Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Holy-Rollers

The Alliance Defense Fund has decided to challenge the IRS folks....in a rather curious situation. For about forty-odd years....IRS has had a rule that churches had to be quiet and not support political candidates.

So, 33 pastors across the US....are part of the guinea pig group....testing the IRS folks. In this case, IRS has no choice but to prosecute the individuals. If they don't....then its automatically assumed that they are off the hook. There are several curious things here to wonder about. Will the IRS folks dress up in Sunday-church-going clothing and attend services....in order to get the evidence on these terrible folks? Will IRS carry tape-recorders into the church and gather their evidence that way? Will folks be bribed to carry "wires" and tape a minister ordering his crowd to vote Democratic? Will it matter if they vote Republican or Democratic? These are the questions I have.

I'm also going to one extra step in this thinking. I think they ought to let these dimwits talk as much as they want. If they want to talk Satan, Bigfoot, GW, Karl Rove or hot lusty chat.....let them.....then tax the church like a regular money-making operation.

Yep...I'm actually suggesting letting the church pay their "fair" share on taxes.

Here's my logic. Churches of today go way beyond anything we dreamed of in 1945. There are mega churches today, which offer up private schools, daycare, and various business-like enterprises. We've got church corporations who run TV networks and entice folks to sponsor various condo deals. Frankly, cash in coming and going on a daily basis. This isn't what we conceived as "tax-free" status for these type organizations.

We have idiots working for religious organizations.....pretending to be CEO-level folks.....getting a $700k house as free, and a salary of $400k a year. We have churches which keep up a Learjet for the CEO-minister to travel around, and the "family" stays at 5-star hotels on a nightly basis..free.

So I don't buy this tax-free status any longer. I'd like to see them dumped, and just let them chat all day on any topic they want. If they want their free speech....fine.....act like a regular business operation and just pay taxes off what you make.

Monday, 29 September 2008

The Crisis?

700 points down. Monday. Four days to go.

Bluntly, I don't see any change coming this week. Congress won't pass the bill....and the drop will continue through Friday. I'll make the prediction of the market settling on Friday between 7,000 and 8,000. There will likely be no bailout.

Bush can chat all he wants....the votes in congress simply aren't there. Pelosi can chat in front of NBC all she wants.....the votes from her own party aren't coming. Its both Republicans and Democrats voting against the $700 billion package.

Somewhere by next Monday....the slide will halt, and folks will step up with cash to buy cheap stock. We will have lost 2,500 points by that time. It'll be a massive loss and we all will suffer via our 401K plans. Our retirement plans for 2012 are dismissed. Our dreams of sending the kid to UCLA....tossed....the kid is going to Mississippi State. The idea of buying a new car this year.....will not happen.

Will this be the end of "Lost"? Nope. Will this end the Dodger's season? No. Will this be the end of Ford? No. Will this halt global warming or increase it? No. Will this bring McDonalds to financial end? Nope. Will this help Bigfoot, aliens, or loch nessie? Nope.

After you sit and think about it....life kinda goes on. It'll be hard for the media to talk us down and convince us of a depression. It'll be hard to stop the country in its tracks. So next Monday will likely come and go.....and life will go on. And eventually.....we'll recover our losses....maybe in four years....but it will come back.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Nifty News on the Banking Crisis

Somewhere in the midst of the mass confusion this weekend over the "crisis"....some Democrats woke and realized that they could insert a new tax into this mess. It would of course cover the pretended costs of a $700 billion bailout.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would like for anyone to think that the fee would be assessed after five years if the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office determined taxpayers had lost money in the bailout. "If after five years ... the CBO decides that the American taxpayer has lost money in this, then there would be a fee on financial institutions," Nancy said.

The nifty part of this deal is that the banks and financial players would immediately run to their nearest congressman and senator, and offer up various incentives for the dimwits to write "credits" into future tax code.

My bet....if you were a political dimwit from Ohio....you could probably stand there while a Wall Street banker writes out a $100k check for your re-election campaign. Or you could be a senator from Alaska who will get some cheap options on real estate in Florida condo in exchange for your help in writing a tax credit.

So when Nancy says she's helping you.....she really isn't. And in five years.....if you did hope for $700 billion back....don't worry....you won't be getting it. Its just your hardworking congressmen and senators at work....helping themselves.

A Moment of Jennifer Lee Hampton

The cops apparently found the body of Jennifer Lee Hampton (from my hometown of Florence, Bama) on Saturday morning. It was in a creek or stream area just a couple of miles from the hotel she was staying at. I blogged this story last week when she went missing.

No suspects, and I would have doubts about anyone ever being brought to justice.

There will likely be obituaries written and kind words spoken over her. If you wander around the internet....they all describe her as hardworking and kind.

"She was real sweet," said a co-worker who worked with Hampton for three years but did not want to be identified. "She didn't smoke, didn't drink, didn't party. ... She was always working."

She was a homecoming queen at her high school over at Waterloo.

What angers me mostly from watching this story....is that she might have lived another thirty years and contributed much more to life. So all we have is 21 short years that you have to review and paste on her life story. And the killer? He wanders around for maybe another twenty or thirty years.....drugged up, drunk, and really with no passion for anything. In the balance of life...she is owed something that we cannot repay or close the book on.

The curious thing is that anyone lives in the Knoxville region chats or writes about the "troubles" down by the interstate and this area of town. Drugs come and go. The cops do a general job of maintaining things but its not making much difference. Over the next week, another thousand folks will come to stop at the Days Inn there, and not know her story or the threat of danger associated with this area.

My brother chatted for a moment on the story....and this entire end of Tennessee which has crime troubles and cops who often are connected. Most locals who live up that neck of the woods avoid both the bad guys and the cops.

So I'll leave the story there. A wanderer from Bama sheds a tear and pauses over this story. There isn't much I can do or say.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Tent City Life

What you see here is a fine example of "house" in tent city. In my long and distinguished life....I've spent almost seven months living in such a mansion.

For those who haven't had the chance to experience tent city.....it is a rare experience.

My four months at Incirlik's tent city was enjoyable. We had around seven guys who occupied the tent. Each had a cubicle with an actual plywood door and walls. Each door had a lock and you had your "secure" home.

Your cubicle? It consisted of a bunk, a chair, and a locker. You had a lamp and a overhead light. You had AC in the tent which ran 24-hours a day. The entire cubicle was carpeted (cheaply).

There at the end of the tent was the storage room (for your water and toilet paper, and your living room. Each tent had three lazy-boy type chairs and a couch. A 24-inch TV sat there on the table. At the end of the room was a refrigerator.

Out front was our bar-b-q and picnic table. We had a tent-like cover and two chairs which a guy could sit and sip a Mountain Dew as the sun set.

The toilet? Sadly, it was 150 feet away. So when you had an urge in the middle of the night....it was a long walk over to the toilet. Same for the shower facility.

I always thought this concept ought to be sold as vacation huts for folks to get away from reality and just chill in the outback of some place.

It Cannot Be That We Are Not Informed

From today's Stars and Stripes here in Europe...an article on the closing of the Pirmasens US Army operation, and relocation of all assets to Sembach (barely thirty miles away). The German employees are apparently "shocked" and "upset".

Gerhard Hornbach, the spokesman for the German union on base "expressed disbelief regarding the US Army" move to Sembach. "I will get in touch with the people responsible in the subject matter as soon as possible" spoke Gerhard. And he adds: "It simply cannot be that we are not informed about such a plan".

In the 1950s and 1960s....unions in German learned the art of halting any significant changes in companies throughout the country. Every single decision in companies led to some internal discussion and fight between management and the unions.

By the 1980s....companies learned that it was easier to manufacture products from shoes, shirts and batteries to brake pads, washers, and teapots somewhere else. So the unions began to find that companies simply announced a downsizing in production....ten percent here....twenty percent there. Eventually, the plant was shut down....but the final 500 workers ended up being paid off into the tens of thousands each.

The US Army has learned the game well. They have various folks on the payroll to conduct real planning and then form action plans. There isn't a single bit of interaction with the union guys because they really aren't part of the "solution". They end being part of the "problem".

