Sunday, 21 October 2018


I'm off in South Africa right now and being dragged on these Land Rover observations 'trips'.

So yesterday was a pretty miserable day (even by Alabama standards). Storm clouds, 20 mph winds, open Rover, misty rain, 60 degrees.  This ride went on for four hours.

The two high points?

First, we stopped at some point while 'Safari Bob' gave us a ten minute lecture on the difference between Rhino dung and Elephant dung.....while drizzle continued.  For a brief moment, I had this brief image of seventh grade science teacher.  It was info that came in one ear and out the other.

Second, toward the very end, we finally came upon two lions (Karl and Maggie, my names for them).  They were at the fenceline, resting. 'Safari Bob' launched into another ten minute lecture, with misty rain falling and a hefty wind.  It was an odd thing, Karl was obsessed with the opposite side of the fence.

Then suddenly from this other fenced area came 'Ingrid, a much younger female lion.

Naturally, Karl's lady got all upset. A lot of lion yelling occurred, and that kinda ended the days events.

'Safari Bob' dropped us by the gate and 'Safari Max' shuttled back to the lodge.  He's a 65 year old guy and fairly talkative. He related each of 7 episodes with malaria, kinda like a guy talking over ex-wives.  Back at the lodge, my German wife got all peppy.....malaria?  Instead of worrying about lion attacks, snakes, or mad elephants....she is now focused on malaria. 

Me? This misty rain and 60 degree temp, with 20 mph wind has zeroed out the day.


I sat this morning reading over the reaction of a Dear Abbey column. She basically spoke up about giving a kid a foreign name.  She did not mean 'Karl' with a K. She meant names Chicki, Munsi, Doretta-Tassa, or Luniva.  People apparently got upset about that.

The problem here goes in two directions.

First, spelling some name can be impossible for folks.  You could sit over a lifetime, explaining this at least six-thousand times. You might start getting frustrated already by the fourth grade.

Second, this will pause folks to ask how the hell did you get this name. Over and over, this explanation will be required.

Teasing?  Well, it might reach a crisis stage already by age 12....requiring some mental clinic.

I worked with a guy twenty years ago who got married and wanted to name his kids after Greek gods.  For the wife, that was a none acceptance thing.  Their first kid was lucky....he would have been named Zeus, if the wife had been agreeable.

Right now, I'm waiting on some Alabama guy to name his son Donny Trump-This Jones.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Pizza Story

I noticed this coming up in British health news today.

There's talk that the Brit government wants to limit the number of calories that you can put into a pizza.  Under their plan, a standard sized pizza will only be able to contain a max of 928 calories.

This is being done because of this fear of an obesity crisis.

So I went looking....a single slice of Papa Johns pizza would range 180 to 300 calories (depending on this being a small pizza or a large pizza).  But remember, we are talking cheese pizza only.  So you go and figure six slices, and you come 1,080 calories on that one cheese pizza. 

To reach the Brit manated pizza?  You'd have to resize the pizza to be at least 20-percent smaller in circumference.  But again, this only gets you a plain cheese pizza.

What if you wanted a meat-lovers special 'small' pizza?  Currently, that would be 380 calories per slice. 

All of this government-directed stuff....if it were to occur....would mean that a pizza shop could only manufacture 8-inch pizzas.  So if you weren't happy?'d order two.  Yeah, you'd go and get two 928-calorie limited pizzas to equal what you wanted. 

Silly?  Oh yes, but that's the logical progression of this whole obesity discussion.  Do you really need a 1,100 calories of pizza?  Probably not.  In fact, most folks would do ok with two slices of mega meat-lovers pizza. 

Friday, 12 October 2018

The Saudi Story

It's an international story which 90-percent of Americans really haven't followed for the past ten days but it has a twist or two.  So I'll tell the basic story.

There's this Saudi guy (actual citizen) who has been motivated to tell a number of stories that are negative against the King.  He is (or was) an employee of the Washington Post.  He was set to marry but needed a document or two stamped at the nearby Saudi embassy in Istanbul.  He walks in (video captures that moment), with his girlfriend waiting in the car.  He never returns.  The Saudis say he got the document and exited the building via another exit.  No camera video exists to prove that point. Oddly, around a dozen folks have flown in over the previous couple of days and are there in the embassy at this point.  Around three to four hours after his entrance into the building....they exit the building and get into cars....all flying immediately out of Istanbul.

The Turk cops suspect the guy is dead (probably butchered up).  Proof? Non-existent.  The US has finally picked up the story and wants the Saudis to answer the magic question.

So, here is the piece which shocks the Saudis.  Today, the Turks kinda admit behind various doors that they 'might' have bugged the embassy.  And they might have video/audio of the torture and eventual death of the guy.  But they don't want to suggest in some public forum.  Why? see, they might have virtually every single embassy in Istanbul under some surveillance.  Yes, even the Americans. 

