Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Smoking Gun

So everybody says (but the Democrats) that the 'Smoking Gun' email is out; the one that proves Obama lied about the Benghazi attack on purpose and for political motives.

Those of us who know Obama well knew this two years ago. Obama does NOTHING that doesn't have a political motive.

Like the whole Minimum Wage Senate vote. The whole thins was a sham; Harry Reid knew it wouldn't make it to the floor- Hell; I'll even bet him and McConnell had the whole thing planned out. The way the vote went plays well with both bases. So it was win/win.

But it was political.

Sorry for another short post, but my real job is breathing down my neck today, and there are only so many hours in the day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Must Be Missing Something

Well; first my apologies fro missing Sunday and Monday. Sunday was a up at dawn and work til dusk kind of day, and by the time I sat down I could stir enough mental acuity to say much of anything. I had a post written, but I doubt you wanted to see one that just said :"Tired".

And last night i had a minor family emergency to deal with; one that was more time consuming than a real emergency, but you know how it goes.

So tonight I am posting; but a short one. I have work work to do and I can't put it off anymore. But I will for a minute.

And I suppose I'd best spout off about that damfool billionaire who owns that one team or the other and said that stupid something.

As you can tell, I really care about basketball.

First; no matter how ignorant and opinion, you have the right to hold that opinion. If I want to believe that people who eat rice should not be allowed to vote, I have my right to that opinion. You also have the right to think I'm and idiot, and to call me an idiot. You have the right, as a private entity, to ban me from your insignificant little cabal.

So be it.

But the government has no right to do ANYTHING about my opinion. They can't fine me, they can't force me out of any insignificant little club I belong to; they can't put me in jail.

Does everybody understand that?

Now; can somebody explain why this damfool owner was set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP? All reports say these comments are nothing new; everyone has known for years that he is a bigot. Apparently everyone but the NAACP. They gave him some award or the other just a few years ago.

So; before this new evidence broke that this damfool was a bigot, everybody knew he was a bigot and the NAACP was still ready to give an award; one he was willing to accept (again) from an organization full of, and dedicated to the advancement of, people he despised.

Am I the only one having trouble making sense of this?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blank Page

When I sat down this morning to do a blog post I had almost 2 hours to write something. Now I have 30 minutes, and you can see what's been done.

Some days there is nothing more intimidating than a blank sheet of paper. Just like a young life, a blank sheet of paper- or a blank computer screen- holds unlimited possibilities. We just need to make the right decisions to fill those possibilities.

The second question is always about the possibilities.

We can be anything our skills allow us to be. Yes there are some limits. If you are less than 6 foot tall I doubt you will make it in the NBA. If you are not mathematically savvy I doubt a career in engineering is in the works.

But those limits are internal, not external. No one will stop you from trying out for the high school basketball team because you are too short. You may not make the team, but you have the opportunity to try.

That is one of the great things about this country; we have the ability to try. We aren't guaranteed success, but we are guaranteed the try.

History is full of stories of the triers. We are most familiar with the succeeders, but we also know of some of the most spectacular also-rans. Like Samuel Pierpoint Langley; an also ran to the Wright Brothers. One of the most famous- and oldest- Air Force bases in the world is named after him. He did have some help becoming famous as an also-ran; he was the head of the Smithsonian Institute for many years.

How about Henry Clay? Best known as a brilliant Senator from Kentucky, he ran, unsuccessfully, for president 3 times. Eugene Debs is another well known also ran; he ran for president 5 times. As a Socialist.

The point is nobody stopped these folks from trying, multiple times. Just as nobody stopped the Wright Brothers. Can you imagine the audacity? Two self-educated bicycle mechanics from a small town in rural Ohio trying to do what nobody else was able to? Build a machine to fly?

That was 100 years ago. Today we would have a Congressional Committee, or even a whole branch of the Federal government set up to regulate who could try something like this. Trying to fly an unregistered device would mean jail time.

Would it be worth it to try, in this day and age?

Maybe not.  And that creates a lot of blank paper, and possibly blank lives.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Little Taller Than That

Growing up the tallest thing I ever saw was the silo at the feed mill. 60 Feet maybe; 65 at best. 6 stories; give or take a foot or two.

And that probably would have been the tallest thing I ever saw, if it weren't for Pearl Harbor. Not the Harbor itself, but the attack, back in '41. those of us who couldn't get to the Enlistment Office fast enough to choose got drafted not much later. As long as Dad could handle the farm, the boys went off to War.

But not right away. Nobody handed us a gun and dropped us thousands of miles from home. First we had to train. For me, that was Navy. And for training that meant Great Lakes Naval Training Station. And that meant Chicago.

Before the War I had heard of Chicago. Everything we ordered from Sears an Roebuck came from Chicago. I knew how long to took to ship just about anything from Chicago. A day or two for new school clothes; 16 years for the toy you spent your birthday money on. Or it seemed that way any how.

It took twenty-six hours to ship me from Knotville Station to Chicago. I started off on a small, old engine and a 3 car train up to Louisville, then traded up for the Pan American into Cincinnati. From there we took a Military train into Chicago. When we stopped I stepped onto the rear platform at took this picture. You might notice we were in the freight yards. My days as a civilian ended in Cincinnati.

From here it was onto trucks and then a couple of hours of bouncing around in the back of a truck. It was long past dark when we stopped and managed to stretch our legs; the sights of Chicago were nowhere around. I had had one good glimpse, and had made the most of it.

8 weeks later we left Great Lakes in the dark; all I saw of the Windy City was that one picture.

But in the next four years I saw plenty. You want tall? Pull up next to an aircraft carrier in a Higgins boat. That's tall. Look over the rail of a Battleship, knowing you will be jumping any minute to escape the flames; that looks even taller.

I saw lots of things that made the old feed mill silo look small.

But that doesn't mean it was any less friendly looking when I got home.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Foot-N-Mouth; Right Up to the Ankle

Well, apparently a couple of severe cases of Foot-N-Mouth disease have broken out.

One involves the challenger to the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, Matt Bevin. The first question I have is why all of the hype?

At a rally to encourage the legalization of Cockfighting in Kentucky, Senate hopeful Matt Bevin spoke. Not about cockfighting, or even the legality/illegality of cockfighting, but on states rights and the over reach of the Federal Government. There was no cockfighting at the rally at all, and no one spoke about cockfighting while Bevin was there. If Bevin was a Democrat we would have never known about the incident.

But he's not. And he is probably beating Mr. Inside-The-Beltway himself, Mitch McConnell. So the media will, between now and May 20, find any reason to bad mouth Matt Bevin. If Bevin gave a 5 minute speech at a Baptist Nursing Home, the media would use that to say he was calling for a return to Prohibition.

This is where McConnell is going. No attack ads on Bevin's positions, no discussion of the problems in Washington; no debates on the issues with Bevin. Have a field day on the fact that one day he spoke to a group who are LEGALLY advocating for a relaxation of the rules on cockfights. And Bevin is right; historically cockfighting was the purview of the wealthy. Some of the Founding Fathers would have attended cockfights, and doubtless some of them raised fighting cocks.

