Monday, March 31, 2014

:Press- Democrat's New Comment Feature

I'd never seen it before now, so this must be new. The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat might have started a new feature to their online comments. It seems if their staff see a comment to a story that catches their eye for whatever reason, they make it the "Featured Comment" and it shows up right below the story and separate from the other comments. 

Well guess who got the first Featured Comment to their editorial today? ME! Kinda neat, huh? I suppose it's akin to having a letter to the paper being awarded the Letter of the Day (which I got with them once before).  Not sure if the Featured Comment changes should they see another comment they like better, or not. Still, kinda neat.

Online Customer Service Chat a Success?

It has been for me, although I'm sure most of us long for the good old days when you could go down to the local office and speak to a customer service representative. Some of you oldies might remember Ma Bell had an office down on 6th or 7th street in Eureka decades ago.

Just got done with my second online customer service chat. The first one was a while back when I wanted to discuss some issues with Dish Network. That went well with one issue resolved and the other understood. This time it was with Tracfone, my cell phone provider.

My cellphone switched to Roam yesterday for some reason. Hey, I'm at home. Why Roam? I didn't want to call them on the phone if only because the last few times there was a bit of a language problem. Their lame online tech support forum just told me to follow a link to a page where I could chat with a representative. I figured it worked well enough with Dish Network so gave it a try.

Went pretty well, although if you can't type that could be a problem. I don't know that the problem was resolved, although she did tell me that my phone's contract charged the same amount of time whether a call was local, roaming or long distance so roaming didn't really matter. I guess that's good enough, although the constant Roam warning on my view screen is annoying.

I mentioned to her that now I have to dial the area code in for local phone calls. I suspect they did something with the relay towers again. She just wrote back that they might have done some upgrade but they encourage everyone to use the area code, even for local calls. That sucks, although I suppose it's not too big a deal since I rarely use my cell phone.

So, I guess these online customer chat systems work ok. I'd call them a success if only because you can get away from trying to understand the Indians or Chinese on the other end of the line. That, and both times I've tried it I didn't get put on hold or have to deal with those telephone menus.  As soon as I submitted the required info, a representative typed in, "Can I help you?". Nice!

I'd much prefer having the good old fashioned local office in town so I could speak to someone face to face, but those days will soon be a part of history.

David Friedman Makes My List

James Delingpole, a blogger I had on my list for some time, threw in the towel not long ago. Not so much quitting, but signing on with a different web site. Since he didn't give directions on where to find his new spot, I took him off my sidebar's blog list. Now who or what to replace him with?

I decided to add David Friedman's blog, Ideas. Not explicitly libertarian. He seems more an impartial observer of current events. What moved me the most is his recent posts on global warming/ climate change, and he seems to be a believer (note the small case b).

Note his believer credentials in his post of July 5, 2009:

"...But my best guess, from watching the debate, is that the first half of the argument is correct, that global climate is warming and that human action is at least an important part of the cause."

But he's certainly not a Believer. In a later post he acknowledges the apparent recent stall in the earth's temperature rise. To paraphrase his comment, assuming man is causing warming, more powerful other forces must be holding that warming back. That's along the line of what I wrote here some time ago: That man's impact on the weather and climate, if any, is insignificant compared to the larger forces of nature.

He also put's the "97% of scientists agree..." claim under scrutiny in his post of February 26, A Climate Falsehood You Can Check Yourself

He closes by writing, "Would anybody now like to claim that lumping levels 1, 2, and 3 together and only reporting the sum was not a deliberate attempt to mislead?". Much as I wrote here before, you might even add my name to the list if you make that group large enough.

He also did some looking into facts being strewn around about second hand smoke. In Blowing Second Hand Smoke, he found no solid research to back up the claim that tens or hundreds of thousands supposedly die from second hand smoke each year.

All in all an interesting blog. If I have one complaint to make it's that, as an academic, he writes as an academic. That makes it work for me to read sometimes, and perhaps quite difficult for others. Shame, as much of what he writes should be read by all.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sex Trafficking....Part 2

A retired hooker takes a looks at statistics used in the war on prostitution and sex trafficking.

I first thought that was written by Washington Post blogger, Radley Balko. I found the link on his blog and assumed he wrote it. It wasn't until I went back to get the link that I noticed it was written by someone else. She writes a lot like Balko. I've bookmarked her blog.

