- Normally I love winter. I downhill ski, cross-country, skate ski, or snowshoe at least three to four days a week. You might ask why I’m still getting fatter then, but that’s a topic for another post. This winter I’ve been busy preparing for my “Summer of George” moment. New motorcycle purchased, new riding suit, tools, updated video gear, endless hours of motorcycle travel videos consumed, and many late nights pouring over maps planning routes. I’m almost ready to hit the road. Except motorcycles, snow, and ice don’t mix very well. I’m probably a tiny bit more rugged than the average guy, but not Long Way Down rugged. If you haven’t watched this motorcycle travel documentary you should. It’s interesting to see the effort it took to film something before the GoPro existed. Anyway, the point is that it’s another month in my part of the world before road-tripping becomes enjoyable weather-wise. I’ve never looked forward to winter ending before. So, I’m forced to spend my time pursuing maps and travel websites to build my list of must-see destinations. I’ve been mostly focusing on unrealistic epic trips across the west, so I hadn’t looked much at what’s close to me. This morning I stumbled upon the motherload of interesting small town America just a few hours from me. I found a little town perched on the Snake River that hosts what they bill as “Lawson’s Emu-Z-Um”. It was an emu ranch that has become a museum full of artifacts and dwellings from the 1800s early settlers and early small town America memorabilia. Looking at the map more, within 40-50 miles of that town are deep canyon overlooks, sand dunes, birds of prey conservation areas, and a ghost town. Plus a couple of promising looking BBQ and burger places. This is the perfect day trip to kick off the Summer of George! Another month of quick rides around town in-between storms to get used to the new bike, and then it begins. Because I love winter, I’ve never looked at the weather report before and cursed when I see another week of storms coming. It’s a strange feeling. Sigh. Back to the maps for now I suppose.
- A California democratic representative, during an interview on CNN, stated that those businesses that cannot afford to pay their employees $15 an hour are essentially not worth preserving. This simple statement encompasses everything wrong with mostly liberal, big government-centric thinking. The thought that some mindless bureaucrat gets to pick and choose what businesses are worthy of keeping is appalling. And naturally it’s a statement from someone who’s been primarily an academic/lawyer/politician his entire career. A thirty second investigation into the representative (a.k.a. Wikipedia) shows a bit of a contradiction – he has a degree in economics, wrote a book titled “Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future“, yet still makes statements like the one he did. My interest is piqued enough to read more about his philosophy. Maybe there’s something I’m missing? At the moment, in regards to the $15 minimum wage, I still feel if people are resorting to entry level jobs to feed a family then it seems like the government focus should be on enabling creation of middle income opportunities instead of simply raising the bottom wage. Otherwise, let’s just adopt Andrew Yang’s proposal and give everyone a universal basic income. We’re already printing money, what’s a few hundred trillion more?
- There’s been so much global warming, Niagara Falls froze over this week. Of course polar vortexes are cyclical events that happen from time to time and shouldn’t be counted as climate. Climate is measured in decades. Interestingly, in the cult of global warming, a cold event like this doesn’t get much press but an El Nino warming event causing a hot summer will be treated as non-stop climate Armageddon. It’s all about the narrative baby.
- Speaking of printing money, the Federal Reserve expanded its record holdings of US Treasuries in the fourth quarter of 2020 as it continued monetizing the massive federal debt. I don’t understand much of this, but it does seem like they’re trying to push inflation. Most of this is way over my head, but it certainly feels like if we continue to simply toggle the levers… at some point it’s going to collapse. I guess as long as it’s not on my watch we’re all good.
- I know that there is no actual censorship or purging happening on the part of Twitter towards folks who don’t tow the woke orthodoxy, but they just suspended Steven Crowder for simply saying he can confirm that people voted at address that do not exist. That is some serious insurrectionist talk. Thank god we’re being protected from outrageous statements like that.
- I don’t know if this is real or staged, but it’s pretty funny regardless. You need to watch to the end.
