Sunday, September 28, 2014

Buy a Chair -- Support Your NFL team

This line up of NFL team logoed chairs were outside the Bed Bath and Beyond store. They are priced at $29.95. Each. That chair will rot in the sunshine and depending on the weight rating it may collapse when the first football sized person sits in the chair. We have all seen them in the dumpster.

My most recent purchase of (non logoed) folding camp chairs was several years ago. They were about $16. (They were used during my nomadic travels. They now reside in the shed.) Making the assumption that the same chair could be purchased today at $19.95, that is $10 paid for the privilege of sitting in a chair with your NFL team's logo. Note: that logo is not visible when you are sitting in it.

No doubt the product cost to the retailer already includes the price of the logo. Is there an NFL rep at the manufacturer counting the chairs with the logo. I wonder how much the NFL gets for each logo.

Considering the salaries of the commissioner, the league owners, and the players, a five dollar charge seems quite possible -- 17% of the chair's purchase price.

So head out and buy an NFL team logoed chair to keep your NFL team from financial insolvency.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mini Book Review: Grizzly Years

Grizzly Years written by Doug Peacock and subtitled In Search of the American Wilderness

After witnessing the horrors as a medic in Vietnam, Grizzly Years includes flashbacks woven into Peacock's narrative of the grizzly world of Montana and Wyoming. For many years, Peacock spent spring to fall in the grizzly's neighborhood observing them from a distance of a few hundred yards. As he watches and observes, he is able to identify individuals, see their interactions, the hierarchies, and their daily and seasonal habits.

Peacock does an excellent job of relating the history of the grizzly in the US to those times when the only "good grizzly was a dead grizzly." With his book, Peacock attempts to correct those ill conceived beliefs.

I thoroughly enjoyed Peacock's very descriptive language as he bush whacks and travels through the wilderness in search of grizzly. That outdoor experience with no "civilization" penetrating that wilderness appeals to me. Unfortunately, now with settled existence I rarely get a chance to get to a wild place.

For me, there were a few too many narratives describing another summer of observations of the grizzly. That didn't detract from the book's appeal. I just skimmed what seemed to be a variation on a previous year's experience.

It is still a five star read.

Doug Peacock was the model for Edward Abbey's Hayduke in The Monkey Wrench Gang

Friday, September 26, 2014

Down Side of Sweet Things

Do you like sweet stuff. Of course you do.

So you have decided to cut the calories by using artificial sweeteners. You might want to reconsider. There is a downside to fake sugar as the Artificial Sweeteners May Leave You Absolutely Gutted

Did you know that sugar is a drug? Sure you did. You know the addictive nature of sweets. You didn't need this article that describes the 10 Similarities Between Sugar, Junk Food and Abusive Drugs

Thursday, September 25, 2014


No doubt there were times that I was with the majority of people. The desire to be accepted by "the tribe" is an imbedded genetic trait in most people.

In my mature years, as an observing loner, I am frequently a skeptic. Add to that my curiosity and a desire to learn doesn't make me a good follower of majority opinion.

No doubt I have biases and look for that which will confirm my beliefs. Of course those beliefs are rarely those of the majority.

Heeding Twain's wisdom, I will continue to avoid aligning with the majority.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Another Quagmire

And don’t believe a word of “no boots on the ground,” which is a classic “just sending in advisors” kind of thing that ends up with 40,000 dead kids and thousands more maimed and mentally ill, many of which we don’t even care for now.
Quoted from James Campion's column: Reality Check: Obamawar

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Saguaro NP East is a frequent destination for a hike. It is a short drive to the trail heads, but it is a pleasurable contrast to urban Tucson. For me, hikes are an escape from what is called civilization seen in the distance from a hike high point.

Like any large urban area, Tucson is not natural. It has lots of traffic, buildings, pavement and maintained landscaping. The landscaping is watered, trimmed and primped to resemble nature done by a landscape designer.

That is why it is such a pleasure to get away and enjoy a natural world which isn't someone's ideal planned landscape. In that natural world of Saguaro NP East, the living coexists with the dying or the dead. It stays there and decomposes to provide a living for the next generation of plants.

