Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Flame

For some reason, veterans groups are always in the persuasion mood....where a special project guy or an individual with an agenda walks up and dumps his "idea" and everyone jumps in to support the project. VFW groups are always targets for this "project" agenda.

This week, the city folks out in Bullhead City, Arizona, came up to admit that they were stuck with one of those projects now....compliments of a veterans group.....who likely were led by some guy with an "idea". The stuck project? An "eternal" flame.

This "flame" is at the Medal of Honor memorial.....at the local Veterans Memorial Park near the River there.

At some point around the first part of the month....the natural gas bill came to the city, who now is stuck as the "protector" of the "flame". Sadly, it was $961, a price that the city really can't afford to handle.

"It caught us by surprise," City Manager Tim Ernster said Thursday.

So the city was thinking....just limit this to special days....which might have sounded reasonable, but then those Veteran guys were fairly irked at the treatment of their memorial by the city. The city turned the "flame" off....but then found intense public pressure, which political figures just can't stand.

By Friday, the city had to restart the "flame".

So the city guys are thinking about a smaller "flame"....hoping they can get this bill down to a reasonable level.

Its curious here....no one at the state or city level ever thinks about these "flames" that are used for various memorials around the US. An Olympic-sized flame probably burns well over $40k over a two week period of natural gas. All of these have a cost associated with them

The Bullhead City problem? It'll be hard to convince the veterans to see the logic here. They've got themselves hinged onto some kind of memorial handcuffs which you simply can't remove. The guy who came up with this "flame" idea? It would be interesting to see if he's the VFW commander and he never grasped the cost factor. I'm guessing the flame is going to be put out eventually...once everyone figures up the real cost involved.

Bama Illieteracy

A new report dis weak showwed thaat Alabama literacy rates have done improved a bite from 1992 to 2003.....butt some countties are two times (diouble) of the nastional average of 14.5 parcent.

Them folks at the National Senter for Ed U Cational Statisics said thiss over the past week. They clam that 15 parcent of Alabamians lacked basic literacy skills in 2003, whitch means an inprovement from the 21 parcent in 1992. Thay didndn't say haw much diffiferent is 15 to 21 parcent, but its a faire nummer.

The Senter wouldn't said what rankkings exist, but ther were twelve states that has illit-eracy rates higher than Alabama (must be Missizzippi in ther).

Its diffucult to undarstand how thangs got this way in Alabama. We brung in the bast teechers and give them camputers to help dumm kids learnt...but then, dee nummers jest dooon't gat better...why?

I thank thiz is a preblem with two muach TV, two much NASCAR, two much NCAA football, and two much wet countiees. Iffing we kould adopt the Baptist wey and clean up drinnking and macke kids smarter, we'ld be beter off.

I undersands dis problem, butt it taks a bunsh of people to make life beter in Alabama. We musk work togeather, for lit-er-cy to git fixxed.

Now....I feel better...getting that off my chest...having to write Alabama-ize is difficult for me. I spent many years losing the accent and pretending to be an intellectual. The sad truth is that half of the folks that I grew up with...are probably marginal at literacy and intelligence. A vast number haven't read a book in years, unless you counted the Bible as a book and then counted Bible-verse reading at Church on Sundays.

It isn't so much the kids at fault here....as much as it is society and the parents. When you go home, and the best discussion that you can have with your mom is a discussion on what was on Jerry Springer that day or some pick-up fire at the grocery parking lot....you haven't really expanded your vision.

Maybe in a hundred years....things will change. But I have doubts. Meanwhile, if my writing in the first part of this blog gave you a headache....take two aspirin and sip a shot slowly of Jacky D's.

Never Screw With a Scot

So a moment with John Smeaton, baggage handler with British Air, and a Scot.

In July of 2007....some terrorists decided to place bombs around the airport at Glasgow. It is right and proper (as a Scot would say)....that they picked the wrong bloody people to mess with.

In the midst of this car bomb and the continued attempt to render harm upon the innocent....a cop came to intercept the bomber and try to put them down. The terrorist fought back and was "whooping" (as a Bama dude would say) on the cop.

