September 8, 2012
The conventions are over, and Bill Clinton talked about arithmetic, my weakest subject throughout school, but we can never evade arithmetic.
Did you know:
…that Vice President Cheney said, “Deficits don’t matter”? He didn’t do his arithmetic.
…That Bill Clinton left office with a balanced budget and a surplus? He did his arithmetic.
Salary of retired US Presidents .. ………….$180,000 FOR LIFE Plus the cost of lifetime protection.
Salary of House/Senate ……………………$174,000 FOR LIFE-Plus the cost of lifetime health care for all.
Salary of Speaker of the House …………..$223,500 FOR LIFE
Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders …… $193,400 FOR LIFE
They do well on their arithmetic when it affects their lifestyle and comfort.
Obama made the banks pay back all of their bailout funds because he did his arithmetic.
But look at this arithmetic:
Average Salary of a teacher …………….. $40,065
Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN $38,000
Average Salary of an NFL Football Player…..$770,000
In the last 10 years High School Sports have become recruiting grounds for professional sports. Maybe we should tie teacher salaries to Sports Salaries? Our schools are expected to pay for sporting programs that are paid for by our taxes, to benefit the pros. But, shoot, what do I know? Arithmetic is my worst subject.
The Securities and Exchange Commission received 300,000 comments asking it to require corporations to disclose their political spending-100,000 more comments than they’ve ever had on any subject. I wonder if the Arithmetic gave them a strong clue?
And, did you know that President Richard Nixon, Averill Harriman and Great Grandaddy Bush are related? They pledged years ago, after Grandaddy Bush lost his bank to the New Deal, to dismantle Roosevelts new society. Well, its taken them awhile but they’ve almost got the job accomplished. Romney and Ryan plan to finish it off for them. They have some interesting arithmetic that changes depending on what speech you listen to.
I wonder why our problems seem so unsolvable? After all, we were the most prosperous society in the world just 35 years ago. What changes turned us into a society on the brink of collapse in just 35 short years? Do the arithmetic.
Count 545 congressional men and women. Taking the entire congress, their average personal wealth is very conservatively estimated, (because they only have to report investments broadly, not exact profits) is 1.4 million, that’s average, and counts new incoming representatives from supposedly a “normal” walk of life.
Some are very wealthy. One percent of Americans are Millionaires. But, in congress, the rate hovers between 40 and 50 percent.
Yup! It is all about arithmetic.
August 18, 2012
A week ago, Friday, a group of us met at Murphys Pizza Plus to celebrate Paul Moeller. While there are many things to treasure here, Paul is considered by the community to be “Our Local Treasure.” Like a blogger, he always has his camera and takes pictures wherever he goes, a lifelong habit. But his major accomplishment, among many, since retiring here in 1964, is having founded Public Access Television in 1983. Our Board of Supervisors didn’t know what Public Access was. He had to educate them before we could get consideration in the cable contract for channel access. Paul got a studio built in 1992 when we had no money. And he produced over 3,000 shows for Calaveras Community Television, Public Access. Except for studio equipment, those shows have been shot and edited on his own equipment. I’m proud to say, I am one of the founding members of CCTV.
I wrote the reason for our celebration on the Pizza Parlor’s blackboard. The mortgage on our studio, named for him, has been paid off. None of the counties around, Amador, Tuolumne, not the big cities closest to us, Modesto or Stockton, have a studio. Only Sacramento has a studio. Our studio is considered the Jewel of the Mother Lode. We’ve had offers to rent it from Reno, Tahoe, Lodi and other entities. Claveras High School, and Columbia College at one time held video classes there. It is an exclusive and valuable asset to our community, just like Paul.
In 1992, Paul went to the carpentry class at Calaveras High and asked if our non-profit, CCTV raised the money, could the class build us a studio? Yes! The class started the foundation upon Paul’s design and volunteer Betty Deakin’s professional drawing. But then, school was out, and the kids and teachers all went home. Did I mention that Paul has a fierce work ethic, he is impatient and likes to get things done now?
Paul spoke to local Supervisor Dick Gorden and he said, “You know, we need a studio. Do you know anyone who could help us?” Gorden knew Contractor Gary Hensley, who was trying to keep his crew working when work was slow. Hensley’s first question was: “How much do you pay your people?” Paul told him, we are all volunteers, we pay nothing. “How about programs, and mileage and gas and stuff like that” Paul repeated, nothing, we don’t get mileage or gas, or video tapes. Everyone volunteers and pays for everything including their own cameras and equipment. We pay nobody. Hensley was in. With promise of help, the bank gave us a loan for $84,000 for materials, at 12% interest, secured by the County from funds from the Cable Company designated for Public Access. Hensley is the guy in the center in the white shirt with his crew around him taking a break. Paul is videotaping.
