Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Free Xmas Tree Disposal

The Times- Standard has a list of all the places and ways to dispose of those God awful Christmas trees. Here in Eureka City Garbage takes them for free until January 12, or you can call the Boy Scouts and they'll haul them off ($5.00 donation recommended).

Clean them up before you take them in. If your tree has been frocked- that white spray stuff- it isn't recyclable. You'll have to pay to dump that one. Also take off all the tinsel and such. I took one in a year or two ago and they wouldn't let me dump it because of too much tinsel (that was the one from your house, J.T.). I didn't think there was really that much on it but it was sunny out and that really made the tinsel reflect and stand out.

I'm reminded of hauling off a tree once and screwing up. I haul them from customers for free. Not out of any sense of niceness but because I want all reminders of xmas gone as soon as possible. Picked one up from a gal once and took it down to City Garbage only to find they stopped accepting them free the day before. I had to pay to dump that one. Pissed me off.

Then there was a customer just a block from my house. I offered to take their tree in just to get rid of it. She says she wants to keep it up "just a bit longer". Grrrrr. Ok, so I don't take it. Then a few days after the free disposal was over the guy comes out and asks me if I'll haul the tree off. I told him sorry, but no.

Funny how people seem to have no problem getting a tree to their house but getting rid of it is so difficult. Let's get 'er done, folks.

Suddenlink & Yelp

Humboldt's Suddenlink doesn't have many good Yelp reviews. Most are pretty nasty, although there's a couple good ones. We've only been back with Suddenlink for less than a week so it's probably a bit early for me to do a Yelp. 

I'll go ahead and give my comments on their TV service here since they're only a preliminary assessment, keeping in mind I was with Cox Cable or Suddenlink for decades before we switched to Dish in 2010:

We've had a couple problems since we've been reconnected with Suddenlink with at least one bright point.

The first problem was creating and accessing a Favorites list with their TV guide. Having a list of favorites means you can sort through the programming for your 25 or 30 favorite channels rather than having to search through however many channels are available, most of which you have no interest in watching.

It didn't take long to figure out how to mark channels as Favorites, probably because it wasn't too much different with Dish Network. What I still can't figure out how to do is just show the Favorites list. I get to the complete channel menu and see the channels marked as Favorites but that's it. 

I went to Suddenlink's web site and did a search for answers to the problem and found something that said to select "Switch to Favorites Mode". Fine, except I've looked and looked and haven't seen that option anywhere. I'd like to have a Favorites list to use. Not much point in having a channel marked as a Favorite when you still have to scroll through the whole channel list to find it.

That was the first problem and now the remote control doesn't seem to be working completely. Worked fine for the first couple days but then it seemed sluggish. I put new batteries in it and that seemed to help but next day a couple buttons didn't seem to work at all. 

The Guide and Settings buttons are, or were, a real timesaver for me earlier. Guide brings up the list of channels, shows and times. Can't get that now so Connie uses the Times- Standard TV guide and just types in the channel number. That works good for her. Not for me since I can barely read the numbers on the remote with these old eyes.

I e-mailed the brother-in-law yesterday that sold us the package as he said if we had any problems to let him know. He e-mailed back and suggested going down to the Suddenlink office and get a new remote. Maybe I'll do that today.

Those are the two main problems right now. Other than that, everything seems fine. The one good thing is Connie found a couple good channels with old shows we both enjoy. 

I guess it's the Inspiration(?) Channel that shows old reruns of The Waltons and Little House On The Prairie. Love those ageless old shows and it's fun to see them again. The other one she found yeserday is MeTV, which stands for something I can't recall right now. Old M.A.S.H reruns on that channel last night. I'll always enjoy that show, too.

I'm not sure I can really point to those channels as a Suddenlink benefit, though. Connie found them scrolling through the all- channel guide. We might have had them with Dish, too, but since we pretty much exclusively used the Favorites list with Dish we probably never noticed those channels available. Connie just found them by accident, which ironically might not have happened had I succeeded in setting up the Favorites list earlier on.

Anyway, I'll wait a while before doing my own Yelp review. In the meantime, the reviews I've already read make me wonder what else might go wrong? In fairness, most of the complaints were about phone and internet service, not TV. We're only subscribed to TV.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Reason magazine takes a look at states of emergency declared by presidents since 1976. The one declared by Jimmy Carter in 1979 over the Iranian hostage crisis is still in effect.

Radioactive Eureka?

