Saturday, April 05, 2008

Seven Years Ago Today

Anyone Have A Fire Extinguisher Handy?

About this time on April 5th, 2001 I was driving up into my driveway to find a yellow police tape blocking my progress and steam rising from what was left of my two story brick home.

I've lived almost another entire lifetime of experiences since that day, including self-imposed relocation and significant lifestyle changes (not to mention avoiding the Grim Reaper several times since then.)

Speaking from experience, my advice to everyone willing to listen is this:

1. Call your Mama and at least say "Hey.".

2. Grab everyone else in your family and hug them.

3. Never, never, ever, ever base your self esteem on all the stuff you've accumulated in this world.

Got it?

That will be all, for now...

Safer Toy?

Safer Than WHAT?

Buy it here on E-Bay.

Save me From Myself--Part Deaux

Faster, Farther, Higher...

click... Maverick Twin Jet Aircraft


Save Me From Myself


The Pubic Public Bullshit Broadcasting Act of 1967

Unexpected Commentary From An Otherwise Content Redneck...

It would seem that no matter how hard I try these days, I still manage to find "wrongs" in all of the "rights" government bestows upon me as a taxpaying citizen and potentially pork barrel beneficiary of our "great society."

Case in point, today's example of History teaching us lessons about our future (and actually, in this case OUR PRESENT SITUATION.)

What ended up getting this morning's rant started was a posting by my Blog friends and Idols over at Powerline which mentioned former President LBJ quoting his then Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, John Garner's, highly enlightened words delivered back in the mid 1960's:

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted one will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

(I offer a hearty AMEN Mr. Garner.)

They also mentioned that former President Bill Clinton's wife (isn't she running for national office) was recently quoted on Jay Leno's version of Johnny Carson's old Tonight Show as saying:
[T]ry to find, you know, a plumber, a carpenter ‑‑ we have so devalued and disrespected the work that a lot of people don't go into it, and these are not only good jobs, these are really important jobs, and the more we look at how we're going to have to retool the economy and move towards clean renewable energy, we're going need a lot of people who are installing solar panels and putting up the wind turbines and doing the work that's going to make us energy independent. Those will be good jobs that can't be outsourced. So we've got to talk about it and then act on it.

Not nearly as eloquent, but I think that we all can understand where sHrillary is going with the pandering commentary...but I digress...

Instead of moving on to other issues and ideas, I just had to do a Google search on LBJ and John Garner, and I came upon this excerpt from the launch of what we know today as PBS, the Public Broadcasting System. (In the old USSR and in China today I think they call it "State TV."

Here is the text of that speech in it's entirety, with LBJ's words in italicised blue, and my highly enlightened commentary posted in Green for my own edification and your potential enjoyment...

November 7, 1967

Secretary Gardner, Senator Pastore, Chairman Staggers, Members of the Congress, Cabinet, ladies and gentlemen:

It was in 1844 that Congress authorized $30,000 for the first telegraph line between Washington and Baltimore. Soon afterward, Samuel Morse sent a stream of dots and dashes over that line to a friend who was waiting. His message was brief and prophetic and it read: "What hath God wrought?"

Every one of us should feel the same awe and wonderment here today.

For today, miracles in communication are our daily routine. Every minute, billions of telegraph messages chatter around the world. They interrupt law enforcement conferences and discussions of morality. Billions of signals rush over the ocean floor and fly above the clouds. Radio and television fill the air with sound. Satellites hurl messages thousands of miles in a matter of seconds.

Today our problem is not making miracles--but managing miracles. We might well ponder a different question: What hath man wrought--and how will man use his inventions?

(so good so far...)

The law that I will sign shortly offers one answer to that question.

(get your boots it comes)

It announces to the world that our Nation wants more than just material wealth; our Nation wants more than a "chicken in every pot." We in America have an appetite for excellence, too.

Say What??

A mule in every pot?

...a 40 acre plot???

wait...I got it...40 acres and a mule?

