My Work

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Some Random Thoughts

Here are some random thoughts from a muddled mind as we venture into another year, this one to be called 2014.

What exactly does it mean when we use the word tolerance?  There are so few examples of it today.  Was the head duck showing tolerance?  Were those condemning him also showing a bit of tolerance?  Many who are blasting congress and the president for not being willing to work together have no concept of tolerance either.  Many today are quite willing to say that it is wonderful to be an American because we are free and we allow for differences of opinion.  But we aren’t free if we compare our current society to that of 1820, and we stab and wound anyone whose thoughts differ from our own.

To allow for someone to be different, to give others an opportunity to have different values, to have or not have religious beliefs and give the same opportunity to others would be a start toward tolerance.  One only needs to glance at a few bumper stickers to understand a vast emptiness in the land of the free when it comes to tolerating those that might be “different.”

An over abundance of government has helped create this lack, a tremendous explosion of “Nanny-ism” adds to our intolerance daily, and extremism in politics plays an essential role as well.  Laws are written with a background of “we know what is best for you,” while those in some pulpits scream racism at the least little opportunity, and children are punished for pointing fingers during playtime and going, “bang-bang.”

Our entire concept as a nation came about because of intolerance, our original laws and rules were formulated to include tolerance, to be inclusive, to allow for differences of opinion, thought, belief. 

What a boring and miserable life this would be if we were all alike.


Back in the old days, some fifty or so years ago, when I had already reached my majority and was sure that I knew a lot about life, politics, government, and on and on, I used a mantra to determine whether or not I was willing to support some proposed government program.  It was simple, concise, and complete within itself.  Whatever the program was, I asked, “Is this really a function of government?”

It worked for me during the late 1950s, through much of the 1960s, and then seemed to fail miserably.  Government programs became a way of life for hundreds of thousands of people, now numbering in the millions.  The programs did not offer a hand up, they offered a hand out.  The idea of personal responsibility was taken out of the equation by the government itself.

As the years rolled on, the government programs became more and more intrusive, delving into personal and business lives until we now have our own government spying on us and seemingly acting with a touch of pride in the ability to do so.

A compassionate government would be a good government, but an overbearing one, delving into every facet of life, is just that: overbearing.  We were offered “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” some two hundred forty years ago and we find that our lives are threatened by a government that says it has the right to kill citizens with drones, our liberty has been thwarted by programs such as NSA, TSA, and IRS, and we no longer need to pursue happiness, it will be provided by an all consuming federal government.

While some of the major news outlets are currently consumed by the fact that the roll out of Obamacare was a fiasco no one is looking at the program itself.  Yes, my darling daughter, the web site is fouled and those that built it are short sighted, but it’s the program that is wrong.  A national health policy?  Is this a function of federal government?  A national education policy?  A national policy on gas mileage?  A national policy on child seats?  A national policy on highway construction?  The government is currently pursuing the option of being in control of all water and water rights and water policy nationwide.

Why, one might ask, do we even have 50 states?  Washington and those in current leadership, Reid, Pelosi, Obama, Holder, want control over every single aspect of our lives, conception to burial, and what is most feared by those that sincerely believe in liberty, there are enough people currently being coddled in social welfare programs, to have the electoral power to maintain the effort.


Two things have happened recently, at first glance totally unrelated, that might help us understand these first few years of the 21st Century.  The botched roll-out of Obamacare on the one hand and our decision at this household to return to land line telephone service, both reminiscent on earlier times.

As a nation we have become completely dependent on what is commonly called modern technology giving it a level of trust that is undeserved.  We are willing to drive into country we’ve never been in putting our lives in the hands of a gps unit, willing to give our personal information over a communications device that is devoid of a security level that would protect that information, and feeling that we have been somehow cheated when these pieces of flawed technology fail to operate as promised.

Why are we surprised that the government can’t create a massive health care system?  Why are we dismayed when Joe Jerk steals our identity?  Why am I lost in the forest when a battery fails in my fail-safe gps unit?  We paid one hundred dollars for a hand held telephone that fails as often as it performs, but not according to the advertising.  And, we’re surprised and upset?

We have not reached the level of the Twenty Third Century (think Star Trek), where technology is all but fool proof.  Right now, all we have is we, the fools, have proven the technology has not reached a level of perfection the advertising promises.  Putting one’s entire life into the hands of a piece of technology that hasn’t proven itself reliable or safe is mostly stupid.

That’s a strong word, but if you take the time to analyze what we are doing, it has to be the right word.  One massive sun flare and our satellites are out of business, and if our entire communications system, world wide, is based on satellites --- oops.  If your defense against having personal information available to those that shouldn’t have it is based on you believing that it’s safe … oops.  If you’re going hunting, camping, traipsing in woods you’ve never been in, and you have a gps but no maps or compass …  oops.  And, if you’re the president and you … never mind, his entire administration is an oops.

A reality check came to us when Patty and I realized that we had no means of communication without a device that could fail and did regularly.  It’s almost impossible to get a real land line telephone today, and I’m old enough to remember when that old black telephone, with or without a dial, seldom if ever failed.  A fool might run into a pole and take out service, but that ‘phone didn’t fail.  You simply can’t say that about today’s technology.

I’m not willing to put that much trust in today’s tech wonders.  Twenty five years from now, maybe.  When a device has not proven itself trustworthy to a high percentage level and is replaced by a “new and better” model, that model is based on what has already not been proven.  That’s a bad little circular equation that can only lead to big problems.

The president’s complete faith in modern technology has destroyed his reputation and the health care insurance of millions of people, and it came just from poor planning and less than adequate technicians.  Think what might happen if a major sun storm would wipe out our satellite systems.

