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Showing posts from October, 2022

A Rocky Dog Park

Jumbled.  That seems like the best word to describe the rocks around here.  From the little girl's point of view, rocks make for a great playground.   But my goodness, these giant boulders have all fallen from the cliff, and there are new boulders thinking about it.  Look at how precarious the boulder is in the top center of this photo: On the other hand, some rocks look pretty stable:

The Glory of Winter Sun

What is the ultimate luxury for a camper?  One good answer would be "a hot shower with 20 gallons of water." Another good answer would be "basking in the winter sun."   In the winter it is easy to feel giddy on a sunny day, after suffering the relentless onslaught of hot sun the rest of the year.   It feels like skin candy to feel warm sun and chilly air at the same time.   I have actually walked around outdoors without my Henschel hat and  deliberately exposed m any square inches of skin to the sun!   For the ultimate luxury in winter camping, I parked with the trailer's door facing south -- something that I never do the rest of the year.  Normal screen would have been better than the solar screen that I have. In a small and non-descript arroyo, there was quite a wonder if you look at it right.  Imagine you are a lizard on a chilly winter day and found a palace like this to luxuriate in! I was hoping that my little dog would crawl in and pose, but the lizard-

Supremely Content

  Have you ever thought what an ordered list of your favorite landscape features would look like?  Near the top of my list would be high mesas and plateaus, ridgelines, and perhaps reefs at the very top.  Utah seems to be the reef capital of the West. Q.t. π might agree with me. It is very satisfying to play a day right.  It was almost too cold to ride here in central Utah.  So we walked instead.  Besides staying warm, walking allows you to get into rougher places. Chilly air, dry air, sunlight, and a light wind.  I love winter.

Living on the Edge!

Central Utah.  I am adjusting to some pleasant surprises from the 20 pound cockapoo/miniature poodle that I adopted in February of this year.  I treat her as my sweet little girl, but in fact she is quite rugged.  Especially her feet. She is going through a 'mid-life career change' and needs to learn about things she didn't experience in her former life in a Phoenix apartment.  She loves to run to the edge of cliffs and to scare me into a near heart attack. It is hard for a human to look at things from a dog's point of view.  After all, they are closer to the ground, have four paws on the dirt, and have sharp toenails.  Let's zoom out on that last picture: At some point I have to stop being so over-protective of Q.t. π and trust in animal instincts. But that is tough when you visit places with sheer vertical drops of several hundred feet! My goodness, around my little dog I have become as sentimental and soft-headed as a doting grandpa.  But what a service the littl

Who Gets the Last Laugh Over Nordstream?

When Washington DC (perhaps through proxies) destroyed the Nordstream pipeline a couple weeks ago, I wondered if Germany was going to act like a real country, for a change.  But it didn't. But there was another consequence.  Turkiye started moving forward with expanded Turkstream pipelines.  We will see how real that turns out. What if Turkiye joins the Eurasian block?  What a location Turkiye has!  Roman Emperor Constantine was no fool when he chose the Greek city on the Bosporus to be his new capital.   If Turkiye joins Eurasia, it should damage Washington's and Israel's plans to destroy or dominate Syria.   Gas pipelines from the Persian Gulf to Europe might have to go through Turkiye.   An understanding between Russia and Turkiye could close off the Black Sea to Washington's navy.  That would help throw Odessa into Russia. There is something visual about Turkiye being a key player at the end of the "Atlantic" or European era, just as it was at the beginnin

Yearning for a Hidden Paradise

The perfect setting for a dog is an arroyo.  It's almost as perfect for the dog's owner because the arroyo contains the dog and keeps it visible.  My little sweetheart and I were walking an arroyo the other day when we stumbled upon a gravel peninsula that jutted out into the bend of the arroyo.  It was perfectly flat and weed-free.  Someone had built an elaborate stone fireplace there.  Small trees blocked out the world from this little spot. I was almost laughing at myself.  There was nothing spectacular or grand about this little spot.  But my heart skipped a beat.  Then I started fluttering my eyelashes. If somebody has been in a certain racket for years and years, and can be affected like this, they must be doing something right.  You might think that one would resent somebody else's earlier discovery of this special spot.  But instead, I tried to visualize them in a tangible way: they likely had children or dogs. This experience is probably something that happens to m

