Enjoying Local Surroundings and Recording Notable News Events

The last several weeks have seen a lot of activity around both my local neighborhood and the Alameda/ San Francisco areas I visit regularly.

Weather has been mild hereabouts, and the Summer tourists and weekenders have melted away as schools got back underway.

A major sign of the changes was apparent when I recently left my house, turned the corner wandering just a few yards down to the bottom of 26th Avenue to then be greeted by a Hang-Glider drifting back and forth along the cliffs some 100 yards away.

The warm on-shore, <10 knot updraft off the Monterey Bay allowed the glider to lazily move a few hundred yards back and forth some 40 feet above the cliff-face. An easy, lazy day for the pilot and an incongruous view for my solitary self, standing directly below.

Just a few weeks before and 100 yards inland from here I had a 7-foot eucalyptus branch drop +40 feet squarely onto my head as I rode in the bike lane immediately beneath a canopy of trees.

This >2lb. cutting had remained from tree-work done earlier and chose to fall directly as I passed below. What are the odds, and what good luck! Just a knot on the head, scuff on the forehead and I was not even separated from my bike.  😊

Mid October surfing contests show up on weekends for High Schools and other participant events. Temporary canopies and Audio commentary is then set up along The Hook, which stretches along Pleasure Point from the Café down to 41st Avenue. Non-participant surfers still arrive and line up slightly away from the tournament action, either down toward the O’Neill cliff house or the opposite end of The Hook from the competitions.

Capitola recently held its massive annual fireworks display, run from off the end of the old pier. The event is always spectacular, lasts 20-30 mins and is hosted this time of year by local businesses as a Thank you to Residents for their vital ongoing support.

The show is well worth the visit. The Capitola Village is packed, and the East Cliff is lined by pedestrian-only traffic with heads thrown back admiring the creative display reflecting off the Monterey Bay waters and towering into the skies above the crowds. A true spectacular, just a short walk from home.

I ride a bike year-round and normally 5 days a week. Rides usually run about 12 miles/day, with some weeks a couple of 20-milers thrown in. Weekends I save for sailing out of Alameda on the San Francisco Bay, which is just as well as there is always more road traffic around Santa Cruz on both Saturday and Sunday.

And biking hereabouts has changed, even during the week.

Since the pandemic ended, more people ride. In the last 6 months things have evolved from sightings of e-Bikes being <1-in-5 to now being 90% electric. And those bikes fly around!

E-bike safety tips for new and experienced riders - Los Angeles Times

It seems folks who seldom rode have picked up electric versions. Bikes are new and custom, sporting racks, paniers, kiddy-seats and all sorts of adders, often towing or even pushing child and animal trailers. The varieties are endless, and it is uncommon to see any two alike.

Riders seem to peddle little and travel fast. >>20 mph speeds for Electrics seems common-place and users effortlessly cross the 5-10 mile stretch from East-to-West Santa Cruz in just a few 10’s of minutes.

Electric Bike Top Speeds: How Fast Can You Go? | Juiced Bikes

I suppose increased accidents will soon inspire the introduction of consequential new regulations needed to accommodate this major trend. Strangely, cannot even recall when I last saw a new bike that was not electric and in truth this has all occurred in <12 months.  😉

As a warning: if you ride a manual bike for (say) just 10 miles hereabouts, you are going to need to avoid typically 3-5 risky (to yourself) actions by other travelers. Culprits are unobservant vehicle drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists, respectively. And the problem worsens greatly as your average speed increases. It seems speed somehow makes you far less visible to others; we develop a cloak of invisibility. 😉

By early September I had finished the planning for my 2023 trip to Alaska. It is a case of plan early or miss-out on the best Trips, Guides and Facilities for the next adventures. If you wonder what is available there, check out my last BLOG posted September 11th. In a related theme…

During late September, a friend from Alaska stopped by on his annual drive from his home in the Kenai Peninsula to his Summering setup in Arizona. It is a long drive with quick, regular business stops along the way; he is a great guest and welcome company who needed a break from massive daily driving schedules.

On his arrival I was treated with a delivery of bear-meat for my freezer, and we spent our brief available time running around touring my local area and haunts, ending up with evening drinks and music outside, seated by a firepit. There is so much to see and enjoy here, it was a treat for myself to have someone else appreciate what is offered locally.

Following this fun visit, we are now planning a joint Sailfish fishing trip to Southeast Florida next February / March.

Hopefully, we can make this recent stop-over a regular event. Maybe next year I will take the pilgrimage with him and provide some relief on the driving duties?

San Francisco Fleet Week occurred early October. This is truly a Family treat with ships to visit, the town bustling, street vendors everywhere along the waterfront and a unique and special aerial display on Saturday and Sunday.

The Airshow runs across the space between the Embarcadero Piers and Alcatraz. The viewing area is good from Fort Mason even down to the Ferry Building, but best North of Pier 39. Sights include a couple of jet display teams (the Blue Angels are a highlight), aerobatics and a host of one-off fly-bys from both major military and commercial aircraft.

Planes and flights come in from Golden Gate and Bay bridge directions, over Angel Island and even enter the performance area right overhead, from behind the City itself. The display has low, highspeed passes and endless acrobatics; a unique treat to watch and experience. Crowds can revel in the thrill of the event and enjoy a profound sense of pride. 😊

For myself, I have been fortunate to see this Show at least a half dozen times. Mostly from the water, where I usually motor a boat of half-a-dozen passengers about in a clockwise direction around the cordoned-off, low-fly area which runs several miles both East and West between Alcatraz and the Embarcadero. It is spectacular viewing for passengers, but when you are at the helm the heavy boat traffic often demands your complete attention elsewhere.  😉

If you have not seen this or similar displays, try to do so. And soon. I hear a City Supervisor in San Francisco is moving to ban the Blue Angels from their airspace. He is also extremely vocal in complaining about the attention outside press gives to such local issues. I wonder what his true agenda might really be. ☹

The area I live has many splendid features and opportunities. But much is changing. It is good to enjoy the numerous positives that remain available while we can. 😊

Let me now move on to summarize some of the more prominent News items occurring in the last weeks; specifically, those that have possible downstream ramifications of concern…

Over $3 Trillion has been wiped out in Retirement Accounts (401’s, IRA’s etc.) in 2022, alone. If you own such an account, you will currently have seen a >30% and perhaps as high as 40% drop in your accounts’ value. Most investors have now lost around 2.5 years of gains in the last year or so. This is a result of Market confidence in Government and consequential Outlook. Ouch.

