Friday, 31 July 2015

Pondering Over Cecil the Lion

I have followed to some degree....this Cecil the Lion story for the last three or four days.  It's a simplistic story.  American dentist saves up a ton of money ($50,000) and pays for a lion expedition in Zimbabwe.  No one says the cost of the airline ticket, the booze for the period while in Zimbabwe, the food bill, or incidentals.  I'd take a guess that it was a bit more than $50,000.

There seems to be a fair number of people upset by the shooting of Cecil.  Maybe on the friendly lion side of this.....having a name like Cecil.....and being a "blood-thirsty dentist" (as one comment suggested on a page)....maybe I can buy into this whole story.

The problem is....no one says much when a lion attacks a kid and drags him off into the tall grass for an afternoon treat.  I can venture through 300-odd newspapers in the US and I doubt if there's been a single such story over the past decade.

On average, just in Tanzania alone....there's around 70-odd lion attacks on humans each year, which result in death.

If you count all of Africa, on average....it's around 250 humans killed by lions each year.  If you counted in snakes, leopard attacks, elephants charging into villages, etc....there's probably a thousand Africans a year killed by wildlife.

In India, there's roughly eighty people killed yearly by Tigers.

No one ever says much over these events....unless you live in the country affected.  The local news in India will report each tiger-attack and name the poor woman or kid that was dragged off into the woods.  Tanzania newspapers will typically a lion-attack of a human on page one or page two, and likely sensationalize the event.  No, they don't ever assign a name to the lion because there's just no necessity to such a situation.

Had Cecil ever attacked a human?  No one suggests such and you can only guess that Cecil mostly stayed with four-legged animals for his lunch and dinner treats.

Are we pretty naive?  Well.....yeah.

We quickly bought into the story because of the friendly lion name of Cecil.  Had he been a "Cerberus" (demon of the pit), or Seth....we might have been less inclined to think that nicely of Cecil.

Adding onto this....we have a natural dislike of dentists because we think they are dishonest in their prices.  The fact that this guy had $50,000 to throw around on a lion-hunt license seems to bother some folks.

A big deal?  I have my doubts.  The sad truth is....this dentist could have paid the $50,000....gone over and spent seven days hunting some lion, and resting one moment by a stream.....had Cecil suddenly jump over a boulder and confront the dentist in a moment where the gun was six feet away.  Cecil would have chomped down on the dentist arm, then his leg, and then dragged the poor guy off into the high grass to enjoy an afternoon snack.

A Zimbabwe reporter would have arrived at the local hospital to get some pictures of the half-eaten American dentist and wrote a fine 10,000-word Steinbeck-like piece over the last day of dentist's life....what he ate....the fancy Chinese hunting jacket that he wore.....the fake Nike tennis shoes that he bought on the final morning....the last song played the night before by the washed-up British singer at the resort....the cheap local beer that he consumed in significant quantities throughout the day....and noted that some local tribe had assigned a curse with Cecil a decade ago....that he was a 'bad' lion.

It would have been a front-page story in Zimbabwe.  Oddly, the story would have only appeared in the local paper of the dentist on page two....noting his passing and noting his wife or kids were sad over this but noted that he died in the thrills of his hobby.  The gravestone would note somewhere.....'lion-hunter'.....in the remarks.

Yeah, that could have been the alternate story to the day, and no one would have raised a glass to the dentist or uttered some profane comment about the man-eater lion named Cecil.  We are that stupid, if you think about it.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Reality of Ted Cruz

Here's an odd fact to the next President's agenda.  Somewhere between 2016 and 2024....there's four Supreme Court justices who will retire. Presently, Scalia is 79.  Kennedy is 79.  Ginsburg is 82.  And Breyer is 77.  Toss in the possibility that Thomas at 67 (this year)....might be willing to retire somewhere in this period as well.  So maybe up to five replacements occurring.

Somewhere in the first year of the new Republican administration (my humble guess as to the winner of the election).....I think Scalia and Kennedy will give the nod because the Senate has Republican votes to back up the replacement of both gentlemen.

