Friday, April 21, 2017

PATRIOTS AT THE WHITE HOUSE

Trump will no doubt claim that his crowd was bigger than Obama's 😊

Monday, April 10, 2017

THE TAX MAN COMETH

With tax day just around the corner for many of us, I found the data regarding who pays what for income taxes to be quite interesting.  First, looking at this chart, you will see that the top 1% of income folks pay almost 40% of income taxes, and the top 20% pay nearly 95% of all taxes.  Notice that the bottom 40% receive a portion of the taxes rather than paying.

 

Here is the actual dollar breakdown [with some discrepancies from above chart]:



Next is another look at the income tax data.  A whopping 45% of households pay no income tax.

 
 And who are these folks who don't pay income tax?

And lastly, where does it all go?  [this is pre-Trump who proposes to increase one of the biggest players while decimating some of the smallest players]

Thursday, April 06, 2017

BETTER WATCH WHAT YOU EAT

I will admit that I like to have a bit of fun with folks who hold that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and must be read literally [translation - you must read it like I read it 😊].  So, just to make sure that your diet complies with the rules, here is a list of clean things that you can eat, and unclean things that you must avoid - eating the latter makes you unclean and thus worthy of punishment! Note the final word of caution.  I will confess to breaking some of these rules, but not repent!!!!

A General List of Biblically Clean Meat:

Antelope
Bison
Buffalo
Caribou
Cattle
[Beef, Veal]
Deer
Reindeer
Gazelle
Giraffe
Goat
Hart
Ibex
Lamb
Hogget
Mutton
Moose
Ox
Roebuck
Sheep

A General List of Biblically Unclean Meat:

Alligator
Armadillo
Badger
Bat
Bear
Panda
Beaver
Caiman
Camel
Cats
Cheetah
Cougar
Jaguar
Leopard
Lion
Panther
Tiger
Crocodile
Dogs
Coyote
Fox
Hyena
Jackal
Wolf
Elephant
Frog
Gorilla
Groundhog
Hippopotamus
Horses
Donkey/Ass
Mule
Onager
Zebra
Kangaroo
Llama
Lizards
Mice
Mole
Monkey
Baboon
Chimpanzee
Muskrat
Newt
Porcupine
Possums
Rabbit
Raccoon
Rats
Rhinoceros
Salamander
Skunks
Snakes
Spiders
Squirrels
Swine
Boar
Hog
Pig
Peccary
[Bacon, Pork, Pork-sausage, Ham, Lard]
Toad
Turtle
Wallaby
Weasel
Wolverine

A General List of Biblically Clean Fish: (with Fins and Scales)

Albacore
or Crevalle
or Horse Mackerel
or Jack
Alewives
or Branch Herring
or River Herring
Anchovies
Black Drum
Bluebacks
or Glut Herrings
Bluebill Sunfish
Bluefish
Blue Runner
or Hardtail
Bonitos
Boston Bluefish
or Pollock
Bowfin
Buffalofish
Butterfish
Carp
Chubs
Bloater
Longjaw
Blackfin
Cod
Common Sucker
or Fresh Water Mullet
or White Sucker
Crappies
or Black Crappies
or White Crappies
Flounder
Dab
Gray Sole
Lemon Sole
Summer Flounder
Winter Flounder
Yellow Tail
Frost Fish
or Ice Fish
or Smelt
Groupers
Black Grouper
Gag
Nassau Grouper
Red Grouper
Yellowfish Grouper
Grunts
White Grunts
Yellow Grunts
Gulf Pike
or Robalo
or Snook
or Sergeant
Haddock
Hake
Halibut
Herring
Lake Herring
Sea Herring
Kingfish
Long Nose Sucker
or Northern Sucker
or Red Striped Sucker
Mackerel
Menhaden
Mullet
Muskeilunge
or Jacks
Pickerels
or Jacks
Pig Fish
Pikes
or Jacks
Pompano
Porgy
Scup
Red Drum
Redfish
Red Horse Sucker
Redfin
Red Snapper
Salmon
Chum
Coho
King
Pink
Red
Sardine
or Pilchards
Sea Bass
Shad
Sheepshead
Silver Hake
or Whiting
Silversides
Spanish Mackerel
Striped Bass
Trouts
Gray Sea Trouts
Weakfish
Lake Trout
Sand Sea Trout
White Sea Trout
Spotted SeaTrout
Tunas
Bluefin
Yellowfin
Skipjack
White Fish
Yellow Perch

A General List of Biblically Unclean "Fish & Sea Foods": (without Fins and Scales)

Abalones
Bullheads
Catfish
Clams
Conch
Crabs
Crayfish
Crawfish
Crawdad
Cuttlefish
Dolphin
Otter
Eel
Jellyfish
Limpet
Lobster
Marlin
Mussel
Octopus
Oysters
Paddlefish
Porpoise
Scallop
Seal
Shark
Shrimp
Snails
Squid (Calamari)
Stickleback
Sturgeon
Swordfish
Walrus
Whale

