The actual text of an official Whitehouse press release: “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.” Seriously? Merry Christmas, bitches. Reading this first thing in the morning made me angry. The more I went through my news and Twitter feeds, the angrier I got. Then I realized – this is not a healthy way to start my day. My typical (non-workday) pattern upon waking is to drink a large glass of water while the coffee is brewing, then head to the computer to consume the news. And that news is overwhelmingly negative. Looking back on the vast majority of my rantings on this site, they’re mostly the byproduct of an hour-plus of getting angry about the state of the world and then writing about it. Not a great way to start the day. I think it’s time to break the pattern. I don’t know what that means yet. Workout as soon as I wake, à la Jocko? Meditate for an hour? Read a book? Walk downtown to a coffee shop and buy an actual newspaper and drink something other than crappy Keurig coffee? Wake and go to the computer but only work on something creative? I don’t know what the new pattern is going to be, but anything has to be healthier than starting my day reading an avalanche of negativity. So as a morning palate cleanser, some things that made me smile this morning…
- One of the best news reports ever.
- Yesterday at work one of my patients was a 90-year-old gentleman who had advanced dementia. He was in the hospital because he scaled the fence at his memory care facility and fell (yes, you read that right. A 90-year-old scaling a fence). I went into his room at one point, and he seemed very upset. I asked what was wrong and he said, “This hotel is terrible. They’re very irresponsible. They lost all my clothes and wallet.”
- After non-stop kvetching about the lack of winter… it showed up big time this week. Got three days of cross-country skiing in. We got another 8 inches overnight, with more to come. There will be downhill skiing this week!
- Speaking of cold, the hound loves snow and winter much more than summer. Which is odd because he has no fur. Anyway, he treated me to “resting bitch face” when I forced him to stop for a photo while skiing.
- I’m impressed at the effort it took to make this. Shit keeps escalating.
- Father and Son
- Not sure why this made me smile, but it did. Headline: “California pot companies warn of impending industry collapse” Why? Taxes, regulation, and limits on retail stores. People are turning to cheaper, illegal pot.
- John Daly and his son won the PNC championship, edging out Tiger and his son. I’m convinced the pants are the secret weapon. If you’ve got the gumption to wear multi-colored day of the dead pants to a PGA tournament, you just know you’re going to play well. I’m currently shopping for a pair now.
- And finally, Elon Musk trolling Sen. Warren is always good for a smile. He’s an underrated comedian.
Song of the day: Matisyahu – King Without A Crown (Live from Stubb’s)
- Here in the land of 1’s and 0’s, bits and bytes, I am a fierce contrarian. A dedicated non-conformist. The man ain’t gonna tell me what to do! I am a keyboard warrior who gives no quarter. (hey, that sorta rhymes) In the real world… I’m a rule follower. I wait to cross the street in the crosswalk until the light turns green, even if there’s no traffic (fueling Mrs troutdog’s never ending exasperation with this behavior). I dutifully return my hotel card key when checking out rather than just leave it in the room. I don’t get into the 10 items or less checkout lane if I have 11 items. I drive the speed limit. And to my shame, I wear a mask when required. If you’ve been reading along for any time, you’ll know that the mouth diapers are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I’ve ranted about them all too frequently, although I’ve managed to refrain myself lately to spare ya’ll from too much of the same dribble. In my state there are no mask mandates. Other than at work (hospital) I never wear one. We recently had to travel to California, which is nanny-state central. And what did I do? Made sure I had extra masks and my vaccine card packed. Made sure I wore one in the airport, on the plane, and in restaurants. Why? It was an important trip, and I couldn’t risk getting “cancelled”. So much for being a rebel. It’s frightening how much power the state has. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. And what did we do when compelled to do irrational things? We all meekly rolled over and said, “thank you sir, may I have another?” I’m very disappointed in myself and my fellow citizens. It’s clear that the state can create just about any rule they want and we’ll all just comply. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll go along with just about any silly rule, rather than risk missing out on all you can eat prime rib night at Joey’s Dinner. We’ve clearly forgotten that all important phrase in the constitution, “…governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Perhaps it’s time for us to start pushing back just a little bit?