Have a great day, read good books and stay regular.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter's Wonders

A single storm does not a winter make, some will say, but as we moved into the month of December, it was very obvious that at least winter might be trying this year, and there is no doubt that we need old Jack Frost to be neighborly.  Winter can be frigid and dry, can be wetter than an old wet hen and not so cold, and be just right, with enough chill in the air to remind us that it is winter, and with enough snow to make our spring and summer lots of fun and productive.

Winter officially begins on December 21 this year, the occasion of the winter solstice, bringing us the day with the least amount of daylight, after which we begin the slow climb toward spring.  The ancients lived by the sun and stars, there were no calendars as such, no clocks, work began at or slightly before sunrise and ended at or slightly after sunset.  Chickens still live their lives that way.  Many in agriculture do as well, but with the advent of electrical lighting, the chickens are messed up and so is the farmer.

With the advent of civilization, back in Mesopotamia, came the advent of agriculture, but there are indications that celebrations of solstice and equinox may pre-date agriculture.  Hunter gatherers used these occasions for celebrations that may or may not have been related to some kind of religious program.  Knowing that less sunshine, thus colder weather, also brought flocks of ducks and geese into the area would be a good thing, knowing that deer and elk are more inclined to think about breeding than self protection when the cold weather begins would be excellent knowledge.

Knowing that the first storm of the season as we had this year means it’s time to unhook the hose and wrap the heat tape is that same kind of intelligence, 21st Century style.  If the solstice entices the hunters of Stonehenge to venture forth, it too makes the survivors of today wrap the pipes.

There has always been some indication that high birth rates in August and September are reflections of the previous winter, and that brings us to mistletoe, and its curious connection to Christmas.  Mistletoe is supposedly known as a pagan plant within the Roman church, yet it is freely used in many programs within the church.  Never-the-less, hanging a sprig and enticing a lovely to stand under it has benefits beyond the reach of the church.  The druids are known to have held mistletoe in high esteem.

Along with mistletoe, early civilizations used holly and ivy in their winter pageants, thus when Christianity came along, the church confiscated that for their own, saying such things as holly representing the crown of thorns, and that ivy and its clinging had something to do with clinging to God.  The so-called pagan rituals written into the new church.

Symbolism is rampant during the winter months, the ancients working overtime to entice the sun to wend its way back high in the sky, the religious adding to the fervor of celebrating coming glories, and the massive amounts of evergreens being slashed into wreaths, cut for Christmas trees, and mangled into what the British used to call “Kissing Boughs,” not being satisfied with tearing mistletoe from surrounding oak trees.

Following immediately on the heels of Christmas come the New Year, and we make all kinds of promises to ourselves, few of which last the week, and pray for more snow, until at last it’s Groundhog Day and we can start to believe in Spring.  Until then,

Merry Christmas To All

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Happy Holidays?

We lived through the mess of attempting to take Christmas away from the masses and replace it with Holidays toward the end of 2005 and now, it seems it is already time for another move to make the end of the year some kind of secular spending spree.  You challenge my thought that this is an attempt to make the season secular?  It's only Christmas that is being challenged.  Not Thanksgiving.  Not New Year's.  Have you heard anyone try to tell you that on the Fourth of July you should say, "Have a good holiday?"

Some might try to say that celebrating Christmas isn't showing Jews or Muslims or Sikhs or Buddhists proper respect.  It isn't their holiday.  It’s supposed to be a Christian holiday, but old Daddy Warbucks got in the way.  It's greed that turned a high holy holiday into a nationwide spending spree that has nothing to do with the birth of a man whose death created an entire religion.  Of course, today, many of those professing to be Christian don’t know how to act like a Christian, but, that’s a whole ‘nother article.

If it wasn't an attempt to secularize Christmas by East Coast elitists then we would not be saying Happy New Year nor would we celebrate Independence Day.  How on earth can we even think of celebrating Columbus Day?  What a slap in the face that is to those from Tibet.  Granted no ships sailed from Tibet to the historically unknown reaches of the North and South American continents but that shouldn't give us the right to do them such a disservice.

There of course is a far better way to solve this created problem.  If you are not a Christian or if you do not feel you should celebrate the birth of Jesus, don't.  Don't put up decorations filled with religious symbol, don't spend huge amounts of money on gifts celebrating Christmas in the manner of St. Nicholas, and most importantly don't tell Christians they can't say Merry Christmas.  And for someone’s sake, quit starting to enjoy your holiday before Hallowe’en, quit trying to destroy my Thanksgiving, and damn it, leave Groundhog Day alone.

This isn't a case of believer versus non-believer; it is the outright theft of a High Holy Day by non-believers masquerading as righteous souls trying to give the appearance of attempting to preserve the dignity of other religions.  Can you spell nanny?  Can you spell Politically correct?  Can you spell progressive Liberalism?

It is also greed.  Retail greed.  For many outside the Christian religion the Christmas holiday is just another three-day holiday, more importantly, a three-month spending spree.  For those that have no religious thoughts about Christmas that's fine, spend your money, sing joyous winter songs, even celebrate the winter solstice with a dance or two, but do not attempt to end the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  That is the ultimate disrespect.  But that’s the way it is with progressive liberals; do not allow for thinking outside their realm of influence, which by the way, is getting smaller and smaller.

If you’ve made it this far, it’s time to talk turkey, if you don’t mind too much.  Well, actually, it will be chicken this year, right out of our own hen house.  Patty and I raised a couple of dozen Rock Cornish Cross hens this year, and we have made a vow we will do this for the next several years.  The most tender, delicious, farm raised chickens I’ve ever had.  We’ll split one right down the middle, into two halves, and slowly BBQ his little body on the Weber, have oven baked oyster dressing, ranch raised green beans, and home made sour dough rolls.

