1 March
BlueWater Resort & Casino
Parker, AZ
no pic
I didn't get on the road this morning until almost 8:00 am, very late for me. There was a good reason however, the restaurant at Ak-Chin did not open until 7:00 for breakfast.

In hind sight I probably should have left early and had breakfast in Gila Bend where I stopped to fill up with gas. Then again, I was not in any big rush and wanted to check out the restaurant and menu. It was nothing special other than the coffee, it was excellent.

Some of my route today was the same as I drove on 1 March 2010, exactly one year ago, when I was returning to Reno with my Teardrop. The new portions were AZ238 and Old Hwy 80. Both are scenic and well worth staying off the Interstate to see.

The total route for today was 201 miles: AZ347, AZ238, AZ85, Old Hwy 80, Salome Hwy, *Courthouse Rd, Harquahala Valley Rd, Salome Hwy, US60, AZ72, AZ95 & Blue Water pic

* Salome Hwy continues at Courthouse but becomes gravel, the route that I took keeps you on paved roads.

The only stop I made after I got gas was a bathroom break at Hope, AZ. It is very convenient to have your bathroom with you so you don't drive for miles and miles looking for one.

I got to BlueWater around 12:30 and found the parking lots to be on the side of a hill. There is no place that I can see that is level enough that I can turn on my refrigerator. I could probably use blocks to level but it is not worth the time and effort for just tonight.

The low last night in Maricopa was 39° with a forecast of 45° for tonight here in Parker. Much more to my liking!

James Howard Kunstler had the following to say in his latest weekly blog. He is one of the very few that are even aware that gas prices are at an all time high for this time of the year. George Bush was condemned for high gas prices during his Presidency, President Obama gets a pass from the lame stream media.
Also last week, Wikileaks released papers signifying that Saudi Arabia's oil reserves were quite a bit less than they had claimed...
It hardly made an impression on a US public preoccupied with comings and goings of Charlie Sheen. President Obama wants to pretend that American life-on-wheels will just keep rolling along. He hasn't so much as hinted to the US public that the time approaches when gasoline will have to be rationed either by high prices or odd-and-even licenses plates or some other method. Charming fellow that he is, his fecklessness in the face of disintegrating oil markets will go down in history as something like Nero's musical solo while Rome burned down.
2 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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I was up early and did not want to wait for the BlueWater Breakfast Buffet to open. I had soup and salad last night at the Buffet, it was alright for the price but there was not a very large selection.

Drove into Parker and stopped at a small Mexican restaurant that had an OPEN sign turned on. They did a lot of early morning carry-out and the breakfast was very quick, pretty good and at a very good price.

This had me on the road by 7:00 am but within blocks I crossed the Colorado river into California and it was 6:00 am once again.

This third day to Pahrump followed the same route that I drove on March 2, 2010 from Parker, AZ to Searchlight, NV. This time I turned west at Searchlight to I-15 and drove 22 miles of Interstate highway.

I believe that portion of I-15 could also be avoided but you would need to drive dirt roads.

My route covered 256 miles: AZ95, CA62, US95, Broadway (Historic US66 in Needles, CA), Needles Hwy (stay left and go over I-40 for the Las Vegas on ramp but continue straight), NV163, US95, NV164, I-15, Las Vegas Blvd (at Jean, NV exit), NV146/ Southern Highland Pkwy, Cactus Rd, Jones Blvd, NV160, Manse Rd & Oakridge pic

I had one stop along the way for gas on NV160 as I was leaving Las Vegas. Paid 2¢ more today than I did yesterday in Gila Bend, AZ. Prices continue to go up and set new records almost every day for this time of the year; my Gila Bend price was 92¢ more than a year ago and today was 93¢ more.

With the hour I gained I was at the Escapees Park before noon. Got set up and then cleaned up a lot of blueberry juice in the freezer compartment.

It does not keep frozen food very cold and a package of blueberries thawed, the refrigerator compartment was still cool after being off more than 24 hours.

3 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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I was extremely busy today. When I say extremely busy this is a comparative expression, comparing today to my usual day-to-day life which is not busy at all.

First, I selected a walking route to the Homestead Café. There I had a good breakfast at a very good price. The route was picked from Google Maps which has lead me astray in the past.

What it showed me today was that all the roads were the same. What I found was that they were not the same at all. There were sections that I could walk but would not have taken Desperado or a car over them; they were little more than dirt trails.

When I got home I un-hooked from electric and went to the VA Clinic. There I requested an appointment with my doctor and was given April 7th. Now that I know that I know will be here until at least April 12th.

I need to check back next week to see if my doctor wants lab work. I'm sure she does but she is vacationing this week and she needs to order the lab work. I will then get an appointment for that a week before I see her.

From VA it was to the UPS Store where I picked up about 10 pounds of mail. At least 8.5 pounds of it was 'junk'. Most of that went directly into the trash but any business that included a Business Reply Envelope (no postage required) got it all cut up and sent back to them.

I then stopped at Smith's to stock my shelves with groceries for the next week. I now have the makings of a new to me soup that I'll tell about in a few days when I cook it up.

At home it was hook up to electric and water once more. That was the easy part, the time consuming job was to sort through the mail. I think I got everything I need to do my Taxes, that will be a project for this weekend.

The rest of the day was devoted to enjoying the great weather. Very sunny, some puffy clouds, a nice gentle breeze, the low this morning was 50° and the high today just below 70°.

The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same with a low of 43°. I'm going to be tracking the accuracy of the forecast for here in Pahrump to see if they are any better than they were in Huachuca City.

It is not just gas prices that are setting records for this time of the year. In the face of these realities the Obama Administration tells us that there is no inflation because they exclude food and fuel from any inflation measurement. I spend most of my money on food and fuel so I know that there is inflation in my world!
World food prices rose 2.2% in February from the previous month to a record peak, the United Nations' food body said Thursday, as it warned that volatility in oil markets could push prices even higher.
The Food and Agriculture Organization price index rose by 2.2%—the eighth consecutive rise since June—to an average of 236 points last month, the highest record in real and nominal terms since the agency started monitoring prices in 1990.
4 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: March 4, 1923

I picked another route from Google Maps that would take me south then east and return. A breakfast stop at Terrible's Lakeside Casino would provide a rest also at about the 5.5 mile mark.

The route was again shown to be all the same road surface on the Map. The reality was that there was no road to the south after the first two miles. I followed another dirt trail for one more mile south and then ½ mile east to a paved road back north.

As a walking route it is fine but you would need a high clearance vehicle to drive it.

For my 'linner' today I cooked a nice piece of salmon fillet and some brussel sprouts. This was only one meal but I did stay with my policy of just one pot. In this case it was one skillet where I fried the salmon and sprouts at the same time.

The large spinach and romaine salad I had with them made for a great meal. I have three more fillet and more sprouts that will give me three more 'linners' during this week.

There was good News released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics once again today, the unemployment rate is now at 8.9%. If this trend continues the United States will be back to full employment in time for the election in 2012.

There is only one small problem, the population increased by 147,000 but only 60,000 of that increase joined the labor pool or a utilization rate of just over 40%. The last time we were at full employment, way back when, the utilization rate was at 66%.

Therefore, as long as the current trend of a very low utilization rate of population increases continues and there is a modest economic recovery the unemployment rate will fall. However, if a higher number of people from that increased population want a job and join the labor force then there may be the same increase in employment but the unemployment rate will increase.

What the Obama Administration needs to do is keep as many people as possible in the increasing population from joining the labor force, a very low utilization rate of the increase in population is key.

5 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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I tried to follow another Google Maps route to Mountain Falls Grill for breakfast this morning. The route shown on Maps did not exist even as dirt trails this time.

I was trying to reach the Grill from the north and did cross the golf course as I found my way south but I was still about one mile west. The breakfast was 'ordinary' but the waitress provided excellent service and was very friendly.

The Grill is the third restaurant that I can include as a stop during my morning walks. The VFW may be a fourth but they only serve breakfast on the weekend, all other restaurants would require a very long round trip.

When I got home I promptly started my 2010 Income Taxes, they did not make it any easier this year by NOT providing the instructions.

I knew there was going to be bad news before I started because I had taken a large IRA Withdrawal to give me the money to buy Desperado. I guess it could have been worse, even though the Withdrawal caused a small portion of my Social Security to be taxable I will pay just over 6% of the Withdrawal.

Now that I know how much I need to pay I'll wait until April before I file and pay it. It is not that I'm earning a lot of interest on the money, it is the principle of not paying until I have to.

I needed a rest after that chore was finished and that is what I did for the remainder to the day.

