Thursday, December 31, 2020

Adios, 2020

Farewell to 2020, truly an annus horribilis. Hat tip to HRH Elizabeth II for the felicitous descriptive phrase. 

One is tempted to label it an “anus horribilis,” but that is likely overkill. Things not only could have been worse, they very likely will be worse in the not-too-distant future. I do wish I could summon up some “start of a new year optimism” but so far, no such luck.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

A Trend in Two Headlines

Instapundit posts two headlines which, taken together, tell #nevertrump Republicans they’ve become people without a party. The first, from the Washington Examiner, relates Rasmussen Reports poll findings;

It’s Trump’s party: 72% say he is GOP’s ‘role model’

The second, from The Floridian, reports Gallup polling which finds: 

Gallup Poll: Trump Is 2020 Most Admired Man, Ending Obama’s 12-Year Run

In many ways this may represent as large a shift in party identity as was the rebranding of Southern Democrats as Republicans during the Reagan years. Democrats no longer represent working class Whites, but they’re gaining a foothold among country club Whites, meanwhile surprising numbers of non-Whites are voting GOP.

The fate of #nevertrump Republicans resembles that of northern liberal Republicans during the Reagan years. Mitt Romney, former governor of notoriously blue Massachusetts, is the poster boy of these die-hards. My friends in Utah swear he’ll not be re-elected senator.

Monday, December 28, 2020

The Proof

Gail Herriot who posts at Instapundit links to Journal of Personality and Social Psychology research which finds this entirely sensible relationship.

Individuals with Dark Triad traits—Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy—more frequently signal virtuous victimhood, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables that are commonly associated with victimization in Western societies.  

Interpreting this for the lay reader, Psychology Today writes

People who signal virtue and victimhood are more likely to have dark triad personality traits. The dark triad comprises narcissism (entitled self-importance), Machiavellianism (strategic exploitation and duplicity) and psychopathy (callousness and cynicism).

In case you are unsure, these 3 traits do not signal mental health, quite the reverse. This finding relates to the Reynolds quote below. It seems he was prophetic. 

The Allegation

I was just reminded of a favorite Glenn Reynolds quote, from nearly 2 years ago.

So much of lefty activism is just mental illness acting out.


A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line writes there is a “national movement to mandate standards for the teaching of Civics and History." On the surface, this sounds good as many schools have basically abdicated this responsibility.

However, as Mirengoff points out, the movement proposes to leave the selection of content in the hands of people whose beliefs are somewhere to the left of Chairman Mao. Thus what will be taught is socialist/communist wrongthink and what will be held as the ideal is social activism of the hate-in-your-face variety.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Why Not Be Trump?

Instapundit quotes something from the comments section, concerning liberals’ view of “moderate” Republicans.

When a moderate conservative like Mitt Romney comes along, they turn him into an evil, money-grubbing, cancer-giving Hitler youth. Just one example out of many that comes down to the same thing: all Republicans, of any stripe, are Hitler in the end. So why not be Trump?

Why not, indeed. Live large.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

A Tradition Violated

Once Christmas is safely in the rear view mirror, it is traditional for the pundit class to write year-end summaries. As an especially insignificant member of said class, I believe I will resist that temptation.

I have well and thoroughly dumped on 2020 as it went along, and made my negative opinion of it abundantly clear. More would be excessive ... and redundant. 

As a person over 75, I should be an early recipient of one of the Covid vaccines. I shall get it, never fear, and the second shot 3 weeks later, if what I’ve heard is accurate. Here’s hoping 2021 will be less grim.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas, One and All

Whatever your beliefs, Christmas is, or should be, an exceptionally fine holiday. The music, the food, the decorations, the fellowship are fantastic for all. For those for whom it is a holy day, it is even better.

In this unfortunate plague year, with masks obscuring smiles and muffling voices, and abjurations to avoid travel for socializing, it will be tougher to enjoy. Still, give it a try. 

Just forego the hugs and kisses, maybe next year for those. Meanwhile, let’s all try to live long enough to be vaccinated and hope that this time next year the worst will be behind us. 

