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Showing posts from July, 2018

Switch in Political Affiliation?

Could the experience of being a campground host change a person's political orientation? Perhaps it is worth generalizing this to: will working with the general public change your political views?

I am inclined to answer, Yes. I seem to be switching from libertarian to MRAG, that is, Mildly Repressive Authoritarian Regimes.

This switch does not please me. But there is a big caveat: seeing tourists all day is like teaching second grade. The tourist is not really an adult. Implicit in the libertarian viewpoint is the idea that you are dealing with adults who are responsible for their actions.

The child or adolescent gives little concern for the long term consequences of its actions. And it gives no concern for the effect on other people.



Society as a whole has become progressively more adolescent over the last hundred years. The welfare state deserves its share of the credit for this. But even more, the culture of consumer debt has enabled a childish "Gimme it now" mindset tha…

Why Are Jeeps So Wide?

The other day my dog and I were starting our descent from near treeline. We encountered a couple Jeep Wranglers coming up the mountain road. The Jeeps were barely inching forward, and rightly so: they were so wide that they barely fit on the alpine road.

At first I thought it was some kind of optical illusion. After all, it is just common sense to keep a "4WD" (four wheeler's) machine narrow so it can fit between boulders. 


But there is a simple historical explanation for this bit of motorsport silliness: back in the 1990s, when soccer moms started using Jeeps as daily drivers to their cubicle or grocery store, a few of them flipped over on freeway exits. Of course they did -- a narrow wheelbase and high center-of-gravity should do that. That is why you shouldn't take freeway exit ramps at 70 mph in this type of vehicle.

Then the media made a big deal about it, which brought in the safety regulators. So, today we have Jeeps as wide as full-size pickup trucks.

Is there a …

Tourists, and the Brains God Gave a Goose

A couple hundred cows (and a couple bulls) came through the campground recently. Therefore there was a huge up-spike in the average IQ of the campground. Do you think I am exaggerating?

Once I tried to suggest alternatives to driving long distances to merely snack on pretty scenery. I argued that a vacation would cost less money and be more relaxing if people went to a luxury lodge of the other side of the metropolis, watched a movie, ordered pizza for the kids, took the wife to an elegant restaurant or "nice" shops, and hung out at the pool.

Additionally, the pretty scenery can be gotten just as well from high-resolution video or photographs on the internet. And it is virtually free.

But I don't think anyone was persuaded. They are still showing up in the middle of the night at my campground, slamming car doors for an hour while pitching their tent in the rain, listening to someone snore in a tent 30 feet away from theirs, sleeping through the perfect weather of a Southwes…

Bringing a History Book to Life

Every time it happens, it delights me: how a book becomes more interesting if it overlaps with some observation or experience in real life. For instance, I am nearing the end of David Irving's, "Hitler's War."  Although my interest in the book was waning, it perked up when I talked to a couple tourists in a huge German tourist tank, who had invaded our campground, and rejected it.

Consider Germany's debacle when they invaded Russia in 1941. How could one of the most "advanced" nations of the world fail to conquer a backward, third-world nation like the USSR? It's not that I disagree with the explanations offered by historians, but thinking of that type pulls you away from the reality of how personalities actually think.


Consider the German tourists today who drove in with one of those huge military-like, "Outdoor Expo" RVs that outweigh three Panzer tanks of World War II. I joked that he shouldn't have any trouble crossing the little mou…

The Orogeny of Maturity

Lately I have wanted to write about things I have slowly developed an appreciation for. Many times, the rest of the world has seemingly under-rated these things.

For instance, it is not easy to enjoy books on geology, even if you are in locations where the topography screams at you. Now I have basically finished the book, "Earth," by Richard Fortey.

The book has inspired me to think that Shakespeare was mistaken when he compared the seasons of a man's life to performances on stage. It would be better to compare life to the topography of the earth; to see the drama in the lifting up of the sea into high arid plateaus; and to watch the slow and uneven erosion of its heights.

When we admire topography, we aren't really looking at 'erosion.'  Rather, we are looking at an original 'lifting up,' followed by differential rates of erosion. In geology, this occurs in one direction, because gravity and time run in one direction.

But in a human life, what is to stop…