Not quite, but Eureka is mentioned in this Washington Post story on recently detected radiation from the Fukushima reactor leaks. Low radiation levels were found off the coast:

"...the presence of small quantities of Fukushima radiation in a sample taken in August 2014 100 miles off the coast of Eureka, Calif. The radiation was at low levels, similar to that reported in the current research."

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Mustard For Burns

Interesting info Barbara from Redding posted on Facebook:

For all of you who were so supportive when I burned my hand, offered suggestions, and ***** ******** recommended mustard and it worked, I told my son, ****** ****** about it the other day. In his youth he worked fast food. He told me that during training his training supervisor coated his own hand with mustard and thrust it into the hot oil in the fryer. He pulled his hand back out. Mustard still on there. Other than the mustard being warm from the heat, his hand was normal. I believe this was part of training on what to do if you were burned on the job. Don't try this at home kiddies. There are properties in mustard that defy effects of a burn.

It looks as if others have experienced burn relief from mustard, as well. I'm not buying that you can coat your hand with mustard and stick it into hot oil without suffering burns. I'm certainly not going to try it. If any of you do give it a try, let us know how it goes.

The 2014 Drug Scares

Reason magazine's Jacob Sullum writes a piece for Forbes magazine on the five drug scares of 2014.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Back On Suddenlink

Almost unexpectedly, we're back on cable TV with Suddenlink. I wrote here earlier I was looking for alternatives after Dish Network's latest price increase and had said a number of times before, all things being equal, I'd rather just have cable. 

So I mentioned it to Connie. She mentioned it to a brother- in- law that happened to be a Suddenlink salesguy. I walked into the house a couple days ago to unexpectedly find him in the house giving her the sales pitch. I hadn't planned on doing anything right away but explore alternatives to regular pay TV. I was slightly annoyed at this unexpected development- just slightly.

I joined the discussion and said I didn't want to "bundle" anything, but TV might be fine. Eventually, he gave us a one year no- contract TV plan for something like $31.00 a month- a teaser deal, I'm sure- but no biggie as I'm not committed to stay with it.

We were surprised last night to get a phone call from Suddenlink saying the installer would be here between 8 and 10am this morning. He's now come and gone. Now I have to cancel Dish.

On the upside, it's cheaper than Dish (at least for the time being) and gives me plenty of time to explore other possibilities. We also only need one remote to work both TVs, although it's the remote they supplied with their box.

The downside is the deal we signed up for- whatever that is- has another box on our system using power. I was hoping to get rid of that. The other downside is, while we only need use one remote, it's their remote and looks even more confusing than the Dish remote. Anything can happen if you press the wrong button on those things. Hate that.

What I'm seriously looking at now for an alternative is Roku. It does internet streams. Buy their hardware, sign up for a couple TV streaming programs, and hopefully that will be good enough TV for us. First I need to get a wireless capable modem, then the Roku hardware. That might take a few months but I'm not in any hurry as we have at least a year to figure it out.

I'll have to admit, if this Suddenlink deal was permanent at $31.00 a month, I'd be happy to just stick with it.

Good Browser Tip For News Sites

Those of you who, like me, have had problems with news sites freezing up on you will appreciate the tip a fellow who commented on a recent post (December 21) gave. He pointed out that sites that rely on Jave Script or Shockwave Flash can cause the site to load slow or freeze. I'd already figured that out earlier. 

What I didn't know is you can set your browser's add-on preferences to ask before activating the flash player. I thought you had to either have it installed and running, or uninstall it. If you uninstall it, you can't watch videos on Youtube and similar sites.

I use Firefox as he does so went to my browser's Add- Ons page. I didn't find the No Script add-on the fellow referred to, but I did find a list of add- ons with a menu next to each application that allows you to choose whether to have it on all the time, ask before activating, or keep turned off. I changed mine to Ask Before Activating and it seems to be the fix for all the news sites I checked so far.

You end up with a bunch of brown boxes where the pics and videos normally would be, but there's a link in the middle asking if you want to run the add on. As the commenter pointed out, you're generally on a news site for text so who cares about the brown boxes? You can always activate the add on/script should you feel the need to.

In Firefox, go to Tools>Add-ons>Plugins. Then you can manage all your plugins.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Forecasting The Drought

It hadn't occurred to me until I read this short piece from CalWatchdog how the weather agencies got the extended forecasts pretty much wrong.
What makes the storms even more newsworthy is not only that are they tapering the drought. They also were not forecasted by climate scientists, El Nino/La Nina experts, or government weather agencies. - See more at:

"What makes the storms even more newsworthy is not only that are they tapering the drought. They also were not forecasted by climate scientists, El Nino/La Nina experts, or government weather agencies"

In fairness, we need to remember they usually forecast in percentages such as 60% chance of such and such happening. Thus it could be argued nobody said it absolutely wouldn't rain.

