Friday, 18 April 2014

Sir Algernon Percy, the London Connection, and Family History

I have this one interesting character who my family is dependent upon....in getting to London, and later onto Virginia.  Without this guy....there is no family tree.

In the early 1600s....Algernon Percy is born into a well-to-do family and ends up becoming the 10th Earl of Northumberland.

In his youth "Al" was sent off to Saint John's College in Cambridge to study.  Big things were planned for this kid. Two years later, he had his master's degree done.  Yeah, it was a slacker degree in Arts, but still.....bought and paid for by the family.  It's hard to say what you learn in a two-year period.....over arts.....that amounts to a degree.  Shortly after graduation....he was made a Knight of Bath.....meaning that the family contributed something to the local Knights Templar organization, and the title of "Sir" was noted when you address Al.

Al began a six year tour of Europe with a mentor/tutor.  It's not exactly written much into his history.....but he toured France, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.  The family paid for the tour, and you have to imagine that he rode through the countryside....sipped fine wines and beers.....talked politics and gossip.....and generally got some kind of view of the big world.

Al returns in 1624 to the family....just about the same time that his dad is released from the London High Tower.....for being a pain in the King's side.  Maybe the six years were meant more to simply hide Al from public view or to keep him out of trouble.

Two years go by.  Al gets called now up to London.....to the House of Lords....to assume the Lordship title that his dad had.  Before age thirty.....Al had gone from university guy, to knight, to Lord.  Fairly impressive.

Al enters 1629 and casts a long shadow on family relations.  He ends up marrying some aristocratic gal from the region, whose family name was Cecil, and the old chap in the family Cecil was Lord Salisbury.  Apparently....Al's dad was put into the High Tower imprisonment deal....compliments of complaints laid down by Lord Salisbury.  So, there's a big of hostility and frustration over Al's desires for Miss Anne Cecil.  Miss Anne...was a thinly gal who strolled around with a pretty open blouse (at least the paintings describe her in such ways).

Al goes through a number of influence buying episodes, and in short time....ends up as an admiral in his majesty's navy.  To say that Al had any background or shipping experience....well....it'd likely all fit on a 3x5 index card.  But Al was a good talker, and assumed every position would lead onto a better deal.  In this case?  Al was pretty disenchanted with the shipping operations, conditions of ships, and morale.  That probably led into his convictions going against the king and his staff.

Around the 1638/1639 period.....things are getting rough for the King, and there's civil war brewing.  Al gets himself drawn against the King.  The war that is coming....has nothing to do with outside threats....it's the Tea Party version of today, cast against the 1600s, against the King and his royal court.

So, here at the junction of life, civil war, and chaos.....my ancient relative....Francis Hammond from the eastern side of the country....near Norfolk.....will join and end up as an officer within the service of Al's military campaign which counter's the king.  Al probably had a good association with Franci, and helped his associate.

Francis will be around forty-nine years old and a well-to-do guy, without a title.

Over a ten-year period, there are military strikes, various peace talks, skirmishes.....and threats made.  Beyond Al's control.....the end result was Charles I being executed to make everyone happy (1649).

Generally, one's impression is that Al didn't really see the execution as fixing anything, and preferred the King remain with some controls in place.  Al really didn't participate in anything after the execution.

My relative?  Francis Hammond will stay in the middle of this civil war period.....around London the whole time....and pass away on 20 May 1652.  Nothing much is written over his residence or position in life.  He more or less ended up as a mercenary officer for Al and the anti-King crowd.

Francis's son?  John.  He will make a decision in 1666 to leave England with his son (Ambrose, age 20) and settle in the Cumberland area of Virginia.

Our chief character?  Al?  Well....it's an interesting turn of history that occurs.  For eleven years....things in England kinda just wander along and most folks agree that they kinda screwed up.  So the son of Charles I.....Charles II in this case....makes an arrival in England in 1660.  Al does a number of things to show the better side of his character, and ends up with being appointed by Charles II as the Lord High Constable of England....chief law enforcement authority for London.  Al also had a strong hand in monitor society and the public over the Clarendon Code.

The Clarendon code?  Well....it was a set of rules that limited religious meetings of any group of five or more.  Religious fever....if you didn't grasp the 1600s period of England.....was causing a fair amount of instability.

Al will pass from this Earth on 13 October, 1668.  There are no statues of Al....just paintings of him.  No one remember much of Al today, except as the tenth Earl of Northumberland.  For me.....without the Earl, my family never gets to London....never launches in 1666....never reaches Virginia. So the Earl is a pretty key character in my family's history.