- Speaking of pushing back, I heard a rumor the other day. My hospital decided they were going to require the vaccine to keep your job early in the pandemic. I’d already gotten the vaxx (seemed like the right thing to do at the time), so it didn’t really affect me. They suspended that rule when Covid wave 2 (or 3, can’t keep track these days) hit and we were desperate for personnel. Staffing is better now, so they’re re-implementing the vaccination rule. I believe the deadline is Jan 1. It’ll be interesting to see how many people we lose. But that’s not the rumor… word floating around is they may add the booster to the requirements. I don’t know if this is true or not. I’ve decided not to get the booster at the moment for a variety of reasons. So – if they do require it, what am I going to do? I’m going to have to do some thinking on this one.
- For my sanity and waistline, I’m asking everyone to start doing a snow-dance. If you’re not familiar, those of us who require the white fluffy stuff so we can go skiing perform a ritual dance to encourage the snow gods to bless us. Similar to voodoo. Anyway, we’ve had zero snow so far. This is a bad thing. There is a large storm lined up for the weekend with the potential of several feet of snow. So far, every storm has diverted further north at the last minute. Pray for us.
- I just finished Dr Scott Atlas’ book about his time as a special advisor to the White House and the Covid task force. Read this book if you’d like to get really angry about the utter incompetence of government. It’s a great reminder that groupthink, ego, dogma, and politics exist in “science” just like any other discipline. Anytime you hear the words “consensus” or “science says”, you need to put your contrarian hat on.
- The 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was a few days ago. 80 years before that was the start of the civil war. I thought that was an interesting illustration of time. There were some civil war veterans alive at the start of WWII, and a few WWII veterans alive today. Amazing to think about where we are today in a relatively few generations.
- Substack is bringing back blogging in a big way. Whod’a thunk people would be willing to pay for blogs? I was convinced blogs were dead. I’ve contemplated abandoning WordPress for Substack. I equally contemplate giving up writing completely, as I can’t really define why I continue to babble. It’s clearly not for fame, fortune, or followers… Meanwhile, here’s a Substack dedicated to snacks. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does.
- It cost me $81 to fill up my truck yesterday. When I was traveling to CA the other day it was $15 for 2.8 gallons near the airport. Lets Go Brandon!
- Having just returned from the nightmare world of airline travel, here’s a collection of historical airline seatback safety cards. I will confess to having never read one, nor listened to the safety brief at the beginning of the flight. It’s still unclear to me why, in the 21st century, we still need instruction on how to fasten the seatbelt buckle?
Song of the day: AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Official Video – AC/DC Live) (inspired by a little A–10 action)
- We traveled out of town for Thanksgiving (gasp, he crossed state lines?). It’s been a while since I traveled and one thing is clear… to travel well takes practice. Part of that experience is packing. There’s an old adage that I’m a firm believer in – you expand to fit your available space. It’s human nature. This was made abundantly clear a number of years ago when we did a whole house gut and remodel. It wasn’t possible to live in the house during the work, so we put everything we owned in storage and moved into a motorhome. Initially I was worried. How could I possibly live for a year without all my stuff? A few months later and I realized I was perfectly happy with a few shirts, a couple pairs of pants, and my mountain bike. For a full year I didn’t miss any of the stuff in storage. When the house was done, whoomp, we quickly expanded to fill every room. Then went out and bought more crap to fill space. What’s that have to do with travel? I didn’t have a small overhead bin size suitcase, so I had to use a bigger checked bag. And what happened? When packing I threw everything but the kitchen sink in. Workout clothes I never wore. Approximately 23 pairs of socks. Power cords for electronics I didn’t even bring. Pajamas. I don’t even wear pajamas at home. Sweatshirts and hats. Jackets. Dress shirts and slacks. What did I actually wear? The same two outfits every day. In reality I could have traveled with a reusable cloth grocery bag and been just fine. We went to a luggage store on the way home and bought a small overhead bin bag. I already own packing cubes, so I should be good to go for at least a three week trip now.
