Saturday, December 31, 2011

CHANGE

IS ALL CHANGE REALLY GOOD? Today is December 31, 2011. A year about to end and a new year about to begin. Does the tick of a clock, the one that changes the clock from 11:59 p.m. December 31 to 00:00 a.m. January 1, 2012, really make a difference. Does that one second really change any thing. The night is still dark. The sun will still rise in the East in a few hours. The Flora and Fauna have no clue that a year has changed. Only us humans make a big deal out of it. Many drink the bubbly and trundle off to home, or to jail, as the case may be. Some will start a new relationship, and others will end one. Most of us, though, regardless of what we do tonight, will just simple carry on, living our lives to the best of our ability. Some of us will make new years resolutions, some of which will actually be kept. Most will not. be kept, that is. Some, like me, will not make new years resolutions, but try to make course adjustments and improvements throughout the year. Is that a good thing. Do I need to change? Should I make a new years resolution, and write it down, thus to judge my progress, or lack there of, in a year, when 2013 is ushered in? Comments please. When it comes down to it, though, will any thing really change, just because of a tick of the clock. Will I become thin and rich? will the government become thin and rich? My becoming thin and rich is more likely. And the thin part is within reach. Rich, probably not so much. So, yes, change is good, if it is for the better. But if it is for the worse, then it is not a good thing. So, perhaps all change is not good. As we enter this new year, we can hope that the economy will change, for the better. We can hope that the medical research people will find better ways to help those who are ill so they can change for the better. We can hope that we as individuals will change our bad habits for good ones. But whatever happens, I wish EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO MAY READ MY WARBLING S, A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR. MAY 2012 BRING YOU MANY OF THE BLESSINGS THAT YOU HAVE COMING TO YOU. AND THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK.

Friday, December 23, 2011

EVERY ONE NEEDS WHAT??

ARE YOU WITH EVERY ONE? A few days ago, MLWFAE and I were watching the QVC shopping channel. They were selling something that "Every one" just had to have. Get one now, before they become available to the public in February. I don't even remember just what it was. But I didn't need one. The item prior to that one was a little tablet of some kind that "Every one" had to get. Why? Well, cause your kids could watch movies on it and not be bored when you traveled. I guess here I need to apologize to my kids, cause I would not have bought one when they were growing up, even had they been available. When we traveled, they could read, but we tried to encourage them to look at the country side. Some of it was more pretty than others, but it was all intriguing. As my wife and I now travel, we still find the country side intriguing, even though we have seen some of it hundreds of times. Still, even as it remains the same, it changes. There are so many electronic items available now, that it is hard to keep up with what they are and what they do, that it makes the mind boggle. In my old mind, emphasis on old, there is nothing better on a snowy winter day, than to settle down by the fire, wood, of course, a hot chocolate and a good book. Maybe play games. No, not on the TV or the phone or the whatever is out there now. But real games, with cards and game boards and game pieces. And interacting as a family. Now that is what "every one" needs. And That Is The View From The Ditch Bank.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

ADDICTION

ARE YOU AN ADDICT? What, exactly is an addict? A young man ( in his early 40's) so a young man to me, recently went to work for the construction company where I now work. He had been working for the mine that I retired from nearly 3 years ago. Didn't like the politics and the bickering that was going on, he said. So he quit. Nearly a month ago, he was picked, along with some others, to take a random drug test. He failed. I later learned that was the same reason he no longer works for the mine. He is addicted to cocaine. So, other than drug addictions, what else is there? Alcohol, Tobacco, Tea, Coffee, illegal drugs other than Cocaine, Heroin, marijuana, Meth, and the list goes on and on. With new things popping up almost daily. But what of things that aren't illegal. Or even bad for you, necessarily? Back to my opening question. Are you addicted to any thing? Think about it. Many people exercise. daily, even. But what of the person that has to exercise. Who goes to the gym or runs along the road or at a track. And has to do it every day. Or they go into withdrawals, just like a drug user trying to quit. Is this person an addict? Not all people that run or exercise are addicts, but there are those who are addicted and have to do it. What of people who have food problems. Eating to much and becoming fat. ( ok, ok, I won't look in the mirror. ) Or those who eat then purge. Are they addicts? They need help, but what they do is not illegal. So, any ideas on addiction. do you feel that you are addicted to any thing. I really just scratched the surface of addiction's, cause I didn't want to get into the addiction's themselves, but to just start us thinking on what addiction actually is. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Friday, December 2, 2011

ARE YOU A CRIMINAL

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A CRIMINAL? To borrow a line or two from a Robert W. Service poem; "I'm not as wise as those lawyer guys, but strictly between us two"
I can tell you my version of a criminal. The word is a derivative
of the word crime. You commit a crime, thus you are a criminal. That's it in a nutshell. A simple solution from a simple mind. So, what if you break a law, but don't commit a crime? What, you can do that? Well, it may be splitting hairs, Uh no, it is actually not splitting hairs, it is just simple facts. Just the facts Mam, just the facts. So, how do you break the law with out committing a crime? Well, traffic laws come to mind. You can drive faster than the posted speed limit, run a stop light or sign, failure to yield, etc. You can get a ticket and pay a fine, even lose your license to drive, but you are not a criminal. You committed no crime. But you did break the law. An acquaintance recently stated that you can drive 10 miles per hour over the speed limit with out getting a ticket. Why? Cause the cops have to give you that lee way. No they don't. They may do so, but they don't have to. If the speed limit is 60 MPH, they can ticket you for 61. They won't, but they could. Cause that's the law. So, if you break the law through traffic violations, why then aren't you a criminal? Comments please, cause, well refer to lines of the poem by Robert Service and that explains why I just don't know. But we should all obey the law. We agree to do so if we are citizens receiving citizenship after coming here from another country. We tacitly agree to obey the law by just being born here. So we should obey the law. ALL Laws. If we don't like them, work to change them, but until they are changed, obey them. And That's the View From The Ditch Bank.
P.S. I can already hear the pain of the toes I just stepped on.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

WHAT COLOR WAS YOUR FRIDAY

BLACK FRIDAY: What color was your Friday, the day after Thanksgiving? Why do they call it black Friday? Don't know? Well, then I'll enlighten you. It is the day that merchants hope to turn their red ink black for the year. They hope to get enough shoppers in their places of business, buying items that they have put on sale, and that enough money will enter the business coffers, to turn that business into a profitable business for the current year. Whew. Stop for breath here. So, they put their wares on sale, hoping that people will buy. And they do. One news report said there was 9000 people camped out waiting to get into Macy's in new york city. OK let's try that again. NEW YORK CITY. That is about how many people are in the city close to where I live, with a few dogs and cats thrown in, perhaps. Too many people for this old country kid. At least crowded into one place at a time. Is there actually that many bargains in one store at one time for that many people to all buy something to turn Macy's red ink black. Must be, or they wouldn't be there shopping. MLWFAE and I went to a neighboring small city in a neighboring State here in the southwest and bought a piece of furniture. It was regularly priced at over $400.00 but was on sale for $399.00. However, for black Friday they took off an additional 15%, thus costing us $340.00 for a furniture piece that was originally priced at over $100 more than that. Now! if this store, ( and all others like them ) can price item's like this and get their red ink to turn to black, wouldn't it make more business sense to price things like that all year long, and have people buying all year long, and keep the ink black all year long and not have to worry about the crush at this time of year. Just saying. And THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

