"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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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ruger 10/22 .22LR Rimfire Carbine Rifle

Above, the Ruger 10/22 Rimfire Carbine Rifle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While shopping in a Big 5 sporting goods store today, I stopped in the gun section and noticed a Ruger 10/22 rifle for sale. It was priced on sale at around $279.

That jogged my memory of when I bought my 10/22 for about $85-90 back around 1982 or 1983 at a Big 5 store. Their website lists the price at $319.99.

The 10/22 is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, firearm in America. It is a fun plinking rifle.

A little about it (by Big 5):
Ruger 10/22 .22LR Rimfire Carbine Rifle 
The Ruger 10/22 rifle is America's favorite .22LR rifle, with proven performance in a wide range of styles for every rimfire application. Ideally suited for informal target shooting, plinking, small-game hunting and action-shooting events, 10/22 rifles have sold in the millions since their introduction in 1964. With their legendary action and renowned, reliable rotary magazine, all 10/22 rifles are sleek, perfectly balanced, rugged and superbly accurate. 
  • .22LR-caliber
  • 18.5" barrel
  • 10-round rotary magazine
  • Stainless steel barrel
  • Synthetic stock
  • ScoRuger 10/22 .22LR Rimfire Carbine Riflepe base included
  • Semi-auto action
As regular readers of this blog recall, I had to surrender my guns to the LAPD due to a temporary restraining order action. I was able to get all of my guns back (after the temporary restraining order was dismissed), except my 10/22. It had to be registered with the Bureau of Firearms before I could get it back. It was a hassle, but I got it back after the Department of Justice cleared it.

I noticed that used 10/22 rifles of the early 1980s are sought out by collectors (apparently they were better made back then with a walnut stock) who are willing to pay $200 (and up) for them.

According to a member of the calguns.net forum:
According to Google Fu an '82 is pre plastic trigger group housing and I believe (could be wrong) it has real blueing on the receiver vice the cheesey paint they use nowadays. A bit more desirable. I would buy it for $200 if it was in good condition. 

Godzilla Sequel Wraps Filming

Above, a poster for the 2014 Godzilla. 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is another step closer to its 2018 release.

KFTV reported:
The new Godzilla movie from Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures has wrapped principal photography in the US. 
Based mainly in Atlanta, Georgia, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a follow-up to Gareth Edwards' 2014 US version of Godzilla. 
The film is being made as part of a planned franchise of movies branded as ‘MonsterVerse’ by Warners Bros and Legendary Pictures.

To read more, go here

Nixon Daughters' Letter On Ken Burns's "The Viet Nam War" Series

Above, President Nixon's historic arrival in China in 1972.

The daughters of President Richard Nixon, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and Tricia Nixon Cox, posted a letter in response to Ken Burns's 10-part PBS series, "The Viet Nam War". It is posted at the Richard Nixon Foundation website.

They wrote:

September 28, 2017

Dear Friends,

With the the airing of Ken Burns’ 10-part series, “The Vietnam War” drawing to a close, we want to share with you some of our thoughts about our father’s Vietnam policies and strategies that the episodes covering his presidency misrepresented. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served in the Nixon White House, once memorably observed, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.” And that applies even to Ken Burns. So here are some facts.

It is not true that Richard Nixon torpedoed what some have maintained was a serious chance for peace announced by President Johnson in the closing days of the 1968 campaign. As William Bundy, a senior State Department official in the Johnson administration, later admitted, there was “no great chance for peace” in November 1968.

In fact, LBJ’s October 31st bombshell announcement gave North Vietnam a major military advantage. And before Johnson left office, the negotiations, that South Vietnam joined, succeeded only in reaching agreement about the shape of the conference table. Johnson’s “October Surprise,” just five days before the election, did, however, provide some voters with the false hope of peace, nearly swinging the election to LBJ’s vice president, Hubert Humphrey.

It is not true that President Nixon continued the war for his own political benefit. In fact, there’s no doubt that an immediate withdrawal of our 540,000 troops in Vietnam on the day he took office would have served his immediate political interests. But it also would have dishonored our commitment to the freedom of South Vietnam for which 37,563 Americans had already died. Furthermore, it would have devalued America’s credibility to friend and foe alike, with dire diplomatic and military consequences for Asia and the world.

It is not true that President Nixon widened the war. In fact, North Vietnam’s active military exploitation of Laos and Cambodia had widened the war years earlier. Our father’s bold and entirely justified actions to disrupt the enemy’s ability to wage war against our troops saved countless American lives. So, too, did the 60-day incursion into Cambodia our father ordered on April 30, 1970. This mission destroyed massive amounts of the enemy’s military supplies and disrupted the military sanctuaries that the Communists had been exploiting to kill American and South Vietnamese troops.

