase them but has absolutely no chance of every catching one unless IT was abysmally unlucky. 

I read differing opinions about our economy: it's recovering; it's recovering slowly; it's going to collapse; it's I-don't-know-what.  Happily I know the future.  Things will get better; things will get worse; things will recover; they will fail.  I just don't know where we are in the cycle.  LOL  Good luck!

"Our civilization is still in a middle stage, scarcely beast, in that it is no longer wholly guided by instinct; scarcely human, in that it is not yet wholly guided by reason."  Theodore Dreiser

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weather or not....

Well, it was 66F (19C) this a.m. when I got up; 102F (39C) about 36 hours earlier.  Needless to say we have wind; 20ish mph (maybe 40kph) with gusts to 45 (70kph).  Love it.  At least we get a couple cool days out of the deal.

Our primary elections are over and I'm fairly happy with the results though we can probably still find a way to screw things up in November.  The Sheriff, who seems honest enough, was re-elected easily.  The District Attorney got 404 votes out of over 7200 cast - obviously him wrecking both his county car and his personal car in one day didn't go over well with the electorate.  There is also the small matter of an audit in a cash fund that found the county unknowingly paying for cheerleader outfits for the high school - just so happens his daughter was a cheerleader at the time.  Otherwise, a couple of people with criminal records managed to get elected but since that isn't a requirement.....  What can you say?  Interesting question:  should the leaders of our community be required to be - I don't know the term - non-felons?  Or is non-major-misdemeanor enough?  Or should we require never-been-found-guilty?  I think I prefer the last.

Well, gotta go. 

"Under every stone lurks a politician." Aristophanes

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Primary Election Time

The primary election is over.  The Republicans and Democrats have their candidates for the election in November.  Here in the valley I'm not sure there was a lot of change.  In the state Senate race there was a pretty interesting result.

To quote from Time (via Yahoo):  "Reid couldn't have asked for a better candidate in Angle than if he'd picked her himself: the former State representative is a ultra-conservative who supports phasing out Social Security and Medicare; wants to abolish the EPA, and the Department of Energy and Education; and most recently got into trouble for supporting a prisoner drug rehab program that included massages." 

You gotta wonder what this country is doing.  On one hand you hear how much people want to change things in Washington, 'throw them all out'.  Then you have some nutbag elected to face Harry Reid, the incumbent.  Give me a break people.  Apparently the voters have lost their minds; well at least the Republicans who all loved President Bush.  Maybe I should be happy; this gives Harry a great chance.

Perhaps I should elaborate.  Wikipedia tells us that in 2000 Las Vegas had almost 1.4 million of the 2 million people in Nevada.  The numbers have probably grown but the proportion hasn't changed much.  The people out in the rural areas might be Republican (they certainly are here!) but Las Vegas is where the action is.  Harry Reid isn't stupid so he comes out here to ask for our vote but it is really Las Vegas where the election is won or lost.  And Las Vegas is Democratic.

In other news, I took our truck in to Las Vegas to have the oil changed yesterday.  It took 2.5 HOURS!!!  Not that I was expecting anything else since I've been there before.  Gotta find another dealer and see what they can do.  I really like using the dealer while the vehicle is under warranty (just don't want to argue with some idiot about what was done or wasn't done) BUT this is totally stupid.  I'm going to write to the service manager and unless they come up with something really special, it's the last time for Gauden Ford. 

Summer is here; Vegas had a 110F (43C) day already but this weekend is supposed to be better like 85F (29C); a welcome break.  But we all know it's coming; do you hear the theme from 'Jaws' in the background?  We are now about three and a half weeks from heading north for a while.  We'll visit relatives then trickle back down the Pacific coast for a couple weeks.  Should be cool and refreshing to be so near the ocean for a while. 

Have a good one.

"Liberty of thought is the life of the soul." --Voltaire