Friday, November 21

Texas Oddities

Sometimes, Texas Oddities Stick to a Texas Theme, as in this Birdhouse
 Occasionally, we need reminders that people like things that are considered whimsical or odd, even in places such as Texas. Earlier, HERE, I noted oddities along my commute route. Separately, HERE, In took note of "yard art" in Ocean Shores. Out this morning, I noticed new and different whimsical items in Colleyville.

VERY Elaborate Windvane!

Monday, November 17

Texas November Snow

Our Street, in February 2010. "Snowpocalypse"
It snowed last night. In mid November. In North Texas. No, the photo above wasn't last night's snow, though it shows how it can snow on our street way down here. Rather, our latest frozen precipitation is shown below. The photo below shows our current snow dusting, along with a Fergus that seems to have gotten MUCH larger than HERE virtually overnight. I expect that the snow will all be melted by this afternoon, but November snow in Texas should not fall without comment, even if there wasn't enough to make a pretense of cross-country skiing. Perhaps on November 22nd, we'll break the old snowfall record of five inches, set back in 1937. Unlikely, but we shall see...

Fergus Discovers Snow at 7 Months. It's COLD!
The Snow is OFFICIALLY a Record According to the NWS Record Report

Thursday, November 13

Elvis Has Left the Building

Elvis Slept Here
Oklahoma, among other things, is home to the longest stretch of Route 66. Back in the days before air travel became routine and the Interstate Highway System reshaped America, Elvis Presley and his entourage would travel along "the Mother Road" and often stayed at the Tradewinds Inn in Clinton, Oklahoma when traveling from Memphis to the west coast. It was a bit further along the road from where they stopped for dinner.

Elvis Had "The Room With No Number," But it USED to be Room 215
Being "The King," Elvis stayed in what he considered the best room, Room 215. I've heard others in his party slept in Room 216 next door. Over the years, fans have absconded with the room number plate so many times that nowadays, it is simply an unmarked door. The room is still decorated in the way it was back when Elvis still occasionally WAS in the building. Shag carpet and all. The motel has definitely seen better days and is now MORE than a little seedy. Tripadvisor has it rated at 1.5 stars out of 5. Needless to say, we didn't have the inclination to stay there.

Clinton is also notable for having one of the best Route 66 museums.


Friday, November 7

Waves of Change

Bike Rack at Front of Everett Main Library
Lest we forget how things change, ten years ago the Everett Washington Library had no bike rack that I know of. Now, among others, there's an "artsy fartsy" wave rack right out front. Perhaps there's hope for decent bike parking in Ocean Shores Washington and for North Texas yet.

Thursday, November 6

Worst Election

Mostly, I don't get into politics on this blog, though occasionally, I'll relate some personal experience with "Healthcare Reform" like HERE and HERE. However, our latest midterm elections reminded me of something attributed to Winston Churchill. Namely:

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

We shall see how things work over the next two years in our democracy. For the Republicans:
  • I'd like to see them remove the "threshold" for the deduction of medical expenses on one's income tax. The threshold is so high that few qualify to take it. Perhaps, instead of all the "subsidy" stuff emphasis on this, income tax credits might be a less bureaucratic approach. I don't know, I'm not a politician, nor do I play one on TV.
  • I'd also like to see them amend the "bathroom" rule (see the first link) so cyclists aren't penalized. That never had anything to do with healthcare reform in the first place.
  • I'd like to see medical insurance run for full years without "one size fits all" signups at the end of each calendar year. It seems to me that most states are able to handle license tabs this way and, though I am eligible because of a qualifying "life event," hardly any of the insurance companies really want to deal with anything out of the norm. Things are automated enough now that the "calendar year" stuff is a relic of the 20th Century.
  • I've now had a bit of experience with what insurance companies set up before "pre-existing" conditions were banned, Congress needs to realize that complete repeal is not really a solution, especially after the inevitable repeal gesture is vetoed. Some sort of mandate is, unfortunately, required if pre-existing conditions are not allowed to cripple coverage. Otherwise, insurance companies will act to maximize their return and minimize their risk exposure. As they did up until the end of 2013.
To be fair, I also have a few requests for Obama and the many Democrats that remain in Congress:
  • Mostly, they are the same requests as for the Republicans.
  • Also that they float some REAL proposals for reform of the law that the Republicans can get behind. I'd like to see some of those made public. Well, made public sometime after Christmas. I'd rather not have Fox and MSNBC endlessly blathering on about this during the Holiday season.
Perhaps, with some serious bipartisan effort, we can pare the law down to something under a thousand pages. At least we can hope for some change.