Captain Rick : By now your MasterCard, Visa and other credit cards have the new EMV microchip. All U.S. merchants need to have the new chip readers installed and operational by October 1, 2015 or they face increased responsibility to cover losses if someone goes shopping with a stolen credit card.

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the companies that created the standard in the mid-1990s. Its a years-in-the-making liability shift aimed at prodding American merchants into finally adopting a more secure payment technology that is ubiquitous in Europe and Canada but still rare in the United States. Starting next month, retailers that haven’t upgraded their payment systems to read EMV microchips — the small, metallic rectangles that are increasingly prevalent on the front of American charge cards — will bear the financial liability for some fraudulent charges. (Gas stations have an extra two years to make the switch for charges from their fuel pumps.) 

How it works: The credit card is inserted into the bottom of the card reader and remains there until the transaction is finalized (instead of being swiped down its side). The chip on the card generates a unique code that is validated by the issuing bank. This makes the cards harder to copy than the magnetic strip.

The merchant hardware (up to $600 per terminal) and software ($Thousands) required is expensive. Walmart and Target are among the few companies already using the new technology. 27% of U.S. merchants will be ready by the deadline. The old card swipe readers will continue to work for consumers while the balance of merchants switch to using the new technology.

I experienced my first credit card chip transaction about a month ago at Walmart. I swiped my card as usual. The cashier said “you have to insert your card in the chip slot”. I asked “were is that?” The cashier replied “at the bottom”. I inserted my credit card in the slot at the bottom. It did not work because I inserted the wrong end of the card. Once I inserted the end with the chip face up, it worked, but I made the mistake of pulling it back out. The card needs to stay inserted during the entire transaction. Those standing in line, the cashier and I all had a good laugh. It was a learning experience for me. Another transaction a few days later was executed perfectly on the first try. I am a pro now. When it is time to pay, I  ask “is your chip reader is working.” Most say “no not yet. It should be working by October 1.”  In any case, I can conclude that this “old dog is not too old to learn a new trick”. 

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Captain Rick : Fish Creek Canyon is one of Arizona’s hidden treasures of scenic beauty. To experience its magnificence one must travel the Apache Trail (AZ 88) east from Mesa, Arizona. The paved road winds its way thru beautiful desert scenery in the Superstition Wilderness area and then past Canyon Lake, presenting one of the world’s most beautiful lake vistas. The trail continues east thru Arizona’s smallest original town of Tortilla Flat, once a place for workers to rest on their journey up the Salt River to build the mighty Roosevelt Dam that holds the massive Roosevelt Lake, a main source of water for over 4 million inhabitants of the Phoenix Valley of the Sun.

From Tortilla Flat, the trail climbs several hundred feet in elevation to a mountain setting that hosts beautiful wild flowers in the spring. Then the pavement ends. A gravel road continues. After a few more miles the beautiful Fish Creek Canyon comes into view around a breathtaking curve. The road descending into the canyon is narrow and treacherous. Vehicles need to tuck tightly against the cliff to allow those coming up the road to pass without falling off of a steep drop-off at the edge of the road that has no guardrail. This road is definitely not capable of handling anything larger than a passenger car or small pickup truck. A couple small pull offs at the bottom of Fish Creek Canyon allow for parking of a few cars. Great views of this magnificent canyon can be seen within a short walking distance.



Click the photo above to view full screen in high definition via Captain Rick’s Flickr Photostream

The dark stained area running down the rock cliff at left becomes a beautiful, tall, cascading waterfall during and after a heavy rain. It is difficult to catch a glimpse of the waterfall because when it rains the road is closed at Tortilla Flat, due to water flowing over the road. The only access then is to travel the east section of the Apache Trail down from Roosevelt Lake. It is all gravel and a slow trip, however the scenery makes it a very rewarding experience.

Those continuing eastward from Fish Creek Canyon experience a beautiful vista of Apache Lake. The trail then connects with the Salt River. The scenery in the Salt River Gorge between Apache Lake and Roosevelt Lake is spectacular. The trip culminates with an incredible view of the 357 foot tall Roosevelt Dam from below. A series of switchbacks quickly gain elevation to the top of the dam exposing a breathtaking, panoramic view of the main portion of Roosevelt Lake. When full the lake is 2 miles wide x 22 long and 349 feet deep.

Fish Creek Canyon is a special hidden treasure of scenic beauty at the halfway mark of the 40 mile long Apache Trail … the most scenic road within a short distance of Phoenix and one of the most scenic in Arizona.