The embarrassment if they did have audio and video?  It puts the Saudis into a unique situation where public commentary might go against the King even more. 

If the guy did exit the building?  If I were the Saudis....I'd be moving heaven and earth to find the guy and establish the fact that he just didn't want to get married (cold-feet).  The Turks say that the Saudis are willing to help 'look' for the guy.  Where would you go and find such a guy?

All of this...puts Trump into an unusual position.  You could predict what Obama or Bush or Clinton would have done in this case.....more or less....nothing.  Trump?  He might chat about this but then if the Turks did put the video out there and establish this as a fact, would Trump do something that the previous three would try to avoid? 

So you come to the last piece of this....if Erdogan has this video/audio....maybe there's some 10-billion dollar deal that he could rig up and just have the Saudis arrange a fake contribution to the Turkish ensure the video/audio disappears. 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Mob Violence Appeal on Southern States

In general, you can go and spend months wandering around southern states....discussing hundreds of topics (weather, mosquits, tornados, pool-halls, septic tanks, NCAA football, corruption, taxation, Baptist revivals, lightning strikes, alcohol abuse, meth, trailer parks, etc)....but when you come to the topic of mob violence, there's generally going to be just two observations by most southerners.

First, the 'we-don't-do-that-kind-of-thing-around-here' attitude will be laid out.  Maybe you could dig up some great history from the 1840s, 1860s, and even up to the 1920s.  But things have simmered down and it's hard to get folks to the level of thinking....yeah, mob violence is a fine thing. 

Second, the same people will tell you....once you start a mob, there's is no clear steering-wheel to the act, and you just might come to greatly regret the mob you created.   Yes, they might actually burn down some court-house....but they go and also burn down a gambling establishment, a church, a pool-hall, or any of a dozen public facilities.

So you discover that mob violence just doesn't make folks that happy and they tend to see it as a bunch of thugs.  Associating this to politics?  Well....that really starts to burn up public perception. 

But these people are the types to say if there's some bunch of thugs beating up on poor people....let's get the shotguns and go establish authority.  So even if the cops were supposed to just let thugs run around and make some theatrical action for cameras.....the southern folks would get into the middle and likely hurt, maim, or accidentally kill a few mob folks.

All of this....I think....makes for a bad publicity scene for Democrats in states like Alabama or Tennessee.  If this were a national strategy idea?  It just seems like you'd take into consideration the amount of damage you are creating elsewhere. 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has had roughly 90 days to make dozens of news media appearances since the primary.  On 7 November, the day after the election.....I believe that Cortez-mania will have collapsed finally.

My prediction is that Joe Crowley....previously the Democratic guy for the 14th District who got beaten in the primary by Cortez.....will win the election as a member of a unknown party in the district.  Just my humble guess, but I think he'll clear with just over fifty percent of the vote.  The Republican for the District....Anthony Pappas, will likely get near 15-percent of the vote, and the remainder will be for Cortez (35-percent).

What really happened in the primary?  I think the Latino population of the 14th District (roughly 50-percent of the locals)....came out in force during the primary....knowing little about Cortez except she had a Latino-name, and did something that they rarely up and vote in a primary situation.

What happens to Cortez after the loss?  I suspect that MSNBC will hire her to be a commentator and regular on a couple of keep her in the 'mix'.  It's not really over because she will likely run again in the House race of 2020, and consolidate more votes. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Haley-2020 Scenario

There are several pieces laying there to consider if Nikki Haley intends to rest for six months and prepare a campaign because Donald Trump won't run in 2020. 

1.  Bloomberg is said now to be preparing a 'machine' to run in the primary of 2020.  Cash-wise, he has the money to make the run.  But there are two curious factors here: (1) he'll be 78 in 2020 and (2) any suggestion of trimming back on the commerce market or job gains will destroy his campaign.  So Bloomberg has to portray himself as the 'good' version of Trump yet be fairly democratic in nature.

2.  The odds that Haley might select a Latino (NM's Governor), who happens to be a be her VP?  That's a possibility.  She could go and select a black conservative (West or Mia Love for example). 

3.  Trump in the wings to campaign for her?  That's likely to occur and would make a big deal of difference.

4.  The sales point of Haley?  First, don't screw with the economy.  Second, don't lessen any point that Trump laid out in 2016.  Third, accept the fact that the news media is working to get Bloomberg ahead. Fourth, emphasize the age of Bloomberg and appear jogging/working out.

5.  There's this odd conclusion of four years of Donald Trump.  If you laid out his ten big's safe to say that he's accomplished half of them right now (two years into this), and if he gets funding for the wall, with construction starting up....then the bulk will be done by 2020. 

Here's the thing....if you go into the thirty states that Trump won, suggesting Bloomberg....the only state that I think might be flipped to Bloomberg....would be Florida.  But if you end up with one-third of the Latino vote, there's probably three or four of the Hillary-won states from 2016.....that might flip to Haley.