"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement


As of last November, I have been retired for five years.

I would have stayed in the work force a bit longer, but I decided that given my parents' medical history after my dad's retirement, I decided to retire at 62 while my health was still good.

It was a good thing I did, since I had my little coronary episode almost three years later.

Upon retirement, one had to budget more carefully since income will be lower. Some expense will be lower upon retirement, while others will go up.

Kiplinger has an article on ten things you'll spend more on retirement.

They begin with:

You may not realize it, but you’re already practicing retirement, even if your real retirement is years away.

Many of us have been working remotely over the last year, tucked away at home because of the pandemic. Except for the part where you’re actually working, life has changed much as it does for retirees.

So take a step back and ask yourself: How’s the spending coming on this retirement test drive? 

Because before you can determine how much you need to save for a fulfilling retirement (and you should), you first need to know how much you will spend in retirement.

Financial planners have traditionally estimated that retirees need 80% or more of preretirement income to maintain their standard of living, though individual situations vary greatly. Another data point: According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual survey on consumer spending, the average retired household spends 25% less than the average working household each year.

That said, retired households do spend more than working households on many items, including big-ticket expenses such as health care and travel. Here’s a look at 10 budget categories where retirees are likely to spend more.

To see what they are, go here.

Joseph City, Arizona History and Jack Rabbit Trading Post

Above, Jack Rabbit Trading Post in Joseph City, Arizona. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Along Interstate 40 in Arizona is Joseph City, the home of my favorite Arizona trading post, the Jack Rabbit Trading Post.

Joseph City, Arizona has an interesting history which included Mormon pioneers, Route 66, trading posts and landmarks.

Legends of America has an article on Joseph City's history and it does include Jack Rabbit Trading Post.

It begins with:

Joseph City, Arizona, located just about 11 miles west of Holbrook on Route 66 is an unincorporated community in Navajo County.

This area along the Little Colorado River was first settled by Mormon pioneers led by Captain William C. Allen in 1876. Joseph City was first called Allen’s Camp, for their leader. One of the settlers first tasks was to build a U-shaped fort of cottonwood logs. They were also focused on getting water for their crops and built a dam and irrigation canals the same year. However, taming the capricious river would be difficult, as over the next several decades the settlers watched in despair as the dams washed out and their crops amounted to nearly nothing. Not just one or two times, mind you, but 10 times before a dam was successfully built in 1894 that was strong enough to withstand the floods. This led Andrew Jensen, a Morman church historian, to call the settlement “the leading community in pain, determination and unflinching courage in dealing with the elements around them.”

Although I've been to Jack Rabbit Trading Post several times, I was unaware (until now) of Joseph City's history and places to explore. The article is a good read. 

To read more, go here

Culture and Natural Beauty In The Navajo Nation

Above, inside a Monument Valley Navajo hogan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Navajo Nation is currently closed to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, it will eventually reopen and it is a fascinating place to visit.

KSL.com has an article on what visitors can see and do in the vast Navajo Nation (that covers three states).

They begin with:

As part of the larger Navajo Nation, the Utah portion of the Navajo Nation is in the Southeast part of Utah. It is remote and isolated retaining much of its traditional ways of life. Its landscape and topography contain some of the world's most beautiful, colorful rugged sandstone cliffs and towering rock formations.

The Navajo presence in the area goes back hundreds of years. Their history is intertwined with early Spanish and Mexican influences, providing rich stories and fascinating sites for exploration. The Navajo people and their ancestors the Anasazi ('ancient ones') resided in the region and visitors find it an ideal location to retrace history and step back in time. The public can view the Anasazi through the striking images of the Butler Wash Petroglyph Panel, found along the San Juan River as it flows downstream.

Enjoy running, hiking, or biking on select Monument Valley Tribal Park trails or participate in a Navajo-sponsored seasonal marathon within the Rainbow Bridge area. Take part in the Balloon Festival held each December at Monument Valley Tribal Park. Guided tours for photographers can easily be arranged to help you discover the full potential of this spectacular landscape.

 To read more, go here.

20% Chance of Snow Today

Above, at the Six Mile Canyon gate during yesterday's drive. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It looks like we may be in for some snow showers today.

This one slipped past my radar. I checked yesterday and didn't see any indication for snow until the weekend.

