1 December 2013 Lone Star Corral SKP Park (Hondo, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 72° exactly what the experts were forecasting (I'll eat a little crow). The average humidity matched that by staying the same as the day before at 72%. The low temperature this morning moved up some more to 59° that may have been due to the heavy overcast again.

I didn't feel like getting up and doing a walk this morning and if I did not have Patches I would not have. She is doing the job that I got her for originally on mornings like this. That does not mean we did a long walk but a short potty walk was more than I would have done if I didn't have her.

I was not very excited about getting my holding tanks dumped either. But, I was up and moving so I got that chore taken care of and added water to the fresh water tank also so I'm ready to go tomorrow morning.

I then engaged in some self-talk that brought about a positive response. I got down on my hands and knees and washed the bathroom and kitchen floors. The washing is not all that difficult, the getting down is not too much of a struggle it is the getting back up that I hate to confront.

I could probably avoid that worse part by filling a bucket with water rather than getting up and down to use the sink. But if I did that I would not get any exercise at all, would have nothing to complain about and would have no excuse for not washing the floors more often. Sort of the same situation as my cleaning the toilet; not that hard IF I would just do it more frequently.

I will wipe down the kitchen counters, wash down the stove top and clean the kitchen sinks after 'linner' today. That will complete all of the household chores for now and I'll be ready to get on the road in the morning. I don't have very far to go tomorrow but will be leaving later than usual so my arrival will be about the same time in the afternoon.

I have selected these excerpts from How Will We Know If HealthCare.gov Is Fixed? written by the NPR Staff for NPR.org. NPR is not known to be critical of Obama nor his policies so this is probably as good as it is going to get for a positive review of the second roll out of the ObabaCare website.

In simple terms what is available now is a site where consumers can place an order, perhaps pay for the order but have no assurance that the payment is going to the selected vendor nor will they receive the product that they bought. I don't think this would qualify as 'fixed' if it were a company in the private sector but this is the government and they can coerce the purchase.

Saturday is the day the Obama administration set as its deadline for making HealthCare.gov a "smooth experience" for most users...Remember the promise is to have it working for what they call the "vast majority of users," by which the administration means 80 percent of visitors to the site.
Will anyone be able to tell if the site is really fixed? That's the really frustrating part. I'm not sure we will, at least not at first. We do already know it's working better than it was in October — which, frankly, was a pretty low bar to get over. The administration has all kinds of fancy metrics to show how well the website is working, but we don't have our own independent access to them.
Key parts of the site that must wait, insurance companies are getting increasingly worried. It seems that while so much effort has been going into what they call the "front end" of the site — where consumers go to compare insurance plans and sign up for coverage — some parts of the "back end" of the site — where insurance companies actually get paid — haven't even been built yet.
The administration says it will get that done before money has to begin to change hands sometime in January, but given that nothing up until this point has happened on schedule, that doesn't make insurance companies feel a whole lot better about things.

2 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 69° a lot less than what the experts were forecasting and the average humidity moved on up to 80%. The low temperature this morning was almost the same as yesterday at 57°. Totally overcast again but that blanket was rolled back to the south as I drove to Del Rio. By noon when I got into town and started shopping there were only very high scattered, thin clouds and it was 73° and humid.

I didn't leave the Escapee Park until the office opened at 8:30 when I paid my bill. Then stopped for the first time at Los Alamos Restaurant in Uvalde, TX for breakfast. Nothing special just a Chorizo con Huevos plate with potatoes and beans but their flour tortillas were excellent. I think they are restaurant made rather than some commercial product.

It was a short route of only 111 miles: County Rd 5216, County Rd 422 and US90. I did stop in Del Rio at H-E-B to pick up groceries for the week. Then also stopped at Debbie's Dog Grooming to place an order for some Canidae dog food for Patches. Both of these stops were only a block or two off US90 so they added almost nothing to my distance. It did add a lot of time because I was lost again in a new store looking for groceries.

I have a nice space here at the Broke Mill with no chance of close neighbors behind me nor to the south. The spaces are very deep away from the street so I have a lot of distance from the neighbors to the west. The only possible bad neighbor will be next door on the north side; currently it is empty so right now I have as much room as many boondockers ever have.

The Verizon connection here is poor as it was in Hondo. I can connect but it is very slow. The Park WIFI have been very good since I got connected. It was slow connecting but may be better now that I am registered with a password etc.

3 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

Since I did not travel very far yesterday I have very similar weather to what I left in Hondo. The high temperature yesterday was 81° about what was expected both here and in Hondo. It is also still humid by my standards with the average humidity at 67%; it must get below 50% before I even think about it being acceptable. The low temperature this morning was a very pleasant 46° but very high humidity and heavy dew on everything. I did have sun yesterday afternoon and I have lots of sun this morning with only a few very high thin clouds. Much better than the almost constant overcast that I lived under while in Hondo but it was like that here also during that time.

Patches and I did our morning walk on the Park roads this morning and that is probably what we will do every morning. We start out in the dark so staying in the Park is the safest. I met no other walkers this morning whereas there was always a small crowd walking at the Escapee Park and about half of them had a dog with them. Patches was disappointed this morning perhaps but I was happy not having to constantly correct her misbehavior when we came upon another dog in the dark.

There is a 1.5 mile hiking path that the Park has developed that I will give a try this afternoon. It follows a power line to the west and then loops to the north and back into the Park. I'll know more about it by tomorrow.

On January 23, 2011 I wrote that I was finishing my third novel written by John Lescroat but I did not include any titles. I think they were Hard Evidence, Nothing But The Truth and The First Law. I enjoyed his books and found that I had picked up another one of his although not a conscious decision when I did it. I need pay attention and look for more of his books - which I did a few days ago.

Lescroart starts slowly and takes too much time building reader interest in this latest addition to his acclaimed San Francisco legal suspense series featuring lawyer Dismas Hardy and cop pal Abe Glitsky (The First Law, The Oath, The Hearing). Dismas is firmly ensconced at the top of his flourishing law firm, and Abe has been made deputy chief of investigations, but neither man really enjoys his exalted executive status. Dismas, who seldom finds himself in a real courtroom these days, has become a high-priced legal fixer who takes meetings, goes to lunch and drinks too much, while Abe yearns for the intellectual challenge and physical thrills of a good murder investigation. Dismas's up-and-coming associate, Amy Wu, lands a case defending Andrew North, a troubled 17-year-old who's been arrested for murdering his girlfriend and high school drama coach. In an attempt to have him tried as a juvenile rather than an adult, Amy commits the inexplicable error of admitting her client's guilt to the district attorney before even speaking to the accused teenager. After this egregious blunder, Dismas joins his normally stellar associate as "second chair" in the trial and manages to rescue the case and shake his own disillusionment with the legal system. While readers new to the series might feel a bit left behind (Lescroart spends too much time referring to events in past books, particularly The First Law), old fans and those who persevere will be rewarded with a compassionate look at life's vicissitudes and a thorny multiple murder case. - Publishers Weekly

4 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

Yesterday was a replay of Monday, the high temperature went up one degree to 82°. The average humidity improved ever so slightly to 63%; and the low temperature this morning moved up a little to 53°. There was not the heavy dew this morning but the overcast has thickened somewhat. It is still nice a sunny but I think the expected cold front is starting to move in. The forecast for this weekend is that we will have high temperatures near what the lows have been with a slight chance of rain.

Patches did our morning walk on the Park roads this morning and confronted a couple of dogs running off leash near their RV home. The owners came out and got them when they started barking and Patches barked back a couple of times but responded well to a Quiet Command. The 1.5 mile hiking path that the Park has developed is nothing to get very excited about. It looks like a bulldozer cut a swath through the brush 3-4 years ago and there were a couple of signs put up. It is one option but certainly not something I want to walk every day. I'll be looking for some alternative routes this afternoon.

I'm a little late getting my posting up today. Windows 8 did it to me again and I lost my cursor. Couldn't click on anything, couldn't open anything, tried all kinds of FN + F keys and accomplished nothing. Went to the Park Office for some help and the girl there was able to use her computer to check for fixes but none of them worked. I then found a fix by accident and I'm back in business. Don't know what I did to loose it and now can not replicate what I did to fix it.

On December 1, 2013 I wrote that ObamaCare consumers can place an order, perhaps pay for the order but have no assurance that the payment is going to the selected vendor. Well, the Administration has that problem covered - the insurance companies will simply tell the government how much they are owed and submit a bill. Easy Peasy!

President Barack Obama's administration has found a short-term fix to pay insurance companies for plans selected on HealthCare.gov, the not-yet-complete government website used to shop for insurance required under Obama's healthcare program.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet finished building the part of the website that would transfer billions of dollars in subsidies for plan premiums and cost-sharing payments to insurance companies.
It is part of a long technical to-do list that has so far focused on fixing the errors and lag times in the part of the website used by consumers.
The administration is planning a "workaround" for payments, said Daniel Durham, vice president for policy and regulatory affairs at America's Health Insurance Plans. Health plans will estimate how much they are owed, and submit that estimate to the government. Once the system is built, the government and insurers can reconcile the payments made with the plan data to "true up" payments, he said.

