Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Vancouver Pictures

I didn't get around to posting any pictures from the Vancouver area while I was there, a discrepancy I'll correct now.

View from The Lookout at Harbour Centre, towards Stanley Park and the Lion's Gate Bridge

At the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park

The BC Place arena, where I saw the BC Lions play one of the worst games of football I've ever seen.  We lost 30-6.

Cable car approaching the top of Grouse Mountain, with Stanley Park visible across the narrows

Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Cliff Walk

Science World at night

Life imitating art

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Heading Home

I've been to Vancouver a few times but still found new things to see and do on this trip--especially Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

My friend flew home this morning and my plan was to spend a couple more days in the Vancouver metro area, but I decided I'd seen and done plenty and now I could start a slow drive home. 

It took about 80 min to cross the US border today, and driving on I-5 through Seattle is never a pleasant experience.  In fact, I dislike it so much that on the trip I'm currently piecing together for next summer, I'll head east and maybe go see eastern Washington and cross the border up there.

Met up with my nephew and his brother in downtown Portland for dinner, and only made it to Salem before calling it a night and getting a hotel room.  No-frills Super 8 has a parking space for veterans out front--never seen that before!

I'm 9-10 hrs of driving from home, but maybe I'll take it slow and stop and see some sights instead of just breezing through.  Jury duty doesn't start till next Monday so I have plenty of time.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Those Dogs Be Barkin'

Even with using the public transit system, I put a lot of steps on my poor feet today.  Essentially I'm just exhausted so I'll post pictures another time--but Vancouver is as beautiful as I remember.

We All Know How Much I Like Modest Proposals

Here's one we should all be able to get behind, if for different reasons:
College campuses have lots of empty housing during the summer. Proudly progressive institutions such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford should welcome illegal immigrants.
We know why they won't, too.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Last Day In Victoria

Had a late breakfast, then drove up the peninsula to the former limestone quarry now known as the Butchart Gardens:

Then trekked the rest of the way up the peninsula to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, where we boarded the Spirit of Vancouver Island for a 100 min ride to the mainland:

Rush hour traffic in Metro Vancouver so didn't even try to get downtown this evening.  Have a whole day for that tomorrow.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Victoria Is A Beautiful City

Arrived in Victoria Sunday morning and have been going nonstop ever since.  Leaving for Vancouver tomorrow afternoon.

Here are the two iconic buildings along the Victoria waterfront.  If you've seen these, you've seen touristy Victoria.

The (Fairmont) Empress Hotel:

The provincial Legislative Assembly Building:

And then there's your blog host having some fun:

Obviously having a great time.  I've been here before, but today was the first time I'd visited Craigdarroch Castle:

Butchart Gardens tomorrow, followed by a ferry ride to Vancouver.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Tomorrow's "Cruise"

Reservation on the first sailing out of Port Angeles, WA, tomorrow on the Coho:

Friday, July 05, 2019

I Apologize, But...

There has been *so* much spam lately (which I have to delete individually) and since I don't want to spend so much time moderating comments on this blog, I have at least temporarily turned on the "I am not a robot" word verification.  Hopefully that will keep the problem manageable.  I apologize for any inconvenience.

Been Home Too Long

Got home from my last trip about 2 weeks ago and it's time to go on another.  Here are a couple pictures from previous trips to give you a hint as to where:

If those don't give it away, how about this:  Let's go Li-ons! (More on that in a week!)

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Happy 4th of July

Since the so-called Betsy Ross flag is now a sign of...something bad, I'll embrace it here just to trigger a couple lefties.

Here's Obama's inaugural:
Here's a shirt I got a couple years ago:

And here's a picture from Trafalgar Square in London.  Trafalgar freakin' Square:
"Present to the people of Great Britain and Ireland by the Commonwealth of Virginia 1921".

Have a happy 4th of July.

Monday, July 01, 2019

At Least We Have The Best Roads In the Nation!

Oh, wait, no we don't.  So where does all that money go?

California will charge the highest taxes on gasoline in the United States come Monday but some complain that even more money will be needed to maintain the Golden State's roads and freeways.

The new 5.6 cents extra tax per gallon tax will boost the total paid per gallon from 41.7 cents to 47.3 cents. It is expected to raise billions for road and bridge repairs around the state along with mass transit projects. That is on top of the 12 cents per gallon increase in 2017. 
On my road trip a couple weeks ago, I paid less per gallon in out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Nevada and Utah than I do in suburban Sacramento.

