Happy Independence Day 2016

Happy Fourth of July to all Americans.  This is my favorite holiday – hands down.  Today we celebrate standing as individuals and as a nation on our own two feet and declaring independence.  We will have rousing parades, excellent cook-outs, and some amazing fireworks displays.  Our celebrations reveal much about us as a people.  We don’t bow to anyone, we don’t dip our flag, we don’t go looking for fights.  When called upon, we complete our commitments and we are almost always on the side of an underdog seeking freedoms like those we have. 

As we celebrate our Independence, the world looks on.  Every country has its holidays with unique celebrations.  But how many of these holidays are watched from afar like our Independence Day.  And what other country seems to have a 1-800-Dial-USA hotline that is always open and somehow always responds.  Having an independent nation filled with free men and women generates a power that is unique in this world.  That we use this power to help others without any expectation of homage, tribute, or servitude demonstrates our humanity. 

So, on this day enjoy hot dogs, burgers, and steaks.  Watch the parades and fireworks displays.  The finale will be grand but please remember this day is about independence and freedom.  We are truly blessed in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

A Muslim Lesson

Maybe we should take a lesson or two from the Muslims. They don’t eat pork and they don’t use alcohol but we don’t see them parading around and demonstrating about the outrage caused by those of us who do enjoy pork and alcohol. If a Muslim employer declined to pay health insurance coverage for alcohol abuse treatments for his workers (parallel to Hobby Lobby on a different issue but both based on religious beliefs) I doubt our courts would say that was fine.

Muslims practice their faith and tolerate the faith (or lack of faith) of others. They will try to convert you but they don’t use the courts to force their ways on others. Yes, they do have extremists who can be pretty nasty but just turn on the news and listen to the diatribes being offered by our “moral majority”.

Last thing, devout Muslims feed the hungry. They do it gladly, they do it quietly. I have seen it many times.

I am not a Muslim but I tip my hat to the example they set.

Muslim praying


Symbolism is important in all aspects of life.  Examples include: the symbolism of a logo, the symbolism of a lapel pin, the symbolism of a flag, the symbolism of a particular act or motion, the symbolism of certain words and phrases.  Each “thing” by itself may be quite small but when its symbolism catalyzes deep emotion the effect can be truly significant.

I saw a new logo this morning.  It is the logo chosen to represent Hillary Clinton’s campaign to be our president.  It has two vertical bars of blue crossed by a red arrow.

hillary logo

Immediately, when I saw this logo I thought of the heinous attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers.  One could not have picked a simpler, more succinct graphic to represent that act.  No doubt, this was not the intent of the originator of this logo.  But if the jihadis made this into a shoulder patch just to rub our noses I would fully understand.

Symbolism is important.  This logo needs some work.

Was nun?

Having crossed my fingers while taking a vow to be absolutely serious always and seeing the end of the absolutely abysmal winter It is time to break out the toys and have some fun.  I have started on the motorcycle and have the chain saw warmed up.  I am shopping seriously for a welder and have a backlog of projects to apply it to.  It is time for something new – even Alles Neu.  So, was nun?  Alles.

Seid bereit.  Jederzeit.

Sweet Hell

Now that summer like weather has finally arrived it’s time to raise the roof a bit.  I know, with the weather like we’ve had this year it will be snowing on Veteran’s Day and topping out in the 80’s for Christmas.  We can’t worry about the future.  All we have is today, and today we have Sweet Hell.

Sweet Hell


It’s Friday.  TGIF.  We survived Sandy.  We’ve cleaned up all the junk that was blow into the yard.  So now it’s time for a break.  Pull that tap and keep the wings coming.

Infinte Tap

Infinite Tap

The brewers art is much like that of the rock tumbler.  The process is pretty simple to describe.  The materials aren’t usually exotic.  In both cases though, you must pay extraordinary attention to detail, keep your equipment clean and your supplies pure, and be engaged in what is happening enough to adjust for “this” batch as each and every one is unique.  If you could do this hands-off we’d have machines that cranked out polished rocks or brews.  You can find products generated in this way but they are hardly special.  A fine ale is special just like that silky smooth agate.

If you are going to drink, drink responsibly.  If you are going to rock, rock loudly!



Twas Monday, and the sandy shores
Did gyre and gimble in the wave:
All mimsy were the forecasters,
And the warnings oh so grave.

“Beware the giant storm, my son!
The winds that blow, the limbs that crack!
Beware the surging tide, and shun
The crackling power pack!”

He took his trusty phone in hand:
Long time the perfect shot he sought —
So rested he by the sweetgum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The giant storm, with eye of rain,
Came whiffling through the neighborhood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And click and clack,
The camera lens went snicker-snack!
He got his shot, and with wet head
He went galumphing back.

“And, hast thou seen the giant storm?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O fablous day! Yahoo! Hooray!’
He chortled in his joy.

Twas Monday, and the sandy shores
Did gyre and gimble in the wave:
All mimsy were the forecasters,
And the warnings oh so grave.

