Sunday, 30 November 2008

Park Service Decreasing Numbers

Its a puzzling thing....visitors to the national parks of America....are decreasing. Based on the numbers....they are thirteen percent less than last year. There are several suggestions by the folks who run parks....as to what might be going on: rising gas prices, the popularity of video games, and fewer folks interested in camping out. The folks who are critical of the parks folks....tend to say that too costly fees for entry, a significant increase in noisy off-road vehicles and simply a shrinking budget for the parks budget....are making this an issue.

The parks folks had one employee......a policy analyst with the Forest Service.....James Johnston.....who talked with 400 folks over the past year to get some basic ideas about the issues. This was in western Oregon.....and the trend there was fewer people using the woods, fewer trails and campgrounds are open and there are more people riding noisy off-road vehicles.

As James put it: "They think that it's harder to find solitude."

My analysis?

I think there are facts which most folks tend to overlook. The bulk of all parks....are in out-of-range areas where folks have to travel a good piece to reach. Grand Canyon? Lets face it...most folks spend an entire day or two or even three on the road to reach the Grand Canyon. Go look at all the parks up in the Cascades of Washington. Frankly....this long-range driver and his family just aren't up to this kind of massive drive like they were in the 1960s and 1970s.

Camping? Go to a mall and talk to 100 women who are 35 years old and married. Around eighty percent want nothing to do with camping. Its the husband by himself with the kids or nothing. The idea of taking a pop-up camper and going off for seven days in the wilds of America.....is getting to be less of an option each and every year.

Entry fees? Well...if you buy the yearly pass...its around $80 now. If you were near a dozen parks and wanted a place to visit every sixty days for a entire Saturday....it'd be a good deal. The honest truth? Most folks are lucky if they live within six hours of one national park. And for the second park? Another six hours in the opposite direction.

The noise from the off-road machines might be one noise factor....but the sheer number of people who now frequent the parks and create their personal noise....without the aide of a off-road vehicle....adds up. If you wanted solitude on a trail....you might find sixty people in a two hour period marching down the trail in the midst of a quiet afternoon.

So now the question comes full circle. Does the decrease matter? No. The job of the National Park Service is simply to simply run the park. The numbers don't matter. It could be five million or five hundred thousand or five. It really doesn't matter. This is not a theme park....like Six Flags over the Cascades. For environmentalists who are disturbed about the numbers....you wanted less people....you readily discussed this and how things would be better with less people around. The numbers for 2009? I'm already suspecting another ten percent decrease.

America has some wonderful resources, which really need to be protected in some sense. It would be nice to know that in 300 years....all of these parks will be in full demand because of urban growth and the need to find a quiet place to observe nature. I have the feeling that things will continue on....and the park service survives.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Carleton and Cystic Fibrosis

Up in Canada this week....the folk who attend Carleton college are a bit amused by all of the business that unfolded.

Apparently....the student council members are on the verge of being kicked out......a very rare event. The trigger? The student council made a decision to drop cystic fibrosis as an official charity beneficiary for its annual Shinearama fundraiser. The reason? As the council readily explained.....the disease "has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men."

Apparently, that announcement was enough for Carleton students to rally up and try to clear their school's name with a petition to impeach the student president. In two days....they collected 1,000 signatures for the impeachment process.

The science department person responsible for the "analysis"? Donnie Northrup. Donnie was brought in this year for a "fresh prospective". He wanted to fight for accessible post-secondary education. He wanted to address student voter apathy and organize a campaign against it by hosting an open forum with government education critics. Donnie even chatted up efforts to increase sustainable environment practices on campus.


So far, the biggest contribution on campus by Donnie? He introduced a effort to the council....to eliminate styrofoam cups at Rooster’s Coffeehouse in favor of a more sustainable material. They didn't really say what the sustainable material is...but I'm assuming old fashion coffee cups. The curious thing is that you have to wash those and you end up with additional employee costs somewhere in the chain....with the hot water added in as well. Donnie didn't really grasp the extra cents added to the coffee price.

The student president? Well....Ms Brittany Smyth said she was "very sorry for the confusion" and stated that they would have an emergency meeting on Monday to try and rescind the decision to pull support for the annual "Shinerama" fundraiser

Basically....what we are seeing is a continual trend. Its not just cystic fibrosis...its climate change and global warming...its the explanation of wind energy and solar replacing coal & nuclear power (will never happen)...its the explanations to save Polar Bears...and it goes on and on.

You’ve got an entire generation of people who claim that they went to college and got “smart”....thus earning a “certificate” of some sort. Then they export themselves onto the public, TV and the media as experts. I sit there and listen on rare occasions to the guys they bring on NPR. Some claim certain credentials but then you check their background on the internet...and its marginal at best...yet they act as “experts”.

Its curious what happens if they precede fast enough to impeach the student president...before she rescinds the entire order and offers up an apology. I’m pretty sure it will all be undone. The student body on Monday might stop their entire effort...because they achieved success. As for this student president...there will be numerous people attending student council meetings over the remaining school year...and watching her every comment. I don’t think she’s really off the hook yet.

Friday, 28 November 2008

The Top Ten Positives of Alabama

This is the second of my series....where I'm making some folks happy with positive comments...rather than negative comments. Being a Bama-ite....I have the expertise to be kind and positive over the state.

1. If you said "I have a problem and I need your help"....then about fifty people would come out of the woodwork there in Bama....and offer up labor, chainsaws, rifles or a prayer. Doesn't matter if this is a hurricane on the coast or a 4-star tornado in the area....these people won't let anything dampen their enthusiasm over helping a fella out. The amusing thing....is that they will overlook your politics, your religion, your favorite NCAA football team, and your problems....to help you out in this moment of need.

2. They barely have a hundred miles of real coastline...but it competes easily with Florida and South Carolina in terms of beautiful beaches. When you run down to Fort Morgan....its like a five-star moment to stand around there near the beach.

3. Folks aren't in much of a rush....ever. If something doesn't get done today....it'll get done tomorrow, but it will be done in the end. If you told some Bama dude there was a damn rush on something....he'd just look at you....like you were the most foolish person on the face of the earth.

4. Catfish will be cooked to such a level.....that it'll make you weep. The coleslaw and hush puppies....will be a entire second course to the meal. If they happen to invite you over for a fish fry....don't expect nothing less than a five-star meal. Bama-ites know how fry fish.

5. Folks in Bama are of a forgiving nature. There are a few exceptions (like shooting your neighbor's dog or burning your mother-in-law's car while in a drunk rage)....but typically....after a day of simmering....Bama folks will just say that you were freaked out for a while or maybe a bit under the weather....and then just tell you that things are ok. I wouldn't push my luck....but if you do screw up a bit....don't worry like its the end of the world in Bama.

6. Conversations on a patio or porch...tend to center around simple topics....NCAA football, transmission problems, county fairs, drunk neighbors, revivals, Baptist ministers being fired, recipes for apple pie, septic tank repair, the latest from Fox News, and the weather. There won't be any chit-chat on economics, Venezuela, Jihad, Nancy Pelosi, or the David Letterman show. Folks don't argue much on porches or patios....although in the heat of an election season....they might actually admit that they are a closet-Republican accidentally....and then you offer up a shot or two of whiskey and admit you are a closet-Republican as well.

7. The Mississippi Delta of Flea Markets. No matter where you go in Bama....there is a flea market. On any given day of the week....except Sundays....there is a flea market within thirty miles of your house. The Elvis lamps, the old 8-track tapes, the horseshoes, and the 1977 Chevy transmission....are all on sale. You could spend fifty hours a week....traveling from flea market to flea market....and never see the end of the whole affair.

8. Lives in Bama tend to be lived like soap operas. Forget the afternoon soap operas and just sit and observe the local events and affairs of folks. Whatever you think of Hollywood....is repeated in Alabama...just at a more leisurely pace...and probably not mentioned in the local paper. If you need hints on whats happening....go chat with the local folks....and they'll gladly tell you the latest in gossip.

9. Nobody in Bama is an expert on anything....but then they all have a bit of knowledge that gets them to second base. If you gotta do a brake job....you call your cousin who comes over and with a six-pack....briefs you through the whole job yourself. If your water pump to the well is broke....then a neighbor comes over and gives you the twenty bits of information you need....to do the job yourself. All around Bama....there are fifty thousand Einstein's....just sitting in the garage or on the porch...waiting for their moment to do a brain dump to some fella. Need sixty-six recipes for pumpkin pie? Grandma has the entire listing and will personally write them for you over an entire weekend.

10. If aliens landed in Bama....they'd find a welcome sign. Most folks would readily invite any stranger up on the porch for a ice-tea....and sort out whatever problems or needs this person has. If you were of another planet....there might be a pause but then folks would get all warm and comfortable....and offer up some fried fish that night if you were staying that long. Bama folks accept strangers readily....even Yankees. There might be a pause....but its an anticipated pause....then things start to click. The limitation I see on welcome signs is Saturday afternoons in the fall....when Bama or Auburn football is on TV...and then its best not to invite yourself over.

