When Cars Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Cars

I'm in control, so get government off my back!

I’m in control, so get government off my back!

13°  I bought this car. I OWN this car, so why should I have to take it in tomorrow for its 50,000 mile servicing? It will probably cost me $100 OF MY MONEY!

AND THEN I have to PAY for a Smog Check so I can PAY to have a little square sticker on my license plate that will have a ’15’ on it. I don’t even get a whole license plate! I say again, I OWN this car, so I have to pay someone for the privilege of driving it? Who cares if I’m polluting? If people want clean air they should go get a job and make some money so they can take a vacation where there is clean air!

But it doesn’t stop there. I have to PROVE I have insurance on the car to get that little sticker with the ’15’ on it. WHY? Why should I have to buy insurance? If I’m in an accident, it’s between me and the other guy, and if he wants money he can sue me…and good luck with that!

If we keep going this way, pretty soon NOBODY will be able to afford to buy cars and then see what happens. There will be fewer cars on the road, and people will have to take the bus, and then the illegal immigrants will want abortions, and then..then, the Apocalypse!

Well, I’m ready for it. I’ve got my gun and you don’t need any licenses, permits, or stickers for that. Just point and shoot. Point and shoot. Point and shoot….actually, you don’t even really need to point it. Just shoot!

Dogs and Emotions

Ozzie is only half listening

Ozzie is only half listening

364°  Some researchers claim that dogs do not feel shame, but are responding to our vocal cues and body language when they have done something wrong.

Sure…and I never notice a woman in a mini-skirt.

I have the highest respect for the scientific process, but I also know that the reaction of eleven dogs in a study is not going to overturn millions of actual dog owner experiences. Our dog, Jasmine, reacts to my vocal quality and body language, but she also reacts to her own actions. She may not know that she has done something wrong every time, but I’ve seen her look guilty before I knew what she did.

A dog raised in an active and loving environment knows what is happening around them regardless of the research. Try and grab a leash in a house with a dog and see if the dog reacts.

What do you call something in the road that makes cars do a zig-zag? A waste of time and money

What do you call something in the road that makes cars do a zigzag? A waste of time and money

19°  Do you think that the people who make road signs have bad days? I think they do and I have proof.

Many years ago, a Reno neighborhood installed obstructions in the street that make a car or truck zigzag. The idea is that the vehicle will slow down for the obstruction, which is its purpose. Unfortunately, anyone who couldn’t successfully negotiate this obstruction at 45 miles per hour, probably should have a license to operate a motor vehicle. In fact, this traffic annoyance device causes ‘some’ people to go faster to see how good they are at an obstacle course.

But the question is, what do you call something that is supposed to have a purpose, but doesn’t? Obviously, it stumped the sign makers as they came up with “Traffic Calming.” At least they have a sense of humor.

It’s Not Time!

No! Snow is coming. Don't leaf out yet!

No! Snow is coming. Don’t leaf out yet!

180°  I want Spring to arrive as much or more than most, but February is the wrong month for our trees to decide it’s Spring. Within a few days our plum tree will be leafing out and Global Warming or not, we will have another major snow storm before June.

We have had several days of 60°F plus and the trees don’t know that this is all an evil trick. Trees will leaf out, it will snow, branches will break, ….it’s all happened before. To bad trees can’t be reasoned with, forewarned about what will happen based on our past experience. People, you can warn….but they don’t listen, and they become just like trees.

Big Little Changes

New sheets and new duvet cover are a big step

New sheets and new duvet cover are a big step

188°  At some point around the half-century mark you notice when you’ve hung on to something too long. For several years I increasingly find myself disgusted at things that I have or use out of habit, rather than desire.

Bedding is one of those things that I haven’t given much thought to in my life. I often will wash the sheets and put them right back on, without considering that I have not purchased new sheets in years, possible a decade or more. Recently, the old sheets began to wear through and it became necessary to replace them.

At this point it is important that any male out there reading this, understand this disclaimer:

Be sure your roommate agreement allows you to pick out bed sheets.

My roommate agreement does not allow me to select and purchase bed sheets, but sometimes I do things that only merit a stern, disapproving look, rather than a “you-did-what?” look.

Back to the bedding issue. I happened to be at Costco and they had a good price on sheets and a duvet cover (Straight men under 25 may need to look that up.) After getting a “I’ll let you off with a warning this time…,” speech, I washed them and put them on the bed today. It’s interesting that this small change makes me feel like I just made a significant course adjustment in my life.

I’m so happy, I may just stay in bed tomorrow.

The Sympathy Strategy

Pit-y, pit-ee: See dog in back of pickup

Pit-y, pit-ee: See dog in back of pickup

175°  Today I saw a dog on a short leash in the back of a pickup. The dog was resting his(?) head on the side of the pickup bed and he looked pitiful. Everything about this dog said, “My master has abandoned me here, I’m sad, do you have any treats?”

Humans, most humans, have a great capacity to respond to perceived unfairness. It is a useful tool for those who seek to manipulate other people. People who create problems have learned that if they disguise the problem that they have created as a response to an injustice, then they can gain the sympathy of others.