Song of the day: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground – Live at La Cigale
- I’ve seen episodes of NCIS and Perry Mason, so I know the importance of a timeline. But first a quick step back in history. The year was 1846 and President Polk wanted war with Mexico. Well, not necessarily war but he wanted the shipping ports of California. War was just a means to an end. The border between Texas and Mexico was highly disputed and Mexico had troops stationed in an area they believed was their territory. Polk ordered General Taylor to take his 4,000 troops and advance to the Rio Grande river. Mexico didn’t take kindly to what they saw was an invasion of their country and the inevitable conflict happened. US troops died. Polk went to congress and declared that Mexico had shed American blood on American soil. Congress and America got appropriately fired up and declared war (interestingly a young representative named Lincoln was one of the few to object. It cost him his seat in congress). My point is that what you see and your impression is very much shaped by how it’s reported. Back to the timeline. On Jan 6th I was at work all day, so my view of what happened was what I saw on the “news” shows when I got home. President Trump apparently called for his angry mob of protesters to march on the capital, resulting in the violence we saw. Trump is an evil maniac and we must impeach, invoke the 25th amendment, make sure he doesn’t have the nuclear codes, and erase all evidence he was ever in office. Maybe history will just show an asterisk like Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France wins? Is that really what happened though? That pesky timeline shows that idiots began breaching the Capital’s security 20 minutes before the end of the President’s speech. Seeing as it’s a 45 minute to hour walk from the speech location to the Capital (the area was shut down to cars), there’s no way these folks could have been inflamed by Trumps rhetoric and rushed to breach the doors. Reporters on the ground said that cell signal was non-existent, so they couldn’t have been listening either. The text of Trumps speech shows that he specifically said let’s “peaceably march” to the capital. Obviously these folks were planning to do this well before Trump said anything. You can argue that he should have known what was going to happen if he held that rally. That’s fair. The rally and speech was a dumb move on many levels. But to declare the President incited violence, is a danger, and needs to be immediately removed from office and erased from social media is beyond stupid. It’s simply the media, democrats and never-Trumpers exacting their final revenge. We certainly didn’t hold any of these officeholders and media to account when they were encouraging and celebrating protest in the street during the mostly peaceful BLM riots. Or when the Hart Senate building was occupied by Kavanagh protesters. Or when there were marches, protests, and rallies at Trump’s inauguration. The notable orator Madonna said that day that she dreamed about blowing up the White House. #notmypresident Ah, but those are woke causes. It’s different. Biden’s ironic inauguration theme is “America United”. Apparently a bunch of people on both sides didn’t get the memo. You have 75 million pissed off, angry voters. Yes, Trump should have kept his narcissistic ego in check and quietly conceded. And the left, media, and big tech should stop poking the bear. Eventually something (more) bad will happen if they don’t. And it will be everyone’s fault.
- I got my second vaccine on Monday for the virus that must not be named. I had no issues with the first one. I had no issues on Monday with this one. Felt fine on Tuesday when I woke up. By noon, I felt like I got hit by a truck. Headache, body ache, and a serious brain fog. I still don’t feel a hundred percent this morning. Interesting the second shot invokes such a strong reaction. Worth it though. I can now run naked through the Covid ward without fear.
- To use the irony word twice in one day… Twitter apparently has zero self awareness. Twitter’s Public Policy group posted the following: “Ahead of the Ugandan election, we’re hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps. We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet.” Apparently deciding what speech is allowed is only moral if you’re the one doing it.
- And speaking of the continued purge, Facebook has declared the phrase “stop the steal” as scary, banned words. They stated: “We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram.” Well, if you don’t like it go create your own social media app. Just as long as you don’t utilize Google, Apple, or Amazon services.
- We’ve begun the process of what Mrs Troutdog calls ‘divesting from work’. I changed my hours to part-time. I don’t know what that means yet. Honestly, I’m freaking out a little bit about this. There’s an element of guilt not working full time. The point is to start figuring out what full retirement will eventually look like for us. It’s a very strange feeling. Stay tuned.
- If you’ve been following along at home, you’ll remember we had a sewer backup that filled our bathtub with some objectionable material. We thought it was fixed, until it wasn’t. Turns out there must be a tree root through the line somewhere catching “stuff” as it flows down. Unfortunately we can’t really do anything about it until spring as everything is covered in feet of snow. Sigh.
Song of the day: Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2
- Time of death was 1735. Ten and a half hours into the shift. The Christmas music loop playing over the hospital loudspeakers had just begun the forty seventh repeat of Jingle Bells for the day. He was found slumped over his desk, eyes rolled back, drool pooling in the corners of his N95 mask. The charting system was open and his last known note had not yet been saved… “Patient observed laughing while on phone call. Patient informed this nurse that pain was 10/10. This nurse provided education on pain medication schedule and alternative pain relief strategies. Patient was observed yelling obscenities at staff members. This nurse will continue to monitor patients pain levels closely….”
- Thank god we finally have some diversity at the highest levels of government. The media proudly gushed that Pete Buttigieg will be the first openly gay cabinet member. Pete himself made a point of saying this during his acceptance speech. Apparently Richard Grenell as DNI doesn’t count because, well, he was appointed by Trump. And he even though he’s gay he probably secretly hates the gays. And he’s a racist obviously. Does it worry anyone else that Mayor Pete, who couldn’t even get the potholes fixed in South Bend, is now in charge of Transportation? Optics and symbolism are clearly what’s most important.