Remember when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Barack H. Obama on October 9, 2009 "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". I have highlighted the most important word in that award citation, it was not for any achievement it was simply for his efforts. Obama pledged to reverse the foreign policy of former President Bush, went on a European Apology Tour in April 2009 and gave his "A New Beginning" speech on 4 June 2009 at Cairo University in Egypt. Now four years later a Pew Research Center Poll has found that his continued efforts have achieved the following.

For the first time in surveys dating back nearly 40 years, a majority (53%) says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago. The share saying the U.S. is less powerful has increased 12 points since 2009 and has more than doubled – from just 20% – since 2004.
An even larger majority says the U.S. is losing respect internationally. Fully 70% say the United States is less respected than in the past, which nearly matches the level reached late in former President George W. Bush’s second term (71% in May 2008).

5 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

There was another weather replay yesterday, the high temperature went down one degree to 81° which was 5 degrees below the forecast. The average humidity moved back up some to 68%; and the low temperature this morning had moved up to 59°. There were some high scattered clouds that looked like they were being pushed in by a storm front. By 9:00 it was total overcast and by 2:00pm the temperature had dropped to 42° or a feels like 34 windchill - the 'Blue/Texas Norther' has moved in. The forecast low tonight is 40 which I now think may be optimistic.

Yesterday afternoon Patches and I tried to walk north along a road that borders the west side of the Park but quickly came to a gate that had Private Property/Posted/Do Not Enter signs all over it. Turned around and went along the eastern border of the Park property near US277/US377/Loop79 and along the eastern end of a small hill that runs east and west just north of the Park. This will work as an out and back route to break up the boredom of doing the Park Trail. I'll be looking for other alternatives but probably not for a couple of days.

I made a red kidney bean, tomato, onion and tofu concoction on Tuesday that is eatable but needs some work. I throw ingredients in the pot and usually I like the end result but not happy with this effort. It needs something but I have not thought what that might be yet; it is a culinary delight under development you might say.

After I got the cursor back yesterday I went to Mouse Properties Pointer Options and made one additional change. I don't know if it will make any difference because I don't know why I lost the pointer in the first place but I did find the change recommended on-line by others that had also lost their cursor pointer.

I have also been having trouble staying connected to the Internet. I am now using both Verizon and the Park WIFI. When I loose a connection with one I switch over to the other. It is an aggravation but I have been able to use the Internet by doing the switching back and forth - whatever works.

WOW, the economy is really ramping up. All the stock indexes are hitting new record highs and the final guess at what 3rd quarter 2013 GDP was has been released. I still find no mention in the media about the change in how the GDP was calculated starting in the 3rd quarter. But who cares, this is good News and maybe it will remove ObamaCare from the headlines for a few days. I find it strange that businesses would be building up inventories when consumer spending is declining but I guess they collectively misjudged what the demand would be. Businesses are not very smart, that is why this country needs governmental central planning.

Gross domestic product grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate instead of the 2.8 percent pace reported earlier, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected output would be revised up to only a 3.0 percent rate.
Inventories accounted for a massive 1.68 percentage points of the advance made in the July-September quarter, the largest contribution since the fourth quarter of 2011.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, was revised down to a 1.4 percent rate, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2009. Spending had previously been estimated to have increased at 1.5 percent pace.
The strong inventory accumulation in the face of a slowdown in domestic demand means businesses will need to draw down on stocks, which will weigh on GDP growth this [4th] quarter.

6 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: WA156 December 6, 1925

The high temperature yesterday was 65° but that was recorded around 2:00am. The average humidity moved up some more to 73%; and the low temperature this morning was 35° (feels like 27° with windchill). It is warming up VERY slowly and is expected to reach a high of 44 today, 43 tomorrow then into the 50s most of next week. Maybe freezing tonight and tomorrow night.

The windchill has reduced the time that I have devoted to my walks. Patches loves it but I can not take the cold wind for very long. Patches also loves the Wave heater and has been camped in front of it all the time that it has been on. It was on and off a couple times yesterday afternoon and will probably be on more than off all of today.

The next couple of days are going to be devoted to staying warm. That will include a lot of time on the couch reading or in my chair while on the Internet. All of it done in front of the Wave heater if Patches will let me get close to it.

The Bureau of Labor released their non-farm job numbers for November today that showed an increase of 203,000 jobs. All of the economic experts were surprised, I say surprised this time; they were only expecting 180,000. The increase is slightly lower than October but the media think it is wonderful. However the really Big News is the Unemployment Rate plunging to 7.0%; that is where most of the spin is focused.

If you look at the Household Data for November the number of Employed is even more surprising because it increased by 818,000 reversing any trend once again - there is no trend. There were increases in April thru July then a decrease in August, an small increase in September, a huge decrease of 735,000 in October and now a huge increase.

The Unemployment Rate dropped to 7.0%; and the Unemployed decreased by 365,000. The BLS is explaining that this is a result of the federal furloughed workers going back to work. They are also using that as an explanation for the huge drop and then increase in the Employed numbers.

The Not in the Labor Force decreased by a huge 268,000 which caused the Participation Rate to move up from its 35 year low to 63.0% but still 0.6% below one year ago. The average earnings rose by another 5 cent to $24.15 an hour, while the average workweek added 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours.

This great news following the strong GDP numbers released yesterday should hype consumer confidence and generate a lot of spending. Yes, the preliminary results of the University of Michigan's December consumer confidence survey were just released today. The report's headline index surged to 82.5 from November's 75.1 reading, far above economists predicted 76.0.

I tend to doubt that Happy Times Are Here Again but it will be interesting to see what the 4th quarter GDP growth rate will be and where Employment is at the end of January 2014.

7 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 39° which was 5 degrees less than the predicted high. The average humidity moved down slightly to 68%; and the low temperature this morning was 30°. When we went out to walk it was 32 with a 25 windchill. The weather experts are sticking with their forecast of 43 as a high today then 53 tomorrow and 50s for all of next week.

Patches and I did get out yesterday afternoon for a 2 mile out and back walk along Las Brisas Blvd that extends south of US90 just to the west of the Park. It had more traffic than I like but there is plenty of open space off the road surface although there are no marked shoulders. This will work for route three.

Just a mile potty walk this morning. Much too cold for me to stay out there for very long. We have been camped in front of the Wave heater all morning and probably will do so for the rest of today as we did most of yesterday.

My Internet connection remains troublesome. I continue to switch back and forth between Verizon and the Park WIFI but this morning I lost that ability when the WIFI completely disappeared. There have been two WIFI addresses that I have been using, when one disconnects I switch to the other one, when it disconnects I go back to Verizon until I loose it. Then start the cycle over again.

This again is the first book that I have read by this author. Publishers Weekly has it exactly right about the ending. It was an entertaining read but I had the impression that it was written with a goal in mind that it be made into a movie. One of those 'action' films with lots of excitement, tension, high drama and just enough romance to keep the 'chicks' happy that they accepted the movie date. I will try another one of his books if I come across it but will not select it before one of my other favored authors.

It's unclear why anyone who's read a Nance novel is willing to board an airplane: Nance (Headwind, etc.), a veteran pilot, specializes in the scary side of flying, and his latest thriller delivers the suspense his fans want, even as its overcomplicated plot keeps it from reaching full altitude. Meridian Airlines is a major carrier plagued by greedy management and hostile employees; Brian Logan is a surgeon whose wife hemorrhaged to death aboard a Meridian flight, for which he blames the airline. As Logan prepares to fly to South Africa on Meridian, the only airline available, U.S. government officials are growing concerned about the possibility of terrorists planning to use an airplane as a weapon escaping detection by flying under the guise of, say, an airplane diverted by mechanical troubles. Logan proceeds on Meridian toward South Africa, while the plane's sullen crew alienates passengers right and left; the pilot, fearing an engine fire, lands in a war zone in Nigeria, where the co-pilot is shot and left for dead. The plane takes off again, returning to Europe for lack of fuel, but a Nigerian warlord claims he has forced the passengers off the plane to hold them for ransom. To folks in D.C., it looks as if a passengerless plane is heading to a major European city, with evil intent; meanwhile, on the plane, the passengers actually are rioting. Nance's prose is serviceable, as are his characters; both lack subtlety, but do the job of spurring the plot to ever higher excitement. The novel's flurry of happy endings, however, will satisfy only the most Panglossian reader. - Publishers Weekly

8 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 39° again or only 4 degrees less than the predicted high. The average humidity moved down some more to 62%; and the low temperature this morning was 27°. When we went out to walk it had warmed up to 28 with a 23 windchill. It is expected to be 51 today and stay in the 50s until Thursday and Friday when it will go back to upper 40s and 60% chance of rain.

Patches and I did the RV Park Trail again yesterday afternoon. Same Trail but we did it counterclockwise which provided a different look. This could be considered route four. Maybe discover another one this afternoon since we have some sun shine and the promise of a little warmer weather.

