October 31, 2012

Halloween facts I know to be true

KitKat bars suck. Clark bars are worse. Zero bars are the product of the Devil's arsehole.

Picasso and Warhol can kiss my ass. I know art when I see it.

Laughter Kills Lonesome by Charles Russell

When I was in college the local public library let you check out pictures to hang on your wall.  This was a favorite of mine and my roommates dug it too. We each (there were four of us) got a library card and one after the other checked it out. Despite rules against keeping a picture for more than two consecutive months, we kept that picture the whole school year for three straight years. We would go to the library first thing in August when we arrived at school and check out the "Cowboys" as we called it.  If it was not available we would put it on reserve. Then each of us would put in a reserve in turn, so no one could grab it away from us until May when we headed back home.

Until today, I did not know the name of this painting. You can learn something every day, if you try.

Is there any doubt Russell is in Heaven right now schooling Kinkade about how to really use light in a painting?

If I could find a print of this painting on the cheap, I think I would put it up in my office.  I bet you would too.

October 30, 2012

Whirling Winds Whip Wall Street

I cancelled the post I had canned for this morning. The one that replaced the boring history lesson I had ready a week ago. Confused?

I had a post in the hopper because I thought I was going to be in North Carolina this morning. I could have been, too.  My flight went as scheduled yesterday afternoon.  The problem was my flight home today was cancelled yesterday! There is no point going if I cannot get home. The airline was not accepting rebookings for Wednesday on Tuesday's cancelled flights. The prospect of sitting in a Hilton Garden Inn for three or more days offers little to entice me. The weather would not be conducive to sight seeing either.

Here in flyover country we are spared Sandy's wrath, but the low pressure system bringing the cold air is here in force.  Winds have howled around the eves for two days now, and daylight will bring stronger winds yet. The weather girl has hinted a possibility of snow flurries.

I spent four days last week just outside of New York City, and I am very glad it was last week.

If the great and powerful GW Bush caused Hurricane Katrina because he hated black people why did Obama fire up the weather controls and steer Sandy into the Metroplex? It has to be more than covering up the fact he left Americans to die at Benghazi.  Right?

October 29, 2012

Quick Hits

Lots of pontificating going on around here.  Long boring posts no one wants to read. I fully expect a "TL/DR in the comments. Too bad 'bitches, there are more installments scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. True story -- at one point in October I had 11 posts  wrapped and in the hopper.

I scrapped three posts on the end of the Roman Republic and opted for a quick summary post on Saturday instead. You are welcome. Hell, you were bored.  I was bored. Now you get a lesson in American history. What am I thinking? Most of you hated history in high school, you don't need to read about it in your leisure time. Maybe I will scrap the remaining Voter Education post re-runs too.

I had a good weekend.  Nothing special to report, just a good weekend.  I took a vacation day Friday. We  did not go anywhere, but I was in the Empire State all week and I wanted the day off.  I still have plenty of vacation time left. My company has a firm use-it-or-lose-it policy, so I have to get my last week (6 days actually) in before year end.

The taste of my wife's cherry Chap-stick lingers on my lips after her kiss goodbye this morning.

I did something a couple of weeks ago I rarely do. I spent big bucks on something for me. I ponied up and bought a Bose Soundlink bluetooth speaker. Man oh man does it sound nice. I have not had sound this good for years. My music explodes through the room in rich tones. You can hear every note of every instrument just as the artist intended the music to sound. Plus, it is completely portable, so I can listen anywhere in the house or even outside when I puff away on a premium stogie! Too bad it is getting too cold to sit on the deck and enjoy a fine hand-rolled cigar!

Voter Education Vol 1

I am reposting a series of essays I wrote prior to the 2008 elections. You may find them interesting.


There has been a lot of talk this election regarding the role of Government in our lives. I will try to speak in general terms when discussing this issue and use the generic term Liberal and Conservative to label the various viewpoints. Using the political party labels is difficult as the Republicans and Democrats reversed positions on the roll of Government during the 1890s.

For the purpose of this discussion, Liberals will be those persons who believe in a strong Federal Government and an increased role of all levels of government in the social, political, and economic policies of the Republic. They believe man needs to be governed. Conservatives will be those who believe in a limited Government, firm believers in the policy of the Government that governs least, governs best".

To understand the Constitution we must take a quick side trip in history to the time of Enlightenment and the changing roll of Government and The Church in Europe. Some people decry the Eurocentric historiography of America, but in reality the foundations of our Nation and its government come from Europe. In particular the lawyers and printers and educated class of Colonial America came primarily from England. These are the men who crafted our founding documents and designed our Nation's political system.

Stop stop stop (insert braking sound here). To get a complete understanding of this subject we are going to have to go back and discuss the religious, political and economic evolutions over about three centuries. We will have to delve into the Crusades, the Magna Carta, Martin Luther, Charles Martel and then tackle Locke and Columbus, Cortez, and Hudson. The reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. This is going to take about 20 posts and 5 hours of reading for you. Before I go much further I will have lost 79 of my 80 regular readers. My last reader at that point, GuyK, will be skimming since he already knows the history.