Bur, according to the National Weather Service, we have a 20% chance of snow showers today.

Today
A slight chance of snow showers between 11am and 2pm, then a slight chance of rain showers after 2pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 46. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming northwest in the morning. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Tonight
Mostly clear, with a low around 16. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
Friday
Sunny, with a high near 50. West wind 5 to 10 mph increasing to 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon.
Friday Night
Clear, with a low around 22. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph.
Saturday
Sunny, with a high near 49. West wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 15 to 20 mph in the afternoon.
Saturday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 21.
Sunday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 43.
Sunday Night

A 20 percent chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 19. 

California Gun Bills Make Bill Filing Deadline


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NRA-ILA: Institute for Legislative Action

California Update: Bill Filing Deadline Passes

February 19th was the bill filing deadline for the California State Legislature. A few more bills to place restrictions on your already diminished rights, as well as one to protect your rights, have been filed.

Anti-Gun

Assembly Bill 1223 taxes firearms at $25 each, and ammunition at a certain percentage yet to be determined, in order to fund social services programs for “gun violence.” Such taxes are to be collected from California retailers on new firearms sold and on their retail sales of ammunition. It is unjust to saddle law-abiding gun owners with such special taxes to fund social service programs. Such a measure makes it more expensive for law-abiding citizens to exercise a constitutional right and discourages them from practicing to be safe and proficient with their firearms for purposes such as self-defense, competition, and hunting. 

Assembly Bill 1509 shows just how disingenuous Californian legislators are about stopping “gun violence.” It reduces the penalties and sentencing enhancements for criminal misuse of firearms. The legislators who support not holding criminals accountable for their actions are the same ones who continue to harass law-abiding gun owners.

Assembly Bill 311 prohibits the display or sale of any "precursor firearm parts" at gun shows in the state. So called “precursor” parts are not regulated as firearms under federal law; however, they are regulated and limited to being transferred by licensed vendors in California. Such restrictions continue to cut off access to law-abiding individuals who are looking to acquire firearm parts in accordance with existing law.

Senate Bill 264 bans sales of firearms and ammunition on state-owned property in order to ban gun shows at these venues. SB 264 has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 16th.

Senate Bill 252, the bill to ban bear hunting, was previously withdrawn by its author. Decisions regulating wildlife management should be made by experts based on sound science, not by anti-hunting extremists.

Pro-Gun

Senate Bill 448 enacts the Emergency Powers Limitation Act, to rein in the use of emergency powers. The legislation provides protections for express constitutional rights, including “[t]he freedom to acquire and bear lawful firearms and ammunition,”​ when the state government utilizes emergency power. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many anti-gun officials, including at both the state and local levels of government, took the opportunity to unilaterally suspend Second Amendment rights by shutting down gun stores and ranges. Unfortunately, this coincided with many Americans’ first attempt to exercise their Second Amendment rights and resulted in them being unable to access arms, ammunition, or proper training. This bill protects the constitutional right to keep and bear arms from such politically motivated attacks and ensures that citizens can exercise that right when they need it most.​

While the filing deadline has passed, lawmakers can still insert anti-gun language into “spot bills.” Please stay tuned to www.nraila.org and your email inbox for further updates.

RVs Are Your Spring Break Friend

Above, springtime is ideal for desert camping. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It is kind of funny that we're in winter and much of the country is buried under snow. But, it is time to think about spring break.

The Bismarck Tribune is thinking about it and has an article on eight reasons why RVs are your best friend for spring break.

They begin it with:

You’re yearning to get away for spring break this year, but you’re not ready to hop on a plane. You need a change of scenery, as long as the scenery isn’t full of other people. And you’d like to travel in a COVID-responsible manner. Sound familiar?

If that’s you, consider booking an RV vacation this spring break.

It won’t take you further than driving distance, yet it can lead you to a part of the country you maybe haven't explored before. You’ll inhale fresh air, and you’ll feast on campfire popcorn and barbecue.