Most of us will survive the Wu flu, it appears. If you’re tastes parallel mine, you would really like restaurants and cruise lines and mostly safe flying to be available once more. 

With old ears, I apparently did more lip reading than I was aware of. Wouldn’t it be fine to see faces again? I miss the smiles.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Brexit Deal Reached

Christmas has come a day early in cross-channel relations. reports the European Union and the United Kingdom have reached a “Brexit deal” a few days before the end of the transition period.

The trade deal must now be approved by each of the 27 EU member countries, the European Parliament and the U.K. parliament. Given time is so tight, the EU is expected to let the agreement come into force provisionally on January 1, with the European Parliament then giving its approval retroactively early next year.

It was relatively clear neither side totally loved the agreement, which suggests it may represent a decent compromise. It is a long document with many appendices, a succinct statement of its actual implications - what will change - is not available at this time. 

I suppose it is possible one of the EU members may not approve it, the U.K. is almost certain to do so. We will revisit the historic agreement when considered opinion of its true implications settles out into quotable form.

One thing is certain. If the post-Brexit U.K. is considered a success, leaving the EU becomes in the minds of disgruntled Europeans a doable thing. For nations like Poland and Hungary, leaving will then be at least a consideration, and/or a credible threat in intra-EU negotiations.

Merry Christmas Eve

Things associated with Christmas tend to escalate, today is an example. We refer to the entire day as “Christmas Eve” when the term originally applied, obviously, only to tonight - the “evening.” 

A lot of places treat the entire day as another ad hoc holiday, and why not? It isn’t as though anybody hates another day of paid vacation, it facilitates family travel which, in this plague year, isn’t supposed to happen. To that supposition I say “Bah, humbug.”

Please stay safe, warm and positive, choose to be happy, and to love one another. The message of this season can be distilled down to “Hope for a better tomorrow.” Commit to doing what you can to make it so, for those about whom you care.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Dragon Lurks

RealClearDefense has an article by Francis P. Sempa which - synthesizing three other articles - indicates the existence of a second Cold War, this time with China. This conclusion, while neither new nor particularly shocking, is one many have been reluctant to draw. 

Their reluctance isn’t surprising. The original Cold War was not a fun time. Its end was widely celebrated, if not precisely by mobs dancing in the street. 

My immediate concern is whether the incoming administration understands Cold War 2.0 is underway. Given the Biden family’s economic involvement with China, I fear the president-elect and other top Democrats may not be willing to accept the constricting policy consequences of another Cold War. Particularly since their predecessor - Trump - obviously did so and thereby tainted the conclusion for them.

In recognizing the existence of the first Cold War with the predatory Soviets we said “there really is a bear in those woods.” A similar tag line for Cold War 2 with a hostile China might be “there really is a dragon in the woods.”

Monday, December 21, 2020

The “Business” Proceeds

We had heard the stock of properties on the local real estate market was low, but assumed that wouldn’t apply to our 11.75 acre place. In that assumption, we were wrong.

Our place went on the market at 9 a.m. yesterday and at 3 p.m. yesterday we had an above-asking-price, all-cash offer for it. If nothing goes wrong, we will accept the offer. 

Later ... We asked for a closing date in early February and the buyers accepted. We have a sale. 

That being the case, we will be down to one house for six months or more, and that one sitting in a deep freeze in the Rockies. Until WY thaws out in May we’ll live in the RV in places that are warm and allow events to unfold.

War as Incubator

Author Graeme Wood interviewed ecological biologist-turned-historian Peter Turchin of the University of Connecticut and writes about his views for The Atlantic. Turchin applies mathematics to history - something he calls clioanalytics - and has reached controversial conclusions which you’ll find interesting, if not necessarily convincing. For example:

One of Turchin’s most unwelcome conclusions is that complex societies arise through war. The effect of war is to reward communities that organize themselves to fight and survive, and it tends to wipe out ones that are simple and small-scale. (snip) Darwinian processes select for complex societies because they kill off simpler ones.

The notion that democracy finds its strength in its essential goodness and moral improvement over its rival systems is likewise fanciful. Instead, democratic societies flourish because they have a memory of being nearly obliterated by an external enemy. They avoided extinction only through collective action, and the memory of that collective action makes democratic politics easier to conduct in the present, Turchin said. “There is a very close correlation between adopting democratic institutions and having to fight a war for survival.”

