January 30, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of January 30, 2015.   Our Bar Dues are due tomorrow.  $405.00.  After a dues increase, a couple of years ago   …  we were told a dues increase was necessary to provide the “same level of services”.   As a Solo  …  I am really looking around for the services my dues are paying for.   Free CLE’s, (Continuing Legal Education  …  15 hours mandated each year)?  Haven’t seen any. Prosecution of folks engaged in the Unauthorized Practice of Law, (helping folks fill out forms provided by our Court Administrator?)  Haven’t seen any prosecutions either.  Really?  Other than Fastcase, what services?  As of 2013, the Supremo’s control:

The Bar Association:                                         Cash and Investments,  $4,826,044.00

…………………………………………..             Revenues,                     $9,501,522.00

Trustees of the Missouri Bar:                             Cash,                             $   352,533.00

…………………………………………..             Property,                        $5,013,158.00

Missouri Bar Foundation:                                   Cash and Investments, $2,141,509.00

The Advisory Committee Fund:                          Cash and Investments, $4,385,815.00

*Financial Arm of the OCDC*     …………    I could not find a budget on-line, nor an audit.

Missouri Lawyer Trust Account  Foundation:      Cash                             $   814,435.00

So   …   our Supremo’s run a $27,035,016.00 million dollar enterprise, with $9,501,522.00 a year in guaranteed revenues.  Share with me   …  why would there be a need for an almost $5 million dollar reserve?  The $107,476.00 difference between putting on CLE’s and the revenues generated by hosting/providing them?

According to the above referenced Bar Association Audit  …  just what was the $1.2 million dollars for “Public Education” spent on?

Do we really need to spend  $446,246.00 for the 3 Annual Bar Meetings?

And $438,805.00 for BOG and Officer Travel, (all Officers are also BOG members)   …  there are 45 members on the BOG   …  isn’t that $9,751.00 or $813.00 per month, per member?  Share with me   …  did we really need a Dues Increase to pay for this?  How about part of the $1.2 million dollars used to educate the public, (no doubt about the benefits of the Non-Partisan Plan), be used to fund Legal Aid, instead of the additional $30.00 a year that we are forced to pay?

If our Supremo’s really gave a damn about provided legal services to the least of us   …  they would grant a $100.00 Dues Credit to any lawyer who provides/volunteers 50 hours of pro bono legal aid through Legal Aid or the Public Defender system, instead of hitting all up for a $30.00 tithe.  Course   …  talk about being out of touch with those of us, who toil in the trenches, representing working people   …  one of our BOG members shared  …  “It’s only $.27 cents a day!!”  Perhaps she doesn’t realize   …  that is a tank of gas!

Better yet?  For those of us who are now receiving our Social Security Benefit, (and have less than some trigger income amount)  …  having faithfully paid our Bar Dues,  waive the Bar Dues entirely to encourage pro bono legal or community service involvement.  I can’t help but believe, Solo or Small Firm lawyers ACTIVELY involved in their respective local communities   …   would be priceless, in terms of good will for our profession.  No doubt, more so, than paying $1.2 million dollars to some ad agency to pimp it.  Look.  Solo and Small Firm Lawyers remain the back bone of our system of justice.  We are the shield, the average citizen has, against the will of the majority, by bringing the actions defending and defining our Bill of Rights.  49% of us, the minority, can sleep well at night because of what Solo and Small Firm Lawyers do.  Laws are enacted by folks who win elections  …  voted into office by the majority.  Historically?  Almost every opinion rendered by the US Supreme Court defining our civil rights   …  was an action brought by a Solo or Small Firm Lawyer representing a person, (the minority), our government, (the majority), stepped on.

And “the French”:  (BBC NEWS)  —  French court stops child from being named Nutella. “A French court has stopped parents from naming their baby girl Nutella after the hazelnut spread, ruling that it would make her the target of derision. The judge ordered that the child be called Ella instead. He said in his ruling that the name Nutella was the trade name of a spread that is commonplace in Gallic homes   …  French parents are usually free to choose the names of their children, but local prosecutors are empowered to report what they deem to be unsuitable names to a family court.”   I wonder   …  if the child had been a boy, could his parents have named him “Nutello”?  Nutella is actually a hazelnut/chocolate paste/spread, developed by Pietro Ferrero in Italy and marketed in 1964.  There are obviously folks that love it. As for me?  I wouldn’t eat it using your mouth.

