Wednesday, February 08, 2012


My mother died a year ago today. The last couple months of her life she was barely conscious and was often not even aware that you were there.

I miss her but I will see her again.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A Couple of Movies

I am looking forward to this movie. While it's called John Carter it appears to be the first book of the series: A Princess of Mars.

I think Edgar Rice Burroughs' vision of Barsoom (Mars), while it is scientifically non-sense, was far better than his better known Tarzan.

Elfquest a movie?

I also note that Richard and Wendy Pini's Elfquest is supposed to be in the process of becoming a movie but it has been on the back burner for years. That is really too bad. Apparently it is moving forward but some people want it so bad that they made their own trailer. This is unofficial and attractive and done to encourage the producers to hurry up. Warning: This seems to concentrate only on the female elves (There were roughly equal numbers of male and female elves in the actual story) and suggests things that were not in the books/comics.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

My Favorite Singer Remembered.

Karen Carpenter 1950 -1983

Friday, February 03, 2012

Bullies Past and Present.

When I was in school there were bullies. My mother and father spoke of bullies in school. The writings of Charles Dickens include bullies. Ben Franklin briefly spoke of being bullied when he was a child. They seem to have always existed.

One rather annoying bully from my school days grew up into a model citizen and community leader, and you would never know that in his Jr High days he enjoyed tormenting those weaker than him. Another bully wound up spending years behind bars and is probably still trying to bully others. Some grow up and others don't.

The root of bullying is humanity's fallen nature. We seem to have an innate need to dominate and it is true in all of us, though some are able to restrain their need to dominate while others are simply incapable of acting on it.

When I was in school kids were bullied for a lot of reasons. Hair too long . . . Hair too short. Being a sl*t . . . Being a virgin. Being from a poor family . . . being a rich man's brat. Being a special ed. student . . . being an egghead. Saying grace over your lunch was a big cause too. Race wasn't much of a problem as my school was all white except for a couple of Hispanics who were treated pretty much like everyone else. Sadly, one of the biggest victims of bullying when I was in school was a girl who sexually developed about 2 years ahead of the rest the girls - - and the rest of us (I admit that I did too), being prepubescent, teased her mercilessly.

I have mixed feelings about the current "anti-bully" mood. I certainly favor not allowing kids to simply be nasty to each other but on the other hand - - - who is the bully and who is the victim? It seems to be almost dedicated to protecting sexual and religious minorities. The problem with this is that bullying becomes seen as a "protected class vs unprotected class" issue instead of an individual vs individual or small group issue. Anyone who feels that they are in power, or at least stronger than someone else, will be in a position to bully another, regardless of who they are and who their victim is and anyone who is in a vulnerable position can become the victim of a bully of any sort. (A few years ago this blog wrote about a female athlete who was being bullied and discriminated against by the coach and the rest of the team because she was straight . . . demonstrating how anyone can be a bully and anyone can be bullied.)

I remember many years ago I read Robert Heinlein's Red Planet and the hero of the book was a teenager with a sadistic schoolmaster. It was a revealed later that the schoolmaster who enjoyed tormenting children was the victim of sadistic bullying when he was young and this was his revenge. (At first it appeared that Professor Snape in the Harry Potter books was the same, but it turned out to be a bit more complicated than that.) I believe this is a real problem. Former victims of bullying, who find the shoe in now on the other foot, take their revenge on the entire world and become even greater bullies than the ones that bullied them. That is what I see happening in the world and what we need to be vigilant against.

I don't believe bullying should be allowed but when it comes to anti-bullying there should be neither protected nor unprotected groups of humans.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This May Be a Real Problem

Under normal circumstances the government should have no say in what I own unless it is a real (not perceived) threat to the general population or the environment. Then it must be proven a threat before a law can be passed and the best way to prove a threat is to convert a number of skeptics.

We are not allowed to own lions or tigers in this state without a special license and the same goes with bears and elephants. (I think it's legal to tame foxes and raccoons and I know people who have.) There have been reported cases of black panthers and leopards getting loose in Michigan and they were probably escaped or abandoned pets. If you wish to own one of these creatures you must be able to restrain, control and care for it.

