Monday, August 30, 2010

Dog days....

We had a tough day today though perhaps things will work out ok.  Our dog, Sammie, had an operation about three years ago.  She had two different cancers; one on her chest another on her abdomen.  Today she had another operation to remove a fatty mass from her chest.  It is in almost the exact same spot as one of her cancers.  The doctor wasn't too happy about getting all of the mass.  We didn't bother to have it analyzed; we'll know soon enough anyway if it was cancerous or not.  The dog is home now but is still pretty sleepy from the drugs.  I don't like the helpless feeling I get when all I can do is wait. 

That's a tee shirt she is wearing; she can't really get at the site of the incision but she is leaking a bit of blood.  She had a sort of wart on her rear leg and the doctor took that off as well.  I'll update the blog as things go along.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


We are surrounded by idiots.  Sometimes it is just more apparent than others.  Here's a sign here in town.

First, I'm in only in favor of lawful felony's; those unlawful ones can lead one to spend time in the pokey.  Secondly, I've no idea what 'abandon or cruelty' means.  And why do you have a big sign about cruelty to animals?  Doesn't everyone know it's illegal?  Or is that one of those lawful felonies? 

The sigh, by the way, was placed between the lanes of a divided road which eventually widens into a small local park.  Go town sign planter!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Yahoo Finance has an article today about the Hindenburg Omen which is supposed to warn of a stock market downturn.  What is it?  Here's what they say.
    * -- The daily number of NYSE new 52-week highs and the daily number of new 52-week lows must both be greater than 2.2% of total NYSE issues traded that day.
    * -- The NYSE's 10-week moving average is rising.
    * -- The McClellan Oscillator (a technical measure of "overbought" vs. "oversold" conditions) is negative on that same day.
    * -- New 52-week highs cannot be more than twice the new 52-week lows. This condition is absolutely mandatory.

Now I don't know if you remember what I think about statistics but my opinion is pretty low and it gets lower with every increase in complexity.  You gotta know the Hindenburg Omen is down there a ways!  I don't have much time for stock market chartists anyway.  I just keep remembering the disclaimer on every prospectus:  past performance is no guarantee of future results.  If you are that worried that the market is going to go down (and of course it will from time to time), then get out.  Back after the dot-com meltdown a friend said his father had lost about a third of his money and was taking the remainder out of the market for good.  Doing that, he missed out on a great rally but maybe he slept better knowing his money was safe.  Whatever works for you!

Have a good one!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Duh, just special stuff

It's just a great day here in the world.  Here's a link to some idiot who thought there was easy money to be had in day trading without any knowledge whatsoever.  Jeez, this idiot is certainly going to get off the hook but why?  Ignorance is just ignorance and this guy is way too dim to procreate!  At least the government should cut off his balls.

Tiger Wood's wife has finally dumped him.  Why should this be news to anyone?  Jeez!  He is such an idiot!  Granted she was way idealistic but don't we all want to expect the best from our spouse? 

Went into Vegas yesterday to get a tire replaced on the truck.  We were driving along in Oregon when we had a choice:  either every road we were traveling over was total crap or we had something wrong with the truck.  After some discussion with my BIL, we actually looked at the tire and you could see a bulge in the sidewall.  NOT GOOD!  We put the spare on.  Many miles later, the guy at the dealership just took a quick look and started finding me a new tire.  It took all afternoon but I have to say he managed it.  Good on you Gaudin Ford!

That Mexican weather I was grouching about is finally about to dissipate.  We have clouds and 20% humidity, a chance of rain (not likely!) and the weekend is forecast to be in the 90's (~36C)!  Ok!  Works for me!  Here's what our sky looked like tonight.

Hmmm, we might make it through this summer after all!  Have a good one.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quiet Sunday

We were scheduled to have the daughter and her latest boyfriend here today but they canceled for some reason.  We've never met the guy but generally she has pretty good taste in guys so we aren't too worried.  Having the day to ourselves, we were both extremely lazy.  I surfed a good part of the day and my wife watched tv.  Life in the extra-slow lane.

I'm going to try my luck with the charcoal bbq again tonight.  My victim will be a pork tenderloin that  we found in the freezer.  You know, I was over 60 before getting the bright idea to itemize what was in the freezer.  Jeez, talk about slow!  Anyway, we have these cryovac'd tenderloins so we are coming up with three different ways to serve them.  I'm a little worried because we have quite a wind going today.  It's hot but breezy; weatherbonk says 17 mph and I believe them; at least!  I'll do indirect heat using only the briquette charcoal.  That lump stuff is for experimentation when I get better with the stuff I used to know.

