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Showing posts from March, 2024

Hope About American Evangelicals

Caitlin Johnstone's writing on the slaughter of Palestinians by Israelis has been relentless and impressive.  If there were a Pulitzer Prize for alternative-media, she deserves it.  Anybody interested in accessing her work (at no charge) might want to go to  . It takes a bit of effort for me to praise her.  She is a Greenie socialist.  But there is something to be said -- actually, a lot to be said -- for dissolving pundits into their component parts.  If component X is too objectionable to read, then look at component Y or Z. This method keeps a reader from falling into their own echo chamber.  And it depolarizes public discourse.  The method might work for more than pundits. For instance, it is good to dissolve religions into component parts, and not 'throw out the baby with the bath water.'  This is Easter in Western Christianity.  You needn't be a Christian to admire the importance that Christians have attached to Hope. At the risk of turning Hope into

Horses Circumnavigate the Globe

This is the first time I have ever camped in the midst of small groups of "wild" horses, if that is what they are.  I haven't seen any of them mooch goodies from campers, as burros will.  But the horses let me and my dog get within 50 feet of them.  Perhaps there is a spring closer to the mountains where they "water up."   The other day a pretty horse was pawing insistently at the ground.  It reminded me of the book, "The Horse, The Wheel, and Language," by David Anthony.  I heard of the book from the "".  The book said that horses had a great advantage on the Eurasian steppes: they would pound through the snow with their hooves, and find grass in winter.  But cows and sheep won't use that trick. Much of the book takes place in the homeland of Indo-European languages, which is modern Ukraine.  (Of  course, we mustn't confuse our linguistic ancestors with out biological ancestors.) When the linguistics and hi

Caught in the Stream of Human Events

On a mountain bike ride the other day I had to stop and admire an unusual canyon.  It did have vertical walls about 100 feet high.   But what made it visually impressive was the unusual width of the canyon floor.  It was over 100 meters wide.   There was no water visible of course -- it is southern Nevada, after all.  But the flat canyon floor had such impressive graceful curves, left by rampaging water, that I found myself gawking!  And yet, I didn't take a photo of it, probably because cameras are obsessed with the vertical and the perpendicular.  This was fun in a different sort of way.  But it would have been a great place for an overhead drone photograph. I like to visualize alluvial fans of gravel, coming down from the mountains as a slow-moving glacier.  The analogy is not very close actually, but the image is irresistible.  This canyon was the "fast lane" on this giant ramp of gravel. The whole thing seems metaphorical, with every individual person being like a s

Playing the Hand You Are Dealt, in the Desert

The campsite was a bit too close to the road, but I put up with it because traffic was light and n obody was camped in this part of southern Nevada.  But, when two van/car nomads showed up in the area, I panicked and went to a new site. One of the ironies of desert camping is that there is so little privacy.  This seems to contradict the notion that you are in 'the middle of nowhere.'  You are so visible to others and visa versa.  Sometimes you can read the body language of a car approaching: they have noticed you.  They are actually sucked-in due to some weird psychology when they see somebody else (you!) camping there.  Soon the little paradise you have found will be degraded by neighbors.  So, like I said, I panicked when those two young nomads showed up.  Young people are told what to do and where to camp by the internet.  They might even be contributing to that problem, in person.  The campers in question chose their spots on small promontories, probably for the great vie

Getting Flushed Down the Drain Might Not be Permanent

Most people expect a Biden and Trump rematch this November.  One way to look at this is to back off from the partisan arguments and look at the big picture.  How could America have come to such a low state as to come up with candidates like this -- twice?! Is this the same America that settled a wilderness in the new hemisphere; fought off the claims of French, Spanish, and Russians in North America; formed a government on a written Constitution; survived a bloody Civil War; grew into the industrial powerhouse of planet Earth; and brought electrical and automotive inventions to within reach of the masses?  There have indeed been many accomplishments that Americans can be proud of. And now look at us!  It is tempting to say that the current situation is unbelievable, but actually, it is quite believable.  Let's make a short list out of spectacular "come downs" that have happened to other countries. 1.  Ancient Greece in 450 B.C. versus 150 B.C., that is, Greece after its o

