Here’s a Little Secret

I’ll not mention this again, so pay attention.

Major, historic events, such as WWII are always hiding things in the background. For example, prior to World War II we were subject to the whims of nature such as infection, truly horrid diseases, and not knowing how to deal with any of it. After that war, we had vaccines, decent nutrition (not talking about the gustatory quality of mid-century food, but it was nutritionally superior to any that preceded it,) the ability to eradicate, or nearly so, the worst diseases (smallpox, anyone,) and of course the ability to convert matter to energy in a way that provides enough power to destroy a city, or light the city lights.

Prior to the Vietnam war, ambulances raced to the hospital as fast as they could because the patient needed emergency care. After that war, the ambulance rushes to the victim, who is placed inside what is essentially a mobile emergency room, and driven at a safe speed to the hospital. Both of those wars have saved many times over more lives than they cost.

And World War Two was also a smokescreen for the rise of consumerism. Sure, we hate consumerism now, don’t we? We decry that Black Friday nonsense and all, but we shop, shop, shop, right? But consumerism, although it may be overextended, so to speak, now, was what funded the good years of the mid-century. (I know, we could also talk about tax rates, but that’s another post.)

The American Civil War gave rise to those ambulances in the first place, of course. Prior to that war, accident victims typically just died on the spot. (Tax haters take note: this cost virtually nothing in tax dollars.) It was after that war that the west was opened up. We owe decades of Gunsmoke episodes to the war between the states.

Virtually every major war is covering up something profound. We seem to be at the beginning of another historically turbulent period. I’m going to make some predictions about what we’ll have when the smoke (so to speak) clears.

  • Some sort of universal health care, along with other renewed examples of socialist programs.
  • A different system of transportation; maybe high speed trains, probably with self-driving cars, and improved public transport within our cities.
  • A country where there is no ethnic majority. If you are one of those who thinks you need to take back “Our America,” I’m afraid you are in for a bad time.

And more things I can’t figure out right now. But, the point is, it will seem different.

I don’t know if all this is bad or good, but it is what it is. As to the immigrants who seem to bother some folks, I do know what they want. They want food, clothing, shelter, and a shot at making themselves and their kids lives better. You know, just the stuff everybody else wants. And in the end, we may all bitch about President Gloria Gonzalez, and in a lot of important ways, it will still be the same America. I don’t place a lot of faith in divine intervention, but I do have a lot of faith in the ideas that underlie our great country.

And, as The Oatmeal quotes Gene Roddenberry as saying as a plane was crashing, “It’s going to be okay!”


Cinnamon Rolls

Get Your Kicks . . .
Get Your Kicks . . .

This is a follow-up to a review some time ago of Westside Lilo’s diner in Seligman, Arizona. It’s so cool that it includes a second photograph, taken by me.

And, here it is:

Bet You Can't Eat One
Bet You Can’t Eat One

What those things are, is cinnamon rolls. Big cinnamon rolls. I ate at the counter a couple of weeks ago and noticed that cake display with cinnamon rolls in it. Nothing has been retouched; that’s just how they look. I can only imagine the horror for somebody who doesn’t like cinnamon!

Comedy To(morrow)night

I’m going to host a stand-up comedy open mic show tomorrow night at Legends Sports Bar, 5866 Boulder Hwy. If you want to perform, sign-ups start at 6:30. If you want to watch and listen, the show starts at 7:30.

Regular readers (both of you) will know that I started down a path by taking a class in stand-up comedy last winter. Well, now I’m in deeper. (You can see me perform by clicking here.) If you watch that video, please let me know what you think. I honestly don’t know what to make of it.

But, to get back to my topic, I’m hoping that this becomes a regular weekly event, and that a whole lot of comics come out to perform. If you’re a big name comic (there are a few in town) feel free to try out some new stuff at my place!


El tiempo entre las costuras

Este semana escrito sobre la drama de televisión de españa, El Tiempo Entre Las Costuras.

If you can read that, you’ll enjoy this series even more. But, frankly, you’ll enjoy it anyway. I have read reviews that compare it to Downton Abby, but that’s not fair to this program. I’d take this one first any day. It’s based on a book by Maria Dueñas, about a seamstress who is an allied spy in Spain during World War II (among many other things.) The woman, Sira, is played incredibly well by Adriana Ugarte. (I remember that name because of the man “Ugarte” in Casablanca.) The cast list is way too long to list here, but you can click on over to the IMDB and see them all. But Ms. Ugarte is the best, by a long way. Sort of reminds me of the film Hook where the excellent Robin Williams is blown off the screen by Dustin Hoffman’s title portrayal.

