Zeal…I really DID build that!

In about 1975, my first husband and I had returned to Seattle from Minneapolis, and were living on a shoestring.  He had found a job as a transformer winder at a company that made industrial transformers, and I, with my MA in psychology, was working as a pricing clerk in a hospital pharmacy.  Now, Larry was ultra-handy.  He could and did work on anything and everything around the house and the cars.  He fixed anything that needed fixing.  But when our stereo tuner bit the dust, that was something he couldn’t fix (“no user-serviceable parts inside”).  So we were faced with needing a new tuner, and having little spare money lying around.

So we decided to get a Heathkit and build the tuner ourselves.  We looked in the catalog (no internet in those dark ages), and picked out a model that did what we wanted at a reasonable price.  We mailed away the order form, and waited for our tuner kit to arrive.  In the meantime, we made a trip downtown to Radar Electric, a local firm that sold new and used electronic parts and tools.  We both loved going there, just to see all the bins filled with interesting-looking stuff.  We bought a soldering-iron, solder, and other assembly tools that we would need.

When the kit arrived, we unpacked everything, and set up an assembly area on Larry’s workbench.  Then, he taught me how to solder, and together we worked through the initial instructions.  It turned out that I just had so much fun doing this electronic assembly that I said I’d do it all.  I literally kicked him out of his own workshop and proceeded to build the entire assembly all by myself.  I followed all the instructions to the letter, and did all the operations in the correct order, with the correct parts and pieces.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching that tuner take shape under my hands, and I had visible progress to show off every day.  I worked on that tuner in every spare moment when I was not working, eating and sleeping.  I remember at least one night when Larry had to drag me away to go to bed so I could get enough sleep to go to work in the morning.

iu

Finally, after about a week, all the circuit boards were finished, and it was time to do the final assembly.  We placed all the boards in the enclosure, hooked up the correct wires, closed it up and applied all the necessary knobs and labels for the various switches.  We hooked up the power cable, took a deep breath, and plugged it in.  And it worked!  All the lights came on, we tuned in our favorite station, and sound came out!  That simple Heathkit tuner did yeoman duty, and it lasted a good 15 years.  I was so proud of myself for having completed that project with little help.  I gained some very valuable skills, and learned a little about electronics in the process.  I never would have thought that such a task would totally capture my imagination, but it did.  And I think I gained from being able to finish what I had started and have it work from the minute it was finished.  I was zealous in attention to every detail, reading each instruction twice to make sure I had it right.  And thereafter, I could look at and listen to our tuner, and say to myself, “I built that!”.

[This essay was first posted over at Ricochet.com, where it has 21 “likes” and is under consideration to be promoted to the Main, public-facing, Feed]

Stock Market took a dive today!

StockMkt10-10-18

Do.Not.Panic.   Hold on, do nothing, and whatever you do, do NOT sell anything!  I intend to keep my eyes open for bargains.

Oh, yeah, and I found out that my company is being acquired by another company, and I am again in danger of being laid off.  It might not be until next year, but it’s coming.  I’ve been through this before, but not at my advanced age.  Sigh…

A Not-so-modest Proposal to ameliorate some of the damage done to our National Forests by Smokey the Bear and his henchmen in the Environmental Movement

Ever since I can remember, Smokey the Bear has been telling us that only WE can prevent forest fires.

Smokey

So, who told Smokey that the Prime Directive was to Prevent Forest Fires?  Well, since the 1940s, the US Department of Agriculture used him to prevent Human-caused fires.  In later years, Environmental Wackos did their best to make sure that the National Forests remained in their pristine condition.  They did this by basically putting the forestry profession as much out of business as possible, to “preserve” the National Forests for whatever endangered species they could find.  Humans were considered destroyers of both forests and wildlife.  So national policy discouraged logging in national forests for many years.

