A Wrong-Headed Idea…

Source: States explore new ways to tax motorists for road repair – USATODAY.com.

States are looking for new ways of taxing motorists as they seek to pay for highway and bridge repair and improvements without relying on the per-gallon gasoline tax widely viewed as all but obsolete.

Having to import oil from the Middle East is the primary reason so many of our kids die in our frequent foreign wars. Not giving those who don’t use as much oil as others some break is wrong-headed idea in my mind.  We need to tax the gas hogs on the road not the guy who is driving a sub-compact to save gas and therefore lives.

I understand the need to raise revenue to keep our highways safe and reliable. It seems to be very difficult in today’s environment to change or especially raise any kind of taxes.  But lets look at the overall affect of how we choose to tax and not just the most obvious. The biggest users should pay the biggest bills. I know that sounds too simplistic but in reality that is usually the best solution.

If you choose to have a vehicle that takes twelve gallons of gas to go one hundred miles, more than likely it is a big honker. If I choose a car that takes three gallons to go the same one hundred miles it is likely a sub-compact. More than likely your eight mpg vehicle weighs considerable more than my sub-compact so it does more damage to the roadway.  So, what is wrong with charging a gasoline tax to raise revenue for road maintenance?

I know our tax code in general is way too complicated. That doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Let’s not complicate the road tax. Keep it the way it is and simplify all the other taxes to match.

I’m just a simple guy so what do I know….

The One Thing a Man Can Do Better Than a Woman…..

The one thing a man can do better than a woman is to grow a beard  – John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley)

I am not used to pulling quotes from my hero John Steinbeck. That duty usually fall to my other hero Will Rogers. But when I came across this quote in Steinbeck’s book Travels with Charley recently I knew I had to include it here.

My wife, like most of you guys out there already know, thoroughly believe that she can do absolutely everything better than I can. She has made a life out of constantly bringing up my faults at least as she sees them. She says she does it to make me better. It seems to be another life goal for wives is to improve their husbands. That starts on the wedding day and usually doesn’t end until “death due us part”. If my wife dies before I do I have no doubt she will give me a long list of items I am to read daily about improvement for the next ten years.

So when I gave her the above quote it stopped her dead in her tracks! She just did not have a comeback for that one. Thanks John for letting me win at least that one.

Act Your Age!!!!

I don’t know how many times I have heard the title of this post. I defiantly don’t want people putting me in a pre-defined box! I guess that makes me ornery but I really don’t care. When someone says act your age they are really saying lie back and do what you are supposed to do. What a bummer man….   Besides that just which age do you want me to act.

  • In my mind I feel like I am thirty-something but with the wisdom of a sixty-something. Yeah, my body seems to constantly remind me that it is older than that but I defiantly poke back against it on a regular basis.
  • My spiritual self thinks I am in my prime. I have struggled for many years with my place in the universe of God.  I have only recently discovered, at least to my satisfaction, where I belong. But, I feel I still have many more years of discovery ahead of me. So spiritually I feel almost like a babe-in-the-woods.
  • Intellectually, I know much more than I did decades ago. When we are teenagers we all seem to think that we know more than our parents. But, as the years pass we realize that mom and dad really did have some life lessons that we could have benefited from if we had taken the time to listen and take them to heart. Now that I am on the back side of the hill I seem to have the wisdom that I so adamantly desired in my earlier years. So, where am I intellectually? Hard to say… I still have many more things to learn and I hope I never grow out of that. I have asked “why” my whole life and I intend to ask that even on my deathbed.
  • Emotionally I imagine myself still in my peak years. I don’t let things bother me as much as I used to. In my younger years women totally intimidated me because I just didn’t understand them. I still don’t understand them but it doesn’t bother me anymore 🙂
  • Chronologically I guess I am in the last 15% of my life. But that doesn’t really mean anything. I have always, or at least mostly believed in quality not quantity so I hope the years I have left will be the best ones. At least that is what I am striving towards.  With all this wisdom and peace I now have I think I can still accomplish much in my life. I see those who are younger around me who seem to be following very troubled paths. Maybe I can just help them to find out what it took me years to discover. That is if they will listen, and they probably won’t. I didn’t when I was their age….