I really like these few quotes from British historian Paul Johnson from an interview with Brian M. Carney and published in The Wall Street Journal Opinions.
"And I like that lady—Sarah Palin. She's great. I like the cut of her jib." The former governor of Alaska, he says, "is in the good tradition of America, which this awful political correctness business goes against." Plus: "She's got courage. That's very important in politics. You can have all the right ideas and the ability to express them. But if you haven't got guts, if you haven't got courage the way Margaret Thatcher had courage—and [Ronald] Reagan, come to think of it. Your last president had courage too—if you haven't got courage, all the other virtues are no good at all. It's the central virtue."
"Mr. Reagan had thousands of one-liners." Here a grin spreads across Mr. Johnson's face: "That's what made him a great president." Jokes, he argues, were a vital communication tool for President Reagan "because he could illustrate points with them." Mr. Johnson adopts a remarkable vocal impression of America's 40th president and delivers an example: "You know, he said, 'I'm not too worried about the deficit. It's big enough to take care of itself.'" Recovering from his own laughter, he adds: "Of course, that's an excellent one-liner, but it's also a perfectly valid economic point." Then his expression grows serious again and he concludes: "You don't get that from Obama. He talks in paragraphs."
6 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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I chose a route for this morning that would get me to the VFW Post at 8:00 am for breakfast. This was the first route that I have picked that did have roads where I expected them and they were all paved.

I had a pretty good omelet and some good conversation so will make this my regular breakfast stop on Sunday. They have a Friday Fish-n-Chips that I may give a try also but not every Friday.

For my 'linner' I had another salmon fillet, brussel sprouts and a large spinach/romaine/tomato salad. This is the same thing that I had on Friday but I did not tell you about the sauce for the salmon, just plain yogurt with some capers added – it is all very tasty.

I finished the western historical fiction that I have been reading and exchanged it today at the Clubhouse. The Park has a very large library that has been organized by author.

A Library Committee has done this I'm sure, there seems to be a Committee for everything within this Co-op Park. It is soooo organized that it would probably drive me crazy if I lived here full time.

It was a bit warmer this morning. A high layer of clouds helped keep the low temperature elevated but the high today is still at that boring 70°. So much nicer than the cold that I had during January and February!

There are fruit trees and/or other flowering trees and shrubs starting to put on their spring show. It is green-up in the Pahrump Valley.

It is days like this that confirm my decision to live on the road. George Carlin said it best when he said:
That's all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. You could just walk around all the time. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it.
7 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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No breakfast stop today other than back home where I had my usual oatmeal with blueberries.

My walking route was one that I can reverse and give me two routes. I'm going to try another one tomorrow which will then give me four if it works out and is reversed.

These combined with my routes that have breakfast stops should keep me entertained during the morning for the next 5-6 weeks.

There have been some clouds building up over the Valley this afternoon with the chance of rain in the forecast. The overnight low is to be under 40° but the highs to continue in the 65-70 range. With almost no wind it is very nice.

The new to me soup that I fixed is healthy but not much for being stick-to-your-ribs. It is a Chinese soup so you are hungry again soon after eating it.

It is very simple; about ½ pound of diced firm tofu, a quart of chicken or beef stock and a salad bag of fresh spinach. This filled my Cooker pot to the top but the spinach cooks down to almost nothing.

I'm going to experiment with this basic recipe by adding it to some different canned soups for more variety.

We are at the first year anniversary of ObamaCare, here are some of the progressive changes that it has brought so far.
More than half the states—28 and counting—are challenging the law in court, saying that it violates the constitutional rights of their citizens and the sovereignty of the states. A new study from the Senate Finance and House Energy and Commerce Committees found that as a result of ObamaCare, budget-strapped states face at least $118 billion in unfunded mandates during the first 10 years after the law takes effect.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has handed out nearly 1,000 waivers to allow select companies, unions and states to escape, at least temporarily, some of the burdensome new insurance rules she has created. This is a continuation of the trend of the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase" that Senate Democrats used to get the law passed in the first place, and that so disgusted the American people.
Independent experts have shown that the cost of health insurance will rise faster than it would have without the law. The Congressional Budget Office expects the price of a family policy in the individual market to be $2,100 higher by 2016 than it would have been had the law not passed. In at least 20 states, it's now impossible to buy child-only health insurance because of Ms. Sebelius's onerous new rules.
Seniors are at risk of losing access to physicians and medical care. Medicare actuaries say that the cuts built into the law will force as many as 40% of providers to eventually stop seeing Medicare patients or go bankrupt.
Many thousands of people are already losing the health insurance they have now as companies are exiting markets for individual, small group and Medicare Advantage coverage.
The former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, says that the costs of ObamaCare are set to explode when employers opt to drop coverage and send their workers to the new, federally subsidized health exchanges for coverage. He estimates that this will drive up the cost of the law by $1 trillion or more in the first 10 years.
8 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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Last night the sun went down and the wind came up. It came with a fury, gusts up to 56 mph had Desperado bobbing like a cork in heavy seas.

It was still blowing this morning but the gusts had calmed somewhat. No walk with the temperature near 40° and the wind cutting right through me.

I was out in it only long enough to reach the laundry room. After I got my laundry done it was breakfast time and then curl up on the couch.

The wind finally died down in the afternoon and it turned out to be a pretty nice day. I'm hoping for it to be that way in the morning when I walk to the VA Clinic.

I'll see if they have an appointment date for my lab work and then stop for breakfast on my way home.

9 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
no pic
The weather has returned to the wonderful days we were having prior to the wind attack. A perfect morning for me to establish a personal best for distance walked, 9.3 miles, since I re-started my program in September 2010.

It was a little over 4 miles to the VA Clinic where I got an appointment for lab work on March 31st. Then another 2 miles to the Homestead Café for breakfast and 3 miles from there home.

Today when I got home I had an onset of PEH (Post Exercise Hypotension), it does not happen every time I walk but it has happened on more than one occasion. I think it is a combination of the exercise, mild dehydration and my blood pressure dosage.

It is something that I'm going to discuss with my doctor on April 7th.

Other than enjoying the weather with my windows open once again I did not do much other than recover from the PEH. I did have enough energy to mix up a batch of chili that is now in the Cooker.

I'll let it sit until Friday when I'll make my first 'linner' from it. Will grocery shop on Friday or Saturday and get some more fish for my new every-other-day feeding routine.

I added my spinach and tofu to a can of minestrone soup which improved them both. Think I'll keep the recipe in my rotation of different one pot meals but will add it to canned soups with more experimentation.

A counter position to the Peak Oil advocates, such as James Howard Kunstler, by Nansen G. Saleri published in The Wall Street Journal Opinion section.
What's missing is a coherent U.S. energy policy. At best, the Obama administration's approach to U.S. domestic oil and gas production can be characterized as a strategy of ambivalence, an uneasy equilibrium between desire to lessen the role of fossil fuels and the reality of their necessity in a functioning U.S. economy. Last year's Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf tilted the current administration's policies to an even more punitive posture vis-a-vis domestic energy production.
As the French philosopher Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wisely observed, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." Unfortunately for the U.S., there is not even a wish. The time to rethink and redesign our entire energy strategy is now.
The Obama administration must seriously ponder the following questions, because they relate directly to what the president likes to call "winning the future." What will be the make-up of the energy-supply pie, and how can we dramatically increase, even double, our energy efficiency? What exactly are our carbon emission goals? And how do we go from where we are today—importing about 20% of our daily energy supply—to where we want to be in 2026, perhaps even an energy exporter?
We've already entered a new energy era that is dramatically more competitive, diverse and high-tech than the past. The global consumer is king. The future energy picture for the U.S. or the planet is not constrained by the availability of supplies, either fossil or non-fossil, but by efficiency gains in generation and consumption.
This will require real leadership and the clear articulation of energy goals, costs and priorities. Ambiguity will not serve the best interests of future generations. The U.S. does not have an energy problem. It has an energy strategy problem.
10 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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The second non-restaurant route that I picked out worked just fine this morning. So, if I do nothing else I can walk those four routes and go to three restaurant each week. That may be a plan for this next week to see if I like it.

I took a first step away from my normal semi-recluse way of life by joining the coffee group in the Clubhouse after my walk. I'll plan on doing that on those days that I do not go to a restaurant.

It was another great morning for walking and the high temperature for the day has been in the low 70s. I can not think of anything to whine about in regards to the weather. I only hope for more of the same!

