Newspapers – A Love-Hate Relationship – 2

Newspapers – The Orange County Register

This is the second in a, hopefully, short series of posts having to do with the spotty delivery of my “morning” newspaper (OC Register – not the LA Times, which is “always” on time).

  • Sunday, November 9 – in the wet gutter at the foot of our driveway and delivered sometime between 11.03 am and 12.12 pm
  • Monday, November 10 – delivered by 6 am (a second copy was on my driveway by 6.40 am—I assume that the delivery person passed by my house after I picked up the first copy and thought s/he’d missed it earlier)
  • Tuesday, November 11 – Saturday, November 15 – all papers delivered between 8 am and 12 noon
  • Sunday, November 16 – NO paper delivered
  • Monday, November 17 (today) – no paper delivered, as yet (9.21 am – I just went outside to check)

I do wish the Register would get its act together.

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I received a reply from Sandy Banks, LA Times columnist, on my comments about her article on marijuana. (I emailed them to her.)

Her reply: “Thank you, Joe.  You raise an important issue.  Colorado has seen a big increase in the percentage of DUI drivers who are under the influence of marijuana, not alcohol.”

I do believe, however, that she missed the following point: “But making a socially acceptable, mind-altering drug legally available on a widespread basis is, in my opinion really, really stupid. Kids in junior high already have access to alcohol and tobacco through friends, acquaintances and family members who can legally purchase them. And we now want to add marijuana to the list?”

It is nice to know that the people whose articles you read in the newspaper read your replies and comments.
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The weather here in Southern California is beautiful. High 60s to low 70s at the beach with sunny skies. I’ve got a salad and chocolate milk to take to the beach for lunch later. The cats are sleeping: Smoke in a south-facing window soaking in the warm sunlight and Mist on their sofa-blanket across the room from me.



This morning’s issue of the LA Times contained a commentary by Sandy Banks entitled “Clear thinking needed on pot.” In the article she offers her thoughts about its legalization, including the problems and pitfalls.

Bicycle - Motor Vehicle AccidentPersonally I see a few added dangers: for everyone who travels by car, motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard or walking. When I first started driving in the 1960s, we worried about drunk drivers, drivers fooling around with radio buttons and parents paying too much attention to children in cars without seatbelts (including one who took off the front end of my car as she ran a stop sign).

Kids are belted in today, but they still distract parents. In addition we also have cell phones, texting and in-car navigation systems adding to the list of distractions facing users of our roads.Bicycle - Motor Vehicle Accident
While bicycling to the beach for lunch yesterday I passed an accident involving a motor vehicle and a bicyclist. It was on Pacific Coast Highway approaching Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach. There is a left turn lane, two traffic lanes, an increasing in size separation divider and a right turn lane. I don’t know exactly what happened but I can guess that the driver of the motor vehicle and the bicycle rider collided in the right turn lane while the bicyclist was moving across the lane to get into the separator in order to be in the right spot for crossing Beach Boulevard.
Bicycle - Motor Vehicle AccidentThis was in the middle of the day. Do we really need to add alcohol or legal pot to the mix? Isn’t life out there dangerous enough as it is?
I don’t believe we need to add another legal and widespread drug to the list of things distracting drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Legalize the recreational use of marijuana and you, I believe, will see, maybe slowly, a real rise in accidents caused, at least in part, by marijuana.
Marijuana may, indeed, have a documented and valid use as an analgesic. Regulate it. Standardize dosages and prescribe it through our system of pharmacies so those who need it can obtain it legally and be sure of the efficacy of what they are purchasing.
But making a socially acceptable, mind-altering drug legally available on a widespread basis is, in my opinion really, really stupid. Kids in junior high already have access to alcohol and tobacco through friends, acquaintances and family members who can legally purchase them. And we now want to add marijuana to the list?


ContainersYesterday, on Facebook, I posted the following:

Had about 0.01 inches of rain last night. Almost perfect day Containerstoday, rode my bike to the beach for lunch – Attention Walmart shoppers and other looking for cheap foreign goods – counted seven (7) container ships off L.A. / L.B. coast – their goods were not being unloaded.

ContainersHere are the images to go with that post:Containers

Oh, Yeah, we also need a cat picture.
Mist and Smoke in Box

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Today is the day we put aside to honor those who serve, and have served, in our armed forces—those who have put their lives on the line to protect us and ours. While I have never served in those armed forces, quite a number of my relatives have done so.

