Friday, January 12, 2018

Rain, then more snow. Some good books. A diatribe on propane distribution here in the mountains.



This is our third day of steady rain, and strong winds.  A little while ago, a cold front passed over and now we are seeing temperatures plummet from the fifties to the mid twenties. Snow flurries tonight, and we'll be in the teens again by morning. Supposed to be five days of this.  One aspect of living in the mountains is that you tend to get snow when nobody else does, which is not always a positive thing.

I've been doing a lot of reading with this cold and wet weather, since there's little else to do.

Ghost Wars:

  If you have any interest in the convoluted process by which we got involved in sending money, arms, and equipment to Moslem fundamentalists in Afghanistan, here's the book you want to read.

  Unfortunately, it's not riveting reading. Coll didn't start out to write a "popular" narrative. He was more interested in documenting the course of events from the the period of the Russian invasion until the events of 9-11.

   He did a great job of it, but you have to be methodical. The book is heavily footnoted, and you need to go and look up every footnote as you go along, and read it at the appropriate moment.

   It's a complex story.  How we let ourselves be bamboozled by the Pakistani intelligence services into supporting the Islamists.  How our own politicians and government officials refused to pay any attention to the warning signs after the Russians left.

Coll is not political. I could not tell you, having read the book, whether he is a Democrat or a Republican. He simply states facts.  His analysis of the Clinton years is particularly damning, and having read the book I have to say I lost what little faith I ever had in "Big Government." My country commissioner could have handled the situation better than Clinton and his appointees did.  The book did fill in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of how certain things came to be, and it's excellent background for understanding Islamic terrorism today.  I think it took me about 16 hours of hard work to get through it, but it was time well spent.


Kill Bin Laden  is a rare look into the operations of Delta Force.

Most people know they are out there, but few people know much more than the fact that they are elite commandos. They show up in odd times, odd places, and they often don't look like soldiers at all.

Not much has ever been written about them, and when they appear in movies, such as "Black Hawk Down" and "13 Hours in Benghazi" it's always in a peripheral context.

Dalton Fury was a Delta Force officer, and while his book has been vetted to preserve the security of the organization, it's fascinating. Delta is nothing like the regular military, which is probably why it's so effective at what it does and so disliked by politicians who know nothing about it.

The book covers the early stages of the war in Afghanistan. It's well worth reading, despite the fact that it's quite dated now. Still, the war has been going on there since 2001, so a lot of good material is not "current."



 Into the Fire is the story of a U.S. Marine and how he won the Medal of Honor in Afghanistan.

It's also an expose of what happens when battlefield decisions are made by lawyers in oak paneled offices , 3000 miles away from the fighting.

I saw the results of this kind of thing in Lebanon, and I was sympathetic to the authors view from the start.

The further the decision makers are from the fight, the less realistic their view of the battle. When you mix civilians in, the whole thing breaks down. Then you get situations where our own troops, in need of support, don't get it because we might inadvertently kill "civilians" even if those civilians are firing away at our people at the same moment.

It's a quick read, and veterans will recognize the atmosphere right off. Some things don't change, regardless of the time and place. I imagine a Roman Centurion would recognize some of the facets of military life that so infuriated Meyer.   It's an old book. I found it on the back shelf of the library, where library books go to die before they are sold off at a quarter apiece.




The New X-Files

I have always been an X- Files fan.  Last year the first season of the new series came out, and I thought it was alright. I like the fact that they brought all the old characters back, even if the plot was a little too complex for me.  The new season is going now, the second show was this past Wednesday. Fortunately, the power stayed on, and my daughter didn't call in the middle of the show, so I got to watch it all.  Not bad.  You have to rest your eyes sometime, and this was an easy way to do it.




The Branco Cartoons I missed :






























A little music:







New Magazine:




The Spring 2018 issue is out.   My hand held GPS has given up the ghost, so I was interested in the article on new versions. Not a lot in the rest of this issue that was particularly useful to me, but I keep them all.  The hard copies go into the "professional library" which used to be all military books and is now comprised of books that would be useful in the event of some unpleasant event that caused disruption.

New Sportsman's Guide Catalog:


As always, some good things. I ordered a few little items, mainly to keep on their mailing list. I don't buy as much from this outfit since they raised the club membership to $40.00.

Thought for the day:




Dat ain't rite!