THE PONZI SCHEME THAT ISN'T

I'm going to do something with this blog that I have never done before, and probably sill never do again. At least not often, if ever. And that is to quote, verbatim, or nearly so, an article that came out in an AARP news paper. See the heading of this post for the title of that article. So here goes.
When he signed the law creating Social Security, Franklin D. Roosevelt believed the program was so well insulated that "no damn politician" could tinker with it. He was right to worry. The linchpin was the payroll tax demanded of all workers. Once they paid into the Social Security system, he calculated, they would have a stake and never abandon it. For decades now, his foresight has been vindicated. Beneficiaries hail the system, and still, the damn politicians can't stop trying to tinker. Over three generations, a smattering of politicians and economists, from libertarians to liberals have blasted the system as wasteful and dishonest and more recently have trivialized it as little more than a Ponzi scheme. Since the master schemer, Carlo Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi had many schemes, none of which paid out any funds for any length of time, and all payouts were financed by new investors, and all ended in a matter of weeks. And he wound up in jail numerous times. And some of his schemes even caused banks to fail.
The reasons Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme, or even close, are numerous. Most importantly, it has endured for 76 years and never missed a payment. The financing is secure and the administrative costs are practically nothing.
So why the fuss? Politics, mostly, plus simple math and demographics. A soaring federal deficit, a declining number of workers per Social Security beneficiary and a growing number of older people living longer. :-) This puts new pressure on the Social Security trust fund. But instead of making the minor adjustments that would strengthen the system, budget critics have a different agenda. They hope to raid it or privatize it or end it.
Anyone doubting its value need only check the latest national poverty statistics. More Americans slid into poverty in the past year than at any time in the past four decades. Most vulnerable were people 55 to 64, one in ten of whom now live below the poverty line. Over 800,000 people 45 to 64 lost health insurance. By contrast, the economic turmoil of the past year drove far fewer Americans over 65 into poverty. No surprise. That's the segment of the population protected by Medicare and by Social Security---the Ponzi scheme that isn't. This article was written by Jim Toedtman, Editor of the paper. Also, I did paraphrase some of the article and I did leave out some of it. But the bulk of it is there.
My wife and I are beneficiaries of this program. And we paid into it for decades. And since I have returned to work for a short period of time, I am still paying into the system. And a payment for Medicare is held out of our Social Security check each month, just like a monthly insurance premium payment. So I do not feel that this is a government handout, like so many programs are. This is funded by those who pay into the system, while so many other programs are just taken from tax payers pockets.
also, most of the few of you that will actually read this message will also be recipients of this program someday. I encourage each of you to pay close attention to the Damn Politicians and what they want to do and let them know that they are to leave this system alone. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ONLY IN NEW MEXICO


RED OR GREEN OR ITALIAN? Any one who has spent much time in New Mexico and ate meals in the restaurants here, know that one of the questions ask is Red or Green? Meaning Chili. Hatch, New Mexico bills itself as the Chili capitol of the world. There is even a Hatch brand of Chili, sold around the world, or around New Mexico and a few other places. And it is good Chili. Or is it Chile?
My wife and I went to a town 60 miles away from where we currently reside to take care of some business. After the business was completed, we went to an Italian restaurant for lunch. there we ordered an Italian style meal. Our two dishes were different, but both contained chicken. her's a chicken breast, Italian style and mine had chunks of chicken with lots of pasta. Her chicken breast had a strip of green chili across the top, along with the normal Italian items. Mine had pieces of green chili and jalapeno's in it. And I was ask when I ordered, red or green. I took green.
Now, this was a small town local restaurant, not Olive Garden. the food was good, it was Italian, with chili. Or is it Chile? But where else, besides New Mexico, can you go to an Italian restaurant, or any other restaurant, and have the fare of the restaurant, mixed with chili? or is it chile? Your choice. But if you don't think it sounds good. Don't knock it till you try it. And that's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Friday, October 14, 2011

CLEANLINESS

IF CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS; then what is filthiness? Or just dirtiness? A friend of mine recently commented on a young couple and their lack of cleanliness. Quoting the Biblical scripture, saying that if cleanliness is next to Godliness, then this couple is headed straight for the devil.
In the previous blog, I mentioned that my wife and I had attended opening day of the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival. There was between 90,000 and 100,000 people there that day. There is an expectation of garbage every where.And we did see some. A few burrito wrappers, an occasional water bottle, some other items, but for that many people, crowded that close together, there was not an exceptional amount of garbage. Still, there was some.
Why, one might ask? We did. The reason we ask was because there were garbage barrels everywhere. Often just a step or two from where garbage was dropped on the ground. We have to wonder, if someone is so clueless as to drop garbage on the ground, just inches from a garbage barrel, are they living like that in their houses and cars. If so, are they, as my friend stated about the young couple, headed for the devil, cause they are not clean. One has to wonder. And as I wonder, my wondering is the View From The Ditch Bank.

Friday, October 7, 2011

UNLAWFUL OR ILLEGAL





UNLAWFUL OR ILLEGAL; IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? I miss those signs. You know the ones. No, not the Burma Shave signs, although I miss those also. The unlawful signs that used to be on the highway's. At least in New Mexico.
My wife and I recently attended the International balloon festival in Albuquerque. We drove there, and having business in another County, we took a road less traveled to get to the City of the Duke. Along the way we reminisced
about those old signs. They used to say "It is Unlawful to pass when solid line is in your lane." Or "It is unlawful to pass school bus when lights are flashing" Or "It is unlawful to exceed the posted speed limit" Or, well you get the picture. Do you remember those signs? It was always Unlawful, never illegal. do you know why? Do you know the difference between Unlawful and Illegal? Ask a police officer. See if they know. There is a difference, you know. Now the road signs simply say "do not pass, or Pass with Caution" Or Speed Limit and the number of the limit. It is not only not illegal but it is not unlawful any more either. Yes, I miss those old signs. Like a lot of other things I miss, which may be mentioned in a future post. Probably won't though, as I miss my memory at times also. But I do remember the difference between Unlawful and Illegal. OK, so those of you that don't already know, want to know. Well, Unlawful means something is against the law. As in, Don't do it. Illegal. Well, ask any animal doctor and they will tell you that an illegal is a sick bird. And THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK.

Friday, September 23, 2011

DO ENGLISH TEACHERS HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR

DID YOU EVER DANGLE A PARTICIPLE? I could have named this post a number of things. It also probably should be split into two or three posts. But I named it like I did, and it will cover a few things English, so bare, uh bear with me and we will see what comes out.
I was not a strait, I mean straight A student. Heck, I was rarely a A student in any thing. And if I ever knew what a dangling participle was, I have forgotten, but I do know that I never did actually learn how to correctly diagram a sentence. Or even understand the reason for doing so. I read a lot. I mean really a lot. I have yet to see a sentence in a book that is diagrammed. I did learn something about subjects and predicaments, I mean predicate's, noun and professional nouns, more commonly know as pro nouns, verbs and advertising verbs, or adverbs for short, and prepositions and propositions. I didn't always understand all them thar things, but we durn sure studied them. But I did learn a few things about using the English language, proper spelling of, and usage of, words like bare and bear, their and there, and others of their ilk. And when to use them and why they were spelled different. I also learned when to use and not to use a preposition. I don't remember all the rules that apply to this English rule, but one of the most over used prepositions in the world where I live and work is the word AT. Usually used in a question. Where are you at? Where are you parked at? Where would you like to meet me at? Drives me up a wall. Or would if I knew where the wall was at. And it was actually possible to be driven up a wall. Well, you get the point. I hope.
Now, how does an English teacher of today teach English. Like, you know, really teach, you know, English. If their, uh, there is any word or phrase, more over used than the preposition at, it is the words like and you know. Drives me down the other side of the wall. Know what I mean. Feel free to correct my incorrectness.
Guess I better end this post and get my tongue out of my cheek before I chew it off. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

TIMES AND SEASONS

TIS THE SEASON OF THE YEAR: There are many seasons. Spring, summer, fall and winter. Others are the holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For others there is the football season or basketball or baseball. For me, though, I tend to think of seasons in the terms as first listed. I live in an area that the local Chamber advertises as having 4 gentle seasons. Well, I guess. Although it can get very hot in the summer, and extremely cold in the winter, both of which we have recently experienced. But what brought all this to mind was yesterday. Yesterday evening, to be specific. I was driving to work, minding my own business and thinking my own thoughts, when there happened upon my senses a smell that I equate with fall, and the Southwest. I was passing a parking lot of a local business when that smell came wafting in the car window. You know the one. Roasting chili. Aww, is there any thing that says the Southwest in the fall any more than the smell of chili roasting. The temperatures are cooling off, the daylight is getting shorter, and life is slowing down, but the smell of chili in the roaster just caps off the perfect season. Yep, I like all seasons, except maybe football, but the fall is the best one for me. And here, in the advertised CHILI capitol of the world, Southwest New Mexico, nothing says fall like roasting chili. Maybe they roast chili the world over, but to me, where ever I might be, that smell would bring me right back here. To the Southwest. And THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK.

