Happy Go Lucky

Well foks I’ve finished another boot.  This is good for me as I have tons of books but don’t read that much.  I also have tended to start 3 or 4 books at once intending to finish them but haven’t so far.

I told someone that this book is for me what some people read and call a trashy romance novel - I didn’t learn anything, couldn’t quote anything per se.  But it was fun.  I’ve read about 6 of his books and it’s like meeting an old friend - you get reacquainted with his family.  This time the topics are about the pandemic, his aging father who grew up in Cortland, NY and I think may have attended Syracuse University or spent time in Syracuse ( who hasn’t spent time in Syracuse?) 

So was the book good?  It’s sort of like asking how the peanut butter was - it’s a staple.  Yes if you have read one of his books you have read them all and yet they are each in their own right very entertaining. So let’s just leave it at that.

Agent Shadow Film

Another new film to try out - this time is Kosmo Foto Shadow Agent - an iso 400 BW film.  I am having a hard time keeping track of some of the new offerings - are they new film stock or just repackaged film from Eastern Europe?  Anyway this one seems to be OK to shoot.  I developed it for 5:30 in HC110B but I think next time I will develop it for 6 min. OR shoot it at ISO 200

The Left Behind - A book Review

A well researched book about why there is anger in the rural areas of this country.  Claims and assertions are well supported.

“My argument is that understanding rural America requires seeing the places in which its residents live as moral communities. I do not mean this in the vernacular sense of “moral” as good, right, virtuous, or principled. I mean it rather in the more specialized sense of a place to which and in which people feel an obligation to one another and to uphold the local ways of being that govern their expectations about ordinary life and support their feelings of being at home and doing the right things.”

“Rural communities’ views of Washington usually emerge in two competing narratives: on the one hand, the government ignores us and doesn’t do anything to help with our problems, and, on the other hand, the government constantly intrudes in our lives without understanding us and thus makes our problems worse.”

[The obvious irony is that I don’t see rural agricultural areas surviving without government subsidy for crops and crop insurance.  I also haven’t heard of farmers declining to take government handouts that these subsidies represent.  There’s a disconnect between Medicaid  and Crop subsidies - both support segments in our society]

“Diversity for diversity’s sake is rarely valued, and if it is, it means something incremental and usually symbolic. Rural communities may not be as racist or as misogynist as critics sometimes claim, but the racism and misogyny are built into the patterns of life that nearly all-white communities have come to accept. And a part of their anger is assuredly the view that the promotion of diversity is a further intrusion of big government.”

[The lack of diverse opinion means there’s little chance that rural inhabitants have a chance to hear opposing opinions.  ]

“A truck farmer in a town that was nearly 50 percent Hispanic was proud of the diversity in his community and acknowledged that the apples and cherries on his farm depended on Hispanic labor. But he too thought more should be done to keep Hispanics out. They need to be stopped at the border, he said. Social scientists call this kind of exclusion “othering.” It ranges from negative stereotypes to overt discrimination. By no means do all rural Americans engage in”

— The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Small-Town America by Robert Wuthnow

What I was hoping to learn  is whether the author is able to develop a cogent argument as to why the rural areas have turned further to the radical right and have become stalwarts of Trumpism.  One would be lead to believe that the level of anger and distrust is so potent that rural voters voted for anything that is not already in Washington.   This would explain in some ways the 2016 election of Trump but not his continued popularity into the 2020 election. I call this “Blind Rage” as there is no accounting for how the rural resident identifies with Trump.

Color Me Aborted

Saw this on a Billboard on I-25 going south right before the Colorado Border coming from Wyoming.  Someone is pissed that Colorado has codified Abortion as a Women’s right.  Meanwhile polls of Wyoming citizens show almost as many favor abortion as don’t.  Here would be my billboard heading North into Wyoming:

Ayres Natural Bridge

Ayres Natural Bridge is a great state park near Douglas Wyoming.  The above picture is not the bridge ( not yet maybe in a million years).  But it is the backdrop to this nifty picnic area.

Memphis Ranch Meat Company

Spent a nite boon docking at the Memphis Ranch - part of the Harvest Host program.  You pay $100/year which allows you to book unused parking spots - generally no hook ups and they encourage you to patronize the facility that is hosting you.  In this case we bought some Bison meat.  In Nebraska near Broken Bow we stayed a nite at a microbrewery and sampled their product as well as having dinner there.

