Monday, September 27, 2010

Ninety-nine percent of Muslims are peaceful people

There are 1.5 BILLION Muslims in the world today.

I've been assured by the media that the vast majority of them are peaceful people who do not want to kill Jews and Christians. According to the media, they all believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

In fact, I've heard that 99 percent of them are just like me. I worship God Incarnate, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who died to save me from the penalty of my sins and rose again. He ascended into heaven but will return someday. Now, you don't have to believe the way I do. You can worship a fireplug as far as I'm concerned, and you can proselytize and get other people to worship fireplugs, because we are free moral agents. I think you'll go to hell if you worship a fireplug but that's your right. It's also your right to refuse to trust in Jesus, and I support your right of refusal. I think your refusal to believe in our Savior and Lord will send you to hell, but that's an issue between you and God. I believe others have the right to worship God in their own way even though it is not the right way. The media and the progressives tell me 99 percent of the Muslims would agree with me.

That means a mere 1 percent of Muslims are radicals who would support terrorism. One percent of 1.5 BILLION is 15 MILLION. Fifteen million: That's almost as many Southern Baptists as there are in the world, and many of you think there are too many Southern Baptists.

Now let's assume that 99 percent of those 15 million Muslim supporters of terrorism are people who would only cheer for TV cameras if a terrorist flew a passenger jet into a tall building in the United States. Let's figure that a mere 1 percent of them would actually be willing to conduct terrorist activities, like strapping on bombs and blowing themselves up. That computers to 150,000 crazies.

If 150,000 Muslim crazies got the word from an imam to go to the United States and spread out, we'd have 3,000 per state. We've got 114 counties in Missouri, so that would give us 26 Islamic nutjobs right here in Phelps County.

Do you think one of them might be able to find the Missouri S & T nuclear reactor building?

Sleep well, there's not a thing to worry about.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday sermon in song

I'm pretty sure I have posted this before, but it's my favorite Elvis gospel song, and I like all Elvis gospel songs. I'm pretty sure I'll post it again sometime.

I hope Elvis trusted in Jesus and is in heaven.

Are there too many Southern Baptists in the world?

There are 16.3 million Southern Baptists in the world today, and many of them will be worshipping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ this morning in congregational gatherings around the globe.

Some will gather in palatial temples like that huge building I drove by in Springfield in July; I think it said Second Baptist on the sign. If Second Baptist has a building like that, I wonder what First Baptist has?

Some will gather in poorer conditions; I have a friend who is a former missionary who told me recently that one congregation meets regularly in Africa under a tree; the worshippers walk for hours to get to the tree because they love praise Jesus and learn about Him.

I'll be in a comfortable little country church house, Macedonia Baptist, just a few miles north of Rolla.

Do you think there are too many Southern Baptists in today's world? Some people think so. Even some evangelicals think there are too many Southern Baptists. I was reading on an evangelical forum recently where a fellow said the Southern Baptist Convention is a cult, because we tend to be conservative in our theology. We believe in what progressives, postmodernists and "enlightened" evangelicals consider foolishness, such creation, the miracles of Jesus, the inspiration of scripture and atonement through the blood sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah.

We conservatives believe Jesus offers the only way to eternal life. The progressives, etc. call Southern Baptists "exclusionists" or "exclusivists." That's why they say Southern Baptists are a cult, perhaps even a dangerous cult.

Well, there's no need to worry about us, for although there are more than 16 million Southern Baptists, the biggest part of them are BINOs, Baptists In Name Only. They don't go to church regularly, don't read the Bible, don't really know what they believe. The chances of a Southern Baptist brainwashing your child is microscopic.

So breathe easy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

More thoughts on paying Kohl's to build a store here

A few days ago I wrote a brief essay on the Almanac about Rolla leaders' eagerness to pay $1.5 million in tax money to a Fortune 500 retailer, Kohl's, to build a department store here. I bemoaned the fact that American capitalism has become so fragile that big businesses must almost always have taxpayer support to start or expand into new markets. We really are a democratic socialist republic and it isn't necessarily because progressives/liberals/Democrats want it that way; it's the conservatives, mainly businessmen, who have their hands in the taxpayers' pockets, too.

Chester Kojro, a regular Almanac reader, wrote to me and told me that I had missed the point. I think he is right, so I'm going to share his letter:

Dear RD,

You missed the real point of Rolla City Council's

Kohl's can build a store within a certain budget
(good business practice) but the Rolla site exceeds that by about $1.5 MILLION,
hence the need for a discount arrangement, in this case a TIF.

is glad to pay the money to make the deal happen. Whether money is up
front or deferred, end result is the same.

So who really
profits here? The real estate owner who is gouging with ridiculously
overpriced land. He gets the money up front, regardless of whatever
happens with Kohl's and other Rolla businesses. The land is being sold
at an exorbitant price and Rolla City Council is paying it!

Chester Kojro
Rolla, MO

I don't know why I didn't think about the land price being high. That was one of the red flags that went up for me when the city oligarchy started talking about blighted property and tax payments when TIF (tax increment financing) started in Rolla years ago.

At the time, I asked city officials what I thought were tough questions about what kind of legal mechanisms are in place to keep municipalities from paying too much for land. I asked how taxpayers could be assured that there wasn't some kind of collusion going on between landowners, real estate companies and the city government to move property at a higher price than it should, all with the taxpayers' support. I never got an answer.

I wasn't the only one with such questions. At the first TIF commission meeting, I recall Gerald Pietsch talking about that very subject. At the time, the city wanted to get ahold of the property at the corner of 63 and 72. That property was for sale, but the owner had put such a high price on it that it wasn't selling. Pietsch said that was one of the problems that would always have to be watched by the TIF commission; he warned that TIF could be used by landowners to get a price that that the market would not bear.

Now, having said all that, I'll say this: I don't think the taxpayers care.

I've talked to a few people on my rounds about town, and they're all hopeful the city government will do whatever it takes to bring Kohl's to Rolla. These consumers tell me we need the additional jobs and we need the construction investment. They tell me we need to build a department store to show other potential investors that Rolla is on the move. Most of all, they tell me, we need the shopping.

