This Edition Contains Language that PBS would Censor

Travels With Oso con Migo

Odyssey In America

OAE Off and On and Off The Road Again — This Edition Contains Language that PBS would Censor

Nude Sunbathers Ahead

2020 Summer Solstice — Greetings Virtual Travellers and Pen Friends:
Where's Hazel? Pet Hazel. Hazel needs her dreadlocks trimmed.

One Week After The Shit Hit The Fan

Ops Normal at The Cat Drag'd Inn. Volunteer work at Buckeye Food Bank unchanged except they are not taking any donations so not as much to do. Hurricane Hazel-Rah's nap schedule continues as usual. Taco Tuesday on hold.

Thank you both for reading and writing. Beyond what I wrote in my my Vernal Equinox Letter I'm doing Ok otherwise. Here in the desert of East Tonopah I have plenty to do picking up the trash and watching the wildflowers bloom. Today's projects include changing the stop lights in the bus–better visibility if I ever get on the road this Summer–replacing a water pipe that was broken by the trencher with a hose that might last a few weeks, and planting some aloe–two varieties–that are getting too big for the garden. I might also remember to clean and debug the dome light door switches in TinyTruck, a minor annoyance since I hardly drive at night, especially in the Summer.

Ditto about being retired tho I try not to admit to that much. "Student" is what I usually enter in that What-Are-You-Doing category. Either way, Student or Retired, I'm in the mid-range of the high risk group. So far at least most of the cases in Maricopa County are young adults, that invincible stupid know-it-all Republican sector of the population bomb. [Applicable Aphorism #42:  When you're 17, you know everything.  When you're 27, if you still know everything you're still 17.] I have a box of ear-loop-masks, a box of Latex gloves, and a tub of disinfecting wipes for when I do my four hours a week volunteering at the Food Bank. The masks are of little use other than giving me pause when I try to sip coffee or pick my nose; combing my beard just so and spraying with honey is likely more effective.

This Will Be Old News By The Time You Get To Read...

But for the historical record: "Meanwhile we are being forced to confront some of the strangest darkest implications of our national mindset in which market worship threatens to become a fucking death cult."

April 3... Having my pie and eating some as well.

"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
     –Sir Isaac Newton  [my 5th great-uncle]

If you can keep your waistline when those about you are losing theirs, you just might pick up a spare pair of brand-name jeans. –ajo's corollary

And writing of pie, or in this case, cake...  See also Wikipedia for the Natural Number 79. The link will take you to a Disambiguation Page where you want to choose 79 (number). Over the past few years I have selected (or had selected for me) theme songs: 76 Trombones, 77 Sunset Strip and the WABC Station ID Jingle, 33-45-78. This year there are two more: Eilen Jewell - 79 Cents (The Meow Song), and this particular rendition of I Don't Look Good ... Anymore. [Sorry about the commercials...]

    My candle burns at both ends;
        It will not last the night;
    But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
        It gives a lovely light!
        –[cousin] Edna St.Vincent Millay, 1920

Homemade MaskThis is the week of the face mask.

Time was if you walked into the bank wearing a mask they'd call the cops, now if you walk into the bank NOT wearing a mask they call the cops.
To wear a mask or not to wear a mask; that is the question. And the debate goes on. And if you make your own what should be the material? Old tee shirt? Surely not white or blue, someone might confuse your handiwork with that of a professional. Or perhaps they would confuse you with a professional. Using my grandmother's 1923 Singer I made a mask of some unbleached muslin I brought back from a fabric factory during my sojourn in Erode in 1995. (see near the bottom of Oso con Migo Meets Ganesh ) My mask is a sort of off white with scarlet nose bridge and ties. Should be no mistaking this for a professional. After a while of wearing this I'll have an entirely new tan line.

 “America faces an epic choice in the coming year, and the results will define the country for a generation. These are perilous times. Over the last three years, much of what [we used to hold] dear has been threatened – democracy, civility, truth. This administration has cleared out science and scientists across all departments. Anger and cruelty disfigure public discourse and lying is commonplace. Truth is being chased away.”      –The Guardian, US Edition. And now for something completely different. Ticket Without a Seat. Good surprise ending.

This morning I was obliged to get on the road at oh-dark-30 to the local (15 miles) Fry's for their 0600 opening for geezers and other "at risk" persons. Toilet Paper was at the top of the very important get-this-first list. I thought I'd be early and arrived at ten til 6 to find the line was already longer than the storefront was wide. Sign said "Maintain One Cart Length..." so most folks had a cart in front of them. I suppose cos the hour was to early to be estimating.