Another unintended consequence of the ObamaCare law is raising it's ugly head; raising the cost of medical care, and thereby insurance costs, rather than reducing them. Former Speaker Pelosi had it right; “We have to pass the Bill to find out what is in it.”
Sandy Chung is grappling with a new kind of request at her pediatrics office in Fairfax, Va.: prescriptions for aspirin and diaper-rash cream.
Patients are demanding doctors' orders for over-the-counter products because of a provision in the health-care overhaul that slipped past nearly everyone's radar. It says people who want a tax break to buy such items with what's known as flexible-spending accounts need to get a prescription first.
The result is that Americans are visiting their doctors before making a trip to the drugstore, hoping their physician will help them out by writing the prescription. The new requirements create not only an added burden for doctors, but also new complications for retailers and pharmacies.
"It drives up the cost of health care as opposed to reducing it," says Dr. Chung, who rejected much of a 10-item request from a mother of four that included pain relievers and children's cold medicine.
Though the new rules on over-the-counter drugs amount to a small part of the massive overhaul of the health-care system, the unintended side effects show how difficult it can be to predict how such game-changing legislation will play out in the real world.
11 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: March 11, 1923

I am publishing my comments in two installments today.

ALL the News today is all about the earthquake in Japan. Most of the TV News that I saw was on CNN and they seemed to be focusing on Sendi and Tokoyo. Iwaki City, where I lived in 2000 is about 60 miles south of Sendi so I knew that it had been hit hard also. Here are a few pictures that I found on the Internet, published by REUTERS/KYODO and AP.

no pic no pic no pic no pic no pic no pic

leftpic If you want to read about my experience in Japan click on it in the Archives. You can navigate from page to page by selecting the navigation buttons in the NavBar at the top of each page.

I chose to walk to Mountain Falls Grill Room for breakfast this morning. This time I tried a Google Maps route that approached the Grill Room from the south. Had almost the same problems as I did trying to reach it from the north.

Google Maps showed roads that did not exist, there were others that Maps did not show and there was a walled housing development that Maps does not show. I did find an acceptable route and it was at the Gill Room that I saw CNN's report on the earthquake.

After I got home I spent a lot of time checking the web for News about Iwaki City and preparing the early edition of my blog post for today.

Nothing more for the day. Tomorrow will be a busy one, that is busy for me anyway.

12 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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With all the News about the earthquake yesterday I completely forgot to post the Will Rogers Weekly Article; I have gone back and added it to the post of yesterday.

My busy day began with a clockwise walk of the route that I have named 'Money' for one of the streets on the route. The other non-restaurant route will be called 'Kellogg' for a similar reason.

I then joined the coffee group in the Clubhouse for about ½ hour. That took care of exercising and socializing for the day, next was chores time.

I dumped holding tanks, un-hooked water and electric and prepared to drive into 'town'. First stop was for a late breakfast at El Jefe restaurant where I had chicken enchiladas with fried eggs on top.

The next chore was at Smith's where I picked up groceries. They have added some excitement to the shopping experience by moving things to different aisles but NOT changing the overhead signs for each one.

Grocery shopping is always a bit of an adventure and a challenge for Fulltimers without this added complication.

The last stop in town was at my UPS Store to pick up a weeks worth of mail. Much more there than I thought there would be. Two more Business Reply solicitations that got cut up and will be mailed back – I just love it when I can cost those businesses money.

The final two chores were after I got home: hook up to water and electric again and cook up some Pescado a la veracruzana sauce.

The afternoon was then devoted to reading and enjoying another very fine day.

The Obama Doctrine:
Whatever else one might say about President Obama's Libya policy, it has succeeded brilliantly in achieving its oft-stated goal of not leading the world. No one can any longer doubt the U.S. determination not to act before the Italians do, or until the Saudis approve, or without a U.N. resolution. This White House is forthright for followership.
That message also couldn't be clearer to Moammar Gadhafi and his sons, who are busy bombing and killing their way to victory against the Libyan opposition. As the U.S. defers to the world, the world can't decide what to do, and the vacuum is filled by a dictator and his hard men who have concluded that no one will stop them. "Hear it now. I have only two words for our brothers and sisters in the east: We're coming," said Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Islam, on Thursday. ..
Libya today is what a world without U.S. leadership looks like.
13 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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While I am here I will make every Sunday my day to stop at the VFW for breakfast while on my morning walk. There is a good and simple reason for doing so, it is the only morning that they serve breakfast.

I also decided to join their organization. The primary reason for doing this is to give me blacktop boondocking opportunities as I travel from one major RV Park camp to the next during my travels.

The Elks were another possibility but I think I have more in common with the VFW. I could also continue to rely on Wal*Mart and/or Indian Casinos but the VFW will offer additional choices where those two may not exist.

I devoted a large portion of the morning after my walk to creating an HTML Table for the Iwaki City pictures that I posted on March 11th. The table was not too difficult although I have trouble with every Table that I do; just don't do enough of them to be good at it.

My other troublesome problem was to have a small picture in the Table that would become a larger picture when it was clicked on. This has been done many times before but not by me. I finally succeeded and have made the change to the Archived Page that contains the March 11th posting.

I also started working on a new Page of Will Rogers Weekly Articles that will contain the 2nd Quarter of 1923. The Page preparation is not very time consuming but each Weekly Article does take a lot of time – I am fortunate to have a lot of that.

The days of beautiful weather continue to keep rolling along. Even changing to Daylight Savings Time only slightly impacted my morning walk so all is well.

14 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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I worked on the Will Rogers Weekly Articles a lot last night and this morning. I like to have at least a month of Articles prepared before the posting date.

I also created Tables for the few pictures that I had posted since I started writing in a blog format. I have now included the pictures in the blog posting rather than linked to a Picture Page as I did for all of my Journal postings.

I had another roll of film developed about 6 months ago but have not scanned those pictures. That is another project that I need to get to and have been putting it off. After I had that last roll of film developed I gave my 35mm film camera away and have a digital one on my Wish List – soon maybe?

When, and if, I get the new camera I will be able to post pictures much more timely and perhaps will actually do so. I am not that interested in taking pictures, not that good at it and don't ever expect my blog to become a photo galley as so many others are.

I sent four email to Japaneses friends in Iwaki City that I have stayed in semi-contact with since I left. Received one reply today that said all of his family were well but his parents may be evacuated from the nuclear power plant.

I am not thinking the worse by not hearing from the others; Japan and its people have a serious problem on their hands. Simply hoping for the best.

15 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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I awoke feeling tired, or lazy, this morning and my resting pulse rate was elevated a little (this is always a good excuse to not walk). I did go to the Clubhouse for coffee and some socializing so didn't completely drop my routine.

Yesterday, after posting my blog, I got my scanner out and went to work on the pictures that I had talked about. I finished up the scanning and got them all uploaded to my web site this morning.

I have now posted those pictures, with captions, to their respective blog dates in the Archives. I still have a few more to do, maybe I'll get them done tomorrow.

Blog date: January 10, 2010
Blog date: January 24, 2010
Blog date: February 5, 2010
Blog Date: February 10, 2010
Blog Date: February 16, 2010

I have left the scanner set up, and in my way, to encourage me to scan some of the paper documents that I want to throw away yet retain a record. This is almost as daunting a job as the picture scanning to my web project was back in May of 2009.

The small space that I have in Desperado is a motivator and I need to empty some boxes that sit where a storage cabinet will be placed. I ordered that unit yesterday and expect it before the end of the month – I have a deadline now, an additional motivator.

Then there is this in the News.
Potassium iodide pills are reportedly flying off the shelves at drug stores in at least three West Coast states -- Oregon, California and Hawaii -- according to several local press accounts.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that one Virginia-based supplier, Anbex Inc., sold out of its entire supply of 10,000 14-tablet packages on Saturday.
Alan Morris, president of the company, reportedly said that the supplier is receiving about three orders a minute for $10 packages of its Iosat pills.
"Those who don't get it are crying. They're terrified," Morris told the newspaper.
U.S. health officials have said that dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant in Japan pose little or no risk to people on the U.S. West Coast. But the reassurances have not stopped worried Americans from clearing out potassium iodide supplies at drug stores in Hawaii, Oregon and California.
Stores in Eugene, Ore., for example, have reported a sudden spike in sales of the pill. Janell Davis, vitamin manager at Sundance Natural Foods, told the Register-Guard that the store was sold out of the tablets by Saturday afternoon. In Redding, Calif., some store owners say they can't stock their shelves fast enough with the tablets.
I guess this should be expected of those people that live on the left coast. And would be willing to bet that 90% of those people that are buying the iodide pills could not find Japan on a globe.