Average folks are being abused by reported inflation running 8-9% (at 40-year highs) and constantly spiking gas prices. Retirees are additionally under the gun with Administration promises of Capital Gains Tax increases that will further establish the US as having the largest such Tax in the World.

With Fed Rate hikes already underway and more promised the Housing Market has come under pressure and the Dollar has grown abnormally strong, which severely hampers US Exports.

Dollar strength inevitably brings downward pressure on numerous smaller Currencies and Countries around the World which will consequentially economically decline further, with many not even being able to service their debt.

Fuel prices are exploding all over Europe because of the Ukraine proxy War. Europeans (esp. in places like Germany) cannot fire up Coal Plants fast enough before the colder months arrive. The UK is forecasting that over 70% of it’s restaurants are expected to fail this Winter because of energy costs. Hard to imagine the pain and pressure that will similarly fall on every household across Europe. ☹

10 states now have average gas prices above $5 : NPR

As always, s***t rolls downhill.

The weaponization of Government in the US continues in many forms…

A Federal judge revealed that Biden ordered the raid on ex-president Trump while denying ALL current knowledge of the event. No surprise there. Blatant lies are commonplace.

Whistleblowers have confirmed the FBI is creating a false narrative by classifying the January 6th Capital incursion as separate individual nationwide Domestic Terrorism instances, to be tried in every State possible while simultaneously moving agents off child sex abuse cases. Such priorities and caring. ☹

Pelosi is legally obliged to investigate the Administration for blatantly trying to manipulate the Saudis to delay reducing oil shipments and so momentarily aid US gas pump pricing ahead of November mid-term elections. It seems the Saudis have well-documented scruples about such action which would have produced large global economic downsides downstream.

Joe Biden has personally and publicly threatened dire consequences to the Saudi’s for outing him on this matter. Wow. He may have forgotten about the essential neutralization role the Saudis play in the Middle East, having Iran as neighbors and all.

Apparently, the Administration act of soliciting in-kind actions from Foreign Sources to aid a Partisan political goal is illegal. I am sure Speaker Nancy P will give this all the attention her party requires. Sigh. 😉

On the lighter side, the BBC is reporting Hunter Biden will be charged with Tax crimes. His personal laptop has been providing corruption insight to his activities (in Ukraine and China) for a few years already. It recently additionally turned up his Swalwell-like engagement and dalliance with a new Chinese spy. So far, no charges for Hunter for anything (while Dad holds the reins). 😉

I saw some Poll or other a couple of months back that had ~70% the US General Public agreeing that Biden is both corrupt AND had likely benefitted financially from his corruption. It was implied that voters simply DO NOT CARE this is the case. Wow.

On the local home front, San Francisco was reporting a 25% Office Vacancy rate at the end of September. Looks like Covid Impacts, Out-of-State moves and Neighborhood Toxicity (prices, crime and homelessness) are all in play.

And soon to arrive will be the November Elections. Over a dozen States are on the record with reported major voting fraud issues occurring during the 2020 elections. Yet no significant prosecution, anywhere. How odd. How can this be? Sigh. ☹

France outlawed Mail-In Voting in the 1970’s as being too readily subject to voter-fraud. They conducted their last recent election entirely with a hand-count. In recent weeks Germany announced a re-vote for ~6 million people in one District because of known Polling Machine irregularities.

German Works Council Election Procedures: Changes to Upcoming Elections in  2022 - Ogletree Deakins

The US has a storied history of serious Voter Fraud issues dating back >100 years. I have seen countless Polls overwhelmingly agreeing the US simply needs Voter ID laws to have safe(r) Election Polling.

Yet Voter ID is currently politically framed as Racist, so cannot be allowed. Go figure.

And I expect there will be rampant, approved mail-in requirements and voting misdeeds in many US States and Districts come November, regardless of the outcome. Why would anything be different? 😉

On the Global front we still have Leaders who need wars (that end well) to buoy up their numerous Domestic problems. Putin is in trouble and needs a soft landing and historically corrupt Zelenskyy is spoiling daily for bigger and better action.

Biden has his proxy war and is rattling his Sabre, threatening an imminent Nuclear Armageddon to his citizenry. Despite major depletion of US Weaponry (to Ukraine) and Strategic Oil Reserves (to China and hopefully, Domestically) he has still somewhat prepared, as his HHS has stockpiled nuclear warfare treatment Nplate drugs at $1.2k each. Sadly, for you and I these only have a shelf-life of 18 months and he only bought ~250k units. If he knows something we do not, we are in trouble. 😉

Lastly is Premier, Xi. He is right now entering a new phase of Government Control which brings him unprecedented and unchallenged powers. He is already leaning in to take territories from Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and others; even claims in the heavens (Mars and Moon colonization) are freely mentioned. China believes this now-open New Era is where they will fulfil their promised destiny and Xi is the accepted and anointed one.

NOTE: The New Era is defined as the next 30years, which is to include the successful realization of The Chinese Dream.

And all this comes when US overseas image is at a low. The UK’s Telegraph newspaper (THE major National publication) wrote an October piece referring to Biden’s weakness, endless failures and ways as being more than simple mental decline and senility, referring to him as also being historically evil. This from (a, THE?) major overseas ally and a FRIEND. Ouch.

