Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Night Was Great

Best Quotes from the Republican Convention. I think they missed one; "I can't tell him to do that. I can't tell him to do that to himself."

Clint Eastwood was great last night. And you how I know exactly how much damage he did to Obama? Look at the reaction from the left. They have called him everything from dimwitted to senile. And Obama tweeted a picture of himself in his Presidential chair in response.

And then Marco Rubio. If we aren't calling him President Rubio in 20 years there is no justice in this world.

Now comes the hard part. The Republicans have talked the talk. Once we elect them will they walk the walk?

I freely admit I ain't much of a Republican; I'm a register Independent with definite Libertarian leanings. I have voted Republican since Reagan because I have never seen a Democrat I trusted enough to vote Libertarian.

We trusted them before, remember? They had the House, The Senate and the White House for 6 years. They screwed us in 2000, but we blamed the War on Terror. They screwed us in 2004; again, we blamed the War on Terror. In 2006, we fired a warning shot. They ignored it, and in 2008 we tried the Democrats.

Yeah, that really worked out well, didn't it.

In 2012 my guess is we will try them again, hopefully with both elected branches.

And then what?

The big trouble with our two party system is that it currently is a choice between Bad and Worse; Dumb and Dumber. In 2008 we thought nobody could out spend Bush.

We were wrong.

Lord, how we were wrong.

So its back to Dumb from dumber. Maybe.

We have Rand Paul now, and the Tea Party. All we can do is hope that makes a differnce.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I Want the British Press

While doing research on another post I ran into this article. Why can't we have reporting like this in the USA?

I would love to see an article like this about Obama.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Convention Time Again

Last night was a busy night, and I did not get to see any of the Republican Convention. I am trying to catch up tonight. Did you know the Convention can be live streamed? Instead of being tied to the Cable box or the TV I can go anywhere the WiFi will take me and watch the activities live, and without the commentary of the Lame Stream Media.

Right now I have the Convention booted up on the laptop while I'm blogging on the desktop. Ain't technology a wonderful thing?

Back in the day, when Conventions meant something, and the nominee was in doubt until the votes had been cast on the floor of the convention center, my Dad used to watch both Conventions from gavel to gavel. He was, what would be called today, a recovering Democrat. He was a registered Democrat for years, until he felt the party had swung too far from what he believed, and he became and Independent. Finally, in one election, I forget which one, he finally registered Republican so he could vote in the primary. And then promptly changed back to an Independent. I really think he kept hoping he could morally become a Democrat again.

It never happened.

But every 4 years he would haul the portable TV out to the pack patio and spend 2 weeks watching both parties set their platforms and nominate their candidates. And every four years he would come away disappointed.

And now, the Conventions are more of a commercial for the Party, both Republican and Democrat, than a news event. The vote for the candidate used to be the last thing to happen. The entire week would lead up to the vote, or in close years, votes, for the candidate, leading up to the acceptance speech from the newly minted candidate.

I miss that drama. I miss hearing the states during the roll call vote proclaiming first their individuality, and then their allegiance. "The Commonwealth of Kentucky, home of Fast Horses, Great Bourbon and Smooth Tobacco, casts its 42 votes for the next President of the United States....". It was always exciting; sitting in the dark, the only light coming from the small black and white screen of the portable TV, watching the drama unfold on the floor of the hall, whether from New York, or Miami Beach, Or Kansas City, you could feel the tension and almost smell the smoke from the numerous cigarettes and cigars that flooded the hall.

The vote tallies would climb, first a few votes here, and then a few votes there, with Huntley and Brinkley commenting in the background: "Well Chet, the vote from Minnesota for McGovern in this round was a given, wasn't it?" Then discussing the possibilities of the vote from Missouri going his way or not.

This year the big discussion was which state would put Romney over the top.

And seriously, I don't care which state it was.

I might just take the laptop out on the back porch and watch a bit of the activities, just for old time sakes.

Or not.

It wouldn't be the same without Dad.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How Do You Define Macho?

One of the items I read on Instapundit this morning was this piece: Ten Macho Movies Every Man Should See.

Wow; what a list. First; its from Popular Mechanics.

Say What? Why is an article like this in Popular Mechanics? I mean, the same magazine that at one time brought us plans for a do-it-yourself mini-submarine is now doing macho man movie reviews?

I don't know who developed this list, but my guess he is about 23, and has no idea what macho is all about. He is probably also a metro-sexual, who pulled some old movie names off of IMBD just so the crap he wanted to watch would at least look like it had some balance.

The comments section is just loaded with better movies that the junk in the current list.

For the record, I have seen the first five movies on the list, and not (Thankfully) any of the last 5. Of the five I have seen, Wrath of the Khan is the only one I have seen more than twice.

Maybe I just don't understand his version of macho (I keep saying HE, but it doesn't say who wrote the article; it is equally possible it was written by a she, or a they I suppose), or is his version just blood and violence?

To me, macho isn't so much about violence as manliness. The ability to defend yourself is of course a component of macho, but not the basis for it. I checked Wikipedia for their definition, an didn't like any I liked. They seemed to be rather down on the concept.

I also checked the Urban Dictionary; Home run! Definition #9:

Macho: Description of someone manly, specifically someone who ignores or endures discomfort to maintain the appearance of manliness.

The height of macho is jogging home after your own vasectomy.

That I think sums it up. Except... I'm not sure that a definition of Macho should include the word vasectomy?

UPDATE- I was asked today what is my opinion of the epitome of the Macho in a movie?

That's easy; John Wayne in The Shootist, his last film. The King of Macho.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Have Some Favorite Comic Strips Logo

And of course they are old strips. The Far Side; Bloom County; Calvin and Hobbes. I guess you can see the similarities, if you have ever read any of these strips in the paper.

But we are now in the digital age; some strips are available on the internets. One that I get to read everyday is Calvin & Hobbes.

Just in case you aren't aware, the strip tells the stories of a young boy- age indeterminate, but probably around 8- and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes. Well, actually, Hobbes is only a stuffed tiger for the rest of the world; he is a real tiger to Calvin.

It is usually Hobbes who has created the havoc that gets Calvin in trouble. Well, except for the trouble Calvin gets into on his own. Calvin is an only child; for very obvious reasons. Calvin will occasionally conduct a poll of the children in the house (Calvin) and warn Dad that his popularity is slipping based on, among other things, his support for an early bedtime. Dad usually takes these pronouncements in stride, aware that a coup is unlikely, although Calvin will usually threaten one.

Yesterday's strip was a classic:

Calvin and Hobbes

You can almost hear the chorus of "Been There, Done That" from the readers.

Something I did not know, until a few days ago, that the creator of Calvin and Hobbes is a native Ohioan; is a graduate from Kenyan College, and also has a Cincinnati connection.

