Monday, December 31, 2012

McCaskill uses school massacre to raise money

Sen. Claire McCaskill, who portrayed herself as a moderate in the campaign running up to the November election, is showing herself as being only moderately (if that) in favor of the Constitution.
She is using the massacre of children in Connecticut to pick a fight with the National Rifle Association over gun rights, guaranteed in the Second Amendment, so she can ask her liberal Democrat friends to help her pay down her campaign debt. It's here: Claire McCaskill Highlights Fight With NRA in New Fundraising Pitch.
Here's an excerpt from the report:
In her Saturday pitch to her email list, McCaskill argues that “I've always been willing to take on the big guys when it's the right thing to do -- like my recent call on the NRA to come to the table to help prevent further gun violence or my fight to end taxpayer-funded subsidies for Big Oil.”
McCaskill’s willingness to aggressively attack the NRA is particularly noteworthy given the fact that Democrats from the South and Midwest have long been loathe to cross swords with the powerful gun lobby.
Let me explain why the gun lobby is "powerful." Listen carefully: It is supported by people like me (and, I hope, you) all across the country who send in their money for membership.That's where it's power comes from: Americans who believe in the Constitution.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rest In Peace: Mike Auldridge, bluegrass musician

Bluegrass music fans in Rolla and throughout the Ozarks will be saddened to hear of the death of  Mike Auldridge, Dobro player and a founding member of the Seldom Scene.
His is a well-known name to bluegrass radio listeners in Rolla, particularly those who listen to Wayne Bledsoe's programs on KMST FM 88.5 or at www.kmst.org.
Here's a portion of his obituary in The Tennessean, a Nashville newspaper:
Before Mr. Auldridge, the Dobro — an acoustic resonator guitar played with a slide — was often considered an inelegant instrument, imprecise in intonation and uneven in tone. He often played in silvered whispers rather than in the Mike_Auldridgerambunctious clatter that characterized early Dobro recordings. He expanded the Dobro’s vocabulary, extended its reach and inspired each of the instrument’s modern greats, including Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes. He was a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellow, in recognition of his contributions to musical culture.
“If it wasn’t for him, none of us would be here,” Douglas said. “Mike made it acceptable to play the instrument, and hearing him was where I got the idea that I could play different kinds of music, beyond country. He was a guy who could play one note that was worth a thousand. He’s my hero.”

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The seeds have spoken: Winter will be harsh

Friday afternoon I picked up half a dozen persimmons that cluttered my deck, stuck them in a bag and took them to the Rolla Daily News newsroom.
"Hold the presses. I am fixing to predict the winter weather," I told Editor Lynn Brennan.
I took the persimmons into the employee breakroom and commenced to removing the seeds and cleaning the fruit flesh off them. What a chore that was. Then I took the seeds to the front counter and started to slice them open. My knife was dull, so I borrowed one from one of my colleagues.
The ladies of the office all gathered as I cut a seed in half. They were curious how I would predict the weather with a handful of seeds.
It showed the definite shape of a spoon on one half.
"Going to be a heavy wet snow," I said. "That's what the spoon portends."
The ladies wanted me to open the rest of the seeds - I got 15 altogether out of the six persimmons - quickly.
I was having trouble getting them open with the available knife.
"You know, this is a lot of fun," I said. "Would you ladies like to try this?" (I have read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Samuel "Mark Twain" Clemens a couple of times, so I know how to get other people to do my work.)
One grabbed the knife from my hand. Other knives came out of purses. I did not know the ladies of the RDN were such knife enthusiasts.
Quickly, they halved the persimmon seeds and began counting.
Of the 30 halves, 18 were readable. Fifteen were spoons and three were butter knives. None showed a fork.
That means we're going to have a lot of heavy and wet snow that requires a lot of shoveling. The spoons tell us that. We're also going to have an icy, cut-through-your-coat-and-chill-your-bones cold. The knives tell us that.
A fork would have indicated mild weather with a dry and fluffy snow. With no forks in the seeds, that means we're going to have a relentlessly cold, snowy and icy winter.
At least, that is what the seeds say.
"Is this witchcraft?" one of the ladies asked.
"No, of course not," I assured her. "This is folklore."
Last week, I told you what The Old Farmer's Almanac predicted.
This week, I've told you what the persimmon seeds predict.
I'm on the lookout for wooly caterpillars to see what they have to say to us. One of the ladies said she had seen one that was black from tip to tip.
That would fit with the seeds' prediction. An all-black woolyworm, or woolybear, or caterpillar, means we're in for a long, cold winter, with plenty of precipitation. In Missouri, that means sleet, a rain-sleet mix, freezing rain, ice/icing and snow.
I'm hoping I find a bunch of wooly caterpillars with wide bands of brown or orange to refute that single wormy prophet - and the 18 seeds.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Isaac's remnants do us some good

