5/31/07

Gene Retires

Gene Albrecht retired from the city, effective today. Gene worked for the city since 1979. He has been the building maintenance man at the city building at 601 Colorado. Before that, he was the custodian at the city light plant.

A gathering was held in council chambers. Old friends and fellow city workers dropped by for a bit of reminiscing and to say farewell.


Rick Klein cracks a few funnies with Gene.

5/30/07

Subsidies

"Hey. Hey. Did jouse gice see the web survey in the fishwrapper?" Billy asked, as he snuffled a bear claw at Daylight Donuts.

Leece rather delicately took a bite of her blueberry cake donut, and then sipped her cappie. "Yes, we did, Billy. I thought it was rather interesting that 41 out of 43 people thought that the airport was not being used efficiently."

"Yeah," I said, "but Council has addressed the problem and has moved to take charge of the matter and get it fixed."

"They have?" Billy looked at me, incredulously.

"They have?" Leece looked at me, even more incredulously.

"Of course. Council continues to demonstrate that they have a finger not only on the economic pulse of the city, but on the deeper, societal issues as well," I explained.

"They have?" Billy looked at me, incredulously.

"They have?" Leece looked at me, even more incredulously.

"You guys can stop with all that incredulousness," I said, somewhat peevishly. "You gotta start accentuating the positive and be more forward-looking in your outlook."

"I use Thunderbird, not Outlook," Billy said, "but that's beside the point. What're you talking about?"

"Well, if you would pay attention to what goes on in council, you would know that this was discussed at the last meeting," I chided gently.

"It was?" Leece avoided looking incredulous, and stuck with merely curious.

"Yep. Did you know that the airport doesn't make money? It's subsidized from 'the fund'." I explained.

"Oh." This from both Billy and Leece.

"Yep. So in the last council meeting, they voted to hold the up-charge for fuel to fifty cents for full-service fuel and forty cents for self-service, over cost. The city has been using 25% markup over acquisition cost. This will keep fuel prices lower and will attract more flyboys who will in turn spend more money, presumably for burgers and golfballs at the golf course," I explained. Again.

"I was talkin' to that Vanhook feller out at the roadside market an' he tole me that he gits them flyers comin' in to buy stuff durin' the harvest season," Billy remarked.

"Some of them are regulars," Leece said, "They've been coming in for years."

"Uh huh. And they gits the free car provided by the city to come touring around town. Now they's gittin' subsidized gas fer them aero-planes. And free snacks, too," Billy added.

"Huh?" I asked. Now it was my turn to show a bit of incredulousness.

"Yup. Yer right. I recollect now. Take a look at them minnits of the May 21 meeting," Billy told us, "they's givin' 'em free snacks, or maybe fer a 'small fee'."

"So. You mean to say that if I go out to the FBO building, I can get my Grandma's Chocolate Cookies for free, rather than paying fifty cents at Loaf and Jug?" I asked.

"No, you buffoon," Billy said,"you ain't a flyboy. You're just a local burden on the taxpayer. You don't do nothing for the city, while the flyboys do."

"They can't be doing all that much if we're subsidizing the airport, which runs at a deficit, and We the Taxpayer are providing a free car and other low-cost amenities," pointed out Leece.

"Quit bein' so negative," Billy said, "He's corrupting you again." He pointed at me. Billy wears a little thin, sometimes.

"You keep saying that and I'll corrupt you," I said, waving a fly-swatter at him.

"You know what I think?" Leece asked.

"No," Billy said, "but I'll betcha you're a-gonna tell us, aincha?"

"Yes. I think we should all load up in the van and go to Pueblo to see Spiderman 3, have dinner at the Texas Roadhouse, and then have some ice cream at Coldstone."

"I thunk you couldn't eat no ice cream," Billy said, "it makes you gassy."

Leece gave him a decidedly hostile look, enough to make him look like a kicked puppy. Again.

"Well are we goin' or not," he whined, "I wanna superlarge popcorn if we do."

"I dunno. Do you think the City of Pueblo will subsidize our movie tickets and give us a break on gasoline if we shop there?" I had to ask.

Billy snorted a dollup of cappie up his ample snoot, while Leece hacked and coughed over a misdirected bit of blueberry donut.

5/29/07

Karl Marx and the Democratic Party

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.

Uh huh. Karl Marx tried that. We called it "communism" or "socialism" depending on the virulence of the infection.

Here's the entire article:

http://tinyurl.com/32mnnp

Another excerpt:

"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."

She tries to sugar-coat it, but she is talking about socialism, pure and simple. If you don't think so, take another look at Marx' scribblings, and while you're at it, those of Friedrich Engels as well.

And does anyone really believe that 'no special privileges' will apply to Hillary Clinton?

Fort Tucker Presents

Third Annual Hot Dog Roast
July 14, 2007
5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Come as you are
Bring a covered dish
24132 Highway 10, right next to Dean's Summer Cottage
South of Swink

"America is losing the victory..."

"The troops returning home are worried. 'We've lost the peace,' men tell you. 'We can't make it stick.' "

"Friend and foe alike, look you accusingly in the face and tell you how bitterly they are disappointed in you as an American."

"Never has American prestige in Europe been lower."

"Thoughtful men can't help remembering that this is a period in history when every political crime and every frivolous mistake in statesmanship has been paid for by the death of innocent people."

See:

http://www.kultursmog.com/Life-Page01.htm

5/26/07

Memorial Day

Cox and Forkum Editorial Cartoons has a nice post on the origins of Memorial Day, plus several excellent cartoons previously published for Memorial Day:

http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/001118.html

My favorite is "To Futures Lost...and Futures Won"

God bless the Armed Forces of the United States, and all who serve...and have served...in them.

5/25/07

Nice One!

So this afternoon, the lens popped out of my Serengetis. Again.

I tried tightening the screw, but it was a really dinky thing and even with a very small jeweler's screwdriver, there was no joy in Mudville.

I went down to Abba to see what they could do.

They were very pleasant and replaced the screw, and cleaned the glasses.

When I asked how much for the service, I was told, "No charge."

Thanks again to the folks at Abba for excellent customer service...and I didn't even get the glasses there.

Thud!

Today, drama unfolded over in North La Junta, as fire and police responded to a cat in a tree call.

Chief Aaron Eveatt and Fire Captain Brad Davidson responded with the ladder truck, to a tree across from North School.

According to informed sources, the cat had been in the tree since Wednesday.

Davidson braved the heights, struggling up the ladder through leaf and limb, to approach the recalcitrant feline.

According to informed sources, CO 109 was closed to traffic while the rescue was in progress. Two La Junta Police Dept cars blocked traffic until two Otero Sheriff's Office cars arrived. Colorado State Patrol was also on scene for a short time.

Otero County Commissioner Jake Klein made an appearance. As of press time, it's unknown if Mr. Klein took over as Incident Commander.

According to those same informed sources, the cat moved from one area of the tree, then about 40 feet above the ground, to one even higher. The cat then moved out onto a very skinny limb, smaller than even squirrels are known to bounce about on.

As Davidson made a heroic effort to grab the cat, the feline retreated...and lost his/her/its grip on the branch. The cat then plummeted to the ground, bouncing at least once with a resounding thud before hauling off down the street, owner in hot pursuit.

It would appear that cats do have nine lives.

5/24/07

Sodom, Gomorrah, Jimmy Bakker, and Greg Laurie

Greg Laurie has written a devotional over on Crosswalk.

http://tinyurl.com/35skaw

Laurie is a highly regarded evangelist/pastor. Here is an excerpt:
"The pride of those who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah was a nationalistic pride. They felt strong and indestructible. And many feel that way today in the U.S. The problem is that we have forgotten God. We have done our level best to push Him out of our schools, out of our courtrooms, and out of our culture, and we are now seeing the results of it with the moral breakdown in our society."

So is this guy a One Worlder, or what? He doesn't care for nationalistic pride.

The problem is not that we have forgotten God. And God has not been pushed out of the classrooms. He's still there. What has been pushed out of the classrooms is The Correct Version of God According to Whoever Is In Charge.

Remember "God in the Swimming Pool"? When the swimming coach was evangelizing to the girls on the way to swim meets? Ooops...'allegedly evangelizing'...

Do you remember that? And the girls who complained about it were treated differently than those who did not? Were the girls who protested anti-Christian? Or did they just not like having the swimming coach's version of God jammed down their throats?

