Compleat Idler, Economy, Humor, Technology

Short commentary

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Susan Rice withdrew from consideration for Secretary of State. No, this will not end the Benghazi debate—it was not the messenger but the message. Obama wanted his narrative.

Obama to meet with Boehner. A headline something like Fighting Intense Near Verdun in 1915 and 16 and 17 and 18. Look for something that kicks the can down the road a year or two.

Michigan passes “right to work.” Do not be surprised by repeal in a couple years.

Obama supports “secular” opposition in Syrian. Of course they can fit in one phone booth. Jordan is next.

Kansas Governor merges adult and juvenile corrections. This is an extremely bad idea which has been around since the early eighties—at least.

Lindsay Lohan is down to one story in today’s Mail—apparently she is impoverished. You might think that playing Elizabeth Taylor might lead her to Paris’s brother Conrad.

There are petitions on the White House website for secession. The state legislators who actually pass secession resolutions are not about to give up their entitlements and funding for their projects by doing so.

Meanwhile there are also petitions to nationalize Twinkies and build a Death Star—the latter being touted as a “jobs engine” on the scale of NASA. I do not see private capital coming forward to finance even part of such a project.

There are some private capital bids for some Hostess trademarks and recipes (take sugar, add high fructose corn syrup, throw in artificial flavors and colors, pump air into the center, throw on some more sugar). Meanwhile, Little Debbie sits there luring customers with her innocent smile—plus sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and colors, sugar frosting, powdered sugar.

There may be something to this petition site. It helps identify the clueless.

The MailOnline reports a decline in the Samurai Caste during the Edo period because of lead poisoning in the make-up they wore. My brother sent me the more nuanced report from MSNBC. As an historical note, in the 1860s the District of Columbia installed new lead water pipes to prevent sabotage of the system. Solutions cause problems.

 

 

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Compleat Idler, Humor

Compleat idler – the Mississippi connection

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

 

Back in 1945 my Aunt Evangeline, an Episcopalian from Boston, decided she would marry and civilize Boudreau Beauregard Laporte, Jr, who may or may not have been Cajun but had proposed to translate Longfellow’s Evangeline into le francais d’acadie. The result was my cousin Beau who went by BB Laporte, III. Beau married Victoria Mary McDonald, which is how I came to meet her family. These adventures should be understood for what they are.

My “shirttail cousin” Bubba McDonald who practices divorce law in Mississippi (the only state with a silent syllable) called me last may after he decided to withdraw from electoral politics. (Like it did any good—he ran in a district he has a vacation home in that has never elected a Republican to the Legislature. As in not ever. Not even during Reconstruction.) So the family political legacy fell to the twins Bragg and Buford—all the boys were named after Confederate generals though the family had moved down from Ohio in the 1920s, but “Gramps” McDonald had political aspirations not realizing that there were long memories. Long memories included that rascal Crockett coming down from Tennessee to promote the National Bank in 1829—and escaping with no tar. The county was posted “No Whigs.”

Bubba had an idea that it might be better to go statewide so he made a speech in Oxford in favor of gay marriage—offending both the Tea Party and the Republican establishment. He was promptly put forward to the Board of the “Family Law Group.” This is an association of divorce lawyers who believe every person has the right to have his/her property divided by a judge.

At any rate he relayed to me the following email.

Sorry to hear about your hand and the humidity down here. Am out of politics for the time being, but Bragg filed for the legislature.

And when I walked into Newt’s Waffle House, all the discussion was on the scandal of 75 which caused Bragg to quit his job with the Ag Dept and go back to gunsmithing which he does better than entomology anyhow.

Seems that back that year Buford was having problems with the cotton crop. My suggestion had been to dredge out the blockage between the field and the bayou (and I do not mean that bar in Oxford where you and Beau Laporte are personae non gratae) and farm catfish, shrimp and crawdads. But Bragg said he would rent Buford a couple boll weevils from the batch he was experimenting on. Said they should produce a big enough infestation to get a $60,000 eradication grant. Problem was, the were both male and you know Buford. What Buford knows, everybody in Ma’s Roadhouse knows which means everybody in three counties knows.

The NRA will back Bragg if Old Man Carson does not seek reelection. And since everybody remembers 75 (hell, they remember the War of 1812 like it was yesterday and we have lived here long enough that Cap’n Jack McDonald had a Company of Militia at New Orleans) he is using the slogan, “The lessor of the weevils.”

Take care of yourself up in Yankeeland and get down here when you can. We’ll get Beau’s skiff and a case of Dixie and go after the big cats.

Regards,

 

Pete

 

Pierre GTB (Bubba) McDonald, Esq

Divorce and Personal Injury

I was not sure what (if any) reply would be appropriate.

