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Showing posts from January, 2024

Balancing Serious News With Some Needed Relief

I insist on staying interested in geopolitical events in the world.  Even if I am right about that, some allowance must be made to human nature.  A human can only look at ultra-serious, grim news so much before they need some psychological relief. I got some relief by reading a book about the Battle of Midway, when America was on the way up in the world.  (The Battle of Midway, by Craig Symonds.)   The Battle of Midway occurred early in the Pacific war of World War II, and turned the tide of war in America's favor.  It offered me some relief to think that most Americans believed the newspapers, in that era.  They thought their institutions were basically sound and non-corrupt most of the time.  Americans had a bright future! a It is especially fun for a baby boomer to think back to what America was in 1945. More recent histories of World War II do a better job, I think, at emphasizing the decoding of messages.  Americans  had a great advantage in knowing what Japan was up to, prior

TRUE Paradise in the Desert

If you want to get out of bed in morning and feel that all is right with the world, a nice rain shower at night is the way to do it.  There is supposed to be a secondary rainy season in the Sonoran Desert in mid-winter.  Some years it is a dud.  But this year the rains are glorious. But don't say that out loud to your camping neighbors if they are northern snowbirds.  They think, "I didn't drive all the way here just to look at clouds and to feel cold.  I demand that it be warm and sunny everyday.  I dream of playing golf in shorts in January." Well, that is their problem.  They probably think that the following photo shows the "beauty of the desert."   Ghastly!  Teddy Bear chollas are the apotheosis of Evil.  The northern snowbirds probably think the non-blue sky is. But let's wallow in paradise while it lasts!

Visiting the Neighbor Campers

Oh why didn't I react quicker with the phone and camera!  Four of us were riding around the neighborhood in a camping area in southwestern Arizona.  It was fun to stop in and visit the neighbors when they are outside their rigs.   I was amazed at how my little dog glowed and gushed when she got attention from people who were completely new to her.  Small dogs can get some love off of people who aren't even 'dog people.' What a look on her face!  It is too bad I can't get enthused so quickly with my 'fellow camper.'  It is hard to shake the notion that they are 'here today, gone tomorrow,' so why put a lot of effort into charming their socks off?  That is why I have always liked the idea of traveling with other people in loose caravans.  And yet it hardly ever happens, probably because everybody has different preferences and calendars. Anyway, if I had to relive my RV career, I might be tempted to buy a rural property, and breed miniature poodles.

'Fool Me Once...'

  I have never understood why Trump is so popular.  Did any of the people who voted for him in Iowa really think he is going to "drain the swamp?"  If reelected he isn't going to do anything in office other than shoot his mouth off in bombastic speeches, act like an octogenarian kindergartener, and visibly age in front of the camera. He will nominate a soft-money Federal Reserve.  Inflation will remain persistently high during a second Trump regime. He won't stop Israel from slaughtering Gazans.  He sucks up to Israel as bad as anybody. On the other hand, he might end the slaughter of Ukrainians in that war. Does Trump really have any serious political principles?  Does he have a lot of knowledge or interest in the world?  Or does he just see the presidency as a branch of the entertainment industry? Conversely, I have never understood the Trump Derangement Syndrome.  Many of the people who suffer from this disease are the same sort of people who would put a "No

Those Bothersome Burros!

  Occasionally you can see videos made from Go-Pro cameras attached to the heads of animals.  A coyote would be a good animal to choose for this kind of reality TV show.  What a life those animals barely manage to live! Here in the Yuma area, not to0 many coyotes are heard or seen.  That is not a great endorsement of a geographical area.  But this year I see several wild burros per day.  They would also be a great choice for mounting a Go-Pro camera on their heads.  How do they make a living around here?  Water is not a problem, with the Colorado River and irrigation canals nearby.  But there is no vegetation around here -- not even cholla.  Those burros must be sneaking off in the middle of the night to raid lettuce fields! Cute animals, these burros.  But I worry about how my little dog would behave around them if she were off-leash.  They can kick pretty good and their hooves are sharp. There is an gravel pit next to my campsite that appears somewhat contained, so I let my little