This week in Colorado, a conservative candidate for Governor said that State funds were being used for abortions. Of course, if you can suggest that a child is the victim, you get extra sympathy points. As it turns out, his statement was a lie and he had no proof to offer. He was just using the sympathy strategy to gain support.

Of course, I question the statement in the first place. So what if State funds are used for abortions. Doctors perform abortions and they are more qualified to make medical decisions. The last I checked this was not the Catholic United States of America, so a religious opinion does not qualify as a limitation of people who don’t believe in that opinion.

The Joy of Dog

A good leader is easy to follow

A good leader is easy to follow

288°  I overuse our animals in this blog, but they are great subjects that don’t object to being photographed.

Jasmine has been with us for about a year and a half. She still has some anxious quirks, but she is getting better. She loves to run, but we can’t let her off leash, so she is happy to pull us to and from Alexander’s school everyday. Her top speed is about 22 mph, but I would guess that she could do almost 30 mph if she was not pulling a human on a bike. She doesn’t need guidance as she knows the way, and she would prefer to not slow down for Stop signs.

Her special talent is the ability to make people smile. As college students walk to class, they can’t help but grin when they see this 40-pound dog pulling us down the street on our bikes. I’m sure it can be nerve-wracking for them as Jasmine comes racing up from behind, but she almost never breaks stride when passing a pedestrian.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate the gift of animals. It is hard to understand why pets love humans so much, but I completely understand why humans love them.


School Project Help

Homework dilemma:  How much help should parents offer?

Homework dilemma: How much help should parents offer?

10°  Alexander has a major school project due. He is compiling a biography of a Albert Einstein. He has chosen to create a short video as part of the project. He has never edited a video, but he has done several ‘selfie’ videos with the desire to make an edited piece like his Uncle does of the annual family vacation. 

The challenge for us is how much to help. Creating something you’ve never done before is almost an impossible task. The try and fail system is a valuable tool in learning, but it also can be frustrating to the point of surrender. A mentor system of learning is a proven method for building future success, but there is a fine line between assisting and doing.

Alexander’s Mom showed him how to use the editing program, and suggested elements he could add to the video, but we both left it up to him to design the product. He also wrote the script, and he set up and recorded his narration. It is a great effort for a second grader, but it won’t be up for a short documentary nomination at the Academy Awards; however, based upon his past interest to create an edited video, I suspect this is the beginning of many new projects. We might regret not doing it for him.

Public Building Names

Coming Soon: Another building with a ridiculous name

Coming Soon: Another building with a ridiculous name

182°  Public buildings are the prostitutes of the world of architecture. In today’s world, buildings are named after the person who gives the most money. I can live with that, because the family name associated with the building will eventually take on a life of its own. The name will be shortened, abbreviated, or changed completely by the people who use it. Few will know anything about the person for which it was named.

On the campus of the University of Nevada in Reno, the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center will join the Pennington Health Sciences Building and the Pennington Medical Education Building. If you haven’t guessed it by now Pennington was a Nevada gaming tycoon. Since the newest Pennington building will be near the center of campus, it would not be surprising if it becomes referred to as Penn Center, but time will tell.

What I do take issue with is the rest of the name. Some organizations seem to be in a contest for the most complicated building name. The University of Nevada must be winning. “Student Achievement Center” is one of those titles that scream, we’re-trying-to-disguise-the-reason-this-building-exists. The National Security Agency doesn’t have a building they call ‘Spy Operations,’ but you know they have at least one.

In this case, the name is used to refer to all those programs and services that are required to help Nevada’s under educated high school graduates. It’s a great idea and I can understand why they wouldn’t call it ‘Pennington Stupid Students Senter,’ but isn’t the university being a little optimistic by calling it an ‘Achievement Center?’

I guess if they called it for what it is, no one would give money for the building, but if smart people don’t understand the name, how are the intellectually challenged going to understand it? Maybe they should call it the Pennington Party Center and put neon signs in the windows that say, “Free Beer,” and “Ladies Nite.” The students who need ‘achievement services’ will be able to find it blindfolded with one leg tied behind their back. 

Yes, But Is It Art?

It makes a statement, but what is it?

It makes a statement, but what is it?

169°  Yesterday morning I rode past this….let’s call it a modern sculpture. It was an old television turned upside down in a neighborhood park with something written on the screen. It invites speculation. Here are some of mine:

  • Someone is frustrated with the amount of commercials and the endless teasing of stories on NBC’s Olympic coverage.
  • Woman threw her loser husband and his television out as the TV is older than their relationship.
  • Botched robbery. Thief was laughed at when his friends saw his ‘take.’
  • New wildlife program to capture squirrels. They are caught while waiting for the picture tube to warm up.
  • End result of Russian 1988 space program to build a permanent colony in Earth orbit.
  • Viewer reaction to Jimmy Fallon Late Night debut.
  • Latest Grand Prize for MegaBucks win.
  • The television Chuck Norris threw when his show was cancelled in 2001.

OK, that’s enough for now.