Monday, 31 March 2008

A Legit Game

Let us say....that I was a individual that wanted to hand someone of major public status a significant amount of money....say a million....and wanted it to be a legitimate amount of money...legally given.....legally received....even taxes paid....and I didn't want it to appear as a bribe or a pay-back. How would you do it in the modern era?

You'd get the "innocent" guy to walk up to a publishing house and work up a "book". Me....the guy with the big cash who wants to help my friend or my public figure....I go up to the same book company and make a very special deal.

Normally....you write a book and get a contract....but special folks get a "bonus"....so I'm helping to rig up a special bonus. A book at the store might be priced on the shelf as new and at $25....which the book shop probably paid $18 per copy....sometimes more....sometimes less....depending on my deal. I make my seven bucks profit off that book. And the book company gets their $18.

So as the guy who wants to help my "friend"....I make a deal with the book company....instead of $18....I offer $23 a book....and I want a guaranteed delivery of 150,000 copies of the book. I take a loss of $5 times 150,000...which means $750,000 of profit for me lost....but not to worry....I will just write it off as a loss....but it'll help the book company offer the friend of mine....$750,000.

Last week....we had a wonderfully illustrated case of such a game....with the governor of Massachusetts. There was a serious discussion going on with casinos in the state....and the governor had disappeared for a couple of days....with little explanation. A few days after his return....we learn of his meeting publishers in New York City.....to sign a book contract.....and collect a bonus.

Most folks in the rest of the world outside of Massachusetts are wondering why any idiot would want to read a book from a less-than-average governor from Massachusetts....but then if you figure all of the special favors he gave away.....he needed to get "paid" for his favors in a honest way. So don't worry about the book really being a top 1,000 book or even a top 50,000 book. The purpose of this book.....is to pay the poor guy his bribe money.....legally. So when you step into a bookshop and pay $25 for a book.....by some hopeless idiot.....think about what the $25 is really for....and then you might appreciate the book more......or maybe less.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Women & Prison Personal Ads

I started to notice about ten years ago....the number of women out there in the real world.....who write and get into prison personal relationships. They find these guys....a year or three years or even ten years away from freedom....and start to get personal....and alot of them....marry the guy.

I have pondered this strange slice of life. One would think....that something would click with these women....and they'd grasp that something isn't right...but that never happens. My guess....out of every hundred women out there...especially over the age of 30....at least three or four are capable of doing something like this.

I watched an interview several years ago...where a woman simply said that she couldn't find the "right" guy and this personal ad from this prison was the perfect match. The woman was all charged up and wasn't going to be deterred. You would think that relatives would intercede or some cousin would just whack the woman to knock her to her senses.....but that just doesn't happen.

What you do notice as these episodes come and go....is that most women believe the guy will change when he's released from prison She believes in repentance or change. Out of a hundred prisoners.....I might be able to believe in this idea about five percent of the time.....but not much beyond that. I also have noticed that these women all want a strong manly character around....someone direct and domineering......and maybe in their fantasy love state of mind....they think that prison helps to modify and motivate a guy to be more domineering.

I can remember buying the old Globe weekly at the supermarket and you'd laugh at half the stories in the weekly magazine...and then there would be the personal ads.....where prison members were "noted" and advertising for a female "pal". Across the US today...I'd bet that at last 50,000 women are eagerly corresponding with male prison members...and dreaming of a marriage in the future. A co-worker of mine once joked that he'd like to put a ad in the Globe...advertising himself as a prisoner who would be free in a year and available for marriage. A guy could actually increase the odds of getting a marriable gal.....if he did a fake ad....and pretended to be a jailed prisoner.....which is awful sad.

So it is in America tonight....with a woman quietly sitting there and answering some prisoner's letter with a romantic touch and dabbing a bit of cheap perfume on the envelop. Something isn't right.....but then this woman didn't ask for Prince Charming or Eliot Spitzer....you know.

A Moment to Pause and Reflect


For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Is Hunting and Fishing Dying Off?


I paused and reflected upon this story in the Associated Press....is hunting and fishing dying off? It came out this week and most folks just glanced and went onto Kwame Kilpatrick and his Detroit troubles. But I read on.

The basis of this story are several interesting statistics. Arkansas hunting licenses in 1999: 345,000 total, but in 2003....319,000. Oregon noticed 100,000 fewer fishing licenses sold last year than in 1987 and hunting licenses were 70,000 less than 1987. Seventeen percent drop in West Virginia on hunting licenses over the past ten years. In Pennsylvania in 1981...there were 1.3 million hunting licenses sold....and last year....946,000 total. Numbers tell a story here.

So whats going on? Fishing and hunting were manly arts and folks were generally committed to them in a major fashion. They spent $200 a year on ammo...$100 on bait....they would buy a $150 fishing rod with no issue....they would spend $800 on a great hunting rifle....they would jump into a truck with two guys and disappear for four days hunting in Arkansas with the wife never saying a word. That was the world in 1987.

But in the past twenty years....Americana has conducted a remarkable change. First...internet came along and glued some guys to the den or private office in the basement. Wives started to complain when guys would disappear for four days for hunting or two days for fishing. Wives refused to monitor the family during these episodes....thinking that "dad" needs to be around the house in case of trouble.

Since the late 1990s.....you could see a change in relationships and expectations. If a guy comes up today to spend $800 on a rifle....there will be days and days of anxiety and stress by the wife as she attempts to explain why he shouldn't have done this. The guy will feel unnecessarily guilty and later sell the gun for $700....just to get it out of the house. The wife will freak out when she learns that he sold the gun for a loss of $100 after owning it only for a month. Then the same guilt trip will occur again. Then the guy will talk his buddy into selling him the gun back for $700....and the wife will go ballistic that the gun is back in his hands again.

Adding to this mess is all of the local entertainment available today....from softball leagues that run seven months out of the year....to sports-bars which feature twelve different giant plasma screen TVs. You have the Lowe's folks who will sell you garden implements at nine o'clock at night or a neat do-it-yourself patio. You have various folks who are buying a $30k pontoon boat which the family and associates go out each weekend on.

So the art of hunting and fishing...is dying. Its a sad thing. We needed it as escape and relaxation. Guys could hang out for an entire day....sipping Bud....eating Cheetos and beef jerky.....smoking cigars.....talking about the secretary at work or the new chainsaw they'd like to buy. A guy could break down and weep over his first wife marrying a pontoon boat salesman. A guy could tell his buddy of his problems in the physical department and get some advice. A guy could admit that he wanted relations with some gal at the waffle house and his buddy could talk him out of it. Two guys in a fishing boat could talk nuclear fusion or the 32 ways of implementing world peace while baiting their hooks. Maybe on the way home....a couple of hunters could stop at a stripper bar and watch a show....just to get rid of the stress. A day out in the wild....was a great thing. We will all miss it.

Just Going for a Pack of Smokes Story

In Bama....we have this expression we use....when a guy gets finally fed up with the wife and tired with life....that he says "I'm going for a pack of smokes" and never comes back. At the office....my Bama associate and I often kid about this.

This week....we had such a episode to occur in New York state. Over in Lyndonville, New York...there was this pastor. Criag Rodenizer was his name. Craig apparently had a nice little church in the community. Craig came up on Tuesday night....and told the wife he had computer problems and was going to BEST BUY. Craig left....hours go by, and his wife gets all worried and calls the cops. Craig doesn't show up the next day....so its a pretty serious situation.

Around 36 hours into this missing case....the cops over in Riverside, Ohio are doing a random tag check for expired plates at this stripper club....and come to this NY-plated car....and they called in the number. Yep, it was Craig's car....so they went inside.

What they found at this stripper club....stripper club....stripper club (hint).....was Craig sitting there.....drinking heavily, paying for lap dances, and very loud in discussions. At one point, he had tried to talk the strippers into going back to his hotel room. For those who haven't been to Riverside...the K C Lounge is a excellent establishment to hook up with strippers and such.

The cops asked Craig a few questions...and he started to break down and cry. He was a emotional wreck as they discovered. He even commented that he felt "emotionally guilty"....whatever that means. Luckily for the cops....he didn't break into a sermon or chat on the principals of Jesus or Moses.

The cops tended to the car...towing it in....and took Craig down to the local hospital to be checked out. The wife....Susan....said she would send someone over to pick up Craig. I'm guessing that she is pretty upset and liable to lay into Craig big time. If I were Craig....I'd have a mighty good excuse to what happened at BEST BUY and tell some story about being robbed and kidnapped by Germans with funny green hats.

Craig and Susan had been planning a work/vacation trip in just a couple of weeks....so this mental breakdown of Craig's must have happened rather quickly. Although....just the mere fact that he was at a strip club....doesn't mean he had mental issues. I need to defend Craig on this....and I would strongly suggest that Craig just needed a guy's night out....carousing with the guys and maybe doing some hunting. All this minister stuff probably stressed Craig out and just too many "Mark, Luke and John" stories.

