Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Been a strange day here

In the local area there have been a series of killings, all unrelated.

In Bonne Terre, a small town of 4000 just Southwest of where I live, there was s Murder Suicide after a young couple decided to break up. The 19 year old woman was attempting to break up with her boyfriend. She had moved in, bring her baby, with her mother and step-father. It began with a chilling 911 call, with a female caller screaming that someone was trying to kick down the door of their duplex. By the time the Chief of Police arrived, a male subject, apparently the boyfriend, was seen running towards a highway. when confronted by other officer responding, the male subject apparently turned the gun on himself. He died at the scene. The 19 year old mother, was gravely wounded, apparently defending her baby, and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The mother and stepfather died at the scene. Survived was a three year old at the scene and the baby in the car in the driveway where the mother was found. There was also a 10 year old brother of the 19 year old who was at school who also survived.

In another incident, at a funeral of a man in North St. Louis, notorious as gang territory, shots rang out and two people were killed in that incident, with another being left in critical condition in the hospital. The gentleman whose funeral was so rudely interrupted, was the victim of a shooting that at this point remains unsolved. The police escorted the hearse to the cemetery where family members were not permitted to attend.

An Eight Year old boy was shot on the night of the 29th, and was injured but is in the hospital, after the car he was riding in with his father was shot at by unknown assailants. The boy was hit in the back and the father drove to the nearby Juvenile Detention Facility where the boy was then take to a local hospital. Police believe that the father was the target of the shooting due to the fact that he has a long criminal record. The father was also injured, but refused medical treatment.

A man was found shot in the head in Route 66 State Park, a short distance from where I live. A vehicle seen leaving the scene was linked to a standoff at a local comic book store in South St Louis in October where police confronted a man who was being arrested for statutory rape and other charges. The vehicle was last seen leaving the park heading back towards St. Louis.

And last, but not least, on the Illinois side of the river in East St. Louis, a grandmother was strangled in a house where she lived alone. Apparently she surprised an intruder who had broken into her home. There are no suspects.

Everything seems senseless when life is given such value. Petty arguments are settled with firearms. The senselessness of all of this appalls me. This is not a typical day of killing in our area, but is not atypical of any American city. There have been nights of gangland carnage on the Northside, where upwards of ten kids get shot to death in gang turf wars. But this is spread over a large area and affects all demographics and people of color and non-color. A woman defending her child, a senseless argument at a funeral of a man who was gunned down senselessly, a man gunned down for no apparent reason in a place of peace, a young life which was almost taken out and his potential removed from the world and an innocent old woman who was doing nothing more than trying to exist in an apparently insane world. Now I know why one would want to retreat to the mountains to get away from a world of violence.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I am wet.

This from the weather service yesterday:

SXUS73 KLSX 250731 CCA

130 AM CST THU NOV 25 2010




Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Brown "Bailout"

I came across something recently that has troubled me. Knowing something and seeing something are two very different things. There is a new provision in the FAA Authorization Act which will change the way the labor negotiations are conducted for Air Express package companies. Instead of the Federal Railway Labor Act which has been used to govern most airline companies, the provision requires the use of the National Labor Relations Act.

Since Federal Express is primarily a non-union company they have began a campaign to oppose this provision labeling the campaign "Oppose the Brown Bailout." In tiny letters at the bottom of the page, it states that the web page is "brought to you by Fed Ex Express."

UPS is primarily a union company. What Fed Ex apparently objects to is the fact that the bill will according to one article: "language in the House version of the bill that would make it easier for certain FedEx Express workers to form local union bargaining units. It has spent millions on its lobbying effort, as has UPS, which supports the provision." This will benefit not only UPS, but all union based Trucking and shipping companies who use Air Express services.

Fed Ex is using its corporate might to promote what is clearly an anti-union stance which will result in keeping the status quo vis a vie union organization in shipping services. With the new Republican Congress, it is unlikely that the provision will be considered in the lame duck session. Yet, Fed Ex has sponsored a campaign to block this legislation and has apparently been successful.

Another corporation has used its might to cripple union organization and negotiation capacity.

UPS Explains their position here and I have been a little clumsy in explaining it. What I have a problem with is a major corporation campaigning against a provision which allows union organization. Fed Ex functions on a company wide basis as far as union organization is concerned. UPS, since it started as a primarily trucking based company functions as a group of individual Union provisions at each terminal. Fed Ex has none of those limitations.

In the commentary below I can further amplify my opposition to Fed Ex's corporate clout, but it is clear that UPS and Fed Ex are two very different operations.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

On the vunerability of Air Cargo

The recent incident about bombs being aboard a UPS cargo plane has brought additional scrutiny to the problem the holes in Air Cargo which might allow a terrorist to get a bomb on a plane. Meanwhile, here in STL, they have been telling us over the boob tube that a Jewish center in Chicago was targeted and was actually sent some cartridges. Apparently they were intercepted in wither England or Dubai. While UPS was featured in the news, a Fed Ex plane was detained in Dubai as well. A couple of UPS planes were detained and searched in the US. Air Cargo has always been a big hole where terrorists can get hold of a plane. There was an incident where a guy shipped himself to DFW on Pilot Air which was a forwarder. I worked in Freight Forwarding for many years and the assumption is that any screening is done by the shipper which has to pass a security check every so often by the TSA. Essentially a forwarder picks up the freight, then transfers it to the best way to get it there at the customers request. that can either be a commercial airline, (like Southwest, American, Delta, Etc) cargo airline (like UPS, Fed Ex, Etc) or through any of a number of Ground companies.

Several years ago, an employee shipped himself in a crate to DFW using Kitty Hawk Airlines which was the major airline we used as a cargo airline. Pilot Air only became suspicious when the guy opened the crate at the destination when he arrived. One only has to remember Fed Ex 705 where a disgruntled Fed Ex Employee flying standby tried to take over his plane by executing the flight crew. (His intention was to crash the aircraft in order to collect on his life insurance so that he would be able to send his kids to college. He was slated to be fired because he had falsified some of his resume when he was hired). It was only recently that all Air Freight slated for shipment on passenger aircraft were subject to the same screening given to luggage. Being out of the industry, I am not sure how this is working out. I know that while we screened our freight well since we shipped for a lot of major companies, it would have been easy to slip something in the freight if one had been a trusted shipper previously shipping with us. I can only hope its much different now.

I worked in Air Cargo for years and while the "trusted shipper" protocol has worked, it has its vulnerabilities. Once one establishes a relationship with a forwarder, one can ship as much as they want without further scrutiny. The onus is on the forwarder to guarantee if the shipment is safe. While it is required that parcels which are on passenger aircraft be screened, the just-in-time nature of forwarding, in which freight arrives sometimes literally just before the plane takes off, allows little time for screening and inspection.

The nature of the packaging leaves little to be desired as well. I have picked up auto shipments where bolts were leaking out of a box that wasn't prepared properly by the forwarder due to a lack of time. I had to wonder if those bolts could have gotten into some vital system on the aircraft, unlikely as it was. This whole system deserves a LOT more scrutiny.

It appears now that this incident is bringing more scrutiny to a recent crash of a UPS 747 in Dubai last month. Before the crash, the pilots, who were the only causalities, reported a fire on board. This may change how the just-in-time screening process is done and may change how freight is handled. It may end up being a boon to the charter industry since many factories cannot abide delays if they can't make a flight due to increased scrutiny.

Cost is going to be the factor that drives this debate. Just to give you an idea, I was asked once to get a bid for a charter flight for a truck frame to California from Louisville to guarantee its arrival. To charter a DC-9 from our contractor that we used the most was $32,000. I had to wonder that every time we were unloading a DC-9 charter for Ford, it was costing them not only the $32,000 they were charged by the Air Charter company, but an additional cost of maybe $3000 to offload and transport the freight to the plant which was on the other side of the airport. How much this will add to the cost of doing business is what will be weighed against the threat to the public. As always with these things, it will probably take a great loss of life before the industry finally hunkers down and allows inspections.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

On the vunerability of Air Cargo

The recent incident about bombs being aboard a UPS cargo plane has brought additional scrutiny to the problem the holes in Air Cargo which might allow a terrorist to get a bomb on a plane. Meanwhile, here in STL, they have been telling us over the boob tube that a Jewish center in Chicago was targeted and was actually sent some cartridges. Apparently they were intercepted in wither England or Dubai. While UPS was featured in the news, a Fed Ex plane was detained in Dubai as well. A couple of UPS planes were detained and searched in the US. Air Cargo has always been a big hole where terrorists can get hold of a plane. There was an incident where a guy shipped himself to DFW on Pilot Air which was a forwarder. I worked in Freight Forwarding for many years and the assumption is that any screening is done by the shipper which has to pass a security check every so often by the TSA. Essentially a forwarder picks up the freight, then transfers it to the best way to get it there at the customers request. that can either be a commercial airline, (like Southwest, American, Delta, Etc) cargo airline (like UPS, Fed Ex, Etc) or through any of a number of Ground companies.

