Thursday, 23 April 2015

DC and the "Other" DC

I lived for 3.5 years in Arlington, VA.  I came to realize after a few months that DC (just two miles from my apartment) was "another land".  Once you crossed the river.....general logic and the standards of life that I'd be accustomed to.....simply didn't exist.  This week, I was reminded of this problem.

A picture came out with two Republican congressmen....holding a colorful red, white, and blue AR-15 automatic rifle.  They were doing a benefit deal in DC and the weapon was to be the prize for those who bought raffle tickets.  The picture?  Well.....it got out into the DC press (the city DC, not the federal DC), and pretty quickly.....the city DC's Attorney General got all hyped up.

You see, in the city DC (not the federal DC).....there are the strictest gun rules in America.  This helps in various ways to control the killing efforts in DC (the city, not the federal DC) and limit deaths to approximately 110 murders a year (I won't say that these are all gun related....some are done by knife, hammer, or beatings).  If you figure the six by six mile area.....then do the statistical averages.....it's a fair amount of killing.  I should note.....most of this killing takes place in the city DC, not the federal DC.

So the city DC's Attorney General got fired up and went to the capital police.  Note....the capital police don't work for the DC city police.....the capital police work for federal government.  The photo of the gun on DC grounds was immediate evidence in their mind of some no-good going on.

Well....Representative Ken Buck got the call and kinda noted that he'd done all the fine paperwork required by the capital police (not the DC city police).  The capital police kinda agreed.

In fact, at this point.....the capital police let the DC city police know of this little funny rule.  ANY Senator or Congressman.....Democratic or Republican....by the rules of House and Senate.....are allowed to keep weapons in their office (UNLOADED, naturally).

Now, it should be noted that you can't walk into any chamber or public meeting area within the House or Senate with your gun.  There are precise rules against that type of behavior.

However, every single one of these elected officials can hold weapons within their office areas.  Not just one or a dozen, but they could legally hold hundreds of guns if so desired.

I'm guessing the DC city police (not the capital police) are a bit disturbed by this.....thinking their city rules and procedures would guarantee DC (the city, not the federal DC) to be gun-free.  They were wrong.

Now, you might ask this stupid question.....in the last two-hundred years, with all these guns laying around the capital with these Senators and Congressmen.....has there ever been some incident that caused someone to get shot (intentionally or by accident)?  No.

What if some idiot fringe group got a couple of whacked up individuals into the federal building and attempted to threaten any Senator or Congressman?  I'm pretty sure that each guy or gal would pull out their arms.....open up the box of ammo....and lay some efficient layers of defense beyond what the capital police or DC city police could offer.

Some people will sit there and start to worry about this.  Frankly, on my list of 1,000 things to worry about.....this rates around 6,438.  Now, if these idiots were keeping sticks of dynamite or cranking up chain-saws in their office to 'show-off'.....I'd prioritize things higher and move this to around number 466.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

“Why die on Mars when you can live in South Dakota.”

“Why die on Mars when you can live in South Dakota.”

This is the new tourism campaign for South Dakota.  Folks within the tourism trade woke up one day and noticed how a bunch of people are all stirred up and want to go visit Mars.  Thousands of people in fact.

Now, a logical guy would ask....what exactly will you be seeing or doing while visiting Mars.  Swamp fishing?  Gambling on some bayou?  Tanning on some beachfront?  Drinking Whiskey Sours at a Mars nightclub?  Dancing with some hot fifty-year-old chick from Boaz?  Mountain-biking?  Getting fitness training from some San Diego guy who only eats mushrooms and shrimp?

The general trip idea to Mars currently is a one-way trip.  You will die there.  Period.....end of story....no commas.....no plan B situation.....no exits.....no change of plan at the midway point.

I think there's a brief one-hour window of fantasy that will occur when this first group arrives on Mars.  They will don their suits.....go walk around for an hour....then come to this new reality.  I'd refer to it as "dumb-itis".  I paid all this money and for some reason.....this brief walk on Mars and my impending end to life don't make much sense.

The problem in life is that people watch an awful lot of fantasy stuff on TV and get these weird ideas.  Guys used to aspire to be on some bowling league and bowl a three-hundred game.  Now, they fantasize about some android-borg-like lady-gal who looks marvelous, stacks one-hundred-pound hay-bales with ease, and performs over six-hundred multi-task functions.

A guy used to aspire to have a truck that makes it through a whole year without a visit to the garage for repairs.  Now, a guy fantasizes about some hover-craft vehicle that gets up to 300 mph, and has a leather suit with turbo-blast air cooling for hot summer months.

A guy used to aspire to have a simple steak over the grill after work.  Now, a guy fantasizes about some Argentine steak which sat in a bowl of special Taiwanese sour sauce and Bombay peppers which are sold at only one store within seventy miles of the house.

A guy used to aspire to have four basic options for TV entertainment each evening (ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS).  Now, a guy fantasizes about 700 channels, and sixteen possible baseball games tonight for viewing.