It looks good and it smells good. The great pleasure is the silence. City traffic and street noise doesn't intrude. Occasionally, there is short term noise from a plane overhead. The usual sounds are birds, the crunch of shoes and the ping of trekking poles.

The downside are the occasional agnnoying gnats buzzing around my head. That's okay. I can handle that for the pleasure of enjoying the silence.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Autumnal Equinox

Growing up with hardwood trees of Wisconsin, it was a beauty to appreciate. However, as a kid and seeing nothing of the world beyond a small portion of Wisconsin, I didn't know it had special autumnal beauty. There is scenic beauty there no matter the time of year. However, with the autumnal equinox in the northern latitudes, the colors change from green to a rainbow of colors. The sugar maple becomes a blazing red.

This is from my journey through Wisconsin in the fall of 2008.

The surrounding Tucson desert doesn't have those autumnal colors of the northern latitudes. However, the monsoon rains have kept the desert green. The summer monsoons were followed by hurricanes off the coast of Baja Califonia which sent more moisture into southern Arizona.

This was the Autumnal Equinox green view this morning as I hiked Saguaro NP East.

The Catalina Mountains have some small stands of aspen. With cooling temperatures, those aspen will take on their autumnal hue of yellow. Time to consider that as a hike destination.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mini Book Review: The Big Oyster

The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky

Before the Dutch made the first permanent settlement in 1614 on Manhattan island, the Lenape Indians had already been dining on oysters. With a large population and pollution of the water ways, by 1900 there were few oyster beds remaining in the New York City area.

Included in the book are stories of some residents, historic oyster recipes and famous restaurants that served the oyster. However, at times I would skim through sections which just seemed more of the same. An example: too many oyster recipes.

The Big Oyster is an entertaining read about the oyster while weaving in a high level history of New York City.

No raw oysters for this guy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

From The Net

It has been decades when I last tried to eat a Red Delicious apple. It was not delicious. It was red -- on the outside. Inside it was rock hard green. The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious tells the story.

It will still take at least a decade before eating butter will once again be accepted as healthy versus alternative oils and fats. That slow change is noted in this CNN opinion article: Diets: Fear of fat is melting 

Prescription from the doctor, "Get more sleep". Sleep: America’s BIGGEST Problem

What do you call that flabby underarm.... "There comes a time in life where waving hello means showing off some flabby underarm, but we have some slant to make 'flabby underarm' sound a little less icky. A hi-Betty takes its name from the idea of someone waving to a friend named Betty. They're also known as hi-Helens, bingo wings, bat wings and flying squirrels." From A Way with Words podcast September 1, 2014

The solution: Hide your underarms. Wear long sleeves.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mini Book Review: The Crash Course

Subtitled: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment.

By Chris Martenson

Martenson isn't the only author or blog writer who says that the way we live and consume is not a sustainable model for the earth.

To support his thesis, Martenson's book details the data behind his conclusions. The Three Es are required to maintain the good life: Energy is scraping the bottom of the barrel for more oil; the debt of the Economy is "managed" by central banks; and the Environment is misused and abused.

Martenson lays out the facts. There is no way to know how this unsustainable world will fail. It may take a couple of decades, but it will fail. However, it is up to the reader to be aware and make plans for living differently in the future.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rainy Days In Tucson

The monsoon rains continue to provide welcome moisture for Tucson. This was the view this morning where I had gone for a blood draw for a well physical check up.

A week ago three inches of rain fell on parts of Tucson. According to a weather watcher in east Tucson, there was over two inches in my neighborhood.

Drinking too much can be hazardous. This prickly pear ODed on water and with a small root structure the cactus collapsed.

The next day, the park's maintenance crew removed most of the cactus. Setting the stump upright, it will take a few years to regain the size before it collapsed.

With the moisture, the desert landscape has gone from predominate shades of brown to shades of green.

On a recent hike right after that rain, there was standing water on several points along the trail. That is where I found the reflected sky in the trail pond.

With this summer moisture, wild flowers are in bloom.

On another early morning five mile hike, I did not meet another hiker. However, I did have a walking companion joining me in every step.

More rain is predicted.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bleak House

Yes. That book. The one written by Charles Dickens. Over fifty years after it was assigned reading, I still have not read it.

