Thursday, March 31, 2005

Music for Dumb People

I heard a country song today. I don't recall the name of it or who's singing, but it has a telling phrase inside--one which illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding shared by many, maybe most working people. The phrase is " thankless job...."

"My thankless job." The singer goes on to mention, with rapt anticipation, the joy of driving his pickup truck after work. Other stuff too, but oh, that pickup!

Doesn't the ignorant bastard know that his pay from the "thankless job" bought him that delightful pickup? Isn't the pay a form of thanks (in a manner of speaking)?

The tone, of course, is that he doesn't like his job, knowing that many will identify with that 'cause most of us don't like our jobs. Well, don't include me in that. I like my job very much--not that I can't imagine a better one, but I do like it. I've never understood why so many people keep at jobs they don't like for the long term. One should take lousy jobs when one is young, not yet educated and not yet experienced. As one gains knowledge and experience, one markets one's new tools and abilities to personal advantage, moving ever closer to the place in the working world one sees as his ideal.

We in the higher intellectual circles call that "goal-seeking."

Years ago, during the fabled Cesar Chaves farm workers strike, in which we were all admonished not to buy California-grown table grapes, I allowed myself to chat with a picketer who was handing out leaflets in front of my neighborhood supermarket. We had a sort of a debate in which he asserted that grape picking is hard, back-breaking work and farm owners should pay more.

I complained that it would increase the price of grapes. He pointed to a 50ish member of the picketers indicating that this man has a large family to feed. I returned that grape picking might best be performed by the young, as a temporary, entry level job. Older people should have progressed to better, higher-paying, less physically demanding work. The young man (who had never picked a grape in his life (softer hands than mine) told me that the older man liked picking grapes and aspired to nothing else.

Well at that, I went in and bought some grapes. I don't suffer liars well.

A productive individual is a business. He has to define what he has to sell, he has to ever work toward improving his product, he has to advertise himself and make the best deal he can. When hired, he has to do his best to fulfill the terms of the contract he's made, while making sure the buyer of his services (the boss) is aware of his abilities and that, if his renumeration doesn't progress along with the quality of his skills, he's liable to go shopping for another buyer.

I'm not going to say much about unions here, because I regard a union member to be a worker who's afraid to stand up on his hind legs and make his own deals.

One can take a job that one doesn't like, but he should know that he'll be moving on as soon as possible. He should arrange his life toward that goal.

Back to the "thankless job." The guy with the problem is the worker (as portrayed by the singer). He doesn't like his job. Boo hoo. I hate to see a grown man whine. The idea of getting a better job never occurs to these guys.

Why do you think I call Country music, "music for dumb people?"

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Weapons of Self-Destruction

This just in:

The U.S. feral government has just announced the sale of F-16 fighter-bombers to Pakistan. Cited was the wish to enhance the alliance between the two countries.

I'm thinking about starting a pool to guess the day these F-16's will be used against the United States.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, March 25, 2005

The **ahem, harumph** Media

Ladies and gentlemen, Terri Schiavo is still dead! May she soon get a chance to rest in peace.

Meanwhile, for the second sequential week, we can hardly get a bit of real news for poor Terri's friends, supporters and relatives crying into one news camera after another. Talk shows, both TV and radio, are all Terri, all the time. A crazed, Prozac-addled youngster kills nine, then himself. The day after the initial news story, there's barely a mention anymore. Terri's still hangin' in there. Her parents are still whining into every camera they can find.

Maybe I ought not be so nasty. How'd I feel if she were my daughter?

I guess a lot of my ire needs to be focused upon the hypocritical, cowardly politicians who rush resolutions of support for Terri--resolutions that are mostly symbolic but really do nothing to help. Mostly they're trying, along with pundits and the "evil" talk show guys, to make the judges the bad guys.

Judges do seriously deserve some scrutiny; they do take some incredible liberties with what little bit of freedom we have left.

In this case, though, the politicians make sympathetic, but ineffectual noises while artfully avoiding anything that might help--except holler about Bill Kkklinton's horrible choices in judicial appointments.

Meanwhile, Robert Blake has completely faded from memory, the Weise kid won't cause new gun control laws this time (yay!), and Michael Jackson is thinking about suing the TV networks for lack of coverage.They've cut coverage of the 600-team NCAA baxabaw tournament. Baseball has slipped far behind the Schiavo Watch as America's Pasttime. Weather? Look out the window. Traffic reports? You're on your own. We're talkin' about Terri this week.

Meanwhile, Terri Schiavo is still dead.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Terri Schiavo

She's gazing down at all the commotion, asking her friend, "Why are they making such a fuss about my old body? It's pretty obvious that I've left it long ago."

