Tuesday, June 30, 2009

There is no clean coal

Well, another month shot to hell. How flies time when you are having fun? (sic) I heard a great discussion this morning between Bob Edwards and Robert Redford on the environment and global warming. Redford commented that there are still men and women in congress who do not believe that global warming is not real. He called them backward thinking people who would rather deny the facts than to deal with the issue. It is easier to believe that it is not happening rather than come to grips with what needs to be done to mitigate the problem. I totally agree. As a historian and sociologist I can give anyone many examples of how that rotten thinking has not worked in the past. We need to be forward thinking and be ready to do what we need to do to solve problems rather than deny that they even exist. It is much like the argument about "clean coal." There is no such thing as "clean coal" and it is merely a figment of the imagination of people who would like to believe that there is "clean coal." Another one is the myth that there are ways to extract oil and natural gas in an environmentally safe way. That is impossible unless they figure out a way to do it without using water. As the screws were tightened here in the United States big oil companies moved to South America and Africa where there were few if any regulations. Today Nigeria is in major trouble over oil drilling. Several countries in South American have sued American Oil Companies for pollution. The companies defend themselves by saying that the did not violate any laws of the host country. The host country was also the majority shareholder in the drilling. Talk about the fox watching the chickens. Once we realize that we are all living on the same planet and that what happens in Nigeria directly impacts Cleveland then we will start having a better attitude about the place where we all live. Our generation is lost but let's do what we can for our children and our grandchildren.

Monday, June 29, 2009

No one gets out of here alive

And the beat goes on but the beat is getting old. I normally will watch the news on Spanish stations just to see what they are saying in China, Mexico, Puerto Rico and that other Spanish country Miami. The Spanish pronunciation for Michael Jackson is Michael Jackson. See you do know Spanish.

I am beginning to think that the average person now understands that Michael Jackson had not done anything memorable in the past twenty years but the real story is that he died. I think that everyone forgot that everyone dies. No one gets out of here alive.

We now have lost Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays and this morning I read that Fred Travelino just died of cancer. (He was a comedian)

I think they all could be honored in the same way more or less.

I always thought that Ed McMahon was kind of a dunce, a foil for Johnny Carson. Farrah Fawcett did nothing ever except create a hair style many years ago that high school girls tried to emulate for about three weeks. Michael Jackson had a couple of songs that I liked but for the most part he will be remembered for a lot of bad things rather than good things. I always found that Billy Mays was very irritating and I could never get to the remote quick enough to quiet his terrible voice. I remember Fred Travelino but for the life of me I can't remember one of his jokes.

So who is going to be next to die? We are all going to be next to die. No one gets out of here alive.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Made my day

Got up this morning and had a forward from a friend in Evergreen that made my day or at least the start of my day. This is a public event staged in a public transportation station in Belgium. When you think about having to listen to the never ending stories continually repeated about Michael Jackson, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan this is a joy. And it was not on Broadway, Hollywood or Branson. It was a very large group of citizens who made the day of a bunch of travelers. Click on this link and sit back and enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EYAUazLI9k&annotation_id=annotation_72265&feature=iv

Saturday, June 27, 2009

War and Rumors of War

June 27th ? My goodness time flies when you are having fun.

My summer semester is ten weeks long. 12 hours a week in the classroom. Not bad when you consider the alternative of a real job. I work three nights a week and then have four days off from school.

I am not sure how much time I spend on doing preps. I normally have two or three books that I am reading that apply to something I am teaching. Right now I am reading a book on Darfur and the struggles there. I just finished an excellent book on WW I and the political mess that all became.

My students have asked me why Germany was allowed to rearm and get an army large enough to attack the world in the 1930s. My best guess is that no one cared. People would rather let Germany rearm than to oppose them at the time. I wonder how many fine men and women died because of our lack of caring? The "War to End All Wars" was not that at all. Unfortunately nothing has ever been that up to and including nuclear bombs. Why do human beings want to kill each other?

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Actor's Studio

I remember standing a foot patrol on one block of west 44th Street in mid-town in Hell's Kitchen in 1968. My post condition was The Actor's Studio. I remember stretching my Iowa farm intellect into trying to remember the distinguished Alumni of that place. James Dean, Marlon Brando and many, many others walked from the theatre district over to the non-descript older three story walk up to study their craft.

