She can stand!

Cats

Little Queen Olivia has been with us since June 25, 2019, meaning that I have well over a thousand pictures of her.

I have maybe 5 pictures of her standing because whenever she sees me, she immediately flops and rolls over to have her tummy scratched.

Well, today I got a close-up picture of her standing.

Just a second later, she was flopped on the floor, and her chief of staff was rubbing her tummy.

Little Queen Olivia

Part two

A Piece Missing

Looks like yesterday’s post about my new Conspiracy Theorist Facebook group was not my most popular post.

You can’t believe how happy that actually makes me.

The post was a joke, which some people realized when they clicked on the link for an application to join.

It was an effective post, though, because my intent, both here and at Facebook, was to find some of those Conspiracy Theorists who were following/friending me and get rid of them.

I’m too old for that kind of crap in my life.

Conspiracy Theorists

A Piece Missing

I have decided to create a Facebook group for Conspiracy Theorists.

We’ll be discussing the best of the so-called conspiracy theories, like:
Chemtrails
New Coke
New World Order
Freemasonry
Israel animal spying
Extraterrestrials & UFOs
Illuminati
9/11
Sandy Hook
Clintons
Jeffrey Epstein
Barack Obama
October Surprise
Alternative therapy suppression
Fluoridation
Vaccination
Global warming
MKUltra
Flat Earth
1984 Pepsi 400
New England Patriots
Moon landing

As you can see, we’ve got a lot to explore. And we’ll have videos and photos as proof! We’ll have a lot of fun!.

Click here for an application to join

Get those cooties off me!

Picture of the Moment

One of my roommates in 1974 at Texas A&M University was from Waller, Texas, which is about half way between Houston and College Station.

I lost track of him when I moved to San Diego in April 1993. I moved with the intent of distancing myself from old family and friends. No more need to keep up with the Joneses.

In 2011, I was exploring the border area in South San Diego when I came upon San Diego Beach Rides. I rented a horse ride for the beach. Pretty cool.

When I got back, I told the owner that he looked like my college roommate from 1974. He said, “Oh, I’m from Texas.” That, of course, started a conversation. Turns out that he wasn’t my roommate, but he was my roommate’s younger brother.

I was able to get connected again to my old roommate who was living in Littleton CO. Small world. Unfortunately, as with all but two of my old friends and family in Texas, our politics didn’t mesh, so I disconnected again.

This horse picture is from October 4, 2011, at San Diego Beach Rides. It’s the horse that I rode. I guess it wanted to get those Russel cooties off. After I pet Little Queen Olivia, she proceeds to do the same thing.

San Diego Beach Rides

Little Queen Olivia

A new version of normality

Opinion

I have had several foreign cars (Honda, Nissan, and Toyota) since I arrived in San Diego on April 27, 1993. I grew up in the muscle car generation in South Texas, so if you would have told me in early 1993 that some day I would be dedicated to foreign cars, I might have gone down to my uncle’s house in Kingsville, Texas, borrowed 40 or 50 of his guns, and went-a searchin’ for ya. That’s how dedicated I had been raised to American automobiles.

I never really regretted buying foreign until I got a 2019 Honda Insight Hybrid on July 21, 2019. To read about my problems with that car, see these two previous posts:

A 5,000-mile review

Follow-up

The problems never got any better. With nothing to do during the pandemic except reading, watching TV/movies, gardening, and, of course, playing with Little Queen Olivia, I decided to trade the 2019 Insight Hybrid in on a 2021 Insight Hybrid . I figured that with my monthly letters to Honda concerning all of my problems, two years should be sufficient for them to get the problems fixed.

I got the 2021 car on July 9 with 63 miles on it. The 2019 was black while the 2021 is cosmic metallic blue.

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid in cosmic metallic blue

2021 Honda Insight Hybrid in cosmic metallic blue

I ended July 2020 with 317 miles on the car, not enough miles to determine if it’s going to have the same problems as the 2019 car.

However, the 2021 has a much bigger problem, in my opinion, concerning cruise control.

I bought my first car, a 1976 Chevrolet Impala, in August 1977. It had a little over 4,000 miles on it and was a test-drive car. In today’s world, there is no such thing as a test-drive car because you only get to test drive the car that you are thinking about buying. In early 1978, cruise controls were making their inroads into cars, mostly as options. I found a cruise control at Sears, bought it, and installed it. My gas mileage in the Impala with its big 400 cubic inch engine climbed from 7.7 miles per gallon to over 10 miles per gallon. I was sold! I have had cruise control in every car since then. I’m pretty addicted to it, especially in long drives.

Sadly, the cruise control in the 2021 Honda Insight Hybrid absolutely sucks.

With the 2019 car, I could use cruise control everywhere, even down to 25 miles per hour in slow rush hour traffic. Cruise control in the 2021 is completely useless unless I’m all by myself. It’s the damned “driver assist” functions, and the “necessary ones” cannot be turned off.

The problem is that driver assist has many options. The ones that cause me problems are related to cruise control, and they cannot be turned off, only modified with Honda-programmed options.

One option is when following traffic. I can set how far behind the traffic I can use cruise control before the car takes over. Even if I set the option for short, I cannot make the distance short enough to allow me to use cruise control at slower speeds in rush hour traffic.

