BILL WHITTLE always puts things in proper perspective.
Here he deals with the left-wing obsession of “climate change,” a bogus worry if there ever was one.
BILL WHITTLE always puts things in proper perspective.
Here he deals with the left-wing obsession of “climate change,” a bogus worry if there ever was one.
MY FATHER DIED a quarter century ago when he was just three years older than I am right now.
He was a sad man, but he loved summer. He worked evenings, which gave him days free to labor in the yard where we lived in Northern Florida in a ranch house.
He loved the Atlantic beach, sand and saltwater, and he loved tending the yard. Neither interfered with his drinking, however. Heat stirs well with highballs.
I don’t drink — well, not anymore — and maybe that’s why I don’t like gardening, and I don’t live near the beach though we can get there in three hours down the autopista.
And I loathe heat, the lack of which makes my mountaintop home wonderful in summertime. But things really grow here, much better than they did in my father’s yard.
Gotta be the latitude.
Every winter I blaze through the yard like a machete-wielding madman even though I actually use a small saw and branch trimmer. The golden datura is slashed back to basics, leaving the trunk and some nubs. It’s soft wood.
It booms back in June once it feels a touch of rain.
My father had a pink-flowered mimosa of similar size in our Florida yard. It was the only thing of any height. The rest were pansies, petunias, such stuff, all planted in rows.
Here I have a Willy-Nilly Zone where things grow, hemmed in by rock and concrete, in any direction they desire.
And for things of size, there’s monster bougainvillea, the towering nopal, a gigantic fan palm.
I was pressed, as a boy, into yard-mowing duties, and I received a small sum. I forget how much. And I once cut the Hacienda lawn too, years ago, but not anymore.
That’s why the Goddess invented pesos for me to pay Abel the Deadpan Yardman.
About a decade back, after I moved to Mexico, I drove a rented car slowly by the Florida house. The mimosa was gone. Everything was bleak. The grass was spotty due to cars being parked on it, just like a rack of rednecks would do.
There were no flowers at all. Nothing.
In the 1950s, the area was the middle class moving up. Now it’s the working class barely holding on.
Summers separated by half a century of time.
THERE ARE TWO items on today’s agenda.
Must have something to do with the rain’s arrival.
There are a couple of ways to know they’ve returned. One is to be on the veranda downstairs at dusk. It’s their takeoff time. The other sure clue is the pile of bat crap every morning on the floor of their corner of the veranda.
It’s a sizable display.
The first method is fun. The second … not so much. The bat crap must be swept with care and tossed into the yard trash.
I assume that it’s Mexican free-tails that we have. I assume this for two reasons. One is their name. Mexican. And the other is that we are firmly in the middle of their range.
Over the years I’ve had some exciting moments with these bats. One morning, we sat on the veranda with coffee and bagels, and I noticed a bat trapped in the nylon strings of a wind chime.
I donned leather gloves and liberated him. Another time, while cleaning on the veranda, I was surprised to find a couple of the little, brown buggers sleeping peacefully inside a sombrero hanging on the wall.
More recently, just about two years ago, we encountered one hanging from a light fixture in our Downtown Casita. I captured and liberated him too.
I’ve become quite the batman.
I couldn’t understand at first how he got into the casita, but finally I noticed the chimney was a direct route.
I have put wire screen over the top of the chimney. We rent the Downtown Casita to vacationers, and I doubt they would want to awake one morning and see a bat hanging from the bedroom light fixture. That’s where the bat was, in the bedroom.
I like bats, and you should too. They’re an essential element of the ecosystem. They gobble lots of mosquitoes.
* * * *
Let’s move now to the second item on today’s agenda. Teeth. About a month ago I wrote about my first step in getting a tooth implant (A dental case).
After having the problem tooth pulled, the dentist inserted a metal post in my jawbone and covered it with a temporary tooth. It looked quite snazzy.
The next step was a three-month wait till the bone connects with the post. Then the permanent tooth will be applied.
Three weeks later, the temporary tooth fell off. I phoned the dentist down in the capital city, and he said come right over. I did, and he quickly reattached it.
A bulb lit over my head.
I phoned the dentist again and asked: Is this thing totally cosmetic, just for looks? Yep, he replied.
See you two months, I countered.
I always wanted to look like a pirate with a snaggletoothed smile. Now I do, and it’s a look I’ll sport till August. The gap is not directly in front, but it’s not hidden way back either. It’s midway, quite apparent when I give a good grin.
One of the joys of retirement is that you can look however the devil you want. I look like a pirate.
Or a Mexican bricklayer.
THE RAINY SEASON arrived this week with a splash!
Three days ago I was enjoying a nice café Americano negro at a sidewalk table downtown when the skies opened with a vengeance.