16 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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There was an early morning wind when I went on my walk to Terrible's Lackside for breakfast. It then stayed with us all day and has blown in some high clouds. Without the wind it would have been another very fine day.

I finished posting the rest of the pictures that I had scanned to their respective blog dates in the Archives.

Blog Date: May 13, 2010
Blog date: July 7, 2010

After posting my blog yesterday I started sorting through paper documents, maps and books. Purged more than ¾ of those that I thought were important at one time.

The remainder are not that important either, for the most part, but I'm going to try scanning them before discarding. The few I have done so far have not all scanned that well and it is an even slower process than my pictures were.

I have managed to get the three boxes that are in the way down to about one and know where that 'stuff' is going to be stored. I'll find out if I'm right when I receive the storage cabinet that is on order.

17 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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The wind became gusty as the sun went down last night but then subsided before morning. The high clouds remained however and have stayed around giving us a gray gloomy day.

I continued to scan documents, uploading them to my web site and creating a Document Page with some explanatory narrative. I'll have the first Page completed in a couple of days and will then start a second one.

I'm not sure how many Pages there will be, this project is a work in process and I'm making it up as I go along.

I break up this work with my usual reading while on the couch or on the computer. I have caught up with those blogs that I follow about once a month.

Have also started two more from their beginning after quitting two others. I gave up on them after a couple of years worth of blog postings when I found that they were not holding my interest. There are plenty available to choose from.

The Park is having their St. Patty's Day dinner of corned beef and cabbage. I like the meal just fine but they are serving too late for me – my 'linner' feeding schedule calls for a earlier time.


Do You Know What This Is? Or Where This Is?

This statue currently stands outside an Iraqi palace, now home to the 4th Infantry Division. It will eventually be shipped home and put in the memorial museum in Fort Hood, Texas.

The statue was created by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted Baghdad.

Kalat was so grateful for the America's liberation of his country; he melted 3 of the heads of the fallen Saddam and made the statue as a memorial to the American soldiers and their fallen warriors.

Kalat worked on this memorial night and day for several months.

To the right of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms.

Do you know why we don't hear about this in the news? The media avoids it because it does not have shock effect nor does it fit their matrix for Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan.

They have an agenda and if a story does not help move this country toward that agenda they do not print it. It may be viewed as bias but is simply a mater of printing only what they determine will move their agenda forward.

18 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: March 18, 1923

The morning sky was still gray, not as bad as yesterday but it had a California look about it. The wind came up in the afternoon but that didn't seem to improve things much.

I went to the Homestead Café for my breakfast walk today. It so happened that there was a large group there and a fellow from the State Government was giving a slide show and sales pitch about what he and his agency could do to help Pahrump and Nevada with Rural Development.

I was only listening with ½ an ear and have had Peace Corps on my mind a lot for the past few days but it sure sounded a lot like the pitch we were trying to sell the Bulgarians.

One of the questions from the group was “What is your background?” His answer included quite a resume of experience, however all of it was with non-profit organizations or the government. I think he might have lost points with the questioner and maybe others.

He has never had to make a profit to remain open or employed in his entire long career. I'm not so sure that what the people of Nevada and or Pahrump need is another Community Organizer telling them how he can help with Rural Development.

I continue to scan documents. Finished the first batch which was my Peace Corps Application with attached medical records and other personal information that I am not going to post to my web site. However, I have posted a Comment and some of the documents to my first Letter from Bulgaria.

This excerpt is from an Opinion written by Kimberley A. Strassel for the Wall street Journal.

What she is writing about is the fact that President Obama became Candidate Obama right after the November 2010 elections; the United States no longer has a leader in the White House. I disagreed with most of what he believed in and did during his first two years in office - but he did lead. That is gone now, he is going to vote “present” for the next two in an attempt to garner every vote that he can. He is now working on the sequel - Hope & Change II.
One knock on Barack Obama in the 2008 election was his record as an Illinois state senator, where he repeatedly ducked tough issues by voting "present." It seems old habits die hard. ..
If, however, you are curious about where the most powerful man in the universe stands on Libya, radiation, a possible government shutdown, the future of Social Security, or rising oil prices, don't look to the White House. Those issues are tough. Those issues risk mistakes. Those issues might mean unhappy voters. And right now, it's approval ratings the White House cares about. ..
And so as Moammar Gadhafi has visited a bloodbath on opposition forces, the White House has for weeks spun its wheels at the United Nations, waiting for someone else to go first. The White House has argued intervention might provoke an Arab backlash against the U.S., and it could be it actually believes such crazy talk. Yet it seems equally concerned that any U.S.-led military action in Libya—no matter how minor—will invite comparisons to the dreaded Bush warmongers and prove unpopular.
And as Congress lurches from one budget crisis to the next, President Obama leaves negotiations to Vice President Joe Biden. It has been clear for weeks the only way this gets settled is for Mr. Obama and House Speaker John Boehner to find a fiscal 2011 spending-cut number that gets bipartisan support. But Mr. Obama worries that number will be too much for the left, and not enough for the right, and that means . . . controversy.
Today he instead leaves for a five-day Latin American tour. On that trip he will not be visiting Colombia or Panama, whose trade deals he's squelched since he took office. Trade deals, after all, don't always sit well with the public (and rarely with unions).
It took until yesterday for Mr. Obama to address Japan's nuclear problem, and only then to clarify that Americans should and should not be worried about radiation, while also knowing that U.S. power plants are and aren't safe. The president had been touting a new love for nuclear energy (to coax Republicans into a "clean-energy" deal), but the White House is now worried Japan is the hydrogen version of the BP oil spill, and thinking the safest short-term policy is incoherence.
19 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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Wind is the weather story for today. It blew all night with gusts up to 40 mph and has continued to blow all day. My morning walk was done with temperatures in the high 40s or low 50s with the wind cutting through me.

The high for the day has not reached 60° and threatening rain clouds have gathered over the Valley. I don't think it will rain but if it does so tomorrow morning I won't be walking.

After my walk I had my socializing fix at the Clubhouse, did laundry, tried to stay warm and continued reading.

I have finished scanning all of the Peace Corps documents that I have been keeping and will now throw away. The second batch has also been posted as a Comment to my first Letter from Bulgaria.

Here is a bit more Budget News.
A new assessment of President Barack Obama's budget released Friday says the White House underestimates future budget deficits by more than $2 trillion over the upcoming decade.
The estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that if Obama's February budget submission is enacted into law it would produce deficits totaling $9.5 trillion over 10 years — an average of almost $1 trillion a year.
Obama's budget saw deficits totaling $7.2 trillion over the same period...
The White House's goal is to reach a point where the budget is balanced except for interest payments on the $14 trillion national debt. Such "primary balance" occurs when the deficit is about 3 percent of the size of the economy, and economists say deficits of that magnitude are generally sustainable.
I want to rephrase this in language that makes sense to me. President Obama is mathematically challenged whereas I need to express things mathematically to really understand.

The Congressional Budget Office says that the Budget Deficit for the next 10 years will total $9.5 Trillion or 32% MORE than what President Obama claims. To be wrong by 32% is not even close enough for government work; the President's number must have been a lie and he had to have known that it was.

Then there is this concept of “primary balance”. IF I could have a Credit Card Debt that did not require any minimum monthly payments then I could consider my budget 'primary balanced' if I ONLY had to borrow the interest on that Debt each year. The interest that I would have to borrow is added to the Debt each year yet economists(?) would say this is sustainable?

I am missing something in this picture. It seems to me that the Debt would become larger and larger until the lender decided to change the payment requirements or would no longer loan to me and force me into bankruptcy.

20 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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Heavy cloud cover this morning that obscured the top of Mt. Charleston to the east. As the day progressed the clouds continued to spill over the mountains and drop down into the Valley.

No rain from them but it looked, and felt, like it was going to snow. Still have some wind but not a bad as yesterday. Has stayed in the mid-50s with a chance of rain tonight, tomorrow and tomorrow night. No good weather in the forecast for the next 5-7 days – Bummer!

Yesterday, after I had posted to my web site, I had a knock on my door. This is very unusual and I wondered what it could be. There was a fellow from the Park Office there to tell me that I had a large package waiting for me.

I walked up to the Office and loaded it into the Security Patrol truck and he drove it down to my space.

I had received my Cubby Bench from Sawdust City. It is 24” long with two cubby compartments below the bench seat. I had it customized by putting a 1” lip along the bottom in front to keep magazine files from sliding out when traveling.

I plan on putting four magazine files in it to hold the various papers that I accumulate and need for a short time. It will also hold my paper maps, campground books and magazines.

