Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Hypocrisy Store

 



I went to Hobby Lobby this afternoon with my wife. I don’t often go here, but they do have some interesting things from time to time that give me some creative ideas. However, I try not to shop here because I dont agree with the religious beliefs of its owners.

If you are one of the lucky few that have not been to Hobby Lobby, it is a Christian based chain of craft stores. There are bibles of all shapes and sizes at the checkout counters right next to all those candy bars and trinkets for the kids. 

The owners refused to offer employees any family planning coverage (read abortion) on their employee healthcare policy based on religious grounds. They took this argument all the way to the supreme court, and won their case.  Fair enough, that is their right.

They are not open on Sundays, stating on their corporate website that they believe that employees should be spending time with family and going to church on the sabbath. Fair enough, it is their store. 

However, since this is an outlet that leans toward the conservative side of politics, I am assuming that there may be some connection with the current administration, since both are claiming the mantle of the Evangelical right. 

So I was rather amused and shocked, that as I walked through the store waiting for my wife to finish her shopping, every item I picked up to examine proclaimed it was ‘Made in China’. I mean, EVERYTHING (90% of the merchandise) was made in China. Cute signs that read “Home Sweet Home”, “God Bless This Mess”, cups, mugs, plates, door knobs, all made in China. The cherry on top of all this were those Bibles at checkout...all PRINTED in China. 

So here is a store that claims to preach and practice good Christian values, where most of their profit is made from the sale of merchandise that comes halfway across the world, from a godless communist country. 

So when the current occupant of the White House claims that all our problems and health risks are from China, they are basically saying that Hobby Lobby needs to be put out of business. Because, I can assure you, there aren’t enough Americans that demand a minimum wage of $14/hour who are willing to make all these knick-knacks for the same price as the Chinese. 

It isn’t Hobby Lobby, it is the China Outlet Store. When it comes to politics and religion, you have to remember to follow the money.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Not The World I Want....

So, I took my car in for a recall this past week.   No big deal, it was a software update for the transmission.  Took about an hour.  To kill some time I walked down the street to Home Depot and the Sierra Vista Mall. 

I assumed that the mall would be deserted, due to the pandemic.  The Sears and Dillard's anchor stores have gone out of business and only a Best Buy and the Cinemas are keeping it open.  A sign on the window indicated that the hours of operation were 11am to 5pm on weekdays.  It was around 9:30am when I arrived.

I brought my camera along to take some pictures of what I assumed would be a stark and empty post pandemic landscape.  The mall had not opened yet, so there was no one around, or so I assumed.  As I meandered around the mall heading toward Home Depot I was approached by two gentlemen who asked what I was doing. 

The heavy set gentlemen was apparently the property manager of the mall, his companion was an armed and uniformed security officer. They questioned what I was doing, and then told me that taking pictures of the buildings was not allowed.  I was a bit stunned.  I apologized for 'breaking their rules' and headed off the property, although there were no signs or warnings indicating that what I was doing was improper or illegal. 

 

As I walked out of the parking lot, I started to chuckle at the whole experience.  From my work experience in social work and insurance, I understood their logic.  I could have been an attorney taking pictures of a slip and fall claim location, or a city employee documenting zoning code violations.  With that mindset you would want to minimize your risk.  However....this is a public space.  A space that would be open to the public within the hour. 

What they were not considering, was that I could put a GoPro camera in my hat and take all the pictures I wanted, or I could wait until they opened in an hour and walk into the (deserted) food court and snap-away.  Never mind the fact that I might have been a paying customer waiting to attend the cinema, who was chased off by badass security dude and his henchmen.   

This is the world I find myself in.  One where distrust and control are paramount and interactions are always suspect.  I don't know if their limited mindset could have fathomed my walking across the street and using a telephoto lens, or god forbid I had a drone in my car that could fly over the buildings.  Fear rules now-a-days and everyone is suspicious of everyone else.  Hardly the society that my parents envisioned or the one in which I want to live. 

 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Things Old Guys Do - The Catio

 

The wife and I are pet people.  We have always had dogs and cats.  They are our kids and we tend to spoil them from time to time.  

One of the things that Sue has always wanted was an outdoor enclosure for our cats so that they could go 'outside' but still be safe from all the nasty things that come after cats.  Sue nagged me for one of these until I finally gave in and said 'fine'.  You find a contractor and have one built. 


Sue went through four different contractors, all of whom never got back to her with an estimate. Most of the 'handymen' in town sort of saw a crazy lady that wanted to build a cat-condo.  So, in the end, I realized that if I was ever going to shut Sue up about this project, I would have to build it myself.  I agreed with the condition that I would have full creative control and budget authority.  This really irked Sue, but at this point, I held all the cards.



The project took about four months to complete and had to meet several parameters which included; it had to be free standing (the Catio does not touch the house), it had to conform to the design and look of the 115 year old house, it had to be accessible for cleaning, and it had to be off the ground due to weather / water and vermin (bugs and skunks).



The end result is a three tiered enclosure that is primarily made of metal with a wooden facade.  Almost all of the wood was re-purposed from other projects that we had around the houses.  The Catio was incorporated into the spiral staircase that I build which replaced the rotted stairway that came with the house.



The lamp post was left over from when we lived in Phoenix.  It was purchased for our home in Encanto/Palmcroft and never used.  Eight years later it was finally taken out of the box and placed on the corner of the porch. It is wired with the original knob and tube porcelain fixtures that were still on the outside of the house. 



The cats access the catio through a tunnel that leads from the enclosed sun-porch off the master bedroom, under a bench and onto the catio itself.  At the end of the catio is an enclosed area were the litter boxes are placed and can be accessed from the outside (no more indoor litter boxes). 



