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Showing posts from July, 2022

Predictions on the Taiwan/Pelosi Crisis

I just finished watching a video from "theDuran" on the Telegram platform.  They usually talk about geo-political topics or the war in Ukraine.  I have a high opinion of Alex and Alexander, and donate something to them on a monthly basis. Alexander played up the tension and risk of Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. He is wrong.  It is not a geo-political crisis, like the Cuban Missile Crisis during the Kennedy years. It is pure show business.  Show business, PR, propaganda, spin, and narrative control are all that is left of a rapidly declining Global Bully, that is, Washington, D.C. The tougher an American president looks on the global stage, the more his poll numbers will go up, and Biden is desperate for anything that improves his prospects.  Americans still have this notion that God appointed them to run some sort of global crusade for 'freedom and democracy', despite America itself becoming less free every year, and especially since 9/11/2001. Besides looking

Leaning Into the Waves and Winds of Inflation

  It is hard to notice small changes that happen everyday. When you only come to town once per week, you can notice things.  For one thing, you notice the price increases at the grocery store. But on a more cheerful note, I noticed that I barely felt tempted to squander money on former vices of mine.  There were several drive-through coffee shacks in town.  They try to lure you to perdition by making them cute and appealing.  But I drove right by them and didn't even feel tempted.  (For people who have seen "Raising Arizona," think of the Nicholas Gage character trying to give up holding-up convenience stores, and trying to look nonchalant as he drove by one!)  Hell, I don't even feel tempted to buy coffee at a gas station or a senior coffee at McDonalds.  Eating at a restaurant has become unthinkable. Giving up breakfast burritos is taking a little more effort, but I will probably give up this vice too because they keep getting more boring and tortilla-like. Giving

Unusual Animals in an Oregon Forest

  What was that thing in the middle of the road? My dog, Q.t. π,  and I were biking back up the hill, to come back to camp.  Was it a dead animal, a piece of wood debris, or a rock? Actually it was a live rabbit -- a huge one!  It was medium brown in color, except for white 'socks' on its feet. A rabbit like that had to be somebody's pet.  I couldn't decide on what breed it was, even after doing some rabbit homework on the internet. How would a pet rabbit, suddenly 'born free', survive a forest in Oregon?  Are the predators around here that incompetent? __________________________________ On the ride I also talked to one of the forestry workers.  The national forest hired a private company to thin a young forest here.  They were cutting down trees smaller than 4" in diameter with a chain saw, and then manually piling up the debris in big mounds of slash. In another location they were using a machine to gather up the debris.  A hunter going by told me the

"What If This Is As Good As It Gets"

Remember that 1990s movie with Jack Nicholson, "As Good as it Gets?"  That phrase struck me, at the time.  Perhaps other people in the audience felt the same way. Sometimes it seems like 'romanticism' is an evil doctrine, if it means yearning for the freakish and novel, the perfect, the ideal, the unachievable.  The flip side of romanticism/escapism is under-appreciating that which is attainable.  An undisciplined and greedy human-imagination can be a dangerous thing. Dogs don't have that problem. Q.t.π and one of her beloved meadows. Ain't she looking trim and fit?  

An Especially Nice Piece of Forest

Under the right circumstances, taking your dog out for a short walk in the forest can be very satisfying.  Along our nearest forest road, the forest has been thinned.  Thus you can actually see into it for a couple hundred yards. And there is certainly nice stuff to see: grass, flowers, wildlife, sharp ravines, and large snow-capped mountains in the distance.  Normally, you can't see any of this -- you just see a wall of bark and needles about 20 feet from your face. You feel something else, something wonderful: a breeze can actually blow through the forest.  Even a 10 mph breeze keeps you cool and brushes off some of the bugs.  Bugs have not been a big problem for me, much to my (pleasant) surprise. The goodies of a thinner forest are the reason to aim for ponderosa forests, but the ponderosa altitude-band seems pretty narrow to me in the inland Northwest. Most of the forest is thick spruces and firs. They are magnificently tall, though.  I can't help myself from looking at th

Embracing the New World Order

Many people in the USA are in denial about the new world order that is emerging with the war in Ukraine.  Are Americans hostile towards or fearful of a multi-polar world?  They shouldn't be.  America has been hollowed out during the post World War II era.  We should see a multi-polar world as an opportunity to liberate ourselves from war-worship, and thus throw our energies into better things. Look at all the projects that are waiting for us: 1. Rebuilding an industrial base. 2. Affordable health care and education. 3. A first-world infrastructure of transportation and energy. 4. Strong families. 5. A sense of national unity, rather than "Balkanization" along lines of gender or race. 6. An uplifting philosophy not based on superstitions, be they ancient or modern. 7. The best composers of music, breakthroughs in science, and innovations in the business world. (I am not referring to financial engineering games.) 8. An enjoyable way or style of living.  9. Non-corrupt gover