And I’ll bake a sweet potato pie, with just a little bit extra rum, well you know, at this altitude, it boils away quickly, and we’ll top each slice with some French vanilla ice cream.

I’m terribly sorry to have to say, reservations are filled.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Isolationism or Common Sense?

One of the arguments many prefer in challenging libertarian views is calling them isolationist, and I don’t think my views are particularly isolationist.  I have tremendous concerns about our current foreign policies regarding Europe, the near east and the far east, Our standing army in Europe is standing because of … well, because they’ve been there since the start of the cold war, back in 1945.  The argument for keeping them there is to support our aggressive armies in the near east.  Sounds like someone forgot to get off the round-about.

Free trade agreements are far more self serving than militaristic bullying tactics.  Self preservation is very important, obviously, to any nation, and mutual aid agreements such at NATO have that as their basis.  So why did we invade Iraq?  Why did we invade Afghanistan?  If our real purpose was to protect economic interest of American business, think oil, and many believe that, then wouldn’t the proper thing to do would be to establish a government friendly to our concerns?  You know, replace one dictator with one friendly to our economic concerns?

After World War Two, as our armies cleared out the Nazis in Europe, we went out of our way to establish rightful governments in most of the devastated countries and return them to economic and political stability.  The Marshal Plan worked well in most of Europe, and today many of those European countries are economically stable.  Not so in the near east and far east because those areas were dominated by European colonists.

As we chased the Japanese armies out of country after country, we simply turned the areas back over to the original colonizing entities:  Dutch, British, French.  Two completely different foreign policies, one for Europe, one for the far east.  And in the near east?  After World War One, Persia and Arabia became a dozen or more countries based on some British bureaucrat drawing lines on a map.  Complete tribal groups, having control over their homelands for hundreds of generations, dispersed.  This is Iraq now, not Kurdistan.  It became American foreign policy as well.

A bully picks a fight because he knows he can.  He’s bigger, stronger, has an impressive swagger to his walk and never challenges one who might fight back.  Our government is a bully in every sense of the word.  Did you read “The Ugly American”?  Age has not made him adorable.  In foreign efforts to build and protect American economic interests our state department often uses threat more than efforts at free trade agreements.  We often support governments led by deranged fools for economic reasons, then bully those fools to the point they become enemies, then invade. 

This form of foreign policy has stood the test of time, dating back to the years following WWII.  Our treaties with some of our so-called allies need to be examined in detail.  We are committed to defending nations that are in no way committed to defending us.

We attacked Iraq because: _______________________.
We attacked Afghanistan because: ________________________.
We want to attack Syria because: _______________________.

In one thousand words or less probably not one of our last five presidents could answer those questions in such a manner as to convince a majority of Americans to vote for him.

America is the strongest nation in the world at this time, probably will continue to be for another couple of generations, and probably not much past that if we don’t pull in our horns and work toward what made us strong in the first place.  Business, strong business making excellent products, hiring millions of educated and willing workers, producing products that were offered worldwide.

And that business thrived in freedom, our labor force thrived in freedom, our citizens thrived in freedom.  Government snooping into private enterprise wasn’t talked about because it didn’t exist.  Government spies listening in to our telephone conversations?  Come on, be serious.  Presidents telling congress to go jump in the lake, he’ll do whatever he wants, and just try and stop him was rarely a topic of conversation not too many years ago.

We need to put order back in our house, drive out the dust devils, rats, and bugs, use our military to protect the United States and its interests, let those that are not a threat to our lives and livelihood live their own lives, protect our business interests without the use of tanks and bombers, you know, by way of “the art of DIPLOMACY.”

It’s time to put common sense back in our way of dealing with foreign and internal interests.  Common sense tells us that corporations are not individuals, so why should corporations have the political rights that they have been given?  We need to reinterpret how International Corporations are taxed and regulated as opposed to purely local businesses.  If a corporation expects the benefits of being a U.S. corporation, it shouldn’t be allowed to hide its assets overseas.  Simple common sense.

Okay, you’re right, one shouldn’t say common sense in the same dissertation in which politics is discussed.  One shouldn’t suggest something as foreign as common sense when talking about bureaucrats.  Or the current state of the judiciary.  Or congress.  Silly me.

Have a great day, read good books, and stay regular.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nevada at 149

Nevada Day, the real one, will be on Thursday, October 31, but to have a three day holiday, will be celebrated on Friday, October 25, festivities lasting the entire weekend.  The silver state will be 149-years-old, pretty young when you consider states like Pennsylvania, which came into being following the revolutionary war.  But the old lady has a history that might be considered more than remarkable.  Mines and miners, railroads, periods of bonanza and borrasca, major agricultural interests in what many consider just open desert, one very large dam, that’s a damn dam, as one visitor said one day, don’t forget Bugsy and pals, and the gem of the Sierra Nevada.  There are two national parks, several very high mountain peaks, remains of an ancient, yes, prehistoric lake, and what’s left of one of its inhabitants.

Henry G. Blasdel became governor when Abraham Lincoln signed the statehood bill that created the Silver State, thirty sixth in line, and he served until 1871.  He was a republican and we’ve had democrats in office as well, but one party ruled for several years, the Silver party which later became the Silver-Democrat party.  The first Silver party governor was John E. Jones in 1895 who served just one year, but Silver party and Silver-Democrats served until 1911, Denver S. Dickerson being the last of that party serving from 1907-1911.

Nevada’s Silver State status hasn’t changed much since its first discovery back in 1859.  The first three months of 2013 has converted rock and stone into 1,896,894 ounces of silver at the state’s various mines and mills.  Old Henry T.P. Comstock might even be impressed by that figure.  But, then again, he sold his share of the fabulously rich Comstock Lode for just ten grand.  John Mackay made more than that before breakfast.

