1 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: WA112 February 1, 1925

Patches and I got up just a little earlier this morning to meet Boonie, Occupation Of Independence, and Coffee Girl again. The guys had breakfast at Foothill Eatery while the fur kids waited impatiently in our vehicles.

We then went to the State Trust Land near the Foothill Solar Power station where we could run the dogs again. Patches was excited as always when she get a chance to run with Coffee Girl but she could not entice her to chase today. Patches would make what Boonie called strafing runs on Coffee Girl but couldn't tempt her to chase.

Everyone had a good time. This will be last time we get together here in Yuma before I leave and it is unknown when we may cross paths again. We have had a good time with them while we have all been here.

Stopped at Fry's on the east side and got the rest of the groceries that I need for next week. Wanted to get some hot crushed chile but could not find any. Settled for some fresh habanero that I'm going to put in a pot of Frey's Special Chili, to be made tomorrow.

The Bureau of Labor has released their non-farm job numbers for January, an increase of 157,000. The media News is reporting this as more steady growth and down playing the increase in the Unemployment Rate to 7.9%.

If you look at the Household Data for January the number of Employed increased by 17,000 while the number of Unemployed increased by 126,000. There was also an increase of 169,000 in the Not in the Labor Force which helped hold down the Unemployment Rate increase.

Convincing millions of Americans they don’t want a job or compelling desperate workers to settle for part time work continues to be Obama administration’s most effective jobs program. That plus the large number of federal employees that have been hired during his first term.

I went to the Park Office and got the password for the Park WIFI when we got home today. But tried Verizon first and it is much better today than it has been for the past 4 days, not as good as when we first arrived here but better. Yahoo is better today also which is a good thing because it was horrible yesterday and has not been good for over two weeks.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a final regulation [REG-148500-12] which in an example assumes that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family of 5 will cost $20,000 for the year.

The IRS's assumption is found in the examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan. You need to take a look at this regulation and the examples to get an indication of what a nightmare this law is going to be to comply with and enforce. It is truly a tax preparers and lawyers full employment tax bill. The complexity makes tax form preparation in past years look like child's play in comparison.

2 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

A lazy day for both man and beast, that is what I keep telling Patches we are and she is the beast. Both of us have been just laying around most of the day, the beast has been the only one snoring however. Maybe get out for a longer afternoon walk and then again maybe not.

I did make a pot of Frey's Special Chili this morning and it is now cooking in the Thermal Cooker. I'll have a bowl of it for 'linner' today but I expect it to be better after it has aged a bit in the refrigerator. I'll get 3-4 meals out of it during this next week.

What has made this Special versus my previous Chili attempts? The addition of the fresh habanero chile is one thing but the 4 oz of unsweetened chocolate (bakers chocolate) is the special touch. I'll pass final judgment on it after I have had some today but it certainly passed the taste test before I put it in the Cooker.

The only other things I did were just my usual blog reading, including Monthly blogs, web News and another entertainment novel. Spent some time gathering up information about my stock/option sales during the year so I can get my taxes done while in Pahrump. Now when I see that my broker has the 2012 Tax Statements on-line I'll assume they have been mailed and make an appointment.

3 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

The weather guessers missed the clouds that moved in last night when they made their 10 day forecast a few days ago. I was planning on nothing but mid-70s and clear sky for the 10 days. What we have is a solid cloud cover and I heard a few rain drops on the roof in the wee early hours.

There was no official rain fall and the high is still expected to be near 80° with 70s still in the forecast for the next 10 days. This morning the low was 64 which is 15° above average for this date. The lows will not stay at this level but upper 40s and 50s will be fine.

Frey's Special Chili needs some refinement. It was good but I think I can make it better. I used 4 fresh habanero peppers and 4 oz of unsweetened chocolate which could probably be reduced to 3 in each case. It is not so hot that I can not eat it but I would say that most people would not be able to. If I were making it for general consumption I would probably us 2 of each and warn people that it is HOT.

I do like the unsweetened chocolate in there, it gives the chili a mole taste that I like and some people do not. I'm going to experiment with it in some of my other food creations. Maybe be reporting my failures but certainly will amuse you with any success that I might have.

Started yesterday with very good Verizon which progressed from bad to worse as the day went by. The signal strength is there but the bandwidth is getting degraded as more and more people come on-line during the day. The Park WIFI is not any better with a weak signal here at my space and the same user degradation as the day goes by. Today has started the same way.

I finished the entertainment novel that I was reading by Nelson DeMille. I think this is the second one of his that I have read and the two main characters, man and wife, dialog provide some laugh out loud moments. For that reason I'll be looking for another one of his when I make a trade tomorrow.

4 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

I went to the Park Office early this morning and paid for my last week here in Yuma. I'll go and settle my electric bill on Sunday and then leave before sun up next Monday. I was also able to trade for another Nelson DeMille novel while I was there. The one that I now have in my library is one that he wrote earlier in his career which will give me a better idea of how his writing has evolved.

I had Patches out in the orchards again yesterday afternoon. I think she really likes it in there; lots of good sniffing opportunities. That does not mean she can not find good sniffs anyplace but she does have a good time in the orchard.

I'm going to have some of Frey's Special Chili over rice today and see if that makes any difference in the taste. I mixed a little in with my egg scramble this morning for breakfast which was something different for a change. I do get a little tired of my same ol same ol everyday, that is why my weekly breakfast out in a restaurant is so good.

President Obama is on the 2016 Campaign Trail for the first time during his second term. It will be interesting to see if he makes more campaign trips and speeches for his gun control plans than he did for ObamaCare.

President Obama is taking his first trip outside of Washington to promote his far-reaching plan to curb the nation’s gun violence on Monday, jetting to Minneapolis to discuss his ideas with local law enforcement leaders.