So we are hoping things work out and maybe Susan won't use the frying pan on the dude.....and just give him a chance to explain. And me? Well.....I might be going to BEST BUY any minute now.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Living Off Charity

I got paid yesterday...both my normal paycheck and the monthly Air Force pension check. Within a six hour period...both sums of money were gone. Because of the current exchange rate of .62, there just isn't anything left of a paycheck after you pay various German bills. I sit there every eight days and fill my gas tank up on the car and pay $100 easily. I sit and pay natural gas bills for heating...and watch the hundreds upon hundreds of dollars each year slide away (ever increasing). I ponder just how far the dollar will slide and when it might ever return to some normal rate.

I probably spent 300 man-hours last year....thinking about leaving and discussing it with co-workers. This year....I'll top 600 man-hours at the current rate. There is some magical point where patience ends and I have to assemble my job options in the real world where a dollar is worth a dollar. I'm guessing by December of this year....I will have finally said enough...and done away my pain.

The amusing part of this mess....to go into a Burger King off-base and pay roughly $10 for a whopper meal. I can remember in 1984...when the dollar was surging high...and spending $2 for a whopper meal. A simple cup of coffee today? At least $3 for a full-maxi cup of coffee.

So...for another weekend...I'll waste two or three hours thinking about this...fantasizing about finally leaving....and thinking about what will be final trigger.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Bama Logic

Don Siegelman is the luckiest man on the face of the earth....and maybe in Alabama as well.

You see....Don was a former Democratic governor of the state....who happened to have a chance to appoint the state regulatory board member....who happened to be a big-wig for the HealthSouth organization. Course, somewhere in this mess of appointing folks....the governor did accidentally take some type of cash pay-off....NOT a bribe....but just some cash to help the governor out....NOT a bribe.

An investigation erupted and wouldn't you know it....those damn idiots felt that this cash pay-off....was a bribe....which it wasn't (NOT a bribe). Then the court decided that Governor Don....who was a honest church-going dude.....needed to go off to state prison. Satan took Don aloft and flew him off to state prison....for seven years. With him....was ex-HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy....who got a similar sentence. The sad thing here....the $500k that Richard gave to Don....was NEVER a bribe....and was totally mishandled by the legal folks. Governor Don could have appointed anyone....from Southern Baptists to former NFL quarterbacks. Governor Don could have appointed some poor dude from Red Bay or Selma or even Owens Crossroads....but God bless Governor Don....he picked Richard....who had vast experience with handling medical stuff as the CEO of HealthSouth and knew precisely how to regulate and pay off the right folks.

So as ex-Governor Don sat in prison....the hands of God were at work. Thankfully....the folks at CBS news and 60 Minutes came up and declared that Karl Rove had targeted Governor Don and this was strictly a political attack on poor Governor Don. With the exception of Channel 19 out of Huntsville....across all of this magnificent state....folks saw the "truth" by 60 Minutes and realized that Karl Rove is in league with Satan. Governor Don was unfairly picked on and this was a mess that had to be cleaned up.

So this week....thank God.....Governor Don was released from jail six year early....to work on his case....which has several issues apparently. Governor Don was apparently convicted on bribery, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The US congress is eager to call a session and order Karl "in the league with Satan" Rove to appear before....well.....they are hinting.

Don is sitting out tonight probably....sipping some booze and quietly wondering what the heck can be done to really toss out these damn charges. Personally....ifing I were Don....I'd call up Karl Rove and ask if he can put in a good word with President Bush and just ask for a pardon....but knowing Don....he just want be happy in dealing with the devil on this issue.

Retrying the case? Well.....they'd like to....except most folks think that Don would be convicted a second, a third, a fourth, and maybe even a fifth time.

The amusing part about this entire mess this week.....Richard Scrushy is sitting there in jail....with six more years to go....and no one got him out. I'm pretty sure Richard would be more than happy to offer $500k to someone....NOT a bribe....but just to anyone who'd treat him the same as Don. But the thing with Don....is that his arch enemy is the Republicans....and that helps him in this case.

So what should we pray for in this case? Should we ask God to help Don or help Richard or maybe both? Should we tempt fate and just redo the case? Well....I'm not partial but I'm thinking if President Bush would just read my blog....he might see the wisdom in just giving poor ole Don a pardon.

The other side of this coin....is that congress is thinking about bringing Karl Rove in for questioning. And you know....that a fellow from Bama....loose there in the capital building.....might say some really hurtful things....like asking if they'd prefer criminals to just walk free if they are Democrats or remain in jail if they are Republicans. Then Karl might ask if it would have been better if he...Karl Rove....had offered up the $500k to Don. That might frighten some folks a bit....and I'm guessing they sure don't want Karl up and talking.

So things are a bit disturbing over in Bama this week. We need all you Baptists who are Democrats.....praying hard for Don....and wishing Don the best of luck. And if you are Republican....you might pray for Karl....and laws to just stand as they are. Only in Alabama...is such possible.


Fighting Nipple Jihad (Lubbock Style)

So out in Lubbock this week....some gal was flying from the major international airport there....in lovely Lubbock.....to Dallas. Personally....I'd question why she didn't ride Trailways or just have mama drive her over....but she had to fly. So the TSA boys.....here after referred to as the Nipple Police....were duly at the standing position and ready to fight nipple jihad if necessary.

The gal.....Mandi Hamlin...apparently (at least in several sources)....got past the radar door frame with no issue. I'm guessing she was wearing a loose fitting outfit and one of the fine Nipple Police noted this. So they wanted to do a wand check....and caught some metal activity on Mandi's chest. Mandi didn't mind....she was a nipple-pierced gal....no big deal. Well....the Nipple Police decided that just showing the female member of the Nipple Police was not enough. Nope....they insisted that it be removed. Mandi tried and tried to just take them nipple items off....but they wouldn't come off....and then one member of the Nipple Police pulled out his multi-tool.

You can just imagine this scene.....folks backed up....Mandi standing behind a screen.....a bunch of TSA Nipple Police laughing and giggling like little kids. And Mandi ended up cutting it off.

The TSA crowd claimed later that there are ways to handle this....and would have been more appropriate but they are standing by their Nipple Police in Lubbock. They won't apologize. Mandi has a lawyer now....and went public today....and I'm guessing the head dimwit of TSA....the head NIPPLE himself.....is going to have a bit to take from public reaction.

How serious is the threat of nipple jihad? You Americans simply don't grasp what this all means. Once you allow one woman to wander through with a nipple piercing...then dozens will do it, and then hundreds....and then thousands. We in America don't need the threat of nipples upon our front doorstep. This nipple jihad is wrong.

So for the brave boys who mount the Nipple Patrol at the Lubbock Airport.....we in the sissy-boy world salute you. You did your very best and hopefully can protect us from various nipple piercings...include naval, and even more private places where both men and women keep things real private. America can rest quietly and securely tonight...knowing the Nipple Police is on the guard....protecting us.

Somewhere in the midst of this mess.....I'm kinda wonder where a guy can apply to be a member of the Nipple Police....and if they'd just accept a redneck character from Alabama. I'm also wondering if any member of the Lubbock Nipple Patrol...has a nipple piercing himself and if so....how did he get past the magic wand without having his removed? Oh....maybe this is too personal....but then....Mandi would be curious to know too.

The Nuke Inventory?

Yesterday....Secretary Gates ordered the Pentagon to conduct a one-hundred percent inventory of all nuclear related material....from testing tools to batteries, from moving containers to triggers. He gave them 60 days to report back with any discrepancy.

After this weeks admittance of the Air Force accidentally shipping a couple of triggers to Taiwan....which those kindly folks never asked for.....things got a bit heated. Even the Chinese were damn upset about those Taiwanese folks holding nuclear triggers....but without the nukes. Although to be honest....the US Air Force might have accidentally given them a dozen nuclear bombs and no one noticed that.

So by Monday....Airman Snuffy at Wicky Air Base....will standing there when the Captain runs up with the big 188-page inventory of the nuke storage facility. The Captain will be chomping on his cigar.....crying and weeping over this mess. Airman Snuffy will take a deep breathe...and tell the Captain not to worry...and begin the inventory. To be honest....Snuffy probably knows where every nuke item is located and stored....and even knows where the special picture of Rumsfeld is hid in the big bunker. Snuffy will report back in a week....and the Captain will feel all good, and then report back to the Langley office who controls this stuff.

The sad thing here....in the old days of Strategic Air Command....when episodes occurred.....of such a magnitude.....you fired lots of people and even kicked some folks out of the Air Force. That really isn't true today. So the true fear that folks used to have....is gone. They believe that they can screw up a little....and not get drastic punishment. Its a sad state of affairs....but its the world we live in....and the world that we count on Airman Snuffy to do his best because none of the other idiots can do theirs.

The "Madam"

So in Texas this week...the cops were busy...arresting a 13 year-old "madam". This is the girl who convinced other girls...in the same age bracket to go down to the Club Metropolis....and hire up as dancers....strippers in fact. The Dallas cops aren't talking much about the deal...because there is an investigation underway.....and they can't really hold this girl in a real jail. My guess is that they would have to haul her to the middle of New Mexico....to some town in the middle of nowhere....to ensure she doesn't get into more trouble. The parents? Well....it would be curious what their reasoning would be or how they supervised her. I'm guessing that they were rarely around the house and didn't question anything about money she flashed.

The network news guys were a bit shocked but the cops really didn't seem that surprised....like they get this on a monthly basis. If true....something is wrong here....damn wrong.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A California Destiny?

