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It’s seven o’clock on a Sunday Morning.

Greetings from New Mexico. It is Sunday January 16, 2022. It is cold outside. It is early in the morning. I am trying to get into the trend of getting up early on Sunday to post. Certainly no mutant messages are being heard here. But the mutants did pay a visit.

It has been a wild week since my last post. Last week focused on the continuing COVID pandemic. I wonder if it was foreshadowing for this weeks events? Well, this week it managed to hit home. Daughter was notified about contact tracing at the high school and started feeling bad last Sunday. Everyone who I know that has been flagged by contact tracing has turned out to be positive within a few days. If you are lucky enough to get a test!

By Monday, daughter tested positive. Son tested negative but stayed home awaiting for the inevitable. By Wednesday, daughter was starting to feel no worse, son tested positive. And since they were with their mother, she too was hit with the symptoms. In all cased, it was the equivalent of a bad cold, with congestion, cough and a low grade fever. Of course, not to be outdone, their aunt in Louisiana was working through her second bout of the Chinese virus.

In all cases, everyone was fully vaccinated. The adults had the booster. What is obvious is that the vaccine, nor having the earlier mutations, does not protect you from getting the virus. However, it appears that it reduces (thus far) your symptoms and complications.

Needless to say, by the middle of the week, I was taking care of the horses, making food deliveries and keeping track of my kids from a distance. Elements of work were moving to working at home. Aside from hating it, aspects of my job simply cannot be performed at home. By the end of the week, I was still in the office every day but the Los Alamos High School and the Los Alamos Middle School returned to remote learning, and both kids had already missed almost a week of in-class education.

At this juncture, I need to pause my thoughts and go feed the horses…

As it has been getting in the low 20’s here at night, the horses need to have blankets. Roman is still confined to a smaller paddock area months after his surgery. Daughter was riding him on the Saturday before she fell ill. Ruby, who spends her days starring at the neighboring stables and horses, and goats, and donkeys, likes it when I feed her because I always have cookies to greet her.

As you can see, there remains some snow in the background of the photos. We had some several weeks ago but it is slowly melting. We clearly need more, much more in order to recover from the drought that has hit the state, and much of the southwest over the past few years.

…What I thought was going to be a brief pause for feeding turned out to be almost 12 hours. I went and fed the horses. Then I went for my usual Sunday morning coffee at Starbucks. My friend and coworker managed to return from Florida late last week. Almost a week later than he normally planned, but air travel experienced a number of flight cancellations over Christmas, New Years, and into early January. After coffee, I managed to run a few errands and returned to the stables to move some hay.

It turned out to be a beautiful day with temperatures in the middle 40’s. Moved hay and took Ruby for a walk. Her, and my first real exercise outside in months. Fed the horses dinner and then tended to myself.

Ruby was all excited when I grabbed her halter to take her for a walk.

So we managed to walk the outer loop at the stables, which is over a mile. She was thirsty when we returned, as she started to eat the snow. I have never seen a horse eat snow.

Ruby eating snow after our walk.

We also managed to see Roman, who was outside on such a great day. We caught him lying down, sunning himself and taking a nap. As I said, he is still taking it easy after his surgery. And with his rider out with COVID, not much for him to do. He finally got up and we were able to snap a good picture of him.

Up close with Roman.

So the end of the week was very different than normal. I spent it outside with the horses, doing a bit more than just feeding them. While I do not ride, maybe someday I could learn. At least I had fun spending time with them. Here is to the kids getting better, me keeping from getting sick, and to the horses. Until next time. Much to be done.

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Happy Sunday January 9, 2022

It’s Sunday morning, after the first full week in which I returned to work from the the Christmas/New Years vacation. Jewel and I are spending a quiet day here at the house. Relaxing, drinking coffee. Well at least I am drinking coffee; Jewel is sitting next to me on the sofa.

It has been weeks since I last enjoyed my Sunday morning coffee cabal with my coworker. My friend left before Christmas to go to his house on Sanibel Island and now finds himself trying to return today. He is caught up in the COVID induced travel cancellations that have been pretty significant around the Christmas/New Years travel period.

COVID is significantly on the upswing in the US, with over a million new cases reported each day over the past week. The increase certainly keeps me from going out unless I need to. In Los Alamos county, COVID cases are up. Ditto at work, where we were reminded to resort to video meetings and to work at home if possible. Earlier in the week I received e-mail from both the middle school and the high school, indicating multiple students with positive tests and others identified for possible testing and quarantine by contact tracing. Important information since both schools have some importance to me in that both of my children are enrolled in each. So far, I am glad that they are continuing to push in class teaching. Both my son and daughter (and I) hated the on line stuff, and it is clear that they suffered from the video instruction. Overall, the pandemic has taken much from kids growing up over the past few years.