I'm saying that makes the practice fine; I'm saying that the activity was once not only legal, but accepted.

Bear in mind, I am not a fan of cockfighting. I think it is cruel to the animals and should be banned.

But that doesn't mean the effort to have it legalized should be banned. You have the right to free speech, not matter how vile your goal.

Or your speech.

Which brings us to case 2 of the Foot-N-Mouth Club; Clive Bundy. He is our 67 year old Nevada Rancher who is locked in a fight with the Federal Bureau of Land Management.

Yes; he open his mouth way to wide. Yes; what he said was offensive.

Now explain to me how his opinions on Blacks, Slavery and The Modern Welfare State have any effect on his battle with the BLM? Mr. Bundy has the right to hold and express any opinion he wants to hold or express. Can we call those opinions crazy, offensive, out-dated and worthy of the KKK? Yes we can. Can we let his opinions, however bizarre, become an issue in a situation that has absolutely nothing to do with anything he has expressed a stupid opinion on?

I also have my issues with this quote. Just like with Phil Robertson a few months back, I think a left leaning reporter created a situation from whole cloth. Not that he has put words into Bundy's mouth, but I do think a lefty reporter- like there is any other kind-  took an old man who has spent weeks under incredible pressure and let him talk until he got himself into trouble.

That doesn't mean I don't think Mr. Bundy holds these opinions, and that doesn't mean I agree with him, but it does mean that a sneaky bastard got an old man to spout off without his filter. And now is using that quote to discredit him.

And its working. Bundy's support is dropping away like the fall leaves from a maple.

Why? Does his opinion on anything but the BLM case matter to the BLM case?

Or is it that easy for the left to win? Coax someone to say something not generally accepted as a mainstream opinion and then the fight is over?

Clive Bundy's opinion on Blacks, Welfare and Slavery may not make him a more likeable character,  but it doesn't change his fight over land with the BLM.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Agenda 21; Ever Heard of It?

Have you ever heard of Agenda 21?  How about the United Nations?

Way back in 1992 President Bush went to Rio de Janeiro and signed a non-binding UN treaty to basically outlaw private property.

Okay, that is a bit of a stretch, but it is pretty much a master plan to control everything. as Wikipedia says:

Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development.

How to define sustainable development is the next problem. Most, on the right and left, see this as expanding the cities and ending the idea of ever expanding suburbs. The left sees that as a plus; the right as a minus.

There are two things (well; at LEAST two things) wrong with city living; it limits your space and it makes you dependent on the government for basic necessities. I don't like either of those things. I want a yard- even if I crab about mowing it- and I want to be able to do as I please in that yard.

Monday night we had my sons and grand kids over for Easter dinner. It was a beautiful day, so we sat in the yard all day. I can remember the last time I ate Easter dinner at a picnic table. After dinner the kids ran in the yard and the adults sat around and shot the breeze.

Agenda 21 says that is wrong. Mowing that grass is now allowing for natural growth, and the flowers I have planted are invasive species that are killing off the native plants. We should have been in our 800 square foot apartment, or at a park if we wanted to be outside. we should leave the planting and such to professionals, trained in how to allow the native plants to thrive.

A few years ago I was watching This Old House, and as usual they were doing a home in the Boston area.

There was a controlled area at the rear of the property that was very restrictive as far as plantings, because it was near a navigable waterway. I have no idea why being near a waterway should determine what you plant, but this is Massachusetts. At any rate, the homeowner had to remove a common flowering plant (iris if I remember correctly) because it was not native, and could not touch the poison ivy, because it was a native plant. Yes; that's right. Flowers are verboten, but poisonous plants are not. Its all about the natural world, don't you see. Humans are interlopers. Humans have no rights. Poison Ivy does.

Another example; the Delta Darter. The state of California has restricted water rights to the San Joaquin River because low levels are endangering the smelt. Instead of endangering this 2 inch long fish, the state has instead cut off water to one of the most productive farming valleys in California. The smelt may eat, but we won't.

Maybe instead of San Joaquin Valley vegetables, were supposed to eat Soylent Green?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another Day

Sorry about missing yesterday's post, but yesterday was Easter Monday, and with my boys and their families it is easier to get together on Easter Monday. Besides, that way I get ham two days in a row, so I'm not complaining.

But with Easter being a late night and an early morning, and then the same on Monday, I just had no time (or energy) for anything.

And then today was a bugger of a day. My mind was ready to go on strike about 4:30, but we negotiated a short coffee break into the schedule and averted the strike until 5:00.

In my job I read a lot of court papers. Today I read one that made my blood boil, for a lot of reasons. I can't give too many details, but I can give lots of generalities.

Basically a women and her boyfriend had a child that required special care. So the women- no husband of course- signed the girl up fro SSI- Supplemental Social Security.. She claimed she had $300 in assets. 3 years later, when the claim was reviewed, same story; same $300. and 3 years later same $300 in assets. And then the boyfriend- who is the child's father- gets busted for dealing crack.

And they find him and her have over $100,000 in cash, in joint bank accounts. Just a jot and tittle over the $300 she was claiming, ain't it? But hold on; a little more investigation is required.

She also has a gaming card at a casino local to her, which over the last 3 years she has used a total of 175 times. To gamble away almost one million dollars, both in new dollars and lost winnings.

All the while you and I were paying to raise her child.

What got her busted? The report from the casino on he winnings and losses? The Social Security Administration checking up on her application and renewals?

Nope; after the old man got busted they found out what was going on.

So apparently when you sign up for SSI they just take your word for it that you are broke. No bank check, no check with the IRS on income. Just lie through your teeth and they are happy.

Government bureaucracy; ain't it a wonderful thing?

Speaking of government bureaucracy, did you hear about the idiots up in Oregon? Some dumb kid pees into a 38 million gallon water reservoir, so the idiots are draining 38 million gallons of treated water because of a quart of pee. Really? 38 times 4 is 152, so we have 152,000,001 quarts of fluid in the reservoir, one which we KNOW is human pee. But, seeing as how this pool is open to the sky, how much bird pee and poop is there in the water? What about other animals? My guess is there probably more than 40 quarts of foreign substances in that water that nobody is complaining about.

But because somebody caught this young hooligan with his.... well; watering the garden shall we say,  it will cost the water customers a small fortune.

Personally, you can dump a quart of chlorine into the water and call it square. Heck of a lot cheaper.

And I really don't think anybody would notice. 

You probably have more pee than that in your bottled water.

Didn't think about that, did ya?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

One More Today

I had to do another quick post this morning, otherwise my Happy Easter post was number 666.

I just couldn't allow that to stand, could I?

I may expand this post later, but right now I have a chocolate bunny hidden somewhere that requires my attention.

Happy Easter!

