Hodge-podge

Just a little more about my life and things I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days.

First of all, I don’t really like my job, although it gets me out of sitting alone in my apartment, which is good. Mostly I don’t like having to be on my feet for 8 hours a day. The work itself isn’t bad, except when the bathrooms are messy. And Wal-Mart associates are mostly very nice people. Some of them will even discuss history and politics with me, but I need to do more about economic ideas.

I haven’t had time to do much of anything, the last couple of days. But I did start a couple of things.

I’ve borrowed the book The Silmarillion, by JRR Tolkien (published posthumously with editing by his son Christopher), which contains several stories that are the back history of the elves, mostly, from his more famous works, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Its quite fascinating, especially his ideas about multiple Gods creating things. And also, as a genealogy lover, I like learning about the ancestors of the elf Elrond.

Second thing I’ve just started: a friend recently fixed up my laptop for me, which now works normally except for not having internet. Being a tech guy, he gave me a text editor program for computer programmers, also an interpreter and help guide for the computer language Python, a more advanced language related to C and C++. By more advanced, I mean that things you would have to write as programs in C++ are built into the Python language, some advanced data structures, for instance. I studied C++ in college so this should be quite interesting. I don’t know if I’ll get a career doing Python programming but I’ve started trying to learn the language.

I’ve also volunteered to help a pro-liberty PAC here in New Hampshire, called the Get Involved PAC. They basically recruit candidates to run for state office here, especially to fill seats where the incumbent had a score from the NH Liberty Alliance that was less than a B. I actually did that about a week ago but I don’t think I wrote anything about it at the time. The leaders are Free Staters and also part of NHLA, and one of them is also my landlord, the owner of the building where I live.

I’m about to embark on another chapter of my map creation, tackling the more complex state house maps.

Speaking of chapters, I may post some short stories on this site in the near future. I’ve been working on my own fictional world for quite some time but don’t have anything quite ready to publish yet.

I tried stargazing again yesterday morning and could only see the brightest stars. About all I could make out were the two Dippers and Leo.

Today, the sky is much clearer though there are some clouds.

There was a solar eclipse a few days ago, visible only in a small area in Asia or the Pacific Ocean. A solar eclipse is always followed, so I’ve heard, two weeks later by a lunar eclipse. They are seen over a much larger area of the earth. So, in about ten days, at our next full moon, be watching the skies. This one is a partial eclipse, though.

I’m going back out to look at stars, after I consult my sky map again. More later!


 

 

 

March 12 Election Update

I meant to post about this yesterday, but I had wireless data turned off for half the day and couldn’t figure out why I had no internet. Later on, after work, I was too tired to feel like writing anything.

Anyway, here are the results from Saturday’s voting. There weren’t a lot of delegates at stake, but it could be symvolically bad for trump anyway, the first times multiple places have voted in one day that he didn’t win anything. He only got one delegate, in Wyoming, as did Rubio there. Cruz got the rest of the Wyoming delegates assigned on Saturday, which was about 12, I believe. Rubio got more than half in DC, with Kasich right behind him in the nation’s capital. No surprise there, except the part about Trump and Cruz actually getting some votes, not enough to get delegates. Cruz also got the only one assigned in Guam, the rest being unbound. In all, less than 25 delegates awarded.

On the Democrat side, Clinton got most of the delegates in the Northern Mariana Islands, but Sanders also got some.

That’s it!

In other election news, there’s been some violence in clashes between Trump supporters and protesters at several Trump rallies. According to most of the media, Trump is 100% responsible for this. Never mind that conflict between people of different groups had been going on for, well, forever. Never mind that the Democrats have been catering to certain minorities and telling them all their problems were because of white racism for years. Never mind that certain progressive billionaires have been funding the anti-white protests for over a year. As long as the president says he’s not been divisive, it must be true. Don’t I know what a nice guy Obama is?

Literally, Trump has about twice said something that seemed to encourage violence against protestors who tried to interrupt his speeches. This is about him wanting free speech and those on the left, again, not caring about the rights of others. Don’t I know that if leftists simply assert someone is bigoted, hateful, homophobic, racist, misogynist, that’s all the argument they would say I need. No free speech for haters. And of course, they get to decide who is a hater. This is all about power for the Democrat Party, no conflict of interest there.