We did only about a one mile potty walk again this morning. It was colder than yesterday and I just wanted to get inside.

I did that by unhooking from electric and going to town. After having Mexican breakfasts for the past four weeks and not having any corned beef hash and eggs for months, that is what I had my heart set on. I was in luck at Skillets Restaurant where I got exactly that and they put the poached eggs on top of the hash just like I asked them to do. The only negative to the meal was no sourdough toast. I thought I might have moved back where there were multi-bread options but not yet.

From there I went to H-E-B again and got next weeks groceries, then headed for home. I was very disappointed with the Fuji apples that I picked up last week so while looking for an alternative I saw some Asian Pears which I love but are usually priced too high for me to consider them. Today I picked up three of them for about the same price as some of the offered apples and no higher than the price of organic apples.

As soon as I got back in my space at the Park and had electric hooked up I turned on my laptop to start up while I did some other things. When I sat down to use it the screen was going through the routine that it usually does after an automatic update for Windows 8.

This one seemed to be from Toshiba however from what it looked like when I was finally able to get the desktop to open. It had wiped out ALL of my Task Bar settings, most of the shortcuts that I had on the Start Page, No History, No Bookmarks, No Homepage - it was a mess. Also added six Toshiba icons to my Task Bar that I had never seen before.

Couldn't get a connection to the Park WIFI so I went to the office where they let me use their phone to talk to the WIFI provider. However, while I was on hold for a live person I was able to connect and then was able to get MyYahoo! to open after I signed on with Yahoo again. All my Cookies had also been deleted.

Went back to Desperado and thought about what I could do to get back to where I was before all of this happened and found Restore. Clicked on a few pop up windows for the restore process, waited for a few minutes and as far as I can tell I'm back where I was yesterday when I shut the laptop down.

I doubt that we will ever know the truth about ObamaCare. However, it seems obvious to me that President Obama told Secretaries Geithner and Sebelius on April 21, 2010 to do what ever they wanted to do to implement the law. He signed it into law in March and as far as he was concerned he needed to do nothing more; he had other transformations of America to complete.

Journalists and pundits have begun offering lengthy postmortems to explain the causes of the ruinous Obamacare rollout. The debacle’s scale has surprised even progressives who supported the Affordable Care Act. After all, surely three and a half years provided ample time to prepare for a program President Obama calls his “most important initiative.”
“Nothing frustrates me more than when people aren’t doing their jobs,” Obama has said. So, with so much riding on the line, one would assume he held weekly, if not daily, one-on-one meetings with his Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to isolate problems, challenge assumptions, apply executive pressure where needed and successfully manage a project of scale.
Nope.
A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) analysis finds that from July 12, 2010, to Nov. 30, 2013, the president’s public schedule records zero one-on-one meetings between Obama and Sebelius. Equally shocking, over the same period, the president's calendar lists 277 private meetings with his other Cabinet secretaries (excluding full Cabinet meetings).
Given these startling findings, and the fact that the White House calendar did not reflect meetings prior to July 12, 2010, GAI researchers then performed a second analysis using another respected recorder of presidential activity, the POLITICO presidential calendar. The results: Just one April 21, 2010 entry was found listing a White House meeting between Obama and Sebelius—and even that was a joint meeting with then Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

9 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 54° or just above the forecast, I'll give this one to the weather guessers. The average humidity moved down slightly to 65%; and the low temperature this morning was 35° at around 3:30am. When we went out to walk it had warmed up to 39 with a light mist then a heavy overcast.

It is expected to be 56 today and the forecast has been revised to stay in the 50s until the weekend when it will approach 60 and the chance of rain has been reduced to 10-20% Thur- Sun.

Patches and I did the Loop 79 route yesterday afternoon. Nice and sunny, the best day that we have had for almost a week. Went a little farther than the first time and then returned on the eastern side of the Loop creating something other than and out and back route, at least for part of it.

After my last Thermal Cooker pot of 'stuff' didn't turn out as well as I would have liked I went to the Internet searching for a simple Crock Pot recipe and found the following.

Easy Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 1/4 lbs chicken tenderloin
15 ozs white hominy
30 ozs great northern beans
1 1/4 ozs taco seasoning
10 1/2 ozs cream of mushroom soup
8 ozs green chilies (chopped)
Put all ingredients in the crock-pot, in the same order listed. (It is very important to put the chicken on bottom since it takes the longest to cook.) Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

This is just a starting point for me. I rarely make anything per the recipe, this is what I did with this one. I'll be telling you if it was any good after I have some for 'linner'.

1.22 lbs Thin Sliced Chicken Breast (So much cheaper than the Tenderloins)
30 ozs white hominy (I like hominy)
15 ozs great northern beans
5 grams Sazón Goya (Mexican Stew Seasoning)
4 tsp cayenne chili powder (I like it hot)
4 tsp Bolner's Fiesta Menudo Spice Mix (just because I had it)
10 1/2 ozs cream of mushroom soup
2 poblano peppers - diced (I like the fresh poblanos) I browned off the chicken in a skillet then added ingredients per above and brought to a boil for 10-15 minutes then into the Thermal Cooker overnight. I will re-heat a serving tomorrow for 'linner'

10 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 49°, the weather guessers missed this high prediction by 7° - they need to re-calibrate their dart board. The average humidity moved up a lot to 85%, with mist, and the low temperature this morning was 30° which is what it was when we went for our walk.

We have a clear sky again this morning and the forecast is for a 53 today and then warming through the weekend and into the 60s next week. Still a lot of those days are predicted to be partly cloudy with one day of overcast. It is not in the forecast to get many clear sunny days.

We did a mixed walk yesterday afternoon. First, we went toward the Loop 79 road and then climbed up onto the hill that is to the northeast of the Park. It is not much of a hill and is VERY heavily covered with brush. Much more brush than what it looks like from down below. Not a possible route. Second, when we got down off the hill we did the eastern end of the Park roads just to get in a little distance.

The photo on the left is of a Opuntia leptocaulis or more commonly called Christmas Cholla. This is a fully mature example that stood about two feet tall and as you can see is loaded with fruit. I found this plant and 2-3 others on the lower eastern slope of the hill that I talked about climbing.
The photo on the right is of my walking companion, navigator and housemate. This has been her usual posture for the past few days while I have had the Wave heater on for most of the day. It is good for me also because she is usually laying on my feet, keeping them warm, as I sit in the chair with my laptop on the laptop desk.

I have not had a serving of my latest Thermal Cooker creation yet. I did sample it late yesterday afternoon and found that I may need to standardize my cayenne chili teaspoon measures a bit more. It seems that they were a little over sized this time and 3 would have been enough. It is not so hot that I can not eat it but there are not many people that I could serve it to.

U.S. Sells Last of GM Shares by Dunstan Prial for Fox Business has provided a News story that is no more than a government propaganda piece about the auto industry bailout. There is no discussion in the story about how the taxpayers are better off now that they have lost $10 billion on their GM 'investment' or $5 billion on their Chrysler 'investment'. The non-union creditors of both of those companies were also compelled to take huge losses by the government.

I also find the timing of the governments sales and the GM announcement that Executive Vice President Mary Barra will succeed retiring Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson in January to be interesting. The News media is making a big thing out of her being the first female Chief Executive of a major auto manufacturer. Is the government sending a signal that they do not think she is going to be able to improve GM's stock value so they should sell now? Or, are they simply clearing the 'slate' for her when she takes over; removing the stigma of Government Motors to help her succeed?

The Treasury Department on Monday announced that the government has sold its remaining shares of General Motors (GM) and that losses from the 2009 auto industry bailout total about $15 billion.
In a conference call, Treasury officials said the government has recovered about $39.9 billion of the $49.5 billion earmarked for GM under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) approved by Congress as the company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy nearly five years ago.
Treasury has intermittently sold its shares of GM but always at a price below that which would have allowed the government to break even on the deal, which accounts for the nearly $10 billion in losses.

11 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 56°, the weather guessers were only three degrees low in their guess, I'll give them a hit. The average humidity plunged to 53% almost reaching my threshold of 50%, and the low temperature this morning was 34° but felt like 27° when we went for our walk.

We have a high thin cloudy sky this morning and the forecast is for a 58 today. Overcast tomorrow the partly cloudy or overcast for the next 10 days but it will be near 60 everyday.

Yesterday afternoon was probably the nicest sunny day that we have had. Patches and I enjoyed it by doing the out and back route along Las Brisas but turned east on Diego Loop as far as Dos Pistolas. This is a little over 2 miles round trip which we may increase some on this route. The traffic was lighter that the first time we walked it and it was a great day.

I had a serving of my latest Thermal Cooker creation yesterday. Heated up a big ladle full and then topped it with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese. It is quite good although it does not have much eye appeal. I am also not so sure about the cream of mushroom soup. I think I will make it again and use something else as a substitute for that although I'm not certain what it will be at this time.

