Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hops Fresh from the Vine

photo; Helga Stuermer in Nordhorn, Germany.

Hops fresh from the vine:
A beer lovers dream come true.
Savor them by giving them a chew.
They will satisfy your yearnings for a brew.
They don’t make you fat.
They don’t make you drunk.
You won’t wake up feeling like a skunk.
Hops season is a reason to be jolly!
A clasified substance in Mexico.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Minimalism: What is it?

What minimalists have in common:
   The “enough is enough” moment
   A desire to live with less
   Making the decision to change
           Courtney Carver

Forty-four years ago Jane and I set sail on our home-built sailboat. We sold everything that would not go aboard. We sailed across distant horizons where the wind blew us, when the spirit moved us, and the price was right.
Sailing away was like leaping off a tall building, it might have seemed like the right thing to do at the time but once airborne our fate was sealed, and no matter how much remorse we might have had turning back was not an option.
Living out of the sea and off the land and foraging for food became a thrilling way of life.
We wrote four books covering these precious years: Sailing Beyond Lake Superior (our inspiration and motivation that made it happen,) Sailing the Sea Islands and Sailing the Florida Keys (our bicycling and boating adventure,) Sailing to St Augustine, (what we did to survive the economic rollercoaster rides.)
Like our favorite German author Herman Hesse so aptly put it when he described the Magic Theater: “Not for everybody.”
We became minimalists before minimalism was coined.
Attempting to leave the world a better place than we found it, we strive to make a positive environmental impact.
A final thought:
Youthful dreams and aspirations whet your appetite for the unlimited acquisition of material things, and buying something shiny becomes irresistible because heaping more worldly positions on your pile is justified as asset building.
In your twilight years after you have played with your toys and time has removed their glittery luster those youthful assets become burdensome liabilities.

June 25, 2016 copyright John M. Grimsrud


Youthful dreams and aspirations whet your appetite for the unlimited acquisition of material things and buying something shiny becomes irresistible because heaping more worldly positions on your pile is justified as asset building.

In your twilight years after you have played with your toys and time has removed their glittery luster those youthful assets become burdensome liabilities.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

Alexander von Humboldt

Five Stars for
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf

Alexander von Humboldt was an exceptionally brilliant, insightful man. He was painstakingly thorough in his research, and he delivered his monumental message two centuries ago. This one of a kind scientist pioneered his research with an original approach. He saw the need for an ecological balance between nature and mans ever encroaching plunder of new frontiers.
I loved the book’s aspects of discovery, enlightenment, and consciousness. Andrea Wulf delivered Humboldt’s message which the world desperately needs to heed now. This huge volume captivated my attention all the way through and I was sad to see it come to an is memorable! 

Author Andrea Wulf writes of Alexander Humboldt:
"During much of his long life, he was the nexus of the scientific world, writing some 50,000 letters and receiving at least double that number. Knowledge, Humboldt believed, had to be shared, exchanged, and made available to everybody. Humboldt ‘read’ plants as others did books – and to him they revealed a global force behind nature, the movements of civilizations as well as of landmass. No one had ever approached botany in this way."

"Humboldt talked of ‘mankind’s mischief … which disturbs nature’s order’. There were moments in his life when he was so pessimistic that he painted a bleak future of humankind’s eventual expansion into space, when humans would spread their lethal mix of vice, greed, violence and ignorance across other planets. The human species could turn even those distant stars ‘barren’ and leave them ‘ravaged’, Humboldt wrote as early as 1801, just as they were already doing with earth."

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mérida, Yucatan's very best dentistry

After over thirty years of experience here in Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico, my wife Jane and I have definitely found a dentist that does quality work, is reliable, and trustworthy.
Let’s face it, going to the dentist is not something most people eagerly look forward to. That is why when dental problems present themselves it is reassuring to have the very best.

This is the man worthy of all my praise. Dr. Rudy Santos Mendez. He will make you happy and make you smile.
Odontologia Integral
Dr. Rudy R. Méndez Santos
Tel. 926-24-52
Cel: 9999-00-96-41
Calle 15, No. 101 x Calle 28, Dept. 2
Col. Itzimná


My wife Jane is another satisfied customer. Dr. Rudy makes sure that you have the very best cutting edge technology and will not prescribe unnecessary procedures. That is why we keep going back.
Believe me, we have had some comparative analysis of what is available so we are especially thankful to Dr. Rudy.

Somebody who truly cares enough to give you the very best makes for a relaxing atmosphere.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dead Zones of the Seas - Plus Red Tides

Fishermen selling their catch on the waterfront at Progreso, Yucatan.

Dead zones and red tides have similar attributes but are different entities; both feed on sea born nutrients and destroy marine life.

Dead zones are hypoxic areas.  Hypoxic refers to low oxygen concentration that cause living creatures to suffocate and die.

The world’s largest dead zone is in the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea is surrounded by ten countries including St. Petersburg, Russia St. Petersburg has a population of eight million.

The Gulf of Mexico is in second place.

Rain water runoff from the Midwest washes nutrient rich fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides plus excrement into rivers causing inorganic deserts down stream. Eventually the runoff reaches the Mississippi River and then the Gulf of Mexico.

Dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico have occurred naturally. Spanish Conquistadors observed red tides associated with dead zones when they arrived in the Gulf of Mexico. They were caused by rain driven purges of rivers and wetlands in the early 1500s.

Nutrient pollution is the cause of dead zones. Excess nutrients running down rivers stimulate growth of algae, which then sink and decompose. This process consumes oxygen resulting in a deadly imbalance.

Dead zones are found along the East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes.

A dead zone begins in Sarnia, Ontario, known as Canada’s chemical valley in southern Lake Huron. This dead zone flows south in the St. Claire River to Lake St. Claire, the Detroit River, and south into Lake Erie.

There is no part of the country or the world that is immune.

Global warming expands the growth of ocean dead zones. Warmer water holds less oxygen, and the world's dead zones are in areas where yearly temperatures are increasing.

In 1960 there were 49 dead zones world-wide, now there are well over 400 according to the Scientific American. Some say the count is 1,000-plus globally.

More land has been converted to agriculture since 1945 than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined.  Synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides made expansion of agriculture possible.

Excess nitrogen from burning coal, oil, and natural gas plus all fecal matter add destructive amounts of nitrogen to marine ecosystems.

Phytoplankton and seaweed expand explosively. Discharges from the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers of South America where deforestation coupled with reckless agriculture practices generate out-of-control growth of Sargassum seaweed. This is naturally carried across the Caribbean Sea by the currents to the Yucatan Peninsula, 1,700 miles away. Recently the Sargassum piled up to three meters high on the beaches from Cancun south to Belize. It dried, rotted and killed tourism.

Toxic algal blooms known as “red tide” create conditions where most marine life cannot survive.

In high concentrations, the toxin of the bloom paralyzes the central nervous system of marine life.

Red tide is harmful to human health. Eating contaminated shellfish can kill. It even kills manatees and dolphins, warm blooded mammals breathing air.

These algae- phytoplankton are single-celled organisms that form thick surface patches. Some of the many species are brown to red or discolored and murky.

Eye and respiratory irritation are serious but lung disease or asthma suffers fare worse.

In Yucatan, Mexico, our second red tide passed this year devastating marine life. Hordes of people rushed to scoop up dead or dying lobsters and fish. Some of this pestilence found it its way to markets and restaurants. The health department issued statements regarding the danger of eating seafood contaminated by red tide but they were largely ignored.

In July my wife and I swam in the first red tide contaminated waters, became extremely sick, and are still recovering after potent medications.

Amazingly the tourist industry lobby trumps the health department so no warnings are posted on the beaches.

We love the sea and seafood…but can’t trust it!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Victor Rico Cusi, from the Arctic Ocean to the southern tip of South America.

Victor Rico Cusi’s miraculous “Crotch Rocket”ride!

Determined, focused and powerfully motivated, Victor began in tropical Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico.

He crossed Mexico from extreme southeast to extreme northwest. Then he crossed the continental U.S. to Canada. In Canada it was north to Alaska and on to the shores of the Arctic Ocean…as close to the North Pole as you can go on wheels and still be on land and returned.

As if that wasn’t enough to satisfy his wanderlust next he turned south from Yucatan through Central America to Panama. There he boarded a ship for Columbia and continued south following the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of South America to its southern tip at Ushuaia, Argentina.

Returning took him up the Pacific coast of South America.

Victor took the seldom traveled scenic routes including Route 40 through Argentina. Few motorcyclists travel the full length of Route 40 as much of it is unpaved.

Victor says the people he met along the way made his trip unforgettable.

To the best of my knowledge Victor is the first from Yucatan to complete this Arctic to Antarctic round trip by “Crotch Rocket”…his BMW motorcycle. 

Special congratulations to an exceptional man who lives his dreams!   

In Argentina Victor and his heavily- laden Crotch Rocket hang on as gale force winds add a dimension of adventure.

Photos by Victor Rico Cusi

Friday, March 6, 2015


For those of us who cherish the food from bygone days before bar-coded chemically embalmed ersatz convenience cuisine:

This Mayan lady brings the produce of her home garden plus traditional baked goods, native honey, chaya and whatever else is in season to her spot in Colonial Alemán. This location is about three kilometers northeast of Mérida’s center. You are sure to see Mayan ladies at various market places and in the villages of Yucatan selling their goods.

All is top quality, ecologically friendly, and reasonably priced.  

The flat crackers to the left in the photo are known as ish waaj.  They are made from new corn. There are two varieties: salted or sweet.  The midget bananas are exceptionally sweet.

The white shucked beans in the front of this photo are known as ibes and the black ones are xpelón. A delicicous food favorite in Yucatan are vaporcitos (tamales) made with xpelón. The brown bags contain ground roasted squash seeds (pepita molida).  Pepita molida is the main ingredient in Si-Kil Pac, a tasty dip made with the ground squash seeds, tomatoes, sour orange, cilantro, and Yucatan’s hot chile habanero.

A treasure trove of fun to sample foods not found in the super stores can be found in the markets and along the streets of Yucatan..

So, what are you waiting for?

Sample some of the real Yucatan that tourists miss most.