From the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station, here is the local data for the 24-hour period ending at 7:30 a.m. today, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012:


Max Tempt.: 77° F

Min Tempt.: 71°

Present Tempt. : 72°

Precipitation: 1.21"
The remnants of Hurricane Isaac have delivered a total of 1.82 inches so far and the center is now located near Warrensburg, Missouri.

Precip. for the year: 22.15"

Precip. for the month: 1.21"

Relative humidity: 99%

A.C.Spreng
Co-Op Observer

S.R. Fraley
Assistant Co-Op Observer

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sarah Steelman should replace Akin as candidate

Driving from my day job in St. Robert to my evening/night job in Rolla, I flipped on the radio and listened to the Sean Hannity radio show. He was talking about Todd Akin, the man other Republican voters in Missouri picked to be the nominee for U.S. senator. Akin has said something stupid that makes him questionable as a candidate, but he refused to withdraw from the race by a deadline at 5 p.m. Tuesday, so his name will be on the ballot.
Columnist/talking head Ann Coulter was Hannity's guest on the show, and I heard her say that now that Akin has refused to drop out she can "officially hate him." She also said Missouri Republicans should immediately begin a write-in campaign, focusing on a candidate with statewide recognition, experience and respect. She suggested former governor and U.S. senator Christopher "Kit" Bond.
"What?" I said aloud to the radio. "Why not the obvious choice? Sarah Steelman?" Of course, Ann Coulter did not answer.
She must not have been thinking clearly. Sarah Steelman, whom I voted for as any right-thinking Missouri Republican should have, is the obvious choice. She has statewide name recognition, experience and respect. Plus the Republicans need to put up a woman against Claire McCaskill.
Sarah Steelman is the obvious and perfect choice for a write-in candidate to replace Akin, who has been disavowed and shunned by the Republican leadership.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday morning at Macedonia Baptist

Thank God a sinner like me gets to go to a good church.

Out at Macedonia Baptist this morning we sang these hymns:
"Brethren, We Have Met to Worship" for our call to worship;
"Oh, How I Love Jesus";
"Faith Is the Victory";
"Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It."
Nancy Robertson sang "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" for the special music.
Interim preacher Leroy Nixon used Ephesians 6:10-17 as his text.
Ephesians 6:10-17

King James Version (KJV)

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

He talked about fighting the devil daily.
The final hymn was "Whiter Than Snow."

We had a good discussion in the adult men's Sunday School class. We are studying the book of Ruth.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The temperature has dropped to 76 at The Ozarks Chronicle weather station, and the rain is falling slowly, very slowly, which is just fine. We hope it continues like this all night.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

It's never been this hot before! (Wrong!)

Young people, if you're complaining that it has never been this hot before, you're wrong.
Yesterday's high of 104 degrees in Rolla tied, but did not beat, the 1952 record, so it has indeed been this hot before.
The record was set before you were born.
It was set even before I was born, believe it or not.
The record was set way, way back there, even before global warming and climate change started.

From the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station, here is the Rolla weather data for the 24-hour period ending at 7:30 a.m., July 1, 2012
Max Tempt.:                  104° F 
(Ties 1952 record of 104 degrees)
Min Tempt.:                   77°
Present Tempt.:             79°
Precipitation:                 0.00"
Precip. for the year:        15.67"
Precip. for the month:     0.00"
Relative humidity:           48%

Saturday, March 31, 2012

You can't provoke a fight, then shoot someone and get off free -- can you?