A General List of Biblically Clean Fowl:

Chicken
Dove
Duck
Goose
Grouse
Guinea Fowl
Partridge
Peafowl
Pheasant
Pigeon
Prairie Chicken
Ptarmigan
Quail
Sagehen
Sparrow
Teal
Turkey
And Other Song Birds

A General List of Biblically Unclean Fowl:

Albatross
Bittern
Buzzard
Condor
Coot
Cormorant
Crane
Crow
Cuckoo
Eagle
Flamingo Grebe
Grosbeak
Gull
Hawk
Heron
Kite
Lapwing
Loon
Magpie
Osprey
Ostrich
Owl
Parrot
Pelican
Penguin
Plover
Rail
Raven
Roadrunner
Sandpiper
Seagull
Stork
Swallow
Swift
Vulture
Water hen
Woodpecker
All others not specifically listed as clean.

A General List of Biblically Clean Insects:


Crickets
Grasshoppers
Katydid
Locusts

(Most insects except a few in the locust family are unclean)

Note:
Animal Shortening, Gelatin, Jello, Marshmallows, etc. (usually contain pork-based gelatin), any saltine cracker that states it uses animal shortening (usually lard), and anything else that states it uses animal shortening.

IF IN DOUBT, AVOID ANYTHING NOT SPECIFICALLY LISTED AS CLEAN!

PS by me - I note that eating other humans is not mentioned

Saturday, March 25, 2017

ALONE BUT NOT LONELY

I recently re-read a reflection [I'll call it a poem] that a friend sent to me a number of years ago.  He has stood strong against a variety of challenges, including the way-too-early loss of his wife to cancer.  Some of you may find the poem dark, but I find it thought-provoking, and in it, many things  to which I can relate.  My suggestion is to read it aloud, and then let me know what you think.

I walk every morning at 3:30 am out my back door, through the pastures over the fence and down Bar X road. It heads straight north. I walk that stretch (4.4 miles) 7 days a week at the same time every morning. It teaches me brutal wind and fierce cold and sometimes driving snow and ice and, how these are places where the hearts of men sometimes go.

It reminds me how very alone I am.
Alone but not lonely.

A choice I have made and a price I pay when I am misunderstood.
These days seem to stretch into an eternity of highway.
I love the highway just as I love the forest. It never gives up.
It humbles my arrogance.

This thing at work, it is so far away from me when I am home with my family, or when I'm cutting wood or walking on Bar X.

Why so many feel obligated to fear the wanderer I think I know.
They fear the freedom of being alone and what they perceive it must do to your fortress of the soul.

As Lent falls on this dark night I feel alone but not abandoned.
I feel love of life all the more when things get bad.

I will survive.

We (my little family without a wife or mother)...will survive.
That's all that matters
It's a comfort to know there is a rationality to emotion.

John Lennon said it with clarity:

"Love is all you need"
 


https://cdn.cbhomes.com/s3/mediasvc-prd/properties/c2D8BAB9ceDc4cf-2325622.jpg?preset=lcarouselcrop

Friday, March 24, 2017

THE JOKER VS THE KING

The Denver Nuggets are returning to being watchable, with big help from Nikola Jokić aka The Joker.  The Nuggets recently trounced the Cleveland Cavaliers, and The Joker handled The King, aka LeBron James.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

CHUCK BERRY

https://cdn1.nyt.com/images/2014/09/13/arts/berry-chuck-adv-obit-slide-W3AH/berry-chuck-adv-obit-slide-W3AH-videoSixteenByNine1050.jpg

You can find plenty of write-ups about Chuck Berry and his death at age 90, such as here and here.  However, one lesser known fact about Berry was mentioned in this article:

There was a also a darkness and suspicion in Berry, for those who cared to look.  He was notorious for making concert promoters pay him in full before his shows, cash only.....Years later he was convicted of tax evasion.

I learned about his concert scam a long time ago when he was brought in to perform at the Elkhart County Fair.  One of our friends was on the fair board, and the board had caught wind of Berry's tactic.  So, shortly before going on stage, Berry demanded more money or else, no show.  The board had a check made out for the sum requested - Berry went on to perform, but the board had the check cancelled immediately.  I never did hear of any consequences, so Berry must have chalked it up to being scammed on his scam.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

THE OLD HOME PLACE

Every year the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp hosts a Men's Retreat, and one of the best parts is the music.  We sing everything from a capella hymns to bluegrass to roots to rock and roll.  There are so many songs that deserve attention, but here is one that I particularly enjoyed this year since we had guitars, mandolins, banjo, and bass.


