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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

What Do You Know About Urinals?

     If you’re a man you have used them, but what do you really know about them? 
     Since its appearance in the United States following the Civil War, the urinal has played a role in a variety of important changes in American history, many of which involve social progress. 
     First patented by Andrew Rankin in the United States immediately following the Civil War, he introduced an upright flushing apparatus in 1866 and they were an immediate hit. 
     Originally they were the cost effective trench model...just what the name implies, they were long trenches, but the single unit was a hit even though they were not as cost effective as the no flush trench models with a single drain.
     For businesses, especially factories, there was more to it than that though. In the long run single urinals were more cost effective because they drastically reduced the amount of space required for a men’s restroom because several urinals could occupy the same square footage of a single, sit-down toilet stall. Also, it was discovered that workers spent less time using a urinal than a sit-down toilet. 
     During the late 1800s, theories regarding worker productivity abounded, the most common of which was Taylorism which highlighted the need to maximize efficiency by standardizing methods and practices while minimizing interruptions. Moving restrooms closer to the factory floor and creating space for the easy to use urinal made them a hit with cost conscious factory managers. 
     The growth of cities also meant an increased need for public restrooms. During the early part of the twentieth century, European city planners sought to capitalize on the popularity of the urinal and designed outdoor public urinals known as pissoirs. Also called vespasiennes, these public booths were quite popular in France and other large European cities. Pissoirs were only available for use by men. Following World War II, urinals for women were experimented with but were found awkward to use. 
     Urinal design has only increased in the last thirty years. The increased tendency of children to accompany their parents necessitated the manufacture of smaller urinals for children and even larger than normal urinals were created for tall people. Sometimes in airports one sees urinals set at three different levels, and it’s not uncommon for may public places to have them at two different levels. 
     The no-touch urinal, which utilizes an infrared motion proximity sensor to activate the flushing mechanism are the cutting edge of urinal technology. There’s also a health benefit by minimizing contact with germs. 
     The most recent innovation is the water-free urinal. What will they think of next? They claim savings of up to 40,000 gallons of water per year simply by switching to water-free technology. 
     You'll find waterless urinals in crowded public restrooms. Building owners saw that by using dry urinals, they'd save money on water and sewer charges for thousands of flushes. They're installed in the New York Mets Citi Field Stadium and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.  Waterless urinals are also popping up in states that suffer droughts. Arizona made waterless urinals mandatory in its state buildings in 2005 . 
     You can also buy a waterless urinal for your home. They’re money savers if you have a house full of males. A family with four males, each flushing the 1.5-gallon toilet three times a day will save 6,552 gallons of water a year by installing and using a waterless urinal. To put that in perspective, somebody figured out that the average American uses 17.2 gallons of water every day just to shower. So, all that water dad and his three sons would use to flush the toilet after peeing means enough water would be saved so that dad could shower 381 times for “free.” 
     How do they work?  Waterless urinals look like regular urinals without a pipe for water intake. Men use them normally, but the urinals don't flush. Instead, they drain by gravity. Their outflow pipes connect to a building's conventional plumbing system. In other words, unlike a composting toilet, which leaves you to deal with your waste, these urinals send the urine to a water treatment plant. 
     Urinal designs differ by the technology in the drain. Basically, they are a plastic basin whose pipe plugs into the wall plumbing. Other companies put a trap (it's a cup) in the drain, which they say stifles urine odors. 
     You fill the trap/cup with water and a proprietary liquid, usually oil. The liquid simply has to float on the water. The urine sinks, and gases can't rise through the oil. You do have to replace the traps, from every three months to 7,000 flushes, which costs money. In any case you periodically clean the urinal by pouring gallons of water down the drain and replacing the proprietary oil, which is neither cheap nor entirely waterless.

Chicken Feet...Yummy!

