Friday, August 31, 2018

FW: Beto

 

He wants to represent *all* the people, so he has pledged not to take any money from corporations or Political Action Committees.  He only takes individual donations.  In fact, right on the donation link it lists the rules:

 

It doesn't say anything about being a Texas resident though, so if anyone thought it would be a good idea for the country for Beto to be in the Senate….

 

 

Beto for Texas

 

Beto is listening to Texans in each of our state's 254 counties.

Beto for Texas

He's listening to everyone -- Democrats, Republicans, Independents and non-voters alike.

Beto for Texas

Beto for Texas

Because Texas deserves a Senator who will listen to and fight for all of us.

Beto for Texas

 

Beto for Texas

 

Beto for Texas

Beto isn't accepting any PAC or special-interest money -- just donations from real people like you.

Beto for Texas

And the latest polling shows it's working … we can win this race:

Beto for Texas

Together, we're building the biggest 'get out the vote' operation in Texas history to talk to as many voters as possible.

Beto for Texas

Early voting starts in just 52 days. Every dollar helps us get closer and closer to winning this race.

Can you make another donation of $50 to Beto today to help us hit our goal of raising $500,000 online before the end of the month?

Contribute $50 »

 






 

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

A close encounter

 

With a red-tailed hawk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Chainsaw on a stick

 

We decided to take down a tree in the thicket behind the house.  For that we’re using the chainsaw on a stick.

 

It’s such a cool invention.  It’s battery powered, with the battery being back at the handle, to keep as much weight out of the business end of the saw as possible.

 

We did this to ourselves.  There wasn’t anything there in the back to begin with when we moved in.  I decided to plant a thicket of native Texas plants.  Everything I planted has flowers or berries that attract native species.  One of the things I planted was a huisachillo tree.  It’s not a husiache; it’s not as big, but still it turns out to be too big for that little space behind the house.  Thus the chainsaw on a stick.

 

We’ve been at this a week.  We cut off a few branches at a time each day, then lop and clip them up into chunks that will fit into big paper yard bags.  (at a hundred degrees, we’re limited as to how much we can do at a time before we retreat into the outdoor shower or back inside to the air conditioning.)

 

We’re almost done. 

 

A few more cuts down into manageable chunks.  We think fifteen yard bags altogether will do the job.

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Beto O’Rourke

 

Outside of Texas you may not have heard of him.  He's running for Senator against Ted Cruz.  You've probably heard of Ted Cruz.

 

Beto is getting a lot of attention for a recent video.  He was asked a question, by a person not sympathetic to how his answer was going to go, about a controversial topic.  He did a great job of setting the stage for his answer, acknowledging how strongly people feel about it, then actually took a clear position with his answer.  I like the last part the best.  He didn't duck and dodge, then answer a question that wasn't even asked, he gave a straight answer!

 

Beto O'Rourke clip

 

Beto O'Rourke.  I hope he wins a senate seat.

 

Monday, August 27, 2018

RE: Health care

So if you like the idea of Medicare for all you present it as a way to lower the overall cost of healthcare and a way to include everyone.  If you don’t like the idea and want to kill it, call it the biggest tax increase ever.  If it becomes a campaign issue in 2018 and 2020, it’ll be interesting to see how it’s presented and opposed.

 

(I think any implementation issues, like who gets the benefits and who pays the taxes, can be sorted out.  In fact, I think I should be appointed to that task force.)

 

 

From: Steve Taylor
Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2018 8:58 PM
Subject: Health care

 

 

Medicare for all.  Who doesn’t like Medicare?  Judy and I are fine with it.  It’s run by the government, but it doesn’t seem like government intrusion in our lives; it’s just a way to simplify medical care and it works.

 

The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other developed nation but doesn’t get as good medical outcomes as many other countries do.  It seems like Medicare for all would be such a simple solution:  spend less, get better care, and include everyone.  On a macro scale, it’s hard to argue against it.

 

But I see a problem with implementing it.  Even if it costs less overall (no profits for insurance companies), it would require a change in who pays and how.  Instead of employers and individuals paying healthcare premiums, the government would cover the cost.  Individuals would no longer have to pay insurance premiums, but they would have to pay taxes to fund the government program.  Paying less additional taxes than the insurance premiums would be a win, but there is another scenario.  Employer paid health insurance.  Plenty of employers still pay health insurance for their employees.  If you take the health care premiums away from the employer, but add the additional taxes to the individual, that’s a problem.  Over time, that differential would sort out, but it could take a while.

 

On a grand scale, and with a long time-horizon, Medicare for all could be the way to go.  On an individual scale, and in the short term, implementation for some could be awkward.