Ken Burns incorrectly maintains that President Nixon was, like presidents Kennedy and Johnson, responsible for the war. But it was JFK and LBJ who got us into the war; Richard Nixon got us out. Our father believed, however, that a hasty retreat from Vietnam would have led to a perilous American retreat from the world. Among those who agreed were Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and a majority of the American people.

In 12 televised “Addresses to the Nation” on Vietnam in his first term, Richard Nixon explained to the American people his plan for ending the war. He won the support of the “Silent Majority” of Americans; did what he said he would do; and never lost their support for his policy.

The Nixon “Vietnamization” strategy gave South Vietnam a chance to defend itself against Soviet and Chinese-backed Communist aggression. It also confirmed America’s bipartisan commitment, dating to the Truman administration, to resist Communist expansionism. His willingness to take strong action affirmed that America would keep its word, making possible his historic opening to China and ultimately leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Our father agonized over the war-driven divisions in our country. He understood that the anti-war passions were rooted in frustration with the war’s duration. But he also knew that their dissent made his goal of a lasting peace more difficult to achieve. It saddened him that so many clashed in America’s streets and on college campuses, and it angered him that some treated our troops returning home from the battlefield as pariahs.

President Nixon wound down America’s involvement in Vietnam to give the people of South Vietnam the chance to live in freedom. To suggest that he strung out the war is flatly wrong. To say that the reason for the war was wrong disparages the honorable service of those who fought in Vietnam, America’s most difficult war. And each of these false contentions dismisses the will of the American people, who re-elected our father with an historic 49-state majority over an opponent who vehemently opposed our father’s Vietnam strategy.

In 1973, as America’s role in the war ended and our prisoners of war came home, Richard Nixon’s vision of a wider, transformative peace was taking hold, a peace that ensured a generation of peace for the American people even as the world’s political order underwent enormous change.

These are the facts. Perhaps if Ken Burns had himself visited the Nixon Library he might have learned the real history of Vietnam during the Nixon years. Unfortunately, he did not. Fortunately, however, the tens of thousands who come to Yorba Linda – or follow the Richard Nixon Foundation on the web or through social media – will find that the truth resides there for all to see and learn from. And for that fact we are grateful to all those who support the Richard Nixon Foundation in its mission to promote the legacy of our father, the 37th President of the United States.


Tricia Nixon Cox

Julie Nixon Eisenhower

To go to the Richard Foundation website's posting, go here.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Yellowstone Bison Numbers Down After Cull

Above, a herd of bison in Yellowstone in 2015. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The goal of reducing the bison population to around 3,000 in Yellowstone National Park is within sight as culling of the animals has begun.

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
After its largest cull in nearly a decade, Yellowstone National Park biologists documented a decline of the number of bison that roam in and out of the park. 
Park spokesman Jonathan Shafer said in an email that biologists’ surveys in early August found roughly 4,800 bison live in the park, which is down from the 5,500 bison the park counted in 2016. 
The count came months after more than 1,200 of the furry mammals were killed earlier this year, either through hunting or ship-to-slaughter operations. 
Bison are removed from the population because of a management plan that calls for a population of 3,000. Population estimates have hovered around the 5,000 mark for a few years.
To read more, go here.

Two Years

Above, Siren about three years ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While I am enjoying my cat Sierra, I still often think about our late cat Siren. She was one of the best pets our family has had. She had a great personality.

It was two years ago today that I found her dead in the living room.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Minnie Winnie Owners Facebook Group

A couple of months ago, the "boss" of the Minnie Winnie Owners Facebook group asked the members to submit a photo of their Minnie Winnie to use for the page's header photo.

I just noticed (it's been up since last Thursday) that the photo I submitted of The Beast is now the header photo. It is a shot taken at the Double J Campground in Chatham, Illinois (near Springfield) I took last November.

The group is open to any Winnebago Minnie Winnie owners.

Here's the link to the group.

2nd Rock Fall At Yosemite's El Capitan

Above, El Capitan is shrouded by clouds. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A second rock fall occurred today at Yosemite National Park's El Capitan.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal said the rock fall was larger than the one that killed a Welsh climber yesterday.

They wrote:
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — Yosemite National Park has had another massive rock fall a day after a slab dropped from El Capitan, killing a British climber and injuring a second.

To read more, go here

Reagan On Fascism and Liberalism

Above, Ronald Reagan in Cobo Hall in Detroit in 1980. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In 1975, former Governor Ronald Reagan gave an interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. In the interview, Reagan said:
“I think that the heart of my philosophy is much more libertarianism,” Reagan states in the 60 Minutes Overtime interview. “Always has been.” 
“How do we call a liberal?” he poses. “Someone very profoundly once said, many years ago, that if fascism ever comes to America it will come in the name of liberalism.” 
Reagan then defines fascism as “private ownership, private enterprise but total government control and regulation.” 
“Well isn’t this the liberal philosophy?” he continues. 
“The conservative so-called is the one that says less government, get off my back, get out of my pocket and let me have more control of my destiny.”