No, no hang on... tell me what I want...Free Wireless Internet...somebody call Owl Gore...

Awwwwww...I give up.

While we work every day to produce new goods and to create new wealth, we want most of all to enrich man's spirit.

(but my spirit is doing just fine by itself sir...thank you very much...)

That is the purpose of this act.

(ahem...let me offer my first call on Bullshit (hereafter abbreviated as B.S. on that statement)

It will give a wider and, I think, stronger voice to educational radio and television by providing new funds for broadcast facilities.

(sorry LBJ, but in a free market don't you think that if people really wanted "educational radio and television" rather than "Leave it to Beaver" or today's "Oprah" that the companies that have already paid dearly for the "right" to use the "public airwaves" would bust their collective butts producing said programs?

In short, another call on B.S....that's Virgil-2, LBJ-0)

It will launch a major study of television's use in the Nation's classrooms and their potential use throughout the world.

(sorry to give away the punch line here folks, but cutting to the chase...LBJ is telling us the real reason the imperial Federal government of the By-God United States of America got into the Radio and TV business...

You Ready?

The distribution and dissemination of propaganda and the indoctrination of the young minds full of mush that are by law required to attend our so called "public schools" which are also run by the aforementioned government.)

Finally--and most important--it builds a new institution: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

(I spend most of my time avoiding institutions and trying to prevent myself from being about you?)

The Corporation will assist stations and producers who aim for the best in broadcasting good music, in broadcasting exciting plays, and in broadcasting reports on the whole fascinating range of human activity. It will try to prove that what educates can also be exciting.

It will get part of its support from our Government. But it will be carefully guarded from Government or from party control. It will be free, and it will be independent--and it will belong to all of our people.

(ahhhh Haaaa Haaaa Haaaaa Heeee hEEE hOOOO Hoooo hooo. "guarded from Governent or party control"????????

Anyone ever heard of a guy named Bill of the most inane partisan personalities ever allowed access to the "public airwaves?)

Television is still a young invention. But we have learned already that it has immense--even revolutionary--power to change, to change our lives.

I hope that those who lead the Corporation will direct that power toward the great and not the trivial purposes.

(again a total complete failure. of stated purpose and mission...

i.e. the high ratings of shows like Jerry Springer, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, et. al. and etc. etc....)

At its best, public television would help make our Nation a replica of the old Greek marketplace, where public affairs took place in view of all the citizens.

(yeah...that's the ticket..."public affairs" taking place in "view of all the citizens" as Ellen and Rosie come out of the closet on national TV...come to think of it, who needs PBS)

But in weak or even in irresponsible hands, it could generate controversy without understanding; it could mislead as well as teach; it could appeal to passions rather than to reason.

(AHHHHHHH....President're psychic!! that's all PBS does today is generate controversy without understanding, mislead, and appeal to passions rather than reason...)

If public television is to fulfill our hopes, then the Corporation must be representative, it must be responsible--and it must be long on enlightened leadership.

(Sorry...can you spell F-A-I-L-U-R-E?)

I intend to search this Nation to find men that I can nominate, men and women of outstanding ability, to this board of directors.

As a beginning, this morning I have called on Dr. Milton Eisenhower from the Johns Hopkins University and Dr. James Killian of MIT to serve as members of this board.

Dr. Eisenhower, as you will remember, was chairman of the first citizens committee which sought allocation of airwaves for educational purposes.

(General Dwight is turning over in his grave about now...)

Dr. Killian served as chairman of the Carnegie Commission which proposed the act that we are signing today.

(Anything with Carnege in the name usually = rich know it all do gooders)

What hath man wrought? And how will man use his miracles?

(answer to rhetorical question: We wrought Iron & steel, and saw it bent and twisted by idiot panty waisted liberals with programs like PBS)

The answer just begins with public broadcasting.

In 1862, the Morrill Act set aside lands in every State--lands which belonged to the people--and it set them aside in order to build the land-grant colleges of the Nation.