Several years ago, an employee shipped himself in a crate to DFW using Kitty Hawk Airlines which was the major airline we used as a cargo airline. Pilot Air only became suspicious when the guy opened the crate at the destination when he arrived. One only has to remember Fed Ex 705 where a disgruntled Fed Ex Employee flying standby tried to take over his plane by executing the flight crew. (His intention was to crash the aircraft in order to collect on his life insurance so that he would be able to send his kids to college. He was slated to be fired because he had falsified some of his resume when he was hired). It was only recently that all Air Freight slated for shipment on passenger aircraft were subject to the same screening given to luggage. Being out of the industry, I am not sure how this is working out. I know that while we screened our freight well since we shipped for a lot of major companies, it would have been easy to slip something in the freight if one had been a trusted shipper previously shipping with us. I can only hope its much different now.

I worked in Air Cargo for years and while the "trusted shipper" protocol has worked, it has its vulnerabilities. Once one establishes a relationship with a forwarder, one can ship as much as they want without further scrutiny. The onus is on the forwarder to guarantee if the shipment is safe. While it is required that parcels which are on passenger aircraft be screened, the just-in-time nature of forwarding, in which freight arrives sometimes literally just before the plane takes off, allows little time for screening and inspection.

The nature of the packaging leaves little to be desired as well. I have picked up auto shipments where bolts were leaking out of a box that wasn't prepared properly by the forwarder due to a lack of time. I had to wonder if those bolts could have gotten into some vital system on the aircraft, unlikely as it was. This whole system deserves a LOT more scrutiny.

It appears now that this incident is bringing more scrutiny to a recent crash of a UPS 747 in Dubai last month. Before the crash, the pilots, who were the only causalities, reported a fire on board. This may change how the just-in-time screening process is done and may change how freight is handled. It may end up being a boon to the charter industry since many factories cannot abide delays if they can't make a flight due to increased scrutiny.

Cost is going to be the factor that drives this debate. Just to give you an idea, I was asked once to get a bid for a charter flight for a truck frame to California from Louisville to guarantee its arrival. To charter a DC-9 from our contractor that we used the most was $32,000. I had to wonder that every time we were unloading a DC-9 charter for Ford, it was costing them not only the $32,000 they were charged by the Air Charter company, but an additional cost of maybe $3000 to offload and transport the freight to the plant which was on the other side of the airport. How much this will add to the cost of doing business is what will be weighed against the threat to the public. As always with these things, it will probably take a great loss of life before the industry finally hunkers down and allows inspections.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Political Ads on my page

I have noticed of late that there has been a number of ads on my Multiply page for political candidates. Among the ones who have appeared are Roy Blunt, Ed Martin, and Christine O'Donnell. I have a feeling that Google keywords these things or since I post that I am from Missouri, they key on the candidates that I am likely to be voting for in the election. Now I detest all these candidates and after having been bombarded with them on my television, I have to have them here too? This isn't right.

Most ads seem to have been sponsored by BIPAC which stands for the Business Industry Political Action Committee which promotes a so-called "prosperity agenda" according to their website. Their board of directors reads like a mid level collection of companies fro lumbering or oil. The VP for "Government Affairs" of Haliburton sits on the board. BIPAC is among the established groups that have benefited from the "Citizens United" ruling which have allowed virtually unlimited monies into the political process, with shadowy groups and individuals contributing large amounts of money to the process without any public disclosure.

Now I commented to Google asking the ad to be removed. I was given several choices so I picked the one I thought appropriate:

This ad contains pornographic, sexual or other adult content.
This ad promotes violence or advocates against an organization, person, or protected group
I don't trust the advertiser to deliver on their claims
This ad appears to violate AdWords policies in other ways

I chose the third one since I don't think any of the advertisers can deliver on any claims.

RIP Paul

Some of you may have been privy to the news concerning Paul the psychic octopus. For the uninitiated, Paul was an ordinary octopus who lived in an aquarium in Germany. He gained international fame and fortune by predicting most of the winners of the World Cup Football (Soccer to those Americans who are quite convinced that game in which a ball thrown in the air is called "football") competition this year. He was a hero of song and story.

Sadly, last night I heard that Paul had finally succumbed to the mortality that will seize us all. Paul passed away last night. Having lived a full life, Paul will best be remembered for his love of the game and his penchant for prediction by eating his dinner.

Rest in Peace, you tentacled prognosticator.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I had to drive in DFW last week. The people there are INSANE and they mostly love BIG cars, trucks and SUV's and they think that no traffic rule applies to them. Especially those dealing with speeding, swerving in front of each other and the like. Needless to say I was glad to get back to Missery where at least I know the crazies here. Anyway, I will tell more, but I am sorry I didn't have time to tell anyone.

I drove down to Texas to pick up a cat and a couple of other things a friend of mine down there was giving me. I got a nice BIG TV set. (Its still in the back of the Blazer. I think I will wait a couple of days to clear a spot out for it). Some DVD Gifts and one cat plus his items.

Flash is a 3 year old male cat. he's 17 pounds and HUGE! Flash is named as such because if he trusts you really nice he will lay on his back and let you rub his belly. He's a sweet little guy. I had to let him out of the carrier in Muskogee because I just didn't feel right with him confined and he was getting hot. I cranked the air up to Full and he got cooled off and I was freezing. He has the benefit of a fur coat and I don't.

Flash was a freeloader at my friend Stephanie's house. He used to belong to her neighbor who when he got divorced, kicked his wife's cats out. The wife never bothered to pick the animals up and they have been out for over a year an a half. Flash is declawed, which means he couldn't defend himself. He suffered through the winter in which the DFW Metro had more snow than St. Louis. He suffered through DFW's oppressive heat. This summer was particularly awful. So, Steph talked me into having a cat. I was a little trepadatious because its a long trip after all. I didn't want to fly him because I didn't want to trust him to a plane. Its a long drive, about 12 hours. Still, I figured I could make it.

So I wend down and spent a night asleep and then got all the stuff loaded and helped Steph prepare for a garage sale so she could get rid of some stuff as well. We took some furniture to Goodwill and then I slept again for the trip back.

I left about 9:30, a little later than I wanted to, but I needed the sleep. Flash was pretty comfortable in his carrier and he spend the first third of the trip in the front seat inside the carrier. I got misdirected when I got off at the wrong exit. I turned and some of the stuff in the back tumbled over so I had to pull over and rearrange it. Flash was a little worried because he started talking. I kept telling him I wasn't gonna leave him and after rearranging and calling for directions I got myself set up on the right highway to eventually get out of town. Flash was pretty calm thanks to some tranquilizers Steph got from her vet. Steph was also kind enough to get Flash all his shots and get him chipped so if he gets lost at least someone will know where he came from.

So I start to head north on US 75 toward Muskogee, OK and eventually north on US 69 to Interstate 44 at Big Cabin, OK. From there its a straight NE shot to St. Louis. I promised Steph I would stop every 4 hours to see if he wanted to potty. About 4 and a half hours later I am in Muskogee, OK and sitting in a Walmart parking lot (yeah I know, I am so ashamed). Anyway, I went in to get me a leash to see if I could get him out of the kitty carrier and let him move about the cabin as it were. After getting back to the car I noticed he was pretty overheated in spite of being in the car for only a few minutes. I definitely will not make that same mistake again! It was pretty comfortable in the car, with the thermometer reading only 86 degrees on my weather radio I keep in the truck. However, the anxiety of the trip combined with all the new activity and no place to hide must have got him overworked in spite of the tranquilizers. I had to wonder what he would have been like without them. But I have found Flash to be a pretty laid back cat so this was him at his most anxiety prone.

I cranked up the air and tried to get him to drink some water out of a self waterer I had just bought. He didn't drink so I thought it best to get back on the road ASAP to get the journey over with so he would get less anxious. So, no potty and no water and he is wandering all over the truck. Eventually he settled down and laid down behind me on top of my took box I keep in the truck. Its a footlocker sized thing I keep safety equipment in and he was looking pretty comfortable.

I passed through Checotah, OK as many of you will remember from when I drove the Victor/Victoria down there was the place where my humble car blew a head gasket on my last trip. The Blazer was running a little warmer than I'd like, but she was holding together pretty well considering.

Next stop was Mc Alister, OK with $2.59 cent gas. I wasn't going to pass up that price as it was 10 cents a gallon cheaper than every other station I was passing by on the way. So I stopped and Flash started talking and looking around. He was a little anxious but stayed put while I got out to pay for the gas. He laid back down and went back to sleep. I have to wonder if it was the medicine or if he had traveled before.