49 comments:

  1. You might enjoy the twitter account of Thomas Wictor. I don't use my twitter account so I'm only a lurker but I find his thoughts on what is going on in the middle east to be pretty well thought out. Usually once a day he has a teaching moment, for instance today it's about a mil leader in Lebanon, and explains what 90% of the population misses. His hobby is the study of war and war tools. How things were done, who were the ones who went against norms of the day (a general who had his men dig a trench toward the enemy by night with cloth covered tools, cover said trench with green cloth by day and hid thousands of men as close as 75 feet in front of the Austrian army. Drove Austrian Army 5 miles backwards in two days. (WW1) Fascinating and war in general is not of interest to me but I like what his theories are about what is really going on in the middle east now. Again, Fascinating. https://twitter.com/ThomasWictor/

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    1. Westside mom, I don't have a twitter account, and have never used twitter, so I am not really sure how it works. I will take a look at the url you sent and see if I can read his posts. I have not heard of Thomas Wictor but that doesn't mean he won't be interesting. Thanks for the heads up.

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  2. WHere's the promised diatribe about propane?? I can get you started due to my experience in the mountains of NM: ""Propane companies aren't crazy about servicing sparsely populated areas and impose lots of silly rules and delay tactics when pretending to provide said services." Am I on the right track? As for the Afghanistan book, are you familiar with 'Politics of Heroine in Southeast Asia?" My relative found himself in the middle of it in the early 1960's because he happened to have learned Thai as a child while his father was teaching there. He said that the book is true. 'They' had cut orders for Korea, him write 12 letters home, and planted his butt in the highlands with CIA operatives. Harrowing business.

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    1. MM, it's in the little video at the bottom of the post.

      I'd say you are experiencing the same things in New Mexico that I am here, from your quote. The only way around it is multiple tanks and holding onto a a good reserve, but then when you have to fill up, you need to rob a liquor store to afford it!

      Afghanistan and poppies just kind of go together. The only real Afghanistani moderate leader, Massoud, financed his operations largely through poppy production, aided and abetted by the CIA because they couldn't get funds out of the U.S. government to help Massoud, at the same time we were giving the Paks billions, which they used to facilitate radical Islam in Afghanistan. It's a strange world, indeed.

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  3. We have one propane supplier...period. Nearest next one is 100 miles away and they won't come out here. Of course these companies will only fill their own tanks....that was going on 40 years ago when I lived in San Jose, CA. That's just the way it is. You are having cold winter while we have a mild one this year. No snow, 45 degrees. We run with wood, propane, heating oil & electric. None of our outbuildings are heated, either. If something cannot freeze, it is in the house. Some winters it gets crowded in the house, lol. Have you looked into the Grand Solar Minimum...check you tube. We may be heading into colder climate, in which case we need to rethink our way of doing things. Last fall our propane was 2.12 a gal and that was the cheapest we have seen it in years. Nice to finally see and hear you; you should do that more often.

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    1. Tewshooz, we have lots of propane companies here, but since they all fix the prices, it's the same as only having one.

      I don't understand the thing about not being able to fill another companies tanks? Here, if you rent a tank, the company you rented it from is not responsible for maintenance or leaks. You have to pay them to come out and fix something on their own tanks! So it would seem to me there's no reasonable explanation for not having any company you want fill your tank and that would help some competitive pricing to occur. But it is what it is, and I suppose nothing will change it.

      I have the apartment, which has to be heated. There's the shop, which has to be heated. There's the barn, part of which is heated, and I also have a small storage shed now for flammable fuels like kerosene and gasoline, and that is heated. The plant room , which is a seperate building attached to the house, is heated because all the outdoor cats go in there when the weather is bad like it is now. So when it's like it is today, with low twenties and freezing winds, and colder weather coming in tonight, I just have to burn the heaters, propane and electric. I don't dare try to heat everything with electricity, because the electricity fails here, the grid goes down, every time we have any sort of bad weather.

      Something is going on. I have not heard of the Solar Minimum but I will sure take a look at it. I don't believe in "Al Gore end of the world Climate Change" but I do know the climate has changed periodically over the centures and I begin to wonder.....

      The little videos are easier than trying to type all that out.

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    2. Why would you need to heat a fuel shed? We don't and our winters are usually colder than yours, with drops below zero. Ditto for the shop...we fire up the wood stove when DH plans on working in there. If your winters continue to get colder, you might consider consolidating to save fuel. Our propane company fixes their rented tanks at no cost to us, not that much goes wrong with them. Sounds like you are getting ripped off. I would love to see more videos...like a live chat, lol. Don't know why, but I was surprised at your southern accent...never thought about it before. I have seen pictures of this area of 100 years ago where they had 10 feet of snow in winter. Even 25 years ago we had 4 or 5 feet all winter. Not anymore....more rain than snow.

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    3. Solar Minimum refers to the Sun Spot Cycle.

      Seems old Sol produces more heat generating particles during high sunspot activity. No sunspot activity means significantly less heat-generating particles hitting Earth's atmosphere.

