Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day

Perhaps I’m not looking at it correctly, but it’s occurred to me on more than one occasion that the displaying of the American flag on Memorial Day is a little obscene. 

Image result for blurred american flag

Easy, fella, let me explain…

You see, in a substantial portion of the men we are “memorializing” on this day – ie, the men who fought and died in this Country’s armed forces – it were representatives of that flag that came to said memorialized individual and told him something along the lines of “go fight this war, or we’ll throw you in prison.” 

In the American Civil War, the line was often much more harsh.  Something more like “go and fight this war, or we’ll hang you where you stand.” 

Celebrating THAT sacrifice by flying the flag of the very people that sent the poor man, against his will, to fight in bloody conflict, just seems kind of wrong to me. 

There should be some other symbol.  Similar to the “yellow ribbon” that we put up to show support and solidarity with our deployed troops, there should be some other symbol for Memorial Day than the display of the flag of the nation that forced these men to die.  It almost feels like rubbing it in the faces of the poor draftees that fought valiantly and bravely, and died terribly, because they were MADE TO by threat of being thrown in a cage, shunned socially, and made unemployable forever, if they did not. 

This isn’t an attempt to discuss the justness of this war or that.  World War Two is possibly the most just of wars ever fought by America, and yet I feel the same way about the draftees in that war as I do any other.  The sacrifice of the draftee is the most painful, in my opinion, because they didn’t choose it.  It was forced on them, and for the most part, they did the best they could with what they were faced with.  

Regardless of how you feel about everything else I just posted, take a moment to give thanks to all the men who've shed blood in defense of this country. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Election Season...

So let me get this straight…

The two parties, lead by people that I’m meant to believe are infinitely smarter than me (so shut up and quit complaining) have nominated exactly WHO for president? 

A woman who, if not part of the political elite and thus not subject to the laws of mere mortals, would otherwise be a multiple felon (and apparently may become one yet, shortly, depending on how “in the pocket” the folks at the FBI are).

"We here at the FBI do not have a pocket, that we're aware of"

Or, alternatively, a trust-fund brat who would have made more money if he’d just left his inheritance in mutual funds than tried (and failed) in so many terrible business ventures that one loses count. 

Image result for trump good deal
I'll drive hard bargains, get GOOD DEALS.  You know, at slightly less than market return!
On one hand, a woman who’s entire purpose throughout her entire life, was to feed her political ambitions, not by accomplishing a goddamned thing, but by making sure that none of the multiple scandals popping up around her due to incompetence can actually stick to her.  A woman who had used her powerful, elite status to dodge indictment on things that would have any one of us plebes behind bars in a federal “pound me in the ass prison”.  Who, and I can’t stress this enough, has zero actual accomplishments to her name, other than managing to get elected and appointed to higher and higher offices after she was married to the president two decades ago.    Seriously, I’ve asked multiple Clinton fans to list her accomplishments, and I’ve never heard one of them list something that was a result of her actually “rolling up her sleeves and getting a job done”, as she’s so apt to claim she does in her campaign speeches.  No, her only accomplishments are:

  • 1.       Being married to Bill Clinton;
  • 2.       Getting elected senator of New York;
  • 3.       Being appointed Secretary of State;
  • 4.       Fucking everything up that she touched in every one of those positions, and then making sure to pin the blame on other people;

On the other hand, you’ve got, what, 6 bankruptcies?  An arrogant, condescending attitude?  Authoritarianism taken to a near Stalinist extreme? (I know, hyperbole, I got it).  A guy that was so “good” at business that when given untold millions in inheritance, he managed to make slightly less than the rate of return on the mutual fund market over 40 years of work?  A guy who’s policies on complex, intricate issues distill to incendiary one-liners about “rounding up” people and “building a wall and making Mexico pay for it?  No discussion about the implications of “rounding up” 12 million people and shipping them off to Mexico?  The human rights implications alone boggle the mind.  I know, they’re criminals – but consider the severity of their crime, versus the logistical nightmare of “rounding them up.”  With whom?  SWAT teams with guns?  You know there are going to be some bad guys in the mix, who will shoot back, so that means every one of these folks is going to get a SWAT raid.  At 2 hours per raid, times, say, 6 guys per raid, and 4 illegals per household, you’re talking 36,000,000 (MILLION!) man hours just in the “rounding up”, much less the investigations to determine who is actually here illegally.  36 million man hours, at 2,080 man hours per year, that’s pushing 18 THOUSAND full time positions to get this done in a year.  And recall, that’s just the tip of the spear, it doesn’t account for the investigation time, which will almost certainly be more than the actual “round up” time.  So say we suddenly need to create 40,000 full-time positions to get this done.  Where do we get them all?  How many are qualified?  Or are we talking a multi-year operations?  How long? 

