“Caught up in the moment”


I find it amazing that many people, both men AND women, are defending Thomas Callaway for slapping the butt of a female reporter during a race.


Callaway is 43, a middle-aged white man from Georgia.

He probably was raised by an old white man who thinks that women are property and that this conduct is perfectly okay.

It’s not.

If he doesn’t understand that after being on this Earth for 43 years, 22 as an adult, I’m all for him being arrested and charged with sexual battery, even if it is only a misdemeanor. The publicity compensates some for it being just a misdemeanor.

I’m wondering if the women who are defending him would be okay with this taking place anywhere else, like a grocery store, or a movie theater. It certainly sounds like they would be.

Callaway said that he was “caught up in the moment.”

I say again,


What kind of a moment allows a man to slap the butt of an unknown woman? Touching another person in this manner and participating in a race are two separate events. There is no “moment” here that is acceptable to me. There might be if they knew each other, especially if they were intimate…. boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife. But even then we know what happens when personal boundaries are not respected.

Guys need to learn to keep their hands to themselves and their dicks in their pants unless invited otherwise.

Movie Review—Geostorm

TV & Movie Reviews

My retirement years have allowed me to add television and music to my day, complementing my addiction to music, photography, and gardening.

Jim and I unsubscribed to cable in September 2013 when the cost got to $100 a month and there was nothing on that we cared to watch. We did without until September 2017, a couple of months after moving to the East San Diego County boondocks. We are so far out in the boondocks that there is no cable out here. In order to get to the Internet, I had to buy an AT&T GoPro mobile hotspot. I bought two, one as a backup just in case, because you know that things go wrong when you need them the most.

Still, though, a mobile hotspot doesn’t necessarily get you “cable” access. In my extensive searching to find what I needed, I discovered Hulu, Netflix, YouTubeTV, Starz, and LiveTV.

LiveTV had my initial interest because it provided access to local TV, sports, news, and weather. However, in order to provide local programming, it has to know where you are. Consequently, mobile hotspots are verboten simply because they are mobile. LiveTV doesn’t want me to travel to Los Angeles and get access to my local programming back home.

Facebook, though, knowing (somehow!) that I had checked into LiveTV recommended YouTubeTV. That intrigued me since I have had a YouTube channel for about a decade. Turns out that YouTubeTV provides local programming, local news/weather/sports. It even provides streaming live events, such as college and professional sports. Interested in your college’s sports? If your college is streaming them, you probably can find them on YouTubeTV.

I wasn’t quite enamored of Hulu and Netflix because everything that I wanted to watch wasn’t available on those two services. When I mentioned on Facebook my dissatisfaction with Hulu and Netflix, one person mentioned that many movies not on Hulu or Netflix are available for rent or purchase on YouTube. Yes! YouTube. Not YouTubeTV. Just plain old YouTube. I started renting movies and TV programs on YouTube.

Whenever I watch Hulu, Netflix, or YouTube TV, those services often recommend other watching based on what I have already watched. I noticed that many TV programs and movies recently released by their copyright owners were available free, for about a week, on YouTubeTV, at which point they were moved over to plain old YouTube where one could rent or buy them.

GeostormRecently, YouTubeTV recommended a 2017 movie, Geostorm. It looked like my type of movie. It was. Watched it twice! I rarely watching anything more than once.

The only actors in Geostorm with whom I was familiar are Andy Garcia and Ed Harris. That might tell you how many decades behind I am in watching TV and movies because the film had a large budget of $120 million, and every actor listed in Wikipedia has a link to his own Wikipedia page.

The plot centers around catastrophic natural disasters, a network of climate-controlling satellites, and the International Space Station. The climate-controlling satellites and the International Space Station have been sabotaged via a computer virus, which is causing multiple extreme weather disasters on Earth.

The extreme weather events race toward a climax, called a geostorm, and that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Turns out that a certain person (not noted here in order not to be a spoiler) is attempting to wipe out the Democratic National Convention so that everyone in front of him in the line of succession to the presidency is dead. Who could argue with a natural disaster hitting a convention and everyone being killed? Seems so, uh, natural.

I thought the acting was superb, which I guess is to be expected considering the budget and all the links to those actors’ personal Wikipedia pages. Special effects also were superb, and that’s where I initially thought that all the budget money was spent.

Geostorm is considered a box office success because it grossed $221.6 million on that $120 million budget. Total running time is 106 minutes.

I did not find a good review of Geostorm for my post here. Seems all the critics hated it—cheesy, bad dialogue, stereotypical disaster movie, etc. None of those bother me because I just love disaster movies. It’s the disaster that captures my attention. If you’re like me and can “tolerate” science fiction, futuristic movies, dystopian movies, fantasy movies, etc., I think you can easily enjoy Geostorm, especially since it has a “climate change” theme underlying it. Relevant to today’s world. I highly recommend it.

Geostorm came out in 2017 and is set in 2019, so you better watch it quickly before it becomes history instead of the future!


I hope it’s in my yard!

Little Queen Olivia

Update on Little Queen Olivia.