Monday, February 20, 2017

BARRACUDA

Barracuda - the fish, the car, the song, the ride, the gun, the hockey team, the airplane, the bicycles, the swim wear, and I am sure there are more......

I have only seen these at an aquarium

http://thumbs.imagekind.com/2427670_650/Charlie-the-Barracuda_art.jpg?v=1392267480

The Hurst Hemi Under Glass circa 1965.  I saw this in Indianapolis at the Nationals.
Note the rear bumper rockers that allowed all four wheels to get off of the track!

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/cb/b3/0c/cbb30cb14acd3bcb874f0353f970e100.jpg

A great song by Heart


I cannot find a picture of the Barracuda ride, but it was a very popular attraction at the Elkhart County Fair back in the day - rode around fast in wavy circles with the music blasting.

Barracuda guns - don't own any 😆

http://14544-presscdn-0-64.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/fn_barracuda_police-01.jpg

http://cdn3.volusion.com/tjmda.vbkky/v/vspfiles/photos/Barr-4.jpg?1465348080

http://picturearchive.gunauction.com/8244073713/8077173/98997197cf42c4131d818ad791cb3965.jpg

The San Jose Barracuda - obviously the AHL farm team of the Sharks!!

http://www.sjbarracuda.com/assets/img/home_team_logo-1.png
Lots of different Barracuda airplanes

http://www.key.aero/central/images/gallery/237.jpg

http://cdn-www.airliners.net/photos/airliners/2/1/4/1889412.jpg?v=v40

http://www.uasvision.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Barracuda.jpg


 http://www.dealmywheel.co.uk/img/artikel/722607.jpg

https://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NzY4WDEwMjQ=/z/rFQAAOSwqfNXimXO/$_86.JPG


http://barracudausa.com/wp-content/themes/barracuda-usa/assets/img/images/home_page_swimmer_1@1920.jpg



Sunday, February 12, 2017

KAKISTOCRACY

kak·is·toc·ra·cies. Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. Origin of kakistocracy. Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad; see caco– + –cracy.

This is a new word for me, to be added to other -cracies such as the diametric meritocracy, and unacceptable -cracies such as plutocracy and theocracy.  Most troubling about the current US kakistocracy is its fundamental practice of passing off lies as alternative facts.  Indeed, such alternative facts can lead to completely misguided policies that unfortunately resonate with a certain portion of the population.  The list of such prevarications is too long to even summarize here, and grows daily.  However, I would like to examine the executive order on banning certain immigrants.

The President's pretense for the EO is to "make America safe."  Although I realize that many Trump supporters are immune to facts, let's just have a look at some data.  First, let's review the number of terrorist killings in the US since the 9/11 attacks - in the fifteen years after 9/11, jihadists have killed 94 people inside the United States, right wing extremists have killed 50 and left wing extremists, 5. 

Next, here are data that summarize the foreign born terrorists by country of origin, total number of terrorists and total number of deaths from 1975 to 2015.  Note that to date, in 2017, not a single Syrian has killed anyone in the US via a terrorist attack.  The nations on the President's banned list have produced zero terrorist killings in the last decade or so.  Even Obama critic-in-chief Charles Krauthammer believes that the EO immigration ban is "stupid." 

Terrorists
Murders
Saudi Arabia
19
2,369
United Arab Emirates
2
314
Egypt
11
162
Lebanon
4
159
Kuwait
2
6
Cuba
11
3
Kyrgyzstan
2
3
Pakistan
14
3
Palestine
5
2
Armenia
6
1
Croatia
9
1
Taiwan
1
1
Trinidad and Tobago
2
1
Afghanistan
3
0
Algeria
4
0
Australia
1
0
Bangladesh
2
0
Bosnia
1
0
Dominican Republic
1
0
Ethiopia
1
0
France
1
0
Ghana
1
0
Guyana
2
0
Haiti
3
0
India
2
0
Iran
6
0
Iraq
2
0
Japan
1
0
Jordan
4
0
Kazakhstan
1
0
Kosovo
2
0
Libya
0
0
Macedonia
3
0
Mexico
1
0
Morocco
3
0
Nigeria
1
0
Serbia
2
0
Somalia
2
0
South Korea
1
0
Sudan
6
0
Syria
0
0
Turkey
1
0
United Kingdom
3
0
Uzbekistan
3
0
Vietnam
1
0
Yemen
1
0

And if it's the safety of Americans that is a Presidential priority, here are some interesting data of one's probability of succumbing to a terrorist attack versus other ways of buying the farm:


BI Graphics_Odds of Dying

And here are the actual US mortality numbers for 2014: 

https://www.cdc.gov/injury/images/lc-charts/leading_causes_of_death_age_group_2014_1050w760h.gif