Anyway, I’ve found a few news websites that give more fair treatment of Trump, such as InfowarsBreitbart, the conservative Daily Caller, and some of the stories from those have been reposted on the libertarian website Lew Rockwell. There are probably more I haven’t checked yet. I’m particularly interested in what Ron Paul and Ben Swann have to say about this.

I’ve seen two great articles on Lew Rockwell making fun of those who compare Trump to Hitler. One was a repost from Daily Caller, by Ann Coulter. She said it very matter-of-factly as if she agreed, but quickly I could see that many of the things that would make them similar actually don’t apply to trump, in some cases the people accusing him have more in common with Hitler. It was great.

Well, more in a bit.

 

Not such a good night for stargazing


One of my many hobbies is stargazing, and I expected it to be a good night for it. I tend to be a light sleeper and wake up several times during the night. Frequently I can’t go back to sleep right away, and sometimes I go out to look at the stars.

Where I live is very good for that. There is a large parking lot right outside my door, so the trees are relatively far away. The only street light is in a neighbor’s yard at least 100 feet away. There are two other apartments on my side of the building, and they could have their outside lights on, but if not, I can usually see a lot of stars. Provided, of course, that it’s not cloudy, there’s not a full moon, and there’s not a lot of traffic on the highway. A bit of traffic I can handle, I just close my eyes to protect my night vision.

Since my door faces north, I can always see the Big Dipper and the North Star. At certain times, Orion, another super-bright constellation, makes an appearance.

Last night I thought would be perfect, since the sky cleared up after the rain in the morning, but unexpectedly there were quite a few clouds at 1 am, the first time I went out. The second time, around 5 am, was just a few minutes before sunrise and the eastern sky was already starting to lighten to blue.  However, I could see the brightest stars, plus as a bonus, just as it was about to set in the west, the planet Jupiter (which has been near the constellation Leo for quite some time).

I recently lost the contents of two external hard drives that both failed. One of the things I lost was some documents showing the stars each month, going back a couple of years. I have, however, started to collect them again. On Skymaps.com you can get the last three months for free. They do three different latitudes: Northern (I think 45° North), Equator, and Southern. Their maps show where the planets are as well as give a list of conjunctions, occultations, eclipses, meteor showers, and other major skywatching events for the current month. I highly recommend their maps for anyone who enjoys looking at the stars.

Election maps and update

There are four more places voting today. DC, Guam, and Wyoming vote for Republicans, while the Northern Mariana Islands (postal code MP for some reason) vote for Democrats. The MP Republicans vote on Tuesday, along with 5 more states, including the critical ones of Ohio and Florida. These could decide if Kasich and Rubio stay in the race.

I discovered that the Wikipedia page for the


“Republican Presidential Primaries, 2016”

has much more detailed maps than the ones I’ve created. (If the link above doesn’t work, I apologize. I don’t know how to copy and paste on my smartphone, but I will fix it in a few days, the next time I get to a real computer).

I intend to use those maps myself. I also learned some things that weren’t on my other source at MSN.com, such as the fact that two other states voted on Super Tuesday, March 1st, but don’t decide delegates until later. They are North Dakota and Wyoming.

Anyway, I’ll do another update when we have the results from today!

An unusual winter

It was another rainy day yesterday in New England. It started out really light sprinkles, in the morning as I was driving to work, and the beginning of my shift. I work mostly inside, but I do have to go outside 2 or 3 times each day, and I was lucky enough to get that done before the rain got really heavy. It never really got to downpour level, at least that I saw. But I got to thinking, Is this just the effects of the El Nino in the Pacific Ocean? I don’t know, but I think we’ve had more rain than snow this winter. It started very late, with the first snow on December 29th (but there was a light dusting of sleet about a week before Christmas). I wonder how the winter is going to end. A friend works at a school, and I believe they’ve only used one snow day so far. Very unusual, and now I’m not sure this is entirely natural. I’ll just leave it at that.

I don’t complain about it not getting really cold, it’s been great, but I do worry about the snow melting early and having a relatively dry spring instead.

 

New US maps, with the US Presidential race winners by state so far

Hello. Just a short post to say that I’ve created a new page, with some new US maps. I decided I wanted to visually examine the election results in the Presidential Race so far. So, after a few hours this morning spent editing a US map I already had (in terrible shape, and kind of smaller than I liked, which was a jpeg file), I now present my results. See http://brycenh.com/us-presidential-election-maps/.

