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Showing posts from January, 2018

Time is Running Out for a New Van

Once again I have been wasting my time shopping for a new van or pickup truck to serve as my tow vehicle. The best news is that one of the salesmen and I had a good chuckle over the list of "options": intermittent windshield wipers, clock, leather wrap for steering wheel...'fine Corinthian leather' presumably.

Alas I cannot find a Chevy Express van with a locking differential, denoted by a code, G80, on the sticker of codes in the glovebox. This confuses the salespeople to no end: it is doubtful they even know what a 'differential' is.

Think of the insanity of the automobile industry: the locking differential is a $350 option. Most of the customers would pay that much for the  #05 Premium Cupholder Convenience package, featuring simulated imported Italian marble. But it is a rare used van that will have the G80 option.


Model year 2017 is the last year for the venerable GM Vortec engine in the van.  If you are the kind of person who thinks that used trucks are so…

Achieving Lift-off in a New Organization

From time to time I revisit the metaphor in the original "Star Trek". The guest star was Joan Collins. The Enterprise boys encounter a "Time Portal", that showed images of the Past in quick succession. If they jumped through at just the right second, they would be transported back to the time and place of the images.

When fantasizing about that sort of transportation, it is easy to choose a time and place: I would go back to the very beginning of any significant mass-movement in history. They would all be fascinating. Imagine traveling with St. Paul, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, France in 1789, Lenin, or Hitler before they showed up on historians' radar screen. (I suppose Gandhi's early career is known best.)

What makes this timely enough to write about is my involvement with a couple new organizations. Real world experience may easily be more informative than a shelf of historical lumber. 

As an example consider the 1200 page book I am currently reading about the …

Patriotic Heroes in the Arizona Desert

Is this a new trend or did I just notice it for the first time, perhaps because of my biases? I noticed so many motorsports people running around the Arizona desert with American flags on the back of their machine. Sometimes they go to quite a bit of work erecting a flagpole back at camp.

Doesn't that seem strange to you? What is the point of adorning sports equipment with the American flag? Maybe fishermen should tape a little American flag to the end of their poles. That might be kind of fun to watch if they are fly fishermen. What are the 'motos' trying to say -- that their sport is more patriotic than others? And what does any sport have to do with patriotism?

Perhaps in their febrile imaginations, their Polaris Ranger -- blasting around in the Arizona desert -- is like a military Humvee, blasting around in the desert of some Mideastern country. Therefore they are 'supporting the troops, who are protecting our freedom.'

A strange game is going on in the minds of a…

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 …

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 …

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.





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. …

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!