- Speaking of expanding to fit available space, it applies to food as well. At one point we subscribed to the Blue Apron meal delivery service. We thoroughly enjoyed it. (we cancelled only due to ongoing delivery issues) What struck me when we first started was each dinner was a perfectly portioned 700 – 1,000 calories and when we finished cooking and put it on the plate… it was a tiny amount of food! The “plate” of food we’re used to is huge. What they say for dieting is true – use a small plate otherwise you’ll fill up that big plate. My point? The Thanksgiving diet plan was a disaster. We won’t be stepping on the scale again for a few days.
- At a migrant camp in Reynosa Mexico, the United Nations International Organization for Migration gives out debit cards to aspiring US border crossers. A family of four gets about $800 a month. How is this even possible? How is this not making the news? We’re shutting down travel due to the
Nu, Xi, Omicron virus variant, how are we still letting hundreds of thousands of illegal border crossers in and then shipping them around the country? How… oh, never mind. There’s no point.
- Last year on this date I was already cross-country skiing. We’ve had no snow this year. I’m not worried… yet.
- A recent survey of NY police officers showed that more than half of them wished they’d never joined the force. That’s a frightening statistic and perfectly shows the state of policing in this country. When something goes bump in the night and you dial 911, are you positive someone’s going to come? While in the Bay Area for indigenous peoples remembrance and appreciation day, a family member showed the state of her neighborhood. Her condo is across from a lovely park. A park that is now a full-on, garbage strewn homeless encampment. The homeless use her front yard water spigot to shower and fill drinking containers. They pick the fruit from her backyard trees. The police won’t do anything. City council won’t do anything. The news won’t report it. As a homeowner, what are you supposed to do? How does anyone actually think this is ok? Say anything about this and you’re an uncaring, right-wing, MAGA loving, racist. Is it any wonder there’s a mass exodus from big cities?
- My driving route to the mountains has been blocked for over a week by a ginormous rockslide that covered the road. They just announced that it’ll be at least another 7-10 days before it opens. There is another route, but it adds about an hour to the drive. Selfish me is annoyed that I’m being inconvenienced. But… I should be grateful that I have access at all. The outdoor opportunities I have nearly in my backyard are beyond what most people have available to them. I need to remind myself that many folks save up vacation time just to come visit what I take for granted daily. I promise not to grumble this week while driving a bit longer than normal.
- The US has 63 national parks. This is a neat list of all them, ranked by crowds, accessibility, amenities, etc… I’ve been to 12 of them. Not bad, but I clearly have work to do.
Song of the day: Cake – Never There
- If you’ve been following along at home, several weeks ago I began the great reset. Calorie control, daily workouts, and going back to keto. So far it’s been going great. Down about seven pounds and solidly back in ketosis. And then I ran into a brick wall. Otherwise known as “regular life”. A few days ago we went out to dinner with some friends to a Puerto Rican restaurant. Great food. I did fine with calorie restriction… but a few deep fried plantains and some other taro root appetizer thingy snuck in, knocking me out of ketosis by the next morning. I did ok the next few days diet-wise and then we went to a hockey game last night. (the other day I went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out. Bada boom. I’ll be here all night) I was smart with calories – I made and ate a huge pot of steamed broccoli before we went so I wouldn’t be tempted with food (you have no idea how much willpower it took to not dive into the pizza and wings). But everyone was having drinks (I haven’t had one for several weeks) and I caved. I had a vodka since it’s keto. And then I couldn’t resist having a beer. How do you not have a beer while watching hockey? Which brings me to my point. It’s so tough to “diet” and/or maintain keto and have a regular life. It’s so hard when everyone is ordering food and enjoying a few drinks and you’re that guy… not eating and drinking iced tea. Sigh. I desperately wish I could find the right balance that allows me to actually eat and maintain a healthy weight. Maybe I’ll just go crazy with the workouts. If I burn a 1,000 calories a day I can still eat nachos, right?
- The events of Kenosha and the Rittenhouse shooting, and so many other events the last year, are a direct result of elected officials abdicating their responsibility. If you fail to enforce the law or offer basic policing services to your citizens, the outcome will be predictable. Like it or not, a much larger percentage of the population than you’d think are generally not good people – for a whole host of reasons. Given the opportunity they will lie, cheat, steal, and use violence and force to prey upon the weak. Those folks have always been a part of the human condition and always will. If you don’t keep them in check, they will take advantage in a heartbeat. America historically has, for the most part, managed the balance between police authoritarian/overreach and anarchy pretty well. Until now. The woke, progressive, lawyers, and cancel culture have cowed elected officials into being afraid to do their jobs. The end result is predictable. And the longer it goes on the harder it will be to wrest control back from the mob. I fear it may already be too late.