In the argument of tax subsidy vs. shopping, shopping wins hands-down in Rolla.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back in the newsroom, believe it or not

When I left the staff of the Rolla Daily News in December 2004, I never thought I'd be a newspaperman again. I thought I was going to be a magazine owner with a successful Ozarks magazine, but in its third year of publication, The Ozarks Chronicle began languishing. When my part-time job in retail become a full-time job, I shut down the monthly publication and devoted all my attention to my full-time job, which I thoroughly enjoy.
On Friday, Aug. 27, the opening date of high school football season, I went to the RDN to get a copy of Dave Roberts's annual football special section. Dave was there, and I sat down and had a talk with him, reliving the old days. I met many of the people who work there. I liked them, and I felt comfortable in the newsroom. I started missing writing for a daily paper.
A week later, I e-mailed the publisher, Floyd Jernigan, and told him I'd like to work 20-25 hours a week. Fortunately, he got my e-mail when he was working on the new budget. I went in and talked to him and to his editor, DawnDee Bostwick. They hired me, and I worked 25 hours last week.
Last week I wrote four stories, took a whole bunch of pictures, rewrote press releases, proofread several pages. I think I'll have a couple of bylines in the Monday paper. I hope so. I feel like I did when I was a cub reporter, waiting for my first byline.
A lot has changed in the nearly six years that have passed since I walked out of the newsroom for what I thought would be the last time. Publications have trouble competing with the internet, and there's talk that some of the nation's largest papers are either going to close or go to an all-digital format.
Community newspapers like the RDN are surviving because they provide news that isn't available regularly and reliably anywhere else. I'm looking forward to setting that news before you for many years to come.
My main job, my priority, will be my retail job, but I'll continue to write, shoot pictures and do whatever other assignment my newspaper bosses give me to do.
If you have an idea for a story for the paper, send me an e-mail and I'll consider it.
I'm very accessible. You can reach me at or on Facebook at You can tweet me at Of course, you can also write a letter to me in care of the RDN at P.O. Box 808, Rolla, MO 65402. You can even call me at 573 364-2468 in the late afternoon and evening.
I like to write all kinds of stories as long as they are the truth.--RDH

Friday, September 17, 2010

Multi-billion-dollar company needs your tax money

Admittedly, I was aghast when I read in The Rolla Daily News Tuesday that the Rolla city fathers desperately want to pay as much as $1.5 million to Kohl’s, a national retail chain, to build a department store here.

Knowing the city fathers collect their money from taxpayers, my first thought was, “They’re collecting way too much of our money. They’ve got so much cash they’re trying to waste $1.5 million on purpose. Maybe they ought to quit accepting so much annual payment in lieu of taxes from RMU; that way, they won’t have money to waste, my utility rates will diminish and that damnable ‘service availability’ charge can be removed from my light bill. If the city government and RMU would let the taxpayers keep more money, we would spend it in Rolla stores and help develop this economy.”

Yes, this planned transfer of money from hard-working taxpayers to Kohl’s, which ranks 135th on the Fortune 500 list of top American companies, offended me. After all, Kohl’s had revenues of $17.178 billion (that’s BILLION) last year. Why should the taxpayers in little ol’ Rolla help a huge company like that excavate the land, build a building, put up light poles, lay down a parking lot and paint stripes?

Even though the projected development cost is a huge sum, $8.5 million, that is a drop in the bucket compared to the $991 million the company profited last year.That transfer of funds seemed to me to be an example of the “redistribution of wealth” that we’ve been hearing about since President Obama took office. I’ve heard the president wants to tax the heck out of rich people to pay for health insurance for poor people; some people say that’s called socialism. The Rolla City Council wants to give local taxes to a rich corporation, so that must be a case of reverse socialism. Or so it seemed to me.

It’s a lot different from 20 or so years ago when municipalities were willing to help pay for land development to bring in factories and put people to work in manufacturing jobs. Now we’re willing to pay hundreds of thousands, over a million, to bring in a place to buy clothes and shoes, even though we already have stores offering those goods.

I don’t know what in the sam hill has happened to American capitalism. Do you? Is the economy so fragile that companies can’t risk a little bit of their money to expand? Or maybe they’ve discovered municipalities are so desperate for development they’re willing to give away the treasury just to get a little bit of economic activity.

These are the thoughts that were going through my head as I was reading the story in Tuesday’s paper. Then, I read a little further, talked to some folks and thought about this situation and it makes sense.The city will pay this $1.5 million to Kohl’s based on the amount of sales tax the store generates. I don’t know what percentage of that amount will be turned over by the city, but Kohl’s has given the city 23 years to come up with the money. That’s very generous, don’t you think?

It’s likely, it seems to me, that some of the sales tax Kohl’s generates will be at the expense of other similar stores, but I suppose the city dads have thought of that.

The key point to remember is this payment of $1.5 million to Kohl’s will come from the store’s sales tax. Only shoppers will pay it. If you don’t shop at Kohl’s, you won’t pay it. I’m off that tax hook. I can’t stand the thought of paying a multi-billion-dollar corporation to come to Rolla, so I likely won’t spend any money there, at least until the $1.5 million is paid by others.

I’m willing to wait 23 years.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Battle of the Hemp Bales in 1861

On this date in 1861, Confederates under the command of Maj. General Sterling Price began a siege on Lexington, Mo., in a continued effort to run the Union army out of Missouri, an effort that had seen a win in the Battle of Wilson's Creek in the Ozarks in mid-August.

There were two battles in Lexington. The first one is listed as taking place Sept. 13-19.

