Archive for June, 2015

Considering Retirement Alternatives Planning

IRA Calculator (click on the image to enlarge)

Hmmm . . . I guess the acronym for the title of this post is CRAP. Oh well, that is not important.

I was thinking about the eventuality of me not being here for the Damsel or vice versa. We each have our own IRAs and have each other as beneficiaries. I wanted to see what would happen to my Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) amount should I not be here or what the withdrawal implications of hers would be if she were to be gone. Hard stuff to think about but it’s gotta be done.

I looked around on the (insert famous savings institution here) website and did not find much information on my specific concerns. Next, I used an on-line search engine with appropriate keywords and found several links. One link to the Charles Schwab IRA Calculator proved to be the exact information I needed to know since it was specific to the beneficiary of an inherited IRA.

I needed to enter several relevant items: the balance of the account as of 12/31/14, date of birth, date of death, type of inheritance (spouse), beneficiary’s date of birth and an estimated annual rate of return. The calculator itself updates immediately with each new entry. I actually like this calculator better than the one found on my IRA holder website.

The answer to my original question of “what happens if . . . ?” is - nothing! When I go, she inherits the IRA just as it is and will continue to have the required minimum distributions just as it does today. If I should inherit her IRA, RMDs won’t be necessary until the year where she would have turned 70½ and the distributions would be based on her date of birth, not mine. The IRA distribution scenarios are identical whether we’re here or not.

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Bishop’s Cap Cactus Flowers

Bishop’s Cap Cactus Flowers

My reliable Bishop’s Cap cactus is flowering again. Only three flowers today, not nearly a record for this cactus, but pretty indeed.

I did a little research on Wikipedia and came up with this information about one of my favorite cacti:

Astrophytum myriostigma (common names: Bishop’s Cap Cactus, Bishop’s Hat or Bishop’s Miter Cactus) is a species of cactus native to the highlands of northeastern and central Mexico.

Synonyms include Echinocactus myriostigma, Astrophytum prismaticum, A. columnare, A. coahuilense, A. tulense, and A. nuda.

A. myriostigma is a spineless cactus defined by the presence of three to seven (usually five) pronounced vertical ribs which define the cactus’ shape when young (the genus name “astrophytum”, literally, “star plant”, is derived from the resulting star-like shape). As the cactus ages, more ribs may be added and it becomes more cylindrical in shape, growing up to about 70–100 cm tall and 10–20 cm in diameter. In the wild, globose to cylindrical stem is covered with a whitish flocking of trichomes. Some horticultural varieties lack the flocking.

In the wild, the cacti flower in early spring, so that their seeds can grow with summer rains. In cultivation this differs, and the plants may flower in summer. Plants produce one or more flowers 4–6 cm diameter near the apex; the numerous tepals are creamy yellow, sometimes with an orange or red base. Pollinated flowers develop into a hairy reddish fruit about 2-2.5 cm in diameter. Plants may take up to six years to flower. A. myriostigma is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in cactus collections.

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A Patriotic Bouquet for Flag Day

Patriotic Bouquet

The fourth and final verse of the Star Spangled Banner By Francis Scott Key 1814:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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The California Drought

Drain The Delta

Anyone who has actually looked into the reasons for the current drought in California will understand that occurrences of dry spells have been common for the area over the course of eons.

It is left-wing politicians and the complicit media that have fanned this drought into a sh*t storm that they quickly blame on man-made (anthropogenic) climate change. In their book, the adage of “never waste a crisis” is repeated loud and often.

Image: One of many similar signs posted near I-99 and I-5 in Sacramento Delta country.

In a case of actual science, the folks at CO2 Science reviewed a paper entitled “Assessing the Uniqueness of the California Drought of 2012-2014″ which concluded that, as noted before, droughts have repeatedly hit the current drought area long before the evils of man-made carbon emissions. The review conclusion is ” . . . it would appear the answer is not so unusual, unprecedented, or unnatural, and there is no evidence to ascribe it to rising atmospheric CO2/global warming.”

We all know (and the left knows it too) that the issue is very poor water management in California. In the name of saving the endangered “Delta Smelt,” a two-inch fish, the politicians have steadfastly refused to allow water from the Sacramento River to flow to places where it is needed. The URLs of organizations visible on the sign in the image (click to enlarge) link to groups who know this and are working at the grassroots level to promote water flow.

As an aside, did you know that CO2 Science is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization? Donations to this anti-anthropogenic global warming organization are fully tax deductible. We donate to their organization not only to promote the truth about AGW, but to piss off the IRS, the Obama administration and all the Greenbats in general by getting a tax deduction for doing so.

There are others that fit the 501(c)(3) piss-em-off category. The Second Amendment Foundation, numerous Christian organizations, Military and Veteran support organizations and so on. We no longer have mortgage deductions, so to offset that, we tend to donate what we can to good charities who will promote our values.

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The 2015 Spring Cactus Flower Show


I usually try to put up a slideshow towards the end of springtime to display pictures we have taken of cactus flowers each year. This is this year’s collection of flower pictures taken since the first flowers of spring in March, or so. Click on the image to advance each slide.

This is a list of the flowers in the slideshow (in order of appearance):

  • Argentine Giant Flower
  • Ferocactus Flower
  • Saguaro Flowers
  • Prickly Pear Flower with Pollinator
  • Orange Prickly Pear Flower
  • Ocotillo
  • Cow’s Tongue Cactus Flower
  • Saguaro Flower and Hummingbird
  • Hedgehog Cactus Flower
  • Saguaro Flower
  • Devil’s Tongue Barrel Cactus Flower
  • Cholla Flower
  • Bishop’s Cap Flowers
  • Beavertail Cactus Flower
  • Barrel Cactus Quartet of Flowers

Not all of these flower pictures were taken on our property, but most of them. All were taken within town limits of Wickenburg, AZ.

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Prickly Pear Flower

Prickly Pear Flower

I show a lot of desert flowers here because they are so beautiful. This one is no exception to that, but it has a little story behind it.

A couple of winters ago, I removed a paddle from a prickly pear cactus growing on the hill east of our house and put it into a pot in the courtyard. Like a good little succulent, it took root and sprouted more paddles. When it got fairly large, we transplanted it to the side of the RV drive west of the house, where it still grows.

This summer, the cactus had this single flower bud. In the image above, you can see the little cactus in the inset where it sits next to the RV driveway. Click on the image to enlarge.

I planted another paddle in a pot in the courtyard last year and it is now also just about ready for transplanting. We’ll get to that one and several others when time and cooler weather permit in the coming days.

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A Devil’s Tongue Flower

Devil’s Tongue Flower

The first flower of the season on my Devil’s Tongue Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus latispinus) has opened. I got this photo yesterday before the rabbits and/or other desert critters munched on it and a couple of the buds.

I think I have the binomial name for this species correct although many of the on-line references show purple or pink flowers. I have another, smaller, Devil’s Tongue Barrel that does get purple flowers in late summer or fall. This one, however, has always had yellow flowers in late spring or early summer.

This cactus followed us from California in a large terra cotta pot. We planted it in the ground and it seems to like it here, as do many of the cacti we brought with us.

Click on the image to enlarge. Don’t mind the little bugs on the petals because I’m not about to flick them off with all those sharp spikes down there.

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