So, what might actual ENEMIES think, say and be prepared to DO? Historically it is always the weak and inept who become inevitable active targets and victims. ☹

Well, so much for these reflections.

In all honesty they are (just some of the) things that cannot responsibly be simply, totally ignored. These are the troubling chickens in our lives that can come home to roost. Some are much more likely, serious and immediate than others.

We live in sad and dangerous times, both Locally, Nationally and around the Globe.

But nobody should dwell incessantly on such matters. It serves no purpose if no immediate action is required or yet relevant. So, time to move on, but still sleep with one eye open…

Do you track both the small AND large issues that might impinge upon your World? Should you?

It can be miserable to follow all such issues relentlessly but keeping an eye on REAL liabilities that can enter your lives is usually wise.

As for myself, I will now change my immediate focus and prepare for a trip out East to enjoy a Wedding in North Carolina with some Family friends. 😊

Here’s to wishing you similarly pleasant distractions!

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.

Warm Weeks During Summer Months

There have been a few weekends since my last BLOG published mid-June.

A lot has happened around the World, much of it miserable, so I have actively tried to focus my energies and personal time on happier events.

Let me share (in no particular order) some snapshots of experiences and sights enjoyed over this recent month or so…

I have been binge-watching evening TV for many weeks now, having found a treasure trove of Seasons from a comedic Panel-Game; it is called, Would I Lie To You and can be found on Prime TV (in Britbox area) and YouTube.

The series really found its feet in Season Three and has since run though Season 15.  It is a GREAT watch and really lends itself to binging. The show will put a smile on anyone’s face; ad-libs and rants will draw tears of laughter. If you need or just want to laugh, this is for you. 😊

A local Market (Los Pericos) off Portola in Santa Cruz has become my go to haunt for a Numero Uno Breakfast Burrito. I always show up late in the day and beg for my eggy breakfast-menu treat which they have so far routinely obliged. The significant downside is that my diet only permits one or two of these a week. 😉

I have upped my daily (weekday) bike rides over the last month and am averaging >20 miles a day. No idea why I did this, but here we are. As I get a picturesque ride from my house along East Cliff Drive down into Capitola (CA) village, back along Portola and into the Santa Cruz harbor, then up to and around the estuary, back along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk onto the Pier, there is much to see and enjoy.

And the season for Holidaymakers attending the seafront beaches, rides and Fair is in full bloom.

There is also plenty of other entertainment along the way…

A couple of dozen nests are producing noisy young in the towering eucalyptus trees alongside the upper Santa Cruz Harbor, just 100 yards beyond the trafficked bridge that cuts over the inlet. There are giant squawking Great Blue Herons, large Great white Egrets and even a few Cormorants resident in the massive nests planted in the highest boughs.

Great Blue Heron

The recent warmer Summer days have produced higher rolling swells that come crashing down onto the beaches hereabouts, extending from the fully filled Moran (overflow) Lake right along to the Boardwalk frontages; all this noise, despite the lack of significant winds driving events.

And local residents can open their windows to allow the boom of waves to carry their crashes indoors throughout the day with sound levels gently moderated by constantly changing tides.

The large man-made stone breakwater that protects the Santa Cruz Harbor and carries its sturdy white lighthouse has seen early evening swells staging occasional 40’ high spray being thrown up in quick progressions over 200 yards of its length, while concurrent 4–5-foot waves break into the boating entrance.

A few nights ago, several of the half-a-dozen young Holidaymakers cheekily braving one onslaught were summarily knocked down by the spray’s force and then quickly scrambled away towards the protection of the land.

During this same time, I looked out NW to Steamers surfing runs a mile or so across the Bay and could see massive swells surging down the cliffs in crested waves with the most intrepid local surfers aboard. Quite a display of power and human determination.

As I write the local Luckys grocery store on 41st has employees back in masks with several workers out on their 2nd and/or 3rd doses of COVID. There is nobody very sick it seems, but company protocols keep them home, often personally doubting any VAX efficacy.

Like many others, I expect a surge of notices for COVID masking requirements to arrive by October in time to secure Mail-In Voting for the November Mid-Term Elections. Sigh. ☹

I watched the July 4th celebrations from the cockpit of a boat docked in Alameda, looking across to Oakland, barely 1 mile South of Jack London square. There was a (I assume legal) firework display some +4 miles away at the Oakland Coliseum; quite impressive and obviously well-orchestrated.

There were many other unauthorized (and illegal in CA) firework displays in play from a mile or so North, mostly near to and along the shoreline of Oakland right down to the Stadium show. I counted > 15 distinct active venues colorfully lighting up the evening skies.

Perhaps most impressive and prolific was a setup directly across the estuary some 400 yards away from me, almost opposite Marina Village docks. It began around 9.30pm and was still firing off at 1.30 am the next day. The venue lay in a construction site and was left to run unabated for many hours.

Marina Village Docks

Two weeks later I was taking out a sailboat and ran into a female Mallard leading her brood of 10 very tiny, fluffy chicks across the estuary directly towards that very same sterile site. They were formed up in a precise, determined column. So, I halted the boat to let them pass. That was a long paddle for such small, flightless ducklings; I still wonder what attracted them across the way?

Every weekend I go sailing on the San Francisco Bay, out of Alameda. This causes me to regularly pass by the Oakland docks. In later July, the obvious routine back-ups of container deliveries stranded on the waterfront suddenly and dramatically worsened. Now there are acres and acres of 5 and 6 high stacked containers languishing unattended.

Blatant supply-chain issues that have run all this last year have radically deteriorated even further. The issue is the Government imposed Contractor benefits requirements that have spilled beyond upsetting Lyft and Uber drivers to now directly impacting the legal operation of Truckers, >90% of which in CA are subject to the very same restrictions. And we thought it could not get worse. Sigh.

