Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I don't need to give you the details of who, what, where, when and how of the above picture on this blog. But just in case you've spelunking or were on your Honey Moon for the past week you can read about it here:
But I find that this is a fine example of the concept of unintended consequences. Now the fact that the hog might have actually been raised on a "Game Plantation" doesn't take too much away from the point.
So 400 years ago the English dudes settling Jamestown brought along piglets to raise for meat. Eventually some escaped. Over the years others escaped, this happens over and over again. Not to worry every body lives close to everybody everywhere and they all have guns and wild hog is good to eat. So the population is kept in check. But now we all start moving to the cities, and lands are sold to corporations and people live further apart and there are State Forest, and National Forest, and Corporate Forest and next thing you know wild things are back. Not just any wild things mind you but wild things that once weren't wild at all, but that in just four or five generations out in the woods revert back to the Wild Boars of Europe. Nope not the Wild Boars of Europe actually because they are fricking larger than the Wild Boars of Europe.
In fact they are damn big.
Now my son reminded me of a movie "Lock , Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" an English black comedy where one of the characters says, "Never trust a man who has more than four pigs." Crimey mate, this pig is four pigs, or five or six pigs even. Of course what he means is that like in the HBO series "Deadwood" pigs are good at disposing of people. ( My dad told me once to never trust a man who wore both a belt and suspenders, but that's another story)
Now if a man owned four of these hogs he could be Governor of the State could he not.
But I digress. Who would guess that a Hog gone wild could grow this big? How big could one eventually get? Is there an upper limit? I wonder what the death squeal of this Hog sounded like. Probably one of the most heart wrenching sounds at hog scalding time was the squeal of the beast as it was hoisted up and its throat was cut. Upton Sinclair gives us a literary version of this horror in the slaughter houses of Chicago in "The Jungle". Grown men were sometimes over-wrought by the sound.
Jokes and puns aside pigs aren't that far from us after all. We use their parts to replace our own often in surgery even. They eat everything we eat, and we both eat each other. Some theorist believe that the prohibition against eating swine in many of the near eastern based religions has more to do with their human like sounds at death and the fact that eating them, you may inadvertently be eating something that has eaten a human. They are after all smarter than humans. No, then how do you explain why the herd of pigs that Jesus transferred the demon Legion to, when he cured the madman, jumped off the cliff and kill themselves rather live with that torment. Now that's smart in my book.
So how smart is a hog that is four times normal size? Ever consider what those brains maybe doing at that size relative to the body weight? Maybe the kids in the "Lord of the Flies" weren't too far off. Maybe we are killing.....naw, what am I thinking, Hogs as Gods? Silly.
Hey honey we got any more ice for my whiskey, and could you rustle me up a ham sandwich, please?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

THE COWBOYS AND THE FARMERS SHOULD BE FRIENDS:The Hypocrite In Chief Notices Dafur, but Not the Underlying Problem

Bush on Darfur: U.S. 'will not avert our eyes'

Chicago Tribune
Posted by Mark Silva

President Bush, protesting the government of Sudan's continued efforts to support militias and thwart peacekeeping efforts in the violence-plagued Darfur region, today announced U.S. economic sanctions against several Sudanese companies and individuals and called on the United Nations to step up sanctions against the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
"For too long, the people of Darfur have suffered at the hands of a government that is complicit in the bombing, murder and rape of innocent civilians,'' said Bush, again describing as "genocide'' a military campaign that has left more than 200,000 dead and displaced more than 2.5 million people as refugees from the Darfur region. "The world has a responsibility to help put an end to it.
"I promise this to the people of Darfur, the United States will not avert our eyes to a crisis that challenges the conscience of the world.''

What's he planning to do? What troops do we have to send here now? Is he just trying to embarrass the United Nations? Has he given up on the concept that Sudan will help us with Al Qaeda? Has he decided to tweak China by getting between them and Sudan?

Oh, I get it, The Blackwater Army will need employment if we take them out of Iraq. Not a bad idea actually. They can become sort of a Bush Praetorian Guard! Maybe they can hang around and help out during the 2009 coup after the terrorist nuclear attacks on the East and West coast.

