Category Archives: Current Issues

The mysterious Kansas parrot fetish

Reminds me a bit of a 1950s song, "Poor Little Robin," "Walkin' walkin' walkin to Missouri."  But this ain't a robin.

Reminds me a bit of a 1950s song, “Poor Little Robin,” “Walkin’ walkin’ walkin to Missouri.” But this ain’t a robin.

Hi readers.  I dunno.  The Kansas State Bird is the Western Meadowlark.  Don’t even bother suggesting that’s what it’s all about.

But all over Kansas City and the surrounding area a person will see that damned cartoon character parrot.  Bumperstickers, flags in yards, even on gravestones.

Occasionally a person will see the word, “Jayhawk” associated with the damned parrot.  A jayhawk isn’t, I believe, an actual bird, so much as a Civil War pejorative used by people with long memories referring to the Kansas-version of the Missouri ‘bushwhackers’.  Irregulars, citizen soldiers using the excuse of war and hatred to rape loot and plunder anyone who disagreed with them.

I don’t think this is a jayhawk.  I think it’s a hell-of-a-lot more likely it’s a damned robin walking to Missouri, and the people displaying it aren’t happy with gasoline being so much cheaper just across the State boundary.

But what the hell do I know?

Old Jules

Hobo Hilton highs for homeless

Opaque windows on all four sides at all levels to allow both privacy and lights are only one of the imaginary, unique, compassionate features.

Opaque windows on all four sides at all levels to allow both privacy and lights are only one of the imaginary, unique, compassionate features.

Hi readers:

When the tsunami of Chinese [and other Asian imports] spawned hobo-jungles of unemployed US workers a lot of us believed it was an ill-wind that blew no good.  However, what we couldn’t have anticipated was the new birth and rejuvenation of the US railroads to deliver those goods to consumers who still had jobs.

As you see in the photo the nearby dumpster provides easy diving as well as convenient disposal of garbage accumulations for community volunteers policing the area.  Note also the 'donation' bin located middle right.  Nearby residents are thereby able to voluntarily dispose of items of their own choosing rather than having things stolen willy-nilly from their vehicles and homes.  A pad located at the donation bin informs residents of the high-rise of who is contributing, and who is not carrying part of the load voluntarily.

As you see in the photo the nearby dumpster provides easy diving as well as convenient disposal of garbage accumulations for community volunteers policing the area. Note also the ‘donation’ bin located middle left. Nearby residents are thereby able to voluntarily dispose of items of their own choosing rather than having things stolen willy-nilly from their vehicles and homes. A pad located at the donation bin informs residents of the high-rise of who is contributing, and who is not carrying part of the load voluntarily.

The logjam automobiles at train crossings caused by new rail freight traffic forced many cities to elevate tracks inside the metropolitan areas.  Unfortunately the consequence was to displace hundreds of dispossessed workers living in hobo jungles.

The Kansas City Metro area, concerned for the welfare of their homeless population and inadequate available shelters during inclement weather, chose to devote resources to a long-term solution.  Based on the assumption US consumers would never again be able to produce anything but hamburgers to sell to one another and jobs  involving the transport, storage, unloading and sales of Asian products, they [the Kansans] built long-term.

Every elevated railroad intersection has a multi-story Hobo Hilton providing warmth, privacy, a place to relax where they  can be easily located and rounded up for police lineups when nearby neighborhoods fail to use the donation-bin with sufficient enthusiasm.

Asian products are fundamentally responsible for this one more demonstration of compassion so typical of US citizens and local governments.  When conditions change, Americans reach out and respond to help other Americans instead of only giving only lip-service “WE WILL NEVER FORGET” promises and self-congratulatory flag-waving.

It’s a warm fuzzy just seeing it.

Old Jules

Desalinated, molassted and tofued into submission

Believe it or don't, this stuff makes a tasty substitute for soy sauce and woostershire sauce.  Blend it with rice vinegar and it makes tasteless goop go down easier.

Blackstrap molasses:  Believe it or don’t, this stuff makes a tasty substitute for soy sauce and woostershire sauce. Blend it with rice vinegar and it makes tasteless goop go down easier.