Here's a summary from the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce website:
Lexington was the site of two of the largest battles in the western
campaign of the Civil War. The first and most famous, known as the Battle of
Lexington is better known as the Battle of the Hemp Bales. On September 12th,
1861, somewhere between six and ten thousand Missouri National Guardsmen were
led by Major General Sterling Price. Price began a siege against the Federal
military post positioned in the old Masonic College. They were Commanded by
Colonel James A. Mulligan. Price's army mounted an assault on September 18th.
Some of Price's army used hemp bales as moving breastworks while they moved up
the river bluffs and closed in on Mulligan's headquarters. On the third day of
the siege, Mulligan's troops surrendered. The combined ed casualties numbered 73
dead and 270 wounded. The battlefield remains today on the bluffs of the river
in virtually pristine condition and stands as a state park. In an attempt to
crush General Price's headquarters located on Main Street, Mulligan's troops
fired cannonballs from the battlefield. One such cannonball missed the mark and
became lodged in the leftmost pillar of the Courthouse where it remains to this
day. That cannonball has become an iconic symbol for Lexington.

The American Battlefield Protection Program has a page of information that includes this:
Following the victory at Wilson’s Creek, the Confederate Missouri State
Guard, having consolidated forces in the northern and central part of the state,
marched, under the command of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, on Lexington. Col. James
A. Mulligan commanded the entrenched Union garrison of about 3,500 men. Price’s
men first encountered Union skirmishers on September 13 south of town and pushed
them back into the fortifications. Price, having bottled the Union troops up in
Lexington, decided to await his ammunition wagons, other supplies, and
reinforcements before assaulting the fortifications. By the 18th, Price was
ready and ordered an assault. The Missouri State Guard moved forward amidst
heavy Union artillery fire and pushed the enemy back into their inner works. On
the 19th, the Rebels consolidated their positions, kept the Yankees under heavy
artillery fire and prepared for the final attack. Early on the morning of the
20th, Price’s men advanced behind mobile breastworks, made of hemp, close enough
to take the Union works at the Anderson House in a final rush.

From the Wikipedia: First Battle of Lexington:
On the evening of September 19, soldiers of Brig. Gen. Thomas A. Harris's 2nd Division (State Guard) began using hemp bales seized from nearby warehouses to construct a moveable breastwork facing the Union entrenchment. These bales were all soaked in river water overnight, to render them impervious to any heated rounds fired from the Federal guns. Harris's plan was for his troops to roll the bales up the hill the following day, using them for cover as they advanced close enough to the Union garrison for a final charge. The hemp bale line started in the vicinity of the Anderson house, extending north along the hillside for about 200 yards. In many places the hemp bales were stacked two high to provide additional protection.
Early on the morning of September 20, Harris's men advanced behind his mobile breastworks. As the fighting progressed, State Guardsmen from other divisions joined Harris's men behind the hemp bales, increasing the amount of fire directed toward the Union garrison. Although the Union defenders poured red-hot cannon shot into the advancing bales, their soaking in the Missouri River the previous night had given them the desired immunity to the Federal shells. By early afternoon, the rolling fortification had advanced close enough for the Southerners to take the Union works in a final rush. Mulligan requested surrender terms after noon, and by 2:00 p.m. his men had vacated their trenches and stacked their arms.
Many years later, in his book The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Southern president Jefferson Davis opined that "The expedient of the bales of hemp was a brilliant conception, not unlike that which made Tarik, the Saracen warrior, immortal, and gave his name to the northern pillar of Hercules."

This page on the website is worth visiting for the artwork from Harper's Weekly.

There's a page about the state historic site that doesn't include a whole lot of information, but you should check it if you think you might like to visit Lexington.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you on 9-11-01?

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was working in the newsroom of the Rolla Daily News. I think we had finished up that day's newspaper and were working on the next day's issue. I recall standing at the layout counter, figuring up how many pages the next day's paper would have and where the ads would go when sports editor Dave Roberts said something like, "Somebody just flew a plane into the World Trade Center."

We'd had a television in the newsroom for a couple of years or more, and we usually had it on MSNBC at that time of the morning because I liked the Don Imus Show. Imus was off the air by then, I think, and there was just a straight news cast going on when the bulletin came on that grabbed Dave's attention and got the rest of us to crowd around the TV set. I sat back down at my desk and started working at my computer instead of at the counter so I could watch and listen to the newscast. I think we eventually turned it over to Fox News Channel which had more coverage from Ground Zero.

We speculated about why a pilot would fly into a skyscraper; perhaps a heart attack or malfunctioning equipment, we thought. Then when we saw a second plane fly into the other tower, we knew that neither crash was by accident. We knew it had to be some foreign power behind it, so we started speculating about who.

Shortly afterwards, our boss, the publisher (since retired) came in and snapped at us to "turn that crap off" or words to that effect. Dave said, "Somebody has flown planes into the World Trade Center; this is news." The boss said something about not letting the workers downstairs in the insert-stuffing room listen to country music, so he wasn't going to let us watch news. Dave Roberts countered with, "You don't seem to understand. We've been attacked. We are at war." The boss grumbled something and went into his office where he turned his own TV on; I don't know if ESPN had anything on at that time or not.

I kept watching the coverage and then saw one building collapse on itself. The debris and ash flowed down the streets like a wall of water down a dry creek channel. "There were still people in that building," I said. "And a bunch of police and firemen went in there. Did they get out before that happened?" I was incredulous and unable to wrap my brain around the enormity of this crime. "I don't think so," Dave said. Both of us remained silent. Soon the other tower collapsed.

I asked the boss if he wanted us to plan a special section for the following day, and he grumbled that it wasn't that big a deal for Rolla, so it didn't warrant a special section. A little while later I got up and left. At that time I was single and my habit was to come in early in the morning to put the paper to bed, then leave and go work out in the gym and then go home and read and take a nap before going back to the newsroom in the middle of the afternoon to continue putting together the next day's paper. I went and completed my workout, watching TV in the cardio room while walking on the treadmill. I went home and fixed lunch. I turned the radio on (didn't have a TV at home) and sat down at the computer to look for more news.

About that time, the phone rang and a reporter told me the boss wanted us to meet at 1:00 to plan out a special section on the attack. I guess someone had called him and told him the implications of the attack, so he finally got his brain wrapped around the enormity of the terrorism, something it was hard for all of us to do. So we all met at 1 and figured out what local people to talk and what stories to tell. I don't recall what the stories were, but Dave, Bill Morrison, plus another reporter and I put together an 8-page section. We talked to people at the university, students and professors. Someone may have talked to veterans. I remember doing a short story about local ham radio operators who were standing by in case any messages were needed to be relayed across the country from Ground Zero survivors to relatives.