Of course it isn't the government of Sudan that is really at fault in Dafur. It is something else that President Bush does not believe in: Climate Change.

You see that region of the world has become dryer each year since 1973. No water, no food, no way to sustain everybody. Men with guns will then always rule. In this case they are Muslim and the victims are Christians and pagans, but it could just as easily be the other way around. In fact, it really comes down to the Biblical Cain & Able conflict, the cowboys vs. the farmers. (The American solutions is straight out of a Broadway Musical named "Oklahoma" re: "The Cowboys and the Farmers should be friends!")

The entire region is drying up and blowing away. Lake Chad for instance in 1973 was the sixth largest lake in the world. Today it is about the size of an Oklahoma cattle tank (pond to the rest of the world). Want to see what is happening check out this:

Life in this part of the planet is only as good as the last rain. Rain has not been something that is happening here. The U.S. has sent via The United nations etc. as much as $1.7 billion dollars in aid to Darfur in the last five years (about the same amount as week of war in Iraq). But all we are doing is feeding in place, and not a safe place at that. Migration is the only reasonable option. Migration to where? This is the first of an ongoing problem that we have yet to recognize or address. We will have to relocate much of the world's population or watch them die in place. Not next year, but starting last year.

Our child President is not up to this job. Are any of the want-to-be Presidents up to the job? Do they even know that it is here?

It is up to each of us to take this into consideration as we choose the next "leader" of the free world.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I was raised on Alley Oop. It appeared every day back in the 1940s and 50s in the daily newspaper that we subscribed to in Southwestern Oklahoma. I was raised in a very conservative Southern Baptist church out in the countryside. It maybe had 60 members, tops. Probably all of them would tell you that they believed that God created the world in seven days and did it six thousand years ago. But if you pressed them with the question did people and dinosaurs exist at the same time like in Alley Oop, they would hedge their bet and say, well no. Probably the answer I got most of the time was, "well I just don't think so". These people may have been Baptist but as farmers that dealt with reality on a daily basis they weren't stupid.

So now we have a duffass from Australia that is opening a museum in Kentucky to prove that the Bible is LITERALLY true and that dinosaurs lived at the same time as men sometime within the last 6000 years. Just like Alley Oop. He is banking (actually banking $27 million) on the poll results that says that 60% of Americans say they believed that God created the earth in six days six thousand years ago. Well why not? Heck three of the Republican candidates for President of the United States read the same poll and thus stated in a recent debate that they did not believe in evolution. Hell, the President we have today doesn't even believe in Science for Christ's sake.

Well here is the deal. We all may be true believers but we ain't stupid!
Alley Oop riding a dinosaur down the street of Moo? You got to be kidding.

Well this guy isn't. He believes it happened.

Dinosaurs frolic with Adam and Eve at creationism museum
by Mira Oberman Sun May 20, 6:29 PM ET

PETERSBURG, United States (AFP)
- Dinosaurs frolic with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and an animatronic Noah directs work on his Ark in a multimillion dollar creationism museum set to open next week in Kentucky.
Designed by the creator of the King Kong and Jaws exhibits at the Universal Studios theme park, the stunning 60,000 square foot (5,400 square-metre) facility is built for a specific purpose: refuting evolution and expanding the flock of believers in a literal interpretation of the Bible.
"You'll get people into a place like this that you can't get into a church with a stick of dynamite," said founder Ken Ham from his office overlooking the museum's manicured grounds.
The potential audience is huge in a country divided over the origins of the universe and battling in the courts to bring creationism into classrooms.
Polls consistently show that nearly half of Americans believe God created humans in their present form less than 10,000 years ago. Only about 13 percent believe God played no part in the origin of human life.
An Australian who found "Young Earth" creationism while teaching science to school children in Brisbane, Ham, 55, came to the United States in 1987 to spread the word of Biblical truth.
His fundamentalist evangelical ministry -- Answers in Genesis -- publishes dozens of books, DVDs and curriculums every year teaching Christians how to defend their faith by refuting evolution.
These glossy publications offer what they call scientific proof that the Earth is just 6,000 years old; the Grand Canyon was formed when a natural dam burst under the weight of Noah's floodwaters (4,300 years ago; and that all animals -- including the Tyrannosaurus rex -- were vegetarian.....

