Thursday, 1 September 2011


I follow a lot of international news...stuff that won't normally appear in US papers, CNN, or Fox News.  It's being reported in the Swedish newspapers....that a local Swedish guy in Hedemora....thought he saw UFOs outside his apartment.

Naturally, as most guys would do....he pulled out his pistol and fired a couple of rounds to show Bakok, Dar, and the alien guys that he just wasn't going to be probed or taken easily.  The girlfriend (with her kid in the apartment)....hearing the shots but never seeing the UFO....called the cops.  The cops apparently came out but didn't startle the guy.  He told them to basically stay put until the alien UFO left.  Then he fired one final shot.  The cops entered the house....convincing the guy that everything was now safe.

Presently, there are charges pending....illegal weapon possession and making a threat toward a police officer.  The cops haven't said much about the alien craft, Bakok, or Dar.

I'm guessing that the Swedes are having a mental health guy talk to this guy.  They are hoping that he has real psychological problems....because they really don't need a bunch of Swedes running around....convinced of an alien invasion...buying pistols....and shooting out their window at possible UFOs.

My advice to this guy....the first time you appear in court....accuse the judge of being an alien and keep the act up.  The judge won't be able to keep a straight face and will eventually agree he's nuts....sending him off for six months of some mental rehab center where they detox you from invader feelings.  You get three square meals a day....a private room....a husky Swedish nurse to give you a massage once a day....and maybe the aliens never come back to visit you again (especially if the aliens think you are nuts).

An Essential Reading: The Forgotten Man

If I had a mandatory "must-read" list of a dozen books that a guy ought to read in his life....then "The Forgotten Man" would be one of the twelve.  I have finished the book and must admit that it essentially fills in a thousand questions that I've had since high school over the Great Depression, the cast of characters involved in the episode, and how things got so screwed up.

There are several fascinating facts that you suddenly realize with this book....that bring you to a vast moment of pondering.  Before Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover came along, there were seventy-four sizes of beds in America.  Somehow, he convinced the bed-makers of just settle upon four sizes, period.  You can imagine today...without this concept of'd go down to Wal-Mart and walk this long aisle....looking amongst seventy-four different size find the one and only size for you.  You might have had Colorado-long, delta-short, or maybe Kansas City-standard (my humble suggestions for the various sizes).  Before Hoover came along...we'd never had an engineer as President.  After his legacy, it's doubtful that we'll ever go back to an engineer for such a job.

I remember sitting in the twelfth grade and reviewing these twenty odd phrases which would be on the test for this era of American history.  This phrase "Roaring Twenties" kept me wanting to ask what made them roar....but naturally, the high school history book left that part out.  And I never got the explanation in five or six college history classes I took either.  The book lays out the decade prior to Wall Street collapse and how we actually reached a peak around 1936 with a depression inside of a depression....which is an odd reality of American life and politics.

Who was the Forgotten Man?  I was hooked on this phrase after watching My Man Godfrey last weekend. The book finally laid out this fascinating part of the nature of the 1930s.  A Yale professor....William Graham Sumner coined the "Forgotten Man" with a simple description of political ideology:

It is when we come to the proposed measures of relief for the evils which have caught public attention....that we reach the real subject which deserves our attention. As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X or, in the better case, what A, B and C shall do for X. As for A and B, who get a law to make themselves do for X what they are willing to do for him, we have nothing to say except that they might better have done it without any law, 'but what I want to do is to look up C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man. Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who never is thought of. He is the victim of the reformer, social speculator and philanthropist, and I hope to show you before I get through that he deserves your notice both for his character and for the many burdens which are laid upon him.

In essence....we have these odd characters who keep wanting to fix things.  If they'd keep the fixing business to themselves, we'd be ok.  But they can't allow life to function like everyone gets invited to be part of the fix.  As the professor points out....the consequences end up with you (the helper to A and B) as the intended end result.  You didn't realize the impact or the you get to be the forgotten man in this mess.

As I finished this book from 2007....I just kept pondering upon the various history lessons that it neatly fits into....with our recession of 2008 and the continuing depression-like situation we have currently.  It fits like a glove in some cases.

So if you have a dozen hours over the remainder of the year and wanted to add a book to bridge a vast amount of history that you missed....I'd suggest The Forgotten Man.  And I would force myself to stop about every six pages because it challenges you to think about people in a different fashion, and history in a vastly different circumstance.

