Thursday, December 27, 2007


U.S. Ruling Backs Benefit Cut at 65 in Retiree Plans

WASHINGTON — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday that employers could reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare.
The policy, set forth in a new regulation, allows employers to establish two classes of retirees, with more comprehensive benefits for those under 65 and more limited benefits — or none at all — for those older.
More than 10 million retirees rely on employer-sponsored health plans as a primary source of coverage or as a supplement to Medicare, and Naomi C. Earp, the commission’s chairwoman, said, “This rule will help employers continue to voluntarily provide and maintain these critically important health benefits.”

The whole story:

Well us old farts have kept the Republicans in power for all these decades, so why should we surprised when the agency created to protect us against age discrimination should screw us.
And should we be surprised that they actually tell us that this is GOOD FOR US?

Merry Christmas to those corporations (read GM, GE, Ford, etc.) who just got a big present from the Republicans! For those who are paying for it, well Bah Humbug to you cheapskate senile 65 year old shits! Buy Afleck!


More at:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Christmas Gift You Never Got

I have found over the years that the one subject that almost always starts a conversation at Christmas time is the subject of the Christmas present you always wanted but never got.

Mine was a Lionel Electric Train set. I might have settled for an American Flyer set but my dream train was the Lionel steam train. One with lighted cars and a lighted headlight on the locomotive and real smoke that came out of the smoke stack and one that whistled at crossings where the crossing guard came out of his shack and the gates came down when the train went by. Oh yes, and the cattle in the cattle car would unload at the cattle pen automatically and the lighted tower signal revolved in red and green, with a station that lighted up and working street lights and a lighted dinner that looked like an old trolley car.

But I never got one.

My brother got a Marx Electric Train when he was seven and I got to play with it, but it wasn't the same thing really. When I was 40 years old I bought myself an HO train on sale after Christmas one time and even built an elaborate layout. But even that wasn't the same either.

So friends, family, and readers (all both of you), what was it that you wanted for Christmas but never did get it?
Share with us those unfulfilled desires of yesteryear.
What was it you wanted so very badly that Santa never seemed to know about?

And have a Merry Christmas etc.....

Friday, December 21, 2007

Just Yesterday?

We've got the buffalo, but could we ever train the ponies to do that again?
The buffalo ponies were among the most highly trained and most valuable horse owned by the Plains Indians or anybody else for that matter. They were bred for one thing, they only had one job, one reason to be, and that was to run the buffalo. The following excerpt is from the autobiography of Buffalo Bill Cody, describing how he ran a small herd of buffalo and shot them at Hayes, Kansas in 1867. The pony he was riding was an indian trained buffalo pony that he had acquired and named Brigham.
"I took the harness from Brigham, mounted him bareback and started … The herd came rushing up past me, not a hundred yards distant… I pulled the blind bridle from Brigham, who knew as well as I did what was expected of him … The moment he was free of the bridle he set out at top speed… (Both of my hands were free to use my rifle) In a few jumps he brought me along side the rear buffalo. I killed the animal with one shot. Brigham (took me on) to the next buffalo, ten feet farther along, and another was disposed of. As fast as one animal would fall, Brigham would pass to the next, getting so close that I could almost touch it with my gun. In this fashion I killed eleven buffalo with twelve shots. As the last one dropped my horse stopped(on his own) and I jumped to the ground."

The Lakota Withdraw from the United States

The Sioux have always been, well, problematic to everybody.

I mean , all these lands they claim, they only lived out there because the Ojibwa ran them out of Wisconsin and Minnesota. How about the Mandan and Arikera and crow and everybody else they displaced. But I forget, the Lakota are the human beings of this world and everybody else are just here.

So if we truly have an enclave of armed non-citizens within our borders, just exactly do they think America will do? Russel means is suffering from advanced dementia if he thinks this is going to be reasonably received.

The pictures on this blog I took three years ago in Bismarck, North Dakota at a Lewis and Clark Bicentennial meeting. I have also included the actual documents that they handed out at the time. Just click on the document for the full size versions.

Hell the rest of the Nations are scalping the white man with car tags and casinos and smoke shops. Leave it to the Sioux to want to use guns and mess it all up.

Below is the USA Today article that prompted this tirade:


Lakota withdraw from treaties, declare independence from U.S.

