My Sunday morning, or How I Fought a Wild Animal.

My usual Sunday morning is peaceful. We usually get up around 7:30 ante meridiem and have a leisurely cup of java and something light for breakfast. Little did I know this fateful morning I would face off against a fierce wild animal determined on feasting on our carcasses after slaying all in the house.

It began with Penny, our fierce warrior miniature dachshund, whose skill at finding enemies large and small and alerting us to their presence. Usually her foes were somewhat less than lethal; spiders, flies, cats across the street, and the occasional squirrel up a light pole. This morning was different, the foe was not only inside the house but was hissing and spitting at Penny, something that spiders and flies usually do not do.

Clad only in my Hanes briefs and tee shirt I ventured into the domain of the hissing beast. What evil fiend awaited I did not know. Armed with a two foot long grabby thingamajig (please forgive the technical jargon,) I faced off against the terrible didelphimorphia, a formidable foe indeed. Yes the evil opossum is a creature that only the bravest of men face with anything less than a large caliber rifle lest the beast turnabout and the hunter become the prey. Apparently the sly creature had  gained entrance the previous day while the back door was open to the brisk September air.

The brave Penny had cornered the beast behind the entertainment center. As I maneuvered the grabby thingamajig to grasp the beast it attacked. . . the grabby thingamajig. Since I could not apply the grabby thingamajig I took hold of another tool, a Swiffer sweeper, to engage the beasts attention whilst I maneuvered the grabby thingamajig to capture it. Eventually I managed to grab the creature and hold it while my trusty boon companion, Sharon procured a reusable canvas grocery bag which we used as containment device until the wily opossum could be released outside.

I am happy to report that neither man nor beastie were harmed by this incident.

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September 20, 2015 at 10:38 am Leave a comment

Christianity explained by those who don’t understand it.

Some people think they understand how to explain Christianity to others, even when they don’t understand it themselves.

linus and lucy

Christian principles under attack from illiterates.

So much fail, so little space, the author of this doesn’t understand Christian principles and shouldn’t try telling those who know better what they are. Starting with the second frame, here are the fails.

Fail one: Christian principles call for people to be charitable, not to have the government steal from some at the point of a gun to give to others. Studies have shown that Christians give more to charity than others.

Fail two: Christians ministries to prisons far outnumber all other outreach programs – combined. The largest prison outreach program is a Christian ministry.

Fail three: We should pay our taxes without complaint? Really, where is that found in the Bible? Not where Jesus says to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s because it would mean we have no input into how our country is run, and in this country we are the Caesar.

Fail four: We should show love and mercy freely. Yep, no problem there, the fail is with the contention that Christians don’t. The idiot that penned this pile of offal doesn’t understand how Christians can hate the sin but love the sinner, but it is in fact how Christians do it.

Fail five: We should avoid violence. Here’s another false principal from someone who should know better if they are going to criticize Christianity. There is this in Luke: “And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.”  And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.” Doesn’t sound like never resorting to violence does it?

Fail six: Again there is no problem about being gracious to foreigners but it is the fact that the problem people have is not with foreigners, it is with foreigners who are here illegally. Why should we be ‘gracious’ to people who break our laws, take a place that should rightfully belong to a person who comes here legally and suckles at the government teat taking money and opportunity from the poorest of our own citizens?

Fail seven: We should seek to end social injustice throughout the world. Again the author supposes that because Christians don’t rally behind –his- idea of what social justice is they aren’t for it at all. No, Christians are for justice for all, it’s just when you add that word social to justice you get socialism, not justice. Why should Christians be for a system that has proven to fail every time it has been tried?

The final fail is the contention that Christians are against gay marriage, and some are but some don’t care about whether gays wish to marry or not, they just don’t want to be forced to participate. Again the author fails to understand Biblical principals or Christians. They should stick to what they know and can understand.

August 30, 2015 at 11:09 pm Leave a comment

Mark Twain Economics

This is just an excerpt of Mark Twain’s explanation of wages and prices. Liberals have a hard time understanding that high wages do not necessarily mean you are better off than with a lower wage, but this explanation is as correct today as when he wrote it more than a hundred years ago – and there are still people who refuse to get it.:

"In your country, brother, what is the wage of a master bailiff,
master hind, carter, shepherd, swineherd?"

"Twenty-five milrays a day; that is to say, a quarter of a cent."

