Monday, November 28, 2011

Lazy? Me?

Fraid so!  Well, at least I sure was yesterday.  We started out the day watching the Brazilian GP and then segued into doing pretty much nothing for the entire rest of the day.  Watched a lot of tv, read a bit, heck, I was even too lazy to surf the web!  I would have had to either walk into the den and sit upright at my desk or carry the computer into the living room. What with one thing and another, we have not taken our daily walk in almost a month.  We are planning on changing that today.  It's such a good habit for us and we need to get back into it.

I'm wishing for a crystal ball right about now.  This whole Euro zone foolishness is driving the whole world batty and I'd sure like to know what's going to happen.  Honestly I cannot see any country leaving the Euro simply because logistically they don't have a pile of any other currency laying around.  But whatever they are doing is sure wrong.  There isn't an easy answer so I imagine there will be a few more governments brought down and a few more months of crisis.  Whether the Euro disintegrates or whether it becomes a much more unified area seems to me to be the choices available.  Time and the bond markets will tell until then I'm thinking 'bouncy ride'.  Here's hoping it isn't too long.

Have a good one!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Day After the Night Before....

Well, not exactly!  Our kids wandered off to live their own lives leaving my wife and I to just go back to our lives.  I cannot tell you how wonderful that is! 

The kids are great and seeing them is wonderful but, you know, we have a wonderful life without them.  They are all like 40-somethings so we have this weird adult-child-adult relationship.  They will always be our 'kids' (including the SO of course) but they are normal adult human beings with most of the BS that that entails.  We have no grandchildren (and will have none, I'm promised) but otherwise it's the American Dream thing going on. 

In reality we don't have the proto-typical American Dream.  We've got divorce, single parenthood, abortion, child molestation, anger management problems, even murder to deal with.  But, you know, isn't that the reality of our world?  The Nelson family was there in the '50's and '60's, Ozzie and Harriet had their moment but they are long gone.  Their son Ricky died freebasing coke in an airplane; taking the whole plane full of his band with him.  David just died this year; quietly, of cancer.  But the American dream is alive, it just incorporates all of life including death.  Just ask one of the millions of people who have emigrated to this country.  It's still the land of opportunity, the land of freedom, the shining beacon for the oppressed people of the world. 

Have you noticed I'm still proud of the place?  It's not the only wonderful place on earth but it's pretty good.  Hope you had a good day today and have a better tomorrow!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Family Time

This is Thanksgiving in the U.S.  It's special for us and is made more special because both kids will be here.  So not too much to blog about.  Eating too much, probably drinking too much, talking waaayyy too much!  I'll take a few photos but nothing I would  post.  Not only will they be boring photos but private as well.

My wife and I have been cleaning for the last couple days.  Did the windows and vacuumed in places that haven't been touched in the three years we've lived here.  Amazing stuff to be found!  Well, if it won't put you off your meal, it was mostly dead bugs and cat hair.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Breakfast will be when the son & his significant other wake up; maybe not too early since they went out to the casino last night.  (I almost wish they would marry so I could just say 'wife', unfortunately I'm both lazy, detest the term 'girl friend' when the female is over about 20 and politically correct!)  Our daughter is scheduled to show about noon with various goodies to keep us happy until the turkey makes it's appearance about 16:00.  Who knows what will happen after that!  Maybe the kids will all wander off to the casino again and my wife and I get a little down time.

At any rate, for those of us in the U.S. Happy Thanksgiving and for others I hope you have a very good day!  Take care.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting Ready...

It's coming up on Thanksgiving and that's pretty much our favorite holiday of the year so we are excited.  I mean how excited are we atheists supposed to get at Christmas?  What we are expecting is that it will be my wife and myself, our daughter, our son & his significant other (SO) together for a few days.  So it won't be a really big thing but we have seen so little of our son (her son, my stepson) and his SO that it's still exciting for us. (A sidebar:  I'm not one to intrude in others lives but I do wish he'd just marry the woman.  They've been together for 16 years and this SO shit is so boring!)  My wife is almost over her cold and I seem to have avoided catching it so at least we can have everyone here.  Wouldn't that be nasty:  go for a holiday visit and catch some nasty bug!  

