Microsoft, Mead, and Trump

Kat bought a new laptop, and does she hate Windows 8.1! You and I do too, but the good news is, she’s already installed Microsoft’s upgrade to Win 10. The better news is, Win 10 works well, is visually appealing and somewhat intuitive. I’m saving some of her photos from the past two years, and to select them, I’m looking at every one.   During this work season I’m going to write again about some of the places we went in 2014, show those pictures and write through the filter of memory. No old posts will be re-read.

There's About a Hundred Feet That Used to Be Wet
  There’s About a Hundred Feet That Was Wet


Mead's Bathtub Ring
                    Mead’s Bathtub Ring

In the spring of 2014 we boondocked a few days on what a decade earlier was the floor of Lake Mead. Las Vegas and California have guzzled its fluids at an unsustainable rate given normal weather.   But the watershed’s rain and snow have not been normal; a ten year drought has dropped Mead’s surface by about 120 feet since Y2K. Today I read that the lake has reached a new low, one unequalled since the 1930’s just after Hoover Dam’s completion. Mead was then rising and in the long process of accumulating the 9.3 trillion gallons it would eventually contain.


Sunset Over Lake Mead
                 Sunset On Lake Mead


El Nino offers hope for a winter respite. He’s widely expected by meteorologists, and if the winds blow the child to the right places, Lake Mead’s watershed will get some help. No one expects it to be nearly enough, but a snowy winter could mark the beginning of the end of the drought.   If that doesn’t happen we may see Californians moving to Florida for golf and poolside gin and tonics with plenty of real ice.

Long ago an excellent movie titled Network powered by a timely script and an all-star cast, won a bunch of Oscars. That year was 1977. Crime was bad, inflation was through the roof, OPEC was strangling the world with predatory pricing, and gas lines were not yet a distant memory.   Our leaders did things like try wage and price controls, cut speed limits to 55 mph, and our black eye from Viet Nam was still puffed and purplish. This movie is available from Netflix. You should see it, especially if you’re a fan of Donald Trump.

Howard Beale, and He's Mad
Howard Beale’s Mad as Hell
So Am I !!!
                             So Am I !!!

I have struggled to understand Trump’s appeal. I see no evidence on his campaign website of any real plan to govern, nor even one new idea. This morning a rationale for his poll ratings came to me in a flashback to the climactic scene of Network.   Howard Beale, an aging night-time network anchor about to lose his job concluded his show with a spluttering rant.   It began with a recitation of all our unsolved problems and how little had been done about them. It ended with this call to action: “I want you to get up, right now, go stick your head out a window and yell: I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore! “

Peter Finch

Angy Donald

Which, near as I can tell, is The Donald’s platform.   Like my grandma used to say “There’s nothing new under the sun.”


NO Pledge Donald

The Haircut

Kat’s completed her training and started work at Amazon. I’ve spent her first three work days on matters requiring the services of a DvM, a diesel repair shop, and wait for it … a barber college.   Campbellsville is not exactly a prosperous town, but it is a good place to get various kinds of work done at reasonable prices. We’ve found a Dodge dealer who does excellent repair and maintenance work at prices that are almost low. I save our big diesel jobs for Don Franklin Dodge in C’ville. Near as I can tell, they’ve never cheated us.


A couple of years ago the lid to a heavy corrugated box blew across the highway into our 50 mph path and struck the Red Sled broadsides. You wouldn’t think that would do body damage, but it badly bent the chrome trim around the wheel well. I expected to pay at least $100 to replace it, but a C’ville body shop reshaped it into its original form. The shop owner spent nearly half an hour while I watched. He made that chrome look like new. “What do I owe you?” “Ten bucks?” I told him that wasn’t enough, and handed him a twenty. Then he wanted to give me change.


Campbellsville is, by and large, an honest town. Pink regularly takes Heartgard to prevent heartworms and knock out any round- or hookworms she might pick up. But Heartgard is powerless against tapeworms, and Kat diagnosed a full-blown tapeworm infestation. I called a local animal hospital and told them I need something to knock out canine tapeworms; how soon could they see Pink? “Well, how do you know they’re tapes?” The internet told and showed us all we needed to know, and I told her so. “No need to bring her by. Just drop in any time, and we’ll fix you up with a dose that will eliminate them in one treatment. It’s a chewable pill that dogs usually like.” Two hours later Pink had her medicine, for the princely sum of $12.50.