Observations Over the Bundy Ranch Episode

Over the entire week, I've sat and watched the Nevada episode unfold, with the Bundy ranch.  My observations?

By Senator Harry Reid using the word 'terrorist' to describe the rancher's actions.....he's provoked a bunch of negative actions to come in the future.  Whoever is advising Harry....really screwed up.  Folks get fired up when you make public comments like that.

The idiots hired to round up the cattle?  I don't think they had any experience at cattle herding at all.  When you walk up and decide that the two bulls were too violent to be herded, and just make the decision to shoot them on the spot, and bury them with a backhoe on government lands.....you aren't a cowboy or a herder, or even an animal enthusiast.  These are simply gas station pump-guys or wannabe-a-cop pretenders.

The warrant that was used for this whole thing?  It says only to remove cattle.  Nothing about damaging property or killing animals.  Legally, BLM screwed up and their lawyers are sitting now with frustrated feelings over the idiots who ran this whole episode.  Other than paying out money for damages.....they can only stall the episode for two or three years.  If this is done in county or state court....the stall likely is six months at best.

The BLM guys with attack dogs.....shown in the video?  Wannabe-cops.

It's an election year.....I'd take a guess that this pretty much dissolved democratic chances in several western states for various democratic candidates running for Representative or state offices.  There's probably fifty guys in Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, and Colorado who benefited from this BLM comedy.

Finally, all of this has gotten people to thinking over federally owned property west of the Mississippi River.  On average....most states east of the river have between three and four percent of their state which is federally owned.  West?  It's closer to fifty to sixty percent on average....Nevada is likely eighty-five percent.  Why?  It's a historical game that was put on the board around Theodore Roosevelt's era, and continued on through the last hundred years.  We don't need the federal property deal, and folks are now asking stupid questions over it.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Simply Observations

Some statistics guys sat down and reviewed the data.....concluding that there are twelve million visits to American doctors or emergency rooms....where the wrong diagnosis is given, the wrong treatment applied, and the wrong drugs prescribed.  Yeah, it's a pretty harsh statistic.   In some cases, you can figure it made yo worse than the way you were originally.  Now with the new healthcare act?  More folks going to the doctor and emergency room.....so the twelve million number will likely climb another million or so.  It's probably not what you figure from all these fancy-pants doctors appearing on the Today Show or Fox News.  Sadly, we simply have to live with it.....or die from it.

The former prime minister of Italy was finally given his sentence this past week.  The court was kinda creative.....he has to go for at least four hours.....four days a week....to a local old folks home and do community work at the old folks home.  Failure to do so?  He gets a real sentence.  Length?  A full year.
WWU, Western Washington University.....got charged up and peppy about the fact that there just aren't any blacks on campus.  They think things should change, and there ought to be some way of drawing more racial equality to their program.  Course, then you ask about how many minority folks live in western Washington, and you kinda grasp that it's not that many.  They'd have to go and recruit these kids.....talk them into coming out to Washington, and convince them that the university had something they desired.  Big NCAA football program?  No.  Significant minority population in the local community?  No.  So it's more or less a lot of talking and nothing behind it.

Finally, down at Auburn University....some idiot posted a comment on a bathroom wall at the campus of a "rampage of a Biblical proportion".  The chancellor shut down the whole university for Wednesday, while the security guys checked out possible threats.  Nothing.  Some nutcase?  Maybe.  But these days....you can't take chances.  The odds of couple hundred students now packing weapons into classrooms?  Well....folks in Bama don't take threats as a game.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Pay Difference Issue

After a couple of years in the Air Force.....I came to note one simple psychological conclusion.....guys are more prone to risk-taking than women.  You take three guys out into a dense housing area and yank on them to cut down trees within fifty foot of a house.....they will do with barely any thinking or calculation over the tree falling the other way.  You take three women out to the same housing area....same trees near the houses....and they start to talk about impact, calculations, and really don't feel thrilled over the work required.

Over the years, I've noted various professions that have high-risks involved....which tend to be dominated by guys.  Coal-mining, prison guards, fire-fighting, policemen, oilmen, farmers......all dominated by men, and a few women.  Low-risk jobs?  Opposite numbers.

I occasionally read over at AEI Ideas on economic issues, and they brought up an interesting point....in 2012, around 4,045 men died in work-place jobs.  Women for 2012?  338 women died in such jobs over the year.  A nine-to-one statistic?  Yeah.

