Painting with Words – Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
I am a dreamer to my core; it is just who I am.
That is simultaneously a curse and a blessing.
I recognize how things are but imagine them to be better.
There is no place better to do that than Mesa Verde

My first visit there seemed almost spiritual.
I could almost see my ancestors living their daily lives.
How they got there no one really knows.
Why they left is pretty much the same.

The stone and adobe walls they built are still there.
I touched them and dreamed I was among them.
In their isolation they lived in peaceful harmony with nature.
But that is kinda the Native American way, isn't it?

I would go back several more times and it always felt the same.
I absorbed their world into mine if only for a few minutes.

God willing, I will go back again before I leave this earth.
My idealism and dreams needs a refill from time to time.

For me there is no place in the world quite like it.

A place where I can escape the dreadfulness of our times.
Where I can immerse myself in an imagined Utopian world.
We all need a place like that and Mesa Verde is that place for me.

I’m Canadian, We Don’t Do “Proud

I’m pretty sure my roots go back to Great Britain, so maybe that is the reason I have such a kindred relationship with things Canadian. They still have the basic sense of being British engrained in them. 🙂 The quote above is from Martha Atwood who is Canadian and the author of “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

When I heard the quote in the title from her it made me think just how fundamentally different Canadians are from their southern neighbors. That and a photo gallery of my 2011-month-long visit is what this post is about.

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Cars, Cars, and More Cars…

No I am not talking about the Los Angeles freeway, I am talking about the GoodGuys Car show in Des Moines Iowa I recently attended. I think you know by now that I am a car guy. The shelves of the study are lined with 1/32 scale models of them. When I’m too lazy to do anything else I am usually watching a car show on the Motor Trend channel. I am a car guy.

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In Search Of America – The Great Lakes Freighters

I had the privilege of touring a Great Lakes Freighter a few weeks ago. It is permanently docked at the National Museum of the Great Lakes near Toledo Ohio. I think I saw my first one in the late 1960s. Since that was when steel and autos were king of that region. There were hundreds of them on the Great Lakes bringing ore from Minnesota to the mills on Lake Michigan and Erie. They are still around but just not in the numbers they once were.

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The County Fair

What could be more American than the small rural county fair?  I have had the pleasure of living in one of the smallest population wise counties in Indiana for almost two decades now.  While I don’t go to all the annual county fairs I enjoy the ones I have attended.  The pictures here are from our first visit in 2002.  So, all the kids in these pictures are now high school graduates. 😋

Greenfield Village Re-visited…

I wanted to visit Greenfield Village once more before we close out another year. This visit is a gallery that shows no evidence of the 21st century.  That is one thing I truly enjoy about Mackinac Island, no cars allowed). Nantucket is a great place to visit but it is kinda ruined by all the cars that have flooded the island. 

Anyway, here is my version of Greenfield of the 20th century:

Cleveland – A Different View

Last Saturday’s “Artsy” post gave you a snapshot of our trip to Cleveland earlier this year.  This post will put some flesh on those bones. 🙂

Our first extended visit to Cleveland was in 2013. We were visiting a couple of my high school classmates of fifty years ago. We took in the downtown area and most of the usual tourist places during that trip. The trip this Spring was a two-day pass-through one and I was determined to see a different view of the city. As mentioned Saturday, we stayed at the Aloft Hotel on the Cuyahoga River a short distance from Lake Erie.  It was a very different place than we usually stay and that is exactly what I was hoping for. Since I didn’t get any internal shots of the hotel I took some from their website, I’m sure they won’t mind the free advertising.  (Oh, by the way, click on any of these groups of pictures to see larger and captioned versions.)

The backside of the hotel where our room was was literally abutted up to the commuter train tracks. The views were amazing. This is a slideshow of my pictures.

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As you likely know, I am a planner so I had checked out the Westside Market as the place to go for the next day which was a Tuesday.  We got to the market plenty early so there wouldn’t be too many people but found out they are closed on Tuesday! We did eat at the local cafe attached to the market and had a humongous breakfast.  Finally here are some pictures of that.

 

It was an enjoyable experience, even if we were disappointed about the market. From Cleveland, we went to Punxsutawney PA to see Phil. More on that in a future Tuesday post.

