Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wiliam Sparkman, Killed for working for the Federal Government - a Preventable Death?

William Sparkman, a part-time census worker, was, according to the Washington Post,

found dead in the Daniel Boone National Forest in rural southeast Kentucky. A rope was wrapped around his neck and tied to a tree; his feet were in contact with the ground, according to the Kentucky State Police and FBI.

The word "Fed" was written on his chest.

That makes me think that maybe he was killed, lynched in fact, by people who hate and fear the federal government. The right wing tea party or militia types, that sort.

The militia guys are, first and foremost, armed people. I thinks it's common sense to say that the right are more likely to be armed, and to support our right to be armed.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am politically very left wing. They also know that I am well armed, mostly because of the rise in the number of home invasions in this country. I'm not going to shoot someone for stealing my stuff, but if anyone tries to harm me or my family in my home, we are going to shoot them and do other nasty stuff to them until they are not a threat. Period. I support our individual right to own and use fireams and other deadly weapons for self defense.

I'm sure the militia folks and other right wing people agree that I'm within my rights to defend myself and my family in this way.

I wonder if they would agree with me that had William Sparkman been carrying a gun when his killers took and murdered him, he might be alive today, and the people who killed him might be dead instead?

I really do wonder how the right wing feels about a census workers right to bear arms while doing their work. I'm guessing they'd say that allowing census takers to be armed is akin to forming a national police force to take their guns, or some nonsense like that.

As if the man doesn't share our rights just because he's a Fed.

Let me know, right wing people. Or anyone.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spam

I like poetry. I buy books of it. I do write the occasional poem. Haiku is a bit beyond me, though. I do get it - 5, 7, 5.

I like SPAM. I eat SPAM. I lived for years in a country where you could buy a carton of Kent cigarettes with a can of SPAM taped to the end of it, as if the cigarettes weren't bad enough.

So I've found a site that has Haiku about SPAM.

Perfect! Some of these haiku are pretty good.

Here's the site, and here are my picks from the site.

All the Spamku are at http://mit.edu/jync/www/spam/

On to my favorite Spamku!

1402
Roseate pork slab
How you quiver on my spork!
Radiant light, gelled.

1421.
Critics will scoff: "These
aren't real haiku." We'll retort,
"So? SPAM ain't real meat."

82.
Downed U.S. pilot,
survival kit full of SPAM,
eats ants, sucks wool socks.

432.
Forty year-old man,
Pathetic, hunched at the screen.
Writing SPAM haiku.

449.
SPAM frying in lard
The whir of the kitchen fan
Summer of my youth

514.
Descartes on pig parts
Says: "I'm pink, therefore I'm SPAM"
Deep philosophy

588.
Schrödinger's SPAM: One
minute the pork snouts are dead.
The next, they're alive!

630.
Salvador Dali
Paints soft, drooping cans of pork:
"Persistence of SPAM."

680.
Blanche to Stan: "I have
Always depended upon
The SPAM of strangers."

711.
A pink obelisk
comes to the apes. It imparts
both wisdom and SPAM.

1574.
Turkey-shaped SPAM for
Thanksgiving dinner. None give
thanks but the turkey.

1692.
Circled by Triscuits
Abbatoir aroma thick
The Pillar of Oink

2541.
The Nixon White House:
SPAM at state dinner. Chef says,
"I am not a cook."

3425.
Bhagavad Gita:
"Now I am become SPAM, the
destroyer of meals."

3458.
When I called for SPAM,
It answered, "Call me Legion,
For I am many."

3467.
Like a new piglet
Slick with slime, SPAM emerges
Making sucking sounds.

3471.
In mud you frolicked
Till they cut, cleaned and canned you.
How now, thou ground sow?

3545.
"Use all but the oink!"
"Can it and color it pink!"
Marketing genius.

4791.
With the empty can
Held up to my ear, I hear
The sound of the sty.

5685.
I finished the SPAM
Last night, and today I feel
Pigs' eyes upon me.

5771.
In the thawing snow,
The can's blue corner peeps out
Like spring's first crocus.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Big Flowers


There was a flower show at the Hilton and they gave some arrangements away after it was all over. Kim got one that's bigger than my head.

It took both of us to lug it into the kitchen change the water out of the thing.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Soft Landing for the United States

Tea party moron excoriating us "Morans"

It's really gone too far with the right and the left. We need a new "Civil" war, one fought with a genuine concern for the folks on each side, so our dysfunctional country can have a soft landing.