Turchin finds a 50 year cycle predicting upsurges of violence in the United States, with spikes in 1870, 1920, and 1970. If he is correct we are due for another and, he says, they last several years.

Turchin also believes we’ve overproduced people with credentials to join our elite, without similarly amping up the number of elite jobs for these individuals to fill.

Elite overproduction creates counter-elites, and counter-elites look for allies among the commoners. If commoners’ living standards slip—not relative to the elites, but relative to what they had before—they accept the overtures of the counter-elites and start oiling the axles of their tumbrels.

Shut-out elites become counter-elites, two examples he identifies are Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. The obvious allusion to the French Revolution suggests he believes civil war is one possible outcome . 

Today Is the Winter Solstice

As we noted two days ago, today is the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere. It’s one of two days per year when the tilted axis of the earth’s rotation is at its most extreme tilt with respect to the sun, Three months from now that axis will be at right angles to a solar ray, the north and south poles equidistant from the sun.

If that rotational axis were perpendicular to the plane of the earth’s orbit around the sun, there would be no seasons, no alternating periods of warm and cold weather on our globe. The poles would always be cold, the equator always hot, and the mid-latitudes always in-between.

Having concluded the astronomy lesson, welcome to winter.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Winter Begins

Monday, December 21, will be the 2020 Winter Solstice, aka the shortest day of the year and the official end of autumn and beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere. Many places already feel like winter and have for a few weeks.

Apparently this date was very important to our early ancestors in Northern Europe. It symbolized the end of days getting shorter and darker - the sun going away - and the beginning of days getting longer and lighter - the sun coming back. BTW, worshiping the sun isn’t irrational in a cold climate.

It is no accident that more than one international religion has major celebrations at this general time of year. They sort of got grafted onto, or perhaps overwritten upon, the pre-existing sun worship.

Beginning Tuesday, each short day will be slightly longer, each long night slightly shorter. In three months  they will be of equal length, and we will welcome spring.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Movin’, Movin’, Movin’, ‘Cause We’re Disapprovin’

The “business” I’ve hinted at over the last several weeks is now out in the open. The DrsC - both CA natives - have decided it is no longer prudent to have our winter place in California. 

The state is badly governed, overrun with homeless, and increasingly unsafe. CA chooses to be on the “woke” frontier, that’s a place we have no wish to be. It is a sad outcome for a place with fantastic natural assets.

Our house and barn are empty, our belongings in storage and, as the other DrC pictures on her blog, the house is staged to display well to potential buyers. We have decamped to our RV, parked some 30-40 yards from the house, where we have a “three point hookup” (RVer slang for water, power, and sewer). 

There we’ll live in splendid Covid-safe isolation, while the house stays pristine for its ‘closeup.’ When it sells and escrow closes, we’ll move the RV to another site, and head to our WY home after the thaw happens there.

Meanwhile a new house is a-building for us in Nevada, at a Del Webb Sun City some 40+ miles south of St. George, UT. It will be our new winter place located on the northeastern edge of the Mojave at about 1600 ft. elevation. Like our CA place, the new place has a fantastic hilltop panoramic view.

Getting this far along has been a lot of work for a couple of senior citizens. Imagine all the “stuff” that has accumulated at the place we built 33 years ago and have owned and occupied most of the year until retirement and nearly half the year since then. 

We haven’t been “packrats” but we’re throwing or giving away thousands of pounds of things mostly worth having but not worth moving. In an odd way the process is liberating. Hat tip to the theme from Rawhide for my title, this time we are the “dogies.”


I haven’t posted anything for several days, mostly because I’ve been too busy doing stuff on a project that will be revealed early in the new year. That plus the blahs that follow an election that turns out the way I hoped it wouldn’t.

One thing I’ve noticed in following, if not reacting to, the political news is that president-elect Biden is naming relatively non-controversial-for-Democrats long-time swamp dwellers to various cabinet posts. So far there have been few firebrands or bomb-throwing leftists. They’ve mostly been Obama-era retreads.

