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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, October 26, 2009


President Obama has declared the swine flu epidemic a National Emergency.

I am surprised that the FNN (Fox Neo-Nazi News) and all who subscribe to their snake oil prescriptions have not yet, as far as I know, thereupon declared swine flu to be a hoax.

Shortly before death silenced him for good a few years ago, Jerry Falwell, the former famed conservative, had an article published in a newsletter put out by the conservative college that he founded, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, in which he maintained that global warming, now more often called "climate change," is a hoax.

You wonder what he would say now, if he knew how fast the ice at the poles is melting, to the point where scientists, somewhat more reliable in predicting catastrophes than are religionists, are now saying that no more than 10 years from now, the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in the summers, thus giving the sun's rays even freer rein to soak into our planet instead of being bounced back into space by the reflectivity of the icecaps, and so heating up things considerably for us all. And meanwhile the famed Northwest Passage, which had defied the passage of ships sailing through the north of Canada for so long, is now a reality.

Now everyone is convinced that the Heene parents of the boy who didn't take the balloon flight over Colorado a few weeks ago perpetrated a hoax and therefore, for some reason not clear to me, should be nailed to the wall. But I am not sold on the idea that it was a hoax. Even if the parents admitted to it, I wouldn't be surprised if the Heenes do, in fact, welcome all this notoriety as perpetrators of a hoax, since this one didn't lead to any damage done to anyone or anything, aside from the egg left on a certain number of faces.

Free publicity, no matter what it may be, is the name of the national game, isn't it? And any pair who would appear on a TV show called "Wife Swap" -- twice -- has demonstrated that they are not averse to becoming household names.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quail Sightings

The other day something quite unusual happened in my garden, twice. Both times, for a few seconds each, I saw a quail walking around before it quickly walked behind something, the first time in the upper garden and then again a day or two later in the lower garden.

This was a big thrill, as I had never seen a quail in the wild before, during the whole time I've been living here, though I've heard Bob Whites quite often. This year especially, in the spring and the early summer, they set up some sustained and loud sessions of calls, at some distance away.

I wonder if I saw two different quail or the same one. And I wonder what it or they were up to. Is a quail establishment about to be made here, where, on my 20 acres at least, there are no resident dogs and only one now aged and non-roaming cat?

I don't know why anyone would want to kill a quall, unless they're totally marooned somewhere and on the verge of starvation. They are so cute and utterly harmless, and the little peeping sound they make is also cute. But that is what that hapless buzzard who was thought by many to be the U.S. Vice-Prez during the GWBush years and who is still making absurd pronouncements as if it still matters was doing, when he instead shot one of his hunting buddies. I think it was down in Texas.


Once again the police feel like they're on to something big, this time in Springfield, a populous suburb upstate in Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. A man has been accused -- and therefore according to modern U.S. custom already found guilty -- of exposing himself to the public while in his own home. A woman, who according to this report "just happens" to be married to a police officer, claims to have been walking her child to school when she saw this guy standing naked, not just through one of his windows but also through a second one as well. And now the police, really trying to nail down this one, are busy circulating fliers through the neighborhood, asking any others who may also have seen him in that state of undress to also come forth. And now the damage has been done, no matter what the courts decide. Though this man claims that he was merely standing in his house fixing coffee while clothesless, he has been thrown willynilly into that black pit that no one ever escapes, the status of being considered to be a sex offender, with all the proscriptions that harry people to the end of their days, no matter what they do.

Though it could happen anywhere, I know a little something about Springfield, Virginia. In the 1960's, aided by his mother's largesse, one of my best friends was fortunate and farsighted enough to buy a house there, with 6 acres of land, and when I first started keeping bees, before I moved to Virginia, he let me keep a few hives there. Years later, as Fairfax County was making its big surge into becoming one of the U'.S.'s premier bedroom communities, he must've made a killing when he and his wife sold that property and moved to a great place in Virginia's Northern Neck, where they live right on an inlet of a bay, and now, among other amenities, they have a boat anchored right at the edge of their front yard.

But to get back to this story, there was a guy who used to live right up the road from here and whom we never really knew though he was here for years. Some other neighbors and close friends claim while driving by to have seen this guy standing in his yard in clear sight practicing his golf swing while completely nude.

Though the male half of the couple who told me this used to be a police officer himself, they never thought to report it, and in any case there were no children involved. They just thought it was an interesting topic to be dropped into a conversation, and they let it go at that, while taking great delight in having dubbed him "Nudie."

