Petra 50th Anniversary Tour

Petra was in the area last Friday night and I decided to go see them. They last toured about ten years ago.2024 is their fiftieth anniversary. Their first album was released in 1974. I have a copy of the LP and the CD.

Their concert was across the border in Creston, Canada. Since moving to north Idaho a year ago, I have never driven into Canada. I’m the only one in the family with a valid passport, but since my wife is out of town, so I decided to go.

Two weeks ago, I bought a VIP pass for $75 (Canadian). The pass was for an event starting at 5 PM. We were given a poster to get autographed and also allowed to get autographs on another item.

The following is a recap of my adventures that day.

I got up just before 7 and did my morning chores. My wife and I were on the road at 8 AM. At 10 AM we did our Costco run in Coeur d’Alene. We tried to do a Costco run the previous Friday but were not allowed into the building because somebody in the area decided to try moving a power pole with their car. They succeeded in knocking out power to parts of the town including Costco. Oh, inside the building they have a whole section of generators for sale but whatever.

We then went to Rathdrum for lunch at a dive called Nadine’s. They have a salad that faintly resembles the Yucatan salad from Dos Coyotes. Then I dropped my wife at the airport in Spokane and by 1 PM I was returning home to walk the dog and then headed to the concert. In preparation to go to the concert I got my passport and my copy of the first Petra LP. Yep, a vintage 1974 album titled “Petra.”

Near my house, we have two border crossings: Porthill and Eastport. The Porthill crossing is closer but closes at 7 PM. It used to be open longer but since Covid the hours have been shortened. I crossed at Porthill. It was easier than I thought. I was asked if I had any firearms or ammo. I replied, “No.” I was asked about my business and how long I would be staying. I told the man that I was going to a concert. He replied, “Oh, you’re going to see Petra?” I replied, “Yes.” I was then allowed into Canada.

Please understand that I was somewhat apprehensive to do this because all my other trips to Canada were to Victoria. In Victoria they drive on the wrong side of the road just like in England. Thankfully this part of British Columbia is like driving in the US except they use the evil metric system.

Creston is a small town of a few thousand people. I was very surprised that they landed a Petra concert. Just before the venue, I found a Dairy Queen, likely the only fast-food joint in town, and ordered a chicken sandwich. I then arrived at the community center and ate most of my dinner in the car. It was a multi-use facility.

The VIP event started about 5:15. The event was really laid-back. I told them that I was there for the VIP Petra event, and they let me in. The people running the VIP portion of the event had no list of names as to who had paid for the VIP pass, they just took me at my word and let me in the room.

Shortly after I got my pass, the band members, five in all, entered the room and were seated at one end. The band members were never introduced by name.

Bob Hartman (middle) John Schlitt to his right

It turns out that only one guy was an original member of the band. What years the others joined was never discussed. A question-and-answer period was held first. Most of the time was spent recounting the story of how John Schlitt came to replace Greg X Voltz as lead singer of the band. The story was not told by John, but the only remaining guy from the original band, Bob Hartman.

John was lead singer for a 1970’s rock band called “Head East.”

John got caught up in the rock n’ roll lifestyle and got so messed up on drugs that they fired him from the band. He hit bottom and “got saved” as they say in Evangelical circles. He then finished college and did geology and mining stuff in Utah for a few years. He thought he was done with music until Petra happened. The whole answer was about 20 minutes long, so I really am giving you the thumbnail version.

Oh, the one question that was deflected concerned whether there would be a live album recorded on this tour. The band equivocated on this idea. Folks, based on what I’ve been seeing, the live album will be recorded in Oklahoma City on July 26th.

Following the Q & A session, the autograph portion began. The band members signed whatever was presented to them. Besides my original Petra LP, there were backpacks, ball caps, and CD covers. I was surprised that I was the only one with an LP. The Petra LPs are being re-released along with remastered CDs by Boone’s Overstock and Girder Music.

As people were getting autographs, they had a person assigned to take photos of each person or group going through the line, so you got a personalized photo with the band. As of this writing, the photos are not on Facebook yet.

At the conclusion of the VIP event, I went out to my car and put my treasures in the car. I then went into the concert venue. Being that I’m in Canada, would it surprise you that the venue was on the floor of the local hockey rink.

The one question I almost asked was concerning the song, “God Gave Rock N’ Roll to You.” Per Wikipedia, it was originally done by Argent in 1971. Petra changed some lyrics and did it in 1977 and again in 1984. KISS did their own variation of it in 1991 for the movie Bill and Ted’s Bogus Adventure.

Having some time to kill, I looked at the merchandise for sale and Petra had zero music for sale: only shirts. I learned from the guy at the table that only merchandise manufactured in Canada was allowed to be sold at the concert. Also, they could not accept any form of payment except cash or PayPal. Even with international data roaming activated on my phone, I was unable to download the PayPal app. It’s probably been at least ten years since I tried using PayPal for any type of transaction, so I don’t even know if I still have an account with them. NAFTA be damned, international commerce is a pain in the rear.

The warm-up band came on stage about 7 PM. They were never introduced. I researched their name, it was “Revival.”

The band performed about seven songs. Their last song was a cover of “Jesus Freak.” Per Wikipedia, the song was originally done by DC Talk. I have heard it before and have a cover of it done by Larry Norman.


People say I’m strange, does it make me a stranger

That my best friend was born in a manger

Jesus Freak

Revival finished their set about 7:40. It was then announced that there would be break and Petra would take the stage at 8 PM.