In short order, the street vanished, and a lake took its place. Passing cars pushed waves onto the sidewalk, so I retreated closer to the wall with my chair and table.
The temperatures have dropped. The dust is washed into the gutters, down the drain pipes and into the lake.
And now my grass is greening. Soon it will need mowing and edging. Yesterday I pulled the mower from under a table on the Garden Patio and wiped it off with paper towels.
I poured fresh gas into the tank. I primed the carb (three times), and I yanked on the rope. Roar! The first yank!
Craftsman makes good stuff.
That leaves the weedeater, which I bought just last year, a Stihl, which is also a good item, but all weedeaters are a bitch to crank. The Stihl is just a little less so. But it has a rather complicated process you must observe to start it.
And being along in years, my arm is not what it once was. If the Stihl does not crank quickly, I’m out of the game. I have not tried to start it yet. I am procrastinating.
While I let Abel the Deadpan Yardman mow the grass with the Craftsman, I am hesitant to put the Stihl in his mitts. The last time I let a local use a weedeater, it ended up in tatters.
Mexicans tend not to take care of things owned by other people. It’s a cultural trait and not one of their better ones. But I may be forced to hand it over to him.
After shooting the mower and Stihl, I photographed these cacti. I’m a cactus man. I planted them in Houston, but they never did squat.
Here, however, they’re right at home. I planted these cacti when they were small. The ones at the far end are now taller than I am.
So summer and its accompanying rains are here. We love it when that happens after the stuffy, dry, dusty spring. But by soggy September we’ll be praying for an end to it.
WILL THE gory head of Trump, so grotesquely exhibited by Kathy Griffin, and the blowback it created, spell the end of the Democrats’ hysteria over losing the election?
Don’t bet the farm. Will it reduce it a bit?
Let us hope so.
My child bride occasionally views U.S. news, and she asks me what’s going on up there.
And I always tell her the truth, that the Hillary-and-Bernie people are toddlers on the floor, kicking arms and legs, and screaming bloody murder. Seven months now.
They didn’t get their way. They want that Snickers! But there’s another way to see the situation.
It’s the theater in which Americans sit or, more specifically, which of the two screens in that theater they are watching.
Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, writes a blog that often touches on the political scene. He maintains that Americans are watching two different movies.
One side side of the theater is the movie of President Trump making America Great Again and giving the endless raspberry to insufferable coastal elites. Much of the audience, likely most, is watching that blockbuster film.
But on the other side of the theater is the horror flick depicting the Mongol hordes that have invaded the White House. That’s the movie New Yorkers are watching, plus folks in Washington DC, Seattle, California and much of Oregon.
It’s the movie Hollywood is watching, and it’s the movie shown repeatedly on 99 percent of university campuses.
When Weepy Barry was re-elected in 2012, I was flabbergasted. And so were almost all conservatives. We thought we had the election in the bag, but we did not.
We were severely disappointed, but we did not take to the streets. We did not burn cars. We did not photograph ourselves with bloody heads of Obama. Didn’t even occur to us.
We accepted the loss with grace. Well, most did.
America has been subjected now to seven months of nonstop screaming, bawling, death threats and rioting by Democrats. Enough! Perhaps Kathy Griffin’s grotesque stunt that horrified many Democrats too will inspire a calming on the left.
Let us hope so. It’s quite important.
You’ll get another chance in four years. But skip geriatric socialists and charmless wives of ex-presidents. Be imaginative! Nominate Al Franken or Pocahontas. We would love that.
Meanwhile, grow up. Get off the floor. You look absolutely ridiculous because you are.
I LEFT THE United States in pretty good condition when I moved over the Rio Bravo in January 2000. Bill Clinton was president, and the stock market was going gangbusters.
Alas, my absence was noted, and the nation went straight to Hell. The stock market started a two-year plunge that year. Then other horrible things began to happen.
Mohammedans attacked New York City. U.S. military expeditions into the Middle East were mucked up.
The economy collapsed in 2008. Would this have happened had I stayed home in Houston? There’s no way to know.
And things grew even worse.
Voters put a left-wing, mulatto community organizer with little useful experience into the White House and then, astonishingly, re-elected him four years later. Kool-Aid moment.
The White House power vacuum emboldened murderous Mohammedans far and wide. Leftists overran American universities, kicking out contrary opinions.
And here we are today.
The White House’s community organizer freed the traitor Bradley Manning* from prison in January, and Brad will soon do an interview with ABC “News.” Expect sympathy and softballs.
Meanwhile, in New York City, the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade is honoring a Puerto Rican terrorist who took part in fatal, bombing campaigns in the 1970s.
The New York Times prefers to call him “a militant.”
That’s nicer than calling him a murderer.