The smith's face beamed with joy.  He said:

"With us they are allowed the double of it!  And what may a mechanic
get--carpenter, dauber, mason, painter, blacksmith, wheelwright,
and the like?"

"On the average, fifty milrays; half a cent a day."

"Ho-ho!  With us they are allowed a hundred!  With us any good
mechanic is allowed a cent a day!  I count out the tailor, but
not the others--they are all allowed a cent a day, and in driving
times they get more--yes, up to a hundred and ten and even fifteen
milrays a day.  I've paid a hundred and fifteen myself, within
the week.  'Rah for protection--to Sheol with free-trade!"

And his face shone upon the company like a sunburst.  But I didn't
scare at all.  I rigged up my pile-driver, and allowed myself
fifteen minutes to drive him into the earth--drive him _all_ in
--drive him in till not even the curve of his skull should show
above ground.  Here is the way I started in on him.  I asked:

"What do you pay a pound for salt?"

"A hundred milrays."

"We pay forty.  What do you pay for beef and mutton--when you
buy it?"  That was a neat hit; it made the color come.

"It varieth somewhat, but not much; one may say seventy-five milrays
the pound."

"_We_ pay thirty-three.  What do you pay for eggs?"

"Fifty milrays the dozen."

"We pay twenty.  What do you pay for beer?"

"It costeth us eight and one-half milrays the pint."

"We get it for four; twenty-five bottles for a cent.
What do you pay for wheat?"

"At the rate of nine hundred milrays the bushel."

"We pay four hundred.  What do you pay for a man's tow-linen suit?"

"Thirteen cents."

"We pay six.  What do you pay for a stuff gown for the wife of the
laborer or the mechanic?"

"We pay eight cents, four mills."

"Well, observe the difference: you pay eight cents and four mills,
we pay only four cents."  I prepared now to sock it to him.  I said:
"Look here, dear friend, _what's become of your high wages you
were bragging so about a few minutes ago?_"--and I looked around
on the company with placid satisfaction, for I had slipped up
on him gradually and tied him hand and foot, you see, without his
ever noticing that he was being tied at all.  "What's become of
those noble high wages of yours?--I seem to have knocked the
stuffing all out of them, it appears to me."

But if you will believe me, he merely looked surprised, that
is all! he didn't grasp the situation at all, didn't know he had
walked into a trap, didn't discover that he was _in_ a trap.  I could
have shot him, from sheer vexation.  With cloudy eye and a struggling
intellect he fetched this out:

"Marry, I seem not to understand.  It is _proved_ that our wages
be double thine; how then may it be that thou'st knocked therefrom
the stuffing?--an miscall not the wonderly word, this being the
first time under grace and providence of God it hath been granted
me to hear it."

Well, I was stunned; partly with this unlooked-for stupidity on
his part, and partly because his fellows so manifestly sided with
him and were of his mind--if you might call it mind.  My position
was simple enough, plain enough; how could it ever be simplified
more?  However, I must try:

"Why, look here, brother Dowley, don't you see?  Your wages are
merely higher than ours in _name_, not in _fact_."

"Hear him!  They are the _double_--ye have confessed it yourself."

"Yes-yes, I don't deny that at all.  But that's got nothing to do
with it; the _amount_ of the wages in mere coins, with meaningless
names attached to them to know them by, has got nothing to do
with it.  The thing is, how much can you _buy_ with your wages?
--that's the idea.  While it is true that with you a good mechanic
is allowed about three dollars and a half a year, and with us only
about a dollar and seventy-five--"

"There--ye're confessing it again, ye're confessing it again!"

"Confound it, I've never denied it, I tell you!  What I say is
this.  With us _half_ a dollar buys more than a _dollar_ buys
with you--and THEREFORE it stands to reason and the commonest
kind of common-sense, that our wages are _higher_ than yours."

He looked dazed, and said, despairingly:

"Verily, I cannot make it out.  Ye've just said ours are the
higher, and with the same breath ye take it back."

"Oh, great Scott, isn't it possible to get such a simple thing
through your head?  Now look here--let me illustrate.  We pay
four cents for a woman's stuff gown, you pay 8.4.0, which is
four mills more than _double_.  What do you allow a laboring
woman who works on a farm?"

"Two mills a day."

