Off to the Races

With all the advances made with electric cars, a thought occurred to me, a race with all electric cars.  One of the reasons for car races is to prove the cars.  Races put stress on vehicles and expose weaknesses.  Many improvements have come from the auto racetrack.

Maybe the ultimate improvement is to prepare society for the conversion to electric autos.  The races would put the cars to the test allowing us to see any weaknesses.  Conceivably, it would encourage improvements that will make them competitive with gas powered vehicles.

Already, from what I understand, the electric cars accelerate very fast.  However the race cars would be altered for speed, safety and range.  The rear seats and air-conditioner would be removed to reduce the weight.  I’m sure the engineers can think of many things I have no knowledge.  On the other hand, maybe the racecars could be designed and built from scratch.  Certainly, classes would have to be established: size, weight, etc.

I’m sure a venue could be found.  There are many tracks all over the county that remain inactive most of the year.  I’m sure that the bleachers could be filled with fans.  It would help the track as well as those who want to race the cars.

Wait a minute.  Maybe it wouldn’t work.  Just how many fans are going to want to see a race that is virtually silent?  Electric motors hardly make any noise, certainly the big noises that the current race cars make.  I suppose they could pipe a bunch of sound effects into the bleachers.  The cars would pretend to make noise and the fans would pretend to cheer.

Then again, they could have some of the internal combustion engines nearby.  Whenever the electric cars go by, they could rev the engines for the delight of all the observers.  They could even put their hands over their ears just as they would if the noise came from the electric cars.

Sounds like a plan to me.

The Problems with Tyrants

“From each according to his ability, to each according to each according to his need.”  Many attribute the above quote to the Bible.  It shows how little they know about the Bible.  It also shows that they don’t have much knowledge of history.  The quote is from Karl Marx in 1875.  It is part of his concept of communism.  It was part of his plan for world wide paradise.

Since then, it has been tried many times without success.  In the USSR it was tried, failed and then modified. The government that the Soviet Union lived under was not communism.  Quickly, they realized that true communism won’t work.

To fix the problem, they came up with a leader, a tyrant.  Then China tried communism and, again, they modified it.  They appointed a leader who was, believe it or not, a tyrant.  Cuba tried communism.  Again, their leader was a tyrant.

Have you noticed the pattern?  To make communism work, it takes a leader.  Invariably, the leader must be a tyrant.  Even then, it doesn’t work.  Central government doesn’t work.  It is horribly inefficient.  People make decisions who are inept.  (as an example, people in one location is oversupplied [resulting in spoiled food] while in other locations people starve.)  People who are lazy don’t work without taskmasters.  Why should they?  They don’t receive any reward for their efforts.  If they do nothing, they still get their share.  Finally, the tyrants ride in limos and private jets while the rest of the population walk or ride in horse carts.  The tyrants eat caviar while the public has a meager diet of beans and, if they are lucky, a little bread.

It is exactly what the dems complain about in the US. Yet most of us have healthy diets, a roof over our heads and even air-conditioning.  Then again, I guess there isn’t much need for air-conditioning in Moscow.

I guess that the communism might stand halfway succeed as capitalism if the leader were a good person.  The problem is that tyrants are tyrants.  The only people they think about are themselves and a small circle of those around them.  If you have any doubts about what I am writing about, ask those in North Korea.

Oh.  Yest that’s right.  You can’t.  The tyrant running the country won’t let you.

If someone tells you how wonderful socialism works, you might want to consider the above.  You might want to think about how well it is working in Venezuela (also ruled by a tyrant).  You might want to ask them to name one country where socialism works.

You might also think about how well Obama Care has worked here.  I’m not sure this country will ever recover from that one.  I know I won’t.

An Electric Riding Mower?

More years ago than I care to admit, I bought a used 5 hp Sears riding mower.  Given the size of my yard, it did just fine.  Unfortunately, it only lasted three seasons.  (It was in pretty bad shape when I bought it.)  Even so, I only paid $100 for it and it saved me a lot of walking.

I wouldn’t mind having something similar today, but I can’t find a riding mower that is smaller than 8 HP.  Moreover, they like to make the things far more complex than they need to be.  For instance, the little thing I bought had hard rubber wheels and I didn’t need to concern myself with flats.  All the rider mowers today have pneumatic tires that might require repair or replacement.