A few weeks ago....I had a short blog on a town in California that was on the verge of bankruptcy....and the worker's union had sat quickly down to agree to some restructuring....which helped save things.

Well...in the past week....the Weekly Standard folks published a neat little article on Vallejo, California, by Stephen Moore. Its a finely crafted article which explains the entire mess with the unions and how across ALL of California....the same tactic and problem is brewing.

The city workers of California....from the cops to the sanitation crowd, from the fire department to the parks folks....are all up on a wagon and riding as far as they can....on pay and retirement. The neat thing about city retirement throughout California....is that you can start working at 22....earning 3 percent per year on your retirement.....and eventually retire with 90 percent of your paycheck....sat at age 50....and make a killing.

Vallejo....as Mr Moore describes it.....had several fire department members....who made $200k last year in pay and overtime. I sat there thinking.....across the entire state of Alabama....there is likely not a single fire department guy except maybe the chief of the Birmingham fire department....who makes over $80k a year.

When you figure in the retirement side of government....this state is basically bankrupt. The teachers union? Well....by the best estimates....the state is $20 billion in the red...and if you figure in the healthcare program that they are given...its another $48 billion.

Vallejo woke up in January and realized that it would be $6 million short on its monthly budget...and that this was going to increase across the entire year. They are talking almost $135 million on unfunded liabilities. The union quickly grasped that if the city actually did bankruptcy....then all contracts and deals were finished....and they might be screwed back down to a real pension deal....which they can't allow.

As Mr. Moore points out....EVERY single town in California is under this union threat and money pit. Even for Vallejo.....this band-aid is simply enough to slide by for twelve to eighteen months....before more costs pop up and the city management goes to the next bankruptcy threat. It'll become a yearly thing if you examine the all the facts.

So what happens here? Well...you folks who in California....are going to sit back and watch a twenty year decline in business and living cost escalation. The cities that will attempt to survive....will enact property taxes and sales taxes to bring in more money.....to meet the retirement pension scheme that the unions have built. You go and figure a 50-year old cop retiring with a salary of $75k....will likely take home over $65k and have a medical plan that drains additionally on the city revenues.

At some point....house prices will start a steady decline...probably in the three percent per year range. You will see a school district that loses 4 percent of its students yearly. You will watch retirees who pack up and move to Arizona or Nevada to resettle. The Hollywood crowd? The old-timers will stay....but you will notice a steady decline of trendy stars staying in Hollywood and most moving out.

My guess by 2015? At least a dozen California cities.....ranging from 20,000 residents on up to 400,000 residents....will declare bankruptcy. Cities and counties with bonds? Prepare for the wave of banks getting nervous and cities being able to pay back their loans. Political chaos? Prepare for a series of Republican replacing Democrat replacing Republican replacing Democrat. Prepare for regional banks in California with "safe" housing markets suddenly going under or being bought for 20 cents on the dollar. Prepare for a sudden lawyer market where unions sue cities who cut pensions by 40 percent in order to avoid bankruptcy. Prepare for cities who suddenly terminate city workers and contract out all services to contracted companies...to include the police and fire department.

In some ways....its a train wreck that is in motion and you'd wish these folks alot of luck. But the sad thing is that you've folks milking a city for every penny....and simply drawing a city into bankruptcy.

Brain-Washing: Level One

Out in Wildomar, California...the sixth grade there had a real interesting science year so far....and decided to let the folks at the Heartland Institute know that they are totally wrong in denying global warming. So they wrote up twenty-five letters to tell those folks just how wrong they are. Its a terrible thing.....trying to stand against global warming...and not believing in your teacher. Mike Steria, is the teacher in charge....and you simply have to laugh at how well Mike achieved his project with the class. Every single one of them....believe that global warming is absolute.

The trend we now see....is that science teachers will have to bend and basically reshape facts in science....in order for students....with no real background....to understand and pass on the "truth". Challenging teachers....is basically forbidden....so they will accept and just continue passing the message on. Who pays for this? The taxpayer does. Taxpayers rarely get into the teacher evaluation system and demand accountability....they are counting on the school management doing their job. The sad thing.....is that they can't do the job.....and just pass the guy on....to do stuff like this.

What would Orwell think? He'd be smiling and laughing. Its 1984...only better. Its better than Animal Farm....in this case....some animals are merely "smarter" than other animals....so reality doesn't really count for much. As the smarter animals assume their position in life.....they will kick and outmaneuver the rest of the farm's members....thus eliminating questions. Orwell would sit with a tea in his hand and just start laughing out loud.

Where does this go? Each teacher in the chain after this point....will be taught by the students. If data doesn't equal what they learned about global warming...then the teacher is wrong. If facts are presented against global warming...then they are facts. If a video openly display polar bears swimming easily in the water...then they aren't real polar bears. The battle is basically lost.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Stimulus Package Day

Everyday...brings me one step closer to Stimulus Package Day (SPD). I fantasize now almost daily about this check. Its funny....back in December...there was no such dream or fantasy...but thanks to the mighty Bush and the mighty congress....I've got "wild" money to spend now.

Sometimes....I fantasize about new black leather jacket or some $70 Hush Puppy shoes or even a fancy new Egyptian-cotton work shirt. Other times....I dream of fresh new underwear or a pump-action shotgun or a $100 Thai-massage. Being a anti-Baptist fellow....I can even allow myself to dream of expensive bottles of Jack Daniels or fine red wine from Italy.

Personally....I wouldn't mind getting such a check every year....but I reckon I'm asking for too much from the mighty Bush. Maybe the mighty Hillary or the mighty Obama might be willing to give away a free check.....but forget about that mighty McCain guy. To be honest...even a free $250 check would be satisfactory for my fantasy requirements but I reckon it'd just be God's punishment.

Some folks I know...are dreaming of a plasma screen TV....in time for the NBA championships or maybe a new set of tires for their car. I'm thinking all across America....folks are sitting there in traffic lines, passenger lines, or in line at McDonalds.....thinking long and hard about their stimulus and how it will affect their life. Some folks...are the sad tragic types....just thinking about paying off the credit card or buying a new septic tank for the trailer. Those folks are sad tragic souls who need a real fantasy in life. The neat part about this....we can stretch out this fantasy period for another six weeks....before reality finally hits and the five minutes it takes to spend the money.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Hot Times in Tampa

This week....Mary Jo Spack....met up with two local Freedom High School students and engaged in a witful conversation over at the local liquor store. The best we can figure....from cop reports....the guys....age 17 and 18.....helped the teacher from their local school pick the right choice of alcohol.

Afterwards.....Mary Jo.....an honors English teacher at Freedom High school....drove with the male students over to the HoJo (Bama chat for Howard Johnson motel) and drank booze together. In Bama...we wouldn't have this problem because we'd have a dry county and none of this teacher-student stuff or teacher foreplay or disgusting behavior. But this is Florida....the sin capital of America (after New Orleans, New York City, Las Vegas, Portland, Austin, Del Rio, Mobile, Memphis, St Louis, Boise, the whole state of Rhode Island, Philly, Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, and Dayton).

At some point in this meeting at the Hojo....the two guys wanted to let their friends know of their meeting place....and were were texting some friends that they were going to have a party at this motel. You know guys....they gotta brag about booze or women. So at some point....three other students joined them in the motel room.

At some point here....with the booze flowing, the rock & roll music playing.....a 17-year-old apparently had close physical contact with Mary Jo in the shower. The door was closed....so none of the other four guys in the other room saw anything....and it might have been bogus....but who knows?

Apparently....Mary Jo.....45.....of Wesley Chapel....got arrested Thursday at Freedom High. She is charged with one count of unlawful sex with a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor....this kinda stems from giving booze to a punk kid....seventeen years old.

How does this get out and get reported? Well...some teacher sat there in the school and heard a student tell the entire story......and reported it to Freedom's administration. The good news about all of this....Mary Jo wasn't the student's teacher....she was actually the honor's English teacher and usually only hung out with the geeky folks who were destined for university....and not the football squad dopes who don't get scholarships offered and end up working at Wal-Mart restocking the shelves.

What happens now? Well....right away....Mary Jo will let every know that she is a nice person and simply a out-of-control alcoholic....and needs rehab....which the teacher's health care program will pay for. The school will investigate...but to be truthful....its a seventeen year old guy and he won't cooperate in court for the government. Her teaching certificate will be dissolved and I'm guessing at best...30 to 60 days in jail....and thats it. She will be selling real estate within twelve months and probably married to the seventeen year old guy.....and in five years....he'll dump her for a younger gal. Such is the state of the Republic tonight. Oh, and the icing on this cake....she's the second teacher of the year in this county arrested for stuff like this.

Teaching Your Way Out of Paper Bag

This week...we had a kinda funny episode develop in California. Governor Arnie....is walking in the footsteps of Governor Davis....and is now repeating most of the errors. Apparently...Arnie woke up with the rest of the state in the past two months....to face a $16 billion state budget shortfall. Normally...folks would question where the shortfall came from and is a indicator of bad government or bad economics or just plain unhappy companies packing up and leaving the state (most likely answer).