About Your Doctor…..

TODAY Health – Diet, Fitness and Wellness Blog | TODAY.com Blogs – Doctors behaving badly: 7 types to watch out for.

This is a very interesting article about seven things you should watch out for in the doctor that is treating you. It isn’t often that we get this type of “insider” information about the medical establishments.  I always get a kick out of the way they say they “practice medicine”. That term is meant to infer that they don’t always get it right; they are still practicing. I don’t know about you but I certainly hope the doctor who is about ready to cut me open has at least practiced on a few other before he gets to me 🙂

I really advise you to read this article by clicking on the source file above. But here are the seven categories that you need to watch out for:

  1. Script-Happy
  2. Sleep Deprived
  3. Biased
  4. Flirtatious
  5. Dishonest
  6. Out of Date
  7. Privacy Breaching

I don’t know about you but the ones that concern me the most are numbers 3,5, and 6.

Let the Democrats Emulate the Repbulicans

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that is really the case then I say let the Democrats emulate the Republicans in their do-nothing attitude. There has been talk about the Senate Democrats letting the all the Bush tax cuts expire and forcing the ten-percent reduction in the military budgets by doing nothing. Will the Republicans be flattered by this imitation of their strategy in congress? I kind of doubt it. 🙂

But at least it would result in some restructuring of our debt increases. Will it be good for the jobs picture? It can’t be any worse than it is. The conservatives said that tax cuts to the “job creators” (meaning rich)  would create jobs; never happened in the ten years since. How long do we need to wait 😉 If the Republican are really for no new taxes and all tax cuts then maybe they will agree to a middle class tax cut to put them back to where they were with the Bush cuts. It sounds like a win-win situation for everyone except those who are filthy rich. They might have to fork over a little more of their obese discretionary income. They may not be able to buy a second or third vacation home but they should get by.

This idea seems too good to be true for a Democrat strategy so I’m pretty sure they will screw it up before the end of the year. After all they have proved to be pretty good at caving into Republican demands lately. But at least I can hold out hope for this one.

But what do I know…

A Picture is…..

 

 

 

If a picture is worth a thousand words this one is certainly it.  Our current congress is so afraid of the NRA that they panic when ordinary citizens bring up the topic of gun control.  Yes, the NRA is a very powerful lobby but until more congressmen stand up to them they will continue to have a strangle hold on civilized debate about weapons of mass destruction….

 

Not Only The Next Generation….

via Ron Paul ‘Revolution’ strikes at GOP state parties – First Read.

“Look at the next generation,” Paul said on MSNBC. “I mean, there is so much excitement out there. The big deal is that the next generation are sick and tired of what they’re getting and they’re looking for something.  And what we’re offering seems to appeal to the young people.”

I guess anything would be an improvement over what we have now so I salute the folks who are leading this charge to change the Republican Party. The quote above says that the next generation is sick and tired of what they’re getting, well the same can be said for many of us in the current or past generations as well. We too are sick and tired of how it is now. This is not the way to govern the most powerful nation on earth.

Much of what Ron Paul says is appealing especially in our current environment. He sees little need for government; he thinks it is out of control. I can certainly agree up to a point. The main differences I have with Mr. Paul is that I think our government has a purpose in our lives and that is to do the people’s business.

  • We need someone to keep capitalism in check so that decisions are made with the public good and not just for corporate profits.
  • We need someone to make sure our food and medical supplies are not going to kill us.
  • We need someone to protect our homes and our lives.
  • We need someone to keep our employers from turning us into serfs.
  • We need someone to make sure our kids get an education so that we are able to compete in tomorrow’s world.
  • We need someone to the minority, and all of us are a minority in one regard or another, from the tyranny of the majority.
  • We need someone to work out plans for being  citizens of the world
  • We need someone to assure that the safety net is in place for the “least of these”. This should be Christianity and other religions job but they just don’t seem up to it.

Could we accomplish these things with less of a bureaucracy than we presently have? I’m sure we could. Can we do them so that they are less intrusive in our lives. Sure..

