Ego Vero Seek and you shall find... Ask and the door shall be opened - page 4

California’s Leaders, Visionaries Lacking In Leadership, Vision

California’s Leaders, Visionaries Lacking In Leadership, Vision

California’s Leaders and Visionaries are lacking in leadership and vision.  Other than that, things are going great.

People are starting to notice that the “leaders” in California aren’t doing such a great job.  Over at The Daily Beast, Joel Kotkin does a nice job of making his case that California is becoming a feudal society of the very rich, the very poor and a vanishing middle class, with a liberal-socialist dominated state government that is incapable of dealing with any crisis large or small, no matter how much advanced warning they have.  The “no-growth” and “environment first” policies have resulted in a state whose crumbling infrastrucure is insufficient to support it’s burgeoning population.  Hell, it was insufficient 40 years ago during the reign of Moonbeam I, and now during the Weekend at Bernie’s administration of Moonbeam II and III we’ll be lucky if there’s water to flush the toilets.

What am I talking about?  THE DROUGHT!

Who could possibly have foreseen a drought?  Only anyone with a pulse, that’s who.  What are we doing about it?  Letting our lawns die.  Visionary!  More importantly what are we doing to alleviate the next drought?  Because there will be a next drought.  California’s history is basically a list of droughts that occur on a regular basis.  You can practically set your clock by them.  SO…are we planning a system of aqueducts like the Romans did?  Nope.  Are we building more dams and reservoirs for water storage capacity?  Nope.  We passed a bond measure (translation: borrowed money) to deal with the problem.  What are we building with the money?  A giant bureaucracy to create regulations on how we use water.  Problem solved!

It’s not that we can’t afford to do something about it.  God knows our politicos are shoveling the taxpayer’s money down various holes like a fireman shovels coal on a steam locomotive.  (Governor Brown: please don’t get any more ideas!).  Even with businesses and middle class taxpayers fleeing, there is still record tax revenue.  The state budget has more than doubled in the last 20 years.  So what’s the problem?  The problem is the mindset – what we chose to spend (and not spend) on.  The mindset about what ends are achievable and desirable versus those that are counter to the laws of economics, not to mention the laws of physics and indeed the laws of nature itself.

bring me men to match my mountains

Some time ago I wrote that California needs leaders – Men to Match Her Mountains.  Or Women.  Women or Men with the vision to see what needs to be done and the courage to see it done.

I am not advocating mass disregard for the environment, but if you’re going to have forty million or more people live somewhere, they are going to have needs and those needs must be met.  Meeting those needs will leave a footprint.  Visionaries look forward and find innovative ways to meet challenges.  Yeah, we’ll leave a footprint or two.  But we can also tread lightly as possible and mitigate the effects of the things we need to do, the things that we must do.

There is nothing “progressive” about a mindset that says in order to move forward we must lower our standards of living and make do with less.  That we must aspire to less.  That we must scale back our dreams.  If that is what our leaders and visionaries are telling us, then they are neither leaders nor visionaries.

 

An Unecessary Drought

An Unecessary Drought

Trigger warning – it’s Monday and I’m cranky.  This could get profane.  Hide the children.

This post is about the drought in California – an unecessary drought.  I know many of you who are looking at California in your rear view mirrors, and your attitude is “so what?”  I still live here, so I care.

Yes, I care.  I wish our “leaders” cared as much as I do.  They obviously do not.  Either that, or they are monumentally stupid.  Two choices.    Well, I guess there is a third choice: they don’t care and they are monumentally stupid.  Come to think of it, that seems like the safest bet.  Yeah, I’m going with that.

I say that because there are some conditions here, both climatic and social that are so obvious ignoring them or otherwise failing to meaningfully adress them requires an absolute lack of mental acuity or ardent willfull blindness.

I made  a case a few months ago – read this and see if you agree with me;

California Politicos:  Need Water?  Build a Train

All the preceding is preamble to a long, well written piece in City Journal by Victor Davis Hanson that is worth ten minutes of your time:

The Scorching of California

Jerry Brown had a chance to do something about the drought the last time he was Governor – back in the 1970s.  But he and the rest of the “visionaries” in his administrations practiced a “no growth” mentality.  Infrastructure planning and implementation ground to a halt.  Because building new freeways would create more traffic or something.  And more dams would equal less water?  More likely “fish first, f*ck everybody else”.  Or maybe they believed “if you don’t build it they won’t come”.  News flash, Jerry – you didn’t build it and they came anyway.  And now we’re all screwed.

But hey – trains!  Just like Europe!  Problem solved!

