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Meet An Old Friend Of Mine…

Meet An Old Friend Of Mine…

It turns out that one of the major geographical features of California is not all that well understood.  The feature?  The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.  Here is an article at ArsTechnica entitled Growing Mystery – Getting To The Bottom of The Highest Peak In The Lower 48 that outlines the study of the origins of the range.   Reading this was for me a little like reading the biography of a favorite person about whom you just want to know more.  Someone you feel that you already know well, but are always willing to learn more about.

sierra nevadas

The snow covered Sierra Nevada Mountains run roughly along the eastern edge of California

The range runs some 400 miles roughly northwest to southeast, almost all within the borders of California.  Some features that are known worldwide are Lake Tahoe (largest alpine lake in North America), Yosemite National Park, and Mount Whitney (at 14,400 feet highest peak in the lower 48 states).  Interestingly enough, juxtaposed only 85 miles or so southeast of Mount Whitney is Badwater Basin, the lowest point not just in the U.S., but in the entire continent of North America at 282 feet below sea level.

I live in California today because of the fact that my father fell in love with California when the Air Force sent him here in 1959. And one of the reasons he fell in love with California was the mountains.  I have camped, hiked and hunted in the Sierras since I was a child.   Because the Sierras have been a part of my life since my childhood, I feel that they are indeed a part of me.

And they are one of the reasons – if not the reason – that I will never leave California.

Half Dome from Glacier Point

I experience a certain serenity in the higher elevations where the air is thin, cool and dry.   Looking upon massive formations, ridgelines and watersheds, I see magnificently functioning ecosystems created only by the hand of God.

The beauty of the Sierras begins in the lower elevations as they they rise from the eastern edge of the central valley, where the dense foothill woodlands are teeming with wildlife both great and small.  Penetrating deeper into these environs, a person becomes aware of their diminishing superiority over their surroundings.  A feeling arises that caution should be exercised as absolute safety is not a given, and that there may be creatures lurking about that now rank higher on the food chain than you do.  Climbing now in elevation,  enter the diverse montane forests of massive pines, fir, cedars and giant sequoias.  If you travel  higher still into the subalpine zones and you will see sparse white pines, lodgepole pines, aspens and beautiful wildflowers in the spring.

Silver Lake from Hwy 88 April 2015

And finally, if not on foot, find one of the handfull of high passes accessible by car and experience the alpine zones at the crest where you may behold the spectacular granite desolation above the tree line, where both the flora and fauna are small if present at all.

Yosemite granite lake


There are a few places on earth that make a person feel that they are only part of a larger wonderful creation rather than outside it looking in.  The Sierras are one of those places for me.  They are something I am part of – somewhere I belong.


PS – all photos except the satellite shot are mine.  You may click on the picture to see a large version



Here’s 8 Minutes of Cats Being Jerks

Here’s 8 Minutes of Cats Being Jerks

Warning!: contains some cat-induced profanity

You’re Welcome.

BarBots: Robots, or Vending Machines?

BarBots: Robots, or Vending Machines?

I do not regard the advances in robotic bartender technology with the same skepticism as I view the advances in development of artificial intelligence.  Nor do I see these advances as heralding the coming Robot Revolution.  Just because, that’s why.  Anyway, the current crop of BarBots are really more akin to drink dispensers or vending machines judging from the photo gallery that accompanies this piece at EnGadget:

Bots and Booze: the Automated Bar of the ‘Future’.  

The difference today is that the so called robots are less boxy and slicker looking than those of yesteryear.

Oh… and women don’t wear their hair “up” so much anymore.

Look, if you’re going to call it a BarBot then it has to have some characteristics of both a robot and a bartender.  Otherwise it’s just a damn coke machine.  And if there was going to be a revolution of the coke machines I’m sure that would have already happened by now.


Good Advice…

Good Advice…

Good advice from an unexpected source – Emily Dickinson, via Tragedy Series

find ecstasy

Sounds so simple – Find Ecstasy in Life.  Did she find it?  She certainly tried.  And so should we all.

PS – The Complete Collection of The Tragedy Series is by Benjamin Dewey is now available as a book.  Follow this link to purchase via Amazon through the Cuana Enterprises portal.

BarBots: Here To Help

BarBots: Here To Help

Yes, the barbots are coming.  Some are here already.  But don’t worry – they’re here to help!  Over at the Wall Street Journal, Timothy Aeppel pens…err…keys…I mean…writes somehow:

Robots Can Mix You A Drink.  But Will They Listen To Your Problems?

Makr Shakr

The Makr Shakr

Opening sentence:  “Robots aren’t about to elbow bartenders out of a job.”

Are you kidding me?  That thing is nothing but one giant elbow!  How could it not elbow anyone out of anything?  That’s like saying a hammer isn’t about to pound anything.  Of course, Mr. Aeppel factually and logically explains that more than anything else, robotic bartenders are simply tools to boost the productivity of  human bartenders.  But as anyone who had read this blog knows, when discussing robots and the coming robot revolution there is no room for facts or logic .