Of course the holiday means that we have to have the house looking a bit better than usual.  We've already had the carpets cleaned one day last week.  I managed to clean the deck/patio area yesterday.  It's a favorite hang-out of the birds after they have visited the feeder so you can imagine the mess.  After hearing from a friend in Florida, it occurred to me that I ought to have a pressure washer so I bought one.  It sure makes a difference in the amount of work it takes to clean the deck and the furniture!  It also cuts down on the amount of water used as well; as a desert dweller I'm loving that.  Next up is washing all the windows.   I'm beginning to think that if we didn't have visitors we'd never do a deep cleaning ever.  Hmmmm.

Our big deal this weekend will be shopping for the local foodbank.  The radio station will have a stand in front of a store and we'll help them to fill their box.  For me it's the worst to think that there are people in this country who are hungry.  We are the wealthiest country on earth, we have the highest standard of living, and we still have people who are hungry.  Isn't that just awful.  I don't really give a toss about the drunks and drug addicts who might be hungry, I'm talking about families (who might even be working!) who can't afford a decent meal.  It gives an opportunity for relatively wealthy old folks like me to practice some charity but otherwise I'm pretty appalled.  

As always, have a good one!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nasty Statistics

I had a pretty quiet day today.  We went out to breakfast then came home and did a few chores; not the stuff of good posts!  However something I read got me to thinking about some of the statistical differences between black guys and white guys here in the good old U.S.A.

The first thing that got my attention was that blacks, especially guys, are quite a lot more likely to get HIV/AIDS.  I'm giving you the URL if you want to check it out yourself.
Blacks continue to experience the most severe burden of HIV.
 1.  Blacks represent approximately 14% of the US population, but accounted for an estimated 44% of new HIV infections in 2009.
 2.  At some point in their life, approximately 1 in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV infection, as will 1 in 32 black women.
 3.  In 2009, the estimated rate of new HIV infections among black men was six and a half times as high as that of white men, and more than two and a half times as high as that of Latino men and of black women. In the same year, the estimated rate of new HIV infections among black women was 15 times that of white women and over three times that of Latina women.

Then I got to wondering about the prison population.  First surprise is that we have by far the largest prison population of any country.  Apparently this is in large part due to the long sentences that are mandated.  However, again, there's a lot of black guys in prison.
Facts about prisons and Prisoners
1.  One in ten (10.4%) black males aged 25-29 was in prison or jail in 2007 as were 1 in 28 (3.6%) Hispanic males and 1 in 59 (1.7%) white males in the same age group.
2.  40% of persons in prison or jail in 2006 were black and 20% were Hispanic.
3.  Black males have a 32% chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives; Hispanic males have a 17% chance; white males have a 6% chance.

What's with this?  Discrimination does not really seem to be dead; hell, it doesn't even have a cough!  Of course ALL these guys can't be innocent but you've got to figure some were picked up because of their color.

Then there is this story about how successful black women aren't getting married; the number of black men in jail is part of the story; their educational failure is another part. 
An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage

He's written a book on the subject as well.  Here's a plug.

Gotta tell you, there's 15% of our population that is really going to waste.  I'm not sure anyone is coming up with any fixes.  Having a black president MAY encourage some children in the future to stay out of trouble and in school but I'm not sure I'm that much of an optimist.

Have a good one

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Trains

A week or so ago I went to our local arts and crafts show.  It had all the usual stuff, paintings, beading, bags, dolls; nothing exciting or even very good there.  However there was a display put together by the Tonopah and Tidewater Historical Society.  Tonopah is a small town in the northern part of our county.  Mining made it important at the time when the county lines were drawn and it is still our county seat.  It's got well under 10% of the population of Pahrump but changing county lines or even the county seat is difficult to do.  Anyway, a group of people have a plan to build a scale model of the Tonopah and Tidewater Rail Road.  Apparently they already have permission to use a building in Death Valley Junction, CA.  They had a little display to give the public a taste of what they want to do.  They also were selling raffle tickets at $5 each to finance this little plan.  Here are photos from my cell phone of their setup.

The U shaped building in the top of the first photo is an actual building and is where the display is intended to be located.  We'll see what happens.  Have a good one.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Good day yesterday

I had some fun yesterday going in to Las Vegas.  As I've said before if you can't get it at a supermarket, drug store, hardware store or Walmart; it's not in Pahrump.  It was time for a supply run so off I went.  I did take the time to check out a couple places that I usually pass by. 

