Friday, August 28, 2015

Prepare For Rain

Weather.com says have a 90% chance of rain late tonight. Let's get those rain gauges out if you don't have yours out already. I put mine out this morning. It's like the one in the photo. I like it because we can usually read it from inside our back door. Stole the photo from Ebay.

I hope we get a bunch, but I'll probably be disappointed. Remember that 90% chance of rain only means a 90% chance of measurable precipitation. I knew a guy years ago that though 90% chance of rain meant something along of it raining 90% of the day. Took me and another guy some time to convince him otherwise.

The '96 Democratic Party Platform

Reason magazine takes a look at the 1996 national platform of the Democratic Party. Wonder what it's like now?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Brilliant, California. Brilliant

Gotta love Californians. The Sacramento Bee reports on efforts to raise the tax on tobacco. Proponents say if the legislature doesn't act, they'll do it through a ballot initiative. As I wrote before, this reminds me of the scene in The Magic Christian (thanks, MOLA) where Ringo Starr throws a bunch of money over some cesspool type thing and everyone jumps in after it. 

But the logic of this astounds me, although it should be no surprise in this state. They even play both sides in the same sentence:

“This bill really is about not just funding the Medi-Cal program but also to try and reduce smoking overall,..."

They want to fund a program they're trying to increase participation in- Medi-Cal- yet target an already shrinking source of revenue to do it. Brilliant!

A recent Field Poll shows 2/3 of Californians currently support this tax increase. Why? Because it wouldn't affect them. That, and because they can attack someone without risk- smokers being a steadily declining minority that can't defend themselves. The other 1/3 are obviously a little more principled.

Addendum: I just sent a condensed version of this post as a letter to the editor to the Sacramento Bee. Let's see if they publish it.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article32455149.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Local Radio: KZZH 96.7 FM

The Mad River Union Reports we have a new radio station starting up In Eureka. 96.7FM will be part of Access Humboldt which offers TV programs on local politics and other events. It reads as if they're still putting things together with no mention of when they start broadcasting.

Let's wish them well. I'm not sure I'll be tuning in. I do watch Access Humboldt on TV every now and again, but I don't surf radio stations as I do television. I will try and remember to listen to it at least once just to see how they're doing.
*****
I recall some years ago being told by some guy of a "pirate"  radio station starting up. I think it was being run out of a house in Arcata. Sounded pretty neat from what the guy told me, but I could never find it on the radio. Not a strong enough signal, I guess, but that shouldn't be the case with KZZH.
*****
As an aside, is it just me, or does anyone else think the Bay Area has a dearth of decent radio stations? It seems whenever we go down there you really have to look for something good on the radio once you get south of Cloverdale. What's that all about? I'm rather proud of the number and quality of radio stations we have up here, especially after coming back from down south.

Sonoma County's Homeless Plan

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reports on efforts by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to "wipe out" homelessness. The main focus is simply to provide housing in one way or another:

"The effort is an extension of county supervisors’ recent embrace of a national approach known as 'housing first,' which asserts that getting someone into stable housing should come before any attempt to link them with social services intended to address the reason or reasons for their homelessness."

You'll recall Eureka was looking at having a legal encampment area with ideas for some sort of housing. That idea fell through for one reason or another. I don't know what the answer is but I wished the effort well. I don't think just putting a roof over someone really solves problems for but a few. 

The comments to the story are along the same lines we'd read in media up here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

North Coast Travelogue: 8/23-8/24

Yet another trip to UCSF. I can't complain as we only have to go twice a year now as opposed to every two weeks back in the dark years. We must be out of practice from the fumbling around we did right before leaving. 

Forgot any number of things, some of which I still can't remember, but I didn't think to pay our Golden Gate Bridge toll until I was about to shut off the computer. No big deal since they just send you a bill if you don't prepay, but I like to get that out of the way. Then Connie remembered she forgot to load up our water. We always take our own water. Then this and that, but we finally managed to get out of the house.