I will predict that Senator Cruz doesn't win the Presidency but gets picked up as the Attorney General and will actively serve in that post for five years.  Maybe with Thomas retiring by 2021....Cruz will be offered the position and accept it.

A shocker?  No.

Taft did the same thing, and if you look at Taft's history.....he actually wanted the Supreme Court job more than the President's job.  I think Cruz is look at this in the same way.  He reshuffle the Attorney General's office and impress some people.  In the end, he'll be in the right job.

As for this period of changing Supreme Court justices? I suspect the Senate will be more of a battleground as both Ginsburg and Breyer are changed out.  Oddball characters....likely in the late sixties.....might be selected, with some appreciation of a different crowd with different attitudes.

The Larry and Lincoln Show

I sat last night and watched eight minutes of RT (Russia Today) with Larry King's interview with Democratic contender Lincoln Chafee.

I've watched two speeches by Chafee over the past decade and will admit that he will occasionally throw out a wild idea out there that most people would get thrilled about.  The problem is...the other ninety-percent of his speeches are mostly....well....hot air.  On the Obama scale of enthusiastic speakers....Chafee is probably a 'four' at best out of ten.  

Larry's interview didn't really go that well.  I ended up thinking both guys were pretty low on passion and zeal.  If you were looking for some oomph in their conversation....it probably ended about sixty seconds into the episode. At the eighth minute of this conversation.....I changed channels.  Maybe it got better as time went by but with Larry and his style of the past couple of years....you shouldn't expect that.

As for Chafee in Iowa....against Hillary?  The field is basically Hillary, O'Malley, Bernie, and former Senator Webb of Virginia.

If you cross off Hillary, then most folks from Iowa will admit they've never heard of any of these folks.  No name recognition.  Maybe it's an odd thing, but you might reach a point where Democratic enthusiasm for the Presidential race in 2016 is a bit less than the norm, and it hurts various state-level Democrats as they try to get the public all pumped up over the election.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Book Review: Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday; An Informal History of the 1920s, by Frederick Lewis Allen.

First, I'll admit....from high school and college....the 1920s are the weakest area written and covered by any instructor.  I probably should have picked up this book forty years ago and read it.

Allen does a great job in detailing the lead up to the 1920s and the whole decade.  He explains the effect of World War I and the Wilson era.  He leads you through a simplistic chapter on Harding and his failures as a leader and man.  And there's chapters twelve and thirteen, which detail the bull market of the 1920s and the eventual collapse.  If you were wanting a concise description over a two-hour read of the period and Wall Street's' collapse and our decade-long depression....go to chapters twelve/thirteen.

I strongly emphasize reading chapter ten, which covers the alcohol period and growth of the mafia through bootleg sales.

What you come away with....is this significant change in America that comes from the war, women's voting, Prohibition and it's failure, and the arrival of innovation upon the doorstep of simple America.  We were never the same after 1920....we were an entirely different culture of people.

Chapter eleven will cover the boom and bust of real estate markets and closely parallel the decade prior to 2008's economic collapse in the US.  It's a shocker for most people who never heard of the various issues of the period.

An excellent book and worthy of any personal book collection.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

What If Trump Wins Iowa?

First, Trump shouldn't win Iowa.....my humble opinion.

There are ninety-nine reasons why it shouldn't happen.  If you sat down with some Iowa journalist....he'd naturally give you the full listing and just hint that it won't happen.

But, let's go with this odd thing that Trump connects to farmers and small town people.  Trump says something that makes them think twice over how they'd normally see a political figure.  Then Trump gets forty-odd percent of Iowa folks charged up to go along with him.

The evening reaction by CNN and the rest?  I think they'd be standing there in shock.  Blitzer might even ask for ten minutes to go and have a triple-double of something, and regain his composure.  Depending on how bad some of the 5th and 6th place guys do....Iowa might be the end for them.

