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Showing posts from June, 2016

There Really Is an Exceptional Nation

Britain impressed the hell out of me a couple years ago when Parliament refused to go along with the Nobel-peace-prize-winning president in sending troops to Syria, to add it to the post-9/11 casualty list of destroyed countries.

But this recent move of theirs to withdraw from the European Union! It certainly made me appreciate Britain as the Exceptional Nation. As luck would have it, I had been reading books by Madame de StaĆ«l [*], written during the Napoleonic era. She too praised Britain as the exceptional nation, not that she used that exact phrase. 

The pre-Brexit polls showing the opposite result look a little fishy, to say the least. Oh, but we don't want to give into conspiracy theories!

How many Americans are feeling the irony and significance of these two recent moves by the Exceptional Nation of Britain? We were all by brainwashed by the government's schools that Americans were 10 feet tall, and that:
we had courageously broken away from the evil empire of the British k…

The Stubbornness of Some Myths

If a town like Coyote NM lacks up-scale glamor to a tourist, then this forest just made it worse:




Believe it or not, I sort of liked it. The altitude was over 8000 feet, so it was cool. It was flat enough to use more than one gear on my mountain bike. And there wasn't one Jeep Wrangler after another, as there soon will be in Colorado.

Getting all the damned trees out of the way just helps you admire the sky. It is the time of year when the sky gets more interesting every day, thanks to the swelling humidity. Although the onset of the summer monsoons is routine in some sense, nature is never totally predictable. So a peasant living close to nature always feels a certain amount of nervousness. The drama of the sky becomes interesting, once again. 



Besides, the trees' loss is the understory's gain. Think of it as as a French Revolution for the forest. But what were the humble verdancies that were bustin' out all over? Good eatin' for somebody?

It didn't take long to f…

The Evanescence of a Trail

It was hard to believe this forest road: it was an official road on the official map. But why weren't there any tire ruts in it? The grass and other vegetation had filled the road space in. But there was a noticeable road space: flat and smooth. 

Where were all the rocks? Credit the geology for that. 

It was strange to think that I had all this to myself, while just a few miles away in Abiquiu, the tourists were burning up in the heat to see the standard things. Perhaps a place like Coyote NM lacks the cachet they are looking for.

The topography was perfect for mountain biking, albeit backwards. When you camp at 9200 feet, you will usually have to start a ride going downhill -- not what is desirable. But in a heat wave, what else can you do? So smooth was this "road." It felt funny to have the grass tickling my bare leg.

I really hoped this road didn't crap off on me, because it would be a long push/walk back up the hill. It is the buggy season, June, if you think that …

Classic Television

Chalk up another one for "all things are possible in this ol' world of ours." I am going to praise television in this post. Not all television, of course. Only classic television. I ask the reader not to quibble over what exactly is classic television, and why I should be the judge of it. 

Let it suffice to recall the proverbial supreme court justice, who, when asked to define pornography, could only reply, "Well, maybe I can't define it, exactly. But I can recognize it when I see it." What is true of porn is even more true of "classics."

How did this strange new appreciation even happen? More classic television shows are available on DVDs, these days. I wouldn't watch them with commercials.

Perhaps it was listening to (director) Sidney Lumet's commentary track on the DVD of "Network."  He reminisced about the early days of television, when shows were performed in front of live audiences, on stages in New York City. They had a deep …

Orlando Tragedy Can Make a New Roosevelt

The leaders of the Democratic party are struggling with a dilemma: how can they avoid appearing too friendly or not friendly enough to Muslim immigrants? And will they appear unsympathetic to their LGBT block? Of course, the LGBT block has nowhere to go outside the Democratic party. Its votes are taken for granted.

So the Democrats are spinning Orlando as a gun problem or as a homophobia problem, being careful to avoid mentioning Muslim immigrants, at all cost.

The very future of the Democratic party is at stake. The LGBT block is not a growing one. And the Hispanic block might betray the Democrats, if they act like the Italian immigrants of 1910. They will work hard, marry whites, and a generation from now there will be lots of Republican suburbs with residents that have Hispanic surnames, but don't otherwise seem too Hispanic.

Imagine what a Democratic leader feels when it/she/he sees the juicy promise of a Europe that is being invaded by Muslims? If only they could have a success…

One of the Greatest Pleasures Outdoors

This May and June we have actually had clouds in the sky, and a bit of rain. There are no fire restrictions yet, despite being into the second week of June.

Sometimes I just sit out in a chair in the afternoon and marvel at how magnificent it is to have clouds and shade in mid-day. If the wind blows, it actually feels cool. Truly, this must be one of the greatest pleasures an outdoorsman ever experiences.


I'm so glad I started years ago at trying to appreciate the Agony of Dry Heat, and the Ecstasy of moderate humidity and the southwestern monsoons. It isn't the obvious tourist-like approach. Perhaps it was just snobbishness on my part.

At any rate, taking that approach has paid off. Last night, for the first time in a long time, I left the outer door open all night.

A Decorated Grave in the Forest

So close to Memorial Day, it was strange to stumble onto a well-marked grave for a dog, in the forest. It had a large blue Christian cross with some nice words about the dog, "Jack". A plastic doggie water bowl was in front of the cross. Did the owners come out every year and replace the bowl, or symbolically pour water in the bowl? I found myself quite affected by this, especially considering how difficult it is to dig a grave a couple feet deep in rock.

I know one man who would not have been impressed: the fellow who camped nearby last winter. He once told me, with some disgust in his voice, "You treat her like a person!", referring to my dog of course. (In fairness, I try to repress baby talk and other behavior that is obnoxious to other people.) 
That's one of those phrases you hear every now and then. There are several others.
Dogs offer unconditional love.Dogs are loyal.I like dogs better than people.All of these phrases seem to miss the mark. I have only ha…

Trying to Get Educated at a Repair Shop

I dared to hope. It almost worked.

I was laying on the ground, watching a mechanic install a new leaf spring on the unbroken side, so that I would have a matched pair of brand spanking new leaf springs on my single axle trailer. I was at the business from which we had ordered and shipped the first leaf spring. It was quite a large business actually, witha 'reputation' for being experts.

If I learned to repair a broken suspension part in the field, it might someday save me hundreds of dollars in towing, if the towing service balked at paying the tow truck to come to an inaccessible location. (Be aware that towing insurance is not a panacea. There are reasons why you don't want to camp in too backwoodsey a location.)

In fact I did learn a couple tricks of the trade before the manager came over to inform me that insurance regulations did not allow a customer in the work area. In fact, I had already thought of that, by laying down just outside the building. (My head wasn't un…