For some COVID cases, I understand that people have been vaccinated and still catch the virus. For others, this is a repeat infection. Either way, the virus is still with us, and will probably be around for ever. It will mutate and it will infect all of us at some point. Two points emerge from this, the 670-plus days into the pandemic. The first is that I, like many, are just fed up with the virus and how our government has handled it. Early on, it was shut down everything. It was the need for testing. Today, we still find ourselves short on testing. Shutting down the economy, not so much probably because the 15 days to slow the spread just didn’t do it. Government and employers still push masks and while I wear mine as so directed, I have to conclude that it only offers marginal protection. And while treatments exist, they are difficult to obtain, others are just now coming on-line, and others have may have been altogether discredited by the mainstream. The second is that while the vaccines offer some degree of protection, they do not make us immune. I expect as the virus mutates, it will be like the common cold or the flu and that we will be living with it for a very long time. But don’t take this as medical advice. It is just my opinion.

Today, much of the news is less about reporting events. It is more about reporting the opinion of events. I think objectivity has been lost in the modern age because of how quickly information travels and gets reported. Events can be seen real time. Stories are written and reported across multiple outlets, and the flaws, misinformation, lies, all can be shared without any evidence of truth or facts to back it up. The same story can show up in five, ten, or more newspapers, websites, twitter feeds, etc. Objectivity is now replaced with opinion.

The dictionary defines opinion as a belief, judgment, or way of thinking about something : what someone thinks about a particular thing. Newspapers now have opinion sections, where experts tell the story based on their beliefs, judgement, or way of thinking. Even what I write her is my opinion, based on my thinking, beliefs, education, background, experience. Included in that is political thinking and ideology. It is important to understand as much about the person who conveys the story as part of how one understands and interprets the story itself. This is the objectivity that people need today to understand what is going on around them.

Kevin M. Lerner recently wrote an article on the online website The Conversation in June 2020 about “Journalists believe news and opinion are separate, but readers can’t tell the difference”. Lerner is Assistant Professor

https://theconversation.com/journalists-believe-news-and-opinion-are-separate-but-readers-cant-tell-the-difference-140901

of Journalism at Marist College and edits the Journal of Magazine Media. His research focuses on the intellectual history of journalism through press criticism, satire, and magazines. The basic premise of the article is that the newspapers of today have sections that report news, and tell opinion. But is difficult for today’s reader to tell the difference.

The title of today’s post is “Happy Sunday…” It is my opinion that this Sunday is a happy day. I got a good nights sleep. I awoke in a good mood. I am not angry at my surroundings for the moment. But that could change as the day goes on.

There, I just gave you my opinion of his article. But we see it in the newspaper, on TV. Whether it is the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal, or CNN versus FOX News. It is everywhere. Now more than ever, objectivity is needed as the world becomes a more troubling place. Russia looks poised to invade the Ukraine. China looks like it will use force to take over Taiwan. The Middle East continues to be in constant turmoil. And in the USA, the media continues to push the January 6 coup. The left hijacks the story line as an attempt to overthrow the government while the right pushes it as political protest.

We could write more about all of these political situations but I will save that for another time. Several things are still clear. It is Sunday. I am still happy. But I need more coffee. Until next time, be safe, enjoy reading TheMcKeeSpot and come back often. Drop a note if you like or dislike what you see here. I enjoy reading new things and conversing with new people.

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Welcome to 2022

Here it is, January 2022. Another year older as I approach my 61st year on Planet Earth. I didn’t make any New Years resolutions. In the past, I would make resolutions in the new year but always found that it didn’t help and I didn’t keep any of them after a few weeks anyway. And when I would make a resolution, it was always the same. Lose weight. Exercise more. Strive to be better, or to be more outgoing. Relax and smell the roses, or whatever else I think might work to change my being.

I don’t think this year will be any different…

Winter snow…January 1, 2022

We started the new year with several inches of snow. I can remember years where we have had more and I can remember years where we have had less. This morning, I awoke to a tad more snow and single degree temperatures outside. It certainly has been a few years since I can last remember it being that cold outside.

It has been a very relaxing week off. I didn’t do a thing related with work. I completely unplugged. Didn’t think about it very much. Didn’t log in to check e-mail. Didn’t check my phone for messages as I pretty much turned it off for the week.

And now tomorrow, the rat race resumes. It will be 2022. A new year that will be more of the same.

Spent the past week watching football games, reading, caught an occasional new show on Netflix. Managed to pound out a few more pages in Atlas Shrugged. Managed to review my investments and planned for the next week, month, year, decade and century. More of the same. Steady as she goes.