Governor Arnie has now proposed a $4.8 billion in school-funding cuts, or 10 percent of education spending. So you sit there and ponder this...wondering....this is pretty much the entire budget of the state of Alabama for school funding. To be honest...the current Bama governor is proposing a $400 million dollar cut in Bama...which most locals deem as "crazy"...so apparently....the Bama locals ain't been to California and seen a $4.8 billion cut.

So this past week....some administrative folks were busy....mailing out 20,000 "warning" pink slips....teachers and administrators state wide. Some folks are thinking this is merely the first round and at least 87,000 more might have to go but Governor Arnie is hoping to find enough money to retain that group. With a current 350,000 teacher inventory....20,000 isn't a massive deal....but another 87,000 would kinda change things. How many students in a classroom in California for next school year? I'm betting around 28 kids per room....and maybe up to 38 if things go badly. Improvement of education? Nope....thats the least of your hopes now.

So why would I move to California? Well....its primarily to be in the hopes of meeting Britney and having a carbon credit-friendly government. Not really much else. In fact...on my list of places to move....with Louisiana hovering at number one and Florida at a strong number two....California is likely number three as the places least likely that I'd move to.

A Garden Party in Kaiserslautern and the Parking Lot

So this is a tale of woe....in my local town of Kaiserslautern....here in Germany.

Several years ago....before the World Cup matches here....the political dimwits in the state of Rheinland Pfalz pushed and got Kaiserslautern one of the venues of the Cup games. The local stadium was adequate although not 4-star in nature. So the talk came around to money to "puff-up" the character of Kaiserslautern and fix things. It was a long discussion. By the end....the Federal government and the state government had determined that the stadium needed a make-over, that a huge parking lot in the area had to be built for excess cars and the city needed massive road fixes. Oh.....and the city needed to improve its image.

So this is the tale of woe and how things came to be.

The parking that the folks dreamed about....was a 50-acre monster parking lot....next to the autobahn. They found this heavily forested area on the outskirts of town....and cut down 500 trees. They hired a local company and began this 12-month project to pave and chirt-rock this massive parking lot. To be truthful....there were days when there were only two guys out there working. Near the end....they had maybe two dozen guys working.

The parking lot was easily capable of handling 1,000 cars and even had a bus stop built with a professional overhand and it was a decent looking parking lot. They used it for the World Cup games (all three)....and while the local football team was in the top league....and folks came to watch games....it was used over and over....for a year. Then the local team fell to the second league....and the paying crowd stayed home. Today....for the past year....except for a dozen guys who park there and catch a work-bus to their company...no one parks there.

No one talks about the cost....but I'd reckon at least five million was spent in cutting down the trees and paving this lot. In the past three years....its basically stood there with no one using it. Its so far out of town....that you can't even sell the property for some mall structure. So it was money tossed to the wind.

So we come now to the garden park of Kaiserslautern. As part of this hocus-pocus effort....the city took almost fifty acres spread around the "dead zone" of Kaiserslautern....the old sheep trimming and sheep butcher zone.....and converted this all to a garden-park. The idea was...to commercially hand money to some organization....with a repay deal attached.....build this garden structure...where you'd charge folks to come in and walk around.

Now....if you were from Ripley or Bama.....you'd scratch your head and wonder....what idiot would pay to walk in a garden park? They tore up a huge section of this area...laid out several million in landscaping....put up 30 plastic dinosaurs....yep....actual life-sized plastic dinosaurs....with probably a million spent on flowers and shrubs and a walking trail. They have two entry posts manned by old retirees....who I guess get paid minimum wage...and they charge around $3 a person to enter. You can buy a yearly ticket....which apparently some city folks prefer that....and pay around $25 for a individual year ticket.

Ifing you want to pay an extra 75 cents....you can wander over to the Japanese Gardens.....where more money is spent each year to enlarge this special gardens area....but to be truthful....no one really cares.

The organization that got stuck into this commercial loan deal with the state? Well....they've used the old sheep buildings and rented some out....and did the best possible under the situation....but its a money-losing situation. It can't even pay the monthly mortgage back to the folks who arranged the loan. Last year....they made a special effort to rent out more buildings and have summer fests....to increase attendance and get something going. The city doesn't like to talk about this....because they kinda arranged all of this and help in this mess.....and it just won't turn a profit of any sort.

So there is this point where local politicians and state dudes....will have to step in....and basically pay off the loan....with state money....and just say enough. No one wants to do this in a election year or the year prior....and to be the guy who votes for this waste of funding....is just another slap against you.

My guess? This might be the last year where they attempt to get by on this mess...and by summer of next year....I'm betting they give up and get the state to fund the pay-off. As for the park....the dinosaurs are losing their color.....and I'm waiting for the first good windstorm to toss two or three over. The city will have to pay to tear down the fencing and just make it another city-run park.....with alot less funding. It was a novel effort....but basically over $10 million flushed down the toilet.....for nothing.

Another Woeful Sorry?

As a class project up on Connecticut, some woman helped her daughter do research all the way back for the family tree. There came up this unique problem. The daughter was the eighth generation great granddaughter of Mary Sanford....who died in 1692. The thing about Mary....is that she didn't die of a honest death...she was convicted of witchcraft.

Apparently....up until 1692....Mary was a wife (assuming faithful), and the mother of five youngens. Things around Connecticut were fairly boring in those days of the 1680s and 1690s....and folks were fairly desperate for gossip and Britney Spears. So...with religion in full bloom and some imagination.....the folks up around this region decided that they had too many witches and warlocks around....so something had to be done. Course, we can sit and pause here to think about this.

Put yourself in 1680 Connecticut....a log cabin amongst 40 other cabins. All of the guys are required to put in six days of work out in the field....from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun. The wives are supposed to mind the kids...clean the cabin....cook up vittles.....and keep their sanity. There was no fitness club or movie theater or bar or front porch to escape to. Your life was a six-day affair....then you had all day for Sunday church affairs. Most would meet and atone for their sins....listen to some guy read the Bible for the 144th time....and then talk about the weather or crops. So they were desperate for a "fire" or a "911" or a Cheney-shotgun accident.

So around 1690....Mary was in this group of two men and nine women.....who got picked up by the authorities for witchcraft. You have to wonder how the two guys got into this mess...but I'm guessing they were a bit close and maybe engaged in activities that were beyond the imagination of the locals but very much in line with stuff you'd see in San Fransisco today. There were actually a whole bunch of these folks who got into the Connecticut group of freaking witches....but strangely enough....they were mostly brought into a churchhouse....sentenced as quickly as possible to be banished (they had to go to Rhode Island or worse) or they simply figured this game was pretty much spent....so they ran off before the offical ceremony.

So these eleven folks remained and got the 4-star treatment. By the end....some guy with a good religious background had decided that there were two methods of fixing the situation. You could dunk the person long enough to get the devil out of them....although experience with this tended to show that you drowned them 99 percent of the time. The second method was to hang them. So Mary was brought up and hanged in this period. Apparently, her husband had charges brought up against him....but he managed to beat the charges and appears to have left the area later.

So this woman and her daughter....want the state to express an apology. State Rep Micheal Lander (D)....has kinda indicated that this apology isn't in the top 100 items of discussion with the assembly of the state. I'm thinking these two ought to approach the Republican folks who'd like a major platform to connect to the kind folks of the state and maybe to previous or current witches....and just get a short 3-line statement that Connecticut made a mistake and were "damn" sorry. I don't think the mother and daughter team is expecting any money out of this but if you Connecticut Republicans were really nice about this...you'd authorize $250,000 for the two and help make things right. Maybe after the apology and woeful talk....all you fellows could come out of the statehouse after the sun sets and we can set up a nice bonfire in the front yard and dance in the full moon to some chants and Hip-hop music....sip some wine....and maybe.....oh.....well....this might go off and become another witchcraft incident and I wouldn't want you Republicans in more trouble.

The Adios of "Doc" Foglesong at Mississippi State

"Doc" is packing up and finally leaving. I mentioned this episode last week. There truly are no shocks here....even when the guy wrote his "good-bye" piece for the university this week....it was pure "Doc".

He wrote what he considered the most outstanding accomplishments:

- To recruit and retain quality students.

- To recruit and retain a quality faculty.

- To increase research and contributions to economic development.

- To "recapture our pride."

"No doubt there is more to do," "Doc" wrote. "But it's time for someone else to move us forward. Remember, if you are not moving forward, you're probably moving backwards."

Then "Doc" said that he really accomplished four years of work....in two. It was absolutely pure "Doc" when he said that part.

A brief analysis of "Doc" at USAFE and Mississippi State. There is no satisfactory stopping point on "Doc's" radar....he is moving in some direction even when you think he has accomplished all of the intended goals. The guy can't envision a perfect picture....because in his mind....it doesn't exist. "Doc" views the world as less than perfect and needs his eye and imagination to change. The last quote in his accomplishment column....."recapture pride"....is really a mystery word that "Doc" will use over and over. Wherever he goes next....it'll be the base of his entire operation. The guy can't imagine a place that has pride already and is doing quiet well.....so "Doc" sees himself as the guy who must remake a situation.

