Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Our 2018 Christmas Letter

Angelic Alice and I pray "May your days be Merry and Bright"

Retirement is hard work! After seven years of tireless effort Alice has a July 2019 publish date for "The Lady with Balls", her memoir, with Cypress House in Fort Bragg - and she loves working with them. They give her help and guidance she thought she could only get in her dreams. I'm inspired and learning from Alice's efforts and finally am diligently working on a growing-up-in-Point Arena memoir and a science and politics treatise "It Ain't Necessarily So."

We've had a busy travel year; three weeks in Japan in April and a September cruise down the Saint Lawrence River with Alice's Reseda High Reunion group. The photo above was taken outside a chocolate shop across the street from our Kyoto, Japan B and B. Alice saw some women posing in front of the wings having their pictures taken by their partners so she got in line, hopped up, struck a pose, and I snapped it - and we marveled at the result.  

We stayed five nights at the New Sanno Hotel in the center of Tokyo. It's run by the U. S. military recreation unit and is unbelievable value for money, which explains why you have to book it a year ahead. 

One of a bazillion temples and shrines in Japan -we tried to see them all

Kyoto is full of students, and many of them dress up to visit the shrines and parks

Our breakfast room became our bedroom, or vice versa

But this was our dining room, where we had about a dozen-course dinner nightly

Our Reseda High reunion cruise was themed "Fall Colors"and began at Quebec City, from whence we boarded the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas with 3100 passengers and a huge crew. After cruising down the St. Lawrence River we visited Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, Boston, Maine again, and disembarked in New Jersey. Alice made a mental note that she has to add Bar Harbor, Maine, and its classic hotel to her book tour plans. One of many highlights of our cruise was seeing the musical "Anne and Gilbert" at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the land  of "Anne of Green Gables." 

The young stars

After our cruise ended we spent three nights in a hotel overlooking Times Square. We saw "Hamilton" - what a big disappointment. Doing a musical in rap may seem like a great way to appeal to a younger audience, but the dialogue is all delivered at the same breakneck speed and the emotions ranged from angry, really angry, and "you won't believe how angry I am", plus no memorable songs and uninspired dancing. Alice and I felt like "the Emperor has no clothes" type of people. The theater was next to our hotel, so at intermission we went to our room instead of standing in the long bathroom lines. 

A block further down the street at the Al Hirschfeld Theater - I could have browsed the Hirschfeld posters in the lobbies for hours - we saw "Kinky Boots" and it was fabulous; great singing, great dancing, interesting and engaging story - too bad they didn't take that approach to "Hamilton.

I enjoyed my roles as Lt. Brannigan, NYPD, Joey Biltmore, garage owner, and crapshooter in our Gualala Arts Center performances of "Guys and Dolls." Al Hirschfeld did posters for many editions of "Guys and Dolls" and this was one I shot in the lobby.

Alice appreciating Catholic religion inspired fashion featured in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

May 2019 we will spend a few days in Amsterdam then embark on a river cruise from Bonn, Germany, to Bucharest, Rumania. We'll get back in early June just in time for Alice to start her whirlwind book tours. In August we'll have a little break, but not from writing. We'll be at the annual Writer's Conference in Mendocino; a wonderful experience in a great location. 

Somewhere in all this I hope to fit in another musical. My personal scorecard for the past four years is "Jekyll and Hyde", "Of Thee I Sing", "La Cage aux Folles" and "Guys and Dolls." I have two goals: the first is to keep going as an octogenarian - it won't be long - and the second is a solo or duet. I give Radar daily concerts at the beach to great success.

Alice is a natural actress but won't join in because she is a practical person and thinks that the endless rehearsals to deliver six performances is crazy, but I love the camaraderie of rehearsals and how everything miraculously comes together for those six performances.

Life's not always simple but the lemonade you make from the lemons you get makes a most delicious elixir.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all the best wishes 
from Michael, Alice and our little darling Radar.

Photo by Cheryl Waters-Sidrian

Happy New Year!