Here's the video of the interview:

Dollar Firms Near ¥113

There's good news for Americans who are headed to Japan.

The Japan Times reported:
The dollar firmed toward the ¥113 level in Tokyo trading Thursday, driving by a higher long-term U.S. Treasury yield and growing speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve will carry out another interest rate hike this year. 
At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at ¥112.82-82, up from ¥112.67-69 at the same time Wednesday.

To read more, go here

How Does Tokyo Skytree Withstand Earthquakes?

Above, an early morning view of the Skytree from Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Tokyo Skytree is the world's tallest tower. Tokyo has seen more than its share of earthquakes over the centuries. But how does the Skytree withstand earthquakes?

Popular Mechanics has the answer in an article posted last May (which coincides with the fifth anniversary of the tower).

They begin with:
In designing Tokyo's Skytree—a broadcasting tower, restaurant, and observation tower that's the tallest tower in the world at 2,080 feet—special precautions needed to be taken to protect against Japan's notorious earthquakes. Luckily, Japanese architects have dealt with these problems for millennia, and one of their most famous creations provided a solution.

To see how they did it, go here

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Homage Paid To Historic Yellowstone Photographs

Above, Lower Yellowstone Fall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

"Then and Now" photographs have always been a fascination to me, whether they are of architecture or geography.

A Wyoming photographer has paid homage to historic photographs of Yellowstone National Park. It is interesting to see the changes that have taken place over the years.

According to the Yellowstone Insider:
A Jackson, Wyoming photographer traveled around Yellowstone National Park recently and re-shot nearly every image William Henry Jackson took during the 1871 Hayden Survey. 
Jackson’s photos—along with watercolors by artist Thomas Moran—are often credited with helping convince Congress to pass the Yellowstone Park Act in 1872, establishing the world’s first national park. 
Bradley Boner, 40, a photographer at the Jackson Hole News & Guide, set out between 2011 and 2013, from Paradise Valley north of Gardiner to the southern arms of Yellowstone Lake, to locate the exact location from which Jackson took his now-historic photos and to re-shoot his own images from those same points. 
The result is more than 100 before-and-after photos captured in Boner’s book, Yellowstone National Park: Through the Lens of Time, a beautiful, large format coffee table book published earlier this year by the University Press of Colorado.
To see some examples and to read more, go here.

Rock Slide Fatal To One At Yosemite's El Capitan

Above, El Capitan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A rock slide on Yosemite National Park's El Capitan was fatal to one rock climber and caused injuries to another.

The Los Angeles Times reported:
One person was killed and another injured in a rock slide at a popular climbing destination in Yosemite National Park Wednesday afternoon, officials said. 
The rockfall occurred just before 2 p.m. on the East Buttress of El Capitan, a granite monolith above Yosemite Valley, according to the National Park Service. Officials said the release point appears to have been the climbing route known as the waterfall route.

To read more, go here.

UPDATE (9/28/17):

Later reports say that the rock that fell was as big as an apartment building. 

Nixon's Western White House Is Up For Sale

Source: Press Release

Above, the former Nixon San Clemente Home. Photo courtesy of TopTenRealEstate.

“Richard Nixon's Western White House”

Richard Nixon and his family were Californians who moved back and forth from Washington, D. C., depending on whether or not he was holding a political office such as senator, Vice President to Dwight D. Eisenhower or as the 37th President of the United States. Nixon grew up dirt poor, but as he said, wasn’t aware of their poverty at the time, assuming everyone lived that way. During his political career, especially in his 1952 Checkers speech which he gave to dispel allegations that he received gifts or used campaign money illegally, he emphasized his family’s modest lifestyle; that wife Pat owned no furs but instead wore a Republican cloth coat. However, he admitted to being given one gift which he would never return to the sender: a cocker spaniel puppy that his six-year-old had named Checkers and was by then a member of the family. The speech tugged at America’s heartstrings and the allegations were dropped.

After becoming President, Nixon did buy a rather expensive waterfront house on Key Biscayne in Miami, Florida, which was to become his southern White House and was often mentioned in the press during his involvement supporting the Cuban refugee community. Other homes he owned after returning to public life were a Manhattan townhouse and their last home was a house in New Jersey. But the most important property the Nixons owned in their lifetime was La Casa Pacifica in San Clemente, California.

Above, the patio courtyard of La Casa Pacifica. Photo courtesy of TopTenRealEstate.

