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Second Attempt at Explaining UTV Popularity

I am not satisfied with the last post's analysis of the UTV industry. The question remains: why would such an un-fun "sport" be so popular, given the expense of buying it, the hassle of putting it on a trailer to take it anywhere, and the hot, confining body armor you are supposed to wear?

Let's look at this photo again:


When trying to explain how other people think, it is necessary to set aside my own approach towards nature, with the skin being my main sensory organ, and look at it from other people's perspective.

For most people (and virtually all tourists), eyes are the main sensory organ. What do their eyes see in that photo?

They see a military-like machine, exuding power, violence, and destruction in the desert Mideast. Support the Troops!!! After all, many Americans virtually worship the U.S. military, and many tourists in Colorado come from the Bible states to the east, with a mutated form of Christianity that pines for Israel, war, and the Rapture. 

Surely …

Some Surprises in 1950's Television

Many people have a negative stereotype of 1950's television: too conservative, sexist, etc. In watching a classic show from this era, "Wagon Train," several things have surprised me.

For instance, the writers' treatment of the military was different than I thought. After all, it was only a decade after "The Good War." Weren't all the "boys" heroes? Think of that iconic photograph from Life magazine of the sailor stepping into the leaning, tango-like position of the nurse. And 9 months later, the baby boom took off like a rocket.

So why was the television writing so disdainful of the military? The martinets, the mickey-mouse rules, the glory-hounds, the civilians who were on the losing side. Didn't that offend the "heroes" sitting in their living rooms?
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Although it may seem like I am breaking the continuity of this post, the explanation of the above may be buried in a wonderful recent essay from Fred Re…

The Internet Scold Syndrome

If it weren't hurting so many people, it would be funny: this hypocritical indignation by the warmongers of the West that 40 Syrians were killed by chemicals! This from the people who have killed a million people in the Mideast since the first Persian Gulf War.

Of course TNT and gunpowder aren't 'chemicals'; and they and embargoes (of necessary things) are not 'weapons of mass destruction'. 

But why even talk about it? Americans don't care how much suffering their government causes in foreign countries. To even talk about it just reduces a blogger to a crank, or even worse, an unpopular scold.

I ran across a phrase, in "The Closing of the American Mind" by Allan Bloom, attributed to Saul Bellow. And it really made me flutter my eyelashes, as metaphors are prone to do.

Let's paraphrase it by saying that the internet allows someone a chance to turn a blog 'into a kind of ghost town, into which anyone can move and declare themselves sheriff'.…

Patriotic Heroes in the Arizona Desert

Is this a new trend or did I just notice it for the first time, perhaps because of my biases? I noticed so many motorsports people running around the Arizona desert with American flags on the back of their machine. Sometimes they go to quite a bit of work erecting a flagpole back at camp.

Doesn't that seem strange to you? What is the point of adorning sports equipment with the American flag? Maybe fishermen should tape a little American flag to the end of their poles. That might be kind of fun to watch if they are fly fishermen. What are the 'motos' trying to say -- that their sport is more patriotic than others? And what does any sport have to do with patriotism?

Perhaps in their febrile imaginations, their Polaris Ranger -- blasting around in the Arizona desert -- is like a military Humvee, blasting around in the desert of some Mideastern country. Therefore they are 'supporting the troops, who are protecting our freedom.'

A strange game is going on in the minds of a…

How To Improve Memorial Day

Every year, on Veteran's Day, I suggest a way to improve it by making it more real, honest, and fair. I have gotten one email that praised the essay.

Today I would like to improve Memorial Day. Let's start with the premise that it is a fine thing to remember and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The question is, why should those honorees be restricted to members of the U.S. military? Let's honor the civilians killed intentionally or unintentionally by the U.S. military. The civilians' sacrifices were just as real. Why do we discriminate in such an unfair way?

An Alternative to Being Angry at the News

It happens so often: you see a couple options on some issue, and you're not happy with either of them. So, where is the third choice?

With all the depressing news these days, the two obvious choices are:

1. Sit in front of the television, and passively allow yourself to be brainwashed by the spin and lies from the corporate media and the American War regime.

2. Read the alternative media, and try to maintain the integrity of your own mind, as you spew anger out your ears or stew in sourness. It becomes exhausting after awhile.

As an alternative, I have praised reading history as a way of escape.

The other day I accidentally hit on another alternative. I happened to listen to Richard Rodgers's musical theme for the 'Good War' myth-making classic, "Victory at Sea." In fairness, this documentary wasn't nearly as narrow and jingoistic as you would expect.

The music sounds so noble and uplifting. It had just the right balance of optimism and gravitas. It was a musi…

President Obama/Trump Makes America Great Again

I wasn't paying any attention to the news for a few days. So it was shocking to learn of President Dubya/Obama/Hilary/theDonald's attack on Syria. But why was I surprised?

Donald Trump doesn't have the patience for walking important legislation through Congress. He is no deal-making, arm-twisting, cajoling political leader. Who cares whether Americans can afford health care, college,  or $60,000 pickup trucks. He is simply an egotistical, knee-jerking, publicity hound, who is going to enjoy military bluster around the globe.

