Sunday, December 28, 2008

Requiem For A Hamburger

My love affair with hamburgers began as soon as I had my own money to spend. At the age of ten, I began selling the Grand Forks Herald on the streets of downtown. Only on rare occasions did I indulge myself with the burger-fries-Coke combination which cost, at the time, about forty-five cents. That, of course, was in the pre McDonald's midwest when a handmade hamburger came with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and the other stuff if you wanted. Cheese was an extra nickle.

During my high school years and my stint in the Navy, I gradually became able to rival Popeye's buddy Wimpy as a hamburger connoisseur. I ate White Castles five at a time and Big Macs two at a time.

When I relocated to Orange County in 1968, I discovered Carl's Jr. That was it. One Superstar with cheese, fries and a Coke was about two bucks and it was a full lunch. You could watch the patties roll off the conveyor and be immediately slapped onto a bun already loaded with goodies. I think I must've eaten something like 300 Superstars a year for a few years.

I sort of upgraded by dining tastes a mite after I moved to San Diego. I was making more money and meeting a better class of feminine accompaniment, and I swerved away from hamburgers for a few years, in favor of steak, seafood, Mexican, Chinese, Cajun, Italian food and even the occasional New York Jewish deli sandwich.

After I came back to OC and LA, I spent more time with onsite field work, and lunches became more fast foody, I naturally returned to Carl's Jr for lunch much of the time.They weren't the same.

Carl Karcher started Carl's Jr in 1946, with a hot dog stand. He made money in an America and a California before the War on Productivity, and was able to reinvest part of his profits and build a hot dog and hamburger diners all over Orange County, and beyond. Some might remember the nice, clown-faced gentleman advertising on tv in the 1980's and 1990's. Carl Karcher.

He was a very conservative Catholic man, part of the old guard Orange County conservative majority that.....sort of lingers there to this day. In a GWB-inspired weakened state.

In the mid 1990's, I think it was, that the Karcher Ent board squeezed Carl out of the chairmanship of the enterprise he created. The quality of the Carl's Jr hamburger has been in decline ever since.

You don't get patties fresh off the conveyor any more. They sit in a pile and congeal until they are ordered. The meat doesn't smell good any more. The relatively new Six Dollar burgers are a little better--but only if you happen to get one whose patty was recently grilled.

After Mr Karcher's face disappeared from the tv screen, he was replaced by unkempt twenty-something louts who dribbled catsup down their shirts.

Like in Ayn Rand's America, Carl's Jr's motor has been stopped. Its motive power is grinding to a halt. It's really too bad that Carl didn't have a Dagny Karcher to keep the business going and advancing, but it wasn't to be. The heirs are apparently lawyers or marketing types, who care nothing for the product, just the corporate bottom line. If that sounds anti-capitalist on my part--it isn't. Making a "profit" by lowering the quality of the product is a very short-term, suicidal policy.

Sadly, Carl Karcher lived to see his empire enter its death throes. He passed away in January, almost a year ago, and the Carl's Jr burger chain will follow soon--unless somebody wakes up over there.

I had a hamburger for lunch today. It was not at Carl's Jr.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Socialist Scientists War on Christmas

Well, it wouldn't be fully accurate to call it a war on Christmas. It's a war on technology. It's a war on property rights. It's a war whose main justification is that they know better that your own self what you should be doing and how you ought to act.

Here in El Pueblo de Los Angeles, we're constantly told we ought to conserve energy, water, gasoline, even some foods.

Today, in Australia's, I read that Dr Glenn Platt joins that lofty group that knows better than the rest of us, how we should live.

Electricity is a commodity, as is potable water, gasoline and food (of all kinds). We find them, we create them and/or we process them to usefulness. Despite the blathering of these so-called "scientists," who've probably devoted more time to the study of the followers of Karl Marx than to the discipline they're addressing, in meaningful terms none of these commodities are finite.

Years ago, there was a comedy duet that called themselves Burns & Schreiber. After the two comedians went their separate ways in 1972, Avery Schreiber appeared on various stages and variety shows, and in tv commercials. In what I believe was his highest-profile tv ad campaign, he was seen eating a well-known brand of corn chips from a bag, at which time he said (I don't remember the precise wording) "Eat all you want. We'll make more!"

That's the key thought, folks. It works for corn chips, and it works equally well with gasoline, electricity, food and potable water. Don't have enough? "We'll make more!"