The result of this enlightened policy was entire regions decimated by the logging companies put out of business.  On the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, towns like Forks which had had thriving economies were deprived of their ability to support their people.  Unfortunately, when evergreen forests are not thinned, and fires are prevented, they build up heavy loads of underbrush, which in summer are fire hazards.  Another plague that has hit especially Western National Forests has been the pine bark beetle, which thrives on the wood of Ponderosa and other pine trees.  The dead trees killed by the beetle remain dried-out, and standing among the live trees, just waiting for that bolt of lightning.  Here is a picture of a forest in California.  The red trees were killed by the beetles.

dead trees

And here is the slope of Mount Rushmore.  See the dying trees?

IMG_2802

So I have come up with a proposal that should be a win-win-win situation.

First, the Federal Government should hold regional auctions, covering portions of the National Forests.  They would auction off, to the highest private-sector bidder, the rights to log their territory, ONLY removing dead or dying trees, and dry underbrush.

This type of auction would have many beneficial effects.  First, it would bring in money to the government, to help it manage the National Forests.  Second, it would improve the conditions in the forests, as dead and dying trees were removed and fire danger thus reduced, and the remaining trees would be healthier overall.  And Third, it would create jobs in the forestry industry, allowing professional logging companies to get back to their work, and reviving the economies of Western towns that used to depend on logging for their livelihoods.  Those loggers could sell their wood wherever they could find markets, and furniture-makers and others would have a large supply of wood with which to create products.  So everyone, except maybe the Environmental Wackos, would benefit.  Finally, society as a whole would benefit from the sight of forests that are greener and healthier.

I found my retirement “calling” on the Hillsdale cruise to Hawaii

I found my retirement “calling” on the Hillsdale cruise to Hawaii

I am 69 years old and still working full-time as a buyer for an aerospace company. Aside from vowing never to draw Social Security or be subject to Medicare (as a reason for keeping working), I couldn’t think of what I would do with myself if I retired. I play violin, but there’s not much opportunity to play chamber music in my town. I wouldn’t want to just sit around and read all day, which is my favorite pastime when not working.

Funny, but my retirement calling was staring me in the face, and I wasn’t seeing it. My husband and I are big supporters of Hillsdale, and we are members of the President’s Club of donors. It’s also convenient that his employer matches both our contributions and my employer matches mine (so my contribution is tripled). While sitting in one of the excellent lectures on the cruise, it hit me. If and when I retire, I intend to become a Hillsdale Associate, someone who recruits students and donors for the college and generally talks up the place. After reading Dr. Paul Rahe’s post on the Main Feed over at Ricochet.com, perhaps I’d enlist a letter-writing campaign to the Wall Street Journal to get them to add Hillsdale to their yearly college rankings.

In my everyday life now, I always talk up Hillsdale. My work coat closet has a Hillsdale flag on it for all to see. On the cruise, we provided Hillsdale literature to our cabin attendant! I can’t think of a better way to spend my retirement years than promoting Hillsdale College.

Last Half of the Journey-Hawaii Cruise Travelog-Leaving Hawaii for Mexico…And Home

Last Half of the Journey-Hawaii Cruise Travelog-Leaving Hawaii for Mexico…And Home

Wednesday, July 25 through Monday, July 30, we were again at sea, and you know what that means…  Lectures!  The weather wasn’t conducive to much deck-walking, but I did get a few ocean and cloud pictures.  This was the last picture of Hawaiian waters.

Out of Kona6PM

Sea-and-sky-July25

July 25 speakers were Roger Kimball on “Trump vs The Elites”; John Steele Gordon on “A Brief History of American Medical Insurance”; Dr. Arnn on the history of the Administrative State; and George Neumayr on the political papacy of Pope Francis.  The Pope has been the subject of lively discussions, both on the cruise and on Ricochet among the site’s many devoted Catholics, and Mr. Neumayr’s talk generated lots of questions.  In fact, the ship’s Irish-Catholic chaplain had some slightly-hostile remarks which Neumayr fended off masterfully.  We took home a signed copy of his book entitled The Political Pope, which is a must-read.