R.D. Hohenfeldt
Editor

I get my national news from the Sean Hannity and Fox News Channel, and from what i’ve heard, my understanding is that this black kid Trayvon Martin was visiting his father one night in Florida in February when he walked after dark to a neighborhood store to get some Skittles and tea.
As he walked home, a guy named George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch captain out looking for trouble and suspicious characters, spotted the kid and started following him. He called the police who told him to get out of there and let them take care of it. Intead, he kept following the boy and there was a confrontation and a fight. The kid, reportedly a football player in great shape, got the better of the out-of-shape Neighborhood Watch volunteer and wound up on top, pounding the crap out of him.
According to Hannity, the kid said he was going to kill Zimmerman, who started screaming for help, then pulled out a pistol and shot the boy dead. I didn’t know Neighborhood Watch volunteers carried firearms.
Zimmerman was taken to the police station, questioned and released because he shot the boy in self-defense under the authority of a law, popularly known as the “stand your ground” law.
More information came out Thursday; I won’t say facts, I’ll just say information. Zimmerman’s father, Robert Zimmerman, a retired Virginia judge, gave an interview to the Fox affiliate in Orlando, which was played on the Hannity radio show that I listened to while driving home from my day job in Pulaski County.
That was such a bizarre interview that i had to look it up on the Internet, and I found a report of the Fox interview in the Miami Herald. Here’s a quote from the paper, attributed to the elder Zimmerman: “Things were not going to go well. One of them was not going to walk away,” he said, so George had no choice but to kill Martin.
The Miami newspaper quoted Robert Zimmerman as saying George was on his way to a store when he spotted Trayvon, who he thought looked suspicious because he wasn’t walking on the main sidewalk; he was walking on a paved path behind two sets of townhouses. (I wonder if that was a shortcut back to his dad’s house? The Miami Herald doesn’t say.)
George called the police and started following Trayvon. On Fox News Channel, I heard Zimmerman’s 9-1-1 call, and the police definitely told him not to follow the boy. He ignored that order, though, and at some point on the trail, Trayvon approached George and said, “Do you have an f-ing problem?” according to Robert Zimmerman.
George said he didn’t have a problem, then he reached for his cell phone.
Now, let me stop here a minute and say that I once heard a verified report that a policeman -- yes, a policeman -- shot and killed a man as that man reached for his cell phone. is it possible that Trayvon thought George was reaching for a gun? I think so.
Trayvon “punched him in the nose, his nose was broken, and he was knocked to the concrete,” Robert Zimmerman said, according to the Miami paper. “It’s my understanding Trayvon Martin got on top of him and just started beating him in the face, in his nose, hitting his head on the concrete.”
The Miami Herald continues: “‘After nearly a minute of being beaten,’ Robert Zimmerman said George tried – with Trayvon still on top of him – to move away from the concrete onto the grass. In doing so, the gun he kept in a holster on his waist was exposed.”
That’s when, Robert Zimmerman claims, “Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of ‘you’re going to die now’ or you’re gonna die tonight’ -- something to that effect,” he said. “He continued to beat George. At some point, George pulled his pistol and did what he did.”
What would you do? Most of you are lily white like me. What if you were out for a walk at night in a city and a black man started following you? Now, personally, I would run. I’d be angry that my freedom to walk in the community was being infringed on, but I’d run home like a scared rabbit. Some of you, though, are braver than I and you would stand your ground, confront the black man following you.
If the black man reached toward his pocket, you’d assume he was reaching for a gun and you’d strike him. Hard.
If in the scuffle a gun was exposed, verifying your belief the guy was going to kill you, you’d fight even harder, you’d threaten to kill him and you’d try to knock him out. You’d try to get the gun away from him, but if he got ahold of it and shot you, then got off scott-free, what would you want your family and the media to do? If your family demanded justice, would it be fair for them to be accused of hate?
That’s exactly what Robert Zimmerman is saying. According to the Miami Herald, he said, “I hope at one point everyone will go beyond the hate. At some point when all this settles, they’ll say, ‘George Zimmerman is a pretty nice guy.”
About all I can say about George is he is a busybody do-gooder (like so many people you and I know in Rolla) who let things get out of hand because he didn’t listen to the police. I think he is getting away with murder or at least manslaughter.
He needs to be chargedand taken to court.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hummingbirds are near

Hummingbirds.net monitors the migration of the ruby-throated hummingbirds. They were in north central Arkansas on St. Patrick's Day, so they'll be in Rolla soon.

Do you have your hummingbird feeders ready?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jim the Wonder Dog

Marshall, Mo., isn't in the Ozarks, but lots of us Ozarkers are dog lovers and Marshall is the home town of the smartest dog who ever lived in Missouri, Jim the Wonder Dog.

Many years ago I read a story about Jim in The Ozarks Mountaineer. I also visited the dog's grave in the Marshall cemetery.