That evening I went to a meeting of the university administration and international students, particularly Muslims. Administrators or staff members assured the international students that they were safe here, although some of the international students indicated racist remarks had been thrown their way during the day. The administrators/staff members told the students that they knew none of them could ever be involved in anything so terrible and that the community would understand that students would not be doing anything so hideous.

I found out later that some of the airliner hijackers were university students in Florida.

Blowing things out of proportion

A story on the Religion News Service website shows why the national news media picks up every little instance in which someone says something against Mohammedans or threatens to do something offensive to them.

"Black Muslims hear echoes of Jim Crow in current furor" is the headline on the story, and the writer uses the New York Ground Zero mosque controversy and the threat by the moronic minister in Florida to burn Korans as evidence that we are now in the midst of a time of bombing of churches and lynching of minorities.

This is nothing more than manipulation of facts to attempt to bring about some sort of social change.

Look at the threat to burn Korans first. A preacher with a congregation smaller than my little country church outside Rolla threatened to burn some Korans. I cannot imagine the national news media flying reporters and cameramen to the Macedonia community north of Rolla to interview pastor Dave about the gospel he preaches every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. The president of the United States wouldn't mention pastor Dave's preaching, bass-playing or singing ability on national TV. Their attitude would be: "Who cares what the preacher of a church where about 60 or so people attend every Sunday morning says or does?"

But the minister of that Gainesville, Fla., church, where about 50 people show up every Sunday to worship, threatens to burn some Korans and we have an international crisis on our hands. Army generals, cabinet members and the president himself fret about it.

Now, they don't fret about the burning of Bibles, the dunking of crucifixes in urine or the burning of American flags. That's all just "free expression." But in our new postmodern culture, we have to watch what we say and do to avoid hurting the feelings of the Moslems.

The Moslems need to learn about American civil liberty.

Now, look at the Ground Zero mosque controversy. I have already posted here that I do not favor prohibiting the Moslems from building their mosque next to the place where Moslem terrorists killed nearly 3,000. I won't say that I "support" the construction of the mosque because I don't. I wish they'd build it somewhere else, but the First Amendment keeps me from opposing it. I figure that if we start banning one religion, then the media, business and government could use that precedent as a way to make it difficult to worship Jesus Christ.

Some people, most of them media loudmouths, have raised some questions about why New Yorkers should "support" the mosque. I think the questions have merit. Liberals always want to encourage dialogue and debate--except in this instance. Any questioning of the appropriateness of a mosque next to the site of terrorism is construed as anti-Moslem sentiment. There are plenty of mosques in New York and no one is seeking to tear them down, and no one is trying to halt construction of all new mosques. There's a question about the appropriateness of ONE mosque, the one near Ground Zero.

To take those questions and magnify them into a return to Jim Crowism is nothing more than manipulation. The same is true about the widespread reporting of a Koran-threatening preacher with 50 in his congregation.

I think it's an attempt to portray all Muslims as victims of a Christian majority.

Friday, September 10, 2010

You've got to watch out for morons on motorcycles

One of the country living skills required in rural Missouri is the ability to watch out for out-of-state motorists.
I ran into one of those today. Well, actually, that is figurative language. I didn't run into him, but he nearly ran into the rear of my car.
When driving home from work, I stay on Historic Route 66 as much as possible, because there are idiots behind the wheels of the cars and trucks on the interstate. To get across the Big Piney, though, I have to get on the interstate from Jerome to Sugar Tree Road. When I turned east onto the on-ramp at Jerome I noticed a motorcyclist stopped on the shoulder. He appeared to be looking at a map while seated on his Ducati. I accelerated onto the interstate, drove east, exited at Sugar Tree Road and was driving through Doolittle where the speed limit is 35 mph. I was stopped once and given a warning, so I always drive under the speed limit through Doolittle.
Suddenly I looked in my rear-view mirror and I saw the single headlight of a motorcycle in the distance and in no time at all it was almost on my bumper and still moving rapidly. The "biker" couldn't go around me because there were two cars coming the opposite direction. I veered off onto what little road shoulder was available, but the "biker" had slowed down enough that he stayed behind me. I stopped at the stop sign and waited for traffic, then went on across. He followed and flew around me. I don't think the word "flew" is figurative. The speed limit, by the way, is still 35 mph there.
I noticed his license plate was not from Missouri. I couldn't tell where it was from, though.
"Go ahead, you out-of-state moron. Do us a favor and kill yourself," I muttered. Not very Christian of me, but I was still a bit shaky from almost being rear-ended by the Ducati; I could picture the "biker" flying over my car if that had happened.
I puttered along at 45 mph once I got out of Doolittle, eventually crossed the one-lane bridge and took the curve to the left. As I headed along that straight stretch, I saw a motorcyclist up by the Moose Lodge and it was turning around and flying back towards me.
"Is that the same moron?" I wondered.
Sure enough; as he buzzed past me in the other direction I saw it was the same fool with a death wish. I puttered on, looked in my rear-view mirror and saw that he had gone to the curve and turned around. He was headed back!
I puttered on up Martin Spring Drive at 45 mph. He seemed to be holding back, but then as I passed the new barbecue joint, Bandana's, I saw that he appeared to be accelerating and soon he was zooming past me again. By the time I got to the top of the hill and was stopped, waiting to turn right, I saw him again, this time heading back out of Rolla on Kingshighway, waiting at the stoplight.
What that moron was up to, I can't tell you. I hope he got out of Missouri without killing anyone.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Try this genuine Ozarks experience

My friend Bonnie Prigge, who is a great supporter of the small town of Vichy, informs me the Vichy Volunteer Fire Department will host its last fund-raising dinner of the year—a whole hog sausage and chicken and dumpling dinner and trail ride—on Sunday, Sept. 19, at the fire house, 14812 Highway 63 in Vichy.