Thursday, July 26 saw a new roster of speakers.  Nick Lloyd discussed the part of World War I from 1915-17; Patrick Caddell discussed media and polls; and Walter Russell Mead spoke on “Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World”.  I brought home Mead’s book God and Gold, and it is proving to be a very interesting treatment of the history of Western Civilization with an emphasis on the invaluable contributions of the English-speaking countries.

This is what the view was from the Promenade Deck that day.

Sea-and-skyJuly26

And this is what we saw from the Churrascaria restaurant that evening.

Sunset-July26

Friday, July 27, brought more captivating lectures.  Michael Ramirez gave a history of the editorial cartoon, with ample examples of his own work.  Victor Davis Hanson discussed the Battle of Midway, and John Steele Gordon spoke on the history and future of money (which everyone was very attentive to, for obvious reasons).  After lunch, Michael Walsh spoke on the decline of music in Western culture, a subject that interests me greatly.  I have never been very fond of recently-composed music, since it seems to me to be aimed at the composer rather than the listener, and if you can’t please the audience, your music might not get played or sung very much.

Here’s the view from our balcony on Friday.

ViewFromBalcony7-27

On the trip home, the sea was pretty rough, and we got excellent balance practice every time we walked anywhere.  I was lucky, and never completely lost my balance, even in the pitching, rolling shower!  Saturday’s lectures were by Walter Russell Mead on US foreign policy, George Neumayr on the “never-ending investigation”, and Nick Lloyd on the end of World War I.

RoughSeas7-28

On Sunday, July 29, we approached land again, toward Ensenada, Mexico.  I could tell that we were nearing land when the color of the water changed, the skies grew lighter, and the air was warmer.

Sunrise7-30

I couldn’t sleep well Saturday night, so I was up at dawn to capture this beautiful sunrise.

CalmWaters7*29

The water was very calm, and almost seemed to melt into the sky, making the horizon almost disappear.

Wake-7-29

My followers will know that I love watching the wake of a big ship, and I have pictures of the Washington State Ferries, as well as the cruise ships I have sailed on.  I just love the patterns the wake makes in the water.

Land-Island-Mexico7*29

This is an island off the west coast near Ensenada, called Todos Santos Island.

IslandMexico7-29

I had to zoom in to see it, but about 3/4 of the way down the slope to the right, there is a structure that I saw was a big cross, which is consistent with the name of the island.

PelicansandGulls7-29

We could tell there was a big school of fish out there, due to the presence of seagulls and pelicans having a fine time fishing for breakfast.

Pelican-Mexico

This guy came out to meet us.  The name on the boat was PilotoII, indicating that he was a Harbor Pilot, assigned to guide us into the crowded harbor at Ensenada.  See how his wake is twice as wide as he is.

PilotoII

Then, I saw something that reminded me of home in the Puget Sound.  There were a few big buoys out in the harbor, and this one was occupied.  By a local sea lion, a kind of seal.

RestingOnTheBuoy

In Seattle, big sea lions rest on the buoys, and use them as a spot to fish for passing salmon.  I’m betting this guy was fishing too, and he has a gull to keep him company (and compete for fish).

MexicanWaters

That’s our wake in the water of Ensenada.

HarbotToursEnsenada

We also saw numerous Mexican tour boats which go out of Ensenada, all filled with enthusiastic tourists.  When we landed and walked around, we saw people lined up for the next tour.

I saw this structure in the harbor, just outside the working waterfront, and wondered what it might be.  Followers, can you enlighten me perhaps?

Floating-what?

As we approached our berth at the cruise-ship terminal, we got to watch this container ship, the COSCO Indonesia, being loaded with containers.  COSCO is a big Chinese state-owned shipping company.  It was fun watching the orange crane picking up and placing containers precisely where they should go.

CoscoIndonesiaUnloading

Here are some more highlights of the Ensenada harbor.

HillsideHomesEnsenada

Homes on the hillside above the harbor.

BigFlagEnsenada

I think this is one of the biggest flags I’ve ever seen.  Those Mexicans are proud of their country!