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Captain Rick’s Photography by Atridim

Captain Rick : I have seen lots of firsts along the morning trail on my around-world walking/biking trek, spanning 17,000 miles in 15 years. This morning I was passed by a roadrunner doing about 20 mph. Not a car … a bird running. It is the fastest runner of all flying birds. It was about a foot tall and nearly two feet long. It had a bright orange patch running rearward from its eye and a big feathery headdress. It was a beautiful bird, but I was disappointed that it did not go ‘beep beep’ like in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes I watched as a child.


I was not expecting to be passed by a roadrunner on my morning exercise walk, so I did not have my camera along. As a Flickr PRO member, I searched Flickr and found a roadrunner that most closely resembled the one that passed me. Click on the image above to view the full photo presented in stunning 4K HD captured by Flickr’s susanloellison.

About the ‘Greater Roadrunner’

The Greater Roadrunner is a long-legged bird in the cuckoo family, prevalent in Arizona and the Southwestern United States and Mexico. Although capable of limited flight, it spends most of its time on the ground, and can run at speeds of up to 20 mph (32 km/h). Cases where roadrunners have run as fast as 26 mph (42 km/h) have been reported. This is the fastest running speed clocked for a flying bird.

Greater Roadrunners measure 61 cm (2.00 ft) in length and wingspan. About half of their length is tail feathers. They measure 30 cm (1 foot) tall. They have long legs and a slender, pointed bill. The upper body is mostly brown with black streaks and sometimes pink spots. The neck and upper breast are white or pale brown with dark brown streaks, and the belly is white. A crest of brown feathers sticks up on the head, and a bare patch of orange and blue skin lies behind each eye. Roadrunners have 4 toes on each zygodactyl foot; two face forward, and two face backward.

This bird walks around rapidly, running down prey. It feeds mainly on small animals including insects, spiders (including black widows), tarantulas, scorpions, mice, small birds and especially lizards and small snakes. Venomous serpents, including small rattlesnakes, are readily consumed. It kills prey by holding the victim in its bill and slamming it repeatedly against the ground.

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Captain Rick’s HBP World Trek

Captain Rick’s Photography by Atridim

Captain Rick : Stock markets around the world plummeted into correction territory on Monday, August 24. China’s Shanghai composite plummeted 8.5% followed with an additional 7.6% plunge on Tuesday, accumulating a 16% loss in two days. The Dow took an unprecedented 1,089 point dive at Monday’s opening bell, causing investors to wonder if this was the beginning of a market crash. The Dow has now lost 13% from recent highs. Most major stock markets around the world are down over 10%, considered to be the threshold that signals an official market correction.

This market correction is significant in magnitude. It is almost as big as the 2011 correction, which was the biggest correction since the global market crash of 2008, when the Dow bottomed at a 54% loss. This market correction has caused the average 401K retirement account to loose $10,000 in the past few weeks. It has erased billions of dollars of value from the world’s major corporations. 


What is triggering this stock market correction?

Primarily, concerns about global economic growth — especially in the world’s No. 2 economy, China, after it unexpectedly devalued its currency. China’s Shanghai Composite suffered its worst loss in more than 8 years, which takes us back in time prior to the 2008 global market crash. This concerns investors because China is one of the biggest financiers of U.S. debt. If China stops funding Americas debt spending, where will Uncle Sam get its money to fund the countless federal grants it dishes out to keep the economy chugging along? Additionally, oil prices are down under $40 a barrel, hitting a 6 1/2-year low. While this is great news for drivers needing to buy fuel, it is taking a heavy toll on profits for the big oil corporations.

What is the long term stock market prognosis?

Perhaps the biggest concern of all is the extremely fragile financial structure of the United States. Intelligent investors realize that the U.S. is teetering at the edge of the real ‘fiscal cliff’ with lots of serious fiscal challenges that lie ahead … like uncontrolled spending far beyond its means, causing the U.S. national debt to soar past $18 trillion, dwarfing all other countries debt. And then there are the giant fiscal time bombs that continue to tick … Medicaid via Obamacare, Medicare and Social Security. Who knows what could spook the market to take the big plunge? The only things we can all be sure of is that ‘what goes up, eventually comes down’ and ‘time is of the essence’ because of the extremely ‘shaky fiscal ground’ that the entire world stands on … especially the United States of America.