- Directly related to the last point, I highly encourage you to read this post. I’m not going to try and restate it because I’m not articulate enough. I’m
75-80% 90% in agreement with it. The part I’m curious about… is there some George Soros type person or big tech cabal orchestrating this, or is it an organic thing fueled by people like AOC and Ilhan Omar who in pushing their day to day issues are inadvertently driving us closer to the outcomes stated in the post? Regardless, history reminds us that chaos will create a power vacuum. You may not like who steps in to captain the ship.
- Speaking of chaos, I’m most of the way through a great book on the history of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. I hadn’t read much about the civil war, so there’s lots of details that I never knew. It’s hard to imagine what Lincoln faced as he took office. The south almost immediately seceded directly in response to his being elected. A number of the battles in that war had casualties of 20,000 – in a single day. That’s unfathomable. We just recently had 13 servicemembers killed in the bungled Afghanistan withdraw and we went apoplectic. Can you imagine thousands in a single day? The pressures Lincoln faced were truly remarkable. It’s a good to be reminded of how close this country came to not surviving.
- We’ve had a bear circling our neighborhood for several years now. During the summer you’d have the occasional sighting, and then more frequently as we get closer to winter. The last month or so he’s been a pretty frequent visitor. We caught him on the security camera the other night going after our garbage can. He flipped it over a few times, pressed down on the side, and pop… it opened up like a ripe banana. So much for the “bearproof can”. The can is now in the garage. I’ve seen him on the camera several more times looking for it in the middle of the night. I’m worried for him. He’s clearly become accustomed to foraging for garbage in neighborhoods. Bears like that tend not to have a good outcome. Relocating them doesn’t tend to work. Time to hibernate Mr bear, before Fish and Game come looking for you!
- We’re about to join the hordes of people off traveling to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving. Please give a quick prayer for my waistline. And folks, as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus in Hill Street Blues said at the end of every roll call… “Let’s be careful out there“. Whew, that’s dating myself.
Song of the day: The Ting Tings – Shut Up and Let Me Go
- This morning we returned to standard time. Back in the days when we had actual clocks, that meant a week of discovering time pieces that you’d forgotten to set back. Now the only devices we have in our home to manually reset are the oven clock and my analog watch. Meanwhile, the twitters blow up every year declaring a national emergency and the congress needs to stop it’s important work to abolish the DST practice. Personally, I like it. We live in the northern latitudes so during the summer when the days are already longer, tacking on the extra hour DST gives you means it’s light until almost 10pm. I love having the extra time to do outdoor stuff. During the winter, the days are short anyway so why not have it light a bit earlier? Are you a pro or con DST person?
Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.G. Michael Hopf
- President Biden claimed the other day, in an incomprehensible babble, that the supply chain problem is because Covid shut down factories and if you asked people in restaurants they wouldn’t understand it because reporters aren’t explaining very well and “When your editor says, “Explain the supply chain.” Okay? “Lots of luck in your senior year,” as my coach used to say.” WTF? Meanwhile our Vice President, who happens to be the chair of the national space council (whatever that is?) interrupted a NASA presentation to ask if we can track the population of trees against race. WTAF? Because, you know, space activity is climate action. I want me some environmental justice, brother. Word! As Tucker Carlson says all the time, these are not serious people. From the quote above, I’d postulate that we’re currently in the transition from weak men to hard times. And don’t get your panties all in a bunch, “men” is a colloquialism for “the population” today. Relax people.
- A 77 year old man was confronted by an armed robber and instead of handing his things over, the elderly man pulled out a gun and shot the robber in the head and chest, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. “Officer, where’s the victim? Oh, he’s DRT. DRT? He’s dead right there.” I love me a good DRT story.
