Sunday, December 30, 2018

Get behind the mule, or sit down.

I feel no sympathy for the Republican's who did not get behind the president and were voted out. Their stand to keep politician's positions sacred has been exposed as a strategic ploy that has failed them and the country. What voters want is to stop all the partisan fighting and start representing what is actually good for the country and until they realize this, they can all get voted out for all I care. We voters are like abused children watching their parents fight.

Only anarchists revel is disharmony and any voter who is foaming at the mouth over this president, should stop for a second and ask themselves one question; what has Donald Trump done that has personally made your life worse? Your life, not what some Iraqi politician or a Honduran illegal immigrant thinks or experienced. What has the President done to you personally to make you hate him? Has he made you lose your job like Reagan did to so many of us during Reaganomics?

Has Trump’s wife taken elaborate and expensive vacations on your tax dollar, like Michelle Obama did with her 28 person entourage? Does it irk you to the point you want to drive to Washington DC and protest because he didn’t take a paycheck in 2 years? If not, can you praise him for that unselfish act? Most assuredly not, because Trump haters would hate him even if he gave away hundred dollar bills from his own larder.

Trump is systematically undoing all the neck-choking regulations that has turned our country into a place where there were no jobs and no hope of getting them. The people who voted for him are seeing a politician actually attempting to fulfill their campaign promises and an opposing party that has flip-flopped on everything they wanted and all because it is now Trump who is pushing it. Bush, Clinton, and Obama all wanted a wall and an overhaul in border security, so what changed? Trump wants it, that’s what. If he wants vanilla ice cream, they automatically want strawberry.

Make no mistake, voters aren’t buying all this Trump-hating nonsense and the swamp still needs to be drained. The target is any politician that puts their own agenda ahead of what is best for the country. Call them Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian, if they don’t want what is best for America, vote them out in 2020. Politicians, you have 2 years to get your act in alignment with the American people.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Stop the insanity over marijuana

Medical marijuana can bring relief to hundreds of thousands of people in pain.

 Please, please, please stop the insanity over marijuana. There is no reefer madness folks. No one is smoking pot and robbing liquor stores or raping victims because of pot alone. If they are perverts and criminals, they are going to do what they do regardless if they smoke pot or not.

There is not going to be an epidemic of zombie people because of weed. They already walk among us on cartel pot. In addition, we are already seeing this due to general cell phone usage.
The Democrats are using it as a tool to divide voters. Don't fall for it. Start with medical marijuana. Legalize, regulate, tax, and dispense to responsible buyers. Keep the tax rate low enough to avoid creating yet another vice-driven black market. Create an easy to use scale to reliably dictate the strength of the pot so buyers can safely use it, much like we do with alcohol proof and the heat scale of hot peppers.

First off, marijuana should not be a partisan political issue. Shame on the Democratic Party for pandering to voters over marijuana usage. How blatantly misleading and shallow! Instead of working with the Republican Party for medical marijuana decriminalization, they choose to divide the voters.
"Over the past couple years, more and more lawmakers, including people who’ll very likely run for president in 2020 like Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker, have signed onto legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level. This is increasingly becoming a mainstream position for Democrats." Vox

In plain English, people will vote for or against marijuana reform because one party supports it over the other! This is by design and stupid in the extreme! I say stupid because of the obvious medical benefits if for no other reason. Why does marijuana continue to be in the same class as heroin and opiates? Why is a plant that has been safely used both medicinally and recreationally for thousands of years all across the planet, have such a stigma placed on it in the last hundred years?

This is why I try my best to openly educate people on a subject many my age (66) are hush-hush over. Read. Think. Sift. Repeat. I know there are some of my readers who shake their head and think I am pushing things too far. In their mind it seems perplexing that a historically logical writer would think marijuana was safe and okay to use recreationally. It is okay. It is not the demon we were told it was and the special interest groups who would and are competing against pot want it to stay taboo.
“The sweeping Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, H.R. 2 (115), — better known as the Farm Bill, and signed into law by President Donald Trump on Thursday — legalizes hemp production and with it, potential sales of cannabidiol or CBD, a component of marijuana and hemp plants that has no psychoactive properties to get people high. It’s said to have anti-inflammatory and calming benefits, but questions about medical effectiveness remain.” Politico 12-25-18

Hemp and marijuana are genetically linked and the recent farm bill allowing the production of hemp is very important and amazingly overdue. Look at it this way. “One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 4 to 10 acres of trees over a 20-year cycle, but hemp stalks only take four months to mature, whereas trees take 20 to 80 years. This information was known in 1916, according to a USDA report.” Wiki