Silver created the state but it’s gold that is the big bonanza today.  Nevada is the sixth largest producer of the brilliant metal in the world, the largest producer in North America.  In the first three months of this year, Nevada’s mines produced 39.9 metric tonnes, and believe it or not that is considered a decline from the same period in 2012.  Even old Henry would pick up on that.

It’s because of the tremendous amount of mining activity that took place in just about every imaginable corner of the state that another major industry was started and continues to flourish today; agriculture.  Towns, villages, actual cities sprang up and the population was large by the standards of the mid 1800s in the west.  Somebody had to feed all those hungry men and women. 

Nevada’s topography is actually a boon to agriculture in that most of the internal mountain ranges  run north and south, with rather fertile valleys in between.  The first thing that was learned, put water to that desert floor and you can grow just about anything.  They tell me pineapple doesn’t do that well, but you can bet that corn, beans, squash, melons, and alfalfa does.  It’s the lack of water in many places that make it difficult, the bane of Nevada’s farmers.

Those mountains can get pretty high.  The White Mountains that make up part of the border between Nevada and California has a peak called Boundary Peak, guess where that is, and it tops out at about 13,147 feet, give or take a few.  Driving through Montgomery Pass, that peak stands tall and formal, sheltering a nice little valley on its north side.

What makes Nevada stand our today is the same thing that made it stand out at the time of statehood.  People.  Nevadans are a unique breed brought about through natural selection.  Independent is not a strong enough word.  It’s not recommended to tell a Nevadan he can’t do something because he is sure to prove you wrong.  Towns and camps are built in the strangest places, take for instance, Manhattan, Nevada, sitting in the middle of a narrow canyon.  The heavy monsoon rains of late summer drench the area every year, every year there is major flooding, every year rebuilding projects includes putting the washed out dikes back up.

There’s a reason, believe it or not for the town to be there in the first place, but maybe not still.  The mines were on the sides of the canyon, people walked to work.  Today?  Well, that’s the way we want it.  The hills in Austin are so steep one misstep and you lose 1,000 feet.  The town has to be within walking distance of the mines.  Today?  Well, you know.

There are still vast areas of the state with no public utility service.  No power, no phones, no problem.  Open range is something visitors sometimes learn the hard way.  A six month old steer calf, $0.95 per pound at the auction yard becomes a prize steer worth thousands if you hit it.  Livestock has the right of way.

Watering holes are not always for livestock. Some have large neon signs out front welcoming the tourist and local alike, and after a few years of enjoying this wonderful state one will find himself welcomed by name in some pretty obscure little communities, get your buns out there and enjoy everything that Nevada offers.  It’s been rumored that even a few of those living in the southland are calling themselves Nevadan today.  Welcome to you.  And to those just moving here, there are signs on some vehicles that say, “I don’t care how they do it in California.”

There’s 110,622 square miles waiting for you, and one huge party on October 26 in Nevada’s capital.  See you there.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Libertarian or Socialist?

What we’re looking at right now with the Obama-care debate is a distinct separation between those that believe in a free market society and those that demand their government to be in full control of their lives, i.e. socialism.  The idea of someone being personally responsible for their life simply can’t be understood by those that believe in an all powerful government.

More and more we are seeing examples of this in Washington during this crisis that has been created by the debate, if you can really call it a crisis.  For those that believe in personal responsibility and free enterprise, in business being controlled by a free market, in limited government at best, then this shut down is not really a crisis, rather it’s an opportunity to begin the process of slowing government expansion, of limiting spending, of re-creating free market enterprise, and of lifting the burden of government intrusion.

The debates that are meaningful right now are not between the old school Republicans and the old school Democrats.  They are between those with a more Libertarian outlook and those progressives that look to Canada and Britain for their brand of socialism.  While some may believe that a libertarian viewpoint is actually anarchist in nature, and there might be a bit of validity in that, it’s more a case of personal freedom and liberty, of an ability to chart a personal course and be responsible for that, than pure anarchism.

This debate has become centered on two major components of Washington today.  We have Obama-care on the one hand and government intrusion into personal lives by way of spy networks.  We can include the arguments for and against the use of drones to wage war in countries in which we are not at war, and the arbitrary killing of American citizens because they might be different.  In other words, from a libertarian point of view, this government is completely out of control and needs to be reined in.

Our political system is just as wrong minded as our government according to many that lean toward libertarianism.  Those that are sent to Washington are sent to represent us, not the highest bidder.  When leading industries own the government then we are no longer dealing with a free enterprise system.  It is the people that should own the government, the government should be answerable to the people, and the people should be free and safe from foreign invasion, and that should be the limits to government.

There are two ways to change the way our government operates today.  In 1776 we did it the hard way because Jolly Olde England wouldn’t change.  The better way is for us, the people to put a little thought into the election process.  It’s one thing to “toss the bum out,” and another to replace the bum with someone who has the personal integrity to actually represent us, that is, “We the People.”

Have a great day, read good books and stay regular.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall, Such A Wonder

Along with the Autumnal Equinox, the arrival of Fall, comes the start of the final quarter of the calendar year and an opportunity to take a look back at the first nine months and maybe make a few little adjustments in how we wend our way through life.

While we may look at spring as a time of rebirth, of the blossoming of life, fall is a time to put things away, keep them safe for next year.  In winter, we sleep, in spring we come to life, so in fall we prepare for that sleep, that rejuvenation.