I have ordered 6 of the files, will use two of them in my kitchen to keep bottles and cans from flying around in the overhead cabinets when traveling.

The last batch of Peace Corps documents have been posted as a Comment in my last Letter from Bulgaria.

I started scanning all of the documents that I still have pertaining to school (except year books) and other training that I have received over the years. Most of it is simply 'stuff' now that I probably should have thrown away a long time ago. Once I have scanned it all, that is what I will do.

Upon completing that scanning project I will have reduced my retained documents to one accordion file that is less than 3” thick. Before this latest purge, I had decades of Federal and State Tax Returns in a box. I did not scan any of them and threw all but the last 5 years away; now everything fits in a metal file box that is 4” wide with room to spare.

21 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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No walk this morning. Temperature was in the low 40s with a 15-20 mph wind and a forecast for more rain.

It rained during the night with a light dusting of snow on the mountains around the Valley; snow level was around 3000-3500'. The rain was not disturbing but the wind gusts up to 62 mph got my attention when they shook me awake.

I got my heater out again and have had it on and off during most of the day with the high for the day in the low 50s.

I finished scanning all the School/Training pictures and documents and have uploaded them.

I haven't started scanning yet but I got some 'about me' pictures out and have started to sort through them. I'll probably get them scanned during the next few days and add them as another photo page linked to About Me.

I don't have many of me or family pictures because they were all thrown away by my mother's Conservator. A neighbor found some of those that I have out in the desert along with some documents and other papers; one of which had my address and telephone number so they contacted me.

I also have a few military pictures, most of my military film is on 8 mm, and some documents that I'll also scan. Neither of these projects will save me much space because I have very little but while I'm in the mood I'll do them.

22 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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I received an email today that warned me about posting my school/training documents to my blog. He/she made a convincing case that the documents could be copied and altered and then used to harm me OR others.

This question was also posed: " I am wondering why you find it necessary to make your documentations public information?" My reply: I guess I did it for the same reason that other people frame them and display them on their walls. This is who I WAS. The older we get the better we WERE.

I continued my reply by saying: You make a good point about me making it easier for someone to use the documents to harm someone else. For that reason I have taken the link to my School/Training documents down.
I am not very concerned about being harmed myself, what can anyone do to me at my age. Deprive me of my life? Time is going to do that soon. Deprive me of my money? I have very little of that to be taken and when it is all gone then President Obama is going to take care of me. When I become an overwhelming burden on society then society will take whatever is left - money or my life if that is all that remains.
Thanks for making the point about harming others.

It was in the mid-30s this morning when I went for my walk. The big difference was the wind; there was some but it was very slight.

I had my heater on again from about 3:00 am until I left to walk. Then turned it on again during the morning after I got back. It finally warmed up to 50° by 11:00 and I started getting some sunshine on the couch.

Maybe we will get back into the 60s and 70s by the end of the week but there is more rain in the forecast also.

Didn't feel up to the challenge of more scanning so I put everything away. I would have needed to do that tomorrow when I go to town again. It is just as well that I do it today so I have less to do tomorrow.

That gave me more time to for my current novel while on the sun drenched couch. More time to read the three blogs I'm trying to reach current. Yes, a busy day once more. HA

The following is from The Washington Post Opinion page by Charles Krauthammer. He has provided the clearest explanation, that I have read, of the Social Security Trust Fund and the reason it should be considered the largest Ponzi Scheme of all time.
Last week, President Obama’s budget chief, Jack Lew, took to his White House blog to repeat his claim that the Social Security trust fund is solvent through 2037. And to chide me for suggesting otherwise. I had argued in my last column that the trust fund is empty, indeed fictional.
If Lew’s claim were just wrong, that would be one thing. But it provides the intellectual justification for precisely the kind of debt denial and entitlement complacency that his boss is now engaged in. Therefore, once more unto the breach.
Lew acknowledges that the Social Security surpluses of the last decades were siphoned off to the Treasury Department and spent. He also agrees that Treasury then deposited corresponding IOUs — called “special issue” bonds — in the Social Security trust fund. These have real value, claims Lew. After all, “these Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government in the same way that all other U.S. Treasury bonds are.”
Really? If these trust fund bonds represent anything real, why is it that in calculating national indebtedness they are not even included? ... The debt ratio completely ignores the kind of intra governmental bonds that Lew insists are the equivalent of publicly held bonds.
Why? Because the intra-governmental bond is nothing more than a bookkeeping device that records how much one part of the U.S. government (Treasury) owes another part of the same government (the Social Security Administration). In judging the creditworthiness of the United States, the world doesn’t care what the left hand owes the right. It’s all one entity. It cares only what that one entity owes the world....
Invoking the “full faith and credit” mantra for those IOUs in the trust fund is empty bluster. It does not change the fact that, as the OMB itself acknowledged, those IOUs “do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits.” Yet Lew continues to insist that these “special issue” trinkets will pay off seniors for the next 26 years.
Nonsense. That money is gone with the wind. Those trust fund trinkets are nothing more than a record of past borrowings. They say nothing about the future....And there is nothing in the lockbox.
This is what Krauthammer had to say on March 11th that spawned the rebuttal by Obama's budget chief. This kind of talk can not be ignored by President Obama now that he is in Campaign mode once again.
That's what makes this administration's claim that Social Security is solvent so cynical. The Republicans have said that their April budget will contain real entitlement reform. President Obama is preparing the ground to demagogue Social Security right through the 2012 elections. The ad writes itself: Those heartless Republicans don't just want to throw granny in the snow, they want to throw granny in the snow to solve a problem that doesn't even exist! Vote Obama.
On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia denounced Obama for lack of leadership on the debt. It's worse than that. Obama is showing leadership. With Lew's preposterous claim that Social Security is solvent for 26 years, Obama is preparing to lead the charge against entitlement reform as his ticket to reelection.
23 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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It was the coldest, at 34°, it has been in the morning since March 1st. Didn't fire up my heater again until 5:00 am; it was too cold to get out of bed.

We are still having winter mornings but moving back over 60° in the afternoon. Fortunately there was no wind this morning, it held off until the afternoon.

I dumped holding tanks and disconnected water late yesterday while it was still warm and glad that I did. It was still cold after my walk this morning when I un-hooked from electric.

Stopped at El Jefe restaurant for breakfast and they were closed (maybe for good?) so then went to the Pahrump Diner. After that it was on to the UPS Store were I had some more junk mail from VA Reno and others.

There was some good mail also. A new pair of Chaco sandals that I bought on-line at 30% discount. A 6 quart Nesco Roaster Oven that will take the place of my skillet for some of my cooking. The six magazine files; four of them are now in the Cubby Bench and two are holding bottles in my kitchen cabinet.

I have tried the sandals and they are great. My previous pair lasted many years but the right sole was split almost completely across at the ball of my foot.

The Roaster Oven has just been brought back inside after undergoing an hour of 'smoke out' burn in outside. The first thing that I'm probably going to cook in it will be some steamed fish and brussel sprouts sometime this week.

The magazine files will be tested the next time I drive into town or move to my next camp. They give the appearance of doing the job for which I bought them but only time on the road will tell.

I made one other stop about a mile from home to pick up a pizza. There is a small strip mall out in the middle of nowhere that I walk past that has a pizza and sub shop. Got an expensive taco pizza that is quite tasty but I'll probably get two 'linners' out of it so the expense will not be outrageous.

24 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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It rained for a long time during the night with wind gusts driving it into Desperado at 40 mph. Cleared somewhat in the morning with high clouds and the winds dropped to the 10-20 mph range.

The wind and temperatures in the high 30s kept me from walking once more (I think I was looking for an excuse). The forecast is for more rain today, tonight and tomorrow.

Had my heater on early this morning and then stayed in bed until after 6:00 am when I saw what the weather was like.

Attended the morning Clubhouse gathering for coffee, warmth and conversation. Then it was back home where I had a choice of bundling up on the couch of sit in front of the heater.

Got some warming from the sun about mid-day. It wasn't too bad after that but it never did reach 60° outside.

A rather inactive day, even for me.

25 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: March 25, 1923

It looked like it could rain at any moment when I started my walk to the Homestead Café for breakfast. Heavy dark clouds that sat low atop Mt. Charleston but no wind so I went.

The wind gradually came up and the cloud cover broke up into those cotton balls floating in a nice blue sky. They may coalesce sometime tonight and rain but not today.

When I got home I fixed a batch of Italian Stew and put it in the Thermal Cooker. I'll have that starting tomorrow interspersed with fish.

