My Work

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.