Saturday, January 12, 2019

The State of Journalism: There’s Not Much Left to Explain

Somebody at The Washington Times thinks Journalism jumped the shark this month. I’d say they are more than a bit behind the Times.

While the Washington Times explains that the ludicrous “fact checking” by the MSM is not, in fact, checking at all:

That’s the problem in a nutshell. If your fact check consists of “this is true, but” you are no longer checking a fact. You are engaged in an argument, and therefore, you’re guilty of misleading your readers — which, we thought, was the opposite of your job description.

Meanwhile, America’s newspaper of record, The New York Times, having jumped the shark long ago continued on its ill-advised course of also screwing the pooch and printed this explosive headline: F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia which contained not a whit of new information.

The headline is a classic example of click bait and I’m certain that every liberal eyeball in the country has already clicked on some variation of the Times “report” hoping to see what they all believe to be “their truth” in print. But alas, no, it was simply an excuse to regurgitate all of the editors’ favorite witch hunting storylines. What a disappointment.

No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. (Again. But that doesn’t mean we’re giving up.)

Really, there’s not much left to explain.

calvin hobbes not much left to explain alien

Friday, January 11, 2019

Vaya con Dios, Senor Sánchez: And Thanks For All the Beans!

Now wait: before you jump to conclusions, call me a racist, report me to Facebook and YouTube, allow me to explain.

Look I know the news is compelling: Will PDJT declare a national emergency and dispatch the Army Corps of Engineers? Will Ruthie announce her retirement as rumored? Let’s not get caught up in speculation today when we should be honoring the memory of a truly great icon.


I’m sad to report that the coffee farmer who embodied the essence of Colombian coffee with his portrayal of Juan Valdez - Carlos Sánchez Jaramillo of Medellín - died at age 83 in late December although his death wasn’t reported until yesterday.

A product of the real Mad Men of Madison Avenue, the fictional character Juan Valdez, a Colombian coffee farmer who often appears with his mule Conchita, was created by Doyle Dane Bernbach in 1958. Sánchez replaced the original Juan Valdez actor, José Duval, in 1969, and held the role until his retirement in 2006. 


Note in this (bad quality) commercial from 1982 how far ahead of its time the message was.

Focusing on the special qualities of small farmer raised beans, wearing his aguadeño hat, carriel and cotizas, Juan Valdez became one of the first icons of international branding. As a pitchman you could say the Valdez character created global marketing. And the rest is history.


RIP Carlos Sánchez, and thanks for all the beans! Even though it’s as addictive as cocaine it’s still far less expensive.

waiting for coffee

coffee seeds while sleeping


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Tilting at Windmills on the Hill

We have just a little over a decade left to act and then - *poof* – the world as we know it is gone forever.

We have just 12 years to make massive and unprecedented changes to global energy infrastructure to limit global warming to moderate levels.

And while both Republicans and mainstream Democrats have refused to do anything to stop this horror show the next generation has stepped up to the plate:

Young activists, who will be forced to live with the ravages of climate change, find this upsetting. So they have proposed a plan of their own. It’s called the Green New Deal (GND) — a term purposefully reminiscent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s original New Deal in the 1930s — and it has become the talk of the town. – Vox

So what the heck is it?

The exact details of the GND remain to be worked out, but the broad thrust is fairly simple. It refers, in the loosest sense, to a massive program of investments in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, meant to transform not just the energy sector, but the entire economy. It is meant both to decarbonize the economy and to make it fairer and more just.

In order to implement this bold plan we will need some Millennials, educated in the Public Socialist Skool of Justice and Fairness for All. And what luck! We’ve got one!

aoc free stuff

The Green New Deal calls for a top-down revolution in the operation of American society so sweeping that it would be disturbing if it weren’t so wholly ridiculous. It shows all the thoughtfulness of a college sophomore pulling an all-nighter to write a term paper for his Millennial Socialism 101 class.

The Green New Deal, as explained in draft legislation to create a congressional committee to pursue it, would transition to 100 percent renewable sources of national power in 10 years. Since renewables only account for 17 percent of U.S. power now (7.5 percent from hydropower, which might not pass muster under the Green New Deal), the plan would require shuttering more than 80 percent of current sources of American power.

…It would build a new energy-efficient grid, itself a massive proposition.

It would upgrade every — not just many, not even most, but every — residential and industrial building for energy efficiency. There are 136 million homes in the United States.