Sure enough, Petra took the stage at 8 PM and played for an hour and a half. Some of the folks really got into it, singing and dancing, and occasionally clapping to the music. Other folks watched with less visible enthusiasm. I would say that the crowd was about four to five hundred people and most of the audience was between 40 to 60 years old.

The overall playlist was much like Petra’s Farewell CD with some other songs added. Also, the rock and acoustic medleys were longer. John Schlitt’s vocals were remarkable good; especially since the guy is probably in his seventies. He looks like an older version of Christopher Lloyd’s “Doc Brown” from Back to the Future.

Christopher Lloyd “Doc Brown”

Bob Hartman’s guitar solo was much the same as Farewell.

As I said previously, the band was never introduced but I think the other band members are:

Greg Bailey – Bass, cello, backing vocal

Cristian Borneo – Drums

John Lawry – Keyboards, keytar, backing vocal

Attached are some photos of the concert.

Following the concert, I hit the road and went to the other border crossing at Eastport. I must say that it was odd driving down unfamiliar mountain roads at nighttime with the speedometer at 100. After about 40 minutes, I finally arrived at the crossing back into the United States.

I was instructed to turn off my engine and then was hit with a barrage of questions. As best as I can remember they included the following:

  • Was there anyone else in my car?
  • Did I have over $10,000 with me?
  • Did I have alcohol or tobacco products?
  • Did I have any fresh fruit or vegetables?
  • Where was I coming from?
  • Where was I going?

I felt really unwelcome to be entering the US. Perhaps I should have answered in Spanish, it might have been quicker to be allowed into the country. It might be that I was the only person in a while the guy had a chance to talk with, I don’t know but he finally let me go. I walked in the door about 11 PM.

Now I just need to find a few frames for my autographed stuff.


Last Thursday I did something that I haven’t done in a long time, I went to a concert. The location was in nearby Troy Montana. The Community Baptist Church there was sponsoring a free concert by a Christian rock band called “Disciple.”

I looked the group up on the Internet and found that the band was similar to ‘Seventh Day Slumber.” If this doesn’t help, then “Stryper” will get you close. The band is on the fringes of what I can handle on the rock/metal spectrum. I have heard “Wolves at the Gate,” and that group is beyond what I’m comfortable listening to. In my mind there is still a difference between singing and screaming.

Playable Concert Sample

My first challenge was finding the venue of the concert. I went to said Baptist church and found literally two people on the property. They were in a room that was visible from the parking lot. I looked around the church and found no one else. I decided to ask the fellows about the concert but as I approached the door, I heard them praying the pray about “Lord let me accept the things I cannot change…” In my mind I knew I had stumbled upon a 12-step meeting. Instead of asking for help, I opted to head for the exit. On the wall near the exit door was a Disciple poster and an autographed guitar.

I figured that the venue must be elsewhere in this town of 800 souls. I looked up the concert on Disciple’s website and found that the venue was not the church but a community building. I went to the listed address and found an empty building with no lights on. Then I looked up the venue by name and found yet a third address. This was the multipurpose/basketball arena for the local high school. I knew by the number of cars in and around the building that after three tries, I had finally found the correct location.

Booked with Disciple was a character named Ryan Ries. I’m not sure what Ryan was all about because by the time I found the location, his part was over. Per the Internet, Ryan has a group called the Whosoevers that works with youth.

From what I have heard, some folks have issues with Ryan’s approach to the gospel and whether he is orthodox in his theology. I was hoping to hear what he had to say but alas I was too late. I have seen one or two cars in my area with stickers about this group, so I know some of my neighbors support him.

Oh, in the midst of trying to find the third location, I got a call phone from one of our crack staff members in California filling me in on the results of California’s Super Tuesday vote. I had to end the call prematurely because I was entering the venue.

I found a very different set-up from what you might expect for a concert. I entered the building from the north side. On my left was the basketball backboard and net. Under them was a merchandise table selling t-shirts and CDs. On the right, were bleachers. The bleachers were pulled out so that folks count sit on them. Towards the front, just past center court, was an area with a computer and mixing board. This area was roped off.

The stage was erected under the opposite basketball backboard. A rope was stretched across the front of the stage about four feet back. Thus, people had the option to sit in the bleachers on one side of the arena with the band on their right or they could be standing on the basketball floor in any area not roped off. This allowed me to be about eight feet from the guitarist on the left side of the stage. I would estimate at least 450 were in attendance but it may have been as many as 600. Not bad for a town of 800 people.

Prior to the concert’s beginning, a multimedia presentation about the band was displayed. The multimedia presentation continued thru the concert. It made the concert seem like an immersive music video with many images flashed on the screen. Also, on the screen were most of the words of the songs as they were being sung. I found this helpful, especially since I had only heard one of their songs one time prior to this performance.

The band sang about eight songs and then the lead singer gave a talk about giving yourself to God. He was especially concerned with turning the hearts of the Prodigal Son. As the father of a Prodigal Son, I get this need as well as the emptiness you feel because one that you love has been snatched by the enemy. The difference of course is that God can turn the heart of the Prodigal, but I cannot.

He also spoke of the recent loss of his dad and the reality that once we’re gone, someone else gets to go thru all our stuff. Most of what we accumulate in our life has no value to anyone else. Stuff mostly gets trashed or donated and only a few things may be of interest to anyone else. This story was a challenge to store treasure in heaven and not trash on earth.

The band then played a few more songs and left the stage. As is often the case, they then returned for an encore of about four more songs.

When the band feigned the end on the concert, they went behind the stage. One of the band members found the Trojan head (the high school mascot) behind the stage and return for the encore wearing it for the first song.

