Monday, March 26, 2012

The times were not a'changing

Mick Jagger randoming through a What? Oh. And later in a garden meeting with a journalist, a bishop and two other men (women did not matter then, except as … ) Anyway, the older dudes and Jagger meandering through various speechifications on setting a good example for teenagers and other yoots. And they all go about their talkings as though it really means a damn.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

This sort of thing never happened …

Or so most writers of history say.

In the spring 1843 session of Sixth District Court in Red River County Texas came the case “The Republic of Texas vs. John, a slave for life – Assault with Intent to Murder.”

There is not much else in the large, thick ledger-size books. The initial entry does not list who owned John, nor is there an account of the crime for which he was accused. We do not know who it was John was accused of assaulting. The case has a document number, but that number is not in the boxes from 1843.

A few weeks after the first listing is another, with the same title, plus a trial date and the entry that a jury found John, a slave for life, not guilty of the charge of assault with intent to murder.

If you search “rights of slaves in America,” you will discover a quick answer. “None.”

Here are facts: John, a slave for life, was arrested by a white law officer. John was charged by a white justice of the peace or judge. John was indicted by a grand jury of white men. John was tried by a white prosecutor before a white judge and defended by a white attorney. And a jury of 12 white men found John not guilty of assault with intent to murder. John was then released from jail, probably returned to the man or woman who owned him, probably to remain a slave for life.

And another thing: Most likely, John was accused of assaulting a white man. Had he assaulted another slave, John’s owner and the owner of the other slave would have settled the matter.

Historians say slaves had no rights. In the main, that is true, if we consider today’s rights. But somewhere in the emotions of the Republic of Texas, lay the idea that the man John deserved a legal trial for his supposed transgressions.

I talked with Jim Clark about the case. Jim’s long ago ancestor James Clark was the founder of Clarksville. Jim said, “There shouldn’t have been a trial in the first place.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because,” Jim said, “property cannot commit a crime.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

12-year-old bride learned business lessons early

In 1836, Mary White turned 12, got married and became one-third owner of a league and labor of land, 4,605 acres, given as a headright by the Republic of Texas to her dead father.

In 1837, Mary was a mother, a widow and sole owner of the land.

Three years later, she sold the land to two different men.

No one said anything about Mary’s twice-sold land until the son-in-law of the first buyer discovered the chicanery in the early 1850s in probate court. T.J. Guilford then filed suit against James Fornoe, claiming Fornoe’s purchase of the land illegal. The land, Guilford said, belonged to his wife, the only child of the first purchaser.

Mary might not have arrived naturally to questionable deals, but she did learn from her husband and she observed deals and sales in Red River County. The same kind of deals most likely went on in much of the rest of the Republic of Texas.

In the early days of the Republic, neither the government nor most of its citizens had much money. What the Republic did have was land, lots of land, unsettled prairies and woodlands. Land was what drew early Anglo-American settlers to Texas, and the amount of available land certainly did not decrease when the new Republic gained recognition from the United States as well as European countries.

A man or woman who was head of a household at the beginning of the revolution was eligible for a league and labor, provided he or she had not left Texas during the revolution and had not given aid and comfort to the Mexican government or army. The Spanish league was 4,428 acres and a labor, 177 acres. A head of household applied for headright, and then paid survey cost, a penny per acre, when approved.
As the Star of the Republic Museum says, “This was the amount of a headright (first-class) granted to ‘all persons except Africans and their descendants, and Indians, living in Texas on the day of the Declaration of Independence… if they be heads of families… and if a single man, 17 years or older, one-third league’ (1,476 acres).”

The Republic recognized women as heads of household and granted women the same land rights as men. However, the “single man, 17 years or older …” did not apply to single women.

Whether Mary’s marriage at age 12 to James Morton was approved by the general community, is not known. The only written facts of her life are contained in Sixth District Court records in Clarksville, and those depositions were taken in the 1850s.

What is known is that Mary’s husband filed for headright in the name of Mary’s father. One deposition in case records states Mr. White “was believed to have died in an Arkansas jail.” He was not around to file for himself in 1836. The land commission approved the application, and the grant was split between Mary, her older sister and her older brother.

Sometime in 1837, Mary’s husband died, as did her sister and her brother. Mary then became sole owner of the 4,605 acres. She first sold the land to Benton Truman, then later to Fornoe.