It seems that when Bill Watterson did a stint as the Editorial Cartoonist for the Cincinnati Post back in 1980. He didn't last too long; just his six month trial period, but I'm going to call it a blessing. Had he left a mark as a Political Cartoonist, he would not have developed a favorite strip of mine.

At that would have been a real loss.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Its Been A Slow Sunday

Some of the things you see when you are out and about. And of course, by the time you have a camera ready, there is nothing left to photograph.

Yesterday we went to the Cincinnati Germania Oktoberfest, and, as usual had a great time.  On the way there we passed a cemetery with two big signs out. On one, they were trying to hire 'Sales Consultants', and on the other they advertising a 50% off sale. I guess, unlike most cemeteries, people weren't dying to get in there?

Another sign I saw last weekend when I out and about caused a pause as well. The large, upper sign, said "TATE TOWNSHIP"immediately underneath that was a smaller sign: "Zoning Enforced". Good to know. But I'm still trying to figure out how, as motorist just passing through, why I need to know that Tate Township enforces it's zoning? Maybe I'm supposed to report a zoning violation if I see one? Or maybe its aimed at Mobile Homes? I can just see a couple towing a 16X60 with their Camry, spot the sign and decide its time to settle elsewhere? or can something on my vehicle be a somehow considered a zoning violation? Who knows?

One of my favorites is one I see almost daily, at the entrance to a fancy subdivision. Carved into stone, and laid into a brick wall, it proudly announces the name of the development as "Canon Ridge". Really? I can"t tell if they meant to name the place after a religious law; Intended to name the development and the street after a camera company; meant to use the the name Cannon Ridge and the contractor misspelled the sign, and figured nobody would notice, or initially called the development Cannon Ridge, but found they could save $100 on the sign by dropping an 'N' and abruptly changed the name. I guarantee you the truth will never be known.

I do know of a case where that happened. I used to work with an ol'boy whose last name ended in man. The story he would tell was that his dad and uncle started a dairy back in their youth, and hired a sign painter to paint the name of the dairy on the storefront window. Since he charged 25 cents a letter, they decided to drop the last 'N' from their name, and save a quarter. I don't remember what happened to the dairy, but name change was permanent.

Amazing what you run onto sometimes, ain't it?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Friday Night At The Movies V

After some family discussion, it was determined we would break out an old family favorite last night for movie night.

Somehow the line: "Well, there was that one traveling salesman" came up in conversation, and we all recognized the movie, and we all realized it had to long since we had seen Second Hand Lions.

If you have never seen the movie, it is all about growing up, growing old and what exactly constitutes a family. And it has some great cars in the supporting cast.

And you can't beat the actors either. How Micheal Caine, as Great Uncle Garth, manages to pull off a Texas twang I'll never know. Robert Duvall, as Great Uncle Hub, does a great job, and Haley Joel Osment as their nephew Walter form a great trio. One review I read this morning:

(P)rais(ed) the performances of Caine, Duvall and Osment but said "Almost all the film's peripheral characters, from Walter's mother and her boyfriend to a family of grasping relatives, are clich├ęd in an overly broad, unfunny way that is unpleasant in itself and a marked contrast to the more nuanced performances of the trio of leads.

I think this reviewer missed the point entirely. The three main characters were real, and the rest of the world was a flat caricature compared to them, especially the two uncles. It's hard to say much, without giving away the film, but then, this isn't a crime drama who-dunnit.

Walter goes to live with his two great uncles when his dippy mother wants to go Las Vegas. No mention is made of his father, but vague references are made to Mae, Walter's mother, being a floozy, so we can leave his parentage to our own devices. Mae lies to Walter about where she will be, another in a series of lies, so Walter decides to make the best of his situation with the Uncles. The Uncles themselves are rather mysterious, having disappeared in Europe 40 years earlier at the height of World War I, and suddenly returning home with rumors of vast wealth floating around them.

It is their rumored wealth, and not themselves that has attracted not only Mae's interest, but that of the rest of Garth and Hub's extended family. Which I see as another key point of the movie. Walter enjoyed his great uncles as people; everybody else saw them as wealthy eccentrics, and they wanted at least a piece of the pie.

The movie centers around the stories of what Garth and Hub did for 40 years, as Garth tells these stories to Walter. As always with family lore, the veracity of these stories is called into question. Walter asks Hub at one point if the stories are true. Hub replies that their truth isn't the point; it's whether Walter believes them or not. Whether the stories are true or not is decided in the final scene of the movie.

As I said, the movie is about growing up, as Walter decides that he needs to take a position with regards to his mother, and makes her accept his will. He is only 14, but based on his life with his mother, he needs to become an adult so that their relationship has an adult in it, as his mother is emotionally a flighty child.

It is also about growing older, as Hub and Garth are aging, Garth because he believes he is supposed to, and Hub being dragged kicking and screaming into a land he has no interest in. Hub at one point talks about how for 40 years he had a use, and his biggest fear is being useless. Garth is more prosaic; taking up gardening, "because that's what retired people do".

But Garth does understand what aging is all about, as he says to Walter at one point:

Well, a man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and as restless as ever.

I think that line sums aging up very well. Us oldsters don't see ourselves as as old; we still see ourselves as 18, or 25, or maybe even 30; whatever age it was we felt on top of the world. We make concessions to our rapidly failing bodies, but unwillingly. We may look 52- or as in Hub's case, 72- on the outside, but inside we are still as young and capable as we were at 25.

Of course, Second Hand Lions fulfills my criteria for a good movie- good story, convincingly told. If you haven't seen it, you should. The critics hated it. In my opinion that alone is enough reason to take a couple of hours on a Friday night and slip into a world where fantasy may be truth, and reality exactly what you have made of it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Letter from Cousin Throckmorton

Dear Cousin Red,

H’its been awhile sinc’ I been able to write. Thin’s has been busy up here in the Holler. H’its an election year, and the mayor has been out cam’painin’. I t’ain’t been able ta cut the second hay, much less bale and barn it. Ev’ry time the Mayor sees a body standin’ still, or near to it, he’s on ‘im like a rooster on a June Bug. I tried mowin’ at 20 mile n’ ‘our, but it just wouldn’t cut hay. Any less’n that an’ the Mayor has his hand in your lap, spoutin’ out promises and askin’ fer yer vote.

‘Specially since he’s runnin’ unopposed. Again.

An’ don’t ev’n git me started on the President’s race. I fig’re we’re pretty lucky up here. Ain’t but ‘bout a hunnert of us up here can vote, so we don’t have ta put up with the visitin’ like y’all do. An’ we can kinda ignore most a’ the backin’ and forthin’.

I tell y’all, it is plumb annoyin’ listenin’ ta the Mayor talk about the issues facin’ the Holler. But I can tell y’all that I would rather here about that than the mud slingin’ them presidential boys is throwin’ ‘round. I think we got some real ‘portant stuff facin’ us here in the Holler, but it ain’t a flea on a year’s pile a’ el’phant droppings compared ta what the whole country’s facin’.