     Most everyone is familiar with the health benefits of homemade bone broth which is valued for its nutritional significance, versatility and overall deliciousness. Bone broth has been known for centuries to aid in joint health, immunity, gut health, and it’s rich in vitamins and minerals. 
     Few are aware that adding chicken feet increase all those benefits because they are comprised of entirely bones, tendons, and cartilage. Chicken feet contain zero actual muscle, which is known in the culinary world as “meat.” Two, they’re basically all skin and tendons. 
     They’re very gelatinous, which is a texture that’s popular in Asia but not nearly so common in America. So before eating them realize it could be an acquired taste. Basically though they taste like chicken. 
     Before preparing chicken feet it’ a good idea to peel them. Why? Because when chickens are walking around the barnyard they aren’t particular about where they step and their feet are covered with, well, you know what it is. Second, the skin can tend to give the stock a bit of an odd taste. 
     They can also be fried and served with soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and/or Asian seasonings. They should be eaten like wings...just gnaw away. 

Deep Fried Chicken Feet Recipes

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Rootie Kazootie

     Rootie Kazootie was the principal character on the 1950s children's television show The Rootie Kazootie Club. 
     The show featured human actors along with hand puppets. The show first aired locally as The Rootie Tootie Club on the New York NBC affiliate on October 14, 1950. 
     Since the title character regularly used a magical kazoo, which he called his "Magic Kazootie," the kids began calling him "Rootie Kazootie." Following the kids' lead, the names of the show and the character were changed with the December 26 show. NBC began broadcasting the show nationally on July 2, 1951. 
     Rootie Kazootie was a boy "keen on sports" who played his "magic kazootie" and wore his signature baseball cap with the oversized bill turned up. A puppeteer controlled his movements, along with those of the "great Mexican catador" called El Squeako Mouse. 
     Life-sized human characters included host and "chief rooter" Todd ("Big Todd") Russell, and the non-speaking policeman Mr. Deetle Dootle. 
     The show was performed live in front of a studio audience of schoolchildren who also were active participants. They joined in singing the theme song, proclaiming at the beginning of each show, "Who is the boy who is full of zip and joy? He's Rootie Kazootie!" A regular feature was the "Quiz-a-Rootie" in which audience members received prizes for themselves and home viewers for answering simple questions.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Living In The 1950s

     Most Americans think of the 1950s as a time when babies were booming, jobs were plentiful and the country was flourishing. And, people living in the 1950s had reason to feel the same way because the average yearly income rose from $3,210 in 1950 to $5,010 in 1959. It was also a time when post-war Americans were enjoying access to products and services that were scarce during World War II. More disposable income lead to consumerism. 
     Back in the 1950s, most families owned only one car and that saved on insurance, gas, and maintenance. There was no central air conditioning, internet, or cable bills. TV, if you owned one was free, and many families didn’t own a television; they listened to the radio in the evenings. There were no dishwashers and even in homes that had a washer there was no dryer. People hung clothes outside to dry and in bad weather clothes were hung on racks or clotheslines indoors. 
Not all ads would be acceptable today

    Eating out? It was rare and fast food was not “normal.” A lot of people grew gardens and some even canned fruits and vegetables. Few had freezers. My father used to buy hamburger, roasts and steaks and they were stored in a rented freezer room at a place called Mack’s. Women did the ironing and the cleaning and the cooking. If you got sick you went to the doctor, but if you got really sick, you died. 
     The American dream of owning a home began in the 1950s. There were 16 million returning WWII veterans looking to buy homes and the GI Bill offered them liberal home loans. Home builders began applying assembly-line methodology by using panel construction and drywall rather than wet plaster creating lookalike cookie cutter tract housing and giving birth to suburbs. 
     The average size of a new single-family home in 1950 was only 983 square feet. Compare that to the average new home built in 2004...2,349 square feet. In those days people thought it was normal for 2-3 kids to share a bedroom. The median home price in the United States in 1950 was $7,354 ($71,360 in today's dollars), compared to 2015 when it was $281,500. 
     The standard was to have just one car. At the beginning of the decade, the average sticker price for a new car was $1,510 ($14,650 in today's dollars). Modern new car prices average $33,560 in 2015. 