Fortunately, when the docks are passed, sailing begins then the views and experiences on the Bay are as pleasant, distracting and fulfilling as ever. The fogs still roll in through the Golden gate, wind blows down the slot over Alcatraz and the Hills South of the City are washed over by low cloud approaching from the ocean as later afternoon arrives. And in the Summer, skies overhead often remain generally cloudless, with the offshore views of the City allowing it to appear as untroubled as in previous years.

I made another recent ferry trip with a group of friends from Alameda to the Ferry building on the San Francisco Embarcadero. The crowds are somewhat returned, and ferry schedules are similar to pre-COVID times.

The outing remains the same once the Ferry is docked and passengers disembarked. A quick wander through the weekend Outdoor Market stalls by the Terminals, a visit to the (most still remain and are now open for business) indoor stores, meandering through the unmasked crowds. Then along the front up to Pier 39.

The numerous Taxis and bicycle-powered rickshaws are back. People are generally quite mellow in the Summer warmth, milling along the waterfront where clusters of Vendors are set up with carts offering bacon-wrapped hot-dogs or even some surprisingly available alcoholic mixed drinks. It is relaxed.

Some half-dozen well-known restaurants are closed and gone, victims of COVID closures and lost business. A few other stores have closed too, remaining shuttered here and there, but the atmosphere remains lively, and the Wharf area appears largely separate from the plague of Homelessness and Crime centered in the Downtown Center of the City.

The usual walking journey continues passed the Boudin Bakery through the busier parts of Fisherman’s Wharf and up to the Buena Vista on Ghirardelli Square for Irish Coffees and the inevitable light-hearted banter with the bartenders mass-producing their tasty whisky-based hot drinks.

It is a great outing. A low-cost Ferry Trip adventure from Alameda, no parking fees nor hassle with San Francisco’s City traffic and social woes.

Finally, the journey ended with a hurried Uber ride required to make the Ferry Departure times and enjoy the speedy powered catamaran ride back to the Island and waiting (Freely) parked cars. It is a great day out.  😊

And now, back in Santa Cruz the Summer party evenings are well underway. The Harbor features a roped-off-beach musical event each Thursday, hosted by the Crow’s Nest restaurant, and Capitola Village presents a band every Wednesday at their beach-front Bandstand. Both are very friendly civilized events with eating, drinking and dancing activity enjoyed by locals and visiting holidaymakers alike.

As for myself I just got my second, Cancer All-Clear confirmation, following surgery just last September. The check-up regimen includes alternating 6-monthly scans of lower abdomen and then chest, looking for signs of return. This basic routine protocol is similar for many, should they remain fortunate.

If you are lucky then your concerns of recurrence only return as the next tests are done and only escalate as you await the results, several days later. Good outcomes feature a few happy days, hopefully followed by a quickly fading memory of liabilities as the next six months roll by, despite the very real ever-presence of a Damoclesian sword.

Half the people reading this will have cancer in at least one form; likely ALL will have it intrude upon their lives in some way, visited upon loved-ones, colleagues, acquaintances or some such. For all of you I wish the best outcomes and unburdened awareness. 😊

Returning to another stellar and happy fact (providing your finances are US-based) …

By mid-July, the Euro was on a par with the US Dollar for the first time in 20 years. I.e., 1 EU ~ 1 USD. Great if you want to travel in Europe. It is even worth buying Euros proactively if you have some European travel planned in the not-too-distant future. However, not so good coming the other way, of course. 😉

For myself, I have a trip planned to Alaska from the start of August. I visited there a couple of times more than 10 years ago, but this will now be my third consecutive year on a primarily fishing trip.

I first went fishing to Alaska as soon as COVID permitted, two years ago. But this time the whole immediate family will go together. It should be fun.  😊

If you ever get the chance to visit, go!  I hear the Alaskan cruises are great, but ocean travelers tell me they always wished they had been land-based for the duration; this is my recommendation, too.  For myself, although having previously visited the spectacular Denali region, I have kept my more recent fishing, travelling and day-trip adventures South of Anchorage around the Kenai River and Peninsula.

Well, that completes my review of primarily Happy Stuff. 😉

At this point I normally review the last month or so’s list of World, US, Local News, Events and bona-fide Warnings. Indeed, I am sitting with a pile of diligently compiled and trustworthy clippings and notes by my side, as I write. These latest records are particularly miserable. BUT DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH as I intend to PASS on the review, this time. 😊

I am sure most people feel much the same way as I do about current events. Like many, I am tired from the inundation of blatant, self-serving lies, corrupt and insane actions, regardless of their origins.

And with that, I close the book on the last several weeks of disappointing News and Events.  😊

As for my closing message…

Do you ever truly get a break from the incoming storm of miserable News?

Does your family ever enjoy the opportunity to celebrate each other and tune-out negative surroundings?

With Summer Holidays upon us, it is a good time to do just that. So, make time for a true break from the misery and dial-in some positives. Now is as good a time as any to savor life and enjoy your blessings.  So, make it happen.

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.


Riding The Flow Of National Chaos into 4Q21

In my last BLOG I did pontificate that the social turmoil and chaos shows no sign of abating and would at least be ridden solidly by politicians into the 2022 mid-terms. Unfortunately, this is proving true and if anything, deeds and misdeeds are worsening.

So, I want to begin here with a (happy) review of my recent trip to Alaska. 😊

If you visit there, you’d better be outdoorsy as that’s mostly the menu with everything happening in spectacular natural surroundings.

I was previously last in Alaska during September 2020. It proved to be a great escape from the Covid-plagued behaviors and restrictions of my California home. At least it was once the airport Covid clearances in Anchorage were completed, permitting entry to the countryside and greater State.

