A Little Bike Ride

Okay, so my last post was whiney and some people asked if I was depressed.  Not me–everyone has a right to a degree of self-pity once every decade or so and I just had mine.  I will say today that my thighs really hurt but that’s a result of 1) the physical therapy helping my shoulder so I could 2) get back on the bike and 3) getting back to the gym and overdoing it (my curse) on the stationary bike and the leg press plate machine. Done.

So, why engage in this sort of fitness activity?  A challenge– I want to bike (as in bicycle, not motorcycle) the Great Divide Trail.  Doing the whole thing would take a few months but, hey, I’m retired.  The scenery along the Divide is Mother Nature at her very best.  So who’s game for a little bike touring?

The entire trail runs from Banff, Alberta, Canada to Antelope Wells, NM on the Mexican border.  There’s a lot of Forest Service type roads so it’s not all gnarly single track.  I know many of you couldn’t commit the time to ride the whole thing but the route can be broken into segments if one wanted to do a part over a weekend or a week,,,,Last time we were in Pietown we met a woman riding the trail from Gallup NM to Antelope Wells.  She was with a group of four but the others were slower, I guess.  It is a bonus that the route intersects US Hwy. 60 right at the Pie-O-Neer restaurant…….

For more information on the trip and a video of highlights from the Great Divide route, click here.  Adventure Cycling offers supported tours but they are pricey.  I have their full set of maps.  They also offer a book, Cycling the Great Divide by Michael McCoy, to stoke your interest.  For whoever might be interested, I plan on leaving Banff towards the end of April; hopefully, the snow will be gone up in the Northern tier.  With luck, we’ll only hit a minimum of monsoon season toward the end of the route in NM.  Monsoon season usually runs July through September.

So I hope some of you will consider joining me.  I know one thing on bucket lists is renting a motor home and touring the US.  Maybe someone would do that and also support the ride, killing two birds with one stone?  You’re never too old for a new adventure in life. And the Great Divide Trail promises to be one.

The Difference Between 16-17 and 69-70

People who follow this blog or read my posts on Facebook are aware that I’ve espoused positions like “65 is the new 45” and “you’re only as old as you feel.”  Well, as Rubeus Hagrid would say, “Codswallop!”

When I was in high school. especially junior and senior years, I ran cross-country and track.  Junior year I ran the mile and two-mile just about every race.  We ran year round, as long as the roads were passable, in southern CT.  Must have run hundreds of miles, never an issue with my feet, other than the occasional blister on the ankle breaking in a new pair of shoes.  Ahhh, the Glory Days!!!

About 8 months ago, I contracted an infection in my foot.  Pretty much grounded me from my beloved Marin East Peak (my mountain bike).  Then about 6 months ago, right around my 69th b-day and Christmas, I felt a twinge behind my right shoulder while lifting weights at the gym.  This grew worse and now I’m under an ortho’s care for a possible light tear in the rotator cuff,  Start physical therapy next week.  And as long as I was there, he drained my left elbow where bursitis (gotta love spell-check.  Must know I live in New Mexico because it wants to replace this with “burritos”) had developed. This is on top of my developing painful callouses on the balls of both feet, making walking and riding an extremely unenjoyable proposition!  No, I’m certainly not feeling like 70 is the new fifty!!!

Now I know many of you readers, as well as other friends who might not see this, have had it far worse in the health department.  And I’m sure I sound like I’m whining over relatively trivial ailments.  But watching my body lose muscle tone because I have to limit my activity because of these malfunctions is frustrating and aggravating.  Worse is the realization that the final chapter is now more imminent than the first one.  Pretty telling when the app that sends me the most notifications on the iPhone is called “We Croak.”  And the newest fiction I’m reading is Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones, both by Jesmyn Ward.  Yeah, ghosts and the Reaper…..

Finally, I just gotta cast aspersions on the clown train in DC.  “Fearless Leader” (apologies to Boris and Natasha) has gone through experienced advisors faster than Wal-Mart does greeters.  Not good for either them or our nation. The latest fracas is with his confidant/mentor/friend Rudy Giuliani.“He is a great guy,” Mr. Trump said. “He’ll get his facts straight.”   Hello, Donny-J, how many can you throw under the bus?!?!?!  I think this administration is gonna flop not because of TheRump but because anyone with brains enough to do some good would rather work for Voldemort!!!!