It says "Homeland Security".  Why don't I feel secure seeing this photo?

How many legal immigrants get caught in that net, facing years of hassle and fear fighting their ILLEGAL deportation from a foreign country where they don’t belong?  How many parents of natural born American citizens are going to get deported, leaving a natural born American Citizen minor without parents?  Who now become wards of the State, and move into foster care at taxpayer expense.  Is this really the best solution to the problem that you can think of?  Or have you just not really considered the implications?

Which is probably the scariest part – I truly think that’s what the deal is.  He just hasn’t thought about it.  He truly thinks that running the country is all about popular sound bites, like, I don’t know, a reality TV show. 

He said to Vladimir Putin right before WWIII started

Or maybe he’s just a shill, running to get Hillary elected.  Who knows?  Not me. 

"You don't think they'll really fall for this, do you?"

But I do know that the current state of American politics is fucking embarrassing, and for the first time I can remember, I’m not exactly sure I want to be a part of this anymore.  The IDEA of America is fantastic.  But the actual practice of America has become increasingly disappointing.  

She Thinks My Dump Truck's Sexy...

So I mentioned in a previous post that I own a dump truck. 

I find that owning a dump truck has many advantages when you live outside of the urban center, where you’ve got to do a lot of the things that your local municipality would normally do for you. 

For instance, the private road I live on is about a mile long to my driveway, and my driveway is 1,850 feet long.  That’s over a third of a mile of road that I have to maintain all by myself, and another mile that me and my four neighbors maintain between us.  There is a gravel pit 3 miles from my place, that charges 11.50 a ton for 5/8 minus gravel.  Or, if you pick it up yourself in your own dump truck, it’s 6 bucks a ton.  That’s a 5.50 per ton savings for a six mile round trip. 

Also, as the construction projects proceed, I find myself in need of a dumpster to pick up all the non-compostable scraps.  Drywall, plastic tarps, strapping, nails, etc all add up.  Instead of paying for a dumpster, you just park your dump truck close to the site and use it for a dumpster.  The local transfer station charges $60 a ton for garbage.  Generally I can fill the truck and go dump the load up there for $20 a pop.  Just pull this lever right here… 

It’s also very efficient for moving dirt around on my 25 acres.  A ¼ yard tractor bucket at a time for the length of the property takes years.  A 6 yard dump load at a time takes hours. 

Now, about my truck.  She needs some help.  Restoration projects will commence sometime next year, but in the meantime, she’s going to stay rusty and ugly.  She’s a 1964 International Loadstar 1700.  27,500 pounds gross weight, and about a 6 yard capacity. 

She’s got some rust, and she was 16 years old before I was even born, but she runs good, works hard, and gets the job done.  This truck is 52 years old, has ten speeds (5 speed transmission with a 2 speed rear end), and 180 blistering horsepower.  It’s a 345 cubic inch gasoline engine, meaning my wife’s Tahoe has a bigger, more powerful engine in it.  She ain’t fast, but she gets the job done. 

I call her Mater, after the rusty old tow truck in the movie “Cars.”  You know, like “TO-mater” only without the “Tow”.  

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Property Update

God willing and the creek don't rise, it's dried out enough to bring in premix trucks and I am going to pour the new shop floor Thursday.

Worked like hell today to get the slab gravel in and level. 50 yards of gravel it took.

Good thing I have a dump truck.

Oh, did I not mention I got a dump truck?

It's a 1964 international loadstar with a 345 V8 and a 10 speed transmission. 180 blistering horsepower,  5 yards at a time. I'll post pics tomorrow maybe.