Sunday, May 6, 2018


Jerry confessed his fascination with juggling, said he went so far as to get the book, “Juggling for Dummies.” It didn’t work.

We watched a short video of a juggler riding a bicycle, juggling bowling pins and doing tricks with the bike. Amazing.

I remember learning to juggle when I was young, but couldn’t master anything beyond 3 items at once. Brings back a memory of two “losers” (guys who didn’t have dates on a Saturday night) in the house practicing juggling three baseballs and trying to perfect the art of sharing them back and forth. The other participant, Jim Stevenson, was at Nebraska on a baseball scholarship, so he was pretty handy.

Along comes Frank Solich and says, “Hey, I always wanted to learn how to juggle.” “Really, Frank, it takes a lot of practice, years.” “Well, just let me try.”

At that time, Frank held the single-game rushing record for Nebraska at something like 250 yards. I think it was against Air Force. He and another guy would strap weights under their shorts so they were listed at around 165 pounds.

The reason he was able to do things on the athletic field was brought home to me that night. Frank was “different.” In minutes he was juggling as well or better than either Jim or me. His brain and body worked in a way that ours didn’t.

Thinking of you, coach, as you lead the Ohio University Bobcats. Thinking of you, Jim Stevenson, killed in action, Viet Nam, 1969 (a member of Army Reserves, activated).

Jim and I shared a branch of the Army, Armor. It was reported he died in a vehicle very common in the day, the Armored Personnel Carrier (APC). Designed for a different war on the other side of the world, but what they were using in 1969. Glad we didn't get called up, as he did. All honor to him for his service and sacrifice.

Thursday, April 19, 2018


This article was written by Amanda Radke, a rancher. I have harped about this Grand Experiment with the American diet for years—basically, the low-fat diet is the cause of the American obesity pandemic.

Promoting the elimination of meat, eggs, butter, whole milk and substituting with processed, sugary foods makes sense and pleases our palates. A sweet roll just tastes better than a hard-boiled egg. Processed food producers jumped on that band wagon. Hell ya! And if a food contains cholesterol, doesn’t that mean it is, therefore, deposited in our arteries? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Even the prime mover in this awful experiment from the 1950’s, the longitudinal Framingham Study, seems to have discovered results that a recent director of the study described as “disappointing.” In that they indicated that the people who followed the guidelines of avoiding fat, etc., had more heart disease and died earlier than those who didn’t. Well, that is one thing, but how can the results of a scientific study be “disappointing” because they don’t support the findings that management wanted? Not very scientific, is it?

Anyway, the article says it better than I can. Just know that for those of us who grew up in the 1950’s and later, our avoidance of fat, red meat, cream, whole milk (we used to give the skim milk to the hogs because it made them fat) in favor of processed foods has been beaten into us. Not good.

And another thing. Beef producers “donate” $1 per marketed head of cattle to the USDA for purposes of promoting beef, the “Check-off” program. Yeah, give the bureaucracy that gives us food stamps the responsibility for “Marketing.” How’s that working? The author, Radke, is a proponent of at least one activity of the Check-off which is to provide doctors with accurate information, so she isn’t as skeptical (cynical?) as some of the rest of us.

Some state operations are trying to get the Check-off stopped so they can do some actual research and marketing. Still, don’t ya love Sam Elliot?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

R. Lee Ermey d. 4.15.2018

UPDATE: R. Lee Ermey died Sunday, April 15, 2018 of complications of pneumonia. He will be missed.

I watched a couple of clips from this movie today, R. Lee Ermey is quite the DI. Then I watched the clip, "Pyle's greatest moment" or something like that.

Having never seen the movie, and not admiring Kubrik's work that much, I didn't know what to expect. That clip where the actor portraying Pyle says, "Hiiiii, Joker." and "Seven. Point. Six. Two. Full. Metal. Jacket." and what comes next was described as the single most frightening scene in a movie EVER. Maybe not that, but close.

Many of you have heard me tell about my miserable experience in the Army, including the guy in our platoon named "Rooney." Lots of the kids couldn't do the monkey bars and other PT stuff, but Rooney was a special one. Remember this is the time of the draft, so you got anything. The drill sergeant whose name I forget although I can still see his face plainly, was not as clever as DI Hartman in the movie, nor was he as stupid. He recognized that Rooney needed special help.

The platoons were broken up alphabetically, so Rooney was in my platoon and I was assigned one morning to teach Rooney how to make a left face, a right face, and about face. Never got it.

Again, I recall recently telling the story that was the final straw for Rooney. It was the day we got gassed. The Army determined that we needed to have confidence in our gas masks, and the best way to do that was to have us experience CS with the mask on and with it off. The procedure was explained: you stood in line, the first guy in line would stand at attention, take off the mask, announce his name and serial number (your social security number), salute and be dismissed by the drill sergeant.

Rooney didn't understand all the instructions. When the first guy in line was told to take off his mask, Rooney took his off, too. I didn't personally see all this, I was too busy discovering how miserable you can be when gassed and he was behind me, but it was not a good situation.

