Saturday, November 30, 2013

R.I.P. Stinker: 19??- 29 Nov. 2013

We had to put the last of our cats to sleep yesterday. Stinker, around 16 or so years old, was Connie's rescue cat. That's him in the picture. He enjoyed going to the greenhouse and curling up in the flower pot in better times.

It's been rough for months as his condition deteriorated, his hind legs finally becoming disfunctional the last week or so. We should have probably put him down sooner but I didn't have the guts. We made a false start Wednesday with Connie getting ready to make a phone call to take him in. She got upset, as did I, so we decided to hold off- something we shouldn't have done. 

Had I thought of it sooner, I would have called this veterinarian. She makes house calls. We both would have felt better had we been able to have him go to sleep where he was comfortable. I called her but she said she wouldn't be available until Monday.

After a long Thursday, on Friday we had to do it. We first called the Myrtletown Vet Hospital but they were apparently closed for the weekend- just another reason I hate holidays. Then we tried the place we used to go, Broadway Animal Hospital. They were open and they were able to fit us in within just a couple hours. A great relief.

They were great and took care of us as best as could have been done given the situation. The whole thing was over within 25 minutes. We brought Stinker home and buried him by his favorite bench in the back yard where he enjoyed sunning himself. Good bye, little fuzzy buddy. We'll miss you.

Obamacare Adventures Continue

Regular visitors here know I've been told I'll be booted from the County Medical Services Program (the county administered version of Medi-Cal) by December 31 because of Obamacare. I recently called the Medi-Cal 1-800 number and a worker helped me fill out an application for regular MediCal. I received a letter in the mail yesterday telling me I don't qualify.

I'm a bit confused by their explanation. Oh, and they start out by writing, "Congratulations! You qualify for health insurance through Covered California.". Nice lead on, huh? Here's the pertinent information from the letter:

"You do not qualify for Medi-Cal health coverage because your income is above the Medi- Cal limit".

"You do not qualify for Premium Tax Credits, Enhanced Silver Plan because: You are not a member of the primary tax filer's tax household. There can be only one primary tax filer per application. If you will not be claimed as someone's tax dependent, you may apply again as an individual".

They go on to tell me to go to the Covered California web site to choose a plan. WHAT?

Something is screwy here. I don't get what they're saying about not being a member of the primary tax filer's tax household, or being someone's tax dependent. I thought we filled out the application for me as an individual, not the two of us.

I'd also think I'd be considered the primary tax filer in the household. After all, I'm the who goes to see the accountant for tax preparation and the only one with income that needs to be calculated.

I'm guessing we made a mistake when we filled out the application? I don't think I can go back and contact the gal who helped me fill it out. It looks like I have no choice but to try doing the online application and see what happens. Maybe I'll take a crack at that tomorrow?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

George Will Ponders Being Thankful

Washington Post columnist George Will takes a tongue- in- cheek look at whether we should be thankful about some things- in politics, anyway. I suppose it might not be considered funny by the politically correct, but don't worry. No Obama bashing. He did point out at least one thing I was unaware of:

"The Los Angeles Times announced that it had stopped publishing letters questioning global warming caused by human activity."

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but it should be scary to everyone when another newspaper goes the route of Popular Science magazine and stops accepting comments or letters that question their "science".

Will goes on to point out the Times' action might make sense to some:

"Which makes sense, if you agree with the New Yorker’s resident expert, who called the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on warming “the last word on climate change.” It evidently is the first science to reach the end of its subject, all questions answered." 

Frightening times we live in.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

California's Rosy Budget Projection: The Other Side

Last week the California Legislative Analyst's Office came up with some rather optimistic projections. They predicted budget surpluses for the foreseeable future. This op- ed writer for the Sacramento Bee points out it's not as rosy as the LAO would have us believe. Tens of billions in growing debt for public employee retirement and health benefits being one issue they give little consideration.

They also didn't seem to consider the tens of billions in debt we'll face from the High Speed Rail project, but if the recent court ruling helps shut that down maybe that won't be an issue.