Proof that we are all Jewish?  (BBC NEWS)  —  Skull clue to exodus from Africa. “An ancient skull discovered in Israel could shed light on the migration of modern humans out of Africa some 60,000 years ago. This migration led to the colonization of the entire planet by our species, as well as the extinction of other human groups such as the Neanderthals.  The skull from Manot Cave dates to 55,000 years ago and may be the closest we’ve got to finding one of the earliest migrants from Africa.”  There is also speculation that the Manot Cave may have been the first Jewish Deli as evidenced by the fossilized Gefilte fish found on some of the rock shelves.

The science news:  (BBC NEWS)  —  Bowhead Whales heard singing unique new songs.  “Some of the most beautiful and beguiling sounds in the natural world are made by singing animals. Beautiful due to quality and range of the sounds, and beguiling due to their complexity and the complicated reasons animals sing them. And perhaps no singing animals have fascinated us more than the great whales  …   Twelve new songs are being sung by bowhead whales undertaking their annual spring migration.”   Although other whales, such as the humpback, sperm and blue whales also sing, the bowhead appears to have the greatest number:  over 66 unique songs have been recorded.   These are magnificent creatures!!  “In 1946, 14 whaling nations formed the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to manage whale stocks and make recommendations on hunting limits. Originally developed as a whaling commission, the IWC (now also represented by non whaling nations) has become a conservation commission. In 1986, the IWC declared a moratorium on commercial whaling, hoping to allow whale populations to recover. The IWC has no means by which to enforce the moratorium, however, and whaling nations sometimes threaten to disregard it. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 banned the hunting of marine mammals in U.S. waters. The main objective of the MMPA is to maintain the stability of marine mammal populations and marine ecosystems.  The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty developed to regulate trade in certain wildlife species. CITES protects all species of whales.  Certain whale species, including six baleen whales and four toothed whales, are also protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA).”   Japan, although a member of the IWC still allows whale hunting in the name of “conservation/research”.  Sort of like “raping” in the name of “virginity”, isn’t it?

Sitting here editing these Ramblings.  Susan is in her office working on “Little Willies” scrapbook.  The little guy went to the Rainbow Bridge,  May 17, 2012.  It has taken this long for Susan   …  and I will admit, me, as well   …  to look at his pictures.  Even now, almost two years later,  looking at his pictures makes my heart bleed   …  and I can feel tears forming in my eyes.  There was a time when, on my way to court in Harrisonville or Warrensburg,  I would start thinking of Willie   …  and have to pull over because I had difficulty seeing.  These little guys are family members and in some instances impact our lives every bit as much as our children.  Willie was like that for Susan and I.  On the evening news?  A measles outbreak in 14 States, involving 84 confirmed folks  …  and the folks in Arizona freaking out and tracking over 1,000 people who may have been exposed    …  because of the shear number of folks attending the Super Bowl.  The measles virus is very robust and incredibly contagious.  The measles and whooping cough viruses were supposed to have been eradicated in the US   …   but they have made a comeback because some moronic parents refused to immunize their children.  Apparently, Polio vaccination is Ok, but not Whooping Cough and Measles.  Really makes sense, doesn’t it?

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.   Super Bowl Sunday Lunch and A Movie?   A combo pizza made from scratch! The movie?  “A Most Violent Year [2015]”.  Later when I say my Thank You’s for the many blessings in my life and Susan to share them with   …  I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?)  Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can.  If my post offends, I apologize  …  that is certainly not my intent.  And “Yes”, I remain nicotine free   …  and Susan isn’t.  She will stop smoking  …  when she decides to.  As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)