Dribs and Drabs

A new study reported by Quartz claims that “washing dishes is the worst. Among domestic tasks, researchers suggest the division of labor in doing the dishes leads to the most relationship conflict. ”  After 36 years of marriage, we sorta have it figured out.  She loads up the dishwasher and/or the drainer, I empty them.  Mostly works……

So I’m not much into the current music scene.  My wife says I’m stuck 50 years ago.  I have no patience for rap. Hip-hop is for bunnies or kangaroos. As for Ed Sheeran,  Justin Timberlake, et al, they can join Bruno on Mars.  That being said, I did just download the new album from Danielle Nichole “Cry No More.”  Some good bluesy soul heart-felt performances.  I really think music has taken a turn to women artists dominating the scene–in blues, there’s Danielle, Ana Popovic, Samantha Fish, Low Society.  The only “pop” album I’ve downloaded recently was last year’s “Joann” by Lady Gaga.  Just don’t understand with all the technology available that the current crop can’t improve on the sound of the Beatles, Stones, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Traffic.  Why, “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac from 1978 just cracked the Billboard charts at #16!!!!

Then there’s the Mexican border.  The National Guard is being mobilized to defend it, according to presidential declaration.  I’ve mentioned the absurd reactions of people who don’t have first-hand experience of the border.  https://www.npr.org/player/embed/599707052/599707053“>This link is to an NPR interview with Mayor Dee Margo (R) of El Paso.  Take a listen–as Kirjsten Nielsen, DHS secretary, says, it’s a non-partisan issue, although his read differs from hers.  As Quartz notes, Trump officially ordered National Guard troops to the US border with Mexico. He said they’ll help stem illegal crossings and that the situation had reached a “point of crisis,” even though border apprehensions are at historically low levels.

Quartz also reports Walden Pond is being ruined by human urine. The phosphorus in the urine of Henry David Thoreau fans is causing harmful algae overgrowth.

Finally, the last drib, getting old.  It sucks.  I keep wishing old friends and classmates “Happy Birthday” on Facebook.  Most turn 70 this year, as I will.  Fortunately, that’s not until right before Christmas.  I tease about 60 being the new 40 and stuff.  I try to stay in shape, biking or going to the gym.  Well, this past winter did for me.  I started feeling a twinge behind my right shoulder-blade when I did some bench presses.  It just got worse.  By March when I had my annual physical, the pain was so bad I could barely drive.  My GP referred me to an orthopedic specialist.  Turns out I have something called “shoulder impingement syndrome,” sort of a combination muscle/arthritis/bursitis thing.  Got a cortisone shot and a prescription for muscle relaxers also used to treat fibromyalgia.  I guess time will tell—-there’s so many trails I want to ride around here and another trip to Moab would be cool………….And I love that my spell checker tried to replace bursitis with burritos.  I much prefer the latter!

 

Happiness is a Warm, Yes It Is…

Gun.  Of course, John Lennon wasn’t referring to an AK47 after a mass shooting but rather a needle and intravenous illicit drugs.  I wonder if he would have rethought his imagery if he were writing that song today.

I’m disgusted by the attacks on the students at Parkland and across the country.  Yes, they’re kids.  Yes, they might not be cognizant of all the implications of their marches.  But they have as much a right to free speech as the alleged journalists and hate mongers that verbally abuse them.  And they are much more in tune with the majority of their countrymen’s opinions on gun control.  No one is coming to take away all the guns.  But certain people should not be allowed access to them.  No civilian needs a 100-shot magazine or a rifle capable of emptying that magazine in less than a minute.

I grew up around guns.  My dad had a .22 rifle in the closet.  He kept the ammo and the 6 round clip separately in his dresser drawer.  And we kids spent hours in the attic looking for the rumored 9-MM Luger he had brought back from WWII.  We never found it.

 

Quite the Weekend

Especially for Loyola-Chicago, Michigan, Kansas, and eventual winner, Villanova– the 2018 Men’s Basketball Tournament Final Four.  Loyola vs. Villanova should be a heck of a game April 2.  On the woman’s side, there’s only one team—-Go UCONN Huskies!!