The other day I found myself listening to some old Bob Dylan tunes. By old, I mean the stuff that constitutes his first five albums. I was inspired to do that because I had just finished watching the Martin Scorsese picture “No Direction Home”. I always try to understand the lyrics. What do they mean? I even dusted off my copy of “Bob Dylan. The Story Behind Every Track. All the Songs”. A rather heavy book, comprising over 700 pages, hardbound, that I bought myself as a Christmas present an number of years ago for my coffee table. It now sits on the bookcase.

I guess I do things like that to keep the mind active. Didn’t come up with any new revelations but it was an interesting way to spend an afternoon.

I just left Jewel out. It’s 15 degrees outside and there is snow on the ground, including the back deck. What does this mean…she will quickly go outside and do her business on the deck and immediately want in. Doesn’t like the snow and the cold weather. I cannot blame her. Texted daughter to check in and see how Roman and Ruby are this cold morning. Last night was cold and windy. No wind now and the sun is out.

Haven’t seen much of the kids since Christmas eve. For them, school resumes January 5. Just checked and thus far, the spike in COVID cases hasn’t changed the resumption of in school learning. That said, I am troubled by the bold statement “…it is more important than ever to keep your children home if they are sick, have a fever, or show any symptoms of COVID…All absences will be excused…” Odd since we followed that requirement last semester and received a letter from the school district regarding son and him being out with unexcused absences. In today’s world, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

I really hope that this year we downgrade the pandemic of COVID to something that allows us to return to normal. Unfortunately, it has become too politicized and another talking point that divides us as a country.

I am saddened by the fires in Colorado. Parts of places that I visited 10 to 20 years ago have been burned. A small fire by today’s standard (< 10,000 acres), but almost 1000 homes destroyed in urban areas. Between the high winds and how dry it was in Colorado, in December. But with winds in excess of 90 mph, glowing embers will spread and I guess anything can catch fire under those forces of Mother Nature. I have twice evacuated my home because of wildfires. I have seen the destruction, but have never experienced it. I was glad to see that the fire was miles away from the Rocky Flats site.

Most of the Christmas decorations have been taken down and put away. The ones that remain are outside. Buried in the snow. Looks like the wind is picking up. I will get to those soon. The dining room table is still clear of clutter. As for the rest of the house, not so much. Guess that is something that I can work on this year.

I noticed that for calendar year 2021 that I posted only 15 times, down from 20 in 2020. and that I had 184 visitors in 2021. So I guess that I can strive to do better. The trend over the last three years has been to the downside, both in terms of posts, visits and visitors. So maybe that can be my resolution for the new year, strive to post more often. Maybe I need to work on the content. More pictures? Write around a theme?

All we can do is strive to do better.

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…and its the last Monday of 2021.

Happy Holidays everyone. I trust you all had a warm and Merry Christmas. And now your thoughts turn ahead to the new year. I certainly hope for COVID to be gone in the new year. I found myself up at my usual time today and practiced my same routine: shower, get dressed, make coffee, and take the dog for a walk.

Outside it is cold and windy. There is some snow on the mountains above Los Alamos and Santa Fe. And there is snow in the forecast for today. As I sit writing this post, I noticed that the sun is shining outside.

For me it was a very uneventful Christmas. I believe that this was the first time that I had the kids stay over on Christmas eve. It has been a short 9 years (give or take) since the divorce. My first Christmas in awhile that I did not awake alone in this quiet house.

And so we awoke Christmas day to open presents and then feed the horses. As I have in past years, son and I put the tree up about 14 days before Christmas. For the past 5 years we have always put the tree in the same place. Unfortunately, this causes us to displace the dogs bed, which causes confusion with Jewel. She thinks that she is somehow in trouble and it clearly upsets her visibly.

The tree…and the stockings. Christmas 2021.

I certainly go for the minimalist look at Christmas time in terms of lights and decorations. Especially outside where this year I think that it was bells, a wreath, some canes with lights and an inflatable Grinch (my personal favorite). Of course, nothing brings yuletide greetings better than a visit to the local Starbucks for some coffee…

A lazy Sunday before Christmas.

Christmas is always another time for me to practice Chemistry. This year was Herb-Garlic crusted prime rib, a roasted Honey-root vegetable medley, baked potatoes, fruit cocktail and ice cream. The kids enjoyed the food, as did I, in terms of the preparing as well as the consuming.

Prime Rib on Christmas Eve 2021.