Marina-Ensenada

Nice Marina they have there.  There’s another one on the other side of the harbor.

CarnivalInspiration

Our berth-mate that day was the much-larger Carnival Inspiration.

CruiseTerminalEnsenada

The cruise terminal at Ensenada is very colorful, and has a building with lots of shops where the locals sell their wares.

Fountain-Seagull

The fountain is a very convenient bird-bath, and this gull was taking his daily shower.  Ensenada, in Baja California, has a very dry climate with little rain, so you can understand how the gull takes advantage of what humans have provided.

Upon disembarking, we walked around the bay to a crowded, lively marina shopping area, and took in the sights and sounds of Ensenada.

Band-PlazaMarina

Restaurant-Ensenada

CantinaBand

My husband, who plays accordion, got a kick out of this little band.

All too soon, it was time for us to board the Crystal Symphony, for the journey back to San Francisco.  Monday, July 29, was a sea day, and we had lectures by Michael Walsh and Pat Caddell.  The final lecture of the cruise was supposed to be Dr. Arnn discussing Hillsdale’s Mission.  But it turned out that Dr. Arnn left the cruise at Ensenada, to answer the call of Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary, to go to Washington DC to discuss education.  Since he was not there, the Hillsdale crew cooked up a big panel discussion with all the remaining speakers, and the audience asked lots of interesting questions.  The Hillsdale cruisers are well-educated bunch, and we all thoroughly enjoyed all the lectures and all the speakers.

FinalPanel7-30

Personnel, from left: Tim Caspar, Hillsdale Associate VP for External Affairs who moderated; John Steele Gordon, Michael Ramirez, Pat Caddell, Michael Walsh, Nick Lloyd, George Neumayr, Victor Davis Hanson, Roger Kimball, and Walter Russell Mead.

Monday, July 31, we arrived back in San Francisco.  We had packed the night before, and when it was time, we all filed into the Starlite Club ballroom to await our group being called.

WaitingToLeave7-31

When we disembarked, we boarded a bus for the ride to the airport.  We got checked in, and awaited our flight back to Seattle.  Once in the air, I pointed my camera out the window, and got some spectacular cloud pictures.  And mountains, too.

AboveTheClouds7-31

Mountains7-31

The cruise had been wonderful, but we were glad to be home.  And the kitty was glad to have us back, too.

Next year’s Hillsdale cruise will be to the British Isles, to celebrate the conclusion of the project involving the complete Churchill biography and documents.  We don’t know yet if we will go, but we will have this year’s cruise to remember for a long time.

 

 

 

Land Ho! Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Days 6 & 7 in Honolulu

Land Ho! Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii-Days 6 & 7 in Honolulu

Finally, on our sixth day out, we spotted signs of nearing land.  I love transportation, and was thrilled to see a container ship on the horizon.

ContainerShip

We finally saw signs of land.

LandHo

Oahu

Finally, we rounded the last headland and got our first glimpses of Honolulu.

DiamondHead

The famous Diamond Head, an extinct volcano that almost stands for Honolulu.  My readers may not know that, in 1962, my family pioneered the “home exchange” movement, when we swapped houses with a family in Honolulu for a month during the Seattle World’s Fair.  My mother’s cousin was the managing editor of the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper, and he found a family that wanted to swap with us.  Their house was in the Kahala neighborhood, on the other side of Diamond Head.

Honolulu

More views of the harbor of Honolulu, including its container port and city park.  There was a whole fleet of tugboats, used to guide big ships into the harbor.

HonoluluWaterfrontHonoWorkingHarbor

HonoluluSurfers

Surfers! Right in the harbor among the boats and buoys.

WaterfrontPark

Harbor

TugFleet

See the fleet of tugboats, waiting for work in the harbor.  July is actually low season for cruise ships in Hawaii, and there was just one other ship in port when we docked on Friday afternoon.  We didn’t have a lot of time left in the day, so we just took the opportunity to take the bus into town, to the famous Ala Moana Shopping Center.  It has been there for many years, and I remember going shopping there in 1962.  It’s a lot bigger now, and we were impressed with all the stores, and the many amenities.