This trip, restrictions and checks were gone. The Season was the largest (by visitors) for the last couple of years and the Sockeye (Reds) Salmon runs were prolific. So, the agenda was filled with much fishing and more sightseeing of the massive State. This year the locals had businesses to run and clients to enjoy.

The visit was in early August 2021; Alaska starts backing down for mid-September. By end of month (Sept.) those providing the holiday services and support are often leaving for their own vacations and warmer climes.

It’s the same again this year. Once schools are in some form of session, the vacation traffic drops and the evening air begins to cool; time for Holiday Season to be cleared-away, everything cleaned and then stored during Winter.

We stayed in a lodge near Kenai. It backed onto a small creek that fed the rolling Kenai River just 300 yards away. On a couple of evenings moose swam across the water 25 yards below us as we relaxed after dinner. They wandered up alongside the dining area and eventually disappeared slowly into the wooded undergrowth.

I fished for Sockeye and Silver Salmon while there. Both proved plentiful and fun to catch. Only one day did we (just) miss our limits of whatever we were fishing.

The first few days out were on the easily accessible Kenai and then later the Kasilof River where the haul-out of the boat is via a >100 yard long, pick-up-truck powered towline that drags the drift boat 30 yards through a groove in the thick slimy brown mud of the tidal riverbank and up onto a wooden ramp. Interesting and aged technology.

Other days featured floatplane rides out to the remote Kustutan River (+30 mins away) and Crescent Lake (about 45 mins flight). The latter trip was sprinkled with constant views of and access to Brown Bears. Got some great pics of Moms with cubs and video of one sow that routinely swims under water, snagging salmon carcasses and slow-moving fish for her pleading and playful off-spring. And the Trout and Salmon fishing there was prolific, too. 😉

Managed a (Fjord) Cruise out of Seward for the obligatory views of Whales, sedimentary Rock Pinnacles (a la China South Seas kind), Puffins, Whales, Otters and then of course the great Glacier.

That giant blue piece of ice is a mile wide and hundreds of feet high where the gorge opens into the bay. It runs 14 miles back and offers a chilled and breezy micro-climate at its foot that makes eager passengers huddle for quick phot-ops and look to a speedy return for inside viewing opportunities. A single other passenger vessel sauntered up to join our viewing at the glacier’s extended base where resting harbor seals lay around in droves.

The return journey was delayed as one of two engines lost power aboard the spotless, 6-month-old ship. But the extra half hour journey addition back to Seward on the 400 passenger vessel passed easily as we enjoyed glacier-ice margheritas and sunset views.

We made a couple of day runs out of Homer, departing it’s massive (20’-30’) tide swings and the great spit that runs out into the ocean while providing convenient harbor access to the Gulf. The fishing delivered large Halibut the first trip and an extended second day out grabbed us more of the same plus a great haul of cod from further out to sea.

The vessel in Homer was skippered by a woman in her early 20’s and crewed by her younger sister. They certainly knew their trade. The second trip must have brought in well over 600lb of fish for the six of us fishing. All those fish were fully filleted and bagged before we completed the 2-hour run back into Homer. Impressive.

We did manage to visit the Salty Dawg Bar on the Spit and pin our obligatory signed $1 bill to the ceiling, joining the 70,000 other predecessors. The Café right across the road offering Fish and Chips was well worth a visit, too. 😊

If you’re ever in Homer, see if you can find that autographed (Ian & Vivian, Santa Cruz) banknote. And good luck!

All good things must end, so we eventually made the long spectacular ride back to Anchorage, boarded our flight and acknowledging the season was approaching an end, flew back to San Francisco and drove home to Santa Cruz.

We are already booked for our 2022 return; this time we’ll bring along our little family group to renew our acquaintance with the many good new friends we made in Kenai and on our trips.

Since then, I have completed a few weekend sails on the San Francisco Bay. The official sailing season is done and the Delta variant and time of year seems to have taken a toll on sailboat traffic hereabouts despite the spectacularly warm and generally clement late-season weather.

Sailing vessels are few again and the backed-up container ships littering the lower Bay and filling the Oakland docks all this year have disappeared. There are still the usual (for 2021) ten or so empty tankers anchored up below the Bay bridge. But the Container Ships are few and none down the Alameda channel as I write. Most odd.

I’m currently stationed on a boat at a club in Alameda. Yesterday I wandered down the docks and noticed an old man one third the way up a sailboat mast (where there is nothing of interest to repair or check) and apparently stuck in a Bosun’s Chair on its way up. So, I enquired and not surprisingly a little help was required.

It seems the man operating the (tail-less) winch was having trouble both pulling on the halyard that ran to the Chair from the masthead and simultaneously winding the winch. He complained that his knee surgery was impeding him (it didn’t work right) and not his 93 years.

He also pointed out the young guy was the one in the Chair; he apparently is only 89 years old. So, I helped and we hauled the Chair up for work to occur just at the first spreader, halfway up the mast.

Turns out the youngster is someone with whom I dined a year ago and didn’t recognize from this unusual angle. He is also a 3-time winner of the Trans Pac Race, the annual sail-fest that runs from Long Beach environs to Honolulu, Hawaii. It’s a small world.

And now to the News and record of recent, prominent News events…

As I have mentioned before I try to grab information from all sides of the Political spectrum. Now we are mostly focused upon a new Administration domestically as that is where much action occurs.

While having lunch today I watched an hour of MSNBC that was running in the restaurant. Wow. A few 10’s of minutes here and there is one thing, but an hour, ouch. Now I understand why a judge dismissed a suit brought against Rachel Maddow in the last six months because (paraphrase) everyone knows what she says is not really News and what she reports is more reality TV than credible News.

And this observation caused a valid and provable suit for Slander to be DISMISSED? Something here is very wrong. Do Maddow’s (newest) viewers KNOW that this is what they are hearing? My guess is that many do not. What I heard in my extended Maddow-less exposure earlier today was of the same ilk. Ouch, again.