There is a nice piece in the Vegas paper entitled "To insult idiots, call them 'politicians'" The guy is so 'right on' it's amazing.  Of course we have people like President Obama who came into his job with a pretty good rating and now he's in Bush country.  If only he'd stop waffling and do something!  There was a story this week about the last combat troops leaving Iraq; of course there are still a few thousand 'advisers'.  Bah humbug!

There's a line in 'Pride and Prejudice' that I love:  "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?''  The thing about politics in the US is that while it is absurd, the same is true for other countries.  Belgium, for example, can hardly remain one country it is so divided between the Flemish and the Walloons.  Australia is doing it's part by not electing a majority government; much as the UK did a few months ago.  In the UK they seem to have found a temporary agreement, let's hope Australia can follow their lead.  What would we do without politics to complain about?

Have a good week.

UPDATE:  I must admit to a small success in my war with charcoal.  The tenderloin was a tad dry but not bad at all.  Maybe next time I'll have the courage to top it with some bacon?  It was 97F (36C) while I was out watching the bbq; I was sweating lightly but the breeze caused the perspiration to dry almost immediately making me comfortable or even slightly chilly.  Amazing!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harry Reid?

There is an election scheduled for November and the newspapers are full of the race for our Senate seat; it's between Harry Reid, the incumbent, and Sharon Angle, his Republican challenger.  Here in rural Nevada it's likely that Ms. Angle will carry the day since people out here are generally more conservative than in the cities.  Of course there are a lot more people in the cities so....  However, in addition to being one of the power elite which is not a good thing this year, Harry has managed to piss a lot of people off by his associations with President Obama.

We have tons of signs around town for candidates for various offices but very few for either state or national positions.  I did find one for Harry Reid which, unfortunately, has been the victim of graffiti.

A couple of blocks farther along is this sign; not so professional but full of meaning.

I don't know but Harry might be in trouble around here.  Have a good one.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I'm trying to pretty the place up a bit so added a photo of Mt. Charleston; the view diagonally out my office window.  It may or may not stay; but I'm happy about it for a first effort. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Darned Mexicans!

Now if it wasn't enough that we've got this illegal immigration problem, the weather man says the Mexican's are sending us up some warmer weather!  Jeez!  Low 100's today (39+C); another 5 or 8 degrees (42+C) later this week.  Grrrr!  Even the people who've been here a while are getting tired of it.

I was reading that the Mexican President has said perhaps they should consider legalizing some drugs, like marijuana specifically.  His justification is he wants to reduce all the violence that the drug cartels are causing.  I think legalization makes perfect sense.  The country could tax it and we could all go over the border and have a quick joint if we wanted.  Hell, it would probably increase tourism 200%.  (I can just see Croft trying to figure out how to stay there year round.  LOL  Just kidding!)  Actually, we ought to legalize in this country as well.  Logically we'd have to let about 25% of the people out of our prisons (since they were in for something that was no longer a crime) but that savings wouldn't be too painful to the states and the tax income from the weed would be most welcome. 

These hot days I'm spending my energy trying to figure out how to cook things without warming the house.  The crockpot is in use as is the bbq.  I got my first gas bbq about 20 years ago; before that I was a charcoal guy.  Now I've decided to try charcoal again but it's kicking my ass!  I think I've complained about it before but it's still killing me.  Made a real rookie mistake the other night.  Put a pork loin on that I'd made slits in for little pieces of garlic.  I'd done something similar on the gas grill just a couple weeks ago and it was great!  Unfortunately, I forgot that the charcoal grill is much cooler and didn't sear the meat the way the gas did.  Ended up with a fairly dry pork loin.  Bah humbug.  Like I say, a rookie mistake.  Next time I'll just put the garlic on the outside and we should be good to go.

I'm also trying 'real charcoal' aka lump charcoal.  The stuff that doesn't fall through the grate burns pretty quickly and the charcoal I add doesn't really take off well.  It's to the point that I stopped and bought some Kingsford briquettes yesterday.  I've never used lump charcoal before so going back to something that I have at least used before ought to help with this re-learning process.  I spend quite a bit of time on the BBQ forum but some of those folks are really close to professionals!  Not that they aren't helpful, it's just they are on a whole different level. 

Gotta go.  Tonight I'm the garlic bread guy to my wife's pasta cooking.  Hopefully I won't screw that up.  Have a good one.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Or Not!

Went over to Vegas yesterday to celebrate my wife's birthday.  Moderation was certainly NOT the name of the game as we were in around $150 a person before gratuity (can't call anything that size a 'tip').  It was very good and we got plenty to eat though the individual plates were pretty small.  The restaurant was Aureole in the Mandalay Bay.  Nice place, fine food and good service; can't ask for more than that. 