Ham employs a roster of PhDs to legitimize what many academics refer to as pseudoscience.
An animatronic display sums up their argument: two paleontologists are examining the same dinosaur fossil. The evolutionist -- an Asian man -- comes to one conclusion while the creationist -- a white man who resembles Ham -- comes to another.
More than 600 academics have signed a petition warning parents and teachers that students who accept the arguments the Creation Museum presents as scientifically valid are "unlikely to succeed in science courses at the college level."
"What's wrong with the AIG museum is that it's presenting religious views as if they are science when they are not," said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, which launched the petition.
"The science in the museum is so inaccurate it's really going to further undermine the public understanding of science in the United States."
Ham is concerned with much a larger threat: a culture war which began with the Enlightenment's worship of human reason.
He says he is at the head of a "new reformation."
"What this ministry is about is to challenge people to get back to the word of God -- just like Martin Luther," Ham said. "What we're doing, symbolically, is nailing Genesis 1 to 11 on the doors of churches and colleges."
While the content is debatable, there is no question as to the high production value and professionalism of the 27-million dollar (20-million euro) facility.
In a scene reminiscent of Jurassic Park, no expense was spared to create the "wow factor" of the main entrance hall.
An animatronic girl giggles and feeds a squirrel next to stream filled with live fish as two baby T-rexes play a few feet away.
To the left is a 500,000 dollar planetarium -- whose dome will show films proving that "the heavens declare God's Glory" -- and a bookstore and gift shop designed to look like a medieval castle, complete with a dragon.
To the right, is a special effects theater with shaking seats, thunder and mists of water for the flood scenes.
Located just outside of Cincinnati near the intersection of the states of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, nearly two thirds of the population of the United States lives within a 650-mile (1,050-kilometer) drive of the Creation Museum.
It is expected to draw at least 250,000 people a year when it opens on May 28.
By comparison, the American Museum of Natural History, which recently organized a touring Darwin exhibit, draws millions of visitors every year -- including more than 400,000 school children -- to its 1.6 million square foot facility in New York.

And to think I always thought old Alley Oop was just a comic strip in my local paper. One thing for certain, Gilgamesh is turning over in his grave about now.

The full news story about the museum can be read at:

Alley Oop Comics which are still currently syndicated, and are still a good read, may be seen at:

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Minotaur and The Hare

I really like this image: The Minotaur and The Hare

Dear God I Hate This Weather

There are residual behaviors from my brief time in SE Asia that still manifest themselves even yet today. Who am I kidding, it has been damn near four decades since I spent just 53 weeks in Viet Nam and still, yes, still I have issues with certain stimuli that trigger all sorts of shit in my brain. Four decades and it sometimes seems like yesterday.

Loud noises still make me want to dive under something. Someone coming up behind me makes me want to attack. Someone grabbing me elicits a blow to the throat. The difference between now and then, is that my Stimulus -Integration-Response times are so slow that rational thought has time to intercept the actions. That is very good for me because as old and out of shape as I am I would hurt myself badly if I did respond like I did oh so many years ago.

Yes, there are flash backs etc. but the term "flash" is a little too fast for how they come these days.

Still, there is one thing that haunts me, bugs me, irritates me, and makes me feel mean and grumpy. That is the weather. Oklahoma is not Southeast Asia. But I'll be damn if there aren't many parallels (red dirt for one (quan loi)). The weather is one of them. There are chunks of the year when it rains here and the humidity is so high for day on day that it begins to resurrect the monsoon in my soul.

