Wednesday, 20 September 2017

What If Bernie Never Existed?

I read a piece today that discussed the idea over a scenario where Bernie decided not to run for the Presidency in 2016.

Basically, it would have left Hillary with two Democrats.....who had no real appeal and the whole Democratic primary would have been mostly a joke.  Hillary would have spent very little....toured probably only twenty of the fifty states....and walked into the Convention with a forty-minute speech.
Hillary-hype for the remainder of 2016?  I would take a guess it would have been marginal at best.  A third of Democratic voters would have just felt no passion for the campaign, and likely stayed home on election day.

In a sense.....the DNC needed Bernie to come out, and deliver a Paul Newman-like performance....driving up the passion....and getting peopled hyped over 'something'.  Hilary...the DNC....and the party elite....needed Bernie to deliver.

The problem is....Bernie started to believe his speeches....his passion....and the public attention.  In the end....Bernie became a boat-anchor which Hillary could not grasp or utilize.

We now move onto the 'year-after', and view the Bernie affect in various ways.  It's like a battle-scar....you rub it and feel a twinge....like things could have go a different way if this had been a Bernie versus Trump election.

I think in four years...some guy is going to come out and present a book called: 'President Bernie' and talk at length about how Bernie would have handled everything....fixed the healthcare system....balanced the budget....and rebuilt the government.  Hillary will sit there and grit her teeth over the book, and journalists will spend weeks talking about a President Bernie scenario.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

On the Question of Hippies

My brother brought up this topic of 'where the hippies of the 1960s are' in a conversation.  It was centered on where the hippies went off to....where they retired....etc.

I sat and pondered over this.  I finished high school in the mid-1970s....when the hippy era was closing out.  Course, I lived in Alabama, and would readily admit in the whole state in 1977....there probably weren't more than 2,000 total hippies.  Some were real hippies....meaning they smoked marijuana daily....listened to Iron Butterfly, Arlo Guthrie, Neil Young, and Jefferson Airplane....sipped weird cocktails made up of rum, prune juice and lemon juice....and would often take off to San Francisco for some unknown festival which they'd talk about for weeks.  Oddly, most drove VW vehicles, always seemed to be borrowing money, and had badly stained teeth (mostly from a lack of brushing habit).

Some were fake hippies...meaning that they mostly just smoked marijuana, skipped baths for five or six days at a time, and generally refused to work.  

The attempt by The Seventies Show to use the character Leo....to explain this era and the pot connection probably made more sense than most people think.  I think a lot of folks from that era....just drifted around mentally and ended up cleaning up their act at some point.

Where did the hippies go?  I suspect that 90-percent of them ended up in California.  They stood there working in Blockbuster shops in the 1980s and 1990s.  They worked their way up to team-leader level of pizza shops.  They found landscaper jobs or got into artsy work.

These were folks who talked excessively about the album Incense and Peppermints by Strawberry Alarm Clock.  They explained the intriguing details of the Zombies album She’s Not There.  They memorized every line of the four Billy Jack movies....detailing scene by scene analysis.

They will tell you all about the 1967 movie....The Happening, which probably hasn't been on TV in forty years.  Delmonico....the mafia character....played by Anthony Quinn....ends up being this hippy-hero of sorts.

From the 2,000-odd hippies of 1975 from Alabama?  I doubt if more than four dozen exist today in the state.  Most of them probably went through some religious rehab program....got college....and ended up being regular people.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Moore-Strange Event

This Thursday evening in Alabama.....Judge Moore and Senator Luther Strange will appear on a stage for a debate.....a one-of-a-kind-no-moderator type of debate.  It's the chance to hear both speak....for the primary episode to reach the election between the two....and a Democrat challenger.

The two have a reputation.  Luther Strange is noted by a fair number of Alabama folks as being corrupted or connected former Governor Bentley.  Judge Moore?  He's been noted by a fair number of folks as being overly-religious and maybe just a bit 'dazed' (an Alabama term for someone who say something crazy on occasion).

On the dramatic front....Moore has probably more debate skills than Strange....maybe two to one.

How this will go? My scenario runs this way:

- Judge Moore will lead off with a condemning statement.....saying that Strange has sinned more than the normal guy.  Then as his last minute comes up....he'll lead off with a prayer to the good Lord to forgive Strange of his sins.

- Senator Strange will be standing there in a pained-look...trying to imagine some comeback, but he can't deliver.

- Judge Moore gets the next round and goes right back to condemning Strange.  Then praying for Strange again.

- At home, thousands of Alabama folks will be weeping away at the tactic.

