RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018 — 2

RV Trip — Part 2

I wanted to leave around 9:30 am — after rush hour — figured we’d actually leave about 11:00 am; we succeeded in setting out on our RV trip about 12:30 pm. Traffic wasn’t bad, for a Friday but it was hot. The RV’s outside thermometer gave readings of 120°F+ on the I-405 North. We threaded our way through the traffic headed to the Grapevine and the Central Valley of California. Our AC worked fine.

Di appreciated being able to smoke in the RV. When we pulled over into a rest area/stop, she could use the RV’s toilet without having to get out into the heat and I didn’t have to get out her scooter or push her in the rollator/walker. She can no longer walk any distance (more than a couple of dozen feet, and sometimes not that far) even using the rollator/walker.

Bouncy?

The RV’s ride was quite nice and stable and fairly “easy” to maneuver in traffic. The caveat being when one enters or exits a “driveway” — you know the steep/abrupt changes in levels from parking lot entry to street level. Go straight, the front tires (together) and then the back tires (together) rather than turning while entering/leaving (left front, right front, left rear, right rear) and the RV rides OK, but, if you are turning, the RV rocks and rocks.

The trip north was without incident but as the fuel gauge reached the 1/4 mark a warning light and message came on telling me to stop for fuel soonest. Yeah, there are still 4 or 5 or 6 gallons of diesel in the tank but warnings come on. Pulled into a Shell station off I-5 and fueled up (14.02 mpg).

The RV handled the Pacheco Pass well and on the other side the smell of garlic permeated the air.

A few minutes later we pulled into our friends’ driveway.

Moved the cats and our overnight gear inside. We shared some drinks, conversation and dinner with our friends; a pleasant evening before re-embarking on our journey the next morning.

To be continued . . .

RV Trip with Di, Joe, Mist, Smoke — Summer 2018

RV Trip — Part 1

It was towards the end of June and we were going to leave on our Summer Trip  in the next couple of weeks. I quite look forward to these trips except for one thing: hotel/motel reservations.

You see, we have a pair of cats, Di smokes and needs an ADA/Handicapped Accessible room — especially, the bathroom. We have to have a hotel/motel which accepts cats and where she can smoke — those are non-negotiable. The accessibility? Well, that ‘s on the “want” list.

Di does not want to make the reservations herself and I hate three-way conversations/negotiations between the hotel/motel, myself and my wife. I’ve done it (grumble, grumble, grumble) but . . .

It is getting increasingly difficult to find places that have rooms available for smokers and many allow dogs but not cats. In fact, two places we stayed at on our last few trips have converted to non-smoking and no cats. Neither Di nor I want to spend our trip in ten Motel 6 rooms across the country.

Well, to make a short story long, one morning in late June I dropped Di at Mimi’s in Fountain Valley to have a late breakfast/early lunch with one of her friends and took an hour and a half walk.

Looking

I passed by an RV dealer (Mike Thompson’s RV / https://www.mikethompson.com/) and began to browse — mistake. I looked at van-conversions/Class-B motorhomes. Something large enough to take me, Di and the two cats for a week or two or more and still small enough to drive around town and store in our driveway.

Found some nice ones built on a Mercedes (diesel) Sprinter chassis 20+ feet long. Seating for two or three up front, toilet, shower, cook-top, oven, sink, fridge, storage and a sofa/fold-out king/queen bed.

I phoned Di at the restaurant and she liked the idea so I brought her to the lot after lunch. Eventually, she picked a white Road-Trek Eco-Trek model (2018)/ (https://www.roadtrek.com/models/e-trek/) — the, of course, most expensive one. I’ll be paying for it beyond my currently expected expiration date — which I will do my best to extend.

Got it

I picked it up July 5th but: the kitchen sink leaked and they didn’t have the parts to fix it before we were going to leave — the next day. So, (dirty word, dirty word) we were without a working sink — the one in the bathroom was fine. Also, the bar which held up the engine hood was bent and needed to be replaced, but was adequate if you were careful.

That night and the next morning I stocked the RV with food, drink, luggage, the cats’ litter box, toilet paper. And Di’s rollator and Tzora battery-powered mobility scooter. It was quite crowded. Things had to be moved around to use the toilet or get to the sofa/bed in the back.

On Friday, July 6th, we set off for Minnesota — first stop, Bill and Artie’s (Artie and Bill’s) in Gilroy, California.

To be continued . . .

Golf Rules for Seniors

Changes in the Rules of Golf

Rule 1.a.5
A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed on the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the rough with no penalty. The senior should not be penalized for tall grass which ground keepers failed to mow.

Rule 2.d.6 (B)
A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree. This is simply bad luck and luck has no place in a scientific game. The senior player must estimate the distance the ball would have traveled if it had not hit the tree and play the ball from there.

Rule 3.B.3 (G)
There shall be no such thing as a lost ball. The missing ball is on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, making it a stolen ball. The player is not to compound the felony by charging himself or herself with a penalty.