I wonder, does exposure to today’s News Channels have a detrimental effect on listeners? Whatever your political persuasion I’m inclined to believe if you’re buying what’s been sold there is real risk of you losing all perspective and drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid.

So, let’s try here to pick out some demonstrably FACTUAL (if not universally popular) NEWS…

And I’ll try and keep it to one-liners to speed things for the reader.

By early August as many as six Governors had been stripped of powers by their Legislatures for overreach during the pandemic. Their States include Michigan, New York (no surprise here), Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio and Idaho.

The Afghanistan departure was a clueless unmitigated disaster. Biden still struggles to understand it’s his Execution not the Exit that is the issue. He left people behind and got others killed in a suicide bombing. His futile attempt at payback blew-up when even NYT admitted he’d killed a known Aid worker and his family in a clearly miscalculated over-the-horizon drone strike. MSM continues to ignore this, but it meets the bar as a war-crime and even ex-Obama officials are calling it out.

As for Austin (Secretary of Defense) and Milley (Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff) they are worthless co-conspirators in the Afghanistan debacle. They did nothing tangible to mitigate inevitable problems even when the disastrous so-called Exit Plan lay in front of them. Their previous service is of little consequence if they ignored what they must have known would occur. It is an issue of Duty, Responsibility and Personal Integrity.

A MAJOR related faux pas lies in Biden telling no allies of his withdrawal intentions. This is incomprehensible. The previously privately reported international belief in his incompetence and senility is now in plain sight and openly discussed across allied Nations. He has lost friends as those countries must now seek alignments and reliable alliances other than with his Administration and Military.

And Dept of Defense Secretary Austin now says he thinks Al Qaeda may re-emerge in Afghanistan. Really? What an amazing statement of the bleeding obvious. Clearly, he does not possess adequate deductive skills for his position. CIA insight says that ISIS and Al Qaeda may re-emerge withing 1-2 years. Sadly, I will be shocked if they’re not enacting some crime on US soil well before a year has passed.

After Obama created ISIS v.1.0 from his actions in Iraq, now Biden is going for Al Qaeda reborn and ISIS v.2.0 with his incompetence in Afghanistan.

As for the surprise collapse of the Afghani Government, even my own readings in the month or so before exit identified there was at most a couple of months before total chaos. The Taliban were simply everywhere on the Map of Afghanistan and the installed Afghan president was an off-the-charts corrupt and weak leader.

At the time of US withdrawal, the Pentagon announced the Taliban were 90 days from Kabul. It was 90 hours. This is the SAME Pentagon that announced, for no apparent reason, out of the blue in the first weeks of 2020 that the Coronavirus was not an engineered virus nor was it from other than natural sources. I want what they’re smokin’. WE need a new Pentagon. ADVICE to The Pentagon: Many people will recall unprompted and strange misdirection.

I dread to think what human rights abuses are already underway in Afghanistan. When you have no feet on the ground and ZERO motivation to acknowledge the consequences of your actions, I am guessing MSM will stay quiet on this subject until some Domestic (or more likely Foreign) sources cause an outcry that is (i.e., SHOULD be) impossible to ignore.

The plight of Afghan women and girls is profoundly troubling. Their abandonment is simply inexcusable. Many have been raised in an era and culture where the constraints they are already beginning to experience were NOT the norm though the last 20 years.

Sadly, the rumors that the State Dept. was trying to charge Americans (and others) fleeing Afghanistan $2k / head for transport out, are true. Afghani’s that helped the US were often being asked to pay more. There was even some US Government attempt to justify this action… sigh.

Fortunately, in the early days of the evacuation, Brits were rescuing their own ex-pats and Americans, too. But they were approached by the American Army holding the Airport and requested to knock it off as you’re making us look bad. There were also a number of NGO’s operating to get 100’s of people out in the latter stages. They reported being routinely held up and refused right to depart flights by the State Dept for unreported reasons.

And in the more mundane recall of Gavin Newsome, voting was concluded and the Recall failed. Hard to imagine there would be any change in deep Blue CA. Dems own the cities (LA, San Francisco and San Diego) and yet there’s no love anywhere else around the State for Gavin.

Newsome’s flaws and failures are so numerous: He’s moved from being a Coke-Head Mayor to a (well-known) drinking problem, while diddling a top Aid, using money raised for critical Firefighting for other purposes, ignoring his own Covid restrictions, illegally grabbing Covid funds for his personal business, lying about his accomplishments with the ~29 essential fire prevention tasks (he completed 25% of one item, blew-off the rest and claimed success) he’d defined for fund-raising, continued the 40-year total neglect of water collection systems in the State, freed >40k prison inmates to save them from Covid as crime grew, Homelessness exploded and filth proliferated within the Cities, and on and on and on. Who needs this guy?

Yet in came the damaged crew of his Auntie Nancy, Beleaguered Biden, Laughing Do-Nothing Kamala, Lying Pocahontas, Obama and Communist Bernie to espouse his great worth (well, to THEIR cause, really). Honestly, you travel around CA and outside of the Cities and Gavin is NOT liked at all.

But that is what mail-in ballots are for! Yes, the same system as the French officially outlawed in 1975 as it was so blatantly and easily corruptible. Yup, EVERYONE in CA got a mail-In ballot.

Better beware. Gavin will be back much later, too, untarnished and running for President before you know what hit you.

Changing the subject…

A Harvard Economist broke the bad news to CNN: Inflation has already voided Biden’s Covid Relief bills. In fact, the massive Kroger empire has advised that the back end of 2021 will see another 3-5% of what is likely escalating inflation (*).