- Then Senator Strange finally gets a vision.  He falls on his knees and starts some prayer asking for forgiveness....then notes that first-stone business in a glass house.....he who is without sin, etc.  Then he wraps it up with some badly mangled Deuteronomy quote....using the Old Testament to whack away at Moore.  Strange jumps up....does a laying-of-the-hands on some guy in the first row....healing them of something, and the guy runs out of the studio.

- At this point, Judge Moore is screwed.  There is no comeback.

- Folks sitting at home....wipe away their tears, and then go and call their minister....asking for an interpretation.  Ministers are dumbfounded over the episode.  In their mind, Senator Strange pulled out an ace and beat the Judge's judgement business.  Strange wins.....by eight-point spread.  Some will say the Trump-endorsement did it....some will say the praying did it....some will say the Old Testament effort did it.

The X-Class Truck

 I went off to the Frankfurt International Car Show today.  Lots of innovation and new trends.

So I turned a corner, and here is the new Mercedes pick-up.

It is a great vehicle.....lots of power....high quality seats that flip to six different settings or tilts.

The thing is....because of the cost....what guy would really want to go and put farm-like cargo in the rear?  Looking at the US market?  No doubt.

Then I came to this deal in the rear....a bike-transport rack.  It's hard to imagine any farmer getting some idea to haul bicycles around with this type truck.

Cost?  Way more than most folks would pay.

Maybe if you were a fake southerner with some high-class professional pay situation and just wanted a status symbol in your driveway to impress the neighbors....it'd make sense.

If I brought up with my brother...he'd go over the stats and be impressed with the power and look, but he'd give you ten reasons why he just couldn't go and haul hay or cattle feed around with this.

How many will sell per year in the US?  You just don't know.  It might be a trend.



Sunday, 17 September 2017

Only An Observation on Common Core

I sat this morning and watched a 15-minute YouTube rant by a parent....having to deal with their kid in the new school year and yet another episode over an assignment in math.....dealing with Common Core math situations.

The assignment was a word episode.  There's probably six numbers laid out....a particular question, and you need to determine two things (at least in my humble opinion).  The two things are: (1) the red herrings (wasted and information of no value), and (2) the final formula.

As a kid, it would have been great to have some math mentor stand there and explain red herrings and how they fit or stand-out.  I wasted probably five years of my youth without this red herring explanation, then finally one day....the right math teacher wasted ten minutes to drill down into a three or four word problems....then ID each red herring, and it all made sense from that point on.

But in this YouTube rant....the parent is all pepped up over Common Core and the need to make this formula into a half-page problem/solution....rather than just four numbers with some addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division 'artsy' stuff done.

In some ways, this Common Core business is about having some kids stand there and invent an Einstein-like formula over four simple numbers which in the end....need to equal 63.

In today's world.....I would have been sitting there (age twelve) and grasping the foolish nature of Common Core math, and probably decide to really take this to the degree required, and write a four-page breakdown of Farmer Joe's wagon, and the six products on the wagon, and show in some rocket-science type math equation that 63 is the answer.

The sad thing is that some idiot math teacher would have branded me as some Archimedes-type character, or the second coming of Srinivasa Ramanujan.  Some math department would have jumped on some chance to recruit me for a scholarship, and I'd be standing there at age twenty-five with some useless PhD in math because I could write a six-page formula for a six-line problem. It's the kind of thing that real mathematicians freak out about.....making a formula into a fake or fraud.

I have this opinion that most university departments are going to create an entry-level math program where you need to complete two high-school-like courses....to overcome your stupidity level from high school....thus charging you around $600 per course, and then get you to the level that math makes sense once again.  Well....yeah, this might actually cause you to add one whole semester onto your path and cost your dad another $7,000 for that one extra semester deal.

For the crowd who don't go off to college?  I suspect in twenty years....we will have fifty million Americans who can't calculate simple real-life problems and we have to hire special people (usually college math graduates)....who figure out how many apples that Farmer Jones has on the wagon, or how many buckets of liquid pest-control you can spray on your forty acres of farmland.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The ESPN Topic

From a brief period in the early 1980s (two years), and around 2010 (3 years)....I had ESPN.  Most of my life....I've live outside of the US without the ESPN option.

If you watched ESPN for first twenty years of existence (it started up in 1979).....they just ran plain sports.  You could turn it on at 1AM and find a soccer game or some rugby match being covered.  During NFL season....they covered injuries, and the leftover news from the weekend.  It was a simple formula.

By 2010, on fifty-odd occasions that I did view the network....it was hit-and-miss.  They were starting to add comments that went beyond sports.  If some NFL player got into a wife-beating episode....you could expect ESPN to find two experts and have some twenty-minute moderated chat over a non-sports topic.  If some Yankees guy got busted for drugs....they'd go and find two lawyers to chat for half-an-hour over drug-abuse and legal consequences.