Rule 4.c.7 (h)
If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped. The Law of Gravity supersedes the Rules of Golf.

Rule 5
Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be blown in. This does not apply to balls more than three inches from the hole. No one wants to make a travesty of the game.

Rule 6.a.9 (k)
There is no penalty for so-called “out of bounds”. If penny-pinching golf course owners bought sufficient land, this would not occur. The senior golfer deserves an apology, not a penalty.

Rule 7.g.15 (z)
There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, as golf balls should float.  Senior golfers should not be penalized for manufacturers shortcomings.

Rule 8.k.9 (S)
Advertisements claim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new golf equipment. Since this is financially impractical for many senior golfers, one-half stroke per hole may be subtracted for using old equipment.

Please advise all your senior friends of these important rule changes.  And they are written big enough that most of you should be able to read them!

All I really needed to know, I learned . . .

Remember, several decades ago Robert Fulghum came out with the book: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?

What do you remember about kindergarten? I remember Mrs. Lombard who looked like my Grandma Jo. I remember taking naps and finger-painting. I remember building with blocks and sharing with others.

This was sixty-some years ago and I don’t remember the names of the others in my class although I know that some of them also attended the same Catholic elementary school I did.

Playing with others and sharing — I wonder did we really need to learn anything else? I’m sure I must have learned other things during that year, but I can’t remember any of them.

I already knew the alphabet and could print my name and other things. I could dial the phone, tell time and count change at the store. I knew my street address and home phone number.

The only thing I remember from first grade was Sister Joseph Marie yelling at our class when none of us got 100% on the first spelling test of our lives. I learned how you could be treated when part of a group, but I don’t think our teacher realized just exactly what she was teaching. And, all of the other things we must have done and learned — vanished like a fart in the wind. (with apologies to Warden Norton)

Later on, I remember learning that America is (was?) the land of the free and the home of the brave. I remember learning that Lady Liberty lifted her lamp beside the golden door welcoming people to the land where they could realize their dreams of a better life for themselves and their children.

My father’s family was here before our country but Lady Liberty welcomed my mother’s parents.

I learned that each of the world’s major religions has some version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Do you want others to treat you nicely? Treat them the same.

Do you want others to share? Share with them.

Do you want others to respect you? Treat them with respect.

Do you want others to help you? Help them.

The Golden Rule is not: Do unto others before they do unto you.

The Golden Rule is not: I’ve got mine; the hell with you.

Later, I learned that the United States is (was?) a Great Power. John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan showed how a Great Power acted. Are we acting like a Great Power today or are we just acting?


I look around today and I wonder what other people learned in kindergarten.

It doesn’t matter whether you are Republican or Democrat, left or right, conservative or liberal. There are people out there, on the same side or opposed to your beliefs who learned different things than I did in kindergarten — and, possibly, different things than you learned.

None of us were taught to call each other bad/nasty names — for, despite the old saw “but words will never hurt me” words do hurt. None of us were taught to be selfish and to hoard all of the paint, blocks or blankets. None of us were taught to lie or “shade the truth.” But we learned those things anyway.


Take a few moments to look at those people in public life that you admire and respect. Why do you admire and respect them? Is it because their beliefs match or are close to yours? Is it because their actions reflect what we learned in kindergarten? Or is it because of something else?

How about we set a new standard for selecting people to admire. How about we look at them and think: If he, or she, was five years old (and has the personality exhibited by the adult version) would I want to play with or share a kindergarten classroom with that person?

If our politicians cannot meet that standard why should we vote for them?


“It doesn’t matter what you say you believe – it only matters what you do.” Robert Fulghum

Jeff Sessions, The Bible and the Defense of Evil

Jeff Sessions:

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States

I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing and that protects the weak; it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short-term separation of families are not unusual or unjustified.” As quoted by Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States

The Attorney General of the United States this last week used Paul’s Letter to the Romans to defend current Trump Administration policies dealing with the separation of families under arrest/detention and accused of unlawful entry into the United States.


A short pause

To digress a moment, Mr. Trump says the problem is not his Administration but the Democrats. No, Mr. Trump, the Democrats are not the problem. There is nothing in current American laws which mandates the separation of families in these immigration cases. The problem is policy, not laws.

Also, I will take a short moment to remind us all that the Republican Party controls both Houses of Congress and can quickly pass, if it so desired, a single sentence law something like: In no case shall families with children be separated while being held in detention and undergoing legal proceedings regarding illegal immigration into the United States.

This would only require a simple majority vote of both Houses and a speedy signature by the American (Republican) President. In fact, I believe that such a vote would carry 100% “For” votes by both the House and Senate. Things could then proceed without this moral posturing by both sides of the immigration debate.


Paul and Rome

Political conditions in the 1st Century of the Common or Christian Era.

Paul, or Saul, was a child of his times (as are we all of our own). He was a Roman Citizen. The Roman Empire was the largest and strongest of the social/political entities existing in the Western world two millennia ago.

The Empire covered a geographic area comparable to the contiguous forty-eight United States and had a population of somewhere around a hundred million people.

