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Back to a Sub-Yuman Existence

  In case there was any doubt that 'absence makes the heart grow fonder,' it was removed yesterday as I drove around the Yuma area. The green irrigated fields look gorgeous, especially in the context of the barren backdrop. As I drove through town I wondered why traffic was so light? Was it the absence of Canadians? -- no, that couldn't change the traffic by more than 20%. Normally traffic is one of things that makes Yuma my least favorite place in the Southwest. Is Yuma finally coming up in the world? That is, is it now my second-least-favorite place, with St. George UT being the least favorite?  Perhaps I was feeling semi-euphoric just because it wasn't hot for a change. A bicycle shop had relocated downtown Yuma. There was a little bit of life downtown. It used to be dead. It always seemed like downtown Yuma was under-utilized and under-appreciated. Perhaps I am a Kunstler type guy after all, and become sentimental when a downtown has some life, pedestrians, and bic

The World Gets Smaller

Looking back on 2020, it seems to have been a (soft) war year. That makes it special for Americans who haven't really experienced a true war-time situation. (Perhaps 1968 was as close as we got during my lifetime.) I keep trying to latch onto the most fundamental characteristic of the war-time experience, even though it is a better idea to explain anything by looking for a conjunction of multiple causes, instead of obsessing over one, all-important cause. It is tempting to claim 'evil-ization' as the true defining characteristic of war. Thomas Fleming did a good job of explaining evil-izaton before the American War Between the States in his "A Disease in the Public Mind." But now I am ready to declare something else as the defining characteristic of war, soft-war, coup detats, or kultur-kampfs. Recall the old saying that 'Truth is the first casualty in War.' During 2020, censorship became a part of the MSM, google, corporate advertising, and the rest of th

Desert Pavement is Under-rated

  After bad-mouthing rubble of the desert, it might seem ironic to praise a gravel surface, but the gravel surface in question is called desert pavement. It behaves just the opposite of loose gravel rubble. Desert pavement is a gravel surface that is hard and non-loose. Heavy vehicles don't even make ruts in it, which is probably why the BLM encourages campers to congregate where there is desert pavement. In fact it is fairly rare. Wikipedia has an article on it, with several theories about how desert pavement is formed. The only theory that made sense to me is the one about wind and water carrying away the dust and sand, which leaves the gravel to settle and pack into itself. Desert pavement is not perfect for a camper, but it is better than anything else. When rainy, a camper won't get stuck on desert pavement. Nor will their vehicle leave unsightly ruts. The gravel is not sharp enough to cause flat tires in bicycles and sore paws for a dog. I would like to see desert paveme

Revenge of the Rubble

I certainly have been generous this year with derogatory words for the deserts of the Southwest: barren, oppressive sunlight, aridity, stickers, fangs, rubble, etc. In fact 'rubble' is my favorite insult. Did I not give Mother Nature credit for having feelings? There are consequences to insensitive behavior like this, I learned. The other day, I heard a 'whooshing' sound from the rear tire on the mountain bike that sounded almost explosive.  The big tire, 29" X 3", went flat in a second.  The culprit was easy to find because it was slobbered over with creme-colored Stan's No-Flat fluid.  I have a special tool that is meant to patch tears in a tire larger than 1/4", but the tear was big enough to stick a pinkie finger through. So a $95 tire went into the dumpster. The good news is that that is the first time for me anything has ripped a slice in a mountain bike tire. I only had to push the bike home for 1 mile. 

Raising a Dog in the North?

There are times when it isn't fun to be a dog owner. Last evening was one of those times. The desert wind had kicked up, and I have lost all patience with the wind. So I was a grouch during the walk. But wait...what would it be like in the North to take a dog for a walk in winter? How could the dog-partner possibly enjoy a walk through gloom & grey, freezing rain, and slop & slush? It is difficult to imagine the ordeal, if you have never experienced it. Does the dog-partner just open the back door; the dog quickly runs out into the backyard and does its doggie business; and then scampers back inside the house? What kind of 'walk' do you call that? What happened to "animal rights!?" Here I was, grousing about the wind and the rubble, but the temperature was mild, and sunset against the mountains was gorgeous. And rubble is still better than mud. Obviously, there is seldom any precipitation here. At the very least my dog gets an off-leash frolic twice a day