So there....I've given you folks ten positives of the state. Maybe between this blog and the previous blog....with the negatives....things kinda balance out and I didn't make too many of weep over some criticism. Otherwise....have a fine Bama day.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Adios Pontiac!

Trying to confuse congress and the media even more....today.....a rumor that GM's CEO (Rick Wagoner).....will make a decision shortly to either dump or sell Saab, Saturn and Pontiac brands in order to improve its chances of getting one of those fantastic bail-outs that congress is famous for.

I sat there kinda laughing. Tens of millions of Americans grew with Pontiac....and now to see the "Titanic" of cars on the verge of striking a iceberg....it has to be very painful.

My impression of SAAB? There are probably two or three organizations out there.....maybe even a Russian mafia group....that might be interested in buying the organization.

And as for Saturn? I found this rather funny that they'd finally dump Saturn. I always thought they made money and were a non-union operation out of Tennessee....which is confusing to see why you'd want to dump a positive deal.

Will congress fall for this deal? As stupid as the fools are....yes, I'm already betting on it.

The Ten Negatives of Alabama

This is a two-parter. I have decided to sit down and actually lay out the top ten positives and ten negatives of Bama. I realize some folks may take a hostile view of this....and some may question my positives....but sit for a while and think about my logic. So today....you get the ten negatives of Bama:

1. First, this thing about NCAA football....Auburn....Alabama....has turned into a major negative. Frankly, the idea that forty percent of the state are now tuned into football from August to November....and its a major part of their lives....its a problem. They watch the tapes over and over. They talk about the coaches like they are Hollywood stars. They even shoot people over who wins whatever game. So, not to talk too badly about some of you folks.....but frankly...this football business is dragging the state down. Couldn't we bring in ice-hockey or NCAA Rodeo action instead?

2. Dry counties. Whenever this topic comes up....I always have to explain why a county is dry and the history behind it. Most folks from California simply can't believe someone of a religious mentality would hold an entire county hostage over booze. Then I kinda explain to the guy that we all tend to drive over to the next county...buy up lots of booze....give them the booze tax revenue and then drive home. We end making the religious guys happy over the fact that they think we are in a booze-free county....but we really aren't.

3. Speedtraps. Basically....this entire game of pumping up a local area with this speedtrap money....has irked an awful lot of folks. I suspect that eighty percent of the adult population in Bama....has been cited at least five or six times in their life....and some guys maybe thirty or forty (all paying $40 to the cop to avoid any tickets). Frankly.....its making folks question authority and respect for the law.

4. Karl Rove. You either love the Alabamian or you hate him. Its that simple. He's either rigging up various tricks for those poor democrat guys to fall flat on their face....or he's undoing years of effort to set up various corrupt practices that folks thought were legal....but just aren't legal. What I'd like to do....is swap Karl to another state....like Alaska....and maybe bring in that Palin woman instead.

5. Mary-J-U-Wanna. Without any doubt....Bama is regarded as the biggest producer of Mar-J-U-Wanna in America (well....the cops think that anyway). Its bad enough that folks regard it as a bigger crop than soybeans or corn or cotton. This really casts some clouds over Bama and its purity in America. I'd really like to fix this issue....but then....who would steal this business from us and what would we replace this fine crop with? Then things get to be really difficult to explain.

6. Taking religion to the ninth degree. Somewhere in our generous nature and love of life.....we have a fair amount of Bama folks who simply have signed up with some religious group....and tossed things into turbo overdrive. We aren't just mild or semi-mild Baptists....we tend to be overjoyed and really stuck up on the religion. Bama folks stuck on Jehovah's? Yep....same deal. Bama folks who walk around and try to start up local 3rd world religious groups....asking for $400 to fix up some bills and get you in good with the new church? Yep....we do that too. We even get into TV religious groups....dope ourselves up real good....then donate $100 to some effort to get a bunch of kids in Kenya educated....although $78 stays with the religious group channel. We'll even have these religious folks show up at a funeral home for a "showing" for friends and relatives....then question folks there about the guy's religion.....questioning for sure if he went to heaven or not.

7. We don't exactly pretend to be worldly but then we really don't possess that knowledge anyway. The truth is....most Bama folks have not traveled more than 500 miles outside of the state in their life. When they do travel....they either go to Orlando, New Orleans, Nashville or Dolphin Island (for some reason, most folks even consider Dolphin Island to be outside of the state). If you find some guy whose been to Alaska....he's like a holyman or astronaut thus inviting fifty people to come over to visit and ask stupid questions.

8. The only idiots who run for public office....tend to be folks that we'd really not trust in life....and the central theme of their election effort....is the new Testament that they carry in their hand. The picture of their family that they always want to show but the son is in rehab and the wife is threatening to divorce them because of some woman in Jackson who keeps calling at home. These are the same idiots who talk the local city into buying a $1 billion sewage system, which they could have bought for $250 million instead.

9. Trucks which just wouldn't pass a safety inspection. On any given day in Bama.....I'm willing to bet that eight percent of the trucks on the road....would not pass a safety inspection. Folks look the other way....and simply pretend its not an issue.

10. The twang. Ten years ago...I had to fly back into Bama and went shopping. I ended having a lady help with various suits I wanted....and I had to admit that half of whatever she said....was simply not understandable. The twang.....was just overwhelming. Most folks have a simple twang....which even my folks still readily use. But there are those few....who are almost like a foreigner in the state.

So there....not that I wanted to slap some of you folks around....but this is the top ten negatives of the state. Tomorrow....you get the top ten positives. Maybe you'll forgive me for my efforts today. Maybe.

Why Be Thankful?

It is another Thanksgiving day. One of fifty in my life. I have tasted the fine food of the day, and paused to reflect over things in life.

Why be thankful?

Somewhere down this great road of life....there are a thousand things involving my perception of "thanks".

I have my heath, my wit, and my character to be thankful about.

I have a thousand places in life that I have visited and felt appreciative about their purpose and being.

I have sat and listened to a thousand people tell their story, their woes, their sorrows, and their accomplishments.

I have seen things of great courage, and things that required lives be lost in order for something good to come in the aftermath.

I have felt pains replaced by healing....some physical, and some mental.

I have met people who have lived rich lives and never for a moment stopped to pause and consider their position in life and if they should be thankful....but then they have miles to go....before they can sleep. And others I've met....give thanks every single day....without considering the long list of things they've actually done....its just automatic feeling of being appreciative of their situation in life.

So on this Thanksgiving day....for a guy who has traveled long and far from Bama....I have a bit more than most to be thankful for. There are a thousand things that I'd rather be doing, and maybe I could have done some many things better....but this is the path I've gone. And everyday has been a blessing in disguise.


Historical View of Marriage

With the Proposition Eight episode in California...over gay marriages....I have sat around and looked over history and how this event fits into the tidy business of the past.

In the 1600s....with the Pilgrim-like atmosphere on the East Coast...there was no registration with some county seat or a license. If you were a man....you would sit with a woman....who you likely met via the church....discussed your likes of her....and the marriage rigged up via the local church. They might have written this down in the church documents, or it might have been "registered" via the family Bible. Basically....the Feds, the state and the county....were left out.

As you go into the 1700s....the trend here stayed the same....with little in terms of change. Certainly, the idea of simply running off and becoming a "couple"....did increase because families or churches had issues (Baptists should only marry Baptists).

What you start to see in the 1800s....because of arguements in court...over ownership of property and such....was a necessity to register folks at the county seat or local town. This way, you knew this guy was married to so-and-so....and when he died...she became the rightful owner of the house or farm.

As time went by....this state by state registration business became even more important because certain states had a very tough marriage law situation (you had to be 21 to make a decision on your own in some cases)....to states where you could marry at 14 with dad's permission (Mississippi). Some states wanted a blood test. Some states were kinda easy on you marrying your cousin (just don't advertise the fact that he is your cousin in public though). Some states wanted you to wait a month or two after getting the license....to make sure you were really sure. Some states said to come on in....get the license....and get married ten minutes later (for a price of course).

So this relationship between the church marriage and the state marriage....kinda started to dissolve as we walked into the 1900's. Why mess with the church wedding when you can just go down to the justice of the peace....get a quick wedding done?

So as we proceed into the 1990s....and the establishment of the gay agenda....then this entire game of marriage started to become a topic of discussion. The middle ground suggested? A civil union. You basically went down to the county seat or town....got a civil union license.....and then you were fixed on the property issue.

Amusingly enough....that really didn't fix anything. Gays in massive numbers....don't consider a civil union to be a marriage. To be kinda honest here....most guys don't really consider a marriage....to be a marriage....and are screwing around with the old liaison or girlfriend within days of the marriage....but thats another topic of discussion.

Are there any agenda angles that people don't talk about in this entire discussion? Well....its believed that the gay front guys want to eventually force acceptance of marriages across the entire US....and then turn to churches....and force them to conduct the marriage. This is one bit of futuristic thinking and likely to be two decades away from reality.....but the truth is....it would not be that difficult to make a court case and threaten to take away their tax-free status if they refused to cooperate.