The donor guys for the remaining five-odd players will then have a meeting and debate how they need to approach the whole thing.  Maybe a new strategy.  Maybe a new advertising gimmick.  Maybe go and look for some scandal in Trump's past.  The trouble is...you've got less than two weeks before things really get heated.  If you were really messed up with Trump worries....you've got very little time to renovate this program and go after Trump.

So the suggestion here is....if you don't want a Trump-wave to be active in January and February.....you'd best get ahead now and find a way to push Trump back in Iowa.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Oldest Trade

There's an excellent science article over at Haaretez (an Israeli science site) for this week. The topic?  Farming.

Some guys were digging around and found some things....did some carbon testing.....and then asked themselves some questions.  In the end, they came to this one brief conclusion over the dig.  They came establish that farming in this one small area of Israel dates back to roughly 23,000 years ago.  This means a group of people were no longer moving around.....they were in settlements and progressing toward some type of stabilized society.  They were growing wheat and barley.....which meant they were baking bread of some type.  Other evidence?  If you grow wheat and barley.....you need a sickle and they found one.  Yep.....the age deal on the sickle.....relates to the 23,000 years.

It's a major story because for years and years.....the science community has stuck to this story of man just having communities and farming.....for 12,000 years.  Now, they've had to go and double the farming claim.

Altogether on this site.....there are a hundred and forty different types of plants involved on this farm operation.  This wasn't a freak accident or small farm operation.  These guys had insight, figured out various crops that would grow, and fine-tuned their operation year after year..

This puts an odd twist on things.  Guys were standing around and living in a productive world for at least 21,000 years before the Roman era.  Twenty thousand of these years were before religion took root.  With the discovery of 140 different items in their fields or gardens.....these weren't just accidental farmers.....they had a trade and craft.  They knew what they were doing.

All of this brings me to this one single observation.  We are a society that tends to focus at best on the past hundred years and anything past that is difficult to grasp or understand.  In this case.....our real human history goes back well over twenty thousand years,and we are only now beginning to reach this idea.


Friday, 24 July 2015

The Kepler 452b Discussion

There's a lot of talk over this new planet found....Kepler 452b.  They think it's a Earth-like planet, 1,400 light years from Earth.....with water.  So far, it's the most Earth-like planet they've come across.  Naturally, this suggests the idea of life and this gets folks all excited.

I have a natural curiosity about such things and probably have spent more than a fair amount of time examining the issue of other planets and possible life.

I've come to this one observation.  Earth was pretty much on a process of life which was heavily determined by dinosaurs.  The predator-like process of life on Earth for millions of years.....was run by the dinosaurs and NOT by humans.  Only after a couple of chaotic events where dinosaurs got wiped out.....did humans gain the upper hand and flourish.

On another planet?  Well....here's the thing.  If they didn't have some meteor hit the planet....there's a pretty high probability that the dinosaurs still rule the process of the planet and whatever humans exist.....are in a marginal status of survival (worrying about food and being hunted are their only priorities).  Getting to an advanced stage?  It'll never happen without the meteor wiping out the dinosaurs.....like it did here.

So, it's a million-to-one chance that you ever find a living planet....where dinosaurs have died off and humans are flourishing.  You might find tons of living planets with dinosaurs or similar creatures.  But beyond that?  No.

I suspect in a hundred years.....we will have the capacity to travel at great speeds, and make this trip to Kepler 452b, and kinda discover that there's a lot of dinosaurs there but humans never get ahead on the power curve.

The natural question to ask here.....would we assist these cave-like humans in some way upon finding the situation as it is....killing off their dinosaurs and helping to advance to the next step?  Would we have some ethical debate with the pro-dinosaur crowd and the pro-human crowd?  Would we be on harsh mission of sorts, with serious implications about helping to advance the right crowd or wrong crowd?

Oddly, the minute that word got back to Earth.....a bold new planet has been explored and tons of dinosaurs discovered....I imagine that thousands of people would want to do a tour of the planet and experience dinosaurs first-hand.

In a way, I guess I'm even a bit excited about Kepler 452b.

