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Predictions on the Taiwan/Pelosi Crisis

I just finished watching a video from "theDuran" on the Telegram platform.  They usually talk about geo-political topics or the war in Ukraine.  I have a high opinion of Alex and Alexander, and donate something to them on a monthly basis. Alexander played up the tension and risk of Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. He is wrong.  It is not a geo-political crisis, like the Cuban Missile Crisis during the Kennedy years. It is pure show business.  Show business, PR, propaganda, spin, and narrative control are all that is left of a rapidly declining Global Bully, that is, Washington, D.C. The tougher an American president looks on the global stage, the more his poll numbers will go up, and Biden is desperate for anything that improves his prospects.  Americans still have this notion that God appointed them to run some sort of global crusade for 'freedom and democracy', despite America itself becoming less free every year, and especially since 9/11/2001. Besides looking

Leaning Into the Waves and Winds of Inflation

  It is hard to notice small changes that happen everyday. When you only come to town once per week, you can notice things.  For one thing, you notice the price increases at the grocery store. But on a more cheerful note, I noticed that I barely felt tempted to squander money on former vices of mine.  There were several drive-through coffee shacks in town.  They try to lure you to perdition by making them cute and appealing.  But I drove right by them and didn't even feel tempted.  (For people who have seen "Raising Arizona," think of the Nicholas Gage character trying to give up holding-up convenience stores, and trying to look nonchalant as he drove by one!)  Hell, I don't even feel tempted to buy coffee at a gas station or a senior coffee at McDonalds.  Eating at a restaurant has become unthinkable. Giving up breakfast burritos is taking a little more effort, but I will probably give up this vice too because they keep getting more boring and tortilla-like. Giving

Unusual Animals in an Oregon Forest

  What was that thing in the middle of the road? My dog, Q.t. π,  and I were biking back up the hill, to come back to camp.  Was it a dead animal, a piece of wood debris, or a rock? Actually it was a live rabbit -- a huge one!  It was medium brown in color, except for white 'socks' on its feet. A rabbit like that had to be somebody's pet.  I couldn't decide on what breed it was, even after doing some rabbit homework on the internet. How would a pet rabbit, suddenly 'born free', survive a forest in Oregon?  Are the predators around here that incompetent? __________________________________ On the ride I also talked to one of the forestry workers.  The national forest hired a private company to thin a young forest here.  They were cutting down trees smaller than 4" in diameter with a chain saw, and then manually piling up the debris in big mounds of slash. In another location they were using a machine to gather up the debris.  A hunter going by told me the

"What If This Is As Good As It Gets"

Remember that 1990s movie with Jack Nicholson, "As Good as it Gets?"  That phrase struck me, at the time.  Perhaps other people in the audience felt the same way. Sometimes it seems like 'romanticism' is an evil doctrine, if it means yearning for the freakish and novel, the perfect, the ideal, the unachievable.  The flip side of romanticism/escapism is under-appreciating that which is attainable.  An undisciplined and greedy human-imagination can be a dangerous thing. Dogs don't have that problem. Q.t.π and one of her beloved meadows. Ain't she looking trim and fit?  

An Especially Nice Piece of Forest

Under the right circumstances, taking your dog out for a short walk in the forest can be very satisfying.  Along our nearest forest road, the forest has been thinned.  Thus you can actually see into it for a couple hundred yards. And there is certainly nice stuff to see: grass, flowers, wildlife, sharp ravines, and large snow-capped mountains in the distance.  Normally, you can't see any of this -- you just see a wall of bark and needles about 20 feet from your face. You feel something else, something wonderful: a breeze can actually blow through the forest.  Even a 10 mph breeze keeps you cool and brushes off some of the bugs.  Bugs have not been a big problem for me, much to my (pleasant) surprise. The goodies of a thinner forest are the reason to aim for ponderosa forests, but the ponderosa altitude-band seems pretty narrow to me in the inland Northwest. Most of the forest is thick spruces and firs. They are magnificently tall, though.  I can't help myself from looking at th