As the article points out, it wasn't two months ago they were predicting little rain and probably another year extending the drought. Earlier in the summer there were glimmers of hope but as the year went on the forecasts seem to get more and more negative. Then it started raining. 

I hadn't really thought about the predictions vs. reality since the rain started. Probably because I was just glad everyone seemed to be getting rain. But now that the writer mentions it, yep, they didn't get it quite right. 

Just remember the high rainfall percentages shown in the article are year to date, not for the full rain year, so it isn't over yet.

Gimme, Gimme....A Phone?

Just noticed this recent letter to the editor of The Daily Triplicate. The writer asks that someone provide regular pay phones for her since she can't afford a cell phone:
Last month my husband had an appointment in Brookings with a cardiologist. He’d previously seen the doctor in years past.
Upon arriving in Brookings at what had previously been the cardiologist’s office, we were informed that his location had moved and they did not know where.
As neither I nor my husband own a cell phone, we then proceeded to look for a pay phone. But we were unable to locate one.
We finally ended up at the police station where an officer, upon hearing our dilemma, made a long distance call for us to the doctor’s Grants Pass office to get us a location for his Brookings office.
While talking with the officer we were informed that there is in fact no pay phone anywhere in Brookings.
Not everyone can afford a cell phone, especially those on a fixed income. A cell phone for us is definitely a luxury that doesn’t fit in our budget.
There should be at least two pay phones in every city for dinosaurs like us, who by no fault of our own must do things old-school.
Jill Bausch, 
Crescent City  

That sort of attitude really irks me. I read similar sentiments years ago in the Times- Standard where a retired couple decided to get rid of their car upon retiring. Then they write complaining that there wasn't local bus service adequate for their needs.

Owning an automobile is considerably more expensive than owning a cell phone. I can understand wanting to do away with the expense. I'm even sympathetic towards that end. But, when you give up an aspect of your independence, don't complain that everyone else isn't providing you an alternative.

I'm not sympathetic with the idea  that old style pay phones be available because you think you can't afford a cellphone. If the phone company wants to provide some, fine, and I believe there's at least a few still around in Eureka- one that comes to mind being next to Rite- Aid in Henderson Center. And every now and then I actually see someone using that one!

The thing is, pretty much anyone can afford a cellphone nowadays. You can get a Tracfone plan for as little as $7.00 a month with at least 20 minutes a month call time, which is what we use. Making a phone call nowadays shouldn't be that big a deal.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Sucks

As long time readers here should know, I hate Christmas and have for as long as I can remember. But rather than trying to come up with some new observations about why xmas sucks, I invite you to read some of my hard hitting xmas related posts from the past. If they help make your xmas any less merry, don't thank me. I'm here to help!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Freddy's Cyberwar Scare

I came home yesterday to the news that North Korea's internet, such as it is, had slowed to a crawl. My first thought was maybe it was some sort of retaliation for their alleged role in the Sony hack. My gut feeling is it wasn't them, but I wouldn't put it past the U.S. government to try and get even regardless.

I went about my computer business as usual until about 1:15ish when I went to check gmail before closing my browser and gmail wouldn't open all the way. Then I tried yahoo mail. Browser just stalled until I finally got one of those Server Not Found messages. My modem showed everything was ok but I'd been booted from the internet.

I started wondering if maybe some sort of cyberwar was taking place? Such an event could be a disaster to everyone since computers run pretty much everything nowadays. Are the North Koreans retaliating against us now? What to do?

First thing I did was reboot my modem. It started up again and showed all green lights on it, but the modem icon on my monitor showed an exclamation mark and I still couldn't connect. Damn! Close to panic because the world was about to end, I decided to call AT&T and see if they knew what was going on. 

I called their 800 number and was routed to a real person rather quickly. I explained my situation hoping he'd tell me it was just a local outage, that I wasn't alone and they'd have it fixed soon. Nope. He said there were some problems in a few locations in California but not our area and that their equipment showed everything on my end ok and that I was connected to the internet.

Downside to that was the problem seemed to be I was alone with my problem. The upside was there wasn't some cyberwar going on. Whew!

The guy starts to walk me through a diagnostic procedure. Then I start wondering about the exclamation mark on the modem icon and thought maybe I should reboot the computer to see if that would help. He agreed. I rebooted the computer and everything was back to normal. I was back online. I thanked the guy for his help and hung up.