Of course I've already made my position clear. I don't know why anyone would walk around without any clothes on, period, inside or outside his house except in the obvious privacies of baths and sex. The simple act of always being clothed, which so far has not yet been outlawed or found to be unfashionable , is one of our best defenses against a huge number of outrages.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The One-Drop Tyranny

Usually-- and even almost always -- if something is more of one thing than it is of another, then, if one finds it inconvenient, or impolitic, to denote the mixed derivation, it is called by the name of the larger ingredient and not by the smaller one. That only stands to reason. But when one has an ax to grind, which happens often when it comes to human relationships, that kind of making sense drops by the wayside, and instead the contempt factor sets in, and the truth of the matter is made to stand on its head, for as long as that awry situation can be made to last.

So you have the long-practiced policy of considering a person to be something called "black"even if as little as one drop of his blood can be shown to be of that nature, amd even if the many other gallons of it are clearly something called "white" or some other ancestry but especially European or"white."

I always wondered why people, falling into that bogus convention so easily, never stop to think that, by holding on so tightly to it, they are actually saying that so-called "white" blood, in comparson, is so weak and dilute that it gives way and defers bigtime whenever -- in their eyes -- stronger, so-called "black" blood is present.

By now you've guessed where I'm headed with all this.

B. Obama is always referred to as the "first black U.S. President," but actually, if one can find it in him- or herself to look at it reasonably and dispassionately, he is much more "white" than he is "black," and thus the milestone that he is supposed to represent in that respect is not anywhere near as great as it is commonly supposed to be.

It's true that Obama's father was Kenyan and therefore mostly and maybe even all "black," but his mother was "American" and therefore mostly or even maybe all "white," though all that could be debatable, considering how often people got around in the old days though not that long ago, especially on the American frontier.

That would seem to make B. Obama no better than 50-50, but that leaves out the other big factor that makes up a person, and that is the environment in which he is raised and educated, and that ends up counting for much more than one's blood content. In Obama's case that environment was heavily "white," despite his having attended J. Wright's church for 20 years, and I would say that the several other "churches" that he also attended, for much longer periods and with greater concentration, especially the circumstance of having been raised almost entirely by his mother and his grandmother, both "white," seriously outweighed anything else that went to make him the person that he is.

That's why I've never understood all the fuss made, by his supporters as well as by his detractors, over that "black" thing, when that is clearly only one of his minor components at best And I think that, deep down, B; Obama would admit that it isn't anywhere near as uppermost in his mind as many other things are -- and it can't be, in the job he's holding. So in light of the importance of all those other matters, I don't know why it should count so much in the minds of others either.

Well, I do know why....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Colorado Balloon False Alarm

Today we learn that in the case of the silver balloon that authorities chased across part of Colorado a few days ago, after getting a report that it was carrying a 6-year-old male unintentional stowaway, only to find later that he was actually safe at home, charges are to be filed. Naturally.

The legal profession, always jealous of its prerogatives, is still holding the exact nature of the charges close to its chest, but one possibility is the misdemeanor of falsely reporting a crime. It seems to be all on the strength of something the 6-year-old said on a talk show, though talk of a hoax was brought up much earlier.

But why bother? The purposes of all have been served, haven't they?

The county sheriff, who is calling for more than misdemeanor charges, should actually be quite satisfied. After all, his name has been in the national news every day since then. And the name of his otherwise obscure county now is equally known -- for these few moments of attention anyway, which never lasts long in any case.

Meanwhile the nation got its TV kicks out of another "child-in-the-well" emergency -- a welcome change from the usual news reports that discourteously call for thought that is seldom exerted .

And some military guys got to take some unexpected joyrides out of their big, expensive helicopters.

And the big airport nearby got to show its responsibility to the public, by closing down for a while and thereby getting a breather from its usual hectic activities.

Of course the news media did its bit by spreading the alarm as best it could and thereby ended up with its share of the sheepishness, but that's all a part of things.

All in all, everybody should be satisfied, and they should let well enough alone. But in a police state the legal profession is supreme, and it can't let any chance go by to intrude itself, to show who is king.