"Very good; we allow but half as much; we pay her only a tenth
of a cent a day; and--"

"Again ye're conf--"

"Wait!  Now, you see, the thing is very simple; this time you'll
understand it.  For instance, it takes your woman 42 days to earn
her gown, at 2 mills a day--7 weeks' work; but ours earns hers
in forty days--two days _short_ of 7 weeks.  Your woman has a gown,
and her whole seven weeks wages are gone; ours has a gown, and
two days' wages left, to buy something else with.  There--_now_
you understand it!"

He looked--well, he merely looked dubious, it's the most I can say;
so did the others.  I waited--to let the thing work.  Dowley spoke
at last--and betrayed the fact that he actually hadn't gotten away
from his rooted and grounded superstitions yet.  He said, with
a trifle of hesitancy:

"But--but--ye cannot fail to grant that two mills a day is better
than one."

Shucks!  Well, of course, I hated to give it up.  So I chanced
another flyer:

"Let us suppose a case.  Suppose one of your journeymen goes out
and buys the following articles:

  "1 pound of salt;
   1 dozen eggs;
   1 dozen pints of beer;
   1 bushel of wheat;
   1 tow-linen suit;
   5 pounds of beef;
   5 pounds of mutton.

"The lot will cost him 32 cents.  It takes him 32 working days
to earn the money--5 weeks and 2 days.  Let him come to us and
work 32 days at _half_ the wages; he can buy all those things for
a shade under 14 1/2 cents; they will cost him a shade under 29
days' work, and he will have about half a week's wages over.  Carry
it through the year; he would save nearly a week's wages every
two months, _your_ man nothing; thus saving five or six weeks' wages
in a year, your man not a cent.  _Now_ I reckon you understand that
'high wages' and 'low wages' are phrases that don't mean anything
in the world until you find out which of them will _buy_ the most!"

It was a crusher.

But, alas! it didn't crush.  No, I had to give it up.  What those
people valued was _high wages_; it didn't seem to be a matter of
any consequence to them whether the high wages would buy anything
or not.  They stood for "protection," and swore by it, which was
reasonable enough, because interested parties had gulled them into
the notion that it was protection which had created their high
wages.  I proved to them that in a quarter of a century their wages
had advanced but 30 per cent., while the cost of living had gone
up 100; and that with us, in a shorter time, wages had advanced
40 per cent. while the cost of living had gone steadily down.  But
it didn't do any good.  Nothing could unseat their strange beliefs.

August 28, 2015 at 6:32 pm Leave a comment

Modern Medicine

We live in a great time and one of the reasons for that is the state of medicine. Not only has it come a long way from the bleeding and leeches of medieval times but in just the last 30 or 40 years great strides have been made.

Why then would anyone, especially someone like me who has benefited greatly from those self-same advances, ever think that could be a bad thing? Well I do, at least in part.

Along with the advances in medicine have come increased costs. Today larger and larger percentages of our incomes are devoted to paying for health care. I don’t propose we go back to the days of the country doctor getting paid in chickens and pigs but there has to come a time and place when we say: Enough!

Now I know that people expect medicine to cure all ills and keep us alive indefinitely, well into our centenary. That is the problem. It is those last few years that cost the most. In fact it is the last few weeks or months of life that take up to half of all our health-care spending.

I started thinking about this as a result of coming across a book. No, it wasn’t a serious policy book. As a matter of fact it was a funny cookbook Steve Graham wrote called Eat What You Want and Die Like a Man you can find it At Amazon.

After reading it and laughing so hard I nearly had a seizure I put it down and did some thinking. They say that one reason something is funny is because it contains a grain of truth. The book gave me the germ of an idea that has grown until I now am starting to explore it seriously.

It’s simple. If you are using medicine to extend your life a day, a week or a month and you know that it won’t do more than that, if it even accomplishes that, and you know at the end of that period you are still going to die then why bother? Unless there is some event that is so important, such as the wedding of a child or some other significant life event then why waste the money?

If someone is independently wealthy then all they are doing is wasting their own money but most of us aren’t that wealthy. The money has to come from somewhere and where will that be? – From our loved ones. Are a few extra days of life so important that we would impoverish those we leave behind?

I don’t think that is very Christian of a person. I don’t mean to suggest we all reach a point where we commit suicide or anything like that but I do think we should turn down medical care that won’t do more than move our date of death a week or two.

Care that helps ease suffering is one thing, there is no honor in enduring pain for no reason. It would be different, for example, if such care would cause a woman to lose a child she desperately wants to deliver alive. That is a case of the exception proving the rule. Other than exceptions like that, chosen by the patient themselves, care that eases suffering of a dying person should never be withheld.