Soon after, the Army was smart enough to send Rooney home. Credit the people in charge that they gave it a go, he actually went as far as throwing a live grenade, but eventually it was determined that he would have been a danger to himself and all of us. No Full Metal Jacket for us in 1970. BTW, it would have been nearly impossible for that scene to occur in reality, weapons and live ammo were locked up tight.

Monday, April 9, 2018


On July 5, 2017 I posted some notes about ABC settling with BPI regarding the "pink slime" broadcast that nearly caused BPI to fail. And let's call it LFTB for Lean Finely-Textured Beef.

In my post, I said 700 people lost their jobs. The Sioux City Journal has reported that number as 750, but there is an important (mostly unreported) fact regarding those folks: Eldon and Regina set up a fund of $10 million to give to those people after the settlement.

You can see why it isn't reported much. Worthy actions by business people do not make the cut.

For full disclosure, son Matt has a responsible job at BPI, but I know nothing that isn't in the papers. One thing in the papers--Disney, the parent of ABC, reported in their financial footnotes that they set aside $177 million for settlement expenses. Implies that the settlement was significantly higher? That suspicion was confirmed by the BPI lawyers. 

Just to make Disney/ABC a bit more uncomfortable, their insurer has sued them in an attempt to deny paying the rest of the settlement.

Keep tuned.


A New York Times magazine article says that “cellar door” is considered by many to be one of the most pleasant-sounding words (or two words) in the English language.

I’ll go with that. Also, mother, love, oleomargarine, defenestration. I have no idea what that last one means, but it was included on the list.

Do you have any words that you think sound beautiful? Regardless of meaning? I’ve loved the word (and the idea) of onomatopoeia since I first heard it many, many moons ago.  Contrast these words with phlegm and moist.

After all is said and done, I’m with Dorothy Parker who, when asked about the beauty of cellar door and other pleasant words remarked that her favorite-sounding words were “check” and “enclosed.”

NEXT DAY: Jerry supplied these words to consider:  mountain, puppy, willow and pond. In the spirit of Dorothy Parker, he offered "successful operation" and Kevin, practical as ever, said "free" and "beer."

This is fun.

Monday, April 2, 2018


The post shown below in this type was from 2017, and for some reason I continue to see the need to write about Tesla. Market cap this morning, April 2, 2018 is about $43 Billion after hovering around $60 billion for most of 2017. I was squawking about it when the market cap was $30 billion, so I missed a double!

This is one of the most incredible con-jobs in history, fueled by the Obama administration’s emphasis on “wishes” rather than facts. For example, it costs more to fill up a Tesla at the cost of electricity at the “stations” than it does to fill up a Prius.

Remember the 300+ mile range? At 28 degrees Fahrenheit, that range is cut by a third. Image one in Minneapolis?

And another thing—What could that $176 billion in subsidies to wind energy have done for teacher salaries, education in general, roads, other things that government is supposed to be taking care of.

Another way of looking at the $176 billion gone up in smoke to the wind generation folks, if divided up among every elementary and secondary teacher (there are about 3.3 million of them), it would have increased their pay by over $50,000 during that time.

Let's keep beating this drum. I first wrote (not published) about Tesla in 2013 or 2014 and then again published in this blog in August of 2015. Two years ago.

At that time, Tesla's market cap was $30 billion, ridiculous by any measure. Last week it popped to over $50 billion and passed General Motors in the total value of its stock.

Read the old posts here:

Still ridiculous, still resembles a tulip bulb that is valued at more than the ship that delivered it.

Maybe our markets are just not that efficient at times.

As Lee points out in passing along this article, Elon Musk is definitely an expert at acquiring government subsidies. The wind energy business has been subsidized by government to the tune of $176 billion. Watch out below--of that amount, $164 billion is in the form of loans and loan guarantees. Sound anything like Ginnie Mae and Fannie Mae and the 2008 crisis? 

That $176 billion is about $2,200 for every family of four in this country. Every last man, woman, child, transsexual, illegal/undocumented immigrant and politician out there. The info is hard to come by, but that amount is about half the estimated losses in the subprime mortgage crisis, but the total effect on the economy was the loss of value/wealth in the $30 trillion range.

Since we are just about out of things to worry about, worry about wind energy subsidies, the failure of all those loans/loan guarantees and the fallout that happens when that type of thing ripples through the economy. Oh, and don't forget when Tesla's stock falls back to earth...or the dark side of the moon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018



Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress 

I’ve decided I’ll get everyone on my Christmas list this book. A positive statement. Don’t worry, you’re not on the list. Buy your own.

This is a book that scolds us for not realizing that the world is getting to be a better place. Crime is down, so is suicide, and all kinds of other nasty parts of society.

More countries now have some form of democracy, by a long ways, than a few years ago. The United States is not doing quite as well in a lot of areas as most of the rest of the world, like income inequality. War and violence have declined, the examples of WWI and WWII plus the long Cold War have increased the power of the state and decreased the willingness to murder millions and millions of soldiers and innocents.

Worth a read. If nothing else, to take another look at this guy’s hair!