Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Playa de Cortez

I'm writing this post from the deck of our condo in Puerto Vallarta.  We bought it almost ten years ago and have never lived in it.  While we were cruising we had it rented out.  Lucky for us to just one renter who took good care of the place.

It took us seven travel days to get from Seattle to PV.  We land travel like we cruised.  Slow.

We came across some beautiful wood carvings from the early 1940's hanging in the bar at the Hotel Playa de Cortez in Guaymas. The hotel is old, about a hundred years, and a bit down on its luck.  But it's former splendor is still evident.

Playa de Cortez lobby

There are four carvings, each about five feet square, occupying prominent wall space in the bar.  Given the subject matter: Conquistadors and indigenous women getting to know each other, the bar was perhaps the only place they would have been appropriate back when they were new.

 Alan Riding in his book "Distant Neighbors" writes that these early contacts between the Spaniards and the indigenous people were and still are a bit of a touchy subject with Mexicans.  These women, mothers of the first Mestizos, were either rape victims or collaborators.

A bit racy for the times, but Hotel Playa de Cortez was a beach resort where the rich went for some fun.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fear and loathing

That's pretty much how I am feeling about Trump.

Here's an example why:  Trump's initial response to the anti Trump demonstrations was a tweet declaring that the protesters were:

 "professional protesters incited by the media".

He wants us to believe the demonstrations are the product of the media conspiring against him, and that the folks on the street are merely paid professionals.  And I am afraid that this might be what he really believes. And that he cannot stop himself from being petty, paranoid and  non presidential.

He's a bit better his second tweet:

"Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud! "

No doubt his handlers had rushed in and got him tone it down.  They couldn't stop him from that one little twist that the protests involved only "small groups". 

He obviously in a slow study when it comes to controlling his impulse to shoot from the hip in his nasty, cynical, narcissistic blaming way.  And I wonder how in control he is when dealing with his staff.  My guess is that there may be a lot of fear and loathing in Trump headquarters too. 

Kellyanne Conway is looking really tired and stressed lately.  I hope I'm wrong and that she's not afraid of what she helped loose on the country.

One last thing on this.  Here are the county by county results.  Pretty much rural vs. urban America.

Monday, October 31, 2016

It's the Disorder, Stupid!

Forget immigration, unfair trade treaties, loss of greatness etc.  This campaign is about his personality disorder.

I know next to nothing about psychology, I took a course in Abnormal Psych about 50 years ago.  But some behaviors are blatant enough that even I notice.

Here are  definitions of  two disorders according the the Mayo Clinic  See if you recognize anything.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder 

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don't receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having "the best" of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.
At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.
Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:
  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes called sociopath (also psychopath), is a mental condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior.

Antisocial personality disorder signs and symptoms may include:
  • Disregard for right and wrong
  • Persistent lying or deceit to exploit others
  • Being callous, cynical and disrespectful of others
  • Using charm or wit to manipulate others for personal gain or personal pleasure
  • Arrogance, a sense of superiority and being extremely opinionated
  • Recurring problems with the law, including criminal behavior
  • Repeatedly violating the rights of others through intimidation and dishonesty
  • Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead
  • Hostility, significant irritability, agitation, aggression or violence
  • Lack of empathy for others and lack of remorse about harming others
  • Unnecessary risk-taking or dangerous behavior with no regard for the safety of self or others
  • Poor or abusive relationships
  • Failure to consider the negative consequences of behavior or learn from them
  • Being consistently irresponsible and repeatedly failing to fulfill work or financial obligations
Adults with antisocial personality disorder typically show symptoms of conduct disorder before the age of 15. Signs and symptoms of conduct disorder include serious, persistent behavior problems, such as:
  • Aggression toward people and animals
  • Destruction of property
  • Deceitfulness
  • Theft
  • Serious violation of rules

These are a pretty good list of Donald's traits.  To give him the benefit of the doubt, which he would never do for me,  I'm not so sure that he meets all the symptoms of antisocial personality:

I don't know if he has disregard for right and wrong,  or if his relationships are poor and abusive.  