      So. Right now, few to no sunspots on the Sun. Not for a year, and the previous years have had reducing numbers of spots. And current spot forecast for the next 10 years, at least, is none.

      Which means, since Earth's temps are tied into the Sun's ability to heat us, we are heading into a mini Ice Age, like during the 1640's, and 1300's.

      And no amount of 'man-made global warming' can change the Sun's effects upon the Earth. So, neener-neener, Mr. Gore!

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    4. Ugh. The last thing I need is another mini-Ice Age. Back when Discovery Channel still had some decent programming, there were several documentaries on the mini-ice age and previous manifestations there of. None of them worked out to well for the humans around at the time.

      I may have to think about adding some propane tanks! ;-)

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    5. Tewshooz, there are some things in the flamable liquids storage shed that need to be climate controlled, like smoke grenades, marine flares, some Czech military flares in different colors. All stuff I don't want inside the house , but don't want to get rid of. So putting all the potentially hazardous materials in a shed outside the main compound makes sense.

      Primarily I have to keep the outbuildings controlled for temperature and humidity due to water pipes, or things being stored in them that are subject to damage or degradation from extremes of temperature or climate. Food stuffs, feed, ammunition, and a lot of things that I keep in bulk, I want to make sure are safe from the ravages of the climate here, which is extreme winter or summer.

      My 87 year old mom is convinced the climate is changing, although she doesn't buy into that Al Gore scam. I am beginning to wonder if she is right. Oddly, for the most part, seems like people are having problems with cold, more than heat and drought.

      Southern accent? Didn't think I had one...;-)

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    6. I tend to forget that you have that humidity factor. Smoke flares? That's interesting. When I moved to eastern CA, 30 years ago, the blizzards were so bad it would take travelers on Thanksgiving 8 hours to drive 50 miles. Snow would be 6 ft deep and last into April until we were sick of looking at it. When we moved to Eastern Oregon 25 years ago, we had to ride our snowmobiles across fields to the next ranch where we had our truck parked so we could go to town. Doesn't happen anymore, so I agree with your mom.

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    7. Well, at least a mini-ice age will cut down on the ticks and mosquitos and Yankees and other pests...

      The die-off will actually mostly occur in the what used to be tropical and subtropical areas. People up 'north' in the colder zones will just suffer and, well, okay, die-offs up there, too.

      John Ringo's "The Last Centurion" covers the coming cold period, along with a super-bug, and politics, and muslims and other parasites. Good read. And somewhat scary. Ringo was a paratrooper from the 82nd, so he's no lightweight. Straight shooting, really has a red-ass about radical (as if there is any other kind?) islam, and a good writer.

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    8. Tewshooz, I have smoke grenades, both mililtary surplus and some new commercial production. As for flares, I have some signal flares, illumination flares. Some are commercial production, some are Czechoslovakian military production.

      My memory may not be perfect, but I have discussed this weather thing with my wife, and she agrees that overall, winters and summers were both milder here when we moved to the mountains in 1986, than they are now. Summers have reached the point that the heat and humidity is routinely crushing, when in the past we would have some nice, cool ,dry days thrown in there. As for winter, I don't think there's any doubt that the winters here are colder, have more long periods of "deep cold", and we have snow and ice more often than we used to.

      I have heard from other people , scattered across the country, who think their weather is changing as well. Because people don't live a long time, it's hard for an individual to see the changes, but a lot of us have now.

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    9. Andrew, the trend towards longer, colder winters will ding us here, too. The people up North, being more accustomed to harsh winters, have the infrastructure to deal with to some extent. Their houses were built to withstand the cold, their plumbing is designed to cope with it, and they can drive in snow. Here, we are really hanging out in the breeze. Pipes not buried deep enough, no electrical heating insulation on the pipes under the house, no snow removal equipment, not enough brine or salt vehicles, and on , and on. You are sure right about the cold negatively impacting a lot of the "half way backs" here. My wife and I drove through a little "half way back" settlement on a small lake that we like. We have always felt the place was so well designed and was so pleasant , a nice little community hidden away in the woods. But this time, only a few homes still had residents and lots of them were for sale. I think the big snow that was accompanied by a power failure days in duration flushed a lot of the marginal inhabitants out of here.

      I'll see if I can find John Ringo's book at the library. Sounds like something I would enjoy reading.

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  4. Well, Clinton spouting out, during a press conference, that we were listening in on every one of Bin Laden's phone calls probably didn't help much.

    Trump was and is right about Pakistan. That nation has been holding out its hands for payola while stabbing us in the back since, well, its founding. And our slobbering politicians and traitorous state department toadies have been quite willing to believe anything that that quack nation has to say. You think they would all have learned after Bin Laden got waxed on Paki soil, but there's nothing so single-mindedly stupid as our bureaucratic government and most of our elected officials.