That difference in treatment is why prayer has been disallowed in the classroom. It has nothing to do with God. It has everything to do with the weakness of human character that allows persecution, ostracization, mistreatment, different treatment, by a secular government organization based upon the beliefs of the agents of that organization.

I heard a joke the other day:

"A Nazarene preacher had died and gone to heaven. As St Peter was giving him an orientation tour, showing him where the bathrooms, coffee and snack machines, etc were, they passed a number of rooms. From one of the rooms came loud voices, very loud, so much so that they were rudely disturbing others as they went about their heavenly duties.

The Nazarene preacher asked St Peter what was going on in that room.

St Peter replied, "Oh, that's the Baptists. They think they're the only ones up here."

And of course you can insert any other denomination, religion, or cult in place of "Nazarene" or "Baptist".

You get the point. We have so many fervently religious types running around that think they have The One Truth, and who are so willing to impose it upon others...that is why prayer has been pushed out of the classroom. It has nothing to do with atheists or God. It has everything to do with the self-anointed Chosen Ones. If God is not in the heart and in the home, how can prayer in school make any difference at all? Are the teachers really supposed to be surrogate parents to that degree? How many people who whine and complain about no prayer in school actually have prayer at home? How many actually have a family prayer session before the kids go to bed? How many actually have a grace prayed before dinner? Yet they complain about "God being pushed out of the school"? What hypocrisy.

As for the moral cesspool in which we now live...no...I ain't buyin' that. "The Good Old Days" are a figment of the imagination, nothing more than a fictional rendition of real life, no more valid than "Ozzie and Harriet" was a valid representation of home life in America in those "Good Old Days". If you really start digging into the morality of American society Then and Now, the only real difference is that 'sin' is more in the open. It was there, then, as it is, now. Does hiding it make it more acceptable? The attitudes we see today have always been there; people have just been more hypocritical about it in the past, and have hidden it better. Today they don't even care about hiding it. Is that a significant difference? Is it sufficiently different that we all now start walking around wearing signs "Repent! Repent! The End is Near!"

So I would say to Brother Greg, when you do that, do me a favor. Go over to your bank and withdraw all your money and go deposit it to my account. You see, if you are right, then you can snicker in self-satisfied manner when you are in heavenly favor and I am not. After all, you can't take it with you.

Meanwhile, I'd suggest, in my own heathenly way, that you quit thumping the Bible so much and start paying more attention to that "...conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others..." that seems to be the real key to Christian spiritual formation.

When you do that, maybe the heathens and the unchurched will be moved to follow your example.

Oh...one more thing. Take a look at the advisory at the bottom of the article:

Copyright © 2007 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.

I need Thomas Nelson's permission to quote text from the Bible? Tell me...is Brother Thomas going to pay Ezekiel royalties? Or is he going to just stash the funds in the Jimmy Bakker Retirement Account, somewhere in the Bahamas?

"...a penis in one hand and the Koran in the other..."

An Englishman describes Islam, using that slicing English wit and command of the language:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=418_1176494781

Hotel renovation as an economic development exercise

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,275191,00.html

So.

When are bids opening for the penthouse atop the Kit Carson?

Heavy Hitters

Check this:

http://tinyurl.com/yqavvv

Like, wowsers! That's a lot of muscle. Is Achmed about to get hammered into paradise?

Eine Welt! Ein Volk!

Well, we're seeing some of the backlash - again - from the New World Order, as the Chinese once more ship out tainted products, either because of slovenly quality control or through deliberate acts of sabotage.

See this article from CNN:

http://tinyurl.com/233axg

about The Poisoned Toothpaste.

Note that Colgate-Palmolive claims not to market toothpaste made in China - they do not, however, state that their toothpaste is made in the USA.

Proctor and Gamble (Crest) state that their toothpaste is made in the USA.

First the dogs were poisoned; now people. What next? Poisoned parakeet seed?

China may be an extremely powerful military, political, and economic power, but they are still a Third World country run by a collection of corrupt, immoral Communist thugs.

5/23/07

Brother Gantry

"That was a good one by The Captain, bringing up Elmer Gantry and linking that mindset to Brother John," said Tookie, as she licked her latest Blue Bunny concoction, something with peanuts, blueberries, butterscotch and bits of bubble gum.

"Yeah. But do you know The Rest of The Story on Brother Elmer?" asked Billy, as he swirled a bit of chocolate biscotti around in the latest feaux-feaux brew, something called 'Vermont Maple'. It smelled like a stack of flapjacks drenched in real maple syrup. It also had enough caffeine to jump start King Tut's mummy.

"Tell us, Billy,' said Leece.

"Well, after Brother Sinclair wrote it and it was published back around 1927, the pastorate went completely alpha sierra. The book was banned in Boston, Billy Sunday was on a rant and called Brother Sinclair "Satan's advocate", another preacher foamed and frothed and wanted Sinclair jailed for five years, and pastors around the country urinated, figuratively if not literally, all over the Constitution, as they raved against Sinclair Lewis," Billy explained.

"Huh. Ain't it odd that those institutions that are the most protected by that Constitution are among the first to trash it when someone...how was it that that fellow put it the other day...ah...pees in their Cheerios..." Tookie commented.

"Toots, you keep on with that mouth and you'll be gargling vinegar," I said. She just smiled smugly at me. "I'll rat you off to your mother. Don't you be gettin' too smug."

She hunkered down and buried her snoot in her ice cream.

"It's the same crowd, the so-called "Christians", who rant and rave about how this country is goin' to the dogs, becoming a nation of Godless minions of Satan, how we're no longer 'one nation, under God', and more yaddayaddayadda, who are the first, the very first, and often the most vocal in the process, who are ready to flush down the toilet the very principles upon which this country was founded," Billy said.

"Makes you wonder if all those Purple Hearts you got bleeding for that Constitution and the country are worth it, doesn't it?" I asked him.

"Sometimes. Yes. Sometimes it seems that way. But then I think that in spite of those smarmy self-righteous SOB's we still manage to hold the line against them. The enemy within is at least as dangerous as the external enemy. Which is worse? A self-righteous self-styled "Christian" whose behavior would cause Jesus to weep, or a self-righteous Islamofascist?" he asked.

"Well, it's only a matter of degree," Leece stated.

"You wanna expand on that?" I asked.

"Sure. There is nothing restraining the Islamofascists. As we have seen, the Koran not only tolerates murder but in many passages actually encourages it. Most Islamic scholars will tell you that this is a misinterpretation, but the fact of the matter is that the silence of the majority of the world's Muslims in face of all the murder and mayhem tells us different. There are few if any cultural, social restraints to take up the lack of moral restraints," she said.

"So what you mean is that if these so-called "Christians" were not restrained by the Constitution and those in the system who stand by it, especially the cops and the courts and the military, we'd see people strung up from lamp posts here in this country as well?"

"What about dirty cops? Corrupt judges? Crimes against civilians by the US military?" Tookie asked.

"Those are the exceptions rather than the rule," Billy explained,"the US military does not wage war against civilians as a matter of policy, whereas the Islamofascists do. Dirty cops get prosecuted. So do dirty judges. It ain't perfect, but there are more of the good guys than there are of the bad guys, and the good guys aren't afraid to stand up to the bad guys."

"I think Toots is right about restraint," I said, "I think that's exactly what you'd see. They wave the flag and get all teary-eyed but without those restraints exercised by others they'd be the first to lynch anyone who disagreed with them. If the Klan were still in vogue, you'd see a lot more "White Christian Knights" running around than you do."

"It's interesting that the most vocal against Sinclair Lewis were the pastorate," interjected Tookie, "do you think they're all like that?"

"Oh...no...speaking from my own experiences in the pastorate, no, I don't agree with that at all, at least not today," Leece said, "many if not most pastors have their hands full with the same kinds of people telling them how to run the churches and how to and what to preach. It's not a majority, but they can be very vocal, and a lot of time they are also the ones who hold some of the church's purse strings."

"So they think because they make big donations they can dictate church doctrine?" asked Toot Sweet.

"Some. But certainly not all. Some of the very nicest people are also some of the biggest financial supporters, but you don't often hear from them. They give from the heart, not because it gives them what they think is the right to shoot off their mouths."

"Huh. What about all those TV evangelist scandals from the 80's?" Toots asked.

"Don't paint everyone with the same brush, young lady. That's probably one of the most important lessons you can learn in life," Leece popped back, adding, "Also, you should think about Jesus' words that people will know that we are disciples by our love. Of course, love does not mean sweeping everything under the rug, like many Christians think. Love means dealing with people honestly and with respect. There are also more dimensions, but those two are foremost in my mind."

"Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of Christians are very nice people just trying to live right, but when a fruitcake bombs an abortion clinic or makes a flagrant remark about homosexuals or starts ranting about 'one nation under God' to the detriment of the fundamental values of the country, then all of us are branded as judgmental," Billy said. "That's part of why I kicked out of the M-Div at Oxford and later Asbury; I just didn't think I could live up to it. That not being able to live up to it doesn't seem to bother a lot of people. Quite a few just pay it lip service."

We all fell silent for a moment, once again contemplating The Thisness of That and The Whichness of What.

"Hey. Hey. Did you see the article on the Run for the Wall in the fishwrapper, the one by Bill Abel?" Billy asked.

"Yes. Yep, I did," Tookie popped up, "I liked his closing line: '...are a special and very welcome way to thank them and those who have given their all to protect their country and its freedoms.' "

She leaned over and gave Billy a hug and a little kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, Billy, to you and everyone like you, who are why I can be me today," she said.

Billy suddenly stood up. "I gots ta go to the bathroom," he said. And he took off down the hall.

"Did I say something wrong?" Toots asked.

"No, sweetie, you said it just right," Leece told her.

5/22/07

After the storm

This evening's little storm was very nice, very refreshing, and left us with a magnificent cloudscape and a rich light that drew out the colors of sky and landscape.

Here's a photo from up by the Humanities Center. It's clickable for a larger image size:

Oh, you betcha!

Well, gas prices continue to go up.

It seems a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The media talking heads go all a-twitter over "pain at the pump". Marsha Moutpeece, displaying her impressive orthodontic accomplishments while smiling at the hoi polloi through the camera, goes on and on and on and on about rising prices. And lo! the prices rise! A thousand or two years from now Marsha will be declared a prophet.

Do you see the media hype about the price of natural gas?

Do you see the media hype about unemployment levels being at all time lows?

Do you see the media hype about personal income increasing? Well...except here, of course, but I'm sure the biodiesel plant and the rapidly burgeoning tourism industry will fix that...

The mainstream media. Media whores. First, they went on about how it was the price of oil that drove prices at the pump. We were treated to breathless accounts by Marsha Moutpeece and her brethren and sistern every time an Arab sheik farted and Wall Street quivered and the price per barrel went up.

But the price of oil has been dropping. Price at the pump has not. So now it's because there is limited refining capacity. It has nothing to do with the price of oil. It's supply and demand. China is buying up all the refined product it can get. Hugo Chavez is playing tight with his supply. The Indonesians up the ante every time a seismograph quivers.

I don't think it has to do with either the price of oil or supply and demand. I think it's just jerks.

Then the question becomes "Which jerks?"

Aye, matey. That's the question. The guys who own the pumps? Oh, you betcha. Many, if not most of them will grub every penny they can every chance they get. Remember the old Kum and Go station across from the po-leece department? Remember the night Desert Storm cranked up? Remember how they tripped over themselves getting out there to raise the price? Same thing after Katrina or any other major event, social or economic.

The oil companies? Big Oil? Oh, you betcha.

The gummint? Oh, you betcha.

The tree-huggers who have blocked Alaskan and off-shore drilling? Oh, you betcha.

Sniveling politicians who live in 28,000 square foot mansions and flit about in fuel-sucking private jets to overpaid speaking engagements? Oh, you betcha.

But the price of gas really doesn't matter to many...most...here in this country. Outside the lower Arkansas Valley and a few other similar places.

It has no effect on how Jane Soccermom and her ilk live their lives, nor does it on most other people, except that they cut back on marginal stuff like movies and restaurant meals. We live in a world in which any of us can fly round trip to Europe for $1K, and we are all bent out of shape because gasoline is $3 a gallon. What's that all about?

If you are freaked by paying in excess of $3/gallon, get busy advocating a change to the metric system. $3/gallon is only about 80 cents a liter. Who can’t pay 80 cents a liter while driving to Starbucks to pay $3.50 for a 16 oz latte?

It's all a matter of perspective.

Elmer Gantry Preaches!

Over on "The Captain's Quarters" we have a nice post in which the author compares John Edwards to Elmer Gantry.

Why?

Because, he says, Brother John carries on like "...a revival tent huckster. Edwards is the Elmer Gantry of the poverty movement."

He's right. Brother John recently charged UC-Davis over $50,000 to speak on poverty.

Fifty large to speak on poverty?

Yup.

Not only that, but he charged Stanford $40,000 and American Jewish the same. Like, wowsers!

I have to agree with the Captain, that the public speaking market is an open market and if you can get that much, good on yer. But well over $50,000 to speak on poverty? And another $80,000 for two other speeches on poverty? And what about that energy-sucking 28,000 square foot mansion in which Brother John resides? Well, I guess putting those poverty speeches together is hard work, and Brother John needs to get away from all we hoi polloi before he tells 'us about poverty.

Edwards Mansion

Another excerpt:

"Marinucci notes that this will give some ammunition to his competition for the Democratic primary race. Democrats should already be asking themselves why someone who runs on "Two Americas" and as a champion of the downtrodden feels it necessary to live in a 28,000-square foot mansion. Now that they know it got funded by $55,000 lectures on the evils of poverty, it should make the equation even more clear."

Nicely swot, Cap'n. Nicely swot.

Getting Rich Off Poverty

and for those not familiar with Brother Elmer:

Elmer Gantry

I particularly like the closing scene of the movie and the play, where Brother Elmer is going on, praying fervently, for the US to be a 'moral nation'...whilst ogling the gams of one of the singers in the choir. Sounds like a good many of the self-described 'righteous' believers, doesn't it?

Yeah, comparing Brother John and Brother Elmer is right on the money.

5/20/07

School Daze

"Hey! Hey!" Billy wandered into The Barista and plunked himself down on the other side of the table.

"Wutcha eatin'?" he asked.

"Oh, I'm having one of those Sedona salads while Tookie is having the usual," I said.

"And I'm having a caramel frappie," chimed in Leece.

"Uh huh. Kin I have summa yer chips?" he asked, reaching over with those hands you just know haven't been washed since the last you-know-when.

"Keep them meathooks off my chow," I told him, "Getcher own or go wash those paws."

He looked like a kicked puppy. As usual. I refused to relent. Leece looked like she was glad she wasn't having anything he might mooch. She was wrong.

"Kin I have a sippa yer frappie?" he asked, with his best hangdog look that was guaranteed to start a guilt trip that would last From Here to Eternity.

"Not in this life or any other," she said.

"He's corrupting you," he said, pointing at me,"you usta be nice."

"Speaking of corruption," Tookie kicked in, licking her spoon of a bit of peanut butter and fudge, "did you hear about the bathrooms being off limits over at the Intermediate School?"

"No. Why is that?" Leece asked.

"Michael told me that some kids smeared poop all over the walls. With their hands. So those bathrooms are off-limits. They have some kind of restriction in place as to who can use what bathrooms and when."

"Hey. Hey. I heard they busted a coupla kids over in the same school, for smokin' dope," Billy added.

"Yep," Toots agreed, "Michael told me they offered him a toke. He declined."

"Good thing for him. Refusing that kind of offer increases his potential lifespan," Leece commented.

"Lifespan? I didn't know dope was that hazardous, at least life-wise, you know, not like tweaking," Toots observed, her eyebrows raised in some surprise.

"I mean his lifespan potential had he not refused and your mother had found out,"Leece tossed back.

"Oh. Oh. Yes. I'd have to agree," agreed Tookie.

"They ought to have the different classes taking turns cleaning those bathrooms," said Leece,"and see if that wouldn't put a stop to such nonsense. A little positive peer pressure goes a lot further than official disapproval."

"Yep. And you know, the same thing happened over at the middle school, last year, I'm told," I added.

"Uh huh. We shouldn't have to be payin' a guy to clean up that kind of mess. Let those kids clean it up themselves, and if they aren't the kids who did it, I'll betcha we'd find out real quick who did it. That pack loyalty mindset will go only so far." That from Billy.

"Yeah? See how far you get with that. You'll have parents pounding on the door and whining about picking on their kids. What goes on in those schools is insane at times. But all you'll ever hear is about how great things are. The kids will tell a somewhat different story," I said.

"Yep. They'll include the sordid details that are left out of The Pollyanna Report," added Toots,"I'm really not looking forward to going to either school. I wish Mom would win the lottery so I could go to private school. Maybe even military school, like that really cool one down in New Mexico."