On Christmas day, we awoke to a cold and windy day, with some kids sleeping in until 7 am. Presents were opened, and I find it interesting to note that the kids actually had a theme for this year in terms of the gifts that they got me…

They try to get me to tell them which one is my favorite!

Hopefully it will be a quiet week. Had thought long and hard about going somewhere but looking at the inability to get travel arrangements on airplanes and the spike in COVID made that an easy decision.

Thinking that maybe I’ll spend the week cleaning up around the house, and do some reading. Not feeling too inspired or wanting to get out.

Looked at the postings over the year. Yes my son has changed clothes and although he is wearing the same shirt at Christmas Ever dinner as he did at Thanksgiving dinner, I can say he was delighted that school was out for a couple of weeks. Daughter is finally able to ride Roman and they both are starting a conditioning regime. So that has her smiling of late.

As for me…another year is winding down. I am still reading Atlas Shrugged, but I might work on that this week. I survived another year at work, but I am pretty sure that this will be my last. Managed to purchase some additional Made in the USA blue jeans, and now I am looking to get some shoes and dress shirts.

Oh how I wish that I posted more this year. Alas, I did not. Clear that as I ponder the postings, I see that my life revolves around work, horses, kids and the dog. I certainly think about a great many thing, but few of those thoughts actually get posted here. Most of my political rants get posted on Facebook, often after reading about things on a variety of web sites.

It’s Monday and so I’ll spend some time looking for investment ideas for the new year. Themes to put my savings so that they may grow at a rate greater than the inflation that the year had brought upon us. It is now over $50 to fill the gas tank, which is up 20% since this time last year.

Until next time…

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…out on the town.

Last night, and again this morning, I managed to get away for a few hours from sitting around the house. No vegging out on TV. No reading. No cooking, cleaning, or eating. I met up with a coworker and we went out for some food and drink. Now if you are familiar with Los Alamos, you quickly understand that there isn’t much in the way of choices, especially on the weekends.

My coworker, who is wrapping up about 30 years at Los Alamos, is moving. His plan is to vacate his place of residence, move back east for the holidays and when the new year starts, spend some time on a change of station with the DOE (Department of Energy) in Washington DC.

The downside, from my perspective, is that I will be missing a coworker who was part of my coffee cabal. No more conversation about work, bad managers, great coffee, discussions about science, economics, or whatever.

My task to get a life will become more and more…however you want to describe it.

We had planned to both retire this year, and now he is off for a few more years in the land of make believe. And I will be here, soon starting on my 32 year in the Land of Enchantment.

So the afternoon’s festivities started by walking to a local drinking establishment. We chose Boese Brothers Brewpub, which was only a half mile walk from our perspective abodes. I have been to this establishment several times, especially in the summer months, as they set tables outside in the grass and on the sidewalk. Usually go there with another coworker, but I can save those stories for another day.

Screenshot 2021-12-12 at 12-16-28 Boese Bros Brewpub – Los Alamos

There were a couple of basketball games on the TV screen’s when we entered. Largely empty but there were about a half a dozen people there when we arrived. It was too cold to sit outside so we grabbed a table and ordered the Double Dead Red, an advertised red ale at about 8% alcohol. Not too hoppy but tasty. As we were conversing, and our waitress was wondering whether we would have food with our libations, she mention about a new establishment right next door, which served cocktails. Neither one of us was aware of it and thought we would check it out. As the dinner hour progressed, we each consumed two of those, along with a sandwich the had chicken, green chili and other fixings. My friend had the panini and I had the club. After about 2 hours of food and drink, it started to fill up and we were ready for more adventure.

With that, we moved on to the next establishment for cocktails. Upon entering the place, we spied several coworkers who had gathered for somebody’s birthday. We didn’t join them but certainly noticed that the place wasn’t very full. This place, right next door, opened about a month ago in Los Alamos. Called the Long Pour, it is a cocktail bar that serves drinks made from vodka, agave spirit, gin and bourbon that are being crafted at the Boese Brothers’ distillery in Albuquerque. I had mentioned to my friend that I thought that would be an excellent side-gig after retirement, one which I could put chemistry to practice.

Had we bothered to read the local on-line news paper, we would have learned that the establishment has been open for about a month…

The Boese Brothers now have opened several establishments in the state, as I was able to explore as I wrote this post. One can find more about their efforts here:

https://nmdarksidebrewcrew.com/2021/05/24/boese-brothers-takes-advantage-of-slower-times-to-add-something-new-to-its-menu/

Obviously the next time I venture off to Santa Fe, I will have to check out Desert Dogs.

So after another couple of hours and more libations, we vowed to return and managed to walk home after venturing out on the town. Parted company and agreed to meet up the next day for Sunday coffee.

