I followed a Facebook thread today begun by a former student who was reacting to the unfolding college admittance scandal. She was relating how hard she worked to get into college and to pay her own way without help from others, including her mother. There is nothing unique about this woman, she did it the way most of us did it, on our own merits and our own labors. She wasn’t whining or bitching but instead, just expressing the disappointment she felt that American higher education is so difficult for the most while others can evade the hurdles with little more than monetary bribes from their parents.
I recently received a news feed that I found interesting. Not important, just interesting. The Axios-Harris Poll did a study of what companies are preferred most by Democrats, Independents, and Republicans.
For example, Democrats for whatever reasons prefer buying products made by Kraft-Heinz while the favorite GOP product is Chick-fil-A. I can only suppose that the John Kerry connection to Heinz explains the Democratic choice and the Chick’s opposition to all things same-sex draws the loyalty of the moral high ground crowd.
Back in the ’50s, it was quite common to see bent willow furniture sitting on people’s porches and patios. A childhood friend had two chairs on their porch and I always loved sitting in them. They were handmade by an older man who lived in a small shack along a nearby creek. The creek and surrounding wetlands gave him all the raw materials he needed.
He would build single chairs as well as couches and side tables. The fellow didn’t have a car or truck so he pushed a large two-wheeled cart loaded with his furniture up and down the village streets peddling his wares. On days he didn’t have furniture to sell he would push his cart around town hauling away people’s scrap metals and newspapers.
I believe the only piece of willow furniture we ever had was a small child’s rocking chair that one of our daughters used for her children.
Several years ago I was driving through the Florida Panhandle and came upon a large pickup truck with a cab-over rack. The vehicle was heavily loaded with beautiful bent willow furniture. I don’t know where they were from or where they were going but I sure wish I’d chased them down and brought a couple of chairs home.
It’s been a long time since I gave the subject any thought but today I came across a video of a young man in Kentucky who’s keeping the craft alive. If I wasn’t so damned old now I’d look the guy up and place an order. I’ll post the video below and hopefully, this will bring back some pleasant memories for you.
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SINFUL: The king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdul Aziz is taking a nine-day trip to Indonesia. Just to make sure he’s got all the bases covered he’s taking along 506 tons of luggage. Consider this, including my house, my vehicles, and everything I own, it all wouldn’t weigh anything close to 506 tons.
TOBACCO: 870 billion is the number of cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris annually. The company has invested $3 billion into tobacco vaporizers, already available in some overseas markets, and plans to have the product in 20 markets this year. BTW, PM has announced it may be planning on exiting the cigarette business.
Throughout the current political season politicians have talked about jobs and making promises to bring back to America and/or create millions of good paying jobs. We all know that plentiful good jobs began drying up in the 1980s and there is no single cause of it.
A major cause has been the exportation of millions of manufacturing and service jobs to nations with wage rates far lower than America. We’ve all been to Walmart and seen the Made in China label on much of what they sell. Who hasn’t dialed a customer service number only to end up talking with a technician in India with a dialect we Americans have difficulty understanding. Well, all those manufacturing labels once read, Made in America and those service people were somewhere in the lower 48 states.
Donald Trump just says too much stuff to bother making a comment on each, as it happens. So for a while I’m going to try writing a weekly log or list of the more insane comments that emerge and stink up our atmosphere.
- In spite of warnings from Constitutional lawyers and powerful military leaders, Trump insist he would be “fine” with trying US citizens in military courts, Guantanamo is high on his list of such. Due process is not as protected under military law and that’s one reason the Bush administration didn’t want Islāmic combatants tried on US soil. By the way, if you don’t know what due process is, you will if it’s denied you.
- Much to John McCain’s disgust Trump is back on the waterboard kick. Plus much worse.
- Trump spend a couple of days insisting that Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton were the literal founders of ISIS. He later walked that back half a step and then took a three-quarter step forward.
- One of Trump’s surrogates, Katrina Pierson, appeared on a news program and insisted that President Obama had invaded Afghanistan. In spite of the news person’s attempts to set her straight she continued calling it Obama’s War.
I’ve written about this several times but once again I have to report that technology wise, life out here in Bad Fart, Ohio isn’t getting better. Internet speed remains dismal and given the ever-growing Amish-Mennonite community surrounding me, the future is grim.
