2/16/22 Experiences

It took until day three, but I finally got to some “tourist traps,” and stepped foot in a new state. I was hesitant the first two days to go anywhere, at first because I was tired, then because there were lots of things I needed to get done to functionally live. On Wednesday, I finally got over that.

So I took a ride to Hoover Dam, and let me tell you about the rides there and back first. The desert is pretty amazing. Obviously, there are big mountains all around, and you’re ascending out of the valley. The area looks and feel isolated and desolated. This is really what most of the west is like, not Vegas, and it is pretty breathtaking. There is definitely life out there though, as was evidenced by the “ram crossing” signs I saw at a couple spots. You can also tell people are out there, by the backpacks and other human objects you see. I actually did see a young looking woman walking out in the desert at one point on the way back, which was sort of alarming to me. The whole ride experience was definitely something for someone from out East like me.

Of course there is the Hoover Dam itself, which I will share more pictures of in the coming days. It is a modern marvel. The United States, a global superpower as we are, once built massive public works projects like this, regularly. The dam itself is absolutely massive, and Lake Mead and the Colorado River almost seem small next to it. While heights aren’t typically my thing, I did walk across the bridge and enjoyed messing with my phone on the time change. In doing so, I stepped foot in Arizona and Mountain Time for the first time, crossing off another state from my list. I’ve now been to 29 states. It definitely was a cool experience to go see.

Last night I had my first four block walk up to “The Fremont Street Experience.” Wow! I’d best describe it as sensory overload, or as some would put it, “a huge acid trip.” Over top of you is a roof that is constantly showing you very colorful images of life. Last night there were bands like every block, so you had live music, and during their breaks there was loud music booming through. There were casino lights everywhere. There were bars, everywhere. There were mostly naked women (what they did wear was themed for their block) everywhere. It was crazy. I definitely can’t say there’s much like it at home.

So in sports news, the U.S. Men’s Hockey team lost a heartbreaker to Slovakia and aren’t going to win. If you care about the Olympics at all though, you’re probably talking about the 15 year old Russian figure skater that failed a drug test and was still allowed to skate. She’s just further discrediting the farce that is the IOC. As I recall, a black American female sprinter who would have contended at last Summer’s games was held out of the games for… marijuana. Not a performance enhancer, but marijuana. The double standard is ghastly. Either enforce the rules or don’t, but don’t give us this garbage. Russian athletes are literally competing under the label “ROC” because the IOC wants to acknowledge that they cheat so much, but not actually ban them from the games. Thankfully the girl crashed and burned in the finals and failed to medal, so we won’t have to hear about this nonsense for weeks on end, but how about the IOC be consistent? And don’t be too righteous, American sports press, on the subject of doping in sports- our baseball writers just elected David Ortiz, who failed a drug test, to the Baseball Hall-of-Fame, while keeping out other dopers they didn’t like as much (I’d have voted for them all). We are fine with double standards too. Consistency would be nice.

I get to see a good bit of polling in politics, which can really inform your perspective on the world if you understand what you’re reading and don’t just see a bunch of numbers on a page. I saw a lot last year, and am starting to see a bit this year. There are some clear themes out there that seem to inform at least my view of how Americans feel about things, and how they plan to vote in 2022:

  • Joe Biden’s numbers kind of suck, and he would probably lose a rematch of the 2020 election right now, which would be bad if we were having it. Bill Clinton would have lost though in 1994 and Barack Obama in 2010, so don’t over analyze that. If the White House and Congressional Democrats did something to bring down inflation and get the country truly back open from Covid, Biden and the party would recover quite a bit. As is, if we’re debating inflation and Covid the bloodbath this Fall is far less painful than if…
  • … we’re debating culture wars. Democrats could suffer a historic beating in November if the election is a debate about defunding the police, the border, lockdowns, critical race theory, parental control, and crime. It’s not a matter of being right or wrong, factually on these topics. It’s a matter that their very debate, the framing they set, and who actually listens and cares about them are *all* bad for Democrats. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a chance Republicans wildly overreach at the Supreme Court on hot button issues like Roe v. Wade and affirmative action, and actually help us this summer. That’s a chance though, and one they probably understand. The point is we *are* losing on these cultural fights, and we need to get off of them. This could be the difference between a mild to normal midterm and historical realignment beating that changes everything.

Alright, talk more tomorrow…

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