The Lakota Sioux Indians, whose ancestors include Sitting Bull, Red Cloud and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from all treaties their forefathers signed with the U.S. government and have declared their independence. A delegation delivered the news to the State Department earlier this week.
Portions of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming comprise Lakota country, and the tribe says that if the federal government doesn't begin diplomatic discussions promptly, liens will be filed on property in the five-state region. Here's the news release.
"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," said Russell Means, a longtime Indian rights activist. "This is according to the laws of the United States, specifically Article 6 of the Constitution," which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land.
"It is also within the laws on treaties passed at the Vienna Convention and put into effect by the U.S. and the rest of the international community in 1980. We are legally within our rights to be free and independent," he added during a press conference yesterday in Washington.
The new country would issue its own passports and driver licenses, and living there would be tax-free, provided residents renounce their U.S. citizenship, he said, according to a report from Agence France-Presse.
The Lakota say the United States has never honored the pacts, signed with the Great Sioux Nation in 1851 and 1868 at Fort Laramie, Wyo.
"We have 33 treaties with the United States that they have not lived by. They continue to take our land, our water, our children," said Phyllis Young, who helped organize the first international conference on indigenous rights in Geneva in 1977.
Means said the "annexation" of native American land had turned the Lakota into "facsimiles of white people."
In 1974, the Lakota drafted a declaration of continuing independence. Their cause got a boost in September, when the United Nations adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. The Bush administration opposed the measure.

I've seen their "herd". The Blackfoot tribe has it all over them, not to mention all of the commercial herds all over America.

Actual Brule Sioux bison south of pierre SD 2004

Standing Rock Bison sign 2004

Standing Rock Bison Herd of spikers (yearlings)

Sioux document one

Document two

Oklahoma City Ice Storm 14 Day Update

Update: 14 days later 10,000 still do not have electricity in OKC. All of the power lines are back up. These people are the ones that the ice took down their service lines from the power poles to the the house. Homeowners are responsible for their own service lines. Most people didn't know that. Yep there will be some kind of Federal grant to fix these, but it won't be retroactive and you have to wait till they come around to fix you. So all the those folks who went into debt to pay for their own service lines ($500 to $1000 each) can't get any help to pay that off. All those who couldn't even do that are staying in the dark and cold waiting on FEMA.

And guess what, homeowners who share electricity with their neighbors who are still disconnected via a "vi sable" extension cord are being written up by the OKC community inspectors for creating a hazardous situation.

My old electric chain saw needed a new chain, so 10 calls and 8 visits to home stores, got me one for my "antique" electric saw (25= years old). So now I am out cutting up the big limbs so as to haul them to the curb. It also doesn't look like Aspund/OG&E is not coming back to clean up their mess in my back yard. So I'll be cutting those up and carting them out front as well. Lots of people are paying big bucks to others to get this done. I'll just do it a twig at a time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oklahoma City Ice Storm December 2007


Sunday, Day One: Thunder Ice. A warm thunderstorm was forced up over an wedge of freezing air, and it kept coming down freezing as it hit anything. Lightning and bright blue explosions of power pole transformers, interspersed with the gunshot sound of limb after limb giving way under the ice load and gravity, went on for almost 48 hours. No electricity, no news, no lights, telephone, cable and Internet dead.

The trees succumbed.

Ice formed on everything. Some leaves and pecans and etc. were still on the trees. That added more weight, and thus more damage. Out came the oil lamps, candles, flashlights, and batteries.

Not the first time this has happened here you see. Twenty years ago when this happened I scrubbed any thought of central heating and kept my simple floor furnace and gas stoves. I've never regretted it. The city became dark. I mean DARK and COLD.

Last rose of the season.


Two days inside. The North and West doors were frozen shut anyway. On the third day in typical Oklahoma style the roads were clear, but 600,000 people were without power.

Cold blooded, you bet.

Even the fake cats were cold.

So we started finding cafes and place to eat that had electricity to watch for school closings and find out what was happening in our on town. Found an old non-fancy phone and plugged it in to the phone system. Miracle of miracles it worked.

Squirrels started four days of living like sloths. Only the underside provided traction.

Day four, no electricity, but the guys across the street get theirs on. Food is now spoiling in the refrigerator. Most stores are open, some are not. School is still closed.

The reason dinosaurs don't live in Oklahoma.

Ice Fang Dragon.

Day five, this is getting old.


Day six (Friday), they start to cut back the downed trees along our power line corridor. They get half way done and go home! Meanwhile on the battery powered radio the Oklahoma Gas and Electric add say "We won't rest until your power is restored."

Half way into day seven (Saturday), our power comes back on.

But to do it they damn near killed my 90 year old cedar tree that had survived this and other ice storms but couldn't stand the tender mercies of the Asplund Tree trimmers hired by OG&E.