The thought that my selfishness would cause my wife to have a mountain of debts to pay off after my death would be the worst torture because it would be self-inflicted. I could not face the thought I could cause her such pain. I’d rather go quickly and with as little fuss as possible.

I know these aren’t the thoughts you’d normally associate with a humorous cookbook but my train of thought took me on a strange journey. I didn’t set out to dwell on such a gloomy subject but it seems the older I get the more often I wind up thinking such things. I can’t blame Steve Graham for that. Go, buy his book and read it. It’s well worth the cost and you’ll laugh and you might even find a recipe you just have to try out.

September 1, 2008 at 10:19 pm Leave a comment

Oops, pardon my error.

Every one has an opinion when it comes to the content of the newspaper. How can we let so many errors get by us? Don’t we proofread? Why don’t we put corrections on the front page?

Errors are the bane of my existence. People call in and complain when it happens to them. The problem is that we are humans and humans make mistakes. It isn’t going to change until human nature does. It affects us as well.

The post I did just before this one, about my niece, ran in the paper, it came in as a press release in an email. I didn’t even see it until it was printed, the email went to my editor and she just copied it and pasted it into Quark, our publishing software. The problem is that the email had an error; it identified my niece’s husband as Rowann, who is her mother-in-law. The form the public relations guy used to put the information in had her husband, Rodney, listed just above Rowann. When typing the press release he evidently looked at the wrong space.

I got a call the day it ran in the paper. “Hi, this is Leona.” It threw me for a loop. The only Leona I knew was out of the country in Kosovo. I stammered a bit and then I realized it was her. She was using one of those internet phones to call (which, by the way, was very clear. I’ll have to see about getting one.) She told me about the error and if you think it is hard to take when a stranger calls to complain think what it’s like when it’s your niece you’re trying to apologize to.

Well the fact is that newspapers are a business and like all businesses they are in it to make money. That’s not a bad thing, all business people are in it for the money, if not they wouldn’t do it. Not because they are selfish people but you have to make money to continue to stay in business.

In our case we have to pay for the people who create the content of the paper as well as the paper (and ink) itself. Between the newspaper and the shopper (ironically named The Nevada News since there is no news in it) and the printing we do for others we go through a lot of paper. We get a semi load of paper, from Canada, at least once a week. Each roll of paper weighs in at a little more than 1100 pounds, and we get at least 20 or so a week. It ain’t cheap.

It used to be that at least seven pairs of eyes looked at every word printed in the paper. Now, if we’re lucky, there are three. In order to keep costs down and productivity up we make do with fewer people. Part of that is in using more modern methods to produce the paper. Even with computers there were too many inefficiencies. When computers first came in they were used to print out small pages that were cut and pasted onto layouts and a picture was taken. The film was developed and then photo sensitive plates were exposed using the film as a negative. We do a little better now, we print directly to film, but we still have to expose the plates.

There is a newer method but we haven’t switched over to it. We’re a small outfit and the equipment is expensive so we have a way to go before we get to the direct to plate printing. With that you don’t have any intermediate steps and no unnecessary film and the processing that goes with it.

It would be nice to think that would solve the problem but the fact is that costs continue to rise and advertising revenue is flat or on a downward trend. Payroll has to be cut – it’s that simple. So now errors have even better chance of slipping in. We’ll continue to try to minimize them but nobody is perfect.

August 28, 2008 at 9:48 pm Leave a comment

My niece, the warrior

Working at the paper you see a lot of press releases, some about local matters but also a few about what’s happening further away from home. You get used to seeing familiar names, names you can put to faces you see in the grocery store or at work, in the local press releases but when it comes to the press releases from Jeff City or even Washington you are used to floating in a sea of names that you may have seen before but rarely the people those names are attached to. When you get a press release from out of the country and it’s not just someone you know but are related to it really jumps up and gets your attention. Let me introduce you to my niece, Leona and see what the gubmint says about her in the press release.

Sgt. Leona Bastow tests a sample of MOGAS at the Camp Bondsteel Fuel Testing Facility. Bastow is responsible for ensuring all fuel that enters Camp Bondsteel meets all U.S. Army standards before the fuel trucks are unloaded…Sgt. Ty Stafford, public affairs specailist/National Guard.