If you believe in that sort of thing. Actually, she's just gone. It's sad, really. Her dead body, heart still beating and lungs still breathing because a quirk left a small part of her brain still functioning because she's still receiving nourishment--or was, until a couple of days ago.

I don't know why her husband is so adamant about putting an end to her bodily functions. Money? Maybe. A sincere desire to fulfill her verbally stated wishes? Maybe. Every excuse that's been given has an answer. He's been offered a ton of money just to go away and leave Terri in the care of her parents.

But, she's dead. She's been dead for most of the past fifteen years.

Obviously, Terri's case is a tragedy, and it's upsetting to hear about things like this...difficult to imagine how I'd handle it.

The think that hits me most is the way the conservative politicians and media people are going crazy over this situation. I wouldn't have thought anything would get 'em away from the "War on Terror,"(aka building the perfect police state) and the Michael Jackson trial.

Florida law give Terri's guardianship to her husband. Her husband says she told him that should anything like this happen, she wouldn't want to be kept alive this way. He wants the medics to work her will--all gone over by numerous doctors, lawyers and judges and found to be in accordance with Florida law, and consistent with Terri's body's condition.

Talk show guys rail over the suffering caused by Terri's body's being starved and denied water! Federal Congressfools obsess over the fact that they have no control over the situation, yet try to take control anyway.

I'm reminding myself of a series of scenes in the movie, "Rollerball." The first one, with James Caan playing the lead role. His teammate, "Moonpie," I guess some kind of defenseman, gets clobbered by an overly aggressive member of the other team. He takes Moonpie's helmet off and deals him a skullcrushing blow. Moonpie is left in a vegetative state on life support.

Jonathon, Caan's character, somehow, becomes the go to guy for permission to pull the plug on Moonpie. Jonathon says no, and had Moonpie moved to a special, atrium-like room, where he can rest under the blue sky forever. But Moonpie was dead! Heart kept beating and lungs kept breathing by marvalous technology, but no brainwaves and no action/reaction. Just like Terri.

Can't Congress quit this futile waste of time and get down to their real job: the serious business of saving major-league baseball fron Demon Drugs??

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Trip to the Range

This Sunday past I took Jim to the range to refresh his memory regarding handgun safety. As an added bonus, we decided to take Sherry's son Casey, who is 14. He's played with soft-air and BB guns, but never a firearm.

Since it's been a long time for Jim, and teenagers can be a mite flakey at times, we had a nice lecture on "The Rules" before we left. You know, check the weapon thoroughly to make sure it's not loaded, keep the weapons pointed downrange at all times, keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you're ready to fire, etc.

I knew Jim would be ok, I showed him this stuff years ago. I wasn't sure about Casey. But, as Sherry said--he actually listened to my blathering.

I brought my two Para-Ordnance .45's, a Taurus 9mm and a Ruger Standard .22. I showed them both the operations of the pistols: how to load them, where the safeties are and what a sight picture looks like. I showed them how to unload them, clear the actions and told them what to do in case of a jam.

I first let Casey load and fire the Ruger. He hit nothing--the paper target was the safest place downrange right then, so I talked further about the sight picture and critiqued his stance and grip. He fired a couple of magazines and began to improve. Jim tried the Taurus, then one of the .45's.

In the end, Jim preferred the Ruger (he'd actually fired the gun before, when he was a kid) and didn't care for the punisment of the .45 on his hand. The Para Carry is kind of a kicker, as small as it is. Casey ended up liking the Taurus best. He actually asked for another box of cartridges after going through two boxes (less the 20 rounds I fired and the ten Jim fired). Jim popped off more than three boxes of .22's. I fired mostly .45's (my favorite) dividing my time between the Carry and the P13.

It was a good time and I was pleased that Jim recalled the lessons of his childhood and that Casey paid attention and took the guns seriously.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California
Happy St Patrick's

I'm tippin' a pint o' Guinness in his honor and in the honor of freedom lovers everywhere!

......And that includes you, Ms O'hara.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, March 12, 2005


"A libertarian is a person who believes that no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being, or to advocate or delegate its initiation. Those who act consistently with this principle are libertarians, whether they realize it or not. Those who fail to act consistently with it are not libertarians, regardless of what they may claim."

--As penned by Libertarianism's scribe laureate, L Neil Smith.

While various individuals from the center to the fringes of libertarianism attempt various strategies in the search for a free society, the above quote is what defines us.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag Califirnia

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Little of the Sports What's Fit to Report

I guess it must be true that most sports reporters are ex-jocks who got clocked a few too many times. Things are looking....well, I guess boringly predictable in the wide world of sports this year.