If you are looking for a true Ozarks experience, you ought to at least go try the whole hog sausage and chicken dumpling dinner, if not the trail ride. Here's some more information from Bonnie:

The trail ride will get under way a 9:45 a.m. at the Leroy Tipton residence on County Road 449, and will ride to the dinner and return to the Tipton residence. The dinner is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dinner tickets will be sold at the Tipton residence prior to the ride.
The all-you-care-to-eat dinner will include whole hog sausage, chicken and dumplings, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans and homemade desserts. The cost is $7.50 for adults and $4 for children. Carry-outs will be available. The firehouse is located in Vichy at 14812 Highway 63.
Person needing more information on the trail ride can contact Tipton at (573) 299-4457. The Tipton residence is located on County Road 449, off of Highway 68 near Vichy. Roads will be marked.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ernie Haase, Signature Sound and the National Anthem

Stand up, put your hand on your heart and listen to this:

NASCAR warms the heart of the Ozarks Boy, for it's a sport that offers fast cars, national patriotism and honor to our Lord and Savior.

Oh, and there's usually some good-looking women in the crowd, too.

How can anyone dislike stock car racing?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time is Right to Order Fall Bulbs

By David Burton
University Extension

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- As summer begins to wane, it’s time to decide which spring flowering bulbs you want to add to your landscape.
“You need to select good quality bulbs for planting, paying attention to size and firmness. Choose bulbs that are firm and free from soft or rotting spots, and signs of disease,” said Patrick Byers, horticulture specialist with University of Missouri Extension.
There are three sources for bulbs: mail order catalog, local nurseries, and discount business.
Since mail order business tend to have a larger selection of bulb varieties, many gardeners order their bulbs for fall planting through catalogs. This does have one big disadvantage: you won’t know what the bulb looks like until it arrives.
“If you’re going to order by mail, make sure you buy from companies that have a good reputation, or that friends and family recommend highly,” said Byers.
When the bulbs arrive be sure to store them in a cool place. They will need to be kept between 50-and-60-degrees.
“Avoid storing them near any ripening fruits because the ethylene in the fruit can cause flowering disorders. This is especially true for tulips,” said Byers.
Spring flowering bulbs can be planted once the temperatures begin to cool. In this Ozarks this tends to be in mid- to late-October.
For more information, contact the Master Gardener Helpline at the Greene County Extension Center, 417-862-9284.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ain't no need in y'all a-treatin' me this way

Nothing to do with Missouri here, but I am a Georgia native and I do like Billy Joe Shaver, who is from Texas, and his son is an incredible guitar picker, so enjoy this:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Emerson-Sowers debate coming to Rolla Oct. 17

Here's a press release from incumbent Eighth District U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, issued Friday:

[T]he schedule for the series of debates to take place in the race for U.S. Representative from Missouri’s Eighth District has been finalized.

“The people of the Eighth District have a right to know where we stand on the issues now, not just on four evenings in October,” said Emerson. “We look forward to the debates, but until then, I will continue to travel the district sharing our positive vision for economic growth and smaller government.”

Emerson proposed three debates to take place Oct. 11th in Cape Girardeau, October 13th in Poplar Bluff, and October 17th in Rolla, and she accepted a fourth invitation from Mineral Area College to debate on October 18th in Park Hills. A final schedule for the Eighth District Congressional debates is below:

October 11, 2010 Cape Girardeau, Mo.

South East Missouri State’s River Campus

October 13, 2010 Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Three Rivers Community College

October 17, 2010 Rolla, Mo.

Missouri University of Science & Technology

October 18, 2010 Park Hills, Mo.

Mineral Area College

You've got to admire a young man who plays football this well ...

... while sporting a mullet.

No women in the Rolla Mohammedan mosque

Our Constitution says they have a right to be here and worship as they see fit, so the presence of the Islamic Center and its mosque doesn't bother me at all. I cannot imagine, though, why anyone would want to worship in a place where there are no women. I don't know if women are not allowed, or if women just don't want to be a part of Mohammedanism. I hope a reader can enlighten me.

If a Christian church didn't have any women, your eyebrows would be raised, wouldn't they? You might think that church was a cult.

Go outside and look up

Go outside at various times of day, in various seasons of the year and in various types of weather. You might be surprised to see how much beauty you'll find if you just look. This photographer did:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday night football: a true hometown experience

High school football season started Friday night in Missouri, and I was out amongst all the players' relatives watching the Rolla Bulldogs beat the Springfield Parkview Vikings. I say that because a grumpy city woman who moved to Missouri from California and posts her gripes about her adopted state frequently on a Missouri forum I visit says small-town high school football games are ridiculous and that nobody goes to high school football games (or concerts or plays) except for the participants' relatives.

Most of you who visit this blog regularly are not from Rolla. You are out-of-staters, and I suspect many of you are looking for information about life here in this part of the Ozarks. I want to tell you that I don't think the woman from California is right. Lions Memorial Stadium on 10th Street in Rolla was full Friday night, and I find it hard to believe that I was the only person there who was unrelated to a player. I could be wrong, of course. Dave Roberts, sports editor of The Rolla Daily News, was there to give a full report (with photos) in the Saturday morning paper. The local radio station broadcast a play-by-play report during the game. It seems to me the local media believe there is an audience for this, so I think the California transplant is wrong.

She seems to be someone who has moved here but hasn't paid attention and so knows absolutely nothing about small-town Missouri. Here's the truth: We small-towners love our school districts and support those districts as much as we can. We pay taxes, of course, and we go to games and cheer for the teams. We go to plays and concerts and enjoy the performances. We look forward to art exhibits. We go to chili suppers. When we see a car wash, we pull over and let the kids brighten up the car. That's a way of being part of the home town, and transplants who want to "fit in" will indeed fit in if they get involved with the education and development of our community's young people.

A Friday night football game really is a hometown experience. If you were at the game Friday night you saw Rolla go into the locker room at half-time, losing 28-14. Then you saw the Bulldogs come back fighting and end the game with a 42-35 victory over the Springfield Parkview Vikings. It's very satisfying to beat a big-city school.