One man deposed in the case knew Mary, Truman and Fornoe. That witness said he asked Truman if the sale was legal, since Mary was 16 at the time. Truman said Mary was able to legally sell the land, since she had been married, and therefore was considered to have gained majority.

The witness also said he knew of Mary’s sale to Fornoe. He asked Mary why she sold the land to two men. She replied that she had not received a fair price in the first sale. She had been cheated, she said.

The case never went to trial. Guilford, representing his wife, and Fornoe, announced their intent to settle out of court.

Mary was not around to be deposed or otherwise questioned. She died in 1846, at age 22.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012



Maybe we are not meant to leave this planet.

“A study of 27 astronauts found that nearly all of their eyes and brains showed abnormalities after returning from space. Lead researcher Larry Kramer of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, says the abnormalities are caused by increased pressure in the brain that's consistent with idiopathic intercranial hypertension, a disease on earth without a known cause. Astronauts who were in space for longer periods of time showed the worst symptoms, which include altered vision, displaced pituitary gland, and swelling of the optic nerve.”

(I have read science fiction since age 12. Some of my favorite books are science fiction. I have looked forward to man’s exploration of what’s out there. It could be, though, that science fact will keep us here. At least until/if technologists find a fix to the human frailty problem.

(Or: "He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings" Acts 17:26.

(Or the older version: God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth and hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation.”

(You could pick out “surface of the earth” or “face of the earth” as indicative that we are bound to here, although the argument could be made Paul’s talk with Athenians stuck to the things people knew then.

(You could point to the statement that God has set “the bounds of their habitation” as meaning Earth. You might even say, “Look what happened at Babylon when the people tried to build a stairway to heaven.”

(Whichever, man will go on trying.)

Boundaries on stupid haven’t changed

Yeah, it’s from Fox News, and Fox is part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, but Fox sometimes gets it right.

“The United Nations Human Rights Council is investigating the issue of American election laws at its gathering on minority rights in Geneva, Switzerland. …”

What is so bad about American voting laws that the UN is involved?

Some states require photo identification for voting, and more are considering such a law..

“’This really is a tactic that undercuts the growth of our democracy,’ said Hillary Shelton, the NAACP's senior vice president for advocacy, about voter photo ID requirements.”

Here’s the deal: It don’t mean nothin’. The NAACP knows the UN will not – cannot – change voting laws in the 50 separate states. But this is another time of facts don’t matter. It is the visual. It is the cameras. It is the victimness. It is stoopid.

Linked from which has a good story on the complainants.

An outlook

Sippicancottage blogspot is written by a Maine furniture maker. A reader wrote, “Do you realise that your blog is showing ads for other furniture makers?” Sippican’s reply: “Marilyn Monroe don't mind standing next to fat chicks.”

(Like other bloggers, Sippican is paid each time someone clicks on ads at his blogspot. The amount varies. Ads at this blog have received three (3) clicks, putting $4.20 in my account. I will get a check when the amount reaches $100.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

How's that sanction thing going?

Good for American wheat merchants, apparently. About $160 million so far this year, and Iran is stockpiling much more.

“The US Agriculture Department reported on Thursday that Iran bought 120,000 tonnes of US wheat — enough to fill two large cargo ships.”

(Food is not included in sanctioned items.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stupid knows no boundaries

GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- Bobblehead dolls of the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln have been pulled from sale at the Gettysburg National Military Park visitors' center bookstore.

The dolls of John Wilkes Booth with a handgun were removed from shelves on Saturday, a day after a reporter for Hanover's The Evening Sun newspaper asked about them, officials said.

"On rare occasions, there's an item that might cause concern, and obviously the bobbleheads appeared to be doing that," Gettysburg Foundation spokeswoman Dru Anne Neil said Tuesday.

(John Wilkes Booth bobblehead dolls??? Who in the wide wide world of sports is dumb enough to come up with that? Well, obviously somebody only a little more idiotic than the people who decided to buy the dolls. Answer to ‘Who is dumb enough …’ – BobbleHead LLC in Kansas City, Mo. Wonder do they make, say, a Hitler doll or a Stalin doll …)

Skinny, fat, bullied, therapied ...