Sure, spring break 2021 won’t entail partying with 1,000 of your closest friends, but it doesn’t have to be gone completely. Here are eight reasons why an RV is your new spring break BFF:

To see what the eight reasons are, go here

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

RPNM Chairman: GOV. LUJAN GRISHAM’S NEW TURQUOISE LEVEL FOR PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER

 


REPUBLICAN PARTY OF NEW MEXICO CHAIRMAN STATEMENT ON GOV. LUJAN GRISHAM’S NEW TURQUOISE LEVEL FOR PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER
 
GOVERNOR TODAY ADDS ANOTHER COLOR, BUT SILLY SHADE IS NOT WHAT’S NEEDED TO HELP STRUGGLING NEW MEXICANS AND STUDENTS
 
Albuquerque, February 24—The following is a statement from Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce regarding to the new Turquoise level announced today by the Lujan Grisham Administration:
 
“Students are suffering, businesses are dying and despair is growing, and the Governor keeps playing with her paintbox. The color codes keep changing, but the Governor can’t see the real picture. Adding colors isn’t the answer, and even when her past Public Health Order goals were met, she moved the goalposts. Gov. Lujan Grisham should be focused on getting students back into classes and onto athletic fields. She needs to reopen all businesses and get life back to normal in New Mexico.”

Airliner Has Encounter With "Cylindrical" Object In New Mexico

Above, a display at the International UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

New Mexico is known for UFOs and crashed flying saucers (Roswell). The state can add another, for an American Airlines flight crew encountered a cylindrical object February 21 in the northeast section of the state. 

The encounter occurred west of the village of Des Moines, New Mexico.


From The Independent (U.K.):

Flight crew flying across New Mexico reported seeing a “long cylindrical object” whizzing above them mid-flight.

The object was spotted by crew onboard American Airlines flight 2292, which was en route from Cincinnati in Ohio to Phoenix, Arizona.

The “object” was flying fast over the top of the Airbus A320 craft, which was cruising at 36,000ft just west of the village of Des Moines in New Mexico.

In an audio recording from the flight deck, obtained by radio intercepter Steve Douglass and shared with The Drive, crew can be heard saying that “we just had something go right over the top of us”.

“It almost looked like a cruise missile, moving really fast over the top of us.”

It’s uncertain what this object was.

To read more, go here

Roamin' Around

Above, at the locked gate to Six Mile Canyon. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since it is about 48° outside with some breeze, I took out the Jeep for some driving.

I went down to the Flying J to pick up my mail and some water for the coffee maker. I then drove around the community for a while to give the Jeep, its battery and me a little workout.

I then took it down Six Mile Canyon Road to the canyon's gate and corral.

Above, another view with the corral in the background. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We have a little over a month to go before Six Mile Canyon in Cibola National Forest is reopened for vehicles. 

The battery seems to be okay since I charged it up and the temperatures have been a trifle warmer. 

Major Project Underway At Grand Canyon's Desert View

Above, the Desert View Watchtower. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Although now closed due to coronavirus concerns, Grand Canyon National Park's Desert View is now undergoing a major project for visitors when it does reopen.

According to the AZ Big Media:

The Arizona Lottery is teaming up with Grand Canyon Conservancy, Grand Canyon National Park’s official nonprofit partner, in their effort to reimagine the site at Desert View. Desert View represents the physical and cultural gateway from Grand Canyon National Park to tribal lands that surround it. In fact, in 2019 alone, one million park visitors visited Desert View to learn more about the 11 American Indian tribes that call the Grand Canyon home.

Perched on the rim of the canyon, the historic 70’ tall Desert View Watchtower is modeled after the architecture of the Ancestral Puebloan people of the Four Corners region. Visitors can meet cultural demonstrators to learn about local indigenous cultures, spot the Colorado River turning west, and glimpse the Painted Desert extending towards tribal lands.

The Arizona Lottery’s $100,000 Gives Back Sponsorship (matched by the National Park Foundation’s centennial appropriations for $200,000 in impact) will fund opportunities for this Inter-tribal Cultural Heritage Site to teach visitors about past and present indigenous life and culture in and around Grand Canyon. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact directly with tribal members, listen to their stories, and observe a variety of cultural demonstrations.

On part of the project is an improvement of the arrival experience by creating an Orientation Area, Shade Structure, Picnic Areas, and revision of the parking lots.

To read more, go here.

Grand Canyon East Entrance and Navajo Tribal Parks

Above, Monument Valley and other tribal parks can't reopen until the Navajo
 Nation attains orange level status for COVID-19. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To paraphrase William Shakespeare, "To reopen or not to reopen, that is the question." 