In the foothills of the eastern Sierra Nevada stand great forests of aspen, covered with multitudes of leaves, all dancing as a gossamer ballerina. And if one has the time and inclination, one can sit on the moist ground, nay, lie on the moist ground, and feel the coolness of autumn begin. Sun’s rays not quite as intense, twilight coming just a bit sooner each day, and soon the leaves don spectacular colors, slowly, slowly, until entire hillsides seem to be burning in their glory. When one narrows one’s eyes, a furious kaleidoscope jitterbugs merrily about.

In other parts of this broad country of ours, hardwoods are making the same preparations, but in the Sierra Nevada, the performance is left for aspen trees. If one looks close, one will see the names of Basque sheepherders carved into white trunks, names of the men that came through various regions a century and more ago. Their names and those of sweethearts waiting in the flatlands below are testaments of, maybe to, love.  In today’s less romantic times, it would be called graffiti.

Spring comes to the high country very late, and now, September, wild flowers, some just recently able to bloom in the cold sun, are preparing for their long nap; bears are filling themselves with the largest bowls of porridge they can find; birds have taught their fledges the theory of flight; and I‘m waiting for that first brilliant yellow or orange leaf. I will pick it up from its grand descent, savor its beauty, tuck it in my pack, and press its beauty on my return home. The color will last, I know, and I’ll spend many hours this winter inspecting treasures like this.

Gathering a basketful or two of aspen leaves before the snow falls will give my holiday table color and vibrancy, a warmth to welcome friends and relatives to my bounty. Fall brings berries if you can get them before the bears and other colorful pieces of vegetation, some that can be eaten, others that simply decorate in high art fashion. Don’t forget the pine cones for the fireplace.

That falling, trembling leaf will be my signal, a sign that the world is OK, that bombs have not fallen on me or mine, that I can make myself as ready for old Jack Frost as yon squirrel. No one has fallen through the hole in the ozone layer, none reported anyway; weapons of mass destruction have not rained on my parade; I can make my hearth ready; put three dogs on my bed; and create a pot of soup that will last the winter.

Two pots actually. One will be soup with all the leftovers that will fit under the lid, the other, beans simmering in a concoction of chilies, meats, tomatoes, onions, and garlic, added to as the need arises, both lasting until spring thaw.

There is a special joy to fall, autumn, at the lower elevations, that period following an equinox, but following labor’s special day here in the high country, a thin, broad, cold sky, can bring the joys of autumn overnight. One day, mid 80s, that night, below freezing. Next morning, brilliantly lit aspen leaves. 

If wood for one’s warmth hasn’t been cut yet, it’s too late, chum. If berries haven’t  been picked and fruit pulped into jam, it won’t happen now. Meat should be smoked or salted or frozen, for waiting past this point will not bring any more than you’ve harvested, bought, or acquired. And that hole in the roof or step that’s missing? The coming snow will remind you daily of those missed summer chores until thaw, six months yonder, at yet another equinox. 

Fall is a time of wonder. I wonder if I’m ready. I wonder at the beauty. I wonder I’ve made this many. I wonder when that damn leaf will finally fall.

Gotta go now.  As always, read good books and stay regular.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Syria, Anyone?

It appears as though Mr. Obama has already made up his mind to attack Syria, regardless of what congress may decide.  The Secretary of State, John Kerry, to paraphrase, said that the president will not make a move until congress makes a decision, and at that time will decide whether to attack Syria.  In other words, if congress does not accept the idea of attacking a country that poses no serious threat to this country, then the president will attack anyway.

There, in so many words, is what’s wrong with this current administration.  The country and the congress is not in favor of more stringent gun controls, but the president and his crony attorney general are, so new and stiffer gun controls are mandated by “proclamation.”  Isn’t that, done at the time by King George, what led to our 1776 rebellion?

The country and the congress alarmed by information that this country spies on its own citizens, on foreign governments, and then lies about it, so the president says, it’s alright because I said so.  Sounds like something Mr. Stalin might have said, eh?

Following our failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the country and the congress appear not in favor of creating a Syrian problem, but this administration is not to be denied.  Mr. Kerry, in a rather bald attempt to favor a few, even invoked the Israel card.  If my perception of history is correct, I don’t think we have ever had to bail Israel out of a problem.  Sell them arms and armament, yes.  Fight for them? No.  If Syria is that big a threat to Israel and Jordan, as Kerry tried to maintain, I’m sure the Israeli air force could take out Assad in just a day or two.

I rather doubt that Saudi Arabia or Egypt is much afraid of Syria.  Right now, the only thing that Syria has going for it is Iran as a primary supporter.  Russia is an ally, and is sure as hell not going to get involved in another middle eastern civil war.  They had their fill in Afghanistan.

So, why are we afraid of Syria?  In this civil war that is going on, both sides have committed serious crimes against each other.  Atrocities far worse than what may not even have been a government gas attack.  There are some that believe the sarin gas may have been exploded by the revels themselves to get the US involved.  But, even if that conspiracy theory holds no water, why is this alleged gas attack more conducive to US involvement than other more vicious and far more deadly attacks performed previously?

Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry may have grabbed the wrong play-book.  Check it out, gentlemen and make sure the one you’re using wasn’t written by Donald Rumsfeldt and Dick Cheney.  Sure does sound familiar.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Labor Day

The first Monday in September was set aside as a federal holiday in 1894, one hundred nineteen years ago, but the history of Labor Day actually goes back to September 5, 1882 in New York City.  It was on that day that the Central Labor Union celebrated with an official day off and grand parade.  The idea spread, city to city, then state to state, until the holiday became a national day of celebration of the workers of the country.