The curious thing in the whine of the union speaker is that Sembach barely lies thirty miles away. Most people in the US would say no problem and drive the 35-minute route (it is practically all autobahn the entire way). I'm pretty sure the whine of the union will be that they never planned to drive such a "drastic" distance. The US side will likely offer them a choice of driving that distance or taking $25k as they are dismissed (guys with ten years on average). The guys with 25 years? They might take home $80k, if the full load of negotiations take place, but then they are the guys who will never find another job paying the same rate that they make today. Only a fool would take the dismissal payoff and then face a poor local market for jobs.

The last amusing part of this entire game....revolves around the fact that we are likely talking about 2012 before things actually happen. Yep...almost four years away. To be shocked or upset, with four years of actual notice....makes you a bit of a fool. Anyway.....just another day in the big "D".

A Moment of Paul Newman

Paul Newman has departed this earth...and before doing so....contributed a vast amount of superior acting and great movies to our little world. My favorite Newman movie of all time? HUD. It rarely comes on....if you were lucky in a ten-year period....you might have one opportunity to watch the movie. I'm guessing over the next week....you might have another chance. Watch it, and be entertained.

I will admit that I am very drawn to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. So its running a close second to HUD. There are a dozen movies that I'd have to say are worth watching from the Newman series.

My Porch and Welcome to It

Fall is coming, to front porches all across America. Fall is festive in some sort of reasoning. Its pumpkin time. Its Halloween approaching. Its harvest season. Its a chill in the air as the sun starts to set earlier and you sit there with a cup of coffee and get the best of what life has to offer.

Neighbors come less often. Friends and relatives visit half as often. Its not personal; they just don't like the chill. Meanwhile you sit and look at the leaves gathering in the yard. You ponder the corner of the yard where you're gather all the leaves and have a good burn, unless your neighbors are sensitive about such things.

The cat sits at your feet and you wonder about snowfall this year. You wonder about the septic tank and its lifespan. You wonder about Aunt June whose 80 this year and Uncle Claude who turns 62. You wonder about your nephew whose deployed to Afghanistan and your cousin "Tippy" who left his wife and went to Alaska back in July. You wonder about the neighbor whose wife died last year and the new woman he took up with this summer who is Jewish and paints houses for a living.

You sip the coffee and get the caffeine so desperately that your body craves. You'd like a smoke but you gave that up four years ago and know it'll kill you if you start up again. You'd like a beer but the spouse got all over you for drinking on the porch and making a fool out of yourself. You'd like to have a TV on the porch to watch Fox news but then most of your neighbors are Democrats. Your local paper delivery kid has been late everyday for a month and you barely get the paper before 6PM....leaving so little time to read every last word.

You sit there in fear that the local Baptist minister will stop by and want to chat....which you really can't stand the guy. You sit there with a tear in your eye....thinking of the family dog of twelve years who passed onto dog heaven back in August. You look at the neighbor's bedroom window where she stands there with just a bra on and thinking that she must be a exhibitionist. You watch the clouds as they gather above in a dark fashion....expecting rain by late tonight.

Its fall and the porch is your empire. It is your castle of mental thought. It is a place where you escape to and ponder vast things which might be significant or of no concern. Life goes on tomorrow....and it'll be a new day on the porch. And your pulse? Damn....its real low....you relaxed a wee bit too much. So its time to wander inside and watch some wrestling and get back to the right pulse count. Life goes on.

The Anthrax Dude's Email Collection

With the recent demise of Bruce E. Ivins....the accused mastermind of the anthrax problems of 9-11 period....we come this week to an interesting discovery. We now know that he had a total seven e-mail accounts that he kept active.

I sat and pondered this. Me? I have a total of two e-mail accounts. I have come to quit Hotmail, gotten dumped by a fly-by-night e-mail service, and found Lycos just not my preference. So I have my public e-mail account and my private e-mail account. Why would a guy maintain seven e-mail accounts? I could understand a guy with various girlfriends or affairs going on....but then Bruce wasn't that type of character. I could understand a political figure with shadows around him constantly, but then....Bruce wasn't that type of character. I could understand a guy who was a spy.....but Bruce was that type of character.

So it leaves me kinda curious why he'd have seven active e-mail accounts.

Just a Vote

Kinda humorous, over at the Michelle Malkin site, there is the site clip of the Obama campaign, where they are trying to get you to a registration point for your state or region. There is a "back" button and a "next" button. But the message here is "Unfortunately, only US citizens are eligible to register to vote".

If you take a moment to notice the pictures in the background....the mountains, the windmills....this is Europe. Its interesting that they'd toss up this background for this message.

How easy would it be for a German to travel to the US and register in New York? Out of ten guys attempting a absentee ballot opportunity....I'd take a pretty good guess that seven of the ten would get registered and would vote. The situation would vary in other states. In Colorado....I'd say that all ten could register and vote in such a manner. In Bama...probably two.

Do we have a problem here? Yes....and we've spoken about this for twenty years. Congress and the Senate don't want to fix the problem. So we'll continue to register Joe Smith from the Bronx in the New York election, the Florida election where he vacations three months out of the year, and in New Jersey where he owns a condo and goes to four weekends out of the year. And Karl Schmidt from Frankfurt, Germany? Yep, we'll register Karl in Colorado where he vacationed this summer and pretended to be a Coloradan. And that Juan Cruz from Mexico City? Yep, we'll register him in Florida as he pretends to be American but only works in the US forty-four weeks out of the year.

America, the home of the brave and unAmerican vote.

Friday, 26 September 2008

First Monday

Twelve Mondays a year, always on the first Monday of each month, was the Scottsboro trade-day. I know this, because my dad took me there dozens of times. I haven't been to a trade day there, since 1977.

About once a year, this memory pops up. I can remember the breakfast plate at some local grill where you got a mess of eggs, hash browns and sausage, with toast....all for $1.

I can remember the World War I cannons on the far end of the court house parking lot.

I can remember the smell of roasted peanuts in the fall.

I can remember comic books laid out by the thousands....and I'd buy two or three dozen for barely $5.

I can remember buying my first Swiss Army knife there.

I can remember buying the best grilled burgers on the face of the earth there.

There would be at least five thousand people walking around on the first Monday of July or August.

My dad commented a couple of years ago that the entire day had evaporated over the past twenty years....with a lesser crowd showing up and nowhere near the excitement.

As I grow older....these memories stick...and I sit and ponder those moments of walking the square....a thousand times. Its a vivid memory, which doesn't lessen.


I recently blogged the Knoxville disappearance of a Bama gal....and how picking the right hotel to stay in.....really does matter. For the past day or two.....I pondered my pick of hotels in life. I came to think of five great picks and five lousy picks. I also remember the pick that I didn't ever accept.

I once went to Ireland....flying into Shannon and having done some research....I was going to stay downtown at Limerick....at a nice hotel. The price was right and the hotel appeared on the internet to be ok but I never went to other sites to "dig". It was nine PM and raining as I took the rental car....right-hand drive....and left the airport. I turned the radio on, and here was George Harris, the Irish actor in a interview. I like George.....a wonderful character actor.

So onward I drove....it was a 25-minute drive. Somewhere around the city limits.....its a small town really (Limerick).....George acknowledged that he grew up in Limerick, and then mentioned it was the "stabbing" capital of Europe. I got a bit nervous.

Three minutes later, I realized that I had to turn and here was the hotel. Up and down the street....pubs. And here were guys fighting on the street. It was kinda like East Memphis. It suddenly hit me...I just didn't feel safe. I took a big circle and drove back toward the airport. Somewhere around the end of Limerick....was a nice roadway lodge. I stopped and rented a quiet room at the end of town....double-locking the door. Its funny. If I hadn't had the radio on....and listening to George.....I would have stayed downtown.....maybe been dead that night.

My five worst picks in life for a hotel?

I stayed at a rat-hole place.....barely one star...in Loret Del Mar, Spain. It was cheap and near the beach. It was safe. The bed was a steel matress bed, with one chair in the room. The window looked out into another wall.

I stayed at a terrible hotel in England, where the heat barely worked in November and the whole room smelled of mildew.

I went to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey where we were required to stay on base. The billeting office put me into a quansat hut facility. It was a simple room, with a bath.....and even AC. The problem was the 44 cockroaches that I noted in the bathroom the very first minute I walked into the place. I went over to the BX later and bought a big container of roach spray. I sprayed and sprayed.....then discovered that the room smell was going to kill me.....so then that night I opened the window....to have 500 mosquitoes bite me.