Hi readers.

I’m not going to say I think cardiologists know what they’re talking about, but in the matter of no sodium/extremely low sodium in the diet I believe they’re correct in spite of the fact they said it.  I’d always thought if a person didn’t eat canned goods and didn’t salt his food he was on a low sodium diet.  But when I left the hospital they handed me a sheet of paper and took the trouble to read it to me as though I couldn’t read it for myself.

2000 mg.  2 grams of sodium per day these people were unsmilingly demanding I confine myself to.  And they sent along a list of food items in one column and how much salt each contained per one-measure-or-another.

I could see with one eye these ivory tower quacks didn’t know what they were talking about.  Heck, I’m betting there’s never been a day of my life when I wasn’t fasting when I didn’t consume more than two grams of salt.

So when I arrived back at Jeanne’s I slouched toward low sodium, waved the bloody flag at it, but was completely reasonable.  Non-fanatic, not any sort of no-salt extremist anyone need fear.  And noticed a rapid decline in my physical capabilities concurrently.

You all know by now I enjoy messing around cooking and experimenting with food preparation in sometimes bizarre ways.  And since I was losing my ability to walk any distance, I figured what the hell?  Jeanne got me a couple of books from the library on no salt and lowest sodium cooking, and I began concocting all manner of experimental food with no salt, or so little salt as to pass for none.  2 grams?  Ha!  I spit on 2 grams!  1 gram until I get this down pat.

cilantro corriander

Cilantro!  Onion powder!  Tomato powder!  Lime juice powder!  Molasses.  Garlic.  Dill.  These are the soldiers, the legions of the war against salt.

Began making chips from steamed sticky rice rolled down thin and baked.  Made the best catsup I’ve ever eaten in my life from tomato powder, lime juice powder, molasses and rice vinegar.  Made an absolute jewel of guacamole with garlic, green onion, jalapeno, avocado, tofu, and cilantro.  Deeeeelicious!

Made a soy sauce alternative from black strap molasses and vinegar, along with a few other spices.

And after a couple of days of less than two grams, yesterday I walked to the end of the block and back, one-way being an uphill grade.  Didn’t get knocked to my knees by my top-kick drill instructor, either.

So I doubt those cardiologists know what the hell they’re talking about, but sometimes even a blind hog finds an acorn.  A person doesn’t have to know what he’s talking about to be correct.

Old Jules

Eddie’s amazing Rocket Heater

The Cantina area of Eddie's and Val's home is just under 1000 square feet, uninsulated mostly.  The wooden doors open to a patio and you can see daylight through them.

The Cantina area of Eddie’s and Val’s home is just under 1000 square feet, uninsulated mostly. The wooden doors open to a patio and you can see daylight through them.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Last year when I visited here Eddie and Val were heating The Cantina with a fireplace and a propane heater kicking in when things became uncomfortably cool.  He was troubling himself about the price of having Mesquite firewood hauled here.

http://sofarfromheaven.com/2012/12/21/la-cantina/

This year it’s an entirely different matter.  During the summer months Eddie researched the rocket stoves being utilized in 3rd world countries, turning out an amazing amount of heat on a few twigs.  Finally, he altered the designs somewhat and built one from a scrap pressure tank for his well, mortar-mix Vermiculite for the heat concentration, and a small firebox constructed from stovepipe.

The fuel?  Free pallets from the local businesses.

Total firewood requirement to keep the Cantina warm for the coldest week thus far in 2013?  Three pallets.

Total firewood requirement to keep the Cantina warm for the coldest week thus far in 2013? Three pallets.

This past week was the test.  Temperatures below freezing for a week.  The Cantina was toasty all week, and all week long they awoke to comparative warmth in the Cantina despite the fire having been out for hours.

That perpendicular piece of stovepipe is the firebox.  Eddie's redesigning it somewhat to make for easier cleaning.

That perpendicular piece of stovepipe is the firebox. Eddie’s redesigning it somewhat to make for easier cleaning.

