Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

New Years bells

Wedding Bells
 I was just over at Kate and Spences place, and I was reading that Spence doesn't have a gig for New Years eve this year, for the first time in his memory, so he and Kate are on their own for something to do. They seem to think that a nice quiet dinner, and maybe and old movie, and off to bed would be great.

My wife and I, back in 1971, merged wedding bells with ringing in the New Year. It seemed like a great idea back then, we reasoned that we would always have a party to go to on our anniversary. It was fun for a few years, but neither of us can stay up until midnight, we are morning people. That and, neither of us like to drink all that much. One drink and I am so over it, two drinks and I am so out of it, if you get my drift. My wife drinks a little more than I do, but she still fits in the light drinker category. I have an excuse, because I'm the designated driver. One drink before dinner, then no driving for at least an hour. I'm fine with that. NO hangover.

I tried to run with the party crowd, but I soon found out that I'm an amateur at partying. I got up early and worked all day, so an all night party just didn't appeal to me. I was always one of the sober ones, so I was always the one that had to try to stop the fights and keep people out of trouble. When everybody is drunk, there is just TOO much going on. I soon found out that it was wise to start leaving about 10:00 PM because the fights and B.S. always start between 10:00 and 11:00. If I am home in bed by 11:00 I don't have to witness my friends getting the crap beat out of them. I always warned them to "stay out of trouble" before I left. So, their problems were no longer mine and I would sleep like a baby.

My wife and I now find some restaurant that has fine food, but is not much of a party place. Most of them try to fake a great New Years Bash, but fall short, much to my delight. We usually get an early seating, most places will have reduced menu options because they are trying to move as many people through the dining room as they can. The early seating works good for us because we can always find something to do after dinner. That would include seeing who the band is. If it somebody good, like the Delta Nationals, we might dance a couple of times and maybe go for a walk.

We aren't very public people. By that I mean, we like people, but we don't share our private life with them. My wife and I are together at work all day, but we don't interact at work that much, she has her job and I have mine. Sometimes we share lunch and get a chance to have some "us time", but usually we don't get to share much. Evenings at home are usually spent doing a few small chores and relaxing. Most of our "us time" is in the car going down the road, or when we go out to dinner, so we very much enjoy an evening out. I really like good food, but I'm really not fussy how it is prepared, if the chef is happy with the meal that he sends out, I'm happy eating it. I will eat a steak, and enjoy, it anywhere from seared very rare to well done. So, a chef has an easy job making me happy. My wife is a little different, she likes to pre-savor her food, she asks about a thousand questions about what a meal has in it and how it is prepared. She is never surprised when it comes out of the kitchen, but she always seems to be happy with herself that she got EXACTLY what she wanted. She leaves herself no room to complain, even if she wanted to.

Anyway, we have chosen a sneaky get-away to a fine restaurant and a night at a bed and breakfast. We will be getting up in time to make it to the Fortuna breakfast in the park, to help Rotary cure polio.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ernie’s Place apologizes!

I want to offer my most sincere apologies to those people that have commented here and not been able to post. I just checked my “Spam Box” and found it full. The only thing that I delete is blatant advertising vicious personal attacks. Otherwise I allow ALL comments.

A couple of months ago I foolishly downloaded a program that was said was needed to view a file that was sent to me on biding a walk-in cooler/freezer. I became suspicious when it started adding toolbars and other stuff that I didn’t want, but alas, I was too late. My computer has been doing strange stuff and being very slow ever since. I’ve run my AVG virus program and Spybot, which seemed to clear up most of my problems, but I hadn’t occurred to me that this blog got changed.

So….. You might want to check back through the last few blog posts for new comments, and notify my by email if you have concerns. My email is in the upper left corner of the blog front page, under "Personel Bio". It’s not a link, so you will have to cut and paste it, or type it out. I can’t make it into a link because those damn spammers will use it. Oh, what a tangled web we weave….

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lunar Venus Conjunction

When the Moon passes between Earth and Venus it is called an occultation.