I stayed at hotel in Springfield, Missouri once where the cockroaches were plentiful and the AC just never did work in July.

And I stayed at the Firstenhof hotel in Wiesbaden....which really was a 3-star joint....but the 20-foot ceiling and the ancient furniture made me sit and laugh constantly. The room was barely 20 feet by 20 feet.....but was 20 feet tall for the ceiling. The chairs must have been manufactured in the 1800s....and smelled like it.

So my better choices?

Once upon a time, outside the gate at Mildenhall....was the Smokehouse Inn. It was the best travel lodge that you'd ever dream of. Business went bad, and they eventually tore it down.

The Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.....where Delta stuck me for 24 hours....probably was a dream hotel. And the breakfast....easily four-star.

I was sent TDY once....down to Florida...near Pensacola. They stuck me in a Howard Johnson. The lady at the desk was fairly nice.....I was late arriving and she found this suite....which the Air Force had to pay for.....and I ended up with a terrific view of the bay and best tubs you could ever ask for.

I went to Vegas around 2000 and stayed at the Pyramid. I was shocked at the terrific room I had and the reasonable cost.

Finally, I found myself in Coos Bay, OR around 1980....and ended up staying two days at a hotel along the beach there. It wasn't a really remarkable place, or a fine bathroom, or even anything to say about the bed. But you could slide the real door window open and look at the beach. The view was a million dollar view.

There are still decent hotels in America and the world to stay at.....and be safe. But you got to do your research.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

No Details Please

In the Air Force, you have to attend NCO Professional Military Education several times in your career. Around fourteen to seventeen years….its a six-week school. To be quite honest, I considered this six-week period in my life to be the biggest waste of time ever. There’s nothing I learned….other than marching around in a circle. They have a big requirement to make three speeches during the six-week period…which are heavily graded and end up being twenty-five percent of your total grade. At the end of my first speech….the instructor just sat there. Most of the guys were given a “C” or “B”, with improvement suggestions. The instructor just looked at me and said there wasn’t anything he could critique me on….I was a “A-plus” and he actually liked my speech. The other two speeches were the same way. The amusing thing is that I barely put an hour into writing each of these, and maybe practiced them maybe three times each.

At some point on the very first day, in the very first hour…in your group of twelve students and one instructor….there is the introduction period. Usually, you stand and say “I’m Carl, from Ramstein, and work over at TRANS. I have a associates degree, and working on my bachelors in Greek history. I’ve been here in Europe for three years. I’m married and my hobbies are gardening, drawing cat pictures and listening to the Beach Boys”.

I was standing there today talking to my associate, who just came out of the PME school a month ago. They were sitting there for their class introduction phase, when the third guy stood up and somewhere in the middle of the introduction…the guy said “Yes, I’m married to my third wife. The first wife was a nut and alcoholic....and the second wife cheated on me while I was deployed.” My associate kinda just sat there, and then the next guy led off and went into the same direction. My associate stood up and did the normal introduction….figuring that this was going to rectify the situation and end this marriage-rehab circle....with no chit-chat over his first and only marriage. But no….the next guy led back into the same topic area.

I sat there, thinking back over my years in public forums like this and how guys never discussed their “details” like this. None of the guys in my period would have ever said in public something to this effect.

I sat there and asked him if this "openness" continued on. It did. It sounded to me like a Doctor Phil episode. One guy talked about his twenty-year old girlfriend.....he was 35 years old. My associate just didn't get it. This wasn't normal. Folks just don't stand there in a professional environment and talk about their cheating first wife or cheating second husband. The obvious to me....alot of folks are on their 3rd marriage.....for both men and women. Twenty years ago.....it was ok to accept a second marriage situation and that was kinda enough. That isn't the norm today.

So why bring up the topic? I sat there and paused on this. In the old days.....guys left work and went for a beer, and talked about their problems. The chance to associate with a friend and sip several beers....gave them a chance to dump problems. Women did the same thing....discussing their lying and cheating husband with a work associate and eventually reaching a conclusion....dump the idiot. But then the Air Force cleaned up. They went sober. They made the afternoon beer call obsolete. They made drinking a sin. They forced these guys to pretend that they didn't have problems. They kept their problems inside and hidden.

Now, these guys are at a point. They need a forum where they can confess sins and dump their problems. With no bars....they take the next best place....their training forums. And the curious thing is that they are meeting folks....male and female....that have the same issues. A learning atmosphere? No....it never really was a learning atmosphere.....even I'll swear to that. But now? Its like a Doctor Phil show....where folks in uniform dump their life. Pretty sad in some respects.

Just Passing

So this is what we know.....there is a West Virginia man who cops say passed gas, then he fanned it toward a cop....and then the cops decided to charge the dude with battery on a cop. No....I haven't made this up. Its not fiction. Meet Jose A. Cruz, who happens to be in his mid-30s and lives over near Clarksburg.

Jose got pulled over on Tuesday morning and originally was a problem with driving without headlights. At some point, the cop standing there smelled alcohol and noticed that Jose had slurred speech. Jose apparently and sadly.....failed three field sobriety tests. Then he was handcuffed and taken to the local station for a real test (apparently the cop on patrol doesn't carry around a Breathalyzer).

There at the station....stood Patrolman T.E. Parsons. T. E. was preparing the Breathalyzer when an event occurred. Jose apparently pulled his chair (so accused) toward T. E. and then lifted his leg and "passed gas loudly."

So when the final charges were written up....battery was added. I sat there....trying my best to think how any dimwit could conceive of such a threat and then label it into a category of "battery".

Now I'm kinda worried. If this was all battery....going back to the seventh grade when I ate bacon and eggs each day for breakfast.....by eighteen....I'd been arrested at least four hundred times at school. Since graduation....I would have been arrested well over 3,000 times. I took to Google maps and found this town....Clarksburg.....and am making a large 20-mile circle....intending to never travel via the limits of this region and face serious issues and possible battery charges.

My impression of time in jail that Jose may spend? Eight hours probably.....but then if I were him....I'd load up on beans, black beer, bacon, sausage and lots of hard boiled eggs. I'd make my stay in that damn jail....as painful for the cops. They deserve it for tossing a poor dude in jail for farting.

Al Gore and Disobedience

Our boy Al Gore....stood up....at the opening plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York. Al said: "I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration".

Disobedience? This coming from the guy who uses twenty-odd times the normal amount of electricity as a normal American family? What kind of disobedience is Al practicing, in order to cut back on his use of power?

After a long two minutes of pondering.....I came to realize the Al "answer".

Al actually wants all of you to turn off your power consumption. Unplug the freezer (with $800 of steak), the fridge, the TV, the microwave, the coffee-maker, the stereo, the sauna, and the other junk you keep in the basement playroom. Disconnect your power requirements from the grid. Yes America....its time to be disobedient and really change America around.

What? You don't feel disobedient? Shame----Shame----Shame....on you. Why can't you obey the Great Gore....and bring those terrible coal plant operators to their knees? Surely, you have the will to do this. Of course....Al doesn't....and will consume twenty times the amount of power that you volunteered to give up. Why won't Al disconnect from the grid? Maybe thats a good question to ask....but no one can get close enough and the media apparently is too dumb to ask such a question.

So tonight....as you burn lots of power, and refuse to be disobedient....think of Al....and his wishes.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

A Cheap Murder

On Friday morning, Jennifer Lee Hampton was supposed to get up at her Days Inn hotel in West Knoxville, TN and help her three associates as they prepared to help open up a new Mama Blues Buffet there in town. Her friends came to the room....but Jennifer wasn't there. They later found her pocketbook, keys and car.....but not Jennifer.

The cops now indicate enough evidence exist....to show that she's dead.....although no body has been found so far. Blood, I'm guessing.

Jennifer is from my hometown of Florence, Alabama. Thats why I picked up on this story.

But with me....I dig. If you go to Tripadvisor and look up this hotel.....there are 13 adviser comments on this place.....eleven of them indicate this is the worst hotel on the face of the earth. Nothing worked, and the quality of this place was not even worth discussing. Its near the interstate, and I'm willing to bet its a place where druggies hang out a fair bit. Did Jennifer or her friends or their parents ever pull up a computer and ask stupid questions? Nope.....it was probably the cheapest hotel around and they just accepted that fact.