But let’s not throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water. The people’s business needs to be done to make our lives safer and more fruitful…

We need to do something that is totally foreign to us and that is to look for good examples around us. Do other governments do somethings better than us. Could we learn how to manage our healthcare system from our neighbors to the north? They do it much more inexpensively than we do and they cover all of their citizens and statistically they even live longer than we do. Could we do our military in a different way. We could look at those who spend enormously less than we do, and that includes everyone else, to learn some lessons.

We should never be too proud to look to others for good examples of how to do things better. But given our severe and almost paranoid belief in doing it our way I’m afraid we need to get deeper into our hole before that happens.

But what do I know….

For The Good of the Nation

If we could just send the same bunch of men to Washington for the good of the nation, and not for political reasons, we could have the most perfect government in the world. – June 8, 1924   –Will Rogers

I ran across this quote recently and was again amazed how true Will’s sayings are to today. Political reasons seem to dominate our whole country in the 2000s. One hopeful thing that this quote reminds us of it that it was also that way in Will’s day but it somehow changed after that.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take another full blown depression to make that happen. We came very close to one thanks to Mr. Bush but that wasn’t enough to put politics aside.

If only the people we elect did things for the good of the nation instead of for political reasons.

But what do I know…. Next to nothing I guess…..

On-The-Road Day 11 — Calling It Quits….

Here we are ending day eleven of our trip heading home. The were a few sites I had picked for visits today but my wife just isn’t feeling up to it. She has really not done well this entire trip.  Maybe the elevation along with all her many usual ailments was too much for her. So we called it quits this morning. Maybe a future trip back to Denver to see some of the sites but that is not likely.

Since all we will be doing from here out is interstate driving I will end our 0n-the-road reports here with a story about our breakfast at Denny’s last Saturday morning. As we were leaving Mesa Verde on our way to Canyonlands Utah we stopped for breakfast at Denny’s in Cortez (there were no local places to try) for breakfast.  While we were there a number of men came in separately who most of the staff evidently knew. They were given a number of hugs and “How you doing honey” (at least that is what I could lipread). All of these about half-dozen men had several things in common.

They all had facial hair, one was like Wild Bill Cody (handle bar mustache and goatee). Others were adorned with more hair. All but one had his beard appropriately trimmed.   The only untrimmed one looked like the mountain man played by Will Geer in the movie Jeremiah Johnsonwho always called the star “pilgrim”.  I have watched that movie so many times I can quote most of the lines.  I think I am getting a little off story here so let me back up.

All of these gentlemen had big metal belt buckles, and I mean big!  I postulated that they wanted to make sure their pants wouldn’t fall down. I don’t know why they must have been worried?  The other thing was that they all had their heads covered with a cowboy hat. They never took their hats off the entire time they were there. I would almost be willing to bet that the hat was the first thing on in the morning and the last thing off at night; that is if they even took it off then! But I can’t see wearing a hat to bed??

I guess these guys are what is known as Colorado cowboys. At least they all tried to look the part. We left before they did so I didn’t see if they rode in on trucks or horses. But I didn’t see any horses so I assume they all had heavy-duty pickups with dust and dents all over them. It would just be so disappointing if they didn’t.  I will always remember our time in Colorado….

Emergency NRA Board Meeting…

Here I am heading toward Denver in a few minutes so the most recent gun slaughter is on my mind. I know President Obama will also be heading for Denver. I selfishly hope he doesn’t hold up my travels.  It just amazes me that we in the U.S.  so quickly forget all these types of shootings and there have been so many of them in recent years.  Of course we have many more guns per capita than any other country in the world so it should not be surprising that this occurs on such a frequent basis. We are also the number one exporter of guns.

I’m sure the NRA is gearing up for their usual “Don’t touch my guns” counter-attack from those like me. I will likely be flamed for this but we must find a way to prevent these types of terrorism even if it means limiting those who like to shot guns on the weekend to buying less than 6,000 rounds of deadly ammunitions at a time.  But the ever powerful NRA will never even allow that and any congressman that would even suggest it would find millions of dollars in NRA money against them in the next election! I mourn all those killed and wounded by this yet another gun nut among us and I, as usual, futilely hope we can find a way to keep the next one from so easily getting these weapons of mass destruction. President Bush didn’t need to look to Iraq for WMDs. We have millions of them here.