That, and when. This is what the Navajo Nation is pondering. Should they reopen the tribal parks and when?

According to the Navajo-Hopi Observer:

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — On Feb. 10, Grand Canyon National Park officials met with Navajo Nation leaders to discuss the reopening of the park’s eastern park entrance, which borders the Navajo Nation.

Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Edward Keable said the National Park Services (NPS) plans to reopen the east entrance May 21.

“Keeping safety in mind, we are not committed to this date and want to be good neighbors by incorporating the Navajo Nation’s interests in our plans,” Keable said.

During the meeting, members of the Nation’s Resources and Development Committee (RDC) presented their concerns for the safety of both Navajo Nation residents and Grand Canyon tourists in the event of a reopening.

“The purpose of our current health order is to expand the vaccine distribution and contribute to the Navajo Nation’s economic recovery plan. But, it is a balancing act and a race against time,” said Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the Navajo President, Milton Bluehouse, Jr.

Bluehouse indicated the Navajo Nation leads the country in vaccine distributions with more than 2,000 Navajos vaccinated on the weekend of Feb. 6.

Navajo Nation Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim said the Nation is focused on staying ahead of a possible third COVID-19 positive case surge with new variants of the virus reported in surrounding states.

Above, the Desert View Watchtower on the east end of Grand Canyon National Park remains closed. Photo by Armand Vaquer.


On the question of reopening tribal parks (such as Monument Valley):

With the Navajo Nation under a level-red declaration red, the highest COVID-19 concentration-code level, Begaye said many in-person services, such as tours, have been canceled. Consequently, 15 to 20 of the 75 department staff have lost their jobs or have been furloughed.

Dr. Jim explained the HCOC’s data-driven approach to creating gating criteria for determining the Navajo Nation’s Covid-19 code levels involves an evaluation of the number of positive Covid-19 cases and other factors related to the spread of the virus.

Although Covid-19 numbers have gone down, Navajo tribal parks are not able to open until the Navajo Nation is in the orange phase.

The Navajo Nation made great strides in vaccinating tribal members. When the Nation can be put in the orange code level is anyone's guess.

To read the full article, go here.

Leftist Congressional Tyrants Want To Muzzle Conservative Media



The radical leftists in congress are trying to muzzle conservative media. This is something you'd find in communist states.

From Real Clear Politics:

On Feb. 24, House Democrats will hold a hearing on “traditional media’s role in promoting disinformation and extremism.” This hearing is a dangerous threat to American democracy and goes entirely against what the Founders intended when they made a free press Americans’ guaranteed First Amendment right in the Constitution.

It’s also just the latest threat against free speech from the left, which has now mainstreamed a despotic desire to use government to cancel conservative speech. Just last week, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called for Fox News to be on trial for supporting former President Donald Trump. This is the same Kristof who recently began calling for a War on Terror-style campaign against Trump supporters and “the ecosystem that produces them” -- completely missing the key difference between the right to free speech and the lack of rights to commit political violence.

Kristof’s dangerous rhetoric joins that of other influential mainstream media figures who are targeting media they deem too friendly towards Trump. Washington Post columnist Max Boot wants cable companies to cut off Fox, and MSNBC commentator Anand Giridharadas suggests that the outlet shouldn’t even exist. 

Freedom of expression is essential to a flourishing democracy, which is why I oppose unconstitutional limits on free speech. It’s why I supported the rights of liberal groups like the Brennan Center to oppose my nomination to the Federal Elections Commission 20 years ago even though they said things I felt were often unfair and sometimes untrue. Kristof has the right to publish his views if they are peaceful, just as Tucker Carlson and Rush Limbaugh have said things that Democrats don’t like. Calls to shut down a major news source like Fox, or even its smaller allies in the conservative media world, whether through corporate deplatforming or government force, cross the line from opposing ideas to undermining our civil society.

The Feb. 24 hearing will take place seven days after Rush Limbaugh died. Limbaugh was a giant in conservative media, but the industry he helped build couldn’t have existed if the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” had been in place. Indeed, it was the Reagan-era repeal of the doctrine that gave Limbaugh, and eventually thousands of talk show hosts of all political stripes, the ability to be absolutely, 100% American in their partisanship without threat of government tyranny.

