Wile, Wit, Wisdom & Weaponry

Ruminations, Opinions & Debate about the world as I see it and the toys that make it bearable!

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Location: TEXAS, United States

-Defender of the Second Amendment, the "little guy", free market system, liberty and freedom from government!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

News Reporters...

I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with news reporters who continue to hype every story they get their hands on. Whatever happened to reporting news for what it is - answering the simple questions: Who? What? Why? Where? -and- When?

Read this article from Yahoo today: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061121/sc_afp/mexicoastronomytelescope_061121171222

The line that immediately caught my eye is-
"At 2,000 tonnes and 115 million dollars, its 50-meter (164-yard) dish -- the world's largest -- is the result of a joint effort of Mexico's National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE) and the US University of Massachusetts."

I'm sorry, but 5o meters does not come anywhere close to 164 yards! (Try 54.68). The "Hype Factor"- making it sound bigger than it really is - that's what today's journalists are trained to do. How many times do we read stories that are either fabricated or "lifted" from other sources and then completely revised & regurgitated using the Jayson Blair technique? Remember him?

This is the guy who worked for the NY Times and got caught stealing others' work and reproducing it as his own- sans quotation marks. Can you guess what 'ol Jayson is doing now? He is President of Azure Entertainment (whatever that is), and a guest lecturer on (can you guess?).....drumroll, please....Journalism Ethics!! (Never mind that between October '02 and April of '03 this guy (retyped) turned in nearly 40 articles claiming it as his own.

Whatever happened to actual ethics in media? In any business? In any career?

I want to know who the editor was in charge of reviewing the article cited above. That editor should go back to High School and take a refresher course in both simple journalism editing and basic mathematical conversions.

An Editor, by occupation, assumes all journalistic responsibility for the very organization he or she represents. While an Editor may be considered an author, writer and/or contributing journalist, they are first and foremost the principal journalistic overseer of media produced under their title. This is primary- this is functional- this is needed in the worst way...especially in today's world of 'cut' and 'paste'.

Perhaps I sound harsh? Or maybe it's because I'm remembering the keen admonishment I receieved in High School when attempting to produce a paper that was not entirely my own. God bless Mrs. Marble- wherever she may be- for her titanium coated ruler that rapped more knuckles than George Foreman and Muhammad Ali put together!

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Amish

Something that has always intrigued me in life is to learn that my belief about a particular group of people or subject matter is absolutely wrong when the “truth” confronts me- regardless of how popular the truth may be. Perhaps it is somewhat innate in the human nature to accept positive beliefs of what you really do not understand very well, or maybe the human spirit comfortably rests its curiosity within truth until one is enlightened by a reputable source? Either way, when my understanding of some subject is blasted away it always catches me off guard. It bothers me.

Confused? Same here- when I learned the truth about the Amish in Lancaster, PA.

Recently, a friend of mine and I had an e-mail dialogue about how the Amish view deer hunting in their rural community. My friend mentioned that he was fully aware that they hunt at night, with lights, no bag limits and don’t bother to pay license fees or report their ‘kills’ to the proper authorities once game is taken. When I questioned if this was due to some religious tax-exempt status bestowed by the state that I was not aware of, the reply was startling as it was saddening. Having spent many years living in the Lancaster, PA. area, here is what my friend reported:

They don’t think they have to…nothing to do with their faith. They are
arrogant beyond belief. A friend of ours tried to shame the Amish about
killing their fill of deer at night, without a license. They felt that licenses and fair chase was a game for the English…they did it their way, and the seasons be darned

One of the farmers was asked about the recent (school) killings and what he thought of it. His response was something akin to, ‘We have to get back to the harvest.’ Or, business before grieving. Money drives them. All the banks in Lancaster County are owned by the Amish. My wife and I were turned down for a loan when it was discovered we were going to buy land. The reason given was ‘our kind’ wouldn’t be happy living there. (We were not Amish.)

Every Amish man we met was a millionaire and very fleshly minded. They look down on you and your values. They are very good at PR when selling their products in town to others - as long as you are buying.

When the Amish boy wants to cut loose and go to town and partake in the flesh pots of Philadelphia, they take off their distinctive clothing and get into their properly licensed new car and drive into town and party hearty. When they are done, they come back to the remote barn, park the secret car, put the farm clothes back on and walk or bicycle home.”

