Smaug in Claudifloria

The wife’s old car needed to get tested by the Cal-State Regulatory Bozos of the DMV and I had an issue with the truck, so in the cold morning mist we drove over to Ponderosa Auto Express. Surprise, the Bay Area coastal fog had made an unwelcome and damp intrusion up into our latitude, drawn by the cold storm in the mountains high above, and our house was surrounded by a cloud of the cold crud.
The old BMW barely passed the State Politburo’s Number-Nazis, so she’ll be looking for a more reasonable vehicle – like the Toyota Tacoma she’s always wanted.
Raison d’être for the truck’s visit was that we both noticed (hard to ignore) it had made a repetitive squeeky-graunchy sound yesterday as we drove up and out of a steep and windy driveway in Pollock to escape some ravenous mosquitoes and an insipid bit of property. The noise had a repetitive rotational aspect that sounded serious – and it reminded me of a couple other times such a mystery sound had occurred – like at home. My initial thoughts had to do with squatting and suspension, but this has only happened when hot or on hot days, so it wasn’t a cold-start issue. The rotational aspect was bothersome. Needless to say it did not repeat in this cold morning, so that helped to throw-out the suspension notion and the clever mechanic suggested on such a truck with rear disc-brakes it could be a dragging brake-shoe that activated (or failed-to release completely) when hot. Not a Highway Threat so we’ll continue to monitor it.
Meanwhile the application of rosewood stain to the speaker-boxes and repeatedly wiping-off is becoming a bit tedious. It’s hard to penetrate the oak grain, there’s no time-based instructions to follow, and seems to wipe-off too easily. Mainly I am impatient and not very good at it – or too perfection-minded and keep fussing. Anyhow “it” has begun and holes are drilled for the feet. Once the bottom is done the sides can begin, but damn these are big heavy bastards.
I would quickly move to a place with less onerous and dumbass restrictions and a higher IQ, but our generous healthcare benefits are localized and not portable.

Boom and Bust

The history of the Gold Country is replete with tales of boom and bust, of peak-moments of crazy-fabulous riches followed by troughs of fire, depression, failed-crops, and broken dreams. In other words, the prospective house needs a whole new roof, entirely new attic ducting, and an electrical make-over. There’s some witches-brew of mis-wiring; the light/fan in the master-bedroom trips the GFI in the master bath, but then the fan continues to operate. One GFI circuit in a front bedroom trips a circuit on the other-side of the house out on the deck. Another GFI circuit in the kitchen is un-tripped by itself but is tripped by the non-GFI outlet on the other side of the sink. The carpet smells of smoke, and walls need patching – that’s trivial and cosmetic, but/and there’s no vent-stack for the stove/range. Venting into the attic is not a recommended procedure as I understand it. The vent-stack could be fixed at the time of the re-roofing, but the full inspection report and termite-report and will come tomorrow. And no dirtbike riding, too noisy! Pbbth! Other than that the HOA is pretty un-intrusive! I’m gonna go have a beer.

Return of the Weatherman

Winter came back wet and cold. This morning we made meatloaf with grilled onions and the windows over the sink fogged up with the temperature differential. In the distance is a thin, turquoise line of clear-blue off over the Valley, and between that are rows and rows of stacked cumulus clouds advancing towards us.
Yesterday was clear but chilling as we drove out to see a bit of property with a house on it. We can’t afford to build a “dream-home” but would like to park some retirement money in real estate and not The Market or in Banks with no-return – nor in gold and silver. That just freaks me out. My own retirement account is static and UN-reachable for another few years. I’m not very astute financially and was never taught how money really works by my Leftist-religious parents or the schools I attended. I believe my parents liked to keep us shielded from The Root of Evil, and also they probably didn’t want us kids to worry about it since it was scarce for them too. But as a result I didn’t even know how to balance a checkbook until after College. Unlike many of my smart-money affluent classmates who were on the “Ski Team” and such, I think one of the “draws” for playing Polo and Swimming was the uniform costs were so low – all you needed was a swim-suit. Even a pair of soccer-cleats cost more than two Speedos. Football was gear-intensive and expensive. But I also didn’t know much how to go about getting and making money, and my HS retail-career consisted of scooping ice-cream. I hate ice-cream now and never touch the stuff.
So we went out on a search with our Real Estate friend, but the first house we went to was over-full with a party of stoners. Hey, I think I just invented a categorization, like a “Pride of Lions” or a “Murder of Crows”: “A Party of Stoners”…
Anyhow they were living in squalor. It was a sad combination of rubbish strewn everywhere, cigarette-butts in huge urn-like ashtrays dotting the landscape inside and out, hoarding-rubbish obstructing walkways of un-made laundry piled in every nook and corner, filthy floor-coverings, and the stench of marijuana, sweat, and urine. There was a sweet dog that needed a better home and owners. I had a BIG sad.
The neighborhood is immaculate, beautiful, neat as a pin with nice and neat neighbors. This worn-down hulking dump on the edge of a hillside would need to be nuked from orbit and the ground scraped three inches deep and salted before re-building could begin. There was already a skip in the front yard but no evidence that much effort was being made to clean-up and fill it. We backed-out carefully.
The next house was empty and because of the chill in the weather cold as an icebox. It was another one beyond our financial wherewithal to fix-up to a living standard. We’ll keep looking. It’s a fine balance between how-much major re-construction and the whole permitting process is required, and fixable livability – we’ll be staying there not renting it.