Addendum: Reason magazine tells us airport concession workers are now being trained to recognize sex traffickers and their victims.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


 I thought this was pretty funny. One of those things someone posted to Facebook.

Friday, March 28, 2014

J.T. Compton

How cool! Another local  celebrity I can add to my list of acquaintances. J.T. Compton gets quoted in today's Times- Standard story on the double murder on Harris Street:

"J.T. Compton -- a live-in caretaker for a woman who lives down the street -- said he was over at Storre's house last week and talked to him about the brothers, saying he had 'a bad feeling about them'.”

I had to go out to Cutten yesterday for work and decided to drive by the crime scene on the way just to rubberneck. I turned south on V street and there was J.T. about half way between Harris and Everding Streets. He was talking to someone in a car. Maybe it was the T-S reporter?

I do the lawn at the house he's an in- home helper at just a block away. It's almost in direct line of sight of the murder scene.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sex Trafficking?

We're all victims of some sort nowadays, aren't we? Still, one of the latest fronts in the victim movement that's irked me from the start is the grandstanding over supposed sex trafficking. It seems just about every story about prostitution stings I've read in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat lately throws in trafficking. It's usually the police that use the term so we'll feel better about their work. 

I had to comment on a recent story that of all the 3 or so years I worked in juvenile hall, I could only recall one girl that was an active prostitute. She was a good looking, fairly bright girl. From what I could tell she did it simply as an easy way to make decent money.

A sex worker (prostitute, for those of you from Arcata) wrote up a quiz that gives some of the reasons girls work in the sex trade. Anyone can take it and decide for themselves if they're victims, or potential victims, of sex trafficking.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bureaucracy Attacking Businesses

Reason magazine highlights the heartbreaking story of a small bus company in the southeast shut down by a federal agency for what appear to be frivolous rulings.

A couple points worth nothing: Apparently the larger companies aren't bothered much by the Federal Motor Carrier Services Administration. Probably because they have the assets to fight back, or perhaps the FMCSA thinks they're too tough to mess with?

Also interesting that another smaller carrier found it works best to have an adversarial relationship with FMCA rather than just trying to cooperate: 

"The company would likely be operating today if the Rodgers had hired a more experienced lawyer and taken a more adversarial approach. Georgia-based Transouth Motorcoach, which was shut down by the FMCSA in July, got its operating authority back by wisely avoiding the FMCSA’s appeals process and going directly to the courts."

Businesses might be advised to take heed, but that assumes they can afford the courts. I can't help but wonder, with California seemingly being proud of "regulating" businesses, if the situation isn't even worse here?

Non- Cash Campaign Contributions

Some non- cash contributions to political campaigns are easy enough to understand. I was listed as making a non- cash contribution to the No On Measure T campaign for something like $350 for developing the campaign web page. Others aren't so clear. Today's Times- Standard lists some contributions to current local campaigns.

Virginia Bass lists a non- cash donation worth $900.00 in the form of a load of concrete. What on earth would a load of concrete be used for? Chris Kerrigan lists a non- cash contribution worth $1,109.00 of hand crafted jewelry. I'm guessing that will be raffled off for cash? Anyone know for sure? What about that load of concrete?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Plea Bargains

Plea bargains and the court system in the news lately with at least a couple District Attorney candidates trying to make the most out of Elan Firpo's prior plea made in a murder case. Yesterday's Times- Standard article points out what I've wrote before: that the justice system would grind to a halt if not for the ability to bargain charges and punishment.

The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat has a good read this morning on plea bargaining. It pretty much says the same thing. I'll admit to being a bit irked over the first one they give as an example: 

A girl runs into and kills a motorcyclist. She's been cited for unlicensed driving four times prior to that. They drop the vehicular manslaughter charges in return for her dropping her right to trial and admitting to driving unlicensed. She gets a six month sentence with credit for time served.

What the....??? Then again, that's the way things often work.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Skeeter Time

This is actually the first time I looked very closely this year but it seems mosquitoes are starting to breed. I could see one 5 gallon bucket maybe 8 feet outside our back door had a whole bunch of larvae. Upon closer inspection a bunch of the other containers with water had them, too. Those containers have been drained.