Friday, August 26, 2011

THEN AND NOW

SOMEWHERE THERE MIGHT BE A POINT: I fear this post will ramble and seem pointless. If you manage to read it clear through you may scratch your head, ( in confusion, not from a rash ) and just say HUH! Oh! not so different from my regular posts, then. Well, read on and we will see what comes out.
Back then, you know, way back, before even I was born, the inhabitants of this country were the people. AKA Indians. Native Americans. They lived from the land. Migrating within certain boundaries, set by the boundaries of other tribes. Usually tribes strong enough to keep the neighbors from invading their territory. And there was buffalo roaming and deer and antelope playing. And these people lived from these animals,
along with many others, and flora and fauna and, well you get the picture. Then along came the other people. From other lands, and they started to settle the land, and they fought one another, and then they fought the Indians. And to help them win the fight, and for other reasons, they killed off the buffalo. Almost. And the Indians moved to reservations, cause there waran't any buffler to assist and edify them. Then the white man moved into the Indian lands and brought cattle. Herds and herds of cattle. To survive on the Buffalo grass. And water. And along came the wolves and the grizzly bears, and the coyote and other animals to kill the ranchers cattle. So they ranchers killed the bears and the wolves, but in spite of all they and the road runner could do, wiley coyote just stayed around. Then along came a group of people claiming that the wolves had a right to live too, so they introduced them back into the wild. But guess what. People now live in the wild, and they still have cattle, and they don't like the wolves killing their cattle. That's why they were hunted to almost extinction decades ago. So now the families children aren't safe from the wolves and the grizzly bears, and if you kill one, the government will arrest you and jail you and fine you, and pat the remaining wolves on their collective heads and say, good doggie, please don't do what you are naturally programmed to do. Eat straw, or something. Hey! maybe they should eat deer. Why oh why would I say that. Well, I'm fixin to tell ya.
In this fair city where I almost live, population 10 or 12 thousand, there seems to be a large population of deer. And they are destroying peoples flowers beds and gardens, and leaving deposits on the lawn. And the people are unhappy. So the decision has been made by the state game department to try to dispose of the deer. By trapping them. (Trapping is illegal in this state for fur bearing animals cause you might catch a wolf.) Or killing them. ( You can't kill a wolf, even if it threatens you and your pets or children. It's against the law ) And even though these people say, let the wolves alone. They deserve to live and eat your cattle. But kill the deer, cause they ate my roses. And the mountain lions and the coyote are following the deer into town. But not the wolves. They are too busy killing cattle. For fun. Several recent cattle kills have been proven wolf kills. For food? No, they didn't eat the cattle, they just brought them down and killed them. Too bad they won't eat deer. Too bad people with a deer destroyed yard can't feel some empathy for the rancher losing cattle to wolves and having to fight environmental groups and the government over it. But the government will kill the deer. Or jail and fine an Idaho man for killing a Grizzly Bear to protect his family. Guess we need a little more of then and a little less of now in this case. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Monday, August 22, 2011

OF LAWS AND LAWYERS

THIS IS NOT A RELIGIOUS POST: Nor is it a post castigating lawyers. Well, most lawyers. When Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, they lived God's laws. Even after they were cast out, they lived God's laws, cause they knew no other. I don't know at what point man's laws began to come into effect, but it was probably sometime after Cain killed his brother. I do know that lawyers are mentioned in the scriptures. I also know that Judges are also listed in the scriptures, and so it only follows that if there are judges, there needs to be someone trained in the law to present a case to the judge. I have a cousin who is a retired criminal defense attorney. My wife has a cousin who is a retired attorney. Don't know just what kind of law he practiced. I have a daughter in law who is an attorney. I think she practices corporate or business law. I understand and accept that there needs to be attorneys in all manner of life's events. If you have made it this far, know that these statements were only to explain my opinion of lawyers. I might add, well guess I will add, that I understand the need to have man's laws, since man don't want to live God's laws. Too bad, the world would be so much better off if we would. Thus the need for those trained in the law. Now, to the point of this blog.
Here, in the grand ol' State of New Mexico, there are now two cases in the courts that almost boggle the mind. The first one. In 2006, a man, wanted by the police as a suspect in a murder, was pulled over by a County deputy. Did the deputy know who he was pulling over. We will never know, for shortly after he pulled the man over, the deputy was shot and killed. His killer was caught and jailed. Fast forward to 2010, when the New Mexico State Legislature abolished the death penalty as a form of punishment. The deputy killer was subsequently tried and found guilty, and the death penalty was listed as a form of punishment for his crime. Hold on , his attorney said, the death penalty has been abolished. yes, the State said, but years after the killing for which his client was convicted for. Before the killer can be sentenced, a decision has to be made by a judge on whether the death penalty is in place for him. A play on the writing of laws, I assume, but who am I to decide.
Next case. A man robs a bank in Albuquerque. As he leaves, the police are alerted by the bank teller. The police gives chase. There are two women, one 28 years old and one 34, in a car, on their lunch break, sitting in traffic at a red light. The robber, in his attempt to elude the police, crashes into the car with these two women, killing both of them. The robber is unhurt and is arrested. He is now charged with several crimes, including robbing the bank and for killing the two women. Not so fast, says his attorney. He did rob the bank, but the killing of the women was not his fault. So whose fault is it? The bank tellers for alerting the police and the police for giving chase. If they had just let him get away with the robbery, the two women would still be alive. True, says I, but if that is the case, then why have police. Just let people do whatever, and all would be well. NOT. If this man had not robbed the bank in the first place, he wouldn't be in trouble, the women would be alive, raising their children, and the police could have continued eating donuts. Then the man could be arrested for causing the death of the police men for causing them to have a heart attack. HUH! guess the man will end up in jail in any case. And THAT'S THE VIEW FROM THE DITCH BANK!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Politics, Again

IT'S BEEN AWHILE: Since I actually blogged just about the tics. Maybe I should say politicians. Or, even nicer, those who hold public office. Why do I want to be nicer. Well, a few days ago, we received one of those forwarded messages from a friend. You know the ones. this one was anti Obama cartoons. Some of them crude, some of them humorous, none of them necessary. So, we deleted them and didn't send them on. We felt we needed to be a little nicer. Having said that, I will say I didn't vote for Mr. Obama in the last election, and given the chance, I won't vote for him again. I don't feel that he has done much of what he said he would do. And he has blamed Bush for the things that haven't gone right. OK, the economy was going into the tank while George Bush was still President. And the wars we are involved in were going on while Bush was still President. But President Obama has just dug the tank deeper, and the wars are still waging. And while we are struggling, as a country, with unemployment, he is causing more of it daily. A Democrat started, or accelerated, the space program in the early 60's. It has been a success and we are the world leaders in the space program. Or we were. Now, President Obama is ending the space program and handing it over to the Russians. And putting thousands of Government and private individuals out of work. I'll not belabor the issue, as that is just one item. He now wants to raise taxes. Guess he did, as the taxes that come out of my check are now more than they were when I started in February. He says "We don't have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem." And he wants to raise taxes to fix the problem. Won't work, McGee. Never has, never will. Do the Republicans have the answer. Not totally. Spending cuts are in order, but maybe not as deep as the Repubs want. We all know, at least those of us that have a house hold budget, that if we spend more than we take in, we have a spending problem. Maybe it is a revenue problem, also, but raising our wages just don't work. Even if we did get a raise, most people would just spend more, causing a continuation of a spending problem. Who should be president? Don't know. I like Sarah Palin, but I won't vote for her for President, for several reasons. Will just have to see who has a good platform.
Now a moment on local politics, then I'll quit boring you. Oh! guess if you actually read this far, you may not be bored. Smiling or frowning, depending on your own feelings on the matter. Because of the wild fires in the Southwest, many of the politicians in Arizona and New Mexico want to get legislation going that will give the forests, along with other rights, back to the States and the people. More on this in the future. President Obama wants to sign an executive order relating to a United Nations Agenda 21 program, that will give control of our forests over to the U.N. We need to watch that one very closely. We also need to watch closely the various environmental acts that will affect people adversely. Namely, the Clean Water act that will affect ranchers and their stock tanks. The clean air act that will affect farmers plowing and disking their fields. The Food safety act that will affect farmers markets.
Well, guess I got a little carried away. More on a later blog. But
That is The View From The Ditch Bank

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Now What???????????