In the past 41 years I have heard many more stories of actors coming from all over the United States to study acting and become successful on Broadway or Hollywood. For a complete list and a photo go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actors_Studio

Tennessee Williams lived in an apartment building across the street from my precinct. In my several years in the New York Police Department I never saw him. I did get to see many other famous people and stars though. If you were assigned to the right post or detail you could see more famous people in one hour that many might see in a lifetime.

On the downside I also remember that there were several home burglaries on my post when I was watching the Actor's Studio. You can't always be in the right place and the right time. My Japanese-American Patrol Sergeant called me his "nemesis" that night. I just smiled and thanked him because I did not know what nemesis meant. Later I wondered why he thought I wanted to be the end of him?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farah and Michael

It was a very nice day here early and then we had a lot of rain late. Days that I do not have to teach or work at the clinic I sometimes get lost in my priorities. I sometimes do not remember to write my BLOG until right before I go to bed. I go to bed at 9 pm every night and get up at 4 am every morning. I tell people that I would be a great target for assassination as I am so much into a routine.

Farah Fawcett died today and shortly after that Michael Jackson died. Farah had anal cancer and Michael died of Cardiac Arrest. Cardiac arrest is not a heart attack. Cardiac arrest is where you heart stops sometimes for no reason at all. It can be stroke or drug induced. A heart attack is where the heart muscle is defective for various reasons. One doc tonight described a cardiac arrest is where the heart muscle is perfectly healthy but stops beating and starts to quiver. Strange.

I am sure they will do a full and complete autopsy.

I was the county coroner for eight years and had several cases of Cardiac Arrest or what is sometimes called Sudden Death. I also used to liken it to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) where the heart just stops beating for no reason. My personal feeling about that is the baby is well loved and cared for and well fed and warm and comfortable and gets so relaxed that the systems shut down. So difficult for loving and caring parents to understand. So difficult for me to understand.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


We watched and discussed a biopic of Fidel last night in Cuban Film. He is an interesting guy. The longest reign of any leader in the western hemisphere. He was the son of a very wealthy sugar grower, has a law degree, his mother was not the wife of his father but rather the maid in the house. He and Raul have different mothers. He speaks English and has spent a lot of time in the United States. He considered attending Columbia at one point. His father in law paid for a three month honeymoon in New York City. He has been married twice but also has around ten children from several different women. He has spent a few years in prison for being an activist. He was trained in guerrilla warfare in Mexico. He is a voracious reader and is considered to be a genius. There is virtually nothing that he does not know something about.

He has cancer and will probably not live very long. I personally believe that once he dies the United States will normalize relations with Cuba. There are several Cuban expatriates in Florida who are big contributors to the Republicans and they have been able to block the end of the embargo. Several of my peers have spent a lot of time in Cuba and have really enjoyed the experience. You have to go in through Canada, the Caribbean or Mexico as it is illegal for Americans to travel directly from the US to Cuba.

One of the more fascinating things about Cuba is that most of the cars there are circa 1950s American. I think that alone is reason to end the embargo and get those cars back on the road in the United States. (smiling)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Clear Channel Radio

In class last night I was telling my history students about what it was like to listen to the radio before we had TV. I used to listen to KOMA in Oklahoma, KDKA in Pittsburgh, KOA in Denver and one of my favorites was XERF in Ciudad Acuna, Coahuilla, Mexico just across the border from Del Rio. Texas. XERF was also where Wolfman Jack worked. There were less stations in the 1940s and 1950s so there was less interference. The AM signal was boosted quite a bit after sundown and there were several Clear Channel Stations including KOA, WHO (Des Moines) and KDKA.

XERF was one of the few stations broadcasting Country and Western music. My old friend Steve Moore in Iowa and I would joke about listening to George Jones singing "Tall Tall Trees." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEMZXw5ufLY How is that for a 60 year old memory? This morning on NPR they were talking about the George Jones' song, "He Stopped Loving Her Today" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27jzHHN97gI is going into the Smithsonian music collection. Hard to imagine George Jones and Smithsonian in the same sentence. Of course we have to remember that today John Lee Hooker is also going in to the museum's collection for Rhythm and Blues along with the Stanley Brothers for Blue Grass. Of course the really old people, The Rolling Stones have been there for a while.

What a wonderful country we have to honor all types of music.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pitching the poop

There is a program on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio on NPR called simply, "The Story." It is produced by Dick Gordon out of North Carolina Public Radio in Chapel Hill. I have listened to it for a long time. It is repeated during the day and sometimes Dick Gordon telling a story becomes my bedtime story.