There is some question as to who actually started the idea of the celebration.  Some believe that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters started all this fun and frivolity, while others believe it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist who is responsible.  According to the U.S. Labor Department, Matthew Maguire is quoted as saying the day was to honor those  "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

And how do we celebrate?  Some call it the last opportunity of failing summer for an outdoor celebration, BBQs, camping trips, see the seashore, visit a lake, or, if you happen to be within a hundred miles or so of Sparks, Nevada, eat too many of the finest smoked and BBQd ribs available in the country.

The actual holiday will be September 2 this year and those that are close enough will probably start getting the effects of those large smokers about Friday, August 30.  When the breeze is just right one can gain ten pounds just driving east or west along I-80, and more than one driver has lost the concept of staying in one’s lane doing the looky-look at seventy MPH.

Back in 1882, the Central Labor Union of New York City offered a proclamation to the labor force and basically outlined how Labor Day should be celebrated.  Here is what they said, and as you’ll read, we haven’t changed much in the last century:

a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.

It’s the last major weekend of the summer, the kids have either already returned to the classroom or will Tuesday, the days are getting shorter, the temperatures are cooling off, thoughts of blizzards, skiing, smoke from the chimney instead of the Weber give impetus to the celebration.

If you happen to work five eight hour shifts per week, and get at least a minimum wage, you can thank those people in New York City who created what we call Labor Day back in 1882.  And the best way to thank them, is to celebrate the holiday.

Cold beer will soon be replaced by hot buttered rum, lawn chairs by recliners, and lawn mowers by snow shovels, so, yeah, it’s a good time to have a grand party.  Break out a rack of ribs, a large brisket of beef, several pounds of bratwurst, or a couple of chickens, fire up the grill and let’s get it on.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mind Your Own Business

There are any number of groups that have developed over the last few years dedicated to abolishing most of the varied uses found on public land in the west today.  You have to say “in the west” because there is very little public land east of the Rockies, and virtually none along the bank of states east of the Big Muddy.  The lands east of the Mississippi were first stolen from the original inhabitants and then declared “owned,” so those fanatics who believe the public lands should be off limits to everyone but themselves, for their own selfish uses, make their case “in the west.”  They seem to have not heard the phrase, ‘mind your own business.’

No motorized vehicles, no mining, no ranching or farming, no commercial enterprise of any kind.  These millions of acres should be as pristine as when the first human set foot there, and since those first humans had only their feet as means of transportation, only hiking should be allowed.  Most of those advocating this social structure are under fifty years of age, and among that extreme selfish generation of ‘me first.’

Oil reserves in Texas are found, for the most part, on private land.  Indians, or if you prefer, Native Americans, have vast oil reserves on private lands in Oklahoma.  Pennsylvania comes to mind as does Louisiana.  Oh, my, let’s not forget California.  So, it seems, if you own the land, commercial enterprise may be an accepted practice, but heaven forbid, it shouldn’t happen on the sage and cheat grass covered open spaces of most of the western states.

It’s the same government that stole the land from the eastern tribes that stole the land from the western tribes.  Why then were those eastern lands then made available for private ownership by citizens, but westerners are not allowed to own any of that land.  Personally, I would love to homestead 160 or 320 acres of public land in Nevada.  Patty and I are almost self reliant on two, I’d dance till dawn with 160.

And again, you want to say, mind your own business.  Those that hike hate horseback riders.  Horseback riders don’t get along all that well with off road motorcycles and cyclists.  But what’s important to remember, there is room for all, and all must get along with each other for the concept of public land to work.  We pay for it, we pay for the over grazing by wild horses,  We pay for the failed efforts of federal and state wildlife preservation work, we pay for the trails that aren’t maintained. That’s why it’s called public land.  There’s more to ‘public’ than hiking.

Now, we have another area of fuzzy thinking making its way through the public news rooms filled with reporters that have probably never sniffed the aroma of desert dust following a big old thunder boomer in the Big Smoky Valley.  One group is claiming that since some animals can be trained as easily as a dog can, that they shouldn’t be considered food.  They’re starting with pigs.

Anyone who has ever raised or been around pigs is very aware of just how smart those animals are.  Intelligence has nothing to do with flavor, my little vegan fools.  If you want to be a vegan, then be one, but don’t proselytize me, because I have raised some damn smart animals in my lifetime, and I have eaten some smart, dumb, even stupid ones.

One group of vegans calling themselves Farm Sanctuary ask, “Why don’t you eat cats?  You eat pigs.  Why not dogs?”  Obviously these people have never been outside the confines of the U.S. borders, because, and if you served overseas in your military career, you know this for a fact, in many countries and areas of the world, cats, dogs, rats, monkeys, horses, and other forms of animal protein are found on many menus.

I’m not upset with the vegan, I’m upset with the vegan that has the audacity to tell me how to live my life.  Mind your own business, please.  I’m upset with the little selfish city type that tells me that commercial enterprise should never happen on public land, and that only people like him should be allowed to use that land.  Look up the meaning of the word “public” first, and then, mind your own business.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in “public” money is spent in law suits defending the rights of the “public” to use “public” land, and more hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by commercial interests to be included in that delightful word “public.”

It’s past time for the government of this country to get out of the “land” business.  They have done a miserable job caring for the land and its inhabitants, is spending far more money for projects that have no science behind them, and seem to be catering to a few very selfish groups that, while they can spell ecology, don’t know the true meaning of the word.

Ah, the pleasure of having a blog.  Until next time, read good book and stay regular.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Silly, Silly August

In the world of journalism, the month of August used to be known for silly times.  Rarely did anything of consequence take place, and those pages with advertising had to be filled with something.  Man bites dog type stories flourished in the days before CNN and FOX news and their pandering.

From the world of entertainment, the first thing that comes to mind is the wonderful Marlon Brando performance in “Teahouse of the August Moon.”  In the world of music, can’t think of any song, off the top of my thick head dealing with August.  Help me out with this one, if you can.