Oakland Tribune Blasts High Speed Rail

Some of you might have heard a Superior Court judge made a ruling earlier this week that really put a damper on California's proposed High Speed Rail boondoggle. I was surprised to see the Oakland Tribune's scathing editorial supporting that ruling and blasting the HSR plan.

I don't read the Tribune often, but I would think that, being where they are geographically, they'd be all about high speed rail.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What if it was the other guy?

Anthony Gregory points out how much of today's political finger pointing, or lack of it, is partisan based, rather than on the merits of the issues themselves.

"The major distinction would be who defends the president, and who protests most loudly.
Had McCain been president for the last five years, a lot of things would probably be the same, and some would be different. The biggest difference would be that many Republicans would stand by the president, and just as many Democrats would be calling for impeachment."

Why he used McCain as an example, I'm not sure, although it doesn't really matter. He could have just as easily used Romney to make the same point.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

50% of Mendocino County in Pot Business

So says the head of Mendocino County's major crimes task force, according to the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat. He suggests the percentage might be even higher in Humboldt County.

That certainly seems a bit over the top. I'm wondering if it's more of a misstatement? He might be referring to the people benefiting from pot income, which would include every day businesses that sell to growers. Like a car dealer, for instance, that sells a car to a pot grower that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford one.

Most agree the pot does benefit local economies to some extent.

Sacramento Bee Restarting Comments

Perhaps I wrote too soon that the Bee was considering not restarting their comments? Word from their Executive Editor today is that they'll be starting up again this week...slowly.

They'll begin by allowing comments from just a small group: "Half of our 1,000 most active, paid subscribers – chosen randomly and given a voucher to register – have been invited to check out and use our new system. All readers will be able to read the comments at every stage of this rollout."

They're obviously taking the comments pretty seriously. Maybe too seriously?

Wonder if I'll be invited? I have an active account but haven't received anything from them yet.

Those invited to comment will have to sign in through a social media site, but they're given six options, Google being one.

We'll see how this ends up working out. I still can't help but be a bit skeptical of their intent, if only because I never noticed that much of a problem with the comments to begin with. I am glad they're starting up again.

Read more here:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I Bite The Bullet, Subscribe to SD Union- Tribune

I finally subscribed to the San Diego Union- Tribune, but I still can't get to the commentary I wanted to read.

I wrote earlier I didn't want to pay for any more papers because I can't afford to subscribe to every newspaper I read. I thought the Union- Tribune said you could get a few free views per month without paying so I tried to ration my reading there as I do with the L.A. Times. Only problem was, even the first time I tried to access a free read I was sent to their subscription page.

I really wanted to read some of their stuff if only because one of my favorites, Steve Greenhut, writes for them now. Plus, every now and then they have a interesting news story. This morning I finally decided to take the plunge and subscribe, if only because I noticed that an online subscription costs just $3.49 a month (still, enough of those can add up).

I still can't read my Greenhut articles. First I had to go back to the web site and figure out how to log in. Once I did, I checked on the Opinion link to find the commentary. Greenhut wasn't listed on their opinion page. So, I went back to Rough and Tumble where I'd originally found the link, and clicked on the link again. Nope. It just sent me back to the subscription page saying my subscription wasn't active despite already being logged in.

I guess I'm not going to read that commentary this morning. I used their customer service page to send in my issue. Hopefully they'll understand what the problem is. And I thought the Times- Standard web site was bad!
I really didn't want to subscribe to any more papers but, the way the Sacramento Bee is going, I might cancel my subscription with them. They suspended their comments over a month ago saying they'd start them again after they figured out what system they wanted to use.

No comments yet and other papers have redone their comments in much less time. I'm beginning to think they like the quiet. The Bee is a pretty blatant left wing paper with stories and commentaries reflecting that. It seemed 9 out of 10 of the comments were critical of them.

I also noticed the letters to the paper in favor of ending comments seemed to be from lefties. I don't think they liked the criticism either. Maybe the Bee decided it's easier for them to write what they want without any dissent? Hey, nothing wrong with a little conjecture, especially after this much time.

It almost doesn't seem worth subscribing to the Bee without comments as they gave me twice as much to read. I do read a lot of their stuff regularly and Dan Walters' commentaries are usually a must read (but I can sometimes find his stuff elsewhere). Whether I'll drop my subscription to the Bee I'll decide later, but that money might better be spent subscribing to the L.A. Times. They put out more news and allow comments.

