Saturday, December 19, 2015
That alum status makes us a "house divided," but we will be rooting for a good game.
Frank was booted from his post as Nebraska head coach because he was "only" winning 9 games a season. In favor of a couple of not-so-goods. Frank still has the best winning record at Nebraska except for Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne.
All of us Sigma Nus of the era are proud of Frank, his play, his cover of Sports Illustrated, his record as a coach and his character. There were a lot of high-performance people that came out of those early baby-boom classmates and fraternity brothers, and he is an excellent example.
Football, even back then, took a toll on social life, so I can't say that Frank was one of my close friends, but he was a good guy and a regular guy. For one thing, he is small--his playing weight was listed at something like 165 pounds. He played fullback and held the single-game rushing record for Nebraska for many years until the advent of the I-formation, and a guy named I.M. Hipp broke the record.
Both Frank and Larry Wacholtz, a North Platte boy who played defense, were sensitive about their size in major college football, so they would tape weights under their shorts for weigh-ins--which he never confirmed nor denied.
A vivid memory for me was a Saturday night. A classmate of mine, Jim Stevenson and I were juggling baseballs trying to perfect the technique of passing back and forth. Frank came by, had only a short time before a date (while Jim and I were LOSERS!! staying in) but he wanted to learn how to juggle. "Frank, be happy to teach you, but it takes a long time to learn. Years." Within a few minutes, he was doing as well as either of us, and Jim was a Division-1 baseball athlete. Frank's athleticism was beyond anything I had ever seen.
Jim's name is on the Wall in Washington, killed in action in Viet Nam. How much the world missed.
The Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. Today. Should be a good game.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
WAIT: I think it was Abraham Lincoln who advised, "Don't believe everything you see on the internet."
Jerry sent me a terrific article, you can locate it here: http://www.oil-price.net/en/
It posits that oil and oil prices have a lot to do with the current Mideast crisis, and it goes on to explain a lot more than that since most of us would agree with the broad premise.
The following notes are my takeaways from that article, and I recommend your own reading of it if you have an interest.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, it is a good example of what might happen in the EU due to Merkel's policies. Not to Germany, but to others.
Back in the 1970's, there were 400,000 Palestinian refugees, primarily in Jordan. Jordan kicked them out and they went, mostly, to Lebanon. Lebanon was, at that time, prosperous and had a large Christian population dating back to the Crusades. Naturally, the immigrants overwhelmed the "Switzerland of the Middle East" and the country has never recovered. They turned their new home into a pigsty like they came from.
KEEP THE BEST, EJECT THE REST
Germany needs cheap labor and the Turkey connection has dried up as Turkey's economy has improved upon entry into the EU. The immigrants will fill the bill, and Merkel has given them nine-month permits. Out go the ones who don't work out...or work.
DUMP ON YOUR NEIGHBORS?
A short time ago, Germany sponsored legislation to require EU countries to accept migrants from other EU countries. Where will these rejects go? Likely places would be Sweden, Norway and Denmark who, unlike Germany with 81 million people, have much smaller populations (like, 5 million or so) that will be overwhelmed. Just like Lebanon.
Trump was roundly criticized for saying there were Muslim no-go districts for British cops. The police in Birmingham acknowledged that is the case. There are neighborhoods in the UK that are ruled by Sharia law, and the police do not go there.
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE?
Angela Merkel is in the "pole position" for that Prize. After some of these other events work out, do you think the committee will admit, as they did with Obama, that their choice was a mistake?
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
ISIS has said, "We'll use and exploit the refugee crisis to infiltrate the West." Boy, what a surprise, although when you hear the news networks, they are evidently unaware.
Here is the problem--Lebanese officials (back to Lebanon, and they might know a bit) estimate that 2.2% of Syrians in refugee camps are affiliated with ISIS. So, if we allow 10,000 Syrian immigrants to enter the US, that would allow 220 who are affiliated with ISIS. Wonder if they could do any damage?
Back to the original article--the whole Syrian conflict is based, as are most ME conflicts, in the oil business. The Shia-led countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria) want a pipeline to go through Syria to the Mediterranean. The Sunni countries (principally, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) want another pipeline to go through Syria and through Turkey.
