Swing for Fred!


Just couldn’t help it. If I go to heaven I don’t want Ed Fallon’s ex-wife playing a harp. I want Hampton and Goodman tripping out like this.

Fred. Dawn and I took a vote. Your contributions are essential. I’ll look for an aria.

Dad’s favorite musician

My dad played clarinet in school. He was a big fan of Benny Goodman. Today is Benny Goodman’s birthday, as noted on Jazzonthetube.com. We watched a great documentary on Goodman that we got from Netflix awhile back.

Lionel Hampton plays vibes here. I saw his band in a free concert in Central Park in about 1970. I just can hardly believe how together this quartet is.

Planting soybeans

Had a good day planting beans today. Should get done tomorrow in time for rain on  Saturday. Although after a wet week predicted last week and just enough rain to stick the dust to the window I’ll believe it when I feel it.

The conservative pundits were on the radio claiming to be shocked that non-profit government hospitals were not well run and even allowed veterans to die as they awaited treatment. Shocked.

First of all, I should be shocked that they are shocked at this. But I’m used to it. A dictionary example of the word hollow should include these guys’ rhetoric on the evils of big government. As my dad used to say, “conservatives don’t believe in limited government, they only think they can do government better.”

Which leads us to point number two. If the demand exceeds the supply, (Sam Kinison voice) REDUCE THE DEMAND. In words even Rick Santorum might understand, Soldiers not involved in warfare don’t get hurt as often. Empty VA hospitals wouldn’t have anyone to abuse or ignore.

On another note: President Obombya thinks international organizations such as NATO and the IMF should take over ther United States’ role as world policeman. That would work fine, as long as the United States removes itself from those organizations

Mens’ sense of entitlement

Elliot Roger felt entitled to favors from women, or so the women on the radio said today. Would it not be great if such pronouncements solved a problem? The women on the radio even went so far as to declare it is a characteristic of men to expect women to submit or they will rape and kill them. Sheesh.

It would suit me if this were Thanksgiving Day because I am so thankful I am a distance away from these sickos.

I open doors for Dawn because I expect her to submit? I think this crazy notion comes about because we now worship government. The government inspects meat, makes the workplace safe and makes stupid people save for retirement. If any of these systems fail it is nobody’s fault because the government is nobody.

Language is only a series of labels so we can relate to each other. But these women show it has its limitations. To say I will rape and kill my wife if she does not “submit” varifies these NPR nitwits as nonessential.

The drug war is the same sort of nonsence. Zohydro is a new drug that some want banned because it can be crushed and used in a way that could cuse addiction. It is long acting so it overcomes the drawback of a boom / bust cycle in pain killers. People in extreme painare expected to suffer because somebody might get hooked on thid drug.

The focus on the substance is a cop-out, the same as the generalizations about Elliot Roger. 

Decoration Day

Decoration Day, as my Grandpa called it, was started afted the war of Southern secession; the second of two of our legitimate wars.

In the late 60’s it was changed to the last Monday in May to create a three day wekend and called Memorial Day. A three day weekend, eh?

We hear a lot of complaints about it being more about the vacation, hot dogs, beer and boats than fallen heros. But to me if it wasn’t about vacation, why make it a threee day weekend? I don’t suppose those who were sent to their deaths would prefer we sat staring blankly ahead without a hot dog. Or even one hot doggie! (Magic Christian reference in case you don’t know Ringo and Peter Sellers’ masterpiece.) I doubt they fought and died to preserve an East German or North Korean lifestyle.

I follow Dawn around as she sings at five Memorial Day services. I like the speech from Pastor Tharp, the kids running to gather the Legion’s shell casings and the spring weather, even if it isn’t often as beautiful as today.

But the real deal is seeing old classmates of Dawn’s (mine are all dead or lost in California), family, other farmers too busy to socialize much, neighbors and old timers who have way too little influence on the direction of future generations.

Having a cookout or gathering with people we love honors those soldiers’ lives more than the self-righteous whining of puritanistic pundits. 