Course, you get around to my Air Force experience.....women tend to sit there and think about safety issues, the potential for a screw-up, and don't take actions unless it's safe enough to survive.

If the oilfield industry was dominated by women....there would likely be less oil pumped because of schedules slipping....due to safety planning.

If the farming industry was dominated by women....tractors would be sold only with 100-percent of the safety gear available.  The same industry would breed out hostile angry bulls, to get more docile bulls into the mix.

If the mining industry was dominated by women.....there'd likely be a longer process to open new mines, more safety reviews, and fewer accidents....but also more man-hours built into the product and less profit.

If the prison guard industry was dominated by women....they'd be armed and hostile prison members would be kept in isolation or limited in freedoms.

So you come around to the pay difference question.  Guys make more than women....no one argues about that point.  Guys taking more risks than women?  Well.....we might want to admit that too.  Women out-surviving men?  Well, yeah....due to planning and safety concerns.....they live longer.  Maybe the question is.....if equal pay is such a big deal.....should we force women into marginal safety jobs, or force more guys into maximum safety jobs that pay less?

The Forgetful Man Story

It's a real-life story that you'd beg to make into a movie.

Last winter...in a pretty nasty and cold period in Norway....someone drives up on a rural road and finds this guy tied up and laying on the side of the road.  Cops get called.  Authorities take him to the hospital....he survives.

The thing is....he has no memory.  Yeah.....nothing.  Language skills?  He did speak some English, with a Slavic accent.  He spoke Czech clearly, and that made folks think he was from there originally.

So last week, they did some DNA testing, and then put the photo out in Czech.  He got identified rather quickly.  He's a computer-IT expert......used by the government a good bit in court cases.  So, Norway wanted to just put him on a plane and get him back to Czech.

Well....this guy did some thinking and says "no".  He's worried.  He was tied up, left in the nowhere, and remembers nothing.....but thinks someone wants to do him harm.

His dad is flying up to Norway in the next day or two.....with a doctor to examine him and probably talk some sense into him.

Amnesia?  Well.....he had a job where he made natural enemies.....testifying in Czech court episodes, and I suspect someone said there was a need for pay-back.  There are drugs that you can procure, that will trigger amnesia.  So they used them.

The father of the guy says that junior said around four months ago....he was going off to New Zealand for a while.  No open travel plans or such.  He just left.  I'm guessing that he was in fear of something, and when he finally decided to leave.....the pay-back plan went into effect.  Why not kill the guy?  I'm guessing this is a person that figured amnesia was enough to do the job.

It's hard to say if the guy ever leaves Norway.  I'm of the mind that he's permanently going to stay.  Maybe he ends up as an IT guy there.  Maybe he ends up as a bartender or farmer.  Movie potential?  I'm of the mind that it's a five-star story waiting to be written into a script.

Friday, 11 April 2014

This Replacement to Letterman Thing

I've sat for a day and reviewed this new hire to replace the retiring David Letterman of CBS.  The new guy?  Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert.

It would appear that negotiations had been going on weeks....maybe months.  CBS won't say much.  Some folks figured there were several folks discussed, but I have my doubts about that.

What CBS does say....is that this pretend-to-be-a-Republican-character....which is the entire show for Stephen Colbert, and his success formula.....IS FINISHED.  He won't play the pretender Republican as he takes over the show.

It's hard to see how this whole gimmick works and keeps the numbers at CBS where they are presently.

From my fifty-odd viewings of Stephen Colbert's show, I'd generally say that he has a limited interview capability.  If he's not pretending to be a Republican....he has zero credibility to interview the Hollywood elite.  This makes me wonder if the CBS executives even watched his show or grasped the limitations.

The typical humor of Colbert?  Well....it sets well for college kids, the urban crowd, and maybe liberals.  Beyond that....in Iowa or Tennessee?  Maybe ten of those folks might watch the Colbert show on occasion.  How this works when he arrives at CBS?  I have serious doubts.

It's a five-year contract.  I'm guessing that Colbert's agent demanded that, and CBS had to agree to it.  My general prediction is that Colbert arrives.....has a surge for three weeks, and then really starts to lose steam by week ten.  I'm guessing he loses ten to twenty percent of Letterman's present average by the six-month point.  CBS?  They are stuck with him.  He might try to sneak back into his alternate bad-Republican-character and hope for some hype?  But I doubt if it works. NBC really benefits from this.