- Remember special council Durham? Turns out he’s still out there and released another indictment. Even if you’re a rabid anti-Trump person, you have to admit that your Russia collusion theory is getting pretty hard to defend. Whether you agree or disagree, in a normal world it would at least be considered newsworthy right? You’d think that CNN and MSNBC who devoted 90% of their time for several years on the story would at least be attempting to debunk his indictment right? Not a single mention of the story on either web site yet. Hmmm. The bad orange man was right – the media is the greatest enemy this country faces.
- Speaking of the media and radio silence, the FBI raided Project Veritas offices and homes of a number of employees the other day. Why? They’re looking for Ashley Biden’s diary. Why? That’s very unclear. Why would the FBI suddenly be interested in a missing diary? We don’t know. What we do know is that in that diary she alleges that it probably wasn’t appropriate for her to take showers with her father as a child. The diary was stolen and the contents came out just before Biden’s first debate with Trump. Just the like the Hunter Biden laptop, the media collectively killed the story. Move along people, nothing to see here.
- I’m most of the way through Molly Hemingway’s book “Rigged” about the 2020 election. I’d highly recommend it – even if you’re a massive lefty. Why? Even if you disagree with her assertions, she lays out how our election process really works. I had no idea how corrupt it really is. Us common people don’t have much to do with who actually gets elected, on either side of the aisle.
- At a football game a dog scored the longest frisbee catch record – end zone to end zone. Dogs rule. Meanwhile, I’m headed out on a motorcycle ride with a friend who is a new rider and just got his first motorcycle. I think he’s a little nervous. Been there, done that. My job is to help build confidence, while pushing the envelop just enough to improve skills. It’s sort of a blind leading the blind scenario. What could possibly go wrong?
Song of the day: Lo Fidelity Allstars – Battleflag
- This week Mrs Troutdog and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary. It’s still a mystery how she’s managed to put up with me for that long. An even greater mystery is how I managed to hide my love of pickles for this many years. As part of our anniversary celebration we flew down to Palm Springs to play some golf and see the in-laws. On day one of our visit I discovered a giant Costco tub of pickles in her mom’s fridge. I spent the next few days diligently working my way through the giant vat of pickles. At one point Mrs Troutdog declared, “all these years and I had no idea you liked pickles so much?”. My secret is out. I guess I have to confess. I’ve been hiding pickles to eat when she’s not there. I’ve been sneaking out of bed to visit late night pickle stores. If we can get through the shock and shame of my pickle secret, I’m pretty sure we can make it through another 29 years of marriage.
- While looking stuff up for my pickle story, I discovered that there are a ton of pickle of the month clubs. Who knew? I never would have guessed that the pickle community was large enough to support monthly deliveries of pickles. So, if any of you are looking to buy me a gift… now you know.
- If I ever become super-woke and feel compelled to list my pronouns, I’m going with… rib/eye. Stole that from twitter. Not sure why that amused me so much.
- Speaking of Palm Springs, we played a couple of days of golf at some high-end courses. I tend to be a local muni-course type of player. I bring my own water, walk the course whenever possible, and expect to see the condition of the fairways and greens as… “variable”. These Palm Springs courses are not that. You pull up to the clubhouse and dudes run out and put your clubs in the cart. They supply tees, wet towels, water, and divot repair tools. The greens and fairways are perfectly manicured. You truly feel bad taking a divot on the fairway. It’s honestly intimidating if you’re not much of a golfer. I was a bit worried leading up to the trip. Spent a bunch of money on travel bags for the clubs, dealing with checking them in at the airline, and the super expensive green fees – last thing in the world I wanted to then play horribly. It got in my head leading up to the trip. This is why I could never turn pro. Well, that and that whole lack of coordination thing. But, I played really well (for me). It was a fun experience and I look forward to our taking more golf trips. Except how do I now go back to regular people courses where you have to load and unload your own clubs from the car?
- There was a political bloodbath last night. Shockingly, it turns out that when the economy is tanking and crime is through the roof people stop caring about frivolous topics. First and foremost people want safety, security, jobs, and a working economy. In times of scarcity, climate change, race, race, race, race, race, race, and socialist spending are not high on peoples list of concerns. It will be interesting to see what the democrats do in response. At the moment the progressive wing is claiming the problem was that they didn’t go hard enough on progressive demands. We’ll see how that works out.