Could we have cases of where Joe the 45-year old guy shows up in Mississippi with Bob the 15-year old boyfriend....demanding that the locals marry the two? Yes....this is a very likely scenario. The state guys....would of course....deny the original marriage....but after a lengthly court case....basically be forced to allow it. The state of Mississippi...realizing the impact of marrying older guys to teenage boys....would quickly dissolve this rule and likely require everyone to be age 21....just to make things awful hard for everyone.

Its funny how we started this legal state-viewed marriage business....to fix discussions on ownership of property....and we've now embarked on the use of this to make acceptance of gays as part of that tool.

My Bama logic says maybe its time to reverse trend things....and just say adios to state-marriages. No certificates, no licenses, no state rules. You can still run off (the 1700s method of a quick fix) or do a church thing which kinda makes you feel married. I'm pretty sure everyone will be upset by this idea....but the more you think about it....the less pain for all it provides. We stop arguing about gays....divorce....and even dump the tax advantages. I'm probably opening up a can of worms on this....but simply a moment of pondering.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Power of Pondering

It is an affliction....a pain in some ways. I am forever stuck in the 4th gear of pondering. I get up and ponder. I get into the car to drive to work....and I ponder. I sit at the desk and ponder. I go to lunches alone (purposely) to ponder for a full hour. I walk between buildings and ponder. I leave and go home in the evening....to ponder all the way home. I sit and watch mindless German TV shows in the evening....and ponder.

As a kid, the teachers labeled me simply as a quiet kid.....often the "shyness" label would have been attached....which I might have deserved fifty percent of the shyness but the rest was sitting and pondering....which left this gap of quietness as something they'd notice.

I would get into a car and drive eight hours....remembering much of nothing from the eight hour drive....maybe a bit of scenery here and there....and the rest was simply pondering. Even when I quietly sat on the edge of the Grand Canyon or stood on a bridge to observe London in mid-day....I was really pondering.

A thousand questions float through my mind in a average day. Why? Where? How? When? What?

I sit and observe the oddball clothing that someone wears. I look at the watches they wear, the jewerly, the hair in place or out of place, and even the limp they might have.

I'm burning braincells like crazy....I'm sure of that. I'd like to find peace....but frankly....its an hour or two of a movie or show....that take me from this affliction. I can't even really listen to a musical CD....without thinking these days. I write words in my mind on a hour by hour basis. I could probably write an entire book each day....with every thought that moves through my mind.

I never discuss this or ever bring it up. It doesn't really matter....at least I think that (I'm probably pondering the topic anyway).

I listen to interviews on the radio and find myself wanting to question the guy at the other end. I have doubts in their words, their agenda, their wisdom. I'm stuck with no way to toss back these doubts and simply label them for future thoughts.

The amusing thing is that there is no real job for a guy with this "situation". I can't make millions off it. I can't redevelop the state of Texas or fix their problems. I can't settle the UFO debate or knock down these stupid Harvard, Yale or Princeton financial degree dimwits. I could fix Ford, but then it wouldn't be the same old Ford that we're used to. I could be governor of Bama.....but then I'd have to fire half of the state workers because they just won't work.

So the sun will rise tomorrow.....and I'll restart this pondering process....and see how far I get. Thats the thing about it.....I'm never out of topics....and I'll likely circle some topics a thousand times or so. Life is damn short....but I'm pondering just how far I can take it.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The New Non-United States?

Yesterday.....we had an interesting report from Russia emerge. There is this professor....who has a standing.....not quiet a Nobel standing but still respected within some circles.

This gentleman.....Professor Igor Panarin.....discussed the US and its current situation....then said in an interview: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse."

This week....the NIC dudes in DC.....who are the ones who predict things for the US government......did their job....so now it was time for Professor Panarin to do his job.

When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator."

Concerning who replaces the U.S. in regulating world markets: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia."

Concerning why the US would break up: "A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the U.S. will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center. Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

Then came the fascinating part of the professor's vision....a prediction that the U.S. will break up into six parts. Naturally, I was curious of this split. There would be the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population. Then the South, with Texas, where independence movements are on the rise. Then the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality. Then the five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations. Finally, the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong.

He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all."

Its curious how the professor predicted his vision. Could such a break-up occur? I ought to say no....but with the current environment....nothing would surprise me.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Why I Hate Unions

For those unassociated with the US military....we have these "stores" on each post or base or station....referred to as "BX's" or "PX's" or "NEX's".....which act like a big Wal-Mart (more or less).

Down in Italy, we have a pretty fair presence of US Navy folks....so there are a couple of NEX facilities. Its a pretty tough store to keep stocked, and those kindly folks in Texas who manage the purchasing and shipping business do a damn good job in keeping the latest fashion, the latest music, and the latest electronic toys going out the exchange services.

This week on Friday....across every single military store throughout the world, it will be the largest one-day sale that they see all year-round. Sales are usually fairly dramatic.

A funny thing has happened this past week in Italy.....involving the Italian union workers who work in the NEX stores in Italy. They got together and are fairly upset that their biggest demand in union negotiations simply haven't been met. That demand? Well....the workers believe that since they work in the store.....and they are Italian citizens.....they should be allowed to buy anything in the store....tax-free....just like the GI's.

There is a natural problem here. In every country, we maintain a SOFA agreement which the US and this other country sign. The folks allowed to shop in the stores? Well...it's limited to the GI's, their families, any member of the US consulate in that country, and any other NATO military member. Its all tax-free sales.....and the rules are established mostly by the host country.

The Italian law basically says.....only GI's, their family members, the consulate folks and the NATO military members....can shop....NOT the civilians of that country or the civilian host country members who work at the stores.

This has been explained to the union members....but they really don't care. They believe the US should negotiate this into the contract and demand the right for themselves to shop....tax-free.

To make this kinda interesting.....our good friends....the union guys who work in the NEX facilities are deciding that this Friday....which would be the highest sales day of the year.....will be a strike day. At best, the facilities might be able to round up thirty to forty percent of the store workers who are US military member wives or husbands.....and thats it. The NEX crowd won't comment on how this would work or if they would just shut the doors and be closed all day.

I am mostly anti-union, for reasons like this. Even when you explain the law to people like this....they aren't able to comprehend how they fit or don't fit. I hate to tag union members as "losers", but they really fail to grasp the big picture of how things work or their position in the "cog".

What will happen on Friday in Italy? My guess is that the NEX facilities will quietly open.....and be overwhelmed with customers and few clerks. To make the hostile crowds happy.....the NEX facilities will likely hand out gift coupons and promise a full staff on Saturday and Sunday.....when all of the Italian workers finally show up. The money normally spent on Friday.....will come on the weekend. Things get worked out in some fashion.

But the union guys? Well....if I were there.....I'd say fine on the deal of union guys buying anything at the NEX facility and then invite the Italian tax guys to visit each clerk at home and collect the state tax there. After a week of visits.....the union guys would shut up and probably demand that they don't have the right to buy anything at the NEX. Then the NEX could refuse this tactic and actually demand a pay decrease for the NEX to reverse the shipping deal. This would infuriate the union even more.....and thus draw out a negotiation for at least two or three years, with weekly visits by the tax guys. Life would be interesting, at least in my scenario.

How To Beat Them (The Extremists in Islam)

This past week...a couple of Malaysia's top Islamic dudes....mostly old guys who don't watch Baywatch, drink Mountain Dew or cruise on a Harley......issued out some edict to forbid yoga. It was the typical old Muslim dude written document....basically saying that the exercise includes Hindu spiritual elements....which equate to Hindu worship.....and that this fancy exercise stuff could destroy your faith as a Muslim.

I had a long pause here....pondering the significance of this statement.

Being from Bama....and having grown up without the privelages of Yoga.....I can't say an awful lot. To be kinda honest....over thirty odd years connected to the Air Force.....I didn't have any connection either. So I am devoid of Yoga and lack in formal knowledge of the exercise. Its difficult for me to stand up and approve of some Muslim edict that I find questionable.

The thing though....that does bother me....if there is some kind of exercise....and it could destroy your faith in anything....then I'd be kinda worried about your standing amongst other religions. Then I kinda turned around and looked at the Olympic medal count of Muslim countries....which is above zero....but less than ten.

I start looking around at weight lifters in the world.....looking for one big-named Muslim guy....and there just ain't any.

I started to look around for a major soccer team within the Muslim world.....and there just ain't any.

I started to look around for a Muslim Tour de Farce member....someone in the ranking of "Bad Boy" Armstrong....and there just ain't any.

I started to look around for NFL football players who claim they are Muslim and have changed their names.....but then kinda find examples of them skipping out on normal Muslim practices....and you just can't find a pure Muslim dude.

I started looking around for Muslim professional bowlers....and there just ain't any.

I started looking around for a major NCAA Bama or Ole Miss Islamic football player....and there just ain't any.