Tank topped off and I continued down. Since Flash didn't eat, I resolved not to either since we were sharing the hardships of the trip. I had to drink though or else I would get sleepy from dehydration. So I drank some water and some green tea I had from my little porta fridge. I kept forgetting to turn the thing on after I started up after Mc Alister so my drinks became tepid. (I had to shut it down to keep the power surges from ruining it).

I stopped at Big Cabin to get the toll booth receipt and then stopped at the toll booth on 44 to pay the Oklahoma Turnpike authority their $2.00 to maintain the highway, which they do a good job at doing. After that, I enjoyed a relatively quick trip to Joplin since I can go 75 on that stretch. I had kept my rear view turned down so I could keep an eye on Flash when I turned it up I noticed a cop following me. The truck next to us was preventing him from being able to pass as I had started to pass a big rig, so I increased my speed slightly and let him pass with a wave.

The Flying J in Joplin was my next stop to top off on Gas. Flash was a little woke up and looking around, but very well behaved. I topped off and noticed a map sale. I got me a bunch of maps for 4 bucks. Never know when those things might be handy.

I resolved to press on since Flash wasn't using the facilities at all. I figured I better get going since I had to get to work that night and I wanted to be on time. I stopped in Rolla, MO to give Flash one last chance to use the box. He tried to get out and was really talkative. I know he wanted to go, but probably had an anxiety about people seeing him using the facilities. So after a few minutes of him wandering around the truck, we finally settled on him getting back to where he was and us getting back on the road.

We got to St. Louis and I got him a litter box set up and he used it first thing after I left to get him some baby proofing stuff to keep him from getting into the cabinets.

I got to work on time and all worked out. Well I got to get. More later on Flash and his acclimation to my life.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A courageous man takes a stand

I caught this on Facebook and the original video is going viral and I will link it here. I hope you can view this video. Everyone should view this video. I know this man may pay for his honesty, but his story is compelling and deserves viewing.

By the by, if anyone wants to link to this video, please link to the original on YouTube here. I am not going to say anything else except that this is a courageous man who has decided to take a stand on an important issue and he deserves our respect and support.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You Might be a Republican if

By Bruce Linder

You Might be a Republican If..........

1) You believe George W. Bush's redistribution of middle-class tax cuts to the top 1% of tax-payers was good for America, but Obama's plan to return it to the middle class is 'socialism.'

2) You believe stem cells are living human beings, but thousands of Iraqi children are 'expendable collateral damage.'

3) You believe tax cuts for billionaires is a great idea, yet you wonder why the economy has stalled, your job just got outsourced to India, and oil company executives receive $400,000,000.00 retirement packages.

4) You believe the surge worked because the violence in Iraq is back to 2006 levels, which is only horrible, compared to what it was in 2007; intolerable. Besides, Brit Hume said so.

5) You think trial lawyers are harmful to America, yet you support prosecuting some guy in Muncie Indiana who burned his 99� American flag that was made in China by forced child labor.

6) You're all for the 'rule of law' when it's applied to Bill Clinton for lying about his infidelity, but not for prosecuting Karl Rove and Scooter Libby for committing treason.

7) You think George W. Bush is actually a really smart guy, but his folksy manner just makes him seem dumber than he really is.

8) You believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own, and that those who are born to poverty and never have opportunities for advancement, got what they deserved.

9) You believe Ronald Reagan was a great president who had complete control of all aspects of government, but the Iran-Contra Affair was an insignificant scandal that went on without his knowledge.

10) You believe Democrats tax and spend, but George W. Bush was a fiscal conservative.

11) You believe Oliver North, who was CONVICTED of perjury, obstruction of justice, destroying evidence and accepting bribes, is a patriot. But John Kerry, who saved a man's life while under enemy fire in Vietnam is a coward.

12) You believe George W. Bush kept us safe from terror, and the failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks were Clinton's fault.

13) You actually believe Fox News is fair & balanced.

14) You still believe Saddam had truckloads of WMDs, and that he somehow managed to sneak them into Syria, right under our noses.

15) You believe Terri Schiavo was sentient all along, and Bill Frist had the ability to diagnose her condition by watching a 5 second video of her sleeping.

16) You're in favor of stronger prison sentences for drug users, yet your favorite radio personality is Rush Limbaugh.

17) You complain about having to press 1 for English, yet you hire undocumented workers to mow your lawn because they're cheaper than hiring the kid next door.

18) Homosexuality is abhorrent to you, except when a Republican senator, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and a planted White House journalist get caught having sexual affairs with gay men. Then you suddenly feel sorry for them.

19) The war in Iraq makes perfect sense to you, but any suggestion by Barack Obama that we target al Qaeda specifically is 'dangerous and reckless.'

20) You don't mind that president Bush tortured men who were never charged with a crime, yet you're horrified by the wrath of al Qaeda when they capture one of our guys.

21) You believe the 1/10 of 1% of scientists who claim global warming is a hoax, and reject the 99.9% who say it's real, because Sean Hannity and his friends in the oil industry have convinced you that science is a part of a greater liberal conspiracy.

22) You believe patriotism means you should support your government right or wrong ... unless a Democrat's in power, then it's your patriotic duty to call him a closet Muslim, challenge his birth certificate, expose his sex life and impeach him.

23) You're proud of your party's 'culture of life.' Yet you support the death penalty for minors, you believe 600,000 dead Iraqis is justified because one of them was Saddam Hussein, and you oppose confronting the genocide in Darfur because they don't have oil.

24) You support prayer in school, as long as your kids aren't subjected to Muslim prayers.

25) You think Darwin's theory of evolution is a loony fairy tale, and mankind actually began with two naked teenagers, a magic apple and a talking snake.

26) You think $35 billion spent on health care for children is a waste of taxpayer's money, but $1.7 trillion spent on a catastrophic war that has isolated us from our allies, decimated our economy and made us less safe was money well spent.

27) You believe embargoing communist Cuba is sound foreign policy, but trading with China is just good business.

28) You believe Bill Clinton was an immoral cad, but Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde were faithful husbands (and Larry Craig just has a wide stance).

29) You fervently defend the Constitution, but when president Bush got caught monitoring 300 million phones without a warrant, politicizing our justice system, hyping evidence for going to war and pardoning a convicted perjurer who just happened to be on his staff, then it's okay, because he was 'protecting America.'

30) You were outraged when a gallon of gasoline went from $1.29 to $1.40 during the two terms of the Clinton presidency, but you didn't seem to mind when prices tripled under George W. Bush, the "oil man."

31) You were furious when Bill Clinton pardoned international commodities trader Marc Rich, who was convicted of tax evasion, but applauded when George W. Bush exonerated Scooter Libby for obstructing justice to protect Dick Cheney from a treason indictment.

32) With no evidence whatsoever, you complained of 'voter fraud,' and demanded that thousands of blacks be scrubbed from voting lists during the 2004 election in Ohio, yet when Rush Limbaugh asked his audience to illegally claim to be Democrats and vote for Hillary Clinton during the Ohio Primary in February to "stir up trouble," a FELONY, you were okay with that.

33) You believe Barack Obama should be held accountable for every sermon that Jeremiah Wright ever gave, but John McCain, who sought the endorsement of anti-Semitic, xenophobic, openly racist and homophobic pastors should be given a pass.

34) You believe Barack Obama is either a secret Muslim, was actually born in Kenya, and his parents forged a fake birth certificate when he was born - just in case he should ever run for president, or that his father's nationality disqualifies his son from being president, all because you read that on the Internet.

35) You believe the 8 consecutive years of prosperity and strong economic growth from 1993 - 2001 was due to the work of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, but today's recession is all Clinton's and Obama's fault.

36) You laugh at how much better Barack Obama speaks with a TelePrompTer than without one, yet you never mention the fact that even with a TelePrompTer, every time George Bush opened his mouth, gibberish tumbled out.

37) You still believe Barack Obama has somehow succeeded in fooling every government and independent examination with his "obviously Photoshopped" documents. Instead, you rely on Internet gossip, WorldNetDaily and Jerome Corsi as your sources for "truth."

38) Your conservative media spent more air time discussing Michelle Obama touching the queen of England's arm than on the economy, the environment, terrorism and health care combined.

39) You believe that we should get out of Afghanistan because Obama is "nation building," yet for eight straight years of Bush's bumbling incompetence there, you kept mum. Therefore, attacking Iraq makes sense, even though they never threatened us, but finishing off the job of finding Osama bin Laden; the terrorist who killed 3,000 Americans -- Bush's original task -- is a dumb idea.

40) You were furious that Barack Obama admitted in France that Americans have occasionally been "arrogant, dismissive and derisive," but you cheered them on when Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were arrogant, dismissive and derisive.

41) You believe that Obama's $3.6 trillion budget is an outrage, but never once complained that George Bush turned Bill Clinton's $300 billion surplus into a $1.3 trillion deficit. And it never once occurred to you that Bush deliberately omitted the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from those statistics, which means Bush's TRUE deficit was $3.1 trillion.