The Sunni pipeline would seriously compete with Russia's pipeline to the Western EU. Russia has been aligned with the Shia for decades; the US with the Sunni. The Russians are going to wipe out ISIS that has been funded in large part by Saudi Arabia and Qatar (so was the Arab Spring until it got completely out of hand and turned into a bunch of criminals).
Note, however, two important concepts: this is about oil and about fine points of distinction between seemingly similar religions. The geography defined to prevent the reemergence of the Ottoman empire (the Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916) has less to do with it than religious matters. Sunni versus Shia. That fact does not square with our Western attitudes and is not recognized by our politicians and certainly not by the media.
Just a taste of the article, take a look, and special thanks to Jerry for forwarding it.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Saturday, November 7, 2015
What a ride. The only thing that could possibly compare for me was the 1995 Huskers National Championship capped with the decimation of #2 Florida in the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 62-24...and it wasn't that close.
We endured Tony and his Nosotros Creamos, but Latin pride could only go so far. We endured a couple of decades without a decent second baseman, and depended on a journeyman Chinese pitcher from Panama who was probably eligible to be the fifth starter on most staffs. Our season tickets were in the days of 95-100 losses each season, but even then it was a good day at the park.
Dayton Moore looks like a genius now with the Zach Greinke trade that brought Cain and Escobar. The acquisition of Cueto is golden, despite most of us crossing our fingers to see which one of him would show up.
We can almost forgive Jose Guillen. I said "almost." We can overlook some of Ned's bizarre moves when we look at what I consider to be the pivotal play of the entire playoffs--the hit and run with Morales in the Astros game after the pop up dropped in the short outfield. (Nobody talks about that, so don't worry if you don't remember).
Hosmer's sprint to home will be the play that is replayed. It was so typical of the team and what was so fun to watch. Aggressive, gutsy and in Hosmer's own words as he took the first three steps, "This might not be a good idea." But they were prepared for just such a play by the coaches who said, "Make Duda and d'Arnaud throw." It's hard to win a World Series when you haven't thrown out a runner since September 8.
Right now, I miss baseball. I miss getting up in the morning and checking the box score. It is now on the computer, but it is like I used to do in the Kansas City Star. And before that, in the Sioux City Journal. For years, driving through South Dakota of a summer evening, coming home after some event or sales call, listening to Denny Matthews and Fred White on KSCJ. Yep, it goes back a ways.
Matt also said that the Iowa football season is just "icing on the cake." I wouldn't go that far, but let him revel in a good run by his alma mater as Nebraska sloshes around in the bottom world.
Baseball encourages hope. Every team is going to win it all when they are in Arizona. Baseball embraces nostalgia, too, and we will remember this time. This warm, colorful autumn of 2015.
Friday, November 6, 2015
Monday, November 2, 2015
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Haven't we all heard one person's version of an event, only to hear the other side and wonder if they exist on the same planet? Every parent I know can commiserate. I can only tell the stories as accurately as my memory will give me the details.
Here is one that is fairly straightforward:
WINDSHIELD WASHER FLUID
Stanley was one of the typical employees at the oil change business I helped turn around in Omaha. A bit older, in his 30's, not addicted to heroin, but otherwise similar. Low to medium intelligence, little in the way of responsibility. Smoked.
The smoking was always a problem in that we worked in a facility that was filled with petroleum products. Banned in all areas, of course, but still a problem. I was reminded of this event today as I filled my car with windshield washer solution and saw the "Good to -20!!" on the container. That means the fluid won't freeze and break the reservoir in the car, but it also means that it is not plain water. We could have purchased pre-mixed fluid, but that meant buying a lot of expensive water. To reduce our cost of operation, we purchased 55-gallon drums of ethanol, mixed it with water out of the tap and delivered it to the work stations.
Now, ethanol is the stuff they add to gasoline, so pretty flammable. I had mentioned to Stanley that the drum was empty and needed to be changed, so I was not surprised when I walked into the back room and saw him working on the drum/pump/plumbing...but I was surprised when I saw the cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
Another surprising thing about ethanol is that its flame is nearly invisible, maybe a bit of blue at the tip. But it sets everything else on fire. What I saw was a spray coming out of the drum/pump/plumbing and the fire climbing up the wall. So far, Stanley's face and hair were not on fire, but it was inevitable. Unlike most times when you go, "Where the hell is the fire extinguisher??", this time it was right in front of me, I sprayed Stanley first, the wall second and the drum, etc. last. He survived with minor burns.