While I mentioned that my friend was moving, I failed to mention that he provided me with some books from his vast collection that he is downsizing as he contemplates his move.

Some classic works of literature now added to my collection. Great reading for the throne.

I am pretty sure that the “dear Asshole” will be very worthwhile as I contemplate work over the next few months.

As Sunday morning came along, I found myself out and about, walking to the coffee establishment in town, as I have come to do on many weekends where I do not have the kids. Of course, it is getting cold, snow in the higher elevations, and the local celebrities were out and about…

The two geese who call the pond home…Homer and Edna.

I introduced TheMcKeeSpot Readers to Homer and Edna in a previous posting (August 8, 2021). Water was cold, some ice in spots, but there they were, just floating(?) in the water at Ashley Pond. I passed them on my way to Starbucks. There I had some coffee, Pikes Place I think, and my friend showed up for more conversation. As it was over coffee, the topic often focused on work.

Out of the house, exercise walking about town. Food and libations. All in the span of a single weekend. Some of my readers might think that I was getting a social life outside of kids and horses. Well let’s see what tomorrow brings. Until next time…

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There are less than 20 shopping days left until Christmas…

It has been a couple of weeks since my last post. It was about Thanksgiving, written a few days after Thanksgiving. On a positive not, I have either eaten, frozen, or otherwise discarded the Thanksgiving leftovers. After awhile, even turkey no longer enjoyable be enjoyable day-in and day-out.

And I just remembered that there are only 19 shopping days until Christmas. Only 19! Where has the year gone? I have completed my Christmas shopping, yet my son still comes up with new things that he “absolutely must have”. I am to the point where I simply say that “I’ll text Santa and maybe the reindeer can work through all of the supply chain issues.”

The Los Alamos Rock and Gem show was this past weekend. Son and I try go every year. That is where he typically gets his Christmas gift for his mom and his sister, mission accomplished. That said, neither one has given me the list of ideas for their mother. It is going to be a very strange Christmas.

And this is on top of a very strange year where we still have not returned to normal, COVID is still an issue, and people are just getting tired of it all. I see it with my friends. I see it with my coworkers. I see it when I am out and about. It has been a significant strain on my kids and school.

Another family tradition is that I find time to work on the annual family calendar. Well, I can say that it is done, ordered, and already here to be wrapped and sent out as Christmas gifts for the immediate family. It turned out rather well. The best thing about it is that some of my blog photos also made it into the calendar. And that happened without even trying. Also splurged and got some other special photo reminders for the kids. Now we actually have things for the stockings.

Just a few final things…when will we put up the Christmas Tree? Will it snow this year? What will I get Jewel? Do I have to get special treats for the horses?

Wait a minute Ruby, I need to get this text message to Santa about what I want for Christmas.

An anniversary of sorts is coming up soon. Later this month, and before Christmas, I will have eclipsed 31 years working at Los Alamos. Last year, I thought 30 was going to be my last. Somehow, I toughed out another year. But I can certainly feel that the time and work is draining my soul, my desire, my engagement. The enjoyment is no longer there.

Work sucks. Management sucks. Life sucks. It is clearly time for a change!

Of late, I have found that I am spending too much time at work and think that I have come to the end of the line. Many individuals talk about the split between work and home. I dream about it but very seldom do I get to experience it. I find it very disheartening that, after 30 year, I am still putting in long hours.

Don’t get me wrong, but I will certainly do what it is necessary to complete a task that I am assigned to, or agreed to have complete by such-and-such-date. But when I am to rush to complete task 23 when the individuals ahead of me failed to complete their tasks when promised, expected, or communicated…I am reminded of that old statement where

For too long, it seems that my energy and dedication has gotten me over these rough patches. But now work has gotten the best of me. I crave for a home life separate from the work life. And now, in the twilight of my remaining work time, I want it even more. NO I demand it. I am at a time in my life where I have experienced too much work. There simply is not enough people to do everything that is asked, required, or demanded. And so the piling on has to end. Program people will have to understand that unless they get more resources, it will just take longer to get tasks completed. And if it will take longer, it will cost more.

On that note, I will end it here. Until next time…and if I am not able to post before Christmas (or New Years), let me wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

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Thanksgiving

Yes, I am writing this posting a few days after Thanksgiving. It has been a quiet but busy morning for me. It has been a month since my last post. I have, unfortunately, been too busy with work. COVID continues to make the new normal less normal. The world has become a very strange place. I am afraid that the planet that I leave for my children will be far worse than the planet that my parents left for me.