This time it was Greg Nott and his wife who hosted us and another rig for a visit to their ranch where they have about 30 head of Bison.  Their motto is Restore the Animal - Restore the Land - Restore the People

Ronnie Hawkins has flown the Coop

Ronald Hawkins, (January 10, 1935 – May 29, 2022) was an American/Canadian rock and roll musician whose career spanned more than half a century. His career began in Arkansas, where he was born and raised. He found success inOntario, Canada, and lived there for most of his life. He is considered highly influential in the establishment and evolution of rock music in Canada.

Also known as “Rompin’ Ronnie”, “Mr. Dynamo”, or simply “The Hawk”, he was one of the key players in the 1960s rock scene in Toronto. Throughout his career, Hawkins performed all across North America and recorded more than twenty-five albums. His hit songs included covers of Chuck Berry’s “Thirty Days” (entitled “Forty Days” by Hawkins) and Young Jessie’s “Mary Lou”, a song about a ”gold-digging woman”. Other well-known recordings are a cover of Bo Diddley’s ”Who Do You Love?” (Hawkins’ version was released without the question mark), ”Hey Bo Diddley”, and ”Susie Q”, which was written by his cousin, rockabilly artist Dale Hawkins.

Hawkins was also notable for his role as a talent scout and mentor of musicians he recruited for his band the Hawks. Roy Buchanan was an early Hawks guitarist on the song “Who Do You Love”. The most successful example of this were the musicians who left him to form The Band. Other musicians Hawkins had recruited went on to form Robbie Lane and the DisciplesJanis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie BandCrowbarBearfoot, and Skylark.

Olympus XA

I recently acquired this beauty of a compact rangefinder.  There is a complete review for look at.  I wasn’t sure last nite when I developed the negatives ( Fuji Across II) but with a little correction I was amazed at how many of the photos I really liked ( and printed out)

When you think of it - it is a pretty amazing camera.  Rangefinder, manual focus, you can set the ISO yourself all in a clam shell design.  It’s really a mini-ME to the original Leitz CL

We Are 100 - Book Review

This is part of the new “Book Club” feature on this blog.  We Are 100 is by Nathaniel Timmel a writer, comedian, Instagram Personality.  I don’t normally read fiction but I got sucked in and have really enjoyed this tome.  It’s a crime novel wrapped up in an ethics question.  People doing bad things to people or corporations that are even worse is how it’s descrbed.

The basic plot without giving anything away is that folks that have been aggrieved by a person or corporation takes to getting revenge.  The FBI gets involved to figure out who’s behind all of this.

Reading this reminded me of the “revenge” genre that we see in books and movies.  Falling Down with Michael Douglas (1993) is a perfect example.  You push people to far and you get what you weren’t expecting.  Myself I get sucked into watching You Tube clips of movies featuring Bullies getting their comeuppance.  Very satisfying to say the least.  Good triumphing over Bad - rare to see this actually in reality.

Though sometimes the little person does triumph.  This is from a recent Associated Press article - I actually work for this medical corporation and I was overjoyed when they got kicked in the ass for their behavior.

Snowmageddon May 2022

Wednesday and Thursday were in the high 80’s with Friday bringing only a high 32 and heavy heavy snow.  Enough to break large limbs on the trees around our house.  We are now the proud owners of a chain saw to cut them up!

Book Club - New Feature

I’m starting a new feature called logically BOOK CLUB where I review books that I have read.  I have way too many books that I have either not started or not finished.  But occasionally I have to finish a book because it’s part of the Colorado Airstream Book Club.  One recent one was Travels with Charley in Search of America  by John Steinbeck.  John Steinbeck wrote this story or novel as he calls it in 1960 and it was published in 1962.  It is the story of his travels in a truck camper (“He christened his impressive new vehicle “Rocinante,” after the hero’s horse in Cervantes’s Don Quixote.”) around the US in 1960 before the election.  It is amazing how many of his observations are still true today.  His goal was to meet and talk with as many regular Americans as he could.  Below is the map that he adhered to in his travels

He came prepared to hunt, fish and entertain.  He found that most people were not talking about the 1960 election of JFK v. Nixon.  He did however find overt racism alive and well in the South.  Not that it wasn’t present elsewhere but it was on the surface and palpable as when he went to the grade school in New Orleans to have their first black student - a group of white housewives called “The Cheerleaders”  harassed this poor child verbally with some of the most vile words you can imagine according to Steinbeck

For me the pleasure of reading this book was Steinbeck’s observations and his wordsmith abilities.  Here are a few:

Describing a strong cup of coffee: ”…..made coffee so rich and sturdy it would float a nail .”