The crew would come in at 6 a.m. and work half a day for us, then go to their paid job for the rest of the day. Our only cost was to bring a load of volunteers to unload lumber, have it ready for them, provide water and bring a picnic lunch for everyone before they left. In three weeks, we had the shell of our building finished. By the way, it sits on leased land belonging to the Calaveras County Water District with a very generous lease of $1 per year guaranteed for over 25 years.
Local contractors did work, and many of them donated their time. Even PG&E returned our check for a permit to hook up.
Paul called the sheet-rockers on stilts, acrobats. Once the electrician, plumber, air conditioning and window guys were gone, the rest was up to the volunteers.
Paul installed the many spotlights. We painted and got donated pieces of used carpet that we taped to the floor like a patchwork quilt. Spray painted egg cartons became sound proofing on the ceiling. Paul found a second hand studio curtain for $700. ($5,000 new). He built a stage and sets.
None of this would have happened if the Supervisors, the local business people, the water company and the community did not believe it could be done under Paul’s tenacious and unrelenting work habits. Always punctual. Always there, wherever and whenever needed or asked. We’ve shared a lot of productive years together volunteering in this county. On Thursday, our “local treasure” was in a serious car accident. Somehow, he failed to see a red light and T boned another car at the intersection.
Paul was seriously injured and taken to Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. But, before they took him away in an ambulance, he took pictures-OF COURSE.
Before I got to his house yesterday afternoon, he had already developed and printed pictures for me to see.
Both cars were totaled. The wheel sitting in the middle of the intersection is from his car.
He had two shoots arranged for today, and was willing to cancel one, but the other he must do, he told me on the phone. Our Studio manager, Ed Lark, convinced him he would take over his shoot and Paul could edit it. Paul reluctantly agreed. He has another show on the 22nd that he expects to do.
He is soon to be 85 years old. His sternum and back have suffered major trauma. He can barely get up and down from a chair. It is even more painful to lie down and rest. He is walking with difficulty and is on major pain medications. He can lift nothing with his left arm. Could I find someone to help him with the shoot? I told him I would hire some-one to set up his camera and unload his van that he uses for location shoots. I then called his anchor person, Mearl Lucken, and asked him if HE could talk Paul into resting and let somebody else do his programs for a couple of weeks. Whatta ya’ gonna do with a guy like that? But, now you know why we have a jewel in the Motherlode, because our “local treasure” is a hard working, trusted and admired individual who never gives up.
Paul lost his wife of 65 years two years ago. He named his driveway, Martha Lane. He told me he pats her pillow every night and says goodnight to her. Now it is our turn to take care of our “Local Treasure”, if he will let us.
April 28, 2012
After heavy rains, I couldn’t mow or have weed eating finished. Had my guys repair fences and remove a huge spread of blackberry bushes around the property. They chipped away at a couple of old stumps I’m always running into. I like things to be ship-shape when I leave, but the maintenance here is heavy.
I caught up on the inevitable paperwork inside, while they worked outside. Time to play picture roulette and see what comes up in my files.
A big hole in the ground.
My daughter and grandson in a haze of smoke around the campfire.
Not sure why I took a picture of this barn in Monroe, Washington. Maybe because the silo looked like a space ship. I do like old barns, but, I think I’ll toss this one out of my files.
Sexy shoe? Now, that’s more like it.
I grabbed this from a story about this famous painting having been recovered after many years of being “disappeared.”
The gate to an animal sanctuary. Just read a horrible story of the abuse elephants suffer. This, after an elephant shocked by an electric fence turned on her new rescuer and killed her. If it were up to me, no animals would be allowed to be used in side shows and circuses for profit. It all too often ends up in horrible misery for the animals. In fact, this recent episode about the abused elephant was that she was being cared for and calmed before being sent to this very sanctuary here in Calaveras County.
A Matt Bors cartoon. Whoops, hadn’t thought of anything political for a whole day. Well, it is pretty funny.
Another shoe picture. Well, with that, I’d best hot foot it into the kitchen and get my house spruced up before I leave.
April 24, 2012
I just happen to have an extra telephone pole hanging around at my rental which is near my house. I had a new pole installed to operate the well, but the contractor didn’t remove the old pole. I caught this freesia in bloom hiding among the grasses, but, I got so excited I completely forgot to take pictures as the new contractor cut it down and brought it to my house.
They trimmed it to twenty feet.
Dug a five foot deep hole.
And put it in the ground. It stands fifteen feet high and is ready to be transformed into a totem. Today, I’ll start some preliminary decorating, just to see how it works out. The purpose is for a fun project at our family and friends reunion in July.
I was inspired by this totem put up by a local club in the neighborhood called The Barnies”. They charge themselves an initiation fee to join. The money goes to keep the barn maintained in good shape, and pay the power and to use it as a meeting place for a once a month pot luck. They invite a musician into play, barbeque, play bocce. In other words, just have fun.
the totem was one of their fun projects. Anything goes.