So Sunday was Stormy, as in Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford.  Quite a few people (understatement) tuned in to see her interview with Anderson Cooper on CBS 60 Minutes. I was a little disappointed that the interview really didn’t live up to the hype.  There’s a good analysis by The Economist here of why Ms. Daniels/Clifford is dangerous to 45 though.  And an interesting perspective on how our political discourse, nay, how our very perceptions have shifted:  “The nation once gathered to listen to FDR’s fireside chats, or to watch events like the moon landing. Tonight it gathers to hear a porn actress recall her alleged tryst with the future President, and the payment his lawyer made to keep her quiet. Making America Great Again.”—Dan Berry, NYT.  But it’s a little too soon to judge how monumental this really is: “This past week has certainly seemed like one major story per hour.  But before we get carried away, let’s remember one of the gold standards for a time when monumental stories occurred almost simultaneously. Within three days in late January 1973, Richard Nixon was sworn in for a second term, Lyndon Johnson died, the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade and the U.S. agreed to a Vietnam peace accord. With no hindsight, it’s impossible for us to know yet what was the most important thing that happened this past week in March 2018. But with 20/20 hindsight, historians of the future will be able to show us what it may have been — and, if history is any guide, this may turn out to be something that we are not yet even aware of today.”— Historian Michael Beschloss, replying to an email from Axios AM.

In a previous post, we talked about the border wall.  This link has an article and some photos that might cast some illumination on the issue.

Of course, much as it pains me to say it, even 45 can occasionally do the right thing.  The US response, in accord with some European allies, was appropriate and, given the praise of Putin, surprising: expelling “diplomats” and closing a consulate in response to the poisoning of the double agent in Britain.

Finally, how about that orange snow???

 

 

 

A Bolt in the NSA and Other Topics

An interesting analysis from The Economist about the new NSA advisor: John Bolton.  Some of you might remember him as failing his confirmation hearing before the Senate to be appointed UN Ambassador then becoming a recess appointment to that position by that great foreign policy guru, George W, Bush.

PBS has a new children’s show starting in April called Pinkalicious and Peteriffic.  Judging from the ads, La-la pink dragons and little pink houses, I’m hoping the show is more balanced than it appears in this age of #MeToo since the previews seem to perpetuate stale old gender stereotypes.

Gotta love Elon Musk: Leaders on two congressional committees separately called on Mark Zuckerberg to testifyand Elon Musk deleted Tesla and SpaceX’s Facebook pages.  (axiospm)  I must confess this same reaction to FB has driven the resurrection of my blogs.

Normally, animals appear on the companion blog Pirate Dogs and Pilgrims. But ever since we built a new chicken yard, the dogs have been refusing to cover chicken news items.  Our suspicion is that they are jealous of the new digs which enable los pollos to keep treats away from the fencing, frustrating the dogs’ attempts to also partake of the various treats the chickens get.  So this article about the rise of backyard chickens appears here.  BTW, we do NOT cuddle hens or allow them free access to the backyard.  They are one of the most efficient engines of desertification ever encountered.  All that investment in rose bushes and irises would be gone in a matter of hours were the hens allowed access to them.

Have a great weekend and #MarchforOurLives.

 

The Unreality Show

I just don’t get it.  When did immigration and funding the government merge as issues?  The Congress passed a $1.3TRILLION budget for the current fiscal year.  Included was a massive increase in #endlesswar spending and an increase in funding for border security.  Yet Bozo 45 wants to veto it because he didn’t get all the money he wanted for his stupid wall and the Democrats didn’t solve the DACA problem that he created!!!

The border wall is quite impressive where we cross between Columbus NM and Las Palomas, CH.IMG_1769

I don’t recall it as being quite so impressive in the Douglas AZ area but it has been a few years since we visited there.  And how in hell we’re gonna build a wall in the middle of the Rio Grande totally escapes me.  We build it on the US side, we cede the much-needed water to Mexico.  It appears very dubious that the Mexican government will grant us the land to build it on their side of the river.  Stalemate, Bozo.

I recently read Francisco Cantu’s The Line Becomes A River.  The sensors and toys that ICE and Homeland Security have at their disposal are most impressive, even if their policies sometimes sicken me.  But if you are interested in the issues surrounding the border, this book is a good place to start.  Coming to visit us and taking a trip to The Pink Store in Palomas would help your understanding.  (The $3 margaritas are well worth it.)   But while you just wave at the border guards as you cross from the US to Mexico, you had best be sure to have your passport to get back home!!!!

So as I was writing this,Politico and other news feeds reported that 45 WOULD sign the spending bill.  Now I’m sure many on the right would use this as an excuse to bash the previous reporting, that 45 doesn’t ever catch a break from the “fake news” media.  But for me, in my humble opinion, this is exactly the problem with this “presidency.”  It seems to be all about the person and the tweets.  Policy, consistency, and empathy are from some bygone era.   We have entered a reality tv show in real life. And since I am not a reality tv fan, I find it frustrating and damaging to our country.