The concert was really free, not even a “love offering” was taken. The only cost to me was the $32 that I spent on 3 CDs that I have yet to listen to.

Lastly, since crossing from Montana to Idaho moves me from Mountain to Pacific Time, I got home 20 minutes before I left Troy, driving the speed limit all the way.

Please note lyrics on screen in the background

Disciple seems like a decent group of guys trying to reach people with the Gospel as they understand it. I would go see them again but there’s no chance my wife will go with me. Oh, they do have a website that has acoustic versions of many of their songs available. Perhaps a mellower take on their music would at least let me share it with my bride.

The closest they get to the old California HQ in Elk Grove is Vacaville on March 16th.

Hunger Games Prequel

Warning: this will not be a typical movie review. If you are Liberal, easily offended, or thin skinned, please skip this post.

Last week we watched the entire Hunger Games trilogy in preparation to watch the most recent installation, a prequel to the Hunger Games story. In the trilogy, the bad guy is President Coriolanus Snow, played by Donald Southerland. This stand-alone prequel (The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes) is the origin story of Southerland’s character. We rented it at the local video store. It is also available on Amazon.

President Snow–Donald Southerland– Hunger Games trilogy

From this point forward there will be some spoilers.

The movie opens with the Snow children (Coriolanus and Tigris) living with their grandmother. Some internet sites say that they are cousins and not siblings. The family is poor and barely surviving in the capitol district. Coriolanus is trying to do the typical middle-class drill of getting good grades to get into college. His family was once rich but not anymore. College is viewed as the gateway to success. Since he is poor and ambitious, he of course gets into conflict with the rich children in the district.

His college conflicts occur during the tenth Hunger Games. At this point, due to low viewer ratings, the Hunger Games are on the verge of being cancelled. Snow takes the opportunity to think outside the box and try to boost the ratings of the games. This brings him into even more conflict with his peers and the school’s faculty.

Severus Snape

His major opponent on the faculty is Severus Snape, oops I mean Dean Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage). Dinklage is awesome in his role as are several other characters. If you liked Dinklage in the Game of Thrones, then you’ll love him in this movie.

Peter Dinklage

Despite opposition from faculty and his peers, Snow’s plan to amp-up the Hunger Games is implemented.

From good ‘ole District 12, comes the Songbird, Lucy Gray Baird, played by Rachel Zegler. Snow is assigned to prep her for the Hunger Games. He falls in love or lust with her (you can decide which) and does what he can to help her win, including gaming the system and cheating. Clearly the skills you need nowadays to win the presidency are evident in his behavior from an early age.

Lucy Gray Baird, played by Rachel Zegler

Snow gets caught with his finger on the scales and is punished. The rest of the story arc is him making his way back to the Capitol.

To lift a phrase from Clint Eastwood, I now present the good, the bad, and the ugly of this film.

Why the film works.

The writer and the moviemakers of this film pull off what George Lucas failed to do with Darth Vader. They make a cogent and convincing case as to why Snow became evil. The movie dedicated to making Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader fails miserably on this point, despite a budget of millions of dollars, the move to the Dark Side was not satisfying or believable. Only Midi-chlorians were a worse plot point in StarWars.

Anakin Skywalker

Snow is led step by step into varying degrees of evil and is comfortable with each step as his conscience and morality disintegrate over the course of the film. Parts of it are creepy and uncomfortable to watch as you hope he will act morally but does not.

Rachel Zegler actually sings the songs that she belts out during the movie. They are not dubs of some faceless off-screen person in a recording studio. My biggest complaint is that the first few chords of almost all the songs start like Wayfaring Stranger and then branch out into other chords. For the sake of following the lyrics of each song—which are related to the story—you might want to turn on Closed Captions.

The other reason for Closed Captions leads us to the ugly part of this story. The people that made this movie did something that is not advertised on the DVD box or movie posters. They did something so shameful that it makes Disney look like a Republican run corporation. In fact, were it up to me, I would make the film rated R. I don’t know why smoking now makes a film R rated but this is worse. Tigris, the “cousin” of Snow, is a chick with a dick.

Yep, sorry Troll but it’s true.

We are watching the film, and my wife starts looking up the actors on the Internet. She then informs me that Tigris is a dude. Hunter Schafer used to be male. I will let you read the carefully curated details on Wikipedia if you wish.

Folks you can’t unsee that it’s a guy in drag once you know that. The volume of the audio track for Tigris is very low in every part of the dialogue. (Hence my recommendation for Closed Captions.) Guess, he can’t fake a girl’s voice. Also, there is a scene when I think they Photoshopped out his Adam’s Apple.

My demand for the R rating is based on this; how do you explain to your nine-year-old that the actor is a dude? Just hope they don’t notice? Sorry, it’s all over the Internet. If you don’t tell ‘em someone else will; oh, and as an added bonus they will undermine your values in the process.

The themes in this film are dark and adding this perversion is just another layer to deal with.

I think this film going woke in a different and more subtle direction and will be repeated. Look for more Hollywood flicks to try this tactic to check the pervert inclusion box in their movies.  

I think Zegler will win some awards for her performance; especially considering the new woke criteria of the Academy Awards.

Tom Blyth was great as Coriolanus Snow. I’ve never heard of the guy before, but his performance will open doors to more movie opportunities.

The lost soul, Hunter Schafer, will get an award just for being in the film. The contributions of the actor were minimal but I’m sure letting the producers check the pervert box will be rewarded.