The President is VERY optimistic about the economy this year so he wants to get some more revenue now by 'reforming' tax loopholes. Of course he does not think his revenue enhancements will affect those areas he cites as improving.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Index has recovered but is still below 50 which means that demand for new housing is still below average. Strong manufacturing is indicated by a 2 month rising trend in the ISM Manufacturers Index which is just above average at 53.1. NADA reported car sales for 2012 up 13.4% but the Big Three (GM, Chrysler & Ford) were up only 7.8% so a lot of that increase was from imports which is not so good.

There’s “no reason why we can’t have really strong growth in 2013,” the president said in an interview with CBS television yesterday before the network’s Super Bowl broadcast. He cited a recovering housing industry, strong manufacturing and rising car sales.

5 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

Another frustrating day with Verizon and WIFI. Both of them have been VERY slow since early this morning. I was able to read all my Daily blogs before 8:00 then the bandwidth began to get overloaded and it has been poor since then.

I did some slow web searches for information on a dentist in December based on a name I received. Not a recommendation at this point but the person that provided the information has an appointment and I was looking for as much more information as I could find on-line. Not much to be found.

Yahoo Mail seems to have improved some but Yahoo is still 'improving' My Yahoo, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo News. Probably 'improving' some of their other pages also but I don't use them. I just hope they leave my web page hosting alone it is working now if the 'improve' it that will not be true.

Only did a couple of things today that might be considered constructive. Cooked up some of the cod that I had sitting in the freezer that will give my a meal today and two more this week. Read more of my latest novel which I would like to finish and trade before leaving the well stocked library here at the Park.

I am wondering if it is just coincidence that Standard & Poor's was the first rating agency to downgrade U S Treasury bonds and are now the first to be sued by the government for over rating mortgage bonds prior to the 2008 crash. When will Moody's and Fitch get hit with a suit also? They have also downgraded U S credit and continue to bad mouth the high level of U S Debt.

6 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

A beautiful day here once again. Makes me wonder why I want to leave for possible rain next Monday and temperatures that are 5-10 degrees colder than here. That cooler weather will be welcome as it will be getting HOT here in Yuma within a month.

There was no wind yesterday afternoon when Patches and I got back from our walk and desperado was hot. I had the fan on for a couple of hours until it had cooled down enough outside that it became comfortable inside. It will not be long before I would need the A/C here and not just the fan under similar conditions.

Finished getting current with my Monthly blogs today. Will also be very close to finishing the novel that I have been reading. If not today I'll finish it tomorrow and go trade it in the Park library. That will give me 11 unread books in my library, plus the one that I'll start reading tomorrow, when I leave here. That will get me back to Pahrump even if the next Park does not have an exchange although I think they do.

I cooked three chicken breasts that I had in the freezer. They will go in in the pot to make a Southwest Chicken like I made a little over a week ago. That attempt had a can of chicken broth in it which made it more like a soup than a stew so I'll leave that out tomorrow when I prepare attempt number two.

Fred Reed has a good blog posting at Fred on Everything on January 22, 2013. This is just the first three paragraphs but he continues on at some length describing how 'Diversity' is NOT our strength.

I’ve been thinking about fault lines, and fractures, and diversity, and when it’s all going to implode. I hope I’m still around because it is going to be one gorgeous show. Few things are as entertaining as a truly good disaster.
What is going to kill us is diversity. It isn’t working well. By diversity I mean here the intermixing of large groups of people holding utterly differing and opposed values. There is too damned much diversity in America. It isn’t getting better.
The current donnybrook over guns is not a political question, like whether to raise or lower taxes. It is a clash of civilizations, a confrontation between two groups who seriously don’t like each other and hold irreconcilably different views of life. The two would be happier in separate countries, an idea that has occurred to them. It is that bad.

7 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

A little colder this morning than yesterday but the high should come close to the 75 of yesterday. This will be the last day for me in the 70s if the weather guessers are correct. It will be back into the 70s later in the week here but I will be gone and will have moved from the upper 60s to the lower.

I got what will now be called Chicken Mole Stew into the Thermal Cooker this morning. It will be there all day and then into the refrigerator tonight awaiting the reheating of a serving tomorrow. Ingredients are chicken breast (partially baked), can of cut corn, can of pinto beans, small hand full of dried arbol chile (chopped/crushed), couple of pablano chile and 1 oz of unsweetened chocolate.

For those of you that are not familiar with fresh pablano chile I suggest that you give them a try. They are a mild pepper that I use as a substitute for green bell peppers. A warning - although they are mild you might come upon one that is hot as you sometimes do with Anaheim peppers.

There was a radio controlled aerobatic biplane flying over the big field west of were I am parked this morning. Went to the garbage dump area to get a better look and the fellow doing the aerobatics was sitting just the other side of the wall where I could talk to him for a few minutes. He claimed he was a amateur compared to some of the RC pilots but it sure looked like he knew what he was doing.

I did finish Hornet Flight by Ken Follett yesterday but was unable to find another one of his in trade at the Park library. I did not think Flight was a good as his The Pillars of the Earth but it was historical fiction which I do enjoy so I will try and find more of his. As he says on the flyleaf “Some of what follows really happened”. It is always interesting for me to discover what is real and what is fiction.

Big Sis at the Department of Homeland Security must be preparing for war against someone. This amount of ammunition can not possibly be for target practice and weapon qualification purposes. Who will it be, civilians that will not voluntarily surrender their guns or maybe the Mexican cartels?

The Department of Homeland Security is set to purchase a further 21.6 million rounds of ammunition to add to the 1.6 billion bullets it has already obtained over the course of the last 10 months...
An approximation of how many rounds of ammunition the DHS has now secured over the last 10 months stands at around 1.625 billion. To put that in perspective, during the height of active battle operations in Iraq, US soldiers used 5.5 million rounds of ammunition a month. Extrapolating the figures, the DHS has purchased enough bullets over the last 10 months to wage a full scale war for almost 30 years.

8 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: WA113 February 8, 1925

We were up a few minutes earlier this morning and on our way to town again. Went to the Daybreak Restaurant for a final time (this trip) and had their Huevos Rancheros. They were nothing to get excited about, mostly because they used white corn tortillas rather than yellow corn. The side was half a plate of refried beans which would have been better if half of them had been rice.

