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Showing posts from May, 2023

Enjoying Camping Despite Holiday

"Playing" a national holiday well is important to campers.  All you have to do is think about the places that tourists like and why they like those places,  and then you know how to avoid them.  In my case I go towards high BLM land, ranch country, away from lakes or national parks.   There is plenty of scenery at my holiday places, although it isn't exactly the same kind of scenery preferred by tourists.  I like somewhat muted mountains, hills, and cliffs that are mixed with something useful, such as cattle-grazing or gas wells. I like towns that have Feed-n-Tack stores and good hardware stores, rather than boutique-y mountain towns. Look at that sky!  At this time of the year, the Northwest actually has enough moisture to form an occasional cloud.  Nothing is sweeter than relief from oppressive sunlight!  Even your skin feels the relief. The Little Cute One picked up her game.  Instead of ground squirrels and the like, she was chasing quails. We wanted to see what happ

Dawn in the Summer

Last summer I did everything possible to like summer, for a change.  It worked rather well.  Let's keep pushing, to consolidate those gains.  There is something about summer that could go under-appreciated if you don't force yourself to dwell on it a bit: early sunrise. A retirement age person doesn't sleep like a 30-year-old.  In winter, a camper in the desert Southwest might want to wake up at 3 in the morning, but then resists doing so because there are so many hours until dawn.  They think they are doing something wrong.  But actually they might have already had 7 hours of sleep by that time. It isn't easy dealing with all those hours of darkness in winter.  But summer has solved that problem for you.  In the cursed Pacific Time Zone where I am now (central Oregon), dawn is at 0415.  In the summer I notice the birds in the area putting on a little musical performance. For whatever reason, you don't hear that at dawn in the winter, in Arizona.  And dawn isn't

Why Are People Still Moving to Boise?

It was my own fault:  I went through the Boise area on I-84 during the evening rush hour.  I naively thought that Boise wasn't really that big, and the interstate goes around the edge of Boise.  It was stop-and-go from Mountain Home to Ontario, OR.  (Exaggerating a little.) The highway system makes it hard to avoid these gawd-awful metro areas.  I know how to avoid Salt Lake City.  I guess a work-around   for Boise is needed, as well.  At the very least,  I will drive through at a better time of the day.    The Snake River plain is ugly.  Soon it will be hot.  Is a new Phoenix, Las Vegas, or St. George being formed in Idaho?  Soon we will be hearing about "droughts" in southwestern Idaho.  What is it about moving to these giant, hot, metro areas in the western states?  Aren't these people worried about global warming?  Why aren't they moving to Buffalo or Minneapolis? The continuation of growth in these hell-holes is proof that 'reputation is a lagging indicat

Camping With a Megalith

When I moved into my current campsite I was surprised by the neighborhood megalith.   It won't compete against Stonehenge as a tourist draw, but I like the way it looms outside my kitchen window.  It makes the trailer feel so small and light. Wikipedia has an interesting article on megaliths.  I had no idea of how many structures of this type are found all over the world.   Megaliths are photogenic, so the article was more interesting than the usual jargon-filled, Wikipedia article.  I wish that it said more about why people built megaliths at such great effort to themselves, and with so little utilitarian benefit. Of course my megalith was built by Mother Nature.  It still serves some purpose to the human mind.  In order to appreciate it fully, perhaps I should rewatch the end of the movie version of Thomas Hardy's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles."  And then let the imagination go 'free range.'

A New Word That Describes Western Media

  Words are important.  I appreciated Putin's description of Washington DC and NATO as an Empire of Lies.  "Mainstream media" is a useful term, but not quite adequate.  Similarly with "corporate media." How about "state-supported media?"  The implication there is that financial support does not automatically make something subservient. What is the best phrase for the propaganda arm of the Swamp or Empire of Lies?  By chance I ran into something yesterday that I really liked: "regime media."  Short, accurate, and the right amount of criticism.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the French Riots