42) You supported Gov. Sarah Palin, partly because you believed she kept a good Christian home. This, despite the fact that her seventeen year old unmarried daughter was knocked up, her son was accused of vandalizing 44 school buses (cutting the brake lines of school buses - HELLO!!?) and was given the choice of going to jail or join the military, and Palin herself was found guilty of abusing the power of her office. But Barack Obama can't possibly be a true Christian, because his father was a Muslim, and his middle name is Hussein. (Besides, he's black, and everybody knows that Jesus was a blond haired blue eyed white man.)

43) You believe the only solution to gun violence is to make sure everybody is armed to the teeth. That way, when some crazy person goes on a killing spree, right-thinking people will take out the killer, and tranquility will prevail throughout the land.

44) You believe the mainstream news anchors are crazy, biased and filled with hate, but Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are rational, accurate and informative.

45) You defend Rush Limbaugh's right to wish for Obama to fail, and therefore, the failure of our republic, yet you call Democrats the "blame America first crowd."

46) You claim that the economic crisis is the fault of the Democrats, but never mention that it was the Reagan administration that massively deregulated the banking industry in 1982, and it was Phil Gramm - McCain's choice for economic advisor - who completed the task for his pals in the banking industry in 1999.

47) You believe the failure of the US automobile industry is primarily the fault of the unions, and not because management of the three corporations insisted on producing vehicles that nobody wanted. And you're angry with the $28.00 per hour average wage of the work force, but you believe that the multimillion dollar salaries of the men who bankrupted the industry are perfectly reasonable.

48) You believe Barack Obama is a "narcissistic megalomaniac," because you heard Glenn Beck call him that once, but Beck himself is a humble man, concerned only for your welfare (brought to you by Goldline!).

49) You believe anybody who doesn't subscribe to Orly Taitz' birther movement is a RINO, and those who do, are carrying the torch of Reaganism.

50) You think this list is mean-spirited and biased, and even though you privately acknowledge to yourself that it's all true, you believe the Democrats are just as bad. Here's a bulletin: Nobody has ever been this bad.

(51) You praise Reagan as your tax-cutting, anti-spending role model while conveniently forgetting that Reagan RAISED taxes in 1982, 1983,1984, and 1986 while spending more that all the Presidents before him COMBINED.

If you believe that "we cannot abandon Baghdad..." because its our God-given mission to "liberate Iraq", but its OK to leave the American citizens of New Orleans stranded on their rooftops, let to die in their own waste following hurricane Katrina because "there were a lot of bad people in New Orleans..."

If you claim you want smaller government with less power but support repealing the 17th Amendment which would give the government the power to hand pick Senators and take the right of we the people from voting for the candidate of our choice.

(54) You keep calling everyone who had their job outsourced by the policies of the last administration of being lazy bums who should just go get a job and stop stealing your tax dollars.

(55) You think we can pay our doctors with a chicken, that there are be-headings all over the Arizona border, Sharia Law has been put into effect anywhere within the United States borders and that scientists have transplanted human brains into mice.

I have to love it

If you aren't aware, I live in the 2nd Congressional District in Missouri. Here we have two candidates vying for the position of filling the seat in this election. The incumbent, Congressman Russ Carnahan is a nice guy and a very good fellow to know. Decent man whom I have met on a few occasions.

His competitor is a man by the name of Ed Martin. Ed's a lawyer and according to the Committee on Responsibilty and Ethics in Washington, he is one of the 12 sleaziest politicians vying for elective office in the country. Yes, that's right THE COUNTRY. Needless to say, Ed is supported by the Tea Party crowd.

However someone has a sense of humor. Some soul put a home made sign in support of Ed on Interstate 55 south of St. Louis so that all could see it from the highway. Gracing a Hill the sign read:

Now comes the humor part. Some other well meaning soul decided to alter the sign slightly:

Ahhh, the dirty politics. I can promise you I was not the soul who altered the sign. However, Given sufficient time, motivation and an indication of the location of said sign, I might be convinced to embark on such an undertaking. Someone beat me to it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Phuket Air

In my irregular series of aviation blogs I though I might inject a little humor here. As many of you know, there is a resort city in Thailand called Phuket. Its a wonderful resort which suffered at the ravages of the 2005 Tsunami in which 230 people were killed on the island of Phuket. Anyway, in 1999 Vikrom Aisiri, a Thai multimillionaire and his wife got together to form an Airline which they named Phuket Air. They started by leasing a few 737's and I started to notice after they got a few 747's from KLM. To see the word Phuket painted in huge letters on the side of a plane was sure to bring laughter to all of use in the air Cargo business and pretty soon the work was about in our office that if we just didn't want a piece of cargo to go anywhere we could just ship it on Phuket Air, using an exaggerated American pronunciation of the phonetics of the word. OK, Just day Fuckit Air and you get the drift.

Phuket Air eventually overexpanded and with the result was banned from flights to Europe due to safety and maintenance concerns. That airline stopped flying revenue passengers in 2005 and now serves as a wet-lease company flying overflow passengers for other airlines in the region and supplying air service to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.

Where do Right and Left merge?

Remember the old saying that two wrongs don't make a right but three do? I have heard recently that the some right wingers consider Hitler a leftist since his party was called the National SOCIALIST Workers Party. I learned in school that eventually the political systems merge in a great circle and can be expressed as such.

Once you get to a certain point, the two sides merge, rightist authoritarian, and leftest authoritarian. To argue that Hitler was a Leftist is idiotic. The Right wing in this country is using the same propagandist tactics that Hitler and Goebbels used in their rise to power and having the same coalition of business elites and conservative socialites in order to consolidate their power. The Right is characterized by authoritarian and increasingly dictatorial need to control what the citizenry does. Rights are supposedly respected up to a point where it interferes with the control of peoples lives and habits.

I had an economics professor state to me once that the only really true socialist state was Jesus Christ and his disciples. In that, I think he meant that they cared for one another in a socially beneficial way.

The idea of the conservative in small government means that we are to have limited government services provided by a for profit, private industry with the benefits going to the industry and not the people. That's the way health care in this country has worked as an example. While most "socialist" countries in Europe manage their health care systems for the benefit and use by the people, in our country, the health care system is managed for the benefit of only those that can afford it or afford the insurance premiums. The medical-insurance-pharmaceutical complex is geared to develop maximum profit without benefit to the people. While we have great advances in health care, those benefits only trickle down to a relative few who can afford expensive, experimental procedures that insurance companies refuse to cover. The insurance industry is geared to return profits at the expense of peoples lives by denying coverage when a patient causes the company to loose money.

I have had many friends who have had their coverage denied or eliminated because they cost the companies too much money. The only death panels that exist are those at the insurance companies which deny coverage for people that have become too sick to make a profit. These panels at the insurance companies kill thousands each year by denying coverage to people at worst, at best they cost the taxpayers billions by forcing people to the state rolls for health care.

If we want to talk a nanny state, then the Right in this country wants a nanny state that regulates our sexuality, our birth and death patterns, where and how we shop, and a state of regulations where business is allowed to run rampant throughout the economy doing anything to make a buck regardless of the hurt it costs the people. An example of this is the lack of financial regulation promulgated by the right wing which, after dismantling the market regulations and controls promoted by the New Deal, caused the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression. We are poised now to reelect the same group back to government in this country which caused the problems we are only now recovering from and will take several years to get back to any semblance of solvency.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stolen from Sharon - Questions and answers

1. Were You Named After Anyone? I have 4 brothers. My Mom got all our names from the Bible. I have a brother named David, Peter and Paul. My name Stephen is after the first Christian Martyr which kinda gives me a complex... ;-)

2. Do You Like Handwriting? I can't write very long. I prefer typing.

3. What Is Your Favorite Lunch Meat? Smoked Turkey and smoked ham. I loathe Baloney, but will eat it.

4. Have Kids? Who would want to bring a kid in this world? Really I don't have anyone to have kids with anyway.

5. If You Were Another Person, Would You Be Friends With You? Good Question. I can be a good friend. Someone has to interest me to be a friend and I am very fascinating.

6. Do You Use Sarcasm A Lot? Yes I love Sarcasm.

7. Do You Still Have Your Tonsils? Yes I think so. I don't remember.

8. Would You Bungee Jump? I like keeping the contents of my bladder inside thank you very much.

9. What Is Your Favorite Cereal? Rasin Bran.

10. Do You Untie Your Shoes Before You Take Them Off? No.

11. What Is Your Favorite Ice Cream? Marshmallow Swirl

12. What Is The First Thing You Notice About People? I tend to notice personality. The attitude is what people project.

13. Red or Pink? Red. are you kidding?

14. Who Do You Miss The Most? I don't know.

15.What Is The Least Favorite Thing About Yourself? I'm overweight.