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January 23, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of January 23, 2015.  Had a docket call in Harrisonville on January 20.  I did not recognize the vast majority of young lawyers in the courtroom.  Afterward, an old lawyer and I were chatting in the hallway   …  when he mentioned he did not recognize the young lawyers either.  Then commiserated about the state of our profession.  That the young lawyers he had to deal with had no sense of community   …  were operating under a crushing debt load  …   and had no clue about the nuts and bolts of practicing law.   I have absolutely no doubt, when I first started my practice, the old lawyers had the same thing to say about my generation of lawyers, (sans the crushing debt load).  I worked a full time job, a part time job and carried 15 hours a semester   …  working on my Masters in Psychology and Juris Doctorate concurrently.  I graduated 149 out of 150 in my class   …  the next 30 above me all flunked the bar exam   …   but I graduated DEBT FREE!!   Now, at 67, with medical issues   …  I know I am close to the end of my career.  I have helped a lot of folks over the years.

I remember the “Doomsday Clock” from the “Cold War”.  (CNN)  —  Doomsday Clock moved closer to midnight.  “The world is closer to doomsday. That’s the message from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which moved its iconic Doomsday Clock up two minutes on Thursday. The clock now stands at three minutes to midnight, the “latest” it’s been since 1984, when the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union was a major issue.  “Today, unchecked climate change and a nuclear arms race resulting from modernization of huge arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity. And world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe …”  Reminds me of Mitt Romney’s statement during the 2012 Presidential Debate, “that Russia is our greatest geopolitical foe.”   The Russian backed rebels in the Ukraine are on the move:  “Ukraine rebel Zakharchenko ‘rejects truce talks’”. 

As you all know, I am a “housebroke by Susan” German.  (BBC NEWS)  —  German court rules that men can urinate while standing.  A court in Germany has ruled in favor of a man’s right to urinate while standing up after his landlord demanded money for damage to the bathroom floor. The landlord, who was seeking $2,200.00, claimed the marble floor had been damaged by urine. But the Düsseldorf judge ruled that the man’s method was within cultural norms, saying “urinating standing up is still common practice”  …  “he said men who insist on standing “must expect occasional rows with housemates, especially women” but cannot be held to account for collateral damage.”  I got news!  If I urinated on the floor in the bathroom, there would be more than an “occasional rows” with Susan.  She would take a sock loaded with sand to my head, while I was sleeping!!

Speaking of pain:  (BBC NEWS)  —  Women patients feel more pain when with partner, study suggests. “The presence of a romantic partner during painful medical procedures could make women feel worse rather than better, researchers say. A study involving 39 couples found this increase in pain was most pronounced in women who tended to avoid closeness in their relationships. The authors say bringing a loved one along for support may not be the best strategy for every patient.”   Especially when the loved one you bring along  …  is standing there, pointing, laughing and opining he is glad its not him undergoing the procedure.

The toy news:  (AOL NEWS)  —  America Now Has a ’50 Shades of Grey’ Teddy Bear.  When you think of the 50 Shades of Grey franchise, the first things that come to mind are probably handcuffs, bondage gear, and the image of someone attempting to awkwardly hide the cover of their paperback on your commute. We’re willing to bet that, barring any S&M connotations we’re unaware of, “teddy bear” is pretty far down the list. But leave it to Shelburne, VT company Vermont Teddy Bear to change all that with their latest concoction: a handcuff-toting Teddy bear to tie in with the 50 Shades film adaptation due out next month.”  Apparently the bear comes with miniature hand cuffs and a bondage mask.  Obviously this will appeal to a niche market. They decided against an anatomically correct  “Endowed Teddy” because the potential market was too small to justify the cost of the extra material needed for the endowment. 

Sitting here editing these Ramblings waiting for Susan to come home.  Prepared Grands Biscuit Pizzas for Susan to munch on when she gets home.  Easy to make:  roll the biscuit dough flat, (about 3/8” thick), spread pizza sauce over it, Canadian bacon, Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Sharp Cheddar   …  bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes. On CNN  …  in depth coverage of the Yemen fiasco.  Have a photo shoot planned for Sunday, 3:00pm, (Senior Pictures), at Powell Gardens.  It will be overcast and 61 degrees.  Perfect for outdoor portraits,

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.   Sunday Lunch and A Movie?   Pot Roast, Baby Peas and Mashed Potatoes. The movie?  “Taken 3 [2015]”  Later when I say my Thank You’s for the many blessings in my life and Susan to share them with   …  I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?)  Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can.  If my post offends, I apologize  …  that is certainly not my intent.  And “Yes”, I remain nicotine free   …  and Susan has indicated she intends to quit, starting Monday.  As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)