During the Second World War, my father’s three brothers served in the US Army: Andrew, William and Charles AuBuchon. All three survived. My father wanted to enlist but the military would not take him. His first wife had died prior to Pearl Harbor and he was raising a young daughter (my half-sister Joyce) alone. He never talked about it; the story comes from others in the family.

My mother, Gladys, served in the Navy and was stationed at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Although she never met him, a gentleman I later taught with was also stationed there while my mother was there.

One of my mother’s cousins, Clayton Roberts, perished in the Pacific as his submarine was sunk by the Japanese.

My wife’s father, FFH Charlton, served in the RAF. He was, of course, British, but flew an American B-24 Liberator.

My brother and I were in high school and college during the Viet Nam War. I still remember reporting to the Selective Service Office when I turned 18, and I still remember my eight-digit draft number. I went directly from high school graduation to college and had a 2-S – Student Deferment. At about this time they introduced lottery numbers and the one I drew (my birthday number, that is) was 342. They weren’t drafting people with numbers higher than the 100s so I dropped my deferment and was later placed in a 1-H holding category—no more worries about being drafted for me.

My best friend in college wasn’t so lucky. His number was low, and he decided to enlist in the army. He ended up being stationed at Fort Hunter Liggett, Jolon, California.

My little brother, John, had an even higher lottery number than mine—347. He, however, decided to enlist in the Air Force following a year in college. Part of the time he was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lompoc, California. He spent time in Viet Nam and was evacuated from Tan Son Nhut Air Base by helicopter at the end of April, 1975. Although he was not an official causality of that war, he did pick up the habit of smoking while in Viet Nam and died of lung cancer in 1991, leaving behind a widow and two young children.

Uncle Charlie, Uncle Billy, Uncle Andy, Cousin Clayton, Ferrier, Preach, Bill, John, Mom and all of the rest of you who have served—Thank You

Vacation Travels 2014 – Part 3

Time to come home.

Alas, a week and a half before Charlie was due back at work it was time for us to head for home. Having done most of our packing the day before, it would seem that we would have little to do. But we still didn’t leave before noon.

Sky-Vu Drive-In
Sky-Vu Drive-In

Those who never closed a residence for a Minnesota winter don’t know about draining water. Turn off the water supply, turn off the water heater, open all the faucets and then drain the water heater. You don’t want water in the pipes to freeze and burst. Leave the heaters on low to prevent freezing the pipes and put RV antifreeze in the drains (after all the power might fail and the house freeze).

Travels and Motels

We said goodbye to Warroad a few minutes after noon and began our journey west. Roseau, Greenbush, Karlstad and then south at Donaldson as the construction/repair detour was still in effect (still unknown to OnStar and Waze). When we reached Warren we turned west once more and stopped at the Sky-Vu Drive-In Theatre. The current film showing was Tammy. We stopped, took a few pictures and resumed our journey to Moorhead.

Sky Vu Admission
Sky Vu Admission

Again we stayed at the Moorhead Travelodge, second floor smoking, cats. Nice room, good soundproofing as the motel is backed up to a busy rail line.

The next day it was I-94 across North Dakota to Wibaux, Montana and the Beaver Creek Inn (same room we had before). This time Charlie went with me to have dinner at the Shamrock Club, excellent meal and great atmosphere. Of course, she had to buy a Shamrock Club hat as a souvenir.

On to Bozeman, Montana and the Holiday Inn. This time the room was downstairs next to the back exit and it was a lot easier to move our luggage. Good room service dinner. This time we ordered three appetizers between us and no entrees, just the perfect amount of food.

Elk at rest with birds.
Elk at rest with birds.

Stopped in Haugan, Montana at the Lincoln’s World Famous 50,000 Silver $ Bar for a break and souvenir shopping. Stayed the night at the West Spokane Super 8. They messed up our reservation for a smoking handicapped room and I ended up toting our luggage up to the third floor (dirty word, dirty word, dirty word).

The next day it was south through Washington and then west along the Columbia River to Portland and south to Albany. A nice, easy day without too much Portland traffic.

Our last motel day was south on the I-5 to the Umpqua River and viewing elk at Dean Creek, a stop at the Mill Casino for an hour of slots and shopping for Charlie and the on to Arcata. The Arcata Super 8 still had not correctly fixed the handicapped room shower, but, otherwise, the room was fine.

Friday, it was south to Gilroy, California and Bill & Artie’s place. Artie had a good rib dinner from Nob Hill waiting

Elk at rest.
Elk at rest.

for us (and I, of course, ate too much of her macaroni salad) and we had a good talk and rest.