16. What Color Shoes Are You Wearing? none. Socks. I am in front of the computer so I am at home.

17. What Was The Last Thing You Ate? I had a couple of ham and cheese sandwiches a couple of hours ago.

18. What Are You Listening To Right Now? ABC's Americas Funniest Home videos.

19. If You Where A Crayon, What Color Would You Be? Blue

20. Favorite Smells? Forrest tree scent or Sea breeze

21. Who Was The Last Person You Talked To On The Phone? Stephanie

22. Do You Like The Person Who Sent This To You? Of course. That's a stupid question.

23. Favorite Sports to Watch? I am really not a sports fan. I see most of them as a bunch of overpaid idiots with overinflated egos.

24. Hair Color? Brown

25. Eye Color? Brown One girlfriend said I had intense brown eyes.

26. Do You Wear Contacts? No

27. Favorite Food? Fried Chicken.

28. Scary Movies Or Happy Endings? Happy endings. I like Romantic comedies with a good dialogue and wonderful by play between the characters.

29. Last Movie You Watched? Clash of the Titans (2010)

30. What Color Shirt Are You Wearing? White

31. Summer Or Winter? I have a conflict here. I hate being too hot and being too cold. I prefer Fall and Spring.

32. Hugs Or Kisses? Hugs if they are a friend. Kisses if they are a good girl friend.

33. Favorite Dessert? Chocolate cake

34. Most Likely To Respond? Who knows who cares.

35. Least Likely To Respond? See above

36. What Book Are You Reading Now? God I have too many.

37. Where Would You Like To Go On Vacation? Cook Islands or the Kennedy Space Center.

38. Where is the most different place you ever went on vacation? Haven't really had a "Different" vacation. I went to Montana once, but ended up having to help someone move. Not a fun vacation.

39. What Is On Your Mouse Pad? No mouse pad I have a trackball mouse.

40. Favorite Sound? The ocean or a forest with birds tweeting.

41. Rolling Stones Or Beatles? Do I have to choose? I was never really a fan of either

42. What Is The Farthest You Have Been From Home? Montana

43. Do You Have A Special Talent Music? I love listening to it, but no real talent for playing it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I want you to stop being afraid

See the original at : http://www.divshare.com/download/12641420-a57

I want everyone to stop being afraid of everyone else. I want the Tea Partiers to stop being afraid of Mexicans, Muslims, progressives, and President Obama. I want Progressives to stop being afraid of Tea Partiers and Republicans. I want this country the way it used to be when we got together to solve problems instead of screaming at each other.
Maybe I am being delusional. Maybe it WILL end up in a civil war. God help us if it does, but I seriously doubt that things are going to be pretty.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our Future - the Rollerball/Robocop scenario

This country is starting to sound like Rollerball. The 1970's version that was really a criticism of the corporatization of America. In that world the corporations WERE the government and Rollerball was the game that kept the masses in line. It provided cheap fodder where the violence of the game was only outdone by the indifference of their corporate masters.

By the way, the film was critized at the time for being extremely violent. Indeed, some of the scenes are difficult to watch but are tame compared to what is being offered on today's movie screens.

The other film is Robocop. This is where an indifferent corporation in a world of corporations where government has been rendered impotent by violence the governments turn to Corporate industry to provide security and other "unprofitable" ventures. How soon will this world come about?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

13 things overheard during a colonoscopy exam

Things overheard at a colonoscopy
A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominantly male) while he was performing their Colonoscopies.

1. "Take it easy Doc, you're boldly going where no man has gone before!
2. "Find Amelia Earhart yet?"
3. "Can you hear me NOW?"
4. "Oh boy! That was sphincterrific!"
5. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
6. "You know in Arkansas we're now legally married."
7. "Any sign of the trapped miners Chief?"
8. "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out..."
9. "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"
10. "If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!"
11. "Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."
12. "You used to be an executive at Enron didn't you?"

And the best one of them all...

13. "Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is, in fact, not up there."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What I did to get international fame -Tthe 10 hour work day

Yes, I am now internationally famous. Last night, as usual, I was driving around in my truck and I heard my name on the radio! That's not something that normally happens. Plus I was listening to our local NPR station's rebroadcast of the BBC World Service which makes it doubly interesting. Apparently I am now internationally famous as my words were read over the air far and wide for all the world to hear. The wonderfully inflected British accent pronounced my name with a more Germanic sounding inflection and called St. Louis (which locally is pronounced Lewis) as "Looie," but it was me because I recognized the words I wrote.

Whats the story behind this international turn of events? Well I am a big fan of Lucy Kellaway's commentaries which are featured regularly on the World Services' Business Daily report on Monday Nights here locally. She writes a rather cynical column for the UK's Financial Times newspaper. Her humorous take on the sometimes bizarre practices of the business world provide constant fodder for her column's.

On July 2 of this year, she wrote a column dedicated to the idea that businesses should eliminate Fridays for a variety of reasons. While I am sure she meant in as a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that nothing really gets done on Fridays. Her commentary was repeated on the BBC on 23 August of this year.

However, I had given the matter serious thought and I posted my thoughts on the BBC website. I wish I had saved the link, because I can't find it now! You may listen to and download the podcast for the next week or so at the following link. Click on the link for the 20th and my comments are read at the end of the broadcast. It might be available for longer at the following link which is up for good I hope.

Anyway, the gist of my comment was that we could eliminate Fridays by going to a 40 hour week/10 hour day. This would leave the last three days of the week, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, free for leisure time and worship as most of the world's major religions worship on one of those three days. I emphasized that the savings in commuting times, energy usage and the like would be considerable. Productivity would increase since we would have essentially two shifts for many jobs. The "weekend" shift would be correspondingly smaller since these would be part time workers, or said workers could be given the option of coming in on any of the other four "working days" and complete a 10 hour shift to have a full 40 hours. Most people could have a lot more leisure time since a three day weekend gives one a lot more time to do home projects and recreation.

Granted the 10 hour day might be a bitch, but then it would be able to have more productivity since we will be working longer in the day and services would be available longer. On a three shift job, we might still have the same 8 hour day, as the times don't match up really. I was thinking on some jobs an "on-call" arrangement might be floated or for others, an overlapping of shifts might be necessary or some might be filled by "weekenders" working partial shifts to cover for those intervening times. Few workplace regulations in the US would change since a minimum of 4 hours is required in some jobs for pay. If you get called in you have to be paid 4 hours no matter what. Of course, the big one would be the 8 hour day.

Overtime would be at twice pay because we don't want people working too much of a day. Many jobs ask you to come in early to set up and some violate regulations by not paying for that set up time. This shift would give adequate time for that set up with four hours a day down time in dome factory jobs. Most would work 9am to 8 pm with an hour allowed for lunch and that hour would always be time off required by law. Now some people would not adapt to this because of the fact that commuting distances have increased in the US especially, but this might encourage the use of trains or other public transit to get people into work. It might also encourage people to live closer to work since a schedule like this would discourage long commuting times. Another idea would be to require a 3 day work/10 hour day and make a fourth day "floating" be it by choice or schedule as long as positions were filled for those long commuters. Also, it might encourage telecommuting for workers who are able to take advantage of that kind of situation.

I wasn't able to provide much detail on my proposal as I have done above, but essentially that is it as depicted above. With the increased lack of leisure time this would be a more accurate reflection on the kind of efficiencies that business today utilizes.

I'd appreciate any commentary on this proposal and what one might think about it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Its 12:12. Do you know where your bodies are?

I haven't talked much about work in my blog. Officially, I am not supposed to on pain of termination. However, I will refrain from presenting this in a negative light as much as possible. I only wish to point out the comedic aspects of this.

There has been controversy of late concerning a proposed exhibit which will visit my Mall. In the wake of the wave of business bankruptcies in 2008, the Mark Shale store, a 12,000 square foot hunk of retail clothing space, closed down. The North End of Death as I like to call it, has claimed another victim. (Stores on the North End of the mall seem not to last long as there is little parking on that end. However, this has changed slightly as some of the newer stores have lasted longer than most have in the past). This leaves a large space a the North End of the Mall unoccupied.

Last year, the space was occupied by a store styled by the name "Halloween Express." Normally this seasonal store occupied the empty Blockbuster space across the street from the mall. Last year I guess they decided to move up a notch and the large space gave them ample space to display their wares. Such included fake cadavers, zombies, witches and other full scale Halloween paraphernalia.

This year, I suppose they decided to try something different. Seems the mall has rented out the space to a company entitled Premier Exhibitions. Premier has several traveling road shows going on including one about the Titanic. However, the subject of the exhibition at our mall has little to do with the mysteries of the sea. No, our exhibition has to do with the Human Body. The exhibit is of various configurations of the Human Body with organs and muscles preserved through a process of plastification. The bodies are posed with the organs showing, the muscles stretching in various sports poses and the like. Needless to say this is somewhat creepy.