Moderate Humidity is Unbeatable

I saw my first black bear (in the Northwest) a couple days ago. He was only half-grown, and ran across the road 100 yards ahead of my van. Today Q.t. π   tested out the latest iteration of her bike/dog interface device. A herd of 30 elk cows crossed the road ahead of us. There was only one calf and one skinny buck. I've seen plenty of elk before, but not a herd this big. _____________________________________ Maybe it sounds easy to other people, but I did something yesterday that was a new experience for me: I walked around in 92 F sunlight, and enjoyed it. There had to be an explanation. The weather station says that the relative humidity bottomed out at 25 % when the temperature was max. Much of the day had a relative humidity of 30--40%.   In other words, moderate humidity. That is a rare and precious thing. The sun is noticeable, but not murderous. Skin, fingernails, and hair don't spall off the body. Ordinary sunglasses are good enough -- you don't need to wear welding

Invasion of the Fleece Monsters

I seem to have a talent for camping right in the way of invading hordes of sheep.  It happened again yesterday.  Once again I met and talked a little bit to a Peruvian shepherd.  But this time I met the employers, a ranching couple, who showed up with a camper/trailer.   The shepherd used 10 dogs, supplied by the rancher of course. Half of them were big Anatolian shepherds: The shepherd didn't know the name of the Anatolians.  Perhaps he only knew the name of a couple of the dogs who acted more like pets. There were 1800 sheep!  They were intended for meat, not for wool. The shepherd was from Peru -- from a small village at 14,000 feet in the Andes.  He spoke Spanish and whatever they call the indigenous Indian language there.  I was glad to hear that he has a smartphone with a Translate app on it. The rancher told me a story about one of his former shepherds. When you leave the USA, you can only take $10,000 with you. One of the shepherds had $11,000.  The customs office put on so

What It Means to Be "Practical"

It has surprised and amused me to see myself change about what 'practical' means.  Is that true for other people as well? The other day I moved camp to lower altitude, all the way down to the ponderosa belt near 4500 feet of altitude. It was like coming back to an old friend. And then we drove out onto a large, rolling meadow. My goodness, it was exciting. The transition was so abrupt: from stagnant air to living air. I felt the same way a sea kayaker would as they paddle out of a marsh and into a large windy wavey lake. No wonder I prefer mountain biking to hiking.  How do people enjoy narrow hiking trails, surrounded by dense forests that block the view, while stagnant air gives bugs a chance to torture them? I thought about the books I've read about the sea.  Escapist adventure fantasies?  No.  Those books are more practical than the 'how to' stuff newbie nomads/RVers talk about, so endlessly.

Do Travelers Have an Advantage in Beating Inflation?

Let's  say you come down from camp to shop in a small town.  Several things almost make you believe you are in a foreign country.  You are in line at the grocery store, and still burning from the confiscatory prices, as an old lady holds up the line by writing a check.  People still do things like that?! Or they hold up the line by buying chew or smokes, while the checkout person fumbles around unlocking the case; or they need lottery tickets while the checkout person grimaces at some electronic screen.  Then the customer holds up the line even more by taking the time to scratch the back of the lottery tickets. And you think that you really don't envy people in this little town.  For one thing, the cost-effectiveness of living in this little town always seemed over-rated.  Sure, they save money on housing, but that is all they save on.  They always underestimated the cost of transportation, but now...  Anyway, I hope small town stores do more business in the future, as customer

The World Declares Independence

This is the first time I can remember a meaningful Independence Day.  All over the world, countries are learning to talk back to the Swamp of Washington, DC.  This has been especially noticeable with India, South America, and even the Persian Gulf states. Perhaps they are emboldened by Russia's success at surviving the sanctions from Europe and America. Perhaps it is the fact that Russia is going to win the war in Ukraine.  Or the strength of the Russian ruble.  Or the rapidly declining standard of living in Europe and America. The war is showing the world that the Western "victors" of World War II are not the giants that they used to be. They are post-industrial countries. They look awfully weak against a country like Russia that produces energy, food, chemicals, and materials. The West is dying demographically.  It has gone way past mere degeneracy, and has actually fallen into sexual freakishness. Ultimately Washington DC depended on aircraft carriers to project its po

A Beauty in a Meadow of Flowers

When a young male pig hears the title of this post, they probably think of something like this: Those who are besotted with Age and Wisdom have gotten past that sort of nonsense.  We think in these terms: My goodness, what a thing it is to see her gamboling and giggling across a meadow of flowers!  I hate to pull her back toward me, for safety.  When you trim/clip a poodle's ears, they flop better when the dog runs. Delightful. She does frantic spins when I put her food down at 4 p.m.    I fantasize photographing her with a drone that rises up over a hilltop, and catches her twirling around like Julie Andrews at the beginning of the "Sound of Music."