Friday, November 22, 2013

McElroy Defines The Police State

I've broached the question here before and still wonder if we could describe this country as a police state. The Daily Bell's Wendy McElroy takes a look at the question: 

"...even if America is a police state, it's not obvious how far the process has progressed. North Korea and the United States exist at different points of a sliding scale of totalitarianism, and merely pointing to rights violations by the United States proves little. All states violate rights. When does one become totalitarian?"

Nicely written although she falls just short, as did I, of coming to a solid, definitive answer.

I had to laugh at one of the comments to her commentary. Some readers here might well agree with it: "A police state is a small price to pay for living in a free country."

More good stuff from the Rational Review News Digest.
even if America is a police state, it's not intuitively obvious how far the process has progressed. North Korea and the United States exist at different points on a sliding scale of totalitarianism, and merely pointing to rights violations by the U.S. proves little. All states violate rights. When does one become totalitarian? - See more at:
even if America is a police state, it's not intuitively obvious how far the process has progressed. North Korea and the United States exist at different points on a sliding scale of totalitarianism, and merely pointing to rights violations by the U.S. proves little. All states violate rights. When does one become totalitarian? - See more at:

SRP-D Does The Freddy

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat published my letter today (Off Base Editorial) that I wrote in response to their Wednesday editorial.

I should have rewrote the first paragraph but didn't notice a glaring error until hours after I'd sent it in. Amazing how you can miss simple mistakes after re- reading a letter multiple times. I did send in a request to change one word. They changed it and thus saved the first paragraph.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Buchanan Compares Nixon and Kennedy

Pat Buchanan takes a look at the legacies of Richard Nixon and John Kennedy- Kennedy being a more legendary figure among most, with Nixon being the scoundrel. He points out that Nixon can actually point to more positive accomplishments than Kennedy.

Buchanan was a senior advisor to Nixon, but you can't really argue with the historical record.

Monday, November 18, 2013

ObamaCare Fun Update

I called the Health and Human Services 1-800 number this morning to find out what I was supposed to do in regards the notice of my County Medical Services Program eligibility ending. After being put on hold for a bit I ended up speaking with a nice lady.

She said some on certain county medical programs were being switched straight into MediCal with nothing needing to be done on their part. Others, myself included, did need to essentially fill out a new application. She said they would probably send me one in the mail, but she didn't sound too sure about it.

But, she offered to fill out the application with me over the phone. I accepted. It took 45 minutes to an hour (Connie said it wasn't as long as an hour) and we got 'er done. She couldn't tell me whether I'd be accepted or have to go to Covered California for the subsidized insurance. I'll be getting something in the mail to tell me my status.

One thing she brought up towards the end of the process was that you can agree to let them check your income via the IRS to avoid having to re- apply each year which is NICE. They let you chose that option for between 1 to 5 years. I chose five. Hey, I'm going to have to give them the information, anyway. I'd just as soon they go check my income themselves without me having to go through the reapplication hassle every year.

That assumes I'll be accepted for the MediCal option. If I'm not, I might have to remain without coverage and pay the penalty, depending on how the subsidized Covered California insurance works. She didn't seem too clear on how that worked, either.
The Sacramento Bee reports on some erroneous notices being sent to Californians on MediCal in regards them not being able to see their current medical providers anymore. I'm not sure if it's the same thing Connie got in the mail a few months ago.

She received a large booklet from MediCal or MediCare telling her she could no longer see the physician(s) she'd been seeing unless they were on a pre- approved list. She was pissed!

I told her that she should check with the billing people at her current doctors as they could probably tell her if that was completely true. She didn't believe it, taking what the booklet said verbatim. I suggested it was highly unlikely they'd tell her she couldn't go to providers she'd been seeing for years and that it was probably meant for new entrants to the program.  

She went to see one doctor and was told that the restrictions applied to patients who were only covered by MediCal. Since she's mostly covered by MediCare- the federal program- those restrictions didn't apply to her.