He does exhibit impulsiveness and hostility but I don't know if he takes unnecessary risks or that he cannot foresee consequences of his actions

The thing is, though, Trump has all the rest of the fucking symptoms of both of these types of asshole. .    

Do you want him anywhere close to the button when he's having a bad day?


I would love to hear your comments.  Especially if you don't agree.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Being back home in Seattle has been a great joy, seeing family and old friends, doing a motorcycle trip, enjoying our great country, and it is a great country.  Sure its not perfect, but it is closer to perfection then anywhere we have visited during the last six years of travel.  So its painful to watch the psycho GOP candidate question this greatness and declare that he will make America great again.  Here are a few thoughts on how we ended up with this maniac.

It started after the 1964 elections.

Above is a map of how states voted in the 1964 election between Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater.  Not much of a showing for Barry and the GOP.  It was proof positive that what the party elites feared was true.  The party representing wealth, corporate and personal, had no popular base.  They had not won a presidential election since Calvin Coolidge in 1928, excpt when their candidate was Dwight Eisenhower, the much loved WWII supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe. The feeling was that"Normal" Republican candidates would have no chance.

Nixon recognized this, and pitched his campaign to the "silent majority" whose values allegedly were being threatened by the liberal Democratic Party.  He promised these folks a return to "law and order" and "traditional values".   In particular he sought the votes of  southern whites.  The south up until then was traditionally Democratic, but feeling betrayed by the Democratic Party that had enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that lead to mass enfranchisement of racial minorities, the South was in play.   Nixon's promise of law and order and a return to traditional values was seen as code for continued suppression of blacks and maintenance of the old south's social order.  His law and order message also resonated with whites outside the south because of their alarm over rioting and the  breakdown of law and order in the black inner cities

He found a base:  the Silent Majority turned out to be discontented mostly rural, working class whites.  With their votes Nixon won a close race.  It would have been a landslide except a third party candidate, the racist governor of Alabama, George Wallace took the South.  You can see the huge gains made by the Republicans by jumping between the '64 and '68 maps.


Since Nixon, discontented folks in rural America have mostly belonged to the Republicans. The connection has been cultivated mostly through lip service by party leaders, political hacks, corporations.and especially through their propaganda organ.....Fox News.

Anyone who lived through these years knows all this.  

But what causes the discontent  that leads these folks to support a political party that is clearly their class enemy?  I'm not real sure, but historically incomes of rural Americans, mostly farmers and farm workers, has been subject to manipulation by economic interests controlling commodity prices, transportation costs and the cost of farm machinery..  Governments at all levels have also massively influenced income through regulation etc.  Check this link for an example of how the Feds can mess with farmers:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn     Their anger at the "system" is understandable.  

There is more to it though, Republican appeals to American Exceptionalism, "family values", pro life sentiment, and assertions that "government is the problem" evidenced by over taxation, welfare abuse, government waste, poorly conceived trade agreements that cost American jobs have all captured the loyalty of a surprising number, to me, of relatively well off sane whites... friends of mine.

Republican elites have been    skating on thin ice though.  The base they have relied on since Nixon is disconcerted mostly because of governmental policies that have worked against them..  Policies largely implemented by the Republican party..  

Until this election cycle party elites have been able to ignore candidates emerging from the base and get their selected candidates nominated. But this election cycle is different. The base finally succeeded in getting their candidate, reality TV "star" Donald Trump, nominated.

Trump claims to be the only person who can fix the system and make America great again because he is an outsider.  And a self described "brilliant" businessman with insider knowledge of  how the system really works, evidenced by his "genius" in dodging government regulation and taxation.  His argument for changing the system is compelling.  And it would interest me if only it was being made by a rational person. This psychopath cannot be allowed anywhere close to the nuclear button.   

Trump also scares the hell out of Republican elites. The last thing they want is someone as erratic and uncontrollable as Trump making changes to the system they have crafted over the years that has been so beneficial to their interests..  

