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Showing posts from April, 2019

The Beauty of Kindness

It is strange that I can't even think of the word to describe a certain episode, "The Dust Flower," in the second season of "Rawhide." It is centered on the predicament of an "old maid," who the cattle drovers ran into, by accident. I don't like rehashing books or movies, nor giving away endings. So let's talk about this episode on a different level.  Many people have a condescending attitude to the 1950's, when this episode was made. They might be surprised to enjoy this episode -- after all the modern person is endowed with advanced and progressive attitudes about a Woman's role in society, while the episode was written in the out-of-date 1950s. When you look at episodes written in the out-of-date 1950s, you actually seen the building blocks of many of the ideas that we associate with the 1960s. It is similar to the theme written about in Alexis de Tocqueville's "The Old Regime and the Revolution."  Tocqueville dis

Where the West Hasn't Vanished

Why didn't I read Mark Twain's "Roughing It" a long time ago? It is an enjoyable book, especially for a traveler in the American West. Of course a modern reader will become envious of Twain. He crossed the West in an Overland Stagecoach when America was mostly empty. Those days are long gone... ...But not completely.  Today I crossed one of the few empty places that still exist in the McMansioned West. How marvelous! Surprisingly there was a Verizon signal. I pretty much carry in my head a map of Verizon-spewing cell towers. There must be a new one out here. I still can't believe it. Upon reaching the metropolis of Datil, NM, I made the classic mistake of asking a local where the new cell tower was. A question like that always draws a blank look from my victim. You'd think they would want to know. Few things benefit an independent lifestyle like curiosity in knowing 'how things work' in the things that your life depends on. Cell towers aren&

Serendipity at Sunrise

What perfect timing! The coffee shop was just about to open, almost at the second the rising sun hit its front door. Ahh, how nice. It is summer in southern New Mexico, and the mid-day sun is already an enemy; but of course that means it is still winter at sunrise. I was looking forward to sitting outdoors in the chilly air, feeling half-frozen in my winter parka, and maybe catching some warming rays on the face, while drinking hot coffee. But I wasn't the only customer with this idea: At first I thought she was just a cute little street urchin, looking for a handout on her morning rounds, like Benji in the original Benji movie. But she was keeping an eye on her human partner who was inside the coffee shop. Click on the photo and blow up the warning sign near her eye level. She came so close, but she wouldn't cross the threshold. Girls like to follow rules. Her human partner came out to sit and bask in the chair. I learned that the little dog's name was "Hon

The Ultimate Triumph for a Consumer

Dare I hope? Or will that just jinx me? After years of pining and yearning, I may have finally found the ultimate flashlight for my camper. But why waste words: Glorious isn't it?! For years the industry plagued me with those damn cylindrical flashlights that would roll around on the floor when you tried to use them for anything. Even worse, they used those cursed little AA and AAA batteries. If that wasn't enough, the switches were always flimsy, or the battery holder door would pop off. And so I dreamed the impossible dream, and found it. At Walmart of all places. It was a sensible price: that is, not as high as the 'jewelry/boutique' flashlights, but not as low as low end consumer junk. The label calls it "Hyper Tough", made by Intertek. It is USB rechargeable. The battery is lithium. I just love those little elastomeric bumpers at the four corners. So touuuuuuugh! This must be a Guy Thing.  Perhaps this post seems facetious to the reade

A Bourgeois Philistine at an Art Show

Somewhere in Ben Franklin's Autobiography he rises to the defense of Pride as a Virtue, rather than Humility as a Virtue. I see his point, for I have just finished going to an art show that my friend invited me to, and am feeling like a Big Shot because I actually enjoyed looking at something there. In fact I came perilously close to even buying something there. It is hard to believe.  There was one table full of ceramic bowls, plates, and mugs. The colors appealed to me, even though I am usually indifferent to colors. Perhaps it helped that the colors were somewhat muted earth tones instead of the garish and girlish colors that are more usual at an art show. Or maybe it was the possible functionality of the ceramic work. If only my brain didn't automatically go into "optimize the equations" mode, and block any kitchen receptacles other than melamine, the lightest and most durable material for a traveler. Another way of looking at art is to de-emphasize the e

Obsolete for a Quarter of a Century

There is no point in an amateur blogger reacting to the daily news, especially if they just hashed-and-rehashed the same stuff picked over by professional bull-shitters. There is something to be gained by an amateur blogger questioning the assumptions of the professional bull-shitters. The latter don't overtly lie so much as they tacitly agree not to discuss certain questions; that is, they lie by omission, not commission. With that preface out of the way, NATO is "celebrating" its 70th birthday. There has been a bit of discussion about NATO, but they safely avoid discussing anything important. For instance, the media considers it safe to discuss whether European countries contribute enough money to this worthless cause.     Does anyone ever say, "NATO has been obsolete for a quarter of a century?" Probably not. That would get you accused of being a crank, radical, or Russian Collusionist. There are even more fundamental issues. Europe is ceasing to e

A Star is Born

It has been quite a challenge to be a doggie's uncle; especially when the dog is a one-year-old, intact male. He was a street urchin picked up by my friend. His coloration reminds you of a blue heeler, but the body type isn't right for that. I concluded that his other half is Mexican Grey Wolf, based on the body, head, teeth, and behavior! At first I resisted zapping him with his electric training shock collar. But after he rammed his muzzle and canine teeth into my chin, I have become a training nazi. On the other hand, he is a real lover boy, friendly, athletic, and good-hearted. His name is 'Hopi.' He has been learning to mountain bike with me. We only had one mishap, which cost me a knee cap. But I still have one good one, left. Unrelated to that, cattle gates still confuse him. Although he isn't going to become my dog, it has been fun to become a type of foster parent, or uncle, to him. So much of his significance comes from considering what he re