There are subtitles, which are mostly accurate, but if you understand Spanish you’ll hear the wonderfully rich and concise dialogue the way it should be heard. It’s not only those things, but often it’s funny, because of how well the writers choose just the right word to convey what they mean. Wish I had half of their talent. And they created a great story.

There are a lot of sewing machines in this drama, mostly top of the line singers from that era. I read that sales of sewing machines jumped 149% in Spain after this series aired in prime time. (For the record, I’m not running out to buy one.)

It originally aired here on Hulu, but I’ve been watching it on Netflix.

Oh, by the way, una costura is a seam. The English title is simply The Time In Between.


Update on Me

I don’t normally share a lot of personal day-to-day trivia, but just once in a while, well, like this post.

In my real estate job, I’ve changed brokers, which meant I essentially had no license for three weeks (not my fault at all) but now I’m with the new broker, which I am about to put a link for on this page. They seem energetic, focused, and ready to work, which is a nice change.

In my home life, as I speak there are workers on my roof and in my back yard installing photovoltaics that should completely eliminate our electric bill. Saying it’s expensive is an understatement, but we will be paying less for the loan that we have been for electricity, so we’re ahead on that score. The installation even includes three duplex outlets that are not even connected to the grid! Amazing! And, next year we may get some of those new batteries from Tesla and cut out the electric company entirely. (Right now, we only can make electricity during the day.)

My writing is at a crucial moment, I guess. I have formatted a middle-grader to publish it with Amazon, but I still need illustrations, and my visual artistic skills are, uh, lacking.

And my comedy has progressed. I was a part of a showcase a couple of weeks ago, and it turns out I went on for over ten minutes, and I’m told that I was great at it. Wow. Didn’t mean to go overtime, but okay. Honestly, I didn’t expect so much audience reaction. I was going to have a video on YouTube by now, but the DVD I got turned out to be blank. Oh, well, huh? The videographer is making me another one. I’ll let you all know when it’s up.

So, that’s it.

Happiness is a Warm Gun

I have to jump in to this one. It’s expressed too stupidly for me not to. I can stand stupid, though. What I can’t stand is lies. The problem with mass shootings in our country is, certainly, not the weapons’ fault. They are just tools. That’s certainly true. But our own attitudes as a society are not tools, they are the result of the way we think about things. And, as any self-help, posting-on-Facebook guru can tell you, attitudes are subject to change.

I see posts where it is stated flatly that the proper response to someone entering your home uninvited is to shoot them. Never mind spraying them between the eyes with wasp killer, or learning how to defend yourself using non-lethal means. Just shoot ‘em! What the hell? This isn’t the old west! And if it was, the NRA would be seriously upset, because gun control was common in many Western cities during that period. When you rode into Dodge City, you checked your guns with the sheriff. I am not making that up.

But I don’t advocate taking guns away from law abiding citizens. I truly don’t care if you carry one. The odds of you actually knowing how to use the thing are pretty slim, no matter how many times you’ve been to the range. Hell, we have Metro cops, highly trained in the use of firearms, who mess up. So I’m not sure that you carrying a gun is going to do you any damn good, but go ahead, knock yourself out.

I also don’t think that saying “there’s nothing we can do” is a very useful response to the issue. Because that’s bullshit; it’s the lie I can’t stand in this discussion. There’s plenty we can do, mostly involving weaning ourselves from the idea that we need to meet any sort of threat with ever escalating force. Those shows on TV, and those movies, are fictional, you know. Nobody ever did any of that stuff you see in the Lethal Weapon series. There are very few serial killers at large, either.

Rule #1 of human interaction is that the way the world is generally treating you is the way that you are generally treating the world. So, if you see the world as hostile, grasping, and mean, then you need to stop being hostile, grasping, and mean. And that’s the real problem with guns: we all believe that they are problem solvers, when in fact they are just tools. I don’t go around hammering things all the time, although I have some nice hammers. A hammer is only the appropriate tool in limited circumstances. It’s the same with a gun: it’s appropriate in limited circumstances, and not often in response to someone trying to break into your house.

The way to reduce the amount of gun violence in America is simply for we Americans to treat the world better. Less violence, more thoughtfulness, less judgement, more compassion. It really isn’t rocket science.


As background, I’d like to point out that my family first arrived in this country at Jamestown, well before the pilgrims landed. Yes, they were idiots, looking for gold in the Dismal Swamp. But they were amongst the first European invaders. They were cousins, but a direct ancestor of mine fought in the Revolutionary war, with Connecticut. Funny, that, because he was from Philadelphia. Too many blue bloods in Philly for his taste? Oh, wait, he was a blue blood.

My mom even looked down on my dad’s family because, among other reasons, the first of them didn’t arrive until the 1840s. Laggards!