I started looking around for a Muslim gymnast.....and there just ain't any.

I even started looking around for a fine Islamic horse who might have won the Kentucky Derby, and I just can't find any.

So it came to pass....as the clouds parted and I suddenly wised up....that Muslims just aren't into sports....and if these Mullahs in Malaysia are correct.....any sports diminish their abilities in Islam...then we have the greatest weapon of our lifetimes to finish off radical Islam. We could have grasped this back in 2003....if GW had just had a lick of intelligence. Tame the damn fools with sports....and they will become like us....fat and lazy eventually....and addicted to NCAA football.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

World Toilet Day


This week...World Toilet Day...came and went....well...mostly went. I doubt if any of you fine folks even noticed. So I went around and found a fair number of toilet facts:

* The average person spends three years of their life on the “toilet”. I'm a 60-second guy myself....so I won't fall into that wasteful three year group.

* You typically flush around 2500 times a year....although I'm probably a 1200-flush guy myself.
* Most of you folks use about eight sheets of toilet paper a day....although I'm a 44-sheet guy per day kinda guy.

* Sadly....over two billion folks on the Earth....don't have an actual real toilet.

* Someone actually figured out that around 1.8 million folks die a year because of poor santitation around toilets.

* The first real flusher toilet....didn't occur until 1596 by some pretty smart British noble guy (kin of the Queen). Apparently, he didn't see a big rush on this business....and only made one. Most folks kinda laughed at him....and he was fairly ridiculed for the act of inventing it.

A Brief Pause

I waited several days after this event of the kid in Florida who cam'ed his suicide online....with various people watching....most thinking it was fake....and it wasn't.

It bothers me....but its something that I would have predicted. The internet provides a vast audience for people and their causes, agendas and fantasies. This guy....Abraham Biggs....was bipolar (his sister came around to admit he was being treated for it). I'm pretty sure that helped motivate him and get this entire situation to the point where it is today.

A number of upset and mentally ill folks are going to pause over this story....and start to contemplate their own version of the cam suicide. In the months to come....it'll turn into a weekly event. This is like a magnet in some ways....showing some way of getting a vast audience for your final scene. For most of us....its really not something we'd like to witness or allow on the internet, but we can't really stop it.

Whatever Mr. Biggs intended....really didn't match up with reality. His family has to cope with this mess now....a life left unfulfilled....and the attention of a public that really wasn't desired. When various TV shows call and want to interview you on your brother or son's death via the internet....its not exactly a moment you'd like to share. Life goes on....but not quiet the same way that you would have envisioned.

Weather Channel Smoke Clears

The suggestion of downsizing at the Weather Channel occurred on Friday....and I blogged it to some degree. We now know that the entire environmental segment "Forecast Earth" and its entire staff...are gone. The amusing thing is that it occurred during Earth week....when they were really pumping out alot of global warming titillating information.

Dave Schwartz who did some animated bits and was a decent weather front guy....is also gone. I'm guessing his cost probably bothered the NBC guys a bit....and he had to go.

So what you see....is a plain-vanilla weather channel emerging....like it was in the very beginning. I'm guessing that those who really need weather information....will continue to find it there. Those seeking environmental news....can go back to watching Al Gore clips....and life will go on.

As for Heidi Cullen....the environmentalist of the Weather Channel....I'd suggest you prep up your resume and beg those kind folks over at CNN for a spot there. Maybe you can talk them into an hour-long environmental news update each day and report Al Gore's daily consumption of electricity. Maybe even the White House might be interested in your talents as a Global Warming Czar, if they were dumb enough to create such a position. As for the big salary game you've enjoyed the last year or two....this is the moment of reality that they always warned you about.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Just a Whiff of a Chill in the Air

Quietly....ever so quietly....there have been a couple of Canadian environmental scientists this week who poured over data from the new Jason satellite. They were a bit shocked....and then climbed out of their lab to indicate that a cycle of twenty-three years is about to start....hard cold and harsh years....global cooling just a mile or two up the road.

This fancy satellite....which survey ocean data.....is showing a much larger than normal persistent Pacific Decadal Oscillation. This data related to a period of cooler weather which typically lasts up to 25 years.

The curious thing here...if the boys are correct....is that this defies climate beliefs that human-emitted carbon dioxide was completely responsible for the recent cycle of global warming (1970s-1990s)...may not worth discussing much in the future.

If the boys are correct....it may be wise to lay in a bit of firewood....prepare the attic for some extra insulation....and buy a couple of extra snow-shovels each winter. Life just might be a little bit more miserable than that global warming period that you "enjoyed".

The "Robin Hood" Solution

Ever noticed...in the midst of any serious discussion on climate change or global warming...and they get around to telling you how things can be improved or fixed....and there is this "Robin Hood" moment...where they suggest carbon credits or extra taxes or higher fees or revenue vehicles involved?

I sat there listening to NPR about a month ago....as much as I hate to admit that I listen to the network...and their poor host was stuck interviewing this global warming enthusiast....and the "Robin Hood" moment came. I sat there...smiling...knowing precisely that the entire discussion prior to that...was bogus. You can't have any serious discussion on climate control....without a "Robin Hood" moment.

Somehow...these well educated individuals who have fallen into the serious debate of global warming....typically lean back toward Robin Hood....as the way to fix various problems that have nothing much to do with climate or global warming.

Its a very weak argument to be "Robin Hood" and fix your problems by taking away assets, money, or credits....to give to some third-world country. In most discussions....this is the other amusing trend....everything gained...must go to third-world places that most of us can't even point at on the map....yet our cash would flow into Tonga....and it'd save the world....so we are led to believe.

I admit as a kid....I was always fascinated by Robin Hood and felt the story was a great script for a movie. If you asked me that it was right to take from the rich and give to the poor....I would have laughed and asked what evil sheriff am I taking it from....not some poor sap from Red Bay, Bama.....who makes more than the regular guy and therefore owes a "Robin Hood" tax to some environmentalist who vacations in Bali and sips expensive booze on the beach there.

The problem here is that I'm just not naive enough. I need to believe in Bigfoot, climate change, Loch Ness, aliens, and global warming. Its going to take a bit of hard drinking, excessive living, and prescription drugs....to get me into that state. I'm not sure its the best or most practical answer to this problem.

The "Lassie" Tax

How bad does it get to live in California?

Apparently, somewhere in the midst of the revenue issues and budget crisis of the state....where they are almost ready to ask for a $15 billion dollar fed "loan"....the Governor.....Schwarzenegger himself.....has asked for a broader sales and use tax. This is to include "luxury" items such as veterinary services.

Apparently....a number of folks in California are up in arms over this episode and trying to get pet owners across the state to take action and contact the state legislature to stop this tax.

The president of Social Compassion in Legislation....Julie Mancuso says: "Our companion animals are family members and taking care of their health is a responsibility, not a discretionary spending decision like golf or furniture repair. No other medical professions were included in the sales tax proposal, and with record numbers of families already making the unfortunate choice to abandon their pets because they cannot afford them in today's economy, the last thing we need to do is increase medical costs."

If I ever sat down....to write the one hundred reasons that I'd never move to California....it'd probably take less than fifteen minutes to write those one hundred reasons. This is a pitiful place to be....and I feel sorry for all of you who are stuck out in the state.

Stealing Invisible Weapons

For those who don't know....my son is a World of Warcraft warrior (sadly). Its a claim thats almost worthless in my mind....but hey.....at least he's not out on the street of the village....drinking excessively with the other worthless punks out there.

Six months ago....a player in his league....unknown to him.....came upon my son's account and realized the number of weapons that he had acquired. And with some various deceit....ended up going into my son's account and basically stealing all of the weapons. This really upset my son....for a number of days. In his mind....he had earned these weapons....and they were stolen.

This week....some EU folks wrote up a White Paper....and are presenting this idea of protecting invisible weapons. Because of the growth in on-line gaming....and the growth of theft of various weapons associated with this gaming....the EU guys think that something has to be done. So this paper is an introduction to orientate folks to the situation....and prepare them for some change in 2009.

The game guys have no problem with this. They make $3 billion easily each year off these various gamers. They'd like to have happy gamers. Statistics suggest that thirty percent of all gamers have had some type of theft or fraud committed against them. So naturally.....we have to protect the dimwits.

This entire discussion bothers me....although in an amusing way. I just don't see any cops out there who would want to investigate some invisible weapons being stolen. Its hard enough to get them to come out and investigate my lawn furniture being stolen or my bar-b-q grill or some keying on my car door. Even if you noted four big suspicious guys walking around in boxer shorts in the downtown area....it might be two hours before any cops showed up.

So I'm guessing we'll see a EU law across Europe....at least forty lines in length....with jail times prescribed and authority given to cops and judges to render justice....on invisible weapons. Where has our society gone?

Discrimination Version 8.1

A week ago, there amongst the 63 questions that the Obama team put out...was question 59. It had to deal with ownership of guns.

A number of NRA folks have kinda gotten upset about this question and are wondering if it discriminates against a guy who owns a gun legally.