NOW WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO? Some time back, decades, actually, centuries maybe, the people here in the US of A were what we now call Indians. And there were Buffalo roaming and Deer and Antelope playing and occasionally there was fire. At least I would assume there was fire. In spite of what many think, I'm not old enough to remember back that far. And as the Deer and Antelope played and the Buffalo roamed, the Buffalo created chips that fertilized the land, and their cloven hooves cultivated the land, and things grew, and there was occasional fire. Or so the history books say. Then came the white man and the deer and antelope continued to play, but the buffalo gradually ceased to roam. But in their place came the white mans cattle, and they created pies that fertilized the land and their cloven hooves cultivated the land and things like grass grew. And the western range was taken care of. And the white man wanted houses, so the trees in the forest were cut and milled into lumber, and minerals were dug out of the land and the land was taken care of, mostly. And you could see the water in the streams, and occasionally there was fire. Some as big as 30 square miles. And then 40 years or so ago, ( maybe you have a different timeline ) there was a movement in the land for environmental awareness. And the cattle ranchers and the loggers said OK. They thought it was a good idea, cause they were already being environmentally correct about the land. they were pruning the trees and cultivating the land and keeping the land clean and the streams flowing, and life was good. What they didn't understand was, the people, or groups, that were sponsoring this environmental movement, weren't interested in keeping the land clean, the streams flowing and the ground cultivated. They wanted the pies to disappear, the cattle rancher to disappear, the logger to disappear, the miner to disappear. And by the time these hard working folks realized this, they were way behind in the movement. And losing their way of life. Laws were passed by city folk's in the west and people in the east, who didn't understand what was going on. So, the land was "saved" for Mexican Spotted Owls, who had coexisted with the loggers and ranchers for decades, maybe even centuries, and then there was the willow fly catcher, a small bird, and the spike dace minnow, a small silver fish, and so many other animals that it makes your head swim to think of them all. Or it would swim, if you could find some water to swim in. Now, the streams are choked by the trees on the river trying to use the water. many of those trees are dying, cause there isn't enough water for them all. The loggers and sawmills are shut down, cause they can't cut trees. The ranchers are out of business cause they can't ranch. So the land is dying, cause it isn't being cultivated and fertilized. And then there was fire. Not the 30 square mile fire, but the 600 to 800 square mile fires. Yes fires. plural. And the land is cleansed. And the streams are clogged with ash, and the silver minnow chokes to death, and the fly catcher has no where to catch flies, or what ever it does. And the owl? Well, it has no where to lay it's head, cause the trees are all burned up. So what are they gonna do now?
I HOPE THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS ARE HAPPY NOW. Oh! they said it is not their fault. Yeah! Right.
And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Saturday, June 11, 2011

SMOKE AND FIRE

SMOKE: No, don't run out and buy a pack of cigarettes. Not talking about that kind of smoke. Here in this area where we live, ( if you are not sure, see my profile ) we have literally been under a cloud or haze of smoke since back in March. Every day. From forest or grass fires. Several of them almost next door. Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas are especially hard hit fire wise. Right now there are several fires burning in Southern Colorado, more near Flagstaff, Arizona, others in various parts of New Mexico. But the big one, on the news, is the Wallow fire in Eastern Arizona. Nearing 400,000 acres and 5% contained. There is another one in South East Arizona, called the Horse Shoe Two fire, that had grown to 116,000 acres and was 60% contained. Thursday afternoon, that fire got away from the firefighters and is now around 166,000 acres and only 40% contained. The Wallow fire is as big as Chicago, ( having never been to Chicago I will take their word for that ) and it wasn't a cow that kicked over a lantern to start it. Rumor has it that it was started by a camp fire that got out of control. By two or three campers. Rumor or not, it is under investigation. And it happened in a campground Sunday, Memorial day weekend.
Having said all that, let me get to the point of this blog. A few decades ago, not that many, actually, buffalo roamed and antelope played here in the west. And there was fire. Occasionally. Then the buffalo went away, (I won't get into that topic ) and ranchers brought their cattle and put them on the range. And timber men came and logged the forests for lumber to build houses and buildings for all the people coming west. And there was fire. Occasionally. A 30,000 acres fire was extreme. Most were small and put out quickly. Then came the environmentalist and said that cattle were bad for the land, and logging was bad for the land, and they made the people in the East, who are mostly clueless about the West, to pass laws making it unlawful to ranch or log. If it is unlawful, why isn't it illegal? Think about it a moment. Now, the forests are a mess. Where there used to be 50 trees to the acre, now there are hundres and even thousands of trees per acre. Mostly small saplings, growing close together, and all vying for what little water there isn't. I have a picture I took several years back of a river that had a nice stand of trees and a cabin in the river bottom. It was just a little ways off the highway. Now, because cattle are not allowed to drink from that river, cause the environmentalists say they pollute the river, you can't even see the river for the trees and brush, much less the cabin. Thus, we have wildfires like the ones mentioned at the start of this post.
This fire has started a dialog from western politicians and ranchers and loggers, and other people that we need to let the Forest Service manage the forest, in conjunction with the ranchers and loggers. And others that know how to manage the land. And take care of it, and thin it of the small saps, uh, saplings that are choking it to death. And I, for one, support that idea whole heartedly. Otherwise it will just continue to burn out of control. Or blow away like a dust bowl, for lack of rain. Of course the environmentalists are opposed to that, and said that this is just scare tactics. That is a quote from Bryan Bird of the organization Wild earth Guardians. Wonder where these guardians are now? Bet they are not on the fire line. Well, nuff said for now. Oh! The reason it isn't illegal is cause unlawful is against the law, but illegal is a sick bird. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Manners

CODE OF THE WEST: For the few of you that read this blog, I have not left, just don't post as often since I returned to full time employment. And while that is not the purpose of this posting, my returning to work, I will mention it in a passing fashion during this blog. As to the first line. there used to be one. A code. still is, mostly. So I'll quote this poem and then elaborate a bit.
It don't take such a lot o' laws to keep the range land straight
Nor books to write 'em in, 'cause there are only six or eight
The first one is the welcome sign, written deep in western hearts
My camp is yours and yours is mine in all cow country parts
Treat with respect all women kind, same as you would your sister
Care for neighbors' strays you find, and don't call cowboys Mister
Shut the pasture gates when passin' through, and taking all in all
Be just as rough as pleases you, but don't be mean or small
Talk straight, shoot straight, never break your word to man or hoss
Plumb always kill a rattlesnake, don't ride a sore back hoss
It don't take law nor pedigree to live the best you can
These few is all it takes to be a cowboy and a man
Author Unknown
Cowboys have always wore hats. The style of hat sometimes varies from area to area, but they are still worn. Now a days, hats are becoming more of an item to ward of the sun, because more people are aware of the likely hood of skin cancer, especially here in the Southwest. Along with the poem quoted above, there was a hat etiquette that cowboys practised. It used to be common for hats to be checked at the door of a public place, such as restaurants. That has mostly become obsolete, so here are some thoughts on how to wear your hat today.
One hat maker has written on the back of his business card "Take it off at the table, leave it on at the bar, and treat it like your sweetheart." Trent Johnson of Greely Hat Works. While the hats off at the dinner table used to be a hard and fast rule, many cowboys now leave it on when dining at a public restaurant. However, you should remove it when entering a private residence, a house of worship, or a business meeting. And around the ladies? While the days when men were expected to remove them when a lady enters the room has kinda disappeared, it is still good manners to do so, and it is mostly appreciated, even if it is unexpected. It is also not a bad practice to tip your hat to the ladies in public. In a respectful manner.
So what does any of this have to do with me returning to work? Simple. Many of the men I work with are very disrespectful of the ladies. Their language is crude and lewd at best, and the ladies in the crew are disregarded or treated as one of the boys by most of the men on the crew.
And as a last thought. Manners as a general rule seems to have gone the way of rotary phones and typewriters. You can still find them, but they are in the minority. When people return to the cowboy way of life, in the country or the city, showing respect for your neighbors and your neighbors property, curbing foul language, and treating ladies with the respect they deserve, especially your spouse, then the country will be on track to return to the kind of country we would all like to live in. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Y2K

WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN? Well, not all of us, but a lot of us. How many of you remember back just a few years, to the turn of the century. And the Y2K flop, uh flap. Do you remember all the predictions. I'm sure I don't. Remember all of them. But it was predicted that because the world is ruled, I mean run, by computers, and when we went from 1999 to 2000, all the computers would crash. So panic set in. Computer programmers set about creating programs to fix the problem. It was predicted that when the change from 1999 to 2000 happened, airplanes would crash, ships would wonder about the ocean and crash, stores wouldn't be able to sell you any thing, cause their computerized cash registers would crash, and computers would just crash. So people went on a buying frenzy, buying food, clothing, water, electric generators, and all manner of survival gear. Then, well, then we changed from 1999 to 2000 and airplanes flew to their destination and landed at the airports and didn't crash, ships made it safely to harbor and didn't crash, and computers, well they crashed, but then that's what computers do best. Even without the Y2K bug. So, people ate their food, drank their water, sold their survival gear, and went back to normal living. Then, along came a preacher, preaching that the world would end on May 21, 2011. And people, well some people, gave him their money, some sold their houses and cars, and got ready to be rapturized, or something. And May 22 came along and no one was rapturized. And then they had no money, no house, no car. And some even had no belief in the preacher any more. And the preacher. Well, he was made fun of, in the media, on face book and twitter. Oh! did people twitter, even when they weren't on twitter. Now the preacher has made a statement or three. One, he made a mistake on the date. Now it will happen on October 21, 2011. Then he said it happened, but it was invisible, and will go on for the next five months, then the world will be completely destroyed. And the money. He will give it back to the people. Not. They survived the bank failures, so they can survive his taking of their money. And send him more. How many people will get ready for the end to come on October 21. How many people will get ready for the end in December 2012. How many people will do stupid things, based on these "predictions". Will the world end. Yes it will. Do I know when? No I don't. Who does? Read the Bible. Matthew 24:39. Then live accordingly. And be ready if it should happen in your life time. And don't panic, just cause some one said something will happen. Common sense and thinking things through in a sensible manner is always best. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TV Must See

Is there such a thing? As something on TV that is a must see. I think not. My wife and I watch some TV. We are not really fans of most of what is on TV these days. To me it should be MWTV. Standing for Most Worthless T V. We do watch NCIS, and we like most of the Hall Mark movies. We watch the news, but don't understand why some of the news casters are so hung up on all things Holly Wood.
We watch The Biggest Loser. Does that make us Big losers, watching people on TV losing fat. Many shows are having their season finals. Some won't be back, some will. There will be many new ones. Will they be any good. For the most part, probably not. My wife and I are old enough to remember when TV came into existence. At least in the form as we now know it. Back when comedy actually was, and variety shows were actually fun to watch. Now, comedy seems to have taken on a potty mouth. And that's the clean stuff. It gets worse. I tried to watch a comedy show a while back. Lasted about 90 seconds. Me, not the show. Guess I'll just have to turn off the TV and curl up with a good book. If I can find one. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Rules Of The Road



I'm reminded of a story of an older couple from many decades back, when automobiles had taken over, but this farm couple still traveled by horse and buggy. One day, as they came in to town, there was a sign that said, "Speed Limit, 25 MPH" The old farmer handed the reins to his wife and said, "Here, you take the reins, and I'll get the whip, and we will see if we can get the horse to get us up that fast."

I am sure the two or three of you that actually read my drivel, already know the rules of the road, and obey them. So, I will just talk to those who don't know or don't have time to read. How many people driving an automobile know the rule about cross walks. You know, the place where people walk across the road. There is the cross walk, but before you get to it, there is another line, where you are supposed to stop your vehicle, thus providing a measure of safety to the pedestrian. How many people stop at the actual cross walk, even with their vehicle intruding into the cross walk, and inching forward, hoping the red light will change faster, or something. Or those who come up to a red sign that says "STOP" but they don't, they actually see this sign as a triangle, with the word "YIELD" on it. And when they see a yield sign it's just get out of the way, here I come. OK, Ok there is a point to this story. There is one other safety rule that you won't see a sign for. It is, Keep 1 car length between you and the car in front of you, for every 10 MPH you are traveling. Thus, if you are traveling 60 MPH, you should have 6 car lengths between you and the car in front of you.

MLWFAE, ( for any new comers, that refers to my wife. Refer to a previous post to see the actual meaning ) and I recently traveled to a distant city. Since the speed limit on the freeway is 75 MPH, and since we had more time that gas, we drove 70 MPH, thus is was easy to keep 7 car lengths between me and the car in front of us. Oh! the car in front had just passed, at 80 MPH usually, and was soon out of sight. But as we came to the city, the traffic increased, and the speed limit reduced to 65 MPH. So, keeping 6 1/2 car lengths between me and the car in front, caused 6 1/2 cars to squeeze in between us. OK, so it was only 6 cars, but I backed off and another 6 cars came in. I soon realized we were back at the city limits and losing ground fast. At this rate, we would soon be back home, without ever getting to where we were going. So, I bit the bullet, or would have, had I had a bullet, and ignoring the rules, I closed up behind the car in front and finally made it into the city, and to the motel where we were staying. No wonder it takes us longer to get where we are going, than it does every one else. We had the same problem while traveling about the city, so I had to bite another bullet, ( the previous one had been chewed up and spit out ) and travel the same crazy way the rest of the people were. Boy, sure was good to get out of the city a few days later and get back to the small city where we live, where the people are just as crazy as the big city folks, just not as many of them. Maybe some day we will all get where we are going, then we can park our cars, ( bumper to bumper, if we want to, as they will not be moving ) and just enjoy life in the slow, Uh!, parked and stopped lane. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING

OH! SAY WHAT IS TRUTH. That's a statement, not a question. Have you seen the advertisement's for Brita water bottles? Or filters? They will have someone doing something, walking on a treadmill, for example, drinking from a plastic bottle of water. Then say something like thirty minutes in the gym ( or something like that ) thousands of years in the land fill. Then on to the Brita. Well, that is truth, kinda. I assume they don't actually know how long they will be in the land fill. But then, every thing else in the land fill with the plastic bottle will be there for thousands of years also. Including the Brita bottle, when it gets thrown away. Why? Cause of the nature of a true landfill. FYI, a truly well made land fill goes like this. First the bottom is packed with clay, or some such material. Then it is lined with a heavy gauge liner. Then as the garbage is put in the land fill, it is packed with spiked, steel wheel bulldozer's. When all this is done, and dirt is added from time to time, and packed, then the landfill is covered with more clay like material and packed down hard. So when it is finished it is supposed to be leak proof. No water, no air, no sunlight. So, whatever is in there, be it a plastic bottle, a cardboard box, a two by four, or whatever, it cannot deteriorate with out moisture, oxygen and sunlight. so, like the water bottle, it just sits there for thousands of years. Supposedly. Only time will tell.
So what else is truthful, kinda. Well, like Brita, ( and I am not dissing Brita, just using them as an example ) most companies stretch the truth a bit. Cause they want you to buy their products. What is best. Usually, what ever you like is best. I like Fords, but if every one else did also, it wouldn't matter how many bailouts the other company's got, GM and Chrysler and the rest would go under. . So decide what you want, check out the stats on the items, and buy whichever one fits you best. The same goes for most tics. Republican or Democrat. Listen to what they say. Check out their record, if they have one. What kind of person are they? Then vote accordingly. Be they Repub or Demo. As in the land fill, only time will then tell. And tell it will. If we live long enough. Oh! even if we don't, it will tell. Just hope those coming along later learn what ever lesson is there to learn.
And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Little Bit About A Few Things

WHERE TO START: It's been a couple of weeks since I posted a blog. Since I returned to the working world, blogging seems to have taken a back seat to the activities I am involved in. I am even thinking of increasing the amount of blogging I do that would be conceived as personal. Maybe. But probably not today. 1. The congress and the President finally agreed on a 2011 budget. Now the fight is on for the 2012 budget. The current budget will cut several Billion Dollars from federal spending. Good? Well, maybe. The fine print says this will be over a period of time. This year! only a few million will be cut. Now a fight on whether to raise the debt ceiling. Regular people like me, and I suppose you, when we don't have the money we go without, or go into debt. Well, the federal government does one of those things. I saw a news report where people said they would give up their entitlements. I believe most, if not all, entitlements should be eliminated. What is an entitlement? Social Security. Well, no I am drawing that, but have paid into it for over 50 years. Medicare? No, I have paid taxes from my pay check into that program for years also, and was made to enroll when I turned 65, even if I didn't want to. Also, $96.00 a month is held from my S.S. check as well as a similar amount from my wife's check each month to pay for medicare. Yet, these are the programs the President wants to cut, to cut spending. 2. In the city/county where I live the sixth fire this week was burning a house and into the forest. We are extremely dry and the wind is blowing a sustained 30 MPH this weekend, with stronger winds on Monday, yet the Forest Service wants to set two "controlled burns" next Monday. This is 14 fires since the 14,000 acre fire we had last month. Some of them very small and put out before it did any damage. 3. I don't like the "change" that has taken place the last two years. Although Obama campaigned on that premise, and made promises that he hasn't kept, I have been around long enough to know that he wouldn't keep them. Indeed, couldn't keep them. Politics are like that and have been for centuries. Still, I think the President, and the House of Representatives and all Senators who are up for election needs to be replaced next election. I think the people are demanding that our elected officials need to be responsible for the way they are governing and spending our money. And it is OUR money they are spending. We need to pay attention to all tics and get rid of the ones who are over zealous with spending, regardless of the party they belong to. 4. On a little better note, Our new governor is making a name for herself, at least in the State. She is now auditing the school districts, especially the one that are crying foul at the cuts they are being ask to make. I have blogged in the past on my opinion of the budget and the schools, so scroll back and find what I said if you don't know. The audits are being inspired by a fact that came to light recently where the school systems are padding the numbers of "special ed students" so they can get more money, then using the overage for other things. Sounds a lot like government bodies don't it. Well, Governor Martinez is trying to put a stop to a lot of those kinds of things. Kudos to her. 5. In case you haven't noticed, the world is going crazy. Mothers killing their babies, children killing their parents, husbands and wives killing their spouses, kidnappings, murders, rapes, crooked cops, condoms being offered to pre teens, and wrong being called right, or at least OK. And that's just the news. TV programs are worse. 6. Considering all this just makes me want to find a cave somewhere and go into hiding. With a good book, of course. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Contradiction In Terms