     On the downside, cars of the 1950s had shorter lifespans and required a great deal more maintenance than modern cars do. You had to adjust ignition points and timing, which started going south the moment you drove it. 
     And they rusted. Many people owned cars with holes rusted through the floor which is why my father always paid extra for undercoating. Cars typically lasted no more than 60,000 to 80,000 miles. 
     TV sets were expensive...around $200 in the 1950s ($1,600-$1,950 in modern dollars). TV shows from the 1950s often depicted people living in homes that were atypical for most Americans and it caused people to yearn for their own homes to look like those seen on TV. 
     Advertising agencies realized that teens were a lucrative group to target since they had leisure time and spending power, unlike previous generations of adolescents. So television commercials were geared toward the new demographic, teenagers. Television created a desire for houses, cars, and anything else advertised, not just for teens but for adults. 

Best 1950's vintage TV commercial ads

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Alternatives to Wikipedia

     Wikipedia is a nonprofit organization that began in January 2001 and is a repository of knowledge, maintained on servers in various countries and built by anyone in the world with a computer and an Internet connection who wants to share knowledge about a subject. Literally hundreds of thousands of people have written Wikipedia entries. 
     Wikipedia describes itself as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” and so it’s no wonder that it has garnered so much bad press because how can millions of anonymous contributors be completely factual and unbiased?
     Supposedly studies show Wikipedia is 99.5 percent accurate, but are only bout 84 percent complete and show that it nine out of 10 of its health entries, and should be treated with caution. Scientists in the US compared entries about conditions such as heart disease, lung cancer, depression and diabetes with peer-reviewed medical research. Journalists consulting Wikipedia have occasionally been embarrassed by repeating mistaken or fake information. On the plus side, a study in the journal Nature said that in 2005, Wikipedia's scientific articles came close to the level of accuracy in Encyclopedia Britannica.
     There are alternative sources of information that can be used independently or for crosschecking information contained in Wikipedia. 

Scholarpedia is written by scholars. Experts must be either invited or elected before they are assigned certain topics and, although the site is still editable by anyone like a wiki, updates must first be approved before they are made final. Articles are peer reviewed. 

With what the site refers to as “gentle oversight”, all articles are subject to approval by the site’s editorial team. Articles that haven’t been approved will have an accompanying disclaimer, which helps to prevent people from taking potentially false information to heart. Also, you must register under your real name to become a contributor, unlike Wikipedia. 

Encyclopedia Britannica Online 
This is probably the best option. The Encyclopedia Brittanica has been transferred to Web format, in addition to multimedia features and an easy search tool. Updates to the site’s entries are made by professionals. Full access isn’t free, a subscription fee costs $69.95 a year. Major universities will accept the site as a reliable source when citing information in a research paper, something Wikipedia can’t claim. 

Infoplease is a free online encyclopedia that is a part of Pearson Education, the largest educational book distributor in the world. All of the information found on the site is gathered from trusted sources. Entries may be limited in size when compared to Wikipedia, but you can be sure that all the information is accurate and incapable of being edited by outside users. 

Some may want to view this site with caution because it is a conservative, Christian-influenced wiki encyclopedia that was created as a response to Wikipedia’s alleged left-wing bias. The information found on this site is free of foul language, sexual topics and anything else deemed offensive by the site’s editorial staff. If you feel that Wikipedia shows a strong bias toward liberal views, then Conservapedia may well present the opposite side. 
     An interesting feature is the site’s free resource for conservative courses. You do not need permission to use and copy these materials for educational purposes. Course are: 
American Government and the Constitution 
World History 
American History 
Government and Politics 
     These courses are complete, with lectures, homework assignments, model answers and exams, ut you do not have to sign up or obtain approval to use these materials for educational purposes. Home school groups are particularly welcome to use and distribute these materials.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Don’t Wash That Dirty Coffee Cup!

