THE ELEVENTH BATCH OF SHORT RANTS

MORE ABOUT US AND OUR GUNS

In some counties in rural Arkansas the median per capita income is around $15,000 a year.

A lot of people rely on part time and seasonal income, piecing together earnings from home grown produce, part time jobs, renting beehives to orchards, growing a couple of acres of sweet potatoes and so on.

If one of these families can invest a hundred dollars a year in fishing and hunting licenses, shotgun shells and the labor of processing their own food, even a casual hunter can put a thousand dollars worth of food in the freezer. A couple of deer, a couple of turkeys, a dozen or so ducks and quail, a few pounds of fish and you're there.

To get that thousand dollars worth of food at the store you'd have to "earn" fifteen hundred in wages. About a third of it gets FICA'd away before you ever see it.

Fifteen hundred dollars is ten percent of the household economy that I have just described, and depending on the part of the state you're in that's the way a lot of us live. Hunting and fishing are referred to as sports, and there are a lot of folks like myself who never expect to pay for our fishing trips with meat. But there are others, and not a few others, who regard hunting and fishing and gathering blackberries and mushrooms and poke salat from public lands as part of the household economy. It's just something people do.

So here's the point. When talking head hive dwellers go on TV and say that our civilization has advanced beyond the need for personal ownership of firearms, Bubba hears them threatening him with a ten percent cut in his standard of living, which is already kind of low. The strictest gun control advocates do present an economic threat to some of the poorest people in America. It also comes off as class warfare because the gun control advocates are all rich, compared at least to Bubba and his $15k a year, and have devoted themselves to lives based on cash.

This is not the only issue in the gun control debate, maybe not even the most important one; but the folks on TV never take this aspect of the issue seriously. They assume that all hunting and fishing is purely recreational and it's just not. They intend that some of the most economically disadvantaged of us get one more disadvantage.

And while we're on the subject, people who harvest food from the wild are neither primitive nor aboriginal. They buy a license to harvest resources from public lands and waterways, no different from the way a lumber company leases timber rights or a cattle company leases grazing rights or an oil company leases drilling rights. It's just done by an individual rather than a business.

Furthermore, the derision of hunting and fishing as barbaric "blood sport" is a bunch of crap. People do get an adrenalin rush when they achieve something that they've put a lot of time and labor into. The thrill of the hunt strikes civilized people as barbaric , something to be discouraged. It just bothers them to see us 1) get what we want and 2) enjoy getting what we want. If you see Bill Maher eating Kobe beef in a Japanese steak house, that cow is just as dead as the turkey Billy Bob shot up at Chinquapin. The operative difference is that Bill Maher is a soft-handed check writer who got somebody else to kill that steer for him. I picked on BM in this example because he's made exactly these points, not because he's any more wrong than any of the others.

HOW TO OUTSMART YOURSELF

Last year I bought a 40-pound bag of popcorn for eight dollars. That's 20 cents a pound. I thought I had done a prudent thing, since the same brand of popcorn in the store is about eighty cents a pound. I vacuum packed the stuff into quart foodsaver bags and said to myself, "What a good boy am I!" It seemed like such a good idea. I was saving 75% on something that I enjoy often.

Then about six months later I start thinking that there's 35 cents worth of bag around each 20 cents worth of popcorn. Factor in the hour I spent bagging the stuff up and pretty soon my home-ec project is a break even proposition. On top of that it takes a long time to eat 40 pounds of popcorn and considerable storage space must be devoted to it for that long time.

10/04/20004

PROCESSION OF HOLIDAY COLORS

I don't know if this is significant or if it is due only to coincidence, but there seems to be an organized sequence of color combinations associated with our pagan holidays. Each holiday is represented by two colors, borrowing one from the preceeding holiday and one from the following holiday. Here's what I mean.

We start with Halloween, orange and black.

Next comes Thanksgiving (pagan harvest festival in patriotic guise), drops black and takes up green. Orange and green.