- COP26 has wrapped up and the end result was… nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. Not a single accomplishment. Oh, how will the climate survive? The two biggest greenhouse gas emitters chose not to attend. Too busy building out coal fired electrical power plants I suppose. The African countries did make it clear that they’re pissed though. Why? We’ve reneged again on the 2009 pledge to pay them 100 billion a year to “cope with climate change”. Clearly John Kerry wasn’t on top of his game this year. But hey, at least he got to take his private plane out for a spin again. Along with 400 others carbon spewing planes, 85 car caravans, and massive gala dinners (where I’m sure they at least used paper straws).
- This trip we took was the first time I’ve traveled out of state since the pandemic started. My state is mostly anti-mask and I haven’t had to wear a mask anywhere (other than work) for a long time. Traveling to California is different… mask mandates everywhere, vaccine cards required to eat inside restaurants. Masks in the airport and on the plane. And all of it is just theater. Wearing a mask to walk twenty feet into a restaurant only to take it off at the table is absurd. Sigh… and the plane – both Mrs Troutdog and I were scolded by flight attendants several times for letting our masks drop. Until food and drink service arrived – then yay! Everyone can eat, drink, talk and cough. The ‘rona is smart enough not to spread while you’re eating and drinking. I still cannot grasp that our public officials continue to push this nonsense. If you had told me two years ago that the entire country would soon think it was normal to walk around outside with a mask on your face, I would have sworn you were smoking something.
- Speaking of smoking something, California is one of the states who has legalized the ‘herb. It was odd to see marijuana dispensaries on every corner. I could care less. I do wish there was a test or definition for what “under the influence” was, but otherwise each to their own. It may or may not be true that the bottle of vitamin gummies that came back no longer contains “vitamins”. The challenge at our age is remembering to grab the right bottle when taking the morning vitamin regime.
Song of the day: Macka B Legalize the herb
- Yesterday I was finally brave enough to step on the scale. Not because I thought I’d lost any weight, but because it was finally time to face the music. Good news/bad news. The good news is that I weigh exactly the same as I did in March (the last time I stepped on the scale). I was sure it was going to be a horrific number, just based upon how I feel. I was honestly surprised to see it hadn’t changed.
It shows/proves something I’ve believed for a long time. At the end of the day it’s all about calories. I’m a reasonably active guy. At minimum I’m doing something physical and getting my heart rate up three days a week, often more. It shows that all I’ve been doing is burning the excess calories I’m consuming. Unless I run a marathon every day I’m not going to be able to “burn” enough calories in a day to keep eating like I have been. Which is the big bummer, ’cause I like food.
Otherwise, this has been a good week in the motivation department. I’ve been active. I’ve watched my caloric intake somewhat. I’ve stopped all alcohol. I started back with some strength training. Well, let’s be honest – I mostly flop around on the mat in the garage like a dying fish because I’ve lost so much strength at this point there’s very little I can actually do without hurting myself. But, I’ve started and that’s all that matters. The goal is to drop at least half or more of what I gained by the start of ski season. Time to go watch some David Goggins for inspiration.
- Ya’ll wanted this, now own it. The left wanted the reigns of power badly. They got it. Now it’s time for them to own the shit show that’s ensuing. I didn’t really want to say much more about the Afghanistan situation because it’s so horrible, but it just keeps getting worse. The administration seems utterly paralyzed with indecision at what to do and how to spin it. Massive finger pointing coming from every corner of government. And a president who’s just… absent. He’s simply just not there. It seems like the plan is to revert to the campaign strategy of hiding him in the basement and trotting him out once in a while to read a canned speech, hoping this will blow over soon. I’m not sure it’s going to work this time.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the tens of millions of social media warriors who were rabid about pointing out how wrong everything was that Trump did are certainly radio silent these days. Crisis after crisis mounting and we’re not even a year in to the new administration. Where are all those pro-Biden supporters on social media, proudly proclaiming their support for him? Extolling the virtues of finally having an adult in the room? Crickets. But hey, at least there’s no more mean tweets, right?