Thanksgiving was typical for me. It represents an annual treat where I get to practice chemistry in the modern sense. I get to cook. I get to enjoy wine. Wine for me; soda and water for the kids. But they like it that they get to drink out of wine glasses. I get to sit around the dinner table with my family. And for the most part, they put down their phones and iPad’s for eating and conversation (although they sneak a glance now and then). So true for this year as in previous years. It has become my annual tradition since the divorce.

Thanksgiving 2021

The kids basically came over for dinner and desert, and like that, they left. I find it troublesome that I do not get to see them as much but after all, they have their own life.

Now that daughter can drive, she comes and goes as she pleases. On this day, she arrived after son, coming from the stables after feeding Ruby and Roman.

Friday was spent doing some reading, cleaning up around the house. Watching some movies. And of course, eating leftovers.

Saturday was football. Ohio State lost. Penn State lost. All of the teams that I was routing for…lost.

Kinda spent Friday and Saturday as a couch potato. Maybe more like the “I want to be alone because the outside is such an evil place”. Didn’t even go for my morning walks the whole time I was off from work. And it shows that I have eaten more than usual as I have managed to put about 5 pounds on. Need to work harder on the whole diet routine because I have plateaued and cannot get to my next target. Jewel is bothered as she didn’t get her morning walks. She was usually sitting on the sofa next to me, but this morning I think she went back to bed. But tomorrow the routine of the work week will resume, and she will get her time.

Outside it is cold, as the mornings I find myself awakening to temperatures in the 30’s. The cold part of fall has arrived in northern New Mexico, as has some snow, especially in the upper elevations.

Spent this morning without coffee. That is something I will have to rectify shortly. But I managed to make the annual family calendar. It is a photo montage of the year in the life of me and the kids, and the dog and the horses. I usually get a couple extra so that I can send out as Christmas presents to the immediate family. For me, most of my Christmas shopping is done. Started early because of the whole supply chain delays.

Several weeks before Christmas, and just like that, it will be another year at work has past. I need to figure out that whole retirement thing and get on with it.

School will soon be over for the kids. It is still not normal either. Everybody wears masks. Everybody is vaccinated, and I have had my booster. And yet it is still there. The e-mail about the COVID case at school. The need for testing as you have the symptoms of the common cold. Influenza is making the rounds this year.

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Happy Halloween and other Eerie Events

As I was devouring my Sunday breakfast, I was time to search the internet and read up on some interesting articles of the day. All of this as I was preparing to write another post to TheMcKeeSpot blog. I was planning to write about the happenings since my last post, reflect upon October coming to an end and it’s now November. Christmas is right around the corner and I will have eclipsed another year at the Lab.

Then, among the articles in my news feed, I cam across a very interesting article. Entitled “The Five Universal Laws of Human Stupidity. We underestimate the stupid, and we do so at our own peril”. Written by Corinne Purtill, the article that I read can be found at

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-five-universal-laws-of-human-stupidity?utm_source=pocket-newtab

Upon reading the article, I had to search the underlying premise behind an article on human stupidity. BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed the article.

The premise was created in 1976 by an economics professor at the University of California, Berkley. Personally, the work of Carlo M. Cipolla may be the best work that I have read published from UC Berkley (in my opinion), a school known for it’s socialist agenda (in my opinion).

Another article on the work of Cipolla can be found at another magazine, The Guardian, known for writing some interesting articles.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/apr/09/improbable-research-human-stupidity

The best takeaway from the articles, because Cipolla was an economist is that

Countries moving uphill have an inevitable percentage of stupid people, yes. But they enjoy “an unusually high fraction of intelligent people” who collectively overcompensate for the dumbos.

Declining nations have, instead, an “alarming proliferation” of non-stupid people whose behaviour “inevitably strengthens the destructive power” of their persistently stupid fellow citizens. There are two distinct, unhelpful groups: “bandits” who take positions of power which they use for their own gain; and people out of power who sigh through life as if they are helpless.

Marc Abrahams is editor of the bimonthly Annals of Improbable Research, as quoted from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/apr/09/improbable-research-human-stupidity.

Those two paragraphs struck me as very interesting, as it provides a simple explanation of why America is in decline. Our educational system is in decline and we are left producing more and more stupid people, at the expense of less and less smarter people. The end result is the decline and death of a nation. All because of an “alarming proliferation” of stupid people. Read about them all of the time, see many of them at work. They even have annual awards for some of their exploits (aka, The Darwin Awards).

I guess I only point this out because next week is election day. An off year for elections in our area, it’s the election for the local school board, school bonds, and other such stuff that has become part of the democratic process. School boards and elections have become big things of late, based on the news and the Virginia governor’s election. It is time to get our country moving in the right direction, before it is too late.