LDS Temples

I promised way back when I started this blog to post about LDS (or “Mormon”, my church’s nickname) Temples, and then I forgot to do so.

We have two main types of church buildings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: churches, also called meetinghouses, or chapels, and the second type are temples. Chapels are used for everyday and “everyweek” purposes, such as Sunday church meetings, social gatherings for youth or for the women on weeknights, and family socials on a Friday or Saturday night. These buildings are open to the public, and there are thousands of them all over the place. Just in southern New Hampshire, I know of at least 7 or 8 of them. However, temples are a much more special building, which we don’t go to on Sundays. We have special ceremonies, called ordinances, that are only done in temples. They are closed to the public, except for a special open-house held just before they are dedicated (or rededicated after being closed for renovation). There are only 149 temples in operation around the world (with another 16 under construction and 8 that have been announced). The church has a page about temples on their website, at LDS temples, but my favorite page to learn about them is a private endeavor by a guy in Idaho, found at LDS Church Temples.

Studying about these buildings, and specifically where they are located, is one of my hobbies. In fact I have two large maps in my bedroom showing their locations, a US and a world map. It is exciting to me to see a new location on the map, especially if it is distant from all the existing temples. There has been a lot of growth in the spread of these. There were only 16 temples when I was born (one of which, in Washington DC, was dedicated in 1974, 2 months before I was born, and I was there in the womb). There were only 8 when my father was born. And now, they are all over the place! For example, when I lived in northern Maine as a kid we had a 16-hour trip to get to Washington DC to go to the temple. Now there are temples in Boston, Montreal, and Halifax Nova Scotia, which are all no more than 6 hours away. I served a church mission in Brazil 20 years ago, which at the time had only 1 temple in this whole country which is larger than the contiguous United States. Now there are 6, with 2 more announced or planned. Also, the whole entire continent of Africa, where some of the church’s most rapid growth is occurring (we have about 15 million members, with almost half of those in the United States), only has 3 temples in operation (and 3 more in planning). The temples in Asia are all in the eastern part of that continent, or its islands, but one was announced in Thailand last year and I think it will not be long until India gets an announcement as well.

I hope this post is not too boring for those who are not interested in religious things. You will see if you look at my links that these temples are beautiful buildings. I still think some of the most beautiful are the four that were built in Utah in the late 1800s. The architect for the Salt Lake Temple, the most famous one, went to Europe and studied cathedrals and other famous architectual masterpieces, and I love to look at their pictures as well as the maps. I also have a goal of someday visiting every one in the United States and possibly Canada (at least to be on the grounds), though it gets harder and harder over time as they build more. I don’t know if I’m going to venture into New York City to see the one in Manhattan (built inside a 6-story building the Church already owned there).

Anyway, I also thought I’d mention my interest in temples because it relates to some future plans. I am planning to travel with my twin brother (who shares this hobby) down to Philadelphia this summer, in August, when the new temple there will have its open house before being dedicated in September. He has visited me once before in New Hampshire, and we attended the PorcFest together in June of 2012. I am sure I will write more about PorcFest in some future posts, but it’s not that urgent to me right now.

For those in New England who might like to see one, we only have one temple in operation in this region, which is just outside of Boston in the town of Belmont, but there is another in construction near Hartford, Connecticut. It will probably be finished this year, or just barely into 2017.

Anyway, for those wanting to know about the sorts of things I’m interested, there you go!

Four more states vote today

Today, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi are voting in the Presidential race. I have been following this election quite closely, even at times sneaking into the bathroom to see if the partial results from a state have updated. I feel like quite a nerd saying that. Isn’t that something guys usually do to check on a football game?

This will bring us up to 23 states, plus at least one territory. So far, Marco Rubio, the Republican “establishment”‘s best hope, only has 2 wins, in Minnesota on March 1st (also called Super Tuesday since 11 states voted for Republican that day) and 2 days ago in Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has 12 states: New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and from Super Tuesday 7 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia), and from last Saturday Kentucky and Louisiana. Ted Cruz is in second place, with 6 states: He won the first contest in Iowa, on Super Tuesday Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska, and on Saturday Maine and Kansas. On the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by a comparable margin as Trump over Cruz. Not comparable in actual delegate counts, since she has a lot of Democrat superdelegates, but the delegate math is too complicated for me to get into in one blog post.