In fact....Senator DeMint (R-SC) strongly urges a law on discrimination around this type of questioning. We already have various laws on protection of ethnic groups, sexuality, age, etc.....so the boys are busy considering the newest type of discrimination.

When I first read question 59....I sat there for a minute and kinda laughed. Why would they need to know the status of a guy's gun habits or his collection? The more I thought about it....the more fake concern I saw. Basically.....you come to admit something that really isn't very important unless some media group suddenly realizes that you have five guns in your house. Then they start asking alot of stupid questions...like how you acquired them and why you need five guns in the house. By the time you are forced to appear on Larry King....its become a national issue of no significance....other than realizing that you do own five guns.

This is the sad shape of America today....wanting to discuss your personal life....to the extent of its vast unimportance. Eventually, they will want to know what magazines I've subscribed to....the extent of my car wax situation (if ever).....the amount of pecans and almonds I consume on a monthly basis....my feelings on Bonanza and Gunsmoke.....the average monthly consumption of toilet paper (maybe a bit extreme).....the number of scratches I have from my cat on a weekly basis....and precise amount of sugar I put into my ice tea (zero).

I hate creating a vast land of discrimination protection....which might even include protecting Ford owners in the next decade or two. The problem is that....this is our nation tonight....for whatever value, significance or reality it represents.

Friday, 21 November 2008

My Friday

I rarely chat about work....because it is too boring. But today....it was different.

Around noon....here in the Ramstein area....the wind took off and light snow was falling (damn early, but who cares....its over 32 anyway and it won't stick). For months....there has been a tree next to my building...actually four trees....and it was a good 20-percent lean.

We told the compound custodian guy....and he told engineering at least three months ago. No one came.

Today, with the wind, it finally came crashing against our one-story building. The amusing thing....this was a 150 foot pine tree....with just branches at the top twenty feet. The building was 100 feet away....so it fell right onto the roof. A "thud" could be heard in the vault. We thought....damn....must be an explosion or something.

There in the midst of this fall....was our brand-new bike-rack....complete with a tin-roof. We finished it on Monday. I sat there laughing....the steel structure was ok...but the roof was fairly messed up. The boys spent an entire morning mounting this roof on Monday.

It was a curious thing....it was there where the smokers hang out and puff away. If any smoker had been standing there....he would have been smashed. For some reason...a freak of nature of a act of God....smokers were not there. An amazing miracle...in some fashion (at least smokers would say that).

Immediately, this became the event of the compound...and engineering showed up within forty-five minutes to take the tree off the building....then discovered a couple of punctures on our roof....and were busy fixing them.

The boys and I were looking at the mess....and the continuing wind....and the three remaining trees which were swaying away. We figured they'd cut them ASAP....but they only came out late in the afternoon....to cut one of them. The other two? Still up and leaning. Snow? Well....actually they predict half an inch over the weekend. Maybe I'll come in on Monday and find two more trees laying on the building.

Anyway....the sole bit of excitement in my job for the entire week. Pretty pitiful.

My Words For Ford

What should Ford, GM and Chrysler do....to make their situation pleasing to congress and the senate?

I sat and pondered this in the afternoon....considering the massive problem they have and how most congressmen are under serious pressure.

First, if I were a CEO....I'd dump my private jet and if they called me to Washington....I'd ride AMTRAK all the way there and then take a taxi. I wouldn't wear a suit....I'd come in a pair of jeans and t-shirt. I'd put up a glass of Gatoraid to drink and then have a biscuit or two up on top of the table as I spoke to the dimwits in charge.

They would cuss me out and knock me around....and really dump on me.

Then I'd smile....and ask them how many of them got financial help as a young political figure from a local car dealer? How many of them still have connections back to a car dealer? How many of them have union guys who vote in their district? How many of them have parts companies in their district? How many have revenue coming into their local district or state from a Ford dealer or Chevy dealer? I'd keep smiling.

Then I'd lay out my ace on the table. If any of you idiots want a Chinese company owning Ford.....building the parts in China....rather than Ohio or Michigan....with assembly in Texas or Georgia....stand up!

If any of you would like forty percent of the current revenue picture to change....with money shifted to China....rather than Tennessee....stand up!

If any of you would like for some Chinese parts guy to show up and bargain up with some local political guy.....getting his ducks lined up.....and buying this guy for future favors in 2020 or 2025.....stand up!

If any of you like to be insulted like I'm doing right now.....but by real voters doing it back in Bama, Ohio or Oregon.....just stand up!

Then I'd smile awful hard at the folks.....sip a bit of water....and wipe my forehead because of a overheated congressional meeting hall. My ending? "Folks.....you can suck up to NBC, Rush Limbaugh, newspapers, and even Paul Harvey.....but come the end of the day.....I'll just go home and happy to own my house and tend to my vegetables. You folks.....will have a nice mess to clean up....without me around. Think about the situation carefully....because you will not find your perfect solution.".

Crystal Freaking Balls (Just Gaze Hard)


Somewhere, a freaked out crystal ball this week showed up....and some absolutely amazing folks came up with a report entitled "Global Trends 2025". The amusing thing is that it was the National Intelligence Council that produced this. So here are the vast predictions of this group of dimwits: (1) Global warming could be a boon to Russia, (2) Russia would be overrun by organized crime, (3) The US and its dollar would decline in importance over the next fifteen years, (4) the warming earth will extend Russia and Canada's growing season, (5) no problems would exist in getting to the vast north frozen lands because they would unfreeze and thus strengthen our economies, (6) countries in Africa and South Asia will find themselves unstable and in chaos, (7) conflict will be greater because every one will compete for declining food, water and energy, (8) al-Qaida's would disappear because of its growing unpopularity in the Muslim world, and (9) US power would decline and we would be stuck with various domestic problems because of global warming, and economic issues.

I sat and read this garbage for a good thirty minutes.....wondering what exactly their analysts have to do for forty hours a week. First, a lesson I was taught many years ago as a intelligence analyst....you can only predict out as far as you can see. Logically....a year or two. Beyond that...your estimates are worthless and probably riddled with just plain "guesses".

Why not ask important questions? Will "Lost" finish up with Ben? Will Ben die in the final episode? Will the New York Yankees recover and begin another dynasty? Will Madonna give up her boy-toy and chase Jay Leno out on the west coast? Will Ford survive? Will GM survive? Will Texas get any bigger or smaller than it is today? Will beer taste better in 2025? Will God allow meteors to strike the earth and destroy El Paso? Will faith healing become a college class? Will Hustler fold up and become a religious magazine? Will the Green Bay Packers ever win another Super Bowl? Can Rush Limbaugh be stopped by Obama?

Surely the intelligence analysts can answer these questions? Right?

Frankly, I can never recall a bunch of dumbasses being called together like this to package such a report....that has zero value. I mean....if you know you can predict this....why not stop it? Why not terminate Russian crime? Why not help Ossama Bin Laden survive? Why not save the polar bears by shipping them off to Mobile Bay? Surely thats the reason for this report....to save the earth, and America?

The United States of America? A third-world poverty-stricken country by 2025? If so....I think we can just fire a bunch of intelligence analysts and just save the money for our poverty situation....right? Surely, they would agree with me? The thing that really gets me....they wouldn't even touch the topic of American-made cars.....will GM, Chrysler and Ford survive? Well....we just don't know.

Lets sit back a moment and consider what these dumbasses have given us. First, they were helpful in getting WMD information on Saddam....right? Well....yeah....they were in on that deal. And they were really helpful in knowing ahead of time on 9-11.....right? Well....NO.....they didn't forecast much of anything. The various crisises of Bosnia? Well....they were mostly worthless in predicting those as well....although they were great at reporting things after the fact. We should have done this or should have done that.

Frankly.....if you claim that you work for the NIC....you ought to dig out your resume....prep it for some forest ranger jobs....and start looking around. If you intend to make this your main work in life.....prepare for mostly a fictional job....with no real output.

For those guys who intend to stay in the NIC.....start your baseball fantasy predictions in March and help us poor slobs out with the best picks in the spring. And if you can.....give us an idea about Ford......I'd really like to know if they survive or not.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

UN Fancy Barn Roof Artwork

So a bunch of folks associated with the UN's group for saving starving folks, decided to redo room XX there in Geneva. This is a 16,000 square foot meeting room, kinda like a big indoor barn but a good bit fancier.

So they tossed and turned....and finally agreed, that while there are starving folks n the world....they could afford to toss $23 million dollars to some guy who would remake the room.

This guy....Miquel Barcelo got a bunch of guys....painters, designers, etc.....and put together this masterpiece. This was the best picture I could find, and it really doesn't do much to sell this entire project. In fact....as real folks poured in after the grand opening.....things just kinda went downhill from that point on.

The best I can say is that it looks like some fella took a bunch of barn paint....a case of Jack Daniels....and then went into some cave and just tore loose with barn painting brushes. It looks more like a cave....than a actual room.

