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“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.”

– Antoine Marie de Saint-Exupéry, “The Little Prince” (1943)

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Net Neutrality

What if you were told that a particular product wasn’t available anymore? If you really liked that particular brand or it was the only thing that really fit your need, I would expect you would be disappointed or even angry. What if every time you searched for something on the internet you did so using a safe-search method, one where your identity is stripped so that nobody could track your activities, but nothing showed up or only “sponsored” links did? Then switching to a non-safe method you find the product you were looking for but now your activity is tracked. One thing I hate is being redirected and will close my browser the moment it happens. I look for specific stuff when I search the net and I don’t want anything else. It’s kind of like making a phone call to a company and before they pick up, your call gets rerouted to some robo-spammer.

Our online privacy is a RIGHT. You read correctly – A RIGHT! If I contribute to a particular candidate, charity or cause, it is nobody’s business but my own. I shouldn’t have to think about some shadowy conglomerate watching and cataloging each and everything I do. It isn’t their business and I want them to stay out of it.

My ideology is my own and in the United States of America the 4th Amendment to the Constitution gives me the right to express myself without repression from the government or anyone else. It also gives others the right to express opposing views and to be heard by those who choose to listen. I don’t have to listen to them if I don’t want to. I may not agree with some people’s actions and can in my own way, react by not buying products or supporting activities that they are involved in. That is also my RIGHT. The same is true of anyone who has differing views.

According to this Wikipedia article on Net Neutrality “is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet must treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.” In short, Net Neutrality protects our right to communicate online free from those that would thwart us. It is one of the steps we have to prevent book burnings and the restriction of information like NAZI Germany did; like most communist countries still do.

Now the FCC Chairman wants to renege on the rulings they enacted in 2015 that preserved those rights. I’m am totally against big government control and especially on what I can say, see or do. Equally, I don’t want to be shoe-horned into the position of accepting something that I don’t need or want. I am stubborn that way and will not budge on my principals.

More information on this situation can be found at Savetheinternet.com. I personally will continue to be a squeaky wheel in my elected official’s inbox until they address and stop this fiasco.

Cocoon

Glider on towI feel the tug, countering it with a slight move of my hand on the stick, a little pressure to the pedal under my right foot, then the left pedal. In front of me the small airplane bobs up and I follow an instant later. I gyrate from side to side and correct for the bow in the line strung between us. The sound of the wind changes like the south of tires on a changing road surface, louder then softer, then…

If I see the stick moves as I correct my position behind the other aircraft, it is too much. I match my wing level with theirs. They turn right or left, I follow.

One more bobble, one my stagger, I look left then right and reach for the tell handle, the time of freedom.

“Pop” and we part ways as the rope wiggles away like a snake through grass.

They roll left and dive, I roll right pointing skyward, my speed decreases and the rushing winds dissipate. I survey the horizon and once again am one with the craft. Quiet envelopes me and thoughts of ground-bound worldly problems disappear as I pirouette in rising air under a small puffy cloud.

Coyotes

Being as this happened perhaps 30 plus years ago, I think the statute of limitations has run-out by now…

Two nights earlier my friend Dennis and I occupied much of the space of our small tent along with most of our backpacking equipment because the coyotes continually harassed us. Our long climb and downhill trek into the Golden Trout Wilderness had led us to the remote location next to the Kern River. The burbling water’s rushing rhythm would have otherwise been relaxing but I grew tired of the constant yapping and howling. I unzipped the tent opening, unzipped the fly over the vestibule and stuck my hand out. The shocking report echoes from my pistol as I blasted it into the nearby hill. It returned again and again. Then peace once again filled the night and we drifted off.

 Now, slumbering in the predawn hours, high in the mountain pass, someone starts to yodel at the top of their lungs as they hike along the trail. Dennis groans, “Icarus, pretend he’s a coyote.”

Continue reading Coyotes

Blank Spot

Twenty years he had waited to return it. It was always in the back of his mind except when the opportunity to do so came along. It was as if a blank spot clouded his memory at each chance. Feelings of remorse at having waited so long, would they even remember? Would they want it? Had they given up on him? He knew it must be returned.

Without even a moment to think he picked up the phone and called them. As he punched in the number his hand waivered; miss-dialed. He started over, waited for the phone to ring. It rang once; he almost hung up. It rang again. The third ring; someone answered.

“Hello”

“Um, is Jason there?”

“Jason! Honey I haven’t heard from Jason in twenty years.”

Where were you on Black Friday?

                Black Friday: the day everyone waits in line to buy stuff for Christmas or mostly, get great deals, sort of, for themselves. Retailers feel it is the best indication of what their seasonal sales will look like. No question this the sales period each year that will either make or break a merchant. I’m told various things; that anywhere from 60 to 80% of all retail sales are made during this period each year. That is the lion share of sales. 

                UPS and FedEx do an incredible amount of extra package flying the last few months of each year. They call it peak season and it goes can go on for months following Christmas and the New Year in order to catch-up with back ordered merchandise sales. During this time period though, merchant sales are relatively low and if it wasn’t a good pre-Christmas season, many fail.

                I myself don’t go out to retail outlets on Black Friday. I don’t feel the need to battle the crowds and the sale price of whatever it is that I might want could more than likely be better at another time of the year. I can wait.