 

 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Health care

 

Medicare for all.  Who doesn’t like Medicare?  Judy and I are fine with it.  It’s run by the government, but it doesn’t seem like government intrusion in our lives; it’s just a way to simplify medical care and it works.

 

The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other developed nation but doesn’t get as good medical outcomes as many other countries do.  It seems like Medicare for all would be such a simple solution:  spend less, get better care, and include everyone.  On a macro scale, it’s hard to argue against it.

 

But I see a problem with implementing it.  Even if it costs less overall (no profits for insurance companies), it would require a change in who pays and how.  Instead of employers and individuals paying healthcare premiums, the government would cover the cost.  Individuals would no longer have to pay insurance premiums, but they would have to pay taxes to fund the government program.  Paying less additional taxes than the insurance premiums would be a win, but there is another scenario.  Employer paid health insurance.  Plenty of employers still pay health insurance for their employees.  If you take the health care premiums away from the employer, but add the additional taxes to the individual, that’s a problem.  Over time, that differential would sort out, but it could take a while.

 

On a grand scale, and with a long time-horizon, Medicare for all could be the way to go.  On an individual scale, and in the short term, implementation for some could be awkward.

 

 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

All quiet

 

 

On the Rio Grande.

 

It’s hot and still.  The river cane is healthy and high.

 

Overhead, amongst the gray hawks

 

 

And Swainson’s Hawk

 

A swallow-tailed kite drifts into view.

 

 

 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Sometimes

 

A Groove-billed Ani just pops into view.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Buff-bellied hummingbird

 

They like to go perch in bushes and trees, so the usual looks we get at them are something like this.

 

Not very well lit.  Not much definition.

 

We got lucky today and had one perch out in the open for us and display his tail.

 

That was cool.

 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Stories

 

When we go to RV Parks, or State Parks, we can imagine that most people probably have similar stories:

 

“Hey, want to go to the lake/mountains/river and have a vacation?”

 

“Sure,”

 

“Cool.”

 

At the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Colorado it’s different though.  The fairgrounds is not a destination park unless you’re coming here for an event at the fair, and most of the time, except weekends, there is not anything going on at the fair.

 

So what are all those people doing there?  As glad as we are to have that option for a place to stay when we can’t stay at the state park, nobody is there because it’s beautiful.  It’s more like a dirt parking lot.

 

 

 

Most people must be there for the proximity to where they want to be, or for the price.  It costs $25 a night for 50 amp hookups like we use, a little less for 30 amp electric only, and you can pull into one of the smaller sites, use the public showers and washrooms, and sleep in your rig without hooking anything up for $10 a night.

 

There is always a variety of new, old, and a few broken down rigs.  Some rigs aren’t even rigs at all; just people sleeping in their cars.  What collection of stories would make up this place?  Perhaps something along the lines of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row characters.  Some people hang around their campers all day.  Others come and go.  Some look like they’ve been sleeping in their car for years.  For three days, a nicely dressed young woman got up out of her car each morning, drove off for most of the day, then returned each night to sleep in her car again.  How involved was that story?  Visiting relatives?  An out of towner going on job interviews?  A homeless person that still had a car and hope?

 

We’re reminded of a couple from years ago while we were staying at Golden Shores RV Park in Long Beach, California.  There was a nice grassy park out front and a few vagrants sleeping it off in the shade during the day, but there was a young couple, still in their twenties, that caught our attention.  They would appear in the afternoon, suitcase in hand, and hang around a picnic table under the trees until it started to get dark.  Then they would walk off toward the Los Angeles River channel (cement flood control) where people would sleep under the bridges.  In the morning they would show up again, neatly dressed, suitcase in hand, and wait for their bus, ride, or whatever.  What was their story?  Where were they going each day?  Job interviews?  Public assistance?  Were they trying hard for a better life?  Did they ever get a break?  Whatever they were doing, they hadn’t given up.  They didn’t have much, but they hadn’t given up.

 

There is an endless stream of things to watch and wonder about.  Some impressions stick with us longer than others; some for the rest of our lives.  We never know which stories, real or imagined, will have such an impact until later though.

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

We got the Urology follow-up

 

“To reduce the incidence of kidney stones, drink plenty of water and pay attention to salt intake.”  After study and evaluation, that’s what the specialists advise.  In other words, continue what I’m doing.  That by itself doesn’t suggest any change in my incidence of kidney stones.

 

Of course, I have more information than the specialists do; I have more than just a couple studies at a particular point in time.  I’ve been paying attention to this issue for years.  I got my first (identified) kidney stone when I was in my mid-twenties.  (In retrospect, I think I had one once in my teens and once in the army, both undiagnosed, now that I know for sure what they feel like.)  For the identified stone in my twenties, the doctor asked me how much milk I drank.  I told him a quart a day.  Kidney stones tend to be calcium compounds, mine are calcium oxalate, and milk has a lot of calcium.  He suggested I stop drinking milk.