Last night, 4 tractor trailers arrived loaded with 250 plasticized cadavers. Then the heavens started to open up. Like a scene from a horror movie, lightening started to crackle and rain started to fall. Eventually they started to unload the trucks in this deluge. Eventually they unloaded the trucks and put all 250 plastic people in the space.

This whole exhibit has led to some bizarre speculation on our part as these are the preserved remains of real people. Since I work nights, the creepiness factor increases. One has the vision of zombies wandering the mall shopping. Lets hope that Michael Jackson's Thriller is mere speculation and not actual fact.

The only controversy the exhibit has engendered has been concerning the origin of the bodies in question. A conservative congressman from a district to the North of St. Louis has threatened to take legal action against the exhibit and its promoters because of the Chinese origin of the bodies. He believes that the bodies are from Chinese prisoners who have been tortured and thus exhibiting them would be cruel. While I think it is creepy and not cruel, the exhibition will now carry, thanks to an agreement between the exhibitors and the State of Missouri, a disclaimer stating that the origin of the bodies cannot be verified. Nice.

Anyway, if you hear of me in the coming zombie Apocalypse running through the mall, I will be calling the police and heading for my home, thank you very much.

Please understand that none of this represents the official opinion of the management of St. Louis Galleria or the company I work for, Valor Security.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What would you do if you saw a tree filled with money

Remember when your parents said that money didn't grow on trees? Amy Krouse Rosenthal wondered what people would do if they saw a tree filled with money. She and a few friends got together and put $100 on a tree on a busy street. What happened was very suprising. The reactions of people were telling about how we notice things.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My memories of 9-11

My best friend in Texas had 5 friends die that day who worked for Bank of America. My supervisor at work was a Paramedic with a local company. He volunteered and went to NYC and worked for as long as he could till work called him back to St. Louis. I remember this day as the day everything was quiet.

I worked at an air cargo company in Louisville, KY. For those who are not aware, Louisville is the hub for UPS, the worlds largest shipper. WorldPort is running 24 hours a day with 747's and Shorts Skyvans taking off at all hours of the day and night. At night the planes come in from all over the world and the sky is filled with airplanes. I lived in apartment complex across the highway from Runway 35R at the airport. I am well aware of airport noise and that was the day everything became quiet.

I was at work when one of our drivers came in and said that he heard on the radio that a plane had just dived into the World Trade Center. I got on the internet which was jammed and saw a picture of the burning building. Then we got the call, that they shut the skies down and every airplane in the air around Louisville came there to roost. Airlines which never had landed there did do and those passengers were stranded, with no way to get home.

I called people I loved. Not sure why I did it, but I did, just to be sure they were OK. Apparently thousands of others thought the same way because it was a wonder I got through. Eventually I went home and watched the aftermath.

Then I noticed the quiet. The planes had all landed so the airport was shut down. But then I noticed the highway was quiet too. Like a Sunday, with no traffic. Everyone was at home, just like me, glued to the Television or surfing the net and watching the aftermath.

I remember Sting watching the live broadcast of his song Fragile and looking at the TV and watching the rain falling on the rescuers and wondering at the words he was singing.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Can you get married in Heaven?


On their way to get married, a young Catholic couple is involved in a fatal car accident.

The couple find themselves sitting outside the Pearly Gates waiting for St. Peter to process them into Heaven. While waiting, they begin to wonder: Could they possibly get married in Heaven?

When St. Peter showed up, they asked him.

St. Peter said, 'I don't know. This is the first time anyone has asked. Let me go find out,' and he leaves.

The couple sat and waited, and waited. Two months passed and the couple are still waiting. As they waited, they discussed that if they were allowed to get married in Heaven, what was the eternal aspect of it all. 'What if it doesn't work?' they wondered, 'Are we stuck together forever?'

After yet another month, St. Peter finally returns, looking somewhat bedraggled.

'Yes,' he informs the couple, 'you can get married in Heaven.'

Great!' said the couple, 'But we were just wondering, what if things don't work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven?'

St. Peter, red-faced with anger, slammed his clipboard onto the ground.

'What's wrong?' asked the frightened couple.

'OH, COME ON!', St. Peter shouted, 'It took me three months to find a priest up here! Do you have any idea how long it'll take me to find a Lawyer?!'

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Conservapedia: E=mc2 Is A Liberal Conspiracy | TPMMuckraker


How long will it be before these imbeciles think the Law of Gravity is against the Bible! This is really going too far, WAY too far. First its evolution, now its physics. Einsteins precepts have been accepted and confirmed by observation since relativity was first proposed. THIS has got to stop!

Whats next? Are we going to say the Earth is the center of the universe? This is asinine. I will never, ever understand this.

Monday, August 9, 2010

This ones for the Girls - Our Children are changing..

I am feeling a little mellow when I wrote this so I may repost a better version later. But I wanted to get the thought down while it was still in my head.

In the headlines today it has been revealed that increasing numbers of girls are reaching puberty earlier, sometimes as early as the second grade. The cause is not really known, but the obesity epidemic may have something to do with it. Also cited is the plastic used in some bottles has been known to mimic estrogen. Another factor is fertilizers and other things used in food processing may mimic estrogen and cause this as well.

The consequence of this is a generation of girls with low self esteem as those girls which develop early are know to have such issues. There is also cancer risks later in life of increase Brest and Uterine cancers. And last but not least is, thanks to the hypersexualization of young girls in our media today.is an increased sexual activity at a younger age.

The study cited the trend highest among African American females at almost 12-15 percent with decreasing rates among Hispanic and finally Caucasian females.

We are breading a generation of mutants. Who knows that the dangerous things we put into our water and air have whatever deleterious effects on our children? We are changing ourselves in ways we cannot predict and imagine. Coupled with these changes physically will cause unprecedented changes socially, politically, spiritually, what have you.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What the Tea Party is like to me.

I think most everyone who is alive now in the United States or my age remembers "The Twilight Zone." If not, they probably saw the remakes in the late 1980's and early 90's. The show was perfect as Science Fiction as modern parable, telling of the fears of technological, social or political change. Such was a show in the first incarnation called "Its a Good Life."

This episode dealt with a child named Anthony who has godlike powers. He can wish for anything and its granted. If you don't think good thoughts around Anthony, because he can read your mind. If he doesn't like what you think, he can whisk you away to the cornfield, never to be seen again. You don't go against Anthony because he controls everything, what you see on TV (Anthony loves dinosaurs so that is all there is on TV), what you eat or what you can do. He doesn't like dogs, so dogs have been whisked away. Everyone lives in terror of Anthony, but they can't show it for fear of being whisked away to the cornfield.

Right now, we have an Anthony in our nation. Anthony goes by various names, the TEA party, Fox News, the vast Right Wing conspiracy, what have you. Anthony goes around wanting to control everything and because he believe he is right, and we have enshrined the right to listen to his arguments, they are not questioned. Even when his arguments venture into the bizarre or absurd, we do not question him. It seems only a small minority has anything to say. They rarely speak up and thus the monster gains power. Anthony is in our midst and soon a lot of us may be whisked away to the cornfield for thinking bad thoughts.

This is Rod Serling, and now the Twilight Zone

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Saturday, August 7, 2010

An old Joke - Jesus is watching you

This is one of my favorite jokes:

A robber breaks into a house and starts to pillage the place. As he is starting to ransack the living room, he hears a voice, "Jesus is watching you."

He shines his flashlight around looking for the source. "Jesus is watching you," he hears it again. Finally his searching comes upon a parrot on a perch.

"Jesus is watching you," says the Parrot.

"What?" says the robber.

"Jesus is watching you."

"Oh and who are you?" says the robber.

"Well," says the parrot. "My name is Moses."

"Moses?" says the robber. "Why would anyone name their parrot Moses."

"Well," says Moses. "The same kind of people that would name their Rottweiler Jesus."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Amazing times in the history of Aviation - The Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki

Today we "celebrate" the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. History has debated and will continue to debate whether it was an action that was good or bad. On the one hand you have the people that state that Japan would have never given up thanks to the Bushido code and the desire of the military for Japan to fight to the last man. Indeed, during the invasion of Okinawa, hundreds of thousands of civilians hurled themselves off the cliffs rather than surrender to American soldiers. Soldiers refused to surrender, instead dying in suicide attacks or dying by self inflicted injuries committed in ritual suicide.

On the other hand, there are others who look to the uselessness of the gesture. Japan was finished and had nothing to fight with. Whole cities were being burned with Incendiary attacks. The firebombing of Tokyo killed far more people than the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima initially did.

However, forgotten in history was that there was a second raid on a second city. Nagasaki was long a port of entry to Japan dating back to the 1500's It was here the Imperial Japan permitted foreigners to enter its country until the opening of Japan by Perry in the 1800's. For 200 years, the only way one could get into Japan was by way of Nagasaki. There existed armament plants and shipyards to be sure. But there also existed the largest Christian Cathedral in the East and a large population of expatriate foreigners, stranded by the war or having chosen to remain there in spite of the war. Nagasaki had been and remained the center of Christianity in Japan since the Portuguese first landed in the 1500's.