It would eliminate emissions from industry, including farming, offering instead a vision of investment “in local-scale agriculture.”

It would eliminate emissions from transportation, which sounds like mandatory electric cars and hydrogen-powered planes.

Because the Green New Deal aspires to achieve all of socialism in one energy plan, it includes a federal job guarantee with a living wage and perhaps “basic income programs” and “universal health care.”  - New Republic’s take on Millennial Socialism

Whew! Quite the ambitious plan, even for an incoming Congressional freshman. So how are we going to pay for all this? “How many times do I have to tell you? The same way you pay for Medicare for all.”

aoc-medicareforall-notpieinthesky“You just pay for it.”

With other people’s money, off course!

So naturally, as I travelled through my favorite stretch of I-80 the other day, with its once vast, untarnished expanses now landscaped with massive numbers of these green giants -

windmills wy improving on god

I couldn’t help but think of AOC, and the original Don Quixote. Both mad, both tilting at windmills.      

Both thoroughly enjoying their excellent adventures.

“Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is nobel, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth."

"What giants?" Asked Sancho Panza.

"The ones you can see over there," answered his master, "with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long."

"Now look, your grace," said Sancho, "what you see over there aren't giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone."
"Obviously," replied Don Quijote, "you don't know much about adventures.”
- Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

crashed windmill blade

Whoops, a big wind blew it over.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Prove Me Wrong

Home, home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard
An encouraging word
And the skies are still cloudy all day

(apologies to Roy Rogers)

Well, President Trump addressed the nation last night. The only surprise was that the networks decided to carry it. Somebody reminded them it’s not their place to determine whether the American people are permitted to hear the President’s words, whether they consider them to be “filled with lies” or not.  Chuck and Nancy handed network execs a graceful resolution by demanding their own version of Net Neutrality via equal time.

chuckie and nancyChuckie Schumer and Nancy “'I reject your facts” Pelosi

The only thing I got out of their joint statement was a newfound respect for the limitations of professional makeup artists. And boy, if SFN has her face stretched any further her hairline is going to be behind the crown.

Perhaps it was because of my nightmarish trip across the mountains of Wyoming yesterday - including two separate closures en route that doubled the normal travel time for that leg of the trip - but the two of them, frozen in time together like that, reminded me of the pronghorn antelope that one sees along the entire 400 mile stretch of I-80 through Wyoming: herd animals roaming at will. They consider it all their God-given free range even if it’s owned by a rancher trying to eke out a living by grazing cattle there.


The Pronghorns have absolutely no use or respect for fences either.


Chuck and Nancy also share the Pronghorn’s vocalization patterns:

  • Warning: snort-wheeze
  • Male courtship: high-pitched whine
  • Rutting male: roar
  • Fawn: bleat

Prove me wrong.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

More Wyoming And Less Washington, Please

We literally blew into Cheyenne last night. Wyoming never disappoints but yesterday was one of their epic High Wind Alert days, complete with Interstate closures to “light high-profile vehicles.” I’m not positive exactly what sort of vehicle that is but I’m pretty sure empty semi-tractor trailers qualify as you always see a few of them flipped over on the side of the road when the wind socks are flying parallel.


It was also inauguration day for Mark Gordon, Wyoming’s new governor. We should have known something was up as all the hotel rates were hyper-inflated. Another clue: when we checked in the lobby was filled with tuxedos and cocktail gowns.

Still, this was hardly the shindig an inauguration is in other states. It started with the swearing in ceremony early yesterday morning:

mark gordon

No, Governor Mark Gordon was not acting in solidarity with France’s "Gilets Jaunes" – although for some reason gas prices are about 30 cents higher here than any other state we’ve been through on this trip. Apparently the state capital building has been closed for renovations for over 3 years and safety restrictions required the vests. This is a bigger story than you might initially think: if the halls of government in Wyoming can be closed for over 3 years with no major complaints I think Washington better sit up and take notice. “Essential” employees might not mean what they think it means.

Other oddities associated with yesterday’s inaugural: the day started with a prayer service at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church. The newly minted governor took communion in his cowboy boots:

Gov. Mark Gordon takes communion during a prayer service at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church on the day of his inauguration Monday mornin

Based on the hem in his slacks I’m going to venture a guess that he  was not wearing a bespoke suit.

Gov. Mark Gordon takes communion during a prayer service at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church on the day of his inauguration Monday mornin

Don’t ask: I don’t know, I just notice these things.