It took 3 days of over-the-counter medicine—medicine for humans recommended by a vet!—but the little queen is back to her rambunctious, psychotic little self.

She is back enjoying her catio, and I have been watching her closely. Yesterday she was on the catio chair intently staring up at a corner.

Little Queen Olivia

She looked like she was saying prayers to the Great Cat. I looked up in the corner several times to see what she was watching.


Finally, I saw it.

The largest praying mantis I had ever seen. Only the fourth one I have seen in the 26½ years I have been in California, and all of them in the last 2½ years out here in the East San Diego County boondocks.

Here it is after I rescued it from the catio and relocated it outside.

Praying mantis

I’m not a biologist by any stretch of the imagination, but I think that praying mantis is a gal, and I do believe she is pregnant, perhaps looking for some place to lay some eggs. I hope it’s in my yard!

The third praying mantis I saw was one day earlier. It was outside on one of the windows of our bedroom. You know I rushed outside with my Canon camera to get a picture, yes?

Praying mantis

We have dual-pane windows, which created interesting shadows. The first shadow was on the outside pane, and then there was a shadow of the shadow on the inside pane. Pretty cool. The little black dot in the lower left is a little fly, obviously being stalked by that praying mantis.

How to get a sunrise picture

There are many ways to get a picture of a sunrise:

      1. Get up with the sunrise and take a picture.
      2. Take a picture of a sunset and say it was a sunrise.
      3. Do a Google Image search on “sunrise” and download one.
      4. Buy a sunrise picture from a stock image service.
      5. Borrow a sunrise picture from someone else.

Here’s today’s version of #1 from 682′ high in the East San Diego County boondocks.

Sunrise in the East San Diego County mountains on 12/12/2019

You can call me ART

Euphorbia milliiEuphorbia millii saving rain drops for another day

The first computer I bought back in 1979 came with VisiCalc. I was like a
6-year-old kid in a candy store. I had been creating spreadsheets all my life using accounting ruled paper from the office supply stores. To be able to do it on a computer and use my typing skills was like eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Throughout the years, I bought every new spreadsheet program that hit
the market, but my favorites were Lotus 1-2-3, SuperCalc, Quattro Pro, Framework, Lotus Symphony, and Microsoft Excel, and out of those Excel has been running my life since around 1993. My current Excel workbook has 30 spreadsheets in it, down from a high of 53 a year ago. I re-organize my life (“life” being defined as “spreadsheets which run my life”) every December.

Here are a few of my most used spreadsheets:

  1. Calendar—This is the spreadsheet that runs my daily life. Anything that
    I need/want to accomplish each day goes in this spreadsheet. This also
    is where I remind myself that I need to brush my teeth; eat breakfast, lunch, and supper…. You can call me ART.
  2. Abbey Road by The BeatlesRock Music—This is where I list all the digital files in my rock music collection, the time of each file, and when I last listened to each file. Currently there are 4,261 files totaling 1,594 hours, 26 minutes, and 29 seconds. If I listen to this collection for an average of 10 hours a day, which I do, it takes me 159 days, 26 hours, and 39 seconds to listen to everything. You can call me ART.
  3. 2019 Honda InsightCars—This is where I track maintenance and daily mileage on our two cars. You can call me ART.
  4. Blog Visits—Yes, I track which blogs I visit each day. My goal is to visit at least 20 blogs each and every day. With 1,677 links to blogs, it can take me 84 days to visit all of them. You can call me ART.
  5. Movies—Here I track movies and TV programs that I have watched.
    It lists the name of the movie or program, when it came out, where I watched it, and when I watched it. Currently watching “Jericho” on Netflix, Season 1, Episode 15. You can all me ART.
  6. Weather—I started tracking the weather when I was 11 and living with my wise old grandmother in Kingsville, Texas, deep in the south of the state. Kingsville’s weather included hail storms, thunderstorms, tropical depressions, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, and even snow once a decade. I was at the TV every day for the 6:00 and 10:00 weather to note the temperature, weather, and barometric pressure. You can call me ART.
  7. Olivia—I track Little Queen Olivia’s weight and vet visits. Her last visit to the vet on 12/6 showed her at 8.6 pounds. She was two years old on November 21, so she’s just a little queen. You can call me ART.
  8. Desert Island—My list of music that will have with me if ever there is a chance that I could be lost on a desert island. Currently there are 1,507 songs on it. Albums not allowed. Only individual songs. You can call me ART.
  9. Bad List—This is a list of people and companies that don’t get Christmas cards. Currently has 102 people/companies on the list. I’m a very easy-going Southern boy, so I give people and companies three strikes before calling them out. This list started with my high school girlfriend’s Baptist minister father. I asked her to marry me and her dad said no. Apple has been on the list since 1983, Uber since 2017. You can call me ART.
  10. Explore—A list of places to go, things to do, but only within driving distance since I quit flying around 2003 because of the airlines’ response to the Detroit Shoe Bomber. When flying required me to get up 10 hours before flight time, get to the airport 6 hours early, stand in line for hours waiting for the privilege to be searched and have someone “touch my junk,” and, perhaps, even get to undress for several people, I just decided that I could drive anywhere I wanted to go in the time required to get on an airplane. You can call me ART.