Having completed the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the architect of the campaign, General Curtis LeMay, who would later rise to command the Strategic Air Command during the Cold War, searched for other targets. He only had one other bomb available and the target had better be a good one.

Meanwhile, the Soviets, with whom the civilian leadership of Japan had hoped to make peace with began to invade Manchuria. The hope that Japan would be able to use the Soviets to negotiate their way out, plus the increasing paranoia of the military leadership, made a negotiated peace on Japan's terms impossible.

The other Bomb, which was named "Fat Man" for the obvious reasons of its shape, was what was termed an Implosion Bomb. The original "Little Boy" device used over Hiroshima was crude but effective and required only relatively small amounts of Uranium 235. Little Boy was termed a "Gun Weapon" in that it involved two lumps of Uranium located at either end of a tube. High explosives propelled one chunk of Uranium into the other which fused and then resulted in a critical mass which then yielded the Nuclear detonation. Fat Man was far more complex.

Fat Man had a sphere of Plutonium in the middle of a segmented sphere of of High Explosives. The goal in the reaction was to compress the Plutonium in such a way that would yield the critical mass which would result in the Nuclear Explosion. Fat Man had been demonstrated in principle at the first nuclear test at Trinity.

The aircraft designated to carry this device was named "Bocks Car." Originally flown by Captain Fredrick C. Bocks for which the aircraft was named, the aircraft in this mission was flown by Major Charles W. Sweeney. Originally Sweeney's aircraft, "The Great Artiste" was slated to perform the mission, but it had been equipped for support duties, photography and measurement of the blast. Rather than waste the time to switch the equipment back into Bocks Car and have The Great Artiste do the bombing it was elected to switch the crews instead. This led to some original confusion as to the actual aircraft that performed the bombing. However, it is settled that Bocks Car did the bombing.

Bocks Car took off on the morning of August 9, 1945 on the last wartime atomic bombing mission in history. Its original target was not Nagasaki, but Kokura. Kokura was a Castle town dating back to ancient Japan, whose warrens produced armaments, shells, and missiles for the Japanese war effort. In July 1945, the Japanese began to assemble Chemical Weapons in Kokura in the event they were needed to repel the eventual Allied Invasion. However, weather obscured the city and Sweeney turned to his secondary target, Nagasaki. Fortune had spared the Castle City.

However, to Sweeney's frustration, clouds also obscured Nagasaki as well. The Bocks Car's bombardier Kermet Beahan searched in vain for a break in the clouds. However, fortune was not to smile on Nagasaki or its Catholic Cathedral, or its torpedo factory, or its POW camp. No. At 11:01, Kermet reported a break in the clouds that let him sight on his Aiming point. He pushed his trigger and Fat Man was let go as the Bocks Car swung desperately away and sped away from the impending blast. Forty-Three seconds later at an altitude of 1500 feet of about 440 meters above Urikami Valley, which served as the main industrial area of the city, the High Explosives in Fat Man triggered. It crushed the Plutonium sheathed within it and upon reaching the critical mass, the Plutonium detonated.

The area covered was smaller than Hiroshima in spite of the Fat Man device being more powerful. In comparison to contemporary atomic weapons, Fat Man was small, about 21 kilotons of TNT. A W76 Thermonuclear warhead of today carried by the Trident SLBM as an example would yield a 100 Kiloton blast with a Thermonuclear explosion. The smaller area was due to the hilly nature of Nagasaki and much of the city was protected by hills surrounding the valley. Killed in the initial blast were between 50,000 to 70,000 people along with at least 13 POWs and in a very hideous irony, an unknown number of the survivors of the Hiroshima bombing who had been evacuated to Nagasaki, some of whom survived. Due to its large Catholic population, the Fat Man bomb probably killed more Christians in Japan than had all the emperors in all of Japan's history.

Today, Nagasaki is a thriving port city, the church has been rebuilt, but the legacy remains. There is a Peace Park and Atomic Museum just like its counterpart in Hiroshima, but in large part, Hiroshima gets all the "glory" if one can use that term for the atomic campaign on Japan. Nagasaki is largely forgotten in the remembrances of the Atomic Bomb. There were two or possibly three other devices available and the US contemplated another raid as early as the 17th or 18th of August, but such was not to be. Japan surrendered on August 14th, 1945 with the Emperor telling his people that the Americans were using a "most cruel bomb" and that Japan had "to endure the unendurable." In the lead up to the announcement, a rebellion of the military to prevent the surrender was put down. Even to the end, the Military wanted to fight on in spite of the bomb.

After the war, what devices remained were expended in testing on targets at Bikini with the Able and Baker tests as part of Operation Crossroads. The tests left the Island of Bikini irradiated and uninhabitable to this day. Bocks Car eventually made it back to the United States and was retired in 1946. It was displayed for a time, in the markings of "The Great Artiste" at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base where it was labeled as the aircraft that took part in the Nagasaki Raid. In 1961, she was flown to the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, Ohio where it was restored to its original markings and is now on display. In contrast to the restored Enola Gay and its subdued display at the National Air and Space Museum, Bocks Car is labeled as "the aircraft that ended World War II."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Emergency, Home Care and Hospital - Trials and Tribulations

I thought I would give a detailed accounting of what I have been going through. I have been blurting and noting on here and Facebook so that friends and family will know what is happening but I think a more detailed account is in order. David, if you are reading this, please read to the end. I am hard on you, but you have to understand my perspective.

First, is how I got here. A litany of bad eating habits and so forth led to the Gall Stones that almost clogged my bile duct on Friday. I must have had a mild attack last weekend and was thinking of seeing my Uncle who is a retired Internist to see if a more detailed examination was in order, but some aspirin made the pain go away, but did not put off the inevitable. My reluctance to go was based not on a fear of hospitals, but a fear of financial ruin if I needed surgery which unfortunately has happened, but more on that later.

Anyway, on Friday, the pain became so intense I was convinced I was having a heart attack. I had fallen asleep being very tired after getting home and it woke me out of a sound sleep. It felt like someone was standing on my chest and I couldn't catch my breath so I called 911 and the fire people came and then the ambulance. My nephew, who adores me, was so worried and ran out to make sure the fire and ambulance people could find my trailer among the many in the park. The fire people are trained in primary first aid, somewhat on a level more detailed than we are at work. They brought Oxygen and an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) which thankfully was not needed. The EMT's brought more sophisticated equipment and asked me the standard questions and I answered them to the best of my ability. Since it was apparent that I was still ambulatory, I walked out to the ambulance. Such was my need that the fact I was in my underwear never entered my mind. I was hooked up to an EKG and it showed a normal sinus which made me feel better. But there was still something wrong and I needed to see someone.

My nephew rode along with me in the ambulance, riding up front as we went to St. Clare Health Center. St. Clare is one of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area's newest medical facilities with a different take on how room care is provided. More on that later. In a wonderful twist of irony, the Hospital is built on a former golf course. (For those of my loyal readers who do not live in the States, the association of Doctors to the playing of Golf is almost ubiquitous. It seems a requirement of medical men to have a set of golf clubs in the office. Thus the irony). The hospital swallowed up all of the grounds of the course, so it no longer exists. The residue has new McMansions and a retirement home that has been built on the remainder. St. Clare is run by SSM Health Care which is descendant of hospitals run since 1872 by the Franciscan Sisters of Mary in the St. Louis area. Primarily in the St. Louis area, they run 15 acute care hospitals and 2 Nursing homes in Missouri and three other states. St Clare is named for a Catholic Nun who, being born of nobility, gave it all up for helping the poor and downtrodden in medieval Europe in the early 1200's on the Christian Calendar. But I digress.

I arrived in the emergency room having received two doses of Nitroglycerin. This had the effect of lowering my blood pressure as it expanded my blood vessels and really made me feel woozy. After a preliminary examination by the Emergency room Physician, I was x-rayed and then given an ultrasound examination. The questions being asked by the techs led me to believe that the problem was not cardio-vascular in nature, but to do with the liver and gall bladder. After these examinations, my brother arrived with my mom and the whole brood was there. Since the examinations were showing problems there and my liver enzymes were bad, I was admitted and sent to room 3212. A nice wheelchair ride let me arrive at my room at the end of the hall on the 3rd floor.