Don’t Believe Anything You Read On The Internet Today…

Don’t Believe Anything You Read On The Internet Today…

…except this.  Possibly.

The admonition “Don’t believe anything you read on the internet today” could well be true any day of the year, but no more so than today, April 1st.  April Fool’s Day.  Anyone been pranked yet?  Me neither.  But I’m afraid to leave the house.  And since I’m shuttered inside with the shades drawn (and the shotgun handy…just in case) I have some time to ponder what started this whole April Fool’s Day thing.

What I found was an article that I’m relatively certain is not an elaborate April Fool’s prank in itself.  Though it is at a site called Hoaxes.org.  Hmmm…I’m suspicious already.

Wait!  What was that noise? **picks up shotgun, chambers a round**

OK…false alarm.  Where were we?  Oh yeah…Hoaxes.org.  Seems legit, so here goes.

The Origin of April Fool’s Day is a compilation of theories on the origin of pranking April 1st.  Going back as far as the 15th and 16th centuries, we find that in Europe there was wide inconsistency in how the calendar was observed.  Even though Julius Ceasar had invented the Julian Calendar in the 1st Century A.D. local jurisdictions pretty much decided on their own when to observe certain dates.  In the 16th Century, leaders (Kings, Popes, etc) began trying to reform the calendar and make things consistent.  This reformation did not take place overnight, but spanned almost a century.  One of the changes made was a universal decree that January 1st was to be the beginning of the year.  Since some locales had been starting their year at Eastertime, often around April 1st,  this could possibly have imparted an aura of confusion on the date April 1, or led to a person who believed the new year started on April 1 being dubbed an “April Fool”.

My take: plausible.

There are also several paragraphs devoted to searching for early references to April Fool’s  Day in literature.  Of course, some alleged references are vague, but there seems to be a fairly straighforward one in a 1561 poem by the Flemish writer Eduard De Dene about a nobleman who plays tricks on his servant by sending him to do silly errands on April 1st.  This checks off the boxes for both  “April (1st) Fool’s Day” and the term “Fool’s Errand”.  So, most likely the custom had been established by the mid 16th Century.

So whether your filling your boss’s car with ping pong balls,

car full of ping pong balls

 

redirecting your friend’s Facebook page to a midget porn site,

trust me you dont want to see that

 

or just faking your own (or someone else’s) death,

Beach+prank_cd852c_4962032

you can be assured you are partaking in a long and well established tradition.  And…if you’re wondering who it was who glued your coffee cup to your desk?  It wasn’t me.  I told you – I haven’t left the house all day.

Music Friday – All Cats Edition

Music Friday – All Cats Edition

It’s Friday and you know what that means.  That’s right.  Songs with “Cat” in the title.  What?   You were expecting BillBoard Hot 100 1976 through…?

According to Alaska Jim this is the list of songs with cat (or some form of “cat” i.e. lion or tiger) in the title.  And, no, I have no idea who Alaska Jim is other than the fact he has a list of cat titles on a website that I found by googling “songs about cats”.  But anyway, thanks Jim.

Some of these you’d know if you gave it a minute’s thought.  Others you have never heard of.

Let the fun begin!

I’ll start off with the obvious choice – the song and the name of the group both have “cat” in the title:

Here’s another you’ve heard many times:

Here’s a fun one from a movie with the same title:

Now let’s get a little obscure (unless you are a Lovin’ Spoonful fan):

Finally, a song that is seared into my memory due to the fact that it played in heavy rotation on KRAK radio in 1965:

Tiger by the tail indeed.  Dedicated to cat lovers everywhere.  Some more than others.  Welp, time to go to work.  Hope you enjoyed these.  Have a great weekend!

Music Friday – Firearms Edition

Music Friday – Firearms Edition

and I suppose you could dance to it.  Sure.  Why not?

No tuning neccessary.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ

A Puppy’s Tale – epilogue

A Puppy’s Tale – epilogue

Back about the middle of December I began a series of posts entitled “A Puppy’s Tale”.  I intended it to be a trilogy, and completed parts I (A Fortunate Encounter) and II (The Winding Road).  This post is part III (Epilogue), though it will be a bit of a non-sequitur in that I will depart from the third person storytelling format and move into the first person narrative.

I was motivated to write the story as a method of dealing with the grief I experienced after the death of my 16 year old dog, Desa.

Desa Flowers

I have lost pets before, but the level of grief I experienced this time was deeper than I had felt before and I thought that perhaps I needed a coping mechanism.  I decided to write a story of her life – which coincidentally would be a story of my life during the years we shared.  This turned out to be an immensely personal task and after completing the first two parts I did not and still do not believe that my writing skills are up to finishing the trilogy in a way that will do justice to the truth.  Suffice it to say that when this dog and I crossed paths, both our worlds became better, though whether hers really did is merely an assumption on my part.  I do know that when our paths parted I was left with an emptiness that seemed disproportionately profound.  I still feel it today.