As a compromise I am going to ask you to take my word the Founders believed certain things, they were educated in a certain way. If you have further questions or doubts I will be glad to answer your specifics directly or point you in which direction to do your research. Besides, this should have been covered in school. Unfortunately most text books cover these subjects but never tie them in. Historians often think the non-historian can make the connections or is even interested enough to try. Most people cannot and are not. The teaching of history is a completely different bug up my ass we will discuss at a later date.

By the early 1700s farmers comprised only a little more than 1/3 of the workers in Great Britain. As a heavily populated island nation, Britain depended on her colonies to supply raw materials and foodstuffs. The American colonies were among the chief suppliers. At the same time nearly 80% of the American colonists were involved in agriculture. Few in Europe were land holders, an astonishing 90+ percent of colonists owned land. Americans enjoyed significant freedoms not allowed in Britain. A century and a half of what has been termed "benign neglect" from the Crown of England saw the colonies develop their own political system, including local and "state" governments and courts. None of these were sanctioned by the King or Parliament, but the appointed Royal Governors used them to efficiently run the colonies. As long as the colonies made money for English merchants and caused no trouble, they were left alone.

As part of a greater European War (The Seven Years War), the Colonies and their British Sovereign found themselves embroiled in a war with France in the 1750s and early 1760s. The theater of war that occurred in North America was the so called French and Indian War. You may have a vague recollection of this -- it was covered in the first weeks of 8th Grade history. This war was one of the root causes of the Revolution.

The Treaty of Paris settled the conflict and Great Britain came into possession of most of what is now the US and Canada east of the Mississippi. as a result if the War, the Crown was heavily in debt. As we know from Iraq, wars are uncommonly expensive. Without boring you with details -- that is not our purpose here -- the interest on the debt alone consumed about 70% of the gross revenues of the Royal Treasury. The people of great Britain were already among the heaviest taxed in Europe and the King was looking for additional revenue. He turned his eye westward to his rich American Colonies.

Stick with me. In the next post we will get to how this led to the Revolution, The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We will examine the politics that leads to modern Liberal and Conservative thought.

October 28, 2012

A Localized Rant

Who is the idiot of an urban planner who thought it a good idea to put bike lanes along Allisonville Road on Indianapolis' north east side? This is one of the most congested areas in the city and encouraging any more traffic, especially bicycle traffic, in the area around Castelton Mall is beyond stupid.

This is is the green agenda thrust in all of its idiocy in our faces. There is no reasonable person who thinks adding a bike lane to SIX lanes of traffic is not a recipe for disaster, death and accidents. This is the certainly case at Allisonville and I-465.

The only thing dumber than the bike paths along Allisonville Road in the Castelton area is the moron who would ride his bike on them.

October 27, 2012

Days of Future Past - the end

We come at last to the end of our tale. The historically acute might have captured a few clues  I sprinkled in the last installment. This tale is not fiction. nor is it an apocalyptic vision of my own creation.  Rather is is a cliff notes version of a Reader's Digest condensation of the end of the Roman Republic. The dear Leader was Mithridates. The group seeking Roman citizenship were the Italian peoples who lived outside Rome. The real events unfolded very similar to my descriptions.

It took just over two centuries for Rome to grow from a regional economic poser to a dominate superpower that controlled much of the civilized world. Culturally, militarily and economically they had no equal. We think of the power of Rome during the Empire, but the growth and hegemony really took place during the days of the Republic. They defeated their only rival, Carthage, in a series of trade wars writ large, and the borders stretched from Britain to Egypt, from the Danube to modern Iraq.

The events I described took place in the century before the death of Christ.  I intended to continue the tale a little further to describe how each succeeding politician subverted the Constitution in an effort to "save the Constitution".Other politicians spouted the same words to save the people from tyranny only to assume the mantle of power themselves. Finally Octavius was declared Consul for life and ultimately Emperor by the Senate. and as Augustus Caesar ruled the Roman Empire. Amazingly, the Romans continued to hold Senatorial elections for the next four hundred-plus years, pretending the republic continued to function.A Roman of 130 AD, would certainly claim his government was a republic.

Why did I waste your time with this tale?  I have opined often that  history never repeats, but human behavior does. I was studying the last days of the Roman Republic and saw many comparisons to our modern situation. Of course we can always find patterns if we try hard enough.  You can find a similar path during the French Revolution -- reform, republic, chaos, empire, tyranny. America has proved one of the few historical aberrations; revolution did not lead to chaos and dictatorship of one kind or another. There is still time.  The Roman Republic made it about four hundred years before Caesar Augustus was declared Emperor.

We must always be vigilant.  Freedom is a precious thing. In Roman times the power of the government increased incrementally. Those who hunger for power can always rationalize their excesses by claiming to solve "emergencies". Taking away our freedoms in the wake of 9/11 is no less dangerous than twisting the meaning of the commerce clause to support a "health care crisis".