Close one. Had me going there until AT&T told me everything was ok.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Shelter Dogs In Jeopardy

Forwarded to me from Matt Owen via the County of Humboldt:

The ​animal ​shelter is at critical mass -​t​hey ​
will euthanize adoptable dogs for space on Monday if dogs are not adopted or rescued!

I just learned that there were no kennels available and that on Monday adoptable dogs will be euthanized for space. 

Please pass the word about this crisis situation. 

We would not want a family
who was putting off adopting a shelter dog until after the holidays
to learn after the fact that the dog they were interested in was
euthanized to make room for more incoming dogs.  

Usually there are non-adoptable dogs off their hold that are first on the euthanized list, but there is only one or two such dogs and so adoptable dogs are at risk!

Available dogs are listed below are grouped by breed.

For more information about how to adopt  please call the animal shelter at (707) 840-9132 - they open at 10 am on Monday

Before then if people want to voice their commitment to adopt a particular shelter dog or if you hear of any sort term fosters willing to house a dog in the short term to save a life, please have them email or and include what dog they are interested in as well as their their contact information.

Thank you again for supporting shelter dogs and sorry for the short notice, but dogs were not redeemed, kept coming into the shelter and the hoped for miracle has not as yet happened - please help us save Humboldt Count Shelter dogs by passing the word about their plight!

Milk Bottles and Milk Men

The funny things you think about when you're laying in bed early in the morning. For some reason this morning I lay there for some time thinking about milk bottles. I couldn't remember what kind of lid, or caps, they had to keep them closed.

I believe the last time we had a milkman deliver our milk was in the '60s when we lived in Tustin, CA. I don't remember how often he'd come by but we'd put the clean empty bottles out on the front porch. He'd drive up and replace them with full ones. 

I vaguely remembered the milkman as driving a white truck. He also wore white pants, shirt and hat. He'd carry the bottles in a wire frame six pack thing with a handle.

The bottles were similar to the one in the picture, but squarish. The lid was the same. It was some kind of waterproof, thick paper mixed with foil. The foil on the edges let you push it around the lip of the bottle so it would stay on. I don't recall what we'd do if we lost the cap. The good old days.

Times- Standard Web Site Has Improved

I don't know what they did, but I'll give the Times- Standard kudos for cleaning up their web site so it's a bit more usable. Used to be the pages would freeze up on me most of the time. It had something to do with Flash player. Now I can actually go there without having to worry much about the screen freezing up. Well done.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I Had No Idea: Mailing Children

In 1913 it was legal to mail children. With stamps attached to their clothing, children rode trains to their destinations, accompanied by letter carriers. One newspaper reported it cost fifty-three cents for parents to mail their daughter to her grandparents for a family visit. As news stories and photos popped up around the country, it didn't take long to get a law on the books making it illegal to send children through the mail.

Click on the picture to read comments to the post. They're interesting, too. I like this one:
"So thankful that with today's technology we can fax em".

Friday, December 19, 2014


I don't know the re- establishing of diplomatic relations with Cuba after 50 years needs defending, but I'll go ahead and link to Nick Gillespie's take on it. That anyone in congress from either the Left or Right is opposed to it, is appalling.

Potential presidential or congressional candidates- Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, for example- that oppose the opening of diplomatic relations and and end to trade sanctions would never get my support. As far as I'm concerned such a position on that issue alone would be a deal breaker.

Kudos to the President for his action in this regard.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gary Johnson Finishes Life Long Quest

Gary Johnson, past Libertarian Party candidate for President- and likely 2016 candidate- has reached the summit of Mt. Vinson, the highest point in Antarctica. That means he's reached the peak of the highest mountains on all 7 continents, a life long dream of his.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Suddenlink Looking Better

I got an e-mail notice from Dish Network a couple days saying they're raising their monthly rate yet again. Five dollars more starting in January 2015. That's after raising it $5.00 in 2013 and earlier back in 2011 or thereabouts. They say it's because of the networks. I don't care.

This isn't worth it to me and hasn't been for some time. The wife likes it, though, and doesn't seem to care about the cost. 

Suddenlink is expensive, too, but they're looking better all the time. It seemed to me cable TV went up about a dollar a year. That's still better that $2.50 a year. If I had my druthers I might try to dump satellite and cable TV altogether and maybe just get an antenna. As it is I'll be keeping an eye open for some good deals from Suddenlink.

Artificial Intelligence Taking Over The Web?

This Grid web site bills itself as artificial intelligence that will design web sites for you. Unlike some web design programs, this one is supposed to do everything:

"Want to add e-commerce? Social feeds? A different layout? The Grid just takes care of it."