The product list of superior products made from hemp is incredible and a downright threat to business as usual from the medical, lumber, and petrochemical industries and understanding this makes it easy to see why it is an illegal substance. The tobacco industry is heavily investing in the marijuana industry and that should have been a no-brainer to anyone watching. I wrote 5 years ago that they were a marriage made in heaven. Anything we can do to keep organized crime out of the pot industry is a win in my book.
So, to review, what must take place is a general loosening of State marijuana laws AFTER the federal government changes the classification of the plant from a schedule 1 drug. “Schedule 1 drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined by the federal government as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule 1 drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” Wiki
Any rational person can see that marijuana does not fit as a schedule 1 drug.

Research by the government MUST loosen up the procurement laws for research facilities to actually conduct experiments. As it stands, private groups are miles ahead of the government and 99% of the reason is the tedious procurement and over-regulation between the DEA and the FDA. In their words, "A little-known research facility at the University of Mississippi is the only place in the country that is authorized to grow and test marijuana for medical research purposes. But this effort is stymied by a slow process for certifying scientists, a lack of funding and according to pot experts, an inferior product compared to what the booming cannabis sector has rolled out in recent years. “It’s brown, muddy garbage,” said Peter Grinspoon, a physician and board member of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, describing the Mississippi stock." Politico 12-25-18

Education remains the key element here and it is every voter’s responsibility to get a true understanding of what is involved. Ignorance is a poor excuse when standing up to facts and experience.


Monday, December 24, 2018

Time to archive inflationary geocache hides?

  A geocaching primer by BaytownBert (Bert Marshall)  12-24-18
This is an example of a tiny geocache being hidden in an evergreen bush in a subdivision. Neighbors will wonder what you are doing, as you look suspicious.
Since my first find in 2003, this game has exploded with a plethora of ingenious and yes… many poorly hidden containers. For every unique and well placed hide, there are 40 crappy micro/nano caches hidden in places no one wants to remember. The placement screams, “Why on earth would anyone hide a cache here?”

For instance, I recently found an LPC halfway up the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant. I parked in the lot and walked beside 2 cars waiting to get their order from the window. Did I feel stupid? No; I felt uncomfortable, but I lifted the skirt and signed the log anyway. Did I take care (as the instructions stated) to preserve the integrity of the hide from watchful muggle eyes?

No. I did not. In my opinion, this cache should never have been placed here. Placing a geocache in a high muggle area at one time was supposed to signify that it made it more difficult to get in and out undetected. These days you look like a terrorist drug dealer pedophile sneaking around and I simply will not do it. I don a safety vest and walk up like I own it. Of course I try to position myself to block the view of muggles, but frankly, I almost resent being put in this uncomfortable predicament. Was the lone smiley worth it? I say no. More and more often I drive up and seeing the placement, I shake my head and drive off with the intent of ignoring that cache in the future.

Seriously, how do you think you look scouring the back side of a Redbox DVD kiosk in front of a pharmacy? I’ll go ahead and tell you. You look suspicious and that is not something you should welcome or be subjected to. Many of these newbie hides go unmaintained and if it were not for generous geocachers helping to maintain them, they would be archived by a reviewer.

A veteran cacher placed
a container here.
The introduction of Smartphones and free Apps has caused many interloping newbie geocachers to sprinkle thousands of weak hides similar to the one I found at JIB. When you look at the geocaches in your area, there are so many that are totally forgettable. Many are placed in the corner of a parking lot either under a light skirt or 8 feet into the woods among the ton of litter on the ground. So much for CITO’ing the area because there is simply too much trash. After a day of geocaching, my 30 gallon plastic trash can in my Jeep is over-flowing. This literally happens every time I go out to find caches.

I say it is time veteran cachers dump these types of caches from their personal hide inventory and clean up their respective areas for new, higher quality hides. Newbies will continue to litter the landscape with weak hides and nothing can be done to stop that short of Groundspeak putting a find quota on when you can place a hide.

In the Houston/Beaumont area of Texas, there are thousands of poorly planned hides, sprinkled almost in a random fashion. I still own some of them that I plan to archive. It’s as if there was no forethought went into the hide. Sure its fun to log 10 quick hides, but the truth is nothing was gained other than 10 smilies were added to your total. Easy caches placed for travelers can be excused from my rant. I believe in accommodating travelers as a safety issue. Get them in and out of their cars and back on the road.