OR JUST A GOVERNMENT MIND SET: I saw on the news this morning a report about the government trying to pass a budget to keep the government from shutting down. The Republicans in the House wants the Senate to pass a bill and send it to them. They also want budget cuts. There was also a mention of picketing for a budget by the TEA Party. Harry Reid said something like, "No one pays any attention to the Tea Party. There is only a small minority of people who even notice them." Not a accurate or direct quote, but close. Uh! Harry, didn't you notice the results of the last election? So all the Tea Party candidates didn't win. Many did and several that didn't garnered a lot of attention. Pay attention Harry. Pass a budget bill and fund needed government. Emphasis on needed. Get rid of the pork. Now, to the item that actually spawned the thought for this blog. In the little paper we get here, ( emphasis on little paper, 8 pages sometimes) on the front page was these articles. Since January 1, 2011, not quite three months into the year, New Mexico has had 199 wild fires, burning more than 119,000 acres. 1400 of those acres were right here in our county. A grass fire that burned so fast with the wind that the fire fighters couldn't get a handle on it for some time. Another article was on the weather. Windy conditions predicted for as far ahead as the weather predictors can predict. Last article. The United States Forest Service is planning a prescribed burn for an area in about two weeks. All three of these items were on the front page of the paper. New Mexico is so dry the grass is about the color of this type. And brittle and ready to burn. And it is doing so. Often. There has been a few more fires and acres added to the total since the paper came out just two days ago. We haven't had any substantial moisture in many years. It will take several years of above average moisture to even begin to catch up. And probably several years of responsible government to get the budget back in order. But that's OK. Lets set fire to the forest that is so dry it will burn quickly if a little breeze comes up. And lets pass a budget that spends ( read burns ) money we don't have on things we don't need, just so I can make my constituents happy and they will re elect me. I think the mind set is going to have to change. I'm an old man, but I hope the change comes in my life time. I'm afraid it won't. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Humor Can't Hurt

WITH ALL THAT IS GOING ON, IS HUMOR OUT OF ORDER? Actually, I think not. Tragedy has been with the world at least since the flood when Noah built the Ark. Having said that, I am not going to detail the many tragedy's that even I am aware of since that time. OK, I know I'm old, but not that old. I read about them in a book. but lets just mention a few recent ones. Like fires and then floods in Australia. Earthquakes in Haiti, South America and New Zealand. Miners rescued from a cave in in Chile. And finally, the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan. While all of these things are not to be ignored, or played down, life does go on, and so does the human spirit. In that vein, I am going to mention a few things that I consider humorous in the same manner as the ending of the previous blog. If that didn't appeal to you, you may want to stop reading here.
1. It has been reported that someone was rolling in the dough. I always thought a rolling pin worked better.
2. A no fly zone has been declared over Libya. Apparently mosquitoes are OK.
And these from the announcers for March Madness, AKA NCAA basketball tournament.
3. Marquette is off to the races. Since they won the game, guess they didn't stay long.
4. In one game the announcer reported that a player had knocked down a three, and a little later another player did the same thing. Wonder if the three learned to just stay down.
5. The team did a good job of defending the paint. Wonder what the paint did that it needed defended.
and last 6. The Tarheels coach was upset cause his team turned the ball over too many times. Guess they haven't learned how to catch the ball in the correct position, so had to turn it over. maybe to see the label better.
And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Friday, March 18, 2011

Just A Few Things That Comes To Mind

SOME ARE FUNNY, SOME JUST ARE: Here are a few things that have been on the news lately, in one form or another. The New Mexico State legislature is ending a 60 day session Saturday, March 19 at noon. It has been a very low key session, as far as the news items have been. Much different than the last few years. One thing that happened is that the Senate and Representatives finally, last night, passed a balanced budget for the Governor to sign. She probably will, with reluctance. The last final 111 million dollars used to balance the budget is for the State Employees to pay a little more into their retirement fund and the State to pay a little less. Since the majority of the tax paying residents of the State are not State employees, and don't have the benefits of State employees, this isn't a bad thing. The State employees don't like it, of course, but then, it is their retirement fund. The amount the State pays into it is funded by my, and the rest of the States tax paying residents dollars. Also, in this session, the Governor, Susana Martinez, wanted a law passed that made it illegal to issue drivers licenses to illegal residents. The legislature did not pass that law. There were rally's claiming racial discrimination. And racial profiling. Arizona had 5 bills before their legislature on illegal residents and immigration. They all failed, for much the same reason. As one Arizona politician said, "Maybe you forgot it's illegal to be in this country illegally." New Mexico's governor is Hispanic. This is not a racial item. it is a legal item. What part of "Illegal" don't people understand. Oh, and New Mexico assisted the Educational system by raising tuition fees. Fees that most students will be hard put to pay. This, in spite of the fact that New Mexico passed a gambling bill years ago, with the millions of dollars from gambling to go to assist New Mexico residents to pay for education. Unfortunately, at least half of those dollars go to "Administrative" costs. Also, the University of New Mexico, which will have the largest tuition hike, has 28 Vice Presidents that earn $250,000 plus a year. Not to mention other lesser vice presidents and assistants that also earn big bucks. Could cutting their salaries balance the budget? probably not, but it would help if their salaries were cut some. I would think they could live on less. Most of the residents of the State do. And lastly, how often do you hear this from a T. V. news reporter. Stay tuned for a Live Interview. yeah! beats a dead interview every time. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WHY? WHY? WHY?

WHERE'S THE MIND SET? Recently, in the area where I live, there was a large grass fire. 1400 acres and 12 houses were burned, along with some out buildings and some equipment of residents. The fire was started by someone driving off the road into the grass and their catalytic converter started the fire. That is the official determination, any way. Shortly after that was over here, the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. That devastation is still on going, and makes our little fire seem meaningless. Of course it's not, at least for those affected by the fire. Still, with the many events going on worldwide, there is one thing that makes me ask the question. WHY? Not why the disasters. Those have been going on since the dawn of time. Oh Wait! What I am blogging about probably has also. That is the scam artists. Why call them artists? makes true artists look bad. Still, there are those contacting the victims of the fire offering false assistance. they are calling people and telling about places to donate money, where the donations are not accepted. Contractors, who are not authorized, offering help. The same thing is going on with a much larger scale with people trying to scam people out of money by donating to a false site to assist the Japanese. Where is the mind set of these people. With families in Japan looking for family members, children wandering around homeless, how can someone think of enriching themselves at the expense of those who only want to help. I just don't understand. What happened to the idea, it's mine, so you don't touch. Guess those days are long behind us. And more's the pity. I feel for those of my children and grandchildren that have to live in the current world. And the world yet to come is probably only going to get worse. And that's the Viewpoint the Scriptures give me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

IT'S GETTING CLOSE

TAX TIMES A COMING: You know the day. April 15. Tax day dead line. And with the economy for us and them like it is, them, namely governments, local state and federal, are looking for ways to increase their coffers. I just saw a report on the news that property taxes can go up if you change a sink in your house. Or build a shed in the back yard. Or even more if the shed has a cement floor. Cause that makes it more livable. But I was more interested in some of the innovative ways, read outrageous ways, that governments are coming up with to get our money. Try these. I think we are all aware of the so called Sin taxes. Here are some new ones that are on the books, or are being discussed to be put on the books. Taxes, that is, not all necessarily sin taxes, although most of them should be a sin for even being thought of. I will list the taxes, but not if they are on the books, or just being considered.
1. In Alabama, any one who purchases a deck of cards of 54 cards or less must pay a tax of 10 cents. If you get a deck with 55 cards, guess you don't have to pay.