I recommend everyone do the same. Check all containers with water for mosquitoes. Probably best to just drain all standing water and nip the problem in the bud.

Addendum: Realizing some might be storing water for use this summer, that presents a problem for mosquito control. You might try these mosquito dunks. They're a natural toxin that kill water borne larvae. I don't know if they still have them but Pierson's used to carry them years ago.

Phelps Counter- Protest

You'll remember the late Rev. Phelps as the God Hates Fags guy that protested people's funerals with that message. Nicely done on the counter- protesters part:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Toni Nathan: 1923-2014

Tonie Nathan, the first woman to receive an electoral vote in U.S. history, has died. She received that vote as the Libertarian Party's Vice Presidential candidate in 1972. She's also the first jewish woman to gain a U.S. vice presidential nomination. 

I actually spoke with her on the phone about 20 years ago. Forget the exact details but I called her regarding some bumper sticker she designed or had rights to. That's one neat thing about the smaller parties. You can actually call up some of the higher ups and chat with them.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gillespie & Lamb: Supreme Court TV?

I really enjoyed this YouTube interview of C-Span's Brian Lamb by Reason T.V.'s Nick Gillespie. I originally took the link because it was supposed to be about C-Span's efforts to cover Supreme Court proceedings (no cameras in the courtroom yet) but they spoke about much more. They delve into media monopolies, distribution and technology, along with related legal and regulatory issues, among other things.

I've always been a fan of Brian Lamb, although I'll admit to rarely watching C-Span since I went online. I was just planning on watching the Supreme Court segment, but ended up watching the entire 37 minutes and 25 seconds. I don't do that very often.

Campaign Sign Restrictions?

The Blue Lake Casino poll (on right side of page) up on the KIEM TV web site asks whether there should be restrictions on the time campaign signs can be displayed. As I write this 90% of those voting chose Yes. I actually voted Yes, too, but with reservations, and I don't know that I'd want a rule like that actually enforced.

Campaign signs, as annoying as I find them to be sometimes, seem to me to be a fundamental form of free speech. I don't like the idea of any restrictions on them, so long as they're not obstructing traffic views or anything along that line. I don't like the idea of an enforceable ordinance where people could be sanctioned in some way for making their views known.

However, I don't mind a community consensus as to how long we feel like subjecting ourselves to campaign signs- call it an agreement on politeness, if you will. After all, those signs are almost akin to yelling at someone as they're passing by, "VOTE FOR ************!". At least that's the way they strike me. 

Community consensus- perhaps even embodied in a city ordinance- I have no problem with. Just don't enforce it.

I believe in Eureka the consensus is that signs can be placed out 45 days(?) prior to election. Seems fair enough to me, although I'd prefer it more like a month prior. No biggie, especially since the signs can't all be put out overnight so they need some extra time.

I noticed a Virgina Bass sign across the street beginning a week or two ago. Too early for me. But I plan on having one in my yard, too. Just not yet. I e-mailed the Bass campaign yesterday and they asked if I'd mind a sign in my yard. I told them to bring one by but I wouldn't put it out in my yard until late April or early May- around a month before the election. I'm funny like that.

Oh, and the signs come down as soon as the polls close. I make a point out of that, as well. Every election I go out at 7 or 8pm and take down my signs, and those across the street. I hope you'll all do the same.
Whether campaign signs actually accomplish something, I don't know. I'm sure they serve some purpose or there wouldn't be so much money spent on them. I do find it interesting seeing who is supporting who.

I do recall years ago when Jeff Smith ran for a seat on the Eureka City Council. I didn't make a formal count of his signs, but it seemed to me he easily had the most yard signs out. He came in third in a three way race.

Malaysian Jetliner Answer?

