Friday, July 31, 2015

I am drinking mate de coca

I am in Quito which I must say is exactly the way I expected it to be. 

I have a bad headache and feel awful -  and can’t breath very well. As a special treat they put me on the fourth floor and there is no elevator - but I have great view of the city. I am drinking mate de coca to see if it will make me feel better. They said I can move but I will tough it out. I would show you photo of my view but it is the usual crappy hotel wifi so I cannot upload it. 

I don’t know what it is about hotel wifi - and it is the same everywhere. This is ‘free’. i.e. there is no separate charge it is just included in the price. At least they do not - like some New York hotels - charge $25 per day. 

When I checked in at United in Indy I used the self checkin booths. It did not work - it never has for me - and I had to get assistance - but I noted that the bag cost is $50 per item. I have a United credit card so that for me is at no additional cost.  I had already paid $89 to upgrade to ‘economy plus’. This gives you the same amount of space as you used to get - without paying extra. 

On board to Quito I had an entertainment system that I could use by paying $8 - but I did not. But I did buy a cheese plate for $8.95. You get a tumbler of coke - or water - for free - but it won’t be long. 

I vaguely remember when you bought an airfare and it included all this stuff. The airlines are now looking at charging for overhead locker space. Can't wait for that. 

I am staying two blocks from the town square at which I have had a quick look. There are people selling everything from bags of fruit to plastic birds which flap their wings and what looks like poo on a stick but I am sure is not - and is delicious. 

I managed also to walk past 12 shoe shiners in a row without succumbing although they pointed at my shoes and shouted at me. I think there might be a local ordinance about keeping your shoes shined. 

There are hordes of police so I think there us very little chance of being accosted by footpads. Perhaps when we go further afield.I found a real coffee shop and had a great cappuccino - and have staggered back to the hotel to collapse. 

There are no results for stage 5 of the walk and no information on the website. So I have no idea what is happening but am confident that Cate would keep going until she finished.

There have been changes to the plans for tomorrow. The runners finish at about 7:00 AM so we have to leave Quito in a bus at 1:00 for a six hour drive into the mountains. I am not looking forward to a six hour drive at night in the Andes. 

Just like a ferry sinks in the Philippines every couple of days and drowns hundreds - buses are always crashing two miles into the ravines in the Andes. Never mind - if I survive at least I will be able to breathe down there.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

She is still going

I got an email from Cate

It said 'Am OK made it across the Andes - about to start long march.'

This is 62 km and will take her well into the night and possibly the next morning.

If she makes it then the final stage is only about 6 km.

Meanwhile I am in Houston on my way to Quito.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

There is something seriously wrong here

So the National Rifle Association says that dentists can kill as many lions as they like. It is their God given right to kill lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, squirrels, gophers, sparrows, northern cardinals – in fact anything that moves.

Except black men. They are not allowed to kill black men. This has to be done by the police - and only in season – which is from January to December. 

In Cincinnati a man committed the cardinal sin of driving while black and was of course shot and killed.

I mean he had no front number plate – that is surely a death sentence for a black man. What was he thinking?.

But – here comes the weird part – the police officer has been charged with MURDER!

Suffering Succotash!

The policeman had a personal camera - which unfortunately showed him murdering the driver in – as they say – cold blood.

Bad business. Without a camera of course the man driving while black would be going for a gun and resisting arrest and quite possibly on his way to rape the policeman’s wife and daughter and bugger his dog.  

You know what these black people are like.

Look I guess that so many black people have been murdered in recent times that they just had to indict someone and this policeman is the bunny.

I suppose he will have to go to the slammer for a month or so and then be confined to his house for a month or so  - and then he can get on with it.

If I was him  - when I was murdering  black people I would cover up the camera lens with gaffer tape. Stops all the kerfuffle. 

I wonder what she would be best at?

Cate has finished stage 3. She has blogged and says that the next stage is the nastiest one with the highest altitude and more climbs. As opposed to the other stages which were merely nasty.

She says she may not finish – but will start.

Today I took Georgia to the Pet Hotel and she was not happy.

They cannot give her Vegemite toast in the mornings but will give her a Kong filled with peanut butter each night. Morning toast and evening Kong are the highlights of her day.

She also has her own food and snacks that they will give her every day. I am not happy about leaving her there but have no choice.

Next time we go away – in September – she will live with a person who works at the school where they trained her – or attempted to train her. This will be much better.

So a dickhead dentist in Minnesota paid $55,000 to shoot Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. Cecil was apparently an iconic lion known to one and all – who lived in a game park.

He was lured out of the game park where he was shot and wounded with a bow and arrow – and then pursued for 40 hours until he was shot by the dickhead dentist.

The dickhead dentist has apparently killed many animals – including a bear.