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Compleat Idler, Free Society, Humor

Boots – a tradition

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Joaquin Ochoa and I were buddies in grade school in Arapaho County, Colorado. His dad worked at Highland Ranch when it was a ranch. It was in 1955 that I left to journey back to Nebraska where five generations of my mother’s family—both sides—had lived. But during the time we played together we mostly practiced roping and mounting horses and other stuff. At 10 Joaquin finally got permission to do Little Britches, a junior circuit rodeo taking its name from Ralph Moody’s book series that took place in Arapaho County. I did not. One of the disadvantages of a brain injury from breathing before I got out of the canal is a tremor and some loss of muscle control that my parents decided I might ruin my career as a scholar if my body got more screwed up.

Since I was 11 they offered me Scout Camp instead. And when my troop could not come up with a patrol, they let me spend an extra four weeks at my Aunt’s place in Wyoming. Scout camp was not really an acceptable option because I knew from my Uncle’s cowboys what kind of groupies they had at the rodeo and I was 11. But going to the ranch meant that I would get a decent pair of boots to wear for school.

We moved to a small town in Nebraska and then to the west coast. I went on to college and law school and a few jobs before my career as an investigator and administrator—a career being a job you stay at too long. Working retail after retirement I ran into Joaquin. He was involved in stock procurement for a rodeo circuit—having his MBA. His first reaction was to ask if my square toed boots were Tonys or Noconas.

Noconas—Mexican.” I replied.

Why?”

Can’t afford Lucheses.” After we both stopped laughing, he told me about Manuel Almanza, a custom builder in Fort Worth. He gave me a card and told to look the shop up.

As things were going I had been doing some security consulting for a small manufacturer near the airport so the next trip down I took a rental into Fort Worth—I remembered the Almanza brand etched into my Uncle’s square toes—it had taken fifty years to realize why he liked them. I had even practiced a little Spanish just in case. It was a little out of the way place and I went in. The guy who came out of the back said, “Buenos dias, Y’all. I’m Manny.”

Joaquin sent me.”

Yeah, he told me about you and I used to read your posts on the forum—you’re Lobo.”

A pair of black boots covered with dust caught my eye. “Something like those.”

My daddy made those for a Wyoming rancher back in the 70s. He died before picking them up.”

Probably my uncle. We called them old guy boots.”

Let me guess—you liked pointed toes.”

Casey Tibbs wore pointed toes.”

So he measured my feet with the Brannock device and made a tracing. A couple months later—after getting an email that the boots were ready—I went back down to Fort Worth to discuss my report and pick up the boots. I had more time because I was no longer working retail so I hopped in my little Tacoma and drove. I did not need to worry because the Life NRA sticker in my window was sufficient to mitigate the Kansas tag. The little wheelchair on the tag helped in parking.

I went in. As I looked at the counter there was a pair in my style, but they were too short. “Don’t worry Amigo,” Manny said. “I have yours in back. These boots were made for Joaquin.”

As a writer of fiction—I used to write budget justifications for state positions and equipment—I use stories for illustration. Characters may be fictitious, but they are composites of people I met. If Almanza Boot Company exists, let me know—I’ve got a pair wearing thin on top.

Boots are important to people from the part of the world I inhabited as a child. Mostly I got boots from my aunt and uncle—my mother kept me in orthopedic shoes. When I got away to the University of Denver I walked into JC Penney’s, went downstairs and found a pair of H&H oiled leather Wellingtons. It was rebellion. During my career in government service I wore Frye, Hyer, Acme, Dan Post, Tony Lama, Nocona and H&H. I also wore Chippewa, Danner and H&H hiking and military boots.

But today we are discussing western boots like the ones on my feet as I write this. If I hit the PowerBall, I will buy two pair of Lucheses, black and oxblood with square toes. My favorite footwear is the forbidden fruit of my high school years when I wore Dr Scholl’s and some Italian made suede shoes that were oh so comfortable and oh so bad for my feet.

Pointed toes were what the rodeo cowboys of the fifties were wearing—square toes were what “old men” wore. My uncle must have been at least 55. In the beginning Charlie Hyer built a round toed boot at Olathe, Kansas. There were probably dozens of bootmakers in the west but Charlie was close to Kansas City and had a knack for publicity. I do know that the riding heel was at times referred to as the Spanish heel—much like what we call a western saddle is referred to in some circles as a Mexican saddle.

As things go, in 1974 I drove into Olathe to buy some boots at the bankruptcy sale for Hyer boot company—I think I was four or five when my grandfather got me a pair of Hyers for Christmas. But this was a bankruptcy sale and for $150 I bought two pair of boots and a 3X Stetson hat. Amazingly they fit. I have on a couple occasions bought boots that do not—and have paid dearly.

It was about 1976 when I fell in love with a woman 50 years my senior named Enid Justin. Miss Enid wrote a statement I have remembered since about fit. She said that boots which do not fit when you first try them on will never fit—countering my grandmother’s statement about breaking in time. I violated that once and I regretted it. Miss Enid, when her father died and her brothers decided to move the business from Nocona to Fort Worth, opened the Nocona Boot Company with existing employees. There was a reason that Justins and Noconas felt similar. By the way, Nocona is a Comanche word and was the name of Chief Quanah’s father.