Two thousand years later the faint scratchings of VVV still marks the walls of various cities and towns who found themselves under the boot of Roman Repression.  Do not fool yourself for one moment by thinking it cannot happen to you.

October 26, 2012

Days of future past -- part four

The nation had emerged from a bloody civil war. Hundreds of thousands of dead on both sides had finally brought agreement on the reforms the people wanted. The Senate looked at the vast new voting blocks that had come into existence and knew their days of power were numbered. They began to scheme and plot.

They elites knew the elections would bring new populist representatives that would enact the economic reforms promised. To thwart the reforms the new citizens were broken into strangely shaped voting districts, their power diluted by the old-time conservatives. Each district lacked enough of the populists to win an election. The vote was held and the old senators and local representatives returned to office.  The promised reforms died for lack of support. The people were outraged.

One of the Senators, a supporter of the reforms, decided the Constitution had been compromised; the people cheated.  He and several supporters took over the Senate. An armed mob backed him in his revolution. In short order the conservative senators were brought to trial for their "crimes". Some were banished from The Republic. Many were executed in the Public Forum. Those who tried to escape were hunted down and executed for crimes against the people. Entire families were hanged, beheaded and killed. Some of the oldest names in the history of Republic were destroyed. As always happens, this reign of terror began to consume its own, as individuals used the trials to eliminate rivals for power. Chaos ruled the land, especially in the Capital.

At this point the army returned from the war with the Dear Leader. The Generals were not pleased with the state of things. General Sulla had made his reputation fighting in the various wars of The Republic.  He was a hero. He had retired to public life serving in the government. he was from an old conservative family. he was a strict Constitutionalist. He had come back to the Army to fight in the social wars. he was the general in charge of the campaign against the Dear Leader. his soldiers were loyal to him to a fault..

General Sulla saw his only duty was to restore order in The Republic. He undertook a action never before dreamed of in the long history of The Republic. He broke centuries of tradition. Always the military had been directed by civilians.  Sulla determined the civilians were no longer serving The Republic, but themselves.  He vowed to restore order..

He marched his army on the capital.

Society was faced with a new paradigm. The Constitution was subverted to save the Constitution. Is there rule of law when rule of law is used to further an agenda?   Despots since time immemorial have used just such logic to leverage their way into power.

Friday Hippie Music

The liberal national anthem!

October 25, 2012

Days of future past -- part three

When we left off our tale The Republic was involved in a civil war. reform-minded people were in an armed struggle with the Federal government and its powerful army.

Far away in the East the Dear leader saw his chance. Now he knew his tiny country could not hope to take on the powerful Republic. Even fighting a civil war at home, one or tow divisions could destroy his army in weeks. he had a plan. On the edges of the world were many counties like his. Together they could win. he began secret negotiations to put aside long-time petty differences to ban together to fight the evil that held tyranny upon them all --The Republic. he said the wealth and power was there for the taking. he told his fellow leaders The Republic had internal problems and was weak, an immoral hollow shell. he told those who would listen that the destruction of the evil empire was prophesied. The time was now.

Agreements were reached. A plan was set. On a certain date people all over the world attacked the Republic everywhere. The far-flung bases came under assault. Ordinary citizens of the Republic working and visiting abroad were killed. Republican businesses were taken over and the Republic bank funds were confiscated.

Now The Republic noticed.

In many families the siblings will fight among themselves constantly. They will declare enmity and battle daily. But when an outsider threatens one of the family, all join together in defense. Over 300,000 people had died in the civil war. That was a lot of blood to get past. The Government knew it had to repair the internal strife to meet the outside attacks. the leaders went first to the larger cities and towns not yet in revolt, but who did not support the Republic either. The Feds offered those cities and states the reforms they wanted, if they would rejoin The Republic.  Citizenship was granted, land reform was enacted. Next they went to the areas defeated and secured already. The Republic offered the same terms, if armed resistance and guerrilla warfare would stop.  Those cities and states also agreed. Finally, the last remaining areas in revolt were offered the same deal. With most of the nation now arrayed against them, they agreed.

At that point most of the world's nations considered their options and chose not to join the Dear Leader in his war. The Dear Leader had envisioned the death of The Republic through a thousand cuts. Instead he scratched the beast just hard enough to make it really, really angry. The Dear Leader and his allies were crushed in just a matter of weeks and months.

At home, the politicians and the powerful did what they always do, they worked the system for their benefit.

October 24, 2012

Days of future past -- part two

It is a strange thing, but almost every culture and religion has a prophecy about a leader who will arise in the east and lead the oppressed people in revolt against the evil controlling the world. The Dear Leader knew that was his destiny. His nation was tiny. It was located in the harsh lands far from the Mediterranean and south of the Black Sea. His people were poor, and the culture of The Republic was changing life in ways he found unacceptable. He blamed The Republic for the lack of wealth. He blamed The Republic for the lack of education. Every speech was filled with demagoguery, and the Dear Leader assured his people he could lead them to the greatness they had know in ancient times if only the evil yoke of oppression was thrown off. He blamed The Republic for stealing the fruits of their labors. And the people listened.