And now prices have gone up again.  So now we have the highest gas taxes in the country?  Yay, at least we're #1 in something.

When Environmentalism Is Too Darned Inconvenient

If a picture is worth a thousand words, there are many thousands of words here--and they all tell you the same thing about leftie so-called environmentalists:
“Lead by example” doesn’t seem to be a high priority among many climate change activists.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Babysitting Joanne's Blog

Joanne's off traveling again and gave me the keys to her blog.  I'll try not to put any scratches on it.

Here's yesterday's post about Target teacher discounts on school supplies, similar to the one I posted here on my own site.

Here's today's post about the Janus decision of a year ago.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Citizenship Question On Census Affects School Funding

Read about LA Unified, which somehow feared a loss of $20 million, here.

By the way, LA Unified's annual budget is over $8 billion.  $20 million would be a rounding error, 1/4 of 1%.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Democrats Never Change

It started up again with someone throwing a milkshake at a British politician, and then some leftie thought she was perfectly justified in throwing a drink at a US Congressman.  Such assaults cannot be allowed to stand:
Rep. Matt Gaetz will press charges against the woman who allegedly hurled a drink cup at him, the Florida congressman said Thursday.

“I am going to press charges ... I think it’s really important to send a message that we as conservatives have a right to our views, just like anybody else has a right to their views,” Gaetz said in an interview on Fox news the night before.

“If there are no consequences, maybe it’s me getting hit with a drink one time, but what if it's a member of my staff? And what if instead of a drink it’s acid, or urine?"...

Hitting Gaetz with the projectile in Pensacola comes as British protesters capture headlines for drenching rightwing political figures — including Brexit leader Nigel Farage — in milkshakes.

Police have charged Amanda Kondrat’yev, 25, with misdemeanor battery, the Pensacola News Journal reported
It seems that Democrats have a history of dumping food and drink on people with views they don't like:
How dare that black woman sit at a Woolworth's counter!

Her name was Anne Moody, and you can read more about her and this particularly ugly incident here, here, and here.

Assaulting people in this manner was wrong in 1963 and it's wrong today.  Democrats still haven't learned that, 56 years later.

UpdateIn related news, kudos to Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago:
News that a waitress at Chicago’s Aviary spat on the president’s son has drawn everything from ire to support from everyone, from social media commenters to, now, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot...

Many commenters, including Lightfoot, were pressing for The Aviary’s owners to take action against the employee.

Lightfoot said she spoke to Eric Trump after he reported being spit on by the waitress in what Lightfoot said was a “repugnant” incident, and she called on the restaurant’s owners to “take appropriate action” against the employee.

“I spoke to Eric Trump and checked in with him about what had happened,” Lightfoot said Thursday at an unrelated event. “Look, I think this: Civility matters, and we may not agree, and in my case I don’t agree with a lot of things President Trump stands for. Our values are different. But you cross the line when you assault someone. ... No one deserves that.
It was wrong in 1957 Little Rock, and it's wrong today.

Hate Crimes Hoaxes

We're probably living in what are the least hate-crimey times in the least hate-crimey country in the world, but some people's lives just don't have meaning unless there are so-called hate crimes occurring with rabid frequency, and since they're not occurring with rabid frequency, they make them up:
Mr. Reilly is a professor of political science at Kentucky State University, and his interest in hate crimes dates to his graduate-school days, when he became aware of several widely reported incidents in the vicinity of his hometown that turned out to be fake...

Mr. Reilly eventually compiled a database of 346 hate-crime allegations and determined that less than a third were genuine. Turning his attention to the hoaxes, he put together a data set of more than 400 confirmed cases of fake allegations that were reported to authorities between 2010 and 2017. He allows that the exact number of false reports is probably unknowable, but what can be said “with absolute confidence is that the actual number of hate crime hoaxes is indisputably large,” he writes. “We are not speaking here of just a few bad apples.”
I'm not a big fan of the "hate crime" designation--someone who is attacked or harmed is a victim, and should be no more or less so because of the attitude of the culprit.  But if we're going to make some attacks more "important" than others, which is what the hate crime designation does, we need to accept the logical and entirely predictable consequences--that if you "subsidize" something, you get more of it.  Given this fact, it makes perfect sense that Reilly would find significantly more fake than real crimes.