It was then grocery shopping time at Fry's east where I picked up mostly produce items. I have enough left over 'linners' prepared to last me for 5-6 days. Filled up with gas at Fry's before leaving so I could use up some of my Reward Points.

After getting home and reading my Daily blogs I got ambitious and washed all of Desperado's windows. The driver and passenger windows are almost always a mess with dog nose prints all over them. The exterior was bad also from the rain and blowing dust that we have had. It would be good if the rain washed them but that does not seem to happen.

I then saw that my gray water tank was full. The idiot light has indicated that for almost a week but I could see some water coming up into the shower so it was time to dump. The fresh water tank was still reporting 2/3 full which could not be so I filled that and also dump the black water tank. That will have me ready to leave here early Monday morning.

9 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

I did only a couple of potty walks with Patches yesterday. She has been climbing the stairs slowly the past few days which is a sign that she is tired or hurting so I gave her the day off. She didn't act like she missed going out so it might have been what she needed.

I got domestic this morning and vacuumed the living room, kitchen and bathroom. Then got down on my hands and knees and washed the floor in the kitchen and bathroom. Need to get the 'cockpit' cleaned up also but had enough of a good thing for the day – maybe tomorrow.

This is the second time that Patches has been exposed to the vacuum cleaner and she does not like it much. The first time she ran and got as far away as she could in our small house. Today she stayed on the couch but I could see her legs trembling as she sat there and watched every move that the vacuum made. She will get used to it but not today.

I also got started preparing the Will Rogers weekly article links for March. February is a short month so I am already a little behind with that project. Continuing to read the latest book out of my library with only a chance of finishing it before I leave here.

10 February, 2013 Kofa Ko-op Escapees Park (Yuma, AZ)

We did our last walk/run in the big field to the east yesterday afternoon. Patches was a long way off again with her nose in the ground looking for critters. She looked up and without me giving any signal she came running full bore to me. Didn't want to get lost again like she did before when she was out there is what I'm thinking.

I'll take her into the lemon orchard for the last time this afternoon if it isn't blowing a gale. It was a little colder this morning than yesterday but still above 40° with an anticipated high of 66. Not too bad. I'll be moving into an expected high of 48 and a Tuesday morning low near freezing. Not so good.

Went to the Park early this morning and settled up my electric bill. Then went back later in the morning and traded my Elizabeth George mystery for another one of hers from the Park library. I have two George mysteries in my library for some reason, perhaps it was because I found them and do enjoy her writing. She is the best American writer of British mysteries there is I do believe.

Also managed to get the cockpit cleaned up. Patches did not like the vacuum any better today. She does not even like it to be close to her when it is shut off. I left it on the floor for a while and she avoided it like it was going to attack her at any minute. She may have had a bad experience with a vacuum in her life before me – I don't know.

11 February 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

Patches was up at 5:00 this morning like she was the one that was anxious to be 'On The Road Again'. I told her to go back to bed and go to sleep which she most likely did while I stayed awake for another hour before we both got up. She did travel better today than she did a year ago, a lot more time in the passenger seat watching the world go by.

Made it into Quartzsite by around 8:00 where I stopped for breakfast at the Main Street Eatery. This is a combined restaurant/coin laundry that had more people doing there laundry than were eating. The food is adequate and at a very good price. As with every restaurant that I have been to in Quartzsite they did not accept Credit Cards. You need cash to eat in Quartzsite!

Had some wind along the way before stopping but not too bad. Got a few sprinkles three or four times along the way and then a very brief shower as we neared the junction of AZ71 and US93. I could see rain in all the mountains to the east and south of Congress but it has stayed away during the afternoon.

Stopped at the Congress Depot and picked up a pizza; they sell one size which is very large (linner today and tomorrow) at a very good price and the two item one I got was very good. That had us arriving at North Ranch just before noon and I was set up soon thereafter.

The route today was not the shortest that I could have selected but I wanted to avoid I-10 (as a matter of principle) and wanted to see Plomosa Road. For RVers going to Quartzsite can be equated to the Hajj to Mecca and boon docking along Plomosa equates to the circuits around the Kaaba. I needed to partially experience what the boon docking faithful do.

The route (199 miles): E County 17th St, Ave 4E, Old US Hwy 80/Business I-8, Araby Rd/AZ195, US95, Plomosa Rd, AZ72, US60, AZ71 & AZ89.

12 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

We had a short rain shower late yesterday afternoon that had some snow mixed in with it. Usually the low temperature here in the desert comes near sun rise but last night it occurred at 1:00 am and then got a couple degrees warmer by early morning.

It was still close to freezing when we got up and Patches had her morning potty walk. We were then both glad to get back to Desperado and get the Wave heater going.

Went for a walk around the Park at about 9:30 in some brilliant sunshine and clear sky but the temperature was only near 40°. Stopped for a brief visit with Mike of Mike and Pat's Travels. He is the one that provided me with some recommended RV Parks near Custer, SD where they live part of the year and winter over here North Ranch.

North Korea appears to have temporally gained the headlines over President Obama's State of the Union address. I have the feeling that Kim Jong Un could care less what President Obama or the UN Security Council have to say although he might listen to China – I think it is China's call. President Obama and the UN are paper tigers that can be ignored; this is what they had to say.

Barack Obama has vowed to take "swift and credible action" over North Korea's "highly provocative" nuclear test which appeared to bring Pyongyang closer to producing a viable weapon.
The United Nations security council held an emergency meeting in New York on Tuesday morning to "strongly condemn" Pyongyang's most powerful underground blast to date as a "clear threat to international peace and security".

Dick Cheney in a dinner speech for the Wyoming GOP said the following about President Obama's appointing Hagel and Kerry as Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State: “Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people.” This has created a firestorm from the President's minions as one would expect, claiming that Cheney has slurred the President as well as his appointees.