So I guess them some of is takin’ the easy way out. Makes ‘em sound like a bunch of sko’l kids, name callin’ an’ truth stretchin’.

‘Course I bet you can rec’colect that ‘lection we had up here ‘bouts a few years back. Times was good then.  Folks had jobs, an’ the jobs was dumpin’ the taxes in the Holler’s bank account. We didn’t have no issues. As y’all know, that’s been a couple a’ coon’s ages. That time the Mayor had him a real contest fer the job.

First the Mayor said his ‘po’nant did have the right experience fer the job. Then he called him un-edjamkated, seein’s how he hadn’t made it threw 6th Grade. 

The opposition hollered back. Talkin’ ‘bout how the Mayor was too young fer the job, and didn’t know his hat from a beer keg.

Then, when they met up at the Fair the mud- slingin’ really got hot an’ heavy. If’n y’all rec’colect that was year it was ‘bout a hunnert degrees in the shade fer a week, an’ that Saturday we had a rain storm that made every dirt pile inta a steamin’ pile a mud. An’ the Mayor an’ his ‘po’nant started slingin’ it hot and hard. Part a’ the argument later on was who chucked the first handful.

So say the Mayor grabbed up the first glob; others say he grabbed the second. Either way, pretty soon the Mud was coverin’ ‘em both pretty good.

The Mayor has pretty much run by himself ever since. Ain’t nobody since felt like bein’ a target fer the Mayor’s mud. 

But I guess that ain’t the first time the practice a’ cam’painin’ has kept good folks out of wantin’ to take office.

It took the Mayor’s Dad almost a month to git the mud outta his hair; he ain’t had the urge to run fer Mayor again t’either.

Best wishes from all of us in the Holler,

Throckmorton Q. Sheisseschnitter

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Well, It's Time for a Palette Cleanser

The last two days have been too serious. It's time for a spot of whimsy.

Where better to go for whimsy than Jay Leno?

I have seen pictures of this car before, but did not know all of the details. I can't improve on Jay's video; take 5 minutes and have your day made.

To say this car is over the top in weird would still be an understatement.

But there are several features I like. I'll let you guess which ones.

But I will tell you this. Old Plymouth Dusters had a rubber bellows on the floor board that was used to pump washer fluid up to the windshield. One stomp on the device would shoot an incredible amount of water on to your windshield.

Back in the day- which is a great way of saying 'back when I was young and fairly stupid'- I had an old Chevy Van that was redneck to the core. The exterior had some  plumbing companies name painted on it, so the owner prior to me had covered it up with Contact Paper (remember Contact Paper?) that had a pattern of small red periwinkles. Yeah; it was distinctive. The only thing inside when I bought it was the drivers seat. I bought some cheap carpet for the floor, and a friend of mine gave me his old living room couch, side chair and coffee table. I was all set.

What does this have to do with the Swan Car, or an old Duster?

Well; This:

I took one of the Windshield Washer pumps and one spray nozzle from an old Duster and rigged it up on the old van.

But not to spray the windshield. I had it rigged to spray out the grill, through a corner of the radiator. If I was sitting at a traffic light or stop sign, and somebody was taking too much time in the crosswalk, I would stomp on the Washer Bulb, and spray them with a half pint of water. They would think I had a radiator leak. And would need to bite my tongue to keep from laughing at the strange reactions from the sudden spray of water.

Like I say; that was back in the day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Definitions Mean Something

The Missouri Mess has caused me to think again about the abortion issue, and some of the problems with any position held, whether Pro-Life or Pro- Abortion.

Lets start at the beginning. Abortion was not created by the Supreme Court in 1973; abortion on demand was legalized. Prior to his point an abortion could be had, but there was a respect for life involved. A certain morality was involved between the Doctor and the patient, always considering the life of the mother and the life of the baby.

Back Alley abortions were illegal and dangerous. Very desperate women sought out these illegal providers, when a baby wasn't a a threat, but an inconvenience.

All of that changed in 1973 when abortion on demand became legal. Morally the country was torn apart, as a significant portion of the country- at least 50%- still considers the killing of a child a sin and a crime.

As a libertarian, I agree with the Pro-Abortion crowd one issue. Your body belongs to you alone. It is your decision what to do to and with your body.

Where we part ways is when the decision about creating a child is made. When you, as a women, decide to participate in an act that could lead to procreation, you have made the decision about whether or not you want a child. If a child is created, any decision made after that point has to include the life of the child; a separate and distinct, but dependent individual.

Science is somewhat vague on the creation of life for some reason. Each developmental stage of the child is called by a different name. Abortion relies on the child not being called a baby in order to make the operation palatable. Your not killing a child, your removing a blastocyst; a zygote. They argue that the "growth" is not human.

I would argue that from the moment of conception the child is human. It would be physically impossible for the joining of human sperm and egg to become a chicken. So, by default it has to be human. That human, no matter how small, is entitled to all of the legal protection of any other human.

I have been told that the hardest thing in the world is to bury a child. I hope I never find out how difficult. I also cannot imagine how had it would be to make the decision to kill my child. The situation would need to be extreme, and the choice would be saving the life of my wife or saving the life of child. I can't imagine killing one of my children out of convenience.

And yet, some women seem to be able to do so on a daily basis. They apparently do not believe that they are killing a child; their child,

I am sure it is that point right there that creates the difference between the two sides. One side cannot believe the zygote is a child, and the other side cannot conceive of a situation where it would not be.

The biggest crisis for the Pro-Life side is the rape and incest situations. The woman in this case has not made a decision; the issue has been forced on her.

And here is where I think Todd Akin got in trouble. Men recognize a legitimate rape; one where a man has legitimately forced himself on an unwilling woman. Unfortunately rape has been devolved down to the woman deciding a few days later that was at the time consensual sex is now a rape.

I have never been involved with a rape of any sort in any manner. but I do have a little legal training. Any act has to have set parameters in order to define the act. If 4 conditions form an act, then having only 3 of those conditions means you do not have an act. When rape required a non-consensual act, and that act was immediately reported, rape was easily defined. But when a rape is reported a month later, and only because a pregnancy has developed, the crime of rape has been cheapened.

For instance, the whole idea of date rape. The idea of rape denotes a non-consensual sex act. It doesn't matter if the women knows her attacker, or does not, if she has been the victim of a non-consensual sex act, she was raped. But if it takes here several days to decide the act was non-consensual? I'm sorry, maybe I don't understand rape. I imagine it as a violent act; a definitive violation. For context I would compare it to being punched. It doesn't take several days to realize I was punched; I am immediately aware.

Again, I have never been through a rape. I also don't claim to understand the psychology behind how the act would affect a woman.

