Our Trip to the Terry Bison Ranch

Mary and I visited the Terry Bison Ranch along the Colorado-Wyoming border, one of the largest bison farms in the world. We enjoyed a slow noisy train ride to see their group of camels and herd of bison and ate lunch at their restaurant. They also maintain an RV park and cabins and raise a few horses, goats, pigs, ostriches, llamas, and alpacas. The ranch is older than Colorado and Wyoming.

The bison show herd waits for visitors on the train.

An expensive suspension bridge over a small puddle.

The mythical Wyoming jackelope.

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Poster of the Barque Belem

I saw Le Siecle du Belem (The Century of the Belem) by Philip Plisson at the doctor’s office. It costs $28 on Amazon. Click the poster twice to zoom in.

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Trees After Snowstorm

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Denver Airport and Minnesota

Frontier Airlines provides the worst customer service in the industry. Don't fly with them!

The owner of Elway's restaurant in the Denver Airport wants us to know that football is not an easy way to earn a living.

Colorado breweries are exhibiting in the airport gallery. Governor Hickenlooper used to own a brewery.

Rochester A Better Chance (RBC) provides bright, talented and aspiring minority candidates with a mentoring and nurturing home environment, optimizing their opportunities to excel in school and community settings.

Mayo Clinic ambulance pulled by horses, 1905.

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Colorado Winter Ice Melt

The weather has been warm in Colorado this week, causing the winter ice to melt into interesting patterns.

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Will the Internet Make Chileans More Trustworthy?

Journalist John Stossel wrote an interesting essay about what untrustworthy people like Chileans and other Latin Americans can do to increase business with people from rich countries.

Trust—society depends on it. For most of history, our ancestors lived in clans with other family members, or in small villages. Everyone pretty much knew who was trustworthy. People behaved better because they wanted good relationships with family members and neighbors. It’s one reason that today we trust friends and family more than strangers.

Only recently have humans interacted with lots of people. Today, “50 percent of the population lives in cities,” points out entrepreneur Julien Smith. “We’re surrounded by strangers, and you end up with these systems in place that progressively get built (to determine:) ‘should I trust this person?’”

Smith created the website Breather, which arranges for strangers to rent private spaces—even living rooms—for business meetings. For his business to work, total strangers must have a reason to trust each other. The Internet makes that possible. His customers check his clients’ reputations before they agree to share a workspace….

Internet ratings give us more reason than ever before to interact with new people.

Before the Internet, we at least had word of mouth. It gave us some protection. When I was a consumer reporter in a single city—Portland, Oregon, then New York City—I could find a smalltime scam to report on every week. But when I moved to ABC News to report on national scams, I couldn’t find so many.

That’s because, in a free society, the way for a business to get really rich is to serve customers well. When it does, customers want more of your stuff. If you rip people off, word gets out, and your business doesn’t grow.

Julia Thiel of the Chicago Reader reports that many Chileans are thieves, including flatmates at two different apartments:

When I told the Chileans at the ceramics studio where I took classes what had happened, they seemed unsurprised. “Chileans steal,” said one. “It’s too bad, but it’s just the way it is.” Another said she’d once seen a sign in a store in another Latin American country warning people to be on the lookout for Chileans stealing things. (Earlier this year, a Chilean was even arrested for stealing a glacier.)

I hope that the Internet encourages Chileans to become more trustworthy but I reckon it will take decades to change the culture.

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Will Chile Become Famous for Failure?

Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) opines:

In Chile, the refusal to learn is not from inertia but from success. Michelle Bachelet’s socialist government swapped 6% GDP growth in 2013 for 1.8% growth in 2014. How? By hiking government spending 9% and financing it with a 20% rise in corporate tax rates.

This year’s bid to repeal Chile’s 1979 Pinochet-era labor laws will ratchet growth even lower — back, in fact, to the pre-Pinochet era, when Chile was a Third World country with a per capita GDP just 20% of today’s level. Back then, as strikes engulfed the country, unions got 29,000 laws passed and crippled the economy. Property rights were nil, and the country was a shambles.

Chile learned only when it turned to free markets, due to University of Chicago economists known as The Chicago Boys. In their memoirs of the era, Jose Pinera, Hernan Buchi, Sergio de Castro and other Chicago Boys described the difficulty of changing course after decades of failure and the entrenched interests who resisted it.

The Bachelet camp is willfully clueless about them.

The most important reason the Chilean economy is suffering is the falling price of copper, their biggest export. Nevertheless, IBD is right that dramatically increasing government and labor union power will ruin Chile in the future. Chile has prospered from the Chinese building empty cities of building with copper tubes and wiring but that will not continue indefinitely.

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Chilean Runs 120 Marathons in 60 Days

Chilean runner Matías Anguita ran the length of Chile in 63 days, including 2 marathons nearly each day. He started running long ago as a means of giving up smoking, a habit of many Chileans.

I can’t even run 3 miles each day on a treadmill!

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Tax Increases in Chile

This post is from a Chilean reader of this blog. – Mark

A little help to your readers about a Tax Reform under heavy discussion in Chile presently.

Basically is going to affect much more Chilean business owners than foreigners. The reason? Foreigners have paid since very long a general income tax burden in Chile of 35%. However the higher bracket for wealthy Chileans is 40% today. It has meant a discrimination against wealthy Chileans. Some indications rise above the 40% the taxation for Chileans. Other indication level it to the same level than foreigners. The tax reform is still on the war zone, receiving bullets and bombs from the left wing and the right wing. So, the final outcome is unknown.

However, there are no indications at all to raise the 35% income tax applied to foreigners. Companies pay thus far a 20% corporate tax on accrued profits, but business owners had been able to deduct from his personal taxation, the amount paid by the company. So, a foreign business owner has to pay the difference when he withdraw his profits. It means the remaining 15%. Chileans do the same, when he withdraw the profits for personal use, he must pay the difference on April of each year.

The tax reform is rising the corporate tax on profits from 20% to 27%. This is one of the big changes. So, it means that foreigners will have to pay the difference: 8% when withdrawing profits. The final tax burden of investing in Chile may be lower for a foreigner if his country has an agreement with Chile to avoid double taxation or of he can use the amount paid in Chile as a credit to deduct from his taxation elsewhere.

However there is another big change against Chilean business owners. Presently we can deduct 100% of the corporate tax from our personal taxation. The taxation alien under cross fire, is coming out with the idea of allowing a 65% use of such corporate tax. So, Chilean business owner will actually pay more taxes. None of this has been said to be applied to foreigners yet.

The tax reform has other edges applied to foreigners, as eliminating DL 600, eliminating advantages for existing companies regarding accumulated gains and losses, etc. but it will make this post too lengthy. The tax reform is going to be revised by the Camara de Diputados ( The House of Representatives) for second time after modifications done on the Senate. So, there are some changes to be cooked by the House Chefs. The left wing Chef wants to add more chili and spices to the seafood paella and the right wing Chef wants to transform it on a chocolate fondue !! So, we still may expect a new dish, that as usual, all politicians from both sides, will celebrate as a victory. Nothing better to raise hope and health, to listen politicians after any election or big reforms: They are all happy and they are all winners. However, on the back stage, some will need more than a glass, they will command for a case of bottles to digest the new tax burden. At the end, as always, all of them will be “winers”.

My best regards


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Colorado Bighorn Sheep Visit Herd of Humans

The herd of bighorn sheep from Georgetown, Colorado descended the mountain last weekend to enjoy the warmer climate of the lowlands. This herd doesn’t fear people.

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