Over at, an experienced pilot comes up with a relatively simple theory of what happened to that Malaysian plane that disappeared. Makes sense to me. I'm just wondering why I haven't heard it from anyone else?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Another State Freedom Index

J.D. Tuccille takes a look at yet another freedom index of the fifty states. While he mentions mixing the results of two different studies, it's not clear to me how he did it. Maybe he's just comparing the two? Still, another interesting way to compare the states. The Mercatus study, which involves more criteria, ranks the top free states as:

1. North Dakota
2. South Dakota
3. Tennessee
4. New Hampshire
5. Oklahoma

 and the bottom five:

46. Rhode Island
47. Hawaii
48. New Jersey
49. California
50. New York

The WalletHub index, based mostly on tax and financial criteria, has the top and bottom five listed as:

1. Wyoming: $2,365
2. Alaska: $2,791
3. Nevada: $3,370
4. Florida: $3,648
5. South Dakota: $3,766

47. Illinois: $9,006
48. Connecticut: $9,099
49. Nebraska: $9,450
50. California: $9,509
51. New York: $9,718

California and New York come in last on both. Congrats!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Year Old Seed Works

I was happy to see some zucchini seeds I had in the garage from last year sprouted. That saves me from buying new seed for them this year as I usually do. Don't we all? 

I know some seeds, onions for example, go bad real quick. I wasn't sure about squash and checking the viability list in Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening didn't help. Maybe I missed it, but the list didn't include squash. I should have just gone online as there are a number of different lists. Here's one so you can check to see if your seeds from last year- or even older- might still be good.

I tried broccoli seed earlier on. They sprouted, too, but I left them out overnight and the snails ate them.

Know How The County Can Cut $2M?

The latest subject on the Open Humboldt web site is for ideas on how to shave $2 million from the county's General Fund expenses. No comments there as I write this.

Living On Mars

CNN has a story on a guy writing a book about surviving on the planet Mars. He apparently has a lot of scientific and technical support to make it as about as realistic as could be expected. There's a possibility they may turn the the story into a movie. Might be fun. 

Reminds me of a neat book I read many years ago. I believe it was Mission to Mars, by James Oberg, although the picture of the book provided by Amazon isn't the same as the cover of the one I read. If it is the same book, and you're fascinated by the idea of not just traveling to Mars, but colonizing it, you might really enjoy it. 

He goes through the problems of getting there and how they might terraform the planet to make it more human friendly. He makes it sound doable.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Meet Your D.A. Candidates

Today's Times- Standard has statements from the four district attorney candidates. Read and decide which one you like best.

Lake Names: First or Last?

The weird things I think about when I'm lying awake in bed. I'm not sure why but I got to wondering this morning why some lakes have their name first, and some have it last. Probably got started on it yesterday when I read a news item about Trinity Lake where the writer referred to it as Lake Trinity. 

What? It's Trinity Lake, as it is Shasta Lake, but we also have Lake Mendocino and Lake Michigan. Who decides what comes first?

I ended up doing a web search and haven't found a definitive answer. This Yahoo page has a couple suggestions. One fellow says it has to do with how the lake was originally named, although he specifies " some cases". For instance, the French and Spanish put the adjective after the noun. That would make some sense.

Another guy says it depends on the size of the lake. If it's a large lake the name comes first. I was thinking something along that line but all the Great Lakes have Lake coming first, so that's certainly not a rule.

I like the last answer: Whatever sounds good to the people who name the lake.

Any other ideas out there?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Papa Murphy's Pizza

Both of us were spent yesterday, albeit from doing different things. Connie didn't want to cook dinner so suggested ordering a pizza. We did a short back and forth as to where to get one and decided on Papa Murphy's in Henderson Center. 

I haven't been much a fan of Papa Murpy's in the past. My main beef is their crust as it's almost worthless the next day if you have any pizza left over- too soft and spongy. It's been a long time, though, and though I'd prefer to get a takeout from the Leonardi's at Winco, I didn't want to drive that far. 

We had a coupon for a large Chicken Garlic from Papa Murphy's so Connie called it in so I wouldn't have to wait. Probably a good thing since they said it would be 25 minutes. I waited about 20 and then drove to Henderson Center.

I was quite surprised when I got there. I hadn't realized how big that place is. It seems pretty small just driving by, but it was a fairly large place with probably seven people working there. Most of them were all making pizzas, with one or another moving to handle customers as needed. I guess the girl working on the pizza nearest the cash register is supposed to greet customers. Every time someone came in the door she'd say hello to them.

And they had customers. There was one guy ahead of me when I got there. By the time I moved to the front there was four or five in line behind me, with more coming, going and parking outside. Of course, it was early Friday evening, but I was still surprised as I'd never seen more than one person coming or going from there when I'd drive by.