We get Internet via Exede satellite and when all the stars are aligned we might see something north of 12 mbps, which is better than what we got with Hughesnet a couple of years ago. Typically we experience speeds closer to 5 mbps. However, according to Fortune Magazine the average American has seen an increase of 42% in download speed in the past year and now experiences typical speeds of 55 mbps.
While 55 mbps is blazing compared to what I get it pales in comparison to the 120 mbps speeds some Americans experience. I’ve never been connected to the Internet at anything faster than 20 mbps which makes our normal 5 mbps appear akin to downloading with semaphore flags or tin cans and tight strings.
An acquaintance of mine once said he only eats Cheerios for breakfast. I replied that I like Cheerios but I usually buy the generic versions. His response was, “Oh, I can’t eat those they don’t taste the same.” Yeah, they don’t taste the same but they both taste good. The nutritional and content labels read the same, they both taste good, they are both good for you, and one costs 33% less than the other. I taught consumer finance for several years and remain a firm believer in receiving value for the buck.
Okay, that takes care of the Cheerio part of the title, now let’s talk about the Scotch part. Scotch is a lot like wine, there are the connoisseurs who make all kinds of snobbish claims and would never admit to drinking and enjoying an inexpensive table wine from an Ohio vineyard.
The curtain has come down on the great “Let’s Polish Trump’s Turd Show” in Cleveland where, as the Washington Post said today, Trump tried to position himself, “As the voice of the forgotten men and women.”
My first reaction is that I’m pretty sure I can make the case that no person who spends his nights in a room like this…
…ever had much concern for the forgotten. Throughout human history people who live in such surroundings normally do so at the expense of the broken backs of the forgotten.
You want to see what the home of a person who really might represent the voice of the average person? Well take a look at this Burlington, Vermont home that happens to be the residence of recent presidential candidate and US Senator, Bernie Sanders.
Now be honest, in which abode do you think you’ll have a greater chance of finding someone sympathetic to your voice? This is what the average American just turned its back on, a chance to be led by one of our own.
I was watching the evening news and saw this photo of Donald Trump, his wife, and his son Barron sitting on a huge stuffed lion. Seriously, there is not a single thing about this picture that suggest Trump could relate to anyone American working-class person.
Making it even worse is naming the son Barron and learning that Barron has his own floor of the three-floor penthouse in the Trump Tower.
I have to wonder if the Trumps could make themselves spend a night in the White House? They might see it as a Green Acres or Trailer Park Boys kind of thing!
FACTOID: According to the Social Security Administration fifty-one percent of American workers earn less than $30,000 a year. The simple reality is, one cannot call them self middle class on that level of income. Another simple truth is, there are not enough jobs in America that pay a high enough wage for a strong middle class to exist.
Most people know that the secret to turning tough cuts of meat into tender, juicy, and delicious barbecue involves cooking it in a smokey, low heat environment for a long time. Low and slow as the saying goes.
Over the years I’ve tried lots of different smokers and seen many more being used by others, including competition BBQ teams. Just about anything can be used if the temperature can be controlled while introducing smoke. At the Georgia State BBQ Championship I even saw a guy using the interior and front trunk of a VW Beetle for a smoker. You couldn’t see what was inside, however, because the windows were blacked out by layers of smokey residue.
Several years ago I got tired of tending to hours of charcoal and wood fires and began trying to create smoke with my Weber propane grill. The problem is, wood won’t smolder and smoke at the low temps needed to cook a pork butt slowly.
My solution turned out to be creating a separate “hot” fire for the wood chips, and a “low” fire for the meat. I took an aluminum pie pan, punched some ventilation holes in it, built a small charcoal fire in it, and once the coals got hot enough I piled on the chip. I then lit off the gas burners, adjusted for a temperature of about 225 degrees, and let it do the low and slow magic while the charcoal kept the smoke rolling.
Hard to believe but it’s been ten years since America witnessed one of the nation’s greatest natural disasters. At least it began as a natural disaster but unfortunately it quickly became a man-made fiasco.
I’m a big fan of New Orleans, having been there on many occasions. The first visit was somewhat an accident. We took a trip to the Mississippi coast and decided to visit the Cajun country in rural Louisiana. Driving along the coastal road we suddenly found ourselves on Rampart Street with the French Quarter in full view. I had just read a story about NOLA being the nation’s murder capital and had meant to avoid it during our trip. Nevertheless, here we were so we decided to park the van and check it out a little. We ended up getting a hotel on Rue Bienville in the heart of the Quarter. We only spent the night but had a great time and left with a new perspective.