Letter to Farm News.

This should be self explanitory but here is a link to the article I’m resonding to: http://farm-news.com/page/content.detail/id/520117/DAVID-KRUSE.html?nav=5038.

Dear Editor,


David Kruse (May 23 Farm News) is correct when he states, “Trade makes us stronger.” But when he goes on to equate isolationist and non-interventionist he couldn’t be more wrong.


Trade agreements do not promote free trade, they regulate trade. Regulation is the opposite of freedom. Free trade would require no government intervention. So-called free trade agreements are always used by well-connected industries to curry favors at their competitor’s expense.


Our government political and trade policies are both interventionist in that they restrict us from free association with others, by turning otherwise peaceful relationships into war-like ones where government negotiates for private citizens who should be free to deal with anyone without interference.


Government trade negotiators are simply unnecessary middlemen increasing costs for consumers.


Remember Jimmy Carter’s grain embargo against Russia in 1980? That was interventionism and isolationism, causing a depression in farm country.


We should reject interventionism and isolationism by getting government out of trade and agricultural policy altogether.



Love, Fritz

Linda Upmeyer…

… Is proud that her (Iowa) state legislature operates the state in the black. Yet she said to me our soldiers are protecting our freedom. I asked her to explain how that is the case. She said she’d get back to me on that. Seems to me that when we owe someone something we are not operating in the black. Our servicemen deserve better than to be used as political cannon fodder for foreign governments and the defense [sic] industry. And those who survive the politicians deadly foolishness deserve better when they retire from that service. I was shocked, when Dawn’s Dad was sick, to learn that there is a means test for Veteran’s benefits. Our government is sick. 



French railway operator SNCF orders hundreds of new trains that are too big

SNCF’s failure to verify measurements results in cost of €50m to modify 1,300 platforms in one in six regional stations
SNCF train

SNCF’s new wider trains have resulted in the need to narrow 1,300 platforms throughout France at a cost of €50m. Photograph: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty

The train due on platform one will not be arriving for the foreseeable future – because it is too big.

France’s national railway operator SNCF has ordered 2,000 new trains that are too large for many of the stations they are due to serve.

The train operator has admitted failing to verify measurements it was given by the rail operator before ordering its new rolling stock.

The costly mistake has sparked an urgent €50m operation to modify 1,300 platforms on the regional network. SNCF has admitted that one in six regional train stations is affected. In the worst cases it has discovered two trains can no longer pass each other on adjacent lines.

The new regional trains, known as TERs (trains express regionaux), are intended to upgrade the network and were based on measurements provided by national rail operator RFF. However, RFF sent SNCF the dimensions of stations built less than 30 years ago. It was then discovered – after it was too late – that the trains, due to go into service from now until 2016, were too big by several centimetres for stations built more than 50 years ago.

SNCF said only 341 trains – 182 from Alstom and 159 from Bombardier – were affected.

However, satirical news magazine Le Canard Enchainé insisted 1,000 of the trains had been ordered from Alstom and 860 from Bombardier, making a total of 1,860 trains that were too wide for many of the stations they are to service.

The French minister of transport described the situation as absurd and a “comic drama”. He blamed the previous centre-right administration’s decision to separate the rail network from the train network.

The rail farce was revealed in Le Canard Enchaîné, which said: “The clever engineers at SNCF forgot to verify the facts on the ground.”

Christophe Piednoël, spokesman for RFF, told France Info radio: “It’s as if you have bought a Ferrari that you want to park in your garage, and you realise that your garage isn’t exactly the right size to fit a Ferrari because you didn’t have a Ferrari before. We discovered the problem a little late … we are making our mea culpa.”

SNCF and RFF said in a joint statement on Wednesday: “Putting this network of new generation and larger trains in order to satisfy public demand will require the modernisation of 1,300 platforms out of the 8,700 in the French rail network.”

The economic newspaper Les Echos said: “It could have been an arithmetic exercise from the old days.”