The dear Leader's little country was so far away and of so little consequence The Republic did not even notice his rise to power. Does the elephant pay attention to a gnat? Does the blue whale notice the tiny crab crawling on the ocean floor?

The Republic had problems of its own. Elections were coming and a man of the people was leading a charge to reform.  The main plank of his platform was the granting of citizenship to the growing populace of non-citizens inside the borders. He promised higher taxes. He vowed to take property and money from the wealthiest few and spread the largess to the people. He proposed a cap on wealth, arguing the millionaires could afford it. He said it was a crime in a nation so wealthy that anyone should go hungry. The Reformer shouted that change had to happen for the good of all.

The day finally came for election, and it looked like the reformer was a clear winner. As the vote was counted election irregularities began to appear.  The old-line status-quo candidate was declared the winner. The reformer and his supporters were aghast. The Senate confirmed the results. The people exploded in mass protest.

In the hinterlands far from the Capital, in the farmlands, in the smaller cities and towns, the outrage was palpable. Ordinary citizens took up arms, the tax collectors and governmental functionaries were arrested, beaten and even killed. The Republic was in an uproar.  For the first time in history, the army was sent forth to quell an uprising of the citizens. Hundreds of thousands would die in the process, on both sides. This was a civil war of a different type. It was citizen against non-citizen, liberal reformer against conservative old line thinking. It was neighbor against neighbor.

As the Republic focused on internal problems, the Dear Leader saw his opportunity.

October 23, 2012

Days of future past

In the pantheon of nations this one came to power rather quickly. The Republic was based on representative democracy and strong economics. Over the course of a few generations and a couple of World Wars it rose to be the dominant superpower in the world.

Nations all over rose and fell with The Republic's economy. The Republic was fabulously rich and its farms and manufacturing and consumers were the engine that powered the global economy. It wasn't just as a military superpower and economic superpower that the nation exerted its influence over large parts of the world.  The very culture was emulated. Clothing, language, even the coin of the realm was used by other nations. The Republic was loved and hated as are all empires; despotic, friendly, and accidental.

 The Republic's military was powerful beyond belief. There was not an opponent that could stand up to the technology and fighting spirit of the soldiers of the Republic.  Her warships prowled the oceans. The Republic destroyed their remaining  superpower rivals a few generations before, and held hegemony over the other nations. There were no major wars, but the armed forces found themselves caught up in small skirmishes all often. Radical elements and rogue nations were always trying to disrupt the peace and economic engine that drove the Republic. Usually these skirmishes were guerrilla wars -- small units sniping and nipping at the heels of the Republics powerful army in their midst.  Many an aspiring politician stirred up hate in his own country by using The Republic as the bogeyman.  The Republic was blamed for the smaller nation's economic ills, for destroying their culture. Often The Republic was painted as evil itself.

Things were not all roses in the homeland, however.  The gap between the richest and poorest of the society was growing at an ever expanding rate. The political class was becoming increasingly powerful, passing laws that seemed innocuous at the time, but secretly increased the politicians power and wealth.

More and more ordinary citizens were on the welfare, depending on the State for food, while the richest lived in lavish style. The education system was in shambles, rich and poor alike complained their sons were not getting the education they deserved. There was a large segment of the population pushing for a return to traditional values. These folks were concerned the loose morals and lack of respect for religion was damaging the very fabric of The Republic.

Inside the nation's borders there lived a large and growing population of non-citizens.  These people paid taxes, worked, served in the army.  But they were not granted the right to vote.  They had no say in government.

Every decade or so a reformer, a man of the people, appeared pushing to fundamentally change society. The reforms were wildly popular among the masses. Limiting wealth, taxing the rich at a higher rate, spreading the wealth appealed to the downtrodden. The rich and powerful, the conservative-minded in the legislature, successfully blocked every attempt at reform.

The Republic faced endless wars in far-off places with no goal or end in sight, especially in the Middle East. At home the economy was slowing. Public debt was mounting and taxes were already high. A few years of drought drove food prices upwards. the rich were getting richer. The non-citizen birthrate far outpaced that of the citizens and unrest grew. The wisest of political observers knew a crisis was coming, but lacked the vision or power or desire to solve the problems that faced the country.

Life in the Republic was like a pot of water on the stove, and things were about to boil over.

October 22, 2012

ObamaCare and your waiter

My son is a struggling musician. He makes ends meet by waiting tables, a well-trodden alternate career path of many artists. He works hard and is very good at his job. He toils at a national chain. My son is one of the longest-tenured servers at his location and gets the best tables, best hours and best tips.

That last bit is important.  You may not be aware, but most servers work for tips. If they exceed around $2.00 per hour in tips, they are NOT usually paid an hourly wage. Those of you who fail to tip a reasonable portion of the bill asked your waiter, waitress and busboy to work for free. Those of you who hang around for hours after you eat, shooting the breeze, are taking money from your server, they cannot get another table until you are done.At many restaurants servers who fail to make a certain threshold in tips are fired. Fact.

