“So what can I, personally, do about this mess?”

That’s a question I’m being asked more and more, as the dismally partisan, sectarian and one-sided impeachment proceedings play out in Congress;  as crisis after crisis (our all-too-porous borders, homelessness, the economy, etc.) grabs the headlines;  as people feel more and more powerless to actually change the rot that they see all around them in our society.  “What can I, personally, do to change it?” I think there are several things one can do:  but they all have to begin with accepting the situation as it is, and ourselves as we are.  It’s no good saying, “Things should be this way”

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The homeless crisis and what it portends

In a recent interview, Doug Casey offers his perspective on the explosion of homelessness in parts of this country, and what it means.  He doesn’t mince his words. I see it as part of the continuing decline of Western civilization. The West has always been distinguished relative to the rest of the world by its order, its cleanliness, its respect for property rights. These things are all going by the wayside. We were a middle class society with “bourgeois” values, essentially Boy Scout virtues. But these things are now held in contempt, even while the middle class is being squeezed. “Ground

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Hong Kong: totalitarianism triumphs, democracy dies

What we’ve seen in Hong Kong over the past couple of days has been coming for some months.  It’s been inevitable, and now it’s happening.  I don’t envy the student activists who are now trapped in the university there.  They’re either going to disappear into Chinese detention camps, or they’re going to die there.  They have no other options left. Hong Kong police have fought running battles with protesters trying to break through a security cordon around a university in the city, firing teargas at anyone trying to leave. Polytechnic University, a sprawling campus that has been occupied by demonstrators since

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Sunday morning music

Sunday morning music Now and again, a musical performance comes along that makes me laugh out loud.  This morning’s offering did just that.  What happens when a baroque percussion ensemble meets AC/DC?  Listen for yourself, and find out! I think that must have been an absolute hoot for the musicians.  Full marks! Peter

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Saturday snippet: the perils of trail driving Texas longhorns

As part of writing the Western novels in my “Ames Archives” series, I spend a fair amount of time and money looking up original sources, written accounts of the Old West from people who were there and lived its reality.  (Recently, in this series, we heard from famed scout Billy Dixon about the Second Battle of Adobe Walls, which sparked the Red River War of 1874-75.) One of the scariest events for a cowhand was a stampede by the herd.  It could be sparked by almost anything:  the scent or a glimpse of a predator such as a wolf, bad weather, a rattlesnake’s warning buzz, or the

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Ice on your windscreen? Three home-made solutions

Like many of us, Miss D. and I were caught in the big Arctic freeze that blew through last week.  It froze up our car windows, so that before we could drive in the mornings, we had to scrape them clear or use the car’s own defrosting mechanisms to melt the ice. Frustrated, I did a bit of searching, and came up with these three recommendations for an easy, home-made solution to car window icing. I haven’t tried them all yet, but I intend to.  I’m not real sure about the middle one – if the water’s too hot, and the windscreen

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America’s food chain: interesting – and vulnerable?

The University of Illinois has just produced the first high-resolution map of the food supply chain in the United States.  It’s eye-opening in many ways.  Fast Company reports: Our map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items. . . . This map shows how food flows … in the U.S. What does this map reveal? 1. WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM Now, residents in each county can see how they are connected to all other counties in the country via food transfers. Overall, there are 9.5

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Reduce the housing shortage by . . . making home ownership more costly???

One wonders whether the San Diego City Council has ever heard the expression, “a contradiction in terms”.  Its housing policy appears to exemplify it. A San Diego committee took a preliminary step Wednesday toward placing a $900 million housing bond on the November 2020 ballot. . . . The measure was designed to help San Diego secure a greater share of state money devoted to homelessness and affordable housing by providing local matching funds typically required for such assistance. Supporters say evidence the bond is necessary includes city estimates that San Diego needs more than 5,400 additional housing units geared for homeless

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Fraud and counterfeiting in medical supplies

I’ve been looking into emergency medical products to control bleeding, following my recent spell in hospital and subsequent developments.  I’ve been very fortunate to have Kelly Grayson as a friend.  He’s not only a very experienced paramedic, he’s won national awards in that field, and is about as knowledgeable as you can get as to what works and what doesn’t.  He’s pointed me in the direction of what I need (tourniquets, larger hemostatic wound dressings, etc.), and I’m in the process of buying it now. What’s astonished me is the amount of fraud and counterfeiting going on in that field.  There are certain types of

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Fanatics, politics, and one-track minds

As I’ve said many times, I’m neither Republican nor Democrat, neither left-wing nor right-wing.  I have my own views on life, the universe and everything, shaped and formed through some pretty eventful experiences, and I don’t expect anyone else to subscribe to them. Nevertheless, I try to understand what both wings of politics are going on about.  That’s particularly important when neither side seems willing to compromise in any respect whatsoever.  The Z man addresses this as observed on the left wing of politics.  Can the same be said of at least some of those on the right? Being on the Left

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