 

Coastal Taco – Cleveland

Coastal Taco - Cleveland

For the first “Artsy Saturday” post at the reformatted RJsCorner, I chose the Coastal Taco in downtown Cleveland Ohio.  The picture was taken just after sunset from our room at the very eclectic Aloft Hotel. As you can see the restaurant was under a very large bridge going across the Cuyahoga River near Lake Erie.  The food was pretty good and the inside atmosphere was delicious. 🙂

The Fallacy of Consumer Driven Capitalism

The two major things that drive the US economy are personal consumption and military spending. With this post, I will try to convince you that is a basic problem for us as a country. It thwarts happiness and is a wasteful way to live a life. But the biggest problem is that for too many of us it is the ONLY thing driving our lives. More money, more stuff.

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Ironically this is true throughout the economic ladder from the richest of us to the poorest. We think that if we can just get a few more dollars to buy more stuff everything will be better. Most of us have been thoroughly indoctrinated into consumer driving capitalism. For many of us, contrary to what the philosophers say, money can buy happiness, at least temporarily. Or so we believe…

For those on the lower end of the economic spectrum it is another flat screen TV; for those on the upper end, it is a new $50,000 car to replace the two-year-old one we currently have.

Believe it or not, there are other parts of the world that take a very different approach to capitalism. They don’t depend on all of their citizens spending more and more year after year. Instead, much of the profits of their version of capitalism is used for the overall good of the country and its citizens. Those countries have an infinitely better infrastructure.  Potholes and failing bridges are not the norms for them.  Even more importantly they provide health care for all their citizens and security for their senior citizens.  Every statistic taken shows that they are much happier than we are even if they don’t have multiple storage lockers filled with junk.

How do we as a country get out of the “more and more” mentality and into something that makes us happier?  That is the question of the day for me.

 

Heading to the Rendezvous

IMG_6426IMG_6426IMG_6424IMG_6424Here I am sitting in my uRV. It is only 6am but my body says it is 8 and time to get up. It took me three days to get here but I am finally in the Rocky Mountains and will be heading to the Ft. Bridger Wyoming Rendezvous later this morning.  I think I will hold off on the trip here report until I get home again, but I did want to give you a status report.

I am in my RV park here in Green River WY for a couple of days and managed to snap a few pictures as the sun came up this morning. The park it BIG. There are a variety of RVs here from the 40 foot long million dollar mammoths down to my little custom-made shell on the back of a 100,000+ mile pickup.  I managed to snap a couple of shots as the sun was coming up but since I have not really conquered photographing sunrises it didn’t show up very well.

I got my camera battery charged and an empty SD card and ready to go.  Speaking of which its time for me to put up my laptop and have some breakfast before I leave. More on the day tomorrow (I think?).

One of My Dreams…

2018-08-28_08-03-02.pngOne of my dreams, you could say one of the few things on my bucket list, is to go to the Ft. Bridger WY Mountain Man Rendezvous and that is just what I am doing starting today. I have packed up my uRV and will soon be on the road for the 1400 mile trek. The rendezvous is this coming weekend. I will be there on Saturday and maybe stay through Sunday.

 

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This will be the farthest I have gone with my 120,000-mile custom made camper in quite a while. On the trip back and forth I will be dry-docking at Walmarts along the way but will have a full facility RV camp during the rendezvous days. I also plan on visiting the Stuhr Museum of the American Prarie in Nebraska.

2018-08-28_08-03-55.pngI have been to quite a few rendezvous-type encampments but this is the grandaddy and biggest of them all. I have imagined that in a previous life I was a mountain man.  My all-time favorite movie is Jerimiah Johnson. I don’t know if that is cause or effect but it doesn’t matter. I love the Rocky Mountains for whatever reason.

I will likely resurrect my on-the-road reports at least for a few entries for this one. So, look for them in the coming week.

Robots And Henry Ford

This post is primarily about my recent visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan. But first, I want to get some things off my mind in relation to Ford’s contributions to America.IMG_5963

It is pretty well known that Henry Ford established the middle class here in America, or at least the easiest path to the middle class. He allowed someone with little or no training to earn enough to afford some of the luxuries of life. But to do that required mind-numbing hours on an assembly line doing the same thing thousands of time a day. One of the primary gifts God gave us humans is that we are thinking animals. Well, most of us are. 🙂  I applaud Mr. Ford for this accomplishment even if it did dehumanize his employees.