The Media in this country is just going gaga over President Obama shaking hands with Raul Castro at the Mandela Memorial. They were not nearly as interested in covering his rude 'selfie' picture taking behavior at the Memorial until it went viral on social media. I have never been a fawning fan of First Lady Michelle Obama but she at least has the decorum that her husband lacks.
Pay particular attention to her expression in these two pictures that were posted by The Telegraph a British newspaper. These pictures will be seen all around the world and simply add to the increasing ill will that the rest of the world has for the United States and President Obama. He clearly embarrassed his wife as well as embarrassed this country. However, his narcissistic personality disorder will not allow him to recognize that he has done so.

Salon is one of President Obama's faithful apologist and they have quickly started the left leaning media spin in The media’s Michelle Obama problem: What a selfie says about our biases by Roxane Gay. The article goes on to discredit what they claim are "historically racialized narratives to what Michelle Obama is thinking and feeling in one candid moment".

Not even President Obama is above taking a selfie in the least appropriate selfie-taking venue possible. While attending a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Obama posed with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt. It is probably a bit tacky for these world leaders to pose and preen together, but they are only human. We are all helpless when we have such photographic power in the palms of our hands.

12 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 58°, the weather gurus were spot on - they got a bulls eye. The average humidity went down just a little to 51% but still above my threshold of 50%, and the low temperature this morning was 36° but it was calm when we went for a quick walk.

We have a high milky overcast today with a forecast high of 53. Partly cloudy tomorrow then a mix of partly cloudy or sunny for the next 10 days but warming to near 70 by the end of the 10 day forecast. I think people have been complaining to the weather guessers so they have revised their forecast to offer some hope.

Went to town as soon as we finished our walk. I had an 8:30 appointment for teeth cleaning and needed to be there early to fill out all the paperwork. The hygienist here did a MUCH better job than what I received in Custer, SD. What I got in Custer was a cosmetic cleaning and what I need and received here was a periodontal maintenance cleaning. Texas requires a dentist exam also which almost doubled the cost but I'm glad I went to Amistad Dentistry rather than into Mexico where they also do more of a cosmetic cleaning.

From there I went to Dona Elvira Mexican Restaurant which is off the beaten path and could as easily be in Mexico rather than the United States. Very limited menu but I got a decent Huevos con Chorizo with coffee and two great flour tortillas. If I were to complain about anything it would be the limited menu and no credit card; but I will go back while I am here.

We then went to Debbie's Dog Grooming where I picked up Patches food for the next 2-3 months. I had asked them to order 2-30# bags of Canidae Pure Elements but when they placed the order they were told it now came in 24# bags. They got me three bags but when I looked at them they did not look the same; the labeling had changed also and indicated that it was a "New Recipe". I think the price/pound went up slightly also with the smaller bags but Patches claims that she is worth it. HA

These are only two of the quotes from Quotes Of The Day - Winter Has Arrived Edition at The Burning Platform on December 10, 2013. It is worth your time to read them all from The Fourth Turning.

The next Fourth Turning is due to begin shortly after the new millennium, midway through the Oh-Oh decade. Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation and empire. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and twin emergencies of the Great Depression and World War II.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

An impasse over the federal budget reaches a stalemate. The president and Congress both refuse to back down, triggering a near-total government shutdown. The president declares emergency powers. Congress rescinds his authority. Dollar and bond prices plummet. The president threatens to stop Social Security checks. Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling. Default looms. Wall Street panics. – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – Page 273 – Written in 1996

13 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: WA157 December 13, 1925

The high temperature yesterday was 52°, the weather gurus were one degree high - I'll give them another bulls eye. The average humidity was back up to 60% and the low temperature this morning was up a lot to 46°.

The high milky overcast yesterday became thicker and darker as the day progressed. This morning the partly cloudy forecast looked like it could happen but the clouds closed in for total overcast by 9:00 and I had a few sprinkles then around noon the overcast broke up again. The expected high for today is 63 with clear skies forecast during the weekend. I hope the weather guessers get that right, I would like to have some sun!

I was very lucky to find this book, and lucky to have selected it, from what was available at the Ardmore library. I believe it to be a first publication paperback that was in excellent condition and was probably donated to the library from a veteran's estate. As the Reader says below I was moved, it brought tears to my eyes which few novel are capable of bringing forth. I do not recommend this as a book for the masses, it is about an unpopular war which can bring back both good and bad memories.

This is a sweeping, gut-wrenching portrait of soldiers at war from a man who fought, and saw friends die, in Vietnam. It is a saga of men from all walks of life, thrown together by the arbitrary nature of enlistment and the draft, of how they are forged into a team. Then in the unrelenting combat of Vietnam, each man in the team is put to the ultimate test--combat. How they respond dictates who will live and who will die in the treacherous jungles and waterways of Vietnam. - Barnes & Noble
I read this book when it was published in 1989, and was so moved by it I am compelled to write a review 8 years later. An outstanding story about duty and honor that will be a real treat to anyone who was part of the war or is interested in military fiction. Navy Lt. Stuart, on assignment with the Army as a land-based "spotter" for Naval gunfire, is a rich character through whose eyes one sees the drama, intrigue, and emotional anguish experienced by those who served with honor and distinction in this unpopular conflict. This is remarkable and serious book -- not simply an "action" novel -- a book that will fill the reader with many of the same emotions as experienced by Lt. Stuart. Although the novel apparently was not commercially successful, Mr. Leib has done a great service to those who served by writing this book. I have not been as moved by anything I have read in the past decade, and regard my mint condition, hard-cover copy as a prize possession. - A Reader Review at Amazon

There was also an action in the novel that reminded me of something I had read about Vietnam some 40 years after it happened. In The Fire Dream on page 348 the following action happened on 4 August 1967 on a ridge overlooking Elephant Valley.
Outside the circle the tankers erected a circle of cyclone fencing attached to engineering stakes, to detonate any incoming rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) rounds before they could reach the tanks.

What I remembered reading was found in Vietnam Studies - Tactical and Materiel Innovations Chapter IX Tam Ky (March 1968), published the same year as Lieb's novel. By the time he wrote what I quoted above that was an established defensive ploy. However, it had not always been that way, I have added the underlining for emphasis.
On the evening of 3 March 1968, the squadron, minus two cavalry platoons, was at its base camp on Hawk Hill. The 1st Platoon of Troop A was on Hill 10, securing a sector of Route 1; the 2d Platoon of Troop A was at Tam Ky, prepared to assist in the defense of the province headquarters. Earlier in the day, Captain Michael B. Prothero had assumed command of Troop C. Little did he realize that in less than twenty-four hours he would be commanding his troop and a rifle company against a North Vietnamese Army regiment...
Captain Prothero closed his units into the night location at 2012 hours [4 March]. It had been a hard day for the cavalrymen and infantrymen, but the task of preparing the night defense was vitally important. The men learned that they were dealing with the 3d Regiment of the 3d North Vietnamese Army Division. The enemy had originally intended to attack Hawk Hill, but Captain Prothero's force had thwarted his efforts. While Colonel Cousland and his staff planned the next day's operation, the troops started working on their defenses. The general trace of the position resembled the old wagon train coils of the Indian wars on the American plains.
The armored vehicles themselves provided protection against the enemy's small arms and automatic weapons, but the men added a new device to protect the vehicles against the armor-piercing B40 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). It was called the RPG screen. Nothing more than a section of "cyclone" fence, it caused a shaped charge warhead to detonate before it hit the vehicle. Each crew set up a section of fence in front of its position, and the command element in the center established a second screen around its vehicles. This simple expedient saved many vehicles and bunker positions.


What led me to this obscure publication was a conversation with a High School classmate and University roommate. We had not been in contact for over 30 years and he found me through Internet searches. In that conversation it was determined that there were 4 of us from our High School graduating class that had served in Vietnam.

Mike Prothero had received an appointment to West Point and I heard nothing from, or about him, until this contact. I did some Internet searching of my own and found the information that I copied above. It was only when I read about this action that I found out that we had been 'in country' during the same time. I could not find a citation but Mike earned two Silver Star Medals and I think one of them was for his action at Tam Ky.

14 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 58°, a little colder than expected. The average humidity was up some more to 68% and the low temperature this morning was down to 33° with a lot of dew.

We have almost a clear sky today. Most importantly we have some sunshine. That started late yesterday afternoon and the forecast is that it will be with us until Tuesday. The forecast is then for warmer, maybe even get up to 70, but partly cloudy and a 30% chance of rain next weekend.

We were off to town again this morning with a stop at Chinto's Mexican Restaurant for breakfast. Urbanspoon has 10 Reviews that all claim that the place is Great; however they are all dinner reviews. Tripadvisor had 8 Reviews that were also complementary, except for one, but they wrote most glowingly about the Breakfast Tacos. I had the Huevos con Chorizo and was not impressed. I may go back but will be searching for other Mexican breakfast places first.

Grocery stop at H-E-B where I picked up the makings for a Tangy Tzatziki Pasta Salad that will last me the week. Started putting it together as soon as we got home. This time I did follow the recipe with regard to ingredients but the quantities were a little different. The recipe specifies so much and it is sold in a different size container, so I went with the container.