So, this is the plain truth....when you travel....pick the hotel ahead of time and look for reviews. If more than twenty percent of them are negative....skip it. There's a reason for negative reviews. If your kids are traveling and need a cheaper hotel.....fine.....look around and help them find a decent place and pay the extra cash if they have to pay an extra $10 to find the "right" place to stay. You don't need to attend funerals for your kids....because they were cheap.

This girl isn't going to be found.....unless she's dead. Thats the sad fact about this story. And the cops? Well.....if you asked them six months ago.....they would have likely told you that this place has unsavory characters walking around nightly. Its a story that a Bama guy hates to see.

Iran Barbie?

So over in Iran today....an Islamic Barbie? Yep....all for $15 roughly.

Yep, she comes with a burka set or you can buy additional burkas. And yes, there is a Ken, sort of. No fancy cars or horses yet....it'll come.

So these two were fully developed and appear to be marketed by the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Iran. And if you were wondering....yep....its a government agency with the Ministry of Education.

In some ways I'd expect this kind of stuff....but its kinda sad in a way too. But somewhere in the great way of thinking.....I'm holding out faint hope that Iranian Muslim Teletubbies will eventually show up one day. Then the house will burn down.

Our Finns and Their Woes

Matti Juhani Saari lived in Finland and was 22 years old. Yesterday....this guy walked into a industrial training school and killed nine students....and then attempted to burn the bodies. There is more than enough news reports to cover the basics. There are several observations that I will make.

First....this guy readily admitted in some form that he had held hostility against people for six years....making him 16 when he first considered this idea of killing people. Personally, I suspect that this wasn't the first murder....and if they investigated enough....they might find a couple more.

Second....its absolutely true that Finland has the highest murder rate of any country in Europe (or at least they admit to that rate).....but this doesn't typically involve guns or strangers. The vast number of these murders were household violence situations alcohol-related triggers. Additionally, the mass number of these did not involve guns. Knives are tyically the weapon of choice for murders in Finland. So the idea of adding more gun control might sound good on paper....but the same number of murders will likely occur next year, and the curious question is whether you will outlaw knives (to include steak knives)?

Third....it readily appears that he knew none of the folks he killed (so far from what I've read, but maybe I am wrong). So a guy kills total strangers, with no connections to them? Thats not the typical event....especially if they had done nothing to trigger the event? A loner? A gamer? A person with personality issues from his early teens? A guy with no stable family life? A guy who probably was labeled as a "nut" in school? I'd like to have answers, but I doubt I'll ever see them. And then at the end.....burning the bodies in the school? None of this fits. Its like some script to a bad movie, with no true ending.

So another day passes in the world...for better or worse.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

A Bear's Friend

Thomas Doerflein of Berlin died yesterday, a heart attack at age 44. Normally, you would say that he was a undistinguished gentleman who simply worked over at the Berlin Zoo, and that would be the end of his contribution to our mighty world.

Thomas has a slight "*" attached to his name. He was the guy given the enormous task of taking a polar bear cub who was "dumped" by his mother, and nursing the bear to a normal point in life....where he would survive. For the weeks after being given this task....Thomas literally lived at the Zoo....twenty-four hours a day. The cub survived.

As Thomas reached a point where he could lessen his time with the cub....he still ended up spending sixteen hours a day at the zoo. He would never be paid overtime, although we can calculate that the Zoo did compensate him in some fashion. What they didn't grasp....was the mere act of letting him care for the tiny polar bear.....was all that he really wanted.

This tiny cub grew. The cub would come to be called "Knut". For some reason, the public bought this polar bear cub story hook, line, and sinker. The Zoo benefited by millions.

Sometime toward the end of last year....Knut grew too big to be handled by a helper, so he was given his fulltime bear pit at the Zoo. Thomas sneaked over once after this episode and tried to swim with Knut, and the Zoo staff got fairly upset. Knut was up around 150 pounds and could easily harm Thomas....so the close personal contact between Knut and Thomas came to an end. It wasn't a happy period for Thomas....he was awful close to the polar bear.

I'm guessing somewhere in heaven....God has a open zoo area where he's appointed Thomas as the personal bear keeper, and letting him play with the bears all day long. Thomas probably has claw marks all over himself....and is grinning from ear to ear.

So for a brief moment....from a prospective of a little polar bear.....Thomas was the best friend you could ever ask for....and literally stood in as father and mother.....with no complaints.

Prehistoric Lourdes?

So a long investigation has led some folks to now think of Stonehenge as being a mystic "sick center", where these massive blueish stones dragged to the site kept people wondering why drag them such a distance?

Well....it is concluded that some folks identified the stones and the site as having healing properties and probably advertised this far and wide within that side of England. So people who had various ailments...got themselves somehow over to the site, for "healing".

Now.....as most of you know.....I consider Stonehenge as a "big cow field" where tourists are ripped off. I felt this way as I drove over the hill and saw the place for the first time. I haven't really changed much of my opinion.

I have to be honest.....I don't buy the prehistoric Lourdes act at Stonehenge. If you were to figure up such an angle to rip folks off....you'd have it near a lake or stream, where you'd tell them about the increased healing properties after touching the stones, and then bathing in the stream. People who travel a fair distance.....at least in those days.....had a preference to be near fresh water. Of course, I could use the logic of bringing up a massive amount of water and selling it near the "magic" stones...that would work as well. But frankly, I don't buy this story.

I still believe in the religious cult connection.....and it was still a rip-off of some type in the end. The Brits are famous for this....from Loch Ness....to various ghosts in castles. I have my doubts on the mystical sickness center story. I'm not buying it.

Ramstein's Crime Wave?

So for the past two years.....a steady increase in robbery's around Ramstein Air Base has occurred. Its all in the base blotter each Friday, and in the past six months....I'll bet on twenty theft episodes involving American vehicles in the Ramstein area. Everyone was complaining, and there were pointed fingers that the German cops just weren't doing a good job at this whole thing.

So last week, on one evening....the German cops came to Ramstein-Miesenbach (the town), and walked through in the evening hours....seeing how many left their cardoors unlocked. Out of 400 checked....sixty were unlocked and forty of the sixty.....were Americans. The German cops fiscated the belongings in each car, and took them to the station. Its safe to say that alot of them were plainly upset....and I won't repeat some of their negative commentary.

So, lets step back and ask the stupid questions....if you left your car unlocked....wouldn't you expect some punk to rob you? Would you be upset if they stole your radio or CD player? Would you feel so stupid that you wouldn't admit that you left the door unlocked?

What happens now? Well....I'm guessing the wing commander is rather upset. He'll direct the SPs to walk around base and check for unlocked vehicles at the BX and commissary. For a month or two.....it'll be a major thing where you have to respond to tickets or commander's calls if you left your cardoors unlocked.

There never was a real crime wave. They just invited trouble, and it came looking for them. In fifteen years living here....other than the kid's scooter which was stolen....thats the only time I ever got robbed. But I'm awful careful. I'm guessing the massive crime wave will stop overnight by next weekend.

Monday, 22 September 2008

My Plan

After observing the entire financial mess of this past week, the government rescue plan, and the pitiful condition of the Kansas City Royals...I have a plan.

First, I intend to borrow $40 million (out of thin air) from a US bank. I then intend to go out in November and sign up three of the best starting pitchers in baseball as free agents, the best catcher and 3rd baseman available in the free agent lot, and the three best outfielders available.

I'll sign all of them to multi-year contracts, with bonuses.

We're open the season and barely get six weeks into it, before the banks discover that I don't have enough money to cover the purchase loan or the $9 million dollar monthly pay requirements....so then I'll declare bankruptcy, and then immediately run to the president of the United States....asking them to cover my debt...meanwhile, the Royals will continue on for the rest of the season, and will eventually win the world series.

I will be proclaimed the most brilliant baseball owner in the history of baseball....and the US government will be the eventual owner of the best team in baseball.

I've pondered this scheme for at least thirty minutes today, and believe its totally workable. The only question is....will President McCain or President Obama approve of my scheme? My guess is....both will smile as they sign the paperwork....and even offer me a bonus at the end of the season for creating such a marvelous team.