Plan your caches. Do the homework.
I currently have 187 active geocaches even though I recently archived 125 to make room for new hides, or just to flush the toilet on uninteresting hides. I am putting my money where my mouth is. No one seemed to notice and the reason for this is there are many thousands of caches available and the bulk of them are weak in placement. It’s true. The descriptions and hints are either absent or vague and it appears the planning stage was absent also. As an example, one forum user wrote they intended to put out a power trail of 50 LPC’s. My eyeballs almost popped out in disbelief over that post.

Another example of what I am saying is I archived 29 caches in a series to make them more suitable to children. I could have simply rehid each cache with a new container, but I wanted to start over. The original series took folks down a seemingly haunted country road and each container was well hid. The new series are all (small or larger) black and have a red lid to help kiddos find them. I want them to find them, so each cache also has a good hint. The series for veterans will be easy peasy and a quick 29 caches, but for newbie’s it will be a training ground for further adventures.

Hopefully their success will excite and educate them enough to tackle the harder geocaches. The outcome could be that they will continue to play the game for more than 2 weeks and hold off hiding one until they learn more about the game. The landscape is constantly littered with inflationary and meaningless caches regardless of how much scrutiny the reviewers use. World’s of information is currently available on cache placement and seeing that veterans can eliminate their own low quality hides, the game could be invigorated again. It surely needs a shot of adrenaline, IMO.
Is it time for a moratorium on LPC's?

The same is happening with events and I’ve written about this before in another primer. Make events more than just a meet and eat. At one time years ago, there were maybe 6 events planned for the Houston area over the next 2 months. Currently in this same area there are 20-40 events scheduled at any given time. There are so many events that attendance is usually under 10 people. Like the low quality hides, events are meaningless other than to eat or to talk to the same 6 people and no one bothers to post photos. It has become so pervasive that I’ve all but stopped hosting events. Now if you live in an area of few caches, then forgive me for this suggestion, but it may still apply. Don’t fret archiving them to place better caches. Build it and they will come.

Hide a variety of caches for all skill levels, but a “power trail” of cricket micros in evergreen bushes might need to be reconsidered. Plan it in such a way that geocachers will give your hides favorite points and you will know you are doing it right.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Chasing Geotour Coins and Swag

 Back a few years ago, my mentor HoustonControl and I set forth to help launch the Baytown Texas Geotour GT7A. Our city has a very friendly tourism department and we are basically a tri-city area that consolidated years ago around the Goose Creek oil field. Our city has a lot of history the Geotour could exploit and the two of us archived our own caches in many cases to accommodate the history and the Geotour.

We were very excited about getting a Geotour and to this day, still support it. Often while the tourism department is away from the city, I maintain and repair the caches needing maintenance and/or restock the containers with city donated swag. In short, the Geotour is a wonderful addition to the +/-500 available caches in this town and surrounding area. We take pride on keeping our caches well maintained.

All of this was stated to bring to light an effect I did not see coming.

Experienced cachers only come to Baytown to do the Geotour, or lately a series of Lab caches whereby they get more swag. This has become so apparent in the last year that my 200+ active caches are almost completely ignored. Very close to one of the Geotour caches parking lot (400 feet) is a large container, letterbox hybrid, and Travel Bug hotel with (at the moment) 14 trackables - BB's HoustonControl Tribute Cache!  GC7Q27B. Very few make the short trek to log it.

The closest geotour cache has been logged 60+ times in 2018 and the TB motel 14 and 4 of those were Baytownians. Here is the crux of the biscuit, as Frank Zappa would say; are we becoming so obsessed with getting a geocoin that we rush past geocaches to earn one? If that is the case, think on this a bit. Where is our geocoin and trackable inventory stored? Mine is in a zippered bag in my closet and weighs about 10 pounds. Lately I’ve been thinking of dropping every single one of them in geocaches, as they have long lost their importance to me.

I spent 3 days in Brenham recently (Birthplace of Texas GeoTour (GT2F) )and concentrated on every geocache I encountered. Many were on the list of the geotour, but guess what? I still need a good number to get the coin. Maybe next year? Maybe not. I had fun and spent time with a number of the local cachers (SockMonkey69 & BlueStarsForever). I wanted to smell the roses in Washington County, not run myself into a Geocoin frenzy.

Am I trying to throw cold water on Geotours, lab caches, and trackable murals? No, I am not. What I am saying is maybe we are playing the game too fast. Maybe running a macro in GSAK to bypass everything to get to point A and B in the most efficient manner is a boo-boo. Should we pursue the Geotour? Yes, but is the coin really all that important to us? It’s not to me. I have a stack of unactivated trackables to give away at my events, but seeing there are so many events now in the Houston area (+/-30) a travel bug will hardly tempt anyone to attend an event 30 miles east of Houston.