This was the first time taking Connie's new[er] car, the 2013 Hyundai Elantra. I'd be driving and was kinda looking forward to it, although I'm a worrier. I wondered what might go wrong with it. I soon realized it's a nice, comfortable car. Easy to drive with many bells and whistles I wouldn't pay extra for but were nice to have. Handled hills very well, among other things. I was impressed.

I told Connie to gas it up and bring it home before we left without doing anything else so we could check the gas mileage. She didn't, driving it around town and out to Hydesville, but all was not lost. One of the bells and whistles was a digital trip mileage tool that measures gas used per mile. I didn't understand how it worked. Still don't, but figured I'd just write down what gas we bought and our mileage. I'm still not sure as I write this whether I needed to do that.

So what is it with everyone complaining about the price of gas but doing nothing to get better mileage? I've found going 55ish can save 20 to 25% on gas so set up the cruise control for that as soon as we got on the freeway. Everyone was passing us. Maybe not too much faster, at least some of them, but going pretty fast. It was that way going down and coming back, with maybe only 3 cars that seemed satisfied going 55-57mph behind or in front of us. 

Oh, I get it. They just complain about the greedy oil companies

We get to One Log House for a break and realize something else we forgot: the other set of car keys. I'd actually thought about it before we left, but then forgot. I guess we both distrust electronic door locks and, If we locked the key inside the car, we're screwed. 

Why that would be any different than a regular car key, I'm not sure, but we both felt uncomfortable with only one set of keys. Oh, well. Too late at that point. I just made a point to give her the key whenever we left the car, whatever difference that would make.

One of the things I worried about with the car was how well the air and air conditioning worked. I just turned on the air at first. That was all that was necessary in my pickup truck. Once we got to Southern Humboldt and temperature started climbing, it got pretty warm with just air. When we left One Log House I turned on air conditioning, I was relieved to feel a blast of cold air come from the dash. It worked well the rest of the trip, with no noticeable drain on engine power.

Broke with tradition for lunch. We usually eat at Taco Bell in Willits. When we were at the Safeway intersection I was thinking Taco Bell might be packed with so many cars on the road. I suggested we stop at Jack In The Box. It was right on the corner next to us. If nothing else, their commercials make their burgers look good. Let's see how they really are.

I ordered the Portabello Mushroom Burger, or whatever it was called. Looked just like the TV commercial, except the commercial had me expecting it to be about half a size larger than it actually was. Good, but pricey at almost $6.00 just for the burger alone.

Got gas at Brown's on the south end of Willits. I can't be sure but get the feeling that place might not be around much longer. Went to use the bathroom and both toilets were out of order. They were out of order on our way back, too, with no sign I could see there were plans to fix them. The one urinal was working...for now.

First time I checked that trip mileage thing was at Brown's. It showed the supposed miles per gallon for that particular trip- the trip starting sometime before we left, whenever Connie reset the counter. It said we were getting something like 28.9 mpg, if memory serves me, but that was just Eureka down to Willits, with miles in Eureka before we left. Not bad, especially considering I only put a bit over 5 gallons in the tank to fill it back up.

Be careful heading south of Willits where the new freeway bypass starts. Bad curves. There's a sign saying Caution, or some such, because of a freeway onramp. I was thinking there might be a freeway onramp being built, but so what? You drive by onramps all the time. Turns out there's a couple fairly tight curves there that you might not make going 50mph. Slow down for that one. It's that way going both ways.

Going through Santa Rosa was easy enough but things clogged up through Petaluma and all the way through there and beyond. It was 15 to 25mph for most of probably 15 miles or more. I never saw anything to attribute it to. It was miles past the Petaluma River bridge that things finally sped up.

Then it clogged up again when we got to Marin County. Again, no reason I could see for it. We were thinking of stopping at the AW Root Beer in San Rafael to pick something up for dinner, but traffic was so clogged up we didn't want to have to fight getting on the freeway again. 

We had something delivered later. Called up this place, at least I think that's the place. We didn't want pizza, though. I ordered a couple turkey sandwiches. Connie ordered a salad. Good enough for less than $25.00 and I was actually pretty filled up with the sandwiches. Had we ordered from AW I probably wouldn't have been as satisfied. We decided to bring something from home, or buy something in Willits, next time.