Another option is to set the width of the area that the car monitors for traffic. It has normal, narrow, and wide options. Definitely do not set it for wide. It looks at the whole freeway and won’t let cruise control work if there’s another car within a hundred miles of me. Narrow works best, but if another car pulls in front of me, my car slams on the brakes. Slamming on the brakes in anything other than an emergency can be dangerous, especially on the highway with traffic doing California highway speeds.

An additional problem is that the car does not understand what a curve is. I can be on cruise control on a straight stretch with cars in lanes to both sides of me. As soon as I begin to go around a curve, the car thinks I’ll be going straight and that the cars in the lanes to both sides of me now suddenly are in my lane. Once again, the car slams on the brakes.

The 2021 Honda Insight Hybrid is so dangerous on cruise control that I have decided not to use it unless I’m pretty much the only one on the highway. I’d be willing to bet that all Honda cars with cruise control have the same problem, but I can only speak for my car. Perhaps I have another lemon like my 2019 car.

I was hoping that this car might be my last car purchase but now I’m thinking that I’ll only have it for one to two years, especially if the pandemic ends or we get a viable vaccine and I get to go cruising out in the wide open again. I won’t be able to drive long distances without cruise control, like to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tucson, and Atlanta, where the cactus & succulent clubs want me to do presentations on Nature’s Geometry: Succulents once things return to some semblance of pre-pandemic normality.

I’m actually thinking that there’s going to be a new version of normality.

TV & movies on my desert island

One of my Facebook friends had asked what three TV series we would want to take with us to our desert island. I chose Star Trek: Voyager, Flash, and, after binge-watching Glee, put it at #3. Someone else mentioned Leverage, and I just finished binge-watching it. I put it at #4.

I have been a huge science fiction fan all my life, having got started in first grade when I was reading fourth grade science fiction, to the consternation of the school librarian. Then, along came Star Trek. I was a Trekker for life. Then the Star Wars and Star Trek films. None of the films disappointed me, but a few episodes of Star TrekStar Trek: Next Generation, and Star Trek: Enterprise did. I was not disappointed by a single episode of Star Trek: Voyager, so with my intense interest in science fiction, that series claims #1.

Ever since Stan Lee died on November 22, 2018, I have been watching all of the films based on Marvel Comics and DC Comics. That’s how Flash got up there to #2. Not a single episode disappointed me. I found Star Trek: Voyager to be a little more realistic than Flash, so Flash claimed the #2 spot.

I started piano lessons under my mother when I was 2, started violin lessons when I was 6, and started voice lessons when I was 10. Thus, it should be no surprise how Glee got the #3 spot.

Leverage almost tied Glee for #3, but there were two episodes that I thought were lacking, so it fell to #4.

This morning I started watching The Protectors, a 1972-73 series starring Robert Vaughn. I was addicted to Vaughn in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Not sure how I missed The Protectors.

I tried watching The Man from U.N.C.L.E. a few months ago but found the quality of the filming to be lacking. Same with The Protectors, which I will not finish watching. Not really surprising considering how much I love the special effects and such from the science fiction movies.

The Time Tunnel is another series that I watched in my youth but just doesn’t measure up now.

I don’t have any other TV series on my To Watch list, so I guess it’s on to movies for a few days, beginning with Omega Doom from 1997 about a post-holocaust world. Sounds like my kind of movie.

SNIPPETS (7/26/20)

Snippets

1

Plants in our small gardens rarely have the room to grow as big as they do in their native habitats. The pictures below are Ferocactus cylindraceus, the first one from my small garden and the second one from its native habitat in California’s Mojave Desert.

Ferocactus cylindraceus

Ferocactus cylindraceus

2

Little Queen Olivia was in one of her weird moods earlier this morning, rolling all over the living room floor showing me her Sunday morning yoga poses.

Little Queen Olivia

Little Queen Olivia

Little Queen Olivia

3

Seems that lots of people, including me, are doing genealogical research during their pandemic self-isolation. I think I found my roots.

Tree roots

4

Whenever I asked my wise old grandmother if I could do something that she didn’t approve of, her answer often was “When pigs fly!” I think 2020 is the year when we just might see pigs fly.

When pigs fly

5

I saw a couple of days ago that the fortune of Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, grew by $13 billion in a single day. Boggles my mind that so many people are angry at unemployed workers getting $600/week in unemployment. If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that capitalism needs a serious makeover. Perhaps it’s time for the people to stop fighting over scraps from the table and overthrow the damn table. How much is enough?

Halls of History—Whites Only

Halls of History

I grew up in South Texas in the ’60s in the little farming and ranching community of Kingsville. To say that Kingsville was a little behind the times might be an understatement. I remember my wise old grandmother taking me to see The Sound of Music when it finally came to our movie theater. That was 1968, three years after the film was released.

I remember downtown Kingsville being segregated in 1968. The donut shop, which was owned by my maternal grandfather, and the ice cream bar at the drugstore next door were Whites Only.

Even though I didn’t know the term racism, I obviously understood what it was because I never went to the drugstore for ice cream, and I didn’t go to my grandfather’s donut shop even though I could get free donuts.

Something about them just didn’t feel right to me.

Here I am 52 years later, and there’s still something in society that just doesn’t feel right to me.