     There’s probably no need to wash out that stained mug. According to infectious disease experts it’s perfectly safe to refill your dirty cup provided you’re not sharing it with others. But, as you read on, you’ll see that if you wash the cup at work you probably are indirectly sharing it with others. The only caveat is if you leave cream or sugar in your mug over the weekend, that can certainly cause mold to grow. 
     Of course there are germs crawling all over your dirty coffee cup, but they are yours, so there’s no danger you’re going to infect yourself from the cup. And, if it’s your coffee cup at work, washing it in the office sink with a communal sponge is not a good idea because the sponge in the break room probably has the highest bacteria count of anything in the office. 
     What about fecal bacteria? A study published in The Journal of Dairy, Food, and Environmental Sanitation noted that 90 percent of office coffee mugs were coated with germs and 20 percent actually had fecal matter on them. Your chance of coming into contact with E. coli actually increases if your mug has been wiped down with the office dishcloth or sponge. 
     It’s probably not surprising that a 2012 study led by Dr. Scott Kelley of the University of California found men’s offices had significantly more bacteria than women’s. The bacteria they discovered came from skin, nasal, oral and intestinal cavities. 
     But, nasty fecal bacteria is found everywhere...office furniture, phones, fast food chains, public places, gym weights and even money. As one clinical professor of microbiology and pathology put it, “We are bathed, as a society, in human feces.” Usually after going to the toilet we have around 200 million bacteria per square inch on each hand and can transfer them to five more surfaces or 14 other subjects. Bottom line...at work you’re safer not washing your cup.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Sports and Ugly Parents

     Research shows parents’ aggressive behavior on the sidelines is embarrassing to young athletes, making them lose confidence and even quit the sport. 
     In a recent high school basketball game one young star player repeatedly complained to the referees that his opponent was hanging onto him and fouling him and at one point asked the referees to, “Keep that kid off me.” They ignored they request. And, when the star took a forearm to the throat, that was enough. Several lightening blows to the offenders face put him on the floor. When he struggled to his feet and attacked the star, the star’s 12-year old brother came out of the stands and landed a few punches that caused the attacker to have second thoughts about continuing the fracas. As the 12-year old explained, “I was just helping my brother.” 
     The aftermath was that both players were benched by their coaches, but some adults in the stands were threatening the 12-year old to the point that he and his father needed a police escort out of the gym. 
     In most sports activities, fathers are behind their kids and many are willing to help in any way they can. But, all too often parents (mothers, too) are aggressively living their sporting fantasies through their kids and exhibit what researchers call the Ugly Parent Syndrome or Parent Rage. 
     In Australia, Flinders University has done research on this subject and has determined that parents' behavior had a profound impact on their child's participation in sports, both good and bad. 
     The report said parents' verbal behavior towards children, officials and coaches, which is quite common, can be problematic and there is a clear emphasis on performance, playing well and, for some parents, winning. For some parents, it's much more serious than having fun or participating and they lose sight of the fact that it’s just kids. 
     Some parents are prone to providing excessive instruction and putting down their child in front of others, coaching from the sidelines and verbally harassing their child. The research found that children did not prosper under these conditions and they lose motivation, which resulted in immediate or future disengagement from sports. 
     I remember being at a chess tournament and seeing a mother shaking her daughter who looked to be 8 or 10 years old by the shoulder and screaming at her for losing because she did not play the opening the way her mother had told her. The poor girl was sobbing uncontrollably. The whole incident was disgusting.
     For kids, parents’ behavior can result in physical ailments ranging from headaches to stomach aches and muscle pains and psychological disturbances typically including emotional volatility, prolonged depression and a lowering of self-esteem. 

     It's hard for me to grasp a situation where a 12-year old kid needed a police escort from the gym because he was being threatened and harassed by adults for what was basically a fight between kids...something we all had in our youth.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing Didn't It Rain

Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing Didn't It Rain in 1964 in Manchester, England as part of The British Tours of "The American Folk Blues Festival. 

     Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915 – October 9, 1973) was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist who attained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings, characterized by a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic accompaniment that was a precursor of rock and roll. 
     She influenced early rock-and-roll musicians, including Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. 
     As a pioneer in guitar technique she was among the first popular recording artists to use heavy distortion on her electric guitar, presaging the rise of electric blues. Her guitar playing technique had a profound influence on the development of British blues in the 1960s. 
     Her performances were curtailed by a stroke in 1970, after which one of her legs was amputated as a result of complications from diabetes. On October 9, 1973, the eve of a scheduled recording session, she died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as a result of another stroke.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sunday, February 17, 2019

This is interesting...