My Poor Record at Being a World-Improver

Try as I might, the world just doesn't pay much attention to my efforts at improving it. For example today is the official International Pronoun Day. (Look it up if you think I am kidding.) Of course 99% of the attention goes to the gender of the pronouns.  Who the hell cares?  Have you ever gotten confused by someone else's use of pronoun-gender in any real world conversation you have had in your entire life? But the greatest cause of confusion is the reckless and promiscuous use of acronyms, slang, jargon, and abbreviations.  Abbreviations are getting especially troublesome because of smartphone virtual keyboards and because they don't teach typing on a QWERTY keyboard anymore -- or do they? Pronouns are just one example of evil abbreviations.  People tend to lose track of the pronoun's antecedent noun, especially in long or complex sentences.  This is the single most common source of confusion in real world conversations. Therefore I say "screw it" to prono

Is Eating Bugs Vegan?

One way for Europe to make it through the next couple winters is to start eating bugs.  It's the latest and greatest idea.  Very Woke.  But it is unlikely to increase business at Italian or French restaurants in North America. Is the new food plan practical?  Maybe Europe has too many vegetarians and vegans to make this plan work.  Maybe some EU regulator will have to issue a diktat  that says that bug protein is not quite the same as 'meat' or animal flesh.  But won't this be seen as a semantic trick? The EU regulators might be held back a couple years in distinguishing eating 6-legged insects from 8-legged spiders.  How can they officially certify the bugs as organic? Mores rules and regulations, more inspectors. Of course, if the bugs 'identified' as plants... I hardly ever use my camera anymore.  I should go back to photographing insects.  It is great fun.  

Looking For a Way to Praise Soft Trails

I was camping and mountain biking recently on some Utah land that seemed slightly upland.  There was nothing spectacular about it, but I was quite fond of it. Why were the rocks so rounded as they typically are near rivers?  (It is not so hard to visualize sand in rivers abrading rocks into a rounded shape.)  But we were 8 miles from the mighty Green River.  Maybe geology just isn't the right study for appreciating what it is all about. Something truly amazing caught me by surprise.  I biked for a hundred feet on one of the trails and didn't bump into one rock.  Not one!  Is there anything sweeter to a mountain biker than a smooth trough of packed dirt? I tell ya, the world ain't fair.  How many times does a tourist gush over smooth ground?  Poets don't praise it, musicians don't rhapsodize over it, and the local chamber of commerce doesn't offer a free brochure extolling it. Maybe I am at the phase in my RV career when I don't need to gawk at mountains anym

Big Dog, Small Dog for the Outdoors?

If a person is interested in getting a dog for outdoor excursions, should they get a big dog or a small dog?  I admit that the first thing that comes to mind is an image of a Labrador retriever or maybe a herding dog, a classic ranch dawg.  They can run faster and further and are coyote-proof. But what if the big dog has a bad foot or has gotten older?  It is counter-intuitive, but the case can be made that small dogs are handier on outdoor expeditions of various kinds.  Of course this depends on the means of conveyance.   But it is advantageous for the dog to take up less space in a canoe, kayak, or even a side-by-side ATV, let alone a bicycle or backpack.  My current dog, a 20 pound miniature poodle mix, can be stuffed in a milk crate on the rear of a mountain bike if she becomes tired. Of course my thinking about this issue is colored by the ease of traveling in a small RV with the dog.  You might consider the example of the Foresty Forest You Tube channel, with his wonderful little

Speaking of Sunsets...