I’m posting this so everyone will bring their junk and we will find a way to get it on the totem. Jan will do a rain dance, no doubt. It will get well christened. We still like to flume, and play horseshoes and bocce, but for some of us, a new piece of art is just the right touch.
I hope you agree and get inspired by The Barnies creation as I was.
You’ll have to admit it is a fun way to recycle.
April 16, 2012
I haven’t been to the Nugget Bar in my home town of Murphys in many years. It’s a typical cowboy bar with a local following. Some years back, a bunch of us began calling it the Nu-Shzay Lounge in fun. The French affectation didn’t change a thing. When we moved here in 1978, our closest neighbor would take his horse to town many mornings, and tie up at the Nugget to eat breakfast. But, if he went in the afternoon to get the mail, and stopped for a cold one, his wife would know about it before he got home. Hoagie was a Merchant Marine and lived home for three months and sailed for three months. His wife worked a typical 9 to 5.
I don’t remember when the owners had the horseshoes cemented at the entrance. Horses were not welcome inside the bar, but old traditions die hard and at one time, after a parade or event, the local cowboys would ride their horses into the bar here and at the Murphys Hotel. Fed up with the tradition, the hotel owner had the cops waiting after a parade and arrested my neighbor, Joe Cardoza. That brought the practice to a sudden end.
The old pool table is still active. That’s Kelly Wright trying his hand. The Nugget holds a pool tournament each year sometime in the summer. I’ve seen the place wax and wane, the clientele changes, but the spirit remains the same. A bit wild. And, I know a few stories and witnessed a few events I shouldn’t have, I expect. When Ballard was Sheriff, his nephew (out of season) killed a buck and had it slung in the back of his pick-up. He went to the Nugget to quench his thirst and brag a little. When the guys went out to look? The deer struggled to its feet, jumped out of the pick-up, and ran away.
If you click on this photo you will see the bumper sticker on the right. A women And Her Truck, Is A Beautiful Thing. Though the owner of this truck isn’t the type to fisticuff in the bar, there was one woman who would go to fist city with the guys. She was Buggy Bill’s woman, Marian Sly, and I knew her well. She carried two knives, one in her boot and a big Bowie holstered around her waist. She had two rifles and hand-gun in her pick-up along with her dogs and often her son who spent many nights in that old pick-up. She didn’t take guff from anyone. I’ve seen her haul back and cold-cock a guy over some loud mouthed comment he made. Which reminds me why I went to the Nugget yesterday. It was Buggy Bill’s watering hole and people came to pay their respects at an informal celebration, as I did.
Tammy Huber knew him for fifteen years. She liked the fact that he never changed. He was always a bit stoic. He did what he liked. He was kind to children and particularly took a young boy in a wheel chair under his wing. He was crusty, but honest and good. I knew him for about thirty years and I don’t ever remember him smiling.
Everyone was having a good time and I was surprised to notice how many long-hairs there were along with cowboy types in the bar. Long-hairs were not welcome at the Nugget in the 1980′s. My (long-haired) brother, Norman, left Nevada, drove down Highway 4 and stopped at the Nugget just to use the bathroom. It was eleven p.m. and the bar was filled with the usual tobacco chewing cowboys, short haired and oiled. By the time Norman got out of the bathroom, they were laying for him. He escaped out a side door and got away losing only a small handful of hair.
Paul came over the hill from Mountain Ranch with a pot of beans, Bill’s favorite, mine too. All of his friends brought something to eat. Paul has a wonderful apple tree on his land and his niece used to make pies for the local restaurants from her home during apple season. The law doesn’t allow that to happen anymore.
And you can’t smoke in a bar anymore. I’m grateful for that law. On the right, you can see where people park their cigs on a 2 x 4 next to the door.
The Nugget has many windows. The doors were wide open. It was difficult to get good pictures. I arrived late, many people had come and gone. I didn’t know very many people.
I’ve seen this lady around town for many years, and couldn’t remember her name.
This cowboy was playfully policing the doors and not letting anyone outside with a glass, or bottle. A gentle giant who reminded me of another Nugget customer from the infamous fighting Bardsley family. The father, and his sons were ever whooping it up at various bars around the county. Renowned for their strength and viciousness, no one messed with them deliberately.
My husband once convinced the Nugget owner to open up his then closed kitchen to our square dance group to sit around long tables and enjoy a few drinks on Saturday nights after the dances. George Bardsley tried to pick a fight with my husband because he called the female bartender, “Honey!” We didn’t know George’s girlfriend was the bartender, nor did we know about the family reputation, then. My husband ignored him and went back to the restaurant part and sat down with our group of about ten couples. George went on to be arrested for murder in another state not long after that. We had a close call and didn’t know it.