"You want to go to military school?" I asked. This was something new.

"Yep. I'm thinking I want to be a fighter pilot and a general and run the Air Force before I take over Halliburton," she confided.

Leece rolled her eyes while Toots dug into her ice cream. I kind of liked the idea of "Toots Sweet" along the canopy rail of an F-35. Huh. Ain't life grand?

F35 Lightning II

5/19/07

Range Days

The La Junta Police Reserve Academy students are going through the state firearms qualification course.

The Reserve Academy has been running since mid-February of this year and will complete in the first week of July.

The Academy is approved by the state's Peace Officer and Standards Board (POST) and includes academics, firearms training, arrest control training, Taser and OC qualification.

Today was Day 4 of the 6 day 52 hour firearms qualification course, held at the La Junta Police Department Range out by the golf course. Most law enforcement agencies, including Colorado State Patrol, the various sheriff's departments, and the prisons use the range for firearms training and qualification. Otero Junior College's law enforcement training academy also uses the range.

While most of the instructors are from the La Junta Police Department, other agencies also provide instructors. For example, DA Rod Fouracre's attorneys instructed in the Colorado criminal code, the Children's Code, and Victim's Rights, while the city attorney Deanie Malouff provided instruction on Legal Liability issues.

Brian Williams, La Junta Police Reserve, recovers from recoil.



Margaret McDonald, Bent County SO, clears a malfunction.



Williams cranks off a double-tap.



Chad McDonald, Bent County SO, fires from the 15 yard line.



Mark Korbitz, with Sue Korbitz in the background, both with Otero County SO Posse, fire Glocks.

Checking targets. La Junta Police Department detective Dave Gaskill supervises.

5/17/07

YouTube

We've been playing around with YouTube. Remember that post about the Injection Patcher that Dan Eveatt and the lads are testing? Here's a video of how it works:



Not all that exciting, to be sure, unless you're an engineer, but this thing will save the taxpayer money and cut down on inconvenience caused by longer street closings.

Odds and Ends

"Yo dawg!"

Billy was a bit exhuberant as he skidded to a stop in the parking lot of the city building.

"Where you guys goin'?" he asked, as Leece and I made our way to the car.

"Out to America's Favorite Place to Shop for lunch and a bit of noon-time shopping," I said.

"Would you like to join us for lunch, Billy?" Leece asked.

Hah. Would a tapeworm ever miss a meal? I thought, but didn't say.

We hopped in the van and went out to Wallymart, where Billy and I got the grits whilst Leece did the other shopping.

A short time later, as we snuffled chicken chunks and krab (yes, with a "k") salad, Billy said, "Hey. Hey. Liz Roberts did a nice little article about Cup of Comfort. It's up on the liberry website."

"Really? That was quick," Leece observed.

"Yup. It's right here: http://tinyurl.com/2qj7gm ".

"Hey. Hey. The Otero Museum is hosting a wine-tasting session,"Billy went on about current social events.

"Really. When?" I asked.

"June 1st," he told us, "you guys interested in going? Maybe they'll have one of those really nice Müller-Thurgau Spätleses?" Billy and I both recalled some excellent wine tours in Germany.

"Hmm. Well, you know, Billy, the church doesn't really go along with drinking, so I think we'll have to pass on that one," Leece said, rather tactfully, I thought.

"Billy. Don't even think about it. You've been doin' real good, man. Now's not the time to let the booze, even good wines, get you hooked again." I was more direct. Billy's one of those guys who can't just have a glass of good wine with dinner; he has to guzzle the whole bottle and another couple or three besides and end up puking on Herr Ober's shoes. Or on the back seat of the po-leece car.

He looked a bit crestfallen.

"Yeah. Yeah. I guess you's right," he said,"I don't wanna get started down that road again."

But nonetheless, here's the scoop:

Third Annual Wine-Tasting
Otero Museum
June 1, 2007
5:30-7:30 PM
15.00 or 25.00 per couple

"Experience an elegant evening enjoying international wines and foods."

Tickets on sale at the museum, Computer and Network Solutions, The Barista, and EDCO Metal in Rocky Ford. Advance ticket sales only.

Otero Museum
At the corner of Third and Anderson Streets
La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-7500
Hours:

June 1 - September 30
Monday - Saturday1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

5/15/07

More water...

"So, you don't buy into a great world-wide deluge, like we read about in Genesis?" asked Billy, while Tookie snuffled a pannini.

"I didn't say that," she replied,"don't be putting words in my mouth." She wiped some chipotle sauce off her chin with her sleeve. I thought that was kind of cute but I didn't think her mother was going to like it.

"Most of the world's cultures have some deluge legend in their theologies," she continued, "look at the Navajo Origin story, for example. Or the Chinese. Or the Bablylonians. Look at the Bundaba flood story of the Australian aborigines and the similarities to the story of Noah."

"So you do think the world was at one time completely covered with water?" Billy asked.

"No. No, I don't. But I believe that the 'world' of most of the cultures then in existence was covered with water, and probably more than once," Toot Sweet expounded.

"You've lost me," he said.

" 'World' is a relative term," she explained, "In the Middle East of Noaic and Mosaic times, the 'world' consisted of Asia Minor and a bit of country around there over into the fertile crescent. It included the shores of the eastern Mediterranean and northeastern Africa. Very limited. The Persians didn't even come into it till later, though they were certainly there. In their own little 'world'. Toss Ur and its flooding into the mix. All the way across southern Asia and into China, we find flood stories, some with more similarities than others.We can look at maps of all that now and when we do, we fail to understand that they didn't see it that way at their time."

"Uh huh. I think I see," he said.

"Take it further. Five hundred years ago Europeans thought the world was flat and that they were the center of the universe, and that everything revolved around them. What kind of thought processes did they have as a result? What kind of theological concepts were they forming, and in what context, what cultural context, were they explained? In our own theology, we are talking about an oral tradition that goes back into Neolithic times, and which was put into written form only relatively recently, and added to only even more recently, and politically polluted by an English monarch. Why we Americans are in love with a politically-influenced work ordered by an English sovereign is beyond me. Yet many people seem to think that the King James version, New and Old Testaments, was dropped into the hands of Adam and Eve, fresh off the Zondervan presses. Uh uh. Noah's physical world was very limited, at least to him."

"Huh. So...we had these cultures here in the southwest US who were experiencing similar things during the same general time frame..."

"Yep. As but one example. And they explained them in their own way within the context of their cultures," she interrupted, "so the flood legend fits in and is not contrary to what we find in Noaic history or legend or theology or whatever you want to call it. Most cultures experienced the same thing and right about the same time, too. If you examine them exegetically, leaving your own cultural biases out of the equation, and consider the culture in which the theology arose...it's the same story." She took another bite of her pannini and wiped her mouth on her sleeve again. I sipped my tea and considered that I was glad I wouldn't be there when mom saw her shirt.

"So you don't see it as conflicting, then?" asked Leece, who had been on the computer.

"No. Not at all. Actually, I see the various theologies as pointing to the same thing," Tookie went on, "it's just that they are trying to explain it from different cultural perspectives. And there's more, too. What about Deukalion's flood? What about The Mediterranean Desert? There's evidence, good evidence, that the Mediterranean dried up and refilled a dozen times over a million year period. Gibraltar would have been like the Bosphorus, but letting in water from the Atlantic rather than the Med. Look at the sediment-filled gorges under and around the Nile. Look at Philips' Large Oval hypothesis regarding Eden, in his fictional 'Rift in Time.' Now that's one I like.'

I agreed. But I couldn't help myself. "How could the Med dry up and refill a dozen times over a million years, when we all know the Earth is only 6,000 years old?"

Toots gave me a .. dare I say it ... a glacial look.

Billy also agreed. "I liked that one," he said, "I liked the way Philips extended the Olduvian Rift and the crescent all the way up into Mesopotamia, based on what we know about Pangea."

"Yep," Toot Sweet said, "that one particularly resonated with me."

"Tookie, have you been reading my course notes?" Leece asked.

Toots went wide-eyed. "Me? Me? Would I do that?"

Leece just shook her head resignedly.

"Yeah. Yeah. You sound a lot like some a them perfessers I had when I was messin' around with my M-Div," Billy agreed.

"Heretics. All of 'em. What would a bunch of professors emeritus at Oxford and Asbury know about theology?" Tookie tweaked, with a grin, "a good theologian is never confused by fact."