But I also cannot imagine under going the violation of a rape and not wanting to exact all of the legal revenge I could.and that definitely would include a police report; particularly if I knew exactly who the attacker was.

Personally I think technology has created a solution for us to requirement for the rape abortion exclusion; the Morning After Pill. One can be administered to the victim as a part of the rape crisis kit.

I really don't expect the abortion issue to disappear until one side or the other dwindles down to less than 25% of the population. Currently the Pro-Life side is gaining adherents, while the Pro-Abortion side is dwindling. It's easy to see why; which parent do you think would be more likely to carry a baby to term?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Missouri Mess

Sometimes you can see exactly what's going on, and sometimes you can't. You look at a situation and just are forced to scratch your head.

I'm talking about the Missouri Senate Race, and the Republican candidate, Todd Akin. I am very curious what everybody in this mess is smoking.

Background is this, basically. Representative Akin in Pro-Life, to the point that he opposes abortion for rape and incest. Apparently he was on a TV interview recently where he 'misspoke':

The uproar began Sunday, when St. Louis television station KTVI aired an interview in which Akin was asked if he would support abortions for women who have been raped.
"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said.

First, in Todd's defense, I seem to recall being told exactly that same information in high school Biology class. I have no idea if the theory is still considered sound, or even if it was considered sound in the late seventies, but I seem to recall that if a woman was raped, her body would endure stresses that would create hormones that would cause a 'spontaneous abortion'. If I remember correctly, this was presented in Biology class as fact. So, he may have had some basis for misspeaking.

But my concern is the reaction from the RIGHT. I was listening to Hannity yesterday when he was brow-beating this guy to quit the Senate race. It raised my eyebrows, especially after all of the Tea Party support that Hannity has proclaimed.

In the Primary, Akin was the Tea Party favorite, handily beating the party's backed nominee. Allegedly some of commercials that supported him in the Primary were paid for by Clare McCaskill, his Democratic opponent in the General Election. Whether it is true, or just sour grapes that McCaskill was picking the candidate easiest to beat in the general election, Akin did win.

Yesterday Hannity was trying to guilt this guy into quitting the race, making it seem that the entire recapturing of the Senate for the Republicans rides on Akin beating McCaskill; a determination that is now in doubt. He was constantly brow beating Akin with how important his win was to the Republican party.

But Akin believes he can still win. and is refusing to quit. So, in response, the National Republican party is threatening to not contribute any funds to his campaign.

It is vitally important to win Missouri, but apparently not important enough to back Akin? What!?!?!?!

I'll tell you what I think. I think the Republican establishment is getting afraid of all of the Tea Party candidates, and has seen a way to get rid of one. That last thing they want is to have a 51 member Senate, with 10 of them being Tea Party. It might mean the end of big government.

The only thing that doesn't fit is Hannity's spiel yesterday. Unless the Tea Party support from him has been a shill, and he is actually an establishment plant?

Otherwise, I don't see how this one misstatement can become that big of an issue.

Something just doesn't pass the smell test with me.

UPDATE: Listening to Limbaugh right now. He started off talking big support for Akin, but them drifted into a call for him to make a "Good" decision, with "what's best for the country in mind". Apparently also, if Akin quits before 5:00pm today, the republican Party gets to pick the replacement.

Something didn't smell right before; now it is reaching the high odor of rotting flesh. I think I'm right; the Republican establishment is scared to death that they will need to take Tea Party concerns in to account while governing in 2013.

And their not liking it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Tree and The Acorn

I know you've heard the old saw about the acorn not falling far from the tree.

Well, Saturday my second oldest officially became a redneck.

Jeff Foxworthy defines Redneck as 'a glorious lack of sophistication', a definition I agree with. But there is also a individualistic, self-sufficient bent that I think is a requirement in a good Redneck. Here is my son's story.

Apparently Saturday afternoon he wanted to watch a few movies on DVD. But His DVD player wouldn't work. So, unlike your hipster-dofus, who would grab a credit card and his password to Amazon. my son grabbed a screwdriver. And started dismantling his DVD player.  After a few screws, he discovers the problem. The drive belt between the motor and the spindle that drives the DVD unit is broke, and laying in the bottom of the player.

End of the day, right? Not by a long shot.

Our intrepid young Redneck does not let a broken part stop him. He goes On the Hunt for a replacement. But where do you find a replacement drive belt for a cheap DVD player on a Saturday afternoon?

Why in the basement of course!

Not that I have a stockpile of old DVD players in the basement; I don't. But what our Redneck Repairman is looking for is flexible piece of rubber, like a rubber band, but a whole lot smaller.

When ever I replace a burnt out headlight bulb, I replace them both, and put the one that still worked on the shelf as a spare. That way, if a blow another bulb I can put in the old one until I can get to the store for a new set.

Well, something even I didn't know is that the rubber ring that the bulb maker uses to seal the bulb into the headlight housing is exactly the same size as the drive belt in cheap DVD players.

A few seconds to slip the seal off of the bulb and Voila! a new drive belt.

The player was reassembled and has been working steadily and well ever since.

For those of us with a special bent, this is a proud moment.

Almost enough to bring a tear to an old man's eye.

Except he had to go and ruin one of my spare headlight bulbs.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Fair and Biased Press

I was talking with some friends the other day, and as usual the conversation turned to the upcoming election.

Will we keep the House? Will we win the Senate? Will we dump Obama?

During the conversation I had an off the wall thought.

I will allow the Dems to keep the White House and the Senate and give them House. I just want one thing in return:

A fair and honest Press. I want every TV station and Channel; every newspaper and magazine to honestly report what is happening in Washington and every state capital. If that happens for the next 4 years, Then I'll happily vote for a Democrat.

I figure the odds of that happening are about the same as me hitting the Powerball and the Mega Millions in the same week. Twice.

You know what bothers me? We have had a Constitutionally had a free press in this country since 1787. And we have had a biased press since 1787.

The thing was, in the old days you knew the Newspaper was biased, and you read it because of its biases. Today it's CNN & MSNBC on the one side, and Fox News on the other. Back in the day, in Cincinnati at least, the Democrats read the Post and Times Star; Republicans read the Enquirer. You knew how the news would be reported, and expected that bias. The newspapers prided themselves on that bias.

I have access to a unique collection of old Cincinnati newspapers. One day in 1915 a carpenter hung a full length mirror on a bathroom door, and stuffed some of yesterday's newspapers behind it to keep it from rattling.

A couple of years ago they were pulled out. What the carpenter had used were almost complete editions of the Cincinnati Enquirer; the Post and the Times Star. The big news the day, at least internationally, was a German victory in a battle in WWI; a war the United States had not yet entered.

In the Enquirer, it was front page news; full page, with pictures. In the Post, it was a small article on the front page, below the fold. In the Times Star it was buried inside; second or third page, or maybe further back. The big news in the Times Star? A Gas and Electric rate hike.