Reflections for Christmas, Cook's Beach, Gualala, California

With Radar on Bowling Ball Beach seven miles north of Gualala

Alice at Hamburgers cliff

Radar examining interesting driftwood

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Sieg Heil, Maxine Waters!

Excerpts from a Maxine Waters rant:
“Already, you have members of your Cabinet that are being booed out of restaurants,” she continued as the crowd erupted, “who have protesters taking up at their house, who say, ‘No peace, no sleep. No peace, no sleep,'” she continued."
“And so, let’s stay the course. Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up and if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she yelled."
And I thought we defeated the Third Reich. I wonder if she will try to make Republicans wear a red "R" when we're out in public so we can be properly scorned.

I admit to a gross violation of Godwin's Law:

Godwin's law (or Godwin's rule of Hitler analogies) is an internet adage asserting that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1"; that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone ... (to Hitler or the Third Reich).

Why should the left have all the fun? This is tit-for-tat, childish but somehow satisfying.

The Climate Models Suck - And They Admit It!

THEY BLEW IT! A new study in Nature by some prominent alarmists concludes that the climate models overestimate warming.

"We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations." Translation = the models miss stuff, and their mistakes cost $trillions.…/j…/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo2973.html

Kicking Republicans Out Of Restaurants Saves Lives

I sent this to the Letters to Editors of the San Francisco Chronicle because I was appalled by Willie Brown's comment about customers needing to be taught lessons by restaurant kitchen staff. According to Willie, they establish themselves as judge, jury, and executioner when they don't like certain customers. 

Editor, San Francisco Chronicle

Please ask Mr. Brown what restaurant employees do to dishes for customers who need to be taught a lesson. Also, would Mr. Brown be good enough to describe the nature of the lesson taught? Is it adding a substance to sicken the customer? Ruin its taste? Pass along illness?

I’m appalled that such  comment passed editor review. Apparently the Chronicle has no problem with it. Sad.

Michael B. Combs, Major, US Air Force, Retired

Here’s the article

This is the excerpt written by Willie Brown: 
 Chef’s special: Style points for stupidity for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, giving a news conference filled with legalisms about why the administration just had to split up families at the southern border, then heading to dinner at a Mexican restaurant.
Activists found out where she was in no time, showed up to heckle her, and eventually chased her out.
She should thank them for saving her life. I’ve worked in restaurants, and I know what happens in the kitchen to the dishes for customers who need to be taught a lesson.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Our 2017 Christmas Letter

 Merry Christmas and an 
outrageously Happy New Year!

Who said life begins at 75?

Offhand, I can’t think of anyone that nutty.

Except me.

I’m probably the first, but I’ll paraphrase: “The rest of our lives began at 75.”

Trite but true.

But there is an element of best in all of this. We appreciate how good we are to each other; how much we appreciate each other. How we still bring nice surprises each day. And we are each other’s best travel companion.

Speaking of travel, and you knew I would, we spent a Spring month in Baja; a two-week cruise up the Bay of Cortez was sandwiched between two very relaxing four-day stays in Cabo San Lucas. Among many highlights was Alice petting a gray whale calf while its mother chaperoned, all the while me dipping a GoPro in the water for whale eyeball video.

In August we went to storied Mendocino (and stayed in the Hill House Inn, featured in Murder She Wrote, which we never watched) for a Writers’ Conference. The highlight was when Alice gave a two-minute pitch of her book, The Lady With Balls, that was so well received that she now has an agent, and will be published in July 2019 by Cypress House in Fort Bragg, Alice’s reward for five years of diligent composing and revising.

There is no way to adequately describe how hard Alice worked and is working on completing her memoir. Along the way she went from an avid student of writing, to painstakingly applying what she learned to crafting over 300 pages detailing her journey into and through the male-dominated garbage recycling industry. It’s an Only in America story - poignant, humorous, heart warming, uplifting – Alice is already planning the audio book, and further down the line, which actress should portray her in the movie.