 

When I had my second kidney stone a year later, I decided maybe I should listen to the doctor’s advice and I quit drinking milk.  I didn’t have another stone for years.  Ever since then, every time I have a recurrence of kidney stones, I can trace them back to an unintentional intake of excessive calcium.  In my forties I got on a dietary supplement regimen.  A year later, when I had a kidney stone, I read the supplement ingredients carefully and found every one of them had calcium in it.  I quit taking those supplements and the kidney stones quit.

 

More recently when I started having kidney stones again, I searched for a calcium source and realized that my daily dose of Pepcid to combat indigestion at night was loaded with calcium and I had been overdosing myself for a year.  I changed when and how I ate so I wouldn’t have heartburn at night and never took another Pepcid.  Following that realization, last year, we were stopped in Glenwood Springs, Colorado for some emergency room attention and drugs for a kidney stone I was having.  The urologist there told us I was doing fine with the one I was working on and it should finish passing in another couple months.  She also alerted us that there were still half a dozen small ones that we would end up dealing with later when they got bigger.  I think the five kidney stones we just went through were the last of the Pepcid generation of stones.  My kidneys now look clear; no stones of any size.  I’ll go back to my operating theory that as long as I avoid any new massive calcium intake, I should remain, mostly, kidney stone free.  (I’ll also check back with the Colorado urologist annually as an early warning device)

 

I’ll report back on how that works out…

 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Engines

 

When I was young, driving a ’55 Chevy, I thought of motors as moving objects.  How fast could they change speeds; can they rev high and get there fast?

 

Now, driving the motorhome, I think of the motor more as a static object.  Set it at 1,600 rpm rolling down the highway.  The load varies with the terrain, but the engine holds steady.  Now it’s more about how constant a speed the engine can hold than about how fast it can change speeds.

 

 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

And speed bumps

 

I’m confused by speed bumps.

 

If a neighborhood wants you to drive 15 or 20 miles an hour down their street, why put in speed bumps that can only be negotiated at 5 miles per hour?  That guarantees braking, bouncing, and accelerating for every bump!  Why not put in speed bumps that are comfortable at 15 miles per hour, but uncomfortable above?  That would accomplish what they’re after; reduced speed, and also reduce noise, and pollution from acceleration.

 

 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

I’m confused by arithmetic

 

Let's say you have a tax base of 1,000 people and the city provides a service for those people at a cost of $1 per person.  They tax each person $1 and that covers the cost.  Years go by and the city grows to 10,000.  Now they have a tax base of $10,000 to provide the same service to each constituent, so even though there are more people there are more tax dollars to provide the service.  So far so good.

 

When we were young, and it was time to get a driver's license, we went to the Department of Motor Vehicles, stood in line, and took our driver's test.  Same day.  No problem.  Now in 2018, our granddaughter is ready to take her driver's test, but the Department of Motor Vehicles is too busy to administer the driving test until mid-September, a month later!  What just happened?  We paid our taxes in 1961 and got a service.  Now in 2018, we're still paying taxes and they can't provide the service for a month?  Sure, there are more people now than there were then, but if there are 10 times as many people that means the local government is collecting 10 times as much money.  No matter the population, they have the same amount of money per person to provide the service.  Why would the service change?

 

 

Friday, August 17, 2018

We’re home

 

2018 May Colorado Trip

 

A quick stop at the Falfurrias Rest Area and magical fractured light through the oaks.

 

And a nice sign over the door for our return.

 

What was to be a six week trip turned into three and a half months.  There were some things we did on purpose, and there were some unexpected challenges along the way, but the challenges were overwhelmed by love and support (and great medical care).  We had times with friends and family we wouldn't have otherwise had.

 

Life on the road.  It's just like life, only with wheels.

 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Random thoughts

 

And they’re not mine!

 

One from Matt:

 

“I don’t know why but this just popped into my head. We have spent most of the last year, each at the age of the others birth year.“  (My note, Matt is/was 45, born in 1972.)

 

One from McKee:

 

“What you have here is an old race car trailer.  The guy made a small fortune in racing.  One does that by starting with a large fortune.  Then you park/junk/sell the race car and go low budget RVing.  But with a back porch.”

D

 

We’re at George West, Texas.  We’re in an oilfield and refinery worker’s park.  We didn’t go very far, we’re still being careful with me and holding down the miles per day.  A short day tomorrow and we’ll be home.

 

2018 May Colorado Trip

 

I’d go outside and take a picture of the site, but it’s a hundred degrees out there!  I’m staying inside with the air conditioning running.

 

I know.  I’ll wait until dark, then go outside for the picture…

 

 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018