It is not too much to hope that perhaps Biden wasn’t kidding when he said “you know me” in refuting claims of him being socialist. Taking his appointees as some signal of where he proposes to take the government, it looks a bit like the same old, tired stuff from an old, tired Democrat. Meaning: not good, but not world-ending disastrous either, 

Assuming my tea-leaf reading is correct, you have to wonder how long the Bernie Sanders/AOC wing of the D party will stay in the “big tent” that, like Peanuts’ Lucy holding the football, keeps promising to enact their program and never actually does so.

We’ll know more after Georgia votes in early January, Mitch McConnell vs. Chuck Schumer as Senate Majority Leader will make a difference.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Rumors of a Revival

The year 2020 has been a nearly unbroken string of bad news, sad news, and worse news. Just for contrast, some good news would be fine for a change, and I may have some.

As I have implied before, I am a fan of the 14 episode TV series Firefly, and the film sequel Serenity. As you may be aware, it is a cult favorite and for years afterwards the cast showed up at comicons to do Firefly panels for the would-be “browncoats.” 

Today comes news - sort of - that Disney which purchased the entertainment part of Fox owns the property. It is said to be planning a revival, per this story at Disney itself has made no announcement. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Much remains unclear about where, or indeed whither, their treatment will take the story, including if series originator Joss Whedon - of Buffy fame - will be involved. In the almost 20 years since the original was made, the cast have aged too much to reprise their roles, sadly. 

A sort of space Western, the original series echoed the experiences of defeated Confederate veterans heading west to start over on the frontier. It was set in a future time where the frontier is lightly-settled planets on the edge of human-inhabited space. 

The author speculates Disney will do a remake from the beginning when Mal acquires his ship and crew at the end of a civil war his side lost. He further imagines Disney will eliminate the less wholesome aspects of the Whedon original: defending a brothel and traveling with a geisha/courtesan. 

It is worth noting Australian sea captain/author A. Bertram Chandler worked a similar vein of material in his Rim-Runner series of novels, written in the 1960s and 70s about a tramp starship captain working a similarly undeveloped “frontier.”

Sunday, December 13, 2020

What’s in a Name?

There is a minor controversy brewing over whether Joe Biden’s wife Jill should use the title “Dr.” It is an issue that confused my college students as well. And it is a problem, for the word has multiple meanings.

If a person has earned the highest degree in their field of study, they are entitled to use the term “Dr.” in place of “Mr.” or “Ms.” with their name. But not without their name, unless their field of study is medicine.

When we say “Doctor, what do you think?” we are addressing a physician or other health professional. When students addressed me, the appropriate form was and is “Professor, what do you think?” or "Dr. Cotton, what do you think?" Used without the name the title specifies ones field of endeavor, not that one has the so-called “terminal degree.”

Journalists frequently get this wrong. I remember reporters asking Dr. Henry Kissinger questions like “Doctor, what do you believe the North Vietnamese seek in these negotiations?” 

Doing so, they revealed their ignorance. When he was SecState the appropriate usage would have been “Mr. Secretary” or alternatively, “Dr. Kissinger.” 

Used without the name it becomes a job title and only fits those in medicine, and perhaps optometry and dentistry which are also health care. Used with the name it indicates a person of high educational achievement in any field in which the doctorate is given. Historically some fields like Art and Music have not offered a doctorate, the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is normally their highest degree.

The quick-and-dirty way to know when you can call someone “doctor” without adding their family name is if the answer to the question “What does he or she do for a living?” is “He or she is a physician.” If the answer is “He or she is something other than a medical professional with doctorate." the answer is no.

Summary: Addressing Joe Biden’s wife as “Dr. Biden” is appropriate. Without the family name, one should say “professor” or "instructor," whatever faculty are called at the community college where she teaches.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

More on the Challenge

Friday we wrote that the Supreme Court had refused to consider the Texas challenge to the election. Now we're reading that the suit will be refiled in each of the four states whose election procedures the original suit challenged.