I also understand that this appeal is less giggly happy of the usual fare for FTF Geocacher magazine and more food for thought than anything. If those of us who have played this game for many years stop and stare at why we are playing and remember how exciting it was in the beginning, I do believe we would be all be in agreement that chasing a geocoin doesn’t make all that much sense. Most of us when arriving at Geotour #1 are thinking only about #2, #3, #4 (etc) and not how cool the historic location is. Zipping through them like a chainsaw and getting the heck out of Dodge before the sun sets is our driving force. Our oft-published logs are evidence we thought the cache was quite unremarkable.

Am I right or am I wrong? In my city, the Geotour has almost stopped outsiders from hunting the local caches. Now with that said, I have changed tactics on my own cache hides. Right off the bat, I archived over 80 of my geocaches leaving me with 180+ active caches. I redid one series of 10 and another of 29 to kindle interest GC7ZM4V & GC2HQV6 – hopefully. One by one I need to figure out a way to lure people off the “hell bent for leather” attack on the Geotour and get them to look for one of mine or others while here in Baytown, Texas.

I’ve found that if I hide a cache like this one GC7KRVQ - BB's Zombie Head Trip cache! (truly unique and “evil”) – nobody will look for it. If I hide an easy multi, I get the same response. So, what I have to do is make my caches more accessible to newbie’s with low D/T ratings so they can see them with the free App and hope I will light a fire under them to step up. Once this happens, I can send them a note to look over my geocaching primer page:

Am I saying I am going to place a slew of low quality LPC-type caches? Nope. I’ll hide them as best as possible, but I will include enough cryptic hints to spark excitement with new and old alike. Just like we did in the old days. No one has to look at the hint if they don’t want to, right?

If everything goes right, they just might become a geocaching powerhouse and I will have contributed to the game big time. Imagine the enjoyment both of us will experience!

Why are you hiding geocaches?

If you hide it, make sure people can actually find it, right?

Let’s face it; the urge to hide a geocache is as strong as the Force, but knowing how to control and direct it can be just as touchy. On the surface the only real task is getting good coordinates, a container that will stand up to setting in the woods for a couple of years and still be good, and a really good hide… that no one can find, right?

Well, the first two points are good, but let’s take a look at the “real hard to find” part. There is a reason for the difficulty/terrain grid and it is often very misleading. The most common occurrence is when a newbie hides a cache under a light skirt and publishes it as a 4.5 difficulty. We’ve all seen evidence of this, but what about the veteran cacher who does the opposite, making their cache as misleading as the newbie?

I can deal with the newbie’s submission, as quite often their inexperience causes unorthodoxy and confusion – never mind the cords being off 78 feet. Where I find the most frustration is when I look for a geocache placed by a veteran and the D/T grid is very low, the container is a micro or smaller, no hint is posted, and the container placement could disguise 500 caches.

In the words of my mentor friend Kirbydox (36,000+ finds), “Do you want people to find your caches or not, Bert?”

She told me this a few years ago when a group of us were discussing this very real phenomenon. My answer was “I do indeed,” and all of us nodded in agreement. She then went on to say that this is the reason she posts a hint on her hides (100+). “It’s their business whether they look at the hint or not.” I adopted this philosophy immediately and over time have been revising my older caches as I do maintenance on them to facilitate seekers.

Now let’s look at who we are targeting when we place a cache. Seeing there is a large deviation between people in wheelchairs, or health problems that restrict their physical movements and the tri-athletes who play this game, it is only realistic that we decide who we are trying to target. The answer should be obvious in that we tune the hide and description, along with the hint to target each demographic. This area is in deep need of attention by those of us who fancy ourselves as hiders.

If it is indeed a truly evil hide, then of course no hint is in order, but if it is a 2.0 difficulty and is the size of a DNA tube in a stand of bamboo and no hint, what you have just placed is nothing more than a mean hide – nothing evil here at all. You are going to stall a geocacher looking for a needle in a haystack and frankly, there are too many of these crummy hides as it is, IMO.
A few years back I placed a series of about 10 caches alongside the feeder road on Interstate 10 (I-10) with the intention of luring travelers to get out of their car and take a break. It was called the “Keep on Trucking series”. It did not attract any that I could see, so after much thought, I archived them and set out new containers - BB's (1) I-10 Take a break series! GC7ZM4V and there are ten of them. Each container is one of my Berty Tubes painted black with a candy apple red top. The intention here is for travelers to make a quick find on ten caches. The D/T rating on all ten is 1.5/1.5 and I give directions as to how to ingress and egress all caches from either direction. It’s new, so let’s see if it works. I see it as a public service and a safety issue.

