Category Archives: angry rant

Why Farmers Ain’t Millionaires

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A professional baseball player goes up to the plate.  A hulking six foot man goes up on a little mound and hurls a stitched horsehide sphere at him, ideally around ninety miles an hour, hoping to throw it past him three times, or, failing that, coming close enough to his head that he forfeits the next two.  If the baseball guy swings his hitty-stick at the ball and smacks it into the field in a place where nobody can catch it three out of every ten times, that man will soon be a millionaire if he isn’t one before swinging the hitty stick for the first time.

As a public school teacher it was my job to teach kids how to read and write.  It is a lot harder thing to do when you consider how teachers are expected to do that job.  You are in a classroom of up to thirty kids, no more than ten per cent of whom are self-starting and self-maintaining.  The rest are problem-filled haters of reading and wordless when it comes to writing.  You have to lead them into the land of joyous literacy.  And when you step up to that plate, if you are getting a hit only three times in every ten at-bats (as measured by beloved state tests that are inherently biased in a multitude of ways) you will lose that lovely teaching job.  You are expected to hit 8 out of 10 or higher.  And that is just to keep your job year to year even though you make less money per year than a city garbage man.  No chance you will ever be a millionaire.  And they don’t even let you use a hitty stick to do your job.

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But I promised you this rant was about farming and farmers.

My roots are in the farmlands of Iowa.  I am the result of the union of the Beyer family farm and the Aldrich family farm.  I know what farming is all about.  And we do the job of feeding the nation, and possibly the world.  But it is not an easy job.  You gamble each year that you will be able to produce corn and soybeans and possibly beef or pork, and when the harvest comes, you have to hope you can sell it for more than it cost to produce it.  Tornadoes, hail, floods, and droughts get more than their fair say in the outcome.

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So, why isn’t what the farmer does worth more?

The answer is simple.  People with money and power are the ones who control who makes money and who doesn’t.  Through speculation and commodity trading they control the price of corn and beans, and they control who makes the profit.

We do the majority of the work and take the majority of the risk.  We don’t get the majority of the rewards.  Other people than farmers decide who does, and only rarely do they decide those matters fairly.  But thus the world is.  Or rather, thus we have let it become.

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This is How the World Ends…

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The T. S. Eliot poem “The Hollow Men” talks about the disappointing nature of human beings and ends  with a dire four lines quoted more often than any poem’s end in the history of poetry.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Now I have revealed this particular truth more than once.  I am not prescient.  I am an idiot.  And the only things I know for certain about the future are that I will die one day, and so will everyone else.  But knowing those things  is wisdom.  Especially the idiot part.

And I can see how things are progressing.  I know what people are like at their core.  If humanity is doomed to die out in the next century, or even the next decade, it will not be because of nuclear war.  It will be something sneakier, quieter, and more permanently lethal.

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It will be the fact that people are capable of heartlessness and cruelty.  Adolf Hitler turned the full power of government-focused hatred on those he defined as less than human; Jews, gypsies, gay people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the mentally handicapped.  He used that focus to burn those peoples out of existence.  But many forces in the human character rose up to shield the victims, saving some and avenging the others.  Hitler learned the hard way that he was not the end of the world… from a bullet, in a bunker, having lost an empire.

Now, the Republican clown show in the United States is turning into Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

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They show lack of concern for anything but corporate profits.  They will undo Medicare and cancel the Meals on Wheels program because, according to evil leprechauns in charge of the budget, we can’t afford to feed people, or educate people, or do anything to dry up the painful ocean of poverty capitalism is creating.  No, we must bury our pots of gold and any magic they have left in them.

They have changed the laws on environmental protections to allow themselves to profit by pouring pollutants into rivers and water supplies.  They pull out of world-wide agreements to work towards saving the environment from climate change.

They may have found a way to focus hatred through the lens of indifference.  Hitler’s mistake was in thinking most humans could be manipulated only through fear and hatred for those who were different.  Trump’s troll army has added stupidity and greed to the lenses the light can be filtered through.  And so, they may well succeed where Nazis failed.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

 

 

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Filed under angry rant, humor, insight, pessimism, politics, self pity, sharing from YouTube

The Terribly Icky Car Trip

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The Iowa Landscape in late, late afternoon… or possibly evening.