Is there any famous entertainment-type person anywhere who isn’t/wasn’t anorexic and/or alcoholic, addicted to a drug, abused as a child, bullied, in therapy, going into therapy, completed therapy and so on and so on?

‘Miss America Kristen Haglund opens up about her anorexia’

UPDATE: 60 days to get everybody into the pool

“The Justice Department said Thursday it is delaying for 60 days a new law that requires all public pools to install ‘lifts’ or provide other means to make pools accessible to disabled individuals.

“The law was passed in 2010 and was scheduled to take effect Thursday. But in recent months, there has been widespread confusion about what sort of pools are required to make the change, whether pools must install permanent lifts or can use cheaper portable lifts and whether one lift could service more than one pool.”

Language in the regulations has no real definition: “readily achievable,” “easy,” “affordable” and etc.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

‘Dead bank robbers wanted’

The version people usually tell.

On Sept. 10, 1926, a car drove to and parked near the front of the Red River National Bank in Clarksville, Texas. Two men got out and went into the bank. The men, carrying revolvers and bank bags, exited the bank a few minutes later. A Texas Ranger happened to be walking on the sidewalk across the street when the two men came out of the bank. Seeing the guns and bank bags, the Ranger pulled his own pistol and said, “Texas Ranger! Put up your hands!” The two men failed to follow the Ranger’s instructions, instead pointing their guns at the Ranger. The Ranger then killed both bank robbers, identified as A.M. Slaton and T.L. Smallwood.

What really happened, as told by Henry Lee Somerville, who was 11 years old at the time.

On the September day mentioned, a car did park at the front of the bank. Two men got out of the car and went into the bank.

So far, it’s a usual bank robbery story.

But then, things got interesting.

After the two men went into the bank, the driver of the getaway car got out of the car and walked away. And, as soon as the gunmen were in the bank, the town constable began directing traffic away from the bank.

Across the street from the bank, Texas Ranger Captain Tom Hickman and a local law officer were sitting on the running board of a car, hidden from the gunmen. The Ranger now and then eased up high enough to check the bank. Captain Hickman was a patient man. Patience is part of being a Texas Ranger.

About 20 minutes after entering the bank, the two robbers came out, holding bags of cash and pistols. Captain Hickman and the other lawman stood up. The Ranger later said he identified himself and told the robbers to put up their hands. Instead, the robbers pointed their guns at the Ranger. They died for their mistake.

People at the scene, Somerville said, did not hear the Ranger make his announcement.

Somerville also said that the Texas Bankers Association not long before the robbery announced a reward for dead bank robbers. The announcement is at Page 21,

The announcement stated in part: “$5,000 Reward. Dead bank robbers wanted. $5,000 cash will be paid for each bank robber killed while robbing a Texas bank.” The announcement also said the association would not pay one cent for a captured, live bank robber.

The Bankers Association gladly gave Captain Hickman a reward.

So, a getaway driver walks off, a Texas Ranger is concealed from the robbers, the bad men do not do as instructed by the Ranger and suffer the consequences.

But that’s not all of the story.

After Somerville’s recounting, I checked back issues of the newspaper and learned that on the day after the robbery, the Red River County sheriff went to a popular camping lake south of Annona and southeast of Clarksville. There, the sheriff took into custody two women who were in their 20s. He had the women taken to Dallas County Jail, where one was identified as having been in a drug store in Irving, Texas, a month before, on the same day a bank was robbed there. Both women denied knowledge of the Clarksville or Irving bank robberies, but did not give credible information on their decision to drive to Red River County for a campout.

Law officers never got a chance to charge the women, though.

The day after the women arrived at the jail in Dallas, an attorney from Fort Worth arrived, saying he represented the women, one of whom was from a prominent Fort Worth family. The women were released.

A story unfinished.

Sued if you comply, fined if you don’t

Rules published in 2010 (and with a deadline 16 March) say hotels with swimming pools and/or whirlpools must have lifts for disabled swimmers to get in and out. Fine for not obeying the federal rules can be as much as $55,000.

If someone cannot get out of the water alone or with help from a relative or other person, why get in the water to start with. “I have a right to swim.” BS. If you have to use a lift to get into the water, how do you get to the pool? Do you play slip and slide?