The doors opened and the line commenced to move. Inside a few folks peeled off to Produce and Dairy but most maintained the queue and the train of carts snaked through the aisles to Paper Products. There I found I couldn't find my favourite brand. All sorts of off-brand product. Even the store brand was MIA. Perusing the labels was a trial. All the gobbledygook about scents and plies and jumbo and cleaning-action obfuscated the required phrases “Septic Safe” and “Approved for RVs”. In the meantime stuff was disappearing from the shelves faster than I could make up my mind. Finally I grabbed a four-roll pack that boasted 100% Recycled and beat a hasty retreat.

An hour later the adventure was repeated at the neighbouring Wal-Mart. Only fifty people where permitted in the store at a time. Something about 36 square feet divided into the store-area-aisle-area. A Counter/Uncounter guarded the door with local constabulary backup. There I did find a product that had the magic words “Septic Safe” and they were limited to one package per household.

So I'm good for a few more weeks before I have to again face "The New Normal" of life in a Third World Country. What are the alternatives? How close are we to the tipping point into anarchy?

What Are You Reading?Has Anyone Seen The Bagger?

AridZona hasn't banned plastic bags yet but they have made plastic baggers hard to get. Here, at Fry's, if you bring your own totes the cashier will tell you, from the other side of the hockey puck Lexan barrier, you have to do your own bagging. I've mostly been doing my own bagging all along I tell them: More often than not there is not bagger around anyhow, at least not one who knows their stuff—like not to put the dish soap on top of the Tomatoes-On-The-Vine. So I just take my time, letting the line back up, whilst a bagger is called who then has to fight with gloves too small and maintain one cart-length of space. The Wal-Mart here, with all their connexions to China, must have seen this situation coming last year. They have closed all their old fashioned human-staffed checkout lanes and replaced them with Scan-&-Go. You do the scanning and you do the bagging and you do the paying and the going. There are masked clerks riding around on broomsticks who will fly over to do the Age-I.D verification over-ride, should you scan an age-restricted product. That part you are not allowed to do your Self. (However: If they were to connect their scanners to the DMV server then you could do the Age-Check your Self with your driver license and they could put one more clerk out of a job.)

Tax Day to May Day

A confusing time for sure. So much of my dates and plans are up in the air. At this moment I am in Tonopah, tied down in Paul's back yard. We have plumbed The Cat Drag'd Inn to Paul's 200 gallon propane tank so I don't need to haul gas bottles to the propane store every few weeks. The connexion is with a hose so I can disconnect and escape whenever the nuke plant sirens alarum.

Things being as they are I am not sure about migrating to Pie Town. Perhaps the biggest issue is that my HMO does not work outside of Maricopa County short of a “prearranged emergency”. I'm partly waiting for the All Clear on the travel restrictions in AridZona and New Mexico. Partly the food bank is an essential industry and I am somewhat useful there tho not at all essential. Then there is/was, before the shit hit the fan, some desire to go to Wyoming for a June rally of the Escapees Residence Vehicle Club. They have yet to cancel but failing that there is the Western Naturist Gathering near Yuma in late June. Really matters not since I have already spent about all my fuel money on a set of AGM batteries to replace the old house batteries. And then, being this is an election year, there is primary voting in August. Poll worker jobs pay 12$/hour, ten hour days for most of a week usually. All the more reason to stay here and work. All in all that adds up to likely not going to Pie Town. Or only going for a few weeks in Augtober.
Red Tail Hawk Chicks
Yesterday afternoon was the first time since whenever that there was more than none packages of TP on the shelf at my grocer's. Stupefied shoppers, properly maintaining One Shopping Cart Length between them, were standing around in awe!

May The Fourth Be With You

Yesterday morning I went for a walk and found this nest in an old saguaro. Three chicks watched me walk to and fro looking for a vantage. Mommy Red Tail came around to collect a modeling fee. Afternoon temperatures this week and last have been mostly 100f to 104f. Today, Sinko de Mayo, the high is 105f. Two air conditioners are keeping The Cat Drag'd Inn habitable. I am considering using my Pacification Payment to boost a third one and use my Summer in Pie Town Fuel Savings to pay the electric bill to stay in Tonopah.

ajo washing dishesRevenge of The SixthJim
                Washing Dishes

Every so often I see something about the decline of handwriting. Usually articles focus on how writing has been supplanted by newer, digital forms of communication—typing, texting, Facebook, Snapchat. Sort of like cameras that have been usurped by phones doubling as calendars. In 2015, Bic launched a campaign to “save handwriting.” Named “Fight for Your Write,” it includes a pledge to “encourage the act of handwriting” in the pledge-taker’s home and community, and emphasizes putting more of the company’s ballpoints into classrooms.