Am I anti-"Doc"? In all these years....I've only seen two guys who should never have risen to even 1-star general. Both made it to four-star....both were a train-wreck in motion....both felt the need to fix the unbroke or charm everyone with their "recapture pride" statement. Little was said after both left, and few remember the real lasting accomplishments of the guy today. "Doc" actually needed a war to keep his mind busy and out of trouble when he was at Ramstein....but sadly....we just couldn't start up a war after finishing three or four in a row.

Mississippi State? Well....they will likely sit around on hot summer afternoons.....sipping ice tea.....and telling story after story of "Doc" and what he did or tried to do. Most will be humorous and fairly sarcastic. I doubt that "Doc" will ever be much of a long-term memory. Other than these blogs and some newspaper clippings....thats the end of the legacy. So it is in America tonight.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Saudi Imam's?

So a small footnote out of Saudi Arabia this week. The Saudis are bringing into the school house....at least 4,000 religious teachers.....to help ensure they understand the correct Koran. Yep....roughly seven years after 911.....they finally have grasped that a number of fundamental religious trainers...are out of control. Its not just within the kingdom....its now spread to the US Muslim community, the European community, and even the Pacific community.

Of course....you really have to wonder how exactly this retraining will function. The Saudis are having some special folks write training books....which starts you to smiling and laughing.....knowing that this usually is a failure on schoolbook changes. Based on commentary within the European press....most folks aren't very confident of this Saudi effort working.

My observation? Once you start to bring a hundred of these dimwits into a school center.....and they have a chance to talk and gossip....they will devise various ways to discuss topics that go beyond the instructors grasp. They will outmaneuver the lesser intelligent scholars and make this into a full-scale training seminar for their own purposes.
The textbooks? Most will be burned within the next six months and never be used.

At this point....the actual leaders of the Saudi royal family will start to think long and hard about what can occur next. They have no guts to seize the top players of the Wahabbist movement or start killing a few radical clerics. The mad mullah movement is going to view this as a "WEAKNESS" and proceed to find the right folks in Saudi Arabia to seize additional powers and reign in any liberal Muslims within the country.

This retraining idea...probably should have been done in the mid-90s....so its already one decade too late.....and maybe even two decades too late. The Imams and religious trainers....now own vast empires of faithful followers. They have no will to just dissolve away or allow the government to refocus their agenda. For those of us on the outside....its a woeful tale of huge proportion.....and even we lack the political leadership to actually fix the problem....so we aren't much better.

Georgia and Its License Law

These folks down in Georgia woke up in the last couple of weeks....and suddenly decided to get a law passed where if you were driving without a license....its a felony. For the first offense...its a minimum of 2 days and possibly up to 365 days. Around the 4th offense.....its a minimum of 365 days, and up to five years.

Most folks around the county level are sitting there and scratching their head....wondering who will pay for the increase in prisoners. The curious part...this effort by mostly Republicans....was aimed at illegal aliens in Georgia....who have no license. So when Deputy Karl pulls over a truck with twelve illegal aliens....the driver without the license....is arrested and detained....with the rest of the crowd free to go. My guess as to the sentence.....most municipal judges won't give out more than three days max.....because of the cost of keeping some folks in jail and feeding them.

Its an amusing thing....while 49 states have a law making driving without a license a misdemeanor.....here is Georgia with a felony law instead. You'd think these guys would have better things to do.....but they are still sitting there....waiting on Micheal Vick to exit jail.....to bring the Falcons back.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

2001: Mr. Clark's View

Arthur Clark died today. He was the writer of 2001: Space Odyssey.

He sat there years and years ago....writing this magnificent piece of science fiction....as a real scientist. His vision basically became part of our dreams today. Th amusing thing....he wasn't that far from reality in some cases.

He has challenged the public to think outside of the mainstream....to start thinking of our future in vast terms. We aren't going to be the only species in the universe.....in the end. We very likely will find other planets and other humans....maybe in a decade or two.....then start to twist our minds in a far different fashion. Clark is the man who gave us the early thought and challenged the mindset.

If we were to select ten of the most influential books of the last century....then 2001 is to be one of them. It is fiction....without any doubt.....but it represents a challenge upon the mind of where we are and where we are going. We needed this kick....to jumpstart our mind....and open our a vast landscape.

Alzheimers and Your Future

So today...the science dudes came out and said that within a few years.....one in eight Americans will have Alzheimers. Maybe by 2025....we might have ten million Americans with it.

There are several observations that I can make. Before the 1940s....American medical technology didn't basically make alot of difference....and a good portion of folks died by age 60. In the 1980s and on....technology started to lengthen your life....so you might make it to age 75 or maybe even 80.

The problem is.....you started to add more years and gain into this unique crew of folks....who got alzheimers. You were simply increasing your odds of getting this terrible disease....by living longer. The statistical dudes don't want to come out and say this real harshly....because everyone loves to live longer. But if you knew by age 70....you might develop the disease....is it rally worth it to take care of your health and live to a longer point?

You start to debate things. So debate this topic.....who takes care of ten million Americans? The answer....a bankrupt medical social program. Medicare will have to develop a facility in every community where you just sit there and wait to die. I don't mix my words and offer any encouragement. I'm just not that type. If you came to me and said I have the early stages of alzheimers....I'll take $20k out and spend four weeks traveling around Arizona....and after that trip concludes.....just do myself in. I won't sit and pause....to wait for a miserable decline with no hope.

I am of the opinion that we've always had a fair statistic of alzheimers sitting out there....that it would develop over the years and we simply started to live beyond a point where safety loomed and we entered the crap-shoot. This was a disease that rarely if ever appeared in the caveman days....because few lived past 30. In the 1800s.....most folks didn't make it past 50 when you counted in the Malaria, Yellow Fever, and various accidents that folks had. As we lived longer...we took on additional risks.

Lots of folks in the medical field want to brag about how they can make us live to age 100....maybe 120 years old. I'm thinking that they basically are counting alzheimers as a none-issue in doing this......hoping we don't notice. We might all want to sit and pause here....thinking of the trade-off...hoping that we make it to the old age we dreamed of but not dying of alzheimers.

Someday....we may actually turn around and grasp that some basic sugar or enzyme was the "lacking factor" in preventing alzheimers. But until that day....we are living in a crap-shoot...and basically hoping on something that you can't calculate.

Another German Bitch

Jeremiah Carmack is dead....stone cold dead.

Last week....Private Carmack went to his girlfriends house in Schweinfurt, Germany....real late. He brought along a M-4 rifle. He somehow (yet to be figured)...took it from the post. He got into the house (we were told originally by breaking a window in the basement) and then got up to her apartment....where he tied her up. Something occurred and then she slipped out and got to mama's place downstairs and they ran out the door. Cops got called. The kid took his rifle and ran into the field next to the house. Cops surrounded the field.....giving him a chance to surrender...he stood up waving the rifle....and not surrounding as they thought.....so they shot him dead.

Cops weren't happy about this and not figured out why he came to the girlfriend's house like this. No explanation. Not a single friend of his from the post....can explain this.

But here is the curious thing. There is this guy named Fred from North Carolina who was watching this bit on the news and then commented that he wondered if this was his old toxic girlfriend from that same village. Then an hour later....he discovered it was. Fred started talking. Fred had major issues with this divorced 23-year old German woman.

Fred was intangled with her for twelve months. At some point.....she called the cops to complain that Fred was drunk and had hit her. They came looking for Fred....breaking down his apartment door.....and arresting him.....but then checked his blood for alcohol..NOT a single drop of alcohol. They suddenly realized that she had lied about the entire story. No explaination was ever put forth to the cops....they merely closed the book. Then Fred's password to his email account was taken....with a very harsh warning sent from that account to this young dead guy...not to mess around with his former girlfriend. The unit had to apprehend Fred.....but then came to realize that he couldn't have sent the email because he was elsewhere.

Fred called the cops in Germany.....who are now standing there....having shot their first American GI in over twenty years....with no reason explained. Alot of the Americans in the region are today asking some stupid questions about the girlfriend.

My speculation? I'm thinking that the girlfriend wanted him to show off his weapon and then she started to play some stupid game of tying her up....and then she was nuts from that point on....running to escape and then getting the cops to come. She probably thought the guy would just surrender and it'd be part of her game. I doubt that she had thought about the final outcome going this far. What happens now? The cops will spend weeks studying the whole thing and then the Army will figure out how he got the Army weapon off-post. The girlfriend? Nothing.....she will walk away from this and attempt to socialize with Army guys again. Will any guy date her? I'm guessing not.....and most German guys in the region will figure out that she's nuts....so the rest of her life is pretty dim. Strange episode.

Theres a Wolf, and Then Theres a Wolf

Its been a pretty messy week in Tibet...bunch of demonstrations....some dead folks.....and the Chinese government is all upset...especially at the Dalai Lama. The Chinese dudes are blaming the Dalai.....even saying that he is a wolf in sheepskin. Yep....very dangerous character. Doesn't matter that he isn't allowed to enter Tibet or that the Dalai can't handle a gun or such. Nope....none of that really matters. This dude is dangerous...by Chinese standards.

Personally....if I were the Chinese government folks....I might think about the stuff I say in public and how foolish I might appear. If the Dalai is a wolf in sheepskin.....the Chinese are like a herd of 3,000 wolves in one sheepskin. I'm thinking this Olympics deal next year....might turn China into "New Orleans in Katrina" and some folks just ain't going to be happy. It might be wise to chill off a bit and regroup under some better situation.