The story of how Desa joined our family as told in Part I is unimbellished truth as told to me by my first (late) wife who was not an exagerator or prevaricator.  Desa was not the first dog I have owned, but for reasons that are not obvious to me I was closer to her than any other dog I have known or owned.  Perhaps it is because I believe that I grew a great deal as a person during the years I owned her.  I don’t know – like I said – the reasons are not obvious to me.

A Puppy’s Tale ended the way one might expect – an ageing animal’s health fails to the point that euthanasia is neccessary.  A common scenario that is played out most likely thousands of times daily across the country.  My active role in her death, while neccessary and humane, weighs on me though I know I had no choice.

So I bid farewell to a canine friend and carry on.

The Siege Continues…

The Siege Continues…

…Big Government, having been kept out of the  bedroom (for now), lays siege to our backyards and hotel showers.  Of course, it’s For Your Own Good ®.

Remember a few years back when there was a big brouhaha over some states’ antiquated anti-sodomy laws and other laws dealing with inter-racial relationships?  There was a movement to identify and repeal these laws on the basis that they represented unwarranted intrusion of the governement into our personal lives – a position I support, BTW.  So these laws were wiped off the books, and the public at large now has freedom of sexual*ahem*expression without fear of the sex police breaking the door down to verify the correct techniques are being employed or that the participants’ genders meet statutory requirements.  Yay freedom!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

So that’s all well and good.  We don’t need old outdated laws intruding on our freedom.  Nope.  What we need are some new laws intruding on our freedom.  Why?  Because in the Progressive Utopia of the 21st Century and Beyond we either will need to be protected from something or we will need our behavior modified to comply with the modern and correct norms of liberal groupthink.

Examples?  OK.  Take barbeque grills for example.  They are sources of pollution – they must be – look at all that smoke!  And the poor grillmaster!  Exposed to all those carcinogens!  Forced to sacrifice his health just so that others may partake of tasty meats.  It’s an injustice, and quite frankly I do not understand how we as a society can tolerate it.  Luckily, EPA to the rescue!

Backyard Burger and Wiener Roasts Targeted By EPA

Of course, they’re only studying it now, but it will be coming to your backyard soon enough I’m sure.  No need to thank the EPA.  They’re just doing their job.  Someone has to micromanage your life so you don’t hurt yourself.

Now go take a shower and wash off all that soot and grease.  Just don’t stay in the shower too long or we’ll have to modify your behavior.

EPA Wants to Monitor How Long Hotel Guests Spend In The Shower

Why hotel guests?  They gotta start somewhere, I suppose.

“First, they came for the hotel guests and I said nothing because I was not a hotel guest.  Finally when there was a bureaucrat with a clipboard living in my home taking notes while I showered there was no one left to stand up for me.”  – me in five years

So, as I said, the siege continues.  Certainly the government was pushed back out of the bedroom, but they’ve made it into the backyard and now they’re in the bathroom.  You know what’s right next to the bathroom?  That’s right!  The bedroom!  And you don’t want to know what’s going to happen when they get back in there!

Because in the Progressive Utopia of the 21st Century and Beyond, that which is not forbidden will be mandatory!

Cross posted at  the Men Out of Work Blog

My “Peak Music Year” Project – Conclusion

My “Peak Music Year” Project – Conclusion

Regular readers of this blog know that some months ago I undertook a project to determine my “peak music year”.  I arbitrarily and capriciously devised a method that I would use to make this determination.  I decided to examine the BillBoard Hot 100 chart for the years 1965 through 1975, determine a “winner” for each year and then pick a favorite from the winners and declare the year that my favorite won to be my “Peak Music Year”.  Now I have finished that process and it’s time to reveal my conclusion and declare my Peak Music Year.