Today will my now famous Pescado a la veracruzana. Then on Sunday I'll try out my new Roasting Oven by steaming a salmon fillet with some brussel sprouts.

I found myself awaking from a nap this afternoon. Don't nap often but had one sneak up on me while I was on the couch reading.

This is from the Opinion section of The Wall Street Journal by John Yoo.
Imagine the uproar if President Bush had unilaterally launched air attacks against Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. But since it's Mr. Obama's finger on the trigger, Democratic leaders in Congress have kept quiet—demonstrating that their opposition to presidential power during the Bush years was political, not principled.
Mr. Obama's exercise of war powers in Libya is firmly in the tradition of American foreign policy... Since Vietnam, however, antiwar Democrats have sought to replace the Constitution's reliance on swift presidential action in war with a radically different system appropriate for peacetime: Congress makes policy, the president implements it...
President George W. Bush's campaign against terror upped the stakes in this contest. Opening the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, establishing special military courts for terrorist trials, ordering tough interrogation of al Qaeda leaders, and conducting warrantless wiretaps of electronic communications—all without congressional approval—fed the left-wing narrative of an "imperial presidency." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other prominent Democrats regularly attacked Mr. Bush for acting "above the law" and "cutting out Congress." Then-Sen. Joe Biden even opposed the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito because he would not agree that Mr. Bush would need congressional permission to attack Iran.*
Mr. Obama once agreed with his Democratic colleagues, saying in 2007 that "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." Fast forward four years: Last Monday, Mr. Obama notified Congress that he ordered military action in Libya "pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive."...
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama's desire to work through the United Nations has only substituted one source of delay and unaccountability for another. While he wasted weeks negotiating with the Arab League, NATO allies and finally the U.N. Security Council to win the international approval he so desperately seeks, Moammar Gadhafi reversed his battlefield losses and drove the rebels into one last holdout in Benghazi. The Constitution centralized the management of war in the president precisely to avoid the delays and mistakes of decision-making by committee. While Mr. Obama has done well to part ways with antiwar Democrats, he has shown that he still has to learn the ways of the executive.
*Please note that when the Democrats gained the majority in both the House and the Senate then won the Presidency they did not change ANY of these policies that they found so hateful under President Bush. Further demonstration that their opposition to presidential power during the Bush years was political, not principled.

You might notice that the lame stream media has adopted the same position. Some will call this biased reporting or hypocritical but I look at it as simply the media attempting to achieve their agenda. It just happens that their agenda and that of the Democtrat Party are in agreement on the issue.

26 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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It has continued to be cool and cloudy today but there is a forecast for warmer days and nights next week. It may be near 80° on Wednesday with the nights back up into the 40s.

That did not help much with the cold wind that was blowing this morning while I did my walk. Was also threatening rain but only a few sprinkles fell after I was safely in the Clubhouse for coffee.

Another good day to be on the couch with my book or on my computer reading internet blogs.

The State of Nevada was at the top of the list for the highest unemployment rate again for the month of February. This was also the 25th month that the rate was in double digits.

The rate did go down by 0.6% which is good news for those 8,700 that went back to work - MAYBE. There were 7,700 that left the labor force in Nevada; how many of those had been unemployed? How many of them left the Nevada labor force and went to some other state seeking employment?

I'll look at the rate for GREAT news when the number of unemployed goes down and the labor force remains constant.

With the NPR in the News a lot lately it was coincidental that I found the following, written a couple of years ago, in one of the blog that I'm catching up to current.

“Of course in the modern world, politics has replaced theology as the center of the universe. There is no physical church that worships government, but there is a type of conventional piety. The devout guard the purity of their minds by only getting news from NPR or the BBC.
If you were to point out the fundamental conflict-of-interest in government running a news source, conventional piety of the modern type might think you're joking or being distastefully cynical. If they personally like you, you will be given a condescending and sympathetic smile. After all, there is no point in taking your arguments at face value and getting miffed about them: they know you have a few personality quirks and are just projecting those onto the issue.”

27 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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A warmer morning, at 45°, for my walk to the VFW for breakfast. However, the 10-15 mph wind made it feel colder than that.

Perhaps it was that wind that got my 'juices flowing'. I set another personal best for my walks; not distance this time but one for speed.

I have been able to maintain a pace of 3.5 mph for short distances in the past but have only averaged that pace 2-3 times for a 5 or 6 mile distance. On those 2-3 occasions I was just at the 3.5 mph mark and one minute (did not have seconds recorded) added would have dropped me below the mark.

There was no doubt that I had exceeded 3.5 mph this morning. My personal best is now 3.55 mph and adding one minute would still give me an average that is over the 3.5 that I have been trying for.

The steamed salmon and brussel sprouts that I did in my new Roaster Oven turned out well – for a first try. I had both in the Oven at the same time which may or may not have a mistake because the sprouts were over cooked. I don't know how the fish would have been if I had taken everything out sooner.

I need to experiment more. I have another salmon fillet and more sprouts that I think I'll try baking next time, probably next Friday. A piece of cod will get baked first on Tuesday for some more Pescado a la veracruzana.

The clean-up of the Roaster was a snap and either steaming or baking will eliminate the oil that I have used to fry fish in a skillet. So far I'm pleased.

28 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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I rolled over and went back to sleep for an additional hour this morning. I think my body was indicating that it needed to take a rest. I got the message and took a walking day off.

During some of that time that I would normally have been walking I finished reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I thought I had read this as well as Atlas Shrugged many years ago but as I was reading it I could not remember anything about it from a previous reading.

Probably did not read it and had a false memory of doing so. I enjoyed reading it now and would like to read Atlas Shrugged again if/when I can find a copy.

Within the next few days I will copy the two famous speeches from The Fountainhead into my blog (they are long so it will be a serial posting). They summarize the plot of the novel and Rand's theme of collectivism vs individualism.

Went to the Clubhouse where I exchanged my now read book for an un-read one. Also had coffee and a conversation/socialization session so as to retain my semi-recluse status.

This was the first day in over a week that I have had my windows open. The great weather has returned; clear blue sky, gentle breeze and near 70°. The forecasters are promising it to continue through the week. ALRIGHT!

The article quoted below was written by Daniel Foster based on a report by the Washington Post of March 19, 2011. Gaddafi almost pulled it off: mixed messages to NATO, a claim to honor the cease fire and then crush the rebels in Benghazi. He may succeed yet considering NATO disarray and its 'command by committee'. I wonder if he still loves President Obama like a son?
TRIPOLI, LIBYA — Forces loyal to Moammar Gaddafi entered the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi Saturday after shelling and fierce fighting, a fresh act of defiance even as the United States and its allies prepared to launch military attacks on Libya.
Government troops in tanks and trucks entered Benghazi from the west, in the university area, and began to shell the city, including civilian areas. Intense fighting broke out in some enclaves. The city of 1 million quickly became a ghost town, with residents fleeing or seeking cover in barricaded neighborhoods.
Later in the report, the details of two quite different letters Qaddafi sent to President Obama, and to the U.N., Britain, and France respectively. Apparently the colonel has much love for BHO. Either crazy, or crazy like a fox:
In what appeared to be a desperate attempt to avert military action, Gaddafi sent two letters to international leaders, according to deputy foreign minister Khaled Kaim, who read the letters to journalists. One was a warm, conciliatory note to Obama, and the other was a sharply worded, menacing message to the United Nations, France and Britain.
To Obama, he wrote: “If Libya and the US enter into a war you will always remain my son, and I have love for you.” Libya is battling al-Qaeda, he said, seeking Obama’s advice. “How would you behave so that I can follow your example?” he asked.
In the other letter, addressed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the leaders of France and Britain, he warned that the entire region would be destabilized if they pursued strikes against Libya. “You will regret it if you take a step to intervene in our internal affairs,” he wrote.
29 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
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Another fine day; a repeat of yesterday with the low in the low 40s and the high in the low 70s. I did my morning walk to Terrible's Lakeside for breakfast in perfect conditions for me.

When I got back home I went to the park Office and settled my electric bill for the month I have been here – their months are all 4 weeks long. Also paid for an additional two weeks which will have me leaving here on April 13th.

I have made a dental appointment for April 18th in Reno, NV so I should have plenty of time to get there. Only an unforeseen complication with VA here on March 31st or April 7th will cause those dates to change.

I used my Roaster Oven today to bake some cod that was then covered with my veracruzana sauce. It turned out just as well as when the fish was fried in a skillet and I used no oil.