I believe, with the vast experience that my brother and I have...with barn painting.....we could have done basically the same job...for a bit less than $23 million. In fact......if you had offered all the catfish we could eat....a case of ice cold beer, and $40.....we could have done this in one Saturday afternoon.

Apparently, the King and Queen of Spain showed up for this grand show....along with the UN chief and the president of Switzerland. Everyone acted genuinely foolish until some of the media asked if this was it for $23 million and if they would have been better off just painting a gray ceiling and giving the money to starving folks.

Bluntly, this is why I don't buy into rescuing the world from the terrible things that we see on TV. I don't buy these stories. If you hand some idiot $100 and think they will save anyone....first they'll have a fancy dinner and discuss how to get more of your money....and then later build a nice room where they can permanently meet to discuss how to get more of your money. In the end.....the starving guy has already died.....and starving guy number two has taken his place.

In this episode....some Spanish guy has basically taken $23 million....and financed his retirement along with about a dozen other folks. The UN guys? Just pitiful fools.....because they are working on another room somewhere else.....to paint up like some barn roof.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Maximum Turbo Redistribution

As James T Kirk would do....I have ordered the Bama mindship on maximum full thrusters....and have pondered to a far and distant galaxy. I have taken redistribution of wealth to the ninth level and am prepared to blaze a trail toward bold new redistributions:

Redistribution of old junkers. I have taken note....throughout Mississippi and Bama....an extremely high level of 15-year old cars...far more than any of the other 48 states. In order to be fair and balanced to the nation....the time has come for our junkers to be distributed. As your name comes up in the database of owners with cars less than two years old....you will be matched up with those of us from the heartland states (Bama and Mississippi)....and we're swap cars. Don't worry.....its ok....just say it forwards and backwards six times....and you're feel better as you drive away in a 1978 Chevey.

Redistribution of tailer park trash. I have taken note....throughout Missouri...of an extremely high concentration of trailer park trash....far more than the other 49 states. In order to be fair and balanced to the nation....the time has come for our trailer park trash in Missouri to be distributed across America. We'll use IRS computers and basically help find these folks new homes in Burbank, Sierra Vista and Austin. Don't worry....its ok...just say it forwards and backwards six times, and you're feel better.

Redistribution of slutty women. I have taken note...throughout Louisiana...of an extremely large concentration of slutty women....far more than the other 49 states. In order to be fair and balanced to the nation....the time has come for our slutty women in Louisiana to be distributed across America. We'll use IRS computers and basically help find these folks new homes in Orlando, El Paso, and Spokane. Don't worry....its ok...just say it forwards and backwards six times, and you're feel better.

Redistribution of dry counties. I have taken note....throughout Bama....of an extremely high level of dry counties......far more than the other 49 states (well...except Utah). In order to be fair and balanced to the nation....the time has come for our dry counties in Bama to be distributed acorss America. We'll use IRS computers and basically help move these dry countries to Cape Cod, Dallas, and Chicago. Don't worry....its ok...just say it forwards and backwards six times, and you're feel better.

Yes, I am going where no man has gone before...redistribution of all things to all people. Whats good for one, is good for the many. Let me touch your forehead and give you the pleasures of redistribution. It'll feel like no pleasure that you've partaken.

Your only hope.....is that this star ship just might run out of gas and gracefully terminate a very long mission long short of its goals....with no real achievements. Thats your only hope.

Hate Crimes Spiral


Somewhere....in the heartland....in the midst of Utah....this state representative (Eric Hutchings) came up with this fairly radical idea. GI's....Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy....men and women....should get the extra protection in Utah that any other "protected" class receives under the state's "hate crimes" law.

I sat there for several minutes....pondering this suggestion.

Frankly, having been twenty-two years in the Air Force...I'm speaking for myself here....but we really don't want any damn protection under "hate crimes".

This guy...Representative Hutchings, Republican of course, wants to basically fix it that when some idiot wants to assault a GI "for no other reason than they are in uniform", then the full force of the "hate crimes" law falls into place.

I've come to the mind that just any type assault....ought to be a crime, period. The idea of being special...in terms of assault...just doesn't ring any logical bells for me. This political game played out across various stages and fronts in America...has gotten to the point of making life silly and useless.

Do I need a law to protect clowns from assault? Do I need a law to protect banjo players? Do I need a law to protect balding men from Bama from assault? Do I need some special law to protect male midgets with wooden legs from assault? Maybe I'm in some twilight zone and really need a dose of American logic....but I think America is in dire need of a bit of logic from me. My two cents tonight.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A Rainbow Moment


So when the clouds develop around you....the tests of life weigh upon you like an anchor...the bitterness of lemon is on your tongue....and a wee bit of sorrow and woes tugs upon your heart....sit for a moment and catch a moment of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

As you click on his name, you are taken to YouTube and you get a chance to recover something you've lost. Sit there and enjoy Somewhere Over the Rainbow. You needed it.

And when its done....just release a bit of stress and pain in your soul. The day will not be bad as you thought it was.

Redistribute This


I saw this today and felt it appropriate. There are various discussions going on with the idea of redistribution of wealth. Frankly, had you brought this up back in 1776....this would not have been allowed. Even in the 1800s....it would be very unsettling to most Americans. So here we are in 2008...and folks can contemplate and envision redistribution of wealth via taxes.

Will this occur? My imagination can see a scenario where we simply keep handing out stimulus checks for the next four years and pretending this is a redistribution of wealth game...without having to pass anything via congress. This is the safe way of pretending that you accomplished something with nothing done.

The truth of taking from the rich to give to the poor? Well...at some magic point...business owners will band together and get a dimwitted congressman to write a line or two into tax code. It'll be enough to claim various credits which amount to ten percent of the Obama tax on the wealthy deal. The next week...another congressman will write another line of tax code....and do another ten percent. Eventually....all of the taxes you thought would fall upon the rich....don't. Then you have the middle class supporting this entire game. Add into this game...the players who refuse to play on US soil....and hide their money in Panama, South Africa or Russia.

In the end, Madison's version of the constitution kinda survives because actual true redistribution never takes off and never works like the Obama team talks about.

The Men of Risk

This week....Germany's Chancellor....Angela Merkel....push for a "world risk map" of global financial institutions to allow financial authorities to quickly identify future trouble spots. Naturally, she needs a bunch of dopey country leaders to agree to this "risk" map.

Naturally, as a Bama-ite...I had a moment of pondering over this map and the events that would unfold.

First, it would take a whole bunch of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Colombia business school graduates to ensure the bitter failure of the "world risk map". We'd have to recruit several past generations of the four universities to ensure the adequate number of folks involved....preferably around 3,000 former graduates.

Then the question of where the "world risk map" players would be living? I believe the south of France would be the best overall site....where members of the "risk-team" could live and breathe amongst free-minded Frenchmen. Others might suggest Ottawa or Montreal. Still others might suggest Moscow or in the UK: Penistone, Titty Hill or Land of Nod (actual real Brit city names).

How would the map be arranged? Well....some countries would be red and some blue. Naturally....you are thinking Republican or Democrat....yes, I know. Some countries would have blinking lights....those on the borderline.

Would the risk-team meet for maneuvers or scenarios? Yes....and I'm guessing that they would be playing the game "risk" on a daily basis...to sharpen their skills. Occasionally, a Monopoly game or lawn darts would be tossed to the boys to get their mind off serious business.

Somewhere toward the end of this entire episode....these guys would generate special identification cards and start referring to themselves as members of "RISK"....and act like some Man from Uncle evil group. It'll be at this point that Merkel and the rest of the world realize that RISK group has become a threat to world peace....and represent a true threat. Then we'd have to call their bluff and send in the new and updated modern version of Napoleon Solo to take out RISK.

Katrina Version 12.1

One of my favorite topics....is Hurricane Katrina....which has yet to end. This week.....after Louisiana's request for a second month of disaster food stamps for 13 parishes was denied, their local congressman called for an extension of eligibility. Somewhere in the midst of this episode....is Congressman William Jefferson. Right now....the state of Louisiana is asking for extra help and benefits for residents in Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Sabine, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Vernon parishes.

The nice thing about this request is that the folks there can claim that they really haven't finished off the Katrina episode and they have the recent Hurricane Gustav also now to recover from.....along with flooding (as always).

What gives these guys an extra point in this discussion is that car companies and investment bankers need bailout.....so naturally....wouldn't the folks down in New Orleans need bailout too?

I have little sympathy for anyone who stayed in New Orleans. I realize the homes and businesses lost....and the dramatic impact on lives....but the area is a magnet for damage in any single storm. This idea of continued food stamps? Well....you could continue this game...but when exactly will Katrina ever end? Will we still be discussing federal aid in 2019? Thats the question on my mind.

The One Difference in This Election


I sat and paused over the twelve-odd days since the election and thought over what did happen and didn't happen in this election year. I came to one big difference between 2008 and 2004. The National Geographic cover that came right before the 2004 election period.