I call them eclipses. The other night, there was a near miss during the conjunction of the Earth and Venus, but not an eclipse. It was something to look at just the same. I spend a lot of time watching the sky. It fills me with wonder, it is one of the few things that is still precious to me. Mankind has not found a way to cheapen it... Yet. We were behind a layer of clouds, but it was observable behind the mist. My good friend, Pernel S. Thysteldew lives in Southern Mexico and he was kind enough to send me this photo.

The next time the the moon will block the view of Venus is August 13th, 2012. So get your cameras ready. It is in August, so we have a half a chance at seeing it.

To see a photo display of the Moon eclipsing Venus click on this Link: Moon eclipses Venus

More about Taxco Mexico for the insanely curious: Taxco Mexico

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas (Shell)fish Story.

Well, I went to the Cove today and went out on mussel point, on the seaward side. The waves coming in were large rollers, so I was a little apprehensive, but I found long ago that you can always get mussels at low tide. There was a minus 1.5 five at 5:00 P.M or something like that.

I started out on the rocks about 3:45 so the tide was still going out. I like to follow the tide out. That way you can always come back to shore. If you go out at low tide you can sometimes find yourself stranded out on the rocks with water coming up around you. I hate when that happens.

The mussels that you can get along the shore are small and picked over. The farther out that you go the larger they get. The big ones are on the last rock in front of the breakers. I worked my way out, picking a few of the larger small mussels, while building my confidence that I wasn’t going to get skunked. I watched my favorite rock for about ten minutes and no waves were breaking over it and it was pretty well drained off so I sneaked out and got my limit of the larger mussels.

My wife was mad at me for taking chances, but I assured her that it always looks worse from the shore, in fact I felt fairly safe or I wouldn’t have done it.

I usually take a rip hammer with me to pry the mussels of the rock but all I could find was a claw hammer. The claws are too curved, and don’t slide under the mussel that you want to pick. Always take a straight clawed rip hammer, or make your own tool like I used to do. You don’t feel so bad when you lose a cheap homemade mussel pick. I never lost one, so I don’t really know. I’ve lost a few Abalone irons back in my diving days. We use to make our own abalone irons out of old buggy springs, there was an abundance of springs on my Grandmothers ranch in Laytonville.

Anyway, I found the slight element of risk to not be unlike when my cousin and Oregon and I used to go diving for abalone. Time was usually the biggest factor in us going diving. Finding time was always a problem, so when we decided that we had the time we went, no matter what the weather. Oregon didn’t care about the tide but I did, I liked to dive at low tide, there is usually two of those a day so it worked out.

We would usually get up very early for the morning tide, then talk about how we “didn’t care how damn rough the ocean is, we are going to get our abalones.” We went diving in some pretty rough weather and sometimes we didn’t get our limits, but I don’t remember ever getting skunked.

One time in particular, Oregon, Bob, and I went diving off Dehaven Creek in Mendocino. We did the typical banter about getting our abalone, no matter what. When we got there, it was blowing a gale, but we decided that it wasn’t that rough. So we decided to go out. This was one of those times that it looked even worse after we got out there. The wind was so strong that we were being pushed back to shore from our diving tubes catching the wind. When the waves would break, they were breaking over us. We were taking turns diving one at a time because it was impossible for one guy to hold two tubes, let alone three. Finally one of the tubes got away from us and blew clear onto the beach. That was encouraging, so we let another tube go and started diving two at a time. The waves were breaking over us and we had to hold our breathes until the spray from the comb died down. When we came up from a dive we were allowing extra breath just in case we came up in a raft of foam that we couldn’t get our heads above. We soon found that the rip current was so strong that we couldn’t stay on our rock, but pick a new one down current every dive. It wasn’t long until we were pretty much exhausted, then we found that we had blown clear off the rocks, so we swam in.

When we got to shore we gathered up the two other tubes and put our share of abalone in each one before we brought them ashore, just in case the game warden was watching. In retrospect, that was pretty funny, I doubt that the game warden even suspected that somebody might be diving that day. He was probably home toasting his toes by the fire.

We talked about it later and decided that maybe we shouldn’t have done that, but we all had abalone dinner that night, which is a great consolation prize for not getting our complete limit. Now as a side note: I should tell you that there was a hell of a lot of abalones back in the 60s, if you could find a rock, you could find an abalone, so we were fairly sure that we could find a rock out there if we would just go out. Fun times!!!