Each paper played to its base, and unabashedly proclaimed its bias.

And then everything changed. It was subtle at first, but lately has become blatant. Like almost everything else in modern journalism, it hit about the same time as Watergate; when two reporters became bigger news that the story they were covering- Woodward and Bernstein.

Now you will not find a news outlet that with tell you they are biased. and adherents of any particular brand will not admit the outlet they follow has a bias; theirs is the one unbiased outlet; its the rest of them that are biased.

I also find it interesting that once outlets started hiding their bias, they started going under. Locally, the Post went under 5 years ago. The Times Star had merged with the Post in 1958. The Enquirer is hanging on solely because it is the last newspaper in the area. TV News is ratings wise in the dumper as well, and dropping. Can we even mention 'Ratings' and CNN in the same breath without running afoul of some liberal morality double standard?

So where are folks getting their news? Why from biased internet sites; sites that clearly proclaim their bias.

Gee; now ain't that interesting?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Today, In the Comics Logo

One of the things that allowed me to cut the newspaper cord was finding a free site for online comic strips. Sports I have always been able to do without; weather was easy; look out the dang window, and the radio will always give me the news, along with the internet.

But I had to have my Comics fix. It just ain't Sunday without the full-color, multi-panel update on the latest adventures of Beetle Bailey and a couple other dozen characters.

One day I stumbled on Go Comics. My comic strip fix was in the bag.

Now every morning I can sit at my computer and read a collection of the strips that I want to see, without having to skip over Mary Worth and Rex Morgan, awhile wishing the paper would replace them with something I want to read.

Life is Good.

But I told you that story to tell you this one.

This morning I ran across this comic:
Speed Bump

If this doesn't capture the hipster-dufus as a parent perfectly, I don't know what does. Well, except that they seem to have large coffee mugs instead of Starbucks cups.

This one panel and one line covers everything. The kid is crying; its normal to cry (if you are a hipster-dufus anyway) if you are emotionally upset, so the baby must be emotionally upset, and needs therapy. And it is 'dad' (?) saying this, while holding his purse. Immediately the crying of his child has become a problem somebody else needs to deal with.

Classic liberal thinking: I have determined that this issue is not my problem (because, hey; I don't feel like dealing with it); the rest of you need to handle it.

Doesn't that cover almost anything? Homelessness? Government programs. Hunger? Government programs. Still hungry? Larger Government programs. Name an issue? Lets get a Government Program to handle that.

Once he has begun a Government Program to handle the issue, the liberal is done. He no longer needs to worry about (Fill in the Blank Issue), because the Government is handling that now.

Which is probably why our young hipster-dufus parents are ready to take their child to therapy; the Government is handling the bill, so no worries.

I also found a second strip today that I just had to comment on. In some of my posts, I have casually mentioned, the fact that I like to drink beer (Apologies to Tom T. Hall). And one of my favorite places to drink beer is the Hofbrau Haus in Newport Kentucky, especially in weather like this in the Bier Garten,

Well, apparently I have been missing the point.


This can be considered a HOBBY!

Who knew?

Friday, August 17, 2012

I No Longer Carry A Cell Phone

I was watching Star Trek the other night and realized I need to rename my cell phone. I now carry a Communicator.

Think about it. 'Phone' is such a limiting word. And it only describes a small fraction of what the device does, especially if you have a Smart Pho... Communicator.

I probably spend less time using my Communicator as a phone than I do anything else. Emails, Texting, Games with Friends, Information from the Internet. I'm even reading the Complete Sherlock Holmes.

The Communicator Captain Kirk carried only did one thing; kept him in touch with his ship through voice communications. Mine keeps me in touch with family, friends, co workers- the entire world. And it does video.

And it fits in the palm of my hand, and can be carried anywhere on my belt.

It's a Communicator.

The only thing wrong with the word is its length. Phone is a nice one syllable word. Even Cell Phone is a short two syllables.

"Have you seen my Cell Phone?" rolls off the tongue, especially with the constant usage that phrase gets.

"Have you seen my Communicator?" has those extra 3 syllables that make it awkward.

Maybe we can shorten it? Maybe Commie? Except "have you seen my Commie?" may have a bad connotation. And I think Commie already has another meaning.

Phone is actually short for Telephone. Maybe  K-tor. "Have you seen my K-tor?" is short enough, but sounds evil.

Maybe Cater? "Have you seen my Cator?" It's short enough, but doesn't have the right ring.

Maybe CeeGee; short for Communications Gateway?

 I think it's perfect; short, has that rhyming thing going on, stands for something longer, and is incredibly descriptive of the device we all carry.

Now I just need to figure out how to get it into general circulation.

Act of Congress?

Nah; if the Repubs are for the Dems won't be.

Apple. I'll bet if I can get Apple to start using the term, then it won't be long and everybody else will too.

As much as I hate Apple and it's products, you can't deny the force they are in the marketplace.

So it won't be an Apple iPhone 5, but an Apple iCeeGee5.

That has a ring! I'd better start looking into licensing...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Old Times I Ain't Nostalgic For.

Well, I think we are finally getting the Spring weather we should have gotten in May. It has been flat beautiful around here lately.

Temperatures have been normal, but the humidity we normally have in August has lit out for parts unknown.

We had our family reunion last weekend, and for the first time in recent memory I didn't sweat off 10 pounds just standing around in the shade. (Damn the bad luck; now I'll actually have to work it off.) And last night I spent a couple of hours reading on the back porch, and my book didn't turn back into a sweaty pulp like it normally does this time of year.

And we haven't had to run the air conditioner; money in the bank my friend; money in the bank.

But I am a realist. I know eventually the weather is going to change. First its going to get hot and humid, and then its going to start getting cold. And the snow will start. If we're lucky it will hold off until after the Fair to snow. Hell, it was only a couple of years ago we had 5 inches of snow in the middle of October, I remember several Halloweens where everybody's costume was a coat, gloves and ski mask.

My biggest fear is another winter like 1976- '77 and 1977-'78; the nastiest winters in recorded history in the Cincinnati area. The Ohio river froze solid, and people actually walked across it. It was COLD. We went an entire month without a temperature higher than 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

And the snow; 53.9 inches over the winter. Almost 4 and a half FEET of snow.

So why am I dredging up horrible old memories?

Because I have seen ONE long range forecast for this year, and it is calls for a repeat of the late '70's.

Ain't it bad enough we have to suffer through another Carter Economy; do we have to suffer through Carter's weather too?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Well, That Worked Out Well

By now I suppose you know that yesterday we lost Margaret Thatcher. Without a doubt the world would be a much different place if she had not had a such a prominent place in it. She was Ronald Reagan's right hand when it came to battling the Communists in the 1980's, including cleaning out a few socialists in Great Britain.

We are richer for having known her; and poorer for our loss.

Technically, Mrs. Thatcher was once my boss.