Missing or Dead or Something

So John Glasgow disappeared.

John was the CFO of the company that won the bid to build the Clinton Library in Little Rock. John ran a nice operation....that built up a fair business....and became a major player in the region. John was one of those guys who simply ran into luck and never complained. John was liked by just about everyone...and always had a smile.

Since 28 January.....he has been missing. He left the house early in the morning....say before 6 and the car was found the next day at a state park not that far away....in a parking lot there....doors unlocked....nothing missing. Cops say he merely walked off from the car. No witnesses.....nothing.

The best they can figure.....he was under a huge amount of stress from an audit....which there was some speculation that a small issue or two was going to be tossed upon him. No one has yet to show that he hid money or lost money....in fact...the audit still continues with no real negative comments yet.

The tracking dogs? Well....they combed the area and there is a mention of one minor trail but it didn't go anywhere. My speculation? I think the guy had a nervous breakdown.....and simply walked away. He might have committed suicide...this state park has alot of hills and valleys....and he might have simply walked out there and done himself in. But I'm more of the mind that he walked to a bus station and bought a ticket to New York City.....kinda like our Bama ministers wife did last year when she disappeared from a Baptist convention in Shreveport. Some guys just can't handle success and pressure...it just ain't for them.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Dark Day

Vicki Van Meter, at 26, killed herself today.

Vicki....in 1994....at age twelve.....flew a plane from the US to Europe....by herself (the instructor merely sat in the seat)....and the year prior had flown across the entire US.

Vicki had gone on to earn a criminal justice degree, and did two years of the Peace Corps. She had issues....and recently had worked as a investigator for a insurance company. Almost everyone acknowledges that she had depression for a vast part of her life.

At some point today....her mom announced: "We will miss her dearly, but we are very, very aware that she is doing important work somewhere else right now."

I sat and read this cryptic comment....and can see a mother that pushed and pushed....and this "kid" who never lived a real life....simply going on a road map that mama drew up. Its not much of a life to brag about and I'm guessing that she just never achieved any place in life that she was happy about. As for mama's cryptic comment.....I'm pretty sure that Vicki isn't doing any important work for anyone today....and is likely sitting on the "hills of heaven sipping a ice tea and picking up daisies". There is a point where important work....turns to dust in the wind...and we just let the accidents in life happen....for better or worse.

Bear Sterns & $

The Bear Sterns crowd....paid their CEO in 2006....a bonus package worth $38 million. When the big bear got sold last week....it was in the $200-odd million range. Kinda amusing to look at how things change in 15 months....and a CEO is worth the value of twenty percent of his company....just by wearing a pair of underwear, a baseball hat, and flip-flops.

Spitzer's America (True & Parody)

The winds quickly took sail as Eliot Spitzer stepped to the side and allowed David Paterson to assume the role of Governor of New York. As quickly as Eliot had stepped to the side in admitting that he was having an affair with a beautiful but damned damsel...who was charging $2500 per hour...then Dave stepped up to the plate as the new Governor and admitted that he had an affair....then he stepped up to admit that he'd had several affairs....but worked his way through them. (parody on)

Pausing to watch all of this...Kwame Kilpatrick as Detroit's mayor quickly stepped to the plate and admitted that he'd had affairs with six different street hookers over the past year. Everyone applauded that he was truthful and honest like the New York gentlemen.

Then, Senator McCain quickly stood up to admit that he was able and functional enough to have one brief affair with a St Louis woman who apparently shoots Grizzles in her off-time. The Senator was quickly congratulated and crowned as a major stud in the Republican party.

Then.....quickly to seize some momentum.....Huck Huckabee announced that his presidential situation was turned back on and he was proudly announcing that he'd had affairs with twelve Baptist women over the past ten years. Huck also had pictures of the him and the ladies in various positions to prove that he was a lusty Baptist dude. Everyone was proud of him and pronounced his chances of winning the presidential race as "possible".

Then....Barry Bonds quickly seized the moment and announced that he'd been having affairs with a British fashion model and the steroid game wasn't really true....it was really sexual vitamins that showed up in the test they gave him. Barry spoke about his honesty and the difficult time he was having in giving 100 percent to the hottie in his life.

Then....Larry King announced that he and Katie Couric had been having an affair for three weeks....and it was mostly satisfying.

Then....Dick Cheney announced that he had been having relations with several female Secret Service agents while out on fishing and hunting trips.....and felt like a 30-year old man again.....and thinking about running for president in four years.

Then....Amma-dang-ding-dong of Iran announced that almost 30 years ago....he'd had an affair with a berka-clad gal.....and his popularity amongst the masses of Iran soared 300 percent.

Then....David Hasselhof....formerly of Bay Watch.....announced that he'd had over 300 women in a 20 year period and suddenly offers from various producers started rowing in....when the public realized that he was still capable of doing something.

Then....Hulk Hogan announced that he'd had a five-some (with four curvey women) last weekend....and his downward trend wrestling career suddenly restarted....with tens of thousands of fans showing up for every match.

Then.....Barak Obama announced that he'd been having an affair with Hillary Clinton for four years and enjoying it (though gritting his teeth throughout the press conference). Barak spoke about her tender touches and how he was a better man. Everyone applauded this....especially Hillary when she also spoke about an affair with Barak.

Then....Bill Clinton announced that he'd been having relations with at least forty different women over the past decade....and a hush fell over the crowd...they all sat in shock that Bill was actually able to admit something like this.

Finally....Eliot Spitzer spoke up and said that he actually slept through all of the meetings with the hooker, Ms. Dupree, and just did it so that the guys in the office thought that he was doing a hooker. At that point....the balloon burst and the media realized everything was bogus and all of these idiots had lied.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Alitalia?

Alitalia kinda surged in a negative direction this morning. Altalia is the national airlines of Italy. For years and year....Altalia was basically non-profitable. The Italian government tossed in millions per month....to keep them going. The unions made the situation quiet interesting. They wouldn't allow a single route to be subtracted. They wouldn't allow any purge of personnel. It was an interesting situation. The state folks had been advertising the airline up for sale....for about five years....and generally....nothing would happen.

So today....Air France came up and offered 25 cents per share.....basically 20 percent what the airline claims they are worth on paper. This is like one of them fire sales you hear about in Nashville....where you can buy government property in Alaska for $8 a acre. The interesting thing.....its true. When this story came out this morning...a bunch of liberal Italian politicians came out to say this was a insult. Funny thing.....four hours later.....the union came out and was very open to this deal. The government? They came out and said that a meeting tonight would occur to basically rubber-stamp this deal or dump it.

The truth is.....the government is really disturbed about the millions dumped into a airline that can't generate a profit. No one can remember a profitable year since the 1990s. The deal at stake...allows the Air France folks to buy 49 percent of the airline.....because the state will still control 51 percent.

What happens here? Air France might be able to trim back 30 percent of the routes and key into strong marketable flights.....maybe even getting some international deals with various airports in Italy with cheaper landing fees. When you examine London and Paris currently....they are soaking the normal traveler to a huge extent. If Milano or Rome could produce a very lucrative fee.....a number of flights from the US could be directed to these cities...and open up a profitable situation. Count in a 30 percent dump of employees....and some vacation advertising.....and this might turn the airline around in two years to actually make a profit. Maybe.

Threesome in New Jersey

Teddy Pederson came out.....a former associate of Governor of New Jersey.....Jim McGreevey...and Teddy says that both he and Jim were a threesome with Jim's old wife. The old wife? Well, Dina is apparently trying hard to divorce Jim but the property business is getting to be a problem. Teddy apparently wanted to clear the air....in that Dina is the true-blue church going gal that she might claim. So you'd start to shake your head...thinking....Jim, Teddy and Dina in the same bed? Well.....Teddy says that he and the former governor might have been in bed but they didn't do any male to male stuff.

Down in Ripley....things like this don't happen too often and usually....its the kind of stuff you wouldn't air out to the public much. Kinda like admitting that you have relations with your cousin or you dated a Catholic or you converted to Hindu while at some college in the Ozarks. Generally....you try to limit your relatives finding out stuff like this. The believability of Teddy's story? Teddy didn't have much a reason to tell all of this....Dina will get a fair portion of the money anyway.....but Teddy sat there and watched Dina tell her "innocent" story over the Spitzer weekend....and just decided that folks ought to know that Dina isn't quiet that nice and pure. I'm thinking he is telling the truth....and that as mayor of some town.....Jim McGreevey was heading up and becoming a bigwig.....and Dina wanted to hitch onto that ride. So things worked out. Will the press question her further? I'm betting someone will eventually drag up this story and Dina will deny it but look pretty lousy doing so.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Full Power Rum

In the world of travel....in some faraway land.....you might actually wander into a "juicy-juice" bar. Its a term that some of us worldly travelers have attached to a hole-in-the-wall bar....where they have unusual glasses or cups for their drinks.

When you are sitting there on the stool...firmly attached....and can see that they have Old Monk Rum as an option....take a long pause and suggest to the bartender that you'd like a rum drink. Maybe he'll pull out the evil-eye cup and make you a special rum drink.....with Old Monk.