I knew Bill well enough that he wouldn’t be insulted by my intrigue with the bar, his friends, and old memories. I signed his card and bid him adieu.
If the walls of the place could talk…I’d be there every Saturday night.
April 5, 2012
April has been designated National Poetry Month. Don’t know why. I know I love poetry and I’m still mired in tax paperwork so this poem will have to do:
Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.
Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.
Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.
Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.
Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.
Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.
When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.
Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…
Put these words
Upon his tomb,
‘Taxes drove me
to my doom…’
When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.
I don’t know the author of this fun poem but it made me chuckle. I may be frustrated with the process, but unlike Pierpont Morgan, I don’t believe we can run a country without taxes. I love my National and State Parks, my bridges, my roads, airports, trains and universities. I love my clean water, clean air, museums, vast wilderness, clean beaches and…I could go on and on. I once had a friend retired from the IRS. I used to tease him that he must have a hard time making friends. “Not in America,” he said. For all the complaining I do about current political shenanigans, this is yet a great country. The yet implies it may be getting worse, worse than taxes. Amen.
March 19, 2012
A glance out my kitchen deck revealed four inches of snow. I quickly retreated to hot tea and toast. It will melt off by 10 a.m. I guessed. Huh! It snowed all day. With mail yet to sort through, I had plenty to keep me busy.
Periodically through the day, I went outside to admire the beauty of it. Wouldn’t want to fill a whole season with the stuff, but it has its glory.
It got thicker and thicker as the day wore on. Then it would melt a bit and start over.
The scene out the bedroom side of the house was irresistible. (Click to enlarge)
The contrast of snow and moss on that old tree of mine. Not many opportunities to see that happen.
My woodpile wore the frosting. No matter. I couldn’t use the wood anyway since my chimney needs cleaning and the chimney sweep didn’t answer my phone call. It was a beautiful, quiet, Sunday, and as I walked inside, I dropped my new camera with the lens open and broke it. I have a temporary back-up camera, but I’m sad about my little Canon Elph. What a sweet little camera. I’m in the snow while Jim endured a wind storm. I know a family that moved from Southern California because too many sunny days without contrast is boring. It’s never boring here.
February 22, 2012
A look at the Titan II from the top down into the silo. The Titan Missiles were a successful war deterrent. For one such anti-war person as myself, I had never believed that philosophy. But, when the very knowledgeable volunteer told us that the missile site was never hidden, the Russians knew where our missiles were located; the U.S. knew where their missile silos were located. It made me rethink that philosophy.
The underground command center to the left in the photo. The entrance chamber in the middle. The actual 103 foot tall missile in its own underground chamber, all are available to visitors to the museum. Very educational and interesting to see.
The Cold War issues were critical and frightening to all of us living at that time. Just the thought of nuclear war, destroying the world as we knew it, never to recover. What insanity did that imply? Both sides knew if they struck first, the retaliation would be automatic and devastating. Thus, neither would pull the trigger with the knowledge that nuclear war was a lose-lose situation. Dismantling of nuclear war weapons is still happening.
The fail safe methods employed here, the attention to detail and safety, made me shiver. Only two people occupied the command center waiting for that terrible call to press the button that would launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. The missiles would reach them in 30 minutes. Once launched, there was no turning back. The No Lone Zone makes it clear that no single person could carry that responsibility. It was always dependent on two people to safe check each other.
Walls of special reinforced concrete in the silos, eight feet thick. In the command center above, four feet thick. Check the hinge on the right of the photo. It carried a three ton door, with such precision and balance it could be opened with one finger. And, even after 50 years, the door is still perfectly balanced.
The cabinet that held the launch codes had double locks. It took two people with keys from different sources to open the cabinet to get the launch codes that had several fail checks in how the final code was delivered by the President of the United States, and the Joint Chiefs, besides the keys issued each shift.
During each tour, the command center is in full operation to launch an underground Titan. It is a sequenced event in three steps after turning the key in sync with a second officer turning a key at the same time.
There were back-up systems to their back-up systems, including this key wound clock that insured the time would never be off by a millisecond. It fail-checked the electric clocks.
I saw all the movies, and how accurate they were about the Cold War and the secrecy and fail safe methods. Being there made me respect that our government did a top-notch job of protecting our country from a possible irreversible tragedy. Manned 24 hours a day, every day, at a huge cost. How much better that money could have been used for peaceful pursuits. So, my anti-war stance has not changed.
In fact, everything here, the phones, the cameras, the computers, even the fuel mixer, of which you see a slice of, above, is obsolete. The holes delivered two types of fuel, only stable when separated. They were only useable when mixed at launch.
This is a view of the missile from below, looking up at the nose cone.
And then this surprise. A time capsule. I’ve seen several put away. But, I’ve never seen one opened. This was a very interesting museum to visit.
Go! And, watch for rattlesnakes. (To understand that statement you have to visit the site.)