Bowe and the Weed Raid

Our 'swap-soldier'.....Bowe Bergdahl......who is still waiting on a court episode with the Army.....got into a difficult situation this past week.  It's noted in the news (probably page six on most papers), that a county sheriff pot raid occurred at some farm house, and here in the middle of the house....was Bowe.

What is generally said....at least by the sheriff's team....is that Bowe wasn't part of the growing operation or the ownership.  He was detained and the authorities called the Army to ask about his status.  The Army noted he was supposed to be on leave, and in northern California....which is the location that he was found.

Course, the Army wanted to retrieve Bowe and a meeting was arranged where the Army picked the guy up.

What happens next?  In the 1990s.....if you got into a situation like this....the military would kindly ask you to provide a urine sample within a couple of hours after they got you back into their possession.  It'll take a couple of days for the sample to get tested, and the results come back.  "Hot"?  Well.....you get called to the commander's office and they read you a statement, and there's a process which goes into effect.  In most cases, in less than ninety days....you will get released with a dishonorable discharge.

In this case?  I'm not going to suggest that the Army will drug-test Bowe when he gets back to post.  He's already in a fair amount of trouble, and this?  Well....they are probably shaking their heads and thinking that's the type of character they recruited and shouldn't have had high expectations with the guy.

As for Bowe and the relationship to this particular pot-farm?  That might be a curious question to ask.  Maybe it was just a friendly meeting with no marijuana connection.  Maybe they were going to chat over NFL teams for 2016.  Maybe it was just an accidental meeting where Bowe stopped for directions and they were chatting about the weather when the cops pulled up with a search warrant. You just don't know what the whole thing was about.

Course, if you were writing a script for a tv movie.....I'd say they just added another twenty-minute piece onto the movie.  I'm suspecting.....more to come.

Monday, 20 July 2015

The Consequences of Stupid Rules

There is an effort underway to have Social Security tied to a rule that says......"marked subnormal intelligence or mental illness, incompetency, condition or disease" will cease your ability to own or buy weapons.

It's an odd deal.  It won't be coming out of the House or Senate......this is an executive office deal and yet to be finalized.  What the rule will suggest is that once you get onto Social Security and their database.....and you get identified with subnormal intelligence, your gun rights disappear.  It'll bring on a number of folks to defend the mental illness folks, which is a slippery slope to be on.....if you ask me.

But this brings on numerous consequences.  What if you have identified a Senator or House member with incompetency?  Will you remove him or her?  What happens if you have a sitting President who shows mental illness.....will this type of rule remove them?

Voting rights?  Well....yeah, if you are so incompetent and can't handle a gun.....how can you handle a simple vote?  Course, this would mean a national ID card and having to show it when you attempt to register to vote....something that freaks out some Democrats.

Can you allow this person to buy smokes or booze?  That's another curious consequence.

Could you allow such a person to even have a bank account, own a house, or even drive a car?  Could we remove your driver's license?

What is hinted in various articles is that the White House has already done the homework and know around 2.5 million people might fall into this category.  How many own weapons?  Unknown.  In the south, if some relative gets nutty enough....relatives come and remove their weapons from the home or trailer.  They do this without any law or judge's order.

I'm not sure of the competency of the folks in the White House and if they really thought much about this Pandoras Box.  Once you open it.....tons of problems can occur, and it gets pretty messy.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The Trump Lesson

After viewing the Trump 'fall' this weekend....over McCain's status or non-status as a war-hero...I've sat and pondered over what the lesson is over this episode.

Basically, if you ever decide to run for President as a Republican.....there are at least twelve things you need to admit to or swear an oath to.....if you intend to get 'respect'.

1.  Senator John McCain is a war-hero.  So are forty-odd million guys around America who've served during various war periods.  Even if you were only in uniform for six months and served chow at some Oregon Army post during the conflict.....you are a war-hero.  Reservists, active-duty.....it doesn't matter.  Just admit John McCain was a war-hero and get over the rest of the discussion.  Yeah.....he's not the kind of politician that you'd generally like and he should have spent time in jail for his savings and loan corruption business, but that's another topic.