 This article is one everyone should read. To do so, go here.

Winnebago Minnie Q & A Live

Above, my 2015 Minnie Winnie 22R. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Funny how things work out.

I've been meaning to contact Lichtsinn RV, the big Winnebago dealer in Forest City, Iowa located a mile from the Winnebago factory, about a replacement rear bumper end cap for my Minnie Winnie 22R. One end cap fell off months ago and I kept forgetting to order the replacement.

This morning, I received an email from Lichtsinn about a live video question and answer they're holding today. The email included a phone number for their parts department. So I called and ordered the part.

For those contemplating buying a Class C RV, you may want to check out their live video session.

The details:

 

 
Lichtsinn RV Live - Q&A on the Winnebago Minnie Winnie

Join us today for our Lichtsinn RV LIVE at 2:00 PM CT. In our Lichtsinn RV LIVE, we will be holding an open question and answer session on the Winnebago Minnie Winnie. You can watch our Lichtsinn RV LIVE on our Website and YouTube.

Now I'm Feeling It


After getting my second COVID-19 vaccination yesterday, I thought I might escape any after-effects from the shot.

For the rest of the afternoon and evening, I did. But when I went to bed last night, my arm started hurting at the site of the shot. I'm feeling it now.

Other than that, no other reaction to it.

Knock on wood.

Two Rums

Over the years, rum from Cuba had a reputation of being among the best in the world. 

During a cruise to Havana, Cuba two years ago, I picked up a bottle of Havana Club rum. As far as taste goes, to this non-professional liquor taster, I didn't find it any better than Bacardi rum. It wasn't bad, but I didn't find it extraordinary either.

Above, the bottle of Havana Club rum I bought in Cuba. Photo by Armand Vaquer.


Last September, during a stop at Honeyville in Durango, Colorado, I found a local-brewed rum in their gift shop, Red Cliffs. It has a bit of spice to it that gives it a good kick in flavor. I still have about a half a bottle of it left. I prefer it to the Havana Club rum.

Above, the Durango, Colorado rum. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In my recent post on Coca-Cola of a couple of days ago, G-FAN's J. D. Lees and I got started a discussion about colas (funny how blog topics come up) and liquor. For some reason, as I mentioned in our comments discussion, Coke mixes with rums and other liquors a lot better than other colas. It has to be the formula (which is a closely-guarded secret). That's how I drink rums.

Funny thing, back during my college days, I used to tend bar at political fundraisers and whenever someone requested a rum & Coke, they tended to be from the Los Angeles/South Bay city of Lomita. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Navajo Nation Exceeds February Vaccination Goal

Above, Red Rock Navajo Casino near Gallup, New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Last week, while driving to Gallup, I saw police and security vehicles with their light bars on and many people in the parking lot of Fire Rock Casino. 

Fire Rock Casino has been closed since the pandemic started last year.

As I drove closer, there were tables and tents set up with people on foot and in vehicles lined up. 

This was a mass inoculation of members of the Navajo Nation of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the article below from the Arizona Public Media, mass vaccinations in different locations in and around the Navajo Nation are paying off. During the height of the pandemic, the virus hit the Navajo Nation hard and many Navajos came down with the virus that caused many deaths, most of which hit the tribal elders hard.

Arizona Public Media reported:

The Navajo Nation exceeded its goal to administer 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of February. Now it's aiming for 120,000 by the end of the month.

Tribal officials reported Thursday that 104,974 doses had been administered. Since then, they have continued to advertise vaccination events across the reservation that is the size of West Virginia.

Dr. Chris Percy, the Community Health Director of the Northern Navajo Medical Center, was helping with the vaccine rollout at Shiprock High School Saturday in Shiprock, New Mexico. He said 84% of elders over the age of 65 have been vaccinated, along with 37% of people over the age of 16. The Navajo Department of Health reports it's vaccinating people in Phase 1B now.

"We're really excited so many people have come out and got it. Many, many of our families have been affected by COVID," Percy said. "We've lost so many people, and so many people have suffered all year, and now we can finally do something about it."

This is good news for the Navajo Nation as well as the counties surrounding it in the Four Corners region, including New Mexico's McKinley County, where I reside. 

To read more, go here.


Got The Second Shot...