He really regrets his action – particularly as he has been buried under a mountain of hate mail and death threats. He has closed his surgery and vanished. With any sort of luck he will stick his gun up his bum and blow his head off.

I say this every time – I just don’t get it! I just cannot understand the mind of a person who would kill a lion. Or – as happened a little while ago – a Giraffe. A Giraffe? FMSS!

The Trumpet has responded magnificently to Mike Huckabee’s ludicrous statement.

Donald says he would love it if Sarah Palin would serve in his cabinet. I wonder what she would be best at? Hmm……

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I am counting on Ted

Cate finished stage 2 in a little over 12 hours. She has not blogged or contacted me - no surprises there - but reading some of the other blogs it seems it was a very rugged stage indeed with bits where you had to sneak along the sides of mountains. 

I have not heard from her so assume she is now in stage 3.

If she lives until stage 5 she gets to walk 40 miles which I imagine will take about 20 hours. She will be walking through the night and has lights on her head. 

As you can see - she is very tenacious - which is why we now have a dog.

She has always astonished me and I am now officially flabbergasted.

I am going to meet the remains on Saturday morning and the bus leaves the hotel at 5 AM for a five hour trip. Can’t wait for that - especially after reading about road travel in Ecuador. 

There are lots of great photos of the runners and walkers HERE

Locally - 5 people were shot in a university accommodation place in Indianapolis. Apparently a a student’s phone was taken and this sort of provocation certainly warrants a really good shoot up. 

Which prompted me to look up the statistics for mass shootings - and there is actually a site that tracks mass shootings. Ah - the internet!

So far this year there have been 207 (It is a couple of days out of date and does not include Indy on the weekend). That is not common or garden variety shootings - there are many thousands of those - just mass shootings which the site says are instances in which four or more people are shot. 

The FBI takes a more jaundiced view of these statistics. For them there have to four or more people murdered for it to qualify as a mass shooting - injuries do not count. 

But we take these things in our stride here - there are many more important things to occupy us.

For example - because the Trumpet is leading the polls the other candidates are falling all over themselves to see who can make the most outrageous statement to get into the spotlight.

The winner so far is Mike Huckabee who said that - because of the proposed agreement with Iran - the president is marching the Israelis towards the door of the oven.

That will  be hard to beat but I am counting on Ted Cruz to come up with a scorcher in the next few days. He has never let me down in the past. And Rick Perry could be a dark horse here - he has come up with some ball tearers. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

I will leave her an iPad

Cate is here somewhere
Cate has not blogged but the site reports that she finished stage 1 in a little more than 10 hours. I imagine she was pretty much shagged out after that but is probably now on stage 2. She did send me a photo of the Andes – through which she is slogging at the moment.

I do not really expect her to blog so I am writing updates for her. I would not blog after walking for 10 hour either as I would need a drink and a nap. 

Georgia has been so good with her Gentle Leader leash that I took her walking without it. She was absolutely hopeless and dragged me along the street with me stumbling and shouting behind her. Back to the drawing board.

Georgia goes into the Good Dog Hotel and Spa on Wednesday which will give me a little time to clean the house of fur and pieces of wood before I leave for Ecuador. I accidentally let her  bring a piece of wood into the house and she dismembered it as effectively as a leaf mulcher would – and scattered it everywhere.

In the dog hotel she has the choice of a normal suite, a deluxe suite or a master suite - which as a TV. Georgia is not really into TV so we have gone for the deluxe suite and I will leave her an iPad so she can watch HBO Go and Netflix. 

There is now a TV channel called DOGTV especially for dogs but I am not sure it is suitable for Georgia so I will have to check it out before I let her watch it. You never know what they will put on TV nowadays. I would hate her to see naked dog baked bean wrestling without parental supervision

Thursday, July 23, 2015

He could win by a whisker

Limberbutt MCubbins
Georgia and I sent Cate on her way yesterday. I arranged for her to travel business class so that she would be refreshed when she gets to Quito. She is flying United so will not expect much.  We never expect much and are rarely disappointed. 

She rang this morning to say that she had arrived and had not been mugged so far - but it is early days.

She is  having trouble with the altitude so is doing all the things she should. There is coca tea available when she needs it. And we really must remember not to bring any home or we will end up in the slammer.

Speaking of which we seem to have hit the big time here. Yesterday 500 police and FBI and ATF people swarmed all over the south side and arrested many villains - they say 35 - for drug dealing and all sorts of other offenses. We are not accustomed to this type of excitement as we usually just have hordes of people shooting each other - but in two and threes and dribs and drabs. 

Georgia and I are deciding what we should do during the next week. She is absolutely no good at gardening and is afraid of the lawn mower and weed eater. Today she ran away when I produced the rake.  She will dig holes but rarely in the right places and the garden looks like we have gophers. She is scared of the wheelbarrow but will sleep next to it when it is upside down and does not pose a threat.