Fire on the Mountain

Crater rim firesOn Thursday after arriving at Crater Lake Lodge, we watched from our room as helicopters brought water buckets to the new lightning strikes that had ignited fires on the nearby slopes across the valley. Our view faced south to the upper Klamath basin, and that was smoky too.
Driving out two days later we crossed through verdant meadows and pastureland of the upper Klamath basin, liquidity that might exist in California if we had a coherent water policy and not a strictly political one. Coming across the border everything dried-out because, well, it’s a high desert environment that drains away.
As we drove south a fierce fire was raging on a ridge next to the freeway and we could see big air-tankers dropping retardant. We had gassed-up earlier at a rather remote location, and while at the gas-station a couple of Forest Service firefighters were expressing frustration at winds that had caused them to chase different fires in different directions.
Before we got to Shasta the smoke in the canyon was so thick that visibility had dropped to just yards – but the highway was OK and clear. The sparse following traffic had an urgency to it that I tried to match, but smaller and faster cars zipped by in a hurry to get the hell out of there.
Shasta Smoke
Shasta itself rose like a wraith, it’s pinnacle floating high above us and seemingly disconnected from the earth, its base obscured by smoke.
We got around the mountain and stopped briefly in McCloud for some lunch. The winds blow up from the south, generally, and on that side of the mountain the air was crystal clear – from that vantage point one wouldn’t even know that multiple fires were raging behind the massif.
It’s kinda like the drought situation here: the very-hipster SF BayAryans and ultra laid-back Angelenos seem to have no clue that the rest of the state is really in pretty bad shape, they water lawns indiscriminately – and I was among them. This problem has been on-going for about four years, and I never once heard word-one in the local media about it while living down there.
Meanwhile we’re lucky to have escaped the Sand Fire that burnt nineteen homes and seventy-four outbuildings just a few miles south of us while we were away. The nearby (Ponderosa) High School was the scene of evacuation where people and animals sheltered. Lotta horses and cattle here, and 4-H kids are very involved. I like that a lot.

Gymkhana: Oh Noes!

Bayou Renaissance Man alerted us to this vid which I sent to a friend yesterday – apparently it’s EVERYWHERE now.

So, some tennis-shoe magnate (sorry, skate-board shoe – who knew there was so much money in sk8in’?) has the cash to splash on his new favorite toy-and-game, good for him! I applaud his effort and ingenuity. I’ve never seen any of the car-drifting “Fast and Furious” type movies, but I imagine he could audition as a driver, and it’s fun to see a city you know well shown-off to such advantage. I’ve tried similar stunts on a Dual-Sport motorcycle in SF, and coming off a street/jump and going downhill the angle/geometry *really* compresses the forks, and then you (may) start to nose-over. You really have to watch the front brake since it’s the only functioning one when you do that, the other wheel is not touching the ground. Plus, all the damn SF trolly-tracks are metal and have ZERO traction, so they’re slippery as snot and they’re in every *corner* too – that and all the man-hole covers and PG&E metal repair-plates – just all kinds of stupid SF crap right where you’ve got the bike banked-over… I’d have to say that in my experience, the car-drivers of SanFrandisco are about the worst-skilled anywhere, and the cars all (or mostly) have seriously beaten and dying clutches from the steep hills.

The Pushback Begins

Governor Bobby Jindal says no “Health Exchanges” in Louisiana. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is on the fence, Governor Rick Scott of Florida says they will join Scott Walker in Wisconsin and wait before implementing the costly bureaucracy, unfunded mandate, and regulatory nightmare of Obamacare.


Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district…Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn’t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers….Pelosi’s district’s waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare. Read more:

Other waiver-recipients include Boboquivari’s restaurant in San Francisco, Café des Amis on ultra-expensive Union street, Café Mason near Union Square, The Franciscan Crab restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf with menu entrees ranging from about $15 to $60, San Francisco’s four-star hotel Campton Place and the Hotel Nikko, and Tru Spa, which Allure Magazine rated the “best day spa in San Francisco.” Pelosi’s office did not respond to The DC’s requests for comment either…

Is Judicidorkery a word?

The Supremes are teaching Americans a lesson and it’s that America’s got Talent! 
They have proven by an rambling legalistical formulation drawn from a massively confusing rug of mis-woven regulations, thick with tortured paragraphs and water-boarded dangling participles, that they are truly the third playing-party of .GOV and not exactly an independent or impartial arbiter – since Congress only has to lay-down and pass such a thick and tawdry (2,000 un-read pages) excretion, pebbled with undigested bits of non-aligned thinking and regurgitated kernels of misdirecting caveats, folded-over and funneled into a contorted conclusion, to trip and slip-on as they stumble over it before they finally arrive on stage, ready to tell the long-long joke.
What DO you call an act like that? – I call it ‘The Judicicrats’.