If you are an adult that likes YA books made into movies or movies about dystopian worlds then by all means watch the movie; just beware that it is a potential recruiting tool for coopting your children by undermining your faith and values.

Treat this as an adult only film for people that grew up with the original trilogy.

Sean Hannity Finally Flees NY

So, it finally happened.  New York City has been home for Sean Hannity for as long as I have listened to/followed him.  He helped me get through college and parts of the Obama administration.  I enjoyed hearing him on the radio. His show typically followed Rush Limbaugh (RIP).  He always had the same monologue as Rush, and similar guests that would appear.  Sean knows his talking points and like most I know in the GOP, he rehearses them well.  Sean, in my opinion, never spoke bad of his hometown.  He even bragged about owning a hybrid Chevy Tahoe and how happy he was.  Well that all changed this week.  Check out his monologue to start his show.

The Fox News host first made the announcement on his radio show Tuesday, noting that he was “broadcasting now from my new home in the free state of Florida.”

“If anybody is listening to this program for any length of time, been threatening now to do this for quite a while, but we are now beginning our first broadcast of my new home, and that is in the free state of Florida. I am out. I am done. I’m finished. New York, New York, goodbye. Florida, Florida, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. But it’s great to be here,” Hannity said.

Sean Hannity announces move from New York to ‘free state of Florida’

“And finally, for the first time that I can think of in my adult life, I actually have representatives in the state that I’m living in that share my values. I have a governor by the name of Ron DeSantis and Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Rick Scott. So I’m feeling a lot better about it,” Hannity said.

He added, “And I’m not going to go through the whys, the how comes, because it’s obvious this migration out of the blue states with high taxes, burdensome regulation, high crime, horrible school districts is real. And if anything, I’m probably late and behind the curve and many others have made the move beforehand.”

I must ask the question…. ”What changed Sean?”

New York as a whole and specifically New York City are not conservative. I would even argue not close to having Republican ideals, except maybe the very sparsely populated far north up-state parts.  It hasn’t been that way for my entire adult lifetime.  Liberal policies are not new here.  It has always been a far-left cesspool.  Maybe only second to the California Bay Area. 

I honestly never remember him threatening to leave New York. To me he always seemed happy and content there.  Keep in mind he was always Fox News number 1 or 2 biggest star on both radio and television.  His shows are a ratings bonanza so Fox would have definitely paid top money to keep him around.  Why would he stay in New York?  Again, I will mention he bought the hybrid Tahoe.  If it was so bad, I think he could afford to pack up and move anytime.  Again, he has a very highly rated national radio program, and a huge TV following. 

Regarding his last paragraph about a blue state exodus, this has been going on for years. Heck Limbaugh left New York over two decades before. My question is this, what states are really getting redder?  Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado have trended away from the GOP, not towards it.  (This is thanks in large part to California immigrants that think they are conservative but are not changing the demographics of these states.) My point is who is leaving these blue states?  His comments about crime are fine, but has Sean been made aware of Tallahassee and Miami?  Sure, the schools will be better than New York but who cares? Hannity’s children are adults. One has graduated college and the other will shortly. Has he studied the insurance crisis in Florida?  It is much the same as in California but due to hurricanes not wildfires. My point is, sometimes you trade one set of problems for another.  Burdensome regulation isn’t just in blue states.  Again, Sean does a good job staying on the talking points script of taxes, regulations, crime, bad schools, and freedom. 

His last comments about being late to the party sum up his entire existence in my opinion.  Sean strikes me as the type who infests the CA GOP and CRA.  They love to speak about how conservative they are, espouse conservative ideals, yet in every single election these folks pick the most liberal Republican candidate.  McCain, Romney, even the folks backing Jeb Bush, it’s crazy.  He was even worse on the Speaker of the House for the GOP over the years.  He loved John Boehner, Paul Ryan, and fawned all over Kevin McCarthy.  All three have something in common, they love regurgitating talking points just like Sean does.  I know no one who shares the views of any of those 3. None are conservative.  They all sum up the GOP in a way Sean loves, get elected, then re-elected, go on talk shows and tell folks how conservative you are, then after being re-elected again, tell us how we must work with the other side.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Folks like Sean Hannity love this playbook.

Hannity is in trouble because he is alone.  Rush Limbaugh died.  Fox ratings are way down.  McCarthy was ousted as Speaker, and it appears the GOP found a real conservative to replace him.  So, to stay relevant he moved to Florida. Oh, by the way, Hannity has owned the Florida house since 2018 and split from his wife in 2020. Seems this move is about more than crime and high taxes.

It’s sad to watch but Hannity is just a microcosm of the GOP’s branding issues.  This move reeks of desperation to stay in the news.  Maybe it took years of liberal GOP and leftist Democrats ruling the roost to get this to occur or perhaps all his bravado is a smokescreen for more personal reasons.

The Chief

Thoughts After Seeing Jesus Revolution

I saw the movie on Sunday. It was a real treat to see. The short version, 10/10 Go see it.

Seeing the movie brought to mind the following:

Some of the background was a great touch. Yep, they had Janice Joplin and Timothy Leary at a beach concert and a host of period music in the soundtrack, some of which you will recognize.

The movie was grounded and a blast from the past. Just a few short years after this movie was set was when many people on my mom’s side of the family gave their lives the Christ (1974-1975). I think religious faith was portrayed as a struggle and not an end.

I knew of Chuck Smith and the many music groups that began at his church, but the origin of his youth-oriented church was fun to watch. Talk about the ungrateful death (his congregation) being given life… From what I recall of the 60’s, the counter-culture movement was a bunch of rebels without a clue. After many years of trying stupid stuff (drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll), many finally found what they were looking for, a lively faith to fill the God-shaped vacuum in their soul.

