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Showing posts from June, 2011

Solving Problems by Diversion

Most people have experienced problems "just solving themselves" when they took their minds off the issue for awhile. This is probably due to surrendering some unreasonable demand, or abandoning an invalid assumption in the way that they posed the problem.

The Boonie and the Bandit

I thought "one armed bandits" were slot machines. Yes, I've rejoined that elite group of people known as "motorists." My goodness there is a lot to do to restore to life an older van that has been quiescent for almost three years, outside, and exposed to the "Four Gentle Seasons" of this area. It couldn't be put off for long: I had to drive up to a gasoline pump and rejoin American culture. For a few seconds I just stared at the pump and thought "Do I really want to do this?" Finally, resigned to shame and defeat, I had to ask, "Let's see here, what do I do first? How does this work again?"

Giving up on an Urban Fantasy

Who was it that said that a cynic is nothing but an idealist who has been disappointed once too often? Perhaps it's time to admit that I was a romanticist and idealist in wanting to live permanently in an old mining town, and live car-free. I certainly made it work for about three years, and must make some effort to see it as a partial success from the big picture perspective.

Four Gentle Seasons?

More times than not, I like challenging weather, and look down on the softies who complain about weather. It's funny how objective-discomfort can be experienced as either a stimulating challenge or as debilitating drudgery. The local visitor's center uses the 'Four Gentle Seasons' slogan to sell the Little Pueblo to visitors and retirees. It's partly true, but not this year. We are half way through 2011 and haven't even experienced one gentle season yet: below zero weather in the winter, wildfires and high winds all spring, and now we're pushing triple digits. Growl. Maybe I'm just dumping on the Little Pueblo because I'm trying to psyche-up about leaving it.

End of the Noble Experiment?

I was enjoying my car-free lifestyle in an RV park in the Little Pueblo. It was a nice and roomy park with 50% overnighters and 50% monthlies. The monthlies used to be older RVers who had gotten off the road for one reason or another, or maybe a younger person who had a job in town. But lately we've been taken over by miners and construction crews. It's a noisy and rough crowd. I no longer like living here. And yesterday I had an encounter with one of the rowdies that made me think it's just plain dangerous to be here. A camper can't do anything about a degenerating camping experience. The campground is a business; he can only love it or leave it. That's why God put wheels under his house. An RVer certainly pays a price for becoming immobile: he can't just skedaddle anymore. It takes time and money to escape now. No wonder I used to be on the road most of the time! Even when you find a town that you could live in, there is no guarantee that the RV parks are

What If You're Becoming a Conspiracy Nut?

Conspiracy theories have never interested me and I look down on those who are into them. So it's with some reluctance that I admit that there seems to be something fishy with the recent killing of Osama bin Laden and the recently announced (painfully gradual) draw-down of troops from Afghanistan.

Servile to a Cervine, part 2

It is going to get a lot harder to bicycle up to the Continental Divide from now on. For the last month I was so inflamed with fear about being chosen for that jury that anger alone seemed to get me up the hill: as I ranted away internally, the miles and altitude slipped by almost without notice.

An Early Fourth of July Celebration

After the threats and warnings that prospective jurors get about talking about the questions on the questionnaire, the next step is to drag the prisoners -- I mean 'citizens', patriots, lucky Americans -- halfway across the state, so that lawyers and judges can subject them to enhanced interrogation techniques. Try this one on: We welcome you as a Juror in the United States District Court for the District of [X]. The United States jury system is among the best in the world. Its success is due largely in part to willing participation of citizens such as yourself. "...due largely in part to..." Let's hope that the federal government presses a new prose stylist into their service.

A Genealogy of Boring Old Men

Do you remember when Ronald Reagan said, "I wasn't born on the other side of the tracks, but I was close enough to hear the whistle?" In my mid 50s now, I feel the same way about geezerhood. The scariest thing should be impoverishment, increasing solitude, the loss of mental faculties, disease, pain, and finally death. But it isn't. The scariest thing is slowly turning into one of those old men who talks endlessly about themselves, usually about some dumb job they had way back when.

An Independent Consumer?

You'd think that a blogger who puts 'independence' in his title would at least be good at it. I have a concrete example of how perversely difficult it is to be truly independent about buying and using an item that you use everyday.

The Cradle of Western Civilization?

Admit it. As sick as it sounds, you feel a certain admiration for the Greeks: living for today, with no concern for tomorrow; throwing a big party with borrowed money; lying to the European Union (oh boo-hoo); and being guilt-free about it all. Ahh dear, that is the difference between a Mediterranean and an up-tight Northern European. Strictly speaking, the creditor who lends money to an unfit debtor deserves more condemnation than the debtor, who just wants to have a good time. And the creditors are big banks in up-tight Germany. What's the worst that can happen? If Greece defaults, it will still survive -- ask Argentina. For a few years the big banks of Germany won't lend them any new party-money. But they will, eventually. Then the festival can start all over again.