At the very least, I hope these eventually force the courts to confront the actual constitutional issues in this case, which they did not do in turning down the TX effort. I won't be surprised, however, if they waffle once again and find another procedural basis upon which to dodge taking the cases. Since these filings do not represent one state suing another, the Supreme Court is not the place where they will first be heard, but rather the last place if they get that far.

I understand the Supremes don't want their nice shiny court to get down in the mud of local electoral politics where it can hardly escape an ugly outcome. In this case there is no way to offer each side "half of the baby," our de facto two-party elections are truly a zero-sum game, the stakes are enormous. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

A Quick Answer

Three days ago we wrote there were two current theories about what the Supreme Court might do in the lawsuit brought by TX and joined by 18-19 other states. We indicated the result would be known in weeks.

It took days, not weeks. Theory one wins, the Supremes today decided 7 to 2 not to get involved in vetting the election. 

The Supremes refused on procedural grounds. It was the majority's opinion TX didn't have "standing" to complain about what was done improperly in other states because TX couldn't show they'd been hurt thereby.

It will be interesting to see what columnists who are attorneys have to say about this decision. My non-attorney's "take" is that they made a self-interested decision to protect the court (and thus themselves) by keeping hands off this explosive issue. 

If I'm correct, their decision was understandable enough, but cowardly. It is clear to me a constitutionally conforming state can be injured when other states, with which it is joined in federation, violate the constitution and thereby change the outcome of an election and the direction of the country.

Cruz Nails It

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) Tweeted the following concerning Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) falling for a Chinese honey trap known as Christine Fang, as reported by Power Line.

More than once, I’ve said “screw the Chinese communists.”

Little did I know how closely Swalwell was listening.

Cruz wins the day, but honorable mention goes to Lloyd Billingsley for titling his American Greatness article on the same subject as follows:

The PoonFang Dossier

Makes you wonder if Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) Chinese spy/chauffeur was driving more than her limo, doesn't it? 

Now They Tell Us

I hope you realize the extent to which most of the mainstream media intentionally withheld from Democrat voters information about Biden family corruption until after the election. Now they begin to report it, here and here

We learn Hunter Biden and James Biden - the supposed president-elect’s son and brother respectively - are under IRS and FBI investigation. Investigation for things it was widely known they had done improperly in monetizing Joe’s Obama connection, and, they claim, sharing with him the resultant ill-gotten gains.

Is it overly paranoid to imagine this was the DNC’s plan all along? Elect bland, blithering Biden, begin to report the Biden family misdeeds, get Joe inaugurated, find the family corrupt, force his resignation, and Kamala Harris becomes president. 

It is probably the only way to slide Willy Brown’s side piece into the Oval Office. Harris had so little electoral appeal to Democrats she dropped out of the race for their nomination before the Iowa caucuses and the first primary vote was cast.

Many have posted examples of the mainstream propaganda feed insisting - before the election - the claimed Biden family corruption was a myth, merely a political smear. It wasn’t, it isn’t, and half of us knew it. The other half were played, big time, by the “Democrats with by-lines” in the print and broadcast media. 

Instapundit renders the following judgment on this disgrace:

Many voters will — with basis — regard a Biden presidency as tainted by this concerted effort on the part of both Big Media and social media companies to keep voters uninformed pre-election.

Stephen Green, in his PJ Media column Insanity Wrap, designates our president-elect "Joe Asterisk" using the sports label for someone whose title is less-than-fully-earned.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Rest of the Story

You will be seeing reports from the U.K. that a couple of people in the first group to get the Pfizer Covid-19 shot there had a bad reaction. Because the press likes bad news, you may not be given what broadcaster Paul Harvey called "the rest of the story." Here it is from The Wall Street Journal.

The two people are NHS workers, part of the first tranche to receive the vaccine in line with front-line staff having initial access. Each of them carried an adrenaline auto-injector to deal with their allergies.

The agency said that the vaccination had triggered an anaphylactoid reaction in the two people shortly after they received the vaccine. Such reactions are triggered sometimes by drugs such as aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs and opiates.

Translation: the two who had a bad reaction are people with a history of extreme, life-threatening allergic reactions. Such people carry adrenaline pens and in almost all cases know they have to be careful. It is likely that if you've gotten flu shots yearly with few problems, you'll have few problems with the Covid jab. 