Why ART? It’s an acronym for Anal Retentive Tracking.

Much safer reading than the old manual way

Snow day in the Cuyamaca Mountains, San Diego County, 11/30/2019Snow Day in the Cuyamaca Mountains,
East San Diego County, 11/30/2019

When I was young, I used to carry around with me a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records. That was what I read when I had to wait, usually in some sort of line, like at the grocery store or post office. It was my emergency reading material.

The Golden Ratio by Mario LivioDare I say that I still do that?

My current emergency reading material is
The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, The World’s Most Astonishing Number, written by
Mario Livio (b. 1945) and published in 2002.

(Interestingly, as with my own book, it has an ISBN on the back cover and one on the copyright page. They are supposed to be the same. They are not. Ooopsy. Someone goofed.)

It has to do with my book Nature’s Geometry: Succulents and my 1-hour presentation on the same topic.

I’m 99% certain that I’m on the Speaker’s Circuit for cactus & succulent clubs now, but, as my wise old grandmother said in 1966: Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched.

(Yes, we had a farm/ranch, and yes, I was counting the number of eggs so I would know how many chickens I would have….)

Two cactus & succulent clubs in the Los Angeles area have me tentatively scheduled for February 9 and February 13.

I did a presentation in June 2019 for the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society in Escondido, California, a club to which I belong. However, that presentation is now six months old, so I’m updating it using material from my book which was published in October 2019 and with information garnered from my current emergency reading list.

Dare I say that I also read while sitting in stop & go traffic? It’s a skill I learned in 1977-1983 while actually working in an office 8 to 5 (something I rarely have done) and sitting in rush hour traffic in Houston, Texas. I drive with my left hand and hold my reading material at dashboard level with my right hand. The key to doing this successfully, though—with successfully being defined as “without having an accident”—is to only read when the car is at a complete stop. I don’t do it if the car is moving irregardless (one of my favorite non-words) of how slowly that movement might be.

My 2019 Honda Insight has “Brake Hold,” which is the Honda’s way of saying, Here, Russel. We’ve made it easier for you to read while you drive.

2019 Honda Insight

Brake Hold in the 2019 Honda Insight

Brake Hold only takes effect if the car is completely motionless, and it won’t release unless I press on the gas pedal. Much safer reading than the old manual way.

When I went to Julian, California, on November 30, 2019, to play in the snow, I do believe the whole city of San Diego (population 1.3 million) had gotten there before me. There is a high-traffic intersection coming out of the mountains and into downtown Julian. Traffic often backs up for 20 or 30 cars, and it can take 10-15 minutes to go one-tenth of a mile. Traffic on snow day was backed up 1.2 miles, and it took me 1 hour and 34 minutes to go that 1.2 miles. I got a lot of stop & go reading done!

Snow day in the Cuyamaca Mountains, San Diego County, 11/30/2019

Little Queen Olivia spoke to me, and I listened!

Follow the assembly directionsLittle Queen Olivia

I blame myself for having to let Zoey the Cool Cat go on June 23, 2019, because I didn’t understand how pets talk to us.

Well, yesterday morning, Little Queen Olivia was sneezing every 15 minutes. Not just one sneeze. Several in a row. House-shaking sneezes.

Finally, at 4:00 a.m., it occurred to me that she was trying to tell me something.

I got dressed, put her in the carrier, and headed to the 24/7 vet hospital. Sure enough, she’s a sick Little Queen.

Looks like a cold at this point because her temperature is not elevated, she’s eating well, she’s eliminating well, and she’s active and playful. Just sneezing and watery eyes.

The drive to the vet was the first time in the six months she has been with us that I ever have heard her meow. Usually it’s just squeaks and squeals. Since it’s an 18-minute drive to the vet, and she meowed every 5 seconds, it also was the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th …………… 214th, 215th, 216th times I have heard her meow.

Here she is in her carrier at the vet at 4:30 a.m.:

Little Queen Olivia at the vet

The vet said to buy some Little Noses and Chlorpheniramine 4 mg tablets (cut in half), available at CVS across the street.

“Both are over-the-counter for humans,” as he told me, but will be fine for a 2-year-old cat.

Easily got the nasal spray in her nose but she fought me tooth & nail (secret code for “biting and scratching”) for 5 minutes before I got half a tablet down her. After I posted on Facebook, one person recommended “Pill Pockets.” I immediately rushed out to buy a pack. Didn’t fool the Little Queen. She looked at it and turned up her nose. Eventually I mixed the pill pocket in with her wet food and she snarfed it down. So all’s well.

I put her on my bed around 11:30 and she did not sneeze once, happily sleeping for 4½ hours.

Little Queen Olivia sleeping peacefully

Little Queen Olivia sleeping peacefully

Will monitor her closely to make sure that she doesn’t have anything more serious.