Friday, 3 July 2015

The Flag Discussion

I've tried to make sense out of the dumping of 'Dukes of Hazard' over the Confederate flag episode.  To be honest, I've probably watched a total of three episodes over my whole life (145 total episodes made).  Script-wise.....there was no script and there didn't seem to be any real problems worth making an hour-long (43 minutes) episode out of.

My solution to this?  Make a big green digital circle, and put it over the afflicted flag when it comes over the screen.

You need to do this....because there will be other shows that you have to do something about....eventually.

For examples:

Baywatch.  There's all this tight bikini action and boobs hanging out.  You can run the show, but there needs to be a big green digital circle over the boobs.....in my humble opinion.

Ironside (2013 version).  I'd put a big green circle over the whole screen and just run ACDC music in the background.....it's that bad.

The Tudors.  Way too much boobs.....put the green digital cover over most women.

Rome.  Sex scenes about every sixteen minutes.

Mr. Ed.  You really can't allow kids watch the horse talking.  It's not real and it begs for some scientific angle.....like fake global cooling or fake horse conversation.

Game of Thrones.  Well....there's a bunch of killing and a bunch of sex.  Green dots ought to be popped up every 90 seconds for some reason.

I realize there's some Confederate flag showing up around sixteen times in an average show.  Will you cross off the flag in school history books or such?  Where exactly do you go with the symbology  business?

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A Twenty-Year Change

I'm presently in the middle of a six-book series covering the period of 1914 to 1929.  Since high school and college history books do a lousy job of the period....I've come to find a number of interesting bits of knowledge which kinda amaze me.

From 1900 to 1921, there's an increase of cigarette consumption and sales.....of sixteen times what it was in 1900 (1921).  We aren't talking double or triple here, but a huge number of smokes that rippled across society in general.

What happened?  Well....there are a number of reasons.

The war came, and I suspect that a number of people who didn't smoke.....participated in the war....got things on their mind....and ended up smoking as a point of relaxation.

Trucks arriving and transporting more cargo?  Yes.  In 1900.....you still had mostly wagons and rail as your method of delivery.  In 1921, you had the ability to send over an order and have it delivered within a reasonable amount of time.

More women smoking?  Yes, that's one of the odd things from the voting period changes.  Women felt they had just as many rights and privileges as a guy.

More advertising?  Yes.....marketing folks got smart and knew how to better present a product.

All of this meant more tax revenue and profit for grocery/store operations.

Another odd factor which I came across is the amount of material required for a dress.  By 1921.....it took only seven yards of fabic to make a dress......compared to almost twenty yards back in 1900.  Again, it represents a fashion change in women's clothing that few people talk about....even today.

It would be curious to see the amount of yards used in each decade, and how it lessened as time went by, and how the cost of fabric changed as well.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Lack of Trust

By age nineteen, I had almost complete trust in various professions and categories of people.  Somewhere along the second year of the Air Force.....I put health professionals (nurses, administrators and doctors) along with AF First Sergeants into this category of zero-trust.

In blunt language, I became an absolute skeptic of either group of people.  Whatever they suggested or said.....you had to ask more questions over and have a good bit of doubt over what they were doing.

As the years rolled by....I added other professions onto the list.  Safety inspectors, car mechanics, bank clerks, lawyers, insurance agents, and college professors.

Somewhere in the early 1990s.....I added all cops (local, state, federal, FBI, etc).  It wasn't very difficult.  I came to a point where I realized half of these guys were either unqualified for their job, bothered by mental problems, or just plain stupid.  Sadly, half of these guys are trying hard to do their job, and their buddies are screwing the profession over left and right.

By 9-11, I came to be skeptical of Senators, Congressmen and Presidents.

After 9-11....came TSA agents.  Maybe half of these guys are qualified for their job and doing a four-star job.  The problem is that every time you cross over into some airport....you come up against some joker who ought to be a security guard at some 7-11 operation or a mall in southern Mississippi.  One single idiot out of a group of six that you might encounter today at some airport.....who ought to be doing something else other security.