But sometimes, even in low-cost towns, you get what you pay for. A haircut at the School of Cosmetology goes for $5, and students do all the work.   My locks were in dire need of sculpting. My last trim had been two months ago at a franchise shop in Elkins. That purple-tressed barbess (barberian?) cleaned up everything but the sideburns, which I noticed far too much later. Maybe they were just too scary? Anyway, by now my ‘burns were sho’ ‘nuff frightful, but the cosmetology student went after them with courage and vigor.   She disrobed me (Yo, calm down, dawg:  she just unclipped and shook out the barbershop apron) then swept up my clippings.  There stood a ball of hair the size of a young grey cat!   I left thinking she had done a pretty good job, but Kat noticed long untouched tufts below the collarline. The next morning I awakened to an image in the mirror resembling a fat, ancient Butthead.  Like him, I had a pup tent of long, long hair peaked atop my dome.


Beavis Is the Stupid One
Beavis Is the Stupid One

An hour later that same student repaired my head. This is a good little old town!

Green River Lake

We pulled the 500 miles from Elkins to Campbellsville in three segments, each drive remarkable only for our dissatisfaction with campsites. Burnsville Lake in WV was muddy and muggy, with ancient showers and tight sites. Then we were forced into one night at the KOA just inside Kentucky’s eastern border. It was newish, and adjacent to some beautiful country, but there’s no escaping KOA style and its densely populated, tree-free, rockpile architecture. But they were doing surprisingly good business even priced at $45 a night.


How It Got Its Name
How It Got Its Name

Along the way the steep mountains of West Virginia gradually became the big rolling hills of Kentucky. The countryside around Lexington is superb pastureland, much of it as manicured as a suburban lawn, here and there dotted with horses, sheep, and barns. Our route took us by Keeneland, home of the 2015 Breeders Cup races. We’re not big fans of hoss racing, but the facilities are as magnificient as the big animals grazing and fun-running in adjacent pastures. This is the bluegrass country and we drove right through it on the way to Campbellsville. Slowly the pastureland gave way to fields of corn, soybeans, and burley tobacco.


Some Fancy Hedge
Some Fancy Hedge

Our final campground before taking up residence in Campbellsville is a Corps of Engineers project on Green River Lake. There are three Corps campgrounds on this lake; we chose Holmes Bend whose sites are more spacious than those of Smith Ridge or Pikes Ridge. All three are heavily used on weekends, mostly by the locals, with Monday through Thursday blessedly quiet and almost private.   We have caught up on sleep, and rediscovered our travel and leisure vibe.


Green River Lake
Green River Lake

Tomorrow we will move into our autumn quarters and get back into the swing of life at Amazon. Kat’s looking forward to renewing work acquaintances, to getting fit walking fifty miles a week, and just enough structure to help us appreciate our travel season. I’m looking forward to being still for a while, to finding new creations in our little galley, and getting a haircut.   Haircut? Not just anybody can cut my hair. At the C’ville barber college haircut quality ranges from pretty good to a class B misdemeanor. Still, the prices are so low a bad one doesn’t hurt.  Much.


Sunset On the Rockpile in Campbellsville
Sunset On the Rockpile in Campbellsville

I need to do some paintin’ and polishin’ on the Airstream. Right now it’s just too humid and hot, but September should bring several days of good painting weather. And I gotta find a better attitude about making beds.   I don’t mind washing dishes or folding laundry. I enjoy grocery shopping and love to cook. Sweeping and rug-shaking are a long way from fun, but I can appreciate a clean floor. But making beds, oh my. That’s the one household chore I detest. Maybe if I make ‘em up first thing every morning I’d have less time to think about it. Yes, I’m gonna try that.


Another View of Heartland (Home in C'ville)
Another View of Heartland (Home in C’ville)

Wish me luck, please.