Then I proceeded to have nightmares for years. Decades.
Who can verify that story? Probably, nobody. Stanley was younger than me by a good bit, but most of those guys were not destined to live long lives, in my opinion. To borrow a phrase used by another of the guys, "Does it hurt to be that stupid?"
Everybody has heard this story--riding calves. We were surrounded by large animals, the rodeo in town was good entertainment, and it was only natural to see if we could imitate some of the heroic activities of the rodeo cowboys.
We were specifically forbidden to ride calves, probably out of respect for the calves rather than any concern for us, but that didn't stop us from rigging up a chute, wrapping a cinch rope around the calf and around my hand and nodding "OK" like the real guys. My brother only opened the chute a little bit, the calf lunged through the opening and my legs were immediately scrubbed back such that I was laying stretched out on the top of the calf. I could not get my hand out of the glove, the calf bucked, I flew up and inevitably down. The calf was then coming up again and its tail head, that bony structure at the base of the tail, hit me square in the solar plexus.
I eventually disentangled, fell off face first into the baked clay and buffalo burrs of the barn yard, face first. The blow to the solar plexus had stopped all kinds of essential functions, including breathing, so my brother thought, "I've finally one it, I've killed him!"
It took me over an hour of trying to regain normal functions, but I came out of it with fairly bruised and scratched face, but no other injuries of consequence. Ready for the next time.
Again, my version, my memory is the only one since my brother is gone. Hopefully, I tell it like it happened.
NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNISTS
If you don't know how much I despise the typical elite columnist, you haven't been listening. The use of the word "chute" above reminded me of reading something recently by one of them who spelled the word "shoot." And, probably calls the leather leggings used as protection "chaps" to rhyme with "chap stick" instead of the correct pronunciation so the initial sound is like in "shack." But they are still superior to us, aren't they? By virtue of their Ivy League "education?"
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
First, he pitched really well--not bad for an old guy (42+ years old). Not his fault there was an error.
Second, and most importantly, his physical profile matches some of the rest of us. Bet he hasn't seen his feet in years, either.
I would be happy if the Royals finish off the Mets promptly and Colon doesn't end up on the mound again.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Friday, October 2, 2015
Here is the correction: Instead of leaving his partner, Jim, in the car, they both started to make their way across the field. When Doug saw the bull occupying the pasture with them, he whispered, "Jim," but Jim didn't hear him. A little louder, "Jim," but no response. Finally, "JIM!!!" but when Doug took his eyes off the bull and searched for Jim, he was making long strides in those wing tips. Doug remembers thinking that his London Fog was blowing back, nearly parallel to the ground just like in a cartoon. He and the bull, just the two of them.
The rest of it is pretty much the same, but it was good to talk to Doug, to hear about how successful the bank has been in the 30 years since I left (when I joined the trust department in 1975, there was $100 million under investment management and they are at $2.3 billion now!!).
Here is the original post:
I was amused the first time I heard this, and over the many intervening years, the thought of it has given me further chuckles.
Doug came to the bank as a college guy, long hair, somewhat "hippie," but after all, it was the time. Soon he took on the look of the rest of the folks at the workplace, moved up the corporate ladder and did very well. In the middle, though, he took on one of the jobs that was not sought after--repo man. Subsequently, the bank quit making loans that required this kind of activity.
As the low man on the totem pole whose job it was to contact customers who were delinquent in their car payments, he had an unpleasant job (all of the time) and dangerous (some of the time). Guns were drawn, and those times were not amusing at all. But the late winter episode in rural South Dakota is the one that sticks in my mind.
This was one that was very delinquent. They had been unable to ascertain the location of the customer or the car, and winter had delayed a lot of leg work. Finally, they had a location in rural South Dakota which was not far from the city in those days, and still is not far even today. A pair of repo men drove out there only to find that the long driveway was still drifted shut despite the more mild weather of on-coming spring. Doug thought it was probably fruitless, but necessary to do the job right, so he shrugged on his long London Fog, decided the wingtips could suffer, determined that a path through the adjacent pasture would be better than slogging through the deep snow in the driveway and away he went. The barbed wire fence is familiar to all of us in that part of the world, and easily negotiated, so he trudged away across the pasture and left his partner smoking and relaxing in the snug confines of the car.