He is doing a short series right now on Summer Jobs. Today he interviewed a grocery chain executive who started in a sauerkraut factory in Iowa. He was paid 75 cents an hour to walk around in the vats to stir in the salt that was added. He also had to work in an onion dicing operation. One observation that he makes today is that it taught him the difficulty of jobs normally relegated to women. Today he has over half of his employees and a majority of his customers who are women. He feels that he was sensitized to the needs of women at a very early age.

I too grew up in Iowa but what I remember was much different. During the school months I worked in a welding shop and in gas stations. During the growing season I would work in the fields. I made 25 cents an hour in the gas station and welding shop. I would make $1.25 an hour working in the fields. Of course the fields were much harder work. I baled hay, cut the corn out of the bean fields and my least favorite, cleaning the manure out of the barn and off the feed lots.

It was hard as a rock and we had to use pick axes to break it apart and then pick up the large pieces to throw them in the manure spreader. A job I will never forget. I suppose that prepared me to become a politician.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thanks for being a dad

One of the easiest things in the world is becoming a father but it is one of the hardest things to be a good one. I have five children and seven grandchildren and every day I am thankful for their mothers and grandmothers for being there to guide them every day. It is often more easy to look back at our own past to properly reflect on the people who were the fathers in our own life and the influences they had on us to make us the people we are today.

I know that I speak for many of the fathers by saying that we sometimes just shake our heads and marvel at how things turned out in a positive way. Whether you believe in God or not you must accept the fact that there is some positive energy force at work to help make things happen the way that they happen in the lives of our children.

Fathers, I congratulate you on your accomplishment whether it was on purpose or it just happened. Thanks for being a dad.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The longest day and voles

Tomorrow is the longest day of the year. Make an effort to use every minute so they are not wasted.

If you are a pagan then you can light a bonfire. If you are a Christian then it is the Feast of St. John the Baptist. I think I will just have a normal Sunday.

My vole population has increased by seven young pups. They are a riot to watch. They play tag and roll and wrestle on the grass.

They love eating my dandelions so that is a good thing. The bad thing is that they will grow to dig even more holes in my yard. Oh well.

I did read where they eat grubs and that is a good thing for the soil. With all of the voles I have I can't imagine that I have any grubs left.

I did read that you can trap voles using peanut butter for bait. I tried that and all that I got was less peanut butter. I guess they are quicker than the traps.

I also read that you can chew juicy fruit gum and then put that in their holes. The point of that is they can't digest the gum and it kills them. I tried that and all I got were a bunch of voles hanging out around the juke box chewing gum and listening to rock and roll. Hmmmmmm.

Friday, June 19, 2009

My dad

Sunday is Father's Day. My father passed away more than 23 years ago. I still think about him every day. He was an amazing person. In later years I considered him a genius. He was brilliant even though he did not graduate from high school. He used to comment that he finished the third grade. I never knew if that was true. I do know that he had little respect for education and often ridiculed people with college degrees. He was from the school of hard knocks. He was the second oldest in a family of seven. He probably did go to work as soon as someone would hire him. He worked for Western Union putting up telegraph lines. He worked on the railroad. He built Air Bases in Kansas. He was a grocery delivery man. He was a plumber and a school custodian. He was also a veteran of WW II. He was a Navy Corpsman and served at the Brooklyn Navy Yard running ambulance calls in Times Square. He was at Treasure Island and San Diego. He was the sole medical person on a Destroyer Escort and was in effect the Ship's Doctor as the ranking medical person. This guy who finished the third grade. He was an accomplished artist and I would imagine that some of his murals still exist today. I will remember him on Sunday and continue to think about him every day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Boys (and girls) of Summer

There was a piece on the news last night from Chino, California about how the school board screwed up and did not have the kids in class long enough. Apparently they give every Friday off so the teachers can catch up. To do that they have to adjust each day's schedule. They missed the time by five minutes a day and now all of the students in the entire district have to spend the summer in class. Shame on the school district. Maybe they never learned math.

The point of the story was how unhappy the students were because they had to spend the summer in class rather than enjoying the summer the way normal kids do throughout our nation. They showed examples of running, playing and swimming as examples of what kids do in the summer.

I remember my summers in Iowa involved spending inordinate amounts of time at North Twin Lake near my hometown. My friends the Morton boys, R.E., (aka Bob), Denman and Glenn, had a house, a snack bar the the sweetest Chris Craft ski boat. It was Iowa bliss. I would have dropped out of school if my administrators had made a math error.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To be even more boring

I had to complete three classes in Statistics in graduate school. I never did quite understand why other than getting a Master's degree means you will be prepared to do statistical studies in your field.