Well, Antonio Vinaigrette, el alcalde, doesn't want to make more. El Alcalde, who uses more than twenty times the amount of potable water to irrigate his landscaping than does the average homeowner, is seriously invested in the proposition that the rest of us conserve water.

Water is processed to potability by LADWP (Dept of Water & Power), and the same government agency produces, buys and distributes electric power--which we are also admonished ad nauseum to conserve. Well, DWP, make more! All the water and power we each use, pay for. At that point, it belongs to each of us. It's my property.

Property means the ability to hold, use and dispose of at one's own will. To violate the property of another is to violate that individual's life. That's what disgusting individuals like Antonio Vinaigrette and Dr Glenn Platt should be shunned and their nutty ideas ignored.

Commodities should be produced by privately owned firms in competition with each other with the purpose of making a profit. Were that the case with the above-mentioned commodities, as with corn chips, there'd be plenty available--because when the producers realized there wasn't enough they'd make more.

If Dr Platt is worried that the use of coal-fired power plants cause pollution, he should advocate the building of nuclear power plants. Instead, he advocates turning off your Christmas lights. Or using led lights. Dr Platt, that's none of your business. I bought the power, it's mine, and I'll use it the way I want.

Remember: You can't trust any air you can't see!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Statutory Violation

The original story is a couple of years old. The reason it's back in the news (well, is it really in the news? I heard about it through libertarian circles, never the news!) is that the wronged family is being prosecuted by the Galveston branch of the American Nazi Party Police Department for assault.

About two years ago, Emily Milburn was doing Mom things when a breaker blew. She asked her 12-year-old daughter, Dymond, to go out and reset the switch. Three plainclothes men jumped out of a van and grabbed Dymond. She wrapped herself around a tree and screamed for Daddy. The three men, vice goons, as it turned out began beating her and trying to pry her hands from the tree. "You're a prostitute! You're coming with me!" said one of the men. At no time is it observed that the thugs identified themselves as police officers.

Read the story here, and here. You can also read The Agitator's take on it here.

Dymond was released, but three weeks later police went to Dymond's school, where she was an honor student, and arrested her for assaulting a public servant. Griffin says the allegations stem from when Dymond fought back against the three men who were trying to take her from her home. Her father was also arrested.

Turns out that there'd been a complaint about an alleged prostitute plying her trade nearby--two blocks away, as it turns out. Dymond is black. The hooker in the complaint was not. The police picked out Dymond solely (well, maybe not solely--she is black, after all) because she was wearing tight shorts.

The Galveston thug squad offers no apology and is persecuting prosecuting both Dymond and her father for the "assault." Apparently, the initial assault by the police thugs is not to be considered "the assault," and the message to all young girls is to go meekly with anyone who tries to drag them into a van.

The thing that amazes me is that more of these thuggish police officers aren't killed by property owners whose homes and property is invaded by unidentified, obviously hostile subhumans. Don't dare put me on a jury in such a court case as this. This is an example of the things that can happen when police are given a blank check by a federal government that ignores its own laws.

People shouldn't be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Friday, December 19, 2008

Foopbaw Players Have Rights, Too!

Ok, we all know that foopbaw players have been fortunate in getting great athletic genes. It's only assumed that they paid for it by a shortfall in intelligence genes. After all, Brett Favre doesn't even know how to pronounce his own name.

Hence, when a foopbaw player fumbles in public, no one is really surprised. Like on Nov 29th, when Plaxico Burress shot himself in the thigh with a handgun he was carrying in his pocket in a NYC nightclub. I can go on about handgun safety and the fact that no handgun has ever just "gone off" of its own volition, but suffice it to say that Burress, whether or not he knows anything about handgun safety, screwed up in a way that might have killed him. Depending 'pon the particular weapon, the safety must be engaged, the chamber should be empty or perhaps the weapon simply isn't the type to be carried in the trouser pocket. Burress has more than enough money to purchase any type of handgun, and perhaps should've been a mite more selective.

The interesting thing coming out of Burress' famous blunder involves the news coverage. The media seems to have roundly decided that Burress had no right to be armed in public. The NFL offers no defense of the player, citing its policy that if a player breaks the unConstitutional laws of any locality, the player is subject to punishment by the League--including suspension.

New York City, for its part, is as staunchly anti-self defense as is India or Britain--preferring victimhood to self determination. Rather than fighting crime, the DA of New York City, showing the same stupidity, arrogance and ignorance of the rights of individuals as did the NYC DA's in the tv series Perry Mason or Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer novels, plans to prosecute Burress (not for near-terminal stupidity, but for exercising his right to self defense), those who helped him to the hospital and the medic who failed to squeal on him.