I find it fascinating to see the long-established Republican Party tearing itself apart over this one man, and trying to act as though they still have control over half the electorate in this country. Obviously, a large percentage of voters don’t care what the neo-cons who took over the Republican Party over the last 50 years  (and ousted the defensive-war-only wing of the party, by the way) have to say about how they ought to vote. Two-time losers like Mitt Romney are lecturing others about how they have to vote in order for the party to win. A lot of crazy stuff is going on. I have a hard time believing all the people I talk to who don’t even care about politics. But maybe they’re trying to avoid all this craziness.

It is so obvious to me that the Republican leadership is not afraid of Trump losing to Hillary. They are afraid of him winning and being a President that they can’t predict or control. I am under no illusions that he would follow the non-aggression principle, but I do think that he is less dangerous (to us, the common people) than they want to claim. He is dangerous to their power. I am no fan of democracy, but isn’t it the role of a democratic government to protect its own people first and foremost (at least supposedly, according to their own theory)? I fail to see how a guy who wants to put American interests first is more dangerous or worse than all the people who want to expand our military presence around the world, as if the people who have been occupied and destroyed by the US military don’t already hate us enough. Nor, in my opinion, is he worse than those who want to force us to use new pronouns for people to honor multiple gender identities, force us to overlook violence when it is an ethnic minority doing it, force us to bake cakes that violate our religious beliefs, and force us to bring in (and foot the bill for) hundreds of thousands of refugees who could include some people that hate America and have no problem with trying to be politically correct and nice about how they express it. The right is focused on wars that have nothing to do with defending the country, and the left is focused on a war on white people such as myself, and using police violence as an excuse to federalize the police, and I’m supposed to be upset about a guy who wants to close the borders, just because some people call him racist or bully?

I  feel the level of political discourse (even before Donald Trump took the lead in polls last year) has never been lower in this country, when using a smear word against someone takes the place of having an actual discussion about their ideas. It’s an anti-intellectual movement that has been going on for years, and Republicans have been enabling this nonsense by apologizing to Democrats when they hadn’t done anything wrong. I’m glad to see someone standing up for himself and refusing to apologize in order to cater to political correctness. Trump is just the natural outcome and backlash by the conservatives who have been betrayed and denied their “say” in the government because of their own party failing to represent their interests.

Some even say that there will be a world war if Trump is elected. That’s ridiculous. Which is more likely to cause war, a guy who doesn’t mind dishing out insults if someone else attacks him first, or a guy who talks nice but sends our soldiers into places where they have no business being? We’re supposed to vote for the guy who supports the current US practice of claiming to fight ISIS but REALLY, we’re fighting Syria’s President Assad in order to weaken ISIS somehow, which makes no sense, versus the guy (Trump) who wants to let the Russians (who are actually fighting against the evil terrorists there) handle the mess in their own region, and wants to let China handle North Korea, too, by the way. He’s questioning why we have troops in Germany, and South Korea, and Japan, and all sorts of places. Good question. Why do prominent libertarians in New Hampshire want to take away his delegates that he won for getting more than a third of the vote in New Hampshire, out of about 9 different people who were running and had significant campaigns? How is it libertarian to make a focus of opposing just this one guy, and ignore all the other statists in the room?

Anyway, that’s a bit of my feeling on the whole Donald Trump phenomenon. I think all the people who are afraid of him (at least relative to other politicians) are crazy. He’s no Ron Paul, who is one of my heroes, but I can’t help wondering if Ron Paul was a little too nice to have the political success that Trump is having. Don’t get me wrong, Ron Paul was and still is very effective at spreading the message of liberty, but if his goal had been to get elected, or even to pass pro-liberty bills in Congress, he would have been a complete failure.

More election updates later. I’ll probably post again tonight or tomorrow when we have the results from Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi.

An interesting day at work

It’s been an interesting day. I work at a Wal-Mart in the seacoast region of New Hampshire. Shortly after my post from September, I arranged to change shifts. I now work in the middle of the day and evening shift, instead of the overnights. I still do maintenance work but the focus of it has changed considerably. I clean the store’s four bathrooms multiple times per day, gather trash, sweep up debris, help with cleaning up spills, and other projects.

Today I postponed a project I was going to do, in order to help bring in shopping carts. I spent about an hour on that, and found I quite enjoyed it. This is funny and interesting, because cart-pusher was my first job, when I was in high school. And here I was again, more than 20 years later, doing the same thing.

Stay tuned for more about what an ordinary day is like for me.