The US military overseas is usually a former conqueror. When we set up a base, we do under our rules. England is and exception, because the bases were set up during WWII, for the most part, and we came as Allies. So when  you are in the US Air Force, and stationed in England, you are not on an American air base, but an Royal Air Force base, and under the command of an RAF officer; who is under the command of the Queen (currently) and her Prime Minister.

When I was in England, that was the Iron Lady.

(Well now; ain't this embarrassing!

Here I am in the middle of a blog post about the death of one of England's greatest Prime Ministers, and I hit the Internet for a few facts.

And one of the facts I find out is that, like Mark Twain, the reports of her death have been greatly exaggerated. Well, Twain's death is no longer greatly exaggerated, but, I digress.

Apparently the entire thing was a Twitter hoax. Rather appropriate; in England a Twit is a fool.

In my defense, I heard the rumor as breaking news on Hannity's radio show yesterday, and took it as Gospel. He never said the 'BREAKING NEWS' was from a dippity-dang Twitter post.

Well; now what? Do I continue with the post, or save this for when the news of her death has NOT been greatly exaggerated?

I guess I will just soldier one in the face of adversity, in the best British fashion.)

I have another, somewhat more personal, connection to Mrs. Thatcher.

A few years ago I met an extraordinary women as a part of a special project I am connected with. As she and I were having lunch, she mentioned that just the day before she had had lunch with Maggie Thacher to celebrate Mrs. Thatcher's birthday.

I felt doubly honored.

It has been said that we anever more than 7 handshakes away from the President (I would prefer to be more than that from our current President, but, I digress); that afternoon I was not only ONE handshake away from Ronald Reagan- I was one handshake away from Margaret Thatcher.

How many other Rednecks can make that claim?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Harry Reid Says

That he has an unnamed source from Bain Capital who says Mitt Romney hasn't paid taxes in 10 years.


You know what amazes me about this claim?

Romney has been the presumptive candidate for almost 2 years now. 2 years while Obama has been in charge of the IRS.

Do they really, I mean REALLY expect me to believe that if they had Romney on a 10 year Tax Evasion charge he wouldn't have been perp walked already across the White House lawn?

Or Obama not having Mitt do the perp walk out of professional courtesy? You know; from one tax cheat to another?

Face it; even the Dems don't believe the story. They are on a fishing expedition; trying to get a look at Romney's returns, so they can exploit the information any way they can. Everybody knows that.

Besides; there are other ways to defeat Reid's charges; Romney can authorize the IRS to release the information that he has paid all taxes due since his first reportable income, without releasing any numbers.

Or Romney offer to release every year that Obama, Reid and Pelosi release. There's a safe bet he won't need to release one.

It's all Democrat illusion. Can't run on HOPE and CHANGE any more; so lets have Obama run on his record!

Yeah well, his record of change is why we have no hope left.

They only thing they have left is making sure Obama's record isn't clearly seen.

I'll bey his slogan, to be unveiled at the Convention- the Convention every contested Democrat is avoiding like the Hall is full of quicksand- will be:

Smoke and Mirrors!

And even then, some idiots will buy it.

At least enough to vote for Obama again.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I May Have Become a Birther

Okay, what we have here is just... well; it's just.... indescribable.

I was scrolling around on The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys this morning when I ran into this video. It is indescribable.

We have a video of a man doing a pole vault. Yeah I know its only 7 foot 2 inches- the world record is 20 feet, 1-3/4 inches for pole vaulting. Hell, the world record for the high jump is just a touch over 8 feet.

Neither of those guys was 90.

Yep; a 90 year old man doing a pole vault. How do you do that? Stay that limber and physical at that age? I am little over half his age, and nostalgic for when I could do things like that.

Hell, I never could do things like that. I tried, back in High School, but tripped over the damn pole.

At an age when his peers are worried about falling getting out of bed, if they CAN get out of bed, this man is pole vaulting.

Because of Saturday's post, I wanna see a birth certificate on this guy. I'll bet he's only 40, and has dyed his hair.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Romney and Ryan

Sounds like two brothers-in-law in a small town law firm doesn't it?

Romney's VP Pick is, in my opinion, the most important thing Romney will do in this election season. Done right, it will reunite the party and energize the base.

Done wrong, and a lot of voters will stay at home and sit on their hands instead of voting with them.

So, how did Romney do?

Well; I'm not sure.

Ryan is an asset, in that he is a budget driven. The cost of government is hurting the economy, and the bad economy is not creating jobs. Shrink the government and its tax and regulatory burdens, and the economy will create jobs. To those of us of a certain political leaning, these things are as basic as ABC/123.

The question is the independents. Will they see a shrinking of government as a good thing or a bad thing? Based on the polls I have seen, I think they will. Ryan is a plus here.

Typically, the VP is the insider; the one who knows there way around the Capital building and its denizens. Why do you think Obama saddled himself with Biden, or JFK with LBJ? Or even Reagan with Bush? McCain didn't need an insider; he was the insider. The insider won't help you get elected; the insider helps you get things done. Is Ryan enough of an insider to help Romney get things done?

He may be. He has been in positions of power in the Republican House, so it's possible. But with only 14 years in the House; is that enough time to have earned the control he will need? Well, Romney needs to win first; this point is a wait and see.

Usually the VP pick is an electoral strengthener; again, see Reagan and the Texan Bush. Ryan is from Wisconsin, which has been reliably Democratic in the past, but is seen as being 'in play' this election cycle.

Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes may not seem like much, but remember; Bush only beat Gore by 5 electoral votes. And making Wisconsin Red instead of Blue is a 20 vote shift. Will Wisconsin go Romney/Ryan? I think with Ryan on the ticket we can call Wisconsin for the Republicans. Definite Plus.

The Two White Guys Ticket. It sounds like a bad skit from the depths of SNL's worst years. Obama has already been hammering Romney with a charge of wanting to take the country back to the 1950's; there could be points for him in caricaturing Romney/Ryan as stuck in the past, or failing to see America is now fully integrated, and has millions of citizens who are people of color.

And Obama may do just that. It will play well to his base, but how well will it sit with the independents? Especially when Ryan is hammering home the need for a budget- HIS Budget- in the Federal government? It is the independents who will decide this election, just like 95% of the time. Unless we can create some Romney Democrats. Anything is possible; there are some Democrats who are waking to just how bad Obama has been. But will they vote for Romney? At this point I think they won't. But maybe Ryan can energize them?

Romney's team obviously has access to a lot of information I don't. Polling data in particular. They looked hard at quite a few capable individuals, prior to picking Paul Ryan. They would have considered all of the points I have talked about (plus a hundred more I could only guess at), and came up with Ryan as the best candidate.

I also think Paul Ryan has the Conservative 'street cred'  to cause the Conservative wing of the party to return to the fold by choice, and not by default. That will make a difference with fund raising and campaigning. Folks may have to vote for Romney- Obama ain't much as a real choice- but Ryan may make them WANT to vote for Romney. It may not seem like a big difference, but it is.