Christmas (pagan winter solstice with Christian observance superimposed) drops orange and takes up red. Green and red.

Valentine's Day drops green and takes up white. Red and White.

I left out New Year's because it is not a pagan holiday. The New Year

Please let me know if anybody has any additional holidays that might fit into this scheme. I'm not sure what colors to assign to Easter (spring equinox), for instance. We also have no holiday near the summer solstice.

WHY DON'T YOU PROUNOUNCE THE FINAL "S" IN ARKANSAS?

This area was first explored by the French, who sometimes write things with a final "s" they don't pronounce. That's what makes Paris Paree.

10/13/20004

CANDIDATE KERRY'S PLAN FOR AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE

Senator Kerry, reasoning that a few catastrophically ill citizens require a disproportionately large allocation of healthcare resources...,

Listen to that. Now you've got me talking like one of THEM.

Senator Kerry, seeing that a few very sick patients get most of the health insurance payouts, has decided that the taxpayer should now handle those giant payouts so that private insurance companies can lower their rates.

If he does that, rich people can drop their insurance altogether. Anybody who can afford to keep cash in the bank equalling the government deductible will do that, leaving private insurers to insure those who don't have large cash reserves. Statistically one expects to pay out more for insurance than you will recover, those who have the option of not buying insurance will, as a class, benefit financially.

Putting it plainly, Kerry plans a government handout and the rich get richer.

Since Kerry would have the taxpayers assuming the responsibility of paying for the care of the most expensively ill, this represents a huge windfall for the giant financial institutions who underwrite insurance policies, which have for years and years collected more and more money in anticipation of paying for catastrophic care. Now they've got the cash, and Kerry wants to stick the taxpayers with the payouts.

Putting it plainly, Kerry plans a government handout and the rich get richer.

10/17/20004

TERRORISTS ENDORSE BUSH FOR SECOND TERM

Not that Kerry wouldn't do a worse job than Bush, but the terrorists just don't want to break in a new guy. They've got a track record on Bush. After three years they know his moves, and after about one year the administration stopped coming up with anything new. They don't adapt to fluid situations or new tactics. In their words, they stay the course.

Bush has a habit of offending America's most faithful allies by talking trash and acting unilaterally. Other world leaders dislike Bush personally and consider him to be dull-witted and emotionally immature. If you can choose the leader of your enemy, this is what you would choose.

Also if you were America's enemy and you thought you could exert influence in the upcoming election, you'd assist a white house filled with senior staff that had not served in the military, if possible a pack of draft dodgers. The evildoers don't want to fight somebody that's been to war, they want to fight a bunch of spoiled ivy league frat boys whose military experience is limited to John Wayne movies.

That's the kind of White House the terrorists can really get behind. Four more years, God willing.

10/19/20004

SNORING

Today snoring is thought of as a medical problem to be corrected. You can treat it by wearing prosthetics that expand your nasal passages while you sleep. They have drugs for it, and you can even go to your surgeon to have your uvula trimmed.

Snoring is actually an evolutionary adaptation, an unconscious noismaker that protected the sleeping tribe.

Imagine your a raccoon or a bobcat or even a bear prowling through the woods. You smell food and follow the scent, which leads you to the mouth of a cave. You'd like to get in there and have at that food, but you hear this thunderous growling, and assuming there's a very large predator in the cave, you move along.

In actual fact there was nothing in the cave but a bunch of sleeping Cro-Magnons, heavy with buffalo meat, snoring away, sounding larger and more dangerous than they actually are.

10/20/20004

TIMING SUGGESTS IT COULD BE A MESSAGE FROM "THE MAN"

I got a notice from my insurance company postmarked 10/19/04 notifying me that my health insurance premiums are going to rise by about ten percent.

Compare this to the date on the rant about John Kerry's health insurance proposal. I guess people do read this website after all.

10/22/20004

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