There used to be a "Big Cat Farm" about a half hour drive from here that cared for abandoned exotic pets and a co-worker of mine who had to do some community service worked there a bit. He said they were in many ways just oversized housecats that genuinely enjoyed having people around but they could do more damage to you by accident than a normal housecat could ever do on purpose - - and they tend to play rough. And if there are children nearby . . .

Actually it would be kind of cool to have a tiger, but I couldn't care for it or control it. . . darn

For a while it was quite popular to own large snakes and now the Everglades have a serious problem with them. Native animals, especially mammals, are being seriously depleted. The first thing to do is confirm the existence and magnitude of the problem. It appears to be real.

All it takes is for a few to find mates and they will start to spread.

First we don't add to the problem. These pets should be licensed and controlled with owners required to report if they disappear and have a proper system for containing them and disposing of one that is no longer wanted. Outlawing them entirely is probably not necessary.

Then we need to remove them, or at least seriously deplete them from the Everglades. The best way is to offer a bounty to those who want to hunt them which would pay the hunter by the foot (and maybe publish a few recipes.)

Dealing with problems that may require any curtailing of choice needs to consider several things. First how serious and dangerous is the problem? How many rights would have to be given up and how many people would have to give up their rights. Is it really a problem to begin with and cannot be resolved without sacrificing key human rights?

Global warming was a political hoax that would given great power to power-hungry maniacs at the expense of real human rights. This is something completely different.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Like the Idea

The Hiriko itself is a very good idea. For some people they would be very useful. (Small, compact, good mileage, perfect for 1 or 2 people with very short range travel needs.) For other people they would be completely useless (largely for most of the same reasons).

The cities owning them is a VERY bad idea. Due to human nature political corruption is inevitable and political powers and their cronies will find a way to squeeze every penny they can out of the economy and put it in their own pockets (or Swiss banks accounts.) The government that governs the best governs the least. (In reference to Jurassic Park: Corruption Finds a Way.)

I could envision myself wanting one under the right circumstances but I don't want the government at any level telling me this is what I must choose to have. (Under my current circumstances it would be just plain and completely useless but just because I don't need it doesn't mean others can't have it.) I do have to wonder though, will it come with a trailer that will allow you to pick up groceries?

And if the government wants us to consider buying cars like this - - - make them cheap and make them in America in a state chosen by the entrepreneurs who invest in the companies that build them. If it is a good idea, and I think it is a very good idea for the right people in the right circumstances, and the price is right, and the people like it - - many people will choose to buy it. It's all a question of the individual being allowed to decide what is best for them within their means and needs.

If you want one or could use one, by all means buy one. If you believe others should choose this car persuade them to do so, by appealing to their own self-interest in doing so. Don't violate the human rights of others by telling them what to buy.

Of course there will always be know-it-all elitists snobs who think they know what's best for me (and the world) and will insist on the government buying me one with my tax dollars and healthy cut for themselves.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Human Right Vindicated

Sarah McKinley

I salute you. Having been devastated by the loss of a husband, you showed the grit to defend your home, your baby, and yourself from hoodlums. You probably never wanted to kill anyone and never thought you would have to but when push came to shove you came through for your baby and yourself and did it. You weren't looking for trouble . . . it came looking for you and you were ready for it.

There is no honest answer to the slogan "When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns."

There is real evil in the world and those who want you or your possessions or your family or perhaps just the thrill of the kill will usually target those who cannot or will not defend themselves. Wishful thinking has never saved a life or stopped a crime.

Mrs McKinley was talking to the police just before she shot. Had she waited for the police she could well be dead, or at least badly hurt or raped. Perhaps even her baby would be dead or gone.

The right to defend yourself, your family or your property is a human right and needs to be respected as such. Police are good, valuable and important but they can only be so many places at one time. There will be times when law-abiding citizens will not have the time to wait for the police and only they, and what tools they have, stand between them and a would be killer/rapist/kidnapper. Let them have and keep the tools they need.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


At about 5:55 AM as I was finishing my shift and waiting to punch out I got a call that Dad was going to the hospital.