The boys at NG believed that they could slip in some behavior modification and encourage folks to shift their vote. Had they done this story in January or February of that year....it would have passed the common sense point. It was in the heat of the race....so it wasn't just a easy blunder.

What occurred after the issue came out...became a more fascinating topic. Even today...NG will not admit how many subscriptions were lost by the tactic. The best guess is that the magazine lost around five to ten percent of its subscription base. For those who don't grasp the impact....subscriptions are the guaranteed sale of a product...so you can walk into the bank and proudly say you've got these many on the hook and you want this amount of credit....with no issues. Without that number....you start to have questions asked.

This isn't the kind of magazine that folks buy at the grocery stand as they exit the store. This isn't the kind of magazine that guys buy at the airport when flying. The bulk of their sales....by my own judgment....come from subscriptions. So this one issue, turned out in an election year....helped them to lose valuable capital.

This year? They quietly sat in the corner and said nothing. They knew not to make a statement by prior lessons. Its hard to get new folks addicted to the magazine because its just not the kind of thing that seventy-five percent of American society reads. So somewhere out there....is this little story that few ever talk about in the NG circles....mostly because they really screwed up.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Your Friendly Government Manager

It appears likely by the spring of 2009, that the US government will own vast amounts of companies throughout the US...from Ford, Chrysler and GM....to various airports in the country....over to possibly several telecommunications companies. In fact, there is no limit to how far this government ownership situation may go.

Naturally, being from Bama....I have a vastly different prospective on government ownership of companies. Allow me to offer some analysis.

First, as screwed up as Ford is....on a incompetency scale of one to ten....they currently rate 8.5. Government ownership and management....might actually help to bring them down to a incompetency scale of 7.5. Maybe this might be a good idea....and the 8-cylinder F-150 can survive on.

For some reason, I have utter fear of Catfish Cabin and its various restaurants....along with Sonic and Dunkin Donuts falling into the hands of the US government. I believe government ownership would condemn these operations to fall within weeks.

Hooters, under US government ownership? What idiot congressman or senator signs off on this and expects to be reelected. Will any government representative even be willing to show up in a Hooters?

Midas Muffler, under US government control? As hostile and angry as folks get now with poor service with a few operations....that government representative would have to exit the US and live in Costa Rica to avoid the heat.

Hustler magazine, under US government control? Well....maybe the idiot would be smart enough to add a stero column and a special section for former Playboy readers....to help them become accustomed to a bold new world.

Burger King, under US government control? 100 percent Argentine beef whoopers or would we be forced to have American beef loaded with steroids?

NBC, under US government control? Would we get more US government commercial activity....like buy bonds or get tested for worms? MSNBC under government control? Would Keith Olbermann be allowed to stay or would have to move to Montana and work for channel 9 as a local anchor?

Dallas Cowboys under US government control? Would we get a lousy quarterback dumped on the team or would we get a special deal with the US government owned Chicago Bears? Would the only NFL team not owned by the US government....the Green Bay Packers....seek to dissolve the league because of incompetent management across the entire league?

Preparation H, under government control? Would the formula change? Would the government screw up a perfect preparation? Would alot of truckers weep and cry when the formula simply didn't work?

Finally, we come to Pepsi. Alone in the shadows....they are the last company on American soil that will allow some idiot government guy to come in and take control of the company. They will be hundreds of Pepsi men standing tall and fighting to the bitter end....to keep Pepsi "government-free". I believe, in my heart of hearts....that Pepsi can survive, and thrive when all other companies fail.
So quietly, I sit here now....awaiting the arrival of government men....who will tear the heart out of Six Flags, Budweiser, Victoria's Secret and Fox News. The blame clearly goes onto the laps of those Princeton, Harvard, Colombia and Yale business graduates....who plotted from day one to bring down America....and here we are.

Behold, 1984

Very shortly....Manchester, the debt capital of England...home of the United (soccer), stabbing capital of the United Kingdom, and the binge drinking capital of England....which has almost half a million people....will shortly begin making residents or kindly asking residents (depending on your view)....to carry electronic tracking tags that log how far they run or cycle each day.

Basically, some folks there in the region want to know how many calories residents burn.

1984?

Manchester is amongst nine towns in the UK who will collect this data and attempt to take on the UK obesity problem. No mention was made of a tracking device to record data for stabbings, debt or binge drinking. That will likely come later.

I paused for a while and read this over twice. How many dopes would give the tag to their eleven-year old kid and get them to pump up the values? How many folks would tie the tag onto their dog and cut them loose in the park?

After you get the tag data....then what? Can you force the guy to change? Can you tax the guy in some manner to force change? Can you remove challenges like cheap booze or tv from his daily schedule? Maybe I'm asking too many questions. I suspect that I'd be the last guy you ought to attempt a tag deal with.

American-made Cars, Finished?


I walked around this week and had a brief encounter with five individuals. I asked each about what kind of car they'd really like to have if they had to buy a new one. With the Pelosi bailout coming for the auto industry, I figured maybe opinions might matter.

All five answers were non-American cars....Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

One guy did admit that if he could pick only for himself....he might like a new Ford 150 pick-up, but his wife wouldn't agree on that.

I sat down and thought about this scenario....if I had cash in my pocket.....what would I buy? I was leaning heavily toward Audi or Mazda. Then I thought....there was a perfect US-made car out there...from the late 1990's....the Ford Crown Victoria. It was the classic car, with power and style. I could lean toward the Crown Vic.....with some stipulations in my pick.

The problem here....is that by saving Ford, Chrysler and GM.....we are barely doing anything for the Crown Victoria. It'd sell itself and most police organizations would have nothing else but the Crown Vic. So the bailout has little value for the Crown Vic community.

So I'm left with two hundred-odd million Americans who have a bad memory of a poorly built American-made Ford, Chrysler or GM car....and even worse memories of the repair attitude by the local dealer. They built trash for us and then smiled as the repairs just didn't work. Then they smiled as the resale value of the car went down steeply. Frankly, I don't get the the rush by congress to save a bunch of idiots...who are one step away from being a Harvard business school grad.

Just a Dash Here and Dash There


For many years, I have felt socially uncomfortable. I am out of touch with the rest of the world because of my Bama heritage. Bluntly, I just can't get into abstract art.

It was early on....in 1979 that I realized this. I actually went to a art museum in Frankfurt and after sixty minutes...walked out. I felt out of synch....as if I was incapable of grasping and understanding the changes or shifts in human vision.

By the late 1980s....I had learned simply not to even bother with this abstract stuff, nor to worry about it. In the last ten years....I merely laugh when the topic comes up and look the other way. The silly thing to me...is that some guys are actually getting paid to paint this stuff, and other guys are getting paid to explain this stuff. Even when CNN comes on and they desperately want to bring you into the real world....there is this guy named "Sebastian" who says he knows abstract and chatters away for half an hour about what the painter was saying.

Frankly, after looking at the stuff real careful, I'm often thinking the guy was standing in his garage....sipping on Jack Daniels.....and just took out a paint bush and did a dash here and a dash there of green and red paint. Eventually, he finishes, both the bottle and the painting....then calls up Larry, his friend in New York City. Larry drives his 1966 VW van down and picks up the painting. A month later....Larry has sold it in New York City for $44k. He sends you $2k for your Jack Daniels bills and he spends the rest on his new clutch for the VW van and a trip to Lake Tahoe.

Abstract is basically thinking of nothing and painting something. The lines don't have to meet....the snow doesn't have to fall vertical....the horse can have five legs....the woman could be bow-legged....the chicken could be six-feet tall...the queen could be standing there in a Wal-Mart evening grown...and the John Deere tractor could be painted dark blue. Once I grasped all of this....then I realized that even I could paint abstract and be recognized as a world-renown artist. My only problem is....I'd only be using black and green for colors....and most folks just don't like those choices.

My Honest 63 Questions:

This week, the Obama camp put out a seven-page document with 63 questions. To get a job with them, you had to fill out the form and provide data....LOTS of data. I thought about this and eventually came to a 63 question list of my own but it was a very honest list of questions.