I gave the guy my name, he grabbed my pizza from a rack on the wall and it was just $11.00. That's what the coupon we had said it would be but I'd expected to pay more for one thing or another. Not a bad price.

I get home and we put the pizza aside until I'd taken a shower. When Connie tried to slide it off that cardboard tray it came on and put it on our pizza pan, it wouldn't slide off. It seemed stuck to the tray. Oh well, the cardboard thing is meant to handle ovens, anyway. We just put the whole thing on our metal pizza tray and baked it.

Once done we chomped down. It was ok. The dough didn't see as soft and squishy as the last time we had one. Maybe our metal pizza tray helped? We went through it quick enough and I felt almost satisfied. I realized a bit later I just didn't feel as full as I'd like to feel after eating a pizza. It's almost if that was pizza lite

Oh well. It was just one pizza. Whether we'll get another one I suppose depends on circumstances. The guy did give us one of their Take "N' Bake Club cards. One of those things where if you buy 12 pizzas you get a free pizza. They're just offering a free one topping, though. I don't know that I'll go out of my way to work on that. We'll just consider Papa Murphy's an option when we don't have the energy for anything else. It was pretty convenient.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Elan Firpo A Libertarian?

Our very own Rose Welsh seemed a bit annoyed over this short synopsis of the District Attorney candidates in the Times- Standard. She suggests the writer was bringing political parties into it. She is right that it is a non- partisan race, but all the guy did is point out Maggie Fleming is supported by some of the "old school Democrats". I didn't see much, if any, partisan intent to the letter.

I am curious why the writer senses Elan Firpo to be a libertarian? If someone could make a good case in that regard, that would certainly have some pull with me.

I was going to wait, but I'll go ahead and give my own brief synopsis of the candidates. I'll try to be nice:

Arnie Klein- I agree that Klein seems to have the most experience on the prosecution side. He comes off as a bit eccentric to me. That, coupled with his age, puts him near the bottom of my list. Hate to be an age bigot but I'm not sure a 70 year old guy could handle what by most accounts is the mess he'll be dealing with if elected.

Allan Dollison- I've made it well known I dislike Allan Dollison. I might go so far as to say it's personal. Leaving the personal stuff aside, though, I feel he's a philosophical authoritarian. It seems clear to me, after reading his Facebook page for months, that he is an admirer of state power and those that enforce that power. Certainly not someone I'd support for any position.

That aside, he's also quite enamored of his military duties. I'd expect him to continue his frequent reserve military forays so he'd likely not put in anywhere near as much time as needed in the challenging position of District Attorney. He is last on my list.

Elan Firpo- Easiest on the eyes of all the candidates, if she is a libertarian- even a closet one- that could certainly sway me. She seems competent enough. Complaints about her recent plea bargains could likely also be made against the same people making those complaints. She's in the top two.

Maggie Fleming- Hard to ignore the diversity of her endorsements. They're from all over. I'd say that's a good sign. I know little about her but some others who I respect are backing her, although I don't know their specific reasons. She's also in my top two.

With me it's between Fleming and Firpo.

Bee Swarming Basics

An informative and entertaining letter to the editor of the Times-Standard this morning explaining the how and why of honeybees swarming. This is the time of year they do it in Humboldt. As the lady suggests, if you want a swarm removed, call a beekeeper, not an exterminator.

We had a swarm show up in our back yard some years ago. I didn't notice it at first. They didn't make much of a fuss. Then the wife pointed them out to me. They were hanging on the arbor maybe fifteen feet from our back door- a big blob of bees. She called a beekeeper to have them removed but they'd already moved on before he showed up.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Eureka Gateway Sign?

What do you think? I kinda like it, but it also seems a bit copy- catish since it's a little similar to that one in Willits. I found it on this Craigslist ad. Still, it looks pretty nice.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sticking With Windows XP?

Some of you might have heard that Microsoft is dropping support for its Windows XP operating system in April. They're recommending users upgrade to a more current operating system. Gee, who'da thunk?

XP works fine for me and I don't want to venture into the mess that newer operating systems involve. Never mind I have some incompatibilities on my current system with the newer versions. My screen resolution, for instance. I downloaded a compatibility program and says I need a different screen resolution. Problem is, my screen settings says this is the highest I can go. Is that a monitor thing? Would I need a different monitor?