There is one thing the little Sears mower lacked that I would have preferred, an electric starter.  Sometimes I had to pull on that rope 4 or five times to start it.  Back then, it wasn’t a problem.  Now, I am 70.  Pulling on starter chords can cause real back pains, especially if I have to pull on it multiple times.

For this reason, I now use an electric mower.  For quite a while, I used one with a power chord.  It was a nuisance.  I spent more time managing the chord than I did mowing.

So, I bought a battery powered mower the other day.  It cuts well and it is very quiet.  There is no power chord, and I’m sure the tree huggers would just love it.  I just hope the battery last more than one or two seasons.

Then, a few days ago, the thought occurred to me.  For years they have been pushing electric cars to cut down on pollution.  If it’s good for cars, why not rider mowers?

I don’t need a big one.  It would have two parts.  The mowing part could be very similar to the mower I have.  The second part would be the tractor like part.  Each part would have its own battery.  It would allow me to get around should the mower battery run low.

Other than the batteries, they would likely last just about forever.  The batteries would likely have to be replaced every 3 to 5 years.  There would not be a reason to make special trips to get gas, not to mention the hazards of storing it.  Also, of course, there would be no need for any belts.  The mower and both rear wheels would be powered by separate motors.

Also, it would negate the need for a starter, which adds quite an expense to the gas powered mowers.  If I want to go, I press a lever or pedal.  There would be no need to engage or disengage the cutting blade.  It would be a matter of toggling a switch.  (The mechanism for engaging the blade is not complex, but likely adds fifty dollars to the cost of the riding mower,)

I’m sure such a mower would not replace the big 12 hp mowers.  Some people have big yards.  Me.  If I got a 12 hp mower for my little lot, it would be like using a sledge hammer for a thumb tack.  Besides, if I was able to use the little electric riding mower, I could claim that I am doing my part for the environment.

Now if I can just figure out a way to put an air-conditioner on it.

I Like Spinach

When I was a child, I did not like spinach, not one bit.  They used to have to force it down me.  As I grew a little older, I tried to dress it up some by adding things to it.  No good.  The stuff just had a horrible taste.  Whenever I tried to force it down, it made me gag, literally.

Then, one day, I was eating a salad.  I had it half eaten when I asked the waitress what the green leaves were.  She said, “It’s Spinach.”

Can you imagine my surprise.  I ate half the spinach in the salad and guess what?  I liked it.  It actually had a nice flavor to it.  It was then that I came to realize that they ruin it when they can it.  I ate the salad, spinach and all, leaving nothing but a little of the dressing.

I should have suspected as much.  I don’t like carrots, cabbage or Brussels sprouts when they are cooked.  On the other hand, I really like raw carrots and raw cabbage a lot.  I don’t now about raw Brussels sprouts.  Haven’t tried them yet.  However, I also prefer my celery raw too, though I can also eat it cooked as well.

There is one odd thing about cabbage.  I really like egg-rolls.  I can easily eat four or five of them at once.  Guess what, their major ingredient is cabbage.  Go figure.

At any rate, this might be a good clue to parents who can’t get their kids to eat their veggies cooked.  Try feeding them to your kids raw.  Who knows it might work.  …and by the way, they are more healthy that way.  …and by the way, it takes less time and effort to prepare them.  …and by the way, they make good in between snacks.

There is one more side benefit.  Your kids will like you more.

Unfortunately, now that I like spinach, I can’t eat it.  The doctor told me to avoid it.  Now isn’t that a kicker?

Outside Voter Influence

The Dems are all in an uproar over the Russians trying to influence our election.  First, it’s not new.  It is an effort that started with Stalin.

Second, they  are not the only ones.  The Chinese raised tariffs aimed at farmers that voted for Trump.  They haven’t said as much, but it is sort of obvious.  The Mexicans have been trying to retake the southwest every since the Alamo.  Moreover, it is no secret.  They said it publicly.

Actually, it’s not just the outside influence.  The Dems have been the main cheering section for first the Soviets, and now the Chinese.  They are helping the Mexicans every day and they don’t seem to care who knows it.