One of my students is taking Statistics now and was telling me last night about how difficult it was for her. My advice was to learn the terminology and the math will take care of itself.

It is really a lesson in life. If you have a wide vocabulary you can succeed in just about anything. You need to be able to talk the talk. Once you have learned one foreign language all of the rest come easy. A verb in English is a verb in Russian and so on.

The language of statistics will widen your ability to be boring to a much larger group of people. (smiling)

Monday, June 15, 2009

It is time for renewal

There is a line from a song that I must think about too often that goes, "Yesterday is dead and gone." Put that with, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." And then add a new one, "Today is Monday and this is the first week of the rest of your life." It is about renewal. We need to move on with our lives. We need to refresh our thoughts and our goals to reach for new heights and new horizons. We need to truly forget about the past. The past is what it is and you and no one else will ever change it. Do something this week to create a better past for yourself.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It is what it represents

Today is Flag Day in the United States. The American Flag is only colored cloth and is not meant to be something that people worship. The American Flag is a symbol. It is iconic. It is not what it is but what it represents. It represents the nation, the people of the nation, the history of the nation and the future of the nation. In effect it represents you and it should be honored as a symbol of who we are. Regardless of your political party or your religion or lack of religion the flag means the same to all of us. If you have an American Flag make a point of flying it today. If you don't have an American Flag then take a few moments and think about what the flag means to you and our nation.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Snowed yesterday

This morning it is almost 70 degrees with some beautiful high white clouds in a very blue sky. Yesterday we had high white snow in the high country. Almost all of the northern hemisphere experiences increased rain and snow in the spring. I think it has something to do with the planting of crops and getting the first moisture on the new plants. Or at least that is what farmers and gardeners will tell you.

In the past we have had the largest amount of snowfall after the ski areas have closed. I remember over 36" of snow on June 6, 1973 at my ranch in Conifer. I have pictures of me skiing down the hill going down into the pasture. A good friend had a Ford Monster Truck with a jacked up body and oversize tires. He could not move in the heavy snow because the tires literally floated on the snow. At about the same time I read an article saying that the very best tires in snow are tires that are very narrow because they cut down into the snow and avoid the floating problem.

I am sure that my readers in the southern hemisphere and in California, Florida and Arizona will be fascinated by this information.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The burn barrel

When I was growing up in Iowa I remember that my mother would give me one kitchen match and the trash in a paper bag to take to the burn barrel at the alley behind our house. I always wondered if giving me one match would keep me from becoming an arsonist or nurture my latent thoughts about becoming a pyromaniac.

Today it is illegal to burn your trash and no one keeps their trash barrels in the street because of the bears. How times change.

Last night on the news there was a story about the planning commission denying a landfill in Adams County near DIA.

I found the entire discussion to be very ironic. The people who were complaining had recently built new homes near the new proposed landfill. The new landfill was going in right next to the existing landfill. It reminded me of the citizen complaints about noise from I 70 after they built their homes next to the existing highway. What came first?

The people complaining were upset that the landfill would cause a large number of birds to come to their area. That is true but what is wrong with a large number of birds? The said that it would cause planes to crash at DIA while, at the same time, the existing landfill has a large number of birds already and there have not been any bird vs. plane situations.

The representative of the landfill rightly said that landfills are a natural part of life and our society. People create trash and it must be put somewhere.

When our burn barrel back in Iowa would get full a man by the name of Kraft would come down the alley with a wagon pulled by a team of horses to empty our barrel and take the ashes to what we called "The Garbage Dump" or just "The Dump." No muss and no fuss. I also do not remember any birds at our city landfill but I do remember some very large rats that we would shoot as target practice.

Yes, there is no pleasing some people.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Love is a dog

It seems as though everyone is always looking for unconditional love. You know the kind. Where two people love each other just for themselves. Nothing to do with money or possessions. Nothing to do with college degrees and life accomplishments. When you see an particularly unpleasant looking man walking down the street with a very beautiful woman don't you begin to ask the question, "What does she see in him?" It could be any of the aforementioned things or maybe she just loves him for him without condition. He might love her very much, be very loyal give her security and a warm feeling every time she sees him.

My favorite definition of unconditional love is a dog. They will love you regardless of who you are or how you act. They will wait for you without complaint for hours on end staring out the window looking for your car. When they finally see you coming through the door they immediately forget the hours that they waited for you. They are just happy that you are finally home regardless of how you may look.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Iowa Radio Days

In my Cuban Film Class last night we watched a film about slavery and the fight for independence in 1830. It was a good movie with good acting and direction. All the way through it I was reminded of the Novellas on Spanish Television. Novellas are what we would call Soap Operas. At the end of the class the Professor mentioned that the film had also reminded him of a Novella.