This post is not about the hard life of a food service worker. My son chose this job (there are not a lot of options these days) because it fits with the schedule he needs in order to try and make his way in the music business. This post is about the effects of ObamaCare on the very people it is designed to "help".

Under Obamacare any employee who works more than 30 hours a week must be offered health insurance or the employer faces fines. My son must either pay for his employer-offered health insurance or buy it from an exchange. Thus in one fell swoop my son is faced with two decisions -- lose hours he desperately needs, or spend 30% of his wages on health insurance or pay a fine. There is no other option.

My son has chosen his current economic situation to a degree. He is willing to sacrifice for his dreams. He does not make much money, some days he might make $20, if the night is slow.  Waiting tables in a college town is feast or famine. He qualifies for food stamps, and probably housing assistance, and heat assistance.  He takes no welfare. I help him out a little from time to time. He pays his rent and his student loans and has very little left at the end of the day. Now Big Brother is telling him he has to spend money he does not have on a service he does not want, all while getting his hours cut.

This is what happens when the Government interferes in our lives. This is the face of Obamacare, more ominous than the death panels This is what happens when you compel people to buy something. As Reagan quipped, the scariest words in America really are "I'm from the Government and I'm here to help". ObamaCare is the poster child for the accuracy of that statement.

This is not about good intentions, it is about power, and your waiter is a mere pawn, used up and thrown away by the Democrat Party. Go ahead and vote for Obama one more time, then go look your waitress in the eye as you have a celebratory dinner. Make sure you throw in an extra large tip her way.  She's gonna need it, thanks to your vote.

October 19, 2012

Debating the debate

I suspect you are wondering why I have not put forth brilliant and insightful political commentary and debate analysis yet. Certainly you are all waiting on my opinion, right? Right?

I did not watch the debate. My mind is made up. Nothing either candidate says will change the facts. I read some analysis the next morning.  What did this intrepid reporter do in lieu of immersion in hot political melodrama? I chilled in a hotel room in not-so-beautiful Rockford, Illinois.  I read, I dozed, I watched some baseball, I channel surfed and dozed a bit more.  Then I climbed into my bed and slept some more.

I woke in the dark of night. I don't know why. I checked my phone for the time. The phone was dead. I  don't know why, the battery was on about 50% when I set the alarm. I got up, found the plug and plugged in the phone.  Then I worried if the alarm would go off or not. I had an appointment for the first thing in the morning and late is not an option in my business world. I finally got up around six. I breakfasted in the Hampton Inn lobby, met with my customer on time and made the long and oh-so-boring drive through central Illinois and Indiana to home. I arrived around supper time. What a life.

Friday Hippie Music

October 18, 2012

The echoes of emptiness is making me crazy

Hello ? Hello?

Did someone shut down the blogging world and forget to tell me?

Is there anyone out there?

October 17, 2012

Perpetual Change

The babysitter lived just a few doors down the street. I worked at a management trainee job for little pay, the wife toiled at a bank. We didn't want to put the kid into daycare, but economics has a way of dictating life choices. I was usually off by 3:00, so I picked up my daughter from the babysitter each afternoon.

Hand in hand we crossed the street, my daughter and I, and walked home. If the weather was nice we would go to the park in my backyard.  Yes, a real city parked was just beyond my meager property line. I did not mind not having much lawn. Acres of tennis courts, fields and playground equipment were just feet away. I would push my daughter in the swing for what seemed like hours to my exhausted body. Twelve hour days, every day, do not give you energy to chase a two year old around the park. I loved every minute of it.

I still find it amazing that you can buy a lawnmower, a coffeemaker, a cheap skillet from WalMart and every package contains operating instructions.  Directions to care for a plain white undershirt are stenciled right under the Fruit of the Loom logo. But you go to the hospital, watch a baby slide from your wife's most private of spots, and presto-chango you are a parent! There is no manual in English and Spanish and French with unfathomable blow-up diagrams to direct you in the care and upbringing of a child. It is the toughest job I ever had. Put Tab A into Slot B. That was the easy enough.  The next 18 20 40 60 years is the hard part.

Even after picking up two more kids at the hospital I was still winging it as a parent. Even though all three of my children think they are grown up, I am still waking up a dad every day. As they too face struggles and life's challenges sans instruction book, I try and help and guide as best I can. I confess I still don't know what the Hell I am doing.

Life was much easier when all I had to do was make sure my daughter made it across the street on the trip home from the babysitters.  I long for simple times when I could push her in a swing, when her biggest challenge was getting a drink from the lion's head drinking fountain in the park behind my little house.. That hurdle I could help with. Now I watch my daughter and sans enter life's boxing ring on their own. I know how Mick felt when Rocky battled Creed.

Or my own Parents, watching me.

October 16, 2012

I'm gonna take this right foot...