2.  An eye for an eye.  Yep, you have to say capital punishment is acceptable in your book.  It doesn't matter if witnesses admit later they weren't at the scene or that prosecution teams use a lot of unfair tactics in the court-room.  Republicans expect their guy to agree on execution status for any guy who kills another.

3.  Be anti-drug!  It doesn't matter if the drug war is a failure and drugs are just as plentiful now as they were in the 1980s.  It doesn't matter if the public sentiment is for loose marijuana laws.  It doesn't matter if you can tax legal marijuana and dump millions into a state's economy.  A real Republican stands against any legalization.

4.  You must be pro-military.  Don't suggest anything less than that.  If we buy a tank that won't run for more than 300 hours without major repairs....well, you still need to support the military.  If we recruit dimwit high school kids who can only read at the 8th grade level, well, you still need to support the military.  If we get doped up and end up in some Libyan or Syrian civil war.....well, you still need to support the military.  If we hire up a bunch of contractors to do work that costs double what it'd cost via military personnel.....well, you still need to support the military.

5.  You must be religious.  It'd be preferred that you weren't Catholic, LDS or Jewish....but anything after that is ok.  Just pretend to attend some church once a month, and thank the Lord for something in every speech.  Without religion, you just can't win as a Republican.

6.  Admit lust and sex are never to be discussed in public.  If you got into some weird relationship with a bar-gal from Tulsa, or your wife has some bondage-like tattoo drawings on her body.....you've screwed up your chances as a Republican.  If you got engaged years ago to some topless dancer but then dissolved the relationship....well, it's too late to consider a Republican opportunity in life.  It's ok to be gay and Republican.....as long as you never hint that you are gay in any public forum, and usually stick to a anti-gay agenda.

7.  Don't be wicken.  Any hint of a witch or witchcraft background, and your Republican status is dissolved.  Don't even admit that you go to witchcraft theme movies.

8.  Be successful in jobs and money-making.  If you've been through bankruptcy court once or had a fantastic amount of debt....forget about being a Republican.....it'll never happen.

9.  Admit that Reagan and Lincoln were the greatest Republicans of all time.  If you suggest Coolidge was number one.....you just lost the whole thing.  Even if Coolidge did dozens of quiet but brilliant things....it doesn't matter.

10.  In any conversation over evolution and creationism.....you need to harp that evolution is just a theory....over and over.  If you ever suggest that evolution is slightly above creationism.....you just lost your status as a Republican.

11.  In any discussion over guns, you need to state that the right to a gun is absolute.  If you ever suggest.....in any public forum.....that certified crazy people ought not have the right to a gun.....you just lost your status as a Republican.

12.  In any discussion over taxes.....you need to harp on the need for tax reform.  To suggest that things are perfectly Ok and we don't need tax reform.....would dissolve your status as a Republican.  Of course, you never say what this reform would be, who it would help (usually companies), and how it'd ever pass in both the House and Senate.

The sad thing here....is that Democrats also have their dozen or so themes, that you must repeat.....to be a good Democrat.

Something to Think About: Chattanooga

There was an odd part of the Tennessee Muslim shooter's story (Muhammad Youssef Adbulazeez).  He finished his electrical engineer degree in the spring of 2013.  

What he did after that is kinda interesting.....he applied and was accepted for an internship with TVA (the Tennessee Valley Authority).....the electrical company that runs both hydroelectric and nuclear energy throughout Alabama and Tennessee.

To work with TVA, because it is a government organization....you require a security clearance.  No one says much over whether this was a Secret clearance or a Top Secret Clearance.  At some point in the entry process for internship.....there was a drug-test attached to the clearance episode.   Nineteen days into the internship, which would have eventually turned into a real job offer and real money (probably over $100,000 for an electrical engineer who has twenty years with TVA).....the drug test he took came back positive. 

No one says much of this....or what drug was identified.  They called Muhammad into the office and just said that the internship was finished.  He was let go.

