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When Teddie Bear Chollas Take Over

Altitude 2000 feet in southwestern Arizona.  I wish I understood what was going on with the Teddie Bear chollas around here.  If memory serves, they used to be fairly rare around here.  Now they are everywhere.  It is a dreadful experience to see your dog get into the teddie bear chollas. The good news is the situation is more manageable than you think.  Dogs learn to avoid the cholla segments that fall off the plant and roll around on the ground, sometimes several feet from the parent plant. Dogs tend to get these cholla segments on their feet, and then they try to get them off with their mouths.  You might not be able to remove every spine from the dog's mouth or tongue.  Believe it or not, dog saliva softens these spines. My little dog got into the teddie bears for the first time yesterday.  Believe it or not, she didn't transfer the spines to her mouth.  She was lucky, because her daddy had a pair of needle nose pliers to pull the segments (1-3 inches long) off the paws.  S

Hoping Versus Expecting

 The new Congress has been in session for a couple weeks now. It is already dropping out of the news, as it should. Every year I find myself setting lower and lower expectations for things in general. That doesn't mean giving up hope. Actually it is quite the opposite of that. Any surprises are likely to be on the positive side. We should be cheerleaders for those surprises. At the moment geopolitics and national politics seem too discouraging to think about. I would rather think about having some of the best winter camping weather ever. "Best" means cool and calm. And if that isn't perfect enough for you, we have had enough rain to hope for colorful wildflowers in late February (?). Let's hope I am tough enough to remain in the desert long enough to see those wildflowers. Usually I have left the desert by the first of March.

Joining the Elites at Davos

The mighty world-improvers are set to convene again in Davos, Switzerland.  I wasn't invited. But that won't stop me from showing the world how we can achieve Utopia.   Think of a peasant grandmother, a babushka, walking down to the Volga River in the 1800s.  She carries a basket of clothes for washing.  At the river she chops a hole in the ice, and goes to work with her bare hands in the cold water.  And she is using no electricity, no Russian gas, no coal or petroleum.  How virtuous! The saints of Davos smileth upon her. A couple days ago my washboard arrived.  I haven't had one since my trip to mainland Mexico.  I remember the corrugated, galvanized steel washboard working quite well.  My new washboard appears promising, that is, effective.  It is just the right size for a 5 gallon bucket.  It is lightweight and won't rust.  But it is plastic, therefore, made from petrochemicals! It worked better than I hoped.  Look at this, just from a couple small articles of cloth

The Capture of Soledar

The "Wagner" group of the Russian military has apparently taken over the Donetsk city of Soledar today. (Donetsk is one of the four regions recently annexed to Russia.)  Considering how slow the battle near there has proceeded over the last couple months, this all seems rapid and triumphant.    There is an irony to watching the video from the movie, Apocalypse Now, featuring Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries."  The video is a powerful combination of visual images, dramatic situation, and music.  Of course the war in the movie was Vietnam, but it is related to the Ukraine War in the sense that the Ukraine War might be seen as the American Empire's biggest debacle since Vietnam. Heretofore the war in the Donbass region has been slow and slogging, as if it were imitating the Western Front of World War One, albeit with satellites and drones.  And now something happened that seems blazingly fast by comparison. A certain amount of triumphalism is called for