Some have been critical of our government because Britons are getting the vaccinations first. Actually, letting them take a slight lead is giving our health system preliminary data about the frequency and type of "issues" with the new vaccine. It's the proverbial blessing in disguise.

About Zion NP

I wrote the other day about a visit the DrsC made to Zion NP, with two friends from UT. The other DrC - the photographer in our household - has posted photos at her CruzTalking Two website.

The unique part of Zion is that, unlike many other red rock parks (e.g., Bryce, Grand Canyon), you enter and view Zion from the bottom of the canyon. To get that same view at Grand Canyon, you must ride a mule for several hours to reach the bottom.

At Zion, instead of looking down into a hole - however spectacular that may be - you are in the bottom, along the Virgin River, looking up sheer walls several hundred feet to where a ribbon of blue sky can be seen. There are points along the canyon where the walls are several times taller than the distance they are apart, it is very dramatic.

I was there in the 1960s as as young adult, I was also there in the 1950s with my parents. The other DrC and I have visited every few years since. Zion’s ability to awe the viewer remains unchanged. 

Part of the magic of our national parks is that they change very little over time, they were essentially perfect when they were made parks and are kept mostly unchanged. The Yellowstone I see as a retiree is the same Yellowstone I saw as a 10 year old, minus the pan-handling bears of my youth which the Park Service now discourage.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Court Update

Today the case claiming irregularities in Pennsylvania vote counting was sent to the Supreme Court. Forty (40) minutes later they unanimously refused to issue immediate injunctive relief. The case itself remains pending. There are two theories about this refusal.

Theory one: the Supremes have decided they aren't getting involved in vetting the presidential election.

Theory two: the Supremes believe the case filed by the state of Texas against four other states includes the issues posed by the PA case, and would rather weigh in on that broader case.

We'll know which of these is more accurate within weeks.

Monday, December 7, 2020

A Rare Sighting

We saw herds of wild horses today, wandering in an area where no rancher would leave them. There were three groups, the largest group maybe 6-8 horses. 

They sported shaggy winter coats and apparently are common where we saw them, as there were official road signs warning of riderless horses crossing the highway. It seems the Truckee River is their water source.

Where was this? We saw them in the area just south of I-80 between Reno and Fernley from a road variously called "USA Parkway" and Nevada 439. Mind you, we've traveled the road four times in the last month and saw the wild horses exactly once - today. So ... no guarantees you will see them there.

There is something special about wild horses going about their equine lives without reference to humans. The sight is semi-magical.

Later ... I just reread this post and realized that the widely used term “wild horses” is technically incorrect in the Americas. Those here are descendants of domesticated horses transported by Europeans, which makes those in the wild “feral” rather than wild. Whatever the correct descriptor, seeing them was fine.

Remember Pearl Harbor

I can't let December 7 go by without reminding you that today is the anniversary of the Empire of Japan's 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. We need to not forget that shameful episode, or our eventually overwhelming response thereto. 

My belief: President Harry Truman was entirely justified in ordering the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fire bomb raids on Tokyo. These attacks forced surrender on Japanese leaders who were otherwise prepared to die gloriously while killing GI invaders.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The Dismal State of Electoral Affairs

Power Line’s John Hinderaker sums up where the widespread doubts about the presidential election’s legitimacy currently stand, and I believe he is largely correct in this summary. For what it’s worth, here is his conclusion:

I don’t know whether civil disobedience to the Biden regime will be widespread, but I doubt it. Nor will we #Resist by illegal or dishonest means, as the Democrats have done for the last four years through the insane Russia collusion fraud and many other means. But within those parameters, conservatives shouldn’t give an inch. For the sake of what is left of our country, we should #Resist the Biden administration and the Democrats every step of the way for the next four years.

COTTonLINE will be there, how about you? The best we can hope for is gridlock, but the flawed status quo is better than letting the Ds make things much worse.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Update, Updated

Zion NP was gorgeous today, bluebird blue skies, warm sunshine, sorta crowded when we first got there, 90 minutes later quite uncrowded. Why or even how it changed so abruptly I have no clue. 