I first made the dressing which is 2 small containers of Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp dill, a good splash of lemon juice and 2 big tbsp diced garlic. This is all whipped up together and then chilled while making the salad.

I cooked 16 oz of penne pasta, sliced up a small jar of Greek olives, diced a cucumber, sliced up a small container of sun dried tomatoes (in oil-drained) and a small container of marinated artichoke hearts (drained). The dressing was pored over this mixture and everything then stirred well. When I take a serving I'll sprinkle a little feta cheese over it and Bon Appétit.

This is not a little bit of salad. The recipe claims that it is 10 servings but I would say it could serve even more than that. The only think that I had in my kitchen that was large enough to mix it in was my 6 quart Roaster pan. That will be where it is stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days until I eat some of it and can then get it into a smaller storage container.

I have one serving left of the Thermal Cooker creation that I made last week. Tomorrow I will be putting together another one and will be telling you about that also. This is not a cooking blog but I do cook once a week and hope that others can profit from my successes and failures.

This is all about trying to change my BMI weight status category from obese to overweight. I usually only know my weight when I weigh in once a year at my VA appointment. Last month there was a scale available at the SKP Park in Hondo and per it's reading I was within 4 pounds of becoming overweight. I'm not convinced that my health will significantly improve with the loss of 4 more pounds but it is a vanity thing so I want to lose them. It also gives me 'arguing rights' i.e. You said lose weight, I lost it! So now why am I not healthier - Huh?

THE MATH DOESN’T WORK a blog posting on The Burning Platform dated December 12, 2013 is a story of an unsustainable trend.

Here are the facts:
There are 144 million Americans employed, with 115 million employed full-time and 29 million employed part-time.
There are 246 million working age Americans, of which 91 million are supposedly not in the work force and 11 million are officially unemployed.
Approximately 68 million of these workers are in the top two income quintiles.
The bottom three quintiles receive more government entitlements than they pay in taxes. That means the top two quintiles pay 106% of all the taxes, while the bottom 60% of income producers get money back.
There are 68 million workers paying taxes to support the 76 million lower income workers, the 11 million unemployed workers, the 91 million working age Americans who have supposedly “chosen” not to work, and the 70 million people either too young or too old to work.
The workers in the top two quintiles represent 28% of the working age population and are paying 106% of the taxes to fund our welfare/warfare state.
The taxes paid by 68 million people also have to fund our wars of choice in the Middle East, our ever growing surveillance state, prisons for the excess population, and the various other boondoggles that our beloved leaders pay for with our money. Do you understand why we are adding $1 trillion per year to the national debt? Today’s current scenario is a disaster.
Can 68 million people pay the load for the other 248 million people, along with running a world empire? There is no solution to this dynamic. It’s a train wreck happening in slow motion. We are too far down the track and the bridge is out. Disaster beckons.

15 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 63°, just about what was expected. The average humidity was down a little to 59% and the low temperature this morning was down some more to 30°. We have a clear sky again today. Yesterday afternoon was sunny but we had a strong wind (25-30 mph range), this morning was windy also but it calmed soon after sun up.

My Thermal Cooker creation for this week is a mixed vegetable, barley and tofu soup. My prior Thermal Cooker experiment with tofu, that I did not care for much, was made with diced tofu. In this latest creation I have crumbled it before adding to the pot with barley and a mixture of frozen corn, carrots and peas. This is being cooked up in chicken broth with a diced onion, a generous amount of diced garlic, a packet of Sazón Goya and a some cayenne powder. I have high expectations - HA.

This will accompany the Tangy Tzatziki Pasta Salad that I put together yesterday. 'Linner' will also include a small portion of smoked salmon, onion and cream cheese on a thin bagel. Then near the time most people eat dinner/supper I'll have an apple and couple of squares of dark chocolate for desert.

Have started to read my Monthly Blogs again. Most of them do not post daily and that is the reason for placing them on the monthly list. However, I have one that began posting every day in October and has continued to do so into December. They have been traveling through Mexico and I did not think they would be able to find Internet connections as often as they have. If I move them to Daily I know that will jinks their connections so have hesitated to do so.

Also began setting up the Will Rogers weekly article links for February. Haven't done much but I did get all the text copied to my web site. Hope to have that project completed by the beginning of the year.

Obamacare's Next Hurdle: Getting People To Pay by Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com on 12/14/2013 is so sad that it is funny. Where Mr. Laszewski says low-income he could have said low-information people that got fee ObamaPhones so why should they think ObamaCare is not also free - You telling me I got to pay?

His strongest supporters are going to be mad as hell at the doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and then Obama when they find out that they have no insurance. I must give the President credit where credit is due; he has transformed the medical and medical insurance industries in this country. They will never be like they were before he signed and attempted to implement the ObamaCare law.

Healthcare.gov may or may not be fixed, depending on who one listens to (and if one reads the WSJ's, "Errors Continue to Plague Government Health Site" this morning, there is much more fixing left despite the administration's most sincere promises), but a greater issue is already looming: payment. "We have a bigger number of applicants than people who have paid," Aetna Chief Financial Officer Shawn Guertin said in an interview today in New York. "That’s a situation that I am a little bit worried about, that people will think they have completed the process but haven’t paid the premium yet." Whether Americans didn't realize there would be an actual payment involved in America's socialized healthcare system, or simply there is too much confusion over how the process is run, is irrelevant - the bottom line is that for whatever reason people are simply not paying their premiums.
As Bloomberg reports, the disjointed process of having customers shop through the government-run marketplace and then pay insurers separately has created a risk that people who have chosen a plan won’t actually be covered Jan. 1. And if people don’t pay by Dec. 31, insurers may end up stuck with a disproportionate number of sicker and costlier customers.
“You have to remember that many times we are dealing with low-income people,” Robert Laszewski, an Alexandria, Virginia-based consultant to carriers, said in a telephone interview last week. “They signed up and they certainly want the insurance, but do they have the money or have they changed their mind by Dec. 31? Nobody’s done this before.”
And while the government has been touting the surge in sign up numbers, with the CMMS announcing yesterday that some 365,000 people have signed up for a private plan through November, what the government has not said is how many of these people have already paid their premium. Judging by the Aetna CFO remarks there is a major, gaping discrepancy between the two. And even if people do expect to get completely free healthcare, that is not what Obamacare is about, at least not yet. So suddenly Obama may have a situation where he has millions signed up for the ACA, and only a fraction has actually paid. Recall that Obama has a goal of 7 million sign ups by the March 31 end of open enrollment.

16 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 64°, up just one degree. The average humidity was down a little more to 53% (can't get below 50%) and the low temperature this morning was up just a little to 33°. We have a clear sky again today and it looks like we will repeat yesterday's weather. Tomorrow is expected to be the same and then it is back to partly cloudy and overcast through the weekend.

A very lazy day for me. Got up a few minutes later this morning and have been dragging since then. Reading Monthly blogs and my latest novel is about the most I could get done. Didn't even spend as much time reading the News today as I usually do. If I missed much I'll read about it tomorrow.

17 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 69°, up just a little. The average humidity was down a little more to 49% - finally, a day that has slipped below my 50% threshold. This is the first day below 50% average humidity here in Del Rio and only the fifth day since leaving Gunnison, Co at the end of July. Three of those five days were in Custer, SD during the second half of August then one day in Hondo during November. It is difficult to find dry air east of the Continental Divide.

The low temperature was up to 37° with a few high scattered clouds. High temperature is expected to match yesterday then tomorrow will be partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy with 60% chance of rain on Saturday. Temperatures to stay warm however which is good.

Patches and I discovered an new walking route yesterday with the potential of one or two others. We crossed US90, which is very busy with very fast traffic, to Las Brisas Blvd but walked only a short distance south. Turned east and followed power lines that served one home well off of Las Brisas but then found a two track dirt road just east of where the power line stopped.

Followed it to the southeast and then east as it turned into an ATV track and then ended unless I went into some property rear yards. Saw a white tail doe that was into thick brush after three jumps and disappeared; that was long enough to get Patches excited. Retraced my route to the two track dirt road and then took it back to the northwest to the parking lot of Del Rio Bible Church and Las Brisas Blvd.

The potential routes are directly east of the church parking lot along a dirt two track road that looks like it has forks to the north and south. It climbs up a slight hill which may give me some views of the area. Much better walking than along Las Brisas and may provide some variety.

18 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 72°, up three degrees and a little above what was expected. The average humidity went back up again to 51% - or just over my 50% threshold. The low temperature this morning was up some more to 42° which allowed me to wear my lighter wool shirt. The high temperature today is expected to be about the same as yesterday as will the next three days. But there is fog forecast for tomorrow, then overcast and the chance of rain has been increased to 80% on Saturday. Still warm but not sunny.

I was going to post my comments and some quotes about the Budget Deal but what is there to say. It simply proves that we have a one political party system now in the United States when it comes to spending. I believe it is shameful that Congress is cutting veteran pension benefits while continuing their own perks but that is what is to be expected from the power elite. The Establishment Republicans have given up the temporary cuts that came as a result of the sequester and more spending, more borrowing, more taxes is considered the way Forward.