Will you web designer and development folks be among the first to be replaced by artificial intelligence? I didn't watch The Grid's video, but just based on their home page, I'm not impressed. I'd say you don't have anything to worry about in the immediate future.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dr. Ladika's Rant

Doctor Courtney Ladika makes her debut in the letters to the editor of the Times- Standard suggesting the intersection of Harris and Dolbeer Streets in Eureka needs a stoplight. She seems to have almost been hit by a car while crossing Harris Street there.

Seems to me that's a fairly bad place to cross a street by foot or car, anyway, as it's on a rise with cars coming uphill to it from both directions. Aside from that, Dolbeer Street doesn't seem to me to have enough traffic when it reaches Harris to warrant a stoplight.

It would make more sense to just walk half a block down to Harrison and cross there where there is a stoplight and crosswalk. It might also make her a little safer if she'd take those speaker things out of her ears and pay attention to her surroundings when she's out walking. I saw her walking by the water district once and she seemed oblivious to the goings on around her.

I'll have to remember to tell her that during my next appointment.

Addendum: Hee, hee. I just tried sending her a link to this blog post through the Redwood Family Practice "Patient Portal" web site. Wonder if she'll get it? Link wouldn't format right in the message so it may not work.

Speaking of Discrimination

Reason magazine's Scott Shackford takes a look at an almost botched experiment in reverse discrimination. Some religious right- wing guy tries to get some bakeries to make "anti- gay" cakes. As Shackford points out, too bad this wasn't done by someone a bit more level headed.

Shackford sums it up in far fewer words than I have:

"Nobody should, by order of the government, have to make Shoebat's stupid cakes. And nobody should be forced to make gay wedding cakes either."

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Homeless Bill of Rights?

On my Facebook feed from the Libertarian Party a fellow posted notice about a friend starting one of those petitions asking to have a Homeless Bill of Rights created. I had to comment I likely wouldn't sign it because I'm skeptical of what those "rights" might be.

I've posted about this once here before and was supportive of Richard Salzman's objection to the Arcata City Council ordinance making panhandling illegal. As I wrote at the time, we all have a human right to ask for help, which is what panhandling should be considered. We also have a human right to refuse another person that help.

And that's the conundrum here. Will their bill of rights end up being more along the line of forcing others to put up with them? If so, to what extent?

I pointed that out to the fellow and also brought up, perhaps slightly off topic, so- called gay and lesbian rights. LGBT folks shouldn't be arrested for homosexual behavior. They should also be able to live their lives as they choose in all other ways. I don't believe they have a "right" to force businesses to serve them, which is what those rights have evolved into as of late.

Is that where this homeless bill of rights is heading? 

Ironically, the fellow replied that he pretty much agreed with me. To quote his reply, " The ACLU agreed to helped my homeless friend fight a town anti homeless laws only if their argument was that the government had a responsibility to care for the homeless.".

So homeless rights become a government entitlement? Those are exactly the kind of "rights" I'm opposed to.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Eureka Speed Limits Changing?

The Times- Standard reports the Eureka City Council will be considering changing the speed limits on a few roads within the city:

"A survey that evaluated 73 streets, taking into account accident history and roadway characteristics, recommended lowering the speed limit by 5 mph at B, Buhne, California, Dolbeer and E streets, as well as Campton Road. Speed limits at Fairway Drive, Harrison Avenue and McFarlan Street were recommended to be increased by 5 mph."

I live on E street and am not even sure what the speed limit is here. I'm guessing 30? Seems to me that's fine, although it certainly should be lower as you get into Henderson Center. Too much going on through there to drive normal speeds on E or F Streets. I usually go 25 in that area. I don't see much reason to lower it everywhere else.

Hard to believe anyone's talking of increasing speed limits in this day and age. Fairway Drive, going through the golf course, seems fine to me as is. 

I can't imagine why anyone would want to raise the speed limit on Harrison Avenue, at least between Harris to the north side of the General Hospital campus. Way too much going on in there. No problem raising it north of the campus, if that's what they're talking about. You could almost call that section open road. It seems fine to me now as it is.

I have no idea why they're bringing McFarlan into this, assuming I'm thinking of the right street. The one I'm thinking of goes off Myrtle Avenue where the Shell station and two domes are. I don't believe it intersects Harrison. I think it turns into Hillside Drive which intersects Harrison. Maybe it's misnamed or I'm reading it wrong? I drive down McFarlan fairly regularly (thought it was McFarland) and don't see any problem with the way it is now.