So, Biden has self-inflicted crisis with the Southern Border, Gas Prices, Inflation, Afghanistan and Covid control. Am I forgetting something? I know the government is TAKING DOWN Trump fencing in Arizona which is to presumably facilitate Illegal Immigration and enhance the Human and Drug Trafficking industries. In Texas they’re BUILDING their own wall.

What could be the rationale for removing an existing wall? Walls are KNOWN and PROVEN highly effective in securing borders and limiting trafficking.

Looks like recent Mandates to enforce Vaccination in the workplace will keep the courts busy. This is simply NOT popular and NOT supported by Polling as I write. Clearly even many vaccinated people (like myself) would like to see more people vaccinated but DO NOT SUPPORT mandatory declarations for the workplace.

Many States are mandating vaccinations for workers. Fauci wants travelers without Vaxes to be grounded and the Army has just mandated vaccination for all. A couple of top FDA people recently resigned as they do not support boosters; the argument is that there is nowhere near the data available to mandate or even recommend that action at this point. Ahhh… yet another contradiction in medical advice.

The UK says it will not waste time on Vaccination Passports as it would be doing this for the sake of it and it has questionable real value. Tell that to folks in NYC and other places where it is already actively pushed.

And that tenacious little devil, Fauci is now being unambiguously exposed as a liar and a liar to Congress, to boot. Nothing will be done about this, but the truth is Fauci (under Obama permissions) funded a 3rd party Company which channeled funds to the under-prepared Wuhan Lab for research on Gainer (proteins were added to beef up the original virus) Bat Viruses.

At the time Fauci said the work was worth the risk of a pandemic. Hmmm. Hope he doesn’t run into a victim’s family in a dark alley.

Even Hillary’s emails had her trying to ensure we (the US) got all the details of the research that was funded and as for China, well, it’s a case of we HAVE the Bats. 😉

In mid-August Scotland announced it will allow 4-year-olds to change sex w/o parental consent. Nobody could make this stuff up.

At around that same time Polling showed that ~80% of voters blame Biden for what he insists is just an Inflation Spike… not as per Krogers’ Supermarkets (see above, (*)) warn, or other economists foretell.

And what is the deal with Kamala? Her toxic work environment and do-nothing, vanish-when-there’s-an-issue persona has got her mostly acknowledged across party lines as unfit and seriously underqualified for any office, especially the Presidency. It’s 50 years since a VP was so despised and thought to be this incompetent.

The FBI has announced that despite claims made no coordination is evident on Social Media Platforms that facilitated the Jan 6th incidents. I HAVE seen the video of Ashli Babbit’s shooting and cannot rationalize the action with the suggested risk to Capitol staff. If her family is able (as currently intended) to sue and a jury sees what I viewed they will have a field day. The claimed situation, shooting and timing all look very wrong and highly questionable.

Falling back to the Covid action… a LOT have people have died around the world and still no accountability is even remotely on the horizon. It is certain by their lockdown actions domestically and from satellite imaging around hospitals that China absolutely understood the infectiousness of the disease in 2019 and yet were pushing the rest of the World to stay open, travel and ignore what was going on there internally. I expect Cuomo’s’ lies and lack of accounting for 12,000 nursing Home deaths would have made him a popular visitor there, had he not otherwise been occupied with sexual harassment, assault and authoring his (now withdrawn) book.

Luv-Gov Cuomo resigned and stuck around the 2 weeks following to lock-in his $50,000 /year pension before avoiding the swinging door hitting him is the ass when he left. He still may yet face criminal charges for his female-assault work.

Antifa have established another Autonomous Zone in Portland and police decided to not attend the planned riot between them and right-wingers when it was scheduled in later August. The politicians favored this (lack-of) Action Plan. The residents? Not so much.

Biden’s Pandemic Plan execution features increased disease spread and more death. There were 2x more people in hospital beds Labor Day 2021 when there WAS a vaccine than in 2020 when there was NO vaccine. Not really what he’d promised in his campaign even after Trump left him the Vax. Ahh, those mutations just keep on giving.

As for the Biden Vaccine Mandate, it may be hitting more problems than just legal and social opposition. It appears the Dept responsible (Occupational Health and Safety Administration, or OSHA; part of the Dept of Labor) for the implementation and tracking of such a program is something of a ramshackle and traditional mess.

Apparently, even if $Billions were thrown at OSHA it may be years before it could effectively support the Mandate. Ah Ha, more Administration Planning at its finest, a la Afghanistan Execution. If the Government can’t operate and implement its dictates anyway, what’s the discussion about? What IS the threat?

And Government funding for Covid-related workplace absences goes on. There are >10 million US jobs looking for workers and the data shows that once people are getting at least 75% of what they would from working, they will NOT be looking for a job.

Where I live in CA there are open positions everywhere, especially in service industries. I hear some prospective workers demand employers pay compensation to relinquish Government hand-outs, PLUS an incentive on top. Even then folks jump ship quickly to other jobs that spring up after they have already started in their new positions.

Unsurprisingly, Locked-down Blue States with such payouts are bottom of the economic recovery charts, which are topped by opened-up, Red States.

In late August, hundreds were arrested in Australia as violent clashes with police occurred during protests about renewed Lockdown restrictions. Similar demonstrations have occurred around the World, notably in France, Italy and the UK. I’m pretty sure the MSM in all these places will play down the issue to avoid escalations. But globally, people are registering their frustrations with the local controls and mandates.

By mid-September violent protests in France against Vaccinations and Mask Mandates had already been running for eight consecutive weeks.

China has been pointing out to the likes of Taiwan and others that they can no longer rely on the US to protect them given the recent performance in exiting Afghanistan.

It seems that Obama is the gift that keeps on giving. His 60th birthday bash was said to be cut back to a few friends and family from the 700 guests originally planned, once public outrage grew. Well, the cutback was untrue; the guest count was reportedly higher than first proposed and the super spreader Covid-count from the event totaled some 74 guests. The normally very quiet local hospital had several extra beds occupied by associated local attendees, too. Unwanted and suppressed photos momentarily posted and escaping from the event showed a mask-less encounter for all.