The way we get to the northern part of Las Vegas takes you on NV 159 past Blue Diamond and the Red Rock Canyon area.  I drove through the town of Blue Diamond.  It's got a few hundred people but that's about all.  It is open to the BLM land and the wild horses and donkeys roam around regularly.  I didn't see any animals but there were droppings all over the place.  Clearly they have figured out that the grass people grow tastes pretty good.  Next I drove on to Bonnie Springs.  There is even less there though they do have a small gauge rail setup. 

I didn't really investigate it but left after grabbing a photo.  As I left town I ran into a traffic jam.  

There was a small herd of 6 or 8 donkeys.  Obviously they've gotten a handout or two from folks.  I guess it's just payment for all the photos we were taking of them.  Unfortunately I didn't have anything for them.  Guess I'm a bad customer.

Have a good one!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

Today is the day that at least some of us remember our military veterans: the ones among us, the ones who died for their country, and those who preceded  us.  For some, like me, it's better than Christmas.  I can easily believe in the men and women who have fought and perhaps died for freedom while that all seeing God thing is beyond me.  I think I prefer the name this day has in other countries, Remembrance Day.  It's not just about veterans; it's about remembering the horrors of war and why we should avoid wars.  Don't get me wrong, veterans are great.  We signed an oath offering up ourselves to protect the freedoms this nation offers.  It's just that we need to remember that war isn't a good solution to any problem.  I certainly wish Mr. Bush had remembered that prior to sending our troops into Afghanistan and Iraq. 

I'm also pretty unhappy with the way we got entangled in Vietnam even though I never went there.  It started out with fear that communism would take over Southeast Asia.  Then the hundreds of 'advisors' turned into hundreds of thousands and we were involved in a totally f@5ked up situation.  It was basically a lesson in why you don't intrude in another country's affairs.  Obviously history is a much underrated class in our schools.

I was watching what passes for the news on our local Fox affiliate.  They have two news anchors; a man and a woman.  The woman very nicely thanked her husband for his military service.  The guy also thanked him; he had no one he could think of who had served.  Wow!  That really got to me.  My grandfather served in the Spanish-American War, my mother's brother served in WWI, my dad served in WWII, my father-in-law served during Korea, I served during the Vietnam conflict, my wife's brother served for 27 years up to 2000.  This current conflict, in Afghanistan and Iraq, is the first time we haven't had family involved in well over 100 years! 

It's a cloudy day here in Nevada; fairly unusual.  Had to look it up!  Las Vegas averages 73 cloudy days a year and this is a good and cloudy one.  Check this out.

Have a good one even it it is cloudy!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Quiet Sunday

We are having a quiet day today.  The weather is a little weird.  Over in the west it is bright sunshine, in the east it is cloudy and snowy looking.  Kind of like the economy:  in eastern Europe things are looking pretty cloudy but here in the Americas some measures are perking up a bit.  Guess we'll just have to work through it all.

Since it's been chilly I've been cooking comfort food.  Now we've got an embarrassment of leftovers.  Does that happen to you?  One day we have nothing but cheese and salad in the fridge, seemingly the next day we've got about a week's worth of food.  Of course, we had a ham yesterday and that's a lot of leftovers right there.  My wife managed to come down with a cold so she isn't even interested in eating.  I may have to experiment with freezing some of this stuff! 

I've been hearing for months about how the price of food is going to rise because the corn harvest wasn't good.  What I have trouble with is using corn to make ethanol .  It's really about the dumbest thing ever, using  a food crop as fake gasoline.  You've got to know the politicians (and their friends the lobbyists) were involved in that decision.  Even the science behind the decision is crappy.  It is enough to make me ashamed to admit I'm from Iowa.

Gotta go.  Have a good one.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Cloudy? In the desert?

Yep!  We have clouds.  I was trying to get a screen capture of the radar view of all this but couldn't find a good one.  You'll just have to trust my photos.  But we do have clouds.  Rather than the low 30's (1C) we had a night where I woke to 50F (10C).  Not bad!  The clouds insulate us from heat loss and they also make the mountains look more spectacular than usual!