Today I tackled the task of replacing the weather stripping on the front door. I discovered  why it was so out of whack - there door is warped so does not close properly and the stripping has to be arranged to accommodate this. As the door is 117 years old I am hardly surprised - and managed to sort it out. 

And in the Donald Trump saga - he is now the leading Republican contender for the nomination. Panic is rife in the conservative ranks.

He released his financials this week and the weirdest thing for me is that he gets a lot of money from people using his name - including some who make ties and shirts. My question is - why would anybody buy a ‘Trump’ tie or shirt. I would like to talk to one of these people. 

The picture is of Limberbutt McCubbins from Kentucky who is running for President. He has filed all the appropriate paperwork and certainly meets all the requirements. I think he is in with a chance and could win by a whisker. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Stay in your room

The route
Cate leaves tomorrow for Quito.

I am not sure how she will be but I am damn sure that I am going to have an altitude sickness problem. I barely coped with Denver and the Rocky Mountains and Quito is much higher.

Apparently the best remedy is not to go. 

If you do go then you need lots of water - lots of sleep - and lots of Coca tea. You cannot get Coca tea in the USA - it is illegal - but it is OK in  Ecuador so I will be sloshing that down as soon as I get there.

Cate got a security brief from her work. They have a department that looks after travelers  and people who live in far flung places - and gives them advice about the places they should not go. I am not encouraged by this as the place is apparently swarming with bandits, kidnappers, con artists and pick pockets.

Sounds a bit like Indy. 

The safest place to stay is in your room - under your bed.

I am sure we will be able to  venture out and fight off the footpads and others. 

Anyway - Cate’s blog is here HERE

If you want to save the elephants you can go here. HERE

Monday, July 20, 2015

What could be better than that

On Saturday night we spent some time putting patches on Cate’s walking clobber. She has to have Racing the Planet patches and the Australian flag. We had just enough Racing the Planet patches until Georgia chewed one - so now Cate will be lopsided. 

On Sunday she tried packing her gear in preparation for leaving on Wednesday. She starts the race on Saturday and will finish the following Friday. I will be there to cheer her across the finish line. I will be the one in the deck chair - wearing a Panama hat - and sipping some Ecuadorean rum. (You will be amazed to learn that the Panama hat is of Ecuadorian origin).

There were many shrieks of anguish from the guest bedroom where she was doing the packing. She either has too much gear or the pack is too small. But it is the size they told her to get and she is taking the clothes and the food they recommend. My  advice is to roll the clothes tighter and to squish more. 

Cate will be writing a blog and I will put the address in my blog soon. I cannot imagine what she will write after walking from dawn to dusk each day because all she will want to do is sleep.

I have seen the stuff she plans on eating - she has to carry all this with her - and will think of her when I am eating my lamb chops and pulled pork at home. To her credit she has actually tested some of the food by eating it. She is a very brave woman. 

I can  barely keep up with what is happening in the world.

Donald Trump managed to grossly insult John McCain by saying he was not a war hero because he was captured by the Vietnamese. Donald says the people who are not captured are the heroes.This has caused a great furore and people from the right and the left are falling all over themselves to tell Donald what an asshat he is.

It is fascinating to watch this great galumphing galoot crashing thru the country shouting complete rubbish - insulting all and sundry and being feted by hordes of sad bastards who would actually - and I am not kidding - like to see him as president. 

And Scott Walker has said the next President must be ready to take military action against Iran on the first day in office. Jeb Bush says he agrees on military action but  he cannot do it on day one because he has to do things like adjust the height of the chair in the oval office and sharpen his pencils. 

Go to war with Iran? Well I guess Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan went so well - why stop when you are on a roll. Dick Cheney thinks it is a good idea and he should know.

And Australia slaughtered, massacred, thumped and walloped England in the second cricket test. What could be better than that. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

The new cereal

We are approaching something of a crisis here. I am just about to open my last packet of Bushells Extra Strong tea bags. There are 100 in the bag and we use about 10 per week. So I am looking at running out at the end of September. Now unless someone comes from Australia and brings supplies I am going to have to get ordinary Bushells tea from SimplyOz in Cincinnati. 

Wait - I remember - my mate Horse is coming in September and I am going to his daughter’s wedding in New York. For which I will have to buy a suit because all my others have shrunk and I cannot wear my Austrian clobber to a New York wedding.

But this is the least of my problems. 

Georgia has started eating shoes so we have had to put these away. She chews so much that at some stage I guess we are going to have to have her jaws replaced. She also seems to eat an enormous amount of mulch - so perhaps I did not get too much after all.

The garden looks like we have moles as she digs everywhere to bury her bones. Cate gasps in dismay but my reaction is much more benign. She is a dog - that is what dogs do - and who wanted there dog?