Near sunset the other night, I was accidentally watching a video by a linguist.  She was explaining how your mouth closes when you pronounce the vowel in 'pie'.  There are two vowel sounds -- they are subtle, but they are there. It is quite something how mechanical and muscular speech is. She went on to discuss sounds that are made at the back of the mouth, closer to the throat, versus sounds made at the front of the mouth, near the teeth and lips.  Or whether you breathe through the sound or not. Outside the screen door of my trailer, sunset was starting to happen.  (At this time of year it is cheerful to point your screen door towards the west so you can lengthen the day a little.) I wasn't looking out the screen, directly at the sunset.  I was in the back of the trailer, so I saw the sunset indirectly as it changed the color of the back wall of the trailer. It was surprising how unusual the color of that back wall was.  The color changed by the second as the sunset deve

The Bear Has Claws

Ironically, on the very morning that the Russian bear started using all of its claws, I encountered this product at the entrance to a big-box ranch supply store.  The first items in the store were blue-and-yellow 5 gallon buckets, on sale I guess. Think how much time a person could save themselves by ignoring what is being done to whom by whom.  All you have to do is spot the mainstream media, giant corporations, and social media marching in lockstep on some new crusade, and you know you are being lied to. A couple months ago, I was shocked to be paying for groceries at a Safeway, and the card reader asked me if I wanted to donate money to Ukraine! At any rate, this ranch-store corporation had better drop the price a little more on their blue and yellow buckets.

Best Commentary on Inflation and Money-Printing Ever

I don't think I have ever made a post before that was just a referral to something that somebody else wrote, but there is an exception to every rule. The topic is inflation and the Federal Reserve's reckless money printing. You can hear this on You Tube, with this link.   Yes, you only find something like after 10,000 attempts.  But gems do exist on the internet.

Freedom Beyond Open Land

You can't praise autumn too much or too often.  I stepped out of my trailer today and did the usual thing of bracing myself to wince in pain at the Western sun. Baby kaBLOOnie's first rant against excessive sunlight.  It doesn't seem to bother my siblings.   But I felt no solar burn against my shirt. (I always cover as much skin as possible with long sleeves and long pants.) And yet it was 100% sunny.  There was a cool breeze.  I felt mildly euphoric. There was a sense of freedom to it, even more so than the freedom of open land.  Escaping hot sun is like a compressed spring finally getting a chance to expand.  It is like escaping some long-term horrid disease. I had to do something to celebrate the occasion.  So I debauched myself by taking an unnecessary drive to town.  Just think: having the freedom to drive your car into town in the middle of the day, and come out of the grocery without finding your dog dead in the car! What a miracle of nature it is to feel cool, dry

The Pleasure of Big Land

If you find yourself reading about camping or recreating in Utah, there is a 99.9% chance most of it will be hysterical screaming about red rocks.  This post will try to convince you that Utah can be appreciated in another way -- a better way. Let's look at Utah from the point of view of someone who is heading south, from the Northwest.  Let's say they were in a 2,000,000 acre forest there.  Sounds big, doesn't it? It's not.  You can only access the trails and roads.  Most of the land is too steep to camp on, even alongside the roads.  You cannot walk between the trees since the forests are thickets.  The creeks are not walkable of course, because there is water running in them.   I would like to see a study done that would put a number on it.  Until then, let's say that 0.1% of the land is actually useable -- and that percentage is generous, I think.  That means that 2,000,000 acres comes down to 2000 acres, the size of a couple farms in the Great Plains. I am not

The Great Man 'on Horseback'

What is the benefit of paying attention to the news?  I can think of one: some top story in the news might spark or revive an interest in a book. For instance the recent election in Italy made a splash.  The corporate media immediately began calling her "far right."  This bumped me to reread the biography of Mussolini by Nicholas Farrell. Mussolini certainly had an interesting life.  Because he is not usually thought of as 100% evil -- like Hitler -- the reader of Mussolini's biography can actually put themselves in his shoes, as they must in order to get anything out of reading a biography. Mussolini started as a serious and fairly orthodox socialist, but then he made drastic innovations to socialism that changed history.  Prior to World War I, socialists took their internationalism seriously. The war changed that.  German socialists supported German war efforts.  Then socialists in other countries did the same for their governments. "Men had gone off to fight the n