I would have done the same thing with the Dallas Cowboys...but apparently they already have some magic and might be at the Super Bowl this year.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

My 10 Cents

So a brief moment of reflection of the government handling of Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and the AIG folks. Frankly, I don't remember Jefferson, Franklin or Washington ever discussing the idea of helping US private companies who got themselves into bankruptcy. They never bothered to write a single sentence into the constitution over this concept. Nor would they have bothered to involve the federal government into such a mess.

So now....even though the SEC audit guys gave very kind and great comments to all of these companies....to include the dimwits at Enron.....we the private tax contributors to the internal revenue of the nation....will bail these dimwits out. We will do this....even though they paid millions to the senate and house folks to write special codes to exempt them from various taxes. Something about this just doesn't make sense.

Frankly, I'd rather see a complete discussion over the incompetency of these organizations and their leadership....with some men labeled appropriately as utter fools at business...so they don't go out and get hired by some major company in Oregon next week and pretend that they understand business or finance. I'd like for the CEOs to be brought into a court and actually held as liable for their actions....maybe spending some months in jail....because they really aren't capable of running a major company.

Finally....I'd like to see the house and senate open up the tax code book and admit to what they've done over the past forty years. I'd like for the tax code book to be limited to 400 lines. If you want to add to the book....fine....remove some lines and then add your six lines. Let the book be published each year so the public can visually see what you did to help those poor rich folks with various companies.

My Month

September is my month, of the twelve, this is the month that I live for. Summer has ended. The heat is gone. The cool evenings return. Leaves are turning brown. And somewhere in your heartland, there is a county fair about to occur.

As a kid, this was one of the few great things that a kid in rural Bama could enjoy. There were two county fairs that my dad would get me pumped up for....the Lauderdale county fair in Bama, and the Lawrenceburg county fair in Tennessee. We usually went to both.

I could take five bucks and cram an entire afternoon of fun into that five dollar bill. By the time you'd wrapped up ten rides, ate three corn dogs, drink two sodas, and had a bag of popcorn....it was a wonderful feeling to just walk around and look at the images of people and the fair.

I could spend an entire day admiring the wonderful full color image of life at the fair. It was still warm enough on day trips that you could wear a T-shirt. But the evenings were different....you had a chill in the air and usually left by nine. You had kids fighting over bumper cars....you had old guys who were telling WW II stories....and you had a magic moment where one could pleasure themselves with a bit of cotton candy before returning home.

At some point, around a year before I left for the Air Force....I made a trip over to Lawrenceburg and must have had at least eight corndogs in one afternoon session. Today....if I get one corndog in a 3-year period.....I'm lucky. I haven't been to a real US county fair in almost fifteen years now (no, the German ones just don't match up). So I can smell the September air, and feel something different and exciting.

Carbon Penny Jar

What you won't read about in the media this week....the results are finally in from the attempt to sell carbon offset credits to Democratic National Convention attendees. The program was set up by the Democratic National Convention Host Committee through the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau. Based on data collected and admitted.....and you have to remember that they started this program the week prior to the convention in hopes of collecting even more funding.....the boys were able to raise a total of $18.34 worth of Canary Tags, offsetting 0.9 tons of carbon emissions.

Yep.....$18.34 of carbon offset from donations at the convention.

So how do you get $18.34. Well....first Larry came along who is the copier repair guy and the cup was out front and he is green-friendly....so he tossed in 50 cents. Then the next day came Lester who works for ABC News....and Lester was a bit drunk from the night before and all the happenings....he thought this donation cup was for orphans in Brazil, and tossed in $1.

Then came Mort and Timmy....two Canadian albino guys who were supposed to take care of pastry at the convention....and they tossed in 50 cents each.

An entire day passed....before two hookers from St Paul, Minnesota showed up with fake press credentials....and they tossed in a $5 each.

As the convention went into full swing.....several guys would stop by and toss in a quarter each.

On the final day of the convention.....an operative for Karl Rove came by....and tossed in the final 34 cents....just to make a positive impression on the hot check at the stand.

As for the off-set? Well....it pretty helps for about seven seconds, if you are a town in Colorado. So it was a nice gesture of the pro-green Democratic party. I'm wondering if anyone really cares beyond that mention....or if we should just drop this discussion item?

Who Moves to Alaska?

Years ago, I had the brief privilege of knowing a guy who spent eight years in Alaska, for the Air Force. I asked him once several pointed questions about Alaska.

Who really lives there? He pointed out in rapid fashion....a bunch of nuts. As he had grasped over the first year there....no one really packs up in Idaho or Florida or New York....to move to Alaska. You have to be borderline crazy to come up with the idea....then even crazier to plan the move....and then absolute crazy to drive up and stay. So the people he bumped into....were of two varieties.....those who were born there and just accepted the punishment....and those who came to get the punishment.

I asked him....why "punishment"? His response was equally swift....nothing comes easily in Alaska. If you wanted a can of beans of one particular variety, from one particular company....and the local grocer had it as his one variety of beans....then great. Otherwise, you'd be going to Anchorage and then looking a bit. When it snowed.....it was a real snow, and it stayed a long while. You accepted that, and just got up each day to accept snow. You might have six to eight weeks of below freezing weather....and you learned to adapt to it and keep the car safe.

I asked him about the 22 hours of sunshine in the summer and 22 hours of darkness in the winter. He said....eventually....you have to adapt to it. But your hours of sleep start to shift. He'd find something to do in the evening hours....and stay busy until midnight before going to bed, and it was normal for him. In the winter....he'd be sitting there at 7PM, and just thinking that sleep was the only thing to do since the sun had been down for five hours already.

I asked him about the drinking habits of Alaskans. No one really wants to admit it but as he says....everyone consumes a vast amount of booze and beer. He knew people who were spending $400 a month on booze at the local bar and at home.

It would be curious now to bring up the governor and all of this political stuff now, and see what my associate would say on this today....its been a good ten years since I saw him. He had around five years left to go in the Air Force, and his big plan....was to return to Alaska eventually. He couldn't see himself surviving in a normal house in America. This addiction that he had to Alaska....was a bit difficult to understand at that time. The more I find out about Alaska today.....I'll admit that I quietly fantasize about moving there....at least once a week now.

The Bottom Line on Firings in Alaska

So this is the clean-up of the mess that the media simply cannot comprehend....the Sarah Palin connection to the two dimwits in Alaska and their firings.

First, the brother-in-law. This is the wonderful human being that tasered his ten-year old step-son in a "training" capacity. This is the cop who drove his squad car around....while drunk. This is the guy who used his wife's hunting permit to shoot a moose. As the divorce swung into gear, this is the gear who made a few threatening phone calls....probably while drunk.

So as you stand back....the questions are: Would you fire a state trooper or town cop, who used his wife's hunting permit illegally (and knew it)? Would you fire a state trooper or towncop for driving the local squad car around town while drunk? Would you fire a state trooper or towncop for tasering any kid, and then saying it was a training effort?

So lets move onto the guy who would have fired the dope, but didn't want to. Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, who is fired currently....or until the smoke clears....had a trip planned to DC in a effort there in July to get more money (your federal tax dollars) for investigating and prosecuting sexual assault cases in Alaska. With a state budget that is busting at the seems with fresh oil money rolling in monthly....he just couldn't get his appropriate funding.

At some point in July.....John Katz, the governor's special counsel came up with two minor problems with this big trip to DC. First, the governor hadn't agreed the money should be sought. I'm guessing that she was probably wondering how the cash would have been spent once it arrived.....perhaps going for new furniture in the public safety office or maybe a new paved parking lot, or maybe even some nice new Spanish tile floors. Second.....this entire run to DC was out of the normal timing sequence with the rest of the state government appropriations requests. It was really mentioned but Governor Palin and Senator Ted "the guilty" Stevens. Senator Ted is in deep water and probably will be serving time somewhere....and the Governor wasn't helping him a bit. But somehow, the state public safety dude felt that this was a fine time for the trip.

At some point, the travel authorization document did get signed and approved for this dimwit to meet with the other senator in Washington......Senator Lisa Murkowski.

The amusing thing is that the travel document was fairly detailed.....seek funding for the anti-sexual-violence program. The trip turned into a bit more of a effort with lots of funding agendas....which the public safety dimwit was seeking.

What you see here....if you ever studied Bama politics....is a clear game. You'll a little guy in the whole business and want to get elected to governor in four to eight years. You work with the big dimwits in Washington to get funding for just about any kind of program possible. As they come in....even if its for repaving a city hall parking lot somewhere.....you show up and claim credit for the federal funds. Then in four to eight years....as you run for governor.....you remind everyone that you were the one who got the funds.