I thought Campton Road was county business.

Who Causes Weather Hysteria?

Got a kick out of this comment made on a Facebook Friend's feed:

"Just want to thank you douche bags for the storm of the fucking century bullshit that worried my girlfriend so bad we blew our Christmas money on supplies for the long term power outage and huge flooding. Next time wait and check facts before causing mass hysteria."

How many of you did the same thing? I had a feeling they were overblowing (pardon the pun) the storm forecast although I couldn't be sure. After the storm had done its thing for a day or two a lot of people seemed pretty annoyed at being given what seemed to be a hyped forecast.

Some fingers were pointed at the Weather Service. Some of that may be justified, but I also realize the W.S. has to consider worst case scenarios. If they'd given a milder forecast many of these same people would be pointing the finger for not telling us how bad it turned out being.

Then there's the media. They tend to hype things because people pay attention to hyped up stuff. They don't pay much attention to boring events.

I didn't really think of forecasts as any kind of a conspiracy until I was listening to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now on Friday. Amy and her show try to make a point whenever there's any kind of storm to link it to global warming, as they did this time with the latest Philippine typhoon and, you guessed it, our storm of the last few days.

Remember, this was after it was mostly over and had shown itself to not be too big a deal. Yet there she was trying to tag our storm as an unusual severe weather event linked to climate change. That made me realize if there's anyone with a reason for hyping weather events it would be the Believers of man made climate change.

As far as the Facebook comment, I thought it funny, although we probably should have made some preparations just in case. I am glad to see the guy and his girlfriend blew their Christmas money on something potentially useful as opposed to wasting it on xmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Funnel Cloud Spotted

The Del Norte Triplicate reports a funnel cloud was spotted near Smith River yesterday. A rather strange coincidence as I was driving west on Buhne Street yesterday and was looking at the clouds thinking it wouldn't surprise me to see a funnel cloud.  Wonder if I was thinking that the same time that funnel cloud formed?

CNN reports a tornado hit Los Angeles, too. Nothing saying Humboldt Bay couldn't also get one.

Don't know if I told this story here before, but back when I worked at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant I saw what might have been the beginnings of a tornado over what was probably Table Bluff.

I was sitting in our control room and thunderstorm type weather was moving through the area. I looked southwest, up over the area we called P1 and saw a few clouds together that seemed to be getting ready to go into circular motion- spiraling, if you will. I'd seen that before on TV when they'd show tornadoes form. I wondered if I was seeing a tornado form?

Nothing came of it and a bit later I went up on the hill to relieve the late Fred Salinas. He grew up in Texas. I didn't have a chance to say anything to him before he said, "That cloud formation that just came through...back in Texas we see something like that, we'd head for the cellar". I told him I was thinking the same thing but couldn't be sure. I didn't have his experience.

At least we'd be fairly safe if a tornado hit the power plant. Lots of places to hide. I don't know what I'd do if I saw one coming while at home. What would you do?

Health Insurance Update

I mentioned here earlier I received notice of some changes to my Obamacare plan and wasn't sure if my monthly premiums were going up or down come the new year. 

I made my December payment of $77.01 online right at the end of November but received a letter in the mail from Anthem/ Blue Cross yesterday saying they'd yet to receive it. The letter was dated December 2. I figured that must be a mistake as I'd seen the payment posted online in my checking account. I just went up to make sure and, sure enough, the payment had been received.

I noticed they had my next month's online payment section filled out, too. The 2015 monthly premium seems to be $61.26. That's lower than it was, but they also seemed to have changed the policy a little. Time will tell how that works out. Not sure it matters since my doctor doesn't accept Obamacare policies anyway. 

My sympathies to those whose premiums went up.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ruth Lake is Full

Reports the Mad River Union. The fifteenth earliest fill date on record. I'll have to admit I was surprised it didn't fill up earlier with all the rain we've had. I wonder how this storm will affect other reservoirs?

Defunding Legalization?

I wasn't going to mention this until I noticed the North Coast Journal also brought it up. I read about it just a few minutes earlier in a piece from the Cato Institute. The Cato article was mostly about hypocrisy regarding federalism and choice. 

Part of the issue presented was the Republicans defunding efforts to legalize or decriminalize marijuana in Washington D.C. I was not too surprised to see the Journal bring up the same thing, if only because their writer's purpose seemed more about going after Republicans than anything else. From Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute:

 "The rider would not just prevent the District government from using federal funds to support legalization, but would actually forbid D.C. officials from spending the District’s own tax money to implement the law."