There is much more important and positive News about how to live a healthy life and it supports my lifestyle. Traveling keeps you young. Or at least healthier.

The Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Assn., has released research that shows travel offers the same sort of physical and cognitive benefits as crossword puzzles or museum visits.
That’s the finding of a new study linking travel to decreased risks of heart attack and depression and even the promotion of brain health.

I think this was the last of the books that I picked up in Ardmore. It is the first book that Baldacci had published and is the first of his that I have read. The copy that I picked up however was republished in 2010 and included a Preface from the author about his becoming an author and also includes a short story. The book was a good read and Publishers Weekly reviews it well but I can not say the same for the Original Short Story that was added as a marketing bonus.

Casting the president of the United States as a crazed villain isn't a new idea, Fletcher Knebel worked it 30 years ago in Night of Camp David, but in this sizzler of a first novel, Baldacci, a D.C. attorney, proves that the premise still has long legs. The action begins when a grizzled professional cat burglar gets trapped inside the bedroom closet of one of the world's richest men, only to witness, through a one-way mirror, two Secret Service agents kill the billionaire's trampy young wife as she tries to fight off the drunken sexual advances of the nation's chief executive. Running for his life, but not before he picks up a bloodstained letter opener that puts the president at the scene of the crime, the burglar becomes the target of a clandestine manhunt orchestrated by leading members of the executive branch. Meanwhile, Jack Graham, once a public defender and now a high-powered corporate attorney, gets drawn into the case because the on-the-lam burglar just happens to be the father of his former financee, a crusading Virginia prosecutor. Embroidering the narrative through assorted plot whorls are the hero's broken romance; his conflict over selling out for financial success; the prosecutor's confused love-hate for her burglar father; the relentless investigation by a northern Virginia career cop; the dilemma of government agents trapped in a moral catch-22; the amoral ambitions of a sexy White House Chief of Staff; and the old burglar's determination to bring down the ruthless president. Meanwhile, lurking at the novel's center like a venomous spider is the sociopathic president. Baldacci doesn't peer too deeply into his characters' souls, and his prose is merely functional, in both respects, he's much closer to Grisham than to, say, Forsyth; but he's also a first-rate storyteller who grabs readers by their lapels right away and won't let go until they've finished his enthralling yarn. - Publishers Weekly

19 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 71°, down one degree but I'll give the weather guessers a hit for these past 3-4 days. The average humidity went up a lot to 72% and the low temperature this morning was up even more to 55°. The forecast for fog today was changed to partly cloudy but it looks like overcast to me. Continuing to forecast overcast for tomorrow but have reduced the chance of rain to 40% on Saturday. Maybe warm and sunny then for a few days starting Sunday.

I took three books to the Rec Room/Library here in the Park and traded them. There was not much to choose from but I do now have a full shelf of unread books that will probably last me for a couple of months. I may check out the Del Rio public library before I leave here and see if they do any trades.

The Internet and the News Media are going to be awash with opinions about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty and what he said in the GQ interview. I think all of the parties have acted upon their beliefs and hope that they continue to do so.

GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is a U.S. non-governmental media monitoring organization which promotes the image of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people in the media that quickly condemned his remarks. This is a good thing, that is what people in that organization are paid to do - that is their mission.

A&E was swift in placing Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely. I am sure that the contract that Mr. Robertson signed with A&E had a provision in it that they could do so if he caused adverse publicity for A&E. Mr. Robertson is paid to provide entertaining film for A&E and not create any negative publicity. This is also a good thing, A&E is in the business of providing televised entertainment at a profit- that is their mission (they may also agree with GLAAD but I don't know that).

Phil Robertson issued his own statement to the press after GLAAD and A&E had their say. He said: "My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other." This is another good thing, a man that lives his life based upon his beliefs - that is his mission.

20 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: WA158 December 20, 1925

The high temperature yesterday was 69°, down a couple of degrees but the average humidity was exactly the same as the day before at 72%. The low temperature this morning was also exactly the same as yesterday at 55°. The forecast for fog yesterday came about this morning when it was overcast while we did our walk but then had become foggy by the time we had breakfast.

It was grocery shopping time again this morning but first I stopped for breakfast. I was going to give El Palenque Restaurant a try but they were not open. Therefore I went to Don Marcelino's just a little south and closer to H-E-B. Was not impressed and probably will not go back. Not bad just not impressed.

When we got back to the Park I hooked up to electric and immediately started putting together some of Frey's Special Chili. I'll probably have a serving of that today for 'linner' but it gets better after sitting for a day or two. More flavors melding and all those kinds of things.

I'll be making another salad for the week tomorrow but have enough of the one I made last week for today. Will be having sardines and sliced onion on a roll with the salad as a replacement for the salmon of last week. I'll be telling you about that new salad tomorrow when I make it. If you have any interest at all about Frey's Special Chili you can do a Search on this site and find my recipe.

I have become current with my Monthly blogs once again. Now need to concentrate of getting the Will Rogers weekly article links for February prepared. Have been dragging my feet on that project.

21 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 70°, up one degree but the average humidity moved up a lot to 84%. The low temperature this morning was down a little to 50°. I heard it raining during the night and Patches and I got a little wet before we got back to Desperado from our morning walk.

It cleared up rather quickly however and was mostly clear by 10:00. That is the forecast for the next 10 days; clear with high temperatures in the 60s. Yes, bring it on!

I had planned on emptying my holding tanks today but didn't realize how in need they were until I saw water in the shower floor. I keep a bag as well as a storage box of dog food in the shower but fortunately they are both plastic so no harm done. I did need to hose down the shower after dumping tanks and adding fresh water however.

The salad of the week is almost the same as last week but I made a few of modifications. The dressing is the same but I threw it together without measuring anything so it is slightly different. For the salad I used fusilli rather than penne pasta, tired of cucumber so I used zucchini, fresh cherry tomatoes versus sun dried and palm hearts in place of the artichoke hearts but included the Greek olives.

I have had intermittent problems with my air conditioner trying to start up even when the thermostat is set very low or even with the A/C switched to OFF. Today I switched the circuit breaker to OFF to keep it from trying any more. I may seek a repair here while I am in Del Rio or maybe wait until I go through Sierra Vista, AZ where I have had a lot of my RV work taken care of. It is not likely that I'll need the A/C during the next month or two.

A follow up on the Duck Dynasty saga that will not find its way to most of main stream media. This is from an article by Will Payne at MailOnLine dated December 21, 2013. I have underlined what I consider the most important thing revealed by this article.

A&E knew that they could not place Phil Robertson on suspension for his Christian beliefs but also knew that they could do so if he were to make disparaging remarks about homosexuals and lesbians which are a protected class. It is a shame that the Robertson Family can not include this saga in their reality TV show because this is the Reality.

Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson and his family believe they have been ‘hung out to dry’ by TV network A&E after he was suspended for homophobic comments made in a magazine interview, MailOnline can reveal.
Sources within the close-knit Louisiana clan say they are convinced A&E are manipulating the controversial situation to bring them – and particularly Robertson – back into line after Television executives grew tired of the family pushing their deeply-held, Christian beliefs.
They also think the network could have done something to stop the controversial GQ article being made public, because an A&E representative was present during the interview with patriarch, Robertson, 67.
A source close to the family, who asked not to be named, told MailOnline: ‘You have to ask yourself, why this interview happened and why it ever became public. Someone from A&E was there and was aware of the kind of answers Phil was giving.
‘But despite that, they didn’t ever try to stop it or control it. Instead, they let it hit the headlines and then released a statement condemning it.
‘It is our belief that they knew what was going to happen and then used the situation to exercise control over Phil.
‘It is our understanding that when the TV executives came up with the concept for the show they wanted it to be a case of people laughing at a bunch of backward rednecks.
‘But when it didn’t turn out like that and people actually started identifying with the way the family behaved and were laughing with them, not at them, they became uncomfortable. It did not sit will with the New York TV types.
‘We believe they were also uncomfortable with the family’s insistence that there would be a strong religious presence in the show. They knew Phil was the driving force behind this and we think they have used this situation to bring him in line so they could steer the show back down the path they originally intended for it.
‘But they may have underestimated how united the family are and how committed they are to their beliefs. They also didn’t realize how much support Phil would from the public, so things have backfired on them.’

22 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 73° with the average humidity dropping a lot to 55%. The low temperature this morning was down a little more to 44° with a breeze. That turned into a wind as the day progressed but it is sunny and clear which is great. The forecast continues with the expectation that this weather will last through the end of the year. Even better news IF it happens.

I think I have read three books by Ken Follett in the past but could not find his name nor any of the titles when I did a Search of my web site. From memory, as poor as it is, I know I have read Night Over Water and The Pillars of the Earth but cannot recall what the third one might have been. I did not like this book as much as I remember liking the other two but will continue to trade for more of his novels when I can find them.