The only problem here is that Governor Palin ran her own ship and agenda. Things are organized and you ask for the money that you need, with a detailed list and make this as simple as possible for the senators in Washington to write the right legislation.

Would I have fired the brother-in-law or this state Public Safety director? Yep.....after a full explanation....I would have signed my name to the document. Would you? I'm betting that after a long check-out of these two dimwits.....you would have done the same thing.

Should the media continue on with this game and use this episode against Palin? Yes....I think they should....because the more you understand....the more you support the governor and the less you'd be liking these two dimwits. They may not grasp this.....but the media isn't helping Obama in this case at all....they are hindering his efforts greatly. So go for it....make us think "Alaska" for the next sixty days. What we see....is the same attitude that we would have had if under the same circumstance.

When a Church is Not a Church

Startling, absolutely startling. The Church for Spirtual Humanism in Penn finally had to shut down. To be honest....the cops helped to shut the church down. Apparently, there was this couple, John and Kim Ondrik, who built up this wonderful church. John apparently is a reverend and may be allowed to continue a very tightly controlled service....but otherwise, this place just ain't going to reopen.

A number of folks from the North Huntingdon Township say that this was really a "Swinger's Palace." Even the local commissioner, Richard Gray, agreed that it's been an open secret that a swingers club has operated out of the two-story house since the 1970s, but they finally have the evidence to shut it down.

I sat and paused at this moment....a brothel openly known in the community since the 1970s, and only now....folks could find enough evidence? Even in Bama....I can't use that kind of excuse.

The amusing thing here...is that the commissioner said the dispute is not about church business or lusty affairs.....its all about a residentially zoned area where you cannot conduct business. This makes perfect sense. Apparently, as part of this church service, you had to pay a mandatory fee....which puzzled me....as a former Baptist attendee. Normally, you are going to pay something.....it just won't be called a "fee".

Some folks do admit that the private church did require a donation.

There's even a law professor that thinks the couple may have a case to fight in court...."You have a right to run a church in a residential area not because of your free exercise rights under the Constitution, but simply because churches are not primarily commercial," said Bruce Ledewitz, a law professor at Duquesne University.

Apparently, if you check the web site while it was up.....its down currently....couples were charged an admission of $50 while single men had to pay $75. Single women could attend free of charge.

I sat and pondered this activity....thinking....those Baptist guys ought to work up a deal like this. It would triple up attendance and make Sunday mornings much more interesting. But those kids would have to stay home and watch Doctor Who and Star Trek....while the parents would be busy praying or doing whatever in the new environment.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Either Teamwork or Loser

I have this thing about working with people....either the group functions as a team or it doesn't function. I've been in organizations and work-groups where an individual stood out....as a loser. You had a guy who simply wouldn't put his effort into the project and wouldn't pull his weight. The guy would sit back and just complain....never being part of the team effort.

This week....Curt Schillng of the Boston Red Sox.....a pitcher who will plainly tell you things....finally stood up and talked about Manny Ramirez. Manny could say that he was one of th top five sluggers in the majors....and he wouldn't be lying. But Manny had laid out a continual act that made him one of the most disliked individuals on the team. A few weeks ago....Manny got traded over to the LA Dodgers. Today....Curt finally stood up and spoke some fine words about Manny....which Manny probably didn't appreciate.

• "I'm totally convinced [Ramirez was going to claim he was injured and] play half the games the rest of the year. And he made it clear he didn't want to play. We've all seen what Manny does when Manny doesn't want to play. "

• "The day he realized that they were not going to sign him to an extension was the day he said, 'Uncle. I'm done.'"

• "Nothing makes a guy that respects the game and respects human beings like Terry Francona feel worse than looking at a guy and saying, 'Go ahead, [mess] with me, [mess] with your teammates, I'll put you in the lineup,' and then turn around to a guy who's there every day early working his [butt] off who gets 110 at-bats a year and saying, 'You know what? Yeah, I can't put you in there tonight,'"

• "There were times when you had players who were on like fire duty, 'Show up tomorrow, I'm not sure if you're playing or not, we've gotta find out what [Manny] wants to do.' That's not fair to anybody."

• "The fact of the matter was, you looked at a guy who, at the end of the day, when you look back on the history, never, ever cared about any of us."

Curt is mostly right. I've had a few Mannys work around me in my career with the Air Force. These are individuals who can't deliver and won't be part of the effort. In some cases...I tried to mentor these individuals and in a few cases.....even change their attitude. But when you down to a point where a guy won't change....you've got a loser on the team and you need to dump them.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Dead Men Whose Lives Live On

Over the past two weeks.....this fight over community organizers has erupted, with Pilate the Governor being discussed greatly. The majority of the being using Pilate, want to label him as a governor and simply walk away.

So I pulled the history of Governor Pilate. He is a Roman appointed governor, and thus had every resposibility of obeying Roman law. So when the local "law" showed up (the Sanhedrin), and accused Jesus of being blasphemous....it was a difficult position for a Roman governor to handle a religious figure

The short conversation that sealed the fate of Jesus, settled around taxes and the question of "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. Jesus responded simply with "It is as you say".

With no exit or options......Governor Pilate followed Roman rules, ordering a sign to be put above Jesus as they mounted him on a cross. The curious thing.....is that Governor Pilate ordered the sign to say "Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews".

The Sandedrin and local priests went into a fit.....protesting that the sign should have read that Jesus only claimed to be King of the Jews.

Governor Pilate apparently refused to change the sign charge. Most who have read the story and draw their own conclusions....believed that Pilate did something that countered the Rome standards of law and showed the only sympathy he could.....by openly admitting Jesus was the king of the Jews.

As this argument continues on with the community organizers and the McCain-ites....it becomes amusing that Governor Pilate is cast into a political campaign occurring two thousand years later. Governor Pilate was a faithful Roman governor, who obeyed the standards handed down to him. In the end, he earned a life-long bit of criticism and ends up being dragged through the dirt in 2008 yet again.

It is a curious world that historians live in.....where dead men get a second chance in life.....via the TV world and the media.

Alien Arrivals in Bama and Etiquette

With the forecasted arrival of a UFO ship on 14 October, as I discussed in yesterday's blog....I came to ponder exactly how redneck etiquette would fit with alien folks arriving in Bama via UFOs. It was a long ponder.

First off, southerners are usually friendly to all strangers and typically offer up comfort or aid to those folks visiting.....long as they aren't Yankees or Hollywood folks. Ifing you had a flat tire....we'd stop and offer up some help. Ifing you were thirsty, we'd offer a lemonade up on the porch. And ifing you were hungry, we'd offer you some mama's apple pie.

Second, we typically don't hold nothing against you until you've proven your stay just ain't that friendly. Southerners are typically smiling and fairly willing to overlook some of your sorrows or woes.....like being a Baptist, a Democrat, or a poker player.

Third, when we've hit our peak with patience....we typically invite you to leave nicely. And if you don't get the message....then we'll kick your butt out of town.

I'm thinking most Alabama folks will start out the first hour of the alien arrival with some apprehension.....kinda like when some Baptists folks claim some miracle down at the super-market or a voting trend to make the county go dry. Actually believing a UFO is hovering over Alabama just won't be a easy sell. Most folks will pack in the kids and drive 120 miles to show everyone.....so they all begin to accept facts. Even if Katie Couric says there's a UFO over Bama.....it ain't true until you've been there and seen it.

After acceptance, come the period where most folks want to know intentions....if friendly or otherwise. The problem of picking Bama....which I've pondered greatly...is that there are more rifles and shotguns per citizen than any state in America. If I were going to arrive somewhere to announce myself as a alien species, then Bama would be the last choice if this was a unfriendly situation.

If one were to go with a friendly situation, then Bama might be the best location to pick. Folks might kinda invite you up on the porch, offer up some ice tea, and some great pecan pie with ice cream on the side. They might talk up local politics, some religious discussions, and maybe even discuss alien sports....like NCAA football or such.

At some point, two or three months down the line...the thrill of having aliens around would kinda be like a presidential election period. You'd peak out, and when Arnie the Alien arrived on the porch....you'd just wave him off....telling him you were going to watch the Bass Pro Channel. After a week of this put-off, then the alien dudes would likely leave, real quiet-like. And that would be the end of the episode.....and we'd go back to football and wrestling.