Yesterday was a beautiful day, and every window in the house was open. I slept with the bedroom window open last night, and was blessed with a natural alarm clock at dawn this morning.

It sounded like every bird in the world had decided to rest in the trees around my window and explode into song the minute the first ray of light burst over the hill top. A wondrous cacophony of sound, punctuated by the rhythmic honking of a flight of geese.

It was if every voice in nature joined in to sing 'He Has Risen'.

And maybe they were.

Today we celebrate the day that Jesus Christ conquered death and gave all who believe in him Eternal Life.

Easter is the greatest day in the Christian calender. The day we celebrate as when Christianity began.

There are those who don't believe, for a variety of reasons, that the events we celebrate today actually happened. I'm fine with that. Faith is a very personal thing, and my Faith in something does not make your faith in something else, or your lack of faith in anything, wrong.

A huge percentage of the world's population will celebrate the founding tenets of Christianity today. They believe that 2000 year ago, give or take a decade, God sent his only Son to Earth, to live among men, to die for humanities sins and be buried.

Do you want to talk about Faith? How about being one of the Apostles, or an early believer that Jesus was God on Earth. To watch him be betrayed, mocked, tortured and then put to death. Did any of them see that coming? Were they prepared to watch a Man they believed to be the Son of God die like, and with, common criminals?

I do know they weren't prepared to find his Tomb empty 3 days later. They weren't prepared to find him appearing to them in the coming days, and even when some of the group accepted the truth, at least one did not, until he himself was able to personally see and touch the Risen Christ.

And then Thomas believed.

Faith is not only a personal thing; it is also an exploration. None alive today has seen God, in any of his manifestations, face to face. We can't touch the nail holes in his hands, yet we believe. Others are like Thomas; they only believe in what they can see or touch.  They won't believe because they see the stories not as truth of a fantastic life, but fantastic myths, invented by men and used to entrap the gullible.

I pity them, not only for their lack of Faith in God, but also for their lack of Faith in themselves. To not believe that our life on Earth is only a preparation for a Life Eternal means that we are no better than the grass I mowed yesterday or the ants I sprayed for moving in to close to my patio. A brief existence and gone.

I have more Faith in myself than that. I not only have a life on Earth, but a Heaven waiting on me. Yes, that Faith allows me to accept that there will be bad things that will happen to me. To accept that I will not always win, that I won't live a life of ease. That doesn't mean that Faith is an opiate; a drug to keep me insensate to what is happening.

It means I know, like Job, that God has a plan, this is a part of his plan, and I don't need to understand. I just need to have Faith.

So, this Easter morning I am not only wishing you a Happy Easter, but I am hoping you have the Faith to believe that 2000 years ago the son of man walked the Earth, died for our sins and Rose from the Dead to insure that my Life is Eternal.

That is something even the birds will sing about.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Consequences be Damned

Can you imagine a time when grown men would sit around a bar room sipping on unadulterated soda pop?

Friend, I don't have to imagine such a time, I lived it. It was called Prohibition by the Government. 

We called it Hell on Earth.

We could get beer, and booze, if we wanted. But we couldn't do it legally. No stopping by the corner bar for a quick one; no drive thru Pony Keg on the way home. No, you had to know a man who knew a man, who had some. Dead of night runs to a seedy part of town, or trusting a shady character you just met with a wad of bills and hope that he would return with a drop of whiskey, or a few cans of home brew. You would hope that the whiskey was real, and not wood alcohol and food coloring. The beer you hoped was brewed like beer should be, and not aged in the tub somebody would have to wait two Saturday nights to use again.

Desperate times lead to desperate measures. Folks you wouldn't have talked to prior to the ban of beer were now your best companions. Things that would have been used to clean a clogged drain before were now mixed with a fruit juice and consumed. Not enjoyed mind you, but consumed.

Because the alternative was a cold Dr. Pepper down at what used be a corner bar. You felt sorry for yourself, but you pitied Charlie. The local barkeep used to be a man of substance. Held his head high in the local courthouse and the local Church. A donation to any cause was yours for the asking. His accounts were always marked 'Paid In Full' at any of the local merchants.  When Volstead got his act together, we all treated like a joke. Saturday nights we would still gather at the bar, sip a few Sody pops and shoot pool. By the second month the joke had worn thin.

By the third Charlie was feeling the pinch. 6 months in his kids were wearing hand-me-downs. A year in so was Charlie.

Five years in he was still hanging on by his shear will to beat that a-hole Volstead. His friends at the grocery and the hardware store were still able to carry his tabs. They were sure that any day now the rest of the country would come to it senses; see the mess they had made and restore beer.

And the day; the week; the month; the year would pass, and you were still buying what you hoped was liquor out of the rumble seat of a clapped out Model -T.

Charlie kept hanging on. As a former purveyor of spirits, he knew the law was hoping he would sell a drink. A short beer, a small snort; a jigger of something remotely resembling alcohol and he would go to jail. That bum kid who used to beat up his Johnny in 5th grade could sell a case of pop-skull rot-gut out the trunk of used Hupmobile- and make a small fortune doing it- but he couldn't have a snort in the house for medicinal purposes without risking jail time.

Something was wrong with the country when honest folks were starving and the crooks were getting rich. When the mayor walked by your bar to buy some 'hooch' from a Hupmobile.

Something had to be done. We couldn't see Charlie lose everything. We couldn't stand by and watch that Roberts kid from over tracks buy his way into society.

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

And that Roosevelt fellow; he says he'll give us back our beer. Consequences be damned. I'm voting for the Democrat.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Your Offense Offends Me

I was on the internet looking for another article I saw today about London's Billionaires (yes, with a 'B'; apparently the Millionaires can't afford to live there any more) Row, where almost 20 percent of the houses are abandoned to rot and ruin. Apparently its a tax thing; its cheaper to let them rot for 20 years and then repair them (sales tax wise, on repairs the tax is 20%; on rebuilds its 5%). Wouldn't it be nice to be able to let your 70 million POUND house rot for a few years to save 15% on the sales tax on rebuilding it? More Dollars than sense if you ask me.

But while I as looking I found this article, going on up in New Jersey. Apparently 2 Senior boys wore a Confederate Flag to an after-school sporting event. And got permanently suspended for it. Apparently some other students found it offensive. Okay; fair enough. I can see that there may be some narrow minded folks who fail to see the historical significance of and what the Confederate Flag actually stands for, and have placed their own values on it. and those values offend them.

So what? Where in the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution, or any government document does it say you  have the Right not to be offended? If you find it, let me know; there are lots of things going on that offend me, and I want to start doing something about it.

But I said the other day, one of the things about rights is that they cost you nothing for me to exercise any of my rights. You exercising some right not to be offended, cost me my right to Free Speech; something enumerated in the Constitution, and not divined from some penumbral emanation.

Why would you have a right not to be offended? How would that right have come into being? How could you EVER exercise that right without trampling on someone else's right to something? And even if this right existed, who would determine whether your right not to be offended was greater or less than my right to Free Speech?