Are they really healthier and happier than the rest of us?  Perhaps not:
Vegetarians are less healthy than meat-eaters, a controversial study has concluded, despite drinking less, smoking less and being more physically active than their carnivorous counterparts.

A study conducted by the Medical University of Graz in Austria found that the vegetarian diet, as characterised by a low consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, due to a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products, appeared to carry elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

The study used data from the Austrian Health Interview Survey to examine the dietary habits and lifestyle differences between meat-eaters and vegetarians.
I know I'm happy after a burger....

Heinlein's Crazy Years

I read two articles this morning and put them together in my head.  How did we get so crazy so fast?


How do you know if you're living in a free society? Here's a quick test: Are you allowed to say obviously true things in public? Or are you forced to lie? As George Orwell put it in "1984": "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows." But what if that freedom isn't granted? What if you're required to repeat things that you know aren't true? What if everyone who hears you knows perfectly well that you're lying, but they can't say so out loud? What if everyone is required to nod along in mock sincerity as if it's all completely real? That's what a pep rally in a police state looks like: "Thanks to the dear leader for a bountiful potato harvest!" they chant, even as they starve to death.

So what aren't we allowed to say?  That men are men and women are women, whether you pretend otherwise or not:
WOMEN who identify as male are not being offered vital routine breast screenings and cervical cancer checks in case it offends them.

But men identifying as women will be invited for cervical smear tests – even though they don’t have a cervix.

The advice comes from a 24-page booklet published by Public Health England called “Information for trans people”.
Biology doesn't care how you "identify".

Do you really want your health care subject to the whims of politics? Because this is what you get when you put government and its politics in charge of health care, and your government is run by lefties.

Your Feel-Good Policies Are An Ineffective Inconvenience (and are probably causing even bigger problems)

Bjorn Lomborg on plastic bag bans:
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan to reduce plastic pollution, which will include a ban on single-use plastics as early as 2021. This is laudable: plastics clog drains and cause floods, litter nature and kill animals and birds.

Of course, plastic also makes our lives better in a myriad of ways. In just four decades, plastic packaging has become ubiquitous because it keeps everything from cereals to juice fresher and reduces transportation losses, while one-use plastics in the medical sector have made syringes, pill bottles and diagnostic equipment more safe.

Going without disposable plastic entirely would leave us worse off, so we need to tackle the problems without losing all of the benefits...

But we need to be honest about how much consumers can achieve. As with other environmental issues, instead of tackling the big-picture problems to actually reduce the plastic load going into oceans, we focus on relatively minor changes involving consumers, meaning we only ever tinker at the margins...

But even if every country banned plastic bags it would not make much of a difference, since plastic bags make up less than 0.8 per cent of the mass of plastic currently afloat on the world’s oceans.

Rather than trying to save the oceans with such bans in rich countries, we need to focus on tackling the inferior waste management and poor environmental policies in developing regions.

Research from 2015 shows that less than 5 per cent of land-based plastic waste going into the ocean comes from OECD countries, with half coming from just four countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. While China already in 2008 banned thin plastic bags and put a tax on thicker ones, it is estimated to contribute more than 27 per cent of all marine plastic pollution originating from land.

Moreover, banning plastic bags can have unexpected, inconvenient results. A new study shows California’s ban eliminates 40 million pounds of plastic annually. However, many banned bags would have been reused for trash, so consumption of trash bags went up by 12 million pounds, reducing the benefit. It also increased consumption of paper bags by twice the saved amount of plastic – 83 million pounds. This will lead to much larger emissions of CO₂...

We also need to consider the wider environmental impact of our bag choices. A 2018 study by the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food looked not just at plastic waste, but also at climate-change damage, ozone depletion, human toxicity and other indicators. It found you must reuse an organic cotton shopping bag 20,000 times before it will have less environmental damage than a plastic bag.

If we use the same shopping bag every single time we go to the store, twice every week, it will still take 191 years before the overall environmental effect of using the cotton bag is less than if we had just used plastic.

Even a simple paper bag requires 43 reuses to be better for the environment – far beyond the point at which the bag will be fit for the purpose.

The study clearly shows that a simple plastic bag, reused as a trash bag, has the smallest environmental impact of any of the choices.
That knowledge doesn't make the lefties feeeeeeel any better about themselves, though, and it certainly doesn't give them reason to exercise compulsion over the rest of us, so it must be ignored.