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ANJ Stock & Bond Market Reports

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Your comment is welcome and will be greatly appreciated,
Captain Rick


Captain Rick: Congratulations Gilbert, Arizona Town Manager Patrick Banger for 100 posts on Gilbert’s WordPress site.
Sincere appreciation for the many wonderful achievements you have contributed to during your first four years leading Gilbert to become America’s best town of nearly a quarter million residents. Your video below is a great testament to the excellence of Gilbert.

Originally posted on Gilbert Town Hall Talks:

Manager’s Update: August 20, 2015

In this week’s Manager’s Update we’re celebrating 100 posts by showcasing the highlights of the past four years since I’ve become Gilbert’s manager. Watch this video to hear about our population growth, new business developments and what we have to look forward to in the future.

Please subscribe to our Gilbert Digital YouTube channel for more Gilbert highlights.

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Captain Rick : Yesterday was a hot day in Phoenix. Besides smashing a previous daily air temp record, it set a new record of 95 F for the warmest pool temp I have ever recorded. Pool water temp closely trails the average day and night temp. SRP, the power company, registered yesterday’s average temp at a near record of 102F. We have had some very hot nights lately, with temps only dipping to the upper 80s at dawn. I am confident that those elevated low temps are what created the new high pool temp record.

Phoenix pool temps have been making a slow, steady rise over the past couple decades. I attribute that to rapidly expanding concrete and heat absorbing materials that blanket the Phoenix Valley of the Sun which spans across 100 miles of Arizona desert with an exploding population of over 4 million.


117 F is shy of the all time high temp record of 122 F set June 26, 1990. I missed experiencing that monumental mark. Having moved to the valley in 1996, the hottest I have experienced is the fourth place record at 119 F set on June 29, 2013. It was ‘Dry Heat’, only 2% humidity, a truly unique and wonderful experience that I recorded in a previous Atridim News Journal post complete with a photo of my thermometer at 119 F: Arizona “Dry Heat”: Phoenix set 4th hottest all-time record: 119F (48C) at 2% humidity … Where is the hottest place on earth?

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Your comment is welcome and will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for stopping by,
Captain Rick

Captain Rick : I have watched every presidential debate since 1960 when John F. Kennedy was elected and became one of America’s greatest presidents. I will always remember the day I was eating lunch in the high school cafeteria and those terrifying words came over the school PA system that President Kennedy was shot and killed. It was a day that planet earth stood completely still, frozen in shock. That day had a profound effect on my thinking. It marked the day I became seriously interested in the candidates that run for President of the United States of America. 


Fox News hosted the first Republican presidential debate on August 6, 2015.  Sadly, it was only broadcast live to cable TV subscribers. Watch the official Fox News video rerun by clicking the image above.

As I have done for most presidential debates for decades, I kept score of how each candidate answered the questions. Each candidate started off each question with 5 points on a scale of 10. As they answered each question, I adjusted their score up or down based on what they said as it related to how I believe the mainstream voter would judge the answer. Their body language and audience reaction factored in. After the debate I averaged the scores for each candidate.

Captain Rick’s Scorecard of 2016 Republican Presidential Debate Contenders:

8.1 Donald Trump

6.7 Rand Paul

6.3 Mike Huckabee

6.2 Ted Cruz

5.7 John Kasich

5.6 Marco Rubio

5.2 Scott Walker

5.1 Ben Carson

5.0 Jeb Bush

4.8 Chris Christie

Donald Trump dominated the debate, in spite of loaded questions thrown at him by Fox News host Meagan Kelly, scoring considerably higher than all other candidates. Rand Paul came in a distant second, weaker than I had expected. Mike Huckabee’s third place performance was a surprise. I have a hunch we will be seeing more press on him in coming weeks. It squeaked Ted Cruz to a close fourth. The rest of the candidates all scored within a point of neutral 5.0. Scott Walker’s drop was a surprise. Ben Carson, with his excellent comment about the ‘brain of congress’ helped him fair a notch above Jeb Bush. Chris Christie came in last. I think he needs to excuse himself from the race.

I recognize that there is lots of commentary on how the candidates faired that is being broadcast across social media. I am honored to be one intelligent voice for your consideration.  

Captain Rick’s Closing Thought … I think America is sick and tired of both parties (Republican and Democrat) because of their poor ability to have a positive effect in the Presidency and Congress of the United States of America … which continues to ‘kick Americas debt can down the road’ for our grandchildren to pay for. They can not afford the bill of debt. Unless America begins to elect an intelligent president and members of Congress, America will soon witness the world’s largest catastrophe … the United States of America becoming a third world country. 

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