Now a word about the care and feeding of the patient. One of St. Clare Health Center's philosophies is to really care for the patient. The traditional Nurses station is no longer there, with the nurses put closer to the patient. Each room is a single suite with observation windows so that the nurse doesn't necessarily have to be in the room to observe the patient. Still the nurses are short in number so the call button wasn't necessarily answered immediately, but none of my needs were life threatening and I can understand they were busy. The food was excellent and I partook of a grilled chicken, corn, and green beans with some jello and 2% milk for dinner after I arrived. My brother and the brood left and I spent the night in somewhat of a sleepless state. My brother had brought my trusty netbook and with that, I had access to the outside world through the Hospital's rather undependable Wi-Fi system. Out of my visit, that was the only drawback as I had hoped to play some games with Stephanie only to find out that the game site we play on, Pogo, was one of the sites the Hospital found objectionable and had blocked it. I really think that unlimited Wi-Fi access should be a right if one is incarcerated in a hospital with no link to the outside as our computers have become such a part of us in this day and age.

I had been talked to by the surgeon and I must not have heard or misinterpreted the fact that my surgery was scheduled for Saturday because I was told that such was the case which left me little time to prepare for said surgery mentally. In the end I think this was a good thing in that there was little anxiety present for the surgery. All I know is that they came in and were there to start me down for the surgery. The wonderful thing is that I didn't have to get out of the bed. The whole kit and caboodle was wheeled down to the operating area. Contacting friend and family on such short notice proved difficult as no one answered the phones and I managed to get my Uncle to let him know, so that at least I talked to someone. This led to something rather unfortunate later which I will detail.

One thing that led to me not being anxious was I know that Stephanie was there for me. Stephanie is very special to me, my best friend in a lot of ways. What has happened over the years is that whenever I get into a situation where I feel anxious or bothered, the name pops up and I know she is there in spirit and that make me feel better. I had two prep nurses to get me ready for my surgery both of whom took me down from my room to surgery. One was named Stephanie and God forgive me I forgot the other one. Stephanie was pregnant and starting to show, but it was nice to know that my Stephanie was there in spirit. I also know that Stephanie has had to go through far worse in Surgery than I had to so I know that what I had to go through was pretty much nothing in comparison.

My procedure was Laparoscopic in nature. The surgery is performed with a minimum of invasion by poking a Laparoscope (which is a CCTV on a long tube) through the Belly Button to see inside the abdomen. Carbon Dioxide or air is pumped in to expand the cavity to see the organs. Three other small incisions are made to insert other instruments which the surgeon can see through the Laparoscope and the offending Gall Bladder, Appendix or other such organ removed by the procedure can be seen and removed.

I got down and a man next to me was in recovery having had his appendix removed. Walls separated us so I had no idea how he looked but I could hear his semi sombulant ramblings as I was being prepped. I thought there was going to be a lot more shaving, but I didn't have to endure any of that indignity, as least as far as I can remember. I was transferred to a surgical gurney and wheeled into the operating room and that's all I can remember. From subsequent reports, I was told I am an entertaining patient as I was singing the "Paul the Octopus" song along with some others, but for some reason that one has been going through my head lately. I was awake and in recovery and doing fine. I was back in my bed and after a few minutes of waiting, I was wheeled back up to my room.

Now I got back and I slept off and on, but the unfortunate aspect of not being able to get hold of my brother had an effect on him. He didn't want to leave me. I wasn't dying. But apparently he thought I was. He's always been so sensitive about things like that. I got a short respite when I sent Mom home because she would not stop talking. But he returned and took up residence in the room.

One of the special things about the room was the fact that the furniture converts readily to sleeping places. The built in couch in the wall, a small love seat, plus a recliner by the bed all can be slept in, one way or another. Now, I needed sleep, which I wasn't able to get, but apparently he was since his and the whole brood's snoring kept me awake for most of the night. Finally Sunday morning, I had to put my foot down and send them out of my room so I could get some much needed rest. I got about three hours and when I woke up I couldn't go back to sleep, so the whole brood came back in and would not leave. Such was the off and on for Sunday.

However, there were benefits. One of the benefits of this was the fact that I didn't have to bother the nurses for a lot of things. Going to the bathroom was an experience since it was difficult, if not impossible to get up so I had to use other means. Upon being informed that if I didn't urinate, a catheter would be employed, my body responded in timely fashion. The means employed was a bottle shaped for strictly that purpose. This has replaced the bedpan but it still has some drawbacks. In the state I was in, I could not hold it very well and not being able to see the area in question, I was concerned that I was tilting it to where the offending fluid was going to leak out. So my brother became the "Piss Boy" (as I was not going to give such a duty to his wife or my nephew for reasons of modesty) and thus the inevitable jokes ensued. One may remember the innumerable scenes in Mel Brooks "History of the World Part 1" about the French Revolution where his character was both King and "Piss Boy" who collected the urine of the male nobility. I figured if he wouldn't leave, I would use him.

I guess that in a way, he didn't want to leave because he cared, but for some reason it was hard to fall asleep with them in the room. I hadn't had a problem like that before, but then I have never been operated on before. It bothers me to a certain extent that they didn't leave, but then I didn't have the heart to tell them to leave. I know now why some hospitals limit visiting hours. It is for the benefit of the patients.

Time passed and Sunday rolled around the clock of the day. My surgeon came by to examine my dressing and the first appearance of what I shall call the "Red Alien." Since I am lying on my back, the blood pools in my belly button and upon pulling it out the clot has molded its shape to the belly button. The appearance is somewhat similar to a member of the anatomy which is strictly apparent only on the male of the human species. The surgeon remarked that it looked obscene and that was due to its appearance and not to any complications of the surgery. However, he pronounced me fit to leave and released me to go home.

Finally I could leave the Hospital. I received my instructions and prescriptions. I was free. Unfortunately, another problem ensued. My brother has three cars. The Ford Taurus Station Wagon is unregistered and thus not legally drivable, but he had chosen to drive his low to the ground Dodge Neon to the hospital, which in my state, being unable to bend over would not have been able to get into. So, my ride home had to drive all the way back to his home to get his van, which sits higher off the ground, in order to get home. Thus I was delayed getting out of the hospital even further because of this. I was preferring the Hospital and wished I could have stayed a little longer because the care was so good and the nurses were nice. I still miss the room.

I went to Walgreens and got some supplies along with my prescriptions. A digital thermometer, some gauze for changing my dressing, some low dose aspirin, some absorbent tampons to use for dressing and absorbing the blood and some band aids to replace those given me at the hospital. I told my brother I would pay him back when I got paid Tuesday.

We got home and all was chaos. My bed has seen better days and the mattress is overdue for replacement so I was going to take up residence on the bed my mother never uses to sleep on because she prefers the couch. However, in order to do so, I had to move my TV in the front bedroom which is designated for my Mom, but which she has used for storage since she moved here. I can't lift anything, so I had to instruct everyone to move things to order. No one really follows my requests but everything did eventually get moved into place. I have a much more comfortable bed which being set higher off the floor was better able to accommodate me in the state I was in.

Changing the dressing I had to do myself. I know how hard it is to get care and to be cared for at home. My Mom is hardly in the best shape to help me since she is 82 and practically an invalid herself. I wouldn't trust my brother, his wife or son to do it because they didn't react well when they changed the dressing in the room. So I have to change my own dressing which was an experience and a half. The first night I changed my dressing, the Red Alien again appeared and I had to wonder if I was losing too much blood. However, I think I did a fairly good job with the first night changing the dressing.

Last night I did some shopping, and I exerted myself, which I probably shouldn't have done but I needed to get a couple of things like a fan for my room, which I can never seem to get cool enough and I am reluctant to turn the Air Conditioning down any more because of my mother's constant complaints of being too cold. I can understand her at her age because her body is more cold sensitive, but man she shuts off the AC and only turns it on when it’s in the 90's. It’s a problem which I will solve in the next month because I will move her into the bedroom I have which I hope a lot of her stuff will also follow. That might kill two birds by granting her a larger room and getting her closer to the bathroom which will help her there.

I changed my dressing last night and again, the Red Alien made its appearance although a little smaller I have noted in retrospect. I have become adept at the dressing change although tonight I was a little off and may have to redo it since it’s sitting a little too high. Tonight there was no appearance of the Red Alien, so I think my belly button has healed to a certain extent. I still feel a little "off." It will be another couple of days for me to return to work so I can be OK there. I have lost no pay because my boss gave me the option of using my vacation time to cover it. Now I have no vacation, but at least I have the money. I hate America. At least I should have some paid sick time.

When all is said and done, this has been a wakeup call in a lot of ways. I only hope that what happens here is a permanent concern about my health rather than something that will fade. I have a penchant for embarking on changes in my life, only to find the task daunting and reverting back inevitably to the old ways. Perhaps this will be a change.

I hope this look into my life was not too intimate. The facts are still fresh, but can be distorted by the fact the anesthetic can and does induce changes in memory. I might have been too hard on my brother. He has always been there for me and I do love him. Although at times he can and does induce stress in my life I can't afford to have.

I want to thank you all for the prayers and good wishes. They helped in a lot of ways. I have nothing more to say at the moment so I will close this tome. More details to follow later as I begin a new road to discover the life of having to now pay for my medical procedure without medical insurance. That is going to be an adventure.

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.

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