But that is only the half of it. James Taranto in his column The Best of the Web Today for The Wall Street Journal said this: “...but we have to say, that "second-rate people" quote offends us. We know some lovely second-rate people, and it's unfair to compare them to Chuck Hagel and John Kerry.”

13 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

It continues to be cold at night but was above freezing last night. The day time high will be just over 60 today and then upper 60s tomorrow. So gradually warming back up into the lower 70s then colder again next week. Lots of sun and clear blue sky so it is very nice if you are in the sun and protected from any wind.

Patches and I did a morning walk around the Park while it was still cool but pleasant out in the sun. I'll try and get her out again in the afternoon. She was very excited about going yesterday afternoon and again this morning. Now she is sound asleep on the couch – resting up I presume.

Made up another batch of Chili this morning and have it in the Cooker for the rest of the day. This time I am using some round steak that I diced up in small cubes. Only added 3 oz of unsweetened chocolate this time, 4 habanero chile again but left out the beans (not on purpose, forgot to buy any – DUH).

I did not watch or listen to the President's State of the Union speech. I did read what the analyst had to say today on the Internet News sites. It appears that I did not miss much for he said what he has been saying and will continue to say on the Campaign Trail. All of his speeches have now become nothing more than repetitive campaign 'stump speeches'. I don't think they even give Chris Matthews legs a tingle any more.

What the President did for Chris in his State of the Union speech last night was make him forget that Obama was black. I don't know which is greater the leg tingle or temporary amnesia. This is what he said.

Analyzing Obama's State of the Union address, he called the President "post-racial" before saying, "I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. He’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country and past so much history in just a year or two. I mean it’s something we don’t even think about.
"I was watching and I said, wait a minute, he’s an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people and there he is, President of the United States, and we’ve completely forgotten that tonight — completely forgotten it."

14 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

Warming up some more with a chance of 70° today and through the weekend. Then cooling with a chance of rain next Wednesday and high temperatures back into the 50s for three days. This weekend is just a teaser of the good weather to come – but not quite yet.

It was perfect weather at 9:00 when we did our morning walk today. Totally clear blue sky, no wind and just cool enough to require a light jacket. Patches has really enjoyed our twice daily walks that we have been doing since we arrived here. There are a lot of other dogs and dog smells that keep her nose to the ground most of the time.

The round steak chili that I made yesterday is good stuff. I would have no problem eating it all with just a reheating of each serving but I wanted to see if I could get the meat more tender. Brought it to a boil again this morning and put it back in the Cooker for the rest of the day.

I'll have some of that chili tomorrow. Today I'm cooking the last of the cod that I had in the freezer. This will give me 3-4 meals so with the chili I'm well provided for during this next week. I do need to get produce again so I'll be shopping tomorrow but will be changing my salad. I have been using kale but it goes bad on me by the end of the week. Think I'll do some bean salads for a change.

President Obama is back on the Campaign Trail after his 'temporary amnesia' inducing State of the Union speech. Yesterday he was in Asheville, NC giving his manufacturing portion of that speech. Today, he will be in Atlanta to give the universal preschool portion and tomorrow it is to Chicago (the gun death capital of the US) to give his gun violence/control portion.

President Obama can not allow himself to be seen as governing. Yes, he's been elected, but he's not governing. This explains the never-ending, perpetual campaign. There are powerful forces arrayed against him (most notably the 63,165,002 people that did not vote for him) that his constant campaigning is designed to expose and elicit your help in crushing.

15 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: WA114 February 15, 1925

Patches and I did not do a morning walk today only a potty walk. Then it was off to Wickenburg, AZ for breakfast and shopping.

I had selected Cowboy Café from Google Maps for my breakfast stop but after going by where I thought it was for the third time I settled for Denny's. I could park there which is a big plus in Wickenburg where parking a RV is somewhat of a challenge. The hash and eggs were better than I expected for Denny's so I may even return before I leave this area.

It was then to Safeway were I did my usual scavenger hunt for the things I wanted in a new to me store. I did finally get everything except I wanted some flaxseed oil for a salad dressing that they did not have . Got directions to a health food store, Ginny's Vitamin Village, where I was able to buy more than I wanted but they only had the large 32 oz size. It is expensive stuff and the large size is pricey!

It took me almost 3 hours today to get into town, find a restaurant, eat and do my shopping and get back home. I also did a lot of wandering around trying to find my selected restaurant which apparently now is called Some Like It Hot and has received poor reviews on-line.

When I did get back and hooked up to electric again I started putting together my salad for the week. This is my 4 Bean Plus Salad. Took a recipe off the web and modified it a bit to include red kidney beans, cannellini beans, black beans and black eyed peas plus sun dried tomatoes and walnuts with flaxseed oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

Made my appointment for Tax Preparation in Pahrump the first week that I am back there. Now I can only hope that all my required 1099s or other tax information is waiting for me in my mail box. I think that is the last appointment that I need to make until I get up there. My health, Patches health, taxes and then get out of town once again before it gets too hot. HA

16 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

Yesterday afternoon Patches and I followed the ATV trail from the Park entrance south. This took us across AZ89 through a gate and the along the railroad tracks until we turned around and retraced our steps. This was about two miles and Patches was tired enough that she wanted to lay down in the shade of Desperado before going inside.

This morning we went north from the entrance until we came to a 'housing development' that didn't. The main entrance is gated with a huge chain and padlock but it was easy enough for me to get around the gate and Patches under the fence. I then let her run through the 'development' which is just some paved streets with stop signs. A little less than two miles but Patches was again tired and wanted a rest in the shade.

She is now sound asleep on the couch but I'm sure she will be anxious to go again this afternoon. She does her crazy dance as soon as she sees me put on my jacket or my GPS wrist unit. Sometimes she will 'talk' to me in the afternoon if I'm not getting ready quick enough; barking or howling 'lets go ol' man, why are you so slow'.

