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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Moving forward

After my leg started to heal up I decided to get an annoying ingrown toenail dealt with. I’m glad I did as it makes walking a lot more comfortable. That makes it easier to get back into condition. The followup at the foot doctor’s went well. In fact, she was surprised how well it healed as she herself had her doubts. A three month visit is scheduled and then she recommends a yearly visit.

My legs are still doing well. However, it’s one more thing I have to watch. Now I’m wearing long pants instead of shorts for leg protection. At least I’m not wearing hockey pads. . . yet. Who knows maybe I’ll end up with a pair of logger’s jeans with keval inserts. Since it was a fairly small injury that started the whole leg infection drama I’m cautious.

While in town I talked my mechanic about the Blazer. Turns out it was almost ready last week, but the wrong tires had been shipped to the shop. The new tires have finally come in. Since it’s in the shop anyway I’m having the alternator changed. There’s the very beginning of some bearing noise coming from it. Might as well fix it now rather than 500 miles down the road somewhere.

So all in all, life is good. It feels good to be moving forward again. That being said, I can’t just pick up where I left off. Maybe I had too much time to think about things. There’ s been the need to reassess my priorities. During the coming year there are a lot of things I’d like to accomplish and experience.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019


They say violence isn’t the answer. 98% of the time I have to agree with that statement. Too often people are quick to anger, often attacking something or someone just because they don’t understand. Better communication and conflict resolution skills really can work. I want to walk the earth with an open hand to my fellow man and peace in my heart. That’s the example my children should see.

Then there’s that pesky 2% . . .

Once in a great while violence is totally the answer. While it’s not as common as people would like to believe, there really are psychopaths out there. Sometimes a little directed violence is exactly what’s needed.

One of my own daughters solved a bully problem by physically defending herself. The bully took such a beating she went temporally deaf in one ear. My daughter was pulling her punches too. We have a very good martial arts teacher. After that incident, months of bullying came to a screeching halt.

There are people who’ve mistaken my kindness for weakness. I’m also willing cut people some slack. However, if they persist they will discover the friendly teddy bear can become a grizzly. Maybe if I was more spiritually advanced even those rare incidents would not happen. After looking in my soul I’ve decided I’d better keep my powder dry.

We live in a strange world. Most of the world leaders who are quick to send troops into battle have never been in a real fight in their life. In the halls of the elite conflicts are not settled that way. They have lawyers to fight things out for them. They don’t know what it’s like to get punched in the nose or skin their knuckles. I’ve no idea if they know what violence on a personal level is like. It’s a sweaty and ugly business at times -really best avoided if there are reasonable solutions.

So give peace a chance. Jesus said to turn the other cheek. Maybe only after we’ve turned the other cheek should we resort to violence? He probably didn’t imply that, but I’m not a Biblical scholar.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Amateur Lumberjacks

My neighbor mentioned a while back that he wanted to cut down the huge white pines next to his house. Well, Sunday was the day.

Normally I wouldn’t be too concerned about a guy cutting tress on his own land. However, these trees were so tall they could cross the road and do damage on my land. My boat was in range, as were my solar panels and my parking area.

I couldn’t move the boat as my tow vehicle is still waiting for the mechanic to have time work on it. Fortunately the parking area was free of cars. There wasn’t much I could do about the solar panels.

Right off the bat I could tell these were not professionals. They looked more like his drinking buddies. While they had a chainsaw, they didn’t have any protective gear like hard hats, Kevlar chaps, or eye and ear protection.

They tied an old frayed rope to one of the trees to keep it from falling in my direction, but it really didn’t look up to the task.

So the guy cuts about 75% of the way through the first tree. Then he turns the chainsaw off. He came to conclusion he should cut the second tree down at the same time as some of their branches were interwoven. While he was setting up for that the breeze was visibly opening and closing the cut in the first tree. There was no rope tied to the second tree.

Finally he went for it. Both trees came down exactly where they were supposed to. I was relieved, not sure how much of that was talent and how much was luck.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Year of Camping

It looks like it’s going to be a good year for camping. At the end of the month we plan on camping at a music festival. It’s one of those festivals with a lot of fiddles, banjos, and guitars. We went a few years ago and had a great time.

Next month we’ll be camping with family on the coast of Maine. That’s always a good time. We’ve been going there ever since the kids were little. Now they bring their kids. It’s the same people running the campground too, so it’s like coming home.

We have a lot of trips planned for the Oday 19. With a boat that small, it’s just camping on the water. Some trips may involve throwing a tent in the boat and camping along the shore.

When fall rolls around I hope to head south for a couple months on the boat. After that my lovely wife and I plan on doing a mix of boating and tenting. With all that going on, it’s possible we may spend more time camping than living in a house.

In past years we’ve done so much camping that people we meet can’t believe we actually have a house somewhere. I guess we do a good job living like homeless people?