Not everything coming out of the Jesus Revolution was orthodox but some great theologians did come to prominence during this time period. If you can dig up some sermons by David Chilton, on a few recordings, he discusses some of the abuses on the fringes of this movement.

The other comment about the Jesus Revolution that I heard recently from Gary DeMar was that it was a movement that emphasized an internal transformation as opposed to previous revivals which were also culturally transformative.

One result of this period is what I call the franchise church: Calvary Chapel, Vineyard, LifePoint, Hillsong, etc.

Another and different version of Christianity coming out of this movement was Jesus People USA. They are still around today. They are a cooperative community—think baptized commune—that specializes in ministering to the poor in urban communities. I don’t know how many locations they are in, but Chicago and Milwaukee were ones that I remember.

Kelsey Grammar was really good as Chuck Smith and Jonathan Roumie did a great job as Lonnie Frisbee. I guess Jonathan plays Jesus in The Chosen; sorry, I’ve never seen the show. There is a line in the movie about him trying really hard to look like Jesus, guess that has more than one meaning.

Final thought, I’d see it again and plan to buy DVD once it goes on sale.

Update for March 4

I know that I haven’t written in a while and this brief blog is proof that I do feel some guilt about that.

My wife and I are getting the house ready to move and also overseeing the building of the new place. Our new house is nearing the completion of sheetrocking and will soon be ready for painting. Hopefully the tile guy will be ready to go soon so we can finally bathe in our place instead of trekking to the local church a few times a week for a real shower.

As one would expect, our utilities at the new place are a fraction of the rates in California. Our heater has been on nonstop since October. It was set to about 60 degrees up until January, when we upped it to 70. Even when the temperature outside was negative, the house stayed really warm—insulation is such a blessing. Anyway, it costs us about $65 for natural gas there while in warmer California, our bills from PG&E are running almost $300 per month—they gotta pay for those fires somehow.

During our visits to the new house, we were living off of one electrical outlet but this last trip saw us get five more outlets. What a blessing not to have extension cords running all over the place and having to unplug everything when using the circular saw. Also, I was able the get the Nest thermostat running along with a Nest “drone unit” in the crawl space. The crawl space (more like a basement) is now somewhat insulated and considered part of the inside envelope of the house. I wanted to see how that area is doing. It’s been a steady 58 degrees for most of the winter.

The upstairs is mostly painted and ready for other work but the downstairs will need a coat of sealer and a finish coat of paint. Then we plan to tackle the ceiling which is slated for tongue and groove pine. If I plan the work then this ought to go well in much of the house—the known tricky spots are upstairs.

The wife and I are selling things we once considered treasures on eBay and will soon have the mother of all garage sales. Anything not sold will probably go to a charity not named Goodwill.

Parting with large pieces of furniture is also on the list of things to do. Not having control of when friends and relations will actually take custody of stuff is somewhat frustrating.

I have much that I wish I would blog about but will get to it as time permits and the Spirit moves me.

A portion of our blog staff will remain in Elk Grove, and I can begin covering North Idaho once we get settled. The contrast will be fun to compare.

Johnnie Does Sky River Casino

Avoid.  That’s the one and only word.  Your humble correspondent has not and will not visit after hearing and seeing several trusted sources review our new shiny casino. 

Sky River is a brand-new casino that opened in the same town as this blog’s world headquarters.  We have always been skeptical as this is a small town, and do we really need another casino here?  In a short driving distance, we have, Jackson Rancheria, Cache Creek, Thunder Valley, Red Hawk and a couple of card rooms downtown.  All of them are far more exciting than our new casino.  Sky River Casino is very small, and no frills at all.  For now, it’s just a gambling floor and food.  I guess long term they have plans for a hotel, we shall see.

As for the casino part, I have had 4 customers/friends attend the casino multiple times since it opened, of course they aren’t degenerate gamblers, they just like to play a bit.  None enjoyed it at all.  Some even won money and still would not go back.  They said it was smoky as heck, so bad they had to go outside to get fresh air multiple times over the course of 30 minutes.  This is a bad look for a casino who said they have state of the art filtering systems in place. 

Photo from Yelp

The slot and table play got decent marks, but it was very crowded, this is a good thing for the casino.  But again, the smoke…. yikes.

The food was a major let down.  Full disclosure they do have a standalone steak house coming soon, which would be a good addition to this town in my opinion, but the food otherwise consists of just a food court.  Pretty lame. You order from your phone and sit and the workers bring it out to you.  Prices were just ok.  Food was high school cafeteria quality.  Avoid.

In summary, this place is average, but it fits this town perfectly.  If you think about it, we have lots of chain restaurants here, nothing special.  Our casino fits that.  We have people who are always hunting for a deal, this place fits that.  We are a no-frills town… this place fits that. 

Yelp Review Summary of Sky River Casino

Recently, I went out to eat and happened to be seated near an elected official from this area.  I overheard her telling a colleague we have a Walmart quality casino, for our Walmart quality town.  (We have 4 Wally Worlds in and around Elk Grove.)  If you are looking to blow some cash, this place will allow you to do that, but bear in mind, it has no sports book, no quality food options, and no hotel.  Also, no golf course or amphitheater.  Suit yourself, but I am not going to partake.  Like usual, this town would rather be adequate or average than have anything nice.

Johnnie Does

Editor’s Note: I checked Yelp just to see if Johnnie was being too hard on the place. Here’s what I found.