The half-time show was quite artistic. I'm the kind of philistine who thinks halftime shows should feature the band spelling out words like "Go Bulldogs" and "Kill 'em" or forming a giant picture of a waving flag, but the Rolla Marching Bulldog Brigade's show combined music, marching and modern dance. Yes, the beginning of the show featured one of the flag girls doing a modern dance. (I'm all educated about modern dance, because I watch "So You Think You Can Dance" with my wife who loves that program and likes for me to watch it with her.) There were also seven giant curtains on rolling frames. It was quite avant garde. My cultural life is getting richer and richer.

Now Friday night has rolled around again. Rolla will play in Springfield at Kickapoo High School tonight. I'm not driving down to the city to watch, so I'll listen on the radio, read the paper Saturday morning and just wait for the next home game.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Are hurricane names too "lily white"?

At lunch today I went out to my car and read the Pigskin Preview, a local free publication about high school football, while listening to the radio. I had on Rolla's news station and was halfway listening to the Rush Limbaugh program. Rush was gone and in his place was some British guy who was talking about some silly congresswoman's complaint that hurricane names aren't "black" enough. This silliness piqued my interest, so I quit reading and started listening. According to the guy on the radio, the black congresswoman said the agency in charge of naming hurricanes is racist because it doesn't give hurricanes that sound black or African enough. I've heard the charge of racism so much that it just makes me laugh rather than get upset. I thought this one was particularly funny, so I looked it up on the internet when I got home from work.

Turns out to be true, and it isn't new. This happened back in August 2003, according to this story on the World Net Daily website.

The congressional newspaper the Hill reported this week that Rep. Sheila
Jackson Lee, D-Texas, feels that the current names are too "lily white,"
and is seeking to have better representation for names reflecting
African-Americans and other ethnic groups ....
"All racial groups should be represented," Lee said, according to the Hill.
She hoped federal weather officials "would try to be inclusive of
African-American names."
A sampling of popular names that could be used
include Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn, according to the paper.

I work with three young black guys. They are Paul, Kris and Montez. The only black girl at work whose name I know is Tracy. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee insults their parents by insinuating their names are not African-American enough. Paul is a Latin name, shortened version of Paulus. Famous Pauls include Paul the apostle, Paul McCartney of the Beatles and Paul Newman and Paul Simon. Kris is a Scandanavian name and the only Kris I can think of right off the bat is Kris Kringle. Montez is a Spanish name, and I don't know anybody but my co-worker who has that name. Tracy is an Irish name; there's a tennis player named Tracy Austin and an actress who spells it with an e, Tracey Ullman.

If Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is looking for names of hard-working black people to attach to destructive hurricanes, then the names Paul, Kris, Montez and Tracy would work. I don't know that the Paul, Kris, Montez and Tracy who are my co-workers would feel particularly honored by such an action, though.

The whole idea seems nonsensical. Why don't we just name the next particularly erratic and destructive hurricane Sheila Jackson Lee and forget about the whole silly suggestion?

Some more talk about the weather

My rain gauge showed 1.6 inches from yesterday's rain. We sure needed it. Last night at prayer meeting, we thanked the Lord for it.

On a related weather topic, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports "Hot nights let summer creep into the record books":

So how does a so-so summer sneak into the books?
"Persistence," said Ben Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Weldon Spring. "The days were continually warm without much of a break. And while we don't usually notice the nighttime lows, they stayed way up there."
As in 72.6 degrees, more than four degrees warmer than the long-term average for an overnight summer low here.
Miller said nights were warm because of steadily high levels of moisture in the air, retaining daytime heat. Meteorologists measure that by "dew point," a big part of that ever-unpopular humidity.

The Columbia newspaper reports the Old Farmers Almanac is predicting rough winter ahead for Missouri, but Columbia is College Town USA, so there's always an expert to find, and the paper found a professor who pooh-poohs predictions by the Old Farmers Almanac and says long-range predictions like that are impossible to make.

The coming winter is forecast to bring extreme storms. Sandi Duncan,
managing editor of the Farmers' Almanac, said that Missouri will suffer a lot of
"It’s definitely cold," Duncan said. "Very snowy to average snowy. It’s
going to be a very rough winter. Good chance for a lot of snow."
Duncan, looking seven months ahead, said Missourians might want an escape plan for March 24-27, which the almanac predicts will be brutal, even though it comes after the spring equinox. Spring break for MU and Columbia Public Schools begins March
"If they want to escape the winter weather you might want to take
vacation to the south," Duncan said. "Major snow will be evolving. The month is
going to end unseasonably cold.”
The Farmers' Almanac produces week-by-week weather predictions for each region of the United States. Missouri is part of the North Central Region, along with Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Although the almanac publishers purport that predicting weather to the week is possible, MU atmospheric science professor Anthony Lupo disagrees.
“That kind of thing you cannot predict,” Lupo said. “If they hit it, it’s coincidental. They’ve done that kind of thing for years where they try to give you an idea a year in advance what that week will be like. That can’t be done.”

Well, we'll see. We here at The Ozarks Almanac have long trusted the predictions of The Old Farmers Almanac, which we've discovered to be pretty close each year. The weatherman on TV, who relies on the atmospheric "scientists" doesn't seem to be near as accurate to us.

Raising backyard chickens requires basic knowledge, shelter

By David Burton
University Extension

Interest in keeping chickens in the backyard as a source of eggs and meat is on the rise among both urban and suburban dwellers according to Jess Lyons, a small flock specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Chickens can help with pest control around the yard and be fun to watch but they do have some requirements that are not widely known.

For starters, Lyons says owners need to be aware of basic brooding needs in the first three to four weeks of a chick’s life. These include clean water, quality chick starter feed, clean litter (pine or cedar shavings are recommended) and a circular confined area to keep the chicks from wandering from the heat source.

Owners also need to provide a building large enough for proper air circulation but small enough to keep chicks from getting too cold in winter. Providing chickens with outside runs will reduce the building space needs if the pen area provides shade.