Nearly to the trailer house, about to climb through the next fence, he discovered that he had neglected to identify the occupant of the pasture--a bull. With horns. And it appeared to be distraught over his violation of his territory. You are not supposed to run, but the fence was close, so he ran and rather than offering a target for the bull by climbing through, he climbed on top of the fence, about to jump over when out from under the trailer emerged two big dogs.
And they seemed to be upset, too. Perched on top of the fence with threats ahead and behind, the "lady" of the home emerged with a child on her hip and another clenched to her leg. "What do you want," she said, but not as politely.
He glanced at the shed where a shell of a car with chickens inside looked like the one they were supposed to repo. "Ma'am, you're not going to believe this, but I want your car." She said, "Take it, and if you find my husband, take him too," again, not said quite so politely.
From his position of power and authority, Doug offered an "executive decision,"-- "If you call your dogs off, I'll leave you alone." Seemed as though the snow-covered driveway offered the best path back to the car, his partner and a good warm office.
I have never been to that exact location, but I see it clearly in my mind's eye. The late-winter snow, the whole vision of Doug perched on the fence, the weary mom and the dilapidated trailer are vivid in my imagination as are the words, "Ma'am, you're not going to believe this, I want your car."
My guess is that Doug finds his job a bit better than those days in rural South Dakota.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
- Thank goodness for GPS
- New York still holds the record for the worst surfaces
- I'm thankful we weren't driving my uncle's VW Bug as in 1969
- The New Jersey Turnpike has some marvelous stretches
- People still ignore the speed limit
The Admiral said that the US employs a foreign policy that is similar to what we see in the behavior of a golden retriever that enters a room, greets everyone with a smile and good intentions, expects to be loved and petted by all and creates chaos by sweeping everything onto the floor with his tail. Then leaves without knowing what just happened, still believing that everyone loves him.
When the Pope visited, there were some who were a bit miffed because he made comments about how the US should behave and what this country ought to do. My first reaction was, "How dare a foreign entity interfere with our internal affairs." Then, "Oh, wait a minute. We do that all the time."
The key here is WITH THE BEST INTENTIONS. We so want, as a nation, to be loved by all. Anyone who has been a parent or a boss understands that in the real world of humans, that is just not possible.
Now, if we could start by figuring out how to control that tail...
Monday, September 21, 2015
It was 2008 and it was an interview with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton on "60 Minutes".
Last week, she was among the first to jump on Trump about his supposed obligation to argue with a questioner in a town meeting in New Hampshire about that subject. Trump didn't really comment, just moved on.
Well, Hillary, you were the first. Did you think people would not remember?
Heilemann has covered politics at a high level for 25 years and is an author and expert on presidential campaigns.
On another topic, Ben Carson--how can an individual who believes that Sharia law should replace any other law (like the Constitution) be elected and confirmed to a office whose sworn duty is to uphold the Constitution?
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Saturday, September 19, 2015
The common opinion is that she won both debates, the "B" team debate earlier and this latest show. I guess we can call them "debates," but they are mostly TV theater. Not exactly the Lincoln/Douglas style or substance.
I have watched on YouTube some of her interviews and believe they demonstrate a high level of preparation and intelligence. She is way above the level of the "political class" she often references.
Take for instance the baiting by the likes of George Stephanopoulos (you would think he could at least get a last name that was easier to spell and quit posing as anything other than a trained monkey for the Democrats) and Katie Couric. They come off looking and sounding like lightweights.
There are two interviews that I would highly recommend for anyone wanting to learn more about candidate Carly Fiorina, both with a "friendly" interviewer, Hugh Hewitt. First, hear her talk about foreign policy in contrast to the same interviewer asking similar questions of Trump:
Then an interview with the same guy a month ago, 20 minutes long, but worth it:
Little things to know and tell--her father was a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and she praises her father, a former law professor and conservative jurist, for his courage in resisting the tendency of the Ninth Circuit to "make law" rather than interpret what the law actually is. That seems to be the fundamental difference between conservative and liberal when considering the courts, and in the last few years, the Supremes have drifted far afield.
She aspired as a young person to be a concert pianist. She worked as a Kelly Girl temp. She is a cancer survivor and her step-daughter died early due to drugs. She has made mistakes, but then most everyone who has actually led a life of accomplishment has made mistakes.