In history?  Oh, nothing silly here.  It was in August that the First World War began, which ended with the deaths of more than forty million people, brought the United States to a level of world prominence it has never left, and some say, led to the disintegration of the British Empire.  It certainly did lead to the destruction of the Ottoman Empire.

How did all this come about.  Well, it started in Rome many years ago.  Julius Caesar had the month of July named after him, and some felt Augustus, his nephew was given short shrift.  After all, it was Augustus that defeated Marc Antony and Cleopatra.

There was a month called Sextillus, and the Roman Senate felt no qualms in changing its name to August.  They did it with a simple proclamation or resolution.  To wit”

Whereas the Emperor Augustus Caesar, in the month of Sextillis . . . thrice entered the city in triumph . . . and in the same month Egypt was brought under the authority of the Roman people, and in the same month an end was put to the civil wars; and whereas for these reasons the said month is, and has been, most fortunate to this empire, it is hereby decreed by the senate that the said month shall be called Augustus.

Of course all that messed up the calendar and days had to be added, then months had to be moved around, and then chaos, followed a couple of thousand years late by having people refer to it as the silly month.

One thing, though, only Julius and Augustus, of all the Roman Emperors and generals, have months named in their honor.  What would they have called the month if one had been named in honor of Nero?  Neromus?  Nerember?  Neroly?  Stop.  Enough already.

In northern Nevada you have Hot August Nights, a grand showing of a life style that few remember.  Coupled between the Korean War and Haight Ashbury, a deuce coup would obviously come out second best.  See?  Silly month.

At least we have ribs to think about next.  Have a great day, read good books, and stay regular.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Good Times A-Comin'

Got some good news this morning, from two sources.  Patty had to put aside her ambitions with being a trucker’s broker when the company she was an agent for went bankrupt.  This put a pretty good hole in the monthly ledger and she has been down in the dumps, and trying to get a job in an economy wracked by Obamaism.  Her boat arrived Monday morning with a call to report for drug test and training starting Tuesday.

Atta go girl.

And when I opened my e-mail account Monday a.m., I found a delightful note from Cindy Rosmus, editor at Yellow Mama, a hard boiled mystery and crime magazine.  One of my Simon Sol Dorsey mysteries, “A Princess Gone” will be published in the October 12 issue.  Like it hard boiled, read it here:

Good news is always welcome around the J-P Rancho.  Have a great day, read good books, and stay regular…

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

Hot!  Yes, dear one, these indeed are the Dog Days of Summer, something endured by those living in the northern hemisphere during July and August, and those living under the Southern Cross in January and February.  Endured is probably the correct word to use as these are typically the hottest, driest days of the year, one following, then another, then another until madness approaches.

I may have exaggerated just a bit there, but remember, the Romans, those ancients that, too suffered under the concept of dog days, sacrificed a brown dog to ease the effects of the heat.  The Romans called the brightest star in the heavens Sirius, or Dog Star, and it’s in the constellation Canis Major, meaning, you guessed it, Large Dog.  Ah, but it was the Greeks, according to Aristotle, who coined the term Dog Days.  Ancients believed it was an evil time.  In 1813, a Mr. Brady wrote in “Clavis Calendaria”, “The seas boiled, the wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid …”

Makes one want to sit on the edge of a babbling brook, dangling one’s feet in the cool refreshment of said brook, of course enjoying the rapture of a sprawling leafy tree’s shade, quaffing an intoxicating mixture of liquid pleasures.  The Dog Days of Summer bring on a “state of inactivity, listlessness.”  Oops, that’s the definition of Doldrums.  Must be related, eh?  Only colloquially.

Doldrums also relates to seafaring, particularly in areas near the equator, between the two tropical zones.  Winds are calm, often non-existent, interspersed with squalls, and the gentle trade winds.  Sailing boats and ships have been known to be trapped, dead in the water for days, even weeks, by The Doldrums.

Back in the 19th Century some people were referred to as being a doldrum, that is, a sluggish and slothful person.  That evolved into meaning a state of low spirits, and that evolved into the seafaring colloquialism.  The seafaring doldrums didn’t come into general usage until the mid 19th Century, and was used as the geographic area rather than the state of the ship involved in the calm air.

Well, enough of that.  The blender just mixed up some orange juice and rum, and possibly another ingredient or two, glasses have been removed from the freezer, and the kiddie pool awaits.  Have a great day, read good books, and stay regular.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

King Obama?

King Obama?

It appears from this distance of more than miles, rather a vast separation of what makes up the concept of “American Citizen,” that the current administration seems to believe  the general public will follow the leader without question, that a regular feeding of lies and deception, coupled with an uncanny ability to “speechify,” will suffice for leadership of a noble kind.  The first thought that comes to mind: Nixonian.  This isn’t simply liberalism run wild for even the hard core of the far left appear amazed at the level of criminality that exists in the Obama administration.  No, this is a power mad egoist with an agenda, and it’s that perceived agenda that I fear most.

Setting aside large areas of the constitution in the name of anti terrorism, denying terrorism when it suits the mood, and cracking the whip over political enemies by way of the most feared arm of the federal government, that is, the IRS, is leading to a scary conclusion.  Oh, and before I forget, stifling the free press, over and over again.  Obama and his henchman, Eric Holder, are looking to stay in power at the end of this current constitutional term, and declare a national emergency to pull it off.

President Obama was a constitutional law professor before his congressional elections and apparently what he learned from that was how to evade the workings of the government of the United States.  The man seems to have no regard for law.  An obvious coup in Egypt, which sets in motion a law that has existed for years forcing the government to end all monetary aid to that country, and Mr. Obama plays semantics to break the law.  Every lawyer learns how the judicious use and mis use of words can influence a situation, but this man is extraordinary in its use.