I had some of Frey's Special Chili today for 'linner'. What makes this Special is that it is a melding of traditional Chili and Cincinnati-style Chili which is served over spaghetti with chopped onion and shredded cheese on top. I don't care for spaghetti so I served it over farfalle pasta (al dente of course), commonly called bow-tie pasta.

The high low yesterday was 72/44 and the weather guessers are predicting the same for today. If I could find a place to live where the temperature stayed like this with clear blue sky and low humidity year around I'd seriously consider moving back into a sticks-n-bricks. But it looks like this will go away starting Tuesday and we will then get a week of 50s/30s.

I finished a mystery novel by Tami Hoag a couple days ago and wanted to trade for another one of hers here at the Park library. They only had one of hers on the shelf which I had read so I traded for an early (before The Da Vinci Code) Dan Brown. I think I like Tami better than Dan but what are you going to do?

President Obama is taking golf lessons from legendary golf teacher Butch Harmon in Florida this long weekend while Michelle and the kids are skiing in Aspen, Colorado. I'll give the President some slack and let him work on his golf game, after all he did give a State of the Union speech and has been on the Campaign Trail for the past three days. I'm not so sure that Michelle and the kids deserve a long weekend on the slopes in Aspen at the taxpayers expense but then that is just me.

The president of the United States is the president of the United States 24 hours a day, and will fulfill his responsibilities as president even while he’s getting some well-deserved downtime with some friends this weekend. I don’t think the American people will begrudge him that, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

17 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

The weather guessers are on a roll. They called for a repeat of the weather that we had for the last couple of days and we got it. Almost short sleeve temperatures this morning at 9:30 when Patches and I were out for our walk.

We did a 1.5 mile zig zag through the Park south of my space. We have been through there once before but I wasn't paying attention to how many lots are for sale – there are a bunch, I would guess there is at least one on every block.

I thought my Special Chili was very good yesterday. The extra time in the Cooker was well spent, it had that rather tough round steak as tender as a choice cut of beef. The 4 habanero chiles that I put in this batch did not make it as hot as the prior one that I had made so it is more about each individual chile than it is about the number. This batch is just right for me although some people would claim it is too hot to eat.

I made good progress in preparing the Will Rogers weekly article links for March but not quite finished yet. Have also read through my latest mystery novel at a rapid pace from a number of pages point of view. The print is a little bigger so the pages fly by, it is also a good read which helps.

FoxNews.com had an article by Ron van Dijk The Worlds Top Ten Bike Rides which listed 3 in the United States and 7 in Europe (he may have a bias since he is a tour guide in Europe). Of the 3 in the US I have ridden parts of two of them and all of the third (The Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana) which is ranked #2 on his list. My Number One would be the road from Jasper to Banff in Alberta, Canada which does not make his Top 10.

The lame stream media and President Obama both want Benghazi to just disappear but Republican lawmakers have threatened holds up Obama’s nominees for Secretary of Defense and CIA director if they don’t get more answers about the attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012.

I can only guess that he issued his three very clear directives said to self 'That fixes that problem' and went back to bed to sleep the sleep of kings.

Just what, exactly, President Obama was doing as Americans were being slaughtered still remains a mystery to the American people. Obama apparently did not coordinate with Panetta or Dempsey and did not coordinate with Libyan officials. However, in the aftermath of the attack, in October, Obama stated in an interview,
…the minute I found out what was going on I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and that we are doing whatever we need to. Number two, we are going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.

To whom he gave these supposed directives has yet to be clarified. In any case, the personnel were not secured, the investigation has been sluggish and the Obama Administration has been stonewalling investigators and nobody has been brought to justice for this attack.

18 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

Today is the last one of our great weather if the weather forecast proves to be correct. The outlook for Wednesday is rather gloom with a high now predicted to be 48° and an 80% chance of rain.

I didn't feel like doing a morning walk today but Patches had other ideas so we went. She was very insistent; doing her happy dance and barking at me which is not her usual morning behavior, she usually does that in the afternoon. Then when we got home she had some difficulty getting up the stairs into Desperado. I think she is having some pain by the end of our walks but she demands that we go so I just need to not do too long a distance each time. Or maybe I'm thinking about me and how I feel rather than her. HA

I finished a Greg Iles mystery yesterday and was able to find another one of his here in the Park library to make a trade. He is pretty good so I'll keep trading for more of his as I can find them.

I also finished preparing the March Will Rogers weekly article links. I should be ready to go now in case my next camp does not have a good Verizon connection. I'll be back in Pahrump by mid-March so that should give me time to get April ready if necessary.

The White House Press Corps is whining about not getting access to President Obama during his golfing vacation. I would like to know what questions they might ask him if they had access. They certainly don't ask any hard hitting questions when he holds his periodic Press Conferences. What the Press Corps asks is only marginally more meaningful than what we hear when he is on The View which is about as often as his Press Conferences.

"Speaking on behalf of the White House Correspondents Association, I can say a broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the President of the United States this entire weekend," Henry said in a statement, relayed in a White House pool report. "There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency." - Ed Henry, President of WH Correspondents Association.

19 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

It was slightly warmer this morning than it was yesterday but felt colder because of the wind. The revised forecast for tonight is now predicting an 80% chance of rain with a 90% chance tomorrow. They did raise the expected high to 50° tomorrow but then Thursday has been dropped to 52°. There is even a slight chance that we will get snow here tonight if the temperature dip more that they expect.

Patches and I did our morning walk as soon as we got up today. We have been waiting until around 9:00 for it to warm up but the 45° seemed warm enough. That was before the wind picked up and it now feels colder at 9:00 than it did at 6:30.

My next door neighbor to the north of me left today. They also left a huge mud puddle where they had been camped. I can only guess they were flushing out their fresh water tank with all the water running out from underneath their trailer. They then filled the tank before leaving and had almost as much going on the ground as went in the tank from the appearance of the lake they left behind.

