Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Best Development in RV Camping in 20 Years!

The old adage about 'god is in the details' applies to so many things. Nowhere is it better illustrated than in camping. The vast majority of campgrounds are terrible places to camp. Please don't tempt me to illustrate.

In America (and maybe a couple other countries?) we have been fortunate enough to have the option of "dispersed camping" outside established campgrounds, and by yourself. This is probably the best outdoor experience you could have.

But for years dispersed camping (and other types of access to public lands) has been under persistent and relentless attack by the land control organizations. But they may simply be the Effect. The Cause is likely to be laws passed by Congress, trying to burnish their environmental credentials, as well as rich lawsuit machines (aka, environmental lobbies) and their fellow-travelers sitting on the bench as federal judges.

And yet the RV industry and the RV blogosphere have done next to nothing to protect quality camping in the USA. Just do a Google search of anything connected to RVing or camping. None of it addresses the real issue of the ever-increasing restrictions on camping. 

Until now. Recently a remarkable organization has come into being. I am not exaggerating to say that in my 20 years of familiarity with the war on camping, this is the first positive and exciting development I have seen! 

It is the winter season at Quartzsite. It was a perfect time to put some points on the board. We worked as the active partner of the BLM: they suggested the location, gave safety instructions, supplied a trailer to haul it away, and enlisted the help of four BLM people.

I was the first person there, and for a moment felt the turnout would be a dud, and that I would have to make excuses with the BLM. (In fact I hadn't slept much the previous night, while I worried about this.) Then the volunteers starting streaming in!

New as we are, about 20 volunteers showed up.

What's this? Even dogs chipped in!

I hope we have 120 volunteers next winter in Quartzsite, and many cleanups at other locations during the rest of the year.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

500 Years of History to Size Up

Recently there has been a timely opportunity to wrestle with the Big Picture: the Protestant Reformation had its 500th birthday. Secondly a quirky election (for a Senate seat in Alabama) makes you wonder how American culture looks from the perspective of a European post-Christian. Thus there are two timely examples to think about the last 500 years of the Decline and Fall of European Christianity.

I cannot answer these issues in a brief post. But I do want to advertise them as an opportunity. Many important questions are ignored even though we know that they are important. They are big, and take too much hard work. This is how the timeliness of the news, or our outrage at news coverage, can be used to spur us on to the Difficult. It's the best use I know of.

For my part I am reading Hilaire Belloc again, in part because the English-speaking world is already saturated with the Whig Interpretation of History. I need to hear history from the Catholic viewpoint to be 'awakened from my dogmatic slumbers.' 

Suffice it to say that I have been convinced that Protestantism as a separate religion from Catholicism was a sad result of a potentially beneficial Reformation.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Strange Forgotten Substance Falls From the Sky

Light rain hits my trailer. How odd that I can't remember the last time it rained. I wish to hold on to the moment. But how?

The true significance of this rain in undermined by modern comfort and security: it is too easy to buy or get water!

Maybe there are novelists who have done an artful job of relating the experience of rain, but I haven't read enough fiction to know of them. Extra credit points for any reader who offers a fine example from books or movies.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Machiavelli's Advice to the President

Yes, predictions are indeed hard, especially about the future. Still, it is that time of year. I predict that Trump will become a lame duck president in early November of 2018, and a one term president after that.

These predictions are not based on how much I like or dislike him. I am simply thinking like Machiavelli -- that is, non-morally -- and trying to guess how things will play out. If you were a highly paid political consultant, what would be your advice to Trump?

But first, consider a vivid memory of the day after the election in 2016. I was in a parking lot in Nevada, which is now a Blue State, with all its refugees from California. An old and very noisy pickup went blasting through the parking lot at high speeds. He had an American flag attached to the cargo bed of the truck. It is as if he were saying gloating, "Take that, you bleeping Hillary voters -- and why don't you move back to California!" 

Presumably he had guns and Bibles in the front seat of the truck. He certainly was representative of the rural blockheads, Rapture Christians, and military worshipers in Flyover America.

Your advice to Trump is: you have done well to suck up to Israel by acknowledging Jerusalem as its capital. This will solidify your base with a large segment of the Republican party.

And it might behoove you to do some noisy sabre-rattling against Iran, too. But would it help Trump to start bombing Iran in September or October? 

Conventional wisdom says that nothing is better for an embattled president than starting a war. Rally 'round the Flag! Rally 'round the president! Just ask presidents Polk, Lincoln, McKinley, Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, and the more recent ones.  Of course he must be careful to make it look like the Other Guys fired the first shot.

But here is what really interests me: will this classic trick still work in a country of Permanent War? If a country is always at war, will the peasant masses rally 'round the president just because one more war is threatened. Is a new war even interesting news, anymore?

If ye olde trick no longer works, how will politics change? Some new crisis or emergency will have to be trotted out for embattled politicians to rally the masses behind their leaders.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Waylaid by a Gorgeous Blonde

It is a delightful surprise to discover by accident that you are really in the mood for something...and you didn't even know it, until it happens. I was mountain biking by some campers when something swooped in on my peripheral vision and conquered me.

Now, don't hold the Barbie doll hairdo against this girl. It is her owner's fault. Still, I love petting the cotton-ball-softness of a poodle. She was 7 months old, and bursting with joy, good health, and over-eager friendliness.

I told her owner that this really made my day!