That's why I wouldn't vote for him (or the other candidate.)

I have a lot of catching up to do with reading editorials. So far, they look pretty good. But then again, they are missing the point. It doesn't matter about the Why or the Who Did It. It only matters that a large fraction of the American public likes having a militaristic strong man in the White House.

They ain't got no interest in nambie pambie doubts and complaints such as:

1. W…

Praise for the Real Virtues of Veterans

It is important to offer honest praise for vitally important virtue. Is that what you hear in the standard speeches on Veterans' Day? I think you just hear empty and perfunctory slogans.

Pacifists and warmongers are fools. I assert that nothing is more important than defending your home against an outside invader. (Perhaps 'sacred' is a better choice than 'important.')

And think of the sacrifices soldiers make, when they do so! It goes a lot further than the chance of being injured or killed. What will they do for a living when it's over? What happens to their homes, farms, or financial savings? Will they get halfway decent medical care when the killing is over? How many years will their children's education be blocked? The same issues arise for the people that the soldier knows and cares about. What if the entire social and economic fabric of their country is torn up?

So many soldiers have made that sacrifice. If public speakers really meant what they say abo…

Living History

The Great War started 100 years ago. Besides being of enormous importance to the world over this past century, it is an uncanny illustration of the old adage, 'the more things change, the more they stay the same.' An incident -- the assassination in Sarajevo -- was turned into the opportunity to kill millions by the blundering politicians and emperors that the sheeple stayed loyal to. A couple years later a suspicious or misinterpreted incident, the sinking of the Lusitania, was used to suck the USA into an unnecessary war.

Consider such things in light of what has been going on in Ukraine the last week. And yet the general public learns nothing about how politicians use incidents to start wars.

It is not easy finding good histories of the Great War. Oh sure, I've read Barbara Tuchman, Niall Ferguson, and Martin Gilbert. The difficulty is in finding a book not written from the British or American-interventionist angle. I had almost lost hope until Thomas Fleming's "…

Optimism about the Country that used to be America

For the first time since the Fourth of July was officially declaimed (by me) as the most idiotic national holiday, I feel optimistic about America, or what remains of it. 

1. Many Americans seem to be at a tipping point: they are abandoning their passive acceptance of the neo-con dream of permanent war (mostly in the Mideast.) Republicans are catching on to the fact that today is not the day after 9-11, and that endless militarism is not the ticket to electoral success.

2. It's not impossible that Rand Paul will be the Republican candidate for president, rather than some senile warmonger like McCain or some low IQ Bahbll Christian.

3. No matter what your politics most people know that at least two healthy parties are necessary for a healthy democracy. Until the Republicans free themselves of the neo-con, Rapture Christian, Israeli-lobby doctrine of Permanent War, the Republican party is doomed. Is it just wishful thinking or are they actually starting to free themselves of the stain …

Appreciation of Anything Lies Mostly in its Context

Readers should never trust a blogger who might be on a drug trip. I'm afraid that I was. Normally a really steep mountain bike ride reaches a point where your traction fails before your aerobic capability does. This ride (Saguache, CO) was peculiar in offering such good traction that I could keep going until 'the snot comes out your eyeballs,' as a cycling friend once put it. Hence the psychotropic endorphin drug trip.

Believe it or not, the whole way up (to a radio tower of course) I was rhapsodizing how 'metal detectors are the perfect outdoor sport.' This is not facetious, but it seems like it would be. Metal detectors -- those things that geezers buy from television commercials scheduled at the low-rent-district of the programming day. These are the times when only retirees are watching television. You know, handy-dandy kitchen gadgets and cubic zirconia jewelry. It's really 'Mildred' who was in favor of buying the metal detector. She thought it woul…

Stay Optimistic About the Syrian War

As you follow the operations of the Media, the Congress, and the Imperial Presidency, it is easy to get disgusted and ruin your day feeling sour about the future of what's left of the American Republic. Do yourself a favor and resist the doom and gloom.

The faster the hateful amerikan Empire breaks down, the sooner something better might replace it. It took over 400 years for somebody to sack imperial Rome, starting the clock from the time of Augustus. For the sake of argument, let's say that the British Empire collapsed when Indian and Pakistan gained their independence. We could date the end of the French Empire in the early 1960s, when Algeria gained independence. In either case, it took these two empires 200 years to collapse.

The amerikan Empire didn't start until the end of World War II, so it isn't even 70 years old. The good news is that it is making great progress in destroying itself. We should all wish It continued success.

But it is easy to forget the long-ter…

Becoming an Adrenaline Junkie after a Fire

It appears that the forest fire crisis just missed South Fork CO and is moving towards Creede. Please don't let me move towards Creede! It was the direction I was heading before all this nonsense started. But the real draw is that now I know what it's like to be a "storm chaser", or some other adrenaline junkie.


I wonder how the firefighters adapt to the psychological let-down of off-duty normalcy. Even before this experience I appreciated some things written in "War" by Sebastian Junger. (And I hope the reader appreciates how rarely a modern book gets a plug from me.)