After trying to go here and eat more than Ice Cream, it was disappointing. Most of the Marketplace Food Court is surpassed by your local Shopping Mall Food Court in Selection, Quality and Service.

Yelp Reviewer Wanugee N. 09/17/22

Beautiful inside except the cleanliness. A casino of this size should have at least 5 people on the floor all the time just picking up and cleaning everything. It’s dirty.

Yelp Reviewer Marianna B. 08/21/22

There was no non-smoking area. I brought a mask but it didn’t help. There were also no hand sanitizer stations around. There are germs on every machine!

There was a long line to get into the food court area. It took awhile to get in and once I saw the prices I immediately went out… Too bad there is no buffet, whenever I go to a casino I expect a buffet.

Main question, did I have fun? My answer is not really.  I did get some exercise though from getting lost in this casino and then getting lost again in the parking lot. I guess I at least got to experience this but I don’t think I’ll come back.

Yelp Reviewer Scott F. 09/03/22

The News Stack I never Got to Blog

Yep, today I have decided to clean off all the unposted things that I’ve been saving to write about but never got there. I hope you find a few funny and others interesting.

The following was posted on social media a few months ago. It is a news account of a Russian general being killed in the Ukraine war.

In the opinion of some, there was a shadow over this report. Some said the news was tainted. I sought the original post on the Ukraine news site but was unable to find it.

Sadly, it is indeed a forgery. The photo is actually from the Command and Conquer computer games series by Electronic Arts. Specifically in Red Alert 3, actor Tim Curry played Premier Anatoly Cherdenko. Other names you might recognize in the cinematic cut screens include Gina Carano, Jonathan Pryce, J.K. Simmons, George Takei, David Hasselhoff, Jenny McCarthy, and Kelly Hu.

Next is a meme that I found on the website Gab.

Microsoft has now confirmed signing a malicious driver being distributed within gaming environments.

This driver, called “Netfilter,” is in fact a rootkit that was observed communicating with Chinese command-and-control (C2) IPs.

Microsoft admits to signing rootkit malware in supply-chain fiasco

The driver in question was seen communicating with China-based C&C IPs providing no legitimate functionality and as such raised suspicions.

This quote is the gold standard of the Covid lies.

I knew these vaccines were not going to protect against infection and I think we overplayed the vaccines,” Birx told the Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto.

Dr. Deborah Birx: I knew shots would not prevent COVID infection

Another Covid atrocity is this photo which I found many months ago. I call it “Really Wrong”.

I found this gem on my Microsoft account. Don’t know how they found me here.

Could this be the proof that I’m more Indian than Elizabeth Warren.

Here’s two stories from a different perspective that talk about Russia versus the West.

Apti Alaudinov, the commander of Chechen forces fighting for Russia, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, calling it a “holy war” against the “Satanic” values of Europe and the United States as well as the LGBTQ community.

Alaudinov made the remarks during a recent segment of Russia’s state-run Russia-1 television channel. A clip of his remarks were shared to Twitter on Sunday by Julia Davis, a columnist for The Daily Beast and creator of the Russian Media Monitor. Chechnya, where Alaudinov hails from, is a Republic of Russia under the jurisdiction of Moscow.

In his comments, the Chechen commander praised Putin for standing up against the West and NATO, describing them as evil. He praised the Russian president for preventing LGBTQ rights from advancing in their country, contending that the fight in Ukraine was a war against the marginalized community.

Russia in ‘Holy War’ in Ukraine Against ‘Satanic’ West, LGBT: Commander

Alaudinov noted that he is “grateful” that Putin is following the values of “the Most High,” referring to God. “We are not under the flags of the LGBT and as long as he’s alive, we won’t be under those flags.”

To my knowledge, I am the only culture war analyst in the world who contends that the current Russia/Ukraine war started not with President Putin’s Feb. 24, 2022. “Empire of Lies” speech, nor with the Obama/Soros-orchestrated Maidan coup on Feb. 22, 2014, to replace pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych with their own stooge, but with Vladimir Putin’s signature on June 30, 2013, making the LGBT propaganda ban the law of the land.

More than any other factor in the vast constellation of geopolitical rivalries and concerns, that single act declared the Russian Federation an enemy of globalism, and more importantly in the realpolitik sense, an enemy of the megalomaniac “closeted” homosexual Barack Obama who, even then, had done more to advance the global LGBT agenda than any other living man.

Can Christian Russia save the world from globalism?

In other news, the “Velvet Sweatshop” a.k.a. Microsoft has digitized most of the world and made the data available for free. Sorry, I didn’t check for the accuracy of Area 51, but you’re welcome to look. However, I’m sure North Korea can now accurately target your house using these same geolocation tools.

Microsoft releases new and updated building footprints data

Did you know that the first fatal nuclear reactor deaths were in the United States in 1961?

Yep, Jane Fonda was still in braces when this happened. This article is a good read. I think the Sith Lord would find it interesting. Also, any of you Navy Nukes that did prototype training in Idaho will find this of interest.

ATOMIC CITY, Idaho — People in this remote, high-desert town still talk about the alleged mysterious love triangle that, 60 years ago, triggered a murder-suicide — and resulted in the world’s first fatal nuclear explosion.

The accident never got the same attention as Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) or Fukushima (2011). But the sensational story behind it lives in infamy, even though some experts believe it may have been made up by government officials.

This single sentence is true: Army Specialists Jack Byrnes, 22, and Richard McKinley, 26, and Navy Seabee Richard Legg, 26, died violent, gruesome deaths on Jan. 3, 1961, at the US Army’s pioneering SL-1 reactor in Idaho.

