May 31

May 31, 2012 Maxim

Posted by Simon

“a very considerable degree of inequality…is not near so great

an evil as a very small degree of uncertainty.”

Adam Smith on Taxation


The Wealth of Nations

quoted by P. J. O’Rourke

in On the Wealth of Nations

May 30

Television Thoughts

Posted by Simon

I was talking to a missionary from the Calvary Church a week or so ago and I threw out one of my stock lines:  “Karl Marx said that “religion is the opiate of the masses” but time has proved him wrong.  Television is the opiate of the masses.”  The missionary said “No your wrong.  It’s worse than that.  Television is a brainwashing machine.”

He went on to explain that TV raises viewers expectations and shapes reality for them.  It tells them how to be happy and what they should want.  Not just the commercials but the shows themselves create an alternate reality that is more exciting and more desirable than the world we really exist in.

I agreed. 

I didn’t have a solution but I agreed.

May 29

“Money exerts a gravitational

pull on other money.”

Rob Long

Editor National Review

For proof just visit Carmel or Dubai

Normandy Inn

May 28

Wild Flowers 2012

Posted by Simon

In preparation for our hike in the Alps for my 65th birthday I have been doing some practice hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains.  As you can imagine I take great pleasure in being able to write that I am going hiking in the Alps.  Yes life is good.  On these training hikes I’ve taken a few good photos of the spring wild flowers.  Here are a few:

Wild Mustard on a hillside

a close up of the mustard

Orange Flowers

See lots more spring flowers in my Flickr album

Volunteer Vincas?

Even the desert can bloom.

May 27

Ore Cart II

Posted by Simon

I want an ore cart to display my rock samples and I saw one in Las Vegas and blogged about it.  My feeble efforts to find one or get one made were fruitless and I had pretty much given it up as another one of those wild ideas I have that come to naught.  Then on a hike to Henninger Flats last weekend I saw an ore cart.

In fact two ore carts:

They were part of a display about mining in the San Gabriel Mountains in the 19th and 20th centuries.  The thing I learned is that the wheel assemblies (trucks) are a separate piece from the cart.  I’m back to dreaming about ore carts.

May 26

Backyard Scuba Reminder

Posted by Simon

One of the ideas that I promote is not just looking at things but actually seeing them.  I call it backyard scuba because it is what people are willing to do underwater but forget to do in the backyard unless reminded.

The new small digital cameras allow us to see the wonders in our own back yards in details that even a few years ago weren’t possible.  For instance here is a picture of a climbing rose by our backdoor.

Note the bee on the right of the center of the Rose.

The image was good enough that I could use the zoom feature on the computer

And now you can really see the bee working.

One more zoom and you can see the load of pollen she is carrying in her leg sacs.


More pictures of the same bee working on Flickr

My camera is a Canon S90 that is a couple of years old now.  But in reality you can do the same thing with the built-in camera on you smart phone.


May 25


Posted by Simon

“After you have worked on a farm, nothing else you ever do is work.”

John Kenneth Galbraith

US Economist

May 24

May 24, 2012 Maxim

Posted by Simon

“Nothing makes a place holier than

the competition of another religion.”

Simon Sebag Montefiore

in his book:

Jerusalem: The Biography

May 22

“Everything has its

beauty but not everyone

sees it.”


Life is good!

Red Rock Canyon

Dog Canyon

May 21

All farmers know

that it is easy in the spring

to predict a bumper crop.


And in the summer as the fields grow

to daydream about bounty.


But in the autumn when the crops come in,

the truth will be known.

For no matter what you hope or dream

“You can’t fake the harvest.”


This might be why farmers unlike politicians have mostly learned to keep their mouths shut.