Becoming a Statistic

Gonzalo Lira died recently in a Ukrainian prison, due to health problems.  He was a You Tuber who lived in Ukraine, where he had a couple children.  He had been reckless enough to criticize the Zelensky and Biden regimes.     I used to watch his channel on You Tube.  When the sad news came out yesterday, it really affected me.  Of all the deaths in the Ukraine, this was the one that really hit me.   Strange isn't it?  Recall Stalin's words:  One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic. From Helsinki Times

Learning to Laugh at Being a Sub-Yuman

  Every year, during the depths of a Arizona winter, I put in some time in Yuma.  It is the only time of year that I can stand the place.  But I have learned to laugh at my own maladjustment here.  And there are things that help, such as shopping first thing in the morning, when traffic is tolerable.  Afternoon traffic is awful. I was in the Walmart getting some new tires, the first day.  It seemed like I was the only adult male who wore long pants.  But I was on my best behavior: not once did I roll my eyes at those goofy Canadian snowbirds, walking around in their shorts, and displaying their ugly legs in public.   The mere act of shopping is semi-comical.  I blast through the store, pushing my cart at reckless speeds, and nearly having a couple crashes.  The sooner the shopping is ended, the better!  For one thing, I need to escape the music. Then I stopped and stared quizzically at big blocks of cheese: why do they have 'mild cheddar' and 'medium cheddar?'  People

Politics Realigns

Sometimes it is hard to keep up to date.  In a small Arizona town recently I saw a political message in somebody's yard/fence.  It was an Israeli flag, with the message "Support Israel."  I have seen such political billboards before in the rural West, and usually just roll my eyes at them.  Presumably they are put up by a Rapture-crazed, Evangelical Christian who is under the influence of some frothing-at-the-mouth radio preacher. But this flag surprised me: it also included a Rainbow flag.  In other words, this was a statement made by a mainstream Democrat.  And I still think of Democrats as the party of George McGovern and anti-Vietnam War protestors.  My goodness, am I out-of-date!

Desperate, Stubborn Hope Despite the World

The American political system has become so dysfunctional that ignoring it makes sense to any individual person.  Why become angry or worried about things you can't do anything about?  But there are grounds for hope.  Both Biden and Trump are old men.  They are not immortal. It might seem self-indulgent to enjoy the speeches of a couple Irish firebrands, such as Clare Daly or Mick Wallace.   If I did my homework on them I might find things to dislike.  But at some point you have to allow yourself a little relief from the discouragement of daily news.  Humans are not infinitely strong -- we can take only so much.   Relentless discouragement will just cause a person to tune out everything that is happening in the world.  That would hardly be a symptom of a healthy democracy.   With the same excuse-making, I allow myself to admire the Houthis' closing of the Red Sea to Israeli ships.  They are the only Muslim neighbor of Israel that is doing anything to stop the slaughter in Gaza

A Tenuous Hold onto Winter Balminess

What a remarkable streak of luck the Arizona desert has had up till now!   Let's hope the calm days continue, as well as high temperatures in the 60s Fahrenheit. Since nights are so long, naps should be avoided  on these days.  (Read pseudo-naps, with ten minutes of unbelievably deep relaxation, but no real unconsciousness.)   But after one mountain bike ride I debauched myself with a pseudo-nap, while watching a DVD of William Wyler's "The Big Country," with Gregory Peck, Jean Simmons, and some other fine actors.  There is something about the dry, open grasslands in that movie that suckers me in.  The movie's emphasis on fast horse-riding is redolent of mountain biking. And then there is the classic tagline that really should be more famous, especially to the lovers of wide, open spaces in the western states: Gregory Peck: "How about showing me your ranch?  Do we ride or do we walk?"   Jean Simmons dismissed him with:  "Any ranch you can see on fo