Referred to as Nixon’s Western White House, it was designed by Carl Lindbom and built in 1926 by financier Hamilton Cotton, who spared no expense in creating the stunning residence on one of the best locations on the California coastline known as Cotton’s Point. Cotton entertained often and lavishly, but his most important guest was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who used the estate often as a retreat during his presidency in the 1930s. After Nixon purchased it in 1968, he and his family owned it for 12 years and also entertained heads of state and Hollywood stars. During his presidency he used it as his summer residence. After the Watergate scandal and his resignation, Nixon returned to La Casa Pacifica permanently until it was sold in 1980.

Above, President and Mrs. Nixon at La Casa
 Pacifica. Photo: Richard Nixon Foundation.

Sited on a knoll of prime beachfront well-known for being a surfer’s mecca, the estate is on 5.45 acres and is comprised of the main house of 9,000 square feet with four bedrooms and seven baths, a one-bedroom, one-bath pool pavilion, a two-bedroom, one-bath guest house and two guest apartments with an additional three bedrooms and three baths between them. There are also three staff apartments with one bath each and an additional two large bathrooms for guests. The lushly landscaped grounds slope gently down to 450 feet of white sand beach. Grounds also include formal and cutting gardens, vegetable gardens, exotic succulent gardens, a greenhouse, a catering facility with separate entrance, a lighted tennis court, pool and pool terrace, a gazebo on the bluff and great expanses of lawn. There is also a private well for landscape water. Listing agents are Suzanne Perkins and Bill Fandel of Sotheby’s International Realty.

Richard Nixon’s former San Clemente, California Western White House is for sale, priced at $63.5 million.

Visit TopTenRealEstateDeals.com for more historic, celebrity and spectacular homes and real estate news.


Using Campground Bathhouses

Above, the restroom/showers at a Fresno RV park. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since buying The Beast, I must have used a campground's showers maybe twice. I prefer using my own shower in the RV. The only drawback is the limitation of the hot water in the RV and, if I don't have the sewer hose hooked up, the grey water tank.

However, sometimes people would like to take a long hot shower. Many campgrounds will have decent hot water, but the water pressure is sometimes lacking.

Above, the bathroom in The Beast. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

But, if one chooses to use a campground's bathhouse, Do It Yourself RV has some tips.

They begin with:
Staying in campgrounds on a regular basis means you will probably end up using the bathhouses at some point. In fact, many RVers use the campground bathrooms almost exclusively, appreciating the roomy showers and ample hot water they so often provide. 
That said, there are some things that are less appealing about community showers. Dirty floors, long wait times, and the inconvenience of hiking to the bathhouse can all turn a person away from the idea. 
In any case, whether you choose to use them or not, the campground showers are likely to be a part of your future as an RVer, and that means it is a good idea to have some special tips and tricks on hand when you do find yourself seeking out the nearest bathhouse. 
Below are a few of our favorite tips for these occasions. Pick and choose what you like and have a splashing good time getting clean during your travel adventures.
To read more, go here.

News From Graceland

Graceland to Host First-Ever Holiday Concerts
Elvis Presley's Graceland will host a very special weekend of holiday concerts, which will take place on December 15 and 16, 2017. The concerts include Christmas with Elvis at Graceland – with Live Orchestra, featuring a live concert orchestra presenting Elvis’ biggest Christmas hits, featuring live performances; An Elvis Gospel Christmas, featuring the legendary Terry Blackwood and the Imperials and the Blackwood Brothers Quartet; and Elvis Live in Concert with an All-Star Band, featuring Elvis on the big screen with a live band of musicians who will bring Elvis’ concert tour to life. Tickets are on sale now, and VIP ticket purchasers will have the opportunity to have their photo made with Elvis' Knabe baby grand piano, which will return home to Graceland that weekend.
Find Out More
Learn About Elvis' Samurai Sword on New Gates of Graceland Video
In a previous episode of our web series, the Gates of Graceland, host Tom Brown and Graceland's Director of Archives, Angie Marchese, discussed a samurai sword found in the living room at Graceland. Find out the full story behind the sword on the new episode of the Gates of Graceland, as Angie and Tom are joined by one of Elvis' bodyguards, Dick Grob, who spills the sword's secrets.
Watch Now
Watch Elvis Week 2017 Recap
From special guests to concerts, from dance parties to the Candlelight Vigil, Elvis Week 2017 was full of memorable moments. See snippets of concerts, hear from special guests and more in this Elvis Week recap video.
Watch the Recap
New Graceland Blog: Elvis' #1's
Our Graceland Blog features an ongoing series about Elvis' #1 hit singles, and the third installment of that series features hits like "Burning Love," "Hound Dog," "Good Luck Charm" and "(You're The) Devil in Disguise." Find out when and where Elvis recorded the songs, who wrote them, who covered and much more.
Read the Blog
Australia Celebrates Elvis
The Parkes Elvis Festival in Australia will celebrate 50 years since the '68 Special from January 10-14, 2018! With more than 120 events across five days, the 2018 festival program is jam-packed full of hip-swivelling good times guaranteed to get you all shook up.
Learn More

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