And then there is Hillary.  How did she so capture the nominating process that the only competition she faced was from the ultimate political outsider, self described socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders?  I don't know, but its disturbing.  She is probably a decent person, but she certainly has a checkered past.

Any normally competent politician could kick the crap out of either one of these characters. 

So, what would my ideal candidate espouse?

1.  Continued efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and massive reductions in nuclear arsenals around the world.

2.  Real concerted efforts to reduce mankind's impact on climate.  We are very very late and way behind in this.  We are now above 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I attended a lecture about ten years ago presented by the chairman of the University of Washington meteorology department, He stated that there would be a paradigm change in the way energy was passed through the atmosphere when carbon dioxide concentrations exceeded 400 ppm..  The new equilibrium could be drastically different then any we have seen in the past.  And change would be rapid, definitely not at a geological pace.  More like a few decades.

3.  Re democratization of our politics.  There is no chance that our political system will respond to voters until money has been removed from the equation.  What the people want is not compelling to politicians making huge money servicing rich special interests.  We are seeing the emergence of a neo-feudal society with a corporate aristocracy ruling over serf/employees.  The only countervailing power that can exert effective control over corporations is government in service to the people.  Maybe this explains why Republican campaign against government.  Government is not the problem. The problem is a political party that actively works to undermine it. 

Any comments?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Back in the USA


Ron from SV Dawn Trader watches as we approach MV Damgracht, Grace's magic carpet back to Puget Sound

The loading went well though there was anxiety while Grace was hoisted aboard.

With Grace on board (just forward of large power boat), and on her way to Victoria, we did the only logical thing....went for a walk.

We were joined part of the way by a friendly street dog  (for some reason street dogs in Mexico usually have very sweet dispositions, and love human company and attention).  He walked several blocks with us until he reached the end of his territory.  .   

But we were seldom completely alone as our passage was noted by the neighborhood watch.

Many homes in La Paz have a feature we rarely if ever saw in other parts of Mexico....porches.

They were usually well shaded with lots of plants and flowers and comfortable chairs.

If you're living without air conditioning then you're probably living out on the porch.  

Sidewalks in Mexico are challenging.  From what I can tell, there are no rules guiding how they are laid out.....if they do get laid out.  Seems to be an owner option. 

Should you stumble and take a header don't bother sueing.  Thousands have walked that sidewalk without taking a fall, so obviously it was you that screwed up.

Say what!

We enjoyed parking strip landscaping, also subject to no rules.

Raked dirt was a popular options

Have some broken concrete?
Don;t throw it away, plant it,


If you want to earn brownie points with
the Lord, put your sidewalk to work for you,

Ready for launch

Alan Riding in his book Distant Neighbors says "The high walls that surround most Mexican homes serve as both real and symbolic frontiers of security and authority.  When a Mexican steps outside them, he acts as if confronting a hostile society with which he feels minimal solidarity."  A Mexican will sweep his sidewalk daily.....precisely to his property line and not one inch further and is quite content leaving whatever clutter, filth or trash lying just beyond, even if it blocks access to his sidewalk.  Chaos beyond his walls will exist no matter what, so why bother trying to change it.

We spent several days in Mexico following Grace's departure.  Then flew north to met her in Victoria B.C.  We received a call from the shipper's agent in our hotel room the day before she was scheduled to be unloaded, saying "Change of plans, your sailboat has been offloaded and you need to get to the ship ASAP."

We rushed down to the  dock where a launch was waiting to take to the ship, where she was waiting..

We left Victoria the next day and checked her and us back into the U.S. at Roche Harbor in Washington's San Juan Islands.

From there we headed south into the busy Puget Sound, anchoring a couple of miles outside Seattle in Bainbridge Island's Port Madison Bay.  We looked for a place to moor her in Seattle, but had to settle for Everett as there was nothing available in Seattle.  We have a temporary slip in Everett Marina until the end of August, then who knows.

We bought a car and will drive back to Mexico and set up house in our condo in Puerto Vallarta sometime in late September,taking Highway 1 down the Baja Pennisula to La Paz, crossing to the mainland on the La Paz-Mazatlan ferry.