And in Australia - even in Queensland - there is snow. This will prove beyond doubt to Prime Minister Troglodyte that there is no such thing as global warming and he will start preparing the auto industry to move to coal fired vehicles and ask Kellogg to invent a coal based cereal - perhaps Coalrunchies. 

Locally there is much excitement.

The  planned big US military exercise has started in the south and the locals are prepared. The exercise is called Jade Helm 15 and a particularly batty conservative radio person says that Helm stands for ‘Homeland Eradication of Local Militia’. 

Groups of armed locals are following the army around to see what they do. Others are battening down the hatches and have bought extra guns and ammunition for when Barack arrives to take their guns. 

And The Donald is gaining much support for his run at the presidency and is leading the polls in a few states. As he has insulted the Mexicans grossly on many occasions he is not likely to get the Latino vote -  but will soak up all the while male redneck ones. 

Meanwhile I imagine the Republican machine is contemplating whether or not they can have him killed. and Hillary and her team spend a lot of time rolling on the floor laughing. 

I just did not imagine that it would be this much fun.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Back to Petco

Cate has almost finished her training. She walked 40 miles on the weekend and tried to walk another 20 miles yesterday. We had yet another of our gigantic thunderstorms and she got caught many miles from home and I had to rescue her. She made the inside of my car very wet. 

One more weekend here and she is off to Ecuador. I follow a week later to collect the remains at the finish line. 

I have installed a Camera so we can keep an eye on Georgia when we are out - via iPhone or iPad. We can talk to her if she is behaving like a lunatic - which she often does.

I got her a harness so that I can anchor her to the seat belts when we go out. The first time I used it she got it off somehow and chewed thru one of the straps. Back to Petco.

I left her lead in the back seat when we went out. Back to Petco. 

I got my new chewable toys from Amazon and she immediately shredded and ate part of the first one - which is supposed to be indestructible. She also discovered the legs of one of our lounges and started to chew thru that. It looks like  beaver has been here. I have ordered new legs - but will not put them on until she is done chewing - if that ever happens. 

Cate has accepted the inevitable about her garden. It is called learned resignation. So far Georgia has not murdered any plants but she does run over them and dig around them. It looks like we have moles. 

She buries bones in her bed and then tears the bed apart looking for it. 

We are getting constant storm, flood and tornado warnings. So far the house does  not appear to have sprung any leaks.

Sometimes I think it is probably better if I don't read the Sydney Morning Herald. But I do and I see that after our troglodytic prime minister instructed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation not to invest in wind power - he has also instructed them not to invest in rooftop and small scale solar projects.

He has previously tried to shut down the Clean Energy Finance Corporation but was stopped by the Greens in the Senate. Now he is trying to make it fail by stopping it lending. 

No surprises really. He is really very fond of coal and probably has it on his toast instead of vegemite. 

I had not expected much of this man but I did not expect him to try to actively destroy the renewable energy sector in Australia. What an asshat. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

We shall see

Watching Le Tour on my iPad and blogging
Georgia very much likes to play tug of war with balls and toys. These contests mean that our hands get very close to her teeth. When she opens and closes her massive jaws to get a better grip - the grip is often on our fingers.

So I bought her a rope toy from Petco - they know me quite well there now - and she started playing with this. I bought a patriotic American one.

It took her an hour but she managed to shred it and the house is festooned with red, white and blue threads. I have investigated further at Amazon and have ordered some new ones - which users say are practically indestructible. 

We shall see.

Yesterday Georgia met Kali - who is my mate Paul’s black female Labrador. He is the one who is moving from Iowa and is building the man cave at Speedway where we will all sit around and talk about dogs. He is a vet so knows all about animals and will be a wonderful source of information about the very many things that can wrong with Labradors.

They had a wonderful time - or at least Georgia did. Kali is two years old and I think she thought Georgia was bit too girlsterous.

It has been raining off and on here for about ten days. This is good for the garden but it makes everything very soggy. There are flood warnings every day - my phone buzzes when the alerts arrive. I am not worried because if God wants us all to drown - that Australian idjit Ken Ham - who runs the Creation museum in Kentucky - is building a replica of the ark. It is only a couple of hours away from us so we are OK.

Incidentally - Ken got some state government help to build there creation museum - which tells you a lot. 

I am  looking forward to seeing it because there are dioramas of people riding dinosaurs and herding raptors. 

But I rather suspect that God is not going to drown us and is just going to let us continue to destroy our planet - because we are doing a ball tearer of a job at that at the moment.  

A few weeks ago I want round the lawn and sprinkled a whole pack of grass seed on the bare patches. That evening there was a massive downpour and most of the seed went into the White river to be eaten by the fish. I imagine the people  who live near the river are wondering about the masses of grass that have suddenly appeared along the banks. 

But a little survived. There are little spots of green in some of the bare patches. This is very pleasing and I will try again with the new seed I have bought.