"Are you going to eat the rest of that pannini?" I asked.

Water, water, everywhere...

We were sitting there, watching the work on the City Park wall, part of the first work phase of the restoration.

"So at what point did man, humans, start thinking of his deity, or Deity, in "I-Him" context rather than "I-It"?" asked Tookie, somewhat pensively. She was nibbling a Blue Bunny ice cream sandwich.

"What?" That from Billy.

Leece looked up from her book, smiled at Tookie, who smiled back, and went back to reading. I thought of the Great Santini's line, "Stand by for a fighter pilot!"

"I'm thinking it would have been in the early Neolithic," said our little theologian/archaeologist, "think about it. It was then, about ten-twelve thousand years ago, that we began domesticating animals and plants."

"What does that have to do with it?" Billy asked.

"Well, we know that humankind was developing awareness beyond immediacy, the 'here and now'," she explained,"we know that Neanderthal was conducting burials, funerals, that included goods giving indication that he was considering an afterlife. We know that he was very artsy-craftsy, very skilled, not at all the dumb brute of conventional wisdom."

"Yeah. Yeah. You mean like the Geico commercials," Billy chipped in.

"Kind of. And with the following domestication of plants and animals by Cro-Magnon, who is really Homo Sapiens sapiens, the mind began to open. Think about it. Cassels says, and I agree, that the leap in thinking represented by that domestication was a greater leap technologically than was putting a man on the moon, " Tookie expounded.

"Yeah! Yeah! And where did that begin...in the Middle East, right there along the edge of the Mediterranean, and up into Asia Minor and the Black Sea area," Billy added.

"Yup. And with that opening of the mind, that increase in the levels of human creativity, the beginning of the focus on examining Who We Are, is when man started thinking less of a deity in the animistic sense - the rain spirit, for example - and more in a much larger sense. From "I-It" to "I-He". And then polytheism to monotheism."

"You think it's that simple?" Billy asked.

"Of course not. It's one of the most complex aspects of humankind," she rather unequivocally stated, "but look at it. Look at Neolithic man here in Colorado. Folsom Man. Moving into the Neolithic Age from hunter-gatherer to plantation owner. Kind of. Look at the Native American cultures that became less hunters and gatherers to more into animal husbandry and planters. Look at the development of their theologies. It falls into the same time points, though many of them remained polytheistic." Tookie took another nibble of her Blue Bunny.

"What does that have to do with water everywhere?" Leece asked.

"Well, most great theologies have some deluge legend within them. Native American theologies, for example."

"Yeah?" Billy knew this stuff but he was getting a kick out of Tookie wrestling with it. It resonated with him.

"About 5600 years BC the Mediterranean burst through the Bosporus and started dumping huge amounts, cubic miles every day, of water into the Black Sea. It flooded Neolithic villages and towns all along the lakeshore. It was part of the last great glacial retreat and oceanic risings," she went on, "Water, water, everywhere. Look at the satellite shots of the Middle East, and where the water would have been. Same thing for the rest of the world."

"That's going to fry the brains of the literalists, you know,"advised Billy, "be prepared for some heat and the usual arguments, like sea shells on top of Pike's Peak."

"Hah. That's nothing more than plate tectonics, a heretical theory if ever there was one," Toots said, sarcasm dripping almost as visibly as her Blue Bunny, "Hey. I didn't leave my brain at the Sunday school door," she sniffed, miffed, "they're going to have to do better than that."

Work proceeded apace on the wall.

Tookie went back to reading Steve Cassell's "The Archaeology of Colorado".

Leece went back to her book, and Billy and I sat there watching the work, contemplating The Whichness of What and The Thisness of That.

5/14/07

Storm

As storms go, it wasn't much. We did get a bit of rain, and some cooling winds, and some lightning. We were fortunate that we didn't get large hail or any worse winds.

And after it was over, or almost over, we had this:





Which cannot do justice to the freshness of the world in the storm's aftermath, the smell of ozone, or freshly turned earth, or the breeze sighing through the house and the trees outside.

"What else can you do in a small town..."

Here's one for tourism. Perhaps we could have it right after Tarantula Days?


http://www.wtop.com/?nid=456&sid=1139792


an excerpt:

"The event grew every year and now they fry up to 100 pounds of testicles, she said."

"Defend us in battle..."

Not too long ago, Jeff Baker, a police officer with Omaha PD, started a blog for Catholic cops. He has since moved to his own domain and expanded his intended constituency:

http://www.defendusinbattle.org

Here is the announcement:

Good news, all!

I've got my own domain. While the old blog with my conversion story will remain, I have my own domain and am moving my little apostolate to the following website. Please make a note of it and do share the url with family and friends!

http://www.defendusinbattle.org/


There are exciting things going on behind the scenes...

Marc Trapp, a well read and articulate student of the faith is putting together an article or two for an upcoming issue of the newsletter. Marc is a sergeant with my Alma mater, the Sarpy County Sheriffs Office in Papillion, Nebraska. He's a very bright guy who has an acute insight on various matters involving Christianity and the Catholic faith.

Brother Joe Mixan (Omaha Fire
) and I are collaborating on some ideas to expand this lay ministry far beyond the boundaries of the Public Safety community; you'll know what I mean when you visit defendusinbattle.org and read the abbreviated mission statement near the top of the page.

(You've probably seen Joe's superb photography in the pages of the Omaha World-Herald;he's a great writer too, formerly editing the Inferno, the monthly publication of the Fire Union.)

The current issue of the newsletter (which will be renamed in a manner reflective of our expanding goals) is downloadable via a link provided on the Battle Site. I will still e-mail subscribers individual copies when the new issue comes out, but I wanted to make back issues available for reference and sharing.

Feel free to continue to send me submission material, information on activities at your local parish, or other tidbits you think might be of use to others. I'll do my best to get the information into coming newsletters. Also, pass the website url around and include the Battle Site in your prayers as I include all of you and your families in mine.

Peace, and have a blessed Sunday everyone!

Jeff Baker
defendusinbattle.org

5/13/07

Run for the Borders


Yesterday Leece had another book-signing, this one at Southgate Borders up in Colorado Springs. This is a fairly nice store, laid out nicely, though it could have used a few more chairs for customers to use whilst perusing. This signing went well. The customers were friendly and interested...and interesting.



Pike's Peak Peeks up over some covering...peaks.



Tookie and Steve-O have some burger with their ketchup. No, Steve-O did not really dip his burger in the ketchup, though I believe the thought crossed his mind.



"Well, I have to disagree with you on that point. I think in "We the Living" Rand often takes her measure of existential reality a bit too far, and does not give sufficient attention to the spiritual nature of man..." Tookie offers some book reviews and criticisms whilst lunching at Conway's.



Thuglets pose in a relatively quiet mode.

5/11/07

Whitewashed Tombs

Matthew 23:27

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean."

We were sitting in The Barista.Leece was reading her Frankl book, "Man's Search for Meaning". She was almost finished.

Tookie was having a good time with a triple scoop of Blue Bunny peanut butter fudge ice cream with chocolate syrup.

Billy was riffling through his recently acquired New Revised Standard Version. Though he's an Old Testament kinda guy, he was spending some time in Matthew today."Whitewashed tombs, that's what they are," he announced.

Leece looked up. "Who? What?" she asked.

"These clowns who let that hazing go on up at the Kiva, that's who," he replied.

"Hah. They're all whitewashed tombs," chipped in Toot Sweet, "all of 'em. That's the best explanation for the arrogance and indifference, and in some cases, the stupidity."

"You guys want to expand on your thinking a bit?" I asked.

"You betcha. Lookit them Scouts. Lookit the Scout oath. Scout Law. Full of those Judeo-Christian ethics and values those flag-wavin' hippercrits are always goin' on about. You see any of that in covering up the fact that they wrap kids up in duct tape and hang 'em in closets and shove their heads inna toilet and give 'em swirlies?"

"Oh. I see. Yes, I think I'd have to agree with you on that, Billy," Leece agreed, "it goes back to that business of an organization ceasing to exist to promote those values, and simply existing for its own sake. Without ethical leadership, without moral leadership, pretty soon anything goes. Kids are assaulted, but the whole purpose of the organization is to exist for its own sake. It gives me pause for thought as to what else is going on up there."

"Agh! Agh! Aieeee!" Tookie was screeching and grabbing her head, nearly falling off her chair.

"Brain freeze," I said, "she'll be OK in a few minutes. Hey. Toots. Knock off the noise. Quit gobbling the ice cream."

