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Showing posts from June, 2018

Unheralded Success Stories

For whatever reason, it has become easier over the years to appreciate success stories of various kinds, such as books, personal behavior under stress, music, independent thinking, etc.

But what is most astounding about these success stories is how quiet and unheralded they are. (And why should that be?)

For instance I usually fail to stay interested in reading geology books. And what a shame!, when a fellow spends so much time around land that exudes geology.

Currently I am reading a popular geology book by Richard Fortey called "Earth." Many times I have marveled at what an interesting writer he is. 
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I have always deplored how uxorious the average American male is, resulting in women who are spoiled beyond reason. My only experience outside America was in Mexico, where the non-slavishness of Mexican men towards their women made a favorable impression on me.

Perhaps that is why it has seemed like a small miracle to watch a character in the o…

Western Nostalgia in A Ruined State

We were doing our morning rounds, riding up through the sagebrush hills, when we saw three horsemen coming our way. I made sure my dog was on the leash. I pulled off the dirt road just so I could relax and admire the horses.

A man, a horse, and a dog. It just doesn't get any better than that, and I told them so.

The music of Victor Young came to mind, and the images of the opening of the classic 1953 movie, Shane. Nostalgia might seem like a result of old age; but strictly speaking, nostalgia results from a consciousness of loss. Of course the more years you have lived, the more you come to appreciate what has been lost.



This is especially poignant in a state like Colorado. No longer a western state in any sense of the word, other than scenery,  the state has become unbelievably expensive and crowded.

But let's not think about any of that. Let's just look at the pretty horses and remember: 
...the man who rode into our little valley out of the heart of the great glowing W…

Plato Wrestles With a Do It Yourself Project

It was high time to improve the shower "stall" in my trailer. The curtain was fine, but I needed a bigger tub to stand in, and hold the water.

The plastic box (tub) was simply too small. I have put up with it for four years. That seems strange doesn't it? Every time you go into a big box store you see plastic boxes of every description. It seemed obvious that if I was just patient enough I would eventually stumble onto a plastic box of the right size and shape. (24" by 24" by 10" high)

Nope.

How could something so simple be so frustrating?! Is it proof of the profound truth of Murphy's Law?  Believe it or not, I think Murphy's Law is over-rated. It is lazy thinking to blame things on Murphy's Law too quickly.

There is a better explanation for why plastic boxes are seldom more than 18" in their smallest dimension: it is the width of most shelves in big box stores!

So what else could I do? Many do-it-yourself type people are more comfortable work…

Projecting the Right Image

And you thought I was a pessimist! Last post I wondered when the UTV industry was going to mount equipment on their machines that made them look even more militaristic.

It wasn't long before the world complied. Today I saw a long object mounted on the top of a UTV, using the roll cage as a platform. It took awhile to guess what the horizontal object was.

I believe it was a paddle board, an interesting sport that has become more popular on lakes and rivers, the last couple years.

But I doubt if the UTVer actually plans on using the paddle board on water. More likely, it was chosen to help the UTVer feel 'cool', that is, more like one of the "heroes" destroying some country in the Mideast. From a distance, and at first glance, the board looked like some kind of cruise missile mounted on the UTV.

Second Attempt at Explaining UTV Popularity

I am not satisfied with the last post's analysis of the UTV industry. The question remains: why would such an un-fun "sport" be so popular, given the expense of buying it, the hassle of putting it on a trailer to take it anywhere, and the hot, confining body armor you are supposed to wear?

Let's look at this photo again:


When trying to explain how other people think, it is necessary to set aside my own approach towards nature, with the skin being my main sensory organ, and look at it from other people's perspective.

For most people (and virtually all tourists), eyes are the main sensory organ. What do their eyes see in that photo?

They see a military-like machine, exuding power, violence, and destruction in the desert Mideast. Support the Troops!!! After all, many Americans virtually worship the U.S. military, and many tourists in Colorado come from the Bible states to the east, with a mutated form of Christianity that pines for Israel, war, and the Rapture. 

Surely …

UTVs: Another Insane Industry

I am at it again: questioning the sanity of a large industry. But this time, at least, I heard similar thoughts from other people.

I recently took a training course on handling a UTV (or ROHV) safely. (Those are the car-like "ATVs", typically with side-by-side seating.)

For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would waste their money on something that just isn't that much fun. Fast motion is fun for a human being -- but for how long?

Because of accidents, regulators have now smothered the machines in safety equipment. I felt panic when I first put that damn full-face helmet on. In fairness, that went away pretty quickly, and it was not as hot as first thought.

But my prescription bifocal sunglasses could not sit on my head right, because of that bloody helmet. The bifocal line obscured my vision. (Only a government safety regulator could design something that ruins your vision, and then call it "safety" equipment.) 

Almost every aspect of this infernal …

When 'Lust in the Dust' Becomes 'Rage in the Sage'

What do you know?! I actually sold something on Craigslist. I still have yet to buy something on Craigslist. Actually the whole process was confidence-inspiring. My "old" bike (10 months old) took a month of patience to finally sell.

The next day I went to the bike store and surrendered to my basest instincts. That is, I bought a new Trek Full Stache. It is sometimes called the monster truck of mountain bikes.


Big tires roll over stuff easily. It is that simple. I smiled and almost giggled as I took this monster on a test ride, and deliberately chose bad "lines" through rocky obstacles, and felt the bike shrug it off.

It was gratifying to be rewarded for ignoring much of the nonsense on the internet. Unless you understand what the reviewer's agenda or perspective is, you simply don't know whether to believe them or not. 

Young male reviewers are almost always full of crap. They are not shrewd consumers. And their prose is unreadable! They make a show of techno-…

Make Wilderness Good for More Americans

It is not often that something cheerful happens in the arena of public lands management. Normally I avoid the topic because it is just too discouraging.

But there is a bill in Congress that empowers public land managers to regulate mountain bikes in Wilderness areas, instead of just the blanket ban that has existed in the past, probably from some judge's decision.

I consider this good news because Americans need more access to the huge blocks of land set aside as Wilderness areas. Go to a trailhead outside a Wilderness and you might see two cars parked. Backpackers. That is just too much land for one sport.

But look how crowded the non-Wilderness areas are getting! America is getting over-populated, after all.

Only a tiny fraction of Wilderness areas would be affected by the legislation.  Most of that type of land is simply too rugged for a human-powered, wheeled machine.


And yet the Greenie groups will oppose this legislation. There is no way to argue with religious emotion: to ask th…

There is "the Cloud", and There Is the Real Thing

Have you noticed how tourism/travel literature always shows blue skies in its postcards?

Who the hell wants blue skies all the time! It is that time of year again, when aridity and blue skies and sunlight become oppressive.  

But this morning there were clouds, merciful clouds. Granted they were not the picturesque clouds that the Southwest gets during the summer monsoon season.




But don't think I'm complaining. It is worth suffering through the wildfire season, when your skin and fingernails slough off your body, and your hair turns to dry straw, just to experience the bliss of the monsoons.


Strictly speaking, it wasn't the clouds that were so glorious, it was the shade. In June I would rhapsodize over shade caused by anything.

Dogs agree with this opinion!