    Between Paki stabbing us in the back, lying to our faces and our leaders holding the hands of our soldiers, sailors and airmen, it is surprising that we did so well.

    Since President Trump took over, well, it has been a different matter. Supposedly one night CenComm called him for permission for a group of soldiers to shoot back, and he read them the riot act, saying the commander on the ground had more information as to what was going on than he did. Probably a bs made up story, but it has the feel of truth to it.

    Well, glad you survived the weather so far. Hope you and yours stay safe and comfortable during the next bad blow.

    And...

    Deus Vult!

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    1. The Victorians used to say of a person who was a good fellow, that he was "a Trump." I sure feel like President Trump is a great man. He is as rich as Croesus, could have done anything he wanted to, lived a life of complete ease and luxury. Instead, he waded into the sewer that American politics has become, and has been trying to help the average citizen hang on to some level of "quality of life." This in the face of lies and deception on a grand scale by the media and the career politicians. People get taken in by it, too. Look at the comment below.

      Pakistan is a real rats nest. They have nuclear weapons, their government is controlled by the military. Sometimes they have civilian "front men" but any of those who cross the military get killed in mysterious plane crashes, run out of the country, or hung. Their intelligence services are riddled with Islamic fundamentalists who support the radical Islamic war on the "Crusaders" and "Jews."

      The real villains in the last forty years have been the U.S. Department of State, consistently living in Cloud Coo Coo land and making asinine decisions which have cost us dearly, and the White House itself. Prior to Trump, Presidents have surrounded themselves with their old cronies, who didn't know jack s**t about international politics. Reagan and Clinton come to mind especially in that respect.

      The next bad blow is here, I'm afraid. mid day and headed toward the teens , with intermittent blowing snow up here on the mountain. We should be ok, but it's getting tiresome.

      Deus Vult!

      Harry.

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  5. Harry - What do you think of your President's racist comments?

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    1. Dani, you don't actually believe that nonsense, do you? The people who were in the room during the discussion where this is supposed to have occurred all say he didn't say that.

      Who says he did? Who's the source?

      And to tell you the truth, if he DID say it, he was only speaking the truth. Places like Haiti ARE S**h*Les, pure and simple. Why do we need the "wretched refuse" from those places in our country. Take a look at the impact of Haitian "refugees" on South Florida. Other than driving up the price of live chickens because Haitians practice animist Santaria and sacrifice chickens, what positive effects have they had?

      I'm really tired of being politically correct. I say, "call a Spade a Spade" and be done with telling lies or overlooking truths because you don't want to "offend" someone. If reality is offensive to them, tough s**t.

      I notice, Dani, that South Africa has not been too welcoming of the waves of would be immigrants from Zimbabwe. Kind of the same thing, no?

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    2. President Trump says what most of us are thinking. Shithole countries are usually run by non whites...that is fact, not racism. Nothing worse than phony outrage, if you ask me.

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    3. One of my favorite authors is Edward Abbey. He was, among other things, a self proclaimed socialist and liberal. But he was a man who lived life down on the earth and not up in the clouds. Here's what he had to say about this:

      ""I certainly do not wish to live in a society dominated by blacks, Mexicans, and Orientals. Look at Africa, Mexico, and Asia."

      Edward Abbey

      and :
      "It might be wise for us, as American citizens, to consider calling a halt to the mass influx of even more millions of hungry, ignorant, unskilled, and culturally-morally-genetically, impoverished people...Why not [support immigration]? Because we prefer democratic government, for one thing; because we still hope for an open, spacious, uncrowded, and beautiful--yes beautiful!--society, for another. The alternative, in the squalor, cruelty and corruption of Latin America, is plain for all to see."

      I think that pretty well sums it up. One of the reasons we are in such a mess here is a long string of Presidents who worried more about being PC than about what happened to the citizens of this country.

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    4. According to credible sources, President Trump was expressing his astonishment that the congresscritters working on immigration reform want to make it harder for smart, educated, useful people from places like Norway and England have a much harder chance to come here legally than some uneducated cretin from, well, 4th world hellholes. He, according to credible sources, did not use any curse words in describing these cesspools of sub-human activity.

      The curse words were attributed to him by congress-people who hate the President and are actively working at undermining his Presidency.

      It is the verbal equivalent of your neighbor punching himself in the eye and then going to the cops and saying you hit him.

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    5. Confirmed, denied - and no comment:
      http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/13/politics/trump-remark-reaction/index.html, or for an alternative : https://www.npr.org/2018/01/12/577598401/in-morning-tweet-trump-denies-calling-african-countries-by-a-vulgar-slur

      So, both Democrats and Republicans.

      Do you believe that this is the way a President should speak?

