Ear Bug.

During my Jeep adventures this weekend I had this song cranked up as I was bumping around on a nearly non-existent road.

Here’s Agnetha Fältskog with “I Won’t Let You Go”.  You probably recognize Agnetha from ABBA.

Mindset.

This picture of me was taken just shy of the turn of the century. Earl snapped this photo; we were sitting on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio.

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This photo sits on our dresser in the area that acts as Earl’s nightstand. I glance at it from time to time when I’m getting ready for the day. This morning I was selecting today’s pair of underwear and thought back to life at the time this photo was taken.

If you think about it, it’s rather startling as to how much as changed in our lives with the great leaps of technology. This photo was taken back in the days when we relied on our film cameras. We’d fill up a roll of film with memories and take the film to be developed. There was much excitement when we picked up our pictures and looked at the results. Memories were relived. The ability to snap a photo, see the results and share the snapshot with the world, all within the span of five seconds, has kind of made the exercise a little less special to me. When I was out on my Jeep ride yesterday, some of the photos of the solar farm were taken with my trusty Canon digital camera. I didn’t see the results until I transferred the photos from the camera to my MacBook. This added a minute bit of anticipation as to how the photos really turned out. It was a moment of excitement.

I look at myself in this photo and try to remember where my head was at this time. I was very excited about technology. I wasn’t too plugged into politics; Bill Clinton was president at the time and I knew that there was a lot of shenanigans going on with the whole Lewinsky thing and that the Republicans were getting much crankier than I remembered them being when growing up. I watched CNN once in a great while. I read the news on various sites through our dial-up connections. It would be a couple of years before I wrote my first blog entry. 

My biggest takeaway from my musings was that I was much less encumbered by the weight of the world. I still felt the need to right injustice in the world but the world didn’t weigh so heavy on my mind all the time. I’m trying to decide if this is a result of tuning into the constant stream of noise on social media/24 hour news/etc or if I’m just growing old and I’m just following the natural path of an American male in his quest to keep those damn kids off his lawn.

I’m making an attempt to not add noise to the chaos online as my 30 day personal growth challenge for the month of June. If I have something to say, I want it to be a positive contribution to the world. I don’t want fame, I don’t want ad revenue, I don’t want notoriety and I certainly don’t want to base my self-worth or value on the number of likes or comments or responses I get to a contribution. 

As I come up on the last year of my 40s, while it’s natural that I’m going be older, I want to consciously be wiser without all the baggage of today’s chaos attached to it. I think that could be the best positive change I can make in my life today. 

And honestly, I wouldn’t mind bringing Henleys back into my wardrobe again.

Mud.

With Earl out of town in Chicago this weekend (moving things into our storage unit and looking for more places to live) I found myself with a little time on my hands today. I originally planned on flying this afternoon but winds were gusting to nearly 30 MPH so it was better if I stayed on the ground. I decided to go driving along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario in the Jeep. 

I enjoy following the “old version” of state routes. These are easily identifiable: the original routing usually splits off at a curve. The state route follows a very straight and wide alignment but the original route veers off and then comes back to the state route farther up the road. I found one such routing today along NY Route 3 in southern Jefferson County. The original routing had this lovely sign.

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This presented me with a challenge for the Jeep. I hadn’t been off-roading in a while, so I followed the remains of this road, which ended up taking me through some farmland, closer to the shore of the lake and then ending abruptly at the remnants of a bridge. Along the way there were places where I could splash the Jeep in the mud.

This is what was left of the road at one point.

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I did come across a scenic view of a tributary from Sandy Creek that flows into Lake Ontario. 

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I was all by myself in the middle of nowhere and it was quite peaceful. I had a lot of fun off roading for a bit. A highly recommended exercise.

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Sun.

Over the past couple of years solar farms have been appearing across some of the local landscape in our county. They are especially prevalent around the county buildings near the old county airport.

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I’m happy to see this type of growth in our region, as there’s a lot of open space that is being used with this clean energy generation. If Earl and I still lived on the big swath of land we owned back in the early 2000s, I’d probably be pushing for a solar farm of some sort on our land.

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While I kind of understand the community resistance to wind farms, I really don’t see why folks have fits about solar farms. Back when the Paris Accord was signed back in 2005, some of the reasoning as to why solar farms are bad for us were baffling. A retired science teacher in North Carolina was concerned that the solar panels would divert the sun away from vegetation. She claimed the solar panels would retard photosynthesis. The vegetation around the solar farms in this area are thriving. Perhaps she just wanted to throw out the word “photosynthesis” to prove to the town council that she was a scientific genius. She also claimed that no one could tell her that these panels didn’t cause cancer. So much for an open mind.

