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RV Trails

A Travel Blog and Other Musings.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Absolute Power
absolute power = one party having control of the presidency, the senate, and the house of representatives. The electorate of the Religious Right pushed this country into a state of absolute power in the past few elections. Come the close of election evening this year, Foley's greatest legacy may well be that he single-handedly achieved a more balanced government, simply by instant messaging lewd remarks to minors. Oddly, none of the other scandals or political follies of the past couple congresses served to achieve this, even those far more serious than Foleygate.

......The 19th- century British historian Lord Acton said: "The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. *Every* class is unfit to govern. ... Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

from an article I read this morning:

"An AP/Ipsos poll taken last week said about half of likely voters say the scandal will play a key role in how they vote. Fox News reported that internal GOP polls say the Foley Affair has put at least 50 Republican-held seats in jeopardy.

Go figure. It does not diminish the seriousness of the Foley affair to say that the 109th Congress has done far worse things to America than send dirty instant messages:

The Patriot Act. The Military Commissions Act. The "K Street Project" of Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and lobbyist pals like Jack Abramoff. Earmarked pork for bridges to nowhere and reducing the estate tax despite $300 billion deficits. Giveaways to the pharmaceutical industry. Weeks debating gay marriage and the Pledge of Allegiance and failing to pass an immigration bill...."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

ahem.... Paging Mark Foley.... Paging Mark Foley... hey, Foley..... When the alcoholism card you played the other day didn't work, you brought out what you thought was your trump card: molestation by a priest some 30+ years ago. Then you tried announcing that you are, in fact, Gay, as if that explained everything. Today, I'm waiting for your announcement that postpartum depression is the true culprit in this whole mess. Tomorrow, i'll look forward to hearing that you are actually suffering a Hypochondriacal neurosis. Perhaps by next week, you'll finally be ready to admit you're just merely a Republican.

Ken

ps. please don't send me any pictures.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Pope John Paul II, Freedom Fighter.

I've spent the last few days as many others have, I'm sure, reading news stories about the end of one of the longest running Papacies in history. While I am neither Catholic nor religious, I am interested in Karol Wojtyla more for the work he did as a highly visible human rights freedom fighter, and the effect he had on the end of communism in Europe. This article in particular provides a interesting capsule of Wojtyla's effect on modern history. Wojtyla was a Pope with a history unique among current world leaders. During his youth in his native Poland, he'd experienced firsthand the totalitarian effects of Nazism and communism, and spent his remaining years resisting both, and ultimately, speeding their end.

Many years ago, I learned something about Wojtyla that I have not yet seen mentioned in recent articles. Current commentary has been focused on his birthplace, his paternal homeland, Poland, but fails to mention that his maternal homeland is Lithuania, where my family comes from. My father and most of his extended family came to America from Lithuania to escape the communism that had invaded the Baltic states and Poland in 1939.

Requiescat in pace, Karol Wojtala.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Miracle Mike
Looking online for soemthing interesting to do in Arizona next week, I came across this article about 'Miracle Mike, a big fat chicken who didn't know he didn't have a head' and the festival that honors his will to live. In fact, Mike lived for 18 months without a head. Alas, I can't pay a visit to the festival, because Mike passed on in Arizona while on a tour of America, but the festivities are held in Fruita, Colorado, his hometown.


S
eptember 10th, 1945
finds a strapping (but tender) five and a half month old Wyandotte rooster pecking through the dust of Fruita, Colorado. The unsuspecting bird had never looked so delicious as he did that, now famous, day. Clara Olsen was planning on featuring the plump chicken in the evening meal. Husband Lloyd Olsen was sent out, on a very routine mission, to prepare the designated fryer for the pan. Nothing about this task turned out to be routine. Lloyd knew his Mother in Law would be dining with them and would savor the neck. He positioned his ax precisely, estimating just the right tolerances, to leave a generous neck bone. "It was as important to Suck-Up to your Mother in Law in the 40's as it is today." A skillful blow was executed and the chicken staggered around like most freshly terminated poultry.

Then the determined bird shook off the traumatic event and never looked back. Mike (it is unclear when the famous rooster took on the name) returned to his job of being a chicken. He pecked for food and preened his feathers just like the rest of his barnyard buddies.

When Olsen found Mike the next morning, sleeping with his "head" under his wing, he decided that if Mike had that much will to live, he would figure out a way to feed and water him. With an eyedropper Mike was given grain and water. It was becoming obvious that Mike was special. A week into Mike's new life Olsen packed him up and took him 250 miles to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City . The skeptical scientists were eager to answer all the questions regarding Mike's amazing ability to survive with no head. It was determined that ax blade had missed the jugular vein and a clot had prevented Mike from bleeding to death. Although most of his head was in a jar, most of his brain stem and one ear was left on his body. Since most of a chicken's reflex actions are controlled by the brain stem Mike was able to remain quite healthy.