I know who decides; the left in this country have already determined these rules, and are working their damnedest to enforce them.

Wear a Confederate Flag and offend someone? You have no right to Free Speech. Wear a Gay Pride Flag and offend someone? You have no right to be offended. See how easy it is? So how WRONG it is?

Your right to Free Speech cannot be determined by what you will say with that right. There are limits obviously; the old Fire in a crowded theater chestnut applies. (Which is one of my goals. One day I want find a crowded Fire and shout "THEATER") but that is a safety issue, not a Opinion issue. If your right to Free Speech can be determined by those in power its not Free.

And why would you choose to never be offended? Galileo's ideas offended the Church; and he was silenced, before he was proven right. Martin Luther King's ideas offended those in power, and he was silenced, before he was proven right. Thomas Jefferson's and James Madison's ideas offended those in power, and the King tried to silence them. And failed.

And now the left is trying to silence them again.

Its up to us whether they fail or succeed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Found! and Lost!

Take a good hard look at this picture. Do you see a couple of million dollars in this picture?

I'm with you; I see an episode of "Hoarders".

But buried under all of that random junk is a 1966 Ford GT-40; the car that beat Ferrari at LeMans. Not this particular vehicle, but the design. This particular car has been owned by a now retired fireman since 1975, and hasn't run since 1977.

So no; its not worth a couple of million now. But when it is restored, the sky will be the limit. Of course, the cost of the restoration will be more than your average 1966 Mustang fleet of 2 dozen cars, but still; worth every penny.

Still skeptical? Maybe Hagerty can convince you.

I found this article on Road & Track today; and the article leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Like how much the new owner paid for the car, and how was a firefighter able to afford on these back in 1975?

I can pretty much guarantee you this GT-40 will not wind up buried under a pile of garbage again. Te new owner, Tom Shaughnessy will take good car of her; he is a well known car collector. Although he usually deals in Ferraris.

But the point of this post is that this is a car collector's dream; finding a valuable old car in a barn. Several books have been written about barn find cars.

Jay Leno has even found two very rare Duesenbergs as barn finds. The first a Model X is one of three left; his other was a 1934 model that was in a New York parking garage for 60 years before he tracked down the owner and bought it from him.

ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!! I just went to Jay Leno's Garage, so I could link to the videos of him find and restoring these two classic cars and the entire site has been redesigned- something I was aware of- and all of the archived videos have disappeared- something I was not.

And that SUCKS. Here I was all up; only two more this week, a classic GT 40 has been found, and then BAM! everything hits the dumper.

Well, you'll have to just take me word for on the Jay Leno videos; they were real, and they were SPECTACULAR!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Snow Way; Tell Me it Didn't!

Well; that was big mess.

Woke up to snow on the ground. each little daffodil was wearing a cap of white. And it wasn't pretty. The grass was a brilliant green; with white accents.

My High School colors were green and white; something I hadn't thought about in years. Until the combination slapped me in the face this morning. Along with the 30 degree temperatures.  It was about perfect too. Well, the green would vary depending on who was painting the poster or signboard, and what shade of green was leftover from something else. Officially it was Kelly Green and White. Just like the grass and snow.

I had to take the granddaughter to school this morning- because of the cold weather; weather that we considered NORMAL a few weeks ago. Gives us one 70 degree weekend and we all get soft. Soft I tell you!

But there were some fantastic pictures to be taken on the way to work. I missed the best one, trying to get my camera turned on. As we were starting up the hill the sun, which had not yet decided to hide its face from the sight of snow on the daffodils, lit up a hillside of evergreens wearing a white dusting. It was  Christmas Card picture; everything was brightly lit, we had enough distance to capture the whole hillside- and hide the guardrail. But it didn't take long to lose the shot at 55 miles an hour. By the time I had the phone camera ready to shoot, the was nothing to shoot.

By then the sun had decided it had had enough and went off to play somewhere else. Probably Southern Florida.

I did take some pictures, but none were really anything spectacular. Like the one at the top of the page. Not a bad shot, considering it was taken from a car going 55 miles an hour. While I was driving with one hand and snapping random pictures with the other. Yes I'm kidding. Or not; depending on how you feel about strict adherence to goofy laws. If you think I am a scofflaw who needs busting; I am kidding. If you think my braking the rules makes me a civil libertarian, then I'm not. Pick the truth you want.

Wow; this had been a long administration; it's starting to rub off on me it seems.

This shot was all I could get of the perfect shot. The sun had left, the clouds, which moments before formed a brilliantly lit backdrop now looked more like a seldom washed wife beater. and instead of  panoramic view, it looks more like I am crowding my neighbor's yard.

Seconds; the difference between a immortal shot and and immaterial one.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Imagine or Dream?

I am right now sitting at the dentist's office, waiting on my son to finish his appointment. I have few minutes, and a WiFi connection. Time to blog!

My Dentist has a TV in the waiting room, which is good. They also play HGTV channel which is, well, interesting, and a whole lot better than CNN.

Don't get me wrong; I like home improvement, but these shows are basically 30 to 60 minute commercials for products most of us don't need. Another example of the Great American Dream Machine.

Like the show on now: 'Income Property'. What a joke.

An unmarried couple, who have been dating and living with their parents for TEN YEARS are looking for a rental property, so they will have some income so they can afford a home. They are spending SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS! Sorry for the all caps, but Holy Cow! They are planning on spending almost 3 times the average home price. Maybe that is average in their market, but still, what is the average income? They are looking at a rental unit worth $1800 a month; again- Holy Cow!

Then the improvement starts; basically 5 or 6 minutes of destruction- where they teach the new homeowner to swing a hammer- and then 5 or 6 minutes of construction- where they teach the homeowner to use the new found hammer swinging skill to drive a nail- and then tell you how much money the work is worth.

They miss one or two points on these deals; what it costs to BE a landlord, and then to share your home with strangers. And then be forced to collect money from them on a monthly basis. Want to have a family party in the back yard? What was once private space is now a fishbowl with your tenants looking on. How much is your privacy worth?

And where do the tenants live? Below you, where every step you take thunders on their heads, or upstairs where their steps will pound on yours?

Plus, they don't talk about the costs associated with being a landlord. Rental income isn't tax free; it IS income. Then there are the costs of repairs and maintenance on the unit. Then most cities will have a tax per rental unit. Do you own the property as individuals, or do you form some sort of company? Individually has risks- like if the tenant's kid falls down the stairs and breaks a bone- but companies mean you need to have an accountant and an attorney to handle the paperwork and taxes.

None of this is mentioned in the show at all. Most of it is just shopping. Dream Machine, remember?

These are the same types of shows that a few years ago were all about property flipping. We saw how well that turned out, right?

Maybe things like this work out, but like in this show, they are borrowing a couple of hundred grand - yes, $200,000.00 for the down payment, and then another $70,000 for the renovation. Plus the mortgage. Not a problem, they feel. And the obligatory lesson in how to swing a hammer. That's where the renovation budget goes sky high.