How does Mr. Obama plan to pull off his own coup?  First and foremost, the general public must be disarmed, and then their personal freedoms must be limited or made non existent.  The first of these points are already underway, and watch what happens when troops are pulled from the near east.

Mr. Obama’s patriotism has been questioned before, and his fealty to the constitution is limited at best.  Where are his core values?  They do not appear to be attached to things like personal freedoms and individual rights as demanded in our constitution, but rather in some vague idea that the presidency is a step toward monarchy, the opposite of what our first president fought so hard to evade.

The major news outlets have let the public down from the beginning of this administration, seemingly to coddle his moves, and even now, they are finding it difficult to report what to many seems so obvious.  Those on the political right have a hard time understanding the concept of the ACLU because they do seem to defend contemptible people, while in reality, they are defending the rights of those contemptible people.  Now, those on the left are finding themselves having a difficult time understanding why so many citizens are screaming about the contemptible actions of the president and his attack dog Holder.

These words you’re reading are public comments on a public soap box, so the federal bloodhounds at NSA would have every right to read this.  They probably are or have.  Paraphrasing, the president. ‘every citizen of this country however, should not fear the government’s current practice of monitoring telephone and e-mail conversations unless they are doing something illegal.’  The government does not have the right to monitor those messages without specific permission from a court, and with a specific goal in mind.

So, it follows, the objective must be greater than finding illusive terrorists, and in my mind, that equates to subduing the populace through fear of its own government, which leads, again in my mind, to clandestine take over of a free and democratic republic.  This man we call president still has three years left in his current term, and only the people can slow or stop his final objective, President for Life.

To paraphrase something that has been paraphrased too many times, “It’s the people, stupid.”  This government came into existence for the benefit of the people, not to provide a haven for government.  It was a fight against an overbearing government that led to the American revolution and this grand experiment we call representative democracy.  And those in congress that are supposed to represent us need to get their act together and begin impeachment hearings soon, before Mr. Obama and his henchman can get their act in full gear, or there might well be a second American Revolution.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Our Bill of Rights

The Bill Of Rights Of The American Republic


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of  a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval  forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.  


In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

thoughts on being libertarian

Thoughts on being libertarian

To be safe and secure, or to be free and independent?  We have village, town, city, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies that are well paid and whose job it is to enforce the laws of the land.  We have intelligence agencies at the federal level to keep us informed of outside threats and dangers.  Interplay between them should be relegated to information only.

If that’s the case, then why do we have federal intelligence agencies (NSA) spying on American citizens inside our own country?  Why do we have a federal law enforcement agency (FBI), using drones to spy on American citizens inside our own country?  If by way of specific court orders directed at specific individuals, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion, but that is not the case.  A broad spectrum of millions of American citizens inside the comfort of their own country are being treated as if they are foreign thugs out to destroy the American way of life they felt was safe.

Our way of life should be safe from foreign intervention and foreign threat.  Out way of life should be safe from home grown threat.  Our way of life should not be threatened by way of our own government.

And now, when the heat in the kitchen is getting a bit too hot, our fearless leader wants to start another war in the Middle East.  Two aren’t enough, now we’re going to arm groups that have spent millions of dollars to destroy the American way of life to fight a Syrian government that poses no direct threat to the United States.  Many of those that oppose the Syrian government do pose a threat to the United States.

Somewhere out in that vast wasteland known as politics there is someone that can bring our foreign policy goals into some semblance of order based on the American way of life.  What a concept.  Our meddling has destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Egypt so far, and Pakistan isn’t the same country it was twenty five years ago, either.  Now, because we don’t like the guy, we’re going to arm and support organizations that oppose our way of life and become mired in another useless example of bullyism.

There are many people in this country that are registered republicans that wish the libertarian party had enough strength to make a serious showing in national, state, and local elections.  I’m one of them, and the current National Security Agency (NSA) scandal is a separation point among republicans and libertarians.  Many republicans, particularly on the far right, are calling the young man that blew the whistle on the government’s spying on its own citizens a traitor.

Most of those that are swayed more by a libertarian point of view regard him as a hero, or at the very least, a very brave young man to bring to the nation’s attention the fact that hundreds of millions of Americans have had their private lives violated by their own government. 

Just as it is the ability of the human to conceptualize and reason that sets it apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, it is the constitution of the United States of America that sets Americans apart from the rest of the world.  We have certain “rights” delineated in that document, and when our own government crosses the line, becomes a felon, it is the responsibility and obligation of the American citizen to call it out.

My right to be free from government harassment, free from government snooping, free from government, is one of those rights, and right now, I don’t feel free.  I’m writing this of my own free will and posting it on the Internet for others to read.  I’m sure at least one government agent is probably reading it right now, and there is nothing wrong with that.  However, if I posted it to you by way of USPS, that agent would be committing a crime if he read my letter.  Thusly, if I posted it to you by way of e-mail and that agent read it, it would be a crime.

The president said we should feel safer because of the NSA actions.  I feel violated, not safer.  Our very principals are being destroyed, not slowly, by this current administration.  The so-called war on terrorism is being used to create a dictatorship and our people are wandering around like lemmings, searching for that cliff from which to jump.  Freedom of the press is being challenged with criminal complaints, the right to bear arms is suffering major attacks, the concept of probable cause has been thrown out the window, and at the direction of the president, not congress, agencies of the government other than the military are attacking other countries and killing people indiscriminately.

Someone with no fear must step forward and become a leader.  A leader says “Follow Me.”  Our current president says “do it my way or else, and the constitution doesn’t have anything to do with what I’m doing.” 

Mr. President, sir, the buck has stopped.