“For home flocks, plan to have a minimum of two feet of floor space per adult chicken, more space usually simplifies management. Housing should provide easy access to feed and water and provide nesting areas for hens in egg production,” said Lyons.

Although not mandatory, it is also a good idea to provide perches. These allow birds to stay off the floor, particularly as they roost at night and this will provide training for young layers to jump up into their nest when they begin egg production.

“Manure tends to accumulate in greatest concentration under the roost area keeping the rest of the bedding material cleaner. Allow six to 10 inches of linear perch space for each chicken housed,” said Lyons.

Manure will tend to build up most under the roosts and around feeders and waters. These areas will need the most attention and frequent cleaning.

Lyons says it is also important to provide nest boxes as furnishings for a hen house so she has a secluded place to lay eggs. Commercial or homemade boxes both work.

Box height and width should be 12 to 15 inches by at least 12 inches deep or more for heavy breed hens. One nest box is required for each four to five hens. Place nest boxes no less than 18 inches above the floor. Very heavy hens may need lower nests and lower roosts.

Add at least two to three inches of clean, dry shavings to reduce egg breakage and minimize the number of soiled eggs.

Another essential consideration is the water needs for poultry. If inadequate water is available, not only will eating decrease, but so will egg production and growth.

“Fountain-type drinkers are affordable and easily moved. Water should be changed frequently in order to prevent bacterial growth, over-warming in summer or freezing in winter,” said Lyons. “It is a good idea to also provide at least two or three additional drinkers as a buffer against spillage or leakage.”

Poultry owners also need to make sure that feed is not stale, rancid or moldy. This can cause disease or nutritional deficiencies if consumed.

“Plan to purchase new feed at least every two months, feed the appropriate feed for the age of your chickens, and follow feeding instructions available from the feed tag,” said Lyons.

Always store feed away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight and protect it from rodents.

Feeders come in a variety of sizes and designs and different sizes are needed depending on whether you are feeding young chicks or adult chickens. Feeders should also be raised off the ground and protected from moisture, wild animals and free-flying birds.

It is common for egg production to decline during very hot or very cold weather, and hens lay fewer eggs as they get older. Most hens will also go out of egg production and lose feathers during a molt. It is a process that owners need to understand, along with the role of roosters.

“Hens do not need roosters present to produce eggs. Increasing day length, not the presence of males, stimulates egg production. A rule of thumb is that four to five hens will supply two to four eggs per day during their production cycle,” said Lyons.

But most importantly, urban and suburban dwellers raising chickens need to be good neighbors by keeping chickens confined to their property and properly disposing of used poultry litter.

“Although chickens pose a relatively low risk of giving disease to humans, there are a few infections that can be transmitted back and forth. Proper care and handling of eggs and processing of poultry carcasses are critical to avoid problems,” said Lyons.

For more information, contact Jesse Lyons at (573) 882-0247 or visit the nearest county MU Extension Center for guide sheets on the topic of raising poultry.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Comical TV ad from Tommy Sowers

Tommy Sowers has recycled his earlier "Combat Bible" ad and given it a new twist that makes it comical--so comical, in fact, that I'm thinking about rescinding my earlier prediction that he would defeat incumbent Jo Ann Emerson to win the Missouri Eighth District seat in the U.S. House.

If you haven't seen "Combat Bible," here it is on YouTube:

That is a slick ad, as I said before. It's got his pickup truck, a field with big round hay bales (that I suppose the producer wants us to think Tommy just cut and baled), and Tommy in blue jeans, like a real workingman.

Elections are decided on images and perceptions, and I think this ad did a good job of portraying Tommy as a farmer, a veteran and a Bible reader. Well, he is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and he served in Iraq. I don't think he's a farmer, and he doesn't say in the ad whether or not he read the Bible he carried. Still, it's a doggone good ad.

They they went to tinkering on it, and messed it up. A friend at work told me about seeing a Tommy Sowers ad and he was laughing about it. Here it is, renamed "New Blood" with editing and additions:

Well, no wonder my friend from work was laughing about it. Now the ad becomes a parody. They couldn't just leave well enough alone. They had to add Tommy shooting something or someone at the end of it to show that he's just like the rest of us South Central and Southeast Missouri rednecks and hillbillies.

What's he shooting? Iraqis? A Jo Ann Emerson target? Surely, not Jo Ann Emerson!

Well, the silliness of this ad may backfire on Tommy. He needs to get his staff to come up with something better than this quickly so he can get this thing off the air. This ad is almost as goofy as a Saturday Night Live advertising parody.