Each book by Ken Follett, one of the most successful suspense writers of our time, is a welcome event. With Jackdaws, he returns to his most successful era, the darkest days of World War II.
It is 1944 and the Allies are preparing for the invasion of Europe. In the occupied town of Sainte-Cecile, the French Resistance is preparing to blow up the chateau that now houses the crucial telephone exchange connecting the French telephone system to that of Germany. Bombers have been unable to inflict enough damage on the chateau to disrupt communications for more than a few hours at a time, but the Allies need to make sure that communications is down for longer so that there will be as little warning of the invasion as possible.
Felicity Clariet, known as Flick, is a British secret agent patrolling the streets around the chateau waiting for the first explosions that will give the signal for the attack to begin. She is married to Michel, a Resistance fighter. When the operation goes horribly wrong, they barely escape with their lives and Flick returns to her home in London--but not for long. When Flick returns to France it will be as part of an audacious, quickly assembled plan to put female spies in the chateau as cleaners, enabling the Allies to destroy the ability of the Exchange to warn Germany in advance of the landing on the beaches of Normandy. The twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Follett tells us that Jackdaws is based on a true story. The Special Operations Executive sent 50 women into France as secret agents. Thirty-six survived. --Otto Penzler

Structural Change and Economic “Bad Luck” by Monty Perlin on December 20, 2013 explains the non-recovery recovery that the United States has been experiencing since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

“Structural change” is euphemistic. The change just appears, apparently without cause and hence without political or policy responsibility. The term is only invoked to explain sub-par economic performance. Never is it used to explain good economic performance.
Usually it implies some permanent condition, immune to economic solution. It is just “bad luck” apparently that brings it on. It just happens!
This quote from Robert Heinlein describes economic “bad luck.” It also describes “structural change” without directly referring to it:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as ‘bad luck.’

23 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday dropped a little to 65° with the average humidity remaining exactly the same as the day before at 55%. The low temperature this morning was down a lot more to 32°. The 10 day forecast is for more of the same with the low temperatures to move up into the lower 40s but the highs remaining near the mid-60s.

I sent an email to a local RV repair shop last Saturday. Told them what A/C unit I had, described the problem and told them that I suspected the control board on the unit. Asked if they could help me. So far no reply. Either they can not help me or they do not read and reply to email requests. I suspect that it is the second alternative answer. It seems that small businesses with web sites have them built by some outsider that always provides an email contact but the people in the small businesses don't use them.

I am having better luck with getting people to help me with another issue. As you may have read/heard the recent Budget Agreement included a 1% cut in retired military pensions. This has caused me to put into action what was previously just something at the back of my mind.

I am actively looking for an alternative to the VA for my medical care. I am included in service levels 7 & 8 for eligibility with the VA and both of those levels have been under discussion in Congress to be dropped. If they are willing to cut retired military pensions then I expect they will cut those levels from VA medical coverage. That will leave me with Medicare/Medicaid as an option; both of them to become a bigger mess under ObamaCare and more expensive.

What I am looking for is a general practice doctor in a Mexico border town, preferably Agua Prieta, that can do the same things for me that VA has been doing. Annual lab work, general health check up and prescribe my needed medicines. It would be nice if the doctor and/or office staff spoke English but I can accept Spanish or Spanglish speakers just as well.

24 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday dropped some more to 61° with the average humidity moving up again just a little to 59%. The low temperature this morning was up some to 36° but felt like 30 with the windchill. Was only up to 45 at 10:00 and still 40 with the windchill. Forecast is for another high of 61 but that will be a cool 61 if the wind remains.

We did an afternoon walk out to the east on the dirt road that goes past the church on Las Brisas. On top of the ridge we found a lot of bulldozed roads that do not show up on the satellite views of Google Maps. A lot of walking routes available.

There has been a subdivision surveyed, lots of brush removed and access roads cut. I was able to follow a road that turned off to the south and joined up with Diego Loop Rd. Was also able to follow another one that turned to the north and gave me access to US90 at the junction with Loop79 just east of the Park.

Soon after finishing breakfast this morning I went to the Park laundry and rec room library. Got my laundry started and then browsed through the books offered for trade. I found two that looked interesting so picked them up. Took one book back in trade when I went back to start the drying cycle. I'll complete the trade when I finish the book that I am now reading; didn't want to miss getting the second book that I had found.

25 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

A Merry Christmas to All from Ed & Patches


The high temperature yesterday moved up one degree to 62° from the day before with the average humidity dropping to 51%. The low temperature this morning was down slightly to 34° but felt like 29 with the windchill.

A very quiet Christmas for Patches and I. More time together on the couch than usual with me reading and she sleeping.

Yesterday afternoon we had a stiff wind that made it feel rather cold. Today appears to be shaping up to be the same with even less sun because of high overcast. The wind is not as strong now but I think it is building so we may be doing a shortened walk this afternoon.

ObamaCare As Alice In Wonderland by Monty Pelerin is a very good article about ObamaCare using quotes by Lewis Carroll to make his point. Too many of them to copy but a joy to read. I have copied his predictions for what is still to come as the 'law of the land', as modified by the Messiah Obama, takes effect. Some of the predictions have already started to come true but will become worse over time.

The political nightmare will grow as the health care nightmare unfolds. The health care industry will slowly be emasculated:
  • Medical providers will be lost despite promises otherwise.
  • Massive new cancellations will occur as employers amend or drop their plans. The deferral of the employer mandate until after the 2014 election to mitigate political impact will not help. Most employers will inform employees before the election. Early notice serves two purposes: (1) it provides necessary time to put replacement coverage in place; (2) it reminds employees what ObamaCare has cost them just in advance of an election. For most employers, the latter may be more important than the former.
  • Finally, real structural damage to the industry will begin to appear. Bankruptcies in the insurance industry will only be avoided by taxpayer bailouts, reminding the public of the financial bailouts.
  • Doctor shortages will occur. There is no solution for doctors retiring early other than returning to some form of slavery which prevents them from doing so. For many, the reduced income and bureaucracy will not be worth it.
  • Brighter students will choose careers other than medicine. That will drive down the quality of physicians and healthcare over time.
  • More immediately the quality of healthcare will diminish for Medicare and Medicaid patients. Driving rates down will mean fewer doctors take fewer of these patients. Typically the less talented doctors will be left with the lowest paying customer groups. Many doctors have already left traditional practice and set up concierge practices.
  • The cutbacks in staff at major hospitals have already been announced and occurred. Soon closings and bankruptcies of hospitals will begin.
  • The rationing of healthcare must take place immediately. As the supply of medical resources declines in reaction to price controls, this rationing will become more severe. “Death panels” will be employed from the very beginning. When prices no longer ration supply, then bureaucratic rules must.
From a political standpoint, there is no greater horror than what is unfolding. The reaction of some politicians will be like that of the chaplain in George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan. He did his best to put Joan at the stake, but when he realized the implications, he reacted thusly:
I meant no harm. I did not know what it would be like . . I did not know what I was doing . . If I had known, I would have torn her from their hands. You don’t know. You haven’t seen : it is so easy to talk when you don’t know. You madden yourself with words . . But when it is brought home to you ; when you see the thing you have done ; when it is blinding your eyes, stifling your nostrils, tearing your heart, then then O God, take away this sight from me !

26 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday dropped below the forecast to 59° with the average humidity back up to 65%. The low temperature this morning was up a little to 39° but felt like 35 with the windchill. Was only up to 42 at 10:00, still felt like 38 with the windchill and was mostly overcast.

The revised high temperature for today is 58 with a chance of rain tonight and tomorrow with it maybe reaching 55. I think they got the rain prediction correct, I was getting some here at the Park at 1:00 pm but they are probably going to miss the high temperature. The weather guessers then predict it will be back in the lower 60 for the remainder of the 10 day forecast but an increased chance of rain a week from today.

I have been having pains in my right wrist for some time with them slowly becoming worse. For the first time I was bothered enough last night that the pain was keeping me awake so I have started a regimen of ibuprofen and acetaminophen to knock down the arthritic inflammation that I think is going on.

The wind did not pick up as much today as yesterday but it is a very gray, dreary and cold day for a walk. Patches will be disappointed but we are probably going to be doing a shorter walk this afternoon again as we did yesterday. Maybe she will forgive me since I have let her roast in front of the Wave heater most of the day.

I continue to struggle with an Internet connection. Verizon gives me a good connection about 1/3 of the time and I manage the other 2/3rds with the Park WIFI. When I have a WIFI connection it works quite well but I loose the connection far more than I like. The ISP also seems to want me to sign on every couple of days to maintain service but I never know exactly when I should do that. Today even after I signed on with WIFI I continued to get a Limited Connection which means NO Connection. Tough day for Internet.

27 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: WA159 December 27, 1925

The high temperature yesterday dropped below the forecast again to 51° with the average humidity up more to 71%. The low temperature this morning was up a little more to 44° with calm winds but a heavy mist. I heard it raining after going to bed last night but it was very light and the official reading was 0.07" for yesterday. By noon today we had received an additional 0.14", not raining hard but constant light rain.

We went to town while it was still a mist and I had breakfast at The Skillet again where I had an omelet. This was not as good as their corned beef hash that I had the first time I stopped there so I'll probably go back to that when I stop again.