For anyone curious about Old Monk.....it is a 43 percent Rum.....made only in India.....that has more than your average amount of sweetener and vanilla added. Aged for seven years.....its one of the best. After your third cup.....pause for a while and let the alcohol free your mind.

Just Tax Away

This week....Sweden lost one of its major titles..."the most taxed nation on earth".

It was a rather sad and unsettling day. Swedes had held onto this title for almost twenty years. They had worked hard to tax every drop of booze, gas, beer, milk, and even pimple ointment. It was a hard and demanding task...to tax the public at such a level. So this week....while the Swedes made every effort to maintain their number one status at 47.8 percent of your paycheck.....the quiet Danes slipped up and added another tax or two....and suddenly surged to 48.4 percent.

The Swedes are likely sitting there....kicking themselves. It was their title....and just not right to have taken so easily away.

My advice....a new tax....to surge back. I have three ideas.

First.....tax on weight so that these "slim jims" have to pay more....thus forcing them to buy more food....which is taxed additionally. A thin Swede tends to look sickly and we'd help to fix that problem.

Second...tax on toilet paper. This would force folks to conserve and just use one sheet to wipe (like Ms Crow was talking about last year). The negative is that some folks might resort to newspapers.

Third...tax septic tanks that aren't changed out every five years. This would strongly encourage folks to change out their tanks on a constant basis...and thus more sales tax gained via septic tank purchases.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Just a Moment


There are these subtle differences between America and Europe. You run across them daily....think about it a minute....and then just drift on.

Years ago....I went to Paris for a weekend....and discovered a city park that made you almost lose your view of life and time. It was a park of grand proportion and great trees that hung over the gravel trail that encompassed the park.

There weren't ballfields or giant statues around. You might see a individual walking a dog or a old couple just chatting on a bench. It was quiet and almost like a cemetery in some sense. I felt out of place and almost not deserving of this feeling.

As time went by....I toured London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome, Hamburg, Mainz, Bath, Copenhagen, and numerous other towns. They all have parks like this. Grand on scale, and just a simple laid-out scale. Nothing fancy. No gangs roaming or music blaring.

There isn't anything like this in the US....except for maybe Central Park. But even then...its just not the same. You kinda feel like history has stopped.....that you are standing in the 1800s.....and life is different from what you perceive.

When I finally leave Europe for good. There will a dozen things that I will sorely miss....and the parks will be one of those things.

The Ossama Plan: Germany

The Turks in Germany raised this big fuss. They wanted a bunch of things done.....to integrate Germans into their way of thinking....mostly Turkish, but also Islam. So this week....the interior ministry of Germany decided that two things would occur. First.....multi-cultural classes would be deemed necessary and developed very shortly...probably by next school year. A lot of Germans grumbled about this....but they had to look good in the media to the Turks.

So then the second topic came up. Islam will now be taught in the German school system. The Germans always had a religion class for kids between the fifth grade and the tenth grade. It was mostly a one-hour per week episode where a local minister with teaching credentials showed up and did a ethics and religion episode. You actually got a test and grade in this....which alot of kids....for some reason...got mostly "C's" or "D's". The kids who didn't talk much....naturally got the better grades.

So this is now agreed upon.....Islam will be taught. So by the numbers.....someone woke up in the interior ministry after this and realized that across all of Germany today....there are only 120 "real" Muslim instructors (actually accredited by someone, although probably not a German certificate).

Yep.....120 only. So the boys at the interior ministry then pulled out the calculator....and figured they needed another 900 minimum. Since there isn't a single accreditation unit in Germany really producing these accredited Islam teachers....the next step would be to import them. Where would you find the necessary accredited Islam teachers?

Well....Saudi Arabia, of course. The ministry hasn't said where they will get them....but you have a choice of Egypt, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.....so you can feel the heat already.

So you have a long pause here....an American would sit and think long and hard. This is where most of the problems with radical Islam exist today. These instructors from Saudi Arabia were the trigger for 9-11 and the British bombings.

Are they setting the kettle to boil or lighting the dynamite? Oh yes. It may take ten to fifteen years....but a society of anti-American and anti-German punks will grow up and become issues. They will reshape Germany...the Germans basically did it to themselves.

Oh, and by the way....how many Islamic kids graduate fully from German schools? 2.8 percent. Think about it for a minute. 97 percent don't really graduate. Even in Ribley....we got better statistics.

American "Doctor" in Germany - Forbidden

Over the past year or two in Germany...a number of Americans who came over to teach or work for high-technology companies....had doctoral degrees. These are folks who actually went to UCLA, MIT, or even Mississippi State....and had earned the degree to be referred to as a doctor. It is a mighty fine achievement....so stand there and admit after eight long damn years.....you earned something special.

So there around ten of these folks who came to Germany to work. Naturally, they signed their letters with the appropriate PhD, and even made fancy business cards to let their new friends and co-workers know their status in life.

Sadly.....foreigners can't be "doctors" in Germany. Yep....the Nazi's originally wrote up the rule....for some reason. I'm thinking they didn't want a bunch of French college professors showing up and getting automatic respect. The Nazis even went as far as handing out jail sentences.....if you refer to yourself in public as a "doctor" (of anything, even Texas literature or farm implement design).

The dimwits in question....got around to discussing this rule....and when the EU got started up around 2001....the German empire actually modified this Nazi rule....members of the EU would be granted the status of being recognized as a real doctor but outsiders....from beyond the EU.....can't be accepted.

So the idots Germans had this professor from America....Professor Ian Thomas Baldwin....living over in Jena....who the cops came to invite for a interview. Before the interview....he was Doctor Ian Thomas Baldwin....but the cops made it very CLEAR....it was illegal....and the best he could use was "Professor" from that point on.

So in the past month....the German university elites suddenly woke up and realized the mess being created. This was getting out now...in the press. The Germans literally beg for US doctors and professors to come over....treating like "blue-chip" assets and the American professor is generally a sought-after lecture asset. So the elites have been working hard and have this new rule they are trying to rush through. Basically....if you are a doctor from one of two hundred Carnegie recognized schools....which University of Alabama is one but Troy State ain't.....then you can keep your title and be treated fairly.

Course, this method only helps US professors...not Canadian or Japanese or Chinese or Ecuadoran. The Germans didn't really share why they'd never questioned Ms. Rice (a real doctor) or Mr. Kissenger (a real doctor) or Mr. Gates (a fake doctor but he made enough donations to the right school to get the degree anyway).

Its simply another reason why Germany is a third-world country. Think about the cops.....who waste precious man-hours hunting down would-be American professors with the title of doctor....when they could catch criminals or murderers. You can figure at least 20 man-hours into research or interrogating a guy....then writing the report to close the episode. What a place. And the best part? Nazi-written and still on the books....which says alot about a society that survives.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Nokia's $92 Million "Bill"

Back in January.....Nokia came up and announced they were closing their one and only cellphone factory in Germany....and moving to Romania.

Several million Germans got real upset about this. First....the two thousand jobs created by this plant.....went down the drain, with the other three thousand in the local community which were created by this ripple effect. Then folks realized that Nokia used up millions in aid....from the government.....to make this plant successful.

The German politicians have sat down and figured out....that Nokia were short-changing the job quota that they agreed on.....from two hundred to three hundred employees per year. No one is quiet sure about the "real" number or if this was a absolute guarantee.

What Nokia does say....is that manufacturing cellphones in Germany simply doesn't work. Between the cost of living, union wages, and the various little taxes that add up....simply makes it foolish to continue.....so they built up a plant real quietly in Romania last year, and will be moving by the end of this year.

The Germans are now hinting.....they want $92 million returned....because of promises broken. Nokia was kinda surprised about this angle announced this past week. Business analysts are fairly divided over this issue. Some think that promises written like this....are never enforced. Some are thinking that once Germany gave the money over.....it was a done deal. The amusing thing to me....is that Nokia who strongly hinted of the huge costs of running a business in Germany.....is going to discover that even quitting a business in Germany.....cost a vast sum.
Lesson learned? Yep....if you are going to start a business in Germany....don't. Skip right over and find a less taxing place.

Dexter, Puff the Magic Dragon, Elvis, Jed Clampett, Socrates & Dick Cheney Rolled Up in One

So today....around 9AM at my magnificent modular desk (a vaulted view included).....the fire came. When crap has hit the fan and you really got a fair sized fire....you come to my desk.

So....this contractor who shall remain nameless....was a member on a four-man team....driving from Ramstein Air Base, Germany....to Aviano Air Base, Italy. Remember....crossing borders here....Germany, Austria, and Italy.....and the contractor discovered that she'd forgotten her passport. For some reason....like you'd expect....they didn't even check at the two borders involved. Thats how free Europe is today. But then....reality hits....because she has to fly back on Friday night....and the airlines will ask for a passport.

So we got tossed this "fire" and so began my efforts. We got her kids to hand over the passport at the house....and began. Our little office began to discover that overnight delivery....doesn't really exist in Germany. The best that FEDEX could say....maybe Friday....but probably Saturday. DHL.....same story. But then I came to UPS....they would take the passport, and deliver on Friday morning....but then the amusing thing....they won't take VISA. Yep.....gotta do a bank transfer and this takes a day to be accepted.