The first place we stopped upon alighting from the bus was a little Japanese shopping area, which was filled with food sellers and tiny shops.  Located there was a shrine, based upon the Asian Zodiac, with carved Buddha statues for all the animals of the Asian Zodiac.  The statues were very intricately-carved, and before each stood a “charity box” for people to donate based on their sign.

Zodiac-charity

In the center of the mall is an artificial river, with koi ponds and a waterfall.  I loved the colorful fish, easily visible through the clear water.  What a beautiful, relaxing place!

KoiPondRiver

And some human interest that I just couldn’t prevent myself from photographing.  This little boy and his grandfather were enjoying the pond and fish.

Kid-Gramps

We discovered that we could not leave behind signs of our home.  See that Ben Bridge store in the background?  They are based in Seattle, and I want to Synagogue with the Bridge children.

After doing a bit of shopping and getting the obligatory Starbucks Frappuccino, we went back to the ship for dinner, to relax in preparation for the next day’s outing to Pearl Harbor.

Saturday, we again boarded buses for the trip to our tour of Pearl Harbor, and the USS Missouri.  The Missouri was where the Japanese finally surrendered to the Allies to end World War II, and we saw many landmarks of that historic occasion.

Missouri

This was the entrance, and our first glimpse of the vessel.  Not far inside the entrance and off to the left was this typical sign of WWII military bases.

Canteen

ArizonaSky

From the dock you can see the Arizona Memorial in the background, but we could not go aboard, as it was closed due to structural problems.  I could not get over that absolutely spectacular sky.

MizzouBow

Our group, listening to our guide at the bow of the ship.

Guns

PearlHarbor

The deck of the Missouri was an excellent platform for photographing Pearl Harbor.

SurrenderDeck

This was the Surrender Deck where the Americans and other allies accepted Japan’s surrender.  This plaque commemorates the occasion.

SurrenderPlaque

After our tour of the ship, our Hillsdale group was treated to a catered lunch on the fantail of the ship, and a lecture by Victor Davis Hanson, on the weaponry of World War II.

FantailLunch

After lunch, we boarded a launch for a trip around the harbor.  It was the closest we could get to the Arizona Memorial that was closed.

Arizona-water

Once back on land, we were free to explore the rest of the Pearl Harbor exhibit, which was extensive.  Hubby instantly declared that he wanted to see the submarine, the USS Bowfin, which was available for tours.  Going through my pictures, I discovered that I’d gotten an excellent picture of the craft, that really shows how long it is.

ViewWithSub

Bowfin

InsideTheSub

The tubes and other machinery in the torpedo room show you how little space there was in that vessel. Definitely no place for anyone suffering from claustrophobia!

Again back on land, here is more of the scenery.

Plumeria

That’s Plumeria, the state flower of Hawaii.  I have fond memories of sitting on the grass in front of the house we stayed in, in 1962, with my sister, making leis from the Plumeria bush in the front yard.

SubLaunchedBallisticMissiles

Old Polaris Sub-launched Ballistic Missiles.  Fortunately, there was no need to use them, and they essentially died of old age.  Military readiness keeps us safe.

And I just could not resist capturing these two totally-unexpected tour vans parked in the Pearl Harbor lot.  Who would have thought there were Polish tour companies?  Well, it looks like there are! And, get the license plates!

TourVans-Polish

One other structure that I was not able or willing to photograph presented itself on the way back to the city after our tour.  It seems that the Hawaiians have drunk the same Kool-Aid as the Seattleites, and have been building a “light-rail” project between Pearl Harbor and Honolulu.  And, just like Seattle, it is a long way from being finished, and way over budget.  And the driver told us that the project has been dogged by all sorts of government corruption, resulting in lengthy lawsuits.  Sigh, it sounded very familiar, and everything being more expensive in Hawaii, it will probably be a bigger drag on their economy than ours already is.  The progressives who run both places never tire of their stupid, backward-looking transit projects that no one will ride but everyone will have to pay for, in perpetuity.