So we’ve been here 408 years now, and I think that qualifies me to talk about immigrants.

Trump? What’s with that guy? Nobody on earth works harder than a Mexican! Who’s going to build that wall for him? Wasps like me? Good luck with that, Don.

408 years. We were here first, dammit! And I’m okay with immigrants. Those of you who think immigrants are ruining the country? Feel free to go back where you came from at any time of your choosing!

When Robots Take Over

Will anybody care?

We recently bought a floor cleaning robot that specializes in pet hair. We have a menagerie, so that’s important. I’ve been testing it out using various settings. This morning for the first time I just pushed “auto” on the remote. The little guy zipped around the house picking up whatever was on the floor. While that went on, I had to do some pool maintenance outside, which I did. When I came back in I didn’t hear the robot, so I went looking for it. I found it sitting properly in it’s charging station, where it had put itself. So, this machine took off from its charging station, cleaned up all of our floors, and put itself away. Without me even touching it. That, friends, is pretty cool.

And my point is that robots really are cool. Very few of them walk and talk like humans do, but even that is becoming more common. As you might imagine, I’m not crazy about cleaning pet hair off of floors. I’m also not crazy about having to tell a machine what to do. Well, this little guy (they call him Bob) does what it’s supposed to without me doing anything beyond pushing a button to let it know that I want it to start. There are other settings, where it just goes for a set time and stops, but that involves putting it back in its station manually, and, well, why would I want to do that? I am supremely lazy, after all!

So, it is true that automation is advancing all the time. Machines are more and more able to carry out tasks unsupervised. I, for one, look forward to a car that drives me around. Cars as they are give a wonderful illusion of control, but that is only true if you put all of your attention into controlling the automobile, and develop the requisite skills to see you through any situation. I’d say, um, zero percent of drivers anywhere fit that description. Auto accidents kill more people than terrorists, plus several dread diseases, combined. Want to eliminate that carnage? Let the cars drive!

I don’t know that it will not be a lot better for humans once robots are common is society. If humans atrophy and die out, it will be because they’re not smart enough to improve themselves to stay ahead of their creations. Come to think of it, some people probably aren’t. So if they die out . . .


The Antique Corral

On US 160, West of Cortez, Colorado
On US 160, West of Cortez, Colorado

IMG_20150920_115931513 (640x358)

Happened to be passing through Cortez, Colorado over the weekend. Yes, that is a long way from Las Vegas, but we did enjoy our stop at this antique mall. Sorry I didn’t take any interior pictures, but I can tell you that it is more open than most, as there are display areas for various vendors, but not individual booths. This place is a long ways from anywhere, unless you’re a Southern Ute (they have a travel center ten miles west of here.) But if you like antiquing, and mid-century, or western items, you really should stop by when you’re in the neighborhood.

Neighborhood being defined as within two hundred miles, I suppose.

The postal address is 6817 Highway 160-491, Cortez, CO 81321. US 160 is very similar to US 66, except that no freeway has replaced it. I doubt if one ever will, as 160 goes through some pretty tough country. To the east is Wolf Creek Pass, formidable in good weather, which is rare. To the west is Navajo, which is a whole lot of open space, although in my experience the food is good in the scattered settlements.

You can see the Google results for this store, as well as a map, by clicking here.

(970) 565-1256.


Sometimes it Takes A While

Sometime in the 1990s we took a family trip past the four corners monument, but it was six in the morning and it wasn’t open. On our return there was a fierce winter storm in the area, so we didn’t make it. Yesterday we saw it. It’s run by the Navajo, and it’s okay, but really, meh. Kids would’ve loved it, though.

We have a place not far (as the crow flies) from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We’ve been to the canyon many times, but always the South Rim. Wednesday, we stopped at the North Rim. That’s what I was doing instead of posting here, in fact. Here’s a photograph taken there.

The South Rim as Seen from the North Rim
The South Rim as Seen from the North Rim

If you click on the photo and look at it big you will see that, eighteen miles away is the place we’ve visited the canyon in the past. Don’t strain your eyes trying to see details — it’s eighteen miles away! But you can see, if you look closely, a whole lot of South Rim ground, because the North Rim is well over a thousand feet higher than the South. There are trails, one of which we hiked, a quarter-mile out to Bright Angel Point and back. Damn near killed me, or so it felt. At 8500 feet or so there isn’t as much air as I’m used to. And I used to live in Denver, so I’m used to thinner air. Just not that thin.

If you’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, you should. If you’ve only seen it from the easier, South side, drive around. It’s a completely different experience, just as totally awesome, but unfamiliar. Don’t wait — do it today!