Journalists?  I added them around 2010 to the list of folks who you just can't trust.  Foundation guys, think-tank experts, and TV news media guys......all fall into this same group.  They tell you something, then you realize they skipped some topic or element of the story....intentionally.  You'd like for them to back-up and tell this.....but they won't dare explain this because it's not part of their slanted view of the news.

Religious ministers?  Well, yeah.....I've put them on the list as well.  When they show up in a BMW or stay at a five-star hotel.....there's something in their profession that bothers me.

There's just not many professions left where I have some trust in what they say or recommend.  It's a fairly short list (barbers, barkeepers, farmers, and bar-b-q joint operators).

Is it a growing trend among people?  I've come to think that a lot of Americans are growing skeptical of people they used to trust.  Judge Judy, Alex Trebek of Jeopardy fame, and Clint Eastwood are among the few left that I would have absolute trust with.

All of these leads back around the world of law enforcement and our general attitude that there's awful of corruption, greed, incompetent nature, and bizarre behavior being demonstrated daily.  It's to the point where you get pulled over and you start to immediately look at some guy in sunglasses and black-stormtrooper boots, and think it's some potential scam to rip you off.....one way or another.  The guy starts to ask fifteen questions and trying to figure what you did wrong or how to screw you, and you just start to freeze with each question and think....what exactly is this guy going fishing for and why me?

Yeah, it's a sad deal in a way....we've corrupted ourselves enough....to lack trust in the majority of people we run into.
 

Chris Christie: The Number Seven Guy

Back in 2007, Chris Christie had some opportunities and gave a marginal effort.  Eight years later, with the stupid bridge episode from New Jersey.....Christie is a guy waiting on an impossible dream to occur.

In New Jersey and New York....he'll make it awful tough for any other Republican to run and capture local votes.  He should win both with a 10-percent margin over the number two guy.  But beyond that?

In Iowa, at best....he'll end up as the number seven guy.  And in half the state primaries.....I don't see doing much better than number seven.

His asset is speeches and debates.  With the exception of Cruz and maybe Walker.....he is better than the rest on debate delivery.  In terms of pumping up a crowd, he might be at the same level as Walker.

I think he's in this race for strictly one reason.....the VP job.  If you look over various combinations and look at the likely leaders of the race (Cruz, Walker and Rubio).....he might fit very well with Walker.  Zero chance on VP for Rubio or Cruz.

Had the bridge episode never occurred?  Well....that's history now, but you have to figure that his trusted staff really screwed him over when they suggested the bridge episode.  Without that screw-up....he might easily be the number two guy today instead of the number seven guy.

Note, I'm even putting Donald Trump in a higher rating than Christie.  Trump might carry NY state if Christie can't subtract his support.  

Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Professor, The 'Nice-Guy', and the Stoic Man

It's one of those odd periods of American history that don't get much attention....the early part of the 1900's.  Over a sixteen-year period, we had three guys assume the Presidency, who should have been named the professor, the 'nice-guy' and the stoic man.

As Taft got into a messy Republican issue with former President Roosevelt and split votes in Taft's re-election attempt....the outcome was a bit shocking.  Woodrow Wilson would end up as President of the United States.

If you wrote Wilson's resume....it'd be a fairly curious and short resume.  Wilson was a southerner and the son of a Presbyterian minister.  He was a fairly intelligent guy and ended up going through Davidson University and later attended Princeton University out of New Jersey.  It's safe to say that he impressed the professors at Princeton.  After graduation, for law school....he picked the University of Virginia.

What you can generally say is that he spent roughly a year trying to be a lawyer after graduation, and eventually just gave up.  Some folks sum up this part of his life as impatient and having a significant amount of stubbornness.....sticking to one strategy and not able to move onto a plan B when required.  It'll be a trait that follows him for the rest of his life.

After the lawyer business....he leans toward a PhD (John Hopkins University), and achieves that in 1886.  You can use common sense on this but the only thing a PhD was worth was a full-time professor job....and that's route ahead for him.