So much for history. Olathe boot company opened in the old Hyer factory and builds boots that are used by a lot of cowboy action shooters because they have a 19th Century look. The company was, the last time I checked, located in Mercedes (pronounced Mer-sid-ez’) Texas.

Miss Enid’s company merged with Justin Industries in 1981. In 1991, following her death, all operations were moved to Fort Worth. Tony Lama, also a Justin Company, occupies the same factory but has a slightly different process. There is a low end Nocona built in Mexico. It does not differ much from a similar Lama Boot. Like I said, I cannot afford Lucheses. Justin is now owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

Some hints:

Make sure of your fit and make sure the boot will handle any orthotic device you use. This is a lot more important when you hit 60 than when you are 18 and immortal. (Note: by the time I was 21 I had been clinically dead three times. The last was when I was 20 so I’m only 48, right?)

Do not assume that all boots with the same brand name have the same last.  This especially applies to boots made in China.

Decide if you can wear a Spanish heel or you need a walking heel. Some of us interchange.

The pointed toe is for controlling a horse. It originated in Mexico and became popular with the rodeo circuit. I became aware of it in 1953-54. If you plan to do a lot of walking, get a round or square toe.

Realize that they are not really “cowboy” boots until they have had excrement cleaned off of them.

We had a couple of politicians decide to go native and dress in jeans and boots to meet with ranchers. The latter showed up in suit and tie. Note: I was more comfortable wearing boots in Washington than a friend of mine from the east was wearing boots out here.

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Humor, Technology

Intellectual Property — Humor

There is no copyright here.  My source was last seen getting into a strange-looking vehicle that rose above the tree tops and hit mach one in five seconds.

Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security

Leon Panetta, Secretary of Defense

Eric Holder, Attorney General

Subject: Intellectual Property Infringements

It has come to our attention that many of your vendors have been supplying you with surveillance and communications equipment which directly or indirectly impinge on patents and patent improvements of Diet Smith Industries without obtaining proper licensing for such use.

This will inform you that we have filed suit in the US District Court for the District of North Dakota where Diet Smith Industries has a testing facility and regional corporate office and there is a light docket ahead of us. Preliminary actions were taken through the US Patent Office procedures.

This will also inform that should Diet Smith Industries prevail in these matters, your agencies will be expected to assure compliance by your vendors with the licensing requirements of Diet Smith Industries.

R. M. Tracy III

Chief Legal Counsel

Diet Smith Industries

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Education, Humor, Technology

Assumptions

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Assumptions will ultimately lead to disappointments. This is one of the reasons I do not accept any politician as the answer. The fact that a person says he or she is going to do something does not mean it will get done. Sincerity is the essential tool of the con-man.

When someone is elected there will be disappointment, especially on the part of ardent supporters. Yet they tend to use the denial mode provided by cognitive dissonance. What candidate X ran into was the delaying and blocking tactics of the reactionary opposition. What supporters then do is double down and eventually begin looking for another champion—and go through the same set of assumptions–like my friend who was anxious to get married for the fourth time because “this is the right one.”  Ah, the triumph of hope over reality.

In ordinary life, the same thing happens. Because I have had the good luck to get the computers and printers going at some point in the late Pleistocene, certain people have made an assumption that I know what I am doing. I have been able to get the printer to work using the options that are right there. One of these days, however, my luck is going to run out.

It is somewhat like the lawyer “Uncle Paul” Wilson talked about who seemed to be the master of every task until the day he got in his balloon and went back to Omaha.

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Compleat Idler, Education, Free Society, Humor

Political Seasons

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

The Kansas Republican Caucuses are over, and with them the robo-calls.  I did get one call from a person during the run-up.  I happened to answer it and it was a poll.  Fortunately I had the right answer (Ron Paul) and it was a very short call.  At that point I quit answering the land line–anyone I want to call me has my cell number (XXX-XXX-XXXX).  So the calls are over until after the Conventions when we will get hit with–I don’t want to know.

Then there is the junk mail.   My wife has been getting surveys from various groups since last September at least reminding her to “renew” her membership in various committees she has never been a member of.  As a Democrat she gets letters from Nancy Pelosi. Joe Biden. Michelle Obama and sometimes even President Obama.  She also gets mail from every Democratically affiliated organization.  And every one contains an important survey or petition along with a request for money and a reminder of the doom which will befall the country if President Obama is not reelected.

Since I am registered Republican (I did register as a Democrat a couple of times to participate in a primary but that’s just a Kansas thing) I have not been getting much from the Party.  This may be due to the fact that they take me for granted, but it’s probably because they don’t have a candidate so they don’t have a message.  I do get information from a number of their affiliate groups.  And every one contains an important survey or petition along with a request for money and a reminder of the doom which will befall the country if President Obama is reelected.

At any rate, the real campaign starts Labor Day.

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