I watched Billy Jack the other night. I first saw the film back in 1971 when it hit the theaters. Billy Jack caused me broken bones and no end of pain. Honestly. This scene caused it all:

 If you have not seen the movie, it is about a school, located on an Indian reservation, run by the ultimate Hippie. The school is a non-violent creative wonderland where you can be "you", and learn whatever you want.The Man puts no limits on your creativity, your soul.  The nearby town is stocked with cartoon conservative Neanderthals who only want to discriminate against anyone who is not a WASP, shoot wild animals to extinction, and use their wealth to influence the local politics.. Evil Righties clash with good Lefties and only the ex-Green Beret, half-Native American, right-minded (in a lefty way) Billy Jack can save the poor progressives.It is for the Children, you see.

Billy does all of the wrong things -- violence, guns, and fighting  -- for all of the right reasons, so all is OK with crazy hippie fanatic Jean and the school kids. Billy Jack is a metaphor for the violent fringe lefty groups of the time like the Weather Underground. Violence and death is OK as long as your underlying motivations are "good" (read progressive) and punishes evil rich conservative white guys.The Utopia will come when the bad people are re-educated or eliminated.

Tom Laughlin, who wrote, directed, and stars as the title character, is as much a Native American as Elizabeth Warren, so his believability factor is a little low. Plus, the mixing of several native American cultures and traditions,  like combining the traditions of the Hopi Snake Dance with the Ghost Dance perpetuated by a Paiute and popularized by the Sioux of the 1890's is a little confusing. By the end of the movie I start to hate every character except Billy Jack, and he wears a little thin.

But damn, I love this movie.

Here is a Tuesday dose of Friday Hippie music, because I am a sharing kind of guy: Plus the video pretty much captures the film without having to see the whole thing.

Today's head scratcher

Imagine solar panels covering the broad expanse of grassland that was the site of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Maybe you can envision windmills dotting the landscape of Valley Forge?

Is lining the runways of Ford Field at Pearl Harbor with solar panels any less obscene?

 16 years of no global warming  and it is time to abandon the green energy/global warming onslaught. I am for saving the environment and reducing the use of fossil fuels where it makes sense, but at some point the cost is too high. There is no more efficient, cheaper alternative to fossil fuels available today. Except maybe nukes, and the environmentaltards are never going to allow more nuke plants to open.

I am not sure when it started, but the Government has turned the military, especially the navy, into a big social experiment. Much to our peril, I think. To paraphrase Clausewitz, the purpose of the military is to project through force a nation's political will. In other words, to break stuff and kill people. I am aware I never served and lack the bonafides to comment on military matters. But it does not take years of service to know the role of the navy is to protect America's interests at sea, not to be a poster program for green energy.

To destroy one of our nation's key historic sites to propagate a fad is beyond the pale.  We might as well mount windmill blades on the Washington Monument.

October 15, 2012

But you and I will be dead

I love being right. Acknowledgement of my rightness is music to my ears.

Future historians will look back on the Obama foreign policy regarding the Mideast in much the same light modern historians view Chamberlain and his policies toward Hitler. Remember, at the time the world thought Chamberlain was a genius. We now know his every action was exactly wrong.

We will look at Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in much the same light -  a total disaster. The Obama policies will fare the same historical analysis.

Time will prove me dead on in this historical prediction. Perhaps future generations will discover my genius and save the collected works of this blog as proof. Likely the words and phrases will dwindle and die a meaningless and forgotten death in the interwebz.  I will be dead and worm food, no doubt.

I will still be right.

October 14, 2012

And so it goes...

I am reading Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. It is one of two books by that author living in the electronic bowels of my Kindle. I grabbed them for free or practically free sometime in the near distant past. Vonnegut wrote Breakfast of Champions when he was fifty. Since I turned the magic half-century mark earlier this year, I thought I would give it another read.

In the halcyon days of my youth I read voraciously. I read a lot now, but in those days I could knock of a book almost every day. Then, as now,  I got onto reading jags. I would get on an author or subject and consume everything I could find by/about it. For instance  I spent more than a year reading about nothing except the Zulu Wars. My Civil War kick was legendary among family and friends. I read straight through (twice) the works of Patrick O'Brian and then went right after the 20+ books of the Sharpe series by Cornwell. You get the idea.  In my early twenties I embarked on a Hoosier author quest.  I read up McCutcheon, Charles Major, Booth Tarkington, Dan Wakefield and of course, Vonnegut.

At the time, in the fresh bloom of my youth, I found the writings of old Kurt funny and insightful in a cool way. I took another stab at him a decade or so later and found him juvenile and economically illiterate. Just a chapter or two into Breakfast of Champions my opinion  remains similar to my last reading.   It is juvenile. I find Vonnegut's style reminiscent of how some people talk to dogs, or to a particularly slow-witted child. There is in the book a smarmy, condescending undertone I find repulsive. Fifty-year old me is not enjoying Fifty year old Vonnegut at all. But I will keep at it. Perchance the genius will appear later, like a great and powerful wizard skulking behind a literary curtain.