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January 16, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of January 16, 2015.   I celebrated my 67th birthday yesterday.  Like most members of the VietVet generation   …   I never thought I would live this long.  I have   …  and can honestly share   …  growing old is not for sissies.   You discover muscles you didn’t know you had.   Further   …  it is amazing to me   …   how large the rift, between what my mind thinks my body can do   …  and what my body can actually do   …  has become.  Put another way   …  I have an 18 year olds mind   …  in a 67 year olds body.  I feel like a ’57 Chevy with 180K miles   …  and am worried about being towed the last 20K.

Everybody quits smoking.  The trick is to quit before you have to.  As my father preached for years:  “Quitting is easy.  All you have to do is   …  nothing.”  (BBC NEWS)  —  Blood test to help smokers ‘find best way to quit’.  “A blood test could help people choose a stop-smoking strategy that would give them the best chance of quitting, research in a Lancet journal suggests.  Studies show as many as 60% of people who try to give up start smoking again in the first week.  But researchers argue measuring how quickly a person breaks down nicotine could boost the chances of success  …  Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in cigarettes – smokers crave more nicotine when their body’s levels drop, prompting them to smoke again.” Nicotine is expelled from the body by urination over a 3 – 4 day period.  It builds up in the bladder, which is the reason smoking/nicotine is the primary cause of bladder cancer.  The most common risk factor is cigarette smoking, although smoking cigars and pipes can also raise the risk of developing bladder cancer. Smokers are four to seven times more likely to develop bladder cancer than nonsmokers.”   …   and   …  “Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes may increase your risk of bladder cancer by causing harmful chemicals to accumulate in your urine. When you smoke, your body processes the chemicals in the smoke and excretes some of them in your urine. These harmful chemicals may damage the lining of your bladder, which can increase your risk of cancer.”   Once nicotine withdrawal is complete, the mind games begin.  I quit cold turkey 691 day ago   …  and even now, have occasional psychological cravings.  Psychological in the sense that I try to convince myself just one cigarette or cigar wouldn’t hurt.  Just smoke one to prove that I am no longer an addict. Fact remains, I am.  I know I am one puff away from being a 3 pack a day addict again.  Not tonight, not ever again   …   even though the Obama Administration has changed the law to allow the importation of Cuban Cigars. Smoking a cigar isn’t really smoking   …  is it?  Isn’t it just an adult pacifier?

As an aside:  (Washington Post)  —  One of the original Marlboro Men, Darrell Winfield, has died.  “Darrell Winfield, a rancher who became the face of masculinity for an American tobacco company, died Jan. 12 in Wyoming at age 85  …  At least four of the Marlboro Men have died of smoking-related illnesses, according to the Los Angeles Times.   It is unclear how Winfield died, but he suffered from a “lengthy illness” and had been in hospice care at his home, according to a Wyoming news organization. “ 

And once again, this Administration tripping over it’s shwanz, another foreign policy flub.  Washington (CNN)  —  White House: ‘We should have sent someone with a higher profile’.  “President Barack Obama’s administration admitted Monday that it erred by failing to send a higher-profile representative of the United States to the Paris unity march on Sunday.  “I think it’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday afternoon  …  there wasn’t enough time for the “onerous and significant” security work that needed to take place ahead of a presidential visit   …  More than 40 world leaders, including the British, German and Israeli heads of state and Russia’s foreign minister, joined at least 1.5 million people on the Paris streets Sunday for a unity march that became France’s biggest-ever public demonstration.”   Apparently, watching the playoffs had more priority than joining 40 other World Leaders in showing solidarity with the French, in our common fight against Islamic extremism. Strange   …  how there was enough time for the security details of 40 World Leaders to deal with the “onerous and significant” security work that needed to take place ahead of a presidential visit.”   …  but our Secret Service wasn’t up for the job.

