Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Celebrity athletes weigh in on COVID-19 vaccine

"Professional athletes - is there anything they don't know?"   - Homer Simpson

Actually, he said that about rock stars.  (After being lectured about eating meat, by Paul and Linda McCartney in one of my favorite "Simpsons" episodes.)  But it's easy to apply to celebrities in general.  Heck!  Look at how we are scolded by Harrison Ford and Leonardo DiCaprio - two guys who have HUGE "carbon footprints" - about our climate-warming lifestyles!

The latest Celebrity Brush-Up is about Covid-19 vaccinations.  ROCK STARS: Eric Clapton is quite vocally anti-vax.  In the other corner, Neil Young is just as vocally pro-vax, or at least vocal in his criticism of anybody who's anti-vax.  But today my focus is on LEGENDARY ATHLETES.

NBA Hall-of-Famer John Stockton has been thrown out of the Gonzaga arena (Stockton's Alma Mater, in his hometown of Spokane) for refusing to wear a mask.  I can kinda understand; the arena's policy is mask-required; how would it seem, if they looked the other way for such a high-profile guy as Stockton?

Stockton claims that over 100 professional athletes have died immediately after being vaccinated, and that "tens of thousands" of us common people have died as a result of receiving the vaccination.  (I don't think he's cited a reliable source for those numbers, but he must've gotten them from somewhere...)

Now another NBA Hall-of-Famer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is speaking up.  (It was on CNN, so you can believe it!  /sarcasm)  Kareem: "I think John’s reaction to the vaccine is extreme and not based on reality or facts... And if John could just check the facts out, he would understand that this vaccine is saving lives and preventing people from … having serious reactions to the virus."

(Source of this info: HERE.)

Personally, I'll have to take Kareem's side on this one.  I'm PRO-VACCINATION.  I got the vaccine, and the booster.  (Felt a bit "puny" for a few hours afterwards, but no other ill-effects.)  There are valid arguments on both sides of the issue, and I'm opposed to mandatory vaccinations.  But I believe there is scientific evidence in the form of post-vaccination hospitalization and death statistics, that support the efficacy of vaccinations.

If Stockton can cite his sources, I'd be very interested in learning more.  It's pretty obvious that NOBODY - even the world's greatest medical mind, Dr. Fauci (HAHAHAHAHAHA!) knows a whole lot.  My personal practices: I limit my "social exposure."  I wear a mask whenever mandated or even strongly encouraged.  (But not otherwise.)  I try to remember to wash my hands when I've been out among the rabble.

(I admire both of these guys for their athletic prowess - both were favorites of mine, back when the NBA regularly held my attention.  Stockton has generally NOT preached to the rest of us, post-retirement.  Kareem speaks up somewhat regularly, and often I find myself wishing he would NOT preach to us.)

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Homelessness in Boise

There is a housing crisis in Boise.  (Duh!)  As the outside world has taken notice of our little desert oasis, Idaho, and particularly the Boise metro area and a couple other population centers, have become home for a bunch of newcomers.  The influx has outpaced home construction.

As a lifelong resident of Boise, I'm not happy about it.  Much of what I loved about "growing up Boise" is long gone, and will never return.  (Boise had around 35,000 residents when I got here in 1953.  Now the metro area has 422,000 residents.  That changes things.  Of course, the people who arrived in 2021, or even 2000, can't appreciate that change.)  But - I digress.

As house payments and rents have gone from $500/month to $2500/month, of course those with the lowest incomes have been disproportionately affected.  The homeless population has probably increased even faster than the general population.  It's a tough situation.

A couple observations... and this will come across as mean-spirited and non-charitable, I'm sure, but I'm confident it reflects the sentiments of many good-hearted people who I share a community with.

Interfaith Sanctuary, a group that provides shelter and other necessities to the local homeless population, is located off of 16th Street.  Coincidentally or not, there are several other homeless support storefronts in the same area.  The Sanctuary operators recently wanted to expand into a larger facility, several miles away and at the edge of a residential neighborhood.  It turned into a contentious issue, with residents of the area opposing it, and supporters accusing the neighbors of "NIMBY-ism."