So today we rededicate a part of the airwaves--which belong to all the people--and we dedicate them for the enlightenment of all the people.

I believe the time has come to stake another claim in the name of all the people, stake a claim based upon the combined resources of communications. I believe the time has come to enlist the computer and the satellite, as well as television and radio, and to enlist them in the cause of education.

OK, so if I build a rocket and manage to get it into orbit, now I'm expected to have some of its capabilities "claimed" and "enlisted" by the government in the name of "public education"?

Isn't that special...

If we are up to the obligations of the next century and if we are to be proud of the next century as we are of the past two centuries, we have got to quit talking so much about what has happened in the past two centuries and start talking about what is going to happen in the next century beginning in 1976.

So I think we must consider new ways to build a great network for knowledge--not just a broadcast system, but one that employs every means of sending and storing information that the individual can use.

Think of the lives that this would change:--the student in a small college could tap the resources of a great university.

Dr. Killian has just given me an exciting report of his contacts in Latin America as a result of some of the declarations of the Presidents at Punta del Este that he has followed through on and how these Presidents are now envisioning the day when they can dedicate 20 or 25 or a larger percent of their total resources for one thing alone--education and knowledge.

Kofi Anon and the rest of the United Nations are applauding at that idea...

Yes, the student in a small college tapping the resources of the greatest university in the hemisphere.
--The country doctor getting help from a distant laboratory or a teaching hospital;
--a scholar in Atlanta might draw instantly on a library in New York;
--a famous teacher could reach with ideas and inspirations into some far-off classroom, so that no child need be neglected.

Eventually, I think this electronic knowledge bank could be as valuable as the Federal Reserve Bank.

nobody tell Owl Gore, but I think that it was LBJ that invented the Internet...

And such a system could involve other nations, too--it could involve them in a partnership to share knowledge and to thus enrich all mankind.

A wild and visionary idea? Not at all. Yesterday's strangest dreams are today's headlines and change is getting swifter every moment.

I have already asked my advisers to begin to explore the possibility of a network for knowledge--and then to draw up a suggested blueprint for it.

In 1844, when Henry Thoreau heard about Mr. Morse's telegraph, he made his sour comment about the race for faster communication. "Perchance," he warned, "the first news which will leak through into the broad, flapping American ear will be that Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough."


We do have skeptic comments on occasions. But I don't want you to be that skeptic. I do believe that we have important things to say to one another--and we have the wisdom to match our technical genius.

In that spirit this morning, I have asked you to come here and be participants with me in this great movement for the next century, the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.

This act has a host of fathers. Many years ago when I was a Member of the Senate I had a bill prepared--Mr. Siegel drafted it for me--on public television. I had difficulty getting it introduced.

I asked Senator Magnuson to introduce it. He did. I am sorry he can't be here today. But he called me before I came over here and explained to me how happy he was that this event was taking place.

I don't want to single out any one person, because there are so many who have worked so long to bring this bill into where it is this morning to be signed.

I do want to recognize, though, in addition to Senator Magnuson, Senator Pastore, the Chairman of the subcommittee who has spent many days, weeks, and years in this effort, Senator Cotton, the ranking member of that committee, Chairman Staggers, Congressman Macdonald, Congressman Springer, all of whom have been part of the team that has brought this measure to the White House to make it the law of our land.

I should like to send a very special word of greeting to Mr. William Harley and the National Association of Educational Broadcasters who are gathered out in Denver today and who are participating in this ceremony by remote control.

As I mentioned before, we are honored to have Dr. James Killian here this morning. We are grateful to him and other members of the Carnegie Commission who provided the ideas and inspiration some of which are incorporated in this legislation.

I think I should add that John Gardner came to me in the early days when he was head of the Carnegie Commission, before we brought him in here, and suggested this Commission and asked me to help participate in forming it and making suggestions.

We are indebted to Dr. Gardner for this as we are to many things that he has done to provide leadership in the field of what is really important in the world--the education of our people.