Even now, after soaking all this in, I’m still in shock and amazement at this revelation. Though I’ve never visited this part of the US, never seen an Amish person, I thought I knew a little about their culture. Wearing plain clothes, shunning all modern convenience and culture, and having pious attitudes- these are fundamental to their way of life. Or so I thought. It appears that they, like many in our modern society of today, are swayed by the very things we all struggle with- materialism, greed, envy, lust, power, status, exclusivity.

Part of what I thought these folks were like, what I wanted to believe, is my perception of their religious cousins- the Mennonites. I’ve met many Mennonites in my home county in Texas and even had a family as clients when I was in sales. They fit the very perceptions of how the Amish are portrayed in Lancaster, PA. Honest, hard-working, plain-looking descendents of German immigrants with thick accents. Many of them still conversed in the Germanic tongue. The women all wore plain, hand stitched dresses with bonnets (every day of the year regardless of how hot it was in the summer), and wore their hair very long- always braided. Kids were dressed exactly like the parents. Young boys wore coveralls if old enough, and black leather, lace shoes like their dads and grandpas. I was also amazed at the children’s manners at a very early age. I’m talking three years old and up- absolute respect and very polite. I never had any difficulties of any kind with these humble folks- in person or in business. They were always very accommodating. But, they are a different group than the Amish having ‘split’ from their cousins many generations earlier. These particular Mennonites use mechanization at every opportunity, having gas-powered vehicles, electricity and running water in their homes.

It saddens me to learn that the Amish - taking their beliefs so seriously by way of fencing themselves off from the ever-changing culture around them - would succumb to the very sins generations of their forefathers arduously attempted to protect them from. True, not every one within a particular group should be painted with so broad a brush. I'm hoping there remain a few faithful families in Lancaster who are still honoring their heritage by raising the current generation by the "old ways".

This is where History and Truth collide - and I’m an innocent victim of Relativism.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day!!!!

Here's your election reminder:


(Yours truly was the first one in line this morning)


Deer season for riflemen opened this past Saturday. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to (2-buck) Coleman County just south of Abilene, TX. I was the guest of my dentist and two of his friends. One of the friends I knew pretty well. The other was new to me and the other guest at the deer lease. Here are some quotes overheard from this weekend:

  • The .22 Hornet is the fastest .22 caliber on the market today.
  • My favorite load for a .22 Hornet is a 150-grain bullet.
  • Pointing at a Marlin .30-30: That's the gun that won the West!
  • An (open-sighted) .30-30 is effective on deer out to 300-350 yards.
  • I know an 'ol boy who fishes for trophy "stripers" using rainbow trout.
  • There are people killing those bars in Alaska with the .357 Magnum.
  • Bull Elk travel in bunches with other bulls- always.
  • Young boys should learn to shoot with a .30-30, nothing else.
  • You can never have enough .30-30's. Why- I have ten.
  • A spike deer will only produce more spike deer- it's a genticks flaw.
  • Them new .17HMR bullets are faster than all other rimfires.

Folks, I ain't got any tongue left I had to bite it so much. Me and two other guys were literally held hostage by this moron and his emphatic prognostications. Unfortunately, the laws of physics aren't biased when it comes to moronic behavior - Newton's 1st Law of Motion was proven continuously as that mouth NEVER stopped moving.

Though I had a great time hunting a new place, at the insistence of my very kind friend who actually paid for the lease, offered unparalleled hospitality, brought the faire and generally made sure that everyone's needs were met, I was at the mercy of one guy who had a dysentery-like case of the classic "know-it-all" syndrome. I don't care who you grew up with that you are thinking about right now while you read this- no one can keep up with this guy- hands down, he is the world champeen!

(Well...so much for diplomacy within these posts!)

Anyone else had a "bad" hunting excursion and lived to tell about it? Honestly, the hunting part of the weekend was grand - I was all alone in my stand for hours on end. It was when I had to return to camp that things became hellish. I felt bad for my host. I'm not sure he was prepared for the verbal onslaught. (WHEW!)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

One Stealthy Cat!

Can you even imagine such a situation in the wild?

Well, now you can thanks to current trends in hunting technology-the digital camera!
(I'm gonna have to start carrying a flashlight to the blind...)


Let me know how you like the new layout...