Saturday, July 23, 2016

Random Trip Pics

The Bow, in Calgary

I May Never Get To Retire

In order to help make CalSTRS (teachers retirement system) solvent, a law passed a couple years ago required California teachers, districts, and (I think) the state all to contribute more towards teacher retirement.  Even before this occurred, California teachers were paying well above what they would into Social Security, with the understanding that they'd receive more than they would under social security in retirement.  We've been promised so much, though, that we're now having to pay more to get the same retirement we were promised.

CalSTRS wants us to believe the funding crisis has passed.  I'm not so sure:
Earlier this week, CalPERS—California’s pension fund for most public employees—reported abysmal annual earnings of 0.61 percent, a tiny fraction of the seven-and-a-half percent annual returns needed to keep it solvent over the long run. And its sister fund for teachers, CalSTRS, isn’t doing much better. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The nation’s second-largest public pension posted its slimmest returns since the 2008-2009 financial crisis because of heavy losses in stocks.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or Calstrs, earned 1.4% for the fiscal year ended June 30, according to a Tuesday news release. The result is the lowest since a 25% loss in fiscal 2009 and well below Calstrs’ long-term investment target of 7.5%. Calstrs oversees retirement benefits for 896,000 teachers.
As Steven Malanga has noted, both of these union-managed funds are notorious for pulling political stunts even as they face gaping shortfalls, going on a misguided “green” investing binge that flushed taxpayer money down the drain, and pulling out of tobacco companies on moral grounds just before those stocks began to rise.
I retire in 12 more years, any bets on STRS' solvency then?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Interesting Double Standards

Rachel Maddow thinks her viewers will get the vapors seeing "Hillary for Prison" political pins? 
Reminder: Rachel Maddow was a protégé of former MSNBC anchor/spittle-flecked raver Keith Olbermann, who in 2008 when Hillary was hanging on during the Democrat primaries and slowing Obama’s inevitable coronation, demanded someone from the Democratic Party “take her into a room and only he comes out.”

She debuted on Air America, also home to Randi Rhodes, who in 2008 was suspended from the now-defunct leftwing talk radio network for describing Hillary as a “big f***ing whore” and the since-deceased Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman nominated to be vice president as “David Duke in Drag” for supporting Hillary that year.

But Maddow thinks a few anti-Hillary campaign buttons will cause her fellow lefties to dive for the fainting couches?

Earlier: Maddow Rambles For Three Minutes on “Incredibly Radical” “Openly Gay” Republican Peter Thiel.

I’m old enough to remember when being dubbed a “radical” was a compliment by lefties.

Random Trip Pics

Reflections of Calgary:

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Bought my first VCR in 1987.  I still have one.  It's not connected to my tv (although it could be), but when I switched to DVD I decided not to replace all my movies--so I copied them onto DVD instead.  They're still watchable, if not flawless.

But what to do with all those VHS tapes, some of which are so old they contain video of Army beating Navy in football?  They're in a box in an out of the way place in the garage.  I don't want someone to see all these home-burned DVDs and think I illegally downloaded the movies or something; no, I'm keeping the tapes.

So what prompted me to talk about VHS?  This article:
Funai Electric, the last company known to make VCRs, is ceasing production.

Random Trip Pics

Nanton, Alberta

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vul-Con Celebrity Guests

I attended all the guest Q&A's except for Julie Cobb/Rosemary Morgan, which cost extra.
Adam Nimoy, Leonard's son

Garrett Wang, who was not an official Vul-con guest but shows up almost every year (Voyager)

Sally Kellerman (appeared in TOS 2nd pilot Where No Man Has Gone Before)

Robin Curtis (Star Trek III and IV)

Manu Intiraymi (Voyager)

Robert Beltran (Voyager)

Andrew Robinson (DS9)

Dominic Keating (Enterprise)

I found the Q&A's illuminating.  Some of the actors didn't like their colleagues.  Some didn't like the way the writers treated their characters.  Some seemed to be acting, not being all that genuine ("actor's gonna act").  Some seemed to be real people.  Well worth the money.

Jive Turkey

In the aftermath of what clearly seems like a staged coup to give cover to a purge, Turkey's government has (rather quickly identified and) rounded up over 50,000 people, teachers among them:
Teachers, journalists, police and judges alike have been caught in a net authorities are casting wider by the day, in what is increasingly looking like a witch-hunt to suppress dissent.

Last month, when teachers clashed with police in Oaxaca, Mexico, the press was all over it.  The National Education Association has certainly addressed Oaxaca.  If you want to hear crickets chirping, however, go see the lack of any mention of Turkey over at NEA's web site.  Why do you think that might be?  Hmm, I wonder.

Random Trip Pics

Seen in Calgary
click to enlarge

Monday, July 18, 2016

Home! Now Let's Look At Some Pictures!

Living out of a small travel trailer for almost 2 weeks and having to rely on campground wifi certainly imposes limitations! I promised pictures, though, and now you shall have them (in addition to what I showed previously).

First, the town of Vulcan, Alberta:
Note the empty plaza with the Spock bust in it. The first morning of the convention that changed, though, when Leonard Nimoy's son Adam unveiled a new plaque in honor of his father:

The convention itself was 2 days of great fun. Yes, there were plenty of people dressed in costume, including yours truly for a bit:

There was a dinner/dance on Saturday evening, and the food was great. Dessert was awesome!

I even won some goodies in the silent auction on Sunday! And then it was off to Calgary:

The Olympic Park is used for outdoor sports these days:

Drove through the Rockies on the Trans-Canada Highway, passing through Banff and Revelstoke:

And then stayed a couple nights in Kamloops:

What a great trip--and I'm going camping for a couple days next week!

Star Trek Continues, Episode 6

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Looks like the wifi is strong with this one tonight, so I'll try to post a few pictures.  Currently I'm camped just across the river from "downtown" Kamloops, British Columbia.  Looks like a storm might be a-brewin', the wind was so strong that I had to take down the canopy!  But anyway, pictures (as usual, click to embiggen):
 View from the 600+ foot Calgary Tower

 My new friend, no squirrel

Calgary Tower

Wifi is crapping out, all I could get uploaded before that was these three pics of Calgary.  Hope I can post this!