Unfortunately, I totally understand the NIMBY sentiments.  After bicycling past the epicenter of homeless life for 20+ years, on my way home from work, I would NOT want to move that situation to my neighborhood!  I realize that a sizeable percentage of the homeless population has mental health and/or substance-abuse issues, but still... they need to take some ownership of their situation!  THEY need to realize that when their living area is quickly turned into a hellhole strewn with trash and detritus, civilized people look at that and are repelled!  Even young children are taught to clean up behind themselves; is there something that prevents homeless people from picking up their trash?

Another situation that rubs people wrong... I regularly ride past a busy intersection, not far from my home.  Often there is an able-bodied fella... from all outward appearances he looks to be in the prime of his work-for-a-living years... standing on the corner with his crude cardboard sign: "ANYTHING HELPS - GOD BLESS."  The cruel irony is that he stands on a corner with TWO fast-food outlets, and both have a sign: NOW HIRING.  One offers $14 to start; the other $15.  Now I don't know that fella, but I can't help but wonder why he can't contribute something to society - and get paid for it! - rather than sponging off hard-working people who are struggling themselves!

Finally... do cities that are particularly welcoming and hospitable to homeless people, attract MORE homeless people from cities that aren't so hospitable?

Legend has it that back in the day, hobos would carve a notch on the fence-post of homes that offered food and comfort to hard-luck travelers.  Those who came behind would see the notch, and would likely knock on that door, with the expectation of being fed.  If Boise offers "three hots and a cot, no questions asked" for an indefinite period, will the word get out to the homeless in Fruitland, or Twin Falls, or Pocatello, or Ogden or Kennewick... and more homeless will be showing up on inbound Greyhounds?  That might be an uncomfortable question... but I believe it's a reality that must be factored in.

The church I belong to - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - is well-recognized for its expansive welfare program, that provides assistance to members and otherwise.  The Church emphasizes SELF-RELIANCE; it is always hoped and expected that assistance is a temporary situation, to help somebody get back on his or her feet.  The Church supports "Life - NOT Lifestyle."  I try to generously support the Church's efforts by donating money and time, because I have much more confidence in the administration of their ("our") program, than the government welfare program.  More about Church welfare can be read HERE .


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Ben Stein looks around, at the beginning of 2022

I've enjoyed reading Ben Stein for 30+ years.  I got started when the mother-in-law started sending us her American Spectator magazines, after reading them herself.  (Every issue had his column, "Ben Stein's Diary." 


The whole magazine was generally pretty interesting, and written by people who were excellent at their craft.)

Ben is still going strong.  At the beginning of this year he made a list of many friends and comforts that enrich his life.  And then he says this:

I could go on forever. The main point I am aiming at is that even with the continuing crisis of Democrat/Bolshevik rule, life is still amazingly good if you know where to look.

Yes, we have genuinely insane “thought leaders” in Congress like Ilhan Omar and AOC. Yes, our homes and streets are often unsafe. Yes, this is now a society of persons and races and not laws. Yes, even in the most exclusive neighborhoods, crime is still rampant.

Yes, Mr. Biden has engineered a set of rules that guarantee inflation. Yes, our education system has simply collapsed under the weight of PC. Yes, there is no more free speech and the fight against an imaginary racism has killed law enforcement.

Yes, America is run by a cabal of thugs and media billionaires. The America of freedom I grew up in is gone.

But we can fight back with words and lawsuits — NEVER with violence. And little by little, as the good doctor said, “We shall overcome.” Our ideas of what America must be are simply far better than theirs. Freedom is better than slavery.

In the meantime, learn from my best student, Ferris himself. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” In 2022, fight peacefully, but also stop and look around.

When I look around, my life is amazingly good!  I hope yours is, as well.

Monday, January 17, 2022

2021 Travels

Today the Google people sent me a report on my 2021 travels.  While I'm not a fan of being tracked, I guess it's what we live with in 2022, unless we literally go off the grid.  Regardless of my feelings about Big Brother, I've gotta say I did a pretty decent job of traveling from Sea to shining Sea.  (From the Oregon coast to Chicago was over the road... points east of Chicago were by air.  And obviously my truck-drivin' buddies would laugh at my self-satisfaction over such a meager trip log!)