Sandy visits Ocean City

High water in Ocean City, Maryland

A Woman’s Hands

A lot can be learned by examining a woman’s hands – or for that matter, anyone’s hands.  Today we focus on a woman’s hands.  We know how a woman’s hands can be soft and smooth – and maybe even smell good.  Calluses oh her hands usually indicate a hard working woman – though she could get some calluses by playing a sport like golf or tennis.  If she cooks a lot you can see small spots on her hands where hot oil has splattered.  We hope those long finger nails are for show and not weapons.  If a woman is fidgiting with her fingers she might might be trying to figure out how to tell us she wrecked the car or she might be bugged that we didn’t notice her new haircut.  But now, if she puts her hands around our throat, we are getting the hint that something needs attention.

A Woman's Hands

Having said all this, it really doesn’t matter to us guys.  If a woman puts her hands around our throat it ends in one of two ways.  If she doesn’t let go, we’re gonners and that’s it.  Nothing to worry about here.  If she does let go, she is ready to keep us and we can make penance for whatever our sin was and then get back to our rock and roll.

Surf’s up.  Ah, haaa, haaa, haaa.

La Grange – ZZ Top


Tang – The People’s Drink

Tang – the orange drink – is part of a secret government program to enslave Americans.

Used to be Americans were pretty independent.  We kicked some major butt in World War II.  We pulled off a draw of some sort in Korea and then Viet Nam taught us not to engage in war – at least don’t declare it.  We can still kick butt but we only fight guys who ride on motorcycles or drive pickup trucks – no tanks, no artillery, no navy, no planes – but man are we tough.

Back in the 60s we were excited about building things. We built highways and dams and offices and schools.  We had a space program and it did some neat things – like putting men on the moon.  One of the things we all learned was how our space program made life better for all of us with the technologies and products it spun off.  Tang is probably the most well known of them.

But Tang is insidious.  It is sweet.  It is easy to store.  It is easy to make – just add water, and everyone has water.  Tang is good for you.  And those astronauts, they drank Tang and walked on the moon.  Tang, developed by our government, making our lives better.  You can even make Tang popsicles, how perfect is that.

Tang Logo

By now we have had two generations who have known and drunk Tang all their lives.  Some have enjoyed more Tang than others but no one has escaped.  And today, just look at the mess we have.  Everyone is fat.  Obesity is a huge problem (pun intended).  But we still drink our Tang and our cokes and our big gulps – and hey, free refills.  We’ve come to expect things to be instant and easy and to expect our government to take care of us and to keep the prices low and to ensure a constant supply of everything we want.

Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony this week should scare anyone and everyone.  Our do-nothing Congress put in place automatic, “manditory” spending cuts that will begin late this year.  Bernanke says it will be a disaster – might even cause 2 million or so folks to lose their jobs.  And what means does he propose to avoid this mess?  Stop the cuts.  OK, then we will keep 2 million people working funded by federal monies that are all borrowed – and most likely borrowed from overseas sources.  Then next year we will be deeper in debt and those 2 million people will be “entitled” to a government funded job.  The solution then will be – to borrow more money.  If you haven’t noticed, people working for the government don’t generate new wealth.  So Bernanke’s solution or McCain’s solution or Chaney’s solution or anyone’s solution that depends on stopping the cuts just delays the inevitable and raises the cliff from which we hang even higher.

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act et.seq. looks to be our 21st century Tang.  It is sweet but while the price might seem nice the cost is just beginning to appear.  We keep calling on our President to creat jobs – since when is that part of his job and what we really need is for our chief executive to slim down the government (which means cutting jobs) and to quit spending money we don’t have (which also means people will lose jobs).  We keep calling on our President to do something about the price of gas or food or whatever – but do we really want our government touching prices.  Being able to effect prices means they must have some degree of control.   And we all know how government controlled programs work – or not.

Almost every American is feeling some kind of pain in our current economic environment.  And I know we all want to help those who are really on hard times.  Maybe we need to think a little more about what we seek from our government as we are very close to trading our souls for a glass of Tang.

Tang Ad

Stupid Ads

Have you noticed how there are more and more and more ads popping up on the internet.  It’s not just that there are a lot of them, they are so intrusive as to be obnoxious.  There are ads sprinkled everwhere, on every page.  There are popups embedded in almost every paragraph.  Then there are the rollovers that are parked where you normally move your mouse while browsing.  Roll over one of these and your screen is consumed by a giant add.  And now the perpetrators hide the close button so you can’t just poke the top, right corner.  Like this makes me want to by their junk.

Or there are those full-screen opaque banner drop downs that make it impossible for you to see what was the whole reason you came to the page.  Or how about those newsy sites (they are not real news) who make you click through to a new page to read an article and then present you with a 30 second ad before you can read it.  I can click away in much less than 30 seconds and find my article elswhere.

Especially stupid are the automatically placed ads like the ones shown below.  Is there an editor on this planet that would have parked these ads in this arrangement in a magazine?  It is really funny to see the ancient man trimming his belly fat while enjoying an e-cigarette.  Is this on message – probably not.  One can only guess that the advertisers know that we don’t look at this crap anyway.

Stupid Ads