And as for the FIVE Guantanamo prisoners Obama traded for the later-convicted American collaborator and deserter Bergdahl, well, they turned up again. Surprise! They did NOT vanish quietly into Qatar (or Bahrain, or some other such place) and disconnect from terrorism as we were promised. Rather, FOUR of them now feature very prominently in the current, new Taliban Government… such leadership, care and foresight.

Next, we have the on-going saga of the 2020 elections and voting. Things clearly went awry in Georgia and Arizona (large scale Ballot Harvesting), by any measure. But the legal firm Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) that is dedicated to Election Integrity has recorded that around 15 million mail-in ballots simply went astray in the US. It is unknown where they are, and they are wholly unaccounted.

We can see how the failed Mail-In Newsome recall panned out and now must wonder what will be the impact of such ballot anomalies on the 2022 mid-term elections? Sigh.

On the vaccination front, the FDA approved the Pfizer shot, paving the way for Vaccination Mandates, which arrived shortly thereafter despite repeated claims from Biden (often, since Dec 2020), Pelosi (April 2021), Psaki (multiple times) et al that they could not and would not happen.

And guess what? The Pfizer vaccine approved by the FDA is NOT for the same vaccine as the one administered to millions. It is somewhat different and there is really NO data on what this might mean for recipients and boosters.

Well, this is an interesting, lightly publicised twist. Its almost as bad as getting buyers remorse from using the now-recognized, far-less-effective-versus-mutations (and in general), 1-shot J&J vaccine and then wondering when a booster or even a somewhat proven cocktail mix might be available to fix the situation.

And the current unpopularity contest continues…

Kamala is attacking the Texas Heartbeat Law as an affront to women’s right to control their bodies and health concerns. Apparently, this logic does not apply to the Vaccination Mandate that’s now on the table for ~100 million Americans and which she is promoting vigorously.

Joe is in more trouble after the discovery by Genealogist Bannerman and Presidential Lineage expert Gary Roberts that he has a couple of slave-owning ancestors. As the woke mob wants George Washington cancelled for similar ownership it will interesting to see if this blemish is attacked. Let’s face it, Biden is no Washington. 😉

However, President Biden is already facing growingly antagonistic crowds. College Campus football games are commonly featuring F..k Biden chants and his September trip to CA in support of Newsome brought out disparaging banners for his motorcade. He was also roundly booed during this Long Beach College visit.

And the lying continues with Joe. Last month he claimed he had a job as a trucker and this month he claimed his first job offer was as a lumberjack with an Idaho Company. Surprise, there are no such records to support either of these claims. Its just more lies on a very LONG and diverse list; several other such claims were listed in my last Blog.

Son Hunter seems to have lost a third laptop which is reportedly now in the hands of Russians and likely has similar naked pictures of himself featured prominently.

As for Nancy P., her Agenda is polling so toxically she is perceived as hurting the Dem cause heading towards 2022 mid-term elections. She also heads the Most Hated Politicians List by a country mile.

Southern California closed all National Forests in their territory through Sept. 17th, citing wildfire concerns. This adds to the nine forests already closed in Northern CA and at time of writing there are almost 2 million acres that have already been burned in the State by wildfires, just this year.

Iran has been confirmed Nuclear by the UN. Details suggest sufficient weapons grade material can be produced to arm a warhead within two months. And their new President and other hardliners have declared no interest in sitting down to talk with the US. I doubt Israel can sit still for too long.

The very SAME data that has Europeans Mask-less in schools has Dems calling for masking everywhere in the US… especially in Red States where their control is mitigated. Such different scientific opinions… sigh. ☹

And back in San Francisco a new scheme is underway to minimize the doubling (to 119 total) of gun-related crime incidents that occurred in the first half of the year (2021 versus 2020). They have chosen to PAY gun-bearing criminals $300 / month to NOT shoot innocent people or one-another.

San Francisco has already begun their pilot program and NYC is underway with their equivalent $1,000.00 / month offering. I await the results with bated breath. 😊

Interestingly, the support for gun control is falling dramatically, especially in the important Young (18-29 years) and Minorities Demographics. Less than HALF of these groups are now supportive per a Mid-September Poll completed by ABC News/ Washington Post.

When this Poll was last completed in April 2018, 65% of these young Americans supported Gun Control Laws. That support has now fallen to 45% as reported by Newsweek. The degree to which people have turned against these Laws is dramatic. I’m guessing the riots, looting and protests throughout 2020 and broadly across the US has changed many minds?

Again, switching subjects…

It seems that Joe’s propensity for short workdays, weeks and extensive breaks continues running at full steam. Even when at work he short shifts his activities. Turns out in his first nine months of office he has never once attended the weekly telecon with State Governors. Hard to imagine that communication channel holds much value with him.

And Joe has a habit of going off-script with the result that WH communication feeds featuring him have been abruptly truncated several times in the last month. He’s being MUTED and folks in Congress are asking WHO has the authority to do this? A very good question.

As for myself, I now typically receive notice of 4-5 Nursing Job Openings and associated employment solicitations each day. I have no idea how or why this could have started and am without any formal medical training. It looks like somebody’s algorithms and/or personnel monitoring system has gone woefully astray. 😉

Well, that completes a record for many of the messy news items that flew around since my last Blog. Quite a troubling offering for anyone to digest. 😉

Hope this synopsis proves useful to you staying current with the torrent of events within which we live.

As for myself, I feel up-to-date and ready to move onwards into the onslaught. Do you?

Keep your face to the wind and embrace the storm we must all endure. And Good Luck!

Ian R. Mackintosh is the author of Empower Your Inner Manager Twitter@ianrmackintosh.