Was the world’s first fatal nuclear explosion really sparked by a love triangle?

The SL-1 disaster led to the demise of the Army’s nuclear program and its plans for “mobile reactors.”

Here’s a link to the book. Idaho Falls: The Untold Story of America’s First Nuclear Accident

More proof that the ancient world was not what they taught you in school. The gizmo in this article is super cool.

Great mysteries are meant to be penetrated and one of the most fascinating is the 2,000-year-old computing machine known as the ancient Greek Antikythera Mechanism.

This intricate, bronze clockwork device was first discovered by Greek sponge divers inspecting a Roman-era shipwreck back in 1900 near the island of Antikythera in the Mediterranean Sea. Since then, scholars and historians have speculated as to the exact nature of its precision Steampunk-like workings.

Now a team of scientists and researchers at University College London (UCL) has uncovered a significant piece of the puzzle that comprises this fascinating astronomical calculator, which is thought to be a hand-cranked mechanical contraption used to predict astronomical events and heavenly logistics.

Scientists Create New Digital Model For 2,000-Year-Old Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera Mechanism is considered to be the world’s first analog computer and perhaps the finest feat of engineering ever to emerge from that era of antiquity. No equivalent machine was created until at least a thousand years later when craftsmen built medieval cathedral clocks.

This 2,000-year-old device was fabricated using a complex intermeshing of 30 surviving gears and was harnessed to not only predict the positions of the Sun, Moon and the planets, lunar and solar eclipses, and astronomical phenomena, but also dates for the ancient Olympics.

 If you aspire playing 4K Blu-ray disks on your computer, here’s some news you need to know.

There is no greater acknowledgement that we have moved on from physical media than Intel dropping support for them from their latest processors.

The first laptops without DVD drives were being released around 10 years ago, but until the 12th generation of Intel’s processors, the company still included support for the SGX (software guard extension) DRM technology needed to decrypt the discs.

This is no longer the case, as Intel confirmed in the spec sheet for the 12th Generation processor.

Don’t upgrade your PC if you want to watch DVDs or Blu-rays in 4K

 Last but not least are two stories on the financial failure that is the State of California. Yep, sorry Gavin lovers—not that I know of any—but all this talk of budget surplus is BS for gullible voters and the children running Silicone Valley.

Oh, the following is from a year and a half ago and its only gotten worse.

So we sued the State of California to get the records that are legally required to be made available to anyone who requests them.

Our initial request on Aug. 23, 2019 was ignored, and follow-up letters in October and November were finally acknowledged – 11 weeks after the first request, a violation of state open records law.

Our request was later denied, with Yee saying that they were “unable to locate” the evidence of payments that her office made and that it did not track payments that went through other state offices.

In 2018, Yee’s office paid 49 million bills totaling $320 billion in payments. While she made the payments, she claims she cannot track the payments.

California Controller Can’t Find Records on $320 BILLION in Expenditures—Really!!

The State Controller’s Office is the worst agency in the State of California. Trust me because I’ve seen this in the private sector. If you only count your revenue and don’t include all your expenses, you think you have a huge profit (revenue surplus). It sometimes takes an outside set of eyes to set the record straight. When government denies such oversight then it has something to hide.

In 2018, California resident Steven Childs wanted to know how much the state paid to a single vendor over a five-year period. Instead of the data, California Controller Betty Yee sent him an invoice for $1,250. Childs asked more questions and the Controller’s chief counsel, Rick Chivaro, admitted the state held electronic records and “warrant records” akin to “maintaining a checking account online.”

Today, in a Sacramento superior court, the controller denies having a checkbook and claims the warrant register doesn’t contain vendor information. The Golden State is the only state in the nation not to produce state spending under open records laws.

Our organization at is battling the controller in this case over our freedom of information request for the entire line-by-line state vendor checkbook. When the controller rejected our request, we sued.

Yee is claiming her office “couldn’t locate” a single payment. No, that’s not fake news, or a comedy punch line. California’s top financial officer actually argued this in court recently, despite admitting she paid 50 million individual bills last year.

Furthermore, the controller now claims that transparency itself is an “undue burden.” She swears it’s necessary to take 72,000 work hours to go through each of the 50 million payments by hand. 

Here are some of the arguments Yee is making to stonewall our request:

“In order to produce checkbook level data as requested … staff would need to manually review the estimated 50 million transactions …” (Emphasis added.)

“The public interest served by not disclosing the requested records and data clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure. As such, the [State Controller’s Office] is relieved of any obligation to produce the requested records.” (Emphasis added.) 

Do we have a representative republic if the representatives get to hide all transactions from the people—and claim that it’s for their own good?

Controller Yee acts like she has something to hide. Here are just a couple items we learned during discovery about how taxpayer dollars are spent by the controller:

1. Using paper and string. An estimated 200,000 bills — submitted only on paper — were paid during the fiscal year. Incredibly, the justification for each payment contains even more paper — between 15-20 pages and is bound and physically tied together with string. It takes 7-10 minutes to deconstruct, copy, and reconstruct each file.

2. State agencies submit employee reimbursements and supplemental payments to the controller without payee information. The controller provides the money with no accountability and no auditing. 

The controller makes state payments, is compelled by the state constitution to audit them, and therefore must be able to track those payments. Any responsible entity that makes a payment can track the payment. It is the minimum standard in any basic accounting system.