Recall that the book was based on Junger's experiences as an "embedded" journalist with American troops in one of the dodgiest valleys of eastern Afghanistan, close to the mountainous border with Pakistan. His object was to avoid politics and write about the experiences of the combat soldiers from their perspective.

page 144: War is a lot of things and it's useless to pretend …

A "Woman in Combat" at a Coffee Shop

Yuma, AZ. It was a fresh winter day and a brisk ride to the coffee shop. The old boys were feelin' frisky, indeed. Not too many people get to experience this sort of pleasure, a special one, that comes from temporarily defying inevitability and mortality. Seventy-year-old men came into the coffee shop like a horde of Genghis's pony-riding barbarians. Why shouldn't an old man do what it takes to feel young, even if the same behavior would beimmoral in ordinary circumstances? Let's sit at the coffee shop and feel macho and over-confident; and imagine ourselves as the sackers of cities and the despoilers of Civilization.
Our conversations are never particularly interesting by themselves, and that was true this morning, as well. Then something strange happened: one minute the old boys were enjoying typical banter, and the next minute the mood changed entirely. A cute little lass, about 3, with blue eyes and curly hair, approached my tribe of barbarians, perhaps because she …

Smugglers on Red Mountain

I never miss a chance to praise radio tower mountains and roads as one of the most under-rated hiking opportunities. (Sometimes they are mountain bike-able.) Yesterday it was time to go up Red Mountain, near Patagonia AZ. There is a lot to be said for a road that does a 360 around a mountain and has several saddles on it. The viewscape changed radically about five times on the way up.
On the descent I noticed an expensive white SUV, with darkly tinted windows, driving up the road that we were descending. Was it Border Patrol? If so, why wasn't it marked with the usual green band? Then I saw three young men in dark clothes walk around a rocky outcropping. From my spot on that steep road I could see everything towards the main road. But they were walking slowly; maybe they were just locals on a hike. Who was I kidding?
A minute later I saw a second, more dispersed, group of young men fly through the juniper-covered, rocky terrain. There were four of them, running faster than what seem…

Deadly Skies in the Sonoran Desert

The skies have been weird around here lately. Blame most of it on stormy skies, especially in the mornings.



Later in the day the Fly Boys strafe my trailer. They go over at 12 o'clock high, maybe 500 feet above my roof. (It's hard to judge heights like that.) Maybe I should complain that such low flights interfere with my Fox News TV reception. (satiric grin.) You'd think they would have an adequate playground over the Goldwater Bombing Range, which is bigger than some states in the northeast. But no, they need to fly over an American citizen legally camped on public land. Why don't they at least fly over and intimidate illegal immigrants in the desert?
I wonder how many (borrowed) dollar bills per hour squirt out the ass-end of these Air Force Warthogs. Wikipedia says the rotating 30 mm cannon (visible in my photo, taken looking up from my RV) fires 4000 rounds per minute -- what a fine addition this is to the Killing Machine that our country has become.

Mocking Religion on the Football Field

One needn't be religious to appreciate the importance of the religious imagination to history and to an individual's mental ecology. We have a capability and tendency to construct an internal mental world which is more congenial than the objective world. This also explains the importance of poetry, comedy, sentimentalism, romanticism, or art in general. Wishful thinking is a big part of what we are. It can be a constructive thing if managed carefully.

So regardless of your religious or atheistic views, how do you feel about Tebow and other athletes pointing towards heaven or publicly praying at sporting events? I find it distasteful. How could a so-called religious person trivialize his own Faith like that?

Imagine some parents praying and carrying on like fools before their son's pee-wee hockey team hits the ice. Did it ever occur to them that somebody on the opposite team has the same faith as they do? If so, whose team is the Deity, the Author of the Universe, the Archi…

The Moral Equivalent of Football

Watching the glorious Green Bay Packers last night, I had some questions about how football should be interpreted. How far can we carry the analogy between football and war? How literally we can see it as mock war? The football team is an army, dominated by its commander-in-chief, its American Caesar, the quarterback. It has kicking (artillery), running backs (mobile armored divisions, or cavalry in the old days), and passing (an air force). No navy, though. The cheerleaders' job is to quicken the animal spirits in the fans, a job for which they are admirably, uhh, suited; their equivalents in the political and military arenas are the talking-heads in the media, whose job it is to promote the popularity of the war with the public.

There is a well-defined front in gridiron battle. It is symmetrical warfare. The team moves the ball into enemy territory. Getting through the goal posts of the enemy is like seizing a national capital. When fans pull the goal posts down after a victory,…

Marc Faber's Prediction of War

I haven't said too much on politics lately, perhaps because the financial recklessness and lies of our leaders and central bankers leave me speechless. Also, all that really needs to be said about politics, has already been said by Mencken:
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. (Gutenberg.org)That would seem to cover the big news story these days, the saber-rattling with Iran. It's unusual to see so much agreement between Europe and America on an issue, and that alone should make one suspicious. In America the saber-rattling with Iran will be a mainstay of the seemingly-interminable presidential campaign.

It's an old idea actually: the Republicans think that the populace sees the Democrats as foreign policy sissies and that this should win votes for the GOP. In order for this to really work there needs to be an official bad guy…