All of us have swerved off the main road to grab an easy cache only to spend 10 minutes looking and finally give up. Sure we got out of our car/truck and yes, it was a good thing, but without a smiley, it wasn’t worth stopping. In fact, it can make a cacher angry. YMMV.

I have another series I placed about 8 years ago that I archived recently and placed 29 new caches, leaving #1 with 64 favorite points: BB's (1) "Curse of the Goatman" Series GC2HQV6. Initially I placed it as a fun series for families with kids. Each one was clueless and difficult to find and all were black. It had a very good run, but guess what? 8 years ago there weren’t a bazillion caches for people to find like there are now and people these days appear to be obsessed with power trails they can almost grab from their car window. No one these days wants to spend 30 minutes looking for a low D/T rated cache and I don’t either.

With the advent of the Smartphone and non-premium members attempting this game, folks are making more caches premium to avoid muggles, added maintenance, and some admit not wanting non-premium members access to the game. Really, it’s true. I on the other hand see it in a different light. I want the newbies with phones and Apps to look for my caches and maybe, just maybe, they will get the bug and be the next Kirbydox, Team Troglodyte, HoustonControl, or ParkerPlus. This is just one reason I teach classes and write Geocaching 101 primers.

With the proliferation of almost inflationary geocaches popping up everywhere, it might just be time for us veterans to look at our hides and make some adjustments.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

I might be Speedy Gonzales

 I guess I need to define that title for clarity and levity. “Speedy Gonzales is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies series of cartoons. He is portrayed as The Fastest Mouse in all Mexico with his major traits being the ability to run extremely fast, speaking with an exaggerated Mexican accent and also speaking Spanish.”

I might just be the fastest mouse in Baytown. I guess I should be apologetic for stating this, but shaking my haid, I simply can’t. If I were to be asked why I appear to be so confidant, I would have to admit, “Because it is reinforced on a daily basis by the slower and sluggish masses.”

At the behest of my youthful Bride, I have tried to reign in my status as “Speedy Gonzales”, but “No va a pasar.” For some bizarre reason, she claims “You are just high-strung, honey!”, but we both know it is not me, but everyone around me... except her, of course. We both understand that my Bride of 41 years is skating along in my wave of speedy activity and sometimes objects to my special abilities.

I do my best to relay the simple fact that everyone around me is moving and thinking slower than me, but she is not really onboard. My observations when in traffic fail to bring her over to my way of thinking… for some inexplicable reason.

On the surface, it appears I am jumpy when it comes to a traffic light turning green, but the truth of the matter is, I am simply watching the light and when it turns green… I go. I also habitually come to a complete stop before turning right on red, which slaps me directly in the minority. No rolling stops for me. I habitually use my blinker also and usually put it on far in advance to my actual turn.

Yes, maybe I do jack rabbit from the line and often will get up the speed limit (where I stay) only to open a gap of an eighth mile between me and the cars behind me. Now here’s the weird thing. By the time I get to a quarter mile from the light, the cars that were with me at the light will all blow past me. Now who then is jack rabbiting? They were lento to go when the light turned green (cell phone alert), but after they get going, they usually blow past me 10 miles an hour over the speed limit.

If you are a driver who actually is applying the rules we were taught when we sought getting a drivers license, then you know exactly what I experience. If you fall into the sluggish group, you most likely don’t know I am talking about you. I tell folks we are living out the Walking Dead when it comes to a good number of our driving society.

Add in the other bizarre things zombie drivers do and it’s a wonder more people aren’t killed or injured on our streets. No too many moons ago I was about 50 yards behind a car when they suddenly stopped. I mean they put on the brakes and stopped in the lane. I hit my brakes and went past them at maybe 20 mph. Guess what they were doing. You guessed it; they were staring at their phone. I shook my head in confusion and muttered something along the lines of, “Que estúpido idiota.

Like my padre before me, I have never caused or been the reason someone wrecked an automobile or truck. Maybe its because when we drove, we actually paid attention to the road in front and back of us and not everything else. Call me Speedy Gonzales if you like and I won’t be offended, but if you don’t get going at a red light and are in front of me… You’re going to get the horn.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

America needs a benevolent government

Over my 10 years of columns/blogs I have made it very clear I believe the real purpose of our government is to protect American citizens. What is happening in California with the numerous fires is a perfect blackboard. Federal, State, county, and city officials need to come to their rescue. The same goes for Florida and hurricane Michael. Whatever it takes to get those citizens back on their feet is what our government should do.