"Agh! Agh! Aieeeeee!"

"You'd think she's never eaten ice cream before," Leece observed, rather nonchalantly. Used to be she'd have gotten all excited over that. She's accustomed to Toots now.

"You can apply it to a lot of other things besides the Koshers," Billy went on, "for example, whatsername over at the fishwrapper wanting your as...butt...fired for the blog. At the newspaper, for Pete's sake. You'd think they more than anyone would understand the First Amendment."

"Well...I don't think they're all like that," I responded, "though it is a bit shocking. It definitely points out the need for outfits like the ACLU and the courts, and even for lawyers. If we didn't have all those protections and we had no way of controlling government officials who think like that, where do you think we'd be?"

"In a Gulag somewhere out on the plains," Billy agreed, "but my point is, these are the same people who run around with American flags on their lapels, and who send out all those unending streams of tear-jerking patriotic drivel via email, and who love to consider themselves all-American patriots. They's nothin' but secular Pharisees. Shame."

We all agreed.

"So they're walking around, all proud of themselves for being true American patriots, but the only thing that keeps them from hanging we unwashed masses out to dry is the protection of the Constitution. Thank you Lord, that we have enough judges and DA's and cops and others who truly understand what that Constitution is and what their responsibilities are," Billy continued.

"You know what bugs me, Billy?" I asked.

"A lot of things bug you," Leece tossed in, "but you have something specific, don't you."

"Yep. Here's the thing. You and I, Billy, put in a bunch of time in the service of this country, and more important, to the principles on which it was allegedly founded. Hell, Billy, you even bled for it and damn near died for it. Yet to these clowns, these secular Pharisees, these self-serving self-styled Christians and patriots, you and I are scum to be fired and shoved out into however much of a gulag they can get away with, just for saying things they don't like."

"Patriot games," Tookie said. She had apparently recovered from her brain-freeze. "Not to mention they way they treat others. Look at the back-stabbing and gossip-mongering campaign they waged against Wayne. And how can they recite the Pledge of Allegiance with a straight face? This would make a good paper for my civics class," she went on.

Leece frowned over the 'hell' and 'damned', but she nodded in agreement nonetheless. "You don't have a civics class, Tookie," she observed, "you're only in kindergarten."

"Jesus wept, dude. Jesus wept," Billy replied.

"What? Over no civics class for Toots?" I asked, confused yet once again.

"No, you dolt," he said, "over the pathetic state of affairs in which we find ourselves in the civic sense."

"Amen, brother," Tookie agreed, and continued, "you shouldn't talk like that in front of me, you know. I'm only six. It's a bad example. I might be adversely impressed by that kind of language."

Leece grinned at me, her best "I tole youse so!" grin...

Felony Stupid

This morning after picking up a load of Daylight over at the donut shop, I stopped to get gas before going on over to work.The Loaf bench was a-buzz.Seems that over the weekend Rex Quackenbush's shop was burgled.

As I understand it, it was burglary, theft, and vandalism. Criminal mischief, actually.

Dave and Pat ("Officers Gaskill and Martinez" to the Loaf crowd) ran with the investigation and popped the bad guys last night, recovering if not all of the goods, then most of 'em. It was an inside job, done by family members and their henchmen.

Here's the hoot: When the moron kicked in the door to the shop, he left a perfect shoe print.When the Boys in Blue showed up to sit on the house in which the thugs were lurking, the door kicker near wet his pants (allegedly) and, thinking like a true rocket scientist, kicked off his own shoes - the ones that he had on when he kicked the door - and slipped into his homie's shoes before taking Foot Bail. Pat and Dave had put together a couple of warrants, including one for these digs, and - among other things - found the shoes.

One can only imagine the hysterical laughter over the stupidity of La Junta's crook population as the shoe matched up with the crime scene evidence. One of the guys at Loaf actually snorted plain old black coffee (no cappuccinos for that bunch) up his snoot at the very picture in his mind.

The boys apparently have recovered some of the stolen property from either Rocky Vegas or over in Crowley. There's some variation to the story on that.Meanwhile, the rest of the henchmen are scurrying around like frightened rabbits, and the gossip and stories are as varied as the number of tellers. But so far as I can tell, that's the meat of it.

Loaf and Jug. Is there a more interesting place in town? Well...maybe Quickee's over in Swink...

5/10/07

After dinner...

We were out in the yard, enjoying the coolness of the approaching evening. Leece was planting more flowers. I was doing a Lizzie Borden on some cottonwood roots that were tangling up the roto-tiller.

"Hey! Hey!"

"Hey hey yerself, Billy, like, s'up, dude?" I asked.

"Kin I have summa that tea Leece makes?"

"Of course you can, Billy. Would you care for some spinach salad? It's particularly good with a bit of raspberry vinaigrette."

"Uh. Yeah. Yeah. You gots any a that Asiago cheese?"

"Yes, we certainly do. Would you like it in a chunk or grated?"

"A chunk would be good," he replied.

Leece busied herself with the tea and salad.

"Uh...you gots any a them onions?"

"What? Vidalias? 1015's?" I asked.

"Yeah. Yeah."

"Sure. You want 'em chunked or sliced?"

"Uh...jist peeled. Like an apple."

Leece shuddered a bit at that. I didn't. Billy's a man after my own heart.

Billy slurped down a quart or so of tea. "I bin over to Rocky Vegas," he said,"I had some beans at Mission Deli. They was good."

Billy will eat a bowl of beans and nothing else. He bit into the Vidalia like he was taking a bite out of a Braeburn. Leece shuddered again.

"So. S'up wit them Koshers?" he asked, "anythin' new?"

"Nope. Though I learned something today that explains a lot. Did you know that Donald Rumsfeld was an Eagle Scout? As was Robert McNamara?"

Billy choked on his spinach salad.

"Huh," he said, "I guess that 'splains a lot about the war."

"Which one?"

"Both. It also 'splains a lot about what goes on here, too. I was up there lookin' at them pitchers. Shoot. Them guys run the place. No wonder it's the way it is. You ever hear that thing about a dawg's hine laig?"

"Yep."

"Hah. You hear that one about the nishyayshins in the Swink high school?"

"Yep."

"You think it's like the Kosher thing?"

"It better not be, or we'll own a school district," I said.

"They was talkin' down at the Copper Kitchen about how it ain't nuthin but a nishyayshin and them what's complaining is jist a buncha pus...wimps," he said, looking over at Leece to see if she had noticed his near faux pas.

"I suspect that those who are saying that are the wealthy and influential, and their kids aren't going to be set upon by a bunch of little bullies and thugs," observed Leece.

"You betcha," Billy said, "Buncha little gutless shi...thugs...no bal...guts...pickin' on them what can't fight back. Pick on the wealthy white meat's offspring like that an' see what happens. Daddy ain't gonna have no job no more."

"Probably so," I agreed.

"And shoot, you know why you ain't gonna never read about this in the fishwrappers? Can't have the tourists askin' about that. Lookit all them Scouts that pass through town in the summer on the way to Philmont an' other places. Good bidness that. Hey. Money talks. What's a few kids gittin' thumped by the little cockroaches when it comes to keepin' up the rep?"

"Umhmmm..." I agreed, "I think Trish hit it right on the nose with that Skulls thing. Got some losers running around sucking up to the offspring of the great and the near-great, doing their dirty work for 'em."

"Don't it sound a lot like Rumsfeld and McNamara gittin' up there and feedin' the Merkin public a load a mushroom feed?"

"Yup. Same thing. Guess being an Eagle Scout has its advantages. What's a few dead GI's compared to that? I wonder if they ever earned a Public Service Merit Badge? So many oak leaf clusters per thousand or so?"

Billy snorted some tea up his nose.

Leece and I were sitting on the front porch watching the stars come out. Billy was sprawled on the grass.

It was a beautiful evening.

I thought about sneaking in and turning on the sprinklers a bit early.

"Duty...Honor...Country..."

This Saturday marks the 45th anniversary of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur's famous speech at West Point, to the Corps of Cadets, as he accepted the Sylvanus Thayer Award:

West Point, New York
May 12, 1962

--
General Westmoreland, General Groves, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps:

As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, “Where are you bound for, General?” and when I replied, “West Point,” he remarked, “Beautiful place, have you ever been there before?”

No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this. [Thayer Award] Coming from a profession I have served so long, and a people I have loved so well, it fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily to honor a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code—the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the meaning of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.