So, given the data, what would a rational proposal to "keep Americans safe" look like? Since suicide is the 10th leading cause of American deaths, and homicides are right up there as well, it would seem worthwhile to implement policies that would lower such deaths.  This of course would require a serious discussion about controlling the possession of guns, and we all know that that won't happen in the near future.  Indeed, this administration wants to, among other things, loosen any requirements for gun purchases by the mentally ill, and lower the restrictions on silencers and imported weapons.  That should really help solidify these data!!!

 http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/15BEB/production/_85876098_us_gun_terrorism_624_v4.png

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND - ALL VERSES

Some folks believe that Lady Gaga's Super Bowl half-time show included a veiled political statement in her singing a bit of Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land.  I did not quite follow that, thinking like most people, that it is a feel-good, kumbya camp fire song.  Then I read more about the two missing verses that are nearly always left out of recordings, and of Guthrie's penning the song in a fierce rebuttal to the anthem of his day, America the Beautiful.  Here are all six verses, and you can likely figure out which two are usually deleted:

1940 Lyrics with Edits

This land is your land, this land is my land
From the California to the Staten New York Island,
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters,
God blessed America for me.
[This land was made for you and me.]
As I went walking that ribbon of highway
And saw above me that endless skyway,
And saw below me the golden valley, I said:
God blessed America for me.
[This land was made for you and me.]
I roamed and rambled and followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts,
And all around me, a voice was sounding:
God blessed America for me.
[This land was made for you and me.]
Was a high wall there that tried to stop me
A sign was painted said: Private Property,
But on the back side it didn't say nothing —
God blessed America for me.
[This land was made for you and me.]
When the sun come shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling;
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting:
God blessed America for me.
[This land was made for you and me.]
One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
By the Relief Office I saw my people —
As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if
God blessed America for me.
[This land was made for you and me.]
 
 
 

Monday, February 06, 2017

THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OLD DIXIE DOWN - PATRIOTS WIN AGAIN

After the New England comeback to beat Atlanta, this song curiously came to mind - 😁


Saturday, January 21, 2017

DOW JONES CLIMBING EVEREST

Here is a visual of the highest peaks on each of Earth's continents


Here is a graph of the Down Jones Industrial Average for the past year


Here is a graph of the DJIA over the decades - note interesting Y-axis

As the Dow currently hovers close to the 20,000 mark, it struck me that the DJIA is on track to surpass the heights [in feet] of all of the tallest peaks on this planet.  The Dow recently passed Kilimanjaro and is heading toward Aconcagua.  You may venture your guess in the comments section of when it will pass Everest - or crash!!

Friday, January 20, 2017

POTUS HAIR

Much has been said about Trump's hair, but pictures are worth a thousand words!!  Since I am an old corn farmer, I particularly like the first one.  More can be found here.

http://static.boredpanda.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/donald-trump-funny-look-alike-20__700.jpg

http://static.boredpanda.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/donald-trump-funny-look-alike-21__700.jpg

http://linkbeef.com/wp-content/uploads/15-things-that-look-just-like-donald-trump25.jpg

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/01/29/00/3099561800000578-0-image-a-4_1454027343758.jpg

http://cdn.smosh.com/sites/default/files/2015/08/donald-trump-looks-like-cat.jpg

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

THE THOMPSON BOYS

http://www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarth/files/import/i-fca3a450be6eb19566cb8fcaabbe81e7-95909334.jpg

This is the first of the Thompson boys that I learned about - Mychel (bio here).  Obviously, Mychel was a Pepperdine Wave [for you basketball junkies, that is coach Tom Asbury at the head of the bench].  I watched Mychel play many times, and he was almost always the smoothest player on the court.  He could shoot, run and jump, and as the Pepperdine stats show in the bio, he ended up very high in many of the various offensive and defensive categories.  I am a bit surprised that he has not caught on with an NBA team; however, he seems to be doing quite well in the NBA-D league.

It was not until fairly late in his career that I learned that Mychel's dad was Mychal Thompson, an NBA number one draft choice.  It turns out that father Mychal was invited to be the guest commentator for Pepperdine's game versus LMU.  It was dubbed the Mychal-and-Mychel Show, Live from Malibu.

So, Mychal and Mychel make for an interesting father-son due.  But - many of you have likely heard about Klay Thompson, who along with Steph Curry, is one of the famed Splash Brothers of the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.  Brother Klay is the number 2 son.

https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/mt/2016/05/RTX2CD8X/lead_960.jpg?1462216050
 Klay Thompson

So, now we have quite the trio of a father and two sons.  But it gets better!  Some of you may know the name Trayce Thompson.  He is yet another son of Mychal and volleyball playing spouse Julie. And Trayce is playing professional baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  

http://cdn-s3.si.com/images/trayce-thompson-inline.jpg 
Trayce Thompson 

Talk about good genes!!

https://heavyeditorial.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/thompsons.jpg?quality=65&strip=all&strip=all 

The Thompson Clan