Forget mid-term election results. If I were a politician who was defeated in California and Florida, the first thing I would do is hustle down to these disaster sites and help in any way possible. What I am trying to say is actually do something besides playing politics and point fingers.

I’ve been watching the “news” and I see Nancy Pelosi mounting a giant effort to be elected as speaker of the house. I may have missed the many briefings she made to help the Camp Fire victims. Maybe the fake wing news “just ain’t reportin’ it”, I don’t know, but what I do know is the partisan politics we saw in the Judge Kavanaugh monkey trial made me violently ill. It made me hate politics, especially the Democrat’s partisan attack on the man.

Major weather events like fires, earthquakes, floods, mud-slides, volcanoes, tornados, hurricanes, and blizzards are when our government can shine, but they can’t do it if they are fighting over every little partisan issue. Listen to me politicians. America is sick of watching our government fight over everything. Do something “for the people” that proves your devotion to the voters. Use our tax money for more than hand-outs to countries that hate us.

When we have whole cities incinerated and hundreds of citizens dead or missing, we need help! Forget all this politicin’ and show you care by getting FEMA to these disaster sites and get people off the ground. Modular housing with centrally located showers for starters. Food, water, and a direct line for prescription drugs for another. Bring in the Navy Seabee’s and the Army Corps of Engineers and have them clear the area. Make medical care free until they can file or not.

After WWII, this was called the Marshall Plan. “The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was an American initiative to aid Western Europe, in which the United States gave over $12 billion (nearly $100 billion in 2016 US dollars) in economic assistance to help rebuild Western European economies after the end of World War II.” Our leaders determined that walking away from Europe after WWI was a huge mistake and allowed Adolf Hitler to rise to power.

By rebuilding the country (and Japan) we brought them lemonade from smashed lemons. This will work here also. Put those troops to work here and let the leaders of other countries stop stuffing their own pockets with American aid money. Americans won’t try to kill our troops with IED’s either and will most likely work right along beside them.

I appreciate the President visiting California and saying we will get it done. I just hope it is more than bottled water and MRE’s. Here we are over a year after Hurricane Harvey and folks are still not back to normal.

It is high time Americans demand, yes demand accountability in times of anarchy, contagion, weather disasters, and even caravans of people attempting to breach our borders illegally. We do have to put our interests above theirs. I am always reminded of the venerated Mahatma Gandhi. Yes, he did a lot of wonderful things, but did you know that according to Biblical scripture, he was worse than an infidel? Why, you may ask?

The reason I say he is worse than an infidel is because he did not take care of his own family. He gave almost everything he earned to the poor, making his own family poorer. He would not let his many children get an education. I learned this by reading his autobiography. His wife pleaded and begged him to no avail. He took care of everyone else, but left his own family starving and ignorant. Sound familiar?

It should. It’s how our politicians view the Global scene. Feed them first! Hockey, I say! Forget the global scene if we Americans have drastic needs. I’m not saying we should break ties, I’m saying we should take care of our “family” first.

Pay your taxes, obey the laws and tell the government to only step in when we have a disaster. But when major trouble rears its ugly head, step in with both feet and do it immediately. Use government funds to rebuild and then witness the amazing recovery and voter confidence in our government return.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Eyes Wide Shut – Why didn’t Someone Tell Me?

I never knew I was considered less than attractive by the opposite sex until yesterday. Maybe it’s because I am happily married and my Bride settled for less; I don’t know. I also don’t know why this bothers me. At my advanced age, does it really matter than I am less attractive than a certain segment of maleness? No one has actually pointed this out to me and maybe that is why I have been blissfully ignorant for so long.

It all started with a new study by the legendary Journal of Evolutionary Biology, which I am fairly sure everyone has read at one time or another. The study came to light when Yahoo News reported it and seeing I am a regular reader of the journal, I instantly took note. As we all know, the Journal of Evolutionary Biology is a bimonthly peer-reviewed scientific journal covering the field of evolutionary biology. It is published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology. I think it goes without saying it is a real page turner.

I’m also a staunch follower of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, but I deviate. According to the news release, this is how it is broken down:

Researchers asked more than 8,500 women to rate men on their attractiveness as a long-term romantic partner, Yahoo News reported.