I plan to make good on my threat of publishing my coming-of-age memoir of growing up in Point Arena in the 1950s. Look in bookstores next year under Ancient California History. Also in the works, It Ain’t Necessarily So, my opus magnum totally debunking the myth of human-caused global warming/climate change/weird weather, covering the last million years of climate change with a concentration on the past 10,000 years since the end of the Ice Age. Look for it in bookstores where the black-clad crowd is chanting to have it burned.

Alice is a good sport, and good company. In late September we went to a reunion in Albuquerque of my old unit, the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force bases Bentwaters and Woodbridge, Suffolk County, United Kingdom, where I served my best five-year period (1970-1975) in the Air Force as the base’s Budget Officer. We’re a bit older, our numbers are shrinking, but a great time was had by all. I was stationed at Bentwaters as the Viet Nam War ground down, in the darkest depths of the Cold War. Our 72 F-4 D and E fighter-bombers primarily were tasked with stopping the Soviets and Warsaw Pact tanks in the Fulda Gap on their way to crossing the Rhine, with tactical nukes.

RAF Bentwaters reunion friends with a B-52, almost as old as us and still going strong - just like us!

We already have travels planned well into 2019: next year April in Japan, then a two-week Fall Colors cruise, Canada and New England, with Alice’s Reseda high school reunion group in September. May 2019 will find us on a 27-day Grand European Sojourn cruise, from Amsterdam to Bucharest. We picked this one and signed up early so that Alice could have a bathtub; she doesn’t take showers, and I don’t take baths. But we’re very compatible, and surprisingly clean.

In January I begin rehearsals for seven March performances of Guys and Dolls, my fourth musical since 2014, as the bad guy (and non-singer) Lieutenant Brannigan of the NYPD. I'm also the off-stage voice of garage owner joey Biltmore, and voice him with a New York whine I learned from watching old Warner Brothers movies. My third role, in disguise with a false mustache, is as one of the gambling gangsters in the Luck be a Lady scene. I keep trying to enlist Alice for a play – she’s a natural actress – but she balks at all the memorization and time-killing rehearsals.

The business Alice founded, Vulcan Wire, had its Christmas Party in San Leandro again this year hosted by CEO Mike Graffio, not far from its office and manufacturing buildings in Hayward. 

Alice and I are as busy in retirement as in our working days, and loving almost every minute. Travelling, writing, visiting friends and family (not as much as we would like), walking to Cook’s Beach and playing ball with Radar every day. Our motto: someone has to live a life like this; it might as well be us.

 Radar looks like he's wearing an hydrangea hat!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Climate Change Alarmist Science is Wrong

Timing is everything, and as hurricanes and wildfires rage some of my friends ask, “Have you changed your mind about climate change?” My firm answer, “No!” They ask me because I’m the most notorious made-made global warming/climate change/weather weirding skeptic in the Gualala/Sea Ranch/Point Arena area. And totally unknown elsewhere, including on the payrolls of any fossil fuel companies. I’m called a climate change denier, an odious Holocaust-tinged label, so I respond calling alarmists natural climate-change deniers or ignoratti (look it up), and science is on my side.

I’ve had an open challenge to debate that climate change is natural for over fifteen years, with no takers.

Hurricanes? The just-ended twelve years of no Category 3 to 5 hurricane landfalls in the United States was unprecedented.  Gaye LeBaron’s column in the October 14 Press Democrat reminded us of the deadly 1964 wildfires in Sonoma County, less catastrophic only because much less was at risk in the fire’s path than now.
Wildfires? The past 100 years have been among the wettest of the past 7,000 in California.

Sea level rise? According to innumerable reports in the Press Democrat, San Francisco Chronicle, and other sources, the rate of sea level rise is accelerating with a predicted increase of five feet or more by 2100, or at least 18 millimeters per year, beginning today (A penny is about a millimeter thick).  Unfortunately for the alarmists, accelerating sea level rise is easy to disprove, courtesy of the online Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (, which displays all the World’s tide gauge records), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) tides and currents website.