Will this work out? We will never know. I suspect a disaster in the making. These folks don't know either; this is their first home, right?

Ever notice that these shows usually feature newbies? Is it because the folks who have done this before know better than to do the types of things that make for drama on these types of shows? Probably.

But the big question; was the show entertaining?  Eh; not for me so much. But it was a lot better than the alternative; CNN.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Just in Time for April 15th

I'm not sure I will ever be able to blog from my back porch. The only time I can do it is when the weather is nice, and when I'm sitting on the porch swing in nice weather I can't seem to be snide, cynical or raucous. All I can do is a post like yesterday's. It is another nice day, but two posts in a row like yesterday's will drive away my last reader.

I will need to abandon my porch swing and back to the desk.

First an update on a post I did a few days ago on Clivden Bundy, the Nevada rancher the Bureau of Land Management was harassing. Apparently they the BLM has seen the light and pulled out, and returned his cattle in the process. Did my post have something to do with that? Probably not. But a Blogger can dream, can't he?

I don't follow Lame stream media at all; newspapers, TV news or the alleged news magazines, so I have no idea how they have been following or covering the IRS scandal and Lois Lerner's involvement, if at all. But it has been almost a year since the news broke of the way the IRS was holding up approval on 501 (c)(3) applications for conservative groups. Just in time to stop them from participating in the 2012 election. And now we find out that the ranking Democrat on the oversight committee was encouraging them, and targeting one outfit in particular; True the Vote.

I looked for a Lame Stream Media outlet to link to, but none existed. ABC; NBC; CBS. None are covering it. Is it because it isn't news, or is it becasue they Don't want it to be news?

I have said many times that News reporters have always been biased; a situation that goes back to the founding days of the Republic. What is different now is not the bias, but the declaration that their bias is not biased.

And that is wrong. I don't mind that  ABC, NBC and CBS are basically Outlets for Democrat propaganda. What I mind is that they aren't honest about it.

Even the folks on the left should be upset about what their friends in the media are doing. If you believe you are getting all of the news from these folks, then why aren't you upset that you're not?

Like this IRS deal. If you are only getting the part of the story that doesn't harm your elected officials, how do you know that its time to vote them out? If the Administration is as crooked as a ram's horn don't you want to know that? Or are you happy with the rainbows and unicorns you are being feed, and don't want to know?

Maybe I'm different, but I don't want to be represented by crooks no matter what letter follows their name on the ballot.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Spring Day

Today has, so far, been everything the weatherman promised. 70-some degrees; sunny, and with just enough breeze to keep things from getting sticky.

I just finished cutting the grass for the first time and now I am relaxing on my porch swing with a beer and my laptop. Blog time.

I have tried before to describe a day like this and failed miserably. I don't think it was my word craft that was at fault; I just don't think the right words exist. Its easy to describe things that comparisons exist for. Like cute as a bug, or busy as a beaver. Some one can be described as horse-faced and you instantly know the look.

How do you describe the blue hue of the sky on a day like this? It has a shade of blue both light and deep, that carries its own iridescence. It blue of the sky isn't covered, but somehow enhanced by the white and indigo of the clouds. If I was sitting under this sky I would swear i was part of the sett from the Wizard of Oz. Do you remember how when we were young- and color TVs were rare- when on Easter (i think it was) they would show the Wizard of Oz on TV? Remember how that shade of blue of teh sky when Dorothy opened the door in to Oz?

Yep; that sky.

And the grass has that shade of green reserved for early spring and movie sets. It s the dark shimmering green you only see this time of year. And in fertilizer ads. There are still patches where some of the blades are behind schedule, and if you look close you can see them stretching and yawning, trying to come to life.

Its not just the sights, but the sounds. every kind of bird is perched in one tree or another; calling greetings back and forth, with the occasion screeched curse thrown in for good measure.  The wind chime is joining the chorus, followed closely by the bark of an agitated squirrel and the distant slamming of a wood screen door; sounds that are the soundtrack of summer, but here in a supporting role.

And we can't forget the smells; what does fresh cut grass smell like? We all know the smell, and we know what it means. but what combination of ingredients comprise 'Fresh Cut Grass'? One of teh smells of summer we can't do without, but couldn't describe if our life depended on it. Intermixed are the pungent smell of gasoline, and the faint smell of daffodils. Flowers are the interloper they will be later in the yer; now its just a hint in the background of floral presence, like the hint of sugar in a glass of well made sweet tea.

There is also the smell of supper cooking inside. Potatoes cooking in the oven, and a thick steak cooking in the cast iron skuillet, adding a sound of its own as well; a sizzle and pop distinctive to beef on the heat.

How can we forget the tastes? Or right now, just taste? Cold Beer; a Rolling Rock; the only possible reward for a quality mowing job? Crisp; just a touch of tang to sizzle the tongue on the finish. Cold as last month; with a smattering of ice crystals floating on the top of the can.

When it is all said and done you can't describe a day like this; it has to be experienced. and once it has been experienced, nothing is comparable.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday

Have you ever caught a glimpse of something, and knew that glimpse was going to change your world?

That happened to me; as a kid.

Our farm was out in the country. Town wasn't a trip we took lightly; the County Seat was reserved for Court Day; once a year. Our contact with the outside world was the Madison County Gazette, delivered every Monday. We were able read about the doings in the county, the state, the country and the world. We usually stopped with the county; there was enough going there to keep us busy.

Then one afternoon we caught a surveyor and his crew running down the top of the ridge behind the barn. In his wake were a string of sticks marked with red and yellow tags. They ran as far as I could see; clear through the cow pasture and across the fence into Mr. Blakely's corn field. They ran straight as a string as far as I could see.

It was me and my four brothers who saw the men; the three older ones ran up the hill; Benny, being the youngest, knew it was his job to fetch Pa. We knew better than to talk to these strangers; that was Pa's job.

The man in charge explained to Pa what they were doing. Seems the Federal Government had decided it was time we threw our oil lamps away and lit the house with electricity. And since we couldn't bring home this electricity in a 5-gallon can, they were running wires to bring it to us; and those wires needed towers. The red pegs were were the lines would run, and the yellow were where the towers would sit. One would be going up right where we were standing.

Pa mentioned that he wasn't real keen on the idea of a tower in the middle of his pasture. Well, the man  said, Pa didn't have a choice. Some one in the State Capital had decided a tower would be in the middle of his cow pasture, If he didn't like it, he could take it up with the man in the Capital. Pa got a mad gleam in his eye, and walked over to the first peg he could find, and reached down to pull it out by the roots.

The man told he could pull the peg if he liked, but every peg he pulled was 30 days in the county jail. Pa let go of that peg like the devil himself was dragging on the other end.

That was something to me; at the age of ten I first saw my Pa afraid of something.