Merry Christmas

You can tell me about your most memorable Christmas, or go make a new memory. At any rate, have a Very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

I want to make it clear, right up front, that I celebrate Christmas, and I am not doing this post to take away from anybody’s beliefs or religion. I also celebrate Hanukah, and Kwanza. In fact I celebrate any holiday that promotes peace and good will. The only other requirement that I have is that it has to include parties and cookies.

Christmas is celebrated mostly by Christians, and they call it the celebration of the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ.

 Hanukah is: “a Jewish festival marking the rededication to Judaism of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 bc and celebrated by the kindling of eight lights. from 25th day of Kislev, in December, for eight days. 

 Kwanzaa is: “ a week long celebration held in the United States honoring universal African American heritage and culture, observed from December 26 to January 1 each year. It features activities such as lighting a candle holder with seven candles and culminates in a feast and gift giving. It was created by Maulana Karenga and first celebrated in 1966–1967.”

I have to admit that my favorite holiday is The Winter Solstice celebration. The winter solstice has been around since the Earth first formed into a ball of space dust and started to orbit the Sun. The tilt of the Earths axis points slightly away from the axis of it’s orbit around the sun, so one half the year the center of the axis points slightly toward the Sun, and the other half the year the axis points slightly away from Sun. Winter and Summer.

The thing that I really like about the Solstice is that it has nothing to do with superstition. It can be measured. It is tangible. It has nothing to do with Mumbo-Jumbo. Although, there has been a lot of Mumbo-Jumbo created around it. The solstice is very real and scientific. You could hit it with a hammer. I would imagine that the winter solstice was the first real celebration involving a sentient group of human beings.

In very early human history, while Oog and Moog were sitting in their South facing cave, freezing their rears off, wishing that they could find some fresh fruit, they thought about the years in the past, where they suffered through a cold spell, when the Sun got very low in the sky, and it got very cold. They remembered when the sun started getting higher in the sky, it started getting warmer. They probably had rocks and sticks across the front of their caves to keep the critters out, and the warmth of their fires in. They left a few smoke holes to let the smoke out. They discovered that the Sunlight shining through the holes in their doorway took a different path across the back of their cave everyday. In what seemed like the shortest day of the year the sun started getting higher in the sky every day. The Sunlight path across the backs of their caves told them when the solstice happened. As man became smarter, they figured out how to know when the weather would be warmer, and they knew that they had to have enough food and firewood to get them through the cold season.

The first solstice celebrations must have been amazing. It was one of mans very first scientific endeavors, plotting the winter solstice on the backs of their warm toasty caves. I know how I feel when I know that some nice weather is coming, they must have been elated. They probably had some sort of a major feast. They knew that summer was on it’s way and there would once again be great abundance. So, why not eat a little extra from their winter hoard of supplies?

Soon, the elders became the wise men, they knew about the seasons and the weather, they became the tribe sages, they knew how to predict the warm weather. Oog and Mooog must of highly revered the old people in their tribe. Their knowledge must have been invaluable. Just knowing when it would be summer must have seemed to be a miracle back then. Now we take it for granted.

You already know about the Earth is tilted on it’s axis, that’s why we have summer and winter. But, do you know how long a day is? If you guessed 24 hours, you would be exactly right. That is the period that it takes for the Sun the be straight over head, until the next day when the Sun is straight over head. So, how long does it take for the Earth to revolve one revolution on it’s axis (trick question, Give up?) It is 23 hours and 56 minutes. So, how is that possible? Hint: Multiply the 4 missing minutes times 365, then divide it by 60. You should get very close to 24, the missing four minutes is lost because the earth makes one revolution around the sun every year, that moves the sun 4 minutes off every day, while the earth goes around the sun.

Now to further complicate things, the orbit of the Earth is elliptical. The Earth is closest to the sun in January. By being closer to the Sun, the Earth speeds up in it's trip around the Sun. That means that our winter seasons are faster than our summer season. We also have the added benefit of being closer to the Sun, so our winters are warmer. So if you lived in Australia, you would have shorter hotter Summers and longer colder winters. Have you ever wondererd why the ice is thicker at the south pole? Ain't science wonderful? Aren’t you glad you live in the Northern Hemisphere?