And in keeping with my obligation to educate:  (BBC NEWS)  —  Evolution: Why do we have lips? “They kind of flap around on the front of your face, get dried out and chapped in the winter, and occasionally get caught up between your teeth and mistaken for food. Seriously, what good are lips?   …  It turns out that lips are quite important; so important, even, that it seems worth the risk of having your bottom lip caught in between your chompers  …  Using our lips to suck is one of the very first skills we have after we’re born. In fact, it’s so fundamental to our survival that it’s known as a “primitive reflex”; we’re born knowing how to suck and no learning is necessary. That’s true for nearly all mammals.”   The second skill we learn?  The ability to use kissing as a means of communication.  We are social creatures with an inherent need to interact.  As a result, at any given point in time, we are offering our cheeks to be kissed   …  or we are kissing someone else’s cheeks.  That is how politics and the art of diplomacy evolved.  By definition   …  the art of diplomacy remains, the ability to kiss cheeks without getting your nose brown.

No doubt, some pilgrim will think I am a racist for asking this question.  (KC STAR)  — Missouri again leads the nation in the rate of black homicide victims. “For the fourth time in five years, Missouri leads the nation in the rate of black homicide victims, a national study using the most recent data available shows. The state’s 2012 rate — 34.98 homicides per 100,000 black residents — was nearly twice the national rate, according to the study released by the Violence Policy Center in Washington.  Nationally, the black homicide rate was 18.03 per 100,000, or four times the rate for victims of all races. The study also reported that 207 of the state’s 247 black victims were male and about 9 percent of the black victims were younger than 18. The average age of black victims was 29.”  African Americans  comprise 12.6% of America’s population, yet, blacks accounted for half of all homicides.”  Where is the outcry from the Black community? Further, being aware of these facts   …  share with me wouldn’t a police officer, (of whatever race)   …   in all probability approach a Black suspect with increased caution?  Isn’t that subliminal profiling?

Sitting here editing these Ramblings, watching CNN   …  the Editorial Staff in Susan’s office   …  doing their best to stare her down for  treats.  On CNN?  The chickens, (trained by, you know   …  folks our President called “the second string”   …  ISIS), are coming home to roost:   (CNN)  —  “European counterterrorism agencies scrambled Friday to assess the potential danger of a complex and growing terrorism threat exposed by the arrests of more than a dozen people with suspected links to Islamic extremists.  As many as 20 sleeper cells of between 120 and 180 people could be ready to strike in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, a Western intelligence source told CNN.  European Union and Middle East intelligence agencies had identified an “imminent threat” to Belgium, and possibly also to the Netherlands …”   Given our porous southern boarder   …  what is the probability we also have “sleeper cells” here?  The good news?  Unlike our European brethren, Americans are heavily armed. “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” Isoroku Yamamoto.  Damn good reason to be a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment   …  isn’t it?

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.   Sunday Lunch and A Movie?   Rosemary/garlic ham roast, corn on the cob and German fried potatoes.  The movie?  “American Sniper [2014]”  Later when I say my Thank You’s for the many blessings in my life and Susan to share them with   …  I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?)  Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can.  If my post offends, I apologize  …  that is certainly not my intent.  As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)

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January 9, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of January 9, 2015.  Paid my Bar Dues this week.  $405.00.  Part of which is mandated funding for “Legal Aid”, (and a BLATENT violation by our Supremo’s of Article V, Section 5, of our Constitution, by failing to post the rule change 6 months before implementation)   …  course, who would or could hold them to task? Certainly NOT the Board of Governors of our Bar, who have TOTALLY ignored the authority they have, (assuming they had amy), and any attempt to exercise it   … need an example?  The Board voted to provide the MAI CRIMINAL online   …  instead of forcing defense counsel to BUY IT?  Take out your check book.  The Supremo’s decided they would rather collect the funds from trench lawyers and royalties from Westlaw.   Seems to me, the BOG   …  is just window dressing …  to give the appearance that you and I have a voice, we have an impact …  we don’t.  Isn’t it time for a change?  Time for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers, (66% of our Bar), to mobilize and demand a change. Won’t happen.  Why?  We as Solo and Small firm lawyers live hand to mouth while paying on a six figure student loan debt, crushing overhead,  mandatory CLE’s and increased dues   …  all the while providing, (on a limited basis), pro bono services in our respective communities.  Precisely the reason we are the backbone of our system of justice.