Nope. I ain't gonna do it! I'll be one of the holdouts and will be sticking with XP for at least another year, unless unforeseen circumstances develop. Will you be upgrading?

Will you be leaving behind Windows XP next month? free polls 

A Police State (cont.)?

Sent to me by someone via e-mail. Clicking on the picture should take you to the large version.

Nope. Didn't work. Picture was too big. Here's a link to the web page.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Earthquake Weather?

So much for that old myth about never having earthquakes when it rains. It was raining pretty good last night. In fairness to the myth, I've been through over 40 years of earthquakes up here and that's the first time I recall it raining during one.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Tesla Expanding Outside California

The editorial board of the Sacramento Bee seems not too happy that electric auto maker Tesla is opening a new factory elsewhere. Seems all the efforts by California to woo the automaker didn't work. Their new factory will open in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico guessed it, Texas!

Along that same line, with Occidental Petroleum moving it's headquarters from Los Angeles to Houston, that leaves only one oil major energy company headquartered in California: Chevron.

Hat tip to Richard Rider for the heads up on Occidental moving.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Sniping Begins in D.A. Race

As expected, a couple candidates, Allan Dollison and Arnie Klein, have criticized a plea deal made by candidate Elan Firpo who is prosecuting the case. 

Actions taken by a candidate in the courtroom are certainly fair game in a race for district attorney. I can't help but think that in this case it might have been better for them to keep quiet. I'm sure the finger pointers made the same sort of plea deals during their time in the courtroom. It also strikes me as an act of desperation by second tier candidates wanting attention.

Candidate Firpo seemed to handle the criticism well. Maggie Fleming, the other apparent front runner in the race, seems to have had the sense to stay out of the fray.

St. Joes Buys Eureka Internal Medicine

I had no idea until informed by the wife yesterday that St. Joseph's Health Systems bought Eureka Internal Medicine. Yet another medical practice taken over by St. Joes. I'm not sure how many local private practices they've taken over, but it seems to be quite a few.

Hopefully any changes will be good ones rather than bad, although I'm not sure I can think of one instance when a buyout ended up with positive changes. The only thing the wife mentioned as changing, so far, is their office hours. 

I'm not happy about this. I'm sure some won't like it because St. Joseph's is a Catholic organization. That doesn't bother me. What bothers me is if St. Joseph's goes down the tubes, a whole bunch of local private practices might well go down with them. 

At the same time, if Eureka Internal Medicine might have closed down had St. Joseph's not bought them out, I suppose that's a good thing. I'm not sure that's the case.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Humboldt County Sheriff Sued!!!

Humboldt County, Nevada, that is. I was taken aback when I first checked this Sacramento Bee article on a Humboldt County Sheriff's deputy being sued for illegal stops. Took a second to realize it wasn't our Humboldt County.

Anyway, they're in trouble for stopping cars just to shake them down for money. I personally think this happens a lot more than is reported. I'm not saying it happens here so much, although I do believe most of the drug busts from traffic stops in Northern CA are the result of profiling and not because those arrested violated any traffic laws.

Veterans' Party of America?

Got an invite from an old National Guard buddy yesterday to Like this Veterans' Party of America Facebook page. Not sure how serious of an idea this is but I'm not going to bite.

What is it about veterans that makes them more knowledgeable than anyone else in regards politics? Sure, I can think of some veterans that seem pretty sharp. I can also think of some, like Senator John McCain, that I loathe.

I can't imagine Liking, or supporting, a group just because they call themselves veterans. They'd need to have some specific stands on issues I support.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

N.C. Journal On Obamacare

Good read in this week's North Coast Journal on how Obamacare policies are working out here in Humboldt. It has me back to being worried again. 

Someone commented here on an earlier post that their old provider wouldn't accept the Obamacare policy. I called mine and asked if they would accept my Obamacare plan Anthem- Blue Cross. They said they would, but I didn't mention Obamacare. The article says other providers accept Anthem- Blue Cross, but not the Obamacare version. Guess I won't know for sure until I go in there again.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Mike Knight Passed Up Again

Looks like Assistant City Manager Mike Knight didn't get the promotion to Eureka City Manager once again. Isn't that at least the second time? I'm sure he's feeling a bit frustrated. If he didn't want the job he wouldn't have applied for it. The top pick is some new guy from out of state.