2. In Utah, any business where Nude or partially Nude individuals perform any service have to pay a 10% sales and use tax. This tax is applied to all revenue from admission fees as well as merchandise, food, drink and services sales.

3. don't know if this one is State specific or all has all states involved, but it is part of the controversial Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act of 2010. There is now a 10% excise tax on using a tanning salon. This tax is expected to raise $2.7 billion dollars over ten years.

4. In Kentucky there is now a sales tax on any food classified as candy. But the definition of candy is controversial. A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is candy, but a Milky Way is not. The tax is also snaring some seemingly healthy foods. If a Breakfast bar contains natural or artificial sweeteners along with fruits, nuts or other healthy ingredients, but has no flour, and doesn't need refrigeration, it's considered candy, but breakfast cereals with the exact same ingredients are not.

5. In January, the New York City Fire department proposed a new Crash Tax. The proposal calls for a $500 dollar fine for anyone in an accident requiring emergency response vehicles at the scene. This stirred up some controversy.

6. A new haunted house tax would charge a sales tax on admission to a haunted house if the fee is over 10 Cents and includes music. But New York doesn't tax musical comedies, operas or chamber music shows.

7. In New York, if you buy a Bagel and take it home it is tax free, but if you buy one in a Bagel shop, and eat it there, you have to pay sales tax.

8. As of January, 2011, King County Washington, which includes Seattle, has instituted a $50 fee for reporting a death to the Medical Examiners office. If you don't pay, you don't get the permission and paperwork needed in order to be buried.

9.There is now an annual tax on brand name pharmaceutical companies. This is a corporation tax that is expected to raise $2.5 Billion in 2011. If you think you are not going to pay this tax also, think again.

10. There is also some tax rules going into effect on the FSA medical accounts. Since I have a definite opinion on FSA's, I won't go into these taxes. But if you use one, be prepared for some changes.

Just be prepared as governments take us into the red, while trying to get themselves out of the red, if they succeed, we will be left feeling blue. Just means we will be left spending less, while the tics spend more. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Sign Of The Times

A BALANCED BUDGET: Did you see the news where Rhode Island fired ALL of the school teachers. Some 19,000 plus or so. Then said that those that were needed would be hired back. If some of them weren't needed, why were they hired in the first place? The Federal Government, and most States are struggling to balance their budgets. Well, maybe not the Feds. Harry Reid and friends seem to get upset and carry on almost as bad as Charlie Sheen when the Republicans want to cut something from the budget. All that aside, the struggle goes on, and one of the favorite targets is education. So, I am going to weigh in on my uneducated opinion on what could be done.
First in my blog, if not first on a list, would be to eliminate pre kindergarten. Kindergarten would be acceptable, but get rid of the pre. Then, let the families feed their children breakfast, instead of the tax payers. Oh! I know all the arguments. families are poor, parents are too busy, Etc., Etc. I agree there are those that fit that mold. But not to the extent that the schools take care of. Then charge a fair price for school lunch. I know the above arguments will come into play once again. But many parents pay a lot more than that to go to lunch, so pay it for the kiddo's also. Stop letting the tax payer feed the kids.
Then look to administration. Ok, so the salaries of the top brass is just a minuscule part of the budget. But how much is wasted there. How many of those people could be done without? How many of them could use a salary cut and still make more than the average bear? And how many States provide free lunches during the summer to any one up to the age of 18. Are they really necessary? How much could be saved there? Do you see where this is going? A lot of it is just that. Free Lunches. In today's times, too many people look to the government for a handout, a free lunch. And don't want to take care of themselves. I have many family members involved in the education business, in one degree or another. As far as I know, all of it is involved with the education of children. So, instead of firing teachers en masse, the tics need to look at where the waste is. And if, and I repeat if, they have too many teachers, then take care of that problem. But it seems to me that too many of the tics want to cut the classroom, and keep the bloated people and programs that really could be eliminated with no ill affect to the students. And there are so many "free lunch" type of programs that could be done away with, at a cost savings of millions, if not billions. Programs that have nothing to do with education. Programs in other fields of endeavor besides education. Programs that did not even exist not so many years back. And that is where the tics really need to look. But of course these programs are some tics pet project, so they won't be considered for cuts. That would be bad for re election. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

REBELLION:

WHEN DID IT START: For those of a Bible reading kind of mind, it probably started in the pre-existence, when Lucifer rebelled against God and Jehovah and the plan for us to come to earth and gain a body. On that line of thought, it continued when Cain killed his brother Able. And it hasn't really stopped since. So, I will not detail the many rebellions that have happened down through the ages. As if I could. Lets just get to the present day. Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, just to name a few. And it continues. Even here in the good old U.S. of A. In Wisconsin. State legislatures that don't like the law some are trying to pass, left the State in so that the bill couldn't pass, for lack of majority. Other States legislatures are threatening to do the same thing. New Mexico hasn't made the news on that front yet, at least not the national news, but there have been rumors floating around the State, that they could do that if the Republicans and the Republican Governor insist on passing laws they don't like. Well, I thought this was supposed to be a government of the people, by the people, for the people. So I guess the PEOPLE need to rebel and tell the elected officials that they were elected to go to the State house or wherever they do their business, and do the business they were elected to do. If they want to pout and play childish games, then vote them out and vote for someone who wants to take care of State business. Or Federal business, for that matter. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Saturday, February 19, 2011

So, What's Next

THIS HAS BEEN QUITE A WEEK: Not a complaining type of week. Just somewhat different than I have had in quite some time. I haven't made it a habit to blog about myself or family. But this week, I think I will. So, for the few of you that actually read my drivel, you have been warned.
About three years ago, the man who I go to for my haircuts, ( OK, you can finish this when you quit laughing, ) ask me when I was going to retire. I, being over 65 years old at the time, said probably in a year or two. The barber, being more than a decade older than me, said, well, let me know when you decide, and I will retire with you. Two years ago I retired, he didn't. Said he had nothing to do if he wasn't working.
Now, to this week. Monday, last, I went back to work. In a mine, doing the same type of work I retired from, but with a contractor, rather than the mining company. The work is so familiar, that the first day was like being back to work after a long vacation. Oh! guess it was. On Thursday, February 17, my wife and I reached a milestone that few people reach. We "celebrated" 50 years of marriage. To each other. The day didn't go like I had envisioned the Golden wedding year would. I said "celebrated" because I, having just started a new job, went to work. My wife stayed home, feeling ill. We will celebrate later, after I retire again. Which definitely will not be 40 years. Nor even 40 months. Then this morning I went to the barber for a hair cut. A new barber was in the shop. My old barber had retired February 1st. Not cause he wanted to, but cause diabetes had taken so much of his eyesight, that he finally had to quit. Many people, like him, and myself, work way past the current considered time to retire. Work is a necessity of life. Even if you are financially healthy. But so is play. I just hope many of the younger generation realize that and combine the two, and not just get hooked on the thought of being able to play all the time. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Friday, February 11, 2011

For Richer or Poorer

IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY: My last blog was just a tongue in cheek type of blog about a situation that happened in this State last week. You can read that blog to see what I wrote. This blog is a little more serious follow up on that blog.
A lot of information has come out since my last blog. The natural gas service was cut off to several small towns in the northern part of the state, and service was curtailed to several others. With temperatures in the below freezing to as cold as below zero in many places, a lot of those families were without heat. Even after the "problem" was solved by the gas company, it was still several days before these people got their gas turned on. Governor Martinez called out the National Guard to assist with getting the gas turned back on. Police and fire department personnel from other cities also were called on, or volunteered, to help with this. The gas company officials could only say, they were doing the best they could. Result, frozen and broken water pipes, damaged gas lines and furnaces, due to the cessation of normal gas flow. FEMA has sent personnel in to asses the damage and if the State has more than a few million dollars in problems, they can offer assistance. In one of the affected towns, the people were told they could qualify for loans to help them. They said, "We don't want loans, we want answers". They might get the loans. So far, they aren't getting answers. Noted, most of those affected are some of the poorest in the State.
I have long voiced my opinion that Government's, local, State and Federal, need to cut their budgets and live like normal people have to. I have blasted, in this blog, those tics that bloat themselves on the blood of the people. I am still of that opinion. Now, I read in the paper this; "Obama to propose cuts in heating aid". The article said that the President wants to propose a cut of 2.5 Billion dollars in the fund to assist the poor with heating. In the coldest winter on record in many years. Once again. Who will this affect. The Poor. Again I say. Government needs to cut spending. But to do so at the expense of those most dependant is wrong. It seems to be the way, though. Of companies and governments. Why? Cause the rich can afford services and they can holler loud and long enough that the tics listen. Large cities and big business can do the same. So a gas company can turn off the gas of the poor, and get away with it. Well, the officials are trying to defend themselves before the New Mexico State legislature, starting today, and they are squirming. :-) Our newly elected governor is demanding answers, and is not playing patty cake with them. I don't think they like it. And she has publicly stated that if they can't prove what they say, they will pay. What do they say? It isn't their fault. The fault lies in Texas. If so, why? See previous blog. Maybe more truth than fiction there. And that is the View From The Ditch Bank