There was still some light left when we got back from the tour, so we walked a bit.  Right on the same cruise ship pier is this Honolulu landmark.

AlohaTower

And across the street is this beautiful tree.

HarborTree

As it had been a very long day, we re-boarded the ship and had a shower and dinner.  Later in the evening, our ship pulled away from the dock, and headed toward Maui at sunset.

HarborSunset

Next stop, Lahaina on Maui.

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Days Four and Five

Vacation Travelogue-Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii, Days Four and Five

By Day Four, we had gotten well into the routine of morning and afternoon lectures, broken up by an awesome breakfast buffet, walks on the deck when the weather permitted, lunch by the window, and just relaxing in the stateroom.  Most of the time, it was too windy and cold on the deck to sit outside much, which was a disappointment.

Day Four began with a walk out on the Promenade Deck 7, with my camera, around 7AM.

StarboardBow0718

This is the view off the starboard bow.

DeepBlueSea0718

Isn’t this just the Deep Blue Sea?  I really could not get over how blue the water was in the North Pacific.  Achingly Blue.

CurvedHorizon0718

Look!  You can see the curvature of the earth!

LifeboatLift0718

This is part of the mechanism that lifts lifeboats into and out of the water.  I took a bunch of pictures of all the equipment on board that is there to ensure that everyone gets off alive in the event of a disaster.

The first lecture of the morning was by historian and journalist John Steele Gordon, who spoke about the economy under Obama, and under Trump.  He spoke to a rapt audience, and took spirited questions later.

JSGordon

Next came Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal columnist, discussing the US, Israel, and the fate of my Jewish people.

Mead0718

The final morning speaker was our friend Michael Walsh, whom we met on the Alaska cruise in 2016, and had dinner with on this cruise on the first evening.  His talk was on Politics and the Arts, about which he writes in his newest book The Fiery Angel.  Walsh is a delightful guy, and we met him and his delightful wife, Kate, often in our strolls around the ship, mostly after dinner at the Avenue Saloon.

MWalsh

After lunch, was the lecture we’d all been waiting for.  Michael Ramirez, political cartoonist, spoke and showed pictures from his book “Give Me Liberty or Give Me ObamaCare”, which was a riot.  He had his audience laughing and groaning in turns.Ramirez0718

Mild-mannered-looking gentleman, but his wit is biting, and he knows just where to hit Liberals.

In the afternoon after the last lecture, I again walked the deck looking for likely pictures.

Clouds0718

My readers will know my love of clouds, and I sure found some beautiful ones on this cruise.

PoolDeck0718

Oh, yeah, and there’s the Pool Deck, where many passengers spent hours getting a tan.  See that gazebo on the left?  They had a band playing there in the afternoon.

The big lecture attraction of Day Five was Patrick Caddell, the self-described Democrat pollster, opining on what has happened to the Democratic Party.  I have already done one post on his talk, and I can’t really say much more, except that his lecture brought down the house.  He got rousing applause often during his speeches.  He deserved it!

We also heard from Roger Kimball again, and Victor Davis Hanson, who spoke on the Second World Wars.  This was in preparation for our arrival in Honolulu, home of Pearl Harbor.  Mr. Hanson spoke without notes, which was very impressive.

I admit that I took my camera to all the lectures, and sometimes I’d just point it at something in the room and snap.  The Galaxy Lounge was the place all the Broadway shows were staged, and I was intrigued by the complex lighting arrangement on the ceiling.

StageLights0719

Late on this day, things started to get stormy outside, and we hit some fairly rough seas.  I said many times during this voyage that we were getting great balance practice!  It’s a wonder more people didn’t fall when the ship was pitching and rolling around.   When was the last time you took a shower on a moving vehicle?  That’s an experience in itself!

StormyWeather0719

Deck-water0719

Looked at from this angle (looking down from our veranda to the Promenade Deck below), the water looks almost black.  Isn’t light wonderful?  That’s the last of Day Five.