I suppose there's something to be said for searching a large group for the best qualified candidate. There's also something to be said for going with what you know and someone who seems pretty sure to hang around. Maybe I take it personally? 

I got a little miffed when I applied for a full time position at Juvenile Hall. I'd put in a lot of volunteer time prior to applying. I might have even had one of the permanent part- time positions at the time. Yet some guy who came in later and put in a lot less time got the job ahead of me. He didn't last long, moving on to work at the jail within a few months. Told ya so!

The National Guard was like that, too, although for my first few years I never really sought promotion- heck, I never really pursued promotions. I figured when the time came to get promoted, I'd get promoted.

I'd put my time in and thought I might be ready for a squad leader position. I'd be next in line for it but some new guy- fresh out of the service- would join the unit and take the position ahead of me. That happened to everyone. Not just me.

I didn't care much at first. It did kind of grate on my nerves after a while. Having some guy who ran a sewer plant for the Air Force jump in ahead of me as squad leader of a combat engineer unit. 

Hate it when stuff like that happens, even when I see it happen to someone else.

Some Reservoir Levels

This Capitol Public Radio article has a map and graph with some of the state's current reservoir levels. Ruth Lake isn't included. Interesting that the two down in the far reaches of Southern California appear full. For a readable picture just click on the link provided and scroll down.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Just Don't

Water Dowsers

I've been reading more and more lately of water dowsers, or witchers, being hired to find water in areas of the state hard hit by the drought. Some say dowsing is a fraud. Others say it's worked real well for them. I don't know, but I played around with dowsing back in the early 80s although I didn't search for water.

I was working at the Humboldt Bay Power Plant at the time. One day one of the guys from the shop came up the hill carrying a bent welding rod in each hand. A short end of maybe five inches was bent at a 90 degree angle to allow for use as a handle. Pretty much like the picture, but the short end was just wire and the pointing end was longer.

He'd hold the rods in each hand with the long part pointing to the front. As he'd walk along, every now and then the rods would move together and they'd cross. The guy would say, "Right here", and they'd mark the spot. 

They were looking for a water line, or some such, and he thought dowsing might work. For some reason I don't recall if he found what he was looking for. I don't believe they never dug up the spots he pointed out. 

Since I had an interest in treasure hunting at the time, that piqued my curiosity and I went down to the shop and asked for a couple of the welding rods so I could try it myself. Right away I tried it on a quarter laying on the pavement. Sure enough, when I walked over it the rods crossed, forming an X over the quarter. I gave it a few more tries and it worked every time.

Took the rods home and went to a vacant lot on the corner of Pennsylvania and Myrtle Avenue. That's where that fitness place is now across from PG&E. I tried it there and found the coin I laid down. Then I tried it without placing something on the ground. Yep, the rods crossed over every now and then, too, but I didn't know what they were reacting to.

I consulted with my friend and master treasure hunter, Mike Wood, who was also trying the dowsing rods. He put them through their paces with his critical eye and finally came to the conclusion that, if you played with the rods long enough, they seemed to point to wherever you wanted them to. 

Maybe that's how they work?

Saturday, March 01, 2014


Those of you concerned about fisheries issues may be interested in this Sacramento Bee Oped on the status of our sardine fisheries and related regulations. There's been some news stories lately about lower sardine populations, or their impending doom, depending on who you hear it from. The writer seems pretty knowledgeable about the subject.

Eureka's Most Wanted

The Times- Standard announces Eureka Police Department's "new" Most Wanted program. They'll be publishing pictures of thieves wanted by police.

Except I don't think this is anything new. They were publishing most wanted pictures up until fairly recently. Maybe it's because they restarted them under the new police chief? Or maybe it's because these are just petty thieves and the old ones involved more serious crimes? Or maybe that last version was Humboldt's Most Wanted? I forget if it was Eureka's or Humboldt's.

Regardless, I don't recognize any on the current list. I'm not sure what that says about me. Either I don't hang in bad crowds, or maybe I don't get out enough?