Duty...Honor...Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean. The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule. But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character, they mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense, they make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest falure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, nor to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future yet never neglect the past; to be serious yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the implicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength. They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable, are they brave, are they capable of victory? Their story is known to all of you; it is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago and has never changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now — as one of the world’s noblest figures, not as one of the finest military characters but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty he gave — all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and has written it in red on his enemy’s breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism; he belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved the heart of his people. From one end of the world to the other he has drained deep the chalice of courage.

As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs, on many a weary march from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle-deep through the mire of shell shocked roads, to form grimly for the attack, bluelipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain; driving home to their objective, and, for many, the judgment seat of God. I do not know the dignity of their birth but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty...Honor...Country; always their blood and sweat and tears as we sought the way and the light and the truth.

And 20 years after, on the other side of the globe, again the filth of murky foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts; those boiling suns of relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms; the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation from those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropical disease, and the horror of stricken areas of war; their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory — always victory. Always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men reverently following your password of Duty...Honor...Country.

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training — sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind. You now face a new world — a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite, spheres and missiles marked the beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind — the chapter of the space age. In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a greater, a more abrupt or staggering evolution. We deal now not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier. We speak in strange terms: of harnessing the cosmic energy; of making winds and tides work for us; of creating unheard synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; of purifying sea water for our drink; of mining ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundred of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of space ships to the moon; of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all time.

And through all this welter of change and development, your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable — it is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes, all other public projects, all public needs, great or small, will find others for accomplishment; but you are the ones who are trained to fight: yours is the profession of arms — the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory; that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed; that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty...Honor...Country. Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men’s minds; but serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the nation’s war-guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle. For a century you have defended, guarded, and protected traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice. Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be. These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night, Duty...Honor...Country.

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words, Duty...Honor...Country.

This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring ominous words of Plato that wisest of all philosophers, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished tone and tint; they have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.

But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes Duty...Honor...Country.

Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps. I bid you farewell.

Huh. I wonder if General MacArthur was an Eagle Scout?

The Sylvanus Thayer Award:
http://www.aogusma.org/aog/awards/TA/thayer.htm

Firearms Refresher Course

FIREARMS REFRESHER COURSE

1. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is
a subject.

2. A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the
phone.

3. Colt: The original point and click interface.

4. Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.

5. If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?

6. If guns cause crime, then pencils cause
misspelled words.

7. "Free" men do not ask permission to bear arms.

8. If you don't know your rights you don't have any.

9. Those who trade liberty for security have neither.

10. The United States Constitution (c) 1791.
All Rights reserved.

11. What part of "shall not be infringed" do
you not understand?

12. The Second Amendment is in place in case
the politicians ignore the others.

13. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.

14. Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.

15. Know guns, know peace, know safety. No guns, no
peace, no safety.

16. You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.

17. 911 - government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.

18. Assault is a behavior, not a device.

19. Criminals love gun control -- it makes their jobs
safer.

20. If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.

21. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens
tries to control them.

22. You only have the rights you are willing to fight for.

23. Enforce the "gun control laws" we ALREADY have, don't
make more.

24. When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you
create slaves.

25. The American Revolution would never have happened with
gun control.

26. "A government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

Hot Times in The Smile Hi City

One of the commenters on another post asked about The Big Bash at BJ's this past weekend. Yep, there was indeed a brawl of the kind we haven't seen for quite some time in The Smile Hi City. Witnesses and participants report that beer bottles were flying, heads were bashed, blood was spattering, beer was sloshing, glass was breaking, and the OC was a-flyin' as some none-too-bright-to-begin-with patrons overloaded on Liquid Stupid.

Everyone I spoke with agrees that several city employees were involved, as well as some of The Regulars (and we ain't referrin' to the Sixth US Infantry, either).

One fellow says the gin mill was shut down for nearly an hour while the OC cleared out, and that victims and participants were struggling out the door in various states of consciousness, leaking blood and other bodily fluids.

Like, wowsers! It reminds me of the old days with the Friday Night Fights at the Duck Inn and El Sombrero and Mi Cantina!

It looks like two people received summonses. More undoubtedly should have, but here's the deal on that. The implication from the previous post, it seems to me, was that because city employees were involved, no one was arrested. Not so, methinks. Here's why, at least in my own humble experience:

When you roll in on one of those slugfests, your main consideration is keeping your own backside covered and your own head intact and covering other officers. Then it's getting the blood-letting stopped. Then it's settling who did what to whom and when. In dealing with bar fights and street brawls, no one wants to talk. Rarely will anyone sign a complaint. In order for the cops to arrest without a complaint on a deal like that they have to see the crime take place. In the midst of all that screaming and swinging and bottle-breaking and teeth being spit out and blood flying, that's not as easy as it might sound. And then getting anyone to serve as witnesses is an Olympic challenge. And, when all is said and done, who gets prosecuted, who gets a good deal, who gets to walk...that's not up to the cops anyway.

But that's beside the point. Who was involved, charges or no? What started it? Who finished it? Who went to the hospital? What charges were laid? Is there a followup investigation? Are more charges pending? Do we need the Arkansas Valley Independent to start covering this stuff?

What about followup investigation? Can there be one? Of course. It's entirely possible that there is. But consider this bit of conjecture: If there is no complaining victim, is it worth it? When the next night the combatants are back to buying each other brews at the same bar? When none of the 'witnesses' will talk? When the 'victims' (who are often equally as much perpetrators) won't cooperate? What do you think? Charge 'em all and let God sort 'em out? Is there enough to charge 'em? There has to be enough to rise to the level of Probable Cause. Or is it more important to put the judicial energy into prosecuting meth dealers and the scum who commit sexual offenses against children? Bar fights, in my view, tend to be an example of Darwinism at work, kind of like gangsters killing each other: public service shootings, so long as innocents aren't dragged into the process. You can stop the fight, but you can't stop the attitudes and behaviors that lead to the fight.

A couple of people got bagged by the gendarmes. The bar lost revenue over the fight and the aftermath, and I wouldn't be surprised if eyes are still watering from the OC overspray. Another thing...will anyone even care about this when it comes time to renew the liquor license? Have they ever?

And then Monday night we had another brouhaha, this one at La Bamba. A guy took off from that scene, in his car, resulting in a short pursuit that was ended by a light pole. Ooorah. The cops had some fun with a short pursuit, and the dummy will, so I understand, be giving a short critique of Chris Johnson's menu for the fishwrapper's Food column. Or maybe that's just a rumor...

What's "OC"? It's Oleoresin Capsicum, derived from peppers like cayenne, delivered in a water-based spray or stream. It replaced Mace quite some time ago, and it works very well most of the time in quelling riotous misconduct. Thugs don't like it and the ACLU whines about it, but the fact of the matter is that it reduces the likelihood of injury to thug and cop alike inherent in a forcible arrest. It's pretty hard to put up a good fight when you're blowing snot, gasping for breath, and oozing alligator tears from tightly closed eyes. In the hands of a properly-trained police officer, it reduces the potential for injury, and reduces medical costs for prisoners, and medical and Workman's Comp costs for injured cops.

But why was there nothing in the fishwrapper? This is some cool stuff. A good old fashioned cowtown brawl. Hoodoggie. Two of 'em, too, and a real downhome po-leece pursuit! By all accounts, it was a hoot. Why, it's almost like Marty Robbins and "El Paso" without the horses and the shootout. What about it? Not newsworthy? Where's the old cigar-smokin', beer-belchin', jalapeno pepper-fartin' Crime Reporter of yore?

"El Paso":

http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/robbins-marty/el-paso-11889.html

Ancient Messages: Rock Art of the Purgatory

This is a forward of a Koshare Kiva Press Release. I received it from the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition. Note that the Kiva is not quite the same thing as the Scout Troop up there and that a portion of the painting sales proceeds will be donated to PCEOC.

PRESS RELEASE

Ancient Messages: Rock Art of the Purgatory

Sunday, June 3, 2:00 p.m. at the Koshare Kiva, Anne Whitfield will give a presentation, “Ancient Messages: Native American Rock Art of the Purgatory”. Donations are suggested, and will go to the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition.

The Purgatory River Drainage is one of the richest sources of rock art in the state of Colorado. Southeastern Colorado, itself, has an abundance of this seldom seen cultural resource. If ranch lands of the Purgatory are condemned, the possibility of citizens viewing these treasures is severely reduced.