I sat there laughing at the idiot....telling no VISA cards accepted....third world country status here. Even in Florence, Alabama....they'd take VISA. Thats the kind of country that Germany is.

So then I continued on....looking for this way to get a damn passport down to Italy within 36 hours. I pulled out every possible clue.

Then....I went to the pilot routine. Ramstein has planes flying down.....could I find one pilot who would take this and dump it at Aviano? The odds? To find the pilot who was willing? Pretty difficult....so I pull out the favor's book....and find the one guy that might help....and within 30 minutes....he'd found that pilot and got the guy to agree. I delivered the passport by noon....and by 9AM tomorrow....it'll be in Aviano....for our contractor to pick up.

Honestly....I live for these situations. I refuse to give in or surrunder.....and I honestly think you could cook up just about any emergency.....even to the 9-11 scale, and hand it to me.....and I'd just invent the solution right there on the spot.

Years ago....in my youth....my dad laid out the "create a answer out of thin air" situation....and there on the farm....you'd come up with various solutions that weren't textbook written or fitting into anything you could imagine. I accepted this mentality....and have used it my entire life. When there is a "fire" brewing.....folks tend to come near my desk and just lay out the situation....and I'll get on the phone and invent something that works. It ain't pretty.....as in my "Ripley-mentality".....life ain't simple or pretty or multi-colored. What I invent....won't be sold at some store or repeated on CNN....nor would you want to write books on my solutions because some of them are a bit far fetched. But I'm the guy you want when the smoke appears.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Observations in a Day

So today as I roamed this mighty earth (across the base).....I came upon two individuals.....a Catholic and a Baptist....both whom I have known for a year or two....and both fairly sarcastic in nature.

So I asked the Catholic about the new mortal sins mentioned by the Catholic church.....and he stood there for a minute....tilting his head slyly.....and then spoke about the problem of the missing "mortal sin"....taking the innocence or harming a child. He obviously was very anti-Catholic on recent issues of priest abusing the young. He didn't waste much effort on criticizing the church about not making this one of the seven.

My associate went on....then looking at the seven mentioned....and commenting how much socialism could you filter into the seven mentioned......going into detail over each one. These all reeked of a very social view of life, politics, and anything but religion.

So then he turned to the idea of someone showing up to confess over these. His humble opinion was that if the entire Catholic church was lucky.....over a 1-year period......ten guys might show up to confess....and my associate then said.....not a single woman was going to confess over these new seven sins. So out of 100 million-odd Catholics in the world.....ten. I'm not sure if my associate is right on this topic or not....but personally.....I don't know a single guy that would ever confess that he was making too much money and feeling bad about it. And if they were....there was something serious wrong with them....mentally.

So later in the day.....I came upon my Baptist......and brought up the global warming business that the Southern Baptist folks had laid into. There was a real long pause here.....and you could tell he was gritting his teeth a might bit.

Then my associate tore into the Baptists. He thinks that within two weeks...texts and study manuals will arrive at some churches.....via the internet....to help the ministers prepare sermons on global warming. The problem will be a religious indoctrination guy standing there....trying to feed this to a congregation of folks.....of which ten percent will have college degrees and more than enough knowledge to challenge the minister. Add in another ten percent of the church who didn't go to college but smart enough to understand carbon credits.....and trouble will start to brew.

As these study manuals and sermons go into the congregation....some folks are going to comment about SUVs.....which a number of members will have. There will be debate within the groups......and as my associate suggested....come July and August....by his judgment....at least five percent of the national membership of the Baptists.....will vacate the church and find a different church to attend. There is an interesting trigger that this causes.....because these were the college educated and the more intelligent group.....they were the ones tossing in $200 to $400 a month....from a salary of $80k or more per year.

So my associate predicts that the deacons will be meeting by October....talking about problems with church revenue. A fair drop of money will be noticed. Some deacons will comment on the Jones family who quit.....and Mr. Jones was a medical researcher pulling in $100k a year.....so as Mr. Jones left.....his monthly donation left too. So the deacons will have to call up Mr. Jones and kindly ask him to return....and he won't be happy. His wife was insulted over her SUV and some folks talked down about the 4000 sq ft house he had.

So the deacons, as my associate projects.....will go to the minister and tell him to shut up on global warming and make it a non-subject.....by November. By that point.....they will have lost over six percent of their national membership. Budget battles will start up and be a major mess for folks to explain as they come to the end of 2008.

Then my associate laid into the idea of turning off the AC and heat.....as I had discussed yesterday. As he said....if they were truly serious....they'd make it for one hour.....with no AC. But they aren't serious. They are bogus.....liars.....and pretty much sold their soul away. I could tell.....my associate was a bit heated about them Baptists at this point.

So then he finally made his last statement on the subject. Here are all these folks.....doing some kind of poorly planned two-week missionary mission to Peru....paying $3,000 for the husband and wife to run off to Peru and fix up some school there for two weeks.....to feel real religious about.....and they are burning tons of fuel......and could have simply sent their $300 down for paint and wood.....to fix up the school. This fake missionary "feel-good" stuff.....is very much counter to global warming. Will it stop? Nope......not for one moment. As he suggested.....they are not intelligent enough to grasp anything about global warming, and if they did.....they'd just do the exact wrong thing to fix it.

I walked away from both the Catholic and Baptist......feeling kinda negative. Neither said anything good about the issues of yesterday. I tend to walk around and gather data.....either for the Air Force.....or for myself......and by the end.....I kinda have a statement to write. The thing about their observations....they are probably right. Its our world....and the way things have become.

Monday, 10 March 2008

A Problem

Just another double-wide being transported.....until they met the weight limit of the bridge.

Baptists and Their Pit

So today....the Southern Baptists came out....and let it be known that they are standing toe-to-toe with Jesus and Al Gore.....to stop global warming, climate change, the woeful carbons, and global chilling. I'm guessing they were sipping a good bit of alcohol and booze at some Baptist function and just lost total control.....then they started jabbering in different tongues...and finally...they were all "saved" by Al.

Its a fascinating thing to watch the Baptists get into this pit of carbon and global warming. They wanted to let folks that it was sinful to just let the earth be destroyed by man....and counter to God's will....although they were fairly careful not to cite too many verses on this. In the words of one dude.....there was man standing there and literally tearing the pages from God's Bible.....in comparing this all to the earth and its impending destruction.

I sat and pondered this miracle-type event. Its kinda like Moses coming across the Red Sea or Noah floating up a mighty big boat with tigers onboard. So then I started contemplating what the good Baptist would do now.

First....turn off the AC in the church totally. If you are burning tons of coal to cool a unnecessary comfort...then it is wicked. A good Baptist would sit there in sweaty clothing and listen without complaining. The same Baptist would limit the heat to a minimum.....maybe 55 degrees...just enough to sit there and listen with a good jacket on.

Second....Sunday night and Wednesday night services would be immediately canceled as they are unnecessary and trigger a family using excess fuel to get to a event of no consequence. An online service could be provided....for those with DSL or cable.

Third....all those folks driving big cars or SUVs....are to be chastised and criticized. If they don't get rid of their vehicles within twelve months....kick them out of the church. They aren't fit to be real Baptists if they don't agree with the church doctrine.

Fourth.....ten percent of all donations to the church....ought to go to carbon credits....and not missionary work. Churches that won't donate their ten percent.....ought to be chastised and identified.

Fifth....all members who need to be baptized....ought to do in a bio-degradable outfit....at the local creek.....not in some artificial water tub with heated water. No waivers for folks who want to be baptized in December or January....just bring them to the creek and dip them hard and fast. Those who fall into the rapids and freeze to death or catch pneumonia.....well....it was God's will.

Sixth....no more hook-ups to a city sewage system and putting excess waste into the hands of the authorities. A out-house will be constructed outside of each church, with a new pit dug each month by the deacons. We want to go back to the old morals of the original Baptist church.

Seventh....all Southern Baptist meetings will be held in a field near Nashville where participants will ride Greyhound bus lines into the city (no air travel) and just camp near the old Operyland Park. Tents and sleeping bags will be provided by the state folks.

Eighth.....no toilet paper will be purchased by the church for the church toilet. Everyone will be asked to bring old newspapers with them to wipe with....preferably not the USA Today paper.....causing it has all that color pigment stuff which will get onto your butt.

Ninth.....a new chapter should be added to the Bible....entitled....."The Letters of Al".....refering to our apostle Al Gore and his Trinity of Carbon which he delivers upon us.

Tenth and final......for the most part....whores, tramps, prostitution, hard drinking, illicit relationships, living in sin, and stealing from Grandma....will still be rated above Global Warming....but just barely.....in terms of sins.

Whilst I have a bit of humor to dabble on these poor fools.....a moment of observation.

Jesus walked in no shadow and laid out a pretty simple priority system.....feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and house the poor. Those were the absolute priorities laid out by Jesus. I don't see those priorities done yet....so to add more onto this list of things to do as a Baptist...doesn't work.

What I see here...are a number of people with very little intellect, no understanding of science or facts, and the desire to be accepted by people at any cost. These are not men to lead people....but men who yell for the masses to follow a fad....with no concern over reality. This is our world today....where Jesus would likely shake his head and just start walking....going past the Baptist church.