We made it to Iowa.  But only after a long, hard, impossibly-icky travel day.  More than 700 miles were covered in only fifteen-plus hours.  With no real breaks for meals because restaurants will not look kindly on bringing the family dog into the dining room.  Especially our dog, who will kill for people food, and even threaten small children if she thinks they might pull her ears and also look tasty enough.  Traveling with an insane dog is never easy.

And the way was unusually challenging.  We normally travel up Interstate 35 because it goes from the North Dallas suburbs where we live to within a few miles of the family farm where my parents still live.   It is a good route because it is very travel-friendly with numerous places to stop and a 70-plus miles per hour speed limit to make the trip faster.

But first, we had to pass through Oklahoma.  And unfortunately that means Okie drivers.  Especially the super-speed Bubba trucks (Chevy pickups with a rebel flag in the back window and more often red than any other saner vehicle color), ultra-super-speed oil-money Wasp-rockets (BMW’s, Rolls Royces, Italian sports  cars of high-dollar varieties),  and the most dangerous, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (because I have a Texas license plate, that is.  They never seem to be a problem for the first two groups on this list.  Do other people in the world do racial profiling against Texans in general?  They probably should.)

And, apparently every bridge, over-pass, and under-pass on Interstate 35 has to be repaired, inducing a lowered speed limit that also apparently doesn’t apply to Okie drivers.  And the powers that decide things for highways went with the northbound lanes first so they could save the southbound  side for my eventual return trip.  I got honked at, headlight flashed at, and endured several Okie drivers using one of their fingers to brag at me about their current I.Q. (I won’t mention which single finger they all use for that).  They heaped this scorn on me for daring to go no faster than the posted speed limit.  I mean, there are road signs in Oklahoma that tell you it is against the law not read and obey all road signs.  And fines are doubled, if not quadrupled, in work zones.  But the laws against not reading probably don’t apply to those who naturally can’t read.

And I ran into trouble with Kansas City rush hour.  Which, of course, travels in the opposite of a rush.  And while we were sitting and waiting in the middle of the rush, my little car’s engine overheated.  So I had to turn the heater on high and aim the dashboard vents out the rolled-down windows to prevent the car’s engine control chip from shutting the engine off to cool down in the middle of the stationary rush.  The heat made the dog even more insane.

And when we finally got to Iowa just before dark, we may have been kidnapped by aliens.  Time, it seems, completely went missing  in southern Iowa, making the trip last even longer.  I may actually have captured the reason for that.  I took a few pictures with my phone camera on top of the steering wheel, which probably isn’t a safe thing to do, but I wasn’t in Oklahoma at the time.  So decide for yourself if this is significant, or just marsh gas.

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The Darkest of the Coming Darkness

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Egghead  might be slightly batty.

I do not claim to be prescient.  But like any overly smart and perceptive person, I often see what’s going to happen before it happens.  Sometimes it is almost as eerie as a Vincent Price movie.  Sometimes eerier.  After all, on the 60’s Batman TV show, Price played the ridiculous villain Egghead, and was completely creepy while doing it, but still, you know… Egghead.

One thing that I have to predict about the coming darkness is about politics.  I mean, the current Republican administration, where it is decisions by all Republicans all the time, has become nothing more than a monster movie.  Not merely a bad monster movie, but a super-creepy-bad monster movie with a gigantic orange rubber rooster as the main monster.

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This is what the great orange rooster looks like in black and white.

The reason it is bad is because, basically, to become a member of the Republican Party’s elected elite, you basically have to have your heart removed.  Heartless, soulless monsters have a tendency to do things like take away Meals on Wheels for invalid seniors, health-care services from Planned Parenthood, and any hope of ever having affordable health insurance that actually pays for health care.

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                                                                          Senator Ted Cruz grinning about taking away Obamacare

And now, the monsters who have taken control of the theater are pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement because… well, apparently clean air isn’t good for decaying, desiccated monster skin and shriveled monster lungs that don’t breathe air anyway.

So here are my predictions for the coming darkness.

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What people like me will look like in the future.  That’s me in the middle.

I won’t live to see it.  My body is breaking down at age 60. My lungs are compromised by years of bronchitis and flu.  I am diabetic, so my very body chemistry is betraying me.  There is a family history of heart disease.  And I have already gone broke once on health care bills that the health insurance people really don’t pay for.  (They are in the business of collecting premiums, after all, not making people well.)

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What a lovely oxygen-free environment we will have!