Of these hundred million people somewhere between forty and sixty million of them were slaves — yes, slaves. They had no political rights and could be bought, sold, abandoned or manumitted at any time.

Those who were big and strong worked their lives away in the fields of the latifundia. Comely children, boys and girls, were sold to brothels or to wealthy men and women for their personal use and as house servants.

Empire

I will remind you that the Roman Republic was never in our modern sense a republic. That is, it was not a representative democracy. It was a plutocratic/oligarchic dictatorship — of, by and for the rich. In those instances where the Equestrian or Senatorial classes needed to placate the lower classes, the plebes, they did so through “bread and circuses” and the buying of their votes.

Those of the lower classes who were elevated to protect the “rights” of those lower classes became, for practical purposes, members of the upper order.

The Roman Empire was an Empire. It was built and maintained through the use of military force. Millions of people, soldiers and civilians, men, women and children, were killed in its wars. The defeated were sold into slavery. Many were dispossessed of their lands, according to the political, military or economic needs of their conquerors. Might made right; terror was a weapon.

In defense of order

Paul, a Roman citizen, at one time persecuted/prosecuted those who followed the teachings of the followers of Jesus. He enforced the rule of law as he saw it — the law of the Caesars and Caesar’s appointed governors.

After the “miracle” restoration of his eyesight and “conversion,” Paul also began following the teachings of Jesus’ followers. And, through his writings urged people to follow the “rule of law.”

For practical purposes, at least to my mind, he said that people should obey a corrupt military dictatorship because that was the government given to them by God — WHY?

Why? Because Paul thought that the government of the Caesars was the legitimate government ordained by the gods — or God, depending on your point of view.

Possibly, after all he was a child of his times.

Or, possibly, he was just a realist.

There was no way that a group of poor, unarmed civilians and slaves was going to overthrow the might of the Roman Empire. To attempt to do so would lead to slaughter. While the Roman armies of the times suffered setbacks and defeats, they were sufficient to the policing of the Empire and protecting of its external borders. Augustus/Octavian had reduced the army’s size (and hit on the budget), but during the Pax Romana (Roman Peace — 27 BCE to CE 180) nothing stood against it.

Justification

As I see it, child of the times as I am — “Question authority!” — one can look on Romans 13 in one of two ways:

One: Paul truly believed that the government of the Caesars was instituted by the will of God and that people should obey all of its laws and strictures. This despite, to our modern minds, its corruption, immorality, lack of concern for much (most) of its population and dependence on coercion and slavery.

Two: Paul, knowing full well the power of the Caesars and that those to whom he was preaching were powerless, wanted to protect them and he, therefore, told them to be quiet, keep their heads down and obey the law. This in the same tone where Jesus, according to the Bible, told people to render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s and unto God what was God’s.

I wonder — was Jesus a child of His time and truly believe that the military dictatorship of the Caesars was the rightful government decreed by God or was He just being practical?

Jeff Sessions?

Which brings me back to AGOTUS Jeff Sessions. Does he believe that Paul in his letter to the Romans 13 really means that people should obey the laws because the government was put there by God (even being a corrupt military dictatorship). And, that that applies to us? Today?

I believe that any American government official who believes, like Jeff Sessions, that we all must obey the government because God put it there should be fired. He, or she, does not belong.

We created the United States because we believed that the current — of that time — government was destructive of our needs, wants and rights. People, not God, created government(s) and it is their right to change them.

We cannot use a quote from a first century Roman citizen to justify the, in my humble opinion, immoral actions of our twenty-first government.

Whether you consider Mr. Trump to be the Savior, Anti-Christ or just The Mule in regards to American government in the highly toxic political climate of 21st century America, it is immoral, or so I believe in this day and age, to separate children and parents by the hundreds and thousands. And, separating a nursing baby from its mother?

Assuming the actual existence of the God Jeff Sessions says he believes in, I would like to be a fly on the wall when God questions him at his last judgement: “A baby, Jeff, a baby? How can you justify taking a nursing baby away from its mother by saying I OK’d it? I, God, am to blame?”


Romans 13:1-7 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

13 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.


Romans 13 has a long history with regard to revolution and oppression.

Both sides, Loyalists and Patriots, used it to defend their positions during the American Revolutionary period.

Martin Luther used it to defend his position in putting down violent peasant uprisings in the 1520s.

Pro-slavery forces used it to defend the fugitive slave acts in 18th and 19th century America.

Adolph Hitler used it to defend his repression of opponents in the 1930s Germany.

Go to your favorite Search Engine and type in: Romans 13 and whoever or whatever you wish to research. Some of the articles and sites are well-researched and written. And others, I have found, are just pure junk. Decide for yourself.


“They came first for the Communists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,

and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,

and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

– Reverend Martin Niemoller, Lutheran Pastor arrested by the Gestapo in 1937


“They came first for the illegal immigrants,

and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an illegal immigrant. . . .”


“There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children.”
Ivanka Trump — Out of context but food for thought.