I don't get it. Never mind questions of hypocrisy that Tanner points out. Why do you need money to "implement" legalizing something? About the only reason I can think of is you might need a few bucks to actually type up the law. Other than that little, if any, money is needed. Just stop arresting people!

I guess we've gotten to the point where even leaving people alone costs money?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Nanny State Rolls On

Reason magazine reports on New York's efforts to make playgrounds risk free by welding playground equipment so it's immovable. I'm surprised I haven't heard of such efforts in California.

"This is just ridiculous,' says Cynthia Gentry, founding director of the Atlanta Task Force on Play and a national advocate for kids playing outside. (Can you believe we need that now? We do.)"

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

U.S. vs. Russia: Buchanan's View

Pat Buchanan comments on our nutty and hypocritical stance towards Russia and congress' recent anti- Russia resolution. He's spot on as usual.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Humboldt Named "Pot Capitol"

Humboldt County gets the title of Pot Capitol in this short story from KQED.

The Broadway Motel

I went to City Garbage yesterday. As I was on Broadway getting ready to turn on West Hawthorn I noticed the sign at the Broadway Motel. It's almost directly across the street from West Hawthorn. The side of the sign facing north seemed to read as $99.99 a night. Did I misread it?

I'd been under the impression that place was one that had been turned into housing for homeless. For some time people I'd see hanging out there, along with their possessions, certainly gave the impression it wasn't a regular motel.

As I left City Garbage and headed south on Broadway I made a point to look at the sign in my rear view mirror. This time I think it said $49.99 a night. Maybe I was wrong the first time? $49.99 seems a little more reasonable, but I was still surprised they had rooms to rent. 

I did a quick search when I got home. They don't have a regular web page, but they do have a Facebook page. I can't figure why 6 people Liked the page after I looked at their other reviews. Heck, even the one review on Facebook gives them one star.

They have 3 Yelp reviews, all one star with horrific narratives. The beginning of the first review kinda sums them up: "Just keep driving.  If there are no other rooms available, sleep in your car.  Or on the sidewalk.". I guess the Broadway must have deteriorated into one of our bad motels. 

Shame, as I stayed there for one night back around 1975. I didn't have to as I lived just a couple blocks away on West Del Norte Street. I just wanted a nice, warm place to watch cable TV for a treat- the place I was living at the time being a bit of a dump. I went down, rented a room, watched TV, went to bed, woke up next morning and went home. Seemed nice enough to me back then.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Big Storm?

Haven't seen this in a while. Wonder if it will be as intense as they're saying?

"A major storm is still on track to impact Northern California Thursday and Friday of this upcoming week, and has the potential to be the strongest storm we've seen in several years. This graphic summarizes the impacts we may see later this week, along an early look at the rain, wind, and snow forecast with this system."

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Lotsa Public Pensioners!!!

From CalWatchdog via the Calpensions web site; Just as we've seen with social security, in a few years retired government employees are expected to outnumber the ones still working:
In a few years CalPERS retirees are expected to outnumber active workers, a national trend among public pension funds that makes them more vulnerable to big employer rate increases. - See more at:

In a few years CalPERS retirees are expected to outnumber active workers, a national trend among public pension funds that makes them more vulnerable to big employer rate increases. - See more at:
 "In a few years CalPERS retirees are expected to outnumber active workers, a national trend among public pension funds that makes them more vulnerable to big employer rate increases."

That will likely mean even more being drawn from everyone else to pay for those not working. It will also exacerbate the trend of less money for existing government services as more and more is spent on pensions.

Scenic Roads and Business

I'm guessing it's an attempt at bait and switch, Jeanne Gladstone- Clark's letter in the Times- Standard this morning. She urges the Board of Supervisors to allow designation of certain roads in the county as "scenic":

"This isn’t just an issue of esthetics but of jobs. Designating scenic roads would attract visitors and, in their wake, businesses. Most maps denote scenic roads and highways in green ink and many of us go out of our way to drive those roads."

I don't buy the jobs thing at all. She's just throwing that in to garner support. Sure, scenic places attract people, even businesses. But you know that the same people pushing the scenic roads will be the first to object should a business want to start up somewhere along that route. After all, won't it spoil the scenic value?

We've already seen the objections to billboards "destroying" the scenic value of 101. Would they treat potential businesses any different?

Maybe she means if we have designated scenic roadways, businesses will be more likely to open up in towns nearby? I don't think that's any more likely than is already the case.

Friday, December 05, 2014

A Historical Cannon Range?