Those who call themselves journalists are right in there helping any foreigner they can find who will weaken the Republicans, even if it causes harm to the US.  They don’t much care what country they come from.

Personally, I believe it should be a felony to accept money from outside the United States in any election, I don’t care what country it comes from.  If it is proved beyond a reasonable doubt, those using the funds should be thrown in prison and he should be removed from office.

I only wished it could be so for funds coming from other states as well.  I suspect that if our founding fathers foresaw such a possibility, they would have tried to put something in the constitution to disallow it.  After all, whey should multi-millionaires in New York or California have anything to say about what goes on in Alabama or Arkansas.  People in their own state ought to have their own say  It is sort of the reason they included the Tenth Amendment.

Many years ago, the Mississippi Assembly decided to make it legal to have gambling casinos.  There was one requirement.  They had to get the permission of the county by popular vote.  Twice, Desoto County voted it down.

There was, to say the least, a big battle that ensued prior to each vote.  Millions of dollars came in from out of state, mostly from Memphis.  (Now I ask you, is it right for people who live in Memphis to decide gambling in Desoto County?)  Some came from New York and some from other places.

Memphis, by default had the big guns in advertising.  They had three TV stations and I have no idea how many radio stations that broadcast into Desoto county.  Much of it was straight forward advertising, but much of it was personal opinion passed in something of a casual way by many of the anchors.  Their attitude was, why not vote to allow gambling.  It is the fix-all for everything.

Those that apposed the gambling had very little money.  They certainly couldn’t afford the TV adds and radio was expensive too.  Mostly, it was word of mouth, churches and a few small organizations.  I feared the outcome.  To me, it looked like they were just going steam roll in here and set up shop.

What really angered me was that the mayors and councilmen got in the act.  The school teachers were telling about how wonderful the gambling would be.  These people were supposed to be representing the people, but it was obvious they had no idea what the people wanted…or worse, they were self serving.

Those that were for the gambling outspent those against it by more than ten to one, yet it was defeated by two thirds of the voters.  They told the outsiders, “We don’t want it!  We don’t want any part of it!”

…and so it was that Tunica County got the gambling instead.  From my observance of how things went in Tunica, I am very happy we rejected it.  The gambling brought everything that we thought it would, crime, corruption and, very likely, organized crime.  By the way, it also resulted in the worst schools in the state  It was the exact opposite of the promise made by the casinos.  The state had to take over the schools because they became so bad.

I don’t know about others, but when outside money comes to my state, I will be very Leary.  I don’t like outside wealth telling me how to vote or what to vote for.  I would suggest that others do the same.  Educate yourself well and guard your vote carefully.  It is very important.

Computers, Good and Bad

Ever since computers have become somewhat common, I have had an interest in them. It helped that my brother designed them. He had a master’s in math and an Electronics Engineer degree. When I went into the Marines, I went into Aviation electronics. Admittedly, I didn’t have my brother’s abilities. If I had, I likely would have never gone in the Marines. Even as it was, I almost went to work for Autonetics, the electronic division of the no longer existing North American Aviation.
After the Marines, I went into the repair of computers and then into operations. There is no way I ever thought I would start writing books. Most of my English teachers concurred. By the time I reached the 7th grade, I was starting to have problems. At the time I had heard of Dyslexia, but I had no idea what it is. Though I have never been diagnosed as dyslexic, I now realize I have many of the symptoms. Anyone who knows the symptoms and has read my books will realize what I mean, although it is more of a reading problem.
So during my youth, I spent a great deal of my time trying to hide my problems. Because reading is difficult for me and I read slowly, I generally shy away from reading. I am good at listening, which allows me to somewhat make up for it. I can attend a lecture and I remember it far better than if I read the same material. In spite of my efforts to hide my problems, teachers should have recognized it and taken proper actions. Instead they just punished me for not keeping up.
I am very bad at spelling. It’s not specifically part of dyslexia, but the two sort of go together. When I write, I leave words and even phrases out. I frequently use words like also at the front of a sentence and then too at the end. Homonyms drive me crazy. I really do know the difference between there, their and they’re. That does not keep me from using the wrong one in the wrong place. I haven’t the foggiest reason for it. I don’t know if that has is something common among dyslexics or not, but it does drