Monday, January 31, 2022

You're an awful person who uses horrible words!

My fellow computer geek -types might be interested in this.  (And if you speak English, it behooves you to look it over as well, because you've probably been offending people your whole life... maybe without even knowing it!)

The University of Washington Information Technology Department has released a new, comprehensive guide to the offensive words and phrases you are using, you horrible person!  From the introduction: "Words matter. Words that reflect racial or other discriminatory bias are contrary to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in UW Information Technology (UW-IT) and at the University of Washington (UW). They undermine the inclusive environment we aim to create ... [we] are involved in activities to replace racist, sexist, ageist, ableist, homophobic or otherwise non-inclusive language scattered throughout materials and resources in the software and information technology fields."

I hang my head in shame and embarrassment.  For much of my adult life, I've been using words and phrases like black list, (and white list), grandfather clause, brown bags, cakewalk, first-class citizen, lower the bar, ninja, guru, "no can do," peanut gallery, powwow, redline, jerry-rigged, dumb terminal, he, she, freshman, housekeeping, male, female, manpower, guys, and gals, without even thinking about how hurtful and offensive it was.  (I bet you, too, are in need of some serious self-loathing.)

The entire list - and explanations about why these words are so bad - can be seen HERE .  (You might think this list is pretty lame - but choose another word besides lame to describe it!)

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Changing of the guard at the SUPREME COURT

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has announced his retirement, at the end of the 2021-22 Season.  (A side note: he's been serving since August 1994... so he got the gig a month before I started my last paying job at Boise Cascade.)  A primary factor in his decision was certainly to make way for a Democratic appointee to take his place.  A year from now it's possible, if not likely, that the Democrats will no longer control the Senate, which gets to say "aye" or "nay."

Sniffy Joe (Biden - our president) has laid out his criteria for choosing a successor.  "While I've been studying candidates' backgrounds and writings, I've made no decision except one: the person I will nominate will be some of the extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity.  And that person will be the first black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court. It's long overdue in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president."

Excuse me... but isn't that criteria somewhat RACIST and SEXIST?  Maybe someday "the dream" will come true - when people are judged not on the color of their skin, but rather the content of their character.

How about if the candidate is a white guy who "identifies" as a black woman?  (You think I'm just being silly... right?  Well, I am.  But in our current Silly Society, for many people that may be a valid question!)

I hope he finds a supremely-qualified black woman!  That would be awesome!  A female "Clarence Thomas type," who exercises her duty with quiet dignity, and bases her decisions on the intentions of our founding fathers, rather than on her personal ideology or agenda... that's who I would approve of.

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


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


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... )

Friday, January 07, 2022

Ernie the Elk

Today I went on my first "real" bicycle ride in a couple weeks.  (20+ miles.  I've been going on short jaunts around the neighborhood snow... but today I saw pavement, and busted out the skinny-tired bike.  Since I mention bicycles - a significant slice of my daily-life pie, I prolly should post this on my Bike Nazi blog, instead.)

I bicycled out Boise Avenue, over the Eckert Road bridge, and then back in over on the Harris Ranch / Warm Springs side of the river.

The sea of rooftops is ever-encroaching on what was once wide open spaces.  Breaks my heart.  There really was a ranch out there, back in the day.  I've been a visitor to that valley since my early childhood... and have been bicycling out there for 30+ years.  The Harris family ran cattle for part of the year.  In addition to the cows, I've seen lots of birds and deer, the occasional muskrat or mink or raccoon or skunk or coyote... and Ernie the Elk.

Does anybody else remember Ernie?  He was a unique critter, and I feel fortunate to have observed him on numerous occasions.  His brother and sister elk would show up down there in the river bottoms, mostly in the winter I believe, when foraging got difficult up in the high country.  Ernie sometimes roamed with the herd... and sometimes he just decided he'd hang out with the cows for a week... or a month... or all summer long.  It didn't seem to bother the cows.

I can't say for sure how many years he was a fixture out there... but at least two or three.

And then one year, during elk season, Ernie got harvested.  I 'spect maybe some hunter has Ernie - or at least his antlers - proudly displayed.  It's hard to fault the hunter; I'm sure Ernie was just another face in the crowd when he ran with his own kind.  (I'm pretty sure he was taken when he was away from his bovine friends.)  I miss Ernie.

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Highly-compensated state employees

The new list is out - of the highest-paid state employees.  I believe the guy on public radio said there are about 400 state employees who earn more than the governor.  Makes sense, I guess.  How much skill do you need, to sign papers, shake hands and kiss babies?  (If Governor Little is reading, I hope he knows I'm just joking.  I generally approve of his governance, and am likely to vote for his reelection.)

The highest-paid?  Andy Avalos, Boise State's head football coach.  (A clarification: the list included total salary, including compensation by non-public entities.)  Andy earns about $1.4 million - almost double the earnings of the #2 guy on the list - BSU's basketball coach, Leon Rice.

Wrong?  Heck if I know.  It seems a little skewed to me, but in our capitalistic way of doing things, there's a limited supply of skilled coaches, and apparently those are the salaries they command.

Also consider: in the report, they said the Idaho is one of FORTY states in which a college football coach is the highest-paid state employee.

(I feel kinda bad, knowing that my marginally-skilled job was worth about 1/28 what the football guy earns.)

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Six More Years!! Six More Years!!

Idaho's Senator Mike Crapo has announced he is running for re-election.  As expected, his announcement is the boiler-plate "Let's fight together for our precious Idaho values."  Noticeably absent is anything about fighting against the burgeoning National Debt, although on his official website, he says, "Addressing our national debt remains a top priority for me in the Senate. Working collaboratively with my colleagues, I continue to press for reforms that place us on a long-term, sustainable fiscal path."

How ya doin' on that TOP PRIORITY, Senator Crapo?

Let's see... he's been a senator since 1999, and was a congressman for a couple terms before that.  Maybe I'm not very good at charts-and-graphs, but that kinda seems like about the time our National Debt really went totally NUTS!  (See attached chart.  I got it off the Wikipedia - hopefully it's accurate.  The red line is the "acknowledged" National Debt; the black line includes the also-owed entitlements like Social Security and Medicare.  Why shouldn't they be included in the debt load?)

I don't mean to pick on Crapo.  Senator Risch, and my Congressman Simpson say pretty much the same thing.  "Re-elect us, to fight to restore fiscal responsibility, and reduce the National Debt!  blah-blah-blah."  I'm sure they would blame the Democrats in charge, but the Republicans have held the reins pretty much half the time, and I haven't noticed great strides at paying off what we owe.

Either these guys really aren't that interested, and are mostly interested in getting re-elected... or they are REALLY POOR FIGHTERS!  Might there be some other explanation?

The Founding Fathers got 'most everything right... I only wish they'd also included: 1) a balanced budget amendment (we have one in the Idaho Constitution!), and 2) term limits for members of Congress.

As far as I'm concerned, the only reason for voting for Senator Crapo is, whoever the Democrats run will be even worse.  That's hardly a ringing endorsement.  I don't s'pose if we keep reelecting the same honchos, we should really expect anything to change.  Sigh...

Monday, January 03, 2022

Disingenuous Media and Election Fraud

For almost a year, we've been hearing propaganda about the January 6th, 2001, "Insurrection," the name the mainstream media have assigned to the disastrous Trump rally in Washington, D.C.

I believe the "undisputed" facts are:

- Millions of Trump supporters were (and are) unhappy that he lost the election.  (That's not unusual - most elections decide winners and losers, and it's natural for the losers to be unhappy.)

- A sizeable number of those supporters gathered to hear their defeated leader give a speech, in Washington, D.C., on January 6th - the day that Congress would officially certify the election results.  Surely some of them clung to a fleeting hope that the results would be overturned.  (A transcript of that speech can be read HERE.)

- Following the speech, a sizeable number of attendees made their way down Pennsylvania Avenue, to protest in front of the Capitol building.  (Hardly unusual, in Washington, D.C., right?)

- Of those that amassed at the Capitol, a very small number breached the crowd-control barriers and stormed into the Capitol, resulting in minor damage, vandalism, and theft, some injuries, and a couple of dead protesters.  It was all over in a couple hours.  (Also, the timing of the Capitol breach is disputed - some reliable sources claim that it began before Trump's speech was over.  May very well have been perpetrated by people who weren't even there for the official rally.  Whatever that means.)

- In the ensuing days and months, it's likely that most of the perpetrators have been identified using video footage and other tools, and many have been prosecuted.  The prosecutions are ongoing.

- The vast majority of rally attendees conducted themselves within the bounds of the law - they exercised their right to free expression, and then went home.  (A friend of mine traveled out from Boise, listened to Trump, waved her flag, and then flew back home.  She wasn't even aware of the Capitol breach, until she saw it on the news.)

Ever since, the whole affair has been referred to as an "insurrection," and a special commission was convened by Congress, to identify and prosecute the organizers.

Now - almost a year later - I'm hearing on NPR Radio, which prides itself as fair and accurate, that "several police officers were killed, and many more injured."  Or words intimating such.  How DISHONEST is that?!!!  Shame on you, NPR - unless you are less interested in being fair and accurate, and more interested in propagandizing for your left-wing Democrat-Socialist Darlings!

I believe a more accurate depiction can be read HERE.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm totally in favor of seeing anybody who broke the law on January 6th, identified and prosecuted for the laws broken.

But I'm also in favor of keeping things in perspective.  And I'm likewise in favor of identifying and prosecuting lawbreakers across the land, who engage in rioting, vandalism, looting, arson, destruction of property both private and public, injury and murder, from Portland, Oregon to Minneapolis, to Portland, Maine!  If lawbreaking is punished depending on the perps' political affiliations, and only those of the "loyal opposition" are subject to prosecution, our society is dead.  (We might be in our "death throes," in any case.)

Anybody who believes they are getting accurate, unbiased and totally-reliable information from ANY "news source," from MSNBC to Alex Jones (or whatever his name is), needs his head examined!  They all put their spin on it, before delivering.  So be careful what you believe - and try to get your information from multiple sources and then "triangulate" the truth.

One final comment - EVERYBODY should be in favor of doing everything possible to get honest and accurate voting, and vote-tallying.  Ever since Election Day 2020, Democrats have referred to Republican accusations about rigged elections as "The Big Lie."  An equal number of Republicans have referred to the reported and certified election results as "The Big Lie."  Isn't it in everybody's interest to remove opportunities for a future "Big Lie"?

Hurrah for the states that are trying to identify holes in the system, and plug them up!  I am weary of such efforts being portrayed as somehow racist and unfair.  I have enough confidence in my minority fellow citizens, that I believe they can understand and abide by the rules, just like us white folks.

God bless America!

(Your response is sincerely encouraged.)