My Neighbor is Artsmart

Just found out one of my next door neighbors has a web site for her business so I thought I'd give it a plug here. Artsmart: Creative solutions for art organizations.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Saw JFK....Maybe

More and more stuff in the news lately about John F. Kennedy as we approach the anniversary of his assassination. I found this a fun read on the various conspiracy theories surrounding his death.

I might actually have seen him once, although it was more of a kinda thing even if I did. We were at some big event when we lived in Mexico. It could have been a state fair, or some such. I remember my father pointing to a cluster of people maybe 50 yards away and saying "That's the president over there".

I'd like to think I saw a dark haired white guy in the center of all those people that would have been Kennedy. Maybe I did, or maybe my mind is making that up? Anyway, there was a cluster of people and one of the people was some president. I can't be sure about the timeline, though.

I first heard of the assassination while in Mrs. Gordon's 3rd grade class at Sycamore School in Tustin, CA. She came in and announced it to the class. That was the first American school I'd attended after we returned to the country. I'm not sure how long we'd been in the U.S. at that point. Maybe 6 months or a year?

Since we lived in Mexico for 3 years or so prior to that, that could have put us down there during at least a year or two of Kennedy's term. I wonder if there's any way to find out if he visited Mexico as president?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hoover's Anonymity Connundrum

Kevin Hoover, over at the Mad River Union, tells a tale of someone submitting a letter to his paper under a false name. When he called her on the phone to verify identity she claimed to have good reason for using a phony name. He wonders how to deal with a supposedly good reason for anonymity when policy is to require writers use their real name.

I like his thinking and some of those that commented on the story. Specifically, Eric Kirk and MOLA, who together seem to come up with a good compromise: Make an exception to the full identification requirement but make note of that in the attribution of the letter. One problem with that, as another commentator pointed out, is then other writers might lie about their situation to take advantage of the exception.

I'm skeptical of most arguments I've read or heard for allowing anonymous letters or comments. Maybe the opinions of some who are afraid to be identified might be left out of the mix. Oh well. Seems to me if their opinion is presented in a fair and non- belligerent manner, they have nothing to worry about.

I've been spouting opinion here- sometimes provocatively- since 2005. I've yet to have been threatened. Insulted? Sure, but no threats. I just don't understand the fear some have of letting their opinion be known. A guy I used to work for is a good example. I told his story here years ago:

I actually wasn't working for the guy anymore, but we'd bumped into each other since, exchanged e-mail addresses and had been chatting a bit here and there on various subjects, including politics. I'd written a letter to the Times- Standard, the subject of which escapes me now. It was provocative in that it went against some strong opinions of the time.

The guy sent me an e-mail the day after it was published: "Fred, I liked your letter to the paper, but why did you use your own name?". I replied, "Because I wrote it.".

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pot Taxes Favor the Black Market

Nick Gillespie has an article in The Daily Beast detailing how government might well keep the black market in marijuana going strong. He has a point and I've thought the same thing since even before Washington and Colorado legalized pot. After all, when taxes and regulations end up making legal pot much more expensive then the illegal stuff, which one will most people buy?

Being a Good Neighbor

Cute article here about how to be a good neighbor and bring your neighborhood together. I'm not so sure such advice is needed here as my neighborhood seems friendly enough, at least right now. 

About the only problem house within sight is the "druggie house" a couple houses down and across the street. Everybody else seems to get along okay. Even with the druggie house I don't know that there's any open hostility. Most just try to ignore them.

Another hat tip to for the link.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Obamacare Fun

All the people having their private health insurance cancelled because of Obamacare has been in the news lately. Guess what? They're kinda dumping those on government health programs, too.

Got a letter from the state yesterday advising me that, because of the new Affordable Care Act, they'll be terminating most County Medical Services Program (CMSP) members by December 31. They advise checking Obamacare's Covered California web site, or MediCal, to see if I'm eligible for either of those.

CMSP, as best I understand it, is pretty much a county run program similar to MediCal. What the difference might be in this regard, I don't know. I pay share of cost under CMSP. That means I pay the first $650.00 or so of my medical expenses each month. I have no idea how that would work if I qualified for MediCal.