And no guns don’t save lives I don’t care how many road signs the NRA puts up I will never believe that.  Statistic always show that more gun owners are killed by their own guns than the bad guys they are so fearful of.

On-The-Road Day 10 Canyonlands National Park

When we left Mesa Verde yesterday we headed northwest into Utah to visit Canyonlands National Park.  Canyonland is a very different place but also much like the Grand Canyon in its majesty. Here are some pictures:

Have to have one last picture of Mesa Verde that I took just the evening before we left. It is a sun drenched view of the Cliff Palace. I will dream of that place in the days and years ahead.

Here are a couple from the Canyonlands:

Today we head north to catch I70 east to Denver. We will be visiting a new museum of Colorado history there and then who know what.  The rest of this vacation is a freestyle one 🙂

My Travels….

As I mentioned a few posts ago I somehow got myself into an extended FaceBook dialog with a friend about politics. It surprised me that he seems to hate our current president with such a venom that it scared me. I had never seen that side of him before. After an extended comment/counter-comment it shook some of the peacefulness from my current environment. I had trouble sleeping that night and even the next morning his hateful words lingered in my mind. At the end of all those posts it seemed like two one-sided conversation instead of a single thread. There was absolutely nothing that I could have said that would have mattered to him. When I brought up facts to counter his claims there were summarily ignored.

I was upset that I allowed myself to even approach his angry comments. It definitely took the polish off my otherwise delightful trip to date. I knew there was one thing that could shake me from my melancholy  and that was “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck. I have read that book more times than I can remember but each time I am totally enthralled by his adventures. I am so happy that I bought an e-book version for my Kindle. After an hour with the book the encounter with my friend evaporated. I was back with Steinbeck and his dog Charley on a road trip similar to the one I am now on.  When we come upon new places I try to see them with Steinbeck eyes. He had such a marvelous way of looking at the world!

This book was critical to my decision to start blogging. I try to emulate his style of writing and merge it into my own. He is one of my heroes in life. He has taught me so much about the common man that his books are mostly about. He and Will Rogers along with Jesus Christ are the foundations of how I view the world and what I write about.

Thank you once again John for shaking me from my melancholy and helping me to appreciate and love the world around me.

On-The-Road Day 8 –Thoughts about Mesa Verde

Today is a somewhat leisurely day for us. It is our last day at Mesa Verde so I thought I would give you an evaluation of our time here.   This has been one of my favorite vacations for quite a while. Five days in one spot is a record for me. We are usually in the  different-hotel-a-day mode.

Being without a TV for all this time has proved to be a boon. It is amazing how creative I have been while I have been here. Without the TV zombie things come to me frequently and if I hurry and write them down they become future posts, things to do, or journal entries. They have come quite frequently while sitting out on the deck and enjoying the view. I think I have ideas for about a month’s worth of posts!


Getting on to Mesa Verde itself. Since we spent one day here about three years ago I had a good idea of what to expect. About two months before our trip I got on to the Mesa Verde website and reserved a Kiva Room for the week. The Kiva Rooms are newly remodeled rooms in a Southwestern theme. While the Lodge itself is somewhat new, the buildings that make up the sleeping rooms are probably 50 or 60 years old and from the outside they are showing their age and are in need of replacement. But the inside of our upscale room is very nice and the view is fantastic. We have a small deck of about three feet by 12 feet and we have spent quite a few hours out on it

The weather here has been good. It is in the upper 80s during the day and down into the low 50s during the night. With the wind which seems to blow here all the time and the low humidity it is actually quite comfortable to me. It has rained a few nights but been mostly clear skies during the day.

The park itself is fantastic. There are about a dozen major dwellings that are visitable if you have the stamina. We managed to get through two of the less strenuous ones before Yvonne’s energy gave out. The others are viewable from lookout platforms at usually less than a thousand feet away. There are also many other sites along the roads for the smaller dwellings. I think we saw at least thirty or so of those during our time here.

One of the things that I experienced the last time but to a much greater degree is the magic of the sites. It is inspiring to be able to walk on the same stones that our ancestors walked up to 1500 years ago. If it is quiet, for me it is alway quiet, and without many other people around it is almost as if I can sense their presence. I had that feeling several times during this week. It is a very welcomed feeling that I have only had a few other times in my life.