President Obama gets another pass from the lame stream media on rising gas prices. How high will they go from where they are now is anyones guess. They are now at $3.73 and are starting to garner some media attention. Why has Pelosi not blamed the high prices on 'two oil men in the White House' as she did in 2008 when Bush was President? Could it be because there is a Democrat in the White House now that got a lot of campaign contributions from Big Oil? This is what News Busters had to say last year at this time.

Rising gas prices used to be big news, but not so these days. Although the national average climbed to $3.56 on Feb. 20, setting a February record after going up nearly a month straight, there was far less coverage than in 2008. Broadcast networks repeatedly covered the rise under the Bush presidency. Gas prices bounced around eventually reaching $3.56-a-gallon on April 24, 2008.
The Business and Media Institute analyzed broadcast network news references to gas or fuel prices between Jan. 20 and Feb. 20, 2012 and from March 24 and April 24, 2008. BMI found that in the 2008 period there were more than 4 times as many gas prices stories, news briefs or news headlines on ABC, CBS and NBC as there were in 2012 (97 to 21).

20 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

I could hear a very light rain in the very early morning hours but there was nothing coming down when we got up at 6:30. Decided to do our morning walk while we could and as it worked out we we only back inside for about 15 minutes when it started raining again.

By 8:00 the temperature had dropped from near 40° to 34 and the rain had changed to snow. We didn't get any accumulation that lasted for more than a few minutes, probably when the temperature dropped to just above freezing around 9:00. It then started to warm up, maybe reaching the expected high of 52 late this afternoon.

I had the heater on low after we got home and with the stove burner on to cook breakfast it was getting almost too warm so I shut the heater off. That didn't last log with the drop in temperature I had it back on. The Heater Hog was crashed right in front of it again of course.

This is how the sequester came to be.

What I will concede is that we were looking and the Republicans were looking for a trigger around which to build a mechanism to get us out of default possibility and the sequester was one of the ideas put forward, yes by the president's team.-- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

This is only a portion of the article The President Is Raging Against a Budget Crisis He Created in The Wall Street Journal by John Boehner. The President loves a crisis and he has created one that he once again trying to blame on the Republicans. I'm pleased to see that Boehner is fighting back and not surrendering however I don't think the sequester will take place. The can WILL get kicked down the road some more until such time that the US Federal government can not borrow any more money.

Having first proposed and demanded the sequester, it would make sense that the president lead the effort to replace it. Unfortunately, he has put forth no detailed plan that can pass Congress, and the Senate—controlled by his Democratic allies—hasn't even voted on a solution, let alone passed one. By contrast, House Republicans have twice passed plans to replace the sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect national security.

21 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

We had scattered snow flurries throughout the day yesterday with intervals of bright sun in between them. It was during one of those sunny periods that Patches and I went out for a walk. We were not out more than 5 minutes and got caught in a light snow flurry. Patches loved it and would have stayed out even longer than we did but she was also happy to get in front of the heater when we got back to Desperado.

This morning we didn't go out except for a potty walk. It was time to go to town again. Lots of ice on everything and heavy patches of fog along AZ89 until dropping in elevation near Wickenburg. Went to the Chicken Noodle Café for breakfast. This is a breakfast/lunch place just west of Safeway (does not show up on Google Maps) in a large strip mall with lots of parking which made it very convenient. I know I'll go back at least once more before I leave here.

Picked up my groceries at Safeway and put them all away in Desperado before leaving their lot. In doing so I found an item that I had not selected nor had I been charged. It must have been part of the groceries of the woman that was in front of me so I took it back to the register. I can only guess that she is going to be mad when she gets home and puts her purchases away.

As soon as I got parked in my space again at the Park I went to the library and traded a Lisa Jackson mystery that I finished yesterday for another of hers. I didn't think it was a good as Hoag's or George's but she did write a good story so it was worth trading for another one.

I then got busy in the kitchen and put together another pot of Frey's Special Chili. It is in the Cooker for the rest of today and I'll have some Cincinnati style tomorrow. Then prepared a big bowl of 4 Bean salad with flaxseed oil dressing again that will last me all week. Last but not least I will pan fry some sardines with an oatmeal coating this afternoon for my 'linner'. I'll let you know how that turned out.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO)—the personal auditor of President Obama and the federal government—released its assessment of the federal government on January 17, 2013. The report's findings illuminate just how dire America's spending problem is and, therefore, how little the current cuts debated by Congress do to fix it.

President Obama is throwing a fit over the looming sequester—which will cut a mere 1.2 percent of total deficits (not total debt) over the next ten years—and his Democrat controlled Senate has not produced a budget for close to 1,400 days. It was/is the problem of debt-to-GDP ratios that have/are causing such financial stress in Europe and President Obama is hell bent on following their example. He claims the US does not have a spending problem but that is ONLY so because when he spends he calls it 'investing'.

Here is only one of the findings in the report by the GAO; the full report can be found by searching for GAO-13-271R on the GAO web site (fascinating reading!). What they are saying in simple English is that reducing the deficit is not enough, the country must have a surplus.

It is noteworthy that preventing the debt-to-GDP ratio from rising over the next 75 years requires that primary surpluses be substantially positive on average. This is true because projected GDP growth is on average smaller than the projected government borrowing rate over the next 75 years.

22 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: WA115 February 22, 1925

The day started out almost cloud free yesterday but by late in the afternoon it had built up quite a cloud bank with scattered showers. I saw a lot of rain coming down west of us which was coming our way so Patches went out for her late potty walk a little early. Even at that we just did get back inside before the rains came.

Right at freezing again this morning but felt colder because of a light wind. That wind kept the frost away as well as the fog that we had yesterday. Perfectly clear blue sky again this morning with a forecast for warming. The weather guessers are now saying that we will be in the low 80s a week from now.

As soon as we got back from Patches' potty walk this morning I fed her breakfast and then went to the Park laundry. Got that taken care of and was even able to get a cup of coffee when the Park Manager came in around 7:30. They don't have a coffee klatch here at this Park in the morning and the building where the Park Office, library, meeting room and kitchen are is locked except during Office hours.