Four years, with the help of 'insiders' at Princeton (his old college).....he got himself appointed onto the board of the university.  He attends yearly meetings, gives speeches at various dinners, and talks up the changes needed at Princeton.  Twelve years would pass, and negativity would brew at Princeton over the leadership of the college.  Being on the board, Wilson had various opportunities to help in the brewing process.  The college president was terminated because of ineffective leadership and the board wanted changes.....Wilson was offered the chancellor's job and set into play various changes.

It's safe to say some changes were acceptable and some were not.  He went after more donations to the university and enlarging the quantity of professors.  He brought more attention to the school, and made it clear that he didn't want the previous status of a rich-kid's school where you paid for a degree but didn't clearly earn it.

From 1902 to 1910.....for eight years.....Wilson ran Princeton and got attention throughout New Jersey.  At some point in 1910.....the governor's race opened up and he ran.  He won with a fairly safe number of votes, and then proceeded to do four brief years of governor duty.  In 1914.....with Taft and Roosevelt heavily engaged in a personal vendetta situation....the Democrats didn't see great opportunities and went with a lesser known Wilson as their choice.  Oddly, Wilson wins.

From professor, to college president.....mix in four brief years as governor, and now President of the United States.

You can give him mostly positive marks for six years of his period, with the war as part of his record.  The last eighteen months?  Because of the stroke, he was basically non-existent.  No public appearances and the few cabinet meetings held really didn't demonstrate much of anything.  The nation wanted a full-time President and a strong guy.

Warren G. Harding would be this strong President character, at least acting that way. Harding's resume?  Not much better.

Harding would pick up ownership of a marginal newspaper in Ohio after college and spend the next three decades improving upon it.  Most people will note that the real motivation of the newspaper and effective business plan.....was mostly the work of Harding's wife.  Harding was a guy who knew how to wear a three-piece suit and looked distinguished no matter what the occasion was.  He gave bold speeches throughout Ohio and eventually was noted as someone with political potential.  In 1904, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Ohio...spending two brief years in the job before being elected as Senator of Ohio.

After arriving in DC, he generally got known as a 'nice-guy'.  Republican and Democratic Senators liked him.  He seemed impressive.  His staff, coming out of Ohio with him.....were quickly noted as well.

Harding had two hobbies.....women and poker.  His staff had two hobbies.....poker and heavy drinking. It was a good match situation in DC.

Harding, after six years as senator....went for the Presidency and won.  Roughly sixty days into the new Presidency....what can generally be said was that his five-star speech ability was mostly bogus and the speeches were empty.  The intellectual side of Harding which people had been impressed with during the Senate period had dissolved.....Harding was mostly a marginally bright guy with a bunch of corrupt guys around him.  For roughly two years, the corruption situation ran in turbo fashion.

Eventually, Harding kinda woke up and realized the amount of corruption going on.  Oddly, on some trip out to the west coast.....Harding died. What historians note is that in the two brief years as President.....he'd packed on a lot of weight and had virtually no physical activities (some suggest he'd gained roughly fifty pounds in two years).

Calvin Coolidge arrives into a job that no one expected him to fulfill.  Cal had worked himself up.....lawyer activities, state legislature, and mayor.  He was more of an administrator than a leader.  He went through both Lieutenant Governor and Governor....getting noted as a practical manager.  He ended up on as the VP on Harding's ticket and became a quiet unassuming VP.

It's best to say that Cal quietly did his best to clean up the corruption of the first two years of the Harding administration after he inherited the Presidency.  He would run for another term, and then quietly retire from office.  If you were looking for one single President with stoic tendencies and simply a good administrator of the office.....Cal is by himself on that level.  He was what the nation needed.....a competent guy with no corruption and no intellectual side.  Today?  No one really mentions Cal much, for the simple reason that he never wanted the attention.

Yeah, for sixteen years....that's the cast of three characters that the nation got stuck with.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Short Essay over Prohibition

I have a fascination with American history of the 1920s.  Naturally, there's a limited view of history told of the period....we tend to like starting history at WW II (1942).

One of my favorite topics is Prohibition.  There's a lot of odd history, which people simply never got introduced to.

For example.....most every single community and town that existed in America up until Prohibition....had a saloon.  Sizable towns had several.