 


...and, so far, no reaction. Not even a sore arm like from the first one.

But the day isn't over and anything can crop up later or in the next couple of days.

Irritating Campground Rules

Above, the Ouray KOA Kampground office and store. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Over the past six years, I've been to many RV parks and campgrounds. So far, I have not encountered any weird or irritating rules. But they are out there apparently.

RV Travel has posted ten irritating rules submitted by readers.

They begin it with:

In addition to weird RV park rules, there are some rules that are just downright irritating to campers. Sometimes they just don’t make sense to anyone except those in the campground office. Many of you left comments on last week’s article, 12 weirdest campground rules,  and said that sometimes these weird rules are made because one weird person does one weird thing.

 Be sure to read the 12 weirdest campground rules. Definitely weird.

To read more, go here.

Cold Weather Camping

Above, The Beast at Red Rock Park Campground near Gallup, New Mexico. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

RV Life has been re-posting some older articles lately. But that's okay as most of them I've never read before.

The following is one of them. It from October 2018 and is eight ways to stay warm while camping in cold weather. 

They begin with:

Don’t let the cool temperatures of the fall season keep you from getting out and camping.  There are great advantages to “cold season” camping, including fewer people, fall colors, and seeing areas in different seasons, to name a few.

With some preparation, most people can stay comfortable in cooler temperatures and keep on adventuring!

To read more, go here

NM COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard


As of yesterday, here's how New Mexico is shaping up on vaccinations for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard

Last Updated: 2/22/2021
New Mexico State Data
Cumulative Doses Administered*
501,436
Total Primary Doses Administered
329,054
Total Booster Doses Administered
172,382

Doses Administered in the Last 7 Days
54,939
Total Doses Received*
465,175
Total Registrants
643,823
*Doses administered may occasionally exceed doses received; in some cases, providers have been able to use six doses of Pfizer – not five – from each vial.
To read more, go here.

Shot #2 Today

Above, the sticker I received at the first vaccine session. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Today's the day for me to get the second COVID-19 vaccination shot. It'll be interesting to see if there's any kind of reaction to it. I've been hearing stories that the second shot has more side effects than the first.

I barely felt the first shot, but my arm got sore hours later and that lasted a couple of days.

Since I have other business (UPS Store, cleaners, etc.) to attend to while I am in Gallup for the shot, I figured I'd do everything at once while I am in town. 

It should be a pleasant day, sunny and near 54°.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Be "Less White" and Drink Coca-Cola?



So Coca-Cola wants their employee to be "less white", eh?

Let's see. Should their employees go to a tropical isle and get deep dark tans?  At company expense, of course!

This is just more evidence that the world, well, at least the United States, has gone completely bonkers.

From Fox News:

Coca-Cola raised some eyebrows this week for promoting an online training seminar that urged employees to “try to be less white” in order to combat racial discrimination.

Slides from the training seminar shared online this week featured tips on how to tone down whiteness.

The tips to “be less white” included: “be less arrogant, be less certain, be less defensive, be more humble, listen, believe, break with apathy,” and “break with white solidarity.”

Another slide tells viewers that in order to confront racism, they must understand “what it means to be white, challenging what it means to be racist.”

White people in the United States and other western nations, are “socialized to feel that they are inherently superior because they are white,” another slide reads.

It continued: “Research shows that by age 3 to 4, children understand that it is better to be white.”

The seminar has predictably provide divisive, with some praising the company and others threatening to boycott it.

Attorney and Center for American Liberty founder Harmeet Dhillon, who shared the slides on her Twitter, said the slides seemed “like blatant racial discrimination.”

Not surprisingly, this is causing a backlash.

To read more, go here.

Low Battery

Above, the Jeep battery compartment. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

People are finding that cold weather and batteries aren't a good mix. That's one big detriment to electric vehicles.

I had to recharge the Jeep's battery today as it was way down. I intended to drive it to the Flying J this morning to pick up my mail, but it barely cranked. Luckily, I have a battery charger and hooked it up and let it charge for a half day. I hadn't driven the Jeep since last Thursday.

A little while ago, I unhooked the charger and started the Jeep. It fired up right away.