Deer were quietly grazing the meadows alongside the Virgin River, the other DrC got an excellent photo of a buck with a very picturesque rack of antlers. He was resting after the rut, basking in the afternoon sun. I noted the Indian-built stone and mud cache up on a shelf is still there all these many years later.

The drive to and from Zion in our friends’ newish Mercedes SUV was pleasant. That’s a very civilized car for four people on a day’s road trip. 

Tomorrow we have more “business” to transact locally, and then on Monday it’s 12 hours of F-350 windshield time back to CA. These are busy weeks.


I’m writing from southeastern Nevada, a border town near both AZ and UT. We had business near here yesterday and drove all day Thursday to get here from NorCal. Parts of that drive are amazingly empty; hour after hour of barren treeless not-quite-desert zoom past at 70-75 mph.

What do I mean by “not-quite-desert?” Treeless, empty landscapes with knee-high sage brush but no cactus or sand. If you see a few trees they are along a creek bed or at some residence where they’re irrigated. Plenty of mountains of mostly bare rock with some minor scrubby low-growing plants, ringing big flattish valleys. Actually much of Nevada looks this way, both southeast across its middle diagonally as we just did it, and across I-80 which crosses northern NV on an east-west trajectory.

The trip included NV 375 - a state highway officially designated as the “Extraterrestrial Highway” which runs past the fabled Area 51, celebrated by Mulder, Scully and Indiana Jones. We saw no exotic flying machines of any sort unfortunately, although official signs warn of “Low Flying Planes.” It is so remote the grazing cattle are free to amble on the road, no fences. 

There are plenty of places where the only sign of humans ever having been there is the laser-straight two lane road that disappears into the distance in one point perspective. It is easy driving, little traffic, good roads, fast, vast empty vistas to contemplate, but not interesting after an hour or two.

Today’s agenda includes a visit to Zion National Park, which in December shouldn’t be crowded. We’ve loved Zion since our first visit in the 1970s, but unfortunately over the years it has been “discovered.” Now it is too well loved and if you go during the summer, as we did a couple of years ago, it is wall-to-wall people. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


Posts have been somewhat sparse lately, I can't get excited about the claims of election finagling I've seen so far. Someone will have to come up with something actionable to get me to care. I'm not holding my breath. 

I view the next administration with at least as much dread as Clinton supporters must have felt about the advent of Trump. Much depends on what happens in Georgia, and that won't be known for weeks.

Posts may be even more uncommon over the next several days, the DrsC have a road trip laid on. We have business in another state. More about this at a later date, in early 2021. 

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and in the words of the Moody Blues, "breathe deep the gathering gloom." Gathering gloom is what we'll have as we approach the shortest day of the year, coming up in less than 3 weeks.

Gatherings are O.U.T. with virus on the rampage, but Christmas music is still some of our most beautiful. I'll be at Youtube listening to Mannheim Steamroller, among others. I also recommend A la nanita na na by the Cheetah Girls, a Spanish lullaby of considerable charm.

Quite a few people are decorating their homes with colored lights this year, always pleasant to look at. The tree lots have sprung up, and the smell of a fresh conifer is a treat. 

With a bit of ingenuity you can still have a merry Christmas season. Go for it.

A House Divided

The good people at Claremont Institute both include and support some of the best conservative thinkers working today. Their publication The American Mind comes forward with a pseudonymous  well-reasoned argument for extreme federalism as the answer to our national ideological division. It could be the next “Flight 93” call to action. 

As long-time readers know, as a person with history in both red and blue states I’ve written about this option repeatedly. Some COTTonLINE thoughts on extreme federalism can be found here, herehere, and most recently here

I remain skeptical but more than willing to explore what is possible along these lines. “Skeptical” because I don’t see the left willing to allow us to go our own way, to follow our own path. My sense is that, like frenzied jihadis, they insist we believe what they believe, live by their rules, or die for our supposed sins.

I can hear them arguing that Lincoln wouldn’t let the South continue with slavery to keep the Union together. How can they care less than he about the rights of red state women who wish abortions or LBGTQ people who wish to marry or use the restroom of their choice?