It is quite possible that I just do not get it. Time dampers our intellectual capacity.  I lost my French language abilities after not using them for decades, and it is possible I am incapable of finding the 'art' in the writings. It is also quite possible I find the author's disdain for America and its foundations disgusting. Do you want to know what the average American liberal thinks about you and America as a whole?  You do not have to listen to the political leaders, spend days in the Democrat Underground, or Occupy a spot of dirt in the local park. Read the preface to Breakfast of Champions.  Make no mistake, Kurt Vonnegut saw more than his share of tragedy.  He was a child of the Depression, a POW in WWII, his mother committed suicide. He also spent his life in wealth, as a child and as a successful author. He circled with the New York elites while he pretended to be on the side of the everyman. Disparaging your ambition, your success, your life. your dreams, he castigated the masses for capitalism, for America. All the while viewing the common folk from the window of his apartment overlooking Central Park.

And so it goes, indeed.

October 12, 2012

A little honesty

Ask yourself a question. You do not have to confess in the comments. You know what is in your heart.

If the whole Benghazi bullshit cover-up happened under say G W Bush, what would your reaction be?  Does the whole affair not have some shades of Watergate?  Where is the Democrat willing to stand up and ask What did you know, when did you know it?

Does the whole sleazy affair and the associated assault on free speech not leave you a little queasy? There is a guy in solitary confinement in prison right now because the President and Sec of State blamed the whole thing on a movie.

Lies upon lies.

How do you feel?

Friday Hippie Music

For occasional commenter Hey Teacher. We may not agree on the roll of unions, but we do agree on good music.

Remember to vote against Tony Bennett in the upcoming elections. Yes, Dear Reader,, i will be voting for a Democrat come November.

October 11, 2012

Looking forward through the past

I went back and read the posts I wrote regarding Obama back in 2008. I was right about him.

Sadly, that gives me very little satisfaction.

October 10, 2012

This is how it starts

I embrace technology.  I may not understand how it works, but I like the gadgets and buy them when I can afford to.

But this, I don't know. I am no science fiction fan, but even my less than fertile imagination can play out the scenario. Store the DNA in a machine. Use the DNA to drive said computer.  DNA comes alive, and gives "life" to machine. Machines try to wipe out man; a Cro-Magnon vs Neanderthal redux, with me and mine caught up in a Terminator-like future.

I think I am in the midst of a Guy Fawkes moment.

October 9, 2012

Five foreign policy intitaives

You know what we need on this Tuesday afternoon? We need some 80's music chicks. Trust me, we do, if for no other reason than to remind ourselves the fashions of the 1980's suck big time.Future fashionistas should never try to foist the overalls, baggy pants, or leg warmer bullshit on us again.

You know I am right.

The new poll tax redux.

Perhaps we need an intelligence test before people can vote?  This Barbie wannabe is as distressing as the morons who were interviewed outside the polls after voting for Obama in 2008.  Proof no political party has a monopoly on idiots. Now I know how some Democrats feel when the average party member gets interviewed on TV (Obamaphone!)

Next we will vote for a candidate based on the color of his skin!

h/t EOB

edit  it is a put-on

October 8, 2012

A mental Octoberfest


They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
      --James Whitcomb Riley

Early autumn always brings this poem to mind. As a young Hoosier in high school English class we were always subjected to reading Riley. I find him much more tolerable, in fact downright entertaining, if you read him out loud. Riley captures in his poems a natural sense of a dying Hoosier dialect. The tone and voice is exactly what my great grandparents spoke, and sometimes that phrasing and intonation seeps into my speech patterns. Strange enough, my brother rarely exhibits the same "hickness".

We had a hard freeze last night and frost still coats the grass in the house shadow outside my office window.  The air was clean and crisp when I went to get the paper in the predawn darkness.

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I can walk the neighborhood without finding shirt and shorts soaked in sweat. I love the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my feet and the blaze of orange and red in the trees.  I miss the smell of burning leaves, a smell like no other and always associated with fall in my brain.

The Christmas tree display already up at WalMart is a sad commercial reminder the first days of flying snow and permanent chill are not far away. The flashing on my computer screen reminds me I need to join a conference call.

Have a great Monday.

October 7, 2012

Politics and Chip Dip

I have been giving some thought to the recent debates. I have to be honest, I though Obama was lost, Romney boring. There could not be much give and take on policy issues. Obama cannot run on his policies, only that Romney's are not sound. It only takes a few minutes of listening to your kids argue in the backseat to understand that is what we saw on a national stage:  "He touched me". "Did not".  turns easily into "He's going to tax the middle class." "Am not". Yawn. What channel is SportsCenter?

Obama could not very well argue in favor of his Presidency, only against Romney.  The economy is not really a lot better.  Fewer Americans are working than in any time in recent history. Unemployment stays high. Gas is double the price since he took office. Foodstuff, heating oil,. electricity, all are much higher in price. Even the President's signature achievements are not winners among the voting public. ObamaCare remains very unpopular, and the taxes and costs that kick in next year will only make it worse. The stimulus is viewed as a failure, and most Americans realize the government cannot continue to spend at the current rates.  Many of us have no idea what to do about it, but the spending spree must stop, and the Stimulus has become the poster child of out of control spending.