Fifteen minutes later I got another call; he was gone.

Except for his paralysis he was healthy until the end. This is more of a shock than my mother's death because she was semi-comatose for about 3 months and we knew it was close.

I saw Dad and was laughing with him just a few days ago.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Michigan Once Again

Once again Michigan leads the way, to the shame and humiliation of all in this state.

We not only have two of the ten most dangerous cities in America but we have number one and number two.

Flint, which is about a half hour away from and Detroit.

Now both cities have things to recommend them but this is drowned by crime.

Saginaw and Pontiac are also cities I avoid.

A few years ago I wrote a rather long post on the link between poverty and crime, that poverty alone could not account for high crime because of the number of poor people who never commit crimes and the number of wealthy and affluent people who do. Most crimes committed the poor and crimes committed by the not poor have the same cause -- a sense of entitlement.

I am entitled to this woman's love and respect so I will beat it out of her.

I am entitled to more fun and my baby holds me back so I will kill it.

I am entitled to a hot car like this so I will take it.

I am entitled to more money and if I can't get it legally so I will just take it.

I am rich and entitled to anything I want.

and so on and so forth.

We have schools, college-professors, unions, social workers, and even a few badly misguided preachers telling people that they are entitled to certain things and when they are not forthcoming people take it for themselves from others. After all --- they are entitled.

We are not entitled to our next breath or our next meal. Good-hearted people will do what they can for the less fortunate but it is an act of Charity not Entitlement. Acts of Charity on the individual level should be encouraged and praised but a sense of entitlement should never be encouraged and needs to be stamped out.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Could I Support a Union?

If a union actually was what they pretend to be I could support them. The reality of what they are is unsupportable by enlightened people of integrity. The idea of collective bargaining and grievance handling is, in and of itself, not a bad idea, but this is not what unions are really all about.

They would need to make some changes.

1. Get out of partisan politics. The union is not a major voice in the Democratic Party; they are a lapdog that lets the party set the union agenda. The union may speak out on issues and remind officials from all parties that they have to earn the vote of the individual worker who can see what's going on and can think for themselves. The GOP is NOT anti-worker but they are forced to fight the UNIONS (as opposed to the individual workers) as a purely defensive manner.

2. Clean out the corruption. Break the connections to organized crime and have a no-quarter-given policy of dismissing and disowning, with all funds and benefits lost, any union official who is discovered to be knowingly associating with organized crime. End the cronyism and nepotism. Term limit all union officers to a total of 16 years of full time, paid union position with no more than 8 years in any given office and after they serve in that office they must return to the floor as an hourly for at least 5 years, at a regular hourly rate of pay and no special pay, in order to receive a union pension. The whole idea is that the unions should led by actual working people.

3. Get a realistic economic policy. Read Adam Smith as well Maynard Keynes. Understand that socialism is impossible and Utopia is also beyond human possibility and the pursuit of Utopia will destroy much more good than it creates and cause more misery than it eliminates. Understand what your labor is truly worth and go for a fair and reasonable pay instead of as much as you can squeeze out of the company. Also make sure that any long term promises are workable in the long-term and won't financially cripple your employer; don't just assume that the money will be there. Without profit there is no company to hire you and you have a very real interest in the survival of the company. Of course you should remind the employers that if employees can't afford their own product (in consumer products and services) others can't either and they won't sell much. Loving employment while hating employers makes absolutely no sense.

4. Police your own. When an employer has problems with workers punching in and not working the employer loses which means the union loses. It is also a reflection on all the workers. Get after workers who are non-productive, especially those who are habitually so. Also be ready to help protect the majority of workers from their co-workers who for whatever reason (intoxication, violent behavior etc.) are a threat to their safety. The union needs to take pride in the work done by their rank and file and needs to embarrassed by those who don't produce.

These are the problems I have seen with the unions and they need to be fixed. Until they are I cannot support them. It's too bad because organizations that actually do look out for the welfare of the workers, without crippling the economy in the process, might actually be useful.