Wednesday, 30 December 2009

My Troy


I watched Troy again last night. It makes the third time.

Homer's epic story is taken and turned into a great masterpiece of movie cinema. We can say that Brad Pitt did a fair job in the movie.....and the sex scenes weren't really detailed in any fashion within Homer's written works....but hey, it works.

The fascinating part about this epic legend...is that Troy really lies on the Turkish coast....not any part of Greece itself. The Greeks came over....because of the kidnapping of some king's daughter....and retribution became the turbo-charger of this entire story. Everybody has to pay somebody else back....which just takes the story up a notch each and every minute.

I grew up in Bama....on Classics Illustrated. If you've never heard of the 'comic'....it was a simple comic book of sorts....started in the early 1940s...and the first run ended around 1971. There are around 170-odd comics covering every major classic book in existence. At some point, I probably had thirty of them. For most kids....these comics were worthless and their prices for resale at flea markets were a nickel a copy.

For a kid from Bama...with no introduction to Greece, the classics, philosphy, or great literature.....these comics became a strange introduction. I was probably the only kid in the entire county....collecting these.

What I could never understand....was why teachers in the fourth grade didn't readily hand out the comics and go through an entire month of introducing kids to Homer, ancient Greece, Moby Dick, or Hamlet. You could have done a dozen comics over a four month period and challenged their minds greatly.

So as I sat there last night....to me....this epic of sorts....Troy....made sense.....because of a comic book I read around age eleven.

Body Scanner Story

Fox News decided to interview some guy who claims to be a Muslim spokesman over this idea of a full-up body scanner deal at the airport.

Naturally...he responded that Muslims would never stand for this. Reasoning? The pure bodies of Muslim women would be on display for some non-Muslim dude to view.

I sat and pondered over this...and then realized that the government answer to this problem...would be to hire only Muslim guys to run the body scanner operation at airports. Course....maybe I'm inviting problems?

Air travel for all practical purposes...is a luxury. It's not mandatory. You can go ride a Greyhound bus or travel via any cruise line vessel...without any real issues or body searches. So if we have to exclude folks from this luxury....we really aren't suffering too much.

Bush 2.0 Vision

The President hinted yesterday that “systemic failure” existed over the US's security operation. He even went ahead and admitted some missed signals.

What you don't see from this...which will likely occur within weeks...is another demonstration of how we are simply in the midst of Bush 2.0. We will go back to the old "orange", "red", and "blue" warning programs that Bush devised.

Oh, they may try to reorganize this and simply use numbers rather than colors...just to make an obvious difference....but basically...we are in the midst of Bush 2.0 for all practical purposes. To be truthful....nothing really changed from the Bush era to now...including the stupidity of the terrorists...which is the grand reason why we've been so successful (or lucky).

The Shade Deal


It was an interesting story, buried in the news this week. A crackerjack government team has orders to develop a computer model that shows climate legislation supported by the President's idea of planting more trees....would be 'more value' than growing food.

The Ag Secretary....Tom Vilsack ordered the study.

Naturally this is all supposed to benefit the profit margin of farmers....which would be the five-star selling point of such a study. But to be honest, the only way to improve the profit maring....is to remove farm land from production and lessen food production from within the US.

How would this all work? Basically...we pay you (it's another stimulus check of sorts....don't worry)....to take a open pasture or field...and convert roughly 60 million acres of American farmland in forests over forty years.

The logic....which is a proven fact...trees clean air. And forests do it better than farms. So heat-trapping gases get cleaned up and we stay pure....sort of.

Naturally, ranchers and farmers are distressed about this deal.

I sat and pondered over this...having grown up in the Bama heartland and know the plain truth about farms and agriculture.

There are a number of programs in existence...which the Agriculture department likely knows much about...where guys are already getting a tax credit for converting a portion of their farm over to forested areas. Naturally...this is normally a leased deal where you get a lumber company to come through...plant in bulk over a day in some field...and ten years later...you've got 50,000 pine trees ready to harvest. You pick pines because they grow fast and mature quicker.

In this case, since it'd be a cash stimulus type deal...there's no forcing of folks to turn over land or mandatory conversion to forests. They want to entice you with some deal to last forty years. I would have an assumption that this means a low check of sorts in exchange for a minimum of property...maybe twenty acres. The check arrives once a year...for forty years. I'm sure there would be a minimum number of trees required...and I'd bet that they settle on pines more than any other tree.

The truth of the matter...if you drove over the entire state of Bama...and looked for non-crop lands which had potential....five percent of the entire state might have the possibility of fitting into the scheme.

Lets say you had a forty acre lot for cattle grazing...but you drew a straight line over the middle (vertical and horizontal)....and set a one-hundred foot wide line for tree-planting purposes. You'd probably give up roughly ten acres. Toss in a second grazing pasture with the same trick...and you'd likely pass their test and really not lose much.

The neat thing about this entire offer...you'd do it for forty years...and then harvest the heck out of 'forest'. It'd be your son or daughter with the profit...but basically....you'd invest for the future.

The other great thing about this deal...is that we'd have to employ 1,000 forestry-degreed punks out of Auburn....to watch over and manage such a program. They'd all need Ford F-150 pick-ups to tour their sector....so the Ford guys would make a profit off the deal. And naturally...the Auburn forestry punks would have to meet in New Orleans each year on a government-funded trip to discuss the forestry future...and toss down shots of Tequila.

This would help to save the earth, provide a massive forest for shade, give the lumber industry a huge boost in forty years, help those poor Auburn forestry students get a real job, and the Tequila industry would be blessed from this yearly meeting of the forestry dudes.

The real bottom line? You'd get a check for probably $1,000 a year....just let trees sit on the property. Heck, that's a trip for you and the old lady over to Atlanta each year and watch the Braves play an entire weekend....with as much beer as you can drink.

NY Police Story

It's a curious story over at the NY Post (a fine paper to read)...the governor of New York....has doubled up his security force around him...by double....over eighteen months.

In most states....the governor typically has one or two state-troopers around him or his residence. States like California or Florida....it typically runs anywhere from twenty to fifty cops who routinely protect the governor and his residence.

So the governor of New York state....has 200 cops running his protection. Naturally...each guy costs a minimum of $70k each per year...so this runs way up in the millions. Toss in overtime, an extra allowance for holidays, the extra cars and their maintenance....and you've probably got $5 million going for protection.

Then at some point in the article....the Post correctly points out....over in Long Island...on an average day...there are 150 state troopers in the entire area. So the governor has more protection than Long Island. This kinda infuriates a number of state residents.

From my hometown of Florence, Bama....of 36,000 total residents...I doubt that they even have half that number of cops protecting the entire town. Something smells awful funny about this story.