      Personally, I do not believe he has the right to speak of ANY other country in these terms, other than the one he "leads".

      Yes, xenophobia is rife in South Africa - and is aimed against all the people from African countries - not just Zimbabweans - who have fled the horror of their countries and are making this country their home until it is safe to return again. It is a complex, humanitarian situation, which involves not only the foreigners, but also South African's who are suffering and jobless due to corrupt leaders. Fear is the driving force behind the xenophobia.

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    6. Yeah, so? After they pushed the false message so loudly, they squeak quietly into their hands that they messed up. The video media of printing a retraction on the last page of the family section of a major mistake made on the front page from yesterday.

      I am tired of Durbin the Turbin. That piece of carp needs to take a short walk down a long pier.

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    7. Dani, your two sources are CNN and NPR, both dedicated Trump haters, both organizations which have had to retract completely false stories they promulgated on the air previously.

      The person who is going around avowing that he were in the room and heard President Trump say those things is Dick Durbin, a senator so renowned for false allegations in the past that he has the nick-name of "lying Dick."

      Just because someone says something on our media doesn't mean there is a grain of truth to it. You will recall the recent incident where one of ABC's most high profile "on the air" reporters told the nation there was conclusive evidence of collusion between the President's campaign and Russia. The stock market plummeted 500 points , then it turned out the story was entirely bogus. ABC had to retract it, and the idiot who did that, purely out of malice towards the President, is now forbidden to do any on the air political reporting, forbidden by his own Trump hating network.

      I can't agree that saying what you think of another country is not permissible. It wouldn't make sense to sit back and let the North Koreans continue on their merry way to building a bomb carrying ballistic missile because saying Little Kim was a lunatic might hurt their feelings.

      I don't want to say too much, Dani, because I am not sure of the degree of freedom of speech in South Africa, but I have frequently been disturbed by videos coming from black South Africans blaming all the country's ills on "white farmers" and "white capitalists." They seem to be following the Rhodesian sequence, despite the way Mugabe and his methods utterly destroyed the country. "Zimbabwe" is now one of those places I'd call a XXXXhole, despite having been one of the most economically viable countries of Africa in the past.

      I'd say, in the case of South Africa, reality is the cause of xenophobia. When you don't have enough jobs, food, water, medical resources, et al for your own people, why would you want swarms of completely indigent strangers flooding in to exacerbate the situation?

      We usually don't talk politics, because though we share common interests we have divergent world views. I have enjoyed this exchange but I hope it hasn't alienated you. I wouldn't want to do that. I am a great admirer of what you and your husband have accomplished on your place in South Africa. The fact that we disagree on politics doesn't lessen my respect for you two in any way.

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    8. The news segments I watched tonight acknowledged that every single individual in the room when President Trump was alleged to have made these comments vehemently denies that anything of that nature was said EXCEPT the infamous sleazy senator himself, Dick Durbin. He appears to be the source of all this sound and furor signifying nothing. It's significant that one of the stations reporting this was none other than ABC, no friend to the President and with a long established record of false reporting.

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  6. having a blizzard here. fire hydrant is half covered already.
    went from 50's this morning to about 15 now. which is also about the projected high for tomorrow.
    i'll go dig out the hydrant when the snow stops in daylight--if it stops.
    one model projected up to 16 inches. we shall see.

    you say not much is going on there.
    now that i am old i know the meaning of the saying, 'no news is good news'.
    hoping we don't end up living in interesting times.

    on afghanistan, i think i mentioned before, my great great grandfather was stationed in india. the brits and the czars people were contending over afghanistan back then and i doubt much has changed there in the intervening 150 plus years.
    why any body would want the place is beyond my understanding.

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    1. Cold here today too. Light snow showers, low temps, strong winds. Not much of a change in the immediate forecasts , either.

      No, we are forted up and doing the same thing we did last week, reading and watching a little television. We had a foray to the library planned for today, but the library is closed for that ridiculous "holiday".

      Harry Flashman, whose name I borrowed for this blog, first appears in a book about the British disaster in Afghanistan in the 1840's. Good book, bad country.

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    2. on a long cold winter night, try james michener's caravans. really fills in some blanks on afghanistan.

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    3. I'll do that , Riverrider. Michener is one of my favorite authors. I particularly liked "The Source" but I have gone through some of his other books and they were good reading too. I appreciate the recommendation.

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  7. I'm "just" a Nana. But after 9/11, I read everything I could find, on Radical Islam... On everything having background on "why" it happened. Bin Laden declared war on the West, before 9/11. And no one listened! -head desk-

    I read and read and read. And listened and listened. And listened. And I knew a hell of a lot more, after so doing.