The exterior appears fairly commonplace.  It’s inside where the Secrets of fuel economy reside.

rocket heater under construction2

What appears to be concrete is a hardened mixture of mortar mix, vermiculite, and stovepipe ….. wood ash mixed with the mortar/vermiculite to provide stability when the pipe melts or rots from the center.

Old Jules

Much ado about much ado

Fresh crisis ideas welcome.  No return on empties.

Fresh crisis ideas welcome. No return on empties.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I see over on Yahoo News I was made a monkey of by my own severely gullible nature, fretting about what the politicoists were pretending they were doing.  Suckered again.  Allowed myself to take them seriously.  Another Gulf of Tonkin, Cuban Missile, Berlin crisis with different stage props and settings.  Veterans in wheel chairs, war monuments, chunky beef-fed cops bullying, threats of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding in spreading plague and famine.

But oh gracious gollygee, deep sighs of relief.  Seems they got sudden new ability to come to the kind of agreement allowing them to play the same tune after the short attention spans of the public wander elsewhere.

But sheeze!  Gasoline prices are dropping, and we have a surplus of natural gas.  Price dropping on that, too.  They’ll need to devote their attentions to getting that out onto a marketplace where the prices can be jacked back up.  Buy some new fleets of government vehicles that burn more fuel.  The DEA, Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment, you name it, employees need stretch limosines and a lot of travel to handle this crisis.

Lalalalalalalalala.  And the beat goes on.

Still nobody talking about invading Mexico, though.  And extending the Promised Land to the Panama Canal.  Making all those people Chosen People instead of [those that come north] illegal aliens.

Likely they’ll get around to it when something’s good on television or India and China get into a world-threatening argument about Tibet.  Or they manage to sell some nuclear weapons to Iran and claim it was North Korea done it.

They use Hollywood playwrites and celebrity promoters to figure this stuff out, I figures.

Old Jules

401Ks and IRAs touring Atlantis

Speaking of savings and shell games.

Privatizning the Social Security Administration ought to seal things up.  Close the doors and call the law to get the vagrants off the streets.

Privatizing the Social Security Administration ought to seal things up. Close the doors and call the law to get the vagrants off the streets.

My friend Rich worked most of his life for one of the phone companies going around testing and fixing whatever the hell goes wrong with them.  Spang came nigh unto getting runned over by out-of-control cars, getting electrocuted, all the dangers of being a working man.

But he was prudent.  Constantly did the wise, advised thing every month, investing in 401K and IRAs just as wise advisors said a person ought to so’s to have some security in old age retirement.

Had himself a comfortable pile of money in there when it came retirement time, looked forward to his remaining years without financial worries or woes.

Then he noticed his money was going away without him touching it.  Spang, suddenly the value of his 401Ks and IRA shrunk, then shrunk some more, vanished into the Twilight Zone.

Hell of a bargain for him because he didn’t have to go to the trouble of spending it.  Whatever the hell happened to that money, evidently someone somewhere else who didn’t go to the trouble of saving it must have stuck in his pockets, bought a new Mercedes, snorted some really good stuff.

So now old Rich draws his Social Security pension and tries to live on it, same as so many others.  Doesn’t have to worry about what kinds of things he might buy if he had that money.

All he has to worry about now is whether the US government will keep paying him his Social Security pension, or whether they’ll turn it over to the same people who handled his 401Ks and IRAs.

Life goes on.

Old Jules

Too much non-military spending is the problem

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

The cats and I were trying to understand what all those useless eaters were fighting about in Washington DC.  Decided it must be unhappiness about the way the money was spent in 2013, so I went for a look.

As you can see, a huge percentage of the discretionary money wasn't spent on National Defense in 2013.

As you can see, a huge percentage of the discretionary money wasn’t spent on National Defense in 2013.

Turns out there are two types of spending going on.  Mandatory spending is one, discretionary is the other.  The chart above depicts where they spend the money coming out of taxes and they can tweak.