Macroeconomic issues like the relationship of the Euro, the Greek and Spanish debt crisis and the changing value of the Yuan are beyond most peoples' understanding. There remains a lack of confidence in the economy. President Obama can only restore that confidence by convincing the general public that his policies will work, given enough time, or that Romney will make things worse. Romney only has to point to the past four years and say  "See -- want more of the same?".

Class warfare only works with a small segment of the population.  Liberals think the president has not gone far enough, but moving left will alienate a large chunk of middle America. We won't even discuss foreign policy.

The President looked out of sync and lost for a very good reason. All he can offer positive is "more of the same" That resonates with his base, but undecideds have not supported the President this election for a reason. They are leery, uncertain and looking for a reason to vote for the President.  All Obama can hope is he throws enough reasons not to vote for Romney to those people.

Romney just has to give  reason to believe he is a better alternative.  Obama's lack of new policy initiatives only helps Romney. Undecided voters are like the guy in the grocery staring at the chips. Ruffles or Lays, he wonders. He just needs someone to tell him that Ruffles scoop up sour cream and onion dip better than Lays.

That reminds me, I need to get to the store before the football game...

October 6, 2012

Saturday, and I'm not in the park

I am a little late hitting the old blog this morning. I slept in to almost 8:00! That is very late for me. I read the paper and ate some Corn POPS before logging on. It is all about priorities, dear reader.

After some heavy rain yesterday evening and night we are greeted by a sunny, crisp fall day.  Perfect football weather for those of you into college sports. It brings me on a stroll down memory lane, where life is all lollipops and good times. I think of walking down the streets around little old Wabash College, shoes crushing the fallen leaves, laughter leading the way as we trekked toward the football stadium. Cold beers in hand and belly, we are ready to enjoy life to its fullest. The trivia cares of study and tests and research papers are forgotten in a weekend of sport, of booze, and lust. Ah youth. Too bad it was not all as we remember it.

In the present, we are going to meet up with some friends today.  The wives plan on a little shopping while the he-men women haters club enjoys some fine hand-rolled tobacco from a small Caribbean or Central American nation and a cold beer or two. I guess my life has not really changed much in the intervening quarter century plus since my college days.

My coffee grows cold. Have a great weekend.

October 5, 2012

Stuff I wish I had said


I guess when you have had your head up your ass for four years breathing at altitude might be a problem.
--James Old Guy

Laughed my ass off.

Friday Hippie Music

Since most of you could not follow Obama's rambling mumbling piss poor debate performance, I have taken it upon myself to summarize his policies.  Behold, Ten Years After put it to music.

October 4, 2012

Banana peels and egg shells

I made a pot of chili last night. And some cornbread.  I love cornbread. I am not real fond of chili. The wife is, and I am that kind of guy. I picked out the beans and manage to eat a bowl or two. The hot air i pumped later in the evening was almost equal to 1/1000 of the hot air spouted in the debates. After about an hour I had to change the channel. I watched me some DVR'd episodes of Chopped (the best show on TV).

I managed to convince a potential customer to let me quote their widget needs. She sent me a spreadsheet of about 250 part numbers. She sent about 125 pages of chart drawings to quote from. The part numbers on the spreadsheet are NOT tied to the chart drawings, so I have about 2,000 lines to try to sort and match to part numbers. Then we have to try to interchange based on dimensions before we can quote. In case you don't know what a chart drawing is, it is a long listing of part numbers and dimensions. Think of it as a narrow listing of part after part. This means I have to go through 125 pages of part listings, sometimes 50 or more lines per page, on different drawings, to find about 250 different part numbers. Let me put it this way, it is like trying to find a certain word in your morning paper. Now do that 250 times.

I am not getting this done wasting my time blogging.

October 3, 2012

Reader Challenge

I want you to think about something. I know, you didn't come here to get homework. Well knock It off before I give you something to whine about.

As the debates are finally upon us, it is time to think about your vote. I have stated for me this election is once again an exercise in voting against a particular candidate. I am looking for reasons to be for some one.

If you are an Obama supporter, why are you voting for him?  What policies of his do you support.  Now here is the kicker, you cannot give reasons why not to vote for Romney. I am looking for reasons to vote for Obama.

You Romney folks do not get off here.  I submit your challenge is harder.  Why vote for Romney.  You cannot list the reasons you think Obama sucks, only the positive attributes for Romney.

Have at it in the comments.

October 2, 2012

I'm back, I'm nationwide

Greetings on this cloudy/misty/rainy Tuesday.  I returned just a bit ago from Freddieland, and I am feeling fine.  No I did not see Freddie ( I would not know her if I saw her anyway), but I did have a good business trip.

I mentioned in a previous post I was up in Muncie over the weekend. I am not the only one that enjoyed my son's band, Fossil generation. Read this article from the Ball State Daily News.
Imagine what a modern day Jimi Hendrix would sound like, mashed together with the Mars Volta, and sandwiched in with musical characteristics similar to that of Muse, Radiohead and sometimes Tool. This is the live sound of Fossil Generation.

Pretty high praise indeed.

October 1, 2012

Appple TV -- a review in three parts

Yeah, about the blog posting today --probably not.
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