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Showing posts from July, 2012

If You Were Starting Off at Age 25...

I read on Mish Shedlock that the birthrate has fallen to a 25-year-low, in part because young adults are having such a hard time finding jobs. Mish believes that America is in for a decade or two of structurally high unemployment. I certainly don't envy young people starting off in life today, since greedy and irresponsible Baby Boomers -- America's Worst Generation -- have stacked the odds against them. But what advice would you give to a frustrated and discouraged 25-year-old today about making a living?  We must guard against the tendency of oldsters to get suckered into 'grass is greener on the other side of the mountain.' Otherwise we will tend to romanticize a dream job as an antidote to decades of frustration and disappointment suffered in a real job. It is easier to say what you wouldn't start off in, if you were 25 today. Manufacturing is ancient history in our post-industrial society, of course. And yet I'll bet colleges still teach useless subje

Western Tanager

It would have been easy to drop my hiking pole over the cliff (like Gayle the other day) when I saw this bird on a trail that would soon present a marvelous vista of Ouray CO.  After fighting the urge to immediately run to Bobbie (in the Ouray RVing and Hiking Team) for help, I actually managed to identify it as a western tanager . It would only pose for one shot before it flew off. (From my 'birds' album in Picasa:) This made the hike for me, as did coffee and banana/pumpkin bread back in town.

On the (Ungrown) Horns of a (Ovine/Cervine) Dilemma

Normally a dog is quite an asset on a hike or mountain bike ride; the human feeds off the dog's energy; it brings out our Inner Wild Child; it's as if the dog becomes an extension of our own nerve endings. But yesterday my dog turned out to be a nuisance. Although I don't have an inordinate fear of heights and cliffs, I freak out when my kelpie, Coffee Girl, gets too near the edge of vertiginous trails. So I abandoned the Ouray RVing and Hiking Team and descended Bear Creak trail. Most of the way back down I heard crashing through the forest and saw a large brown body through the leaves and needles. I snapped Coffee Girl back on her leash so she wouldn't chase the deer-like animal on still dangerous slopes. A half minute later this creature popped out on the trail: My initial reaction was that this was the ugliest deer fawn that I've ever seen. It was pretty small; maybe hip high or so. It stood above us on the trail and looked right at us. It would

Arguing My Case on Courthouse Mountain

I hate to admit it but it would be nice to carry a smartphone with a flower, tree, or bird "app" when hiking in the mountains. As an alternative, hike with Bobbie . (Besides, she doesn't require batteries. She is a battery on the trail.) Seriously I'd rather just ask somebody a question than play with some distracting gadget. For instance, the shape of this flower was reminiscent of Indian paintbrush, but the color was wrong. She explained that Indian paintbrush does come in more than one color. Mark and Bobbie complained about my wisecracks (on my blog) against eye candy, postcards, pretty-poo scenery worship, etc. It surprised me that I'd given offense. Perhaps they underestimate the difference between a part-time RVer (in vacation/tourist mode) and a full-time RVer who must expand his interests in other directions. At any rate I was making a certain amount of progress mending my fences on the way up Courthouse Mountain, just past Chimney Rock wher

The (Colorado Camping/Hiking) Hostess with the Mostest

It was time to get reacquainted with Ouray CO and Mark and Bobbie at Box Canyon Blog. I left the 9000-foot-high lava plateau (Springerville, AZ) this morning when it was still dawnlike and dew-soaked. It just didn't seem right to have been sleeping at night with a skull cap on -- in the middle of summer! I just left it on when I took off driving.  What a surprise it was to see clear sunny on the way to Ouray. I'd forgotten how dessicated the Four Corners is. The lowest and hottest spot on a trip in the West is the river crossing, the San Juan River in this case. I crossed at the town of Shiprock, named after the famous volcanic throat, nearby: To my eye, Shiprock is better looking than the over-photographed Monument Valley. From my " geology,rocks " Picasa album. The San Juan River doesn't even earn a 5 handle there (a mere 4900 feet).  I got out for lunch break and was reminded of what Dry Heat can be. How quickly a camper can get out of shap

Fun and Frustration Outside the RV Mainstream

As much as I like having solar panels on my RV it has always seemed strange that they should be so over-praised by many RV bloggers. I always thought it was just the emotional gratification of feeling Green, and look forward to going to heaven and sitting on the right-hand side of Thoreau or Gandhi. The other reason for over-promoting solar panels is ad income of course. Now that the monsoons are hitting the Southwest, you need a generator to boondock camp. Oh sure, it's easy to say that you "just" need to try harder to conserve electricity; but rainy and muddy days are the very times when you spend most of the day indoors and need the most electricity.   While considering the camping location of a nearby camper who was out in the open, I suddenly had a "new" thought about solar panels -- new to me, that is. He had a large and prominent satellite TV dish on his small rig. Ahh, no wonder he needs to stay out in the open -- his boob toob wouldn't w

Update: The Pleasure of a Perfect Match

Uhh! Uhh. It's been so long since the wind was knocked out of me that I forgot how scary it was. The first couple seconds were precious because I felt no sharp pain -- and didn't that prove that no bones were broken?   After about ten "uhhs" I started breathing normally and pushed myself off the dirt trail. I was going down a single track trail built for "downhill" mountain bikers.  Naturally I was only willing to test a baby jump or two. After jumping one small log on the steep slope I must have taken my hand off the brakes momentarily because the bike shot forward and downward like a rocket; I flew over the handle bars, mercifully landing on a rock-free ramp up to the next -- and larger -- "ski jump." Ski jump for bikes in the background -- ouch! Long-suffering readers know that the foolishness of technical mountain biking and trails is one of my standard stump speeches, so we'll skip that. Suffice it to say that I walked down t

Losing and Reinventing a Certain Outdoor Pleasure (plus "team" update)

'Be careful of what you wish for' is an old saying that deserves respect. In years past I suffered and obsessed over Dry Heat in June. In the Southwest it is the hottest and most oppressive month. But then I did something stupid: I got good at avoiding the Dry Heat! I've been cool all May and June, while everybody else has been whining about the heat. You can credit Luna NM and Springerville AZ for this tragic turn of events. Alas, the lack of June Agony makes it hard to experience the usual Ecstasy when the monsoons finally arrive near the first of July. How great it would be to flop on the ground during a monsoonal thundershower and scream, "We're saved!" It would be reminiscent of something Bertrand Russell once described: Whatever we may wish to think, we are creatures of Earth; our life is part of the life of the Earth, and we draw our nourishment from it just as the plants and animals do.  I have seen a boy of two years old, who had bee

Amerika's Most Obscene National Holiday

Is "obscene" too harsh of a word? It could be. For many years I called Christmas the most obscene national holiday. But that was a mistake. The commercialism (and endless, stupid music) of Christmas might be objectionable on the basis of taste, but it doesn't really offend important values held by serious and sincere people. After all, Christmas really isn't a Christian holiday; it never was. It's simply about fun. But the hypocrisies of the modern Fourth of July do offend the values that most Americans used to take seriously. What could be more disgusting than pretending to care about "freedom" one day a year when, in fact, freedom means little to the average Amerikan today. Too bad I haven't paid more attention to politicians' speeches; it would be great to have statistical proof of a mere suspicion of mine that Democratic politicians don't even bother bloviating about freedom -- nobody would believe them if they did. The whole no