This is a crisis made — and growing worse — throughout developing Asia.
Just eight countries in the region are responsible for about 63 percent of total plastic waste flowing into the oceans. Little of that junk has been exported by rich economies. Instead, it’s almost solely generated by Asia’s newly minted consumer classes, the vast majority of whom lack access to garbage collection, modern landfills and incineration. Any progress in reducing ocean plastic will have to start with them.
Bans on plastic straws in America are just a power move by local greens, not a serious response.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Who Thought This Was A Good Marketing Ploy?

I received this in the mail today:
Well, that's odd.  I'm not a CTA member, and haven't been for many years.  They held out an offer of a $25 gas card, so I let my curiosity get the better of me.  I opened the mislabeled envelope.

Yawn.  It was an ad for car insurance:
OK, not interested. 

But here's what's on the back page:
This company sent me something, and then tells me I'm not allowed to read it?  If you don't want me to read something, don't send it to me.  But for them to say something intentionally offensive like that?  Screw you, California Casualty.  And I defy you to beat USAA's prices for comparable insurance.

Why This Is Irrelevant To me

Target is offering expanded discounts for teachers one week next month:
Target wants to help teachers stretch their back-to-school dollars on more than just supplies for their classrooms.

For the second year, the Minneapolis-based retailer will offer teachers a weeklong 15% discount on select items starting July 13, officials shared exclusively with USA TODAY Wednesday...

This year, in addition to school supplies and essentials, which include disinfecting wipes and food storage bags, adult clothing and accessories, Pillowfort furniture and Bullseye’s Playground items also are included...

According to the National Center of Education Statistics, 94% of teachers report spending their own money on supplies. Here are some stores that offer savings throughout the year.
No way will I be participating in this. Yes, I'm part of the 94% of teachers who spend some of my own money for my work, but I'm not going to plan on it.

Here's the problem.  At least here in California, and probably in a good many other states, public education is supposed to be entirely free.  In fact, California education code even requires school districts to supply paper and pencils to students--how many comply with that?  (Ans:  zero, most likely).  School districts skirt the law because parents and teachers pick up the slack.   California teachers who post "school supplies lists"?  Not in accordance with the law!  The school district is supposed to provide those supplies.

So while I might pick up some ink for my personal (old) printer that I've taken to school because I want to have a printer at my desk rather than one per building of 7-8 classrooms, I'm not going to buy notebooks and pencils and such for my students.  I have 165 students, that's just too many.  And besides, if I were to be doing that, I'd be enabling the school district to continue to flout the law.

The old joke is that teaching is the only profession in which you steal office supplies from home and take them to work.  I've taken 2 desk chairs, a monitor (I can barely read a laptop display!), a printer, an upright fan, and who knows what else to work for my use--but I can always bring them home, sell them on Craigslist, or whatever.  But I'm not going to pay to outfit my class with stuff my district should pay for.  And neither am I going to ask for so-called donations, either--and I'm certainly not going to give academic points to students who bring in a box of Kleenex!

Either public education is public, or it's not.  As individuals we need to stop trying to subsidize it.

Mark Janus Day

A year ago today, the Supreme Court ruled in the Janus case that I no longer had to give money to a branch of the Democratic Party union.  What a great day it was!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Made It Home

I was supposed to check out yesterday and head for home, but I just wasn't feeling it.  It takes me about an hour to set up and/or break down the trailer for travel--I didn't want to rig for travel the day after setting up!  So yesterday I extended my visit another day, and I came home today.

My first order of business is to go back over the last 12 days' worth of blog posts and add pics as appropriate, so please, go back and take a look at the recent posts!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Yesterday and Today

After a large breakfast and a cheerful farewell yesterday, the 10 of us (mostly cousins) who had met in Vegas departed and went our separate ways.  I had a plan for  day's drive and the seeing of cool places and things.  With the exception of a few old buildings in Goldfield, nothing I'd hoped for materialized.  I ended up boondocking in a rest area somewhere on US 395!

Today I was going to look for a place to stay in Carson City--why not?--but it just didn't work out.  So instead I made it to Reno and checked into the RV park at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino.  Yes, I got hit with the damned "resort fee" here, too--well, it *is* a resort, right?  At least I get to use the newly refurbished pool, and it's quite nice.

