Violence in America

Red Dog Saloon

Red Dog Saloon

Okay, I admit it. I’ve been reading too much and I came across some statements that I simply found difficult to believe. So I go to the CDC website and find the latest statistics (2013) on Causes of Death. It seems that there were 821.5 deaths for every 100,000 people in this country during the latest year on record. Of those, 185 were from malignant neoplasms, 252 were from major cardiovascular diseases, 24 from diabetes, 2 from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 27 from Alzheimer’s disease, 18 from influenza and pneumonia, 47 from chronic lower respiratory diseases, 101 from all other diseases, 41 from accidents and 13 from intentional self-harm (suicide). It seems that almost 15 people per 100,000 die from drug-induced causes and a little over 9 die from alcohol-induced reasons. At his juncture you might be wondering why I made a point of citing these numbers. It’s because I read that a person in America is much more likely to die from taking their own life or partying than from violence. It seems that the CDC found that only 1.6 people per 100,000 people in America die from assault (homicide). You don’t have to take my word for it. Simply Google “death statistics 2013″ and look for cdc.gov to find the data. To put it mildly, I was amazed. I looked through all that data, did a little pondering, and wondered how 10 times as many people could take their own life as opposed to people committing all the violence I hear about and in the end I was totally clueless about it. Then I realized that the odds were that I was 15 times as likely to have died from partying than from someone trying to kill me. After I thought about that for a while I really only had one question – I wondered “Is the Red Dog is still in operation?”

Avocados

AvocadosThree things challenge me when it comes to avocados: (1) Finding them for 29¢ at the store. I’m not tempted at 59¢ but I’m a consistent buyer at 29. (2) Peeling them at that perfect time when they are “just ripe” and the skin comes off easily but the inside is palatable but not too squishy. It’s a Baby Bear thing. (3) Getting just the perfect amount of salt on each piece I put in my mouth. When all three come together, life is sweet. I’m so thankful that little things like SuperFoods are important in my life. Now if I could just figure out who to cast my vote for as President. It seems when you peel back their exterior, the candidates seem either way too squishy or simply unpalatable. Sorta like a bad avocado – one that’s way-too-ripe or one that isn’t ready to serve.

Sapiens

Sapiens

Sapiens

So what am I currently reading? Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. At Amazon it got 4.5/5 stars with 1,068 customer reviews and was their Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015. What do I think? I love it. But, not everyone will. The isn’t very patronizing to people who have very serious religious, poitical, economic, or social beliefs, implying that the existence of such constructs is simply an expedient way for larger and larger social communities to be able to function effectively. What do I think? I think it’s a very entertaining read and it’s probably good if you can get preople to question and ponder their perceptions of the world. Will my children read it? Nah. Their minds are far too imaginative and creative for the non-fiction crap that I read.

Thoughts About Guns

Gun Control

Gun Control

It’s totally embarrassing how long it took me to figure out why my daughter posted this picture on FaceBook. While I’ve never owned a gun and probably never will I sleep better at night knowing that the potential threat of action from 99% of the possessors of guns in our population – the “good guys” – keep the threat of the actions from the 1% of the population who are “bad guys” at bay. Give me a choice between a veteran with an automatic weapon and a criminal with one and I’ll take the veteran every time. Tell me we need to take all guns off the street and I’ll tell you that you’re more than a little naive. You’re bordering on really, really stupid. While I’ve never felt the need to own a gun, I do hope the “good guys” never give theirs up and that my government, as misguided as it is, never falls prey to the argument made by the misguided dupes of the bad guys that people don’t kill people – guns do. Ban all weapons and the bad guys will laugh all the way to the stash house after they take your money at gunpoint.

Women’s Rights

Women's Rights

Women’s Rights

Women’s Rights is the newest Google Background. It’s the message of the day. It’s about Alice Paul who “was the architect of some of the most outstanding political achievements on behalf of women in the 20th century.” I’m all for the politics of women’s rights. 100%. It only makes moral and ethical sense. Women deserve access to education, equal pay, voting, walking in front of me, a really big pickup truck, poopin’ in the woods and everything else, including those last bastions of male dominance, the infantry and the priesthood of the Catholic Church. And any other church for that matter, a thought that causes my feeble brain to immediately focus on the term “lightening bolt” though I’m not sure why. Go for it ladies. It’s yours for the taking and you can tick-off all those smug, self-righteous, macho *a%$!9#&^s in the process making it all the sweeter. Just remember, all that advancement comes with some responsibilities. Big ones. Like getting me a fresh beer out of the fridge on you way back from the kitchen. :-D