Growing up in the 1940s in Iowa I remember my mother listening to Soap Operas on the radio. We got television in the mid-1950s so we used the radio for entertainment for many years growing up. By the way the reason they were called Soap Operas was because they were sponsored by soap companies.

Remembering the radio days I was also reminded of one of my mother's favorite radios shows, "Kitchen Klatter" broadcast from KFNF in Shenandoah, Iowa. It was a program with two housewives talking about their families and sharing recipes. My mother would not miss it. I mentioned that to a colleague at the college recently and she too remembered her mother listening to the program from her home in Smith Center, Kansas. I guess the ladies were the rock stars of their day.

The other thing that I remember my mother doing up to the day she passed away. She would always tune the radio to Storm Lake, Iowa to get the daily hospital report and the report from the funeral homes of who had died.

I guess that era has passed away also.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Third Party Movement

In the past few days we have been getting the results of the European Union elections to their Parliament. It is too complicated to explain here but the results are fascinating. The members of the Parliament are elected in the way that we are most accustomed to here in the United States. Initially there were indications that the voters were moving toward a more conservative position in light of the economic downturn when in fact the election was more in favor of third party candidates. In effect they were saying "None of the above." It will be interesting to see if this trend continues.

I missed the last couple of day and I apologize. I started back at the Summit Community Care Clinic where I am not a doctor but play one on TV. I also started the Summer Semester at Colorado Mountain College where I am teaching 20th Century World History and Comparative Government. Comparative Government is sometimes also called Comparative Politics and covers the examination, comparison and contrast of governments throughout the world. I am also starting a class this evening in Cuban Film as part of my continuing quest to become fluent in Spanish.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I am what I am

There is an old saying that if you don't stand for something you will fall for anything. Truer words were never spoken.

I support any person's right to believe whatever they want to believe. I also support my right to reject what they believe the way they can reject what I believe.

I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in the right to bear arms as long as you are a member of a well regulated militia according to the US Constitution. I have a hard time trying to rationalize that people who believe in the right to life can also believe in the death penalty. I believe in affirmative action and we need to go out of our way to help our fellow men and women get ahead in this world. I believe that we should legalize marijuana and then tax the hell out of it and give the money to people for health care and education. I believe that everyone should have the right to marry regardless of their sexual orientation. I believe that we need more strict laws concerning men who beat women and children. I believe that every person should have the right to a free public education through a bachelor's degree.

I just turned 67 a few weeks ago yet my dear friends and relatives keep sending me e mails trying to get me to change my mind and my politics. I guess they believe in having a strong faith to change others but I wish they would stop wasting their time and mine.

I am a disabled Viet Nam Era Veteran and support every man and woman who ever put on a uniform. However I do not support any war. Iraq was based on lies from the worst president we ever had. Afghanistan is more justified but is it worth any more dead boys and girls? I doubt it.

All wars are economic and all wars are bad. Today marks the invasion of Europe by the allies in World War II. Hundreds of thousands died in the war and to what end?

Now if I can only convince those poor misguided souls out there who hope to change my mind.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Days Are Not Here Again

Here is a report from the New York Times on-line this morning. It is not "Happy Days Are Here Again" or "Put On A Happy Face" but rather a glum indication of where we are today and how slowly the recovery will actually be even though we are doing our best to bail out the world. As someone who is theoretically retired my heart goes out to all of you who do not have a job today and probably not tomorrow either. Hang in there as things will get better later.

"345,000 U.S. Jobs Lost in May; Unemployment Rate Jumps to 9.4%
The economy shed 345,000 jobs in May, a sharp reduction in
the pace of job losses, the government reported on Friday in
its monthly employment report.

The unemployment rate climbed to 9.4 percent, its highest
point in a quarter-century, and economists said the job
losses were likely to pile up through the rest of the year.
But the letup in the pace of losses fanned hopes that the
plummeting job market was showing sustained signs of

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What is love?

I keep trying to not watch the news and to send things in my blog that are more upbeat. It is hard as watching the news is a true addiction. Summit County now has a Spanish radio station so I turn it on and turn the TV off. I love the bumper stickers that tell us to, "Shoot Your TV." Great advice.