Education after high school was going to be my responsibility. Those first college courses were taken at the University of Wisconsin -- Green Bay Extension. Affectionately referred to as Cardboard Tech, it was built for returning vets after WWII. The "temporary" building was still in use in 1961.

After five years of full and part time working and attending UW -- Green Bay Extension, I went to Madison to complete the last two years. In 1965 I received a BBA degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

During one of those semesters when I wasn't attending full time, I signed up for an English Lit(erature) correspondence course**. The hope was to alleviate some of those credit requirements to achieve that university diploma.

I don't recall what else may have been assigned reading for the English Lit course, but I do recall one book assigned was Bleak House. I have no recollection of how much of the book I may have read. I do recall sending in two or three of the course assignments before I decided to drop the course. Would American Lit have been a better choice.

Today it isn't correspondence courses via the US Postal Service, but courses via the internet of varying structure and participation. For me, I doubt that it would have made English Lit any easier.

When I ran short of reading about a year ago, I did read Dickens' Great Expectations (as an eBook). With the Pima County library for real books and eBooks, there is always another book that I have reserved that is waiting for me to pick up or download. Too much to read. Too little time.

Considering the number of books already on reserve at the library and the number of book titles waiting to be put on the list, I may never get around to reading Bleak House. And that's okay.

** For those younger readers... Without an internet in fifty years ago, a correspondence course used the post office for communication between the instructor and the student.

I wonder if any of my readers had attended Cardboard Tech.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Relationship With The Internet

Since my recent post Considering A Newspaper, I was reconsidering what I am doing on the internet.

I have a Twitter account. The intent was to share links on the internet that I found interesting. However, the number of Twitter followers is a fraction of those who follow my blog. Instead of Tweeting those URLs, I will save and post them in a "sharing" blog entry.

I will keep the Twitter account so I can follow those who link to articles informing of healthy living.

There have been several times that I had signed up on Facebook. After a few days of nagging emails of "you may know there people", I canceled the Facebook account.

Signing up for Google+ seemed a good idea. I am not sure why I did that. I never go there to check on those who are in my circles. Soon I will cancel Google+ and just use Blogger.

About a year ago, I had considered using WordPress as my blogging software. I was struggling to get the layout I wanted and I was learning how to do a lot of things I had already been doing without a thought on Blogger. A few days ago, I went back to that project and soon gave up when I realized I wasn't writing enough blog entries to justify the effort to learn WordPress.

In the recent past, there have been fewer blog posts. With my settled existence and without new interesting items, I find little to share. At least I don't believe there is anything to share regarding my local exploring. Or living. I would be repeating myself if I wrote about my every other day hikes. Without snakes or the unusual incident along the hike, there is nothing to blog.

There are some bloggers who write daily. They always have something to write about -- from the trite to the interesting to the informative. Some write several times a week. That would be a goal that would be more manageable, but what do I write about. A blogger who writes almost daily mentioned The Daily Post in several of his blog posts.

When I checked out the site, I found they were going to start a Blogging 101 "class" on September 15. Not sure if it was a good idea, but I registered. Okay. It was a good idea. There was always something to be learned from every technical, managing and sales classes that I took during my working career. I will learn something in the Blogging 101 course.

At the same time I will continue to work on my relationship with the internet.

Registering for the blogging class reminds me of a English Lit correspondence course I attempted. That would certainly be material for a blog post.

Friday, September 12, 2014


With no TV, I read books, do cross word puzzles or stare at the computer surfing the internet for news and entertainment. The following are some selected items I found interesting:

The Haves and The Have Nots

Nick Hanauer sends a message to his fellow one per-centers,   "The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats"

Naturally, that message will get some comments. Here are two from Forbes:


Since we all love to eat, check out 12 Graphs That Show Why People Get Fat

Closing on an upbeat note, check out this...

Dog video

Husky plays in the leaves

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Donating Pennies

"A penny saved is a penny earned." -- Ben Franklin

I was out of balance. I was listing and staggering to the right when I walked. I also felt a tugging sensation at the belt line on the right side. Turns out there was a coin build up in that pocket. There were about 20 pennies along with nickels, dimes and quarters. That would be a lot of tip money for this miser.