    If I ("just" a Nana) could do this, how come zillions of others, couldn't? How come so many just wrung their hands, and said WHY?, and prayed? How come????

    You are my hero, taking the time to read the books above. I admit, I have mostly burnt out on such. But I know where my loyalty is.

    I do not want to "get political" in my present blogging incarnation. But I am HAPPY to say to you, we agree. We saw a solution, in voting for President Trump. We are seeing real things happening.

    Look at poor people, who work for Walmart, getting a raise!!!!! Did the cryin' Dems do that??? They who try to make us believe, that they are for-the-poor-and-down-trodden? Hahhhhhh... Those cryin' Dems/Libs are only for their own wallet and well being!

    Whewwwwww....... I have not had a real rant like this, since making my new blog incarnation, and steering clear of all political talk. -sigh- It was good and bad. To know someone agrees, is SUPER! To discuss anything that entails Dems and Libs, is Blood Pressure raising.

    You are here! I am so glad to know this! In regular blog land, it can feel like I am "the only one." And that is scary.

    Courage!!!!!!

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    1. Part of the problem is that the concepts of 'critical thinking' and 'logic' are no longer taught in our schools. What is taught is to follow the elites.

      I have 'friends' who think that socialism is wonderful, and when given examples of failed attempts, really say "Well, they just didn't do it right."

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    2. I concur with that , Andrew. That's one of the reasons I bagged teaching after a three year stint in the trenches.

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  8. Being a "Nana" you have a lot of good company. In my experience, older people tend to be as knowledgeable, if not more so, than middle aged and younger people. I think there are a lot of reasons for this. First, we have more time to do the reading and the research. A person working themselves silly to care for a family has little free time to inform themselves on esoteric issues that don't effect the paycheck. Young people generally just don't care.

    But at our age, most of us don't have to work, we are settled, but we still care what goes on in the world. We have family that we worry about, and we know that events now will determine the world they have to live in , long after we are gone. That's why older people have a reputation for being staunch voters, and for contributing small amounts to causes and organizations they feel do a good job of guiding the culture and the country.

    President Trump is not an oily, self centered, dishonest, self worshiping politician. He's a person who has made his way through life on his own hook, and he doesn't play by the "rules" which is why the career slimists of the Dark State all hate him.

    He's done a lot of good, in the face of incredible odds, and I'm proud of him.

    Like you, I'm trying to look at other aspects of life and not let the political arena be the main focus , either on my blog or in my day to day existence. But it does have a major impact on us all, we we can't disconnect completely.

    I appreciate your coming by and your comment. I hope you'll be a regular guest here.

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  9. Morning Harry: Propane procedures are the same here in the White Mountains of AZ. Rent a tank and only that company will fill it. Prices just below $2.50 running close to $3.00 with the fees. No charge for calling up and saying 'come fill the tank' that I know of, but I'm in town and the roads this winter are good. Might be different with 2 feet of snow on the ground and out in the boonies. Was 19 this morning but will be mid 50's this afternoon and that has been sorta the norm this winter. We could really use a little of your snow.

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    1. Bob, I'm beginning to believe that the propane industry has this thing sewed up all over the country. You in Arizona and Tewshooz in the Oregon desert both have the same procedures I do, with the possible exception of the extortion for another fee on top of the other fees for an unscheduled delivery. The answer is to own your own tanks and to have multiple tanks, so that an unanticipated shortage of propane won't do you in. The problem is, that means keeping a lot of money tied up in stored gas and in the tanks, valves and lines, none of which are cheap. My county is still pretty sparsely populated, except near town, on the lake, and in some of the "mountain top gated communities" we've been cursed with in the last ten years. The propane companies go out to those places weekly, but the other 3/4's of the county, especially back along the "possum trails" may only see them once a month if that.

      Our stream that flows down the mountain from the house is really full, and the bigger stream it flows into is moving more water than I can remember it doing in a long time. I think all the melting snow, followed by the torrential rains, will see to it we are not back in a drought any time soon. That's a good thing, I guess.....

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  10. Hi Harry :)

    I hope you got your ice cleats!!! My gosh our weather has been crazy, we had 2 days of solid rain in the 50's (F) and then -10's (F) overnight...now we have a skating rink with pockets of "ice mountains"...it's crazy this weather. I can handle winter...CONSISTENTLY lol! But the darn warm weather at this time of year has really hurt the trees, so many fallen branches...It snowed today so we have some shoveling out to do tomorrow. I'm dreaming of my garden!! :)

    The cartoons are funny and I love that song Moonlight in Vermont...it's makes me feel sentimental. :) It's beyond me, the cost of propane...I do know the cost of Hydro here. In Quebec, we have "Hydro Quebec", which is the monopoly on power supply. It's run by water power so you'd think it wouldn't be too costly, considering most of the work is being done by Mother Nature...we cringe at our heating bills...it's crazy. For power and heat, we pay upwards of $3000 a year. We're lucky that our rent is low because we couldn't afford to live here otherwise. But it's put us in a "house poor" situation where we will be stuck renting until 2019 or likely 2020 before we can save enough for a down payment.