The dreary, rainy early morning hours kept H-E-B market clear of any post Christmas crowds. This was fine with me and I got my weekly supplies and walked up to a cashier that was open and waiting. Had two baggers putting everything in my basket and I was out the door into a light rain.

I picked up the makings for another weekly salad like I had last week but will sprinkle with Gorgonzola Cheese rather than Feta. I'll have sardines on a roll with that and the other side dish this week will be a Thermal Cooker creation that I have named Pozole de Pollo con Frijoles Rojas.

This is a modification of the chicken dish that I made a few weeks ago that had mushroom soup in it that I was not so sure I would do again. This time I used about 1.25 lbs of chicken breast (diced and browned off), large can of hominy and two small cans of red beans (drained), one yellow onion (diced), 7 medium Jalepaño (seeds removed and diced) - all into the pot with 32 oz of chicken broth. Seasoned with Sazón Goya, menudo spice mix and cayenne powdered chili.

We did a longer walk yesterday afternoon than I thought we might. It was not as windy as the day before and I had dressed warmer. It was a good thing that we did because it does not look good for a long walk this afternoon. Wet and dreary day. Patches is very happy to bask in front of the Wave heater when I have it on then back to bed if I shut it off. Smart Dog!

28 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

I forgot that yesterday was Friday. Therefore, forgot to add the Will Rogers weekly article link. Remembered it when I woke up in the middle of the night. I do some of my best remembering and thinking in the middle of the night it seems. I added the link this morning to yesterdays posting.

The high temperature yesterday was one degree below the forecast, and the high of the day before, at 50° with the average humidity up to an almost dripping 93%. The low temperature this morning was up a little more again to 48° with fog. The official reading for rain yesterday was 0.23" and I got a little more here this morning after we finished our walk.

The forecast high today is 63 and Partly Cloudy with tomorrow being 59 with Fog. I think the weather guessers have got it reversed because we got the fog this morning and I don't think we will see a high of 63 for either day. Overcast, gray, dreary days for this weekend is my prediction.

The WIFI here in the Park is provided, if I can use that word loosely, by TengoInternet. Which is Spanish for 'I Have Internet'. Unfortunately the translation and the facts do not match and for the past three days I Have No Internet from TengoInternet. During the month I have had this same problem but have been able to resolve it by signing on again even if I seemed to be signed on. That has not helped these past few days.

I like the Park and Del Rio has been tolerable as a winter camp. I'll stay through the end of January but it is doubtful that I will stay at this Park again unless Verizon service improves in my absence. I do not think TengoInternet is going to get any better and is too unreliable for me. If having WIFI when you want it is not important to you then TengoInternet is probably acceptable but I have been spoiled by having good Verizon connections or reliable WIFI when Verizon is not available.

29 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday of 56° was far short of the predicted 63 but up from the 50 high of the day before, with the average humidity down only slightly to 89%. The low temperature this morning matched the 48° of yesterday as did the fog. We got an official trace of rain yesterday.

The weather guessers are sticking with their prediction of a 59 for a high today. I have my doubts although they did get the fog part correct. The remainder of the 10 day forecast has now been revised to be in the upper 50s and lower 60s, partly cloudy most of the time but a much reduced chance of rain.

I haven't been doing much. A rare event this morning had me sleep in until 7:30. Perhaps it was due to the very dark conditions with the heavy fog or maybe I just needed the extra sleep. I did finish getting the Will Rogers weekly article links for February ready. As always it is now simply a matter of remembering what day of the week it is and including them in my posting on that proper day.

I should finish the novel that I have been reading today and start another one. I'll post a review in a day or two of the one I finished. I'll probably start reading my Monthly blogs again to keep from getting too far behind, a couple of the ones on the list have been posting much more frequently.

30 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday of 57° only a couple degrees short of the forecast but I was right about it not reaching 59. The average humidity was down some more to 77% but that is still high by my standards. The low temperature this morning was 33° with a windchill of 28 that felt even colder than that. I was up at about 3:00am getting more blankets because I felt cold and the forecast for tomorrow morning is the same 33 low.

A much better day than the prior couple that we have had. We have some sun today. Maybe Patches and I can do a little longer afternoon walk and soak some of it up. Probably go do the Park Trail route, haven't been on it for a few days so it should not be too boring.

Steve Kelly published a cartoon on 2013-12-19 that had a White House aid with a newspaper in hand, headline: Anti-gay remarks ignite firestorm, saying "That Duck Dynasty guy has drawn the media fire away from Obamacare". President Obama replies "Phil Robertson is my personal savior". Steve should be getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom for helping take some of the heat off President Obama for the past couple of weeks.

It is the irony in what the cartoonist has the President say that makes the cartoon so funny. Here is a man that secular liberal sycophants thought to be the Messiah but is among the most secular Presidents claiming that a redkneck Bible Thumper is his personal savior.

I noticed that the media and pro-homosexuality supporters became upset with Phil's remarks and called them anti-gay only because he said that homosexuality was a sin as well as bestiality. They chose to ignore the other sins (the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers) that he included when he made his comparisons. Perhaps these other sins are now so well entrenched in our secular culture that they are disregarded whereas the promotion of homosexuality as a non-sin is much more recent. I am sure that those that practice bestiality are looking forward to their inclusion as non-sinners within our culture.

I think Spengler said it well in his posting of December 18, 2012 School shootings and terrorism are two sides of the same coin. Perhaps Phil should have used this quote or quoted Pastor Charles L. Worley who said "The Bible’s agin’ it, God’s agin’ it, I’m agin’ it, and if you’ve got any sense, you’re agin’ it" when he answered the GQ interview question.

Enlightened secular culture tells us that the brain is a machine, albeit a very sophisticated one, that ultimately will be decoded by the neuroscientists; that sin and salvation were sad imaginings of our ignorant ancestors; that the soul is an illusion of flickering neural impulses; that human life has nothing more to offer than fleshly satisfaction combined with a random sense of idiosyncratic spirituality; that our choices of lifestyle are ultimately arbitrary, such that every culture, quirk, and sexual subculture has equal rights to social esteem; that there is nothing sacred to human sexuality, such that we may enjoy our partner’s bodies that the only truth is that there is no truth; and that we are all on our own to seek whatever meaning we might eke out of the chaos.

31 December 2013 Broke Mill RV Park (Del Rio, TX)

The high temperature yesterday was 55° only a couple degrees below the day before yesterday but we had sun and it felt warmer. The average humidity was down a lot also to 57%. The low temperature this morning was 30° but it was calm so also felt warmer than it did yesterday.

I finally got the VA to send me my dates and times for appointments in March. They were good about responding to my Secure Messages, the VA's portal for email, but wanted me to telephone to find out when my appointments were.

One of the BIG selling points by the VA to get Registered for Secure Messaging was you would be able to keep track of your appointments (It was also required that I sit through a 30 minute video telling me all the wonders that Secure Messaging was going to offer - almost none of them are available). It took them years to get Secure Messaging in place so the ObamaCare fiasco came as no surprise to me.

I also received an email reply from TengoInternet (Park WIFI). This was an answer to my scathing email to them on 12/26/13 about their sorry Internet service. They offered some options of things for me to try to get a connection. One of them was to sign in again, which I had tried once or twice over the past week with no success (but had worked in the past). I gave that another try this morning and Tengo TengoInternet!

It works great when it is working but is so unreliable that I would never be in an RV Park that had ONLY TengoInternet. My Verizon is very poor here but it is better than the nothing that I was getting from the Park WIFI.

On April 21, 2013 I wrote that I had finished The Gold Coast and that it was the third book of DeMille's that I had read but I now think it was the fourth. I am almost certain that the previous three were Wild Fire, The Charm School and The General's Daughter in that order. I then wrote on July 25, 2013 that I had read The Lion a John Corey and Kate Mayfield thriller as was Fire. The Gate House paperback that I read was oversize and 845 pages long but could have been half that length if it had not re-told the story in The Gold Coast. It was a good read but DO NOT read it before reading Coast because that will spoil reading it. I really enjoy the dry sarcastic wit of John Whitman Sutter and the banter between he and wife Susan Stanhope Sutter.

Fans of bestseller DeMille will welcome this sequel to The Gold Coast (1990), in which Susan Sutter, then the wife of tax attorney John Sutter, had a torrid affair with Frank Bellarosa, a powerful Mafia boss and the Sutters' neighbor on Long Island's tony Gold Coast, with fatal results for Bellarosa. After divorcing Susan, John sailed the world for three years, then built himself a new life in London. Now John has returned to the small gatehouse that was once part of his ex-wife's family estate, only to find Bellarosa's thuggish son, Anthony, living next door. In another coincidence, Susan has just reacquired the six-bedroom guest cottage where she and John lived as a married couple on her family's former property. Susan and John soon begin to explore an improbable reconciliation, even as they suspect she may be in Anthony's gun sights. The plot more than takes its time getting to its violent and predictable resolution, but DeMille devotees should have plenty of fun along the way. - Publishers Weekly