Seven Chinese Brothers

Heard this song from REM  on World Cafe.  Had a flashback to the the library hour when the librarian read Five Chinese Brothers, a similar  story, aloud to the gathered children including me. We read it to our kids.  Younger folk may have heard the Seven Chinese Brothers with watercolor illustrations.  If we recognize the talents of all of our neighbors and brothers, it will help us all to achieve our maximimum,


From various sources that I have seen, there was no coup in Honduras, rather an orderly execution of legal proceedings to enforce existing law. Honduras, having put up with dictators who cannot let go (Samoza family), put a clause in its Constitution that presidents serve 1 term. If the president tries to change the law, he is out. It is in the constitution. Former president Manuel Zelaya tried to have a referendum to change the law. When the referendum was was ruled unconstitutional, he was going to hold the vote anyway as a “non-binding” referendum. The Honduran Supreme Court ruled that the former president was trying to change the law and was therefore to be removed from office. He was removed. Previously scheduled presidential elections to follow.

The Obama administration seems kind of thick here. They lifted the visa of the Honduran Supreme Court Justice that signed the removal warrant along with the visas of a couple of others. President Obama may be on the wrong side of of the rule of law. Perhaps the President is getting bad advice from a poor lawyer on his staff. Perhaps that someone needs to be in private practice instead of messing up the hemisphere.

Forty Years Ago

I was at NATTC Memphis at Millington, TN.  I had been there since April and it was hot and humid.  I was learning to be an aircraft mechanic.  Two weeks of fundamentals and 8 weeks of Aviation Metalsmith, Structural  “A” School.  I was just about done and anticipating going to the “real” Navy.

About 80 men lived in our barracks, a 2 story wooden building of WWII vintage.  The TV lounge was about 20×12 with a 21-inch black-and-white TV on a shelf near the ceiling in the corner.  The remote was a sturdy chair and a long arm to turn the channel changing dial.  Some chrome-armed chairs with vinyl cushions were filled early and it was standing room only when the Astronauts stepped down onto the surface of the moon.  This was “LIVE FROM THE MOON”. “Un-f-n-believable” as the common expression went (Sanitized for your protection).

It’s still amazing.

The following January, Capt. John G. Wissler, CO of Weapons System Test Division of Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, later Rear Admiral and CO of NATC, congratulated me on my being promoted to AMS 3rd Class (E-4). I will never forget that handshake and the blue eyes that look so icy.

Rear Admiral Wissler was listed as a source in James Michener’s Space.


My father has been studying CO2 for a number of years. He is convinced that the folks that want to reduce CO2 are the same folks that have starved the third world for years. Ask yourself, “Is <fill in a name here> making any money from this <fill in a noun here>? Try substituting “Al Gore” (who is selling “carbon credits”) and “scam” (just exactly do you get for a “carbon credit” and how is that different from blackmail? Who gets the commission on the sale? Just exactly how did this transaction change any production/consumption relationship?) and you will get the idea. Meanwhile, who is paying for this? Not the mbillionaires, you can be assured of that. My father has sent a letter to the ELCA. Update: The Bishop has referred the letter to his collegues for recommendations.

Clinton, McCain flunk Economics 101

In my humble opinion, both Hilary Clinton and John McCain fail Economics 101. While they really grasp the politics of the situation, they have really got the economics of the price of petroleum wrong. When the commodity is in short supply relative to demand, the price will go up. If you artificially reduce the price (price cap/tax cut), the shortage will increase because the demand will not decline. If you let the price rise, the demand will go down. Does anyone other than me remember the Jimmy Carter – gas line days. With two-thirds of the current presidential candidates you can expect a return to those good old days.

What we need in this situation is leadership from someone who can lead us out of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into.

Mugabe, man of myth and mystery

There is a European folk tale about a man who teaches a woman to spin straw into gold. The man’s name is Rumpelstiltskin. Perhaps Mr. Mugabe should become the center of an African folk tale of a man whose hubris taught him to spin gold into straw. While a leader can be great, times change and new leaders are needed to adapt to new times and new situations. I am tired of the Republicans and will never trust the Clintons.

Pecking Order

Bullet, aka Little Bear, Mr. B., and Cutie, has grown into his second year. As a result, he is busy trying to establish his rank in the realm. So he jumps Harry (about the same size), Hillard (about 3 pounds heavier), and Lorenzo (about 1 pound smaller). Eventually this will resolve. In the meantime, it is extra scabs and an occasional howl. Yesterday on the front steps, Bullet cornered Harry. There was a bit of a howl. Hillard came to investigate. This did not have a peacemaking affect. I opened the door and let Hillard into the house. The ongoing tension returned to the previous level. There may be a message here for those who make national policy.

Spread of Language

By an interesting coincidence, I received a mailing from The Great Courses with a free sample lecture on the spread of language through Austronesia just as I was reading the chapters in Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel on the very same topic.

The lecturer is very good and maintains interest on the topic but he is also using an overhead or projected presentation as he seems to pause to point or indicate features. I suppose this is one good reason to pay $400 to $1000 to take the real college class as opposed to getting just the lecture for $40 to $80.

No New News?

While reading the newspaper this morning, I had the thought that while reporters question everything that comes out of the president’s mouth (as they should), they seem to give a “pass” to all of the candidates. The reporters for both the newspapers and the networks do not seem to apply any sort of journalistic skepticism to any of the campaign talk. Perhaps we have a press corps full of repeaters rather than reporters.

Mackinac Straits Bridge – Part 2

Our family would occasionally take a boat trip to the bridge if the weather was calm. I can remember when the towers were being built. But more, I remember the next year when the catwalk was put in place. This was followed by the cable spinning operation. This is the most fun to watch. A device that looks like a collection of bicycle wheels is drawn from anchorage to anchorage by a winch. Each wheel pulls a loop of wire. Two wires per wheel. One wire is pulled off of a supply spool at the anchorage, the other is left standing still as the wheel goes by. Two wheels per trip. When the wheels get to the end, the loop tensioned, fastened to the anchorage, and another loop from that side is put on and the spinner is drawn back. That is about 5,500 round trips. I think that the spinner moved about 5 miles per hour. There was a bell that rang that warned the men on the catwalk that the spinner was coming. Quite an exciting thing to watch going on 200-400 feet overhead.

Part 1

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