The low point of our stay here is the Far View Terrace. It is the main eating place for the park. We had several meals there. The quality of the food left a lot to be desired. I had a piece of pizza there one night for dinner that I am sure was at least 8 hours old and maybe even from the day before! It was hardly edible. While there were a few exceptions most of the other items proved to have been cooked hours before they were served. Luckily we had brought a pretty good supply of  lunchmeat and such with us so we ate most of our lunches and a couple of dinners from that stock.

What the Terrace lacked in quality was more than made up by the Metate Room which is an upscale restaurant in the lodge. The chef there has won several national awards and the food is simply fantastic. But it does come at a pretty high cost. We ate there last night and the tab came to about $90. We could have spent less without the wine and dessert but choose to  go all the way  at least once while we are here 🙂

Tomorrow morning we will be leaving Mesa Verde for the rest of our trip. I hope it is at least half as enjoyable as it has been so far.  I will remember our time here for the rest of my life.

A Crack in the Armor???

 

Source: Boehner joins criticism of Bachmann over Clinton aide comments | World news | guardian.co.uk

John Boehner, the leading Republican in Congress, has chastised his colleague Michele Bachmann over allegations she made linking a key aide of Hillary Clinton to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Boehner said on Thursday that the comments – made in a letter from Bachmann to the state department and Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison – about the family of Huma Abedin were “pretty dangerous”. He joins John McCain in rebuking Bachmann over claims that Abedin’s father, mother and brother were connected to the Islamist group.

I know I am on vacation and have sworn off politics to a certain degree but going head-to-head with my conservative friend on FaceBook in the last day or so has already tarnished an otherwise great vacation so I thought what the heck when I saw this article.

Is this the long-awaited crack in the armor for the Republican party. Up until this point there seems to be nothing no matter how nasty or untrue any Republican could say about any Democrat that would raise a rebuke from a fellow Republican. No matter how absurd the words fellow Republicans just didn’t do that.  So, it came as a total surprise that two congressmen are chastising another over comments made.

I would love to think that this is the beginning of some sanity in our political processes but dare I even think that especially during the beginnings of this mud-slinging season.  Is civility an archaic word now or can it be resurrected? We can only hope that this is finally a crack in the armor….

But what do I know

On-The_Road Day 7 –Working 9 til 5…

For the last hundred years or more the average person went to work for a given number of hours and then went home to his family. He was paid for his efforts and used that money to provide food and shelter. The number of hours demanded for a day’s work has varied over the years but the idea of working for someone else has remained a constant. We tend to think that this is a normal kind of thing. But for many in history that was really not the case.

The ancient ruins here at Mesa Verde got me to thinking about this. Native Americans for the most part don’t buy into the 9 til 5 mentality now nor have they ever. At first, 500AD, the native Americans around here were hunter/gatherers. They have unearthed numbers pit houses where they lived. They later, 1200AD, became cliff dwellers and usual grew crops above their homes. How they managed to live in such arid conditions is still beyond me. There are no major sources of water in the area so even gathering water had to have been a chore for them. It is reported they they dammed up gullies to gather the water from the melting snow and also got some water through cracks in the sandstone walls.  About 1300AD they simply left and went south. A severe drought is postulated as being the cause.

We will be eating dinner tonight at the Metate Room here at the lodge. It has a world famous chef with world famous prices so we reserved only one night for enjoying the cuisine there. Tomorrow will be our last day here and then it is on to Monument Valley in Utah and then back to Denver. From there who knows? I will give you a synopsis post about our stay here at Mesa Verde.  Most of it has been good, maybe even great, but there is room for improvements that I will also mention.

Here are the pictures for today:

Here is a picture of the Cliff Palace. It is probably the best known one here. I plan on going back there during the late afternoon hour to get some more pictures when the sun is giving its best performance.

Here is a picture of me and my new Chevy Sonic. She has been doing very well for us on this trip. Even though she is a sub-compact she still has more than enough room for even my wife’s things. Of course we brought twice as much as we actually needed 🙂