If they'll let me stay another day, great.  If not, I'll head home tomorrow.

Update, 6/26/19:

Update #2, 6/27/19:
They let me stay the extra day.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Still In Las Vegas

More cousins have arrived, I'm enjoying spending time with everyone.  I wish I could remember more of the time we spent yesterday, but if the videos are any indication, we had a great time!

Going to go see a comedian/magician at Stratosphere in a couple hours.  Need a little power nap first.

Update, 6/26/19:

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Schools Should Focus On What Goes On AT SCHOOL

Too often school administrators will take action regarding events that happened outside of school (or school activities) using the extremely vague principle that such an event "impacts" the school environment.

I'll be blunt:  If Mean Girl 1 says something snippy about Delicate Flower 2 on Twitter over the weekend, the school has no reason to get involved absent some action at school on the part of MG1.  The law that allowed a Minnesota student to be convicted for online harassment has been declared overly broad and unconstitutional:
A Minnesota stalking law used to convict a high school student for insulting another teen on Twitter is overly broad and violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech, the state Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday...

The case follows efforts by the federal government and U.S. states to prevent cyber bullying, which has been linked to depression in youths.

But a number of court decisions in the last three years have limited the powers of prosecutors to charge people for cyber bullying. For instance, the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2016 overturned the cyber-bullying conviction of a man stemming from his online activity as a high school student. The court ruled the statute violated the First Amendment.
Disclaimer for those idiots who cannot see any nuance: I don't support what the student in question did, far from it. The particular law under which that student was convicted was unjust.  It's not the school's place to punish even execrable behavior unless that behavior occurred at school.  The legislature needs to do a better job writing laws.

Great Basin and Bryce Canyon Were Nice, But...

...I've just checked into my room in Las Vegas.  I'm in Sin City, let the sinning begin!

(Actually, I'm here to meet up with several cousins I haven't seen in a very long time, but that doesn't mean I can't do a little sinning when they're not around!)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Bryce Canyon

I'm camping perhaps 30 mi from Bryce Canyon.  It's a pretty drive.

When I arrived I was both cheap and a good steward of the environment.  To take your vehicle into the park, the entrance fee is $35.  To take yourself into the park, it's only $20.  So I parked at the shuttle stop outside the park and took the hop-on-hop-off park shuttle in--and my entrance fee is still good for a week.  That's good, because I'm going back tomorrow.

The shuttles make a big loop through the park (and at a couple stops outside the park for us $20 payers), and in the park they stop at 4 scenic overlooks in the north part of the park.  The first stop is the southernmost, Bryce Point.  It's there that most people experience their first "ooooooooh" moment at Bryce.  I've got to admit, the hoodoos are pretty cool.

I was going to get on the next shuttle and go to the next overlook, but I saw a sign saying that it was only 1.3 mi along the Rim Trail to Inspiration Point.  I can walk 1.3 mi, right?  So I did, and I'm glad I did.  The beauty is infinite; even when looking at the same scene, seeing it from even a slightly different angle changes everything.  Another picture!

Of course I took more pictures from Inspiration Point.  I could've gotten on the shuttle there, but the Rim Trail to Sunset Point was just .7 mi.  Heck, that's barely half of what I just walked, so I continued on.  Same story regarding the views.

From Sunset Point it was only a fraction of a mile to Sunrise Point so I continued on.  It was at Sunrise Point that I caught the shuttle back to the Visitor's Center to buy a t-shirt, and from there caught another shuttle back to my truck.

No entrance fee is needed to drive out to Fairyland Point, so that was my 5th overlook of the day.  Then I drove several miles to Tropic, a town down below Bryce Canyon, to see if I could get any pictures looking "up" instead of down, but alas, the views from down there were not spectacular.

I mentioned earlier that the shuttles go only to the 4 overlooks in the northern part of the park.  What about the southern part?  Well, for that you need either your own vehicle or you can take a special shuttle.  That one runs only twice a day (morning and afternoon) and is about a 3 1/2 hour roundtrip.  And you need reservations.  So I have a reservation for tomorrow afternoon!  At the end of the road is Rainbow Point, where there is a short hike through a bristlecone pine grove.  I hope I have time to take that hike.

Update, 6/26/19:

 I wonder if these pictures will look different on my TV, rather than on my phone or computer screen, because what seems to be missing is just how huge the amphitheater of hoodoos (2nd picture) is!