All those coins is a sure way to put holes in the pocket. The real accumulation is the pennies. That extra weight on the right side caused me to walk funny. Okay. So I do walk funny. But those coins in the pocket is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

When I know I am going to get pennies at the check out lines, I can't seem to restrain myself. Soon I am editorializing on why the US may be the last Western country to continue the penny in circulation.

Since this one man battle to rid the US of the penny is going no where, I've decided to take a positive approach. I am going to take up philanthropy. All future pennies received in change will be donated to charity. Yes, I know. That is pretty generous of me. But I will feel good about it.

Usually, I don't have to search far for a charity looking for donations. Whatever charity container is at the checkout line will get the pennies. Soon the charities will be clambering to get my excess pennies. I will make a difference.

The positive is that donating those excess coins should deter an ice bucket threat.

No doubt Ben Franklin would support stopping the production of the penny and earning millions of dollars for the US.

I've been griping about the penny in circulation for over a decade including some entries on this blog.  One entry: No Pennies -- Not Cheaper

Before the US does anything about coinage, the loss of 105 million making pennies and nickels will be studied. This cynic is sure nothing will change.

Canada phases the penny out of circulation.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Considering a Newspaper

The downside of the internet are the speeds available for downloading data. Most of that data is graphics, video, podcasts, movies and annoying ads in the side bars. And a few words. Then there are a few sites where a voice starts chatting or music starts playing when landing on the site. For those developers there is special place in hell.

The internet has become my source for news. I have several news apps on the iPad. One of those was the USA Today app. It is now gone. Why does every story have to have a video attached. Occasionally it is simply a photo. It was rare when there wasn't some graphic associated with the article.

I remember the days when words were the way to communicate via the internet. I understand the occasional need for photos and graphics, but most times words will relate the news -- or the information.

I am considering going back to reading a real newspaper rather than getting the news online. The positive about reading a newspaper is that the ads don't get my attention. On the internet sites, the ads pop up and interfere with my reading. I have no idea what the pop up ad is telling me that I need. I just search for the cancel/close button so I can continue to read the story.

I want words. I don't want pictures. Perhaps the direction of video and graphics is symptomatic of the education crisis that is bemoaned by many people. Could the advertisers and sellers be appealing to the intelligence and education of the audience. Might they be addressing an elementary school educated audience. In those early grades it was picture books with few words. Just saying.

Then there are the up or down icons to click if the reader likes/dislikes the internet article. The "clicker" doesn't have to think about their click. If they had to put their thoughts into words (less than 140 characters), they might not be so sure about their decision to like or not like. Or is it even worth the time typing a few words.

Enough of this ranting. I am off to find a newspaper.

Regarding who uses the internet bandwidth. According a CNET article Bots now running the Internet with 61 percent of Web traffic.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back Home

Once settled in a stick home in Tucson last January, I began plans for a summer escape. Considering several destinations, I opted for a three month stay in Prescott Valley of Arizona. The reservation was made for mid June to mid September.

After making the reservation, my imagination created and fantasized how I would spend that time in Prescott away from my Tucson home. Planning is one thing. Execution is another.

I did enjoy the stay and hiked frequently as a solo hiker or with one of the area hiking groups. The group choices were from short and casual to "race hiking" for eight to ten miles averaging two miles an hour. I have no problem with an eight mile hike. However, I would like to stop and enjoy the natural world once in a while. Three times of "race hiking" was enough. There were other hiking alternatives.

On the days when I wasn't hiking, I managed to find other exploring to satisfy the curiosity that drives me. There were museums and libraries to learn more about Prescott. The Saturday Farmers Market was a frequent visit. There were  thrift store visits to search for a Hawaiian shirt to add to my wardrobe. And more.

After six weeks of Prescott, I was ready to move on. There was no single issue. Just the whole experience. Perhaps it was that Wandrin Star under which I was born. It was just last year that I was still traveling as a nomad in my truck and fifth wheel. It seems I am still getting comfortable with the idea of a settled existence.

Whatever the reason for leaving Prescott early, I now know a little more about who I am. Not really. However, I do know that future extended travel stays will be a maximum of one month.

When I returned home on August 23rd, the Tucson day time temperatures were still over 100 degrees. That was okay. It's nice to be home.