This is actually a commercial for Pepsi Max. It was originally created by Saturday Night Live but it was so well received that Pepsi decided to use it and premiere the song at the Super Bowl. I love it especially the part where the man's wig flops back and then forward. By the way Pepsi Max is regular Pepsi with extra caffeine.

My pastor in Boulder is about as wired as you can get and then he lives on energy drinks. Coffee is almost too much for me.

I read a report recently that most energy drinks are just sugar and caffeine. Sugar is 100% carbohydrates and then caffeine is the topping on the cake. Some manufacturer gave the college where I teach several cases of energy drinks for my students. I did not notice any difference.

I can get a better high from running six miles or riding my mountain bike for an hour.

Anyway here is the clip from Youtube of the commercial. This one is very short.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

All of the news

A couple of pieces of good news today.

New Hampshire Governor Signs Bill Allowing Same-Sex Marriage

New Hampshire's governor, John Lynch, has signed legislation
that makes the state the sixth to allow same-sex marriage.
The law will take effect in January. New Hampshire joins
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa in
recognizing same-sex marriages.


WICHITA, Kan. — A man with ties to anti-government groups was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the shooting death of abortion provider George Tiller at a church.

It is a good thing that we now have six states that allow same-sex marriage. Soon it will be most states. Dick Cheney's daughter is openly a lesbian and Cheney gave a speech over the weekend with his daughter. At the end of the speech one commentator said that Cheney was more of an advocate for same sex marriage than President Obama.

Last but not least Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh have now backed off of their accusations that Judge Sotomayer is a racist. They both said that they spoke too strongly and too soon to make that judgement. Of course the fact that most of the leading Republicans support her makes them have a huge amount of egg on their face.

In the case of Dr. Tiller violence is never the answer. Good solid debate is a good response. Lately the numbers for and against abortion have stayed the same so no one is changing their mind about anything.

So that was the day that was.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And then there was none

I have spent an inordinate amount of time in the past day watching the reports of the Air France crash off the coast of Brazil. This one was about 400 miles off shore and went down where the ocean is over 14,000 feet deep. Of course that is where most of the evidence will end up. The mystery is that there was no mayday from the crew and the only indicators so far have been automatic maintenance messages to the Air France Maintenance Department via satellite. In other words there is nothing to go on. The experts are saying that lightening could not have brought down the plane. Newer planes (this one was four years old) have lightening arresting shields built into the fuselage that prevent the electrical charge from impacting the electronics or the plane. Also the stresses of severe turbulence are being discounted because the aircraft can withstand huge amounts of pounds per square inch on the fuselage without breaking up.

So we are left with martians? Or maybe a super bomb from a terrorist? Or a serious act of God? I for one will stay tuned. In the past few minutes reports have come in that the Brazilian Air Force has now found debris floating in the area believed to be the crash site. A life jacket and a piece of a metal seat bracket were spotted.

I spent most of my life as a police officer and I know that without strong evidence it will be very difficult to prove what happened. If the debris is recovered it can be examined for trace materials indicating an explosion or a particular event within the cabin of the aircraft. But of course this is hinged upon getting enough debris.

We all remember TWA 800 off the coast of Long Island. After a very long investigation it was proven that the pilot had switched the fuel tank and that is what caused the explosion in the fuel storage area. They believe that there was an electrical short in the internal fuel pump that set off the explosion. By the way most passenger cars today have electric fuel pumps in their gas tanks. I have yet to figure out how the keep them from blowing up the car as they operate.

By the way right now there were three Americans on board the Air France plane.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not retired yet

I always thought the song said, "April Showers" and "June Flowers." Today is the first of June and it is still raining. For the past few years I have lived in Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador during their rainy seasons and rain it did, in very large buckets. At least they have the dates right as compared to the composer of the song.

I retired as a police officer in 1992, I retired as a County Commissioner in 2004. I retired as a Colorado State Representative in 2007. I continue to work as a Customer Service Representative at the Summit Community Care Clinic. I have been an instructor at Colorado Mountain College since 1983 and could retire today if I wanted to or felt some need to end my career in education. I doubt if I will do that. After all of my other retirements I will continue to teach until they "pry my cold dead hand from my book."

Jackson Browne is one of my favorite singers and songwriters. He has written many great songs including a few for The Eagles. This morning I was listening to "The Pretender" and the words reminded me of being retired for some reason. Of course it is not me (smiling) but it reminds me of many of my friends. It is about your dreams that remain unfulfilled and looking back asking what happened? Take a listen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikm9hn_xy9Y&feature=related