There are plenty of places to hunt doves in Missouri

By Jim Low
Department of Conservation

For many Missourians, the opening of dove season on Sept. 1 marks the start of hunting season, and the state’s top mourning dove expert says this year’s season is full of promise.
Approximately 33,000 people hunt doves in the Show-Me State. Resource Scientist John Schulz says the mourning dove not only is the state’s most popular game bird, it is the most democratic, attracting hunters from every walk of life.
This popularity results from the mourning dove’s prolific nature. A pair of doves can easily raise six broods of two chicks each nesting season, starting as early as March and persevering well into September. Population surveys conducted in May and June showed a slight drop in dove numbers, but Schulz said this is nothing for hunters to worry about.
“You have to keep in mind that those surveys are a snapshot in time,” said Schulz. “When they were conducted we were having a lot of heavy rain. That may have caused a decrease in early hatching, but a lot can change between June 1 and Sept. 1.”
Schulz said reports he gets from around the state indicate an abundance of doves, and he sees plenty of doves wherever he goes.
“I’m seeing birds everywhere, and I’m hearing the same thing from people all around the state. If things stay like they are, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a very good harvest this year.”
Abundance does not guarantee quality hunting, however. Hunters can spend hours in the field and only see a handful of doves, mostly too far away for a shot, unless something draws the birds into a small area. That “something” usually is an agricultural field. Doves have a strong preference for landing on bare ground, and they love to eat sunflowers, corn, wheat, sorghum and other grain left in crop fields after harvest. The first fields harvested each year attract astonishing numbers of doves.
Knowing this, the Conservation Department arranges to have sunflowers and other crops planted on 150 fields at 90 areas around the state. The fields total approximately 5,000 acres. These fields are managed to offer abundant food for doves and maximum opportunity for hunters.
“When people ask me how to find a dove hunting spot, I ask them how they couldn’t find one,” said Schulz. “We go out of our way to make sure there’s a managed dove field near almost everybody who wants to go dove hunting.”
He said hunters can call any Conservation Department office to learn the location of managed dove fields or use the interactive locator map at
He offered one caution about the Conservation Department’s managed dove fields. Repeated heavy rains early in the summer hampered planting and growth of crops on some fields. Hunters should visit fields they want to hunt beforehand or at least call area managers for up-to-date information about field condition. Contact information for area managers is available through the Conservation Atlas database at
Schulz also had advice for hunters who enjoy the challenge of finding their own, private dove-hunting spots. The obvious choice is to get permission from a farmer who has a harvested crop field. Some farmers do still welcome hunters, but the days of easy permission are past.
“It’s not 1965 anymore, and Aunt Bea isn’t in the kitchen baking peach cobbler,” said Schulz. “If you want to hunt farm ground today, you usually have to know the farmers or take time to build relationships with them.”
Other options are available, however. Hunters who understand doves’ habits and preferences sometimes can locate spots as productive as any managed dove field.
Doves like open ground, seeds, perching sites and water. Any spot that combines two or more of these elements can be an excellent hunting spot. An abandoned gravel road, an old airstrip or parking lot is a start. A pond with a wide margin of bare soil or mud is another possibility. Add a telephone line or some dead trees for perching, and you have a dove magnet.
“Say you have an old roadbed with foxtail and other weeds growing beside the pavement. The weeds drop their seeds, and maybe there are some low spots that catch rainfall. Birds can fly down to pick up seeds, flutter over a short distance for a drink, then fly back up to perch and digest their meal. A place like that can be just as good as a managed dove field.”
The Conservation Department bands approximately 2,500 birds annually as part of a nationwide effort to create a dove-management database. Approximately 12 percent of those doves are recovered and reported, mostly by hunters. Schulz said the most important thing dove hunters can do to improve their sport is to check every bird they shoot for a leg band and report any they find at or by calling 800-327-BAND (2263).
“Data from band recoveries drive a wide array of analytical processes that directly affect how we establish mourning dove regulations each year,” said Schulz. “By reporting band numbers, hunters are helping manage our dove resource for future generations.”
He said a small number of hunters are asked to take part in the National Mourning Dove Hunter Wing Survey each year. Under this program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) gives hunters pre-paid mailers in which to send wings from doves they shoot to the annual National Mourning Dove Wing Bee in Kansas City. Biologists from around the nation gather there to examine wings for age and other characteristics.
Statistics from conservation areas where the Conservation Department records the number of doves killed and the number of shots fired show that hunters fire an average of five shots per dove. If you kill a limit of 15 doves with fewer than three boxes of shotgun shells, pat yourself on the back for being an above-average wingshot.
Then pick up all the empty hulls littering the ground around you. Leaving them in the field is littering, and could earn you a ticket.

Some thoughts about the weather

If you're reading this blog, chances are you're from out-of-state and you're thinking about moving to Missouri, especially Southern Missouri. You've heard a lot about cheap land and towns like Mayberry. You want to get out of the city and lead a slower-paced life. You're not thinking about the shopping mall you'll miss or the Starbucks or the Whole Foods Market. We do quite well without those things, but you, my goodness, what will you do without them? You're pampered and you're thinking about moving to the Ozarks? Think very carefully.

Also, you need to think about the weather. Our weather here is very likely different from what you are used to experiencing. Think about this before you move to Missouri:

It's colder than a well-digger's behind in January and February, and there's a certainty we'll get a snow or maybe two, and a good chance we'll get some ice. How would you like to wake up morning after morning and discover that it is several degrees BELOW zero. Add a little wind to that and you get a mixture that is deadly. I am not joking. People die outside in Missouri winters. Sometimes old people in the cities die inside because they have no heat.

In March, the weather vacillates. It can be beautiful and feel like spring one day. The next, you might get a foot of snow. It works on the nerves of people who didn't grow up here. This is also the month we hold the statewide emergency preparedness drill, because tornado season is just around the corner and the weather is fixing to get brutal.

April is also wet. If you like mud and flooding, you'll love April. Has anyone ever mentioned the flash floods we get in southern Missouri?

May has beautiful weather and you'll think your garden plants and your fruit trees are going to thrive this year for once, and then you can get a frost that wipes out your hopes of fruit from your trees, and you'll have to replant your garden.

June starts getting hot, and gives you hints of drought.

July and August are miserbly, brutally hot and humid. You hope for rain to cool things down, and sometimes you get a nice soothing shower. Then the sun comes out and all that moisture starts evaporating and the moisture starts saturating the air and you feel like you need gills. In the cities, people die in apartment houses because they don't have air conditioning.

September can be fairly nice.

October is usually gorgeous.

November is usually wet and overcast. I have lived through Novembers when the sun did not shine through the clouds one day. Can you live through an entire month of cloudy and cold, often rainy cold, days and still maintain your sanity?

December can be weird. I've seen 75 degree weather and I've seen sub-zero weather. Do you hope for a white Christmas, one that snows you in and keeps your family from coming to visit or keeps you from being able to get out to see anyone?

Words like moderate, temperate, mild are not appropriate when talking about Missouri weather. Brutal, bone-chilling, violent are the words we use.Missourians tend to be a little harder, i.e. more thick-skinned, tougher, even harsher, than transplants. Part of the reason we're a hard people is the weather.

In southern Missouri, combine the weather with the geology, rocks and poor soil, and you get even harder people, especially when you get out of the Springfield-Branson area and get over into south-central Missouri where there are fewer transplants and more natives or long-time residents.

Chances are good that if you move here, you'll be sorry. Just some food for thought.