    BTW...regarding the Muslim friend, the ONLY reason why Alex and I feel confident about Pavlov and Stella is because his MOTHER was on the video phone call. Which is weird, she is such a strong lady, which, to me, goes opposite of their culture? Anyway, I didn't blog about it on my blog, but basically she told him to get his sh*t in order and do everything possible to keep the dogs because apparently she was keeping up with the emails and the situation for the last few years. She watched him dump those dogs here and there and her heart broke for them and she told them he must never put her through that again. So he finally listened, and to a woman of all people lol...anyway, I still have the philosophy that seeing is believing. But at least I know his mom is pushing him to do the right thing, and he's in his 30's my gosh, did he ever grow up??

    He did go through a bad nervous breakdown though. We haven't seen him in person since the summer. On the video call he looked like he'd been starved for months. Another thing his mom insisted on, his honesty. As you know, he's been putting us on the backburner for so long that we had no clue what the heck was happening. Why can't people be honest? We really wouldn't have judged him. Like I said on my blog, mom to the rescue. Alex and I were close to saying a final goodbye to him and keeping his dogs. But we see our future a little less hectic now, thankfully!

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    1. Rain, if the guy has had mental issues, I have more sympathy for him. It's very difficult for an individual with psychological problems to plan properly, to prioritize, to budget, and to do the thousand and one other things you have to do on a daily basis to keep on an even keel with life.

      Even though they are an Islamic family, I'm not all that surprised to find the woman in the family being the strong personality. Some men are not so strong in some areas, and the women may be more so. A screwed up religion that tries to relegate everyone to gender specific behaviors doesn't take that into account. Just because the husband CAN beat his wife with a stick, it probably doesn't mean all of them will. And then, there's always the possibility that Mohammed Milkitoast will get the stick taken away and be on the receiving end.....

      We get our power from the Electric Membership Cooperative, which gets it from the Tennessee Valley Authority, and it's hydroelectric too. But our power is very costly, and goes up just about every year. Moreover, the EMC has added on a "customer charge" of ten dollars a month that we never had before. Ostensibly, they need this to help pay for "upgrading the grid" but the truth is, they took our several million dollars worth of loans to build themselves a palatial new installation next to the national park. It has plush offices, thick carpets, oak and mahogany furniture, was done by a high priced architect, and for all that is not one whit better than the old place they had in terms of functionality. I detest the EMC.

      I know the cold makes it miserable, and when you get periods of warmer weather interspersed with it, it does mess nature up. We had fruit trees putting on leaves here early in the winter when we had a cold snap, followed by a warm period, then followed by a hideous cold period.

      Hang in there, eventually you will get your own place. It's in the cards. ;-)

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    2. It's definitely in the cards! :) There just might be a little swerve in the road ahead...that's okay. We'll get there. I just do hope it's sooner than later. We asked the landlord to put in a wood stove and he wanted to raise our rent by $50 a month...crazy. He said to just keep the fireplace sealed and we'll be fine. After that we realized we couldn't even argue with him, there is no point, so we're just biding our time! At least he's lazy enough to leave us in peace...and not know we have 8 pets lol...

      Yeah, our friend. I'm TRYING to have sympathy for him. But honestly Harry...in 2003, I had a severe work burnout. I went through all of this myself. I had 2 pugs and I couldn't take care of them while I was at the worst of it. But I put them in a kennel where I knew the owner personally, I knew she would take good care of them and I PAID for them their care for 6 weeks while I tried my best to get my life in some kind of order. I called the kennel daily. I just don't feel like he went about this very well and that irks me because I do know what he's going through. Anyway, his mom, supermom, got the ball rolling and I certainly trust her words more than his.

      Oh gosh, what the heck is a "customer charge" lol...that is so RIDICULOUS. That's like saying "administration fee"...who knows what that means?? Funny thing, I did call Hydro Quebec the last time we had a 6 hour black out. I asked to be reimbursed for that time and it was like a deer in the headlights reaction over the phone. I did it just to amuse myself because I knew nothing would come of it, but you should have heard the excuses lol...I really want to get as far off the big business hydro grid as quickly as I can. Alex and I think that is one of the biggest priorities when we move.