     Leaders lose mental capacities, most notably for reading other people, that were essential to their rise to power. That explains a lot of what we see happening in politics. The generation that once declared not to trust anyone over 30 now appears to trust few under 70. 
     In the U.S. government the average age of a congressional representative is 59, with leaders in their 70s and 80s and the average age of congressional representatives has been increasing since 1981 and today, typically, congressional representatives are 20 years older than their constituents. The highest levels of American politics bear an uncomfortable resemblance to a gerontocracy, a state, society, or group governed by old people and top positions are held more and more by people in their 70s or above. 
     Historian Henry Adams ((February 16, 1838 – March 27, 1918), an American historian and member of the Adams political family, described power as “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.” Perhaps he was more right than we know. 
      Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at UC Berkeley, studied subjects under the influence of power and found in studies spanning two decades, acted as if they had suffered a traumatic brain injury by becoming more impulsive, less risk-aware and less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view. 
     Also, Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University in Ontario, recently described something similar. Obhi studies brains and when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power impairs a specific neural process called mirroring. His conclusion was that once a person has power, they lose some of the capacities they needed to gain it in the first place. 
     In a 2009 article published in The Brain, he and co-author Jonathan Davidson termed it the Hubris syndrome, defined as “a disorder of the possession of power, particularly power which has been associated with overwhelming success, held for a period of years and with minimal constraint on the leader.” 
     There’s also an effect on their followers. People tend to mimic the expressions and body language of their superiors. And at the same time, the powerful stop mimicking others which is called empathy deficit. 
     Something called mirroring which is a subtler kind of mimicry that goes on entirely within a person mind. When we watch someone perform an action, the part of the brain we would use to do that same thing lights up in sympathetic response. These changes are sometimes harmful. 
     Susan Fiske, a Princeton psychology professor, has argued that power lessens the need for a nuanced read of people, since it gives command of resources that once had to be cajoled from others. But, many leaders cross the line into folly. Less able to make out people’s traits, they rely on stereotype and the less they’re able to see.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Who Murdered William Desmond Taylor?

     Along with other Hollywood scandals, William Desmond Taylor's murder in February 1922, which also involved two of Hollywood's biggest stars at the time led to a frenzy of sensationalist and often fabricated newspaper reports. The murder remains an official cold case. Taylor was shot in his home in the middle of the night and his death right in the midst of a slew of show business scandals and his murder led to titillating stories about life in Hollywood. 
     Police discovered the body of film director William Desmond Taylor in his Los Angeles bungalow and when they responded to a call about a “natural death” at the home of Taylor they found actors, actresses and studio executives rummaging through the director’s belongings. He also found Taylor lying on the living room floor with a bullet in his back. 
     By the 1910s, the motion picture industry was beginning to take off and so was the Taylor’s career. He started as an actor and became a director, but ultimately, what Taylor came to be remembered for most was his murder and the mystery surrounding it. 