Above, the charging battery. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The M38A1 Willys Jeeps have the battery compartment at the cowling outside of the engine compartment. When these Jeeps were in military service, battery charging was made simple by a plug-in outlet behind the passenger side front wheel on the fender. Since I don't have military plug-in, I had to take the battery compartment cover off and attach the charger directly to the battery.

The weather has been cold here, particularly at night, and that causes problems with vehicle batteries.

After starting the Jeep, I let the engine run for a while. The alternator gauge showed that it was charging fine. We'll see in the next few days. The battery is dated 12/18, so it is only two years old. 

I also fired up the motorhome today to make sure its battery was in good working order. It was.

Death of Thelma Todd

Above, Thelma Todd in 1931.


Years ago, I bought Kenneth Anger's classic book, Hollywood Babylon, which chronicles scandals of Hollywood stars from the 1920s to the 1960s. That book piqued my interest.

One of the book's subjects was actress Thelma Todd.

When I used to live in Los Angeles, I would occasionally drive up the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica up to Malibu and, occasionally, up to Point Mugu.

Above, Thelma Todd's Inn in the 1930s. The house where she died was a block up the hill.

Along the way, near Sunset Blvd. in Pacific Palisades, stands a building that Thelma Todd's Inn (or Thelma Todd's Sidewalk Cafe) was located. The Inn was co-owned by actress/comedienne Thelma Todd in the 1930s. I've passed by it many times.

Above, the building that housed Thelma Todd's Inn today.

From Wikipedia:

Thelma Alice Todd (July 29, 1906 – December 16, 1935) was an American actress and businesswoman often referred to by the nickname "The Ice Cream Blonde", as well as "Hot Toddy". Appearing in around 120 feature films and shorts between 1926 and 1935, she is best remembered for her comedic roles opposite ZaSu Pitts and in films such as Marx Brothers' Monkey Business and Horse Feathers and a number of Charley Chase's short comedies. She co-starred with Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante in Speak Easily. She also had roles in several Wheeler and Woolsey and Laurel and Hardy films, the last of which (The Bohemian Girl) featured her in a part that was truncated by her suspicious death in 1935 at the age of 29. 

On Todd's death:

On the morning of Monday, December 16, 1935, Thelma Todd was found dead in her car inside the garage of Jewel Carmen, a former actress and former wife of Todd's lover and business partner Roland West. Carmen's house was approximately a block from the topmost side of Todd's restaurant. Her death was determined to have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. 
Above, L.A.P.D. photo of Thelma Todd's body in her car. 

Investigations concluded that Todd's death was accidental, not suicide or murder. But claims in a 1989 best-seller Hot Toddy by Andy Edmonds says murder. In the book, an unnamed source, who was with Todd shortly before her death (described as a retired Hollywood executive with underworld ties) provided the Edmonds with details of Todd`s last hours and the identity of her murderer. By then, even if it were murder, all the principals were long dead.

Above, Thelma Todd at the morgue.

The building where Thelma Todd's Inn was located looks pretty much the same as it did in the 1930s.

I have a Laurel and Hardy Hal Roach Studios collection and included is a Thelma Todd/ZaSu Pitts comedy short, On The Loose (1931), that Laurel and Hardy has a cameo in.



Deb Haaland Must Be Defeated!

Radical leftist Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) has been nominated to head the Department of the Interior.

Her nomination is coming up tomorrow in the U.S. Senate. She needs to be defeated.

I received the following email from John Block:

 
Armand,
 
I hope you had a nice restful weekend before the crazy week upon us in the Legislature and across the country.
 
But I am reaching out for a quick favor, Armand:
 
TOMORROW, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will consider the nomination of anti-energy extremist Deb Haaland to head the Department of the Interior and we have a real shot of stopping her nomination!
 
But we can only stop socialist “Green New Deal”-supporting Deb with YOUR help.
  
 
 
While most Republicans on the committee have pledged to oppose anti-energy extremist Deb Haaland, two critical votes on the committee who come from energy-rich states, are sitting on the fence and need you to contact them to vote “NO” on the nomination.
 
Please call these senators and tell them to reject the nomination of Deb Haaland:
 
  • Chairman Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) (202)-224-3954
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) (202)-224-6665

If we get these two senators to vote “NO” on Haaland, that stops her in her tracks from becoming Interior secretary!
 
Thank you so much for being involved and helping us work to defeat left-wing extremism in New Mexico.

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