WNDWD, 13th June

World Naked Gardening Day has nothing on us. Herewith is the Official Announcement of a New Holiday: World Naked Dish Washing Day! Mark the Second Saturday in June on your calendar for next year and send me a note a few days ahead so I can be sure to have a few dirty dishes ready.  "I'm getting so forgetful, soon I'll be able to hide my own Easter eggs."     –Ann Richards

Mother's Day

Tower DerectionFirst Mother, Second Mother, Other Mothers, and all my sisters and Sisters: Greetings and Happy Mother's Day! Over the years I have particularly counted on my Other Mothers to be recipients of my Mother's Day Greetings when I was away from my First Mother. (FMOTOC?) Mothers are very important even when disguised in wrappers of another gender or relationship. My First Mother has long since gone to the Great KaffeKlatch with the Cosmic Muffin so I must now rely even more on my Other Mothers. One never outgrows one's need for a Mum.

Once upon a long ago after-school when my brothers were out in the yard smoking, (smoke 'em if you got 'em but if you touch mine I'll break your fingers!, she used to say.) and imbibing their contraband beers, a neighbour-lady called our house to inquire if my mother had seen her son. My mother looked out the window and allowed as how this neighbour-lady's son " well as several others are out there smoking and drinking with my kids..."  "How can you let them do that"? Neighbour-Lady exclaimed! "How do you put up with that behaviour?" And FMOTOC calmly replied: "At least I know where my kids are."  That lesson has been one of my guiding principles ever since. Although of late I am not so sure of where I am, or where I am headed. Thank you all for being, mother or not.

Hawks Ready to FledgeNewly into my 20s when I was still living "at home" but rooming near a job site my Other Mother was my best friend's Mom, Mrs Marchando. At a later time there was Sparky's mother when he was a kid in my Scout group. Later, after my First Mother died, my cousin Joan filled that role until she died a few years ago. Now as "I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one..." Nita fills that gap but in a more sisterly way in Pie Town and here there is Sue who says "we are family". I'm glad Mother Nature is a talented lady; I'm not sure I could take it if she were a woman.

My First Mother was a very special Human. I like to believe that she showed me how to be self-reliant. I know she introduced me to books and crossword puzzles and one particular game of solitaire. I know she showed by her own example how to be of service to others–today I spend a lot of my time picking up the trash people leave along the roads.

In The Betweens

One day to help a fellow Ham Radio friend with an antenna tower derection. Mike took the pictures whilst I climbed the tower. Another day to walk to the red tail hawk nest and see how big the chicks were getting. Another day to pick up five bags of trash along Beer Party Road out back Bridge Spiderhere. The Cat Drag'd Inn has been sitting still so long that a spider has taken up residence in the instrument panel.

The Marvels CoverAut Visum Aut Non

Concerning The Marvels. I have finished the tome of that title and want to thank Brian Selznick for his writing and Eric for his suggestion. A very most excellent storey. Also I want you all to know that the top edge gilt (and the side edge and the bottom edge too) gold(?) trim on the pages are some real metal. I learned that the other night when the top corner of several of the pages ruffled against a charged bug-zapper as I was reading my Self to sleep. I keep the bug-zapper close to hand for when moths are attracted to my reading light. In this instance the several pages got zapped and the moth escaped. Thank you Mr Selznick for your artistry and I am sure the lucky moth thanks you as well.

And Now Almost Father's Day

I had only one father. Lots of tutors and mentors but only one father. I think my father's most important lesson was how to catnap standing up. I've been trying to pass the technique on to Hurricane Hazel-Rah as standing might help her when stalking a mouse.

I've received my Pacification Payment and spent most of the money quickly. Just in case.

                MuseumNita sent a photo of the pair of family heirloom silver candlesticks she'd asked me to repair. One had been used as a prop in a reenactment of a Clue script and was seriously bent out of shape. Here they are, all repaired and shined, on display in her museum of family heirlooms. Click on the photo for a closeup.