My experiment with oatmeal coated pan fried sardines yesterday was a dismal failure. The pan fried oats were tasty but they did not coat the fish very well and then most of it came off during the frying. I only did half the can to start with and when I saw what was happening I simply pan fried the other half. Put some yogurt with capers on top and enjoyed.

The President does not want to reform Social Security in any way. I assume that he takes this position because he will be long gone from office by the time it goes bankrupt so it will not be his problem. This is what the Congressional Budget Office has to say in the latest report on Social Security's Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI) benefits.

Under current law, the DI trust fund will be exhausted in 2016, and the OASI trust fund will be exhausted in 2038. It is a common analytical convention to consider the DI and OASI trust funds in combination. CBO projects that, if legislation to shift resources from the OASI trust fund to the DI trust fund was enacted as has been done in the past, the combined trust funds would be exhausted in 2034...
The resources dedicated to financing the program over the next 75 years fall short of the benefits that will be owed to beneficiaries by 1.95 percent of taxable payroll—up from 1.58 percent a year ago. That means, for example, that if the Social Security payroll tax rate was increased immediately and permanently by 1.95 percentage points—from the current rate of 12.40 percent to 14.35 percent—or if scheduled benefits were reduced by an equivalent amount, then the trust funds' projected balance at the end of 2086 would equal projected outlays for 2087.

23 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

Only slightly warmer this morning with no wind but the weather guys have walked back that 80° high talk for next week. They now think it will be in the upper 70s which is still not bad. A near freezing, or below, predicted for tomorrow morning however before any of that warming comes about.

Patches and I did a circuit around the Park at about 9:00 this morning and there were dog walkers out everywhere. We met 6 other people with dogs and Patches did fairly well but nothing to brag about. She does respond to the Heel Command but it takes a little jerking on her chain to get her attention. She is better than she was but still not good.

I have started my latest novel only to find after reading about 30 pages that I have read it before. I'm going to continue with it because I don't remember everything and it is an interesting historical novel. A lot of interesting facts to look up and read about on the web will add to the enjoyment. I think I read it the first time before Algore invented the Internet but not certain.

Have started catching up on a blog that I dropped off my Monthly reads. I could not get it to open so I saw no sense keeping it on my list. I saw it on another bloggers site and gave it a try yesterday and have been able to open and read. Have had a couple of problems with it but those are the same problems that I have with a lot of the blogspot blogs that I read.

24 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

The low this morning was 36° but the wind chill temperature was 30. At 11:00 it had moved up to 45° but the wind chill still had it at 38. It is COLD. The cold front started blowing in soon after sun down last night and it has been blowing 10-20 mph with gusts up into the 40s ever since.

Patches and I have not been out for a walk and the way the weather is now we won't be going out except for potty breaks. I had the Wave heater on for most of the morning and have had to turn it back on from time to time during the afternoon.

This is the second miserable weather day that we have had while here but better days are coming. Patches and I may get out for an afternoon walk later today but the wind is still fierce. A hunker down day for sure. A little book reading, some web blog reading, some News reading and I think I even had a nap but not sure of that.

Juan Williams is a Negro/Black/African-American liberal that now works as a 'talking head' for FoxNews. He was fired from National Public Radio (NPR) in 2010 because he went off the reservation by not parroting the liberal line. He had this to say in an interview with The Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas.

I always thought it was the Archie Bunkers of the world, the right-wingers of world, who were more resistant and more closed-minded about hearing the other side,” he said. “In fact, what I have learned is, in a very painful way — and I can open this shirt and show you the scars and the knife wounds — is that it is big media institutions who are identifiably more liberal to left-leaning who will shut you down, stab you and kill you, fire you, if they perceive that you are not telling the story in the way that they want it told.

25 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

The winds finally went away last night around sun down, 24 hours of cold blowing winds was more than enough. We will still be in the lower 60s today but then moving up into the 70s for the extended forecast.

I went to the Park Office and paid for the past two weeks that I have been here and for one week in advance plus what electric I have used so far. Every Escapee Park is different about how they want to be paid, here they want to settle everything near month end. I'll be leaving here on March 4th and will then only pay for for what electric I use between now and then.

A nothing kind of a day. I will take Patches out for an afternoon walk but that will be the highlight of the day for both of us I do believe. It will be more enjoyable than yesterday when it was blowing a gale and cold.

The President is still focused on placing blame for the sequester on the Republicans and painting a picture of Armageddon if $85 Billion in cuts are made. The truth of the matter is that the cuts are not in spending they are cuts in 'budgeted' increases. If the sequester is left alone and it happens, which I have my doubts, the Federal Government will still spend more in fiscal year 2013 than it did in fiscal year 2012.

There are many places where the government could cut $85 Billion and NOT impact critical services but the President is once again threatening to cut those and ignore non-critical spending. Here is another finding that the GAO had in their report GAO-13-271R; the reduction in improper payments would go a long way in making up the cuts. Maybe selling some of that unneeded real property would help?

...critical gaps in financial management performance remain. For example, Federal agencies continue to maintain thousands of unneeded real property assets on their books, reported approximately $108 billion in estimated improper payments in FY 2012...

26 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

The morning low is still in the 30s but we are moving up into the mid-60s for a high and then later in the week to the 70s. Much better.

I took advantage of that warmer weather and dumped my holding tanks and added fresh water around 11:00 today. I'm glad I did it then because by noon we had some wind pick up again. I will now be ready to travel next Monday by just unhooking for electric and going.

Got a little domestic and cleaned my toilet. Once again I waited longer than I should have and the job was harder than it should be. I know better but hate to clean it so I put it off until it becomes an all day chore. Oh when will I ever learn?

If you want an example of situational irony there is none better than the Sequester. President Obama proposed it with the provision that 50% of all cuts would be made in the Department of Defense. His thinking was the Republicans, being strong supporters of defense, would not let the Sequester happen.