1. Can you name all fifty states and their capitals?
2. Explain the concept of the bill of rights.
3. Name any neighbor who borrowed stuff but never returned it.
4. Identify five presidents since 1900.
5. Are you saving energy by using twenty-two times the amount of power that a normal American family uses?
6. What should you do when bitten by a rattlesnake?
7. Who won WWI and WWII?
8. Isn't Brittney Spears the most beautiful woman in the world? (Yes or no only)
9. Should Lance Armstrong run the 2009 Tour de France?
10. Hank Williams or Elvis, who was better in the end?
11. The Pacer, was it the worst car ever made?
12. Should Zombies be declared authorized voters?
13. Should Brittney Spears play Joan of Arc for Mel Gibson?
14. Is Elvis truly dead?
15 If you made any public speeches....were any directed toward circus folks, dwarfs, Texans, or abstract art?
16. Have you ever been in Memphis, New Orleans, or St. Louis (negative points if you have)
17. Do you keep at least six guns in your house or car? (bonus points if yes)
18. Do you believe in Bigfoot, Loch Nessie and aliens? (bonus points if yes)
19. If you had to dig a septic tank, would you call a cousin or a neighbor for help?
20. Have you ever paid more than $19,999 for a car? Cite the model and brand if yes.
21. Would you pay $350k for a $240k house? (negative points if yes)
22. Would you toss out forty percent of your paycheck to cover a mortgage?
23. Would you buy a $300k house with only $30k in down payment?
24. Who was the best Bond?
25. Have you ever been in a Wal-Mart? (Negative points, if no)
26. Explain in detail any speech that Alan Greenspan has given (positive points, if you can't)
27. Where is Gitmo?
28. Show a 8x10 photo of any tatto on your body or your wife's body (in color please)
29. Provide all of the names of your dogs that you've owned since 1988.
30. Describe on a plain piece of paper your feelings toward Tonga.
31. Do you know anyone from Red Bay, Alabama?
32. Provide a listing of friendships and girlfriends, since 1978. Use red ink if they are former friends now.
33. Which weighs more? A ton of bananas or a ton of peanuts?
34. Which StarTrek commander would you prefer to be Janeway, Kirk or Picard?
35. Have you ever shopped QVC?
36. Have you ever watched wrestling?
37. Have you ever forgotten your wife's birthday?
39. If you lived in a dry county, would you honor the laws of that county?
40. If your minister was a nutcase, would you be willing to say that in public?
41. If a bunch of union cars and US car makers came up to you and asked for $50 billion...would you ask why they can't make cars that folks want or just hand them the $50 billion?
42. Does it bother you that the car union guys get $17 million a year in Viagra, which is built into the cost of every single car made?
43. Do you have a problem with burning leaves in October in your front yard?
44. Have you ever bought a mower that you felt very dissatisfied with?
45. If Tab was the only drink left on the face of the earth....would you accept it and drink it?
46. On a hot day...cold beer or cold wine cooler?
47. Whats your belt size?
48. Can you cook up your own breakfast?
49. If a bunch of Harvard/Princeton/Yale/Colombia business school graduates came to you and said they had bankrupted America...would you halt the entire business school program at these four universities?
50. How many times should a guy be allowed to vote on election day in America?
51. Do you know any hippies?
52. Do you mow your own grass?
53. Are there any true explanations to putting a septic tank in the front yard instead of the back yard?
54. Is Keith Olbermann of MSNBC a dope?
55. Give five good reasons why any guy should stay 30 years in the Senate.
56. Have you ever dated a deranged man or woman?
57. When was the last time you attended a county fair?
58. Do you know any women who wear a blouse a size too small?
59. If you needed help...who you would not call and why?
60. If you had to talk real personal to someone....would you do it on the front porch or the back porch?
61. Why do most Democrats take money from bankers and most Republicans from oil companies?
62. Can you point to Mongolia on the map?
63. Are you a forgiving kinda guy or a revengeful kind of guy?

So there, I've written my 63 stupid questions....in the event I were to be president and need to hire up some folks. Frankly, I think my questions are better, but maybe I'm just a bit different from the Obama folks.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

63 Damn Questions

So when George Washington took office....how many questions do you think he might have used for the guy who became Secretary of State? Or for that matter...Secretary of War?

I'm guessing....George....ever the practical kind of guy he was....rode up this guy's house....asked him a dozen questions about what he thought of this or do....and then said he'd like to make him Secretary of War. The guy sat there....probably asked what he got paid....and then said "sure".

Today, we found out that the Obama administration has a seven-page, 63-question "exam" for folks to take....to get the job. They want an entire resume. They want three references from your past. They want to know your email accounts and which blogs you've written for. They want to know about speaking royalties....ALL of them...and what you got paid. They want you to identify every single speech you ever gave....even in college...to include the text or audio copy. They want a copy of your 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax returns. They want to know if you own a gun and the type of registration. They'd like to when you used the gun and how it was used (automatic or semi).

I sat there and pondered this 63 question requirement. Would I answer it.....to get a job? No. Would I advise any idiot or semi-idiot or even a democrat to fill it out? No. You are basically telling them every single detail of your life. Do you really need these guys in your business? Is it worth the trouble?

I'm guessing a good fifty percent who got this document.....thinking they were lucky....after about an hour....just pulled out their Jack Daniels and tossed down five shots....and laughed. There's no way that you'd waste an entire week filling this out.

Now, to make things really interesting....I'd like to offer the Obama team an additional ten questions, which I think ought to be added:

64. If Bama and LSU met on the same field....who would you pull for?

65. Do you have a problem with women named Wendy or with women who wear tube tops?

66. If a bunch of idiot Harvard/Yale/Colombia/Princeton business graduates ran an entire banking sector into the ground....would you trust them to be in your cabinet?

67. Have you ever bought anything at the Wal-Mart check-out area that you are ashamed of and might not want to admit on the Larry King show?

68. Do you believe that the President of the United States ought to be native-born? Would it be better if we changed this law or just overlooked it?

69. If you got sent to a dry county of Bama....for an entire day....could you make it without a drink for twenty-four hours?

70. Do you believe the American car industry can actually make a decent car that Americans want?

71. Have you ever been in the company of a dwarf, midget or albino person? If so, describe the experience in great detail, especially if you knew them real personal-like.

72. If a guy was using 22 times the amount of electricity of a normal American family and telling you how wasteful Americans really are in life....would you want to take a baseball bat to the guy?

73. Given a choice of (a) digging septic tanks for a living, (b) spending two weeks in downtown Detroit or (c) listening to 24 hours of Obama speeches....which would you pick?

To be rather blunt, I really don't see any fool wasting an entire week filling out these papers. I'm guessing some are rather shocked and just laugh...then say "no thanks". The Obama team might find that desires disappear rapidly in this situation. Even if you offered me the ambassadorship to Tonga.....I just wouldn't fill out the damn form.

My Twenty-Five Points of America

A moment of an "American" declaration that I've written...and my twenty-five points:

1. We demand the union of all Americans in the United States on the basis of the principle of self-determination of all peoples.

2. We demand that the American people have rights equal to those of other nations.

3. We demand land and territory for the maintenance of the American people and the settlement of our surplus population.

4. Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have American blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen.

5. Those who are not citizens must live in the United States as "visitors" or "immigrants" and must be subject to the law of aliens.

6. The right to choose the government and determine the laws of the State shall belong only to citizens. We therefore demand that no public office, of whatever nature, whether in the federal government, the states, or the cities throughout the nation, shall be held by anyone who is not a citizen.

We wage war against the corrupt administrations whereby men are appointed to posts by favor of the party without regard to character and fitness.

7. We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood. If it should not be possible to feed the whole population, then aliens (non-citizens) must be expelled from America.

8. Any further immigration of non-Americans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Americans who have entered America since August 2, 2004, shall be compelled to leave the country immediately.

9. All citizens must possess equal rights and duties.

10. The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.

Therefore we demand:

11. That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be ended.

12. Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as treason to the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

13. We demand the nationalization of all trusts.

14. We demand profit-sharing in large industries.

15. We demand a generous increase in social security.

16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State.

17. We demand an agriculture reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

18. We demand that ruthless war be waged against those who work to the injury of the common welfare. Traitors, usurers, profiteers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed or race.

19. We demand that British law, which serves a materialist ordering of the world, be replaced by American common law.

20. In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious American to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people. The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning. We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.

21. The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting child labor, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory sports and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.

22. We demand the abolition of the regular army and the creation of a national internal security force.

23. We demand that there be a legal campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies and disseminate them through the press. In order to make possible the creation of a American press, we demand:

(a) All editors and their assistants on newspapers published in the American language shall be American citizens.

(b) Non-American newspapers shall only be published with the express permission of the State. They must not be published in the American language.

(c) All financial interests in or in any way affecting American newspapers shall be forbidden to non-Americans by law, and we demand that the punishment for transgressing this law be the immediate suppression of the newspaper and the expulsion of the non-Americans from the nation.

Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and that any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.

24. We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the moral and ethical sense of the American people.

The party as such represents the point of view of a positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession. It fights against the materialist spirit within and without, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our folk can only come about from within on the pinciple:

COMMON GOOD BEFORE INDIVIDUAL GOOD

25. In order to carry out this program we demand: the creation of a strong central authority in the State, the unconditional authority by the political central parliament of the whole State and all its organizations.

The formation of professional committees and of committees representing the several estates of the realm, to ensure that the laws promulgated by the central authority shall be carried out by the federal states.

The leaders of the party undertake to promote the execution of the foregoing points at all costs, if necessary at the sacrifice of their own lives.


Now....just so you know this....I took a document from the NAZI 1930s, and removed the words "German", "Germany", "Reich", "Jews", and anything related to words of the 1930s. And I inserted "America" and "American".

Sit there for a minutes and think about what I copied and rewrote, and then reflect....long and hard. I am a mere mortal, and unaccomplished at anything worth bragging about. What I were really serious? Could I do some damage? Think about that.