You know   …  if our Supremo’s really wanted to make legal services readily available to the working poor   …  instead of mandating a $30.00/year tithe on all lawyers in Missouri,  they should REDUCE Bar Dues by $100.00 for every 50 hours of pro bono work performed on behalf of Legal Aid clients.

Medical news:  (BBC NEWS)  —  Antibiotics: US discovery labeled ‘game-changer’ for medicine. “The decades-long drought in antibiotic discovery could be over after a breakthrough by US scientists. Their novel method for growing bacteria has yielded 25 new antibiotics, with one deemed “very promising”. The last new class of antibiotics to make it to clinic was discovered nearly three decades ago.”  Nearly all of our antibiotics are derived from bacteria that grow in soil.  Only 1% of the thousands of bacteria that grow in soil can be cultivated above ground. The breakthrough hinges on the ability to grow bacteria  above ground, that could not be, before they developed a method for doing so.

In my daughters’ lifetime, I believe she will see persons with spinal cord injuries, walk.  (BBC NEWS)  — Elastic implant ‘restores movement’ in paralyzed rats. “An elastic implant that moves with the spinal cord can restore the ability to walk in paralyzed rats, say scientists.  Implants are an exciting field of research in spinal cord injury, but rigid designs damage surrounding tissue and ultimately fail. A team at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) has developed flexible implants that work for months.  It was described by experts as a “groundbreaking achievement of technology”.  In my heart, I can see Christopher Reeve smiling from heaven.

And some advice from a “Love’s Aftermath” lawyer:   (NEW YORK TIMES)  —  Study Finds More Reasons to Get and Stay Married. “A new economics paper has some old-fashioned advice for people navigating the stresses of life: Find a spouse who is also your best friend. Social scientists have long known that married people tend to be happier, but they debate whether that is because marriage causes happiness or simply because happier people are more likely to get married. The new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, controlled for pre-marriage happiness levels.  It concluded that being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single – particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises.”  I believe it is good for people to marry   … because  …  I have job security, as long as there is “love and alcohol”.  As my father was want to say, “Good marriages are made in heaven”   …  and my mother would chime in and remind, “So are thunderstorms.”   ….“ Divorce rates?  “ … 41% for first marriages  …  60 to 67 percent of second marriages  …  and 70 to 73 percent of third marriages.”  I suppose these statistics teach   …   when it comes to matters of the heart   …  some of us are slow learners.

I guess Russian vehicles are operated using the driver’s genitalia. (BBC NEWS)  — Russia says drivers must not have ‘sex disorders’. “Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licenses.  Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as “mental disorders” now barring people from driving. The government says it is tightening medical controls for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents. “Pathological” gambling and compulsive stealing are also on the list. Russian psychiatrists and human rights lawyers have condemned the move.”   So it’s these “sex disorders” that explain the massive number of Russian YouTube car wreck videos.  Or perhaps it is:  “High volumes of alcohol consumption have serious negative effects on Russia’s social fabric and in its political, economic and public health ramifications. Alcoholism has been a problem throughout the country’s history because drinking is a pervasive, socially acceptable behavior in Russian society. It has also been a major source of government revenue for centuries. It has repeatedly been targeted as a major national problem, with mixed results.”  I understand the Russians are developing a genital ignition interlock to enforce these new laws   …   will be good for a Russian pilgrim not to confuse it with the breathalyzer version.

In related news:  (BBC NEWS)  —  Vodka prices: Putin calls for cap amid economic crisis. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to curb rising vodka prices.  Mr Putin, who has been hit by increasing economic woes, said that high prices encouraged the consumption of illegal and possibly unsafe alcohol. Russia’s currency, the ruble, has lost value recently due to falling oil prices and Western sanctions  …  According to a leading university study last year, 25% of Russian men die before reaching their mid-50s, Reuters reports.  Alcohol was found to be a contributing factor in some of these early deaths.”  A greater contributing factor?  Operating your motor vehicle using your penis after having a few shots of vodka. No wonder so many Russian women are online seeking non-Russian mates!And the military news:  (BBC NEWS)  —  The US will close 15 military bases across Europe, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has confirmed.  “The Pentagon says the move will save around $500m (£300m) a year, and comes as the US military seeks to shift its attention towards Asia.  But the US has named RAF Lakenheath to be the first permanent European base for the F-35 aircraft. The US currently has more than 60,000 troops stationed in Europe, mostly in Germany, Italy and the UK.”  About time for our European brethren to take a greater interest in their self defense