This year we have had about two months of intermittent rain. The humidity has been 80+ to 90+% almost every day or so. The plants greened out early and are growing profusely. It has helped end a drought we have had. About that I don't give a shit. My skin can't breath. I can't work outside. Many of my projects have had to be postponed because of moisture. Worse of all the murspuiters (mosquitoes) have come early and in force.

Every time a dang mosquito bites me I am transported back to jungle, green fatigues, and things that try to kill me. Give me three days of this kind of weather and I start to fantasize about crawling around in the tall grass in the back yard and taking out the VC/NVA (a.k.a. neighbors) with my Bowie knife. My dreams turn to ambush patrols and ground attacks through the wire. (Remember it has been doing this for two months) My wife, kids, and cats are now avoiding me full time.

Four decades and the weather still unravels my facade of civilized demeanor.
Can You even begin to imagine what kind of crud our people in Iraq and the Gan will bring back with them. Dear God I pray we take better care of them than we were taken care of.

Wake up America. As Andy G. said, "You can pay me now or you can pay me later." Ante up and give these people what they need to repair themselves now. You will be happy that you did. If we don't....well...there will be compound interest to pay as well.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Half Dead at 77.3 Years of Age

My over all target for full retirement has been May 2007. By then I would have all of my different retirement incomes operating and sending me money. By May 2008 my wife would join the retirement hordes and off we would go and boogie.

Well a few days ago I attended a funeral of a close colleague of mine. He was 64 years old and was planning to retire in September of this year. Last year I attended the funeral of my former boss who had been retired a full 18 months before he passed away. Six months before that, another co-worker died after only two years of retirement. Last summer a long time friend died at 48. My best friend had died at 54.

These events get a guy to start thinking about longevity. My 8th grade class in a small school in Southwest Oklahoma had nine people in it. Of the nine only me and Judy M. are still alive. We can have a class reunion in a phone booth.

So I'm applying for Social Security in February and looking at the benefit system. Do I apply at 62, 66, or 70? You get the highest pay out if you wait till you are 70. Less at 66 and more less at 62. So then I find out that no mater which age you take your SS money at you get the same total amount from when you start till the average age of death at 77.3 years. So waiting till 70 to take benefits only really benefits you if you live PAST 77.3 years of age.

So when would you rather have the money? When you are 62 years old and out doing things or at 78 when you have slowed down and aren't doing so much?
First all, it ain't all that much money anyhow. I mean it isn't anything to sneeze at but at about $1100 per month for most workers it isn't much of a living by itself.

Now I know if you are 30 and reading this, you have already stopped and gone on to other things. If you are 50, you may be still reading. For you guys the data will change. But for us over 60 it becomes more interesting.

The tendency to take what you can as soon as you can is directly related to the number of dead friends and co-workers that you have experienced. Not to mention that my knees don't work so well. My back betrays me on a quarterly basis. There are things that leak. Also, even with my senior citizen discounts, the price of everything is going up.

OK, I have had to cancel my planned hikes though the Andes. The cave exploring in New Mexico is a bit beyond my flexibility at this point. I'm a bit too heavy (by almost 2X) to ride those mules down into the bottom of the Grand Canyon. If I want to fly anywhere, the only seats I even begin to fit in are in the unaffordable first class.
Can I expect that it will be better by the time I am 66 or 70? I don't much think so.

So I took my reduced Social Security. Now all I got to do is live long enough for my wife to retire next year from teaching 4th grade and off we can go. Well, not too far off. I'm beginning to look at the concept of seeing the world while sitting down.
Binoculars and telephoto lens are now requirements if I have to see and photograph anything.

I can not tell you how much I truly enjoy not having a rat in the race, a dog in the hunt, or giving a damn about anything I used to have to worry about. I highly recommend doing it as soon as you can.

Now if you do live past the average 77.3 years, keep this in mind:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Bye Jerry

Brother Farwell was a serious seeker of the Kingdom of Heaven all of his life. He looked forward to its coming. His only real mistake was not reading the words of Jesus and understanding them. The Kingdom was within himself, and he never showed that he truly understood or embraced that reality.

Only now touches eternity.