No problems driving to UCSF next morning, despite bad omens from the local TV traffic news with shots from their traffic helicopter. They were saying all the freeways to the south of the bridge were real slow. No mention about north, although they did say "other freeways, too". But not a problem. We flew straight into UCSF and found all kinds of parking on our favorite level of the parking garage.

Sat and sat in the waiting room, but I was entertained for a while. This was the first trial test of my new tablet. Until I ran out of things to do with it, time seemed to fly by. UCSF either changed their wifi system, or the tablet works better with it. I didn't even have to log in. With my laptop, I often couldn't even log in. I couldn't get a few things to work at UCSF or the motel we stayed at, but overall it used up my time well and was able to take care of my daily online business.

We finally were called to an exam room at our appointed time. Doctor was at least a half hour late though...again. That pisses me off. After about 35 minutes went by I asked Connie if she was willing to leave if the doc didn't show up by 2pm. That would be an hour late. She agreed, but a few minutes later we saw the doctor walk by and shortly thereafter she came in. 

We left a bit after three. I'm still pissed, but what can I do? Unlike the day before, it was pretty smooth sailing all the way to Willits. Stopped at Brown's to get more gas. This time it was about 7 1/4 gallons I put in the tank. I didn't get that as it's usually pretty close when refueling going either way. Connie suggested maybe the real slow traffic the day before gave us bad mileage. Maybe, but 2 1/4 gallons more? I didn't bother checking that trip app to see what it said. Maybe today if I remember.

Got home right about 8pm and I'm pissed that we probably could have gotten home earlier had it not been for Doctor Come Lately. Oh, well. Back to normal for now.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Leasing A Car

Watching those car ads on TV I've always thought the leasing options seemed like a fairly good deal, at least as far as monthly payments go. I knew there were some hidden costs, never mind the upfront costs that often get up to two or three thousand dollars.

This article on lewrockwell.com tells a little more about leasing and some of the terms. It wasn't everything I wanted to know. For instance, I wanted to get some tips on when you might want to lease and when it would be better to buy. He goes into that a bit. He thinks it's an option for those who drive less than 15,000 miles a year. That would probably fit me or the wife. Or someone who prefers a new car every few years. I would have still preferred some real life examples.

I was unaware there are monthly mileage restrictions on leased cars with penalties for going over your limit. That sucks, but how would they know how far you drove in a given month? I'm guessing you have to take it in to their shop for service and they figure total mileage divided by months? 

He seems to think the best way to lease a car is a single payment lease where you pay all the money up front.  Except then you'd have to come up with all that money to begin with. I suppose that's a good way to do it if you have enough money to make the one payment, but what if you don't? Maybe just go ahead and buy? Would it make sense to borrow money to lease a car?

One thing I do know is in all my years I've never heard one horror story about leasing cars so it must be just another option to consider- Six one way, half a dozen the other. Anyone have their own stories, good or bad, about leasing a car?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Where To Put The Homeless

A writer in the City Journal looks at New York's efforts to deal with the mentally ill homeless echoing something I've wrote before. In regards efforts to put them into housing or treatment centers:

"...the only idea that de Blasio and liberal homeless advocates can come up with is what they call “community-based solutions”—that is, placing facilities for the homeless, the mentally ill, and even convicted criminals in residential neighborhoods. But by basing treatment in such areas rather than in sequestered settings, these solutions introduce destabilizing populations into functioning communities. They damage the city’s social fabric, further marginalize residents already at risk, and poorly serve those in need. Yet they also enrich certain landlords and homeless-industry insiders, who profit from their incursion."

As I've asked before, would you want them moving in next door to you? I don't know what the answer is but, from reading the article, the author doesn't either.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Reform California Web Site

Some of you may have heard there's an effort to get an initiative on the ballot to reform California's public pension system. I've written about it here before. Here's their web site. You can't download petitions but you can "Sign Up" and they should send instructions on how to get one.

Even getting signatures from a few people you know can help.