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo — Sergeant Leona Bastow, a resident of Nevada, Mo., was recently honored for her achievements in the renovation of the Camp Bondsteel Fuel Lab by the Multi-National Task Force (East) commander Brig. Gen. Larry D. Kay.

Bastow is currently on deployment with the Kansas City-based 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, in support of the NATO-led peace keeping mission in Kosovo.

Bastow works as the petroleum laboratory specialist at the Fuel Lab and is responsible for grading the quality and usability of all fuel that enters the base.

After all fuel testing is complete, Bastow gives the go ahead to the Kellogg, Brown and Root workers at the fuel yard to release the trucks to begin downloading the fuel.

Normally from start to finish, Bastow says the whole testing process takes a little more than an hour to complete.

“It’s a lot of responsibility, but if we have bad fuel or fuel that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements then that directly affects the mission,” she said.

To date, she has not turned away any fuel.

Her military career spans four years. This is her first deployment.

Bastow and her husband Rodney are residents of the southern Missouri area and she is a graduate of Nevada High School.

The MNTF(E) operates under the flag of the Army National Guard’s 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the first non-divisional unit to assume the leadership role for the mission, and is part of the larger NATO-led international force known as the Kosovo Force. The KFOR is responsible for maintaining peace and security in Kosovo.

Bastow, who deployed along with over a 1,000 other Missouri National Guard Soldiers, is expected to return to the U.S. sometime in March 2009.

Kosovo Forces 10 (KFOR 10), Multi National Task Force East is the 16th rotation of United States Forces in Kosovo since 1999 — when the organization entered Kosovo under the United Nations mandate –two days after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

United States forces include the 110th MEB, along with National Guard and Army Reserve units (from seven states), the Air Force, the Regular Army and civilian contractors. Units from Armenia, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine form the international portion of the Task Force. Brig. Gen. Larry D. Kay commands MNTF (E) as the senior Army Commander in the Balkans region.

August 27, 2008 at 2:51 pm 2 comments

Just another day in paradise

Some days are diamonds and some days aren’t. You get used to it and move on or you wallow in teen angst until the day you die still an immature teenager, no matter what your actual age. Its been a string of less than diamond days for me lately, not that I’m wallowing. Things will turn around and some of the incidents of recent days will make for good stories.

Like the 28-year-old girl who drove her car into the side of a building. Yes I said it. She named her daughter after a character in the X-Men movie, she’s a girl – I don’t care what her chronological age is. I was getting ready to leave the office so I could take a picture of some teddy bears a local chiropractor’s office had collected for children who have to go into the hospital when a call came over the scanner about a car stuck in a building.

Uh, people, that’s not stuck. It’s on the sidewalk and the car did touch the building but wasn’t even close to going fast enough to punch out the bricks. On the bright side the accident was on the way to the chiropractor’s office so I still made that OK and I took the pictures which will make them happy when it comes out in the paper.

Then I talked to the sheriff about a teen party that got out of hand. They were drinking liquor – imagine that. Why in my day we sipped lemonade and attended cotillions for entertainment! What made it sad was that – like in so many cases of alcohol mixing with young people there were some fights and even a sexual assault. Things haven’t change that much since I was a teenager, it’s just that now I see the damage that can happen and cringe when I think of some of these kids trying to make it in the big wide world with the foolish idea that life is just one big party.

While talking to the sheriff he said a witness saw someone dump some dogs out in the county and got a license plate number – the case is in front of the prosecutor for action. One thing sure to tick me off is some jerk who can’t take the time to run the dogs to the animal shelter in town but has enough time to run them out to the middle of nowhere and turn them loose to live or die without any compassion.

Saturday I went out to the grand opening of a new biodiesel plant and listened to politicians. I try to avoid listening to politicians every chance I get but unfortunately with my job it comes with the territory. It wasn’t too bad. I actually agreed with some of what was said but a lot of it was just the usual pap I could have done without.

The city is redoing the curbs and gutters along my street and they ripped out the old ones in April. Since then I’ve been living on what is essentially a dirt road right in the middle of town. Dust coats my car every morning and lately there’s been dew and the dust really sticks when that happens. Washing does no good, by the following morning it’s covered in dust again. It looks like we might be getting pavement again soon so I’m cautiously optimistic.

The wheel of life keeps turning so I look forward to a change. I want a diamond of a day soon.

August 27, 2008 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

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