My states rights friends are right. The central issue is the idea that participation in the United States, or the Union, is voluntary at the individual state level. I agree. Lincoln was wrong.

I don't think the country has been this divided since the onset of the Civil War in 1861.

The right and the left in this country can agree on nothing. We are as gridlocked as a government can be. The right claims that anything proposed by Obama's side is socialist, wrong, big government, and bad, bad, bad.. The right's behavior makes them look like they've been bought by big business, especially the insurance industry, and that makes it pretty hard for anyone to negotiate anything with them. No compromise seems possible. So be it.

The right can get nothing done legislatively, and the left only by fiat because they have the votes. Time for a change, I say.

Let's break the country up.

How to do it? I'm not sure. Referendum? Break by Red/Blue? Red/Blue is how it's going split regardless of how we do it, and how it is split now, so let's assume that for the purpose of this essay.

We're going to have to accept that the two nations that result from the split of the United States are going to be second tier powers like the UK, France, and Germany, leaving China as the only superpower. I expect that the Blue United States (called what I don't know) will join the European Union or at least maintain close ties with Europe. The Red United States, of course, won't. But the EU plus the Blue USA can counter China.

Let's let Texas take the lead. They lead in executing their citizens. They nearly lead in the high school drop out rate. They lead in illiteracy. They already want to secede from the Union. Clearly they have a jump on the process, so let's let them drive it.

We have to get a country where reasonable people can disagree, yet still cooperate. The United States of America as it is constituted today is not that. America is permanently broken. Let's be done with it and make two separate countries where like-minded people can get along and govern. Go live in whichever one you want. Redland or Blueland.

Monday, September 07, 2009

I was talking to my friend Mabry the other day. She's an educated woman, and she tutors a young child who had a recent surgery and can't go to school as a result. She told me about  how this child is making the best of her situation, finding fun things to do at home, taking her studies with good humor, and just being the beautiful
creature that a young child can be.

Bruce Cockburn, my favorite songwriter, put it like this in a different context, albeit a bit harsh:



They Call it Democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you're going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution



The small but brilliant wisdom is the line "Trying to make the best of it the way kids do". And they do, don't they? How come the kids can do that and we adults can't? It's a learned adult behavior to be cranky about one's situation.


Obliviousness to circumstance. Gratefulness for what we have. These are goals to strive for.


Labor Day

We had a fun time this weekend. Annabelle was here for Saturday and Sunday. Sunday night we spent at Kim's friend Kim's house with her extended family for a labor day cookout. Groaning tables filled with great food, much brought by the nice neighbors we met, and we brought Kim's delicious pea salad (recipe below) and we played a game of "cornhole" after. Cornhole is taking  turns tossing bags of of corn at wooden platforms with a hole cut in them. 3 points if you get the bag  in the hole, 1 point for on the platform, and 0 points for where mine landed. It's a Wisconsin game. I'll have to learn more about Wisconsin. It was all a great time.

Pea Salad

2 cans peas. They have to be canned peas. I'm not sure why yet.
2/3 cups finely diced red onion
2/3 cups finely diced English cucumber
salt
pepper
3tablespoons mayonaisse

Mix it all up. Use home made mayonaisse if you can.

Cool everything in the refridgerator before you prep and assemble so that you can serve it as soon as you mix everything. The longer this salad sits, the more liquid leaches out from the onion and cucumber into the mayonaisse making it a bit soupy. Serve it quick!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Self Defense

I open carry my Glock 26 9mm pistol most of the time I am at home. I sometimes conceal carry it with the 10 round magazine, depending on the circumstance, but it's a little slower to get it up and ready to shoot that way. The Serpa retention holster is the best way I've found to keep the weapon ready.

Serpa Retention Holster with the Glock 26. This picture shows the G19 15 round magazine with the A&G extender, a 5 round increase over the stock 10 round G26 magazine. Carrying like this, there's no advantage to giving up the extra 5 rounds.

What I love about this holster is that it works well in a forward position, and also in the FBI kidney position. The big thing about the Serpa is that it enforces trigger finger discipline. To draw the weapon, you have to depress the release and when you unholster the weapon, your trigger finger is ALWAYS where it belongs, off the trigger.

Drawing from the Serpa. See the trigger finger extended and off the trigger.

Trigger finger exactly where it belongs until I decide to shoot.

The whole point with these equipment choices for me is to maximize safety and effectiveness. I need to be able to use the Glock easily and safely when I need it, and this Serpa holster helps a lot with that.