Here’s how the facial hair rated:

    Heavy stubble (10 days)
    Full beards
    Light stubble

“Beards may be more attractive to women when considering long‐term than short‐term relationships as they indicate a male’s ability to successfully compete socially with other males for resources,” the study concluded. Beards, the researchers said, are associated with a man’s age and masculine social dominance.

I have been clean shaven since 1975 and not one friend, or should I say “real friend” has tried to masculine-up me by casually mentioning that I needed to have at least a stubble of some kind. Not one. Now I’m beginning to wonder if I even have friends. With all the old white men bashing going on, I will rapidly become a double target. There is probably no juicier target than an ugly old white man, but then again, I digress.

Friends don’t let friends walk around ugly, especially when the remedy is simply to stop shaving. I mean I did not get one warning or even a single nudge in that direction, so the only scientific conclusion any reasoning person could arrive at struck me like a fully dressed uncooked turkey right up side the head. A beard will not help me. A mustache surely won’t make a difference if the beard is a bust.

I just have to adapt to the fact that I am not an attractive male. It shouldn’t be too difficult as I have been unwittingly unattractive all these years and honestly, what difference has it made? Now, there is a remote possibility of something else. Maybe the results of the study are not all that kosher?  I laughed at that thought. Of course its accurate; its written in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology and backed by the European Society for Evolutionary Biology for goodness sake. I’ll just wear a hoodie and sunglasses when out in public and its all good.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Say no to winter, but save us from Mossies!

My 2 winters in Montana ruined me for freezing weather. The Great Plains can do that to a person. The wind is always blowing and the frigid air is not what I call refreshing. Its fricken cold! When I was stationed in Great Falls Montana, it snowed on the 4th of July. The year was 1971. I related this to a resident of Casper, Wyoming back in 1986 and they remembered it quite well, even though they were to south a good piece.

I do not remember getting bit by mosquitoes in Montana.  I do remember the terrible cold.

I would much rather be warm. Notice I didn’t say hot. I can handle hot if its dry, but this past summer was wet, real wet. Like someone on Facebook posted, it only rained twice this summer - once for 45 days and again for 32 days.  We ended summer with a massive daily crop of mosquitoes. 3 times a week I watch the skeeter sprayer go past my house and yet they just kept biting me. My Bride rarely gets bitten, as they are feasting on me and my grandson.

The danged black salt marsh mosquitoes have been the bane of my outdoor existence (Aedes taeniorhynchus), a nuisance mosquito known as an aggressive biter, but not considered a disease-carrier of major concern. I guess that’s a plus, but holy smokes this tiny parasite packs a powerful and painful whelp. Their attraction to me has spurred my interest in remedies, because bug spray is only as good as my spraying ability. In other words, if I miss a single spot with Deet, the tiny insect nails me there. This includes biting my hiney through the webbing of my outdoor chair.

At others suggestions, I’ve tried Campho-Phenique, CeraVe itch relief moisturizing cream, Chiggerex 2X Power and Benadryl itch relief stick, which didn’t do a thing to relieve the itch and pain. I found a tube of Lidocaine ointment 5% that works real well. Of the other concoctions, only CeraVe works and it works well,

Something I found to be amazing is the cost of Campho-Phenique. I bought a ¾ fluid ounce bottle from Kroger for $5. Doing the rithmatick on this, the fluid is $800 a gallon. They sure are proud of this stuff. Chiggerex 2X Power works well and is my go to chemical for most bites and stings, but the black salt marsh skeeter demands a stronger topical analgesic.

If the temperature dropping into the 30’s, as it is predicted, stops me from getting bitten, then I am all for it, but our nightly visits to the backyard swing will probably suffer also. One person commented that we have 2 seasons and they are probably correct. It’s either too hot and humid, or it is too cold and wet to really enjoy our weather. 

I guess I’ll just be happy to not be bit repeatedly when outside.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Politicians are modern day Biblical scribes

Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things,saying to them,“It is written,'My house shall be a house of prayer.
In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus spoke out very strongly about 3 groups of people; tax collectors because they caused financial hardship, religious leaders who abused their power over the people, and scribes (lawyers /politicians) who also used their position to control the populace. I can't find where he attacked businessmen as a group. Keep in mind the people who were selling sacrificial items in the temple were part of the religious leader group.

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ Matthew 21:12-13

Donald Trump has the ire of certain Republicans who see him as a threat to business as usual. He's viewed like the guy who arrives at a fancy golfing event wearing a hoodie and flip flops. He’s not in the law making in-crowd of shrewd wheeling and dealing where no one gets offended and socially they party together. What these dyed in the wool Republicans need to understand is this country is in no mood for anything except making better wages and having more money to spend as they danged well please. Reasoning voters don’t want any more infringement on our Constitutional rights than has already happened.