Interesting reading. I even found that Cipolla wrote a book, available for purchase on this and other topics, as identified here:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/210480.Carlo_M_Cipolla

I hope that I cited the necessary works of others in this blog post. As I find helping my children with homework assignments, I often turn to the internet for help, as do they. I constantly remind them of the importance in citing other people whose words and ideas that you use, even in reports. I have come to find out that my children’s teachers run the reports, essays and other written words through various programs, specifically looking for plagiarism.

But I digress…

Tonight is Halloween. It was cancelled last year because of COVID, but this year, it appears that the kids will be able to go trick-or-treating in the neighborhoods. So I have my supply of candy just in case. Didn’t really do much in preparation, like decorations around the house, I didn’t purchase a Joe Biden mask, and not sure if the kids are going trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. Neither one certainly spent any time getting a costume. We didn’t carve any pumpkins. As time marches forward, the things we did in the past, simply fade away and become memories, provided we have caught them on or IPhone.

Son and daughter, October 2016.
Son and daughter, October 2018.

Yesterday was full of many college football games, which caused me to be a couch potato and scream at my TV for most of the day. Michigan State beat Michigan, and Ohio State beat Penn State. Sets up some interesting games as we move through November when Michigan State plays Ohio State, Michigan plays Penn State and the granddaddy of them all, Michigan plays Ohio State. Clearly there will be much excitement over the next few weeks as we approach Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving.

Another tradition of sorts is happening, starting this weekend. McDonald’s is bringing back the McRib sandwich. I will always choose the McRib, over the Big Mac. It is so newsworthy that it actually made the business pages…

McDonald’s announced the sandwich’s return back in September. | Fox Business

https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/mcrib-returns-next-monday

Check out what's clicking on FoxBusiness.com.
The tasty McRib, as depicted in foxbusiness.com

Not to be outdone, our local McDonald’s has already started selling the most delicious fast food item…here are my pictures from my order…

Why is it that what you order never, ever looks like the advertisement? Needless to say, my McRib tasted very good, which made me wonder if the advertised sandwich depicted above looks better than what I purchased and pictured, how is the taste? Better? As I contemplate these possibilities, I also envision that I might even venture out to find the Arby’s version, as they have advertised their latest creation, which doesn’t involve processed pork. I am a foodie at heart.

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Saturday morning. Autumn is here and the other rants of your host.

Happy Saturday! I cannot believe that October is almost over. Autumn is in the air because of the chill. We have had snow already. Many days it is in the mid 60’s, with the temperature getting below 40 at night. Horses need the overnight blanket, leaves are turning colors and Halloween is almost here. Soon it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Another year in the Land of Enchantment will have passed me by. Thirty one, but who is counting.

Have already been out this morning to get the typical Saturday breakfast when I have the kids. ChiliWorks burritos. One Jolly for me, and two Hawks (no egg) for the kids. A jolly is sausage, egg, cheese, potatoes and green chili. A hawk is ham, potatoes and cheese. All of this is placed inside a tortilla. Just delicious. My trusted companion, Jewel, came along for the car ride.

I had been thinking about entitling this post as the “ranting of a madman”, but thought the wiser. Sometime, every post that I write could be considered the rantings of a madman. As things stand, I have been very busy with work. Yes I am still at it although the thoughts of the next chapter resonate as each day passes. On some days, the call is louder and clearer than others. Soon, I tell myself, but even my closest a friends and coworkers are doubting me. The kids have completed almost a semester of school, and have done reasonably well in terms of grades. Mainly A’s, a couple of B’s and each has a C. For daughter it is economics, ceramics for son. My best friend from high school, who studied economics and now works for the Federal Reserve might have to come to her aid. As for son, not really sure how you can get a C in art class, but I might have to get my cousin’s wife out here since she is a now retired art teacher back in Pennsylvania.

With respect to work, I have spent the past two weeks in meetings with external visitors. By the middle of this week, I had already put in close to 60 hours; 60 hours and it’s Thursday. It never ends and this has been the norm for far too long. The start of the fiscal year should be a quiet time, even though the budget is dictated by continuing resolution. Planning and schedules completed. Work packages signed. NOT AT ALL. Not even a month and working on a BCP to adjust scope, schedule and budget to reflect changes. I cannot get my shit together. Congress cannot get it’s shit together. 