Now there's a move to make him the Historic Dog of Missouri. But he has some competition. Here's the lead from recent story in the Marshall newspaper:

While the GOP presidential campaign captures the attention of much of the nation, here in Missouri another race is shaping up that promises to attract the attention of partisans in the race for a state honor.

State Rep. Joe Aull, D-Marshall, recently introduced a bill that would designate Marshall's Jim the Wonder Dog as the state's "historic dog."

Two other bills, each touting the excellent qualities of an historic dog, have been filed.

For more about this Missouri race, go read the Marshall newspaper's website at Race heats up for state Historic Dog designation.

There's also a website devoted to Jim at Jim the Wonder Dog's website.

And here's an interesting YouTube video on Jim:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stocking up for the snow

Yesterday my wife went to the day-old bread store to pick up some of our favorite whole wheat bread. I waited in the car with the poodles; when she came back out she said she didn't get what we wanted but got rye and pumpernickel instead. They were out of the whole wheat.
"The store was almost cleared out," she said, getting back into the car.
"Are they going out of business?" I asked, because the store sells Hostess and its affiliated brands, and I had heard on the news that company was bankrupt or nearly so.
"That's what I asked the lady," my wife said. "She laughed and said no, it was because of the snow."
"The snow?" I said. "You mean that two and half inch dusting we got Monday that started melting Tuesday and was gone Wednesday?"
My wife laughed and said, "That's the one. The lady inside said people came in Monday and cleared the place out. It will take a couple of weeks to get it built back up."
"Well, good grief," I said. "I didn't even think to 'stock up' for the snow. The forecast said it wasn't going to be but about 3 inches at most and the temperatures were going to take it away the next couple of days."
"I guess stores all over town were cleared out and we didn't even know it," my wife said.
"They must have sold out bread everywhere. And eggs, milk, sugar."
"And coffee," my wife added.
"Well, for cryin' out loud," I said. "I guess people around here don't know about the weather forecasts. Or they haven't lived around here long enough to have a feel for the weather."
After thinking about, though, I've concluded that stocking up for a big snowstorm is an Ozarks ritual. We've had no truly severe weather this winter, which is nearing an end, so people just latched on to whatever they could so they could feel like they'd been through a rough winter.
It just happened to be a 2.5 inch dusting.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Global warming is wonderful

Fellow gardeners, when someone starts spouting about the dangers of global warming, tell them to think positively. Thanks to global warming, we're going to be able to start planting seeds earlier in tLinkhe spring and harvesting later in the fall, according to this report from National Public Radio.

Here's a detailed map, too.

Monday, January 16, 2012

We're looking for leaders willing to be public servants

Some of you may be old enough to remember learning about the Soviet Union and Red China back when you were in grade school. Do you recall learning that the communists had regular elections, but only had one candidate? And do you recall hearing that they had near 100 percent turnout to vote for that single candidate? We tut-tutted and tsked-tsked those dictatorships for not giving their people a choice. Those foreign places weren’t like this republican democracy where we have a choice.
Unfortunately, in Rolla we, the people, choose to have Soviet-style elections with only one candidate.
Such is the case in several of the positions to be decided in April. For instance, the last time we looked, incumbent Municipal Judge James T. Crump can expect to put on the judicial robe and earn the $15,000 annual salary without a challenge.
The same is true for three council members: Don Morris in Ward 4; J.D. Williams in Ward 5 and Anthony M. “Tony” Bahr in Ward 6. They’ll pocket their $1,800 per year salary without a challenge.
There’s also a two-year term on the hospital board that has no candidate. The hospital trustee position doesn’t pay a salary, but the board has some mighty nice dinners before their monthly meetings. They often have steak. At one meeting last year they dined on lobster before adopting a budget that included some cuts and some price increases.
Three people are running for the two positions on the school board, so there’s still room for you on the ballot. You won’t get a salary, but you’ll get a nice meal before the meetings. They aren’t quite as fancy as the hospital board’s meals, but we hear they’re filling. Usually the suppers are soups and salads or lasagna prepared by school cooks, but sometimes the school directors get chicken or pizza.
Deadline to file for election to these offices is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.
To file for the school board, go see Nancy McWhorter at the administrative offices in the Rolla Technical Center. To file for city council, go see City Clerk Carol Daniels at City Hall. To file for the hospital board, go see Phelps County Clerk Carol Bennett at the Phelps County Courthouse.
We need people with good leadership skills willing to be public servants to file for these positions.
How about you?--RDH