- More evidence of the swamp. The talking heads on the cable “news” shows are lining up their parade of ex-generals and intelligence analysts to give insightful commentary on what’s happening in Afghanistan. The central theme seems to be that we should have stayed until we could figure out a better exit strategy. Of course they’re going to say that. Why? Every single one of them sits on multiple boards of defense contractors. Read this Intercept article describing how many generals, ex-congress people, and former senior administration officials are employed by the defense industry. Yes Virginia, there is a military industrial complex. Perhaps we should have heeded Eisenhower’s speech way back when.
- Speaking of swamp-like things. It’s worth watching this short video on who Facebook partnered with to help with rooting out misinformation. Why, it’s the Atlantic Council! Who are they? They are the very definition of the swamp. It’s a veritable who’s who of former government officials, corporate and legal heavy hitters, media moguls, etc… Yep, no bias here.
- The clock is ticking. Winter is coming Jon Snow. Looking at the calendar yesterday I suddenly panicked. There’s only about 15 or so weeks left before winter weather arrives. I really wanted to get one more long trip in on the ginormous motorcycle, plus an overnight camping trip on the bike. I haven’t played golf all summer due to my back. (I’m playing today for the first time. I anticipate a high number of lost balls) We have a few other planned trips and I have some house projects that I’ve been meaning to get to all summer. Downhill mountain biking ends on labor day at the ski resort. I got all my fly fishing stuff sorted out and still haven’t been out yet (been a horrible water year here). There’s a big hike I’d wanted to do. Tick tock, tick tock. I think it’s time for a frenzy of activity before the ugly weather hits.
Song of the day: Alice Merton: No Roots
- I’ve noticed a pattern lately that is puzzling and slightly embarrassing. The overwhelming majority of readers and followers of this blog are health and fitness accounts. I find that odd since I rarely post anything about exercise, food, or health. It’s curious that the WordPress algorithm decided to push my content to the health and fitness space. I’d honestly like to know – if you came across my ramblings were you searching for something specific or was it randomly recommended for you? So here’s the embarrassing part. While I may talk about various activities from time to time, golf, running, mountain biking, etc…, the truth is that I’m horribly unfit and my weight has reached a crisis level. I don’t know how that happened. Well, I know how it happened, I just don’t understand how mentally I let it happen. On April 12th of last year I hit 168.4 pounds. The lightest I’d been in over a decade. I felt fit, was crazy active and was contemplating some crazy running ideas. I’d been super strict with a keto diet for a year and a half at that point. I decided to take a diet break and I’m now north of 200 lbs and can’t see my toes when I look down. I’ve gone on a few runs (that were mostly walking) and it’s clear that I’m essentially starting from scratch. It’s terribly depressing. I’ve been “starting the diet/exercise routine tomorrow” for about a month now. I’ve always had terrific willpower once I cross a threshold. It’s getting to that point that’s the struggle. As soon as I start losing some weight and make fitness gains my motivation and willpower skyrocket and we’re off to the races. I just have to figure out how to mentally get to that point. Sigh… I guess that’s why the health and fitness industry is a gazillion dollar racket. We’re all trying to figure out that magic formula to get and maintain results. The irony of posting this is that I’ve probably permanently flagged this site as a “health and fitness” blog as far as WordPress is concerned. LOL.
- Let’s see if I’ve got this straight – masks weren’t effective, then they were. Then double masking was even better. Then you didn’t need a mask if you were vaccinated, but you still did even if you’d previously had covid. Kids no longer needed masks at school. Now kids must wear masks and even if vaccinated, adults will needs to start wearing masks again. Vaccines weren’t trustworthy because they came from the Trump administration, then they were the holy grail of everything. You’re an evil SOB who is practically killing people by just walking down the street if you aren’t vaccinated. The carrot to help persuade people to vaccinate is that you won’t need to wear a mask. Except now you’ll have to regardless. I thought the messaging around covid during the Trump administration was terrible and was a political gift to the dems. The Biden administration clearly looked at Trump’s bad covid messaging and said, “here, hold my beer and watch this”. It’s been a master class in how to inspire massive distrust.