In the 18 MONTHS that Mike lived as "The Headless Wonder Chicken" he grew from a mere 2 1/2 lbs. to nearly 8 lbs. In a Gayle Meyer interview Olsen said Mike was a "robust chicken - a fine specimen of a chicken except for not having a head." Some longtime Fruita residents, gathered at the Monument Cafe for coffee, also remember Mike - "he was a big fat chicken who didn't know he didn't have a head" - "he seemed as happy as any other chicken." Mike's excellent state of health made it difficult for animal-rights activists to garner much of a following. Even now the town of Fruita celebrates Mike's impressive will to live, not the nature of his handicap. Miracle Mike took on a manager, and with the Olsens in tow, set out on a national tour. Curious sideshow patrons in New York , Atlantic City , Los Angeles , and San Diego lined up to pay 25 cents to see Mike. The "Wonder Chicken" was valued at $10,000.00 and insured for the same. His fame and fortune would earn him recognition in Life and Time Magazines. It goes without saying there was a Guinness World Record in all this. While returning from one of these road trips the Olsens stopped at a motel in the Arizona desert. In the middle of the night Mike began to choke. Unable to find the eyedropper used to clear Mike's open esophagus Miracle Mike passed on.

Now, Mike's spirit is celebrated the third weekend in May.

Festival information and schedule

Friday, March 18, 2005

Patriot Brando

In what can only be a reference to my sauve Godfather-like swagger, the counter-boy at Old Town Coffee Co in downtown Casa Grande wrote 'Patriot Brando' on my tall cup of americano. At least, for his sake, that better be what he was thinking of, else he might wake up tomorrow morning with a dead horse in his bed....

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Casino!

After dinner, I'm walking around the casino watching zoned-out people and blinking, spinning machines. 'I'm not gonna gamble, I just came for the buffet' I remind myself. Then, one of the nickel slots catches my eye, 'Xandu'. Actually, the dancing asian woman seduced me.

I figure ten bucks won't hurt. I'll gamble the ten and walk away. I've learned the hard way not to gamble, having lost a few thousand in previous affairs.

The ten wears down slowly, though I'm betting 30 nickels at a time. $1.50 per push of the button, seductive little temptress, this Xandu.

Finally, down to the last 20 nickels, I have to change the bet to accept the last buck. The wheels spin and I get a bonus round inside the gates of the forbidden palace! It's a match round, where one matches two numbers from 100 to 200 to win that amount. If I get the 200, I'll break even and get out of the casino. Less than 200, I'll still get out, I promise myself. But what I match instead is two red chests? This begins bonus round two. I enter a room with five terracota statues, each holding a red chest. I am to pick two. First one has 300, the second 480. Ring it up, cash out, $39 worth of indian script.

I make good on my promise and get out of there, glancing back to see the temptress resume dancing, spinning her charms.

I much prefer to gamble on the books I buy for resale....

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I Just Realized the Irony

The previous post, as is this post, was sent not from said coffee shops mentioned in that post, but from my blackberry pager as I lay in bed typing on a keyboard the size of a stick of bubble gum.....


Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Cave Creek, AZ

I found a town in arizona I really like. Most of the places I've been so far since arriving have been too busy, too congested. Granted, that's nice in some ways, ensuring lots of places to shop, mostly big box brands.

But the place I am at now, cave creek, is a differnt horse altogether. Very western, with touches of southwestern, indian, mexican and lots of rustic. No big box brand name stores all along the main strip with the exception of a circle k gas station. All the other stores are old western style, complete with hitching posts and swinging shutter doors. Theres very few paved side streets off this strip. Yet for all it's rustic and isolated charm, the super highway of wireless high-speed internet runs through it in several privately owned coffee shops with no toll gates to slow one down or empty ones change jar.

I've seen the future here. Folks from small town, deeply rural america will in another year or two all be within a stones throw of of the internet as entreprising small business owners continue to recognize the additional revenue streams wifi brings them. They pave the way, providing these toll-free stretches to link all of us together. Everywhere I go that has free wifi, I spend money I would not otherwise have spent in these specific locations. Its a win-win for the owners and the patrons both.

I have a feeling that in a few years, aside from the professional graphic designers and a few other computimg intensive industries, buying desktop computers will be a thing of the past. With wifi and free internet, most of us as customer grade computer users will be using ultra lightweight laptop computers and simply going about our usual activities: lunch at the deli, coffee at the corner shop, shopping at the mall, going to the bar. In each of these places, we'll have free internet access. This is reality now, but will be even more so as more businesses see what $50 a month buys them in terms of increased patronage.

What do you think? What does your crystal ball see? Leave a comment for me below.

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Am I Jinxed? What is it with RVs and me? Do they not like me? I like them just fine..... A few days after obtaining the RV from the dealer in Peoria, AZ, I began experiencing engine trouble. I would lose power suddenly, and top speed would fall to 40 mph. At first I thought it was a transmission problem, but after checking fluids, all was fine, if a little low. There was no burning smell, no discoloration of fluids. I topped off, filling all other fluid levels and continued to experience trouble. A couple more days of this, and top speed was 20 mph! Finally took it in to a transmission shop, sure that it was some sort of trans trouble. The mechanics looked it over, test drove, and said it was a blocked exhaust, not the trans or engine. I was happy to hear this, thinking I would get away with a minor repair. Wishful thinking, that! Turns out I needed a new catalytic converter, and the replacement came in at $450. But hey! I'm foot-loose and fancy-free, and driving faster than 20 mph.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Beautiful Sand Animation Artwork a friend from maryland sent me this link. This is several minutes long and requires broadband unless you have the patience of a saint.