COE Campgrounds in Oklahoma

ALLSTAYS MapI like the Corp of Engineers (COE). They built lots of nice lakes in my home state. On the other hand, thanks to them we have lots of acres of lake surface and the local humidity can be out-of-sight for somewhere that should have a much lower humidity. That being said, the COE campgrounds are great for a person like me. Since I get half-price camping there, it’s a really cheap place to stop. Also, I can usually get a site with electricity for less than $10. One of the best maps I know of for COE only campgrounds in Oklahoma is the one at ALLSTAYS.  Actually, ALLSTAYS is a good place for finding lots of things quickly and accurately. Need a map of Rest Stops, Wal-Marts, Truck Stops, or some other travel parameter? They have them. Plus, they have listings for the whole U.S. making it a good site for when I wander a little farther from home.

Oklahoma Tent Camping

tent_camping_sitesIt seems that it’s pretty certain I will not be riding between San Francisco and LA this fall. But, I will be riding my bicycle around Oklahoma. I have just finished phase one of my mapping project of Oklahoma Tent Camping locations. So far I’ve found about 350 locations in the state where I can set up a tent and camp overnight. I’ve made a map that gives their location along with one or more references on each site. Within the references a person can find more information about the site. That information may include GPS location, number of campsites, rates and other information such as whether showers or a laundry are available. It may also include whether the site is primitive their are such amenities as electricity and water are available. The map is a public Google map and is located here. Now I have over 250 new places to visit in the next year or two.

SF to LA Weather

Weather is an issue for me. If I’m going to ride a bike from LA to SF or SF to LA, weather is important. I checked my favorite weather map Wundermap, for historical highs and lows for the period September 12, 2014 to October 16, 2014 and found that, for the majority of the days of that period, the temperature at 3:00 AM for the coastal region from SF to LA had a temperature that ranged from the high 50′s to the low 70′s with temperatures primarily in the 60′s. This was along the coast and the temperatures were remarkably consistent. Daytime temperatures at 5:00 PM tended to be in the 70′s. The range was from the mid-60′s to the 90′s. It was uncommon that the temperatures got into the 90′s but it did happen a few times. The most common temperatures seemed to be in the higher 70′s to lower 80′s. Again, this was along the coast. Daytime temperatures were less consistent than the temperatures at night. It’s my belief that I could work with any of the dates during the period I researched. Then again, this was only for the year 2014. Who knows what the weather will really be like this year during that period? Also, it might be helpful to consider rainfall for the period which can be found here. September looks a lot better for rainfall than October, and yes, I do know there is currently a drought in the state.

LA to SF by Bicycle Post

Well, I’ve talked with John some more and we talked about taking about two weeks and heading to California by train then bicycling between Los Angeles (LA) and San Francisco (SF). Sounds like an adventure. So I Google “SF LA bicycle” and I find some sites that I liked:

Bicycling The Pacific Coast - Imagine this: a whole book on the subject.

ForumBike ForumsTouring San Francisco to Los Angeles - How about this: a forum that caters to cyclists and has a huge thread about going from LA to SF.

San Francisco to Los Angeles Bicycle Tour - Short and to the point with some good ideas.

LA to SD by Bike

I saw my friend John this morning and he asked me where I was going this year. I wasn’t sure. I don’t have any plans. But, spring will be here very soon and I know a one to three month Great American Road Trip is in order. I’m thinking south to Texas and then East to Florida. Maybe all the way to the Keys.

John also commented that we needed to take the train from ABQ to LA then ride bicycles to San Diego and back. We could then take the train back to ABQ. The more I thought about it the more it seemed like a good idea. I don’t plan on doing it tomorrow, but I have put it on my schedule, although the dates are in Limbo. I’m thinking later in the year. Maybe in the fall. This post is the start of my research. I’m a researcher at heart. Plus, I now have something to start writing about again. That’s half the fun. Maybe more. I read an article in the LA Times that said “Los Angeles to San Diego: The ultimate beach ride, this 140-mile journey is fairly flat, save an infamous hill in San Diego County. Although you’ll encounter traffic, you’ll often be on bike paths, residential streets or at least a road shoulder — rare for a coastal trip. Info: Adventure Cycling Assn., (800) 721-8719, http://www.adventurecycling.org. Its Pacific Coast Route Section 5 map costs $11.75 for members, $14.75 for nonmembers.” Hmmmm, I guess I need to get the map.