I would also offer this.  If Fox News ever had some moment of brilliance....they'd plan right around this time to bring Jay Leno onto their network for a one-hour show during the same time-slot.

A Keychain Discussion

This past month, GM got into the news....over a defective key device that would slip from on to off (turning the engine off).....if a bulky amount of keys jingled enough.

This brought to mind this strange shift in society that we've become over the last two decades.

I can remember in 1984....having one car key, a building key for work, and one key for the dorm room.  That was it.

In 2009, I stood there with at least ten different keys, a knife, and a utility tool on my keychain.

Back about a decade ago....I worked with a Air Force NCO who had three car 'fobs' (his BMW, his wife's Mercedes, and his spare VW), around a dozen home-related keys, at least five office-related keys, and a utility tool of a fair size.

Working around the Pentagon, I came across folks who had two or three dozen keys on themselves....from the car to the RV trailer, to the vacation condo and the spare key to the kid's car at some university.

Most guys now tote at least two pounds of metal in their pocket.  They literally "jingle" as they walk.

The GM guys probably never tested their car with regular folks.....just engineers from the shop.  If they'd seen the type of key chains that folks tote around....they would have made this a heavier gauge or done something very unique.

You have to ask yourself this stupid question....do we really need the key deal on the steering column?  Why is a key even necessary today?  A guy ought to be able walk up to the door.....simply press some sensor on the door to detect something that he carries, then enter the vehicle.  He ought to be able to wave his cellphone around another sensor, which activates the starter button, and off he goes.  It ought to be this simple.

What happens to GM now?  Massive court action.  By the time, the various courts get done....GM will be bankrupt.  It might take five years....maybe ten.  But you can anticipate that GM has no ability to survive this mess. And will the President and Congress attempt to save GM again?  Yeah, they are that stupid, and will attempt one more time to save them.  Your money....flushed down the toilet.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

NBC's Contest for Comedy Programming

NBC is having a contest.  The gimmick is....they've run out of good original material for a comedy.  Yeah, they've finally admitted it.  They want to open up the funnel, and just let regular people submit some fantastic idea.....get it through a herd of two dozen comedians, writers, producers, and network folks....and they will produce the winner.

So, you can imagine this game.  You start to think about and you come to some conclusion.....we've just about done every single comic idea for a series that a man can imagine. We've done a dolphin show, a rural hotel in the boonies show, six young folks living in NY City show, a New York City show about nothing, a comic show about a high school football coach, a comedy about a college football coach, various comedies about nurses, doctors and car mechanics, and we've even done a comedy about a New York business guy who packed up and left New York for the boonies.

So, my genuine idea.  A general store in the middle of nowhere.

A washed up HR guy laid off on a Friday afternoon....goes to visit his aunt and finds an open door, a new door as her general store manager, and interesting characters that waltz in every three minutes.

There's be some former high school cheerleader who is now forty, over-the-hill, and desperate to marry anyone now.

There will be Harv....the only guy in the community who has been to France.  Harv is also the only guy in the community who shows manners, cooks without grease, and knows sixty ways to serve duck.

There will be Buddy....an authentic American hero guy who spent three years in the Army and is of marginal intelligence....just enough to get into trouble.

The Jones boys will be the brothers who have a hundred-thousand-dollar garage, which no one is ever allowed to visit.  They send packages off to the US Patent Office every Friday.

The mail gets delivered by Stu, who chain-smokes, knows a good bit about Thai women, and claims he's been kidnapped by aliens on more than one occasion.

Marty is the cash register guy....who adds up numbers in his head....not on the register.  Someone once Marty to do a complex mathematical formula, and he rattled off the answer in eleven seconds.  Marty lives in a log cabin built in 1845, and has never been beyond the county line in his life.

Tick is this hunter-explorer of the general store, who claims he's hunted Bigfoot and Nessie.  He also claims that he has Bigfoot crap that he found on some trail and will sell it to the right guy, for the right price.

Del Rio is the California hippie guy who got lost twenty years ago at the General Store, and just decided to never leave.  He's into chemical substances, and often thinks that he might be the son of Castro (yeah, the Cuban guy).

And there's Looney, who who generally switches religions every third week....claiming he found Jesus....lost Jesus....refound Jesus....and lost Jesus again.  He can't stand technology, and usually lets you know that coffee is too riddled with chemicals and has lost it's purity.

Yeah, I know....it's too diverse for the NBC crowd....doesn't involve New Yorkers....and mostly about people, with no real love interest.  It'll never sell.  But, I like it.