He hadn't back down from our bull when he was loose; he hadn't run when the tractor got loose from Uncle Silas and was headed his way. He hadn't backed down when that girl's family came to get Uncle Ferd for a wedding at the end of a shotgun 2 years ago last March.

But he was afraid of a peg.

That was the last we saw of that man. They worked across our place all afternoon, and by sunset they were out of sight on the far side of McMahon's hill. A few days later a car pulled up the lane and two men got out. They had some papers for Pa and Ma to sign, allowing some other men to put up the tower on the ridge. Pa wasn't too happy about it, but the men said as part of the deal we would get a line and two poles to bring electricity to the farm yard. And we would get a check every year from the Electric Company because of the tower.

Pa still wasn't happy; but the money made him feel some better about it. A few days after that we saw a silver monster rising up out of Mr. Blakely's corn. A few days later we heard a machine on the ridge. The crew had cut through our fence and put in a gate- Pa thought they had done a fine job of it to; But Uncle Ferd allowed that they hadn't used enough nails on the bracing. Uncle Silas mumbled something a spat a wad of chaw at it. Before the week was out we had a metal monster of our own. 6 weeks later we had a pole in the yard with a light on it, and a week later at dusk we were just sitting down to supper when the farmyard was suddenly lit up like the Midway at the fair.

That's when I knew my world was changing for good. I looked around the table and saw everybody straining for a look out the window; Ma hollering to keep our dirty hands off her curtains. I was the last one up, and as I looked to see where Pa was, I saw him sitting in his place at the head of the table.His hands folded on his lap, and a small tear caught on the end of his nose.

I didn't then know if this change was for good or evil; but I knew nothing would ever be the same.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

No Law West of the Pecos

There is a lot wrong with this story. Nobody comes away with clean hands, but the Federal Government's are by far the dirtiest.

It almost reads like one of the old pulp westerns I read so many of in my youth: Honest, hardworking rancher gets attacked by a hoard of villains who isolate his ranch, steal his cattle and beat up his children.

The only thing the haven't done yet is poison his well.


The trouble is, in the old westerns salvation always appeared in form of a few cowhands, some of whom helped out the rancher- and his pretty young daughter- while one rode 'hell for leather' to bring in the US Marshal; the only law in the territory. In this case, it is the law doing the terrorizing.

Not that Mr. Bundy is blame free; the story doesn't get into why he stopped/never started paying the fees for grazing on Federal land, but he did; that was the nexus of his current predicament. $1.35 a head per month doesn't sound like much, but with 1000 head that's $1350.00 a month; $16,000.00 a year. To graze on public land that the family has used for 130 years.

Fine; so he owes the Feds money. Do they come after him with a court order? A judgment maybe?

Nope; they come after him with 200 armed agents and proceed to evict his cows from the land. Do they run them back onto land owned by Mr. Bundy? Nope. They IMPOUND the cows. At an estimated cost of $3,000,000.

Yep; the Federal Government is spending over $3 million to collect on $300,000. Do you know now why we are TRILLIONS in debt?

But just like an infomercial at midnight; Wait; There's MORE!!!!!

Not content with wasting a small fortune to make a point, and not content with harassing a man and his family over what is essentially a trifle, they have also closed a public highway and the airspace over the ranch (that $3 million to impound the cattle is starting to sound cheap, ain't it?), but they have also co-opted the local sheriff (well, he was usually crooked in the pulp westerns too) into creating and enforcing a 'free-speech zone', so the folks protesting this atrocity can't get close enough to see what is actually going on.

But WAIT; There's STILL MORE!!!!!

This is just part of the story. They are also closing almost 187,000 acres of land to grazing permanently- one of the reasons for the bovine eviction- to reserve the ground for a 'critical desert tortoise'.

If you have been following the news lately, you know what has been happening to the price of beef. what do you think the closing of 187,000 acres of grazing land will do the cattle herds? And to the price of beef.

So the next time you hit McDonald's and your Big Mac costs more than your first car, remember what the Feds did to Clive Bundy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Small Project

The weather is starting to get warm and nice outside, so I have been wandering around the yard looking for projects.

Okay; that's not exactly true. I am wandering around the yard trying to figure out what project has priority and will fit into the budget.

That shortens the list considerably.

For instance, I would love to redo the front wall, but it would be a summer long project, and the wall is serviceable as is. Not perfect mind you, but serviceable. and there are other, more pressing issues to deal with. Rebuilding the wall is, in some ways, a vanity project. It would allow me to show my wall building skills, would be rather labor intensive and would probably be quite a work out. And would not be a budget buster.

I also need to divide my peonies; the only one of my perennials I didn't divide last year. It is something I need to do, wouldn't cost a dime and would improve the look and health of the flower beds. But any damfool can divide a bunch of peonies; I would rather build a wall.

I also have some brick edging to put in. I have the bricks and it would be a budget-less project. It would make the mowing and mulching easier, and clean up the line between lawn and bed. I had my sons do some of last year, and they proved, quite handily, that not every damfool can do a brick edging.

But it is pretty low impact really; it wouldn't do anything for the curb appeal, and is a lot of stoop work. Not like rebuilding that front wall. It would really have an impact. And I would only be bent over for the first few courses.

I do have to plant a few annuals. I usually work from seeds and don't go for anything flashy. Morning Glories; I like Morning Glories. Last year I harvested the seeds from my vines. I think (yes THINK) I had a heritage version, and not a hybrid), so they should grow. Time will tell.

Unlike the wall; which I am sure will grow, stone by stone as build it.

But I don't have the time for a wall now. I have to get things in the ground. Walls don't need time to grow and bloom; they are an all weather thing. Well; except maybe July and August. I don't think ANYTHING grows in July and August. So I better be sure my wall is done by then, right?

Maybe May and June. All of the hard work will be done in the flower beds; it will just be the occasional trim or weeding, and I should have time for a wall.

Of course, by May I may have lost interest in the yard. And will postpone my wall until next year.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Proud of Them Kids, Are You?

Do you think we live in a civilized society?

How deep do you think that veneer of civility goes?

I suppose you have heard about what happened last night in Connecticut?

These are college students; the supposed next leaders of the free world. And they descended into anarchy because some people they probably don't know won a game.

Why is that? What about this game was so special it required drinking to excess, rioting, property damage and arrests? What about this game required these 'adults' to 'celebrate' by descending into mobs?

The worst part is that this is not an isolated incident. College and pro sports team seem to have a rabid group of followers who seem unable to celebrate a teams success without violence and destruction. I could prepare a list- a very long list- of all the incidents in the last 10 years where things like this have occurred. I'm sure you could too.

Yet we call ourselves civilized. What will the punishment be for these thugs and hooligans? How many will be expelled from school? How many will do jail time? How many will pay a fine large enough to dissuade future nights like this?

Yes; I know you will point out that this was a special occasion; that this was only a few students; that alcohol was involved.

So I suppose when I next receive a promotion at work I should get drunk and destroy my neighborhood? Why would that not be appropriate? After all, I have something to celebrate.