One of her likely opponents, Joe Biden, is no match. The book by former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates is respectful and gracious to both his presidential bosses, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But his only comment on Biden is that he was "consistently wrong on every major foreign policy matter for 20 years." Biden was singled out for his lack of ability in a book that delicately avoided gossip and criticism typically used to sell books.
I have wondered if she can win. Don't know the answer to that one. But she would make a good President, a terrific leader. Kinda reminds you of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
This is the first I have seen of her description of her tenure at HP. Most "journalists" strip mine the parts that fit their agenda that day, but here is what she has to say, including something about the size of the government:
(CNSNews.com) - "We have never succeeded in shrinking the size of government," Republican Carly Fiorina told "Fox News Sunday." She said she would do it.
"But here's the facts: I led Hewlett-Packard through a very difficult time, the dotcom bust post-9/11, the worst technology recession in 25 years. I would remind Debbie Wasserman Schultz that it has taken the NASDAQ 15 years to recover.
And yes, I was fired at the end of that, in a boardroom, which I've been very open about. And I was fired because when you challenge the status quo, which is what leadership is about, you make enemies.
We were there when the doc.com bust happened, living and working in Silicon Valley. Our experience was worse than HP, by far. But have you noticed? People tend to judge the actions of people in the past according to the mores of today, ignoring the landscape.
First, who woulda thunk that the Royals would be 12 games ahead in their division with the second best record in baseball behind their fellow Missourians, the Cardinals? But in a game that is fascinated with statistics, this one amazes me, and if any of my statistician readers want to tell me what the heck this about, let's hear it:
Tuesday, August 11 was the first time in over 100 years (since 1914) that all home teams won in a full schedule. Yes, 15 home teams, 15 home teams came out the winners. Back in 1914, there were only 24 teams, so it was 12 home wins, but that was never tied and after expansion, it didn't happen either.
Well over 200,000 games have been played in the last 100 years at the major league level, and you would think that the law of random events or bell-shaped curves or whatever would have taken care of this--after all, there are over 2,400 games each year and...well, it just seems odd.
But, then, the Royals ahead like this is a bit odd, too.
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Private Rooney should not have been sent to the Army, but some well-meaning numbskull thought it would "do him good." The Drill Sergeant asked me (errrr, not exactly how he said it) to teach Rooney some basic drill commands. Left face, Right face, About face. Well, Rooney didn't know his right and left and About Face was similar to the golf swing described as an octopus falling out of a tree.
Not my job, but I told the DS that Rooney was not capable of learning this stuff, and I was absolutely positive it was not faked, but genuine.
One really hot day, when every part of your body and uniform was soaked, it was time to "test our gas masks." It was founded in something a lot more sadistic than that, I am sure. Instructions: Put on your gas mask. Walk into a concrete block room. Stand in lines. When the Drill Sergeant gives you the command, remove your gas mask, state your name, rank and serial number, salute, wait for the return salute and the command, Excused, and walk outside.
By the time I got to the front of the line, my skin was burning, especially where the CS gas got into creases, like your neck or your elbows. Taking that breath after saying that stuff was awful. By the time I got outside, I thought I would drown on all the fluid coming from my eyes, mouth, and nose. Coughing, gagging, and it persists.
Meanwhile, Rooney ended up in the back of one of those lines. When the first guy was instructed to take off his mask, Rooney thought they were talking to him. And he just stood there for a while until somebody noticed that he was going to die in that enclosed room and got him out of there.
They took him off to sick call, and we never saw him again. Hope they didn't think it would be a good idea to recycle him.
Among life's little learning experiences, I learned that if they wanted me to demonstrate and tear gas was threatened, I would just cheer from the sidelines, far away from that stuff.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Boosted by a recent stock surge, Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) market capitalization has overtaken that of General Electric (NYSE:GE). The social network's 26% climb this year has brought its market value to $275B, compared to GE's $273B. Some are expressing concerns: GE racked up $149B in sales last year and employed more than 300,000 people. Facebook reported $12.5B in sales and employed roughly 9,200.
Something is a bit haywire.
I mentioned Apple the other day, worth more than all the auto companies in the world? Well, minus a few, but you get the idea. Is this an indicator of some sort of calamity? Hell, I don't know, but it might mean that when investing your savings, keep your eyes open and your wits about you.
Oh, and by the way, doesn't "sez" make more sense than "says"?