Situation irony involves a situation in which actions have an effect that is opposite from what was intended and that is where the President finds himself today. It is he that is on another Campaign trip to Virginia where he will be speaking at Newport News Shipbuilding against the Sequester and supporting no cuts in defense spending.

The Department of Defense is the biggest 'sinkhole' for spending that this country has and can certainly find a way to reduce spending by the amount of the cuts. They should experience cuts if for no other reason than what the GAO had to say in the Summary page of their audit report GAO-13-271R. If a corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange were to receive an audit report such as this they would be de-listed and no longer traded.

Certain material weaknesses1 in internal control over financial reporting and other limitations on the scope of our work resulted in conditions that prevented us from expressing an opinion on the fiscal years 2012 and 2011 accrual-based consolidated financial statements. About 34 percent of the federal government’s reported total assets as of September 30, 2012, and approximately 21 percent of the federal government’s reported net cost for fiscal year 2012 relate to the Department of Defense (DOD), which received a disclaimer of opinion on its consolidated financial statements.
1A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the entity’s financial statements will not be prevented, or detected and corrected on a timely basis. A deficiency in internal control exists when the design or operation of a control does not allow management or employees, in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, to prevent, or detect and correct misstatements on a timely basis.

27 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

It was just below 40° this morning but a slight wind had the wind chill a couple of degrees colder and it felt even colder than that. The wind died down as the sun came up which has improved the comfort level. The weather forecasters keep revising their forecasts which puts those promised 70° days just two days in the future but they keep claiming that the day will come.

No morning walk for Patches other than a potty walk. It was time for another trip into town. Went back to the Chicken Noodle Café for breakfast where I got their Chorizo and Eggs which was good. I was hoping for another Daily Special but not today.

Then across the street to Safeway where I picked up next weeks groceries. I'll be doing another grocery and gas run on Sunday. I don't have great expectations for the small grocery store where I'll be next week so I want to be stocked up when I get there.

I was surprised to see on Gas Buddy that the station in Congress had gas at a lower price than any station in Wickenburg. I'll check again on Saturday and if that continues to be true I'll get gas in Congress on my way north. In either case I will NOT 'fill up' until I get to Kingman where gas is shown to be over 20¢ cheaper than here plus I can use my Safeway Rewards Card to reduce that even more.

Remarks by the president to a joint session of congress on health care on January 9, 2009.

And here's what you need to know. First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period. And to prove that I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize.

He signed it and I think it might now be time to exercise some of those provisions and come forward with spending cuts. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released their report GAO-13-281 that shows ObamaCare increasing the long term deficit by $6.2 Trillion. Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), who requested the report, revealed the findings on February 26, 2012 at a Senate Budget Committee hearing. The report, he said, “confirms everything critics and Republicans were saying about the faults of this bill,” and “dramatically proves that the promises made assuring the nation that the largest new entitlement program in history would not add one dime to the deficit were false.”

28 February, 2013 North Ranch Escapees Park (Congress, AZ)

The low temperature finally broke through my preferred low barrier of 40° this morning but only by a fraction. We might also get above 70 for a high today and then for the next few days before sliding back into the 60s and upper 50s.

The Park is having a big Fiesta on Saturday. Not sure what all is going on other than a parade during the day and some live entertainment during the evening at the Activity Center. I haven't been inside the Center since I have been here, and probably won't be, certainly not this Saturday evening.

A lot of my neighbors have moved out during this week. I now have three spaces open to the north, two open on the south and three in front of me to the west. There are three open behind me to the east but those don't matter much because I have no windows facing that direction.

I had a pot of red potatoes, bratwurst and cabbage cooked in broth yesterday. This is almost the same as I had previously with sauerkraut but I think I like it with the cabbage better. Today I'll finish up the very last of my Special Chili over rice. Thinking about what I need to buy for next week and am not inspired.

I posted the following on January 30, 2013:
Bad, bad economic news today. The fourth quarter GDP was reported as a negative number. This is the first announcement and usually it is revised downward in the two following reports. I think this time it will be revised upward. President Obama can not have another recession begin on his watch.

My prediction has come to pass. Today the first revision to the fourth quarter GDP was released and it was upward. Now the GDP is a positive number and the start of the next recession has been kicked down the road by a quarter.

It seems that no one in the President's Administration ever reports what is going on in their area of responsibility to the organizational level above them. That is what we heard with regard to Benghazi and now it is what we are hearing about the illegal deportees that have been set free.

The President knew nothing about that before it happened, Big Sis of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) knew nothing; it was all done by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). ICE did not tell DHS before they did it, DHS did not tell the President because they did not know – it is all ICE's fault. This is only the tip of the iceberg (pun intended) where the DHS is concerned. This is what the GAO had in their report GAO-13-271R (Note: A qualified audit opinion is only slightly better than NO opinion).

With respect to DHS, for the first time, it was able to attain a qualified audit opinion on its department wide financial statements. The auditor qualified the audit opinion on DHS’s fiscal year 2012 financial statements because of DHS’s inability to provide sufficient evidence to support certain components of property, plant, and equipment and heritage and stewardship assets presented in the financial statements. In addition, such limitation in the scope of the audit contributed to the auditor’s inability to form an opinion on DHS’s internal control over financial reporting. It is important that DHS continue to remediate its internal control deficiencies and build on the progress it has made as it moves forward to achieve its ultimate goal of obtaining clean audit opinions on its fiscal year 2013 financial statements and on its internal control over financial reporting.6
6 Section 2(b) of the DHS Audit Requirement Target Act of 2012, Pub. L. No. 112-217, 126 Stat. 1591 (Dec. 20, 2012) (DART Act) made obtaining an unqualified audit opinion on DHS’s financial statements for fiscal year 2013, and each subsequent fiscal year, a statutory requirement. Under the DART Act, DHS must ensure that its consolidated financial statements for fiscal year 2013, and for each subsequent year, are ready in a timely manner and in preparation for an audit in order to obtain an unqualified opinion on the full set of financial statements.