At this time I am going to call on Dr. Alan Pifer who is president of the Carnegie Corporation who has a statement that I hope will be of interest to all of you.

Dr. Pifer....

[At this point Dr. Pifer spoke briefly. The President then resumed speaking.]

If there are any other distinguished and generous people, I will be glad to recognize them. If not, I want to express my personal appreciation to Mr. Douglass Cater of the White House staff for the many months that he has followed this legislation and worked on it.

Note: The President spoke at 11:33 a.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his opening words he referred to Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare John W. Gardner, Senator John O. Pastore of Rhode Island, and Representative Harley O. Staggers of West Virginia, Chairman of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. During his remarks he referred to, among others, Seymour N. Siegel, director of radio communications in New York City and a member of the broadcasters advisory council to the President.

As enacted, the bill (S. 1160) is Public Law 90-129 (81 Stat. 365).

[Thanks to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library for providing the text of President Johnson's remarks.]

Friday, April 04, 2008

Forty Years Ago Today


RIP Dr. King

Alabama...My Way

...and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Way

Following up on my earlier posting, here's the way the long haired Boy's and Girls from Jacksonville sounded in their early 1970's heyday when singing about the state of my birth:

RIP Ronnie, Stevie, and Cassie

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama?

The Van Zants Are Smiling

I first saw this Video clip last week and resisted posting it, but it's sprouting up everywhere.

Just in case you missed it, check out the Finnish rock group Leningrad Cowboys and the Russian Red Army Choir doing their version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's greatest hit:

Is that funny or what?

Now if they'll just do a version of "Free Bird" my life will be complete...

Back Home

Tired & Busy

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

House Healthier Than I Am

Seven Years Apparently Makes Quite A Difference...

OK folks, I've fooled around as long as I can up here--extending our adventure by four days under the guise of being a shrewd real estate guru.

Here's our report card compiled after our week long foray into Tennessee:

Future owner... Built in 1959....Wobbly at best. C-

Brick, wood, and sheet rock building circa 1966...Solid as a rock. A+

Translation: The new house passed the inspection with flying colors...gotta love it.

Now Pat and Missy the Turbo Pup and I have to get back home to our little island, check the mailbox, collapse on the sofa prior to setting about to pack everything we own into cardboard and bubble wrap.

I, personally, get tired just thinking about it...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Inspecting The Inspectors

Out Experting The "Experts"

I find that it's always interesting to go through the process of buying real estate.

I choose the word "interesting" today after sitting through nearly a dozen ten closings over the past twenty plus years, but things were quite different back in 1985 when I stumbled through the process in acquiring my first house.

Back then I would have, in retrospect, most likely used words like "damning", "infuriating", "insulting", or possibly the phrase "exciting murder and mayhem" when thinking of dealing with real estate and mortgage banking professionals and the associated sometimes inane processes (is that "processes" or "processi"...octipus...octipi...?)

Not any more.

I think that Pat has been impressed this week at the ease with which I've thus far used their own process to my advantage, while at the same time negotiating the nuances of our efforts using their own inane jargon and terminology.

Needless to say I've got PMI, APR's, escrows, and all the other obligatory stuff running out of my ears this morning as I wander over to watch some guy poke and prod his way around my new investment.

Wish me luck...if you will...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Stuck On Kingston Pike

Tennessee's Habit Forming

That's right...we're still in the Volunteer State this morning.

What began as a slight rain induced travel delay ended up as an executive decision to stay in town until Tuesday in order to get all the loan paperwork moving and personally attend the home inspection. After all, I brought my own flashlight and tape measure with me--heaven forbid some guy should be allowed to crawl around my attic without a little harassment in the process.

Any way, the idea is to leave town with all of the "i's and "t's" dotted and crossed so we can focus on packing and moving.

Today also represents my first foray looking into the folly of boat ownership and operation here on the Tennessee River. I'm visiting a Marina to check on storage options and possibly look at some used hulls and motors.

Of course I'm not actually buying anything until the house deal is finished, but a fella can dream can't he?