The NHL has taken a season off to further marginalize itself with those (unlike myself) who don't regard hockey as the only sport worth watching. There are many sports that are fun to play, but only one that's fun to watch. So, in those rare moments in the late night and early morning hours when there isn't a baxabaw game to put on the screen, we're treated to .... poker .... and .... billiards .... and the ever tedious dog shows.

Nobody seems to know that, between the US and Canada, there are several minor hockey leagues, any of which would be fun to watch and who would undoubtedly allow ESPN's cameras in the house for a lot less than does the NHL. Ditto the European leagues, which compete on a level very near that of the NHL. There are college teams all over the northern US and Canada which are televised locally. While the skill level is somewhat below professional levels, fan loyalty is very high and the youngsters (both men and women) play with reckless enthusiasm.

Why can't Fox Sports and ESPN put some of them on the tube nationally? Because of the hordes of billiards fans? Sure.

I've pretty much stayed away from sports this year, with the exception of the Long Beach Ice Dogs. I detest baxabaw. Foopbaw has too many rules, and the players stand around most of the time. Beisbol hasn't been very, very good to me. I may start watching it again after they get their drug rules sorted out, one way or the other.

Many of these sports'd be fun to play, but to watch 'em? C'mon.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Homeland Insecurity

After the murders of Sept. 11, 2001 ( a day that will, too, live in infamy.), and after what seemed to be very sincere pronouncements, by the President, of outrage and promises that he'll use all the power of his office to capture or kill those responsible, the federal government slouched down to its normal business-as-usual, don't rock the boat mentality.

Certainly, attempts were made to bring allies to our side (with more success than the ever-hypercritical Democrats will ever admit), the military was deployed to Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden was thought to be headquartered. Bin Laden wasn't found, but as usual, we'll leave Afghanistan better off than we found it (less a few thousand lives). For reasons yet (in my opinion) to be revealed, we next attacked Iraq.

There are plusses and minuses to the military attacks upon the Middle East. Certainly, we had to go after the evil bastards that did this thing. Equally certainly, we pulled our punches and attempted to wage a "politically correct" war, feeding those we're fighting and going out of our way to avoid inflicting and more collateral damage than "necessary." Had we gone in with the full resolve we'd used in WWII, we might be done by now.

But what this message is about isn't our war in the Middle East. It's about the federal government's war on Americans. Immediately upon the settlement of some of the dust from the collapse of the towers, calls went out to "Tighten Security!" And what did that come to mean? Taking the tools illegally brought to bear against Americans accused of using drugs, and applying them to all Americans(!!). It gets worse: in the interest of political correctness, they applied these unConstitutional tools and techniques mainly on Americans who are not of the muslim persuasion(!?). Li'l o'ladies are groped and strip searched, their knitting needles confiscated, while young, middle-eastern men with baggy coats are let through with a nod.

Airline security is the responsibility of the airlines, not the federal government. Local police have a role in it, but not the federal government. Read the Constitution. Tell me where it says that the federal government is authorized (by We the People) to police, patrol and guard private institutions within the country's borders. While you're at it, read the First, Second....hell, read all the Amendments. If you don't see the outrage being perpetrated upon We the People by the federal government, then government schools have indeed done their job well.

What's the first thing government does when faced with a crisis? Create a new department. Homeland Security. Sounds ever so nice. Security in the homeland. The Constitution suggests--no, mandates--that it's the job of the military to protect the country from foreign invaders. It's because of these new programs with new names that distract the military from its job that they're ineffective when a threat does appear. Many departments in many agencies--the easier to have someone to blame when the job doesn't get done.

We have colored flags to tell us how severe is the current danger. That's stylish. Then, they tell us not to be alarmed. Go about your business as if all is well.

The first thing the President should have done is written an executive order legalizing the carry and use of firearms and other weapons by those capable of handling them. The feds could pave the way legally for classes in citizen's arrests to be set up for those wishing to become involved. Individuals could thus be expected to take control of their property and their businesses and see to it that nothing untoward happens thereon. Privatizing more of America's land would be a good idea, too. Individuals take better care of their property than do government employees.

He should remove sactions against oil drilling and, as our domestic supplies improve, we should taper off our purchases of oil from middle-eastern dictatorships. We should begin dealing with foreign sellers of goods and services on a value-for-value basis, with no government involvement.

In their rush to complete the erection of the perfect police state, the Administration has pushed us in the opposite direction, taking more freedom from the individual and gathering more power into the hands of the state. What the President does not know, or chooses to ignore, is that by concentrating power in the hands of few, he places the country in greater danger. He takes millions of perfectly good "soldiers" out of the battle by disarming them and dumbing them down.

So much for the President's interest in the welfare of the country. By concentrating power around himself, he weakens it.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California