We'll all find out if Romney was right or not in 86 days.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Friday Night At The Movies IV

Last night I was looking for a movie on Netflix and found an old TV show instead; Highlander.

Its 20 years old now, but still interesting; the three episodes I watched last night held up well. My basic requirements were met; a good story, convincingly told.

In case you're not familiar with the premise of the movies and the TV show, our hero is Duncan McLeod; he is 400 years old, and one of a collection of immortals roaming the earth. There are good immortals, friends of his; and bad immortals, usually one an episode, who loses his head. Literally.

It seems you can kill an immortal, but the only way to make him stay dead is to cut off his head. So every immortal carries a sword with him- or her- everywhere. Just in case he happens to run into another immortal who needs to lose his head.

I know, stated like that it sounds cheesy, and could have been if handled differently. The shows I remember were always well done, and had the extra bonus- for me anyway- of telling the back story of the immortal that Duncan would meet in each episode, usually from a couple of hundred years ago, when the two immortals had first met. You can make a lot of friends (and enemies) in 400 years.

I remember the show ran in syndication on on Friday nights, about midnight. The kids were asleep, FINALLY, and the week was about to close. A good time for a little escapist fantasy TV.

Who hasn't thought about living forever? Other than the whole losing your head thing, it seemed like a good gig. Who cares if it takes 10 years to perfect a skill? What's 10 years out of 400 or so? Think of the things you could do in 400 years, especially if you were in your physical prime.

So last night me and the wife relived a little past. It wasn't like it was 20 years ago. The kids weren't asleep; they were out running around somewhere. And it wasn't 1:00 when were turned off the TV and went to bed; it was more like 10:30. Okay; it was 10:15. But in my defense, it had been a busy day.

So Highlander is now in my instant queue; all 119 episodes. So I figure I'm good for the next 2 years of Friday nights, assuming I live that long.

I'm not Immortal you know.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cars I Have Known VI

There is a line in the beginning of the movie A Christmas Story where the Narrator describes his Dad; "Some men are Baptists; other Episcopalian. My Father was an Oldsmobile man."

When I was a kid my Dad was an Oldsmobile man. The first car of his I remember was a 3-way black 55 Olds 88 4 Door sedan. In 1964 we drove that car to Disneyland, from Cincinnati. That trip is an upcoming series of posts.

It was shortly after that that Dad bought a different car. It is my earliest memory of a new car. In 1965 he bought a '60 Olds Wagon. White, with a grey top and grey interior. Man; what a machine!

The Speedometer. Anyone who has ever ridden in a '60 Olds remembers the speedometer. Instead of a dial an needle, it had a straight line graph and bar that ran across the bottom. From 0 to 50 it was a green bar; when you hit 50, the bar turned orange, and at 70 it turned red; fascinating to watch when you're 5. My Grandma- Dad's Mom- always in the  back seat, passenger side, and would start hollering Slow Down; Slow Down when she saw the bar turn red. On the highway the bar was usually red.

And there is nothing like a big Oldsmobile for a smooth ride. I remember going to visit my aunt and uncle, down a gravel lane, and not feeling a bump. On the highway, it was living room smooth, except for when I was bouncing around in the back seat.

But it wasn't all roses. The Olds 371 big block was known for cracking heads. and so did ours. Dad was able to squeeze another week out of it while he found a replacement motor, and Friday night on the way home form grocery shopping he stop by the Tool Rental and picked up an engine crane. As we pulled into the driveway the motor died completely. we had to push it the next morning the last 70 feet into the garage. Dad worked on it all day Saturday, and finished it up Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning drove it to work. Ah; the good old days!

We ran that car for years; from '65-'70. by then it was showing its age, and Dad found a good deal on 1966 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser wagon, and he sold the '60 to my uncle, who ran it another couple of years before the engine blew another head, and it went off to the rest home.

But I can tell you that car made an impression on me. I will always associate Big, Fast and Smooth with Oldsmobile, and in particular the 1960 Wagon.

The one in the picture was for sale not too long ago.

It sold for over $22,000. I guess I'm not the only one nostalgic for the old girl.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be

First; I have no idea why the picture isn't right side up. I changed it; saved it; reopened it, and it was right. I load it into Blogger, and it's wrong. Must be a Blogger thing.

At any rate, (oh yeah? how about 12 and a half percent? (Sorry; that's an old George Carlin joke I just can never resist)) the other night I had glass of New Wiedemann.

I made a special trip down to Newport to Pompilios, just for a cold glass of the old days. I wasn't the only one. The bar was packed, and I saw a lot of glasses with the New Wiedemann logo on them. You would recognize Pompilios, if you have ever seen Rainman. They filmed the scene where Raymond counts the toothpicks in the dining room just off the bar.

We finally got a spot at a table in the bar and I ordered the first glass of Wiedemann I have had in probably 6 years or more.

And I was disappointed. Kind of like the picture above; you could recognize it but it just wasn't right.

First sip told this was not a real Wiedemann. The beer I remember always started real smooth; ice water smooth, especially if the beer was real cold. This beer hit you with  flavor from the beginning. it was a strong flavor, and since I wasn't expecting it, it was a bad taste; almost skunky. Old Wiede-pop would always leave your tongue with a bite; like a flush of something bitter, that would fade faster than it came, and would disappear before the end of the second can. This beer finished flat; it kind of just ran off your tongue and disappeared.

It wasn't all bad; the beer was the right shade of pale, clear yellow, and wouldn't have developed a head if you shook it like a pair of hot dice; all old friends. New Wiedemann also had a different mouth feel; almost like it was a thicker brew, which is possible. It also left me with a dry mouth feeling after half a glass; something I never got with Old Wiedemann.

All in all; it was not a bad beer, just not the beer I was expecting. It also seemed a bit pricey; 5 bucks for the 20 ounce glass and $4 for the 16 ounce.

Back in the day, I could get a pitcher of Wiede-pop for 2 bucks, and a gallon to go- bring your own jug- for $3. Those were the days. a group of good friends, sitting around a fire out in the field, swigging cold Wiedemann from a gallon jug and watching the sparks from the fire rise to join the sky full of stars.

I was hoping Wiedemann's return would also bring back those nights too, I guess.

Maybe I was expecting too much from a couple of glasses of beer.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Well, You Start Here, and Then Go There, And Then...

I have blogged before about how one thing leads to another. Train of thought- pun intended. Well; I'm doing it again.

Today I was reading a legal description for a piece of property in Fayette County Kentucky, and part of the property ran along side of the tracks for the CNO & TP Railroad.