As the climate changes take away large parts of our food production and resources, and the sea rises to take away land and major cities, people will be at war increasingly over diminishing resources vital to a population of seven billion souls.  Graveyards and unburied bodies will become a part of every monster-movie scene.

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Kiss me, Baby!

Love will become more complicated, because people who are selfless and put others before even their own life will die out first.  The heartless, selfish, and often stupid ones will have the best chance for survival because they put themselves ahead of everyone else, and so have an unfair advantage over those who are not content with mere survival and exhibit self-sacrificing love.

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You’ve never had a friend like me.  And I can always eat you later if need be.

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So, if you find my black-and-white monster movie post upsetting with the darknesses I am sincerely predicting, please remember, this is a satire post in a humor blog.  The way it is supposed to work is that you wake up to the factors that make it upsetting and decide to do something for yourself to change them.  Everybody doing a lot of the same little thing to make the world better can move mountains and fly to the moon.  Big things don’t happen without everybody taking a hand.  Maybe we can dream dreams once again and make some good things come true.

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So Tired of Tires

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The wheels on my car, the wheels I rely on for the most important functions remaining in my retired, sick-all-the-time, but still-a-father-with-kids-in-school days, have recently been under assault once again.   The back right tire has had a slow leak in it for three months because of some piece of metal embedded in the treads.  And last week the front driver’s-side tire was cruelly popped by a piece of road debris, a hubcap that was left on the road to be run over repeatedly.  Number two son and I had to be rescued from the roadside by AAA (and that is Triple A, not Alcoholics Anonymous… a fairly important distinction).

It meant I had to drive around on an emergency spare for a while and spend the majority of my Memorial Day holiday at Sam’s Club’s tire repair center getting two tires fixed.

And how do you deal with tires being damaged and needing to be fixed so often?  Satire of course.  After all, it has the word “tire” in it, doesn’t it?

The piece from Vox points out that satire is the way comedians are dealing with Trump news and Trump fake news and Trumpian self-satire usually administered to claim innocence over a truly horrible and self-damaging something he said.  They are using satire to cut the crap and get to the center of the ridiculous dog-and-pony show Trump puts on and Trump supporters are constantly dazzled by.  I point this all out because I satirically believe no one who looks at my posts on this goofy-danged blog ever watches the videos.  And it probably is true, that thing you are thinking at the moment, that Mickey only adds videos to fill up space.

But if satire can be used to pop the tires on the political clown car, then why can’t it also be used to fix the tires on my little gray errand-wagon?

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Of course, you will say, “You can’t fix a tire with satire!  You have to have tools and patches and rubber cement for that.  And you would be right.

But I have had three major tire-related disruptions to my little retired life in the last two years.  A careless driver ran into the back tire of my little pony last spring and not only wrecked the tire, but bent the back axle and totaled the entire car.  Then I hit a pothole on a carefully unrepaired Dallas street and not only destroyed the tire, but dented the entire rim.  And now the new tire disaster fills my holiday with more sit-and-wait-and-pay-lots-of-money woes at a time when I really don’t appreciate such a long run of bad tire-luck.  It drives me to satire.

So maybe satire can’t fix a tire, but it can make me laugh about it.  And isn’t that better than crying, or a long string of cuss words so foul they would’ve gotten me fired before I retired three years ago?  Besides, I already tried those.  They didn’t work either.  But satire makes me laugh about it and feel a little better.  And, after all, it has the word “tire” embedded in it.  And that has to count for something.

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Cutting Losses

Sometimes going forward will set you too far back.  Sometimes the only direction you can take is down and out.  I am not at that point yet.  But it is now on the horizon.

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Am I sounding suicidal?  I hope not.  I was glooming about publishing and books that I am trying to make live.  I have paid Page Publishing practically all the payments I stupidly agreed to, and yet, I am stuck in an endless loop of editing where they ignore my emails and appear to be proceeding without me.  The clueless case manager sends me an email saying, “Go ahead, take all the time you need to edit” after I have already emailed them the final instructions and requested the process continue to the next step.  I re-sent that email and asked them if they have gotten my last email.  No responses, though.  What the hell am I paying them money for?  I’m editing the book myself.  Their proof-reader makes changes that I have to change back to the original, and then they don’t even want to take the next step?

I admit that my illustrations for this rant are only pictures saved for other posts that never got used before.  Like this cool Kingdom Hearts one;

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But I am not ready to kill the project yet and hire a lawyer to sue the publisher to get my money back.  I want to see this book, Magical Miss Morgan, live.