In California, the controller has frequently blamed their outdated systems that store records on paper, microfiche, and electronic tape. Yee even admitted that couriers with manila folders run demands for payments from state agencies. Is this ancient Rome?

California Is Hiding $300 Billion A Year In Spending From The Public, Claims It’s For The People’s Own Good

Original article from Forbes is here.

Oh, by the way, I have been in the room where the paper and string claim schedules are processed. This is 100 percent true and as a State employee, I’ve made and submitted many of these during my time working for the state. Oh, the string must be on the correct side of the Claim Schedule packet, or it will be returned to you rejected and unprocessed. Also, the knot on the packet is a bow just like when mama taught you to tie your shoes. If the knot is wrong, it will be returned to you—again rejected.

This is how government in the heart of the alleged technology capital of the world is really run. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Stanislaus County Proclaims Lets Go Brandon

I was minding my own business today when I saw this story. Personally, I think it’s funny, but the feigned outrage is priceless. How dare anybody challenge the orthodoxy of Liberalism, especially here in California.

Here’s the story:

MODESTO (CBS13) — A Stanislaus County resident is demanding answers after she and hundreds of others received an official tax letter in the mail stamped with “Lets Go Brandon.”

‘Lets Go Brandon’ Mistakenly Stamped On Hundreds Of Official Tax Letters In Stanislaus County

“This is taxpayer’s money, and they’re using this derogatory stamp to show what somebody thinks about it, and we’re paying for it. It’s just not right,” Boese continued.

County officials say the slogan ended up on roughly 544 pieces of mail.  But how does a political slogan end up on official county business envelopes?

He says ABS Direct, a contractor, printed the envelopes in error and has since apologized. Gaekle says the county not only doesn’t condone such messages, but he says they don’t belong on official government business.

“How could this be a printing error? It’s stamped on every envelope on the back,” said Boese.  “Somebody needs to realize this was illegal, and it’s just not good.”

Even the Modesto—formerly McClatchy—Bee has chimed in:

It’s hard to believe this statement needs saying. But the recent, incredibly embarrassing “Lets Go Brandon” gaffe — stamped in red ink on official correspondence from the Stanislaus County Assessor and Treasurer-Tax Collector’s offices to more than 500 residents — suggests otherwise.

Let’s go Brandon” is a euphemism for the most vulgar put-down you might imagine aimed at President Joe Biden. The accidental slogan was quickly adopted by his critics on the right smirking at what they deem to be a clever insult lacking profanity while evoking it. The left is understandably appalled.

How the slogan ended up on the backs of tax-related envelopes from our own county offices is almost beside the point. It’s enough to say it was a carelessly egregious mistake, one made by a firm contracting to send mail on the county’s behalf.

Well, that was stupid. Stanislaus must prevent future `Let’s go Brandon’ blunders

So, if one part of government attacks another, even by accident or via a rogue contractor, we get outrage but if government wants to attack the most innocent and vulnerable in our society, or refuse to punish criminals and protect citizens, or solicit money to fix water storage and spends the money instead on bike paths and carpool lanes then we get crickets?

Folks, what’s the lesson here?

I get that even if I agree with “Lets Go Brandon” which I do, I have even worn a shirt with the statement to church on a few occasions, it probably doesn’t belong on official correspondence. What is surprising to me is how widely this story is circulating (it is theoretically a national story now since it’s carried on MSN.) Again, the outrage is greatly disproportionate to the offense of having it stamped on 544 pieces of mail.

By the way, what kind of county tax mailing goes to only that amount of people?

Are they deadbeats that didn’t pay taxes?

I can see this going two ways; first, the Lets Go Brandon controversy might bring more attention to the tax letter causing more people to pay and thus increasing county revenue or perhaps, since this is California, a taxpayer goes to court and gets the warning letter tossed as unofficial government correspondence due to this unauthorized message on the letter and thus they are given a pass on having to pay any tax associated with the letter.

Why not, Gavin gave free water, sewer, electricity, and rent to renters in California for 18 months with no compensation to utilities or property owners just because he said so. This is an offense that no media company has taken up or made any serious complaint about.

BTW Gavin still has all emergency powers given to him at the beginning of Covid and can shut everything down again on a whim anytime he pleases. Thus, he is essential, all the rest of us are not. Oh, sorry, no media outrage over this abuse of power either.

This latest iteration of Lets Go Brandon is yet another illustration of the brokenness of our people and institutions in the dystopia of California.

Is this still a political blog?

If you are wondering yes, it is.  However due to the complete inaction of the democrat majority on…well basically anything, there is nothing to write about.  Think about it, ever since President Dementia took office what exactly has, he done?

Well, he undid Trump with the stroke of a pen.  (This means executive orders). 

They bickered among themselves about a Build Back Better bill…. it’s basically dead. 

Botched the Afghanistan pull out.

Passed a watered-down infrastructure bill (with the GOP pushing it across like they always do.)

He sent some troops to Eastern Europe but said they won’t be involved in Ukraine.

Spent a year investigating the January 6th insurrection.

He stopped the Keystone pipeline…. we are all paying for that.

They still haven’t tried to undo the SALT tax cap.  (State and Local Tax max you can write off on your taxes.  We here are predicting this will be the equivalent of the GOP repealing Obamacare.)

That’s about it.  If you can think of more leave, it in the comments.

That’s a great first year in office, he said he would stop Trump and they did.  Folks it’s sad, he got elected president, and he had all these idea’s…. not!  Actually I think his whole presidency is similar to when Trump got elected…. his own party was in shock!

So yes, we are still a political blog but there is not much to write about.