Infamy - 78 Years Later

Today we honor the men and women who died in the attacks on Hawaii late in 1941. In the photograph below, the Officers and Crew line the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan, CVN-76, as they salute the war memorial at the resting place of the USS Arizona.

As always, we ask God to bless and protect the men and women in our military as they perform their duties, often in harm’s way.

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Thanksgiving 2019

2019-thanksgiving.jpg

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” —Psalm 100:4-5

Let us be thankful for the good things on this day.

We hope all of you have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day!

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Rain in the Desert

Rain in the DesertThe middle of this week is bringing a lot of rain to the area. NWS forecast Tuesday through Thursday for rain showers, thunderstorms and wind. We have experienced all three as of this afternoon. It looks like the weather will lighten up for tomorrow and be nice for the weekend, although with high temperatures below 70 degrees which is pretty cool for us.

Image: Our big Saguaro at the top of the driveway enjoying the rain today - Click to enlarge.

Damsel and I have been in our usual routines but this week we’re planning for celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday which we will enjoy here next week. Our plans include mostly the menus for the four-day holiday. We are still restricting carbohydrates, but even so, we will be having a delicious and healthy Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving entrée will be smoked boneless breast of turkey with sides of Creamy Brussels sprouts, mashed fauxtatoes*, cranberry sauce and pumpkin mousse for dessert.

* Denotes simulated mashed potatoes using acorn or butternut squash topped with butter and low carb turkey gravy.

The rest of the long weekend we will be having turkey leftovers on Black Friday and undecided for the actual weekend. If the weather cooperates with us, we may cook outside on the grill. Good things always come from the grill.

In the meantime, my 2019 copy of the tax program is now installed and I will amuse myself with tax planning in my spare moments for the next couple of months. As usual, we like to keep ahead of things tax-wise.

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Veterans Day - November 11, 2019

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is when we recognize the sacrifices and personal commitment made by each and every one of our US Military Veterans. Not only did they enlist into a rigorous lifestyle in the service of our country, but they often (too often) found themselves in harm’s way on their various missions for the good of the nation. We thank them and ask God to bless our veterans, past, present and future.

We’ll be celebrating the holiday with them in mind.

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Clear Skies over the Southwest US

GOES East Map Image

A couple of weeks ago (10/22/2019), I captured this image from the GOES East weather satellite in geosynchronous orbit above the western hemisphere. GOES East showed this area of the southwestern US which I cropped to highlight Arizona which is centered, more or less, in the image. The image showed the area mostly clear of clouds at that time, hence the terrain features are mostly visible.

Late October and early November in our part of Arizona has the in-between hot summer and cooler winter temperatures which are still warm (80-90 degree highs) and we call “Second Spring” because of the flowers we have open this time of year. As I write this post, the early November temperatures are forecast for highs in mid-80s and lows in upper 40s or lower 50s. Soon, however, the temperatures will start to drop and we will be back in flannel and long pants.

Anyhow, back to the satellite image; you can clearly see the Mogollon Rim which is defined by the darker forested area at its southern side that extends from the inside the New Mexico border on the east and arcs toward the north across the northeastern part of the state and ends in northern Yavapai county in north central Arizona. The two darker forested areas continuing north are the Kaibab National Forest. The lighter gap between the southern Kaibab dark area and the northern dark area is where the Grand Canyon is located.

Other interesting features visible in the image can also be seen; over in New Mexico toward the right lower side of the image you can see the White Sands Missile Test area where WW2 Atomic Bombs were tested. On the left side, in California, you can see the Salton Sea. Finally, at the bottom left corner, the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) in Mexico is visible.

I look at the satellite images on a regular basis to help me identify our weather patterns. I use them in addition to radar and other tools to get an insight on our weather. You may click on the image to enlarge.

Looking at the enlarged image, you can identify Roosevelt Lake which is the flying eagle-shaped dark area below the Mogollon Forested area. West of that is Lake Pleasant, an oval-shaped dark spot. Lake Pleasant is just about forty miles east of our place.

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All Hallows’ Eve

halloween.pngOur little Arizona house is located on an unpaved access (can’t really call it a road although it’s passable for most vehicles) which is about five hundred feet from the nearest paved road. In addition to there being no real road, there are no street lights, either. That means that not many kids (zero so far in eight Halloweens here) venture into the dark desert to go trick or treating. After all, there are all kinds of potentially unfriendly nocturnal critters that habit these parts including javelina, cougar, coyote and others.

So we’re expecting to get NO visitors on this night, which is fine with us. There are a few children that live in our area, but their folks take them to lighted, less rural areas for the evening.

When we lived in Torrance, we would get a steady stream of kids, most of whose parents brought them to our nice neighborhood from their crappy ones. We got tired of that and cut them off for several years before moving here.

In late October and early November in the year 2000, Damsel and I were in Rome; I was there for conferences with our business partner on a satellite project and Damsel came with me. While I was in meetings, she toured with one of the other wives who spoke Italian and was familiar with the environment.

One of the things that was interesting was the Romans were into Halloween just like in America which was surprising to us. The difference is that many of them also celebrated “Tutti Santi” - All Saints Day on November 1st. We watched Pope John Paul II celebrate the mass in St Peter’s on TV from our hotel room. We headed back to America the following day.

We had many other good Halloweens in the old days, often hosting costume parties for family and friends. Good memories, but we don’t miss all the late night activity and possible morning after blues.

We hope that those of you who will be celebrating have a safe and sane time. Enjoy!

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New Stuff: HP Win 10 Laptop and Savoy Patriotic Holster

New Laptop New Savoy Holster

First, regarding the laptop, we have been begrudgingly having to admit that our old machine is slow and cumbersome in the current market of faster on-line stuff. The memory in the old machine has to continuously cycle stuff around most of the time, thereby slowing everything down. There are a bunch of utilities and programs that I no longer need nor use, which slows things further. The time to upgrade has come.

The new laptop as described by the seller is a 2019 HP 15.6″ FHD IPS Touchscreen Laptop Computer, 8th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-8250U up to 3.4GHz (Beat i7-7500U), 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD + 512GB SSD, 802.11ac WiFi, USB 3.1, Bluetooth, HDMI, Windows 10. I purchased it through Amazon last week.

I have started migrating apps and files to the new platform on the “test bed” (literally the bed in the guest room) and integrating new peripherals to take the place of my antiquated setup in the office. The progress is steady, but with glitches and work-arounds as dictated by the new cyber environment. I’ll get there, but it will be a while before I change out the old laptop system.

Next, the new holster arrived today after a lengthy lead time of over fourteen weeks; I ordered it late last June from Savoy Leather Works. It is a custom made holster and magazine pouch for my Glock 30 Subcompact .45ACP pistol (I used to call this gun “FAT MAN” and the other Glock 26 “LITTLE BOY” on the old Minstrel Blog).

Damsel took the photo above right of me displaying the beautiful Patriotic American Flag and Three Percenter art work. It will take me a while to get it broke in. Although the holster has both IWB and Open Carry options, I figure to wear it for special occasions as an open carry combo. Why would I want to conceal the fabulous artwork?

You may click on either image to enlarge.

UPDATE 20191102: Added a 21″ external HDMI LED Monitor to the “test bed.” I will probably start moving the new stuff to the office next week and phase out the old laptop and display as soon as I get all the important stuff loaded to the new system.

Test Bed Updated

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