So, of course the barbots will win us over with their aloof demeanors and cute names like Makr Shakr and Bartendro.  Of course they will be subservient, what with their needing human supervision to function properly.  Then,  when you least expect it…WHAM!  Elbow to the throat.  And then you can add that to the list of problems they won’t listen to.


Eulogy for a Metaphor

Eulogy for a Metaphor


I was taken aback today when I learned that the term “Bullshit” is a dead metaphor.  But it seems that the term’s claim on life as a metaphor had always been tenuous at best, and so it’s death as such was iminent.  You see, a metaphor is a figure of speech that identifies something as being the same as some unrelated thing for rhetorical effect.  So to use “bullshit” as a metaphor, for example, of a person’s untruthful arguments or assertions one would be comparing those assertions to the literal end product of a bull’s digestive tract.  The comparison does not hold up to the actual physical similarites.

bovine excrement meter

Perhaps then, “Bullshit” might  have been better suited to life as a simile rather than a metaphor.  In this regard one could pronounce their adversary’s statements as not literally bovine excrement, rather that they were only similar to it.  From that point the observer’s  imagination is employed to distinguish exactly what those similarities might be –  Color? Odor? Quantity?  Point of origin?

I will not contradict the contention that “bullshit” is a dead metaphor.  I see no reason to.  Alas, poor Bullshit, we barely knew ye.  You died quietly, and your death went unremarked upon.  Yet no metaphor truly dies that lives on as an expletive.  And as such, shall you live ever after in our hearts and in our language.  And I’m quite content to retain the term soley for use as an expletive, though others may lament it’s loss as a useful metaphor for this blog.

Music Friday – In Search Of A Theme Edition

Music Friday – In Search Of A Theme Edition

When I do a Music Friday post I usually like to give it some sort of theme.  I had a little trouble this week because as I write this it is 5:10 AM and I am not at my – shall we say – sharpest.  But I have nothing to lose, so here goes.

OK, coffee’s kicking in now.

The whole Music Friday theme itself came about kind of by accident.  I’ve always had a Music category on the blog from day one, but it just so happened that a few weeks in a row when I posted about music it happened on Fridays.  Theme junkie that I am, Music Friday was born and the rest is history.  So where was I?  Oh yeah.  Searching for a theme.  Searching.  Searching.  If only…wait…I have an idea.

Here’s one everybody knows;  Artist: Chicago

Here’s one some of you might know;  Artist:George Benson

Here’s one you should know;  Artist: Average White Band

Finally;  Who the heck is Lasgo?

Whew!  that was close, but I knew I’d find a theme if I searched long enough.  Thanks for watching, listening and reading.  I have to go now in search of a paycheck.  Have a great weekend!


Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

So I read this today.  According to Matt O’Brien at The Washington Post WonkBlog:

Economists Have Discovered How Bad The Economy Really Is


“…even though the unemployment rate tells us the most about the labor market, it doesn’t tell us the full story. All it does is show us how many people who are actively looking for work can’t find it. But that leaves out the “shadow unemployed” who want full-time jobs but have either given up looking for them or can only find part-time ones.”

So we have a lot of “underemployment” instead of unemployment.  Not to mention those who are employed full time in jobs of last resort because their are no jobs available for them in their chosen field and they need something to pay the bills.  You know – the engineer who works at Home Depot or the middle manager who is selling phones at the AT&T store, or the former factory worker who now a cosmotologist (at an 80% pay cut).

Huh.  Who Knew?  Oh…that’s right.  Everyone who doesn’t work for a newspaper.  Well, at least one guy who works (blogs?) for a newspaper knows.

Nothing to see here!  Move Along!

Cross posted at Cuana Enterprises Amazon Store blog, the Men Out Of Work Blog

Speaking of Patriots

Speaking of Patriots

April 18th marked the 70th anniversary of the death of WWII journalist and war correspondent Ernie Pyle.  Most young people know precious little about WWII and probably even less, if anything at all about Ernie Pyle.  Suffice it to say that he was a popular journalist of his time, a man committed to something larger than himself, and  a soldier’s friend.

There is an archive of his work maintained on the web by the Indiana University School of Journalism.  One of his more moving columns is The Death of Captain Waskow:

“In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Capt. Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas.

Capt. Waskow was a company commander in the 36th Division. He had led his company since long before it left the States. He was very young, only in his middle twenties, but he carried in him a sincerity and gentleness that made people want to be guided by him.

“After my own father, he came next,” a sergeant told me.

“He always looked after us,” a soldier said. “He’d go to bat for us every time.”

“I’ve never knowed him to do anything unfair,” another one said.

I was at the foot of the mule trail the night they brought Capt. Waskow’s body down….”

You owe it to yourself to follow the link and read the whole thing.  Pyle was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the Island of Ie Shima in 1945.  He is among the few civilians to have been awarded the Purple Heart.

Today is Patriots’ Day

Today is Patriots’ Day

It is the Official Observance of the beginning of The American Revolution in 1775.  240 Years ago yesterday were fought the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Could it happen again today?  Read this:

Seventy Two Killed Resisting Gun Confiscation in Boston.

That sounds like it could be ripped from today’s headlines.  I guess that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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