Seeing this, with the terrorist just plain hurting the cop....John decided enough was enough....and gave the dimwit terrorist a thrashing....as a good Scot would say. To be honest, they didn't stop until the guy was down on the ground....the natural tactic of a smart Scot to never let the idiot get a fair chance in a fight.

As days and weeks went by....the public began to realize that John was just another "Joe" from their land....who just plain wouldn't accept things without a fight. Its been almost two years now....and still...in the heart of Scotland, they haven't forgotten the guy.

Bogus Energy Bailout?

The Obama team put out their plan to stimulate the economy this week. Needless to say....a lot of people weren't happy. Amusingly enough....even the democrats said they weren't happy.

I read over the objectives and reasoning.....which were ok for a high-school level graduate, but then I kept asking questions, and the plans don't have true answers.

My favorite bit of the plan.....was to stimulate the economy by doubling the production of alternative energy. I sat there for a long time....pondering what exactly you'd get in the end.

He would like to have energy efficiency laid across the American dream.

He wants you.....the "regular Joe" of America to build solar panels and wind turbines.

Then he comes to the best part of this energy sell.....these jobs "pay well and can't be outsourced."

At that point, I poured four shots of Jacky D's....and sat smiling. This guy doesn't know anything about life in America. He's living in some dream.

You want solar panels? They'll likely be built in China. Ask any of these technical guys and they will tell you that there is bit of toxic material involved and by the time you play the game of "safe America".....you can forget about major production of solar panels inside of the US. You want a third-world country where you can leave the toxic issue on the floor....and not worry about it.

Wind turbines? There is a fair amount of production in US with these, but once you dump government funding into this game....and pump up the requirements....they will come from third-world countries as well.

He can talk all day along about great paying production jobs, which are in the US....but reality is that someone somewhere.....will add a line to say import of such items is ok and even write a line to avoid half of the normal taxes for such an item.

So, as we move forward into this economic crisis, and you folks get a "clean energy" bailout situation.....and you think you are buying US-made solar panels and wind turbines.....check the box.....either the parts were made in China or the entire thing was made there. And the money that you handed over to the government for this crisis....went to China....not the US. Just something to remember.

The Police Chief's Stabbing

Around three weeks ago....the chief of police in Passau, Germany....was stabbed. Well.....we thought he was stabbed.

This guy....Alois Mannichl came up with a stab wound and hospitalised....fairly serious episode. He said he was stabbed on the front porch of his house....by a Nazi skinhead. The skinhead apparently said something to the effect of “Greetings from the national resistance,” and "You leftist pig cop, you won't trample on the graves of our comrades anymore." Pretty nifty wording for a skinhead. The curious thing was that this was a small blade that was used on the chief of police....probably five inches.

So everyone in Germany got all upset....those damn skinheads.....those damn Nazis. The attitude was "we got to get those guys". The media got into this....they wanted to chat around the table and discuss how everyone was being hurt by the skinheads. The cops stayed busy looking for this skinhead. The problem was....from the very beginning....the scene and the description by the chief.....didn't really fit.

"That kind of setting points towards a relationship-related crime," one officer said.

The description of the skinhead? This was always vague in nature.....6 feet tall with a round face with a shaved head. Some neighborhood witness said she’d seen a man with a snake tattooed behind his ear and possibly a cross on his face.

The thing was....with this stupid tatto of a snake behind the ear.....no one in their entire database.....had such a tatto. The cops keep a vast database of skinheads and Nazis....and they couldn't find anyone to fit. Then they came to regard the witness' information as possibly unreliable.

Then came an amusing discovery....they believe now that the knife came from the police chief's own home....and actually had been used to cut a cake at a neighbour’s party a few days before. Normally....as the cops admit....they would talk to family members in such a case....in this case.....none of the family were questioned for days after the stabbing.

Closure? No....the cops are going to quietly drift away from this case, and it will go to unsolved. The police chief? Well....I'm guessing they will all begin to make jokes about the guy who stabbed himself or his girlfriend stabbed him. They will pass a cake-knife around in the locker room as a joke. The skinheads? Well...they'd probably like to take credit for this and gain some glory but then they didn't really do anything. They probably think the snake behind the ear tatto is pretty nifty and they likely will all be getting a tattoo like this in the future. Life in Passau will go on.....and folks will eventually forget about this episode.