Am I qualified for MediCal? I don't know. I've already checked the Covered California web site. Depending on what annual income I declare- plus or minus a thousand dollars- I was either unable to apply for the Obamacare plan because I might be eligible for MediCal, or the Obamacare option would cost $400 a month. Maybe more.

What the outcome with this might be, it's too early to tell. It could turn out ok, or it could be awful.

It is funny to see Obamacare booting people from even government health programs. It might even be funny if I end up not having any coverage at all because of Obamacare. I don't know that I'll be laughing along with everybody else.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Artificial Intellingence: The Future Threat?

A few months ago I wrote a short piece on artificial intelligence and automation. My focus being that as those took on more and more roles in our lives, and became more independent, we'll face a real crisis in employment.

The American Prospect has a short interview with the author of a book on robotics and artificial intelligence discussing a slightly different aspect to technology: when we develop intelligence smarter than we are, might it be a threat not just to jobs but perhaps our lives? 

As the writer points out, how do we treat creatures a bit less intelligent than we are? We put them in zoos.

Another fun read brought to my attention by the Rational Review News Digest.

The Boom

We finally heard it. That mysterious boom the Lost Coast Outpost and others have reported hearing around Eureka. Interesting the range of opinions about where it came from and what it might have been. 

As far as I'm concerned it very clearly came from the Pine Hill area, or at least from that direction. No way it was a car crash or shotgun as some have suggested. Sounded to me just like those boomers (mortars?) that you hear go off at fireworks shows down on the bay on July 4.

Nothing wrong with speculating, but if you actually know who or what is doing it, mums the word. As I suggested on the Lost Coast Outpost a short time ago, this has the potential of being a big tourist draw like Gulf Breeze, Florida or Roswell, New Mexico. Let the world keep wondering about Eureka's strange booms, and traveling here to hear to research them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cloud Seeding 101

I'd been thinking lately about cloud seeding for some reason. Cloud seeding, for those of you in Arcata, is releasing silver iodide into clouds to increase the amount of rain they release. This Sacramento Bee article answered just about every question I had regarding the practice.

Contrary to my assumption that seeding actually makes a cloud formation rain, it only increases the amount of snow where it's already snowing- which I would think might turn to rain as it descends.

Is it cost effective? I guess so:

 "In a report this year, the California Department of Water Resources estimated these projects generate 400,000 acre-feet of additional water supply annually. That’s about equal to half the volume of Folsom Reservoir. They did so at an estimated cost of $2.27 per acre-foot, which is cheaper than almost any other water-supply option, including conservation projects."

I also wondered about the silver iodide being released. Is that harmful? Not according to the folks involved, but I'll remain a bit skeptical on that one.

Still no comments allowed in the Sacramento Bee. What's with that? Didn't really matter after reading this article as I had no questions or comments to make. Nicely done by the Bee.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Dump Daylight Savings Time?

I've finally decided we should. I've gone back and forth over the issue of changing the time here before but I haven't gotten along well with it this time at all. It's been almost a week now and I'm still not used to it. 

Our tom cat, Stinker, still wakes me up at the old time so, despite trying to sleep in to the new 5:30am to get used to it, he climbs up on me wanting me to feed him at what is now 4am. Night is no better. I try to stay up at least until the new 9pm but find myself dozing off just after 8.

It makes no sense, as this Atlantic Wire rant points out. When you really think about it, if some person or business needs to change their schedule to accommodate daylight, they can always change their schedule- instead of having hours of 9 to 5, change your hours from 8 to 4. They don't need to change everybody else's time to do that. 

Wonder what it would take to get rid of Daylight Savings Time? This is one of those rare things I'd appreciate California taking the lead on and hope the other 47 states would follow.  

The Triplicate Does The Freddy

As noted in an earlier comment, The Del Norte Triplicate published a letter by The Freddy the other day. Takes a while to show up online as they don't post items online until the next hard copy issue comes out. Their reasoning being, if you want the current issue, buy the hard copy. Makes sense.

As far as the letter (Up Our Way) goes, I actually hadn't intended it as a letter. That's rather ironic as I'd sent in an actual attempt at a letter a few months ago but they didn't publish it. They did make a correction to the article I wrote about, though.