    Taylor was born in Ireland on April 26, 1872 and was sent to a finishing school in Kansas when he was 18 and fell in love with America. Between 1914 and 1915, he landed roles in several silent films and made his directorial debut with The Awakening.
     Over the next seven years, which included a stint in the Army during the end of WWI, Taylor directed at least 40 more films. In his role as Captain Alvarez in 1914, he rode a horse at full gallop across a rope bridge, a stunt that the publicity department dubbed the most dangerous in cinema history. Taylor was also made the president of the Motion Picture Directors Association. 
     On the night of February 2, 1922, a valet named Henry Peavey had just found his boss dead on the floor of his duplex with a bullet between his neck and shoulder. When Peavey discovered the body the first people he notified wasn’t the police department, it was Taylor’s employer, Paramount. The movie studio immediately sent people to search Taylor’s home for letters, illegal liquor and other items that could prove incriminating to either the director or the studio’s stars. 
     By the time the police showed up, papers had been removed and the crime scene was being cleaned. The investigation proceeded, but with so much physical evidence lost or compromised coupled with allegations that the police force was corrupt, there was little chance of solving the murder. But, when police did inspect the scene, they ruled out robbery and said there had been no forced entry. 
     Those were the facts. Everything after that consisted of revelations about the secret life of Hollywooders, conflicting witness accounts and gossip. 
     During the investigation that followed details flooded the police reports. Neighbors reported hearing a gunshot sound on the night of the murder and a few witnesses claimed to have seen a man with dark hair leave Taylor’s apartment the night before. It was reported the actress Taylor was seeing at the time, Mabel Norman, was the last person to see him alive. A neighbor may have seen the murderer leaving Taylor's bungalow and said the person with whom she made eye contact and who smiled at her may have been a woman dressed as a man. 

     Her story was that she stopped by to grab a couple of books and Taylor expressed worry over his valet Peavey, who he had just bailed out of jail for soliciting young men and over his secretary, who had disappeared after forging checks. 
     Adding to the confusion was the fact that Taylor had allegedly been dead for twelve hours before the police showed up. There was also gossip that when the police did show up, Hollywood executives were burning papers in the fireplace. 
     A list of suspects was drawn up. It was rumored that actress Mabel Normand was a cocaine addiction and it was also rumored that Taylor had gone to the federal government to help catch the dealers who were selling to her. Hence, the rumor that the drug dealers put out a hit on Taylor. 
     Another actress who Taylor supposedly had an affair with, Mary Miles Minter, was also a suspect and there was a possibility the murder was committed out of jealousy. Throw in Minter’s mother, Charlotte Shelby, as a suspect because it was known that she was enraged with the 49-year-old Taylor for his affair with her teenage daughter. 
     Further, the investigation turned up that Charlotte Shelby allegedly owned a rare .38-caliber pistol and some unique bullets which were very similar to the kind that killed Taylor. That evidence was deemed insufficient for an indictment of Shelby. 
     Edward Sands was another suspect. He was a con artist who worked as Taylor’s houseman, stole $5,000 from Taylor and disappeared after leaving Taylor a note in which he mocked him. A few days before his death, Taylor began receiving hang-up phone calls. Who was making them was never determined. 
     Then things got even stranger. Two days after the murder, it was discovered that Taylor had a secret past working as a traveling thespian, an antique dealer, a hotel night clerk and a Yukon prospector. It turned out that William Desmond Taylor wasn’t his real name; it was William Cunningham Deanne-Tanner, and he was married to a woman in New York named Ethel May Harrison and the two had a daughter. He had abandoned both to move to Hollywood. 
     Harrison, who was a member of a popular dance troupe called the Florodora Sextette, hadn’t heard from her husband since October 23, 1908. He had just up and vanished and she was surprised to see him by chance in the moves in 1919. It was equally weird that Taylor had a brother, Dennis Deane Tanner, who disappeared from New York in 1912. 
     After the murder, 300 people around the country confessed to the murder, but there was never enough evidence found to arrest anybody and to this day, the case is unsolved. 
     Silent film actress Margaret Gibson was said to have confessed to Taylor’s murder on her deathbed in 1964. She had worked with Taylor on various films, but not much is known about their relationship or her alleged motive for the crime. 
     Gibson herself was an interesting person. On November 2, 1923 (21 months after Taylor's murder), she was arrested at her home in Los Angeles on federal felony charges involving an alleged nationwide blackmail and extortion ring. 
     She was subsequently charged with extortion when a victim told authorities he had paid Gibson $1,155 to avoid prosecution for a reputed violation of the Mann Act, a law that made it a crime to transport women across state lines "for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose." Gibson was also said to be connected to two convicted blackmailers who had pleaded guilty the preceding week to extorting $10,000 from Ohio banker. The charges were later dropped by the district attorney's office. 
     On October 21, 1964, living in Hollywood, Gibson suffered a heart attack at her home. Becoing distraught, sensed that she was dying and having recently converted to Roman Catholicism she asked for a priest and then confessed to neighbors that she had murdered Taylor. 
     She had made similar remarks during the early 1960s. While watching a local television program, which featured a short segment about the unsolved murder of Taylor 40 years earlier, Gibson supposedly became hysterical and blurted out that she'd killed him and thought it was long forgotten. 
     Gibson was in Los Angeles at the time of the murder, but her name was never mentioned and no documentation refers to any association between Taylor and her after 1914. Because Taylor was murdered at the same time that Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was was on trial for manslaughter involving the death of an actress, the question of motive comes up. Did it have anything to do with blackmail and revelations concerning the secret lives of Hollywood celebrities?
     The case will forever remain a mystery because all of the police files and physical evidence relating to Taylor's murder had disappeared by 1940.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Who Makes the Laws?!