Of local interest, San Francisco’s tide gauge, installed 1854, has the longest record in the Western Hemisphere. From 1854 through 2016, San Francisco sea level rose 174 millimeters (4.25 inches per century), or 1.08 millimeters per year with no acceleration. In fact, San Francisco’s sea level was highest in 1983, almost four inches above the 2016 level. Most other West Coast cities also had their highest sea levels in 1983.

 Even after the NOAA tortured the above sea level rise data - note the unexplained "Apparent datum shift" -  the rate of rise for San Francisco per the above graph (1.94 mm per year) is less than 8 inches per century, and shows no sign of acceleration.

Coincidentally, NOAA keeps records on 199 tide gauges active throughout the past century, and their average sea level rate of rise is also 1.08 mm/year. It’s easy to look at the NOAA tide gauge records online; almost all approximate a straight line with annual rates of rise far below alarmist predictions.

Here is link to a blog post showing 25 tide gauge records scattered across the Pacific. None come close to the NASA satellite measurements claimed below. (Click on the link to see the tide gauge information)

NASA satellite sea level measurements claim a rate of rise of 3.2 mm/year (thirteen inches per century – still far from five feet), but their margin of measurement error is forty to fifty times greater than tide gauge averages.

News media also constantly bombard us with reports that global temperatures are the highest in recorded history – which means in the past 200 years after thermometers came into use. Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) alarmists are broadly ignorant of the natural climate changes during the past 2.6 million years, and even of the four periods warmer than now during the past 10,000 years. According to Greenland ice core and widespread sediment core studies, we now live in the coldest 1,000 of the past 10,000 years.

All about us the Earth gives evidence of previous warmer periods. On recent trips with my wife, Alice, to Antarctica, the Arctic, Iceland, Thailand, and Cuba, I saw ancient coral mounts, and beaches and drift wood, many feet above the highest tides level. A map of Glacier Bay, Alaska, disclosed glacier retreat in the 1800s ten times greater than in the 1900s.

Tree lines were over 100 miles further north in Europe, Asia, and Canada 6,000 years ago, and in the Alps tree lines were several hundred feet higher. Also in the Alps and Greenland, retreating glaciers are uncovering artifacts of human occupation during preceding warmer periods.

Of more local interest, Santa Rosa company Remote Sensing Systems produced a global temperature record of the near two-decade “pause” in warming, which they now claim was erroneous. The pause was broken by last year’s strong El Nino, which is not associated with increased atmospheric CO2.

Since 30% of all human-produced CO2 emissions occurred after 2000, the lack of increased warming associated with increased CO2 predicted by climate models shatters the CO2-drives-global-warming hypothesis. As Sherlock Holmes, and legendary physicist Dr. Richard Feynman said (paraphrased): “The most beautiful hypothesis can be destroyed by one ugly fact.”

30% of all human-produced CO2 emissions occurred after 2000

And more “ugly” facts abound. Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth featured a 400,000-year Antarctic ice core study he claimed proved increased atmospheric CO2 drove higher temperature, but proved the opposite. The study showed that increased CO2 lagged, not led, the temperature increases by hundreds of years. As we learned in basic physics, warming water expels CO2 to the atmosphere; cooling water absorbs it.

In the past millions of years, atmospheric CO2 was ten to twenty times the current level, and there was no runaway warming. On the contrary, cooling began each time CO2 was at a peak.

Rather than CO2, the cycles of 100,000-year glacial periods alternating with 15,000-year interglacials (like our Holocene), correlate closely with orbital variations, and not at all with CO2.

Also of local interest, NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies produces charts of surface temperatures for U. S. cities. Santa Rosa and Ukiah charts began around 1900 and showed pronounced cooling trends until 2012.  Then NASA recast the charts and early years were “cooled”, replacing cooling trends with warming.


A word I learned during my year at Santa Rosa Junior College, 1961/62, sums this up perfectly. It’s Kafkaesque; a world turned on its head, where unsupported beliefs inspire worship, and skeptics armed with facts are suppressed and ridiculed.

“Climate change; it’s what climate does, naturally”