I don't know where Brother Jerry is now, but I suspect it is not what he thought it would be. I suspect that there are many other spirits there that he never expected to see. I suspect that they are all over joyed to see one another never the less. That is what it is all about.

Now what those "left behind" will make of him, that's a total 'nother story. As the graduates of Liberty's Law school line up as defendants for trial for what they did at the U.S. Justice Department no doubt will not be held in high esteem in this earthly realm.As most often happens in these cases his empire will deteriorate and then melt into reality.

But Hell, a man that had a train whistle for a car horn, couldn't have been all bad.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Perfect Pictures for an Imperfect World

I had to watch this numerous times to really feel it.
Zoom it out to full screen for full effect.
The last sequence is very potent.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Past Productivity vs Future Productivity

Being a retired old dude, I sometimes think about whether or not I did it all right during my career, and will I do it right in my retirement. Recently I found this advise from Penelope Trunk , The Brazen Careerist. So I decide to review how I actually handled these priciples in my work and how I might handle them in my retirement.

Five Steps to Being More Productive
by Penelope Trunk

1. Do the most important thing first.

Gina Trapani, the editor of, calls this a "morning dash." She sits down at her desk and does the No. 1 item on her to-do list so that she knows it's finished.
This requires a lot of prior planning. You need to write an accurate, prioritized list and you need to block out a portion of your morning to accomplish your No. 1 task uninterrupted.

Past: I did very well in this category.
My system was a little different however. I simply looked at the the memo or e-mail and organized them according the size of the a-hole that sent them to me. The biggest was handled first . My secondary level was to see which had a deadline closest to today's date. Sometimes then a number 2 or 3 level a-hole's project would temporarily be in front on a number 1 level.

Retirement: Easy, easy, criteria here. What ever She says is priority goes first.

2. Keep your inbox empty.

Your inbox is not your to-do list; your to-do list is something you compile and prioritize. If your inbox is your to-do list, then you have no control over.

Past: I was an expert at this one. The a-hole criteria applied here. Then the delegation procedure was applied. Then anything still in the in-box by 10 a.m. was deposited in the waste basket.

Retirement: What's an inbox?

3. Become a realist about time.

You can schedule and schedule and schedule, but it won't do any good unless you get more realistic about time. Develop a sense of who in your life is good at estimating time and who isn't, because you need to be able to compensate for the people who mess up your schedule with poor time estimates.

Past: I simply let my office assistant schedule anything and everything. She use the a-hole criteria for scheduling priorities. My time was their time, and so they told me, so they could take as much of it as they saw fit.

Retired: What month is this?

4. Focus on what you're doing so you can do it faster and better.

Most of the time, multitasking doesn't help you. It works for short, repetitive tasks that you're very familiar with. But you don't want to develop good work habits for boring work. You'd probably prefer to stretch your brain and try new things, and that kind of work requires focus.
A wide range of research has shown that even if you can talk on the phone and use email and IM at the same time, multitasking decreases your productivity.

Past: Multitasking meant that I had delegated my tasks to multiple others. Focus was what I did when I was in the present of the boss.

Retired: Multitasking means saying yes to Her about more than one task in the same day.

5. Delegate.

Once you know what's most important to you in all aspects of your life, you'll know what to delegate. And the answer will be almost everything. The hardest part of productivity is admitting that you can't do everything.
In fact, it's the core of what being an adult is -- as a child, everything looks possible. Adults are hit quickly with the cold reality that they can only do what's most important. So be very clear on what that is, and delegate as much of the other stuff as you can.

Past: I had an excellent record at delegation. I knew I didn't know how to do anything and paid close attention to know who did and made sure my work in that area found its way to those people, unless of course if it was meeting with the boss, then I had them type up a summary for me to deliver.

Retirement: I try not to be around when She has something to be delegated.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

LDS Republican Christians

I have been watching the Republican debate on MSNBC tonight. It seems as though the other candidates are going to dance with Romney about his religion rather than face up to him about it. Trying not to stir waters until they have to. I think their hope is that he will fade from the front of the pack and then they won't have to personally take on the issue themselves.
Most probably, if he retains an up front ranking, then later they will turn the swift boat types loose on him.

