Friday, March 20, 2015

BC Media Weekly Wrap Up....

I've been monitoring Butte County Print Media for about a month now. Every Friday, I write a Weekly Wrap Up---to sort of summarize the week's activity. This is this week's edition:

Weekly Wrap Up: 3/20/2015

The Sunday edition of the ER looked more like the left-wing Nation Magazine judging by the letter-to-the-editor content. Two letter writers used heavy rhetoric to call the actions by 47 Republican Senators treasonous when they decided to write the Clerics in Iran, telling them to ignore the sitting President. Obama said that there is no precedent for such an action. The Chico ER's editorial board was mute on the topic; the CNR had addressed the topic... the week before.
A couple brave Right Wing letter writers jumped to the Republican Senators' defense. Both letters were entertaining, especially local Tea Party gadfly (and probable candidate for something someday) Loretta Torres who pretty much said Iran is trying to usher in some utopic golden age by building Nukes, which will result in the birth of the 12th Eman and the destruction of the US and Israel (or something like that, you have to read the letter to believe it).

Never mind the fact there are Christians who still think Hal Lindsey's interpretation of Middle Eastern politics is dictated in the Bible, culminating in the battle of Armageddon with Jesus finally coming back to build a new Jerusalem after Russia and China invade.

The other major issue was water. Both the CNR and the Chico ER had some very timid editorials, praising the area for meeting water use reductions and encouraging all of us to do more. Neither paper challenged the notion that agriculture is the single biggest water hog and that, perhaps, we should rethink the type of agriculture we pursue.

And much to my amazement, I found myself agreeing with the Crank of Durham, Gary Cooper, who generally writes a letter-to-the-editor every week. This week Cooper managed to bring up the unethical practice of farmers selling their surface water rights at a handsome profit and then using pumps to irrigate their crops from the Tuscan Aquifer. Just today I saw two drilling rigs in orchards that were putting in new wells (both in Tehama County). Farmers are getting ready to save their orchards. You can't blame them for that, but, perhaps it is time to consider that drought is the new norm and that we should be making the transition to growing row crops and not commit to orchards that need the same amount of water every year . No amount of consumer water conservation will make a dent in the impending lack of water without a change in agricultural practices.

Then there is the matter of salmon. They deserve their share of water too.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Smart Phone Luddite

Well, I finally decided to act like it is 2005 and bought myself a Smart Phone. Joni went and picked one up one for both of us. Two mini droids (sounds like Star Wars). We now spend more money on our electronics: cell phones, Internet, satellite TV----we spend more money on those three things than we do on our house payment.

I remain mostly a technological Luddite until someone actually shows me the usefulness of a device or the sheer fun of something that connects all of us together. I was anti-personal computer until a visit to my brother's back in 1995, where I ignored him and his whole family in order to chat with some stranger in a chat room on his computer. Amazed by this technology, I drove home to Reno from Minnesota in about 26 hours in order to go buy a computer. I've been hooked ever since.

But up until that day when Doug showed me how it works, I was anti-computer. My brother, who is much more modern than I ever hope to be, argued that computers were "extensions of our brains" and that we become inherently smarter with the things. I guess that's one of the major differences between my brother and me: He was a Gary Hart fan; I liked Mondale. He is modern; I am not. But as for computers enhancing our lives and making us smarter? Yeah, right. Maybe. But porn and computer games are probably the two biggest uses of the PC. And now nobody even e-mails anymore (let alone write an actual letter---can you remember the last time you received one?).

So now I have a Smart Phone. And a Blue Tooth (can anybody tell me why we call those little ear plugs a tooth?). I still can't figure out how the sound is actually picked up by the Blue Tooth. I still can't answer a call with the thing.

As for the phone? It took me a day to figure out how to answer it. Press and swipe. Sort of like Harry Potter's wand, "Swish and flick". Kylie showed me some basics as to how to use the phone. Like how to turn it on. Basic stuff.

I downloaded two things when I got the phone. The first thing was a Facebook app. Now the thing vibrates anytime a friend does an update on Facebook. The second thing I downloaded was Walden by H.D. Thoreau.

What would Henry think? Henry didn't even like trains. Nor newspapers.

And so now I do something I swore I would never do (besides vote Republican) and that is: I sent a text message. It makes me feel a little like I moved to the suburbs and bought a BMW. Now to learn that awful corruption of English that the text message has taught us. It used to be called, shorthand. Now it is just text language and goes something like this. LOL U SCK. BRB. CYa.

What would Shakespeare say? Or Thoreau? Or Ed Abbey?

Essentially, I need the Smart Phone for work. And to be an alarm clock. The jury is out as to how much I actually enjoy the thing. So far I'm not so enamored with it that I'd drive across the continent in order to purchase one.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Thoughts on Turning 54....

I turned 54 yesterday. I realize that has no significance to anyone other than me. So be it. But as I take another step closer to the grave, bucket lists and resolutions come to mind. As we age we start to accept the fact that we probably aren't going to ride a bike across the US. And a Thru Hike of the Pacific Crest Trail probably is not going to happen.

But goals are important. So are resolutions. Resolutions are more likely to be kept if decided on a birthday than on January 1. An individual birthday is more important than the mass Times Square, seldom sober, New Year's Day hangover resolution.

And so I resolve a couple of things for the next year:

1. I will step on the scale everyday. People who step on the scale daily weigh less than people who don't. As this is written one day after my birthday, I am in total compliance with this.

2. I shall take at least a thirty minute walk everyday. I have a new job that is very, very demanding time-wise. I spend too much time in the car driving only to sit and talk to a client and then repeating the process until my butt is sore and my voice is hoarse. I need to take the time to walk.

3. I shall limit my screen time. I spend much of my life charting Nurse stuff for my job on a fancy electronic tablet. That thing is always with me. In my leisure time, writing and reading articles on a screen are important to me too. In fact, I should be working on an article right now instead of plucking away at this computer. I spend too much time wasting my life away looking at Facebook and reading all the articles my very intelligent friends want me to read. I love this and love what I learn, however I need to limit this time.

4. I shall not look at my work E-mail from Friday evening until Monday morning. My workplace expects me to check E-mail on Sunday Night. I shall not comply with this rule. Work takes up too much of my life.

5. I shall take an electronic Sabbath of 24 hours in length every Saturday or Sunday with the exception of my phone because I am on-call 24/7 for work.

6. I shall have an outdoors event planned for every weekend.

7. I shall buy a canoe and go fishing.

8. I shall take a trip to the Pinnacles in order to try and catch a view of the California Condor.

9. I shall hike from Sierra City, California to Belden, California on the Pacific Crest Trail.

10. I shall go camping more with Joni and our delightful dogs.

11. I shall start to reduce my meat consumption and eat more veggies. We shall go more "Ornish" as we say in our household. It is good for me and good for the planet. A win/win. I feel convicted by my Enviro Vegan friends to make this adjustment.

12. I shall keep a log of both my walking times and my weight from stepping on the scale.

That about does it. Feel free to write me and ask about my progress.