I also baked a head of garlic at the same time; this gives me more easily peeled cloves so I will eat more. It is good for me and I like garlic but hate peeling each clove. I tried the minced garlic that the groceries sell but it had almost no taste; someone told me that it was made from minced elephant garlic that is quite mild.

President Obama made another fine speech last night, it may have been a week late but it was a fine speech. He does have a reputation for doing that; he has even sent 'tingles' down the leg of Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball on MSNBC.

However, Chris Stirewalt wrote this in Power Play for Fox On-Line
In his speech on Monday.. Obama posited that the Libyan air assault was acceptable because it involved a broad coalition and was in service of a humanitarian goal.
In the speech at a 2002 Chicago anti-war rally that launched Obama’s career in national politics, the future president argued against U.S. intervention in Iraq for humanitarian reasons thusly:
"I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions... But ... Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors ..."
The Obama Doctrine, as laid out on Monday, holds that action to prevent brutality by dictators is OK, though, if there is a broad coalition in support of the action because “American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves.”
But Obama has enlisted the help of only nine nations for his Odyssey Dawn coalition, compared to the 40 George W. Bush enlisted for Iraqi Freedom. Obama does have the advantage of a commitment from NATO to take over command, which Bush lacked. But since NATO is a predominantly American organization, the actual burden bearing looks to be substantially the same.
Today I begin a series of posts that will include all of the two famous speeches from The Fountainhead.

Ellsworth Toohey, speaking to Peter Keating in The Fountainhead

"What do you want Ellsworth ?"

"Power, Petey. I want to rule. Like my spiritual predecessors. But I’m luckier than they were. I inherited the fruit of their efforts and I shall be the one who’ll see the great dream made real. I see it all around me today. I recognize it. I don’t like it. I didn’t expect to like it. Enjoyment is not my destiny. I shall find such satisfaction as my capacity permits. I shall rule."


"You. The world. It’s only a matter of discovering the lever. If you learn how to rule one single man’s soul, you can get the rest of mankind. It’s the soul, Peter, the soul. Not whips or swords or fire or guns. That’s why the Caesars, the Attilas, the Napoleons were fools and did not last. We will. The soul, Peter, is that which can’t be ruled. It must be broken. Drive a wedge in, get your fingers on it – and the man is yours. You won’t need a whip – he’ll bring it to you and ask to be whipped. Set him in reverse – and his own mechanism will do your work for you. Use him against himself. Want to know how it’s done? See if I ever lied to you. See if you haven’t heard all this for years, but didn’t want to hear, and the fault is yours, not mine.

There are many ways. Here’s one. Make man feel small. Make him feel guilty. Kill his aspiration and his integrity. That’s difficult. The worst among you gropes for an idol in his own twisted way. Kill integrity by internal corruption. Use it against himself. Direct it towards a goal destructive of all integrity. Preach selflessness. Tell man that altruism is the ideal. Not a single one has ever reached it and not a single one ever will. His every living instinct screams against it. But don’t you see what you accomplish ? Man realizes that he’s incapable of what he’s accepted as the noblest virtue - and it gives him a sense of guilt, of sin, of his own basic unworthiness. Since the supreme ideal is beyond his grasp, he gives up eventually all ideals, all aspiration, all sense of his personal value. He feels himself obliged to preach what he can’t practice. But one can’t be good halfway or honest approximately. To preserve one’s integrity is a hard battle. Why preserve that which one knows to be corrupt already? His soul gives up its self respect. You’ve got him. He’ll obey. He’ll be glad to obey – because he can’t trust himself, he feels uncertain, he feels unclean. That’s one way.

To Be Continued

30 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
no pic
Nice and warm this morning, near 50°, with calm winds and my first walk without my winter coat only a windbreaker. By the time I got home the wind had increased to 15-20 mph and then later today it increased again to the 25-30 range with gusts of 35-40.

The sky has remained cloud free, there is lots of sun and the high temperature is trying for 80°. Pretty nice except for the wind.

A couple of days ago when I set a new speed personal best I was not consciously pressing my pace. Over the last month my 'natural' pace has slowly increased so today I tried pushing it a bit.

That resulted in another personal best of 3.65 mph for the 6.22 miles this morning.

I can not do that everyday but by increasing my pace for part of each walk and for all of the distance occasionally I'll again increase my 'natural' pace.

When I got home I stopped at the Clubhouse for one cup of coffee and then un-hooked for my trip to town.

Thought I would try El Jefe again and found that today they were open. They do not have their hours of business on the door but even if they did I'm not sure that it would mean anything.

After breakfast my next stop was at Wal*Mart to buy some more TracFone minutes and a small loaf pan. I also wanted a small, 1.5 quart, casserole dish but could not find one.

The loaf pan will be used to make some cornbread/corn pone in my Roaster Oven. Not sure what day I'll do that but want it with some chili that I'll cook in my Thermal Cooker.

The last stop was at Smith's for groceries. The place was packed and they continue to have everything scattered everywhere because of construction. It is a real challenge to get groceries every week or ten days.

Today was even worse, couldn't find a parking place in their lot so I parked next to a Winnebago View from Florida that was in the church parking lot across the street.

Ellsworth Toohey, speaking to Peter Keating in The Fountainhead


Here’s another. Kill man’s sense of values. Kill his capacity to recognize greatness or to achieve it. Great men can’t be ruled. We don’t want any great men. Don’t deny conception of greatness. Destroy it from within. The great is the rare, the difficult, the exceptional. Set up standards of achievement open to all, to the least, to the most inept – and you stop the impetus to effort in men, great or small. You stop all incentive to improvement, to excellence, to perfection. Laugh at Roark and hold Peter Keating as a great architect. You’ve destroyed architecture. Build Lois Cook and you’ve destroyed literature. Hail Ike and you’ve destroyed the theater. Glorify Lancelot Clankey and you’ve destroyed the press. Don’t set out to raze all shrines – you’ll frighten men, Enshrine mediocrity - and the shrines are razed.

Then there’s another way. Kill by laughter. Laughter is an instrument of human joy. Learn to use it as a weapon of destruction. Turn it into a sneer. It’s simple. Tell them to laugh at everything. Tell them that a sense of humor is an unlimited virtue. Don't let anything remain sacred in a man’s soul – and his soul won’t be sacred to him. Kill reverence and you’ve killed the hero in man. One doesn’t reverence with a giggle. He’ll obey and he’ll set no limits to obedience – anything goes – nothing is too serious.

Here’s another way. This is most important. Don't allow men to be happy. Happiness is self-contained and self-sufficient. Happy men have no time and no use for you. Happy men are free men. So kill their joy in living. Take away from them what they want. Make them think that the mere thought of a personal desire is evil. Bring them to a state where saying ‘I want’ is no longer a natural right, but a shameful admission. Altruism is of great help in this. Unhappy men will come to you. They’ll need you. They’ll come for consolation, for support, for escape. Nature allows no vacuum. Empty man’s soul – and the space is yours to fill.

I don’t see why you should look so shocked, Peter. This is the oldest one of all. Look back at history. Look at any great system of ethics, from the Orient up. Didn’t they all preach the sacrifice of personal joy ? Under all the complications of verbiage, haven’t they all had a single leitmotif: sacrifice, renunciation, self-denial ? Haven’t you been able to catch their theme song – ‘Give up, give up, give up, give up’ ? Look at the moral atmosphere of today. Everything enjoyable, from cigarettes to sex to ambition to the profit motive, is considered depraved or sinful. Just prove that a thing makes men happy and you’ve damned it. That’s how far we’ve come. We’ve tied happiness to guilt. And we’ve got mankind by the throat.

Throw your first born into a sacrificial furnace – lie on a bed of nails – go into the desert to mortify the flesh – don’t dance – don't go to the movies on Sunday – don't try to get rich – don’t smoke – don’t drink. It’s all the same line. The great line. Fools don’t think that taboos of this nature are just nonsense. Something left over, old-fashioned. But there’s always a purpose in nonsense. Don’t bother to examine a folly – ask yourself only what it accomplishes. Every system of ethics that preached sacrifice grew into a world power and ruled millions of men.

Of course, you must dress them up. You must tell people they’ll achieve a superior kind of happiness by giving up everything that makes them happy. You don't have to be too clear about it. Use big vague words. ‘Universal Harmony’ – ‘Eternal Spirit’ – ‘Divine Purpose’ – ‘Nirvana’ - ‘Paradise’ – ‘Racial Supremacy’ – ‘the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.’ Internal corruption, Peter. That’s the oldest one of all. The farce has been going on for centuries and men still fall for it.