The Lost Coast Outpost reports an inert artillery projectile was found over on Pine Hill. No worries, and it was taken off and destroyed by the bomb folks for practice. I was intrigued when I first read of the find, though. 

You'll recall Fort Humboldt is close by where the munition was found. Back when I dabbled in treasure hunting I got to thinking about Fort Humboldt and whether that garrison had a cannon. If so, they must have had a range of some sort where they could fire it for practice. If the impact area was to the south, east or north of the fort, there might still be some old cannon projectiles laying around out there.

Brought that up with an expert treasure hunting friend of mine. He thought it a good tip, but never did any further research on it. Neither did I.

Automation Taking Over

I had no idea we already had self order restaurants. This economist reports on going to a Hardee's where you get a 10% discount for ordering your meal through a terminal- basically typing in your own order instead of a worker at the counter doing it for you.

I wish the writer had expanded on his observations, but he envisions a future much as I do:

"...over the coming decade, I think we are going to see a growing mass of unemployed and unemployable young people, who quite literally lack the skills to support themselves. If and when the economy crashes again, and especially if the federal government can’t or won’t continue with traditional welfare programs, things are going to get really ugly."

The taking over of jobs by technology and artificial intelligence seems to be happening faster than I'd expected. As I've written here previously, I see this causing a lot of conflict in the years ahead. As time goes on, it's not only going to involve young people.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Yet Another Obama Outrage

You just can't make this stuff up!!!

Another Grand Jury Doesn't Indict

Hot off the presses: The Washington Times reports the grand jury looking at evidence against a New York police officer for the "chokehold" death of a man has declined to indict him.

Use of force questions aside, it's important we look at what brought this whole thing about. The man was being arrested for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Those of you think you're doing anyone a favor by taxing or restricting tobacco will have to think again as the black market expands and we see more incidents like this.

College Stuff

Steve Greenhut looks at the real reasons behind the U.C. Board of Regents' tuition increase. Yep, just as it is with cities, counties and the rest of the state, it's about unfunded pensions.

John Seiler, over at CalWatchdog, looks back 50 years ago to the beginning of University of California's Free Speech movement. What it was and what it's become today. An slight error in the piece last I looked at it: Head honcho at U.C. is Janet Napolitano, not Janet Reno. He got the name half right.

Comedian Chris Rock tells Reason magazine why he and other performers no longer book shows at college campuses: College students are too "conservative", socially speaking.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Low Voter Turnout Can Be Good

One of the stupidest things I read in the news and various political commentaries is concern about low voter turnout. Who cares how many people turn out to vote? 100% of the people could show up the vote and the results might still be the same. Even if 100% did turn out, only the 51% that win should be happy, assuming it's that close. 

What about the other 49%? Are they supposed to be happy so many voted? Oh, that's right. Majority rules! I hate that saying but I used to use it all the time as a kid. 

All I care about is whether people that share my views show up at the polls.

CalWatchdog takes a look at the upsides of low voter turnout. Among other things...
“When it’s 50 % turnout, your voting power is doubled #math,” - See more at:

"When it's 50% turnout, your voting power is doubled...".

New Tobacco Tax Proposed

The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters looks at yet another proposal to increase tobacco taxes. The new proposal will add $2.00 to the price of a pack of cigarettes. Dan rightfully points out this is an attack on mostly poorer folks, but I take issue with one statement he makes:

"The health advocacy groups that are proposing the new cigarette tax increase aren’t shy about wanting to eliminate smoking in California, citing the costs of smoking-related diseases."

Read more here:

This isn't about tobacco. Tobacco taxes haven't been about quitting smoking for some time. That's just an excuse. This is all about the money, and groups that have been receiving the money wanting to feather their nests.

How this plays out only time will tell. I'll be expecting the worst.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Those Poor Veterans

Warren Tindall's letter to the Times- Standard isn't as bad as many I've read. Most suggest veterans are victims of some kind, cast out on the street after their military service. He doesn't quite go there. In fact, he admits he's had useful and generous benefits:

"After World War II, thanks in part to a powerful Legion and VFW, we veterans received generous benefits. The G.I. Bill made it possible for me to obtain my degree and a long and useful career. Thanks to VA and CalVet loans, my family has always been well housed."

Yep, and they've gotten more benefits at the state and federal level since World War 2. So what's the beef? He makes vague reference to problems with the Veteran's Administration and suggests veterans join together to form a "voting block" towards solving them.

I wouldn't be surprised if it's mostly veterans running the V.A. and thus contributing to the problem.  There's no need to form a larger group. Veterans already have generous benefits. What more could they possibly want?