It appears it is time these stubborn and untouchable Republicans get on the Trump train, or get off at the next depot. He is steam-rolling this country with new enthusiasm and healthy competition. Never mind it is being painted directly the opposite in the liberal media venues. Nothing the man does will please them. We saw this at the Kavanaugh hearing. What a sham the Democrats pulled. They had no intention of ever confirming the judge and used every stall tactic to wayside the process. In the end, they discredited everyone and everything and voted against his nomination, despite the fact that not one witness came forward against him other than Dr. Ford.

Concerning laws made under Obama, the Democrats are justifiably angry and upset as Trump is one by one undoing, negating, or eliminating all the precious policies their “He gives me hope!” president pushed through. Never mind that these same restrictive policies put us at a disadvantage with foreign trade. The deregulation of industry and the new tariffs are bringing jobs back and I don’t know if anyone is listening, but this means food on the table.

I think the Democrats are terrorized by the man and his openness. Frankly, I haven't been offended by anything he's said. I find it pleasantly pleasing that every word hasn't been massaged to be politically correct. Their entire platform is secondary to trashing the president. Democratic politics is akin to two 13 year old girls flailing at each other while ripping out handfuls of hair and calling it a fight. They’ve abandoned mentioning almost everything they claim they want so they can multiply their attack on Trump.

Watch the youtube interviews of college students and you will rapidly deduce they haven’t a clue what is going on. All they know is it is hip to be a liberal. What is being taught to these kids is paramount to political bias and they swallow it as total truth. If anyone dares to offer a second opinion, they are openly ridiculed and/or attacked.

People keep speculating about a Blue wave. I predict it will be just the opposite. The Democratic leaders have openly called for their minions to “act up” and “don’t let them eat in public” without interfering and then cry fowl when some right wing gun nut comes out of the woodwork. Of course it isn’t their fault (according to them), but of course they had a major part in it.

Scribes were so called because they wrote out the law, or because they classified and arranged its precepts, or because they counted with scrupulous minuteness every elapse and letter It contained. Modern day scribes need to go back to their roots and concentrate on what is workable in 2018 and forget all this infighting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Political Correctness Is Ruining Our Freedoms

Our Congress has not violated our 1st amendment right to free speech... WE HAVE by allowing loudmouth troublemakers to do a very good job of it by inventing Political Correctness. Freedom-loving citizens should collectively rebel against this every chance they get. Hate Speech comes straight out of George Orwell's 1984. 

"Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author George Orwell published in June 1949. The novel is set in the year 1984 when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and propaganda."

If you have never read this iconic book, grab a copy. You can probably get it for free in electronic text. I first read it in high school, way back in 1970. I read it again a number of years later and again a couple of months ago. It is as relevant now as it was when it was science fiction. Fahrenheit 451 is another book I have read repeatedly and the reason is the same as 1984. It reveals what could be our future here in the USA.

PC has reached the rabid state where almost anything a person says or writes can get them fired from their job and this folks is what political correctness has accomplished. We have created our own version of the Soviet Secret police known as NKVD. 
NKVD victims killed in mass executions in 1941
 "The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) was the interior ministry of the Soviet Union. Everyone here is familiar with the KGB, but the NKVD was the real bad guys. 

The NKVD undertook mass extrajudicial executions of untold numbers of citizens, and conceived, populated and administered the Gulag system of forced labour camps. Their agents were responsible for the repression of the wealthier peasantry, as well as the mass deportations of entire nationalities to uninhabited regions of the country. They oversaw the protection of Soviet borders and espionage (which included political assassinations), and enforced Soviet policy in communist movements and puppet governments in other countries, most notably the repression and massacres in Poland." Wikipedia  

This is the next progression of PC. A nation where everyone is watching each other, ready to report anything suspicious and just like the Spanish Inquisition, the PC police will pick you up and convict you, possibly not even bothering to identify your crime. You think that can't happen?

It almost did in the Judge Kavanaugh hearing, which was more of a monkey trial than anything. Not one witness could collaborate Dr. Ford's testimony and yet nearly 50% of the voting group found him guilty and a rapist.

Intolerance is the bane of free speech. Political correctness needs to be labeled as the opposite of freedom and a noose around everyone's neck.

Elvis has left the room

I want to set something on the table and anyone who bothers to read anything I write, please take a good hard look. We are living in a...