Walter Williams has said many times; support behavior you wish to encourage, and tax behavior you wish to discourage. By not punishing severely the 'children' for their crimes we are only encouraging them to behave this badly next time.

Why put up with this? What gives them the right to not only destroy property but also break the civilized veneer and create chaos in its place?

James Naismith developed basketball as a way to control a group of rowdies; to give them a controlled way to burn off energy.

I'm he would be pleased to see how well that plan worked out.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tempus Fugit

I have to apologize for missing yesterday's blog entry, but the weather was absolutely beautiful- about 60 degrees , no wind, lots of sun and no humidity. I haven't seen a day like that in 2 years it seems like. So I went outside and did lots of stuff, and then last night I celebrated  my son's 21st birthday. I took a day off; so sue me.

But I already had a blog planned out. I just didn't write it. It went something like this:

I have a tall case clock in my living room. I have to wind it by resetting  the weights, and usually I need to reset the time. I have been trying to get it regulated by adjusting the pendulum. About the time I seem to get it regulated the weather changes and I have to start all over again. That's the nature of a mechanical beast; temperature and humidity cause things to swell or shrink, and even if a gear only swells a small fraction of an inch, when you have a hundred gears the amount of change adds up; it is a cumulative effect.

This clock also chimes the quarter hour- 4 chimes; the half hour- 8 chimes; the three-quarter hour- 12 chimes, and on the hour 16 chimes plus it bongs out the hour. I'm not bragging about my clock; I'm explaining how we used to tell time. Back in the day a house would have one clock in it, and you would know the time without looking, as long as you remembered the last chime. Everyday the town clock would strike at noon (at least), and you would reset your clock to match the town clock, so everybody in the village would be on the same time.

Time was a flexible thing; Church on Sunday was just about the only thing you had a specific time for. otherwise, a few minutes one way or the other was not just common, it was almost expected. Time keeping was not an exact science.

Now think about today. What room doesn't have at least one clock? A clock that is accurate to within a minute a decade? How many rooms have three or more? How clocks do you carry with you? One on your wrist, and one on each phone. And then one on your computer. It is impossible to escape time. The modern world doesn't have the same flexibility on time older ones did. There is no being 5 minutes late for a meeting, or for work. Or Heaven forbid, lunch.

We are not just creatures of time, but slaves to it. We have marks to hit many times a day, and those marks are solid. Not all are work related; TV Shows, movies at the theater; basketball games and tee times are all hard points we need to hit or miss an opportunity. Our day is broken in to 30 minute, 60 minute or 120 minute blocks; each segment ending just as fast as the next one begins. Some segments are marked by alarms- like the end of the night, others by internal markers; knowing that if we aren't in the shower by 7:00 we will not make work by 8:00.

And we also know that there is nothing we can do about it. Even vacations are ruled by the clock, to a certain extent. Flights; checkout times; dinner reservations.

When was the last time you were able to spend two days without a clock?

Probably like me; the summer between 5th and 6th grades.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rights and Freedoms

I saw something the other day that has been bothering me ever since. It said "Healthcare is a RIGHT".

Rights are things God gave each of us because we are alive. We have the right to be individual. We have rights that are God given and Constitutionally protected; Freedom of Worship; Freedom of Speech; the right to be secure in our property and papers.

You will notice that none of these rights require any action or participation from anybody but ourselves.

So what makes taking the labor of anyone else a right?

Why does a Lawyer have a right to a Doctor's services? Does the Doctor have that same right to the services of the Attorney? He has the right to representation certainly; any representation he can afford, or if he can't afford representation, then he gets what the County will provide.

Or, does a Farmer have the right to the Doctor's services anymore than the Doctor has to the Farmer's?

I mean; isn't eating a right as well?

Saying you have a right to something means you can possess it without payment. None of the rights guaranteed us in the Bill of Rights cost a dime to use. Neither do they cost anyone else for us to exercise them. Like the Free Speech right I am using now. I can write on Blogger for free, and you can read it for free, or not read it, as you choose.

But if I exercise my 'right' to healthcare? Someone has to provide that service. I am expecting another individual or group to use their time and talents to provide a service. I have no more right to that service than anybody else has a right to my services for any purpose.

We certainly are guaranteed a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but where does health come in? We are not guaranteed a healthy life; even the best, most expensive and most competent healthcare cannot guarantee a healthy life. Franklin Roosevelt is proof of that.

That is not to say that we cannot give of our time and talents to help our fellow man; in fact that giving is encouraged.

But the transfer of $5.00 from one individual to another can happen two ways; gift or theft. My making the conscious decision to give my services to another is vastly different than the other individual forcing that 'gift'. You making a conscious decision to take $5.00 from me is theft, no matter who facilitates the transaction.

Even if it is a 'lawful' taking by the government from one to give to another.

And that is not a RIGHT anyone has.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Day at the Fair

Do remember when The Fair was a big deal? Not the County Fair, but the State Fair. Back when once a year you had a chance to ride a Carousel or a Ferris Wheel. Back when once that chance was gone, it took a year for it come around again, and you couldn't buy a ride on a Carousel for love nor money in between times.

The day after we got back form The Fair we started saving for next year. We would cash in 6 pop bottles we found down near the bus stop, and 5 would go to candy and one to the can under the bed for The Fair. Earn 50 cents doing chores for Ms. Appleby? At least a nickel for the fair fund. Half of the dollar you got from Grandma on your birthday was Fair money, and when the tobacco was sold we each got $2 for the collection can; $3 if it brought an extra good price.

They say each generation gains some and loses some. We had 4 days we looked forward to every year: Christmas (of course); our Birthday (of course); The Last Day of School, and the Day we went to The Fair. Kids today have lost the excitement that that one day brought. All these amusement parks hither and yon. A ride on the Ferris Wheel was a year long anticipation; now it's an hour's car ride.

Us boys would lay awake nights during the summer in the room we shared, spilling stories of what we would do once that golden day became real, and mentally counting our coins and spending a few nickels on Cotton Candy, a few more on a hot dog on a bun with chili sauce, a few pennies on the games of chance, and then on to the rides. The Tilt-a-Whirl and the Scrambler, then the Carousel and Ferris Wheel. We would argue about the ride lineup until we all fell asleep, or until we got a little to loud over the Ferris Wheel being third or fourth and Dad's strong voice would bark up the stairs to be quiet, and we would settle down and drift off to finish the argument in our dreams.

We had more fun counting the coins and dreaming of the spending than we actually did at The Fair some years. Some years it would rain, or was too cold. One year the generator was down, so no rides and no Cotton Candy. But that was the year my brother Herb won a stuffed dog on the Monkey Pitch, so it turned out alright, for him anyway.

The Fair was more than just the rides and games and eats; it was a goal. It was something we worked towards. It was what got us out of bed in the morning and put us to sleep at night. It was what got us up and down each row of tobacco, corn and potatoes. Talking about it kept our minds off of the drudgery of wash day, the labor of cutting, hauling and stacking firewood all summer and the chore of mucking the barn. The dream that the milk we sold now was a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl then.