The Church of the Latter Day Saints of Utah has had a contentious history with other religions in America. Romney says out loud that he is a Christian. What does he mean when he says that? Would a Methodist church accept his transfer of membership if he wanted to join it? Would the First Southern Baptist Church of Podunk, Texas let him in without a spiritual overhaul? What about the official Catholic position?

Might as well get the conversation started, cause the politicians are not going to start it yet.

What say you readers? (both of you)
Is an LDS member by definition (a.k.a. Mormon) a Christian?

Try to avoid ad hoc, circular, "because I (or James Dobson) say so", and egregious attack arguments.
Just the facts mam, says Joe Friday.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

No Public Access: Keep Out

Sometime in the 1970's I wandered off the beaten path in central New Mexico during one of my cross-country trips to the in-laws in California. I was looking for the ruins of Pueblo Blanco a site that had been acquired by the BLM a few years before and opened to the public. I found it and wandered the low wall and the arroyo that cut through the middle of it. But I had to get back to Oklahoma and my indentured servitude so I spent less than a half hour there. I put it on my very long list of thing to do when...

Well I retired 5 years ago and even though my wife is still working away in fourth grade, I have been working on that "to do when..." list.

So I went to the web and was going to look up the Smithsonian's monograph on Pueblo Blanco written by an archeologist back in 1914. He had made some good maps and I though they might help understand what I was looking at. The thing that had intrigued me most about the site was that the arroyo had actually created a kind of museum display by slicing through the ruins. You could walk down it and on the straight sides was a perfect profile of the rooms and other structures, plus the different stratigraphy that it had cut through. Fascinating.

What did I find? Well Pueblo Blanco has been closed to the public. If you can bribe or con a faculty from some university to take you there then you can see it while you are handcuffed and wearing special shoes so that no artifact will stick to your shoes. OK I made the handcuffs and the shoes up, but you get the idea.

Not only is this site closed, but every single historical sight including the pictographs, are off limits to the public now in the entire Galisteo Basin. Just too many vandals and pothunters, shard pickers and criminal types in the general public to risk that we might lose some information that future generations could understand.

Now I am not real sure what these fools plan to do about the arroyo. There ain't much you could do . Maybe a few million dollars from some kind of concrete diversion canal maybe. I can hear the laughter from all those New Mexicans now. Arroyos go where arroyos want to.

OK,OK, I read the law and the agreements about how you guys are going to "save" all these ruins and artifacts. But what fools you are not to allow the citizens of this country access to the treasures they own. Are we all just pothunters, vandals, shard stompers, and crooks? Saving until better days? Until you have funding to do something about it? Bullshit, you know deep down you are saving for yourself and those like you. You are the ones with the degrees and the knowledge, you're entitled, yes?

Well I am 62 years old. I can’t wait for the future. I have maybe 10 to 15 years of walking left in my knees, and my climbing days are already gone. I’m paying for your life style and I don’t like the way you are doing this. You think by keeping the general public out of place like this you will save it? Not bloody well likely in the long run, and you know it. The bad boys will get in there anyway, and the public won't be around to see them and say , "Hey..".

The Southwest is filling up with signs that say: NO PUBLIC ACCESS, NO TRESSPASSING, FEDERAL PROPERTY, AUTHORIZED PERSONS ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT, and so on and so on.

Paths and trails I once could walk are now strung with barbed wire fences with red white and blue signs of prohibition on them.

The sites that are open consist of sanitized places with asphalt sidewalks, which you may not get off of under penalty of great consequences. Museums are beginning to have more and more blank exhibits because some ” Native American” tribal governor has decided x, y, or z is too sensitive to be seen.

If I live long enough, I may laugh my ass off, when your precious sites are sold off secretly to Chinese land brokers as excess under utilized government property. But that won't really make me happy.

Then again,I might be over reacting to my disappointment and I may be overstating my case. Shit.