There is an item in the news about some ex-state workers in Colorado who are suing the state because the state is changing the rules of their retirement.  I don't know the whole story but apparently there was some kind of built-in cost-of-living adjustment written into the law which the state legislature has overturned.  It's hard for me to imagine a state legislature with the political courage to do such a thing (congratulations Colorado!!) but I believe it is going to have to be done in many more areas.  It is done in the private sector all the time.  Our health benefits keep getting smaller and being more expensive; that wasn't supposed to happen.  Our pension income has never gone up and I doubt if it ever will.  This economic hole needs to be attacked and ex-government workers cannot be exempt. 

Short post today; I'm off to cut up some meat for beef jerky.  I cut it and marinate it today and tomorrow it goes on the electric dehydrator for five or six hours.  I think I'll add a little cayenne to the marinade; make it just a bit hotter.  Have a good one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I'm a big fan of moderation in all things.  Lately we've been getting a little moderation on the weather front and are loving that.  There's a big difference between 95F (35C) and 105F (40+C).  In the wider scheme of things I'm also a fan of moderation in a lot of ways.  Investing is certainly a place where I believe you will be more successful if you are moderately invested in different areas - of course that's usually called being diversified.  Wine, women (or men) and song are also places where moderation is beneficial; at least in my experience.  If your experience has been different, I'd love to hear about it!

I've been reading a lot about are we having inflation or deflation or will we have one of them and when.  Another place where moderation is a good thing.  Inflation is easy for me to understand but deflation is tougher.  My problem with the entire question is that the truth, whatever it is, will be obscured by the fact that the U.S. government has been fooling with the Consumer Price Index (CPI)  for so many years that I don't think it tells us a thing.  For me that's a big problem; if your own government is lying to you, you're screwed.  Governments lie, of course; they are made up of people and people certainly lie.  It's the pervasiveness of the lying that bothers me.  I gave up on the CPI many years ago when they took gasoline out of it because "it was too volatile".   Well, most of us have to buy it so I really don't give a damn if it fouls up your statistics.  It is extremely important to us consumers and it's cost should be reflected in the CPI. 

To get back to the inflation-deflation question:  a lot of us remember when we had some pretty severe inflation in the 1979-1980 time frame.  I remember hearing of a Certificate of Deposit that paid 14% interest!  Today Wells Fargo will keep your money for 49 months and pay you less than 2%.  Deflation is much tougher for me to comprehend; I had to look it up here in wikinvest.   Of course if things become cheaper that means that there will be less tax income (sales tax & property tax anyway); and businesses will have a tough time remaining solvent so maybe that is what's happening.  I know this house that we just bought in 2009 has lost almost 20% of it's value and our property tax bill has dropped by approximately the same amount.  We have seen several of the small businesses in the area fold but, of course, many do even in the best of times.  However, having just used 300 gallons of diesel in our travels, I can categorically state that not EVERYTHING is in a deflationary state. 

Our society has so many constraints on the economy that I don't know that 'pure' inflation or deflation is possible.  The federal government has such an influence:  employees; military; retirees; Social Security; Medicare (and whatever Congress just voted in).  It's quite a list and those people aren't going to get a reduction in their payments.  Then there are the large companies who have unionized workers; it's possible to change those contracts but it would certainly be slow and difficult!  Anyway, I'm definitely confused.

Maybe it's time to just go have a beer!  Have a good one.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


As a result of an unquiet night, we took our morning walk earlier than usual today.  It was so lovely!  Walking along the dry track looking at the clouds over Mt. Charleston; the rays of sun climbing over the cloud; the slow lighting up of the Nopah mountains to our west.  Absolutely beautiful.  Did I have my camera?  Hell no!  Of course not.  There was the smell of rain in the air but it would be pretty surprising if we got any here; the mountains are probably getting some though.  (Here's a pic from a walk last year about this time.)

It's kind of funny but this whole area is a flood plain.  You climb over the pass from Las Vegas and here is a sign proclaiming a flash flood area for the next X miles.  In fact, our house is in a flood zone and our mortgage requires that we have flood insurance.  It strikes me as kind of funny since in Florida our house was at an elevation of about 12 feet (say 4 meters) about 10 miles(16 km) from the ocean and it wasn't required there. 

As usual, we've got a quiet day planned.  The highlight will probably be washing the car.  How's that for life in the fast lane?  Speaking of "Life"; I really enjoyed the post on Random Roger this morning.  He's talking about the importance of taking responsibility for your life.  He's had a couple posts recently that generated comments about his insensitivity to people's problems.  I don't find him insensitive at all.  He, and I, are strong proponents of living below your means.  That means that we have a Toyota not another BMW; we have a travel trailer not a diesel pusher motorhome; we have basic cable tv not every extra channel you can imagine. 

