My Work

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Weather Outside is --- Winter

Ah, winter, that period of long sleep between the falling of the leaves and the blushing of new leaves. Never mind what the scientists and geeks and those with a lack of romance and poetry in their soul say, winter begins with the first red nose, running freely in icy winds, or the first limb breaking while still holding a leaf or two and burdened with pounds of ice.

Winter, in the northern hemisphere of this dear old planet, officially begins with the Winter Solstice, on or about December 21st. There are feasts and parties and festivals celebrating the occasion, some pagan, some relating to various religions, some just because you got a new pair of skis.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, in Poems, in 1847:

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow.

December is supposed to be the great snowmaker, and for us that live in the shadow of the towering Sierra Nevada, that means skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and just having fun while bundled like a child waiting for the bus. Which brings us to this famous saying, written by Lydia Maria Child in Flowers for Children, and titled “Thanksgiving Day:”
Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow.

Will you have chestnuts roasting on an open fire when those first major snow storms arrive, or just a pint or two of your own special grog? I enjoy the pleasure of eggnog, particularly when it’s home made with mounds of whipped egg white meringue topping the brandy and hot water, gently stirred in and dusted with nutmeg or other spices of pleasure.

Good old fashioned rum and coffee covered in thick whipped cream ain’t bad either, chum, but I think William Shakespeare may have had the right answer, back in 1594 when he wrote in Love’s Labour’s Lost:

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian’s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl.

Thus the cycle continues, winter slowly allows more and more sunlight to linger, just a bit each day, mind you, until, yes, a bud appears, then a leaf, and we put aside the skis and boards and skates, and rummage about, knowing full well we put those cut offs in the third drawer down.

Ah, winter, good friend. Read good books and stay regular. Ta…

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Some thoughts on Ferguson from a beat up old retired reporter. Interesting, isn’t it, that so many people that weren’t there, that were not privy to a word of evidence, are willing to argue with the grand jury’s finding? When the transcript of the proceeding is released, I wonder if many will actually read it.

Watching the situation from afar, after all northern Nevada is not very close to Missouri, I often cringed at some of the reporting. Talking heads assuming the reporter on the scene actually had inside information? From whom? More than one editor took great chunks out of my head when I first got started in this business because I didn’t or couldn’t corroborate something I had written.

We all saw CNN reporters interview people and say as fact the person was a witness to the shooting only to find out that he wasn’t anywhere near the scene. We heard conjecture reported as fact. And, now, we are amazed at the reaction following release of the grand jury’s report.

If I still had a working newsroom I think this would be a good time to have a sit-down with all the reporters and use Ferguson as a learning tool. How not to report on flammable issues. Mr. Gruber may have been right about swaying the American public because of a case of ignorance.

Have a great day.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mr. President, you are not king

The current broo-ha-ha between the GOP and the democrats is pathetic. The question that needs to be answered is whether or not the president of the United States has the right to circumvent the constitution of the United States. Only after that question is answered can any work be done on this country’s immigration policy, and those conclusions must be reached in the halls of congress then signed into law by the president.

George Washington laid it out pretty strongly when he said he was not a king, did not want to be a king, and would not allow himself to be treated like a king. Mr. Obama has no sense of history, does not respect the constitution, and gives every indication that he is a king. This is the proper time for congress as a whole, not just the republicans, not just the democrats, but the congress, to step up and take back that which it owns, one third, that is, branch of the government.

Questions of who is a legal immigrant and who is illegal must be answered by laws of the land not by executive order. The concept of executive order is something very hard to find in the constitution, but even in the past when executive orders have been used, most often they have been pre-approved by the congress. Most recently Presidents Bush and Obama have grasped the concept with incredible strength, bringing about this idea of government by decree.

Oh, my. Government by decree? Isn’t that what led to all that uproar back in 1776?

Have a great day, read good books and stay regular.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Tesla Impact

Have you been following the Tesla move to northern Nevada? Despite all the claims in much of the press, Tesla is not building any kind of factory in Reno. They are building a lithium battery factory in Storey County, and the state is giving them many bucks and incentives to do this. They have enough juice that they were able to get USA Parkway extended from the Storey/Lyon County line to Highway 50, something that even Wal-Mart didn’t have enough juice to accomplish.

This plant will have a serious and mostly positive impact on Northern Nevada’s economy from many angles with an anticipated work force numbering in the thousands. Side benefits are a large lithium mine in north central Nevada, something I’ve wanted to be able to discuss for some time.

Too many people are touting the electric vehicle as something that will help eliminate much of the carbon dioxide that pollutes the air and contributes to climate change, if that really exists. Ask yourself where the electricity is created that will be used to charge all those batteries every single day of the year? Power plants across the country still depend on good old filthy coal, and some use polluting oil, and others natural gas, all producing tons of carbon dioxide.

The electric car, if they become very successful will probably lead to cleaner air in areas where most pollution comes from transportation, like large cities without vast amounts of public transportation, but they will cause an increase in the use of electricity, thus pollution.

With my wry sense of humor, while nibbling water crackers and anchovies, sipping a decidedly dry martini, by way of Bombay, or is that Mumbai, I can picture several young people on a campus somewhere just discovering that the lithium for those batteries will be mined in a huge open pit.

Oh, the curse of it all. Chin up, the wagon driver was equally angered at good old Henry Ford.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Frosty Time

Looking out the window, or getting venturesome and actually getting into the great outdoors, it’s pretty obvious that we are moving through our autumn and toward winter rapidly. Here at our little J bar P ranchero, Patty and I spend time every day keeping our H2O in its liquid form for the animals. And griping, “It’s too damn early.” How and why our seasons take place is simply through the tilt our little planet takes on its adventure around old Sol each year.

We think of our seasons as numbering four, winter, spring, summer, and fall, but within each season, often, there may be one or two other separations. From December 21or thereabouts to March 21, again, or thereabouts, is thirteen weeks, but traditions going back thousands of years, at the midpoint, we find what is known as Groundhog Day, February 2.

According to ancient legend, if that little fur-ball sees his shadow we’ll six more weeks of winter. Looking at the calendar, one might discover that in six weeks, it will be March 21, thus the end of winter. Right now, much of the U.S. is facing sub-zero temperatures and wind driven snow and ice, and in five or six weeks, it will be winter. But there isn’t anything on the calendar with which to create a holiday. Darn.

Ah, but we did have Indian Summer. Didn’t we? Half way between summer and fall is another little weather phenomena that is seldom celebrated: The summer doldrums. So, we enjoy Indian Summer and dread the doldrums, rip little animals from their den for their day and condemn any type of weather that doesn’t fit our expectancy.

We did enjoy all Hallow’s Eve, better known in our section of the world as Nevada Day, and in other parts, Hallowe’en, and the next day, Day of the Dead. None of which has anything to do with weather. But is lots of fun.

All of the above is only somewhat accurate in the northern hemisphere, Reverse it, and you can get along fine south of the equator. I spent four of my wonderful high school years living on the island of Guam, 1952-1956, and everyday the temp would be low 90s and every evening, mid 80s, except during typhoons, when the night time temp would be in the mid 70s and we’d all but freeze.

Patty moved to western Nevada from Orange County, California and discovered winter for the first time in her life. What a revelation. Massive thunderstorms are her favorites, and I will find her on the back porch, mesmerized and excited. I always get excited about the first big snowfall of the season. After that, not so much.

If you’re not prepared to meet Jack Frost up front and personal, better git movin’ Pard. Until next time, read good books and stay regular.