Coming to a BX Near You, Briefly

Someone has put up the cash to create a new magazine....called OutServe.  It's audience is gays and lesbians of the US military.  To help get the magazine off the ground....they are printing the first two-months worth....and giving them freely away at military BX and exchange systems.

I sat and pondered over this.  Someone probably had the idea sitting around and was able to get a number of folks to toss some money into the pot to get this to the starting step.  But frankly, getting this beyond the initial first three or four magazines....I think will be just about impossible.  Most magazines starting out like this....have enough cash to publish for six months.  They need to show subscription levels get more funding from banks or other sources.  My best guess is that subscription levels won't go past six thousand by the fourth month.

In my early days in the Air Force while in Europe....we had this oddball magazine that was counter-culture military.  They had the juicy gossip on commanders fired or NCOs being drummed out for various illegal actions.  The BX carried it for a year or so but they just couldn't get subscription levels to ever take off.  By the end of 1978, the counter-culture military magazine of Europe was just about dead (they were talking about a quarterly magazine, instead of a monthly).  I see this magazine falling down the same path....lofty aims but limited interest.

The curious thing will be this question lingering at the end.....why didn't all these military gays and lesbians jump on-board and sign up for subscriptions, and someone will finally get around to the idea that maybe there just weren't as many as they thought they were.

The President's Speech (Updated)

After weeks of waiting for the President to spill the direction to save and create jobs in America....a sort of comical episode occurred today.  The President finally said he's ready....but he wants to do this in a national audience episode....joint Senate and House meeting....for next Wednesday.  There's a Republican candidate debate scheduled at the same time....for next Wednesday.  The debate?  Scheduled for at least six weeks.

How'd President arrive at Wednesday prime time?  Well....the only real listed reason is that he would have done it on Thursday but NFL football will be at prime-time.

But to get into a joint House and Senate situation....Representative John Boehner has to invite him.....which currently looks pretty doubtful.  Based on what I could read through.....Boehner got this phonecall about fifteen minutes before the press release that the President wanted to speak on Thursday.  He probably sat there and kept thinking there was something on his calendar already....he just couldn't remember what.  As the White House person kept talking....Boehner was thumbing through his $3 calendar that he carries around in his pocket, and eventually realized...'damn, that's debate night'.  He probably asked for an alternate evening and the White House said that just wasn't going to work....couldn't do it Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday.  Yep, just gotta be on Wednesday night.  Adding to this mess...if the President waited another week....there'd be the new TV season, and he'd have to compete against some hostile TV network bosses who actually want to profit from imaginary TV shows.

I sat and pondered over this.  The President and his staff obviously knew the Republican-planned debate weeks ago.  Why pick now?  I'm thinking there must be a great reason, but obviously....they don't want to reveal it at this point.  Why not discussing the matter on Tuesday?  Well....then the Republicans would get serious time to jump on the President's topics.  What he several days to pass....before the Republicans get a chance to debate this.  I'd imagine media attention for forty-eight hours to blitz the President's message....hyping it as much as possible.

So here's my suggestion.  Tell the President to do his message in front of both the House and Senate....without any national audience or TV cameras going live.  Tell the Republican debate crowd....they get no national audience or live cameras. Then rebroadcast both at either 1AM on Thursday morning or 1AM on Friday morning.  Any idiots who want to watch either....can tune in.  The rest of us?  We can switch over to the History Channel and watch Pawn Stars, or watch Bravo's Flip This House instead.  Either one would be better entertainment.

Oh, and for those of you all pepped up for the President's list of things to create's better than a fifty percent chance that most of these ideas have already been mentioned by the President over the last three years.  Don't get all peppy and thinking that brand new ideas are going to be invented out of thin air.   The magic fairy of job creation just isn't that charmed.

And one other thing for you to ponder upon....we've got this list of things that we've tried since the early 1930s to create jobs....which we've tried and it's best not to bring these back up for a second or third or fourth opportunity.  And you notice, there is another list of things which we've tried and usually succeeds in creating you might ought to use the old list here.  Don't go thinking you can be an Einstein of job creation all of a sudden.

UPDATED: It is curious....the President finally concluded that his staff probably screwed up on the timing of his speech.  So he's working on making this a Thursday night speech....going against the NFL.  My suggestion here....time the speech so it's a half-time show event.  Course, he'd be limited to forty-odd minutes of talking and the current half-time show would have to be cancelled.  The curious thing would be how many Senators and Congressmen would show up to watch the President that night....or run off to a sports bar in DC to watch the game.