Yet the test should be so simple: just listen to any prophet and if you hear him speak of sacrifice – run. Run faster than from a plague. It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master. But if you ever hear a man telling you that you must be happy, that it’s your natural right, that your first duty is to yourself – that will be the man who has nothing to gain from you. But let him come and you’ll scream your empty heads off, howling that he’s a selfish monster. So the racket is safe for many, many centuries.

To Be Continued

31 March
Pair-A-Dice Escapees Co-op
no pic
An even warmer morning with the low at 54° and winds calm. That made for perfect weather in which to do my 4 mile walk to the VA Clinic.

My appointment was for 8:00 but I arrived at about 7:20. This gave me a few minutes to sit and rest before I was called in for the blood letting. That was finished, reasonably painless, and I was on my way to breakfast before 8:00.

I did some cross country walking to get to the Clinic and then to the Homestead Café. These were the same end points that I walked to a couple of weeks ago when I set a distance personal best.

The cross country route reduced that total by about ½ mile. By the time I got home I was very glad of that; it was starting to get hot and I did not need any more distance today.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the slight breeze blowing through my open windows. I could become spoiled quickly with this great weather.

Do you remember the speech that then President Bush gave on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May1, 2003; do you remember the controversy that followed?

Bush stated at the time that this was the end to major combat operations in Iraq. While this statement did coincide with an end to the conventional phase of the war, Bush's assertion — and the sign itself (Mission Accomplished) — became controversial after guerrilla warfare in Iraq increased during the Iraqi insurgency. The vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, occurred since that speech.

In his Libya speech on Monday night president Obama said:
We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it. We hit Qaddafi's troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit his air defenses, which paved the way for a no-fly zone. We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities, and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight I can report that we have stopped Qaddafi's deadly advance.
Mission Accomplished. I'm afraid that the President may have been counting his chickens before they hatched, here it is Thursday and this is reported:
Forces loyal to Muammar al-Qaddafi used deadly force against rebels and civilians in Misrata Wednesday, killing at least 20 people, a rebel spokesman told Reuters.
The spokesman says that Qaddafi forces are using artillery to bombard the rebel stronghold.
"Artillery bombardment resumed this morning (Thursday) and is still going on. The (pro-Qaddafi) brigades could not enter the town but they are surrounding it... Massacres are taking place in Misrata," the spokesman told Reuters by phone.
A Libyan government spokesman tells Reuters that Qaddafi and his sons will remain in the country "until the end."

Ellsworth Toohey, speaking to Peter Keating in The Fountainhead


But here you might have noticed something. I said, ‘It stands to reason’. Do you see ? Men have a weapon against you. Reason. So you must be very sure to take it away from them. Cut the props from under it. But be careful. Don’t deny outright. Never deny anything outright, you give your hand away. Don’t say reason is evil – though some have gone that far and with astonishing success. Just say that reason is limited. That there’s something above it. What ? You don’t have to be too clear about it either. The field’s inexhaustible. ‘Instinct’ – ‘Feeling’ – ‘Revelation’ – ‘Divine Intuition’ – ‘Dialectic Materialism’. If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn’t make sense – you’re ready for him. You tell him there’s something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you play it deuces wild. Anything goes in any manner you wish whenever you need it. You’ve got him. Can you rule a thinking man ? We don’t want any thinking men."

Keating had sat down on the floor, by the side of the dresser. He did not want to abandon the dresser; he felt safer, leaning against it.

Peter, you’ve heard all this. You’ve seen me practicing it for ten years. You see it being practiced all over the world. Why are you disgusted ? You have no right to sit there and stare at me with the virtuous superiority of being shocked. You’re in on it. You’ve taken your share and you’ve got to go along. You’re afraid to see where it’s leading. I’m not. I’ll tell you.

The world of the future. The world I want. A world of obedience and of unity. A world where the thought of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess the thought of the next neighbor who’ll have no thought – and so on, Peter, around the globe. Since all must agree with all. A world where no man will hold a desire for himself, but will direct all his efforts to satisfy the desires of his neighbor who’ll have no desires except to satisfy the desires of the next neighbor, who’ll have no desires – around the globe, Peter. Since all must serve all. A world in which man will not work for so innocent an incentive as money, but for that headless monster – prestige. The approval of his fellows – their good opinion – the opinion of men who’ll be allowed to hold no opinion. An octopus, all tentacles and no brain.

Judgment, Peter ! Not judgment, but public polls. An average drawn upon zeros – since no individuality will be permitted. A world with its motor cut off and a single heart, pumped by hand. My hand – and the hands of a few, a very few other men like me. Those who know what makes you tick – you great, wonderful average, you who have not risen in fury when we called you the average, the little, the common, you who’ve liked and accepted these names. You’ll sit enthroned and enshrined, you, the little people, the absolute ruler to make all past rulers squirm with envy, the absolute, the unlimited, God and Prophet and King combined. Vox populi. The average, the common, the general.

Do you know the proper antonym for Ego ? Bromide, Peter. The rule of the bromide. But even the trite has to be organized by someone at some time. We’ll do the organizing. Vox dei. We’ll enjoy unlimited submission – from men who’ve learned nothing except to submit. We’ll call it ‘to serve’. We’ll give out medals for service. You’ll fall over one another in a scramble to see who can submit better and more. There will be no other distinction to seek. No other form of personal achievement.

Can you see Howard Roark in this picture ? No ? Then don’t waste time on foolish questions. Everything that can’t be ruled, must go. And if freaks persist in being born occasionally, they will not survive beyond their twelfth year. When their brain begins to function, it will feel the pressure and it will explode. The pressure gaged to a vacuum. Do you know the fate of deep-sea creatures brought out to sunlight? So much for future Roarks. The rest of you will smile and obey. Have you noticed that the imbecile always smiles ? Man’s first frown is the first touch of God on his forehead. The touch of thought. But we’ll have neither God nor thought. Only voting by smiles. Automatic levers – all saying yes...

Now if you were a little more intelligent, you’d ask: What of us, the rulers ? What of me, Ellsworth Monkton Toohey ? And I’d say, Yes, you’re right. I’ll achieve no more than you will. I’ll have no purpose save to keep you contended. To lie, to flatter you, to praise you, to inflate your vanity. To make speeches about the people and the common good. Peter, my poor old friend, I’m the most selfless man you’ve ever known. I have less independence than you, whom I just forced to sell your soul. You’ve used people at least for the sake of what you could get from them for yourself. I want nothing for myself. I use people for the sake of what I can do to them. It’s my only function and satisfaction. I have no private purpose. I want power. I want my world of the future. Let all live for all. Let all sacrifice and none profit. Let all suffer and none enjoy. Let progress stop. Let all stagnate. There’s equality in stagnation. All subjugated to the will of all. Universal slavery – without even the dignity of a master. Slavery to slavery. A great circle – and a total equality. The world of the future."

"Ellsworth... you’re..."

"Insane ? Afraid to say it ? There you sit and the world’s written all over you, your last hope. Insane ? Look around you. Pick up any newspaper and read the headlines. Isn’t it coming ? Isn’t it here ? Every single thing I told you ? Isn’t Europe swallowed already and we’re stumbling on to follow ? Everything I said is contained in a single word – collectivism. And isn’t that the god of our century. To act together. To think – together. To feel – together. To unite, to agree, to obey. To obey, to serve, to sacrifice. Divide and conquer – first. But then, unite and rule. We’ve discovered that one last. Remember the Roman Emperor who said he wished humanity had a single neck so he could cut it ? People have laughed at him for centuries. But we’ll have the last laugh. We’ve accomplished what he couldn’t accomplish. We’ve taught men to unite. This makes one neck ready for one leash. We found the magic word. Collectivism.

Look at Europe, you fool. Can’t you see past the guff and recognize the essence ? One country is dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the collective is all. The individual held as evil, the mass – as God. No motive and no virtue permitted – except that of service to the proletariat.

That’s one version. Here’s another. A country dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the State is all. The individual held as evil, the race – as God. No motive and no virtue permitted – except that of service to the race. Am I raving or is this the harsh reality of two continents already ? If you’re sick of one version, we push you in the other. We’ve fixed the coin. Heads – collectivism. Tails – collectivism. Give up your soul to a council – or give it up to a leader. But give it up, give it up, give it up. Offer poison as food and poison as antidote. Go fancy on the trimmings, but hang on to the main objective. Give the fools a chance, let them have their fun – but don’t forget the only purpose you have to accomplish. Kill the individual. Kill man’s soul. The rest will follow automatically."

This concludes the first speech, I'll be posting the second one starting on Saturday.