Susan is working until 7 pm today.  I’m sitting here editing these Ramblings and listening to CNN coverage of the Parisian Murders.   Anonymous declared war on Islamic extremists today and promised to take revenge for the attack on French satirical magazine.  In a video posted on YouTube, the group of hackers said they would track and take them down websites and social media networks linked to terrorists. I wish them luck!  Sunday Lunch and a Movie?  Pork Chops, German Fried Potatoes and Cauliflower in a cheddar cheese sauce.   The movie?  “Inherent Vice [2015]”

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.  Later when I say my Thank You’s for the many blessings in my life and Susan to share them with   …  I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?)  Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can.  If my post offends, I apologize  …  that is certainly not my intent.  And “Yes”, I remain nicotine free:  684 days,  36,978 ciggybutts not smoked and $6,009.00 saved.  As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)

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January 2, 2015

Greets and Huggers.  Posted the evening of January 2, 2015.  The second day of a new year.  My New Year’s resolution?  To share the beauty of this life  …  share my images, my vision of the beauty of my God’s creations.   I have a new year to do so.  On a different note, politically for 2015?  …  I see the same gridlock bullsh*t and  finger pointing  … instead of both sides offering to sit down, chat and reach a compromise that will benefit America, rather than the respective political parties.  There really is no difference between Red pigs and Blue pigs. A pig remains a pig, (the “pig” reference is to Orwell’s  “Animal Farm”.)

In 1966, I had a near death experience, so I found this to be an Interesting read. (CNN)   —  Beyond the good bye.  “William Peters was working as a volunteer in a hospice when he had a strange encounter with a dying man that changed his life. The man’s name was Ron, and he was a former Merchant Marine who was afflicted with stomach cancer. Peters says he would spend up to three hours a day at Ron’s bedside, talking to and reading adventure stories to him because few family or friends visited. When Peters plopped by Ron’s beside around lunch one day, the frail man was semi-conscious. Peters read passages from Jack London’s “Call of the Wild” as the frail man struggled to hang on. What happened next, Peters says, was inexplicable. Peters says he felt a force jerk his spirit upward, out of his body. He floated above Ron’s bedside, looking down at the dying man. Then he glanced next to him to discover Ron floating alongside him, looking at the same scene below. “He looked at me and he gave me this happy, contented look as if he was telling me, ‘Check this out. Here we are,’ ’’ Peters says. Peters says he then felt his spirit drop into his body again. The experience was over in a flash. Ron died soon afterward, but Peters’ questions about that day lingered. He didn’t know what to call that moment but he eventually learned that it wasn’t unique. Peters had a “shared-death experience.”   Do a “Google” on “Shared Death Experiences”   …   you would be amazed at the number of hits you will get!!!  Most fascinating are the number of folks who were able to compare the shared experience.  Further, YouTube has countless video’s of folks sharing their experiences.

Another interesting read:  (BBC NEWS)  —  The secret to a happy life – courtesy of Tolstoy.  “We can learn a lot about the art of living from Tolstoy’s War and Peace   …  It acutely observes vanity and folly, sexual jealousy and family relationships  …  Tolstoy, who was born in 1828 and died in 1910, was a member of the Russian nobility, from a family that owned an estate and hundreds of serfs. The early life of the young count was raucous, debauched and violent.  But he gradually weaned himself off his decadent, racy lifestyle and rejected the received beliefs of his aristocratic background, adopting a radical, unconventional worldview that shocked his peers. So how exactly might his personal journey help us rethink our own philosophies of life? 

  1. Keep an open mind
  2. Practice empathy
  3. Make a difference
  4. Master the art of simple living
  5. Beware your contradictions
  6. Become a craftsman
  7. Expand your social circle

Still excellent advice, even today.