The inaugural ball was held at the Little America ballroom, the swankiest place in town now that the historic Plains Hotel closed down. The new Guv sabered a bottle of champagne,


Wyoming style: with a Bowie knife.

sabering with bowie I think we need a little more Wyoming and a little less Washington. What do you think?

Monday, January 7, 2019

What’s More Newsworthy: An Uncharismatic A**hole or A Small Town First Responder Killed In The Line Of Duty?

I see on the news this morning that the first of this year’s self-congratulatory award shows took place last night. As we’ve come to expect and ignore, the Golden Globes produced the standard hate-spewing that accompanies every such gathering of the self-anointed illuminati. Last night Christian Bale decided to distinguish himself by thanking Satan as his inspiration in playing the role of  Dick Cheney in Vice, he went on to call both former vice-president Dick Cheney and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell “uncharismatic a**holes.” He would know.

Last year the Grammy broadcast lost 6 million viewers from previous years, I expect a similar decline this year. Nevertheless, if you tune into network national news on any network anywhere in America this morning you’ll see coverage of Mr. Bale’s performance.

But let me share a much more important story that won’t get any national coverage. I wouldn’t have seen it myself if I hadn’t specifically gone looking for it; this is why I did:

We switched drivers at Le Claire, Iowa yesterday and it was my turn to drive. Raj was playing with his phone when I noticed a few fire trucks, lights flashing, on the overpass up ahead in what looked like a standard traffic incident. A few miles ahead, at the next overpass, there was another collection of fire trucks and other vehicles, lights flashing, lined up. By the third overpass that also displayed a lights flashing assembly of fire vehicles you didn’t need to be an expert at recognizing patterns to know this was not a series of unfortunate incidents but rather a salute for a fallen fire fighter. First responders have a great tradition of respecting and honoring the loss in the line of duty of one of their own.

What was remarkable about this particular salute was its sheer length: it stretched from  Ankeny, outside Des Moines, to Clinton IA – a distance of 200 miles. We witnessed it from LeClaire to the west side of Iowa City. Some overpasses had just a few vehicles, others, near bigger cities, were lined the full length with emergency vehicles and ladder trucks, ladders extended, flags unfurled.

ankeny to clinton

The fallen hero was Lt. Eric Hosette, who lost his life Saturday in an explosion at a grain storage facility where he and other members of the Clinton fire department were battling a fire inside a silo. The overpass procession was accompanying Lt. Hosette’s body as it made its way home from the state medical examiner’s office in Ankeny. Fellow firefighter Adam Cain was also seriously injured in the blast and remains in the hospital in Iowa City.


Fire departments across the state lined the route along Interstate 80 to pay their respects to Hosette. - KCCI

Lt. Hosette leaves behind a wife and young daughter. He was only 33 years old. I don’t doubt for one minute that he did more good and contributed more value to this planet during his short life than the entire lot of self-absorbed actors gathered together last night to honor each other for play acting their way through life.

RIP Lt. Hosette, and thank you for your service.

P.S. In the “small world” department I note that Lt. Hosette was raised in Comanche, Iowa, which many of you may recognize as Creeper’s hometown before she pulled up stakes and relocated to Oklahoma with her beloved Guinea pig and orange Challenger.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

We’re Going To Build A Fence And The Antelope Are Going To Pay For It

Well kids, you’re on your own today. We’re heading out into the mountains. We’ve got clear forecasts for the 3 day trip but things can change on a dime and traveling across the Continental Divide through Wyoming is always iffy this time of year. Even if it isn’t snowing the wind can whip the fallen snow into whiteout conditions. Mountain passes in the winter aren’t for wimps.


Interesting side note: See those structures on the left? They’re snow fences, somewhat ubiquitous on highways in the northern climes now days but apparently they were originally researched, designed and tested in Wyoming. Their purpose is to stop the migrating snow from simply charging forward and dumping on the highway, making it’s removal very difficult and expensive. Apparently they work quite effectively. And even though they are clearly designed to keep the white stuff out nobody ever accuses them of being racist. Of course there has been some grousing about the impact they have on the migrating Pronghorn Antelope population. As if their lives aren’t tough enough as it is.


Did I mention the fences were 15 feet tall?

snow fences

And they work? Go figure.

Hope you all have a good day, with no snow and no earthquakes.

eyeore snow earthquake

I’ll see you from somewhere along the road.