Blogging Without a Net

I said "net", not internet. As an experiment I've decided to stop moderating comments; thus, comments show up on the screen immediately after typing them. After all, if a potential commenter thinks the blogger doesn't trust him, it's natural for the potential commenter to just back away, without wasting his time. I never really moderated anyway, except for an occasional spam comment. I only insist on comments not being personal or on names being used. Blatantly commercial comments will be deleted.

Cathedral of Nature Burns to the Ground

So the truck (of last episode) belonged to a non-profit corporation, did it? Why was that important enough to stick on the outside of the truck? Environmentalism -- that is, Karl Marx meets Bambi -- is an easy belief system to make fun of, but I'm in statesman mode today. Let's just take their belief system as it is, and try to make it compatible with high quality forests, instead of the overgrown tinder boxes and spruce bark beetle feeding-grounds that most of the national forests are. Besides that, national forests are just plain ugly. Do environmentalists really like these eye sores any more than the rest of us?

Wildfires and Forest Mis-management

The Wallow Fire is still burning over 400,000 acres in northeastern Arizona, making it the second biggest wildfire in that state's history. I was reading some of the comments on this fire, particularly those that criticize bad forest management policies. They can get quite emotional! Unfortunately they break into two hostile camps that scream all the same ol' shibboleths at each other: tree-huggers versus rednecks, etc. There must be a better way. This is what I'm aiming at in this post.

Spikes and Flowers

We don't get many cholla or cactus flowers in the spring, here in the Little Pueblo, so I do appreciate them. But it was the needles that grabbed me.

The Uselessness of Political Theories

Despite my sermons against the reading of books I am guilty of just that, from time to time. Normally I reread a classic rather than look for a new book, since the latter has only one chance in a thousand of being worth reading. For instance the other day I was rereading a semi-classic by Bronowski and Mazlish, The Western Intellectual Tradition . The book is OK, but these cut-and-paste historical surveys seldom show much original thinking. They give a professor a chance to appear as an elder statesman, and to broaden his appeal outside a sub-divisional sliver of research. While reading about Hobbes, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and other celebrities of history, I got bored and went to the al-Jazeera website.

12 (More) Angry Boonies

Many full time RVers start off with a Livingston TX address since that's where the Escapees organization is. The first year I got a jury duty notice from Livingston when I was in Washington state in the summer. I called a clerk in Livingston, where a human being actually answered the phone. She understood the situation -- they have many RVers on the voting list there apparently -- and I was excused from jury duty.

Lens-less in Las Cruces, part 2

'Why' is a better question than 'How' when it comes to starting a travel blog. But let's say you have your reasons, and you aren't particularly interested in competing with the postcard industry. Must you get a camera despite your inclinations? That was the question I went off to ponder at a coffee shop in Las Cruces some years ago. Could a travel blogger really be so uncompromising as to expect readers to live without any eye candy? It was a pleasant coffee shop with the usual paintings and photographs on the wall, which I seldom pay much attention to. But I did today. There was something unusual about the photographs. The photographer was a professor at a local college and was a member of a sub-culture that was trying to revive the pinhole camera. (aka camera obscura .)

Lens-less in Las Cruces

A couple years ago somebody was talking me into starting an RV travel blog. I had one last objection: buying a digital Brownie camera. I didn't believe in them, and had enjoyed a long career as a full time RVer out West without one.

Micro Service Animal

Can you read the label on the little white poodle's "uniform?" I'm on a streak with small service animals: I love how seriously these little guys take themselves.

Another Hypo of Fed-Fizz for the Economy?

Markets are croaking right now in anticipation of the Federal Reserve pulling its hypodermic syringe out of the arm of the American economy; that is, the end of QE II. If I were in the Obama administration or the Federal Reserve I would recommend that the Fed not break out its new syringe, QE III, until a solid consensus of support has built up. In fact the more screaming and bleeding there is in the markets this summer, the better, because it will help to form a "coalition of the willing" across the political and economic spectrum: Chamber of Commerce Republicans on Main Street, Wall Street bankers, narco-Keynesian Democrats -- all could be smacking at the vein in their arms, for another needle of fed-fizz (sugar and caffeine). It's the only idea that economists can come up with.

Wildfires, Smoke, Sunset


Predators in Nature and Technology

There seems to be a connection between animals hunting in the field and combat in the business world; a person who enjoys watching one should be expected to watch the other. Over Memorial Day weekend the world's most noble and handsome labrador retriever visited me, along with his mommy, who is the best cook in Patagonia AZ. (The fact that I helped to name him, Chaco, has nothing to do with my praise.)