- The United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, India. Those are the locations of the various variants of covid that have developed. We no longer refer to them that way, as has always been done. In May the WHO announced Greek-letter names for important strains so they could be easily referred to in a simple, easy to say, and non-stigmatizing fashion. Which is why the news is all a-buzz about the “delta variant”. Thank god we’ve spared India the shame of having a variant named after them.
- For the first time my annual season ski pass now includes lift-served mountain biking. I’ve never experienced the joy of going downhill without first riding uphill. I was always firmly entrenched in the “you have to earn your downhill” camp. Screw that! I may never ride uphill again! Of course this doesn’t help my weight and fitness problem. On the other hand my increased weight has improved my downhill speed. That whole momentum = mass times velocity thing. See, I can find a silver lining in anything.
Song of the day: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand
- I just got back from a four day road trip on the ginormous motorcycle. It was a fantastic trip with a couple of “bucket list” rides. I mentioned in my last post that I almost cancelled due to a threat of inclement weather. Sure enough, day one I got caught in a pretty severe rain and hailstorm. Let’s just say that large hail at 60 mph on a motorcycle hurts! The important part is that I survived and it wasn’t nearly as scary as I’d built it up to be in my head. I rode a few other sections that were high speed highway (70 and 80 mph speed limits) with plenty of large semi’s and some high winds. Serious white knuckle time in the beginning, but I wasn’t thinking about it much towards the end of the day. The point is that the unknown is scary and it’s easy to let that fear get the better of you when try to visualize what it’s going to be like. I guarantee that most of the time reality will prove to be nothing like the horrible scenarios you let run away in your imagination.
- Which leads me to my question on risk tolerance. Pushing through fear is all well and good, but you still need to do a reasonable risk assessment of the situation. A brand new motorcycle rider attempting a busy freeway on his first day is stupid. The lack of skill makes the risk factor way too high. So how do you evaluate risk? When it comes to hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, I have a reasonable amount of life experience. I’m an RN, was a member of a search and rescue team for years, comfortable with navigation, and feel pretty comfortable with knowing my physical limits. My risk tolerance for hiking in the backcountry is pretty high. Barring serious injury, I’m not terribly worried about surviving a few days if something went wrong. I’m reasonably confident I could put myself in a position to be found or self-rescue. More importantly, I feel like I’m less likely to put myself in a bad position in the first place. Most of our rescues on the SAR team were for people who had no idea they were even putting themselves at risk until it was too late.
- Which brings me back to the ginormous motorcycle. I have many years of riding experience. Unfortunately most of it was simply commuting back and forth to work. The long road trips are new to me, but I feel like I still have enough overall street experience in those scenarios to make good risk assessments. But what I really want to do is spend more time riding in the backcountry. I have no dirt experience. At what point, when riding by myself, am I being stupid? Most of my fears revolve around being stranded. A crash or other mechanical issue that disables the bike. Dropping the bike and not being able to pick it up. A navigation error and running out of fuel or getting into a scenario I’m not capable of riding. Now what? With the motorcycle it’s easy to go distances beyond a simple hike out.
- So, do I not go out by myself? Do I simply start slowly and go a little further each time? Do I spend days beforehand making a battle plan with every possible scenario for each ride? At some point that’s no longer fun. On one hand, what’s the worst that could happen? Again, assuming no serious injury, the bike breaks down and I’m stuck. A few days of hiking or until someone finds me. While it would suck, very survivable. It’s extremely rare that someone goes missing and perishes before being found. But that’s not a fair burden to put on loved ones waiting at home, thinking the worst.
- At what point are you being so cautious you’re limiting activities due to fear of the unknown? At what point are you placing yourself needlessly at risk because you failed to adequately prepare and didn’t recognize that you were in over your head? For me I think the answer will be to go slow and over-prepare initially. Of course I’ll seek out more experienced riding partners… but I don’t want to sit at home waiting for that to happen. The other option is to sign up for one of the various riding schools and learn/improve my dirt skills. I suppose I should do that regardless. How do you evaluate risk? Pro’s/con’s on a spreadsheet? Avoid it at all costs? Just do it and whatever happens, happens? I’m honestly curious how others evaluate risk?
Song of the day: Lily Allen | The Fear