Should the alien dudes decide a confrontational situation was more practical....I'm thinking their visit will be a bit short there in Bama, and their butt will be tossed as far out into space as we can possibly put it.

Finally, if there were some hot alien babes, there are alot of Bama dudes around that would be willing to go "sparking" with the alien gals....and show them the local marina, the catfish grill, their favorite Chevy truck, and the VFW hall. Things might heat up, and there might be "relations" although guys would be careful not to let the deacons find out or get in a "family-way". I'm thinking this would be the biggest worry of alien arrival. These Bama guys might let things get out of control.....and then we'd all suffer later.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Stardate: 14 October 2008, Alabama?

Its an odd story, for Bama. In the last few months.....several channelers.....folks who predict things.....have come out and basically said that in mid-October of this year......a massive extraterrestrial vehicle will arrive on Earth, and park itself for three days over Alabama.

The chief individual giving the prediction?
Blossom Goodchild, an Aussie actress and author.

The reason given? Blossom says that this group intends to let themselves be seen and provide the media a great chance to capture the visit on film to silence skeptics. Later, as humans accept this visit (eventually) and we will all be blessed by the visitors.

I sat there for a long time....pondering this 14 October date, and the reasoning of selecting Bama as the arrival location.

I believe, long ago and far away.....deep in the universe....an alien race came and dropped off one of their kind, upon the Bama land. His memory was taken away and he was to adapt to this bold new world. That being was dropped off and walked through the valley of the Baptists, never grasped Redneck slang or the accent, and sought wisdom and wit.

As this Bama dude left the Bama land to wander over this earth....he became a learned individual and used his alien mental development....to improve this world.

So the alien race has come back.....to Bama.....to find their "one".

I believe I am that "one".

So around the 14th of October....as the mothership begins its descent to Bama.....I may have to terminate this blog.....and move onto bigger and better things. At least this is what I think. The only other possibility is that they are just stopping off to pick up some catfish and hushpuppies before heading home.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Tit For Tat: Venezuela

So yesterday....the Chavez dimwit woke up in Venezuela and decided it was high time to kick out the US ambassador there. Part of the campaign effort to make Chavez look better....although its hard to make a dimwit look intelligent.

Most folks were expecting Bush to to the tat business and dump the Venezuelan ambassador out of the US...just to show how the US would react. In the last hour....apparently GW decided this was the best tactic to use.

Personally, after thinking long and hard on this tit-for-tat episode.....I'd use a different strategy than GW's. I would have invited the poor ambassador dude over to the White House.....serving up a bunch of fried chicken over lunch....with ice cream later.....and the best fresh lemonade that you could find in DC.

I'd chat over the New York Jets and their lousy quarterback (Brett Farve). I'd discuss episodes of "Lost". I'd get his reaction to the Rodriguez and Madonna episode in New York City. I'd probably even discuss oil prices. Later on....we'd step out in front of folks at the White House and I'd hug this guy and tell the public that he and I see eye to eye on lots of things....and just can't understand what the heck Chavez is doing in Venezuela.

This would pump old Chavez up a notch or two....then he'd have to call the US ambassador back and serve up fried chicken and try to outdo GW....which just ain't possible. This niceness tactic often works....and really screws up the media royally.

Deviance and Stuff

Today....across the media...Saudi Arabia's top judiciary official apparently issued a religious decree saying it's permissible to kill the owners of satellite TV networks that broadcast immoral content.

This dude involved......Sheik Saleh al-Lihedan (well into his late 70s) said yesterday that satellite channels cause the "deviance of thousands of people."

I sat and pondered this statement for about 30 seconds....considering Fox News....CNN....the Cartoon Channel....the Home Shopping Network....HBO....MSNBC.....and the Golf Channel.

Then in an instant....I agreed with the Sheik. We'd be better off without satellite, and just go back to the old fashioned system of three stations in the local area, and that damn education channel (presently referred to NPR). Those were the glory days of America....and we'd be better off without all that deviance stuff.

Course, I'd go one more step....I really don't want any religious nuts on any of TV channels....and I consider any religious nut that appears.....to be of a deviant type, and ought to be dumped into the Sheik's living room for a cane whooping.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Detroit in a Dark Comedy

Back in February, the city council asked the city auditor to conduct a complete audit of the mayor and his operations. This week, after the mayor handed over his resignation, as part of a plea deal....the auditor reappeared and said that the entire case to check out the mayor is pretty much stuck. It will not be resolved, because the mayor has left.

Adding to this comedy.....the auditor (a private company), has asked for $1 million in payment for its services. The state demanded that the city conduct a complete audit before they'd hand over $200-odd million. So the council kinda stood up in the beginning and agreed to a price of roughly $450k, more or less....and this latest demand has the council shaking their heads.

Here's where things get interesting with this auditor agency....the guy who owns it....had declared bankruptcy. He owes around $230k in funds to several folks....including the IRS. So on top of the $450k they already paid....another million will be necessary to finish up this deal.....to make the state happy and hopefully the city gets their fingers on the $200-odd million that the state is holding.

If you had to pick the most screwed city in America....it'd be tough to beat Detroit. I have little confidence in this city's managers fixing and improving things.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Beer Economics, to My Ninth Degree

My associate, Steve, sent me this simplified tax concept:

Bar Stool Economics:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all
ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it
would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with
the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are
all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your
daily beer by $20."Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so
the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But
what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide
the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized
that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from
everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up
being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be
fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded
to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing
(100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four
continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began
to compare their savings.

"I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, " but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a
dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I did!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, or attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Mr. David R. Kamerschen (PhD) of University of Georgia wrote the concept. I sat and pondered it long and hard....and then came to my own concept.

Take the same concept, except remove the richest guy in the group automatically. He talked a senator into writing legislation that exempts him ever paying for any beer ever. The senator was given 1,000 cases of beer in exchange for his special tax code. Of special note here....all of the beer that either the rich guy or the senator drink....is foreign beer....which is exempted from any taxes anyway.

At some point at the bar.....three newspaper and channel nine newsmen arrive and talk up how things are screwed up and how beer ought to cost less for everyone. For hours and days....the nine guys sit around and discuss this matter....even though the four guys on minimum wage and getting free beer....really don't understand why all this chat is necessary, because they already enjoy the brews they are served.

Finally, at some point, a Baptist minister shows up in town and convinces everyone that things would be better if the county was "dry", and thus making beer a forgotten subject for everyone.

Off the Hook for the Atom-Smasher?

Did I make it....surviving the atom-smasher being turned?

Curious thing....all the boys did....which the press never explained till today....was turn the smasher on....in one direction. Tomorrow....they reverse it and let the flow go the other direction. It has yet to strike another atom.

Thats about two or three weeks away....although most of you think its completely safe and the whole thing is over. Its not. So keep worrying.

Rouge Cou?

At some early point in Sarah Palin's career as a business woman (which was kinda short-lived)....she opened up a company called Rouge Cou. Its French and flashy. I was kinda surprised upon rolling the word around left and right....and thinking it sure is kinda nice and Frenchy. And you what? It stands for redneck. Yep.....redneck.

For several minutes I thought about this. Growing in Bama....feeling always slighted by non-southerners and often wanting to proudly proclaim myself a redneck in public but I just couldn't do it.

And now?

You know.....I could be a rouge cou. I feel a trend here....a movement in life. I could be flashy and very different....calling myself a rouge cou. It could improve my character, and maybe my wit. And all thanks to those wonderful French fellows who sip wine and drive cheap cars.

Farmers Almanac

In 1782, a couple of guys got together and wrote up the Farmer's Almanac. It has been a continuously published Almanac that people actually read and believe in. This year, the Almanac went out and said an interesting thing.

Basically....they said that global cooling is now the trend. Here's the amusing thing...they back up their predication with data.

They have a fairly decent study of solar activity and corresponding records on ocean temperatures and climate....and this points toward a long period of cooling....they even suggest 50 years.

So, we have a rather odd source to challenge global warming....a group of non-scientist who actually collect data....and forbid models on computers. As far as the Almanac is concerned....its true data or nothing. Even you even suggested bringing in some type of model.....they'd probably chase you out of the front yard.