Stop the Madness

We must STOP SB 249 NOW! is home to the Stop SB 249 campaign, a grassroots coalition of The Calguns Foundation, California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees (Cal-FFL), and thousands of interested Californians.

The Stop SB 249 campaign was established to inform the public of the dangerous Senate Bill 249 authored by California Senator Leland Yee and help connect people with their government. SB 249 has the potential of rendering nearly every single “off-list lower” (OLL), registered “assault weapon,” and other firearms and parts unlawful to import into this state, make, sell, loan, transfer or possess.
SB 249 could even shutter firearm dealers, sporting goods retailers, and accessory vendors.
SB 249 is a bill that PUTS YOU and YOUR RIGHTS AT RISK

1. Sending Sen. Yee a letter of opposition
2. Mailing the Assembly Committee on Public Safety a hard-copy letter of opposition (we will send it for you)
3. Signing our petition
4. Printing out our FAQ One-Pager info sheets and post them everywhere as quickly as you can. (Esp. at gun shops and shooting ranges!)

This reminds me of Here

How Britain Became so Rotten a State (also on Amazon)

So much of this reminds me of where California is today, and how it got there/here is similar.
Replace Health with Education in the sub-quote and the trend is the same – but under some of our laws Health is also the same… We are 47th in Science, despite the enormous State expenditures in “Education” – so it seems absolute dollars are not the answer, and more than 68% of Californians live in metro areas so the Redneck-factor and Hillbilly-quotent is negligible in regards to outcomes. The money simply doesn’t make its way into the classrooms, Bureaucracy and Unions eat it up.  And Obamacare is going to mimic what is already happening in Britain’s healthcare.  It’s a disaster run by morons and greedy imbeciles.

Much of Britain’s current public debt was accrued through massive increases in public expenditure during Labor’s period in office on public services such as health, education and welfare. In a chapter devoted to each, Butler shows how unproductive such increased spending has largely been in terms of improving these services. Here are some illustrative vignettes:
On health: ‘We spend more than any other European nation on cancer treatment, but still have some of the worst cancer survival rates in the European Union… We are the fifth richest country in the world, but we are far down the league tables in terms of medically preventable deaths. [181] ‘A disproportionate amount of the extra hundreds of billions put into the NHS had gone on administration. Since 1995, the number of senior managers in the NHS has increased by half… against a rise of just 8 per cent in the number of qualified nurses, and a fall in the number of hospital beds.’ [188-189]

One by one, Butler explains how each of the country’s traditional constitutional restraints on uncurbed executive power was deliberately weakened, if not altogether discarded, by New Labor in pursuit of their master political project which was, having come to equate the national good with that of their own party, to perpetuate their hegemony indefinitely…

Symptomatic of the political rot to which New Labor rule subjected Britain were the regular leaks by ministers and press officers, and the spin routinely put upon official government reports and press briefings.


Guns and Ammo Legislation

I was really reluctant to support Mitt or Rudy since their 2nd Amendment credentials were flimsy and transparent at best, I wanted what I heard from Fred.

I live in perpetual Electoral Dysfunction, in the Gerrymandered Hell that is California – a One-Party State complete with Potemkin Republicans who steal my taxes like the best Democrats and use them to buy votes – only they cannot win, they just get to play in the kiddie-pool.

I have not been able to vote FOR a candidate in a very long time – nor has my vote meant anything in many election cycles. My only hope is voting AGAINST the Evil I see across the Aisle, whether it’s a popular instrument of the thoroughly corrupt Illinois Party-Machine, or the loathsome she-creature that crawls on her belly sucking life from the Tree of Liberty.

I’m stuck voting for McCain – don’t let your moral vanity and personal self-esteem blind you to the needs of the rest of the Citizenry or YOU will be living the memory of Freedom that I do now, as you become Californized and assimilated.

I’m a one-issue voter, voting for one thing, the one tool that Citizens still have that can make a difference in free-speech, finance, or immigration reform. It’s the single tool that backstops and guarantees Free-speech in the Bill of Rights – and about which 1st Amendments advocates so often feel embarrassed and are reluctant to support…Shame on them – it’s a Right, not an Option to be fiddled-away.

Look around you there are forces coalescing. If you haven’t noticed lately there’s been a recent prohibitionary surge in many Democrat controlled States. They have introduced the absurdly laughable fiction of “microstamping” as Legislation, and lead-ammo bans to protect one extinction-teetering species or another — no doubt following the lead of our muscle-headed Rhinocrat Ecoweenie Governator Shwarrzennkennedy – such a huge disappointment, we are so over him.

The legislation is a real trend and make no mistake it’s not about helping the Police – it adds to their already substantial administrative burden. It’s also not about how inexpensive and viable the technology is either, or even “how many lives it will save” – if it was any of those beneficent things it would be free like 9-1-1 is free (thanks Rob!)- it’s about imposing burdensome regulations in a concerted effort to drive manufacturers out of business. When they are gone your freedom is too.