     Today with many people and the media hollering for, among other things, stricter gun control laws or eliminating ownership altogether, I was amazed to discover this: in Kennesaw, Georgia owning a gun is technically required by law by every head of household residing in the city limits. Exceptions are made for heads of households who suffer a physical or mental disability which would prohibit them from using a firearm. While it may be the law, the police department says it isn't actually enforced. 
    A lot of the local population assume that the law dates back to the town's founding, but it was actually enacted in 1982 as a kind of a crime deterrent. It was enacted as a political statement when the city of Morton Grove, Illinois had passed a city ordinance banning handguns from their city limits. The Morton Grove law was upheld in 1984 by the Illinois Supreme Court. 
     The US Constitution’s Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” But the argument rages as to the meaning of the second amendment. 

Argument 1) The individual-right holds that the right of individuals to own and possess firearms was confirmed by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) 
Argument 2) The "purpose" clause of the Amendment refers to a well regulated Militia as being necessary to the security of a free State. This view holds that the right to bear arms belongs to the people collectively rather than to individuals, under the belief that the right's only purpose is to enable states to maintain a militia. 
Argument 3) This view holds that the right to keep and bear arms exists only for individuals actively serving in the militia, and then only pursuant to such regulations as may be prescribed. 

     Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia in 2008 wrote that the right to bear arms is not unlimited and is subject to reasonable prohibitions and regulations and subsequently federal court rulings have upheld existing gun prohibitions and regulations 
     Today judges themselves create legislation by their decrees for or against laws passed by state and federal legislatures and these judges, unlike representatives and senators, are not elected by the public; they are appointed.
     Before rendering a decision they should conduct a thorough investigation into what the Constitution says about the legal question at hand, but they often ignore what it says. 
     In 2003, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that she and her fellow justices are now looking to international law to guide their decisions. Why? Her answer: because the US laws are out of step with the rest of the world and need to be changed. 
Spitting on the Constitution

     Justice Stephen Breyer was asked if the Constitution will be sufficient to govern America in the future. He replied that it’s becoming more and more one world with many different kinds of people. And our Constitution may now longer fit in with the rest of the world. 
     When Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the majority opinion in the most controversial Supreme Court decision in history, Roe v. Wade concerning abortion, he cited the 14th Amendment's right to privacy. 
     What is in the 14th Amandment? I looked it up and it does not mention privacy. 

Section 1 makes it illegal to deprive anyone of life, liberty or property without due process of law or deny any person equal protection under the law. 
Section 2 pertains to electing representatives.
Section 3 prohibits people who have been involved in treason from serving in the military or holding Federal office. 
Section 4 concerned the country's public debts. 

     Sometimes judges make rulings based on their personal whims, emotions and family problems. The Supreme Court has hijacked power. Legally, the Supreme Court only has jurisdiction over lower Federal courts, not all courts, and Congress. Congress could, if they wanted to, exercise its power to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts. Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, but legally they can also be impeached, just like presidents. 
     Today, Kennesaw, a town of about 33,000, has had one murder in the last six years and a violent crime rate of below two percent. But it's unclear whether that has anything to do with the gun law. City officials say their relationship with the community is a key factor in maintaining public safety. 