America cannot get it’s shit together. Mark my words. By Christmas, we will have experienced 8 years of OBama, 1 year of Biden, and they will have added 50% of the total federal deficit that it took almost 250 years to become $30 trillion dollars. OBama dropped the load and now Biden is preparing to flush! OBummer and OBiden, as I like to call them, continue to take the country in the wrong direction. Part of me keeps working, paying bills, saving money and not spending because the recession caused by the pandemic in terms of the government spending like drunken sailors will soon be upon us. A nation which makes less and less, cannot continue to spend and borrow like it has. At some point, the IOU’s will come due, and it will not end well. Wow, what I would gladly give now for a mean tweet and some Fox News…

As I write this, son is in the background trying to tell me ideas for Christmas. Daughter is off feeding Ruby and checking on Roman. Could be a very lean Christmas since COVID continues to warp the currenworld economic order. The supply chain is boats in polluted waters off the coast of socialist Commiefornia. The misery index is heading up, largely being moved by inflation. What would you expect with all the money being printed, nothing being manufactured here. Homelessness, urban decay and greed abound. The unemployment increases are not far behind. The dumbing down of America continues. Perhaps if America stopped importing crap and exporting jobs, we would be better off. Ahead I see hard choices, hard times, and significant challenges. America first was about fixing our problems and a stop at pretending that we can rule the world.

Daughter has returned. How are Roman and Ruby, I ask? As my daughter is often short in words, “they are good” is the reply. She grabs her burrito and runs off to her room, to watch YouTube and perhaps work on her homework. Son finishes his burrito and still wants more. So I get him his morning meds while he has an orange and some captain crunch with crunchberries. The pandemic has not been good for any of us in terms of diet. We get the occasional email from school letting us know of a positive test. LANL has terminated those who did not get vaccinated; and those who were granted religious or medical waivers are on leave without pay until sanity returns.

And on top of all of this, Joe and the Libtards want to singlehandedly fix global warming. As if they will get serious and actually work on the problem. Somehow I doubt that they will. Whether climate change is real or not, it cannot happen overnight. The mantra of hard choices, hard times, and significant challenges also hang true here. As for me, I’d like to see us plant many more trees, improve the wetlands, and nuclear power all they way. It is the only true solution to stop fueling our economies by hydrocarbons and other carbon-based materials.

And stop with the BS about migration because of climate change.

But damn, I still want my bacon, my car, and my steak. I also demand my guns and my freedoms as they are guaranteed under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. So on that note, son tells me that I need to go to the store and get more milk. Happy trails, happy ranting, and God bless everyone.

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Wow. I cannot believe it is autumn already.

I can feel it in the air. The morning air has a bit of a chill. The leaves already have a tinge of orange color in them. College football occupies the weekends. It isn’t getting into the mid 80’s in the afternoon like it did just a few weeks ago. And friends on Facebook have already posted photos of snow in the mountains of Colorado.

As for me, it has been 43 days since my last posting. Much has happened with myself and the clan since the last positing.

As a nation, we remembered the tragedy of September 11. My son turned another year older. My daughter got another horse. The horse went down with colic, had surgery and is on the slow road to recovery. Stall rest for at least 3 months.

Welcome Roman…aka License to Thrill.

For me, it was long hours at work. Work continues to just be bad. I no longer want to be there. I was going crazy and needed a break.

In some ways, we were still being locked out of normal because of COVID. That also was taking its toll on my mental and physical psyche.

The positive happening during these past 43 days was that I had enough and took a much needed vacation. I was obviously going crazy. The stress was just getting to me and I needed to get away. Thinking back, except for short excursions over a weekend, a few days here and there, I really had not had a true vacation in years.

It was long overdue.

So I left. I hoped on an airplane and went for a trip. Went back east to the garden state of New Jersey. I enjoyed some of the best food New Jersey has to offer…

Something that just is not available in New Mexico.

I got to see some old friends…

Yes it is a Friday night high school football game. My college roommates son was playing.

Odd that I flew to New Jersey, only to drive to Pennsylvania to watch a high school football game. Priceless!

And I got to listen to some great music…

Yes. I was able to catch Pearl Jam after three years (along with 35000 other people), and spend an evening with The Smashing Pumpkins. Outstanding performances by both. Not to mention other performances spanning several musical genre. It was great music…in a great location…

on the beach in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

It was a good substitute for the Telluride Brews and Blues Festival. Beer, music, food. What more could I ask for? I was able to get out, see the ocean, see the beach, and relax.

I also managed to visit some other interesting places in New Jersey as I drove along the ocean…

I have always had a thing about lighthouses.

Sun, good food, a good book and relaxation. Yes I am still trying to finish reading Atlas Shrugged after all these years. It was a memorable trip, one that I will have to make again. It was great to reconnect with some old friends, whom I thank for taking the time out of their busy schedules to enjoy food and conversation, even if it was a brief moment.

And if this trip served as a prelude for retirement, then I am there.