A guy used to aspire to get in a car and drive for two days to reach South Dakota.  Don't ask me what was on the typical 'to-see-list'.....I might assume Mount Rushmore but maybe the Badlands or Black Hills interest the guy.  Now?  A guy dreams up Mars? And for what?

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A Mayor Story

It's an odd story.  Election occurs in some small (700 residents) town in Missouri (Parma).  For thirty-seven years.....the same guy has held the job.  He was defeated by a black gal.  Within days....the town attorney, the chief of the water department, the city clerk and the bulk of the cops in town (five out of six) resign.  They also wipe the computers as they exit.

Normally, you'd look at this and ask some questions.  Folks appear to have registered some dislike for the old 'regime' and the 'old-boys-network'.

Then you start to look at potential corruption.  It's odd.....the eight people in town to handle money and funds?  They up and leave.....erasing all computer records. The paper records?  No one says much but I suspect there's no more than a year's worth of records in the cabinets there.

Generally, if you are running a corrupt funds department in town.....it'll show up with what the city attorney does, the paperwork that the clerk generates, the acts of the city cops, and the cherry on the cake is usually the city water department which can always hide expenditures easily.

If I were the new mayor.....I'd ask the state to come in with some investigation.  The five cops who left?  I imagine they will be hired within weeks by some small town nearby and they will continue their money-making talents for that organization.  Why would you need six total cops for a town of 700 residents?  That's another odd thing.  Normally, a town of this size would not be able to generate enough income to pay the cops.....unless there's tons of tickets issued monthly.

Across the nation, there are thousand of Parma-like towns with the same issue.  They've built up a network of 'good-buddies', and made the cops into revenue-generators.  There ought to be a rule in every state that determines that a town of 1,000 residents can have as many cops as they want, and generate as much revenue via the cops as they want......until they get to a certain point in relation to the town's size.....then all cop-generated revenue would go to some state educational fund.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

An Old Ad

An ad in the Daily East Oregonian newspaper (19 Apr 1915), page 8 (the back-page):

"Backtime (the theater)

A queen without a home; A king without a throne

Today's last chance

Elinor Glyn's

"Three Weeks"

in five parts

Sensational drama of thrilling love and royal intrigue in two-hundred-and-eighty scenes.  Passed by the National Board of Censors"
-------------------------------------
Around this period of 1915, because of advancements in technology (marketing of trampy magazines, silent movies, and public interest in racy material).....we were advancing into a territory where people had lusty thrills and censorship needed to be a daily task.

Along came Elinor Glyn.  She was born in 1864 to a simple middle-class family.  Her father would pass on in her youth, and mom relocated the family from the Channel Islands (off the UK) back to Canada.  Fairly well educated.....Elinor found herself at age twenty-eight with limited suitors and would eventually marry a successful British lawyer who was seven years older than her but fairly well known for being a spendthrift.

Spendthrift isn't a term that most Americans deal with today.  If you were going to make a template and use it with today's society.....then a spendthrift is a guy who goes to buffet discount restaurants (the $6.99 dinner), drives a seven-year old car, would never spend more than $100 for a suit, shops mostly at Wal-Mart, drinks only tap-water and not the $3 bottles of French glacier water, and still wears clothing from two decades ago.

Writers tend to say that Elinor and her man (Clayton Luis Glyn) were a total mismatch.  Her husband had a family history.....his father was a Lord Mayor of London, and he had various connections which meant invitations to parties and dinners.

By the age of thirty-six......Elinor was fairly bored with things and enjoying various relationships on the side.  She wrote a book based on some letters she'd written and found a small audience of readers.  A year or two later, she sat down to write "Three Weeks"....which is mostly a semi-fictional....semi-fact piece....over a highly sexed queen from the Balkans who gets all hot and bothered with a young British lad (at least fifteen years younger than the queen).

For some reason, "Three Weeks" turns into some hot lusty curiosity piece.  Around this same time period......Elinor finally came up with a worldly phrase....."IT".  It was supposed to be lust and charm all rolled into one.  When some gal walked into a room in a skimpy gown.....and guys gawked at her....then she had "IT".   "Three Weeks" was about "IT".

The book got Elinor noticed and brought in some revenue.   Seven years would pass....her husband's health was failing...his income was limited....and Elinor became a book-a-year writer.  As the silent movies arrived....the production teams were on the prowl for books and themes for their movies.  Elinor's passions, writing skills, and creativity were a perfect match.

After the husband died in 1915 and movie production went into high gear after WW I....Elinor packed up and moved to Hollywood, California.  At the age of fifty-six (1920), she became a big-time screen-play writer, producer, and director.  In 1926, she took a twenty-year script idea of "IT" and combined with Clara Bow....making "Red Hair".  Sex appeal, lust, and censorship all played together for it's success.

As for the ad in the Oregon newspaper?  A guy sitting off in rural parts of the nation in 1915 was fairly desperate for risky weekend fun, and "Three Weeks" played into that effect.  Toss in the notice of being censored to some degree, and it meant that it just barely made it out of censorship (many people would think that anyway).