A couple of interesting stats were brought up by John Lott, Jr at The Fox Forum. Lott points out that an NFL player stands twenty times more chance of being crime victims than does the average individual. And, since the police seem to be spending most of their time writing traffic citations and chasing the odd toker, gambler or hooker rather than dealing with crime (which should include supporting productive and law-abiding individuals in their efforts to defend themselves against such threats.

The Lott piece also has something to say about airport security guards hiding behind pillars in the Bombay airport, and British-inspired Indian gun control, for those interested.

A tip of the battered gray fedora to Alan Korwin for pointing me in the right direction.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,
Col. Hogan

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rated R--For Winking, Leering, Lascivious Smiling and Brief Smoking

I've never been a fan of the MPAA Rating System, for a host of reasons. One reason is that certain films seem to be able to be rated PG, with plenty of cussing, violence and even a little nudity, while others become R rated for the ambiguous "adult themes." Please make me believe wealthy, successful producers can't smooth-talk MPAA Board members into changing an R to a PG. Please!

A second is that, though literally everyone swears it's true, no one has ever shown me serious science to the effect that the viewing of sexy, violent or highly dramatic movies causes harm to children who live in otherwise normal, healthy households.

Third, who goes to a movie and pays upwards of $10 to see a flick about which they know nothing? There are a plethora of reviews in newspapers, on tv and the internet that will tell one all that's needed to evaluate a film--sometimes too much!

There's a movie out now, a chick flick, I believe. I think that because it has just about every middle-aged ex-engenue you can imagine in the cast. They've been advertising it pretty heavily on radio and on tv lately. The Women. I have no idea what its theme might be--probably a "he done her wrong and now after counsel from all thirty of her best friends, she's going to get revenge!"

It's rated PG, I believe, but the reason why? The list of horrid violations of the young child's eyes and ears includes things like--mature themes, sexual situations, swearing and brief smoking(!).

Brief smoking. I wonder if it's safe to assume that it doesn't mean rolling and lighting up someone's drawers. That could legitimately draw an R rating, I'll concede!

But, changing the rating of a movie because someone smokes cigarettes? That's simple Political Correctness run amok!

As the one and only individual in the whole of Stalag California who doesn't smoke but doesn't care if others do, I find this tobacco-phobia just a mite silly. Since it's been shown that second-hand smoke is not harmful, but simply a mild annoyance (as opposed to the malignantly mistaken notion that the merest whiff of cigarette smoke is more dangerous than the release of a full canister of mustard gas), we have to conclude that the anger displayed by rabid anti-tobacco fanatics at seeing someone across the street smoking a cigarette, is merely the anger of tortured souls railing against the sight of someone enjoying himself.

Sadly, many of the denizens of Hollywood and surroundings fit into this category. So, we have a war against smoking by movie and tv characters.

Ok, so my reaction may be just a bit over the top. Why should anyone smoke, anyway. Smoking, while not actually dangerous to the passers by, is dangerous to the smoker himself.

But, so is drinking. So is driving--whether done in conjunction with drinking or not. So is skiing. The list is long. We all live with danger. Why shouldn't we try to squeeze a little pleasure out of life, each in his own chosen way?

Humphrey Bogart is still cool!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California
Gun Phobia, Again

The government children's prisons, for many years, have subtly, and not so subtly, been running a program of fear inducement against guns. The leftist news media have been doing the same thing, in the way they frame stories involving guns. It's worse in some parts of the country than in others, and here in the Stalag, it approaches utter horror at even the mention of an individual carrying a firearm.

Not so bad in other areas. In the rural and small town areas of the midwest and south, for example, the sight of an individual with a pistol on his hip is less disturbing than seeing a man in public without a shirt.

Apparently we have to add West Allis, Wisconsin to the phobic parts of the country. According to a story at Freedom's Phoenix:

The West Allis police department sent two squads to investigate, and found Brad (Krause) in his yard, minding his own business planting trees. From behind him, police rushed him, yelling, "Don't move!" while bearing down on him with their weapons drawn.

This after a neighbor (a very poor neighbor, one might assert) complained that Krause was carrying a gun and he wanted something done about it.

Since it's not illegal to openly carry a firearm in Wisconsin, the police--holding Krause in handcuffs in his front yard for forty-five minutes--stood around trying to figure out how they could arrest him. Checking with a supervisor provided a solution: "claim his action of carrying a weapon is disorderly conduct, and haul him down to the station. His firearm was taken away from him without a receipt, and it has not been returned."