And I need to see Snow Babies live too.

But from here on we go with the cheapest possible options.  Free if possible.

Here is another Wizard Donald to look at while I continue to stew about publishing problems;

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I have always tried to make the best of what I already have.  I have always lived by the idea that other people are all my equals, even the really stupid ones, and I have nothing that I am not obliged to share.

I have little left besides wit and wisdom.  And I have tried hard to share that here.  But I sometimes feel like I am alone and pointless.

But the captain always goes down with his ship.  And if my ship is sinking, then at least I will soon know if there are mermaids down there willing to teach me to breathe underwater, or possibly not.

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Why Do You Think That? Part 3

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A taxonomy of different living beasts in our world is an important thing to keep up with.  Because they are constantly evolving, due to processes of evolution (Stop hitting me with that old family Bible, Reverend Winchuck!  It is still legal, for now, to say that word), you have to constantly change and refine your understanding of beasts and their relationships to one another.  So here I am trying talk about “Why liberals and conservatives are completely different species!”

When I look at a group of people, a crowd, a… what do you call a flock of people?  An idiocy perhaps?  They all look the same to me.  To tell which species they are, I have to hear them talk.  So I selected a couple of notable interviewees to explain what the differences really are.

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Bull Blindersly, head of the Bullish for Trump and Trumpkins Committee

The conservative I will use to represent conservatives is Bull Blindersly, who I noticed briefly had a Make America Great Again red hat on until the wind took it off his flat head.  I’ll let him tell you the difference in his own words.

“It’s easy to spot a libtard.  They have pointy little nerd heads full of stupid ideas based on statistics and encyclopedia facts and other such brainiac junk that clogs up your head.  They don’t have the common sense they were born with because they spend all their time reading and thinking and other stuff that just gets in the way.  There is a simple solution for everything in life.  The economy is healthy and grows if you give tax breaks to rich folks and job creators.  They will spend that money they have earned to improve things for everyone.  You don’t fix problems by dancing around giving away my hard-earned tax dollars to folks who don’t work hard enough.  Those people are just tempted to become blood-sucking parasites for life when you do that.  We need to build a wall around Animal Town to keep more of those kinds of people out.”

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                                                                                                                                                                  Phillip “Flip” Moosewinkle. ACLU lawyer and Dal Mation, independent media journalist

I talked to Flip Moosewinkle and his friend Dal Mation because they were protesting in front of city hall with “Not My President!” signs and other signs that indicated they were liberals because everything was spelled and punctuated correctly.

Flip; “I think conservatives talk without thinking first most of the time.”

Dal; “You have to be careful about making blanket statements like that, though.  It is not backed up by any studies I can find with Google on my i-phone.  And we want to be fair and considerate when making statements about our opponents.”

Flip; “Yes, that’s quite correct.  But a shoot-from-the-hip style of discourse is still common among those we argue politics with.  They’ll accuse us of trying to take away their rights to own guns and won’t even listen when we try to shift the conversation towards gun safety and responsible ownership.  They mostly agree with our positions when it comes right down to it, but they rarely listen to our point of view.  They would rather call us names and chant slogans.”

Dal; “True, but you have to admit they do tend to win arguments that way in public forums.  Maybe we should try some of their tactics, and try to be more forceful in making our case the way they are.”

Flip;  “Do you really want to sink to their level?  Then we’d be no better than they are.”

Dal;  “But isn’t that the point we are trying to make?  Aren’t we all the same and no one is better than anyone else?  Aren’t we trying to be fair and loving to all?”

Dumb Luck

Doofy Fuddbugg here is an example of what a “Nolt” is.

Of course, it is at this point in the consideration of the topic that I reach the inevitable conclusion that I am dealing with two different categories of animal here.  One side is patently unfair, and the other is marginalized and ineffectual.  One side is often predatory, while the other is routinely prey.

What do I do about it?  The conservative side has purged themselves of all compromisers, liberal-leaners, and RINO’s (Republican In Name Only, not rhinoceroses).  The liberal side never wins.  (Yes, I know Obama was president, but look how easily he was erased from the public conversation when his term ended.)  There is no place for moderates any more.  To be moderate is to be isolated and headed for species extinction.    So I am a liberal now, hoping the side that is in power at the moment won’t pass a law against my continued existence.  And trying exceptionally hard to fit in with other members of my same species.

 

 

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