The tree will not survive that ravage. Interesting that we seem to be using a crisis now to justify outrageous behavior of all sorts. I would also note that the last time OG&E trimmed the trees along my line was 7 years ago after the last ice storm. It is now day ten and CNN tells me that 80,000 Okies still do not have electricity. As Andy G. says , "You can pay me now or you can pay me latter." Well in Oklahoma the power companies are regulated by the populist created constitutional Corporation Commission of elected commissioners. You can be damn sure next election this will be remembered.

Act of God you say? Act of greed in the form of deferred maintenance I say.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Eclectic Pictures

So I had my wife read my rant and she said, honey you know you really are a good photographer. She is a wise woman, but not too bright sometimes after all she did marry me.
So back to my photographs: The eclectic kind ones without a theme or taken just because.

Who you gonna call when you have the urge and mama ain't at home...
That's about the only thing I could guess that this EMS Wagon could be for.

A Cypress Tree knee cap

Unsafe at any speed.

Some women like small things.

How to crop a photo: This is a picture of morning and hope for the future.

This is a picture of foreboding and dread.
Depends on the way you crop what you see, and we all do all the time.

This is a picture of the time my wife said, you need to paint the workshop today before our neighbors start to complain. So I did.

Friday, December 7, 2007

News Channels Lie About Bush Boom

Every once in a while someone needs to rant about the stupidity and simplistic garbage that comes out of our "News System". I'll try to keep it simple, that way I can understand it.
MSNBC referred today to the unheralded "Bush Boom" and sited the DOL Bureau of Labor Statistics bulletin on Employment statistics. CNN gave a similar story as did CNBC and of course FOX.

Summary of their stories: employment is great , wages are up (up 8 cent per hour), there are more new jobs than expected (94,000 as opposed to the expected 87,000) and the unemployment rate is very low (4.7%). All of that is true. But.....

Great news. No not really.
Here is what the bulletin says about the actual Employment rate:
Last year in November the number of unemployed persons was 6.8 million, this November it is 7.4 million persons. That is 600,000 more people unemployed than last year in November. In other words there are over half a million less persons working than last year at this time.
NOBODY ON ANY NEWS CHANNEL SAID THAT. Yet it was in the lead summary put out by the Department of Labor.

The unemployment rate is a joke. Starting with Regan Administration they began to subtract the kind of people they counted, such as any military person discharged but not employed. (that means something with the current war going on) and they cut the number of days worked in the past 4 weeks from 5 to 1 to count you as employed. A five percent rate value in 2007 equals about a 6.5% rate value from 1980.

There is more much more. The DOL is not lying, they've put out the data. The corporate mouths represented by our beloved news reporters are feeding us this kind of bullshit on a daily basis. We shouldn't have dig out the truth of every story. What are they there for?
As for the Bush Boom, well, talk to the newly underemployed Americans who got an 8 cent raise or discuss it with the 600,000 persons who were working last November but aren't this November. I just hope you aren't one of these person.

Heck read it for yourself.

Then listen to the News and see if it all Jives, or if it all is just Jive.
Have a good day.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Butterfly Garden

I was taking pictures today of my old pecan tree, sort of a record of what lives there during the year. It were cold doing that. Then I remembered the series of shots of my butterfly garden from warmer weather.
So sometime in the future, I'll share my pictures of the tree's life in the winter, but let's start with butterflies.

Right in the middle of this picture is an itty bitty spider. What you thought only butterflies lived in a butterfly garden?

Here it is, the raised bed butterfly garden in the NW corner of my yard. Built it my own self.

We will start with the egg.
I know there is a great philosophical question about which came first the butterfly or the egg, but for the sake of this blog we will start with the egg. This is the egg of a black swallowtail.

Eggs hatch into caterpillars. This one is a Monarch Caterpillar.

This one is of an unknown (as of yet) Butterfly caterpillar.

A Monarch caterpillar on a milkweed plant.

Black Swallowtail caterpillars.


Sometimes the caterpillar do not grow up. They fall prey to these guys, a caterpillar wasp.
They end up paralysed in the wasp's burrow as food for its eggs when they hatch into larva.

But some of them make into the pupae stage and in time become one of these:

Which in time become one of these:

A full fledged black swallowtail butterfly.
Can a butterfly be fledged?
Would it be a fully scaled butterfly. But that sounds too much like it is .....well lizard like or something. Let's just say it is a finish version.

I like butterflies. The monarches and viceroys have gotten to be fewer and fewer over the past few years. I do hope they return someday soon to my garden.
More pictures will come of more butterflies as time goes on.