Somebody has to pay. And the legals think they have a case that will resound with any judge and jury, because the parents have been starring in a TV reality program called "Wife Swap."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The President's Nobel Peace Prize

The other day, suddenly and unexpectedly, and after only nine months on the job, President B. Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and now the usual ogres that fill the ranks of the American Unthinking are beside themselves with apoplexy and rage. In the lead is the No. I villain among the news media, the FNN (short for that profane and sorry disservice called the "Fox Neo-Nazi or Nasty News") Just about every day since then they seem to have run some item of disapproval, with headlines on the order of "Pundits Pound Obama Peace Prize." I won't and can't quote what these items say, because reading Fox is bad for one's mental health, but I can guess with a fair amount of accuracy.

As soon as I heard about this award, I knew that one of the most interesting things about it would be the many and highly varied responses to it, of which one of the dumbest has been the contention that it will give fresh ammunition to Obama's detractors, to which my answer would be, "So what? Those suckers would react with drawn fangs even if he were to observe that the Sun rises in the East and sets down in the West." I saw that the reasons for his getting that prize were a matter that needed a lot of reflection -- something into which people like pundits and media people were not likely to put much effort and time, even if they had the equipment. So it was clear that it would be dangerous to jump out immediately with some say-so about the matter.

Michael Moore, the celebrated progressive moviemaker, was not so prudent, and like FNN and others of that ilk, with whom he is normally not aligned at all, he fell into the trap hook, line, and sinker, and the news had barely been announced when he rushed out an article with a theme on the order of "Congratulations, Mr. President on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Now Please Go Out and Earn It." He was thinking of the occupation of Iraq, though that is being quietly wound down as well as it can be,at Mr. Obama's direction, and of the continued hostilities in Afghanistan, though that is not an easy matter to resolve, with both being wars that were started by Obama's predecessor and have been running for years longer than Obama has been in office.

In his haste Moore seems to have been blissfully unaware of how he was aligning himself with the forces represented by the likes of the FNN and against which all his work on film and in print till now had been directed. It is the curse of some Progressives to jump into this unforgiving mode whenever someone who is on their side doesn't do exactly what they decree, and a great many Democrats regularly receive their badly misdirected stings.

In Moore's case it took his wife to make him see the light, and a couple of days later he came out with an article titled "Second Thoughts," in which he was much more charitable toward the President.

In general the world leaders looked with considerably greater kindliness and perception on Obama getting the prize than did the pundits that the FNN found so much to its liking. The prime ministers and others picked up the point in the Norwegians' thinking that those chronic Obama disapprovers had no chance to sense -- namely that giving him the prize really amounted to a gigantic sigh of relief, and it had been given in recognition of a new direction that the U.S. is apparently taking under its new leadership, a position of much more accommodation to the needs of the rest of the world, instead of throwing its weight around heedlessly and recklessly, as had been the case during the previous administation. And Fidel Castro had the same thought that I had, that the prize was as much a repudiation of the previous administration as it was anything else. It highlighted the total lack of any prospect that GW Bush would ever have been considered for such a recognition of peacemaking. And since that hapless bygoner was so much the boy of the side whose horns are blown so relentlessly by the FNN, that accounts for their anger and helpless tears of indignation at this act that was so far beyond their influence and control.

Having managed to achieve a few painful needle pricks in the matters of people taken aboard by the White House, the Forces of the American Darkness now seem to be hoping that the President will apologize for receiving the prize. Thereby they assume the "Old Massa" stance yet again, which is their habit when all else fails.

Actually giving that award tio B. Obama was a master stroke by the Norwegians, because it was in itself their contribution to world peace. It will strengthen the President's much more benign hand, and meanwhile in whom better are such hopes to be invested than the President of such an influential organization as the U.S. And in Obama's case, peace and conciliations are precisely the directions he has taken in these first few months in many matters, and even in Afghanistan, where he believes Americans, militarily or otherwise, can have some role in forestalling further attempts at setting up terror bases.

His ignoring the efforts of some Israeli thinking to expend American time, money, equipment, integrity, and lives by pushing the U.S. into attacking Iran is enough to merit getting a Nobel Peace Prize right there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Unoffered Advice

An online lady acquaintance is in a tight situation at her workplace, and she asks her readers for advice, any advice at all.

But I don't feel that I can give any, so I don't leave a comment on her site.

First of all, I would think that that's something a person should figure out strictly on their own, and this lady is plenty sharp and strong enough to be able to do that.

Secondly, I know absolutely nothing about her job and what it entails, pro or con.

Third, I know equally little about today's workplace and the alternatives that are available to her.

