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Update -- Scenery Compared to Food

It's easy to predict what kind of food a child will choose: the more sugar the better. Adults move on to other foods that are more interesting in a non-teeth-sticking sort of way, which means that they have to apply quite a bit of imagination and discipline to develop a good diet. Naturally the adult looks down on the child's food preferences, but not in a mean sort of way.
How many times has restaurant food really knocked your socks off? I can't remember a dessert doing so, at least during my adulthood. But recently I was having breakfast with a friend (a professional caterer from Patagonia AZ), when we both commented on the hash browns as being the best we had ever had in our lives. Their mighty secret: they made the hash browns out of potatoes  -- fresh. They barely needed any tabasco sauce to make them interesting. Most restaurants presumably thaw out ready-made hash browns from the Sysco truck.
I also had some natural scenery knock my socks off recently, and that is say…

The College Loan Bubble Explained, Photographically

During presidential election years it is typical for the two main political parties to rent an empty store in a strip mall and use it for their local campaign headquarters. I happened to be going by the Democrat headquarters this morning, in the college town of Gunnison CO, when I saw this. 


This isn't aiming any specific accusation at the Democrats. I doubt that they were doing anything illegal, and if I knew where the Republican headquarters was, I might have seen a similar sign. 
The "college loan bubble" has been been getting a lot of attention lately, at least on the internet. Is it a "complex" issue? Or does this photograph undercut the need for, not only a thousand words, but also a thousand pages of a book about government funding and the ability to corrupt everything it touches?

New Rig Dreams

When your RV rig gets old you might as well start window shopping early, since finding something might take a long time. Of course, that problem is worse when the shopper is stubborn about camping in quiet and interesting places and avoiding unnecessary expenses and luxuries. You would make it easier on yourself, during the shopping process, if you thought like a mainstream RVer, but then the negative payoff would come later when you end up with a rig that is expensive and troublesome to repair, and you can't camp where you really want to camp. 
Here's my most recent heart-throb:

It's made by Tiger RV, circa 1990. What a nice camping experience these lucky people must have had! They had gotten to a campsite that big or "overhang-ey" rigs couldn't get to. They could walk right out of their rig to dozens of mountain bike/multi-purpose trails. Here is RV camping at its finest: the perfect balance of outdoor flavor combined with realistic and hard-shelled comfort.

Where is the Outdoorsy Athletic Middle Class?

These days there is quite a bit of discussion on business and investing blogs about the slow decline of the once-mighty American middle class; we are splitting into losers -- 99% of us -- and a 1% who are benefiting from bankster and Washington DC corruption. That is, we are becoming a kleptocracy of the kind that is common in Latin American or third world countries. Indeed, it is in such countries that an American traveler might first notice that "most in the middle" is not the global norm, and that he has been taking it for granted all his life.
How long has this phenomenon have been noticeable? Boswell reported an outline made by Samuel Johnson after his one and only trip to France, near the end of his life. Johnson remarked that everybody in France appeared desperately poor except for the few who were unbelievably rich, and how different that was from England. A historian would probably explain this in the context of the rising bourgeoisie in the late Middle Ages in Europ…

Blog Revisions--Update

At the beginning of Tom Jones, one of the first and most enduringly popular novels in the English language, Henry Fielding tried to give the reader a succinct and accurate description of what was coming in the novel, analogous to the bill of fare that a prospective customer might see on the door of a restaurant. 
As a reader of blogs I can sometimes get annoyed with vague or misleading titles. They are used, presumably, by writers who want to harvest the greatest number of eyeballs, regardless of whether the reader's time is being wasted.
It seemed long overdue to refine the subtitle on this blog so that readers can immediately decide whether they are barking up the wrong tree or not. So I've added "television-free" to the subtitle. Why is this important? A person can eat junk fast food on a frequent basis and not blimp out or develop health problems for a while, but it will catch up with you eventually. So too can you fill your eyeballs and brain with mental and cultu…