- 8 inches of snow overnight. I’ve got stuff do this morning, so the first downhill day will have to wait until tomorrow. We’ll get some skate skiing in with the hound this afternoon.
- The backlash over Jill Biden insisting on being called ‘Doctor’ has been hilarious. Reviews of her dissertation have not been kind. Tucker Carlson’s skewering of her academic prowess was pretty damn funny. You didn’t really think, after four years of being called racist, and trashing the first lady, folks would just magically unite did you? Silly rabbit.
- Remember the days of riots, looting, and police officers being shot over the tragic police shooting of Breonna Taylor? Well, it turns out when someone does actual journalism (remember that?) reality doesn’t match the mob outrage. Poor miss Taylor doesn’t seem to have been the innocent bystander she was portrayed as. Will the media report on this? Nope. It doesn’t fit the narrative and we wouldn’t want to upset people with minor details like the truth.
- While a bit long, this thread is worth reading. It asks some interesting questions about the flu and why it’s been nearly non-existent this year. It shows how little we actually know about Covid and if our myriad of strategies for dealing with it are even doing anything. You know, science.
- Magically after the election, Twitter returns the retweet button back to its original functionality. All is well, nothing to see here folks, move along. Twitter will add a “fact check, disputed claim” to a video posted by a conservative. They don’t when the exact same video is posted by a liberal account. If you’re an honest, thinking person this should bother you.
- I don’t normally read James Bond type books, but I’ve been hooked on the Gray Man series by Mark Greaney. Been binge reading. I’m on book 8 of 10. Good stuff when you want an easy escapism read.
Song of the day: Beastie Boys “Root Down”
A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.
- The dermatologist took one look at my sunburned, peeling, self and deadpanned “well, I guess we don’t need to have the importance of sunscreen discussion do we?”. Other than that, got the all-clear. I feel better having been checked out.
- I mentioned before that I spent a ridiculous amount of time watching YouTube videos on travel bag reviews. Unclear why, since I rarely travel. I had settled on the Aer Travel Pack 2. Anyway, I used a simple duffle bag for this last trip. I realized that carrying stuff on your back sucks. For the little travel I do, I’m going to find a minimalist wheelie.
- I got my passport photo done. Like an idiot, I let it expire. Renewing it, you know, in case I need to flee the country.
- I loved this quote from David Goggins. “People ask me how I lost so much weight… I didn’t hire a trainer… I didn’t go to Jenny Craig… basically I just stopped eating so much fucking food.” Made me laugh. It’s simple, but true. People make weight loss too complicated. Speaking of which, unless there’s a nacho blowout I’m about a week away from my weight goal. So there’s that.
- I gave Instacart a try for grocery shopping. Loved it. I’ll certainly be using it again. I’m a busy guy you know.
- One of the hardest things I do as an RN is care for a patient who is a truly horrible human being. Spending twelve hours making sure I give the same quality of care to that person that I’d give to a sweet grandmother sucks the life out of me.
- Rebecca Rusch was the first woman finisher in her first attempt at the bike category of the Iditarod 350. That’s badass. I wimp out after shoveling the driveway for an hour.
- No further Instagram stories. The Twitter experiment has yielded exactly 2 followers. Good thing I’m not in marketing.
Song of the day: “Im gone, Joyryde”
- A note for my two readers… Notions will be sparse to non-existent for a week. I’ll be on an island drinking tropical drinks with tiny umbrellas and fighting a heroic battle to remain in ketosis. Not.
- The US government hit its borrowing limit yesterday. The estimate is that they run out of money by September if we don’t raise the debt ceiling (again). Our total debt is $22 trillion. But whoo hoo, a green new deal!
- I love this quote from @garyvee “Technology has not changed us, technology has exposed us”.
- There are some thoughts that the universe is expanding faster than previously thought. I love that stuff. I’m also not smart enough to understand what the hell I’m reading. As Forrest Gump says, “I’m not a smart man”.
- Speaking of reading, I struggled to find a few books to read on vacation. I don’t know why but lately finding books that keep my interest is like searching through Netflix for a movie. I settled on these three. Don’t judge.
- I’ve been doing an experiment-ish on the Twitter. Created a new account. I have exactly 1 follower. Been slowly adding a few tweets, some hashtags, following people, etc… I’m curious what will be the spark that actually gets followers?
- Still no Instagram story. Maybe this week.
- Dropped the hound off at the pet sitter yesterday. Surprising how quiet the house is without that knucklehead. See you in a week!
Song of the day: Buju Banton “Love Dem Bad”