And … And, how far behind compliance is the first law suit by someone who got injured on the lift?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nobody saw this coming, huh (Part Something)

Not from people who don’t know farm work from … Well, any kind of work except governmental, community organizing, college jobs and lawyering.

Department of Labor proposals will “prohibit farmworkers under age 16 from participating in the cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco. And it would prohibit youth in both agricultural and nonagricultural employment from using electronic, including communication, devices while operating power-driven equipment.

“The department also is proposing to create a new nonagricultural hazardous occupations order that would prevent children under 18 from being employed in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials. Prohibited places of employment would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.

“Additionally, the proposal would prohibit farmworkers under 16 from operating almost all power-driven equipment.”

Idiocy aside, how to balance prohibition “using electronic, including communication, devices while operating power-driven equipment” while prohibiting “farmworkers under 16 from operating almost all power-driven equipment.”

(The release was August 2011, but we can’t keep up with everything.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So don’t sell the damn things in Ireland!

‘Nike Black and Tan Sneaker Gets a New Name’
‘Company Apologizes After Irish Uproar’

Call ‘em IRA Gunmen or Protestant Fanatics or something. GreenOrange or OrangeGreen. Grorange. Faith ‘n Begorrah. Paddies.

(And before Greens or Oranges fly into Hibnernia fury, let me say that like Harrigan, I'm proud of all the Irish blood that's in me. And I'd prefer that's where it stays.)

That’s nice, but potential immigrants should stay home

Texas v. California

“The two states’ educational outcomes reflect this disparity. If we compare national test scores in math, science, and reading for the fourth and eighth grades among four basic ethnic and racial categories — all students, whites, Hispanics, and African-Americans — Texas beats California in every category, and by a substantial margin. In fact, Texas schools perform consistently above the national average across categories of age, race, and subject matter, while California schools perform well below the national average.”

Texas is as close as I’ve been. (You know what I'm talking about.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

One of the funniest internet posts ever

This is supposedly a true article written by an American English teacher.
This was my assignment to the class:

"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking and anything you wish to say must be written on the paper. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."
The following was actually turned in by two of my English students: Rebecca – last name deleted, and Gary – last name deleted.

STORY: (first paragraph by Rebecca)

At first, Laurie couldn’t decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much, her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far…" But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship’s cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.


He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth – when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one’s innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.


Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu’udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty, the Anu’udrian ships were on course for Earth carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized poor, stupid, Laurie and 150 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can’t allow this! I’m going to veto that treaty! Let’s blow ‘em out of the sky!"


This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.


Yeah? Well, you’re a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of **CKING TEA??? Oh no, I’m such an airhead bimbo who reads too many Mills & Boon novels."










Get **cked.


Eat ***t.




Go drink some tea – whore.


A+ – I really liked this one.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hey, there was a war going on

In the summer of 1967 the flight operations officer one day said, “Sgt. Merriman, a helicopter is going to Vung Tau today at 1400 and I don’t want to see you for three days.” Vung Tau was a former French resort city at Cape St. Jacque.

I spent my two-plus days enjoying the sight of the ocean, meals in a real restaurant and the low cost of beer.

On the third day I went to the airstrip and asked to use a phone to call base camp to find out when my ride would arrive. A Vietnamese woman showed me to an office.

Now, at base camp we were in the partly Stone Age in telephoning. A caller picked up the phone and waited and after a while someone at the main switchboard would plug in and say “Long Gaio” and the caller would say “Blackhorse Three-Zero,” or whatever.

So I was in the office at the airstrip. I picked up the phone. I waited for an operator. And waited. And waited.

The woman in the office walked over and gave me a “You dumba$$ Americans” look, stuck a finger in the O and slowwwly turned the dial, all the time giving me that look.

I felt like a dumba$$ American.

I mean, I had traveled all the way across the Pacific to save the Vietnamese from the perils of Communism, but I didn’t know how to dial a freaking telephone.

Genetics and burned toast

I burned breakfast toast. My lack of concentration was the fault of my hunter-gatherer waybacks.

Here’s how it happened:

I put the oven on “Broil” and two pieces of (not real) buttered whole wheat bread on the top rack. (Cylla used to say my method of making toast got the oven messy, what with the crumbs dropping down and all. She makes toast by setting oven temperature at 350 and then putting bread on a cookie sheet and the sheet in the oven. I figure my method is quicker and uses less electricity, even after using the “Clean Oven” setting once a month … When I remember.)