With this letter, I was reading this editorial which mentioned people from down south referring to themselves as Northern Californians. I found that amusing as it's been discussed here and elsewhere locally. I sent him a short note about a couple of my experiences in that regard. He e-mailed me back asking if he might use it as a letter to the editor to try and generate some discussion.

As an aside, he mentioned the Triplicate is planning on adding comments to their web site sooner or later. Be interesting to see how that works out.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Give Them An Inch....

Not that the City of Arcata was taking an inch. They already have any number of smoking restrictions, and are considering others. According to today's Times- Standard the obvious consequences of banning smoking in the Plaza area are taking hold with people moving just outside the no smoking zone to smoke.

Now some are calling for the city council to extend the no smoking area even further, the obvious line of thinking being they can just vote or legislate their way to non- smoking nirvana.

Their police chief is asking for more time to see how well the current ban works. I'm surprised at that if only because I would think the police would be opposed to this ban to begin with. Someone could literally end up being hurt or killed every time police make a citizen contact for any sort of violation. You'd think they'd want to less opportunity for that to happen, not more. Would you want to get in a knock down, drag out fight over issuing a ticket for smoking?

Regardless, this does go to show the prohibitionists will never be satisfied. We need to remember back when the first smoking restrictions were proposed in the country those of us who said those restrictions might eventually extend to our homes were considered paranoid. History has shown we were right. It will get worse.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

That Virginia "Spoiler" Thing

Since someone already brought it up, I thought I'd start a post on the Virginia gubernatorial election where the Libertarian Party candidate, Robert Sarvis, is being accused by conservatives nationwide of being the spoiler in the race. He received over 6% of the vote, which was more than the margin of victory between the Republican and Democrat. 

All I'll say now is it's rather arrogant to assume that the libertarian vote belongs to a Republican or Democrat, especially when it was widely reported both major party candidates in that race were generally not thought well of (to put it mildly). 

Reason's Nick Gillespie had a commentary out this morning addressing the spoiler issue which I pretty much agreed with, except I can't find it right now. If I find it I'll post a link here. In the meantime, here's a couple of other Reason articles on that race:

A generic Sarvis did great, piece

A Why it's Great To Have More Options piece.

Addendum: Not Gillespie's piece, but along the same lines, this writer claims Sarvis actually helped Cuccinelli. He quotes a poll that says 71 percent of the Sarvis voters would have voted for MCAuliffe had Sarvis not been in the race. 

Here's Nick Gillespie's article.

Mckinleyville Teen Center Proposed

Just in from the Mad River Union's Facebook page is notice of a meeting to discuss a proposal to build a teen center in Mckinleyville. One of the Union's publishers, Jack Durham, worries about the plans he's seen which include a roll up door on the north side of the building providing access to a patio. Wouldn't it be a bit cold on the north side, he asks? I say not to worry. 

Back in the early 70s I lived in Irvine when it was just being developed. There was some concern by the older folks about teenagers having nothing to do at night and that we might turn to drinking or drugs out of boredom. They opened a teen center using an existing building for nightly teen entertainment.

Didn't do much to get us away from drugs or drinking, though. We'd just get drunk or do our drugs and then go hang out at the teen center. It might be the same in Mckinleyville, Jack, and the kids won't care what side of the building the patio is on.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Calculating Asteroid Impacts

I was reading this news item about the chances of a large meteorite striking the earth being more likely than previously thought. One of the comments directed me to Purdue's University's Asteroid Impact Calculator. Kinda hard to figure out what criteria to add to the formula, but still fun (and scary) to play with.

For what it's worth, the last one I tried was a 3 meter wide asteroid. According to the calculator most of it would burn up in the atmosphere.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Taking The Bus?

When the comments on the Short Sea Shipping post digressed into a discussion about local bus services, I got curious. I recalled Greyhound closing their Eureka terminal some years ago. Are they still servicing the area? One commenter said they were, but I can't recall seeing a Greyhound bus around here in years.

I remember reading something about a bus or buses still stopping here, just no terminal where you could buy tickets or wait for the bus, so I went to check the Greyhound web site. My first try came up empty and I couldn't find Eureka listed anywhere. The only places listed were major cities. 

