August 23, 2006

Poster Child with Proven Public Appeal

A trusted source says that it will be impossible to do anything about global warming without a poster child. In today's culture image is the bottom line. Some candidates:

1. The Polar Bear. Polar bears spend their days lounging around on the Arctic ice waiting for seals to come up for air. Global warming is decreasing the extent and thickness of the Arctic ice cap at an alarming and accelerating rate.* No ice, no polar bears, except in zoos. And they are vertebrates, furry mammals no less, very photogenic.

*There was a diplomatic meeting not long ago in Sweden to discuss the shipping lanes that will be opening to the north of Siberia, and Canada and Denmark are fighting over rights to an island in the middle of the soon-to-be-navigable Northwest Passage.

2. As described in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the American Southwest is littered with the skeletons of pinion pines that have been killed during a 6-year drought.

3. The mosquito, especially one carrying a tropical disease like malaria, is a strong candidate as 'anti-poster-child'.

4. Climate change has lead to the steady northward advance of armadillos and opossums.

5. A resident of a South Pacific island whose ancestral home will be put under water by rising sea levels

But after careful consideration I have decided that the best candidate to be the global warming poster child is President Bush. He is as guilty as anybody, and perhaps more so, of using too much energy to support a lifestyle that is not sustainable in the long-term. And, he is as innocent as anybody, in the sense that he does not seem to be aware that he is violating our biblical duty to care for the earth we have been given. And what's better, in contrast to possums with their naked tails and ratty furs, or the vampiric mosquito, he has proven public appeal. So I say, think of George W. Bush, and help save the planet.

Great Dane?

'The Mohammed crises should teach us to love the Lutheran reformation. The idea was precisely to kick religion out of politics, to take from the church all external power, to end its injustices and extremes, and direct priests to the inner world. '

-Bertel Haarder, Danish Minister of Education and Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs, in an interview in Berlingske Tidende.

August 17, 2006

A question

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another,
Why am I allowed two?

-G. K. Chesterton

August 16, 2006

Justice was served.

'A pattern is emerging' said Agent Cooper, ominously. 'Dormant contacts are being renewed.' Firs and sycamores billow in the wind. Sparks fly as the teeth of saw blades are ground and the river flows.

I am hearing from folks I haven't heard from in years. It started with Country Boy who entered Long Burn at the end of 2005, just before he shipped out for Afghanistan. In the last few weeks I have heard from Mr. Billcox, Camel Two, Woody and Pink Floyd. It's true, the friends you make when you're young stay with you for life.

Camel Two sent this item from the Owatonna People's Press:

Sheriff candidate claims campaign yard posters are being stolen on a regular basis
By MOLLY BECK, Press staff writer
OWATONNA -- Frustrating. That's how Troy Matejcek describes the last few days of campaigning for sheriff as more than three dozen of his campaign signs have been taken off Steele County yards.

Matejcek, a Sheriff's Office investigator, is running for Steele County Sheriff against the incumbent, Gary Ringhofer. In the last four days, Matejcek says, he has lost more than four dozen campaign signs.

"This is getting ridiculous," Matejcek said. "As I go out to replace a few signs I drive down the street and see two missing, turn the corner and two are missing there, too."

Repeated calls to Sheriff Gary Ringhofer were not returned.

Jason Ringhofer of Owatonna -- a nephew of the sheriff who is campaigning for Matejcek -- said his large Matejcek sign was stolen from his home on 14th Avenue Southeast on Tuesday and spray painted "don't vote for Matejeck" and set up on County Road 45 South.

"This is just underhanded," Jason Ringhofer said.

But police officials said that, at least at this time, there are no plans to investigate the thefts. Owatonna Cheif of Police Shaun LaDue said both candidates have lost signs thus far in the election race.

"This is pretty commonplace and unless we have any suspects, then we won't be investigating," LaDue said. "We have a lot of other priorities to deal with that take precedent."

LaDue said every election year stolen campaign signs become a problem and unless officers catch sign thieves red-handed the cases will be red lined, or not investigated.

That last bit caught my eye, 'unless officers catch sign thieves red-handed'. Woody, Camel Two and Pink Floyd (along with Fish, Kabanger, Eric the Red and the cast and crew of A Little Bit Touched) are sure to agree. And it's true, after a short low-speed chase past the farm impliment dealer's lot on the edge of town we were caught red-handed with a few dozen lawn signs in the trunks of our cars, on a wet autumn night over twenty years ago. Judge Cashman was not impressed by the mitigating circumstances-- that political yard signs are just plain annoying and have little impact on the outcome of elections, that >95% of the signs we had taken belonged to one arch-conservative candidate who held the coveted position of High School Health Teacher, that the intended targets of the signing (Marxner's front pasture and Svendby's place) had it coming (as Clint Eastwood said in Unforgiven, 'Kid, we've all got it coming.'), or that for the most part we were good kids. None of it mattered. I remember the officer's flashlight shining into the back seat of the car. And us carrying the signs from the cars and setting them in the corner of the police station garage. And calling my parents and asking them to pick me up. A couple of weeks after the hearing a letter arrived from the county that said I was a Juvenile Delinquent. The sentence was community service which was spent cleaning up under the stands after a hockey tournament, and filling bags with groceries for the food shelf.

Our records were expunged when we turned 18. Me and my homeys tested our mettle and made some grist for the hometown mill.

August 15, 2006

Dell recalls Sony Li-ion batteries

...a Dell notebook in the cab of a pickup parked alongside Lake Mead in Nevada caught fire, igniting ammunition in the glove box and then the gas tanks. The truck exploded. “A few minutes later and we’d have been coming up out of the canyon when the notebook blew up,” said Thomas Forqueran, owner of the computer and truck. “Somebody is going to wind up getting killed.”

I happen to use one of these self-igniting Dell notebooks myself, every day, and have noticed how warm it can get. I am waiting for a Dell representative to contact me.

August 14, 2006


On August 14, 1980, workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk Poland went on strike.

August 07, 2006

The future is a wonderful place

Before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.

Arthur Summerfield, Postmaster General of the United States, 1959

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