But I am without a doubt, that if robotics were available to him he would have gone totally in that direction. He was a great inventor but not particularly a ‘people’ person.

In the process of this innovation, Henry Ford became extremely wealthy. He made so much money that he had absolutely no idea how to spend it.  One of the solutions he settled on was to recreate his childhood memories and to collect things he enjoyed seeing. That idea was the birthplace of the Ford Museum.

Here is a very small sample of pictures that were taken at the Ford Museum.

(as usual, click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view)

Rock Concerts

This is a post about my first and last venture to a rock concert, or whatever they might call them nowadays. When I got an advance ticket to the Madison Regatta recently it asked me if I also wanted a ticket to the rock concert being promoted by another entity. I have never been to a music fest so, even though I am deaf, I decided “what the heck”.

2018-07-18_09-05-01.pngEven though I was a teenager of the 1960s in the Woodstock era, I have never been to a rock concert. I was just too busy trying to pay and graduate from college to have the time or money to go to one.  Yeah, I did manage to see my favorite folk music heroes “Bob Dylan”, “Peter, Paul, and Mary”, and “Simon & Garfunkel” but that was in the college music hall.

Getting back to my rock concert story, by the time the concert started, I was getting pretty tired and ready to return to my campsite but decided to at least spend a few minutes looking at the current band performing. My first impression was that most of the people were had grey hair. I didn’t expect that. 🙂  Here are some pictures:

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The drummer sure did look like he was high, but I guess he is supposed to look like that. When I went up front to take these pics I could feel the music hitting my torso. BOOM, BOOM,BOOM. I don’t know if that was an unexpected bucket list item or not, but I don’t plan on going to another one. 🙂

Bullets Or The Ballot Box…

2018-01-24_15-52-48I believe that I live in a country that is just as flawed, but in different ways, as most others in the world today.  One of the most serious flaws is that we have an inordinate love of our guns. Our culture is primarily centered around violence. We are four percent of the world’s population, yet own almost fifty percent of the world’s guns.

But there is one characteristic of this country that leaves me with hope and pride and a feeling that we can survive just about anything that the world throws at us.  That characteristic is that we as a nation of people settle our differences at the ballot box instead of with bullets.

I know in the middle of our three hundred year existence that we managed to kill a half million of ourselves over the idea that one human being can own another.  Thankfully that war ended on the moral side of things and even more so that it is the only time we have taken up guns against each other.  We are pretty unique in that regard and all you have to do to see that is look at the history of just about any other country.

Resolving our conflicts with our ballot instead of bullets does result in two and four year periods where we have to put up with our serious mistakes. This is one of those periods. We will start remedying that mistake this coming November and finally drive the unstable narcissist out of office in twenty-four months after that.

Yes, I am extremely proud that we settle our major differences with our ballots instead of with our bullets. That fact alone makes me proud to call myself an American.

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Just Doesn’t Hack It…

slice8.pngA few months ago I told you that I was moving my InSearchOfAmerica stuff to Flickr. That site now has over 800 pictures and about 8,000 visits of my travels throughout America.  That is pretty good but one thing that is missing are words.  Flickr is primarily a visual media and there is just not much there to support the written word.

2018-07-01_10-44-57So, to eliminate that problem I am doing a little backtracking.  I have decided to use a parallel approach to my ISOA catalog. Starting soon, I will be adding regular ISOA posts back to RJsCorner. The one thing that will be different is that I will limit my pictures on each post to a couple and then give a link to a larger album on Flickr.

I know, a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words but a picture without words describing the story behind it leaves the picture less than it should be.  I think this solution will satisfy the void that Flickr only is leaving me with.  If you have any suggestions on this topic please let me know.

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Checking Those Phones…

In Will’s days checking your phone meant going into the parlor to see if it was ringing or maybe if someone else on the party line was using it. Phones were pretty valuable in those days and they didn’t cost $800 like many do today, especially since $800 was pretty much what a successful fellow made a year in Will’s time. But, I guess I better get to the point here.