Saloon had grown in statue since the 1800s and its safe to say that a lot of guys would get off work and automatically walk to the local saloon.  They sit there for an hour or two. On any day off....they'd stay for hours.

There was a general belief in society that American culture was addicted to saloons and booze.  This led the way for some type of control.  The problem was.....you'd go and fix something by legal means and it'd lead to a court confrontation.  Eventually, the only method left was the Constitution.....meaning an amendment needed to be added so that the court could not get around the law.

When you look back at the amendment....it simply said that no one in the U.S. could manufacture, transport, or sell alcoholic beverages (with the exception of medicinal or religious reasons).  You could drink alcohol but it doesn't take an idiot to realize getting it to you was physically impossible without some legal implications.

All of this comes up shortly after WW I, within the women's right to vote period, and in the midst of the Wilson era.

What people tended to notice during the first month was the remarkable closure of saloons and bars across the nation.  Your friendly neighborhood saloon.....no longer existed.

What quietly occurred over the next year or two....was a two-vehicle substitute. You could privately buy some illegal booze (imported or manufactured within the US) from a local guy or operation.  Maybe your local grocery guy would get a truckload that he kept in the back of the warehouse, or your local barber would provide you some relief at a fair cost. The second part of the substitute was 'speak-easy' operations.....a private club with a strong door.

Speak-easy operations opened up a strange new door.  They were meant to be private and slightly better than the old saloon operations.  They had real entertainment or gambling.  Unlike the saloon atmosphere where drunks hung around.....speak-easy operations were for people to drink, talk and socialize.  Oddly, they opened up the drinking scene to women, which wasn't the case with saloon operations.

It took a year or two for most people to observe that women....after getting the right to vote and finding more potential jobs.....were now open to drinking themselves.

All of this led into this odd observation by the revenue mechanism of the US government.  Booze taxes were zero, and it was now a problem because they didn't have some method to make up for losses.

The new Harding government (after Wilson)?  Most everyone within his 'club' found that the White House kept ample amounts of booze and had it trucked in from Canada.  The folks who should have shown some restraint and law obedience.....weren't doing so.

It took roughly thirteen years to admit Prohibition was stupid, get it back onto another amendment schedule, and get it finally passed.

Our drinking habits?  Well.....they changed.  I suspect for the most part, to a better level.  Prior to Prohibition, drinking was a manly thing.  After Prohibition....I'd take a guess in major urban areas (New York City for example).....probably fifty percent of all women were regular alcohol drinkers by 1930.  Speak-easy operations were a more classy business situation than the old saloon trade. And if you asked most folks.....beer lost out over that decade to the cocktail trade, and has pretty much made itself a major factor in alcohol consumption today.

We needed some dramatic change to overhaul drinking habits, and that's precisely what Prohibition delivered.

How Polygamy Now Fits

It's not that I support threesome or foursome marriages, but as I looked over all the chatter from yesterday.....it hit me that the court actually wrote the introduction to legalized polygamy into this decision.

The scenario will be this way.....within six months, a guy will walk into some marriage license office and ask for a license for his second wife.  The license clerk will respond with it being illegal, and the guy will challenge this in local court, then state court, and by October of 2017....be in the Supreme Court to present their case.  Decision expected by summer of 2018, but you can't really deny a threesome marriage situation because all of this has to deal with "happiness" which is written into the Constitution, and the cornerstone of this week's decision.

There will be ever so brief pause by the news media when the decision is handed down.....a bit of shock....because they thought that marriages could only be between two people.  Well....that's simply not the case.

A marriage of five or ten people?  I would say it's now possible and there's virtually no limit because 'happiness' is a factor.  This brings me to the big question....can a guy really be happy with two wives?  I just don't see this trend going to be a happy situation for most folks.  It'll twist itself into a fad.  Over the course of the first year of legalized polygamy......I'd take a humble guess that 20,000 such marriages will occur.

The problem with polygamy will be the handling of benefits.  Like social security or pensions.  When one of the foursome passes on.....do the remaining three split it by 33-percent?  It'll beg for more Supreme Court action....more decisions.....more divisions.

So get used to the idea of polygamy....it's really not that far off and maybe you actually can think of another gal that would add value to your present marriage.