Fourth, I have no experience with her kind of situation. Never in my several places of employment or in the military, all quite long ago, did I encounter supervisors who voiced political or any other kind of opinions that troubled me. And I guess I was too unconcerned to be bothered about much anyway. I knew what I thought, and that was all that I needed.

This is not to say, however, that I don't have an opinion after all about what this lady might consider doing, and it could even be close to what she herself has already decided upon, and now she is merely fishing to find out many others might be equally like-minded.

It sounds to me like one of those times when we might wish we could live with the utter simplicity of a cat. I have observed that whenever cats encounter a situation that they deem to be totally unacceptable, they don't hesitate. They say, "I'm outta here!" and they leave, instantly. No rumination, no soul-searching, no waving of a paw among the alternatives. Instead they're already long gone, like a shot.

Such a philosophy must work, regardless of environment. As a species they've been around for much longer than any of us, and in reasonable states of comfort.

Unfortunately this lady is not in a position to see how cats do things. I don't think she has the necessary number of them, or even one. She has a dog, and dogs, being relatively new to the planet, don't have their ethic nearly as well worked out.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Burned in Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense R. Gates has declared that pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan is not an option.

But it should be. In fact, they should never have been sent in there in the first place, and I told the Bush birds that.

One of the great blues artists [I'll look it up the first chance I get] has a song that features the line, "I'll never get out of these blues alive." I don't think it's Lightning Hopkins. It's that other guy, I think also from Texas. Er... Er....

Anyway the same can be said for any foreign power that ventures into Afghanistan. But people in power -- especially in the usually rational U.K. -- always and ridiculously think that they know better.

What is needed in this towering mess that B. Obama inherited from the previous administation is a concerted effort by U.S. scientists to come up with a way by which extrication from the noxious clutches of Afghanistan can be accomplished with all bases sufficiently covered.

This will clearly be a monumental task and well beyond the talents of any politicians, civil servants, military men, and the like. And if it can be done, then a raft of Nobel prizes should be instantly in order.

Maybe China could be tempted into following Great Britain, Russia, and now the U.S. into taking its turn in getting burned in Afghanistan. Maybe the idea could be sold to them as an initiation rite before a country can truly be considered to be a certifiable Great Power. The lure could be the promise of the nice, fat oil pipelines that once were hoped to be laid across Afghanistan.

But Tibet has proved to be such an indigestible morsel that maybe China would wonder why it should bother with other imperial ventures. Otherwise it hasn't shown much interest in expanding its borders in recent history. Instead sometimes its over-large population seems to have turned it into a sort of human Black Hole, with such a powerful inward-directed gravitation that not much already within it can resist its pull.

Restricting Gifts to Bloggers

Clicking here should lead to a Wall St. Journal article titled "U.S. Seeks to Restrict Gifts Made to Bloggers."

Bloggers get gifts? Who knew!

I know that more and more the various aspects of existence are slowly but inexorably getting away from me, but this is too much!

Well, this news item just goes to show how clever I have been with regard to yet another matter that need not cause me any worry.

But let's see what the article says.

The very first sentence puts things in a somewhat different way. It reads: The government wants to make it a little harder for bloggers to shill products online for fun and profit.

It seems that bloggers in another world that I know nothing about get freebies and other rewards for touting something or another, even including celebrities and movies, Payola of a sort. So the the government wants to make bloggers answerable in the same way as broadcast stations, newspapers, and magazines.

I didn't know that blogging had reached that point. And maybe it is indicative of something that the article ends -- at least on my computer -- abruptly cut off in mid-sentence.

This must mean that the matter hasn't been completely thought out as yet, from anyone's viewpoint.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Geheral Rule for Employment or Labor Day

When you take on some years, and people are paying even less attention to you than usual, you can come up with and state general rules for all kinds of things just as if they've been gospel all along, and without fear of refutation. Therefore here a month late is one I cooked up for Employment Day, or as it is more commonly known, Labor Day, though it must have dawned upon many others throughout the ages.

From personal experience and from the experiences of many others, no matter how difficult, dangerous, or boring a job is, it seems to me that the biggest drawback to any employment anywhere almost always boils down to just one thing, and that is the trouble caused by one's co-workers.

Therefore in "Help Wanted" ads you will see praises for all the aspects of a job, but rarely will you see something like, "with co-workers all of whom are congenial people of good character."

But maybe that's because there seldom has been any agreement on what constitutes "good character," and that seems to be true today more than ever.