Rock art refers to the symbolic marks on stone left by Native Peoples. Regionally, rock art may be found either painted or carved on canyon walls or boulders. It could also be considered rock writing. The importance of these ancient traces is that they give us some sense of the “world view” of the first human inhabitants of this land. Artifactual remains tell us quite a bit about their technology, architecture, and life ways. What were the concerns of ancient peoples? What were their theologies? We can get a glimmer of understanding directly from the source, written on stone, “in their own words!”

Whitfield is “Featured Artist” at the Koshare Kiva for the month of June. She has been previously featured, last showing photography of area rock art. She is now working in the medium of pastel. Her paintings are primarily landscapes. After the rock art program, guests are invited to view her work in the gallery. 15% of all painting sales will be donated to PCEOC.

5/9/07

Murdoch and the Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™

The Murdoch takeover bid for the Wall Street Journal has been Big News for several days now. Here is a good article by John Ibbitson of the Globe and Mail:

http://tinyurl.com/37yfp9

An excerpt:

"American newspapers may be in decline because the nature of news has changed. In a century of world wars, nuclear nightmares, rising crime and race riots, keeping informed was a matter of personal survival.

But after almost two decades of unbroken affluence and general peace, interrupted only by the receding nightmare of Sept. 11, the under-40 crowd doesn't seem to care very much who's up and who's down and who's in and who's out. And they resent the hierarchical nature of the newspaper, in which an isolated elite decides what goes on Page 1 and what gets briefed.

Increasingly, people turn to news websites that scalp from newspapers, or to the peer-to-peer opinions and reports found on blogs or YouTube. Bloggers and their ilk are generally not trained in journalism or subjected to the rigours of editing. The bloggers and their readers don't seem to care. Between 2000 and 2005, according to a report by the investment bank Citigroup, 18 per cent of all American households with broadband Internet access cancelled their newspaper subscriptions."

See also "Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™" and a number of very interesting articles, 'real-time media criticism, from the Columbia Journalism Review:

http://www.cjrdaily.org/

"Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™" is an on-going thread over on The Free Republic:

http://tinyurl.com/36lngn

The Holly Birding Trail

The Holly Birding Trail will open on 19 May 2007.

The Grand Opening festivities will be held 7:30 AM through 10:30 AM that date. $10 fee. Free prizes.

The address:

27115 Rd JJ
Holly, CO

For more information call:

(719)734-5226
(719)688-3869

The trail is approximately one mile in length and is open to hiking or horseback riding. Suitable for children. Water is available. Refreshments available on opening day. Viewable birds include burrowing owls, horned larks, and numerous song birds, as well as others as they migrate through the area.

Burrowing Owls:

http://tinyurl.com/ym9dup

Horned Larks:

http://tinyurl.com/2uu4vr


The Rocky Ford Fishwrapper and Other Idle Ramblings

This is a comment posted originally to "Vietnam Redux" by an Anonymous. S/he asks some good questions so I've moved it up as a main post.

"Did anyone see the editorial printed in the Rocky Ford Daily Gazette by Susan Pieper? It truly bothers me that an editor of the newspaper would attack and question a victim about why emails were opened by a parent when it comes to a sex offender. I have followed the story of the clown, antonio lazcano, who tried to lure a 12 year old child into having sex through the internet. I feel sorry for the mother who spent six months trying to get answers. How many victims did this guy have? The Rocky Ford Daily Gazette even complained about the gas involved, it is the responsibility of the sheriff to bring this guy back from Grand Junction, and they did not have to make 2 trips, that was thier choice. They went further, and complained about housing this man. I am very unhappy with this story. As a parent, I have the right to read any and all emails to and from my child, to ensure the safety of my child. That is what parents do. I think that the mother in this case had every right to question the sheriff for taking so long. When were they going to arrest him, 2010? What about the victims, OUR CHILDREN, he lived across the street from an Elementary School."

The Rocky Ford fishwrapper isn't online so I can't provide a link. After reading the editorial questioned by this Anonymous, I agree with him/her, though so far as I know the Sheriff has not been complaining about housing this creature.

Is Ms Pieper operating in the same world as the rest of us?

That leads to another observation: Ms. Pieper often doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on reality, at least in her editorial scribblings. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the La Junta paper is a paragon of journalistic virtue compared to the Rocky Ford Gazette. I've read a number of Pieper's editorial comments and I've come to this conclusion: It goes far beyond an honest difference of opinion.

She seems more concerned about the price of gas involved in bringing this piece of human garbage back for prosecution than the damage he has done and will do in the future.

I'm curious. Based on her reasoning, what kinds of crimes are worth spending money for investigation and prosecution? Are murders worthwhile? How about rapes? How about mere thefts and criminal mischiefs? If someone were to spray grafitti all over the front of the offices of the Rocky Ford Gazette, and were later found in Grand Junction, would that be worth an trip to fetch 'em back, or would the price of gas drive - so to speak - that prosecution?

Speaking of the La Junta paper, they did a good job with that business of the sexual predator and the Circle of Friends, while the article on the Soldier to Surgeon had me wondering when the chick flick would be released. I gotta admit that I was sobbing in my coffee cup at some of the passages.

In Circle of Friends we have this:

"You're role is suddenly very different," Karney added. "Once you've faced this it never leaves you. It changes your perspective on life."

You got that right, Karney.

Meanwhile, Dee Bond volunteered to get things moving tourism-wise, and was promptly decked with a load of legalese. What is it about bureaucrats and paper? Here's the link to the fishwrapper article:

http://tinyurl.com/23nopf

In answer to questions about the wording of the document, we had this response:

"Mayor Don Rizzuto asked if they were splitting fine hairs on the wording of the document."

I dunno about splitting fine hairs, but is this a resolution, or is it an ordinance? The document itself seems confused on that. Has anyone else actually read this thing?

Meanwhile, drawing from the last work session...who's your leader, baby? Check the audio, available from Jan Schooley, for that little jewel.

The Untouchables

"That's an inneresting comment that Trish Leyba posted about Swirlies," Billy observed, as we slurped our morning cappaccinos over yonder at Quickee's.

"Yep," I said, "it's that sort of thing why we're not very keen on Michael getting involved with the Koshares."

"So what do you think will happen?" Leece asked, sitting down after sprinkling a bit of ground chocolate on her cappie.

"Not much. The Jefe de Policia is correct in that there isn't much that he can do, since the assaults - and they were assaults, make no mistake there - took place in not only another jurisdiction but another state. And the Kentucky cops are right about not extraditing over a misdemeanor, not from another state."

"What about civil remedies?" asked Billy.

"'Remedies?' 'Remedies'? You've been watching Judge Napolitano on Foxnews again, haven't you," asked Leece.

"No, Greta, akshully," Billy replied, "but what about a class action against the Koshers? What about the other kids who have been flushed down toilets or hung upside down in closets and otherwise abused or assaulted? I know of a couple. So do you."

"Huh. That would be interesting, wouldn't it? Suing the Koshers and the BSA would be like suing the Catholic Church. They'd circle their wagons and the great and the near-great would be doing spin control like you've never seen before. I'd not be surprised to see the Koshers sue first, a kind of pre-emptive strike."

"Well. I don't know about that. The Church denied and postured and denied some more. Ask Pope Benedict what he thinks about that kind of defense," Leece pointed out.

"I think you can show a real lack of due diligence on the part of the Kosher leadership, such as it is," Billy began to pontificate, "here they have a complaint of an assault by several boys on another, and they seem to blow it off. More circling of the wagons. And then one of the ringleaders..."...

"'Alleged' ringleaders, Billy," Leece pointed out.

"Yeah. 'Alleged' ringleaders...ends up the head chief. What's that all about? What's that say about their standards up there?"

"It's an interesting take on that Scout oath, isn't it?" I asked.

"Yes. It certainly is," Leece agreed.

"Reminds me of the army," said Billy,"one of those 'for the good of the unit' things."

"I'm not familiar with that, Billy," shared Leece.

"Something would get covered up, 'for the good of the unit'," Billy explained, "so as to avoid dragging the good name of the army or a particular unit through the mud. Usually it was to save some colonel's ass while sacrificing an enlisted swine or two. They're very good at that."

"Ah," Leece said, "I see. But if you do that enough times, pretty soon the purpose of the organization is no longer to serve some high-minded principles, but simply to extend and protect the mere existence of the organization. Those high-minded principles become secondary."

"Or non-existent," I said.

We sat there watching traffic go by, out there on that Highway, there in front of Quickee's.