The what? I asked myself. What was the CNO & TP Railroad? Well, It is the Cincinnati- New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railroad. Formed in 1869, it is wholly owned by the City of Cincinnati. The only intercity railroad owned by a municipality. Ain't that a kick in the head? There is a lot more information at the link, But apparently the line has a certain amount of notoriety to rail buffs, or as they are sometimes called, Foamers. That is an interesting story in its own. Do an internet search for Railroad Foamer video.

But, I digress.

I was doing a little more searching, looking for more info on the CNO & TP RR (TP; Considering Cincinnati's Procter & Gamble, a TP railroad kinda makes sense) I found another page, NKY Images; full of hundreds of old pictures, including some on the now familiar CNO&TP RR.

Including one old newspaper article about a car on the railroad tracks of the CNO&TP. The things you can find on the internets!

What is really interesting about this article is that it talks about the horseless carriage killing the horse, and now it's setting its sites on the Iron Horse. That was truer that anybody in 1924 knew, I would suspect. Not that personal cars would soon rule the railroads, but there is a technology hidden under the hood of this vehicle that is 80 years ahead of its time for cars, and 30 years to early for the railroads. This thing is a hybrid.

And, it wasn't the first one. There is a hybrid manufacturer even older. Back to my old friend Jay Leno's Garage, and his Owen Magnetic.

This was the technology that did kill the Iron Horse Steam Locomotive. All modern locomotives are diesel electrics; the drive wheels are each driven by an electric motor, and the electricity is created by a diesel powered generator; just like in a modern hybrid, and in our early iron wheel automobile.

Another thing too, while I am on this newspaper article. I love the way it is written. If newspapers were written like this today they might still be making money. Which reminds me; the money line in the article: 'by an over enthusiastic devotee of Bacchus'.

The author used this line, knowing that most, if not all, of his readers would know who Bacchus was. I'll bet you could read this article to an honors English class in any high schools and they would not be able understand a significant portion of it.

Yet in 1924, this was puff piece.

Yeah; we have come a long way.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nostalgia Road Trip Anyone?

You of course remember the other day, when I mentioned how sometimes the littlest thing sets off my nostalgia engine for things Air Force related?

Well, a mention of North Dakota is a previous post had me pulling up a Map of Lakota, ND. I have been to Lakota. I stopped there for snacks and soft drinks when ever i was in that part of the Missile Field. You kinda had to; there was no place else to stop for 30 miles in any direction.

Anyway, pulling up the map to see the distance between Grand Forks and Lakota had me checking the route; straight along Highway 2; right past Larimore.

I may have stopped in Lakota several times, but I spent almost every other weekend in Larimore for awhile. I had a friend who lived there, and we would spend either Friday or Saturday night at his place when we hit the local bars. If I remember correctly, at the time there were two in Larimore; The Red Dog Saloon (founded 1901) and the Larimore Improvement Association (The Imp). This was back in  '78-'79.

These two bars were next door to each other, and actually had a communicating door, so if you caused too much trouble in the one, they threw you out through the communicating door. Hell, it was 20 below outside; throwing a drunk out there was a death sentence.

The interenets is a wonderful thing. Larimore still exists. No surprise there. The Imp still exists too, as does the Red Dog. I remember the Red Dog as being on the south west corner of the main street- Towner Avenue- and The Imp being next door,  just to the south. Google Maps street view confirms my memory; right at the corner of West Front Street and Towner Avenue in downtown Larimore.

Who knew? So much has changed in the world in the last 30 some odd years. It's nice to know somethings have remained the same; right down to the PBR sign out front.

I wonder if a 30 hour road trip is too far for a couple of beers?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cows a Threat to Homeland Security

I knew cows were a threat to our very existence. Well, at least according to the fringe Greens their flatulence is, but I never knew they would require the department of Homeland Security to track some down.

Here is one of those stories that just has to be blogged about; if you are a certain type of blogger.

I'm not sure what type of coverage this has been getting in the media; but my guess is none.

The Basics: An Individual Sovereignest owns 3000 acres near Lakota, North Dakota. some cows wander onto his property, and he refuses to return them, and allegedly runs the cops off at gun point. So they call in the nearest SWAT Team- from Grand Forks, some 60 miles away- who, with a warrant, asks the Department of Homeland Security to spy on the farm with a drone. They locate our hero/villain with the drone and bust in and arrest him. 

There is so much going on here that is not explained in the stories I have read. First; whose cows were they? Why did Rodney Brossart think he should be able to keep the cows? These two points alone would put a whole different spin on the case. Was this the first time or the fortieth that these cows have wandered on to his place? Did these cows possibly damage some crops or fencing that their owner was refusing to pay for? How many times were the cows owners warned to fix their fence and keep their livestock at home?

Or, did the law just show up one day, looking for some missing cows, and invited themselves, without a warrant, to look around Brossart's farm for them, and our hero/villain then had to resort to firearms to run the cops off his land? Do you see how this situation, well within the given fact pattern, makes the outcome look completely different? And we haven't even gotten to the drone use yet.

There is a whole lot more than going on here than is being talked about.

6 missing cows. Worth, what? $1,000-$1,500 each on the hoof? Say all 6 are worth $10,000. So this brings in the law. I can see it; for 10 grand. But again; what is the back story? Assume this is the first time they have wandered, assume the neighbor has asked for them to be returned, politely, and has been rebuffed with undue force. So he calls the law. So far in this scenario, our hero is a villain.

But, does anybody see a need for a SWAT Team and a Homeland Security drone? Let's say there was enough firepower on the farm to outgun the local police department. Back up, reinforcements maybe. But a SWAT Team? From outside the county?

Okay; lets assume the SWAT Team was necessary. Our villain has a history of attacks on police, or of just not playing well with others. Why is Homeland Security involved? Against an American Citizen, on his own land?

I'm sorry, this does not pass the smell test for me. There is more going on than is being reported on.

I also cannot condone the use of a Federal asset for enforcement of, at best, a very local issue. According to the article:

The SWAT team stormed in and arrested Brossart on charges of terrorizing a sheriff, theft, criminal mischief, and other charges, according to documents.

Which of these crimes is even a Federal crime, much less one Homeland Security should be involved in?

Personally, I believe like the expert quoted in the article:

While there's no precedent for the use of unmanned drones by law enforcement, John Villasenor, an expert on information gathering and drone use with the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, says he'd be "floored" if the court throws the case out. Using a drone is no different than using a helicopter, he says.

I agree; the use of a drone is no different that the use of a helicopter. And if they had used a Homeland Security helicopter, instead of one owned by a local police force, I would still be concerned. It's not the equipment that is the problem; it's who owns the equipment that is twisting my knickers.

The drone did not - according to the article- find any evidence or help in the development of the charges against Mr. Brossart. All it did was locate him for a quick arrest, on local charges.

Explain to me how these 6 missing cows were a threat to the existence and safety of the country, and I'll change my mind. But for now, I think we have a NoDak hero, not a villain.