The cats are still figuring it out, but most have realized that there are a lot more birds to watch from the catio perches than through the windows in the house.  I have yet to show Sue what the bill is for the labor involved.  It won't be cheap.  Did I mention that we spoil our pets?



Thursday, July 2, 2020

Poindexter's Swan Song


Hey!   Howdy!

Thanks for taking the time to find me.  My name is Poindexter and I was a member of the Johnson Pack for 10 years.  Talk about a life!  Whew, it was wild and crazy and fun!  





Let me tell you a little about myself since you went to all the trouble to get here. 

I don't recall much of my first days.  I remember getting lost and being alone in Phoenix, Arizona one night in a strip mall parking lot.  I sort of assumed that was the end.  Life had been good up to that point, but I was still just a puppy, so I didn't really know much.  

On that  dark night with cars whizzing by I first caught a glimpse of the pack leaders.  They saw me huddled in a doorway, looked at me, and started having an intense conversation.  I didn't know what they were going to do, but they were huge.  Finally, the big one, who I will call HIM (apparently the pack leader), reached down, put out his hand and scooped me up.  I was so tired and weak that anyplace would have been better than that parking lot.  

HIM and HER carried me to a huge truck and drove away.  I was just hoping that they wouldn't hurt me.  I was clueless.  Looking back, it was the BEST day of my life. 


They brought me to the pack den where I was surprised to find out that they had other pack members as well.  THREE of them and one was HUGE.   I had never seen another dog that big.  They kept calling her 'Dane' and 'Chella'. 

The leaders let me sleep in their bed with them that night.  There were other small creatures there as well, not dogs, but small animals that purred.  I curled up and went to sleep.  It was the first quiet place I had known in days.  

I later found out that HER had stated that if I barked to much, they wouldn't accept me into the pack.  I am glad I kept my mouth shut that night.  



So started my life with the Johnson Pack.  Many others came and went.  Some stayed for a few days, others are still there.  It was always a busy a pack den and there was always something to do. 

I can't recall all the pack-mates I had; Bacchus, Max, Chella, Thunder, Lightning, Peanut, Moxy, Ava, Henry, Iris and those were just the dogs.  I didn't interact with the non-pack purring crowd much.  They were sort of aloof. 

It took a few days to learn the pack routine and pecking order.  We all got along pretty well most of the time. I quickly learned that Chella was my buddy, since nobody messed with her.  I also learned where to go and not to go and what not to do.  Teething on power cords was one of things not do.  120 volts going through a small dog is not fun!



The pack initially lived in a park where all of us would run and frolic each morning and we would wrestle on the living room floor each night. 

Then there were trips to other pack dens, huge forests, the beach (ow the smells) and long car rides. One of the perks of being the smallest dog was 'Lap Time'.  I always got the front seat, while the rest of the pack had to sit in back....SWEET!. 

After a few years, we moved far south to the mountains.  Different smells and different trees and plants.  There was always something new and different in the Johnson Pack.   And I gotta tell ya, the FOOD was excellent.  I don't how other dogs survive on what they get.  But HER made the best food twice a day.  Needless to say, I was never really a 'thin' dog. 

This lasted for almost 10 human years.  I was pushing 70 dog years at the end.  It was a wild ride.  One that I am so glad I got to go on and I hope you all get a similar chance.  My time with the Johnson Pack taught me a few things: 

  • Don't loose hope, it is usually darkest before the dawn.
  • Size really does not matter, its the size of your heart that matters. 
  • Big dogs aren't as tough as they look 
  • Big dogs get big bones, little dogs get the passenger seat and the bed
  • If it is a good pack, they will NEVER leave you behind. 
  • ....and don't chew on power cords. 

Hope you all have a wonderful life!  I know I did.  Good Luck!




Add caption
.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Cinema Cycle - National Geographic: Miniature Miracle, The Computer Chip

National Geographic
Friday, 03.20.2020



Media
Laserdisc

Attendees

Bruce Johnson

Notes

Miniature Miracle: The Computer Chip

  1. Alexander Scourby could narrate the phone book and I'd listen
  2. Computers, pre internet
  3. Early early pioneers, historical
  4. Many of these people aren't around to see what their work became.
  5. Totally missed the internet and it's quantifying multiplier
  6. Focus on biomedical potential, not Surveillance / A.I.
  7. Ni eve, they ONLY saw the good.

Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 14 miles
  • 57  minutes
  • Odometer =  11806.8 miles  


Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Cinema Cycle - The World At War / Volume 5 / Pincers

The World At War - Pincers
Thursday, 03.11.2020



Media
DVD

Attendees

Bruce Johnson

Notes

  1. Seen this many times, but always a great documentary
  2. The series focuses on the tragedy of war, not the glory. 
  3. The best laid plans…...


Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 9.5 miles
  • 52 minutes
  • Odometer =  11803.3 miles  


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Cinema Cycle - Sex and the City / Season 2 - Episode 4 (They Shoot Single People Don't They?)

Sex and the City
Thursday, 03.9.2020




Media
DVD

Attendees

Bruce Johnson

Season 2 / Episode4

They shoot single people don't they?
  1. Good looking wealthy women and the pitfalls of faking relationships / orgasams
  2. If I had a 12 year old son, I would require him to watch this series.  So he knew what to expect in his future. 
  3. A somber episode, with Cynthia Nixon as a quasi-porn star, but it is funny. 


Cinema Cycle Notes

  • 5.6 miles
  • 25 minutes
  • Odometer =  11798.4 miles