Sometimes the dream is worth more than the reality.

But who knows that anymore?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Same Old Pattern

I have spent the last two days examining the titles on 10 properties in a part of town I know reasonably well. It is also an area that I go to as seldom as possible. It has the reputation as a 'Bad' part of town.

But that reputation is fairly new. A few years ago it was considered declining, and a few years before that it was considered nice.

What happened?

I saw the exact same course of events in each of these ten exams. The timing varied a little, but each had the same chain. And all 10 are currently owned by the same couple.

I can't go into too many details, but I can share a few. All 10 properties are in the Western Cincinnati neighborhood of Price Hill; most are in Lower Price Hill.

All of these properties were purchased in the late 1950's/early 1960's by a couple who lived there 30 years or more, and raised a family there.

How can I tell that from a title exam? Because Mom and Dad both had that address when they died and when the kids inherited the property. And then sold it.

This is where the decline of the property, and, by extension, the neighborhood starts. None of the kids wanted the house in 9 cases and it was sold outright. They were all still owner occupied; I could tell by the address the court used during the foreclosure case. It was the purchase after the foreclosure where things went down hill. Usually purchased by a Trust, or LLC or even a husband and wife, sometimes years after the foreclosure, the first sign is when the tax bill is sent not to a lender or the house, but to the owners at a different address, usually in a much better part of town.

Price Hill was known for years as a working class haven. Mostly blue collar, mostly smaller, older homes (All of my 10 were built between 1900 and 1915), but a clean, well kept community. It has/had several well attended churches. Not a rich neighborhood by any means, but respectable.

I saw one house sell for over $150,000 one year, and for $75,000 at sheriff's sale 5 years later. Then $6000 to an absentee landlord 2 years after that. Do you seriously think that chain of events doesn't affect the rest of the housing values in the neighborhood?

But once the property become a rental things can go downhill fast; especially in a 90 or 100 year old house. And it only takes one house to start a slide. Two houses will accelerate it, and three on a street will guarantee it, especially in an older, less expensive neighborhood.

Because you will have two types of neighbors: elderly, been there forever and renters. The renters don't care and the elderly can't make their voices heard. And their kids won't do anything; moving Mom and/or Dad to a nursing home and selling- or renting- the house is much easier than dealing with the lousy absentee property owners and lousier neighbors.

And things decline anther notch.

Why is this important? because it may soon be coming to a neighborhood near you. Look around your block; how many old couples do you see? The ones who have lived there 20 years or more? How much sales activity do you see? For Sale signs sprout and then age, only to be replaced by another sign, from a different broker.

Or maybe it is the legal notices, and the couple up the street with the three kids have packed up and moved away, 2 steps ahead of the sheriff. It doesn't take much sometimes; a divorce and the wife can't afford the house on one income and child support. Or a layoff, and his salary can't make ends meet. Or a long term-illness; Wife; Husband, or God forbid one of the kids. Between doctors and medicines and hospitals and what insurance doesn't cover it doesn't take long.

Shortly nobody is cutting the yard. Then some punk breaks a window. Next thing you know its two houses on the block; then three-four-10. Each empty property is not an opportunity, but a sign; or a signpost to the families that are now buying in the suburbs.

Don't say it can't happen to your neighborhood; they once said that about Price Hill.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Does That Come in Midnight Blue?

This truck will either enamor you or turn you off completely; I doubt there will be any middle ground.

Personally, I think it is the future of heavy hauling.

Trucks started as an engine up front, two place cab, drive wheels out back format well over a hundred years ago. The only innovations in the last hundred years have been diesel engines in stead of gas and air brakes.

The trucks and their loads have gotten bigger, but the basic layout hasn't changed. Until now.

The ad- and that's what it is; and ad- doesn't stress it, but I would be willing to bet a bit of driver input went into this rig as well. I have spent a bit of time in the cab of an 18 wheeler. Not an extensive amount; I am no where near the million mile club. Maybe the 50,000 mile club, but, I digress. So I can say that the number one problem a driver faces is being able to see (usually it is being able to see that idiot in the 4-wheeler that just doesn't understand the difference between an 80,000 pound semi and a 2,500 pound Civic); this truck design seems to have taken that issue into account.

It also seems to have taken the comfort of the driver as a design consideration as well. No more two box cab/sleeper; all one box; just like a motor home.

I'm sure this truck has issues. Like how much it will cost to build. 2 53 x 8 foot carbon fiber panels? Yee-haw! I'll bet most first-graders couldn't count all of the zeros at the bottom of THAT invoice.

But if it does make it into production, can imagine seeing a couple of them convoying down the road?

I have seen the future, and here it is.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Goal was What Again?

Yesterday was the final day of Open Enrollment for ObamaCare. Maybe, kinda-sorta, depending.

And according to the REVISED required enrollment numbers where 7 million enrollees were needed, the goal was met, according to the Administration. But, then, no details or back up was available. We can take their word for it, right?

So; lets take their word for it, shall we?

Let's applause the fact that 7 million people now have health insurance. We'll ignore the fact that we don't know how many of these people have paid for these plans, or how many have actually received insurance cards or actually benefits from the insurance company. We'll also not look at the idea that it took 6 months to hit this revised goal; a goal that was revised because of the slow start the website had, or the multiple extensions it took to even get to this lower goal. We also won't question how many of these 7 million were a part of the 30 million previuosly uninsured, or how many were a part of the 7-8 million who lost their insurance because of ObamaCare.

We are going to focus on the what it took to get these 7 million enrollees.

It took over 600 million dollars to create the most dysfunctional website a government has ever produced- and that is saying something.

It took a total disruption of the health insurance industry- a disruption we have not seen the end of yet. Insurance is not a charity; it is a business. One that depends on risk management and costing. If there is no analysis of the risk pool, the costs cannot be assessed and policies costed effectively. Right now policies are priced by SWAT; Strategic, wild-ass guess. That system is unsustainable, and once true costs start rolling in policy costs will skyrocket. Or benefits will be drastically cut; take you pick.

It took the reassessment of staffing and hiring at companies all across the country, based on who was worth having for more than 35 hours a week, and paying the cost of benefits. All hiring is now based on the avoiding or complying with ObamaCare.

It took a possibly illegal maneuver to get passed in Congress, when the Senate passed a reconciliation to avoid Scott Brown's ability to vote on- and vote against- the bill.

It took the President of the United States to lie to the American People constantly and consistently. These weren't errors in understanding, these were calculated lies; lies considered and approved by the Obama Administration because they were needed to sell the program to the American people.

It took the Supreme Court to hear the Administration defend the program by definitely describe it as NOT a tax, only to approve the entire scheme only because the government has the power to tax, and then declared the NOT a tax program a Tax program.

And we still have, by the best figures available, 23 million uninsured.

Or more.

Now; you tell me; was it worth it?