Horizontal Gravity Ain't All Bad

It is easier to get interested in where you are camped if you can visualize motion.  High winds in Nevada certainly got that ball rolling, yesterday.  It was cold, too.  What little moisture there was in the air condensed into thick clouds that hugged and obscured the mountains.    At times, the clouds looked like thick fog that wanted to slowly creep down from the mountains, like an airborne glacier, or better yet, like the thousand-foot-thick ramp of gravel that had crept down from the mountains.  The geologists call them 'alluvial fans', and I was camped on one. Away from the mountains, the high winds were blowing the clouds into lenticular clouds.  They are fun to look at. (Lenticular, the bean lentil, and a glass lens are all cognate.) The gravel was small and rounded where I am camped.  You notice things like that when you identify as a mountain bike tire or dog paw.  Since I am camped closer to the bottom than the top of the alluvial ramp, it probably makes sense that th

Beating the System, Regarding Time Changes

  Perhaps my last post was less gracious than it could have been towards the state of Arizona.  Allow me to make amends. I woke up Sunday morning, still just barely in the state of Arizona, and therefore unbothered by Daily Savings Time.  The rest of the country debauches itself with Daily Savings Time, but Arizona stays with God's Time. from Soon I crossed over into a Pacific Time Zone state, but instead of subtracting one hour, the o'clock stayed the same since that state uses Daily Savings Time, beginning today.  Then I crossed into another such state.  And then back to the first one. As I go north for many hundreds of miles, it will stay the same. (until I hit southern Idaho or extreme southeastern Oregon.)  Actually I could choose locations that get me out of a time change the entire summer.  What bliss! I give Arizona credit for this, and I am grateful.

"Success" For a Winter Traveler

One of the great under-rated pleasures outdoors is a broken and stormy sky.  I experienced that yesterday as I fled Arizona.  Other things worked OK:  gasoline prices weren't so bad, and  I had only two encounters with rude and reckless drivers, who love being disrespectful of winter visitors.  The spring solstice isn't even here yet.  But I have already left AZ.  (Actually I'm still in the northwestern part of the state, 15 miles from the Colorado River.)  One way to gauge your success as a camper and traveler is to see how little time you spend in Arizona.   During mid-winter we are all climate refugees.  I truly love low temperatures in the 30s F and highs around 65 F.  But once mid-winter is over, you can find adequate temperatures around the edges of AZ, and perhaps escape over-crowding, generators, motorsport yahoos, target practice litter bugs, cholla, and un-earthly rubble.

An Unusual Spring Migration

It is easy to get nervous as we near the spring solstice.  But this is the time of year when a camper has the greatest opportunity to improve their life.  Extend.  Extend the bug-free season, extend good sleeping, extend sweat-free outdoor exercise.   That is what I was thinking the other morning when I had a freshly-laundered poodle under the sleeping bag with me.  My little dog smelled like lavender-rosemary doggie shampoo.  There is a primal satisfaction to burrowing deeper and deeper underneath the sleeping bag, and seeing how few square inches of skin need to be exposed. Spring migrations are easier than autumn migrations because the sun is at your back most of the way.  I really look forward to that.  For the first time in years I will migrate through Nevada.  Let's hope I can find a grocery store or two. I have never done my spring migration by going northwest immediately and staying close to the Colorado River.  It is counter-intuitive to return that way, since I migrated d

Better Food Preservation

Recently I have gotten interested in food preservation.  The higher costs of food and transportation have to be fought, somehow.  This is especially true for somebody who has to drive over miles of bumpy dirt roads to a not-so-great, high-priced, small town grocery store.  Perhaps it was the better containers available at Walmart that made me get interested in this topic.  They are rectangular boxes with O-rings in the lid, and snaps to hold the lid down tight. You Tube has a lot of videos on this topic.  Have you seen those vacuum sealers for storing food in Mason jars?  But the videos don't explain the principles of food preservation very well.  After all, it is all about water vapor, oxygen, and ethylene. You can't look into this topic very long before you get pulled off into the world of off-grid homes, preppers, Greenies, etc.  I used to have a negative stereotype of these people.  But they are a customer base for useful products. I sometimes wonder if, during my 'nex