This is how we have always lived.  When we were working, we always lived in a house that either of us could afford if the other lost his/her job.  We are intelligent people (well, give me a break!) and were working in exciting positions for strong companies but you never know what's around the corner.  I have every compassion for someone who has been crushed by the world:  I know there are people who had a moderate mortgage, a good job, a happy life but things just all went sideways and now they are homeless, jobless and crazed.  I have none for someone who bought a house they couldn't possibly afford or who thinks the world owes them a living or who thinks relationships are painless. 

I kind of think being an atheist gives me an advantage here:  there isn't any super being out there who cares about me.  It's all my problem and all my solution.  Of course, having parents who had lived through the great depression (the 1930 one!) helped too.  The news is full of 'the new consumer' who ISN'T buying everything in sight; those folks who saw that depression didn't buy a lot of crap they didn't need either.  And, you know, that sunrise this morning was so absolutely beautiful, so priceless and it didn't cost a dime.  Go smell the roses folks.

Have a good one.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Warm enough?

Turns out we went on our trip during the hottest month of the year.  Traditionally July is the hottest month but this year was a new record.  According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal "July's average temperature of 96.2 degrees (35.6C) was the highest of any month since record keeping began in 1937."  That average is both the high and the low so it didn't get that cool at night either.  We've been in the low 100's (38C) since we returned but nothing in the teens.

Speaking of our trip; we put 3,174 miles (5,100km) on the truck; towing about 2,500 (4,000km) and used almost exactly 300 gallons (1,135 liters) of diesel.  A long trip for under a month.  Here's a photo of the GPS when we were going up to see Mt. St. Helens.

Nothing like driving in a straight line!  Have a good one.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Off to Las Vegas

I'm headed to the big city today for some shopping.  In Pahrump if Walmart doesn't carry it, you don't need it.  That's just not our lifestyle.  I was astounded when we first moved here that I'd be in a store looking for something and if they didn't have it they would send me to Walmart.  I worked in retail and sending a customer to Walmart would be really low on my list of suggestions. 

Here is a photo we took at the Escapee's park in Sumerlin, OR.  We were in the club house looking at the books and saw this out the window.  Fortunately my wife had her cell phone (with camera).  It seems the leaves on the tree were tasty but when she got an apple; that was special!

Have a good one!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


From Yahoo news:  "Leading Republicans are joining a push to reconsider the constitutional amendment that grants automatic citizenship to people born in the United States."  I don't think anything will come of it; since when have politicians had this kind of courage?  However........

Well, at least I consider this a step in the right (i.e. correct) direction.  Clearly the amendment was written at a time when people made a huge effort to move to this country and make a place for themselves here.  Modern travel methods have clearly made that effort obsolete.  Now there is at least the fear that people come to this country for a day just to have a baby here and obtain the associated rights for that baby.  And for the child's parents. 

I guess that perhaps I would like to modify the 14th Amendment.  Let's think about the different children we are talking about. 

1. A child born of a woman who simply walked across the border for the day. 
2. A child born of a woman who is here illegally; either by overstaying a visa or by sneaking into the country by some other means.
3.  A child born of a woman who is here legally; though of limited duration - i.e. a student visa.
4.  A child born of a woman who is here as a legal immigrant (with a green card).

It seems to me to be obvious that the first two examples are people who need not be granted citizenship.  The third example is at least questionable; if the mother isn't intending to stay, why would the child?  However the final option would seem to be completely reasonable candidate for citizenship provided that he or she was willing to take the oaths required of new citizens. 

BTW, my FIL is the son of a wetback so this discussion hits close to home. 

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Is it really August?

I guess it must be.  The local radio station talks about the weather being 'in the low hundreds'; after it gets into triple digits who cares?  We are taking it easy though getting caught up with 'normal' life.  I'm doing lots of laundry & exciting stuff like that.  (Yes, I do the laundry in our house; not sure how that happened but....)  Our daughter is coming over today so I'm bbq'ing a pork loin roast and some corn.  Keeps me off the street.

I've been researching high-end restaurants in Las Vegas because my wife's birthday is coming up.  It's one of those special ones (ends in a zero) so we are going to try one of the nicer places.  If anyone had any suggestions, I'd be willing to listen because we haven't been to many places in the big city.  From the web sites I've checked out I'm expecting to pay in excess of $100 a person plus $50-100 for wine.  The good news is that I won't have to worry about us getting drunk at those prices! 

Gotta go.  This computing is getting stuff done.  Take care.