The “Social Security & Unemployment” and “Medicare & Health” take on a major fraction of the federal spending, amounting to about 58% of the total outlays, whereas “Military” spending appears to amount to just 18%. The problem with this representation is that the Social Security & Medicare are parts of the mandatory spending directly financed by the dedicated revenue raised from payroll taxes, as imposed by the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), not through the Federal income tax and thus represents a different Treasury account.

If we separate the mandatory spending and look only at the discretionary spending component appropriated by Congress on an annual basis and for which all the federal programs compete, a very different picture arises.

http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/10/us-military-spending-the-17-foot-tall-insectoid-robo-warriors-from-the-planet-zandor-2788430.html

Probably that enormous portion of the budget being frittered away on non-defense spending is what has those people upset and shutting down the government.  Each one of those non-defense slices could be halved or quartered easily so’s to provide a means of continuing and even increasing defense spending without anyone feeling the pinch.

There's no way any US citizen has any business feeling safe when we aren't even matching the combined rest of the world in military spending.

There’s no way any US citizen has any business feeling safe when we aren’t even matching the combined rest of the world in military spending.

The US isn’t even spending half as much on national defense as the rest of the world combined is spending on theirs.  It’s no wonder those elected representives and senators are digging in their heels.  They’re scared.

Congress knows their primary responsibility is to protect the citizenry from foreign invaders and likely they won’t give an inch until they know they’re doing it.

Old Jules

The European circumcision crisis

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Most of us probably go through life without doing a lot of thinking about circumcision.  I know I have, though I recall being fairly pleased I’d been through it as an infant when my old friend Vic had to have it done at the age of 30.

But in Europe I suppose someone decided just anyone ought not go around cutting the foreskins off male babies unless they’d had a bit of medical training.  They passed a law saying so.  Which thoroughly pissed off Israel, who pronounced it racist.  Evidently Jews and Arabs do it all the time and it’s worked out more-or-less okay.

I suppose if I had to choose and someone was going to take a knife to my pecker I’d rather they knew a little something about what they were doing, but I honestly don’t have a clue.  Mine might have gotten chewed off by a space alien for all I know.

Back in the 1960s there was a joke about a guy, said he got a job at a hospital as a circumcisor.  Said it paid 30 skins a week and a chance to get a head.

And during the ’70s Homer Henderson and the Dalworthian Garden Boys recorded a song, Hillbilly Pecker, about a kid who wasn’t circumcised.  Experienced some trauma when he discovered everyone else was.

HOMER HENDERSON Hillbilly Pecker .

But other than that I haven’t done much thinking about it.  Don’t know whether it’s racist, or not, just anyone taking a blade to a foreskin.

Likely there’ll be shots fired over it before the Europeans and Israel get it worked out.

Old Jules

Israeli standup comedian in the United Nations

Hi readers.  I had to throw this in because it’s so outer space.

Hotshot Israeli talking to the United Nations had them all gasping with laughter yesterday when he, with a perfectly straight face, told them all they couldn’t trust Iran.

How the hell do they come up with this stuff?

Old Jules

Gorilla war in Columbia – perfect timing, cheaper and more dope than Afghanistan

That gorilla's loaded to the gills with nose candy.  It's no mystery why that war's lasted 50 years.

That gorilla’s loaded to the gills with nose candy. It’s no mystery why that war’s lasted 50 years.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I saw on Yahoo news yesterday there’s a gorilla war going on in Columbia.  The what?  President?  Prime Minister?  Dicktater? anyway the sadly weakened strong-man in Columbia was saying they needed help from Cuba or Venzu-whatchallit-wala to put an end to it.

Help from  Cuba?  Hell man, we can send General Arnold Swartzkopff some trucks and move Fort Hood Texas straight through Mexico be down to help them in a New York minute.  While the government’s shut down.

Corner the market on addictive drugs worldwide quicker than you can tell about it.  Have the rest of the world vomiting and trembling and begging us for something to snort or shoot that’s more satisfying than shooting Muslims.

Sure, there’s the shale oil probably in Mexico we’ll pick off on the way down there, but oil is so damned 20th Century.  Cocaine’s where the future is.

Strike while the iron’s hot and Congress can claim they didn’t know because they were fretting about the budget.

Old Jules