      Well, I'm not going to wait for spring. :) I'm going to plant some flowers in the window in a few weeks. My office has the only sunny window in the house that is cat-friendly so I have all of my stuff there when I start planting the seedlings for spring. The window right now is frigid though. Ever heard of a tea cozy? I think I might knit some plant cozies lol... :)

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    3. Rain, there's no doubt that guy did you wrong, and did the dogs that depended on him wrong. It's just that a person with mental issues sometimes can't see a clear path with the best effort. So I don't think as harshly towards him as I did. That doesn't in any way lessen my admiration for the way you two stepped up and took care of the dogs despite the difficulty of doing so.

      I hope you get your place as soon as possible. Having a landlord, or any person who can just show up at your home at will, is a very unpleasant and stressful situation. I couldn't not have put up with it all these years, but there are times when renting is more practical. It usually does cost less and preserves your freedom of action. When all things align properly I'm sure you will be where you want to be, and the timing will be right.

      The extra ambiguous fee that service companies add on here are both pervasive and dishonest!😬

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    4. Thanks Harry, it's nice to have so much support. :)

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    5. Rain, you are more than welcome. You have a beautiful blog, with warm, focused energy. I always feel "at home" when I visit there.

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  11. It's bitterly cold here. Windy too. A good time for hunkering down with some books for sure.

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    1. Lisa, I knew it would be rough up there, you are getting the same arctic air masses we are. I read your post about the books you read this year. I have some you might like here, that aren't getting any use. I will box them up and send them your way. If you don't like them, donate them to the library. They are Easton Press, so I hope you will like them. Just titles that are not really in my areas of interest.

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  12. Hope your weather warms up, Harry. We're in Spring mode already - not much of a winter this year, but I guess it makes up for last year where winter seemed to never end. I just hope we don't get a late winter blast where any fruit bearing tree or shrub got zinged and killed all the blooms.

    Trying to get back into the swing of things... Hope you & the family had a great Christmas & Happy New Year to you all!

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    1. Hobo, the kids finally got here, after many delays, and we did have a wonderful time together. It was cold but my son got to take his dog to the lake and walk every evening, and my daughter and wife got to go shopping, so everybody did the things they enjoyed. We did not try to "plan" every day this time, like I did last year, so we were not so worn out.

      We are still in the grips of another cold spell. I have just been going over my spreadsheets, working on a ball park figure for propane consumption, and it looks like I am running about 8 gallons a day right now all told. Not cheap with the big price increases. But it may warm up a bit at the end of next week.

      Hope the cold weather passes you by.

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  13. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    I watched the video. I run all electric. I believe that tiny houses or smaller than average houses are the wave of the future. Myself, I don't think I could go below 400 feet. They are easier to heat, cool, et.

    I have been hanging out on very interesting discord server where groups of people can talk in group, leave comments, pics etc.
    I talked to a wealthy Canadian today who I think was in the Vancouver area.
    This guy was a professional of some sort and lived in a million dollar house. He also saw all the flaws in our countries financial system and agree's that this is unsustainable and collapse at some point is inevitable.
    There is more and more talk on the internet about forming an 'ethno state' in America based on Americanism. I thought that was interesting.
    I don't think it will be achievable to at least towards the end of the century when America has finally reached 'Trump's Shithole Status'
    Trump's right though. More right than most presidents.

    One more thing Harry. I listen to you talk and listened to your memory recall. There is nothing wrong with your memory. Nor are you anywhere from getting old, old. Yeah you got some dents and dings like that old Diesel truck but there's nothing wrong with your head.
    Your going to be around a lot longer than you probably like too but that's the burden of leadership.

    Harry you will be 'Chewing Bubble Gum and Kicking Ass' for years to come.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDKdHuyQpHY

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    1. Hey, CC. I'm hanging in there. I do things like lose my keys in the house, but I've been doing that for years.

      Sounds like what used to be called a forum that you are participating in. Or maybe it's "chat room" now, I don't know. I have trouble enough keeping up with my blog and the ones I try to read consistently, you'd think I'd have more time being retired but every day seems to be busy.

      Smaller houses are on people's minds. My daughter is very interested in the concept of a "tiny house" that she could have moved on a flatbed when she wants to transfer to another city. I made fun of the idea at first, but then I saw some shows on Tiny Houses, and I was impressed. They are a lot like sail boats, in that they are not big but they are well organized and have everything you need.

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  14. I always enjoy your posts, so much information. Not sure how the propane works here. i know there are co-ops and propane companies all around. We have nature gas. I looked up prices...$1.790 Price as of Jan 8th. Next update the 18th
    I googled propane prices in MN

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    1. Rob, I think natural gas is cheaper as there are not the same transportation costs on it. All our propane is trucked in here in giant tankers from Atlanta, and then it has to be pumped out of big tanks, into a small delivery truck, and then pumped into the customers tank. All that adds overhead which gets passed right on to the consumer, alas.

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