There’s a big difference between going camping for the occasional weekend and doing it long term. People on a short trip come home with piles of laundry, dirty pots and pans, and in desperate need of a shower. That doesn’t work day after day, week after week, and month after month.

After months of camping we come back fitter and tanner than when we left. However, we still enjoy coming home. It’s good to live easy for a while. Then there are all the family and friends we’ve missed. Being semi-nomadic works for us. I really missed not being able to travel last winter and plan to make up for it.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Failing the people

Recently I saw an article about how companies are no longer going to concentrate their advertising on Millennials. It’s occurred to companies that young people have no money. What hasn’t occurred to them is that the low wages they pay have anything to do with that. Even Henry Ford realized he had to pay his workers enough money so they could afford to buy the cars they were building.

Young people are so screwed over. They were sold a bill of goods. It was fine to go deeply into debt for college because good jobs would be theirs. That didn’t happen. They were told that doing things for “exposure” was a good idea. That same was said for unpaid internships. For companies that’s even better than slaves. Slaves have to be taken care of.

So when young people say that maybe Socialism might look good to them, don’t be too surprised. Capitalism hasn’t done them any favors lately.

Personally, I don’t think any pure form of any particular “ism” is the answer. The world is a messy place. For example, Capitalism is great, if it has enough protections built in for the things that Capitalism is bad at, like taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves. Socialism is fine if there are enough exceptions to allow wealth creation.

I don’t care what it’s called. Let’s put together something that takes care of people. While we are at it, let’s make sure we take better care of the planet. If the plants and animals can’t survive, neither can humans.

Whatever we decide, we’d better do it soon. How long will the youth put up with what they have going on now?


Friday, June 14, 2019

Tanker War

If you’ve been following the news lately you are aware of the ships that were attacked in the Straights of Hormuz. Another tanker attack recently did not receive much news. Coalition planes attacked three Syrian tankers. Syria is an ally of Iran, so it appears to be a little proxy war going on.

Speaking of proxy wars, Saudi Arabia is fighting in neighboring Yemen against fighters supported by Iran. The Saudis are also committing horrendous human rights abuses against civilians, but apparently that’s not a problem for the Trump administration. Trump has bypassed Congress to make sure the Saudis get absolutely everything they want -including nuclear technology.

We’ve got no business getting in the middle of a fight between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It’s hard to overstate how much those two countries hate each other. The fight goes all the way back to the Shia and Sunni split and gets worse from there. The hatred is so strong that I think Iran would alley with Israel if they agreed to attack Saudi Arabia.

Our history in the region is a laundry list of unintended consequences. Here’s a few high points. The US had allied with the Shah but he was replaced by radical clerics. Later we supported Saddam and Iraq in a war against Iran. Things didn’t go well with the war or with Saddam for that matter. We are currently in a situation where Iran actually has a lot of influence in Iraq where militias backed by them operate freely.

The Saudi’s are not the best allies in the world. They export radical Islam around the world. Never forget that most of the 911 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. The only reason we supported them in past is oil. Frankly, they are of much less strategic importance to us in recent years.

The US is not as susceptible to price fluctuations in oil. Headlines screamed out that oil prices had “spiked,” but in reality they were less than four percent. I’m old enough to remember the oil embargo days when a spike in oil would be at least forty percent. Crazy times.

Personally, I think we are stumbling into a conflict where we have little to gain and much to lose. I’m sick and tired of seeing young American troops being put in harm’s way when very little of US strategic value is at stake.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Health Progress

A friend drove across the state to visit for a couple of days. Tuesday the weather was bad so we stayed inside and caught up. Wednesday the weather was nearly perfect. He and I and the dog went for a good walk. I’ve slowly built up my endurance so was able to handle a two mile walk. Half of it was level ground the other half was rolling hills. That’s a big improvement over the short five minute walks I started with after my hospitalization.

Now I know a two mile walk isn’t climbing Everest, but it’s a start. I’ve feeling pretty good about being able to physically handle an extended sailing adventure by the fall. Those of you who’ve never cruised on a small boat won’t believe how much walking is involved. Mainly, you don’t have a car and rides cost money. Just about everything involves a walk: groceries, hardware, and laundry are some of the most common errands run on foot. How many grocery stores do you see with a boat dock? Darn few.

One marina I stayed at involved a quarter mile walk on the docks to my boat. The place was huge. A trip to the marina restrooms and back was a half mile hike. The grocery store was about a mile past the marina. Restaurants were way off in a different direction. Without even trying I could easily walk a half dozen miles. Sometimes it was quite a bit more. No wonder I slept so well by the end of the day.

After my buddy left my lovely wife and I did a little boat project. A scupper hose had to be fixed. My large low land gorilla hands had a hard time in the cramped space. My lovely was able to get the parts aligned with her delicate digits. She’s a pearl beyond price.

More bad weather is predicted so it’s back to indoor projects for a bit.