Saturday, it was south on the I-5 to L.A., with some stop and go traffic and home a little after six, a Subway sandwich for dinner and a sigh. It was good to be home.

Three days to get the house organized and luggage unpacked and Charlie was back to work (and I embarked on my third year of retirement).

Aside from the Super 8 screw-up in West Spokane the only negative about the trip home was the condom wrapper. At one of the motels, whose name I will not mention, Mist found an open condom wrapper under a bed missed by housekeeping. I mentioned this to the desk when I turned in our keys the next morning and they halved our bill. Quite nice; we’ve stayed there before and will again.

Vacation Travels 2014 – Part 1

Travels with Smoke on Charlie's lap
Smoke on Charlie’s lap.

Our vacation got off to a late start this summer as both Charlie and I had dental issues with which to deal—mine was a cracked tooth into which I could insert a fingernail.

We loaded up our new Buick Enclave with a Thule carrier on top. Great car with a smooth and quiet ride. Gas mileage is 15-16 in town and 20-26 on the open road. We took the cats, Mist and Smoke, with us; they were quite noisy the first couple of days but eventually became good travelers and, for the most part, stayed out of the front seats.

We spent the first night in Gilroy (via I-5 and Cal 152) at a friend’s house; they were on vacation and out of town at the time but mailed us a key and we enjoyed a quiet evening there. The next day we drove to Arcata on US 101. A very nice drive although we went a bit slower than in the De Ville as the Enclave is both heavier and has a higher center of gravity.

Stayed the night at the Arcata Super 8 (on “motel road”), which has one smoking, handicapped room (and allows cats with fee). The original adjustable handicapped shower handle/head was broken and not properly replaced. (I informed management; the problem was not fixed by the time we returned several weeks later.) Otherwise the room was fine.

The next day we drove to Albany, Oregon via Coos Bay/North Bend and the Umpqua River route and I-5. We stopped for an hour at the Mill Casino and Hotel in North Bend but did not spend the night. (Charlie loves their casino and gift shop and we both like their restaurants.) They do not take cats although they do take dogs, some of them very large.

While Charlie was in the casino, I put the cats on their leashes and walked around the hotel and fell into conversation with a security guard. I explained why I was outside and why we were not staying at the hotel and he expressed surprise at the no cats policy. He told me he would speak with management about the issue and we exchanged email addresses.

After Charlie’s hour and a half were up, we resumed our travels and stopped and watched elk for a few minutes at the Dean Creek Elk viewing area on the Umpqua River. Then on to the Super 8 in Albany on the I-5. (Handicapped, smoking and cats with a Subway a half mile’s walk away.)

The next day it was the I-5 to Portland, east along the Columbia River and north to Spokane, actually the Super 8 in West Spokane. (Smoking, cats but not handicapped equipped—more about which later.)

On to Bozeman, Montana and the Holiday Inn. (Cats, smoking but not handicapped equipped.) We like their restaurant but it is too far a walk for Charlie and we didn’t feel like getting back into the car and driving around to the other side of the hotel. So, we had a room service dinner: two appetizers and two dinners—too much, but delicious.

Travels with Mist and Smoke asleep in hotel.
Mist and Smoke asleep in hotel.

The next day it was a “straight” shot east on I- 90/I-94 to Wibaux, Montana where we stayed at the Beaver Creek Inn and Suites. Cats, smoking but their only handicapped room is non-smoking. The room was comfortable and the staff (owner) friendly. Charlie did not feel like going out to dinner so, on the motel owner’s recommendation I called the Shamrock Club for a take-out dinner—delicious and, once again, too much food.

Then it was across North Dakota to Moorhead, Minnesota and the Travelodge. A very nice smoking, cats but not handicapped equipped room and a Subway sandwich dinner. (Charlie usually has a tuna with onions, tomatoes and avocado and I have a Subway Club with just about everything, including lots of jalapeños.

Last day of travel was north on the I-29 and the east on ND 66 and MN 11. (Neither OnStar nor Waze was aware of the too long detour on MN 11—dirty word, dirty word, dirty word. (Or bleep, bleep, bleep, if you prefer.)

Aside from this it was a nice, easy journey with no weather problems and very little delay for construction.

Travels: Postscript

I received an email from Suzann Anaya, Director of Operations for the Mill Casino Hotel on the reason for their no cats policy: “Our main concern with cats in the hotel rooms is the allergens they leave. We have many other hotel guests who have severe feline allergies.” I can quite understand this but still . . . Super 8, Motel 6, Travelodge and Holiday Inn allow cats.