In a way, you could predict....week by week....they were edging toward a political agenda.  That agenda?  It would be toxic for probably a quarter of the viewers.  Why watch something that doesn't appeal to you.  So viewers left.  Advertisers realized the loss and demanded less pay-scales.  The network, without any thought over where this was leading them....was losing money.

Here's the thing about economics.  If you build semi-conductors or chainsaws....that's your core situation.  You don't want to have politics in the middle of selling your product.  A guy shouldn't have to stand there at the store and look at a chainsaw that he'd like to buy.....realizing that it's attached to such-and-such political theme.  It's the same way with pizza.....if you come to realize your pizza has to be attached to some political agenda that you can't agree with....you won't buy the pizza.

So I see ESPN today....in a deep pit of trouble.

At some point after this NFL season, and probably after March-Madness....I think the ESPN management folks will go and have a two-day meeting outside of the US (as far away from cameras as possible....maybe even in Moscow).  This whole lost revenue thing and political gimmick? If this continues....the network will have to cut pay by the end of 2018.  They have no choice...dump politics, period.

But ESPN won't be the only network doing this.  My guess is that 2018 will be a harsh year for some other networks, and they will make the same choice.

Religious Provocateurs

Quietly, without a lot of fanfare.....various foundation groups are now coming to grasp that you can turn an entire religious population of folks to a particular political agenda.  It's not simple or an easy route....but you could quietly entice several million Americans into supporting some agenda that a decade ago....they would not have accepted.

The basic route?

You go and find one very impressive minister who talks a good bit and gets people enthusiastic.  The game to be played out is that he isn't there for a church or to save souls.  He's there as part of a structure.....a network....as a middle-guy.

So around this middle-guy minister....you have people of the legal profession.....foundation lobbyists....money-people....and social media types. In a sense, you are building up the tools which the talkative minister uses to connect to the church-based ministers below him.

The foundation money people lay out funding which you can use to have week-long discussion groups at nice resorts.  You send out ten invitations to people with larger congregations (at least a thousand members).  Free hotel deal.....bring the wife along....prayer and spitual discussions....and some injection of political thoughts.

You never go and over-sell the political part of this gimmick.  You simply want these ten ministers and their wives to feel like there's some extra things in life that they ought to be stressing.  Along the talks....you start to break out mental patterns of deacons that some deacons are too old-fashion to realize the new world approaching....so you give these ministers the understanding of how to by-pass those deacons.  In a way, you need them to retire, or be forced out by the remaining deacons.

You talk up social media and innovation.  Maybe your money-handlers will even help to finance a church web-site or some social media endeavor of that church.

You talk up different ways of getting ministers to a leadership level....performing not just church functions but society-like functions.

You talk up cross-denominational efforts and cultural themes.

You start talking about core-community practices....enforcing your standard not just across the church crowd but the local community itself.

You pick out certain individuals who show enthusiasm and capability, and use mentor-skills to bring them to a new threshold or plateau.

You stress youth involvement....involving this new theme introduced.

You use the words awesome, fabulous, breath-taking, impressive, magnificent, stunning, awe-inspiring, majestic and mind-blowing a great deal.  You keep a list of a hundred description words which tend to be used over and over, but people like to hear sermons where the words are used.

The seed of the network is then laid down.  In four years or eight years....you call upon your crowd to deliver.  In the midst of this 'wave'....some folks....even some deacons....will stand there and say 'no' because it's obvious to them that this is a manipulated political agenda.  The ministers caught up in this?  They will show these people the door and suggest they leave.  Some might leave....some might suggest firing the minister, and the deacons might call a meeting to implement the firing.  The fired minister?  He'll call up the network 'chief' who got him all peppered-up on social causes, and they will work to find him another church.

Religious provocateurs?  Yes.  That's the simple term to use.  As much as Jerry Farewell did a marginal job to bring a number of Christian conservatives to one central view there in the 1980s.....there's another effort underway now to create the new wave....the Christian liberals.

The amusing image here...is that you might profess to be a iron-clad conservative today, and wake up in six years as a member of some church-group, and suddenly find that you've fallen into a crowd of socially active church members, and you feel kinda 'liberal'.  You go home one Sunday....pour a shot or two of some strong alcohol....light up a cigarette....and stand there amazed that some minister has convinced folks that Jesus was a liberal.  After a long bit of pondering and thinking....you eventually come to realize that the only way this could work is if you were deceived, and then you kinda wonder....how this was possible?

So....you might want to pause and think over things that you often hear on a Sunday.  Some of the Jesus-chat....might be a opening line for a provocateur message.