Furthermore, the City University of New York — a public, tax-funded institution — has invited Mohammedan terrorist supporter, Sharia Law-loving Linda Sarsour to be keynote speaker at a graduation ceremony.
As I look back on the past 17 years and remember the good nation I left compared to what it became immediately on my departure, I cannot avoid thinking that I am the cause.
It troubles my nights. Truly, it does.
* * * *
* Manning loves to be called Chelsea these days, which makes me think of Chelsea Clinton who recently said that child marriage and climate change are interconnected. She said this at a CARE National Conference in Washington D.C. where she was introduced as a “thought leader and change agent.” No joke.
A thought leader.
AUSTRALIA HAS its Outback, and so do we.
It’s out back of the Hacienda. You get there via the back gate. The principal entrance is a block away on a parallel street. I hardly ever come out this way.
There is an annual exception. I come out in late May to sweep my sidewalk and even a part of the street on my side. Yes, it’s my sidewalk because I paid to have it built two years ago.
Stone and concrete.
For most of our time here, it was a very long strip of extremely high weeds. I finally couldn’t take it anymore, and had the sidewalk installed. Now I have pride of ownership.
Late May is the time for the yearly sweep because in early June the rains begin, and if there’s dirt on the street it becomes mud that stays out there till October.
This is only the second annual sweep, and it’s a first for me because last year I hired my nephew, then 13, the lad once known hereabouts as The Young Vaquero.
Watching him “sweep” was amazing. Imagine you handed a broom to a chimpanzee. The Vaquero had no idea what to do with a broom. No one had never taught him.
No clue about dustpans either.
When he was 9 or 10, we were at a carnival, and I paid so he could shoot a toy rifle at targets. However, he had no more idea how to hold a rifle than how to grip a broom.
He’s 14 now and will want a driver’s license in a few more years. I advise you to stay off the highways. He has a bicycle he never uses. He has a skateboard he never uses. He received a toy drone for Christmas. It sits in a closet.
He has a computer tablet, and he plays games all day.
I thought of him as I swept the Outback, and I imagine I will always think of him when I sweep out there. I sweep well. I don’t recall anyone teaching me. I assumed it was innate.
I wield a mean floor buffer too, but I learned that in the Air Force. It was not a skill I learned willingly.
Praying for rain.
But there are fun distractions. One is the orchid peach. It’s my own invention.
Here’s the recipe: Take one peach tree. Any tree will do, but I use peach. It’s out there.
Tie orchid bases to the peach tree. That’s Step Two. Patience is Step Three. Most of the year, they just hang there, but in Springtime they bloom.
These orchids grow wild in the area, attaching themselves to trees — they’re parasites — and in Springtime, vendors walk the streets and stand beside highways, selling them.
I try to purchase at least one a year.
They can grow high, making it difficult to grab them. Once, a couple of years ago, a tall part of a tree on our main plaza broke off and thundered to the sidewalk. Nobody was hurt.
But the hunk of tree lying on the sidewalk was chockablock with blooming orchids. People went at them like a pack of wolves. I happened by after most of the orchids were plucked.
This year I purchased yellow, a first. All the previous orchids on my peach tree had been pink. You like a little variety in your orchids, color-wise.
The blooms in the photo look a little weary. That’s because they first erupted weeks ago, and they’re just about pooped out for this season. You can see my new yellow one.
The orchid peach. My own invention.
Patent Pending. Or not.
MAY IS THE warmest month of the year here, some might even call it hot, depending on where you’re standing.
In the evenings, upstairs at the Hacienda where, alas, live the Samsung Smart TV and the computers, it can get unpleasant in the late afternoon and early evening.
It’s even been known to chase us downstairs prematurely when we’re trying to relax with Netflix.
And, of course, we have no air-conditioning because 99 percent of the time, it’s not necessary.
Most of downstairs, however, never gets hot due to the high ceiling in the living room. In the bedroom, which has a somewhat lower ceiling, it gets a bit stuffy at times.
We have a ceiling fan in the bedroom, the sole ceiling fan at the Hacienda if you don’t count the fan in the ceiling of my child bride’s pastry kitchen, which stands apart.
May is our worst month. There is the “heat,” the dust, the dead grass in the yard. May is just a period that one must endure in order to enjoy the other 11 months.
One way we endure May is by making limeade.
The first limeades of 2017 were made this morning, a little tardy this year due to this May’s being somewhat less stuffy than the average. We’ve been lucking out.
That’s our limeade station in the photo. One nice limeade requires three limes, three tablespoons of barroom sweetener, water and ice. That’s it. Stir and serve.
Those limes are called lemons down here, limones. What the Gringos call lemons are rarely seen. The yellow things.
Doesn’t matter. Limes do the trick. Every May. Until it starts raining daily in early June.
Then you don’t hanker for limeade anymore.