A Week (Or So) Until Summer Solstice

For the most part, business as usual at The Cat Drag'd Inn. “Social Distancing” and Isolation are All Normal Ops here. Insolation is up, along with the ambient temperature. Insulation leaves a lot to be desired however two a/c units are keeping the internal temperature survivable. Most egregious is that the local hot spring has curtailed access to their soaking tubs. Volunteering at Saint Mary's Food Bank has changed slightly, there are not so many things to test and fix since donations are off so I am at times busied with landscaping and storey telling. A twice-a-month Food Pantry has started up in Tonopah that provides more access to comestibles and opportunities to practice essential insanities. One particular item of interest there last week was a pallet of Hecho en Mexico Coca Cola. What's so special about that? The Mexican Coca Cola is made with sugar. Real sugar. Cane sugar. And is packaged in a real glass bottle that requires strong teeth (or a proper tool) to open. There's no accounting for taste.Mexican Coke

Beyond Summer Solstice

Events conspire to keep me here for the most part, prob'ly, at the rate things are going, for all the parts. I'm concerned that with my HMO medical insurance being useful only in Maricopa County I really should stay close at least until there is some dependable herd immunity. Then there is a matter of paying work. During the past few years I have been involved with being a poll worker. Depending on how far this country slides into anarchy, or if we don't break out into full scale civil insurrection, the primary voting at the end of July offers an opportunity to read several books in air conditioned comfort and earn a few hundred dollars at the same time. If all that works in my favour then I will head off to Pie Town in early August for what remains of the Monsoon Season. Between now and then there is a thin hope that I might just take off for a few weeks and get my bus up onto the Mogollon Rim for a few days and return in time for Poll Worker training and work. But the longer I sit here the less likely I am to move. My Uncle Newton wrote a paper about that... A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion (as long as the road is not all up hill).

Rebus MenuRebus Menu

What's in your  lunch tray?  ............ shuffled slowly into an ice cream parlour and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool… After catching his breath, he ordered a banana split. The waitress asked kindly, 'Crushed nuts?' 'No,' he replied, 'Arthritis.'

Slow going here so I have plenty of time to write about the non-events.
Three dogs are at the vet in the waiting room: The first, a Jack Russell Terrier, says, "I kept humping everything in sight. The neighbor's cat, my master's leg, the couch, you name it. Plus, I peed in the corners and chewed the mail every time it got delivered. So they're going to neuter me to see if it will calm me down."

The second, a mutt, says, "That's kind of why I'm here, too. Six litters of puppies up and down the street that all look like me. My owners are tired of the angry calls. So my junk gets snipped too."

The third dog is a Great Dane. "My master is a pretty young thing. Yesterday after his shower, he bent over to pick up his towel and I couldn't resist, so I jumped him from behind and took him like a wild animal!"

The other two stare at him in disbelief. "They're going to cut off your balls for that?"

"What? No, I'm here to get my nails trimmed and treat my bad breath."

In the spirit of those Jeopardy Categories where you mix parts of several names/places, what is:
—a musician known for catchy populist rock and traditional instrumentation,
—a tasty green and red fruit,
—a seasonal place to send kids.
Bridge Thermometer
Players, you have 30 seconds...

Too late for that. Crisis Management in effect here. Wavering between taking charge and curling up in a corner. I am grieving. My refrigerator, like best buddy for 19 years, crashed Saturday. The expense of replacement is bad enough but the work involved and the timing could be little worse. Well, I suppose such a crisis could be a lot worse–out on the road with no friends around to help with the heavy lifting, it could have been a catastrophic failure, an explosion of ammonia fire and smoke, but this occasion was just a slow fading away giving me plenty of time to do nothing but wishful thinking.

Happy Summer Solstice, eh...

AridZona is a Hotspot

tRrump was here boosting no need for masks. What can you expect? From where I sit the numbers are bad and getting worse all over. Survival of the economy more important than survival of any individual; we are at war don't ya know, the tRump said so, civilian casualties are collateral damage. But he/we have yet to mobilize a cogent wartime response. I'm trying to avoid contact with everyone/thing, still one has to shop for groceries (now that there is a limited selection of toilet paper back on the shelves bird seed has about disappeared, and still no medicinal alcohol...) and take out the trash. So I hope you are not allergic to the Latex gloves I'm wearing to type all this drivel and I remind you to be properly PPE'd before opening and reading.

And the answer is: What is John Water Melon Summer Camp?

Luki Don't Panic

Be Well, Do Good, and Please Write.Travel By Cat Bus

Love, ajo

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton

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Copyright © 2019, A.J.Oxton, The Cat Drag'd Inn , Tonopah AridZona 85354-0313.