In the latest “health” news:  (BBC NEWS)  —  Most cancer types ‘just bad luck’.  “Most types of cancer can be put down to bad luck rather than risk factors such as smoking, a study has suggested. A US team were trying to explain why some tissues were millions of times more vulnerable to cancer than others. The results, in the journal Science, showed two thirds of the cancer types analyzed were caused just by chance mutations rather than lifestyle. However some of the most common and deadly cancers are still heavily influenced by lifestyle. And Cancer Research UK said a healthy lifestyle would still heavily stack the odds in a person’s favor.”   I suppose it explains why some folks can smoke and reach a comfortable old age   …  and some, (like a young man I met today, with pancreatic cancer), are diagnosed with cancer at a relatively young age.  I am almost tempted to start smoking again   …  but won’t.  Why tempt fate given the medial issues I am dealing with. 677 days nicotine free, 36,603 ciggybutts not smoked  …  and $5,947.00 saved.

I did not know fish could get constipated!  (BBC NEWS)  —  Constipated goldfish operated on by North Walsham vet.  “A goldfish lover from Norfolk paid hundreds of pounds in vets’ fees when his pet became constipated.  The owner took his ailing fish to Toll Barn Veterinary Centre in North Walsham where vets told him it was constipated and an operation would cost about £300, ($459.00). Vet Faye Bethell used anaesthetized water to knock out the goldfish before removing the blockages. “At the end of the day they’re all pets and everybody does have a commitment to their pet,” Miss Bethell said.”  And to think we use them as bait.

Some folks have more of a commitment to their pets than others.  (INQUISITR)  —  Tibetan Mastiff Sells For $1.9 Million. “A Tibetan mastiff was sold for $1.9 million to a Chinese businessman during a Zhejiang pet expo. The expo displayed and sold numerous animals, which are considered “luxury pets.” Zhang Gengyun, a breeder, said Tibetan mastiffs “have lion’s blood” and are considered “top-of the range” dogs.”  Can you picture spending $1.9 Million dollars for a dog? Interesting breed.  The name Tibetan mastiff is a misnomer; it is not a true mastiff. The term “mastiff” was used primarily because it meant “big dog”. Early Western visitors to Tibet misnamed several of its breeds: The “Tibetan Terrier” is not a terrier and the “Tibetan Spaniel” is not a spaniel. A better name for the dog would be Tibetan mountain dog or, to encompass the landrace breed throughout its range, Himalayan mountain dog.

The science news:  (BBC NEWS)  —  Knighthoods for Viagra chemist and YouTube’s ‘Mad Prof’. “Two chemists, one who kicked off the development of Viagra and another who is a YouTube celebrity, have received knighthoods in the New Year Honors. Dr Simon Campbell started and oversaw research on Viagra while working for the drug company Pfizer   …  “I’m not on the Viagra patent,” Dr Campbell told the BBC. “If you want, I would say I was the father of Viagra because I laid the seed and started the project.”  No doubt Dr. Campbell’s discovery has resulted in many seeds being laid. I understand, there is stiff competition for knighthoods.

Editing these Ramblings and waiting for Susan to make it home.  The Editorial staff is hunkered down by the door waiting for her to get home.  On the evening news, (CNN), continued in depth coverage of the AirAsia plane crash.  The talking weather heads are calling for freezing rain in the morning.  Susan is not working tomorrow, so I won’t have to worry about her being on the road.  We will just spend  the day together   …  may not even make it out of our PJ’s.  We will be “Stinkie Beasties”.  Sunday Lunch and a Movie?  New Years leftovers, (corned beef, cabbage, black eyed peas and fried potatoes).  The movie?  “The Skeleton Twins [2014]”

Time to post these Ramblings and settle in for a quiet evening at Ft Timmerman.  Later when I say my Thank You’s for the many blessings in my life and Susan to share them with   …  I will also say a prayer for the safe and soon return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?)  Be and sleep well, the best we have as a nation are on watch so you can.  If my post offends, I apologize  …  that is certainly not my intent.  As always  …

A Warm Brotherly Hug

KarlT (the dumb old country lawyer from Holden, Missouri and the Editorial Staff)


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