Since Krause had a voice recorder running, and recorded the events as they happened, I'm led to suspect this is the beginning of a test case.

It'll be a test case I look forward to following since, as you know, I'm of the opinion that many egregious crimes, both by criminals and by government (oops, I repeat myself!), could be thwarted by an armed population. 'Twould make our environment much safer.

Krause will be in court in West Allis, Wisconsin tomorrow at 8:00am.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The End Of The American Automobile

Today, the idiots in the US House of Representatives voted to bail out America's three automaking corporations. It'll be seen as the beginning of the end of the industry.

They didn't simply throw huge sums of money at the firms. They're all but nationalizing the industry. Like they've done with the banking industry. Like they want to do with the medical industry and the insurance industry. There seems to be a bit of hesitancy in the Senate, so while I don't think Senators are any more honest nor intelligent than Congressmen, they might have a less intrusive version. Maybe.

Adolf Hitler, from his little corner of hell, is smiling.

No, they're going to appoint a "Car Tsar" to strut about the corporate offices of the three auto building firms issuing edicts and apportioning the hard-earned spoils stolen from productive Americans to the ceo's according to how well they lick his jackboots. It'll be appropriate to envision a pompous preening rooster strutting about the halls of General Motors in shiny leather leggings and a faux Ike jacket, complete with epaulets and rows of medals, pacing back and forth in the boardroom, slapping his leggings with a riding crop, smiling smugly as the board members bow and scrape.

Look for a failed ceo from an unrelated firm to play the part of Cuffy Meigs in this farce.

Look for more Yugos driving at forty-five mph on our freeways. Look for electric cars stalled in lanes, their batteries having depleted their charge unexpectedly, blocking the Slauson offramp.

One of the biggest problems with the auto industry (and many other industries) is that its run by executives who are not car builders.They are either lawyers (for making compromises with EPA thugs, etc) or marketers (who attempt to sell whatever crap the lawyers and EPA thugs throw together). Hence, the quality individual conveyances as were being built prior to this Mordorian alliance are either nonexistent in today's market, or too expensive for the average individual to afford.

The statist's desire is and has always been to get the individual out of his individual conveyance and into public transportation to more easily control his choices of destinations, and to keep track of his movements.

Think not otherwise: at some point, the government's plan is to have every individual insert his id card into a slot on every bus, plane, passenger train or taxi to record his comings and goings. Private cars, should they still manage to exist, will (many already do) have gps locators on board to keep track that way, and ignition cutoffs should one wander off in an unauthorized direction.

All in the name of Homeland Security.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards,

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Legend of a Different Sort

My dad, who passed away a few years ago, and whom I think about often, was a lifelong railroad man. I've already chronicled a couple of my railroad adventures and will undoubtedly write about more of them in the future. Railroads played a big part in my youth.

When I was, I suppose twelve or thirteen years old, I discovered magazines. I was selling the Grand Forks Herald in the streets of downtown Grand Forks and East Grand Forks and making decent money for a twelve-year old. Fifty or so cents a day could keep an adult alive in those days, if he didn't mind living in a camp down by the river.

At times, after I'd sold my papers, I'd walk down to the train station, to a very well-stocked newsstand across the street. I liked to peruse Hot Rod and Rod & Custom magazines, take a look at Argosy and some of the other men's adventure magazines. Mechanix Illustrated was one of my favorites. I still remember Tom McCahill's road tests of the various new cars, in which there was his signature photo of himself, a big man, or his (large) dog Boji, lying in the open trunk of the car he was reviewing to indicate the adequacy of the storage space. Of course, the technology fan that I am today has its roots in these magazines, as well as Popular Science and others.

There were the science fiction monthlies, the horror magazines (whose names fade into obscurity), the crime magazines and, of course, the girlie mags.

Kids my age weren't supposed to wander to the far end of the magazine racks. The little "over 21" sign was supposed to keep kids away from the fledgling Playboy and the many others at the end of the racks.

I didn't let it stop me. The clerks were usually busy helping customers, working on stock or just reading a magazine. Some probably just didn't care. Occasionally, I'd step a couple of feet beyond the limits and leaf through this girlie magazine or that. The curiosity of a twelve-year-old boy is a very real.