Then I tried again and found this page. Apparently a Greyhound bus comes through Humboldt once a day. Standard fare for a trip to Ukiah is $48.00 with stops in Scotia and Willits. Seems reasonable to me. I have yet to find where you're supposed to get on the bus, though.

When I first moved up here I believe the Greyhound station was somewhere around 4th and E streets in Eureka. Then it moved to the north end of town on 4th or 5th. Now it's just a spot where you stand and get picked up, but they don't say where.

I do remember seeing Amtrak buses driving through Eureka, so I know they're still around, but how do you book a ticket? Looking at their web site, the map shows a number of stops along 101. The closest actual terminal seems to be in the San Francisco area.

I'm unable to find their bus schedule, so far, assuming there is one. All I can find are train routes. I did find mention of their bus routes being an extension of their train routes, but what if I wanted to take one of their buses from Eureka to Ukiah?  

Seems to me one of the Matteoli clan came back to Eureka on Amtrak and was dropped off around 5th and D. I guess I could ask one of them. Either that or call Amtrak's 1-800 number.

Looks like the AmTrak web site needs some work, as does Greyhound's. It is good to know there's at least some bus service available up here.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

America's Best Pizzas?

You'll want to check out this slide show of the supposed best pizzas of the 50 states. Some really look enticing. Others not so much, at least to me (no accounting for taste!). 

I wanted to pick out the ones that intrigued me the most but there's just too many.  Here are the first three I ran into before I realized there were just too many to list here:

#5 California's Watsonville Apple Pizza struck me as odd, but I don't mind pineapple on pizza so why not apple?

#9 Florida's Everglades Pie is really unique if only because it has frog's legs and alligator meat on it.

#12 Idaho's Potato and Bacon Pizza looks weird but I'd probably enjoy it.

One thing I didn't see was something along the line of a pizza both Frank Jager and I thought was among the best we'd ever had: the Seafood Pizza Shakey's (back when Eureka had one) used to offer. Excellent!

The Eureka City Manager Search

Yesterday's story in the Times- Standard about the continuing search for a Eureka city manager reads a little funny to me. When recent city manager, Bill Panos, resigned, the story at the time read as if it was a shame to see him go. Maybe they were just being polite?

Now they're saying they want a more thorough background check, citing some not so favorable incidents in Panos' past and at least some in city hall that weren't fond of his management style. I can't help but wonder if this is more along the line of "You can't quit on us. You're fired!", by those left high and dry by his sudden resignation?

It now sounds as if the powers- that- be want to beat themselves over the head with an even more intensive screening of any potential new city managers- deeper background checks and such. I don't see the point when they can hire the current Assistant City Manager, Mike Knight, who is already acting as city manager.

Why not? In Mike Knight we have a known commodity that's lived in the area for a long time. He's hardly likely to up and leave abruptly as just about any other out of town candidate has the potential to do. If things don't work out the city council can always put Knight back in his former position of assistant and start a new search for city manager.

 I don't see any downside to giving an experienced local guy a chance at the job.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

De Rooy's Letter: Short Sea Shipping

I've written before that I like the idea of Short Sea Shipping (SSS). I'll disagree with Sylvia De Rooy's letter in yesterday's Times- Standard that there is no downside to it. There certainly could be a downside and I object to the suggestion that trucks are a scourge to the area and it would be a good thing to remove them from our roads.

Those horrible trucks provide good paying jobs that SSS will likely not come close to replacing. After all, it takes a handful of crew to run a barge and a relative handful of people to load and unload a barge. What are those truckers going to do if their jobs end up being replaced?

I reject the notion De Rooy and other environmentalists have of all those displaced truckers just magically "finding something else to do".

Short Sea Shipping might well be a good idea. If so, let's let it happen on its own. Let's not suggest getting rid of trucks and their good paying jobs is a valid reason for pursuing it.

Friday, November 01, 2013

New Life For Old Bags

Interesting idea for those supposed single use plastic shopping bags: This short video tells how some old ladies started a project of crocheting plastic shopping bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. Kinda neat looking although they never show one fully rolled out.