  How much coverage has there been in the state-corporate media in the West about the protests in Paris?  Not much, I suppose.  But I run across the story in the alternative-media. My initial reaction is pure disgust when watching militarized police -- with every conceivable layer of protection -- bashing unarmed protestors with their clubs.  Of course I don't know how heavy and hard those clubs are.  Hopefully somebody designed them to hurt and bruise, but not to break bones.   Still, what do those goons think of themselves when they go home at night?  "Did you have a good day at the office, Dear?" their wife asks.  "Well not too bad.  But I did have trouble with this one white-haired grandma.  So I took her down with one perfect smash to her face." There is an irony to the French culture of street protests and the overly-armed police goons.  The French usually get credit for being a well-organized state.  Don't the French yearn for a lifetime of government

Connecting Macro News to What You Can See

  Maybe it is a waste of time to follow the economic/business news.  These days you hear about pickup trucks 'trying' to be sold for over $100,000.  I keep expecting to see signs in my own life in the backcountry that Americans are falling out of love with pickup trucks.  But I don't see it, yet.  Of course statistical changes are gradual and therefore hard to perceive.  But still! I can see the utility of pickup trucks for certain tradesmen, as well as people who live a truly rural lifestyle.  But what about all the urban cowboys, henpecked husbands, and cubicle rats who work in an office in the big city?  It seems like they would benefit from, say, an all-wheel-drive Subaru with a good rack on it.  But these guys don't want a mommie-mobile anymore than they want to be seen walking a little white fluffy malti-poo, as opposed to a husky. So, over the next couple years, we'll see if they can borrow $100,000  -- at the higher interest rates. Wouldn't it be great t

A Couple Cow-Managers Start at Sunrise

(Twin Falls, ID) A strange little vehicle showed up at sunrise this morning.  It was here yesterday.  It was a funky old side-by-side, made before that category of vehicle became common.  It was Japanese and had the steering wheel on the right. Minutes later, a diesel pickup showed up, pulling a long trailer for hauling cattle in.  Both "cattle-managers" jumped in the diesel/trailer and took off to their morning work, I guess.  But that was only after letting three dogs take care of their morning chores.  It was an unusual trio: a greyhound, a small or old lapdog that needed to be carried, and a classic ranch dawg.  As they drove off, I could see the ranch dawg jumping around in the back of the the "flat bed" pickup truck.  How do they get a grip on diamond-plate steel?   But it was such a classic.   (I had just spent 10 days at a place in Utah that appeals to campers and mountain bikers.  Nobody did anything at sunrise, there.  Nobody's vehicle had dust or rust

Sagebrush and Meadowlarks (?)

When a traveler heads north in the western intermountain states, they say goodbye to Saguaro cactus first -- which is too bad.  But then you leave cholla behind, and hooray for that.  Here in northern Utah I see only an occasional prickly pear cactus.  They are stunted and unhealthy looking.  Maybe it is too cold for them. It is sagebrush country now.  I rather like the odor.  Wikipedia says that pronghorn antelope is the only big hooved critter that eats sagebrush.  That makes you wonder why you don't see more pronghorns!  In fact, why aren't they the most common animal around? A couple years ago, a few miles from here, I stepped out of the van and apparently hooked my foot under a thick, twisted, woody stem of sagebrush.  My face was on the ground before I knew what happened.  Ah well, nothing personal!  I still rather like sagebrush, although I wish there wasn't so much of it. Sagebrush seems to repel tourists and campers.  If so, that is the best thing you can say about

A Science Writer Dabbles in Geopolitics?

I was a little suspicious of a recent science article on  What do you think? Astronomers in the United States revealed on Wednesday that they had witnessed for the first time one of the most destructive forces in the cosmos: a dying star which had expanded massively into a red giant and destroyed a planet which had the misfortune of being nearby. Scientists believe that most planets are eventually destroyed when their host star burns all of its available energy and begins its process of dying by expanding into a red giant. It is the final stage of a star’s stellar evolution – and the star goes down fighting, bringing everything nearby with it into its celestial grave. So, are you ready to 'follow the Science?'  Or is this all a little too metaphorical for you?  For "dying star," substitute dying Empire.  For "planet," substitute Ukraine or NATO vassal states. At any rate, whoever wrote this 'science' piece, must have had a smile on their fac