Now Oog and Moog probably didn’t know about all the rest of the stuff, but you can bet your frosty patooty that they knew about the Winter Solstice. Now you know why the Winter Solstice is the holiday of the Scientist. Happy Winter Solstice!!!!    And... Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanza. and yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Redway, Santa making a list and checking it twice.

Santa was in Redway today. It seems that all of Redway's children were on there best behavior. Santa said that he didn't even find one bad kid!

The Redway Fire Department took Santa up and down every street in Redway today, so he could make his list of good and bad kids, and ask what they wanted for Christmas. He said that he has his list for Redway all together now and he headed back to the North Pole to start filling the orders. He said that he will be back the night before Christmas.

The Fire department will gather at the Redway Fire house tonight to have their annual Christmas celebration.

Left to right, Roger Ralsten, Patrick Dowd, Ernie Branscomb, Vandelinder junior, SANTA, and Josh Spier. The answer to the question in everybodies mind is Jordan Vandelinder.

Not shown on Santa's crew is Pete Genolio, who had to leave early to go on a Technical Rescue in Honeydew.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Universe expanding... faster and faster... what's up with that???

The universe is expanding... faster and faster... what's up with that???
No.... That can't be!
But...But... What about gravity?

Three scientists just won the Nobel Peace Prize in physics, for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerated pace. Now, I've been happy understanding that one theory of the universe is the "Big Bang", where the universe just popped into existence in one great big, and I mean really, really, big explosion, where matter and anti-matter split apart and went into different universes, or something like that. It kinda' made sense to me that something like that could have happened.  It would make sense that the universe would be drifting apart, after all everything has a tendency to drift away from an explosion. It also make sense to me that large bodies, with mass, have gravitational forces that cause them to attract each other, like the Earth's gravity holds the Moon in orbit, and the Sun holds the Earth in orbit. So, it would seem that at some point gravitation forces would slow and reverse the expanding of the universe. Then it would collapse back in upon itself in a "Big Crunch". So I keep looking to see the tangibles in this theory.

By saying that the universe is expanding, at an accelerated rate, they are saying that there is some energy force pushing the universe apart, because acceleration requires outside energy. Any action requires an equal and opposite reaction. My big question would be, "what is the source of energy that is pushing the universe apart?"

These three guys also won, no strings attached, 1.46 million dollars for their "Discovery". I assume that they can prove the theory and the results are reproducible.

Click on the following links for the story:


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Marijuana 25% of Humboldt economy?

According to Jennifer Budwig, a local NoHum person that recently did a banking study on the marijuana industry in Humboldt county, the Humboldt industry generates $415 million for the county’s economy. She goes on to say that her calculations are “subjective due to lack of hard data,” and the estimate to the value to the local economy goes much higher. She estimates the total local economy to be $1.6 billion. By her conservative estimates marijuana is at least 26% of the total economy.

Her job in banking, and her recent study, qualifies her very well to have an opinion. I have often been asked what my estimate to what marijuana contributes to Garberville’s local area economy. I have been quoted as saying “about 80%”. When asked how I could justify such an opinion, I have said take a walk with me and point out the people that you don’t think have anything to do with marijuana. As we walked down town it was pretty apparent that most appeared that they may have something to do with marijuana.

The impact of Marijuana on Humboldt businesses is hard to estimate. Chances are real good that Humboldt businesses could survive a 26% hit on business, if the marijuana factor disappeared. I’m really not sure that a single business in Garberville could survive the loss of the local marijuana industry. So, what does that mean in real numbers? If all the businesses in Garberville closed their doors, does that only relate to 26% of the economy? Or does it filter down to an 80% impact? Will only the government employees count? Most of Garberville’s school employees live in Fortuna, or points north. Most of the State employees live in Fortuna. Park, CHP, and to a lesser extent Caltrans employees live in the north. So, Garberville’s economy is almost only fed by marijuana dollars. Home grown, bred in the hills growers.

Also, most of the calls for emergency services, fires, medical, law enforcement, etc. in Garberville are in some way related to the drug industry, (Not just marijuana).

I would invite anyone to give a good case that Marijuana isn’t at least 80% of the local economy. I wonder if Jennifer Budwig looked into any estimates on Garberville?