Friday, January 14, 2022

Midwinter Motorsickle Ride

I dusted the cobwebs off of Lucille, and gave her a little time out on that snaking ribbon of highway.  (Strictly a matter of keeping the battery charged up, you know...)

Had a fine time!  Details and more photos can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

STATUES!

What's the biggest statue you've seen?

Well, let's see... that statue of Abe Lincoln, down at Julia Davis Park, might be 15 feet high.  (If he was wearing his top hat, prolly another couple feet.  Oh, and by the way, it is the work of Gutzon Borglum, the fella who brought you Mount Rushmore.  Happens to be an Idaho native.  Was born over on the shore of Bear Lake... of course it wasn't Idaho back then, but it is now.  And, I digress...)

This past summer, we drove "The Enchanted Highway" in North Dakota... giant statues galore!  If you ever have the chance... head up that way.  (There's not much else, in that part of the world, besides wide open spaces.)



Speaking of Mount Rushmore... not really statues, but pretty impressive.  We were there just last summer.  Those heads are around 60 feet high... 20 meters in world measurement.


I was also fortunate to once stand right at the base of the "Cristo el Redentor" statue, towering high above Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.  It's 38 meters tall... so about twice the height of George and Abe and Tom and Teddy.   (No photo - sorry!  You know what it looks like...)

Statue of Liberty?  I looked across New York Harbor at that big green lady (92 meters... including the base).  Made me feel very patriotic and free!


I s'pose that's about the biggest I've seen in person.

Those are all quite miniscule, by world standards.  Check out this interesting YouTube video, that compares the size of big statues around the world.  (China and India seem to be particularly "into" the big statues, with some other contenders as well.)

Watch HERE.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

AMMO!

Do you shoot?

I used to, from time to time.  These days, not so much.  I'm afraid to deplete my precious and limited supply of ammo, engaged in frivolous practices like shooting aluminum cans, or paper targets, or the occasional whistle pig.  You don't want your ammo boxes empty, on the night of the Zombie Apocalypse!

(Ammo is scarce.  Guns are, too, for that matter.  The demand has exceeded the supply.  "Why?" you ask.  I'd blame it on "gun grabbers" who want to further restrict gun ownership by passing new laws.  Of course, those laws would only apply to people who obey the law - duh!  I'd also blame it on "defund the police" efforts, at the same time crime is running rampant - particularly in population centers.)

Only the rich can afford to shoot any more.  (That's a form of discrimination, isn't it?)  A cartridge that should cost 15 cents, costs a dollar.  Heck!  .22LR is upwards of a dime, every time you pull the trigger!

Anyhow... what's your favorite caliber?

9mm is popular.  Even if you miss your target, your pistol might give you 10 or 15 more chances to "right the wrong."  45ACP makes a bigger hole.  And then there's 44 magnum.  ("Do you feel lucky, punk?  Well... do ya?")  It makes a big hole like 45ACP, and then keeps going, making holes in more stuff.

If your gun is longer, .223 is probably the rifle-equivalent of 9mm.  Quality AND quantity, right?  7.62x39 - AK ammo - is probably the most-hated by the gun grabbers.  "Double-ought" buckshot... at close range - fired out of a freakin' twelve-gauge - likely the most lethal.

Where am I going with this?  It's all leading up to a photo I happened across...

30-06 (thirty-ought-six) is likely the most popular hunting cartridge.  My dad had a sweeeet Remington 30-06 hunting rifle.  (He wasn't a hunter, so it remained in pristine condition; one of my siblings inherited it.)  Many a deer, or elk, or bear has been harvested by a sportsman wielding his (or her) trusty 30-06.

The ammo is pretty impressive looking.

Or is it?

In the photo below is a 30-06 cartridge.  It's the wee bullet standing next to a 30x173 cartridge... as used in a 7-barrel "autocannon," firing at a rate of 3600 per minute.  And that autocannon can be found on every A-10 "Warthog" plane... as flown by the Idaho Air National Guard, for example.  (It should also be noted that the projectile is made out of depleted uranium, a material more dense that pretty much everything else... so it goes through pretty much everything else.)

(Here I am, fretting about $1 bullets.  How much does it cost, if you hold down your A-10 trigger for 5 seconds?  Let's see, that's 300 rounds... probably $200 per round... )