    In spite of what the media might have people believe, Kennasaw is not the Wild West where everybody walks around with a gun strapped on and shootouts occur in the streets. It's strictly a home defense law. The law does present food for thought.

     A 2016 study lead by epidemiologist Anthony Fabio of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health discovered that legal gun owners commit less than a fifth of all gun crimes. 
     The researchers were primarily interested in how legal guns made their way from a legal purchase from a firearm dealer or a private sale to an illegal gun used in a crime. After all almost all guns start out as legal. 
     Many stolen guns weren't reported by the owners as stolen until after police contacted them when the gun was used in a crime. One of the more disturbing findings was that 62 percent were cases in which the legal owner lost possession and didn’t know how, when or where. Surprisingly, only 10 states and Washington DC have laws requiring owners to report stolen guns! Also, in may cases a person purchased a gun from a dealer without disclosing that they're buying it for someone else and that is illegal under federal law.
     It seems the facts don’t support the idea that strict gun control laws are the answer.  However, given the above facts about owners not knowing or reporting stolen guns, it would seem that some training for gun owners should be mandatory.
     I have both a pilot's license and a driver's license and before getting either I was required to be tested to demonstrate a minimum level of proficiency in their operation, plus a test was administered to make sure I knew what the laws were when it came to operating both.  

     Back when we purchased our cat, they wouldn't sell her to us until we filled out a form demonstrating we knew something about the responsibilities of owning a pet.  Not so when it comes to guns.  Strange.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Whatever happened to Jimmy Hoffa?

     On July 31, 1975, James Riddle Hoffa, one of the most influential American labor leaders of the 20th century, disappeared in Detroit, Michigan, never to be heard from again. What happened to him? 
     The popular belief is that he was the victim of a Mafia hit although conclusive evidence has never found and his death remains shrouded in mystery to this day. 
     Born in 1913 to a poor coal miner in Brazil, Indiana, Hoffa proved a natural leader in his youth. At the age of 20, he helped organize a labor strike in Detroit. His charisma and talents as a local organizer quickly got him noticed by the Teamsters and he steadily move upward through the ranks. Originally a small but rapidly growing union, the Teamsters organized truckers across the country and through strikes, boycotts and some not so legal methods of protest, won contract demands on behalf of members. 
     Hoffa became their president in 1957 when its former leader was imprisoned for bribery. As president, Hoffa was praised for his work to expand the union, and for his devotion to its members. He used to tell even the east powerful members, “You got a problem? Call me. Just pick up the phone.” 

     Hoffa was also popular for his electrifying public speeches which made him popular with union members, politicians and businessmen. But, he had dark side. 
     At the time, many Teamster leaders, including Hoffa, were in cahoots with the Mafia in racketeering, extortion and embezzlement. They were the target of several government investigations throughout the 1960s and in 1967, Hoffa was convicted of bribery and sentenced to 13 years in prison. 
     While in jail, Hoffa remained president of the Teamsters and when President Richard Nixon commuted his sentence in 1971, he was ready to get back to work, but he was released on the condition of not participating in union activities for 10 years. 
     His plan was to fight the restriction in court when he disappeared from the parking lot of a restaurant in Detroit never to be seen again. 

Further reading: 
The real story of the man who murdered Jimmy Hoffa 
Seven theories about Hoffa’s disappearance

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Riding in a Tin Can

     Tin Can Sailors is a US Navy term used to refer to sailors serving on destroyers. Destroyers are sometimes referred to as greyhounds of the sea. 
     A destroyer is a fast, maneuverable long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller powerful short-range attackers. 
     Destroyers are about 500 feet long with a 66 foot beam and a 30 foot draft although the Arleigh Burke-class are actually larger and more heavily armed than most previous destroyers. The big Arleigh Burke–class destroyers might typically burn a minimum of about 1,000 gallons of fuel per hour. At flank speed the average modern US Navy destroyer can travel at flank speed up to about 46 miles per hour for a few hours. 
     Serving on a destroyer can result in some rough rides: