This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NutriSystem - Day Four

We had to run some errands today. It was good to get out of the house for a little while. Before leaving we changed clothes and brushed our teeth. The toothpaste tasted pretty good. I wonder what its nutritional value is? I may have to start brushing my teeth more often.

We bought cat litter and some rawhide chewies for the dog. We spent quite a while in the pet aisle looking at the pet food. It only made the hunger worse. Some of that stuff looks pretty good. I’ve often wondered what dog or cat food would taste like.

When we got back home I opened the rawhide chewies and took one out. The dog put up such a fuss that I had to let her have it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Day Three of Diet

Three days down. Sticking to diet. First week of NutriSystem diet is “free.” Called “fast5.” Carol Ann and I each ordered supposed to lose 5 pounds this week. NutriSystem calls it ”jumpstart.” Say needed to get us on “fast track” to weight loss goals. More like starvation diet. “fast5” week only half calories singed up for. Feel weak. Sit around all day waiting for next feeding. Lick plates clean. Waste nothing. Enemy NutriSystem strategy must be starving us during first week. Shrink stomachs so feel “full” after calories double. Smart. Must stop now. Too weak to go on.  Oh.  Is that a banana?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pass the Salt.............. Please!

I had a routine checkup about a week ago and underwent a cardiac stress test. They shot me full of radioactive stuff and then did an echocardiogram and treadmill test. I was afraid I might glow in the dark. I certainly wasn’t about to fly anywhere. Can you imagine going through the airport security sensors and setting off the radiation detectors? I would still be trying to explain. Anyway, I passed the test with flying colors except my cardiologist told me I needed to be on a sodium-restricted diet. He recommended the Dash Diet. No salt. I don’t know how to eat without a saltshaker in one hand.

Carol Ann and I discussed diets and the fact that we could both stand to lose a little weight in addition to reducing our salt intake. I’m at 180 pounds stark naked and would like to slim down to 165 pounds. The only problem is that we eat take-out most of the time. We don’t cook very much because we don’t like cooking and aren’t particularly good at it. We also lack self-control when it comes to the right foods and portion control. For those reasons we decided to try the Nutri-System diet. They Fed Ex you a twenty-eight day supply of food at a time. All you need is water and a microwave. I know it’s not a low sodium diet but I’m not going to add any salt so will still come out much better than before. It’s not cheap, about $10 a day for each of us, but I doubt that’s anymore than we have been spending on takeout.

On Thursday of last week our first twenty-eight day supply of food was delivered. Each of us received one large cardboard box and a large Styrofoam container with frozen foods and dry ice. We began the diet on Saturday at breakfast and after tonight’s supper will have completed two whole days on the diet. We plan to give it at least a two-month trial. We’ll just have to see.

I may soon start eating the cardboard along with the food.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Walmart is Subsidized by U.S. Taxpayers

Until tonight I had not paid very much attention at all of the protests against Walmart by its employees. I now understand why those employees are so unhappy with their employer. Here are the facts. Check them if you like.
·      Walmart is the nation’s largest private employer with 1.4 million employees.
·      At over $446 Billion per year, Walmart is the third highest revenue-grossing corporation in the WORLD.
·      Walmart’s net profits are $17.2 Billion per year.
·      The Walton family owns 48 percent of the Walmart stock and at a net worth of over $102 Billion is one of the richest families in the WORLD.
·      Walmart CEO Mike Duke’s compensation package in 2011 was $18.1 Million (equivalent to $8,701.92 PER HOUR).
·      Walmart’s U.S employees make an average of $8.81 per hour, one-tenth of one percent or one-thousandth that of the CEO.
·      Walmart employees receive $2.66 Billion a year in subsidized Medicaid, food stamps, housing, and other taxpayer-funded social welfare programs.
·      Walmart’s failure to provide its employees with a livable wage or decent healthcare coverage is costing taxpayers an average of $1.02 Billion per year in healthcare costs.
·      A single 300-worker Walmart “Supercenter” accounts for between $900,000 and $1.7 Million per year in taxpayer-funded benefits to its employees.
·      As many as 80 percent of workers in Walmart stores use food stamps.
·      The National Labor Relations Board Office of the General Counsel filed a complaint against Walmart on January 15, 2014 for retaliating against striking workers with illegal firings, disciplinary action, or threats of both which violated employee labor rights.

It will be extremely difficult, but I believe that I must join the boycott of Walmart until they change their ways.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dinosaurs and Jesus

Do you remember when ZZ Top sang “Jesus Just Left Chicago and He’s Bound for New Orleans?” Well, I don’t know whether He really went to New Orleans or not, but I do know that He is no longer in New Orleans. I just found out He’s actually in Glen Rose, TX. Glen Rose is famous for its dinosaur tracks and conservative Christians.

We went to Glen Rose yesterday and to see the dinosaur tracks. Fortunately, the tracks were pointed out by signs because you don’t just walk along and all of a sudden exclaim, “Look, dinosaur tracks!” It pays to have a pretty good imagination. Of course, anything is bound to wear down a bit over one hundred and twelve million years. See for yourself.

(It's under a few inches of water)
(Lens cap to illustrate size)
(Three-toed print)
While on the road out to the Dinosaur Valley State Park to see the tracks, we passed a couple of other interesting looking places. One was Dinosaur World where you can pay $12.75 to see replicas of “over 150 life size dinosaurs.” We did not visit the place, even though they were giving away free dogs and leashes. That’s right. The sign read, “Friendly dogs on leashes – free!”

The other interesting looking place that we did not visit was the Creation Evidence Museum and Archeological Excavations. I can only surmise that the purpose of the Creation Evidence Museum is to dispute the fact that the dinosaurs left their footprints in the mud millions of years ago. According to the Creationists, the Earth should only be six thousand years old. Not billions of years ago as put forth by the “Big Bang Theory.” The Creationists do not believe the universe to be billions of years old because:

(1) The planets in our solar system are not all be spinning in the same direction,
(2) The cores of the planets should have cooled down by this time,
(3) Saturn’s rings would have been crushed and pulverized by meteors after only a couple of thousand years,
(4) The dust on the moon would have been a lot deeper than the couple of inches experienced by the astronauts, and
(5) The moon would have crashed into the Earth long ago.

This is also how I learned that Jesus had moved to Glen Rose. A large sign in front of the Creation Evidence Museum proclaimed “I SAW JESUS IN GLEN ROSE, TX.” Apparently he is alive and well and according to another sign is living at the Texas Amphitheatre – but only on Fridays and Saturdays in September and October. Go figure.

Monday, January 13, 2014

For Want of a Screw

One bad thing after another happened once the proverbial horseshoe nail was lost. In the end it cost someone an entire kingdom. However, this is not about losing a nail. It’s about a few loose screws, which, hopefully, will not cost me my kingdom. Have any kingdoms been lost from the “want of a screw?” 

A couple of days ago I noticed that the bottom case of my MacBook Pro laptop seemed to be was just a bit loose. I turned it over and discovered that four of the ten tiny screws holding the case together were missing, resulting in a slight gap along the bottom rear seam of the laptop. I didn’t panic but I was concerned about dust and other potentially harmful particles having easy access to the computer’s inner workings. At any rate, I needed to replace the missing screws.

These are “special” screws that are very not the kind you can run down to Lowe’s and purchase. However, I have an active Apple Care protection plan for which I paid around $300 when I purchased my MacBook Pro in late 2011. A few small screws should not be a problem. Correct? Wrong!

I saw no reason to take up any of Apple support’s time on the phone over such a small problem so I sent them an email and asked if they would please send me some replacement screws. I could replace them myself. A week later I was still waiting for a response so I sent a second email, which, contrary to the first, was answered in less than 24-hours.

The response to my second email informed me that a phone call to the Apple Care Support Center would be necessary after all. I made the phone call and explained the problem to an Apple advisor. After being placed on hold for about two minutes I was informed that Apple will not send me the screws. It would be considered an unapproved repair if I were to replace the screws.  

I was offered three options. The first was to ship the computer to Apple in Cupertino, CA. I would be without it for at least a week. That is not an option.

The second option was to take it to an Apple Store. The closest Apple Store is in Houston, a three-hour drive and about $60 to $70 in gas. 

The third option was to take it to an approved Apple repair center. The closest approved repair service is in Tyler, about an hour and a half drive, about $30 to $35 in gas.

Not being too crazy about any of the three options, I have come up with a fourth that will work just fine until I have a good reason to drive to Houston or Tyler.  Fortunately, the MacBook Pro is silver, the same color as the duct tape.