Monday, February 7, 2011

Out Of Gas

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT: Oh! that isn't exactly what it was. The headline in the irregular paper ( that's the local daily paper, except Sat. and Sun.) said "Governor declares state of emergency across New Mexico". What was that emergency. Well, I'll tell you, then we will explore the implications a bit. The emergency was, many places in the State had no natural gas service. That's the natural kind that is pumped from the ground. As a result, a few cities were cut off completely, and many more had gas curtailments, so that many citizens were with out any way to heat their homes. Result: frozen and busted pipes. Insurance claim amounts yet to be determined. But, how can that happen in a State that produces a hugh amount of the nation's natural gas and oil. That is the question that is now being ask by many of those serving in the State think tank. More commonly known as the legislature. The answer. We get our gas from Texas. And the Texas company that supplies said gas, said they had compressor problems, and couldn't pressurize the lines to get the gas to the State. So, in a week and a weekend that is the coldest on record in many places, ( extremely sub zero) and in others since way back in the 1960's, much of the State lost gas service. And many suffered. Even now, as I write this, there are still some areas of the state that is just now finally getting service returned to them. After many days of freezing. And living in shelters that have been set up by the cities involved. But as people lost gas service, they plugged in electric heaters, overloading the electrical circuits, causing rolling blackouts in some parts of the State, adding to the problem. And as many are getting gas service back, and pilot lights being relit, they are told, Oh! when the gas went off, it caused problems to your old furnace, so we can't light you up until you buy a new furnace. Cost! 4 to 6 thousand dollars. Lots of problems for many in the State. Due to a loss of gas. Why? Well,
lets explore this just a little bit. The good, the bad and the ugly. Oh! that's the title of a poor spaghetti western. Sorry. Just the bad and the good, then. As I ramble around this, you decide which is which. To start this exploration, the Green Bay Packers, won their division ( which ever one that was ) in football. The Pittsburgh Steelers won their division also. The division that the Packers didn't win. As a result of that, these two over paid teams met in the Dallas Cowboy Football Stadium to play in a bowl of Chili. Oh! not JUST a Chili Bowl, but a Super Bowl. One that produced a lot of gas, I would imagine. But I digress. The afore mentioned cold spell also hit Dallas. And it snowed there, and froze there. And the snow had to be removed from the roof of the Chili Bowl. And that takes a lot of heat. Not to mention heating it for the game. Which takes a lot of gas. And the fans that paid overly high prices to set in a warm seat and view the smash and grab. If they were lucky enough not to have one of the seats that was sold, but unsittable in. And where did said natural gas come from. Well, ummmm, lets just tell New Mexico we have compressor problems, and send that gas to Dallas, to heat up the roof of the chili bowl and get the ice and snow off it, and warm up those high priced fans seats, so they will want to come back sometime. Maybe even to root for the Cowboys. OK, so maybe I went a little too far with that one, but the real Cowboy fans can always hope. And for the good. If Chicago had won the division, ( which ever one it was ) instead of the Packers, then the Bears would have been in the bowl of Chili and the President and his family were going to attend. Yep, that's the one. You know, the President of the U.S. of A. But Chicago lost, the first family didn't attend, and the taxpayers won. Always some good comes out of disaster somewhere. And That's The View From The Ditch Bank

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

View From The Ditch Bank

IS IT DELIBERATE OR IGNORANCE?: I am posting today about politics. Mostly New Mexico politics, but not totally. So, having that warning, continue at your own risk.
As if such disasters as the recent flooding and now a cyclone bearing down on Queensland, Australia, the bitter cold and snowy weather in the United States, and the affect that has on millions of people in both countries, there is always the politics going on. And if that isn't enough, you have the recent events in Tunisia, and now in Egypt, and possibly expanding to other Arabic countries, the world political scene is almost boggling to the mind. Well, my mind, any way. I have enough trouble keeping up with what is going on locally, much less the national scene or the international scene. So, I'll get down to it.
Monday, Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, spoke to a group in El Paso, Texas. Her theme. Border cities are safer than people say they are. The reports of the danger are just political hype and should be stopped. That is not a direct quote, but a statement that took several paragraphs in the local paper to say. This statement was made just across the border from Juarez, Mexico, where 6,000 people have been murdered in just the last two years. And close to 30,000 in the last 6. Where drug violence spills across the border at times. Just like it has in Arizona, at times. Maybe she needs to talk to the family members of the U.S. citizens who have been victims of that violence. Napolitano quoted a lot of statistics, said a lot of money has been, and is being, spent on border security. Still, the violence goes on. Maybe if the Federal government would allow the States to practice illegal immigration enforcement, the U.S. of A wouldn't have to spend so much time and money trying to enforce a law that the federal government seems to be reluctant to enforce. Colorado is in the process of crafting a law modeled after, but different from, the embattled illegal immigration law in Arizona. They say they are crafting it so it won't get struck down. We will see.
Our own new Governor, Susana Martinez, has signed an executive order rescinding the previous governor's order that made New Mexico a sanctuary state. She also signed an order rescinding the former Governor's order, so that now Police Officers are allowed to inquire about a person's immigration status, if they are being arrested for a crime. Let me repeat that. They can ask IF THE PERSON IS BEING ARRESTED FOR A CRIME. The cannot ask it of a person who witnessed a crime, is a victim of a crime , or is asking for police assistance. They cannot ask if the person is stopped for a traffic violation. Only for the above capitalized reason. Yet; a civil rights group protested her order saying "New Mexicans should not have to fear that a broken tail light or other pretextual stop will lead to their arrest because of the color of their skin." This was said by a director of the ACLU. Read that statement, along with the statement by Napolitano, and then read the title to this blog. You just have to wonder. Are they really so ignorant? Or, are they trying to stir up trouble?
Has any one ever heard of Katie's law. Governor Martinez wants to expand that law in the State of New Mexico, by making it a law for ALL persons arrested for a felony to give a DNA sample to be entered into the national data base. I hope the Legislature passes that one. Mrs. Martinez is trying to bring back a lot of the stiffer laws and sentences that have gone by the way side in the last 8 years. She will have a hard row to hoe on a lot of this, with the State budget in the red and the State of the State unemployment. Still, she is trying. So far, I am behind her all the way. Stay tuned for future updates in the future. (Wouldn't it be funny to give a future update in the past). And that is The View From The Ditch Bank

Friday, January 28, 2011

View From The Ditch Bank

I took this picture a couple of years ago. I have made it my blog post picture for a while. Sometimes a person just has to wonder what the people that lived here would think if they could see the world of today. Just what would their view of the world be. Since this is obviously on a hill side, would this be their "view from a ditch bank?" Their world view would be very narrow, compared to ours of today. And it would probably not cover a lot of territory. Since there is not space there to grow any thing, they would have to go at least a couple of miles from here to plant any thing. Since there is a corn crib on the property, I can only assume that they did go planting somewhere. Or did a brisk trade with some other people somewhere in the area. Several miles from here is a very fertile farming area. When it rains. At least there is now. Wonder what there was then? Hunting was also probably high on their list of existence. And existence is what they were all about, I would assume. Shelter, a safe defence from any enemies, including the weather,marauding animals or enemy tribes. Something to wear, and food, would be high on their list of necessities. While this probably was a tribal thing, family would be of paramount importance also, I would think. And when it comes right down to it, aren't these things what all of us are about. Even now. And that is The View From The Ditch Bank