Here are the “winners” of the BillBoard Hot 100 for the relevant years (you can click on the year to read my post summarizing the chart for that year and how I declared the winner):

1965:  The Beatles (five #1 songs)

1966:  The Beatles (two #1 songs)

1967:  The Beatles (three #1 songs)

1968:  The Beatles (two songs, a total of eleven weeks at #1)

1969:  The Beatles (two songs, a total of six weeks at #1)

1970:  The Jackson 5 (Four #1 songs)

1971:  Three Dog Night (Six weeks at #1)

1972:  Disqualified – I declared No Winner

1973:  Disqualified – I declared No Winner

1974:  Disqualified – I declared No Winner

1975:  Elton John (three #1 songs)

So…my favorite among the winners?  Duh.  The Beatles.  That makes my peak music year…what….the 1960’s?  Crap.  OK, while the Beatles are my favorite group among these “winners”, they are not my favorite group of all time.  So there was obviously a flaw in my format.  In reviewing my summaries I would have to say that the year I was most enthusiastic about was 1969, even though the two Beatles tunes that earned them their “win” that year are not even my favorite Beatles songs.  On the other hand, of the seventeen songs that reached #1 that year, I liked (and still like) fifteen of them.  So is 1969 my peak music year?  It is true that there was a lot of great music that year, and I liked and still like a lot of it.

But I also listened to a lot of music  in 1972, ’73 and ’74, years that I disqualified as my peak music year because the BillBoard Hot 100 chart yielded no winner for me.  A lot of the progressive music I listened to during those years was anti commercial and the artists probably would have been insulted if their songs charted on the Hot 100.  Groups like Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and The Alan Parsons Project.  And even though the band that is most likely my favorite of all time, Steely Dan, was (is?) not an alternative group, and they did have significant commercial success, their successes came later than 1975.  I can only conclude that the BillBoard Hot 100 was not the appropriate database to use for purposes of determining my peak music year.  Also the only conclusion I can draw from my little exercise is that 1969 was my Peak BillBoard Hot 100 music year, and a good music year overall for me.

After having reached this wishy washy conclusion to the project, I present two songs related to the year 1969:

First, The Beatles (featuring honorary 5th Beatle, Billy Preston) with one of their #1’s from that year, Get Back:

Next, Steely Dan with a song that was written in 1969, The Caves Of Altamira:

Thanks for reading and sticking with it.  This, however, will not be my final word on my Peak Music Year.

Here’s An Interesting Map

Here’s An Interesting Map

If you are a baby boomer like I am, then you grew up in the era of duck & cover drills and you remember Civil Defense sirens being tested on the first Friday of every month.  If you are not a baby boomer  let me explain.  Duck & Cover drills were performed periodically in school, similar to a fire drill.  Except during a duck & cover drill the teacher would exclaim “duck & cover!” and the students immedately jumped under their desks and covered their heads with their hands.  This was to practice what we were to do when we saw the flash emitted by a detonating nuclear bomb.  Also we were warned not to look directly at the flash lest our eyeballs melt.  Good times.  Civil Defense sirens were basically air raid sirens to warn everyone to get ready to duck & cover.  These were tested at 11:30 AM on the first Friday of every month, which I’m sure the Soviets figured would be the best time for an attack.

Anyhoo, the Civil Defense authorities that thought up duck & cover and installed the sirens also put together a map of targets that the Soviets were likley to nuke when the shit got real:

nuke target map

click to enlarge

They planned for every eventuality.  The triangles depict targets is an “500 warhead” scenario.  The black spots are “2000 warhead scenario” targets.  I happen to live within the intersection of two black spots that are within the intersected area of three triangles.  So I doubt the duck & cover would have helped.  But I guess it’s better than telling a second grader to “bend over and kiss your ass good-bye”.

Belated Saint Patrick’s Day Offering

Belated Saint Patrick’s Day Offering

If any of you have been reading this blog for a year now, you would have read this entry one year and one day ago:

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick’s Day is not merely a commercial holiday designed to sell green beer, party goods and corned beef, it is a cultural and religious holiday commemorating the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.  Saint Patrick was a 5th Century Christian missionary, considered the primary Patron Saint of the island.  You may follow the links to learn more via wikipedia.  It was not my sole intention to give a history lesson, but to share my personal experience of walking some of the same ground walked by Pádraig.

I was fortunate to be able to travel to Ireland in 2009 and one of the places I visited was The Rock of Cashel, a historic site in County Tipperary.

The Rock of Cashel

The Rock of Cashel

The site was the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster prior to the Norman Invasion and is reputed to be where the (then current) King of Munster was converted to Christianity by Saint Patrick in the 5th Century.  The oldest buildings remaining on the site date from ca. 1100, though there is a cross there they call Saint Patrick’s Cross and it is said to date from the King’s conversion in the 5th century.

Saint Patrick's Cross

Saint Patrick’s Cross

I found this to be truly a beautiful place, and it gave me pause to think how many lives have intersected here.

Their Domain as once viewed by Great Kings

Their Domain as once viewed by Great Kings

All photos are mine.  You can click on each image to see a larger version.

And so remember all who came before us and that Saint Patrick’s Day has been a long time in the making.

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