Scantily-dressed women will always attract the looks of young boys and men. From the girls with torn dresses, shrinking in horror from the long, curved fangs of a bug-eyed monster on the cover of a sci-fi pulp to the women in red or black lingerie posed in the girlie magazines, to the now almost forgotten nudist camp magazines, only one name survives to this day.

Bettie Page.

Her photos have appeared in several issues of Playboy magazine, including a feature as Playmate of the Month in the January, 1955 issue, and had hundreds of photos published in various men's magazines in those few years. Photos in and out of then very risque lingerie and in poses suggesting both kinky sex and pure feminine beauty.

Bettie Page, at this writing, is still alive, but just. She was being treated for pneumonia, was about to be released when she suffered a sudden heart attack that's left her in critical condition in an LA hospital. This according to a story, here.

Bettie is 85 now, and has lived in relative obscurity for decades, until granting some interviews in recent years.

I, of course, wish Bettie a full recovery.

But, I've outgrown all that stuff now. Like hell, I have!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Addendum: Ms Page passed away yesterday, December 11. Rest easy, Bettie. You'll be remembered for a long, long time.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Constitution! Constitution? We Don't Need No Steenking Constitution!!

Article I, Section 6. Paragraph 2. "No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shell have been encreased during such time, and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

I don't know how many times this clause has been violated by Presidential appointments of Senators to Cabinet posts and other high-level positions in government, but I suspect it's many.

But, neither Sen Clinton (the smartest woman in the world) nor President-elect Obama (the one true leader) appear to have noticed this clause. Which means neither of them has read the US Constitution, or that neither of them take it seriously. Not that they're alone in this--according to the text of the majority of legislation that's passed in each legislative session, it's clear that nearly all Congressmen and Senators are largely ignorant of the actual text and historical meaning of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and in many cases, the law itself.

The thing that allows these failings to endure unpunished is that all elected officials are either guilty of gross violations of their Oaths of Office, or blindly going along to get along, and are afraid that if a spade is called a spade, any and all of them could be found guilty of these violations.

So, they all ignore the Constitution and pretend that they are acting lawfully, and that none of the unwashed masses are intelligent enough to point out the obvious.

Consider it pointed out.

Tip of the battered grey fedora to James Babb for his alertness.

People should not be afraid of their governments; governments should be afraid of their people.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Creeping Fascism Is Learning to Walk--Faster

Readers who've been with me for a while know that I've long been warning of the coming of the equivalent of a Fourth Reich--right here in the United States. I've seen no reason to back off from this stance. My awareness of this threat was begun by my having read The Ominous Parallels, by Leonard Piekoff. I highly recommend this book.

The War on Drugs increased government's intrusions into the affairs of Americans, and the piggy-backed War on Terrorism has pretty much eliminated the Bill of Rights as a guarantee of Americans' rights.

These days, only large and loud protests can offer any brakes on government excesses. These protests, the ones large enough to reach the ears of power-mad politicians and bureaucrats, have mostly only happened because of the focusing power of conservative talk radio.

Leftist politicians now speak of using a "Fairness Doctrine" to diffuse talk radio, thus taking yet another big chunk out of the already decimated First Amendment.

My interest today centers 'pon yet another, perhaps more physical threat to the liberty we all see slipping away. According to a story found here, the Pentagon has plans and is beginning to implement a program that will include stationing 20,000 Army Regular troops among us "to bolster domestic security."

Several years ago, I was walking along a downtown Tijuana street looking for a restaurant. I don't know what was going on, and nobody was talking, but there were dozens of Mexican federales (army soldiers) carrying automatic rifles on the street corners. Creeped me out. I grabbed my lady, flagged down a cab and we dined in safe and sane San Diego instead. I've never crossed that border again, and doubt if I ever will.

While the plan is allegedly to have troops available to assist state National Guard units and local police in the event of a "domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or CBRNE event, as the military calls it," it promises to have many other, more insidious uses.

We've all seen how mission creep works as it applies to government programs, and this plan is a clear small step in a directed creeping mission that will tighten control of the populace with respect to freedom of movement. It is specifically targeted toward keeping people in line as disgust with the excesses of government increases.

Can strategically located checkpoints, manned by heavily armed jack-booted thugs really be very far behind? A program of house-to-house searches for who knows what--but we'll just take these dangerous firearms off your hands before you're harmed by them, would seem a logical subprogram.

One could (I don't) assume that the current crop of power-mad politicos are sincerely concerned for our security and safety, but what about the next administration?

In my opinion, this is serious stuff. Voting with your feet kind of stuff.

Before they cut off the routes of escape.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California