There have also been claims that the panels will suck all of the energy out of the sun and burn it out. My only response to this, “and these people vote”.

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There are efforts to build solar roadways elsewhere in the world. Basically, pavement would be replaced with solar panels which can also have LED lighting embedded in them. These panels would be wired to cabling in raceways along the roadway, which in turn would be tied into the local power grid. Imagine, all that asphalt replaced with solar panels. How awesome would that be? No more worries about an eyesore in a nearby field!

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Another great idea is the addition of solar canopies to parking lots. In a previous job, when I would visit an office outside of Dallas, Texas, the biggest complaint from the local folks was that the new company building did not have a parking garage. Their vehicles were sitting outside, baking in the August Texas heat. Imagine if a relatively inexpensive parking lot canopy made of solar panels was installed over the area. Cars in the shade and electric power generation in one swoop. This would even benefit us in the northeast. Snow off the car in the winter while providing electric power for the surrounding area.

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We can have such a bright future if, as a society, we stop clinging to the past of young, fairly ignorant technology and keep moving innovation forward. Both wind and sun are an unlimited source. Being part of the Paris Climate Accord, no matter how “symbolic” it appeared to be, was a positive step in the right direction.

We need to focus on building a brighter, cleaner future. Stagnant thoughts and ideas will never get us anywhere. We have a future to build. As a world, let’s all build that future together.

Wind.

There’s been a lot of talk over the past 48 hours about Climate Change. I’ve heard also sorts of people debate as to what is happening with Climate Change on a global scale, its impact on the economy, who is responsible for Climate Change and whether the climate is even changing or not. Many believe that Climate Change is part of a cycle and that the Earth will take care of itself. Scientists believe that humans are having a definite negative impact on the climate and we may be mucking it up to the point of very dire events over this century.


Of course, Trump announced yesterday that the United States will be pulling out of the Paris Agreement, an effort initiated on our behalf by the Obama Administration in 2015, because he feels it doesn’t give the United States a fair advantage on the global stage. Sometimes being a leader isn’t a fair game.


Participation in the Paris Agreement is completely voluntary. Canceling the United States’ participation in this agreement is symbolic at best. Hopefully, Trump spent too much of his political capital with this latest distraction stunt to further erase any hopes of him being re-elected for a second term in 2020. Realistically I doubt that he’ll make it to 2018 in the Oval Office, let alone 2020. Though, admittedly I have underestimated the stupidity of the general population and I will probably continue to do so. Optimism and all that.


The Maple Ridge Wind Farm can generate power for about 140,000 homes. With 195 Vesta turbines placed over 75 square miles of land in Lewis County, the wind farm has an installed output of 321 megawatts of power. The wind farm surrounds some farm land of relatives on the paternal side of my family. It’s about 45 miles north of our home. With all the talk about renewable energy this week I went up and parked the Jeep in the Visitors’ Center parking lot, listening to the wind turn the turbine situated closest to the center.  


Admittedly, the turbines are large and definitely a part of the landscape. There’s no escaping them, so I understand why folks would be hesitant to live near these fairly recent additions to the Tug Hill Plateau. But looking at the bright side, there’s no smog, no toxins being released into the air and no threat of a nuclear meltdown.

Just the whisper of clean energy being produced by a renewable resource. Somewhere nearby, 140,000 homes were able to light up their evening because of these guys doing their thing with the wind.

And I find that to be absolutely amazing.

Let’s keep the momentum moving forward. Even if we don’t have to do it, let’s want to make our planet, our only home, the cleanest it can be. Let’s not be selfish.

Let’s give more than we take.

Truth.

Please take a moment to read the annotations/fact checks against Trump’s speech yesterday when he announced that the United States will be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

The man is either a psychopathological liar or he has absolutely no idea of what he is talking about or any grip on reality in the world. He just spews nonsense.

Fact check, people. Fact check.

Trump’s Speech On Paris Climate Agreement Withdrawal, Annotated

h/t to Steve Inskeep from NPR.

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Change.

Setting aside the debate of Climate Change and whether it exists or not, can we all agree that leaving the world a better place than we found it is the right thing to do? As humans, the leaders that share this planet with thousands of other species, shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to sustain our home for as long as possible? Our future is best painted when we find the cleanest, least destructive means of sustenance possible. Borders are a human construct. The planet is bigger than any border. We should be using our leaps in technology to find the best way to grow together. The United States should be leading the world in new technologies to generate clean, non-destructive and energy. Raping and pillaging the planet for resources and leaving destruction behind for future generations to contend with is not the right thing to do.