I went to the laundry room to see if the washer still contained (not my) clothes. It did not. So, I put in soap and started the water running. Just about the time I would have begun adding clothes, I remembered: Toast.

Well, shucks, I said. I went back to the kitchen just as the first smoke began seeping from the oven door and just as the smoke alarm went off. “Weeeeeeeee” at a pitch high enough the dogs came to see what the man had done this time.

The toast was black. Like a tire black. After taking the burnt offering from the oven, I turned on the stove ventilator and then opened two windows. Air began coming in from the outside, so I upped the thermostat to get air blowing in the opposite direction. All this time, the smoke alarm continued “Weeeeeeeeee!”

I went back to the laundry room and put clothes in the washer and then returned to the kitchen and (not real) buttered two more pieces of bread and stood beside the stove and turned the toast at the proper time.

I mentioned all that to Cylla. She said, “I took my clothes out of the laundry last night.”

I said, “I didn’t know.”

She said, “I walked right past you. I guess you were ignoring me.”

“No,” I said, “I wasn’t ignoring you. I was probably watching TV, and my single-focus male mind did not hear or see anything else.”

“Uh-huh,” she said.

“Really,” I said. “A man has a single-focus mind. Leave cave, kill caribou. Or buffalo.”

The difference between men and women is not the Mars-Venus thing, but hunter vs. cave keeper. Buying vs. shopping.

Think about it. A group of men leaves the cave to shoot some food. The men go to a place where they’ve found food animals before. The group uses strategy and tactics and kills a food animal. The group does all the butchering and cutting up and takes the food back to the cave.

If women had been the primary hunters, we might not be here. Someone in the women’s group would have said, “We went to the north valley last time. Let’s see what’s in the south valley.” And the other women would have said, “Cool,” or something similar.

In the south valley, maybe the women spotted a food animal. But before the launching of the spears, one woman would have said, “That’s a food animal, but maybe we can find a bigger one farther on. Besides, that hide doesn’t go with the d├ęcor of the cave.” And the other women would say, “Cool.”

It’s single focus vs. multi-tasking. Man hunts. Woman keeps the cave clean, makes sure no little cave people fall in the fire, keeps the water skins full, sweeps out the place now and then, maybe picks some yellow flowers for certain niches in the rock.


Maybe I should buy a toaster.

Not good

The Parnall Pipit, designed by the Air Ministry: “The first of two prototypes (s/n N232) was flown in 1928, but crashed when a tailplane spar failed as a result of flutter. The second prototype (s/n N233), with a 520 hp F.XIIS engine and many other changes, was also lost as a result of violent flutter which fractured the sternpost whereupon the vertical tail surfaces were carried away. Further development of the Pipit was then abandoned.”

(Violent flutter and loss of vertical tail surfaces generally leads to a landing less than good. Nice looking airplane, though.)

What do you call a people ...

... who want to kill all Christians and Jews?

Uh ... Muslim?

Middle Eastern Christians’ “share of the region's population has plunged from 20% a century ago to less than 5% today and falling. In Egypt, 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes last year after beatings and massacres by Muslim extremist mobs. Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee. Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran, where last month Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death. Saudi Arabia outlaws private Christian prayer.

“As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries (following establishment of the state of Israel), so are Christians being forced from lands they've inhabited for centuries.

“The only place in the Middle East where Christians aren't endangered but flourishing is Israel. Since Israel's founding in 1948, its Christian communities (including Russian and Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians and Protestants) have expanded more than 1,000%.”

(Linked from maggiesfarm.)

I'll do the usual disclaimer -- The above does not mean all Muslims want to kill Christians and Jews. But in areas known as Muslim, ... Well, maybe so.

Friday, March 9, 2012

More on GM

Seven percent doesn't seem like a big purchase, but added to GM's $415 million for a transmission plan in Brazil and:

General Motors to Invest $1 Billion in Brazil Operations

SAO PAULO -- General Motors plans to invest $1 billion in Brazil to avoid the kind of problems the U.S. automaker is facing in its home market, said the beleaguered car maker.

According to the president of GM Brazil-Mercosur, Jaime Ardila, the funding will come from the package of financial aid that the manufacturer will receive from the government and will be used to "complete the renovation of the line of products up to 2012."

