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Showing posts from November, 2023

Why the Curious Timing with the "Napoleon" movie?

  So Hollywood still makes movies?  Even I got the message that a new blockbuster movie was being released.  "Napoleon."  I am old enough to remember when it was a big deal to release a new blockbuster.  But who goes to movie theatres these days?  Watching a blockbuster movie on a small electronic screen just isn't the same.  But young folks might not feel that way. The timing seems a little odd or even suspicious.   From  .  I have decided to add tin-hat conspiracy mode to my portfolio, along with armchair general mode, world-juggling geopolitical analyst, Machiavellian political consultant, and wise old man/prophet of the mountain. The timing is just right for giving the ignorant Masses in the "West" a little relief.  The movie might remind them that, once upon a time, not so terribly long ago, the West was mighty, fierce, and heroic.  It had giants as national leaders.  And the greatest militaries in the world. Therefore a reminder like thi

Annual Praise for Canyon/Badlands

I don't post much about the weather but there are exceptions.  Right now I am experiencing a miracle: no horizontal gravity (aka, no desert wind), lows in the 30s F, highs in the 60s F, and p lenty of sun for charging the battery.  That means it is unnecessary to use heat.  Good sleeping weather. And no bugs! Many snowbirds are dissatisfied here because it is not warm enough for them.  They want it warm enough to sit around in chairs, in a conversational circle, while wearing shorts.  I try to remember where they are coming from.  Still, warm weather is not necessary to make me happy. Every year I stop in at this canyon/badlands area in southeastern Nevada and praise it. (The land, not the snowbird neighbors.)  Many people are attracted to topographies with weird, eroded features. Mere prettiness is a bit insipid for my tastes.  A landscape becomes more interesting to me if you add some fear and horribleness to it.  (Recall the old saying that a movie is no better than the villain.

Needed: A Positive Vision of a Post-Imperial America

  Do you remember the fundamental changes that were happening to the world around 1990, when the Soviet Union rode off into the sunset?  President George H.W. Bush used to acknowledge the "vision thing" problem that he had.  (People criticized him for not providing leadership for what America would be like without the Soviet bogeyman.) The same thing seems to be happening now, except that this time it is the American Empire that is falling apart.  Will anyone emerge during the next election who provides real leadership about what post-Imperial America should be like?  I have my doubts: for the most part they will just provide a vision of perpetual war abroad and authoritarianism at home.  For a time I thought RFK Jr. might provide that kind of leadership.  But he has shown himself to be a craven ass-kisser of Israel. America still has the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other.  Nobody in the world really has a blue water navy besides us.  So it is not

Finally, a Miracle Technology for Campers!

For the first time in my life I regret being a late adopter of some vaunted new technology. And this is bad news for Bic and all the companies that make those horrible little butane lighters that you use to light your gas stove or start a campfire.  In RV lingo, they are called "flame throwers."  I have used so many of those crappy little things.  I've tried refilling them, buying more expensive ones, or getting by with just the piezo spark.   It has always been a good idea to maintain a cache of wooden matches as a backup. Just recently a friend liberated me from butane lighters by showing me a new-fangled electric lighter. No piezo element.  No butane.  No fumbling with child-proof, Ralph Nader-approved buttons that require three hands. And no buying a new one every six months, just to learn that the price has gone up again. Electric arcs are not a new idea.  They have been around since Benjamin Franklin's kite.  Wikipedia actually has a good article on them, appa

You Mean that Kids Can Be Great?!

As a camper heads south in the winter, they find conditions more and more crowded.  Be that as it may, I have had some nice conversations in my present overcrowded location in southwestern Utah.  It even went further than that. I stopped in at a neighbor who had an unusual trailer.  But what really drew me in was his "Let's Go Brandon!" flag flying over the trailer, combined with his California license plates!  We joked about that for a while.  His wife and son came out and fawned over my little dog.   I have since run into his 11 year-old son several times.  The lad impressed me every time.  One day he was flying a kite!  You mean kids still do things like that?  Without a battery or smartphone app? An RV friend and I turned to each other and said "What a great kid!" after we had talked to him one day.  My friend speculated that the lad had been home-schooled;  it was hard to believe he was a product of the public schools of California. This seemed like it was

The Exquisite Can Be Fragile

Good conversations do happen between travelers, although I have trained myself not to expect too much.  It is better to aim for a few words of pleasantness, declare victory, and then move on.  But the other day a pickup truck driver and I surprised each other, I think.  He had made a wrong turn and was getting turned around.  I was on the bike, with the Little Cute One running beside me.  Therefore we were both pretty approachable. We were both complaining about over-crowdedness in an area that we both loved.  It seemed like the conversation was headed into a dead-end, with the usual complaints about crowds, tourists, etc.  But I redeemed the conversation by saying that, "It's not that I hate the human race or something, and it's not that the other people are doing something illegal, it's just that I love slipping into a certain mood in the outdoors.  And it is hard to get into that mood with hordes of people around." A big smile broke out on his face.  He was th

Are Israel's Neighbors More Potent Than in the Past?

 Some geopolitical commentators emphasize that Israel's Arab and Muslim neighbors are not the countries they were in 1967 or 1973.   They are more populous, certainly.  But are they capable of acting in concert? Crowds of protestors have made their outrage over the slaughter in Gaza known in Mideast Arab and Muslim countries.  That is a start.  But it seems easy for these countries' politicians to alter their speeches a little bit, and then do nothing.  The perfect example is Erdogan in Turkiye: he is the master of duplicity. It is healthy to emphasize what all sides of the conflict share in common, instead of what divides them.  Although it might sound sarcastic at first, it really is true that all sides are united in having politicians that are lying sacks of shit.  Seriously!  That seems to be a fundamental part of the human condition that we all share, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political creed. Of course the BRICS+ organization is up and running, with Saudi Arab

Reviving an Interest in the Winter Southwest

Years ago I used to like this sort of Southwestern scenery:   But a person's tastes can change over time.  Now I want to see more life and less rock.  I yearn for rich topsoil, green leaves, bunnies disporting across a forest meadow, and maybe even a young shepherdess with long and lustrous hair blowing in a gentle breeze.   Who knows how much of my initial interest was just an imitation of snowbirds who come to Arizona to escape the damp dark icy weather of the north.  They aren't doing anything wrong, considering where they are coming from.  But their needs are different than mine. And yet I might be able to extend an interest in the Southwest by shifting to colder locations.  If nothing else, the camping will be less crowded.  But there might be even more to gain. It takes some effort to go for a walk right at sunrise.  But imagine how heavenly it can be it there is no wind!  Granted, the chilliness seems a little alarming when you start off.  You can imagine a crunchiness