Sorry about the first photo, it's from my cell phone.  Why anyone thinks cell phones will take over from even point and shoot cameras is beyond me.  The camera can do so much better!  The first shot is of the clouds to the southwest just before sunrise.  The second is perhaps half an hour after sunrise, a photo of the Last Chance mountains to our northwest in the cloudy-sunny light that makes them so beautiful. 

I'm just loving life out here is the great American West.  Hope you are having as good a day!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Have you heard of this?

Found a link to this story in my internet wanderings.  It's from something called the 'Canada Free Press".  It is about a planned test of the U.S. government's Emergency Alert System (EAS) on November 9 at 14:00 EST.  The test will be nation-wide including radio, television and satellite radio.  The writer tries her hardest to make this sound like some sort of plot.  Come on folks, get a fu*king life!  Testing this system has been going on forever but, as the writer points out, it's never been done on a nation-wide scale.  Well, my question isn't 'gee is this a plot of some kind' rather it's why the hell haven't they tested this damn thing before?

One of the things she points out is that millions of drivers will be going along and their radio's will go silent.  She's worried that everyone will get all worried and lose control of their cars because the radio went off.  Of course in the next paragraph she writes about how everyone is familiar with the beep-beep-beep that precedes the test.  Grrr!  Dumber and dumber by the minute! 

This idiot actually points out that the date of the test is 9/11/11 if you reverse the day and month as is done in Europe and by the U.S. military.  Like that's supposed to mean something.  Jeez, I thought that shit went out of style with playing the Beatle's records backwards!  AND she adds this special note "As commenters to various news sites point out, Nov. 9, 1938 is also the anniversary of Hitler’s Kristallnacht and Nov. 9, 1923 the date of Hitler’s failed Munich coup." 

Well, at least I can hope that this idiot is from Canada; that would be proof that all the fools aren't 'born in the U.S.A."!  Have a good one.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Ok, after our rafting trip it was time for lunch.  I'm a fan of all the foodie shows.  I'm not much of a cook but I like watching them.  I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives a few days ago and found an episode that was about "The Coffee Cup" in Boulder City.  They talked about it as basically a breakfast place that was also open for lunch.  Had to go!

I'd never been in Boulder City before.  It originated as a place for the workers who were building the dam - a place where they wouldn't be seduced by the alcohol and gambling that Nevada was known for even back then.  As their history web site explains "Since 1969, liquor has been legal in town, but opposition to gambling and prostitution remains and growth ordinances keep Boulder City from duplicating the sprawl of Las Vegas."  (I should mention that the casino where we met the raft company is way outside town!  There is no gambling to this day.)  The town itself is a cute little town filled with antique shops, lots of parks and very narrow streets.  "The Coffee Cup" is on the main street; indeed it seems to be the hottest place in town.  It's fairly small with a main room that is about 20' x 40' (7 m x 14m) and another narrower room next to it.  The decor is original - many license plates, water skis, photos of soldiers.  It is obvious it means a lot to the owners and, presumably, the regulars. 

Someone (I think on Yelp) had talked about their chili verde so I was pretty primed for that.  My wife ordered a mushroom cheese burger. Our server was polite and fairly quick.  It was about 12:45 and they were quite busy.  (They close at 2 p.m.)  My chili verde was very good.  I did find one piece of onion that was the size of a quarter of a small onion but the soup was tasty and well done.  Unfortunately the hamburger was not so nice.  They called it a 1/3 lb (150g) burger - no, the chef's finger must have been on the scale as well.  And it was very well done; they didn't even offer it any other way so I guess we can't complain about that except that if you 'hold the feces' you don't have to overcook hamburger!  To make matters worse, the meat was unseasoned; not even salt and pepper.  We thought the cole slaw served with the hamburger was excellent.  So, it may be the only game it town but I doubt if we'll be back.

On the way home we had an unexpected treat.  We were coming over the pass and almost at the top saw a group of 5 or 6 mountain goats!  We were doing about 50 mph (80 kph) and quickly dropped to about half that.  The goats were grazing on the side of the road and there wasn't much room there.  They weren't spooked by the traffic though so I'm hoping they decided to eat elsewhere before they got hit.  There is always some idiot trying to see if he can better his last elapsed time up the mountain.  We've seen them a couple of other times but never so many in a group.  Exciting stuff!  No photos though.  I wasn't thinking or I would have turned around and gone back to check on them.  Duh!

Gotta go.  Have a good one.