"It wouldn't be logical to withdraw the investment from where we're growing, and our goal is to protect investments in emerging markets," he said in a statement published by the business daily Gazeta Mercantil.

(It's always good to know where too big to fail is spending money it didn't have three years ago.)

What's good for General Motors ...

... pretty much sucks for the rest of us.

“… General Motors last week bought more than $400 million in shares of PSA Peugeot Citroen - a 7 percent stake in the company.”

“An analysis by auto industry consultants IHS said it is ‘somewhat baffling that GM is willing to get involved in an alliance that it frankly does not need …’”

(Maybe GM just doesn’t give a f and knows it can always go back to the trough and slurp up a few billion more.)

Solyent pink

USDA is buying 7 million pounds of it-came-from-cattle-but-it’s-not-meat for school lunches.

“Custer said he first encountered the product — which gained fame recently as ‘pink slime’ in part due to the efforts of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver — back in the late 1990s. Despite voicing his concerns to other officials at the food inspection service, however, the USDA ruled that Lean Beef Trimmings were safe. ‘The word in the office was that undersecretary JoAnn Smith pushed it through, and that was that,’ Custer said.

“Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1989, Smith had deep ties with the beef industry, serving as president of both the Florida Cattlemen’s Association and the of the National Cattlemen’s Association.

“Neither BPI, nor Smith, who now serves on the board of directors at Tyson Foods, responded to The Daily’s request for comment on this story.”

Now, before you go jumping up and down, chortling “Bush did it! Bush did it!” just remember whose Agriculture Department is buying the stuff now. Or, as Clayton Kramer says: “For all Michelle Obama's concern with healthy eating for the children, it does not seem to extend to shutting off the money going to a Tyson Foods division.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Neptunus Lex

Blog name for a retired naval aviator captain. He was a good writer. He pranged his Kafir Tuesday.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Today I had an 11 a.m. appointment at the North Little Rock Vet Center. A counselor has been talking with me about anger. Well, I’ve done a lot of talking about anger. She has done a lot of listening.

In thought, though, most of my talking hasn’t been about anger, but simply about my life. At one point in my second visit, after I mentioned getting a degree in journalism, the counselor said, “I was going to say you should write all this in a book, but I guess you have.”

Anyway. This morning I signed in at 10:43. I then sat in the waiting area until 11:22. I went to the front office to say I would call and make another appointment, but no one was there. It made me kind of angry.


Walking five blocks from a parking spot to the Star-Telegram building in the valleys of downtown Fort Worth in winter brought a dose of cold reality: Tall buildings channel wind. December through February wind from Abilene, and before that, Amarillo, gets mighty cold and quick by the time it reaches concrete arroyos at 5 a.m. The cold wind beats against your back, pushes you forward and at the same time the coldness finds areas you thought were covered.

The modern has conquered the ancient. Hooray for the modern.

Or maybe not.

“Not by accident did the medieval townsman, seeking protection against winter wind, avoid creating such cruel wind tunnels as the broad, straight street. The very narrowness of medieval streets made their outdoor activities more comfortable in winter. But likewise, in the south, the narrow street with broad overhangs protected the pedestrian against both rain and the sun's direct glare." on “Wide Streets, Narrow Streets and the Car.”

And as for cowpath streets: "Those who refer to the winding streets of such a town as mere tracings of the cowpath do not realize that the cow's habit of following contours usually produces a more economical and sensible layout on hilly sites than any inflexible system of straight streets." (Same link.)

On the reference to original green, see:

In other words, the way things used to be maybe they need to be now. Except … We’ve all heard people say, after talking about playing outside all day long, “But it’s hotter than it used to be.”

No, it isn’t. Air conditioning made people wimpy. When exposure to nature comes only during the time from house to car and car to work building, everybody is cooled as needed or heated as needed. Just those few seconds or minutes of uncomfortability lead people to shun outside.

That gets passed on to children. “It’s too hot for you to play outside.” Or to cold. Or not safe. Lions and tigers and bears and bad men with candy. People as untrustworthy as the weather.

Fear is what it is. Fear of the unknown; fear of the forest; fear of wolves from forest or plain; fear of steppe barbarians.

Stop the fear. Stop being afraid.