I read something recently that said that researchers have found that folks who are constantly checking their cell phones have higher levels of boredom and worse overall moods. I don’t know how those two link but I guess there is a connection somewhere. Whether it is chicken-egg or egg-chicken I don’t know.

2018-06-10_13-40-05.pngI am a guy to is almost constantly living with my technology, but my cell phone most often resides on my computer desk and is seldom picked up more than a couple times a day.  But, I suspect that I spend 2 -3 hours per day at one of my computers or iPad doing this or that. First thing every morning after my shower I browse my news feeds to see what #CO3 screwed up the day before. I read a wide variety of topics also during that time. Like Will Rogers, I get most of my thoughts I post here from those morning reviews.

Being a “techie” I probably live too much with my stuff. When my wife and I are on the road and she is driving, I am usually on Google or Apple maps to see what is ahead. My wife frequently tells me to “Put that stuff down and look out the window”. No, I don’t constantly check my phone but maybe I am just as bad as those that do. 🙂

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#CO3 – Current Oval Office Occupant

 

(WS) I Don’t Need The Annoyance Anymore…

canstockphoto2945108.jpgI have pretty much given up on the hope that those who are part of the Radical Right/Fear tribe will ever really understand my view of the world or that I will understand theirs.  All we seem to be able to do lately is to scream at each other across the red/blue abyss that separates us. Is that a fruitful way to spend the rest my life? Maybe it’s time go down a different path? That is the thought in this post.

We, in the United States, used to have a common bond but that seems to be fracturing now. There are two basic mentalities that currently dominate.

Red Tribe – There are those whose primary emotion is fear of the unknown. Fear of scientific advancements, fear of automation, fear of strangers, and especially fear that their way of life might be changing.  This group wants things to remain static. They welcome new products and services that make their life easier but still fear the technology that made them possible. They fear that their loss of majority status will mean others will lord over them as they have done over others in the past. Finally, they fear that their religion is losing prominence and therefore relevance in the world.

Blue Tribe – There are those who see one of the most basic things in life is “change”.  They are constantly looking for ways to do things better. They recognize that change often brings on apprehension but it also brings on much-needed progress.  They celebrate technological advances that help us live longer more fruitful lives. They believe that diversity is at the core of the success in our country.  They don’t fear the future but instead embrace it and the challenges it brings.

I think these two groups have always been around but the Us vs Them mentality is so dominant now.  Will we ever be able to fill the deep divide between us?

Getting back to my personal story, I am in my eighth decade now so I have decided to drop out of this war of different moralities and let those younger than me fight it from here on out.  I will continue to provide insight that my years of experiences have provided but I will no longer be a soldier in this war.  I will continue as I always have to vote at every opportunity but I will no longer try to convince those who I see as unconvincible.

My new mantra in life is “One day at a time” and each day is simply too valuable to waste on those adamantly opposed to the moralities that have driven my life. I pray that those who have many more years in front of them than behind take up the mantle I am dropping for I fear the consequences if they don’t…

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Orchids & Democracies

2018-04-08_15-31-46.pngThis being a primary election day here in Indiana, democracies are on my mind. Two of the most beautiful and delicate things in the world are orchids and democracies. They both need constant nurturing to thrive. An orchid needs the right light and temperature. It needs constant watering or it will die on the vine. The same thing is true for democracies.

Too many in this country seem to think that our democracy is as rugged as Rambo.  We can mistreat it and ignore it and it will always come fighting back.  If you want to see the fallacy of that belief just look around the world at various country’s attempts to maintain a democracy. The most obvious example right now is Russia.  When the iron curtain finally fell, Russia claimed that it would be a democracy. But that dream has pretty much been squashed.  One inept leader after another tried to make it so but since a former KGB agent took the helm, the idea of a Russian democracy pretty much has vanished.

Thomas Jefferson stated that an informed electorate is absolutely essential for a democracy to exist. Sadly, an informed electorate seems to have at least temporarily vanished from the American landscape. Too many latched on to one con-man or another with promises they can’t and don’t intend to keep. Too many of us are just too lazy to do the work to weed out the cons from the Patriots. We are currently living with the consequences of that most recent failure.

Being that so many still don’t seem to understand the threat is more evidence that we are not as stable as many believe. All of us need to get involved in caring for our delicate democracy.

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