“Could it be that Americans are a restless people, a mobile people, never satisfied with where they are as a matter of selection? ”

“And finally, in our time a beard is the one thing a woman cannot do better than a man, or if she can her success is assured only in a circus.”

When describing peoples reactions to hearing his plan to travel the whole country. “And then I saw what I was to see so many times on the journey—a look of longing. “Lord! I wish I could go.””

“We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”

“Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.””

“”Having too many THINGS,” he says, “[ Americans] spend their hours and money on the couch searching for a soul. A strange species we are. We can stand anything God and Nature throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick.””

In the final analysis I enjoyed this book and should be in the Pantheon of “Finding America” genre of literature.  This is also part of the American Road Trip genre which has and continues to be apart of our culture.  

Rocky Flats

Building 707

Plutonium Button

Wildlife Protest

Rocky Flats is the name given to the plant North West of Denver in the foothills that made plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons.  The  plant was in operation from 1952 till 1989 when a combined FBI and EPA raid shut it down.  Thru mismanagement and the inherent toxicity of Plutonium this is one of the most toxic sites in America.  Building 707 in the middle of the plant had the “Infinity” Room where the needle of the Geiger counter on the higher scale would go to infinity.

The remaining problem is that in the center is still highly contaminated it’s just that it’s 6 feet under the ground - People are not allowed in the center portion and for good reason.  Additionally while the surface of the permitted preserve is within safe health limits there was no remediation done to surrounding area which is now the site of thousands of homes especially in the Candellas development directly south.  Who knows what was buried just below the surface that was excavated to put in the foundations.  My entry point was the south entrance and it is about a block from a massive development.

I recently got a digital Geiger counter as part of a Kickstarter program.  I wouldn’t want to walk anywhere on the property without one.  Here are my results for the 20 minutes I monitored : average counts per minute or 77. Average microsieverts per hour was 0.07 ,total microsieverts was .03.  This translates to about 600 microsieverts per year which is in the safe zone. The upper limit for safety is 1000 microsieverts per year.  I guarantee that would not be the case if you were standing in the middle of the property.


Full Body Burden

Saturday with Wildlife

I just purchased the Tokina Mirror telephoto 500/8 and so I went back to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Preserve to try it out.  I got some decent shots - It requires very careful manual focusing. These were all shot out the window of the car - they don’t let you get out of your car but this the car does offer stability when shooting without a tripod.

Chicago Reunion

40th Medical School Reunion - we are the class of 1981 but because of COVID last years reunion was postponed until this year.  The weather was gloomy but then it’s Chicago and we should be prepared for this.  It didn’t dampen our spirits in the least!

We were told we’d have a view of The Watertower - but I misheard and apparently we got a view of ‘A’ watertower!

Late Entry:  Turns out the reunion may have been a super spreader event as at least four people in our group came down with COVID - including Vicki ( for the 2nd time).  As expected it hit people who only had the initial vaccine ( Vicki) as well as folks with a 2nd Booster.  I had the 2nd Booster about 3 weeks before the reunion so I don’t know if this was what protected me.

Utility Pole Series

For some reason the utility poles in the neighborhood are all festooned with metal ID tags - I have no idea why - it surely can’t be to prevent them from being stolen although in this COVID era where crime is rampant who knows?

Shot on Summer Santa film 125.  Developed in Rodinal 1:50 - haven’t used this developer in years but it works

A Matter of Elevation

Drove to Kansas today - my goal was to visit Mt. Sunflower which is the highest point in Kansas.  It is just across the border with Colorado and stands at 4029 ft ASL.

Then just for information sake I wanted to find out where the lowest point in Colorado is.  Turns out not very far from Mt. Sunflower, on the Arikaree River just before the border with Kansas at 3317 ft. ASL

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