The problem at this point is that where ever you go for the remainder of your life....working for some commercial company.....they might get a government contract and suddenly task you for a project which requires a security clearance.  This drug episode would come up.  If you were smoking pot on a regular basis and don't intend to quit....the private company will eventually wake up and realize your value on gov't projects is zero.  

In the early part of 2013.....he must have realized that the internship was the key job that he was going to work at.....asked some questions.....and realized that sixty days out....just quit smoking pot or using whatever drugs he was using.  He didn't realize the impact.

So, it's done.  Well.....there's this odd alternate scenario.

You see.....if the drug test hadn't come back as a positive....he would have gone through the internship in Cleveland, Tennessee.  Muhammad would have gone onto one or two junior positions and eventually worked himself perhaps in a decade to the nuke plant in Brown's Ferry.  There, with his security clearance and job requirements.....he would have been in a great position to disable the nuke plant, cause a massive leak, and endanger literally tens of thousands living in the local area....because of his religious fanatical beliefs.

Sadly, in a way.....we are better off with this nutcase killing the five Marines and Sailors.....than possibly killing tens of thousands of people with some radiation episode in Brown's Ferry years down the road.

I'm still waiting for the news media to figure this out.  

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Chattanooga Episode

I've read a fair amount over the past two days of this Chattanooga recruiter station shooting with the Muslim guy.  I went through a couple of local pieces by the Chattanooga networks, a couple of national pieces, and I've come to three basic observations.

First, this young guy.....the Muslim....Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez had likely reached a point not just six months ago, but probably even three or four years ago.....that'd he'd go and do something really stupid.  This was a suicide plan carried out from a long-term plan.  He had nothing on the positive side of life and this was supposed to define his 'legend' or his path to some other world.  As stupid and naive as it sounds....that's pretty much his whole character of his adult life.

Second, while people go and hear this comment over and over....."Islam is a peaceful religion".....there's a second theme out there in the Quran, which basically says.....lying to non-Muslims is perfectly OK.  It's prescribed by Muhammad, and you can turn on a dime with a five-star lie, and it never matters.  You can state that lie on some national news program or chat forum, with an absolute grin and pretend it's true when you know absolutely otherwise.  No personal quilt.  Think about it.....no personal feelings over the lie.....no matter how big or small it was.

When some guy or gal stands up (a non-Muslim) and they say they have a personal friend in some Muslim co-worker or associate.....well.....they might until they realize one day that a lie occurred.  When they stand there and ask 'why'......there just won't be any real explanation.  Then the reality creeps over the poor non-Muslim as they realize it was intentional and without any emotion.  Yeah, they were deceived.  Can a non-Muslim ever carry on some meaningful relationship with a Muslim?  Once you realize the lie implication could easily occur.....there's this line that develops.  It's not going to be a friendship existing.....if you ask me.

Third, if I were a curious reporter.....I'd ask what religious facility this guy attended, and then work on getting a list of instructors at the facility.  One of them......recruited this guy and worked on him for months to get him to the right attitude.  This guy was in the heart of Tennessee.....which ought to bring some folks to more questions.  The national reporters?  I doubt if they really care.  The local guys?  Maybe it's something worth asking.

If you think this is a singular event, you might be wrong.

Friday, 17 July 2015

The Ice Age Story

There were several news reports this week over a University of Northumbria project, which suggests that in roughly fifteen years.....we will enter a mini Ice Age.

Naturally, this got people hyped up a bit.

The details come mostly from sun activity and cycles.  What they can generally say....is that the sun absolutely has cycles and it's proven over and over by the data that they collect.  Unlike the model data for environmentalists which usually is proven to wrong.....the sun data goes through a cycle and you can note the impact or variations of the cycle.  For a climate change guy.....it's pretty tough work to disprove this stuff.  Naturally, it bothers the climate change folks because this means conflict with carbon efforts and warming efforts.

Naturally, if you got to the point of believing this....then you'd ask a question or two.  If we enter such a harsh winter-like period.....won't we use more carbon to warm ourselves?  Oh my....yes.