Who reads the document? Eighteen million Americans. Its considered so accurate that copies in World War II were safeguarded because of the potential that the Germans might get their hands on the document.

So, should we worry here? The curious thing is that they refuse model interpretation via computers. They look at sun activity, which most NASA scientists now refuse to use....although they will not allow themselves to be drawn into discussions on this in public forums....such as TV or radio. Its a curious thing. I'm suspecting that the farmer dudes just be more right....than the scientists.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Maxed Out on Hurricanes?

Mayor Nagin let everyone know yesterday, that folks in New Orleans are pretty well maxed out on evacuating from New Orleans. So if they have to leave again.....there is this little hint of federal cash being necessary to pay for all these folks. I kinda sat there laughing....kinda like the tax pay-back deal.....except some idiot will be at the interstate to hand you a $600 check cause they need the rest of America to pay for them to live there in New Orleans, and pay for each of your evacuations.

Frankly, I'm of the mind that we ought to just hand them a $10k check, and tell them not to come back. Let the levees drain in....and let the water stand where it ought to stand. This Nagin game of tasking America to pay for fools to live and evacuate from there.....is more than I can rightly stand.

Big Bang Tomorrow?

In about twelve hours....some dude in Geneva will throw a switch....and a system will start to examine the big-bang theory. The problem here....some say....is that we just might create a black hole.....and the earth might be eventually destroyed. No one is quiet sure....even the guys involved....as to what will exactly happen. Thats the puzzling part of this story.

I live around five hours away from the site by car. I'm figuring things go to the crapper.....I've probably got at least a couple of minutes before the black hole absorbs my territory and messes up my day. Maybe I even get a couple of hours or even days. This whole black hole business is pretty much unknown and most facts could be written on twelve lines of paper.

I'm thinking things will go ok....Democrats will go about their business of pumping up Obama, and writing more regulations over septic tanks.

Lance Armstrong will continue his planning for world domination in the Tour de France, the Yankees will hope that Madonna stays out of NY City for October, and Mayor Nagin of New Orleans will look for more methods to milk the Feds dry.

The producers for "Lost" continue to write the final script for Ben, Katie Couric is counting the hours before she's finished with the news business, and George Bush is wondering how the job of commissioner of baseball job will be after he ends office.

Pretty much everyone is planning on things going on past tomorrow. It has to be that way. And if we were wrong, and things go wrong....well....it was a pretty good day up until that moment.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Mighy Change

In the past week....this McCain fellow has suddenly fallen onboard (note: "fallen") with the Obama phrase of "CHANGE". It is confusing....I figured the McCain phrase would be "NO CHANGE", but he decided to confuse everyone...by confirming his preference to CHANGE. All of this....is rather confusing...especially since they won't tell what they want to CHANGE. So I'm going to make some radial suggestions for American CHANGE.

1. Change cars. This would force every American to quickly size up what he has and just get a new car.....preferably Chevey, Ford or GM (No Japanese cars allowed under this change). It would pump up the economy and make all of you feel better.

2. Change fishing poles. This would create a sudden wave and economical frenzy at Wal-Mart as everyone rushed in...to get a new pole.

3. Change septic tanks. This would require a bit of backyard work, and maybe challenge most of the septic tank salesmen in America. The positive is that we'd all start fresh on this major problem.

4. Change dog food. We'd challenge every dog in America by doing this.

5. Change rifles. Most guys would be happy about this....but they'd want a precision weapon and then they wouldn't want to spend $800.

6. Change toilet paper. This would be an easy act, and maybe change our prospective about those precious two minutes each morning. Of course, it might be sand-paper style toilet paper, and ruin our entire day.

7. Change beer. Normally, I'd say this was a bad idea, unless you were sipping Ole Milwaukee or some zero-percent alcohol beer.

8. Change barbers. This is a drastic point because most guys just aren't going to change....unless its a cheaper barber, or they offer real men's magazines for reading material.

9. Change girlfriends. This would be a bit drastic. Some guys might agree....but only if the new gal is into bowling, NASCAR, and watching Barney Miller repeats.

10. Change churches. This might difficult for most Baptists. If we are talking folks into converting over to Jehovah or to the Catholic church....there's going to be trouble.

11. Change underwear. If a guy has grown up with jockey underwear....it'll be a hard sell, but maybe he just never has seen the light.

12. Change lazy-boy recliners. Its acceptable...as long as we are getting a newer model.

So I'm advocating change....except unlike Obama or McCain....I'm telling what kinda change folks really need.

The Mighty Navy?

Today, Chavez of Venezuela announced that his mighty navy, and that navy of Russia's.....will hold a major naval exercise in a few months. The curious thing that I sat and pondered about this "massive" announcement.....will the US navy bring out its rescue crews and stand by to pick up these poor Russian sailor dudes when their boats start to sink? I'm thinking it'd be mighty kind of us, and certainly the only help that any of these poor dimwitted folks could ever depend upon. I'd hand the poor rescued Russian dude a Budweiser, a Marlboro, and voter registration card.

Blues Day

Interesting day on base. We have a new four-star in charge of the Air Force and he highly recommended late last week to go back to the old standard of requiring everyone to wear their blue uniform (not the camouflaged outfit that everyone prefers), every Monday. So about 80 percent of the folks on Ramstein today, wore their blues. The rest....because of nasty and dirty duties.....still got to wear their BDU's.

I had to laugh....when you realize the impact of this. First....alot of folks just didn't keep their blues up to date. Then you have the issue of it "fitting". You see....with the blues....if you are chubby or a bit on the heavy side....it shows drastically. So as I walked around....there were the chunky gals and the larger guys. It'll obviously draw attention and force all of these commanders to think that we need more disciplinary matters on fatty folks.

The other curious matter that I saw was the females who had the four-inch heels....which aren't authorized, but the three-inch are. Its a status thing....to attract attention....and see how far you can get away with such heels.

Finally, frankly....blues simply don't fit. Whichever model the Air Force uses...must be Mr. Perfect on the body level....because the other 98 percent of folks just don't look right. The uniform just can't be modified to fit the forty-four types of body style. So naturally....they all look bad.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Clayton County, The Saga Continues

The county school accrediation problems of this Georgia county continue on. Since losing their accrediation almost two weeks ago....things haven't been working too well. Over 1,800 students of the 50,000 have apparently decided to leave the school system, and there could be another 3,000 over the next month or two.

Adding to the mess....more of the story started to come out over the county board's selection of the school superintendent. Unlike Bama....where the county votes for the guy.....this guy is hired....so the board has to pick and decide upon his benefits.

This old board hired the new superintendent, although the national standards folks strongly suggested that neither of the final two candidates were not qualified for the job they were applying for.

The selecteee.....John Thompson.....got the job and made an immediate splash with his perks and benefits.

John would receive about $400,000. He would get another $24,000 each year for housing. He would get a $28,500 annuity. And then John would get 107 days of paid leave. I sat there laughing at this....107 days of vacation....which basically equals well over twenty-one weeks of leave per year. All paid leave.

So then, John went to work.....deciding to spend $80,000 to reprint high school diplomas because they carried the name of the former superintendent.

Along the way....John felt things couldn't be done fast enough.....so he decided for the recent June graduation.....blank pieces of paper would be given to 3,000 graduates and their real diplomas would be mailed later. Course, this cost of mailing out the 3,000 diplomas....cost well over $1,000.

The new board members have one major target on their horizon....fire John. Amusingly enough....two members of the old board remain in their place.....and actually refused to meet with the other board members this week....so nothing got accomplished.

Animal Farm and Change

Off the Peoples Cube, we have the newest poster today for the Obama crew...."Change via Animal Farm".

If one pulls out the representative record from Illinois and the senatorial record from DC....the comical thing is that this is the last guy who ever tried to change or modify anything. So the poster barely does work.

Over the past month....several folks have tried to find vast records that were generated over the previous five years. The truth is....there aren't any magnificent records to really talk about. Some folks want to say its "hidden".....but the actual truth if you dig....is that the guy kinda met for meetings....sipped tea....chatted....and then went home. He didn't spend vast hours on various programs or legislation to change a state or the nation.

Its comical in a way....marketing himself entirely at this platform of change.....convincing so many of us of his massive plan to change America.....when he hasn't done anything much to brag about. So settle back....worry less....and don't expect much change if he does win.