What we end up with?  Well....from the 1700s....winters typically started earlier and ended later.  You had a shorter spring and fall.  Heating?  Well....you can figure if you live up in New York or in the upper part of the US.....around twenty-five to fifty percent more heating than you currently use.  This might disturb some folks.

As we get closer to the anticipated period.....my humble guess is that environmentalists and climate change folks will argue that this is related to their mess, and has little to do with the sun.  After a year or two of extremely long and harsh winters.....they will lose the bulk of their believers....IF all of this comes to pass.  I'm not a hundred percent in belief over this, but I tend to believe in history repeating itself, and I know the consequences of the last mini ice age.

My humble suggestion is that you might want to get into some solar heating cells in ten years and wisely invest in more insulation for the house.  It might be worth it.

The Snake Story

I noted this morning in the news.....cops in Austin are saying they have a problem of an unusual nature.  Some kid died, and from the evidence at hand.....they say he had a pet cobra snake.  The snake bit him and he died within minutes.  The snake? Well.....he wandered off.  So far.....no one has found him.  There's an intensive search to be mounted by local authorities on Friday.

From time to time.....you will note news items like this where people build up some collection of dangerous snakes because of a fascination.  Occasionally, they get bit, and some live....some die.  It's a fairly dangerous hobby.

Back around 1984, I was briefly in Colorado and we had this episode to occur with a couple.

Authorities found them dead on some hilltop....mutual suicide deal.  They both had various issues and it didn't take much work to establish facts over the case.  The one odd thing were all these empty canvas bags in the back of the car.  So they went back to the house of the couple and noted these empty glass cages.

Cops asked questions of the neighbors.  The neighbors noted around twenty-odd poisonous snakes in the private collection that the couple held.  All were gone.

What the head cop ended up summarizing for the reporter....was this theory that the couple had released all of these poisonous snakes there on the hilltop....in the midst of the Rockies....into the wild.  This included a couple of cobras.  The snake expert included a comment or two into the story that winters are severe and he didn't have a lot of faith that these particular snakes would survive.  Course, he suggested this......he couldn't be sure.

It's been thirty years since that summer and one has to wonder.....if he was right, or if there's a whole hilltop infested with cobras in Colorado.  One of those things that you'd rather not ask about.


Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Exorcism in Mexico

I read a fair number of news sources throughout a normal week (probably over 1,000 news items).  Occasionally, you will pick up one item which demands a bit of pondering.

Roughly a month ago....the archbishop of Guadalajara (a state in Mexico) did up an exorcism of sorts.  Cardinal Iniguez got with some other Catholic priests.....huddled quietly in a room.....and tried to drive out demons from across all of Mexico.

No one is saying much over the success and there's some thought that it was way too big of a problem for just a couple of priests (you'd probably need two-hundred priests for the Mexico problem).

So, this brings around this solution to applying for problems in the US.  Could we work up some massive 10,000 priest operation and do a big-time exorcism in the US?

Naturally, some folks in Alabama would ask questions.  Would this mess around with legit sin (gambling in casino operations, drinking two-percent beer on Saturday night, conducting relations with the Dairy Queen lady or the Piggly Wiggly clerk)?

Then they'd ask if this was mumbo-jumbo and just fake?

Somewhere down the line.....they'd eventually ask if this were permanent or just a short-term solution.

Finally, some guy would ask if Satan was really responsible or were people just blaming their stupidity and lax morals on some fake thing.....thus not taking responsibility over themselves?

For some reason, I'm not buying into the Mexico exorcism episode.  Nor do I think most Mexicans believe the story beyond just a gimmick of the Catholic Church to fake people out.

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Old School

They are finally selling off (by auction) my old school (well, the one from the first grade to the ninth grade).  The auction company put up a couple of pictures and it'll be held in roughly three weeks.

The deal will compose a fairly new gym (at least 15 years old), a red-brick school building with five big rooms and a basketball court, a newer school area which has six rooms, a cafeteria, a library, a baseball park, and maybe a total of 40 acres.

My guess is that it'll go up to a separate sell on each, and then some last minute episode to sell the whole thing together.

The only things worth buying?

Well, here the problems and issues.  The old brick building looks nice but it's a renovation queen and would take at least $50,000 in repairs....plus heating the thing would be costly.  The cafeteria might be worth something but it's in the far back of the school.

So you are left with the gym and a couple of acres around it.....which might make it worth $60,000 in my humble opinion.  It'd make a fine store-front.

As for the ballpark?  Well.....what exactly would you do with the six-odd acres?

All combined in the final sale?  I can't see anyone bidding more than $100,000 for the whole property.  Someone might buy the building for an antique shop and multipurpose situation for the rest.  Beyond that.....I just don't see it being a hot property.

The red-brick building goes back to the mid-1930 period and probably has a lot of history tied into it.  But what does that translate to in 2015?  Will someone get real stupid and buy it for sentimental reasons and discover the reality of an old structure two weeks later?

My humble bet is that three-hundred people show up to just watch the event unfold.  A couple of guys will bid onto the gym.  Maybe two or three guys will bid on the ballpark.  And maybe some old retired guy will put a pretty low bid up for the remainder.

The building was used for roughly seventy-five-odd years and did well.....with over 10,000 kids who transited the facility and moved on in life.

Friday, 3 July 2015

The Flag Discussion

I've tried to make sense out of the dumping of 'Dukes of Hazard' over the Confederate flag episode.  To be honest, I've probably watched a total of three episodes over my whole life (145 total episodes made).  Script-wise.....there was no script and there didn't seem to be any real problems worth making an hour-long (43 minutes) episode out of.

My solution to this?  Make a big green digital circle, and put it over the afflicted flag when it comes over the screen.

You need to do this....because there will be other shows that you have to do something about....eventually.

For examples:

Baywatch.  There's all this tight bikini action and boobs hanging out.  You can run the show, but there needs to be a big green digital circle over the boobs.....in my humble opinion.

Ironside (2013 version).  I'd put a big green circle over the whole screen and just run ACDC music in the background.....it's that bad.

The Tudors.  Way too much boobs.....put the green digital cover over most women.

Rome.  Sex scenes about every sixteen minutes.

Mr. Ed.  You really can't allow kids watch the horse talking.  It's not real and it begs for some scientific angle.....like fake global cooling or fake horse conversation.

Game of Thrones.  Well....there's a bunch of killing and a bunch of sex.  Green dots ought to be popped up every 90 seconds for some reason.

I realize there's some Confederate flag showing up around sixteen times in an average show.  Will you cross off the flag in school history books or such?  Where exactly do you go with the symbology  business?

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A Twenty-Year Change

I'm presently in the middle of a six-book series covering the period of 1914 to 1929.  Since high school and college history books do a lousy job of the period....I've come to find a number of interesting bits of knowledge which kinda amaze me.

From 1900 to 1921, there's an increase of cigarette consumption and sales.....of sixteen times what it was in 1900 (1921).  We aren't talking double or triple here, but a huge number of smokes that rippled across society in general.

What happened?  Well....there are a number of reasons.

The war came, and I suspect that a number of people who didn't smoke.....participated in the war....got things on their mind....and ended up smoking as a point of relaxation.

Trucks arriving and transporting more cargo?  Yes.  In 1900.....you still had mostly wagons and rail as your method of delivery.  In 1921, you had the ability to send over an order and have it delivered within a reasonable amount of time.

More women smoking?  Yes, that's one of the odd things from the voting period changes.  Women felt they had just as many rights and privileges as a guy.

More advertising?  Yes.....marketing folks got smart and knew how to better present a product.

All of this meant more tax revenue and profit for grocery/store operations.

Another odd factor which I came across is the amount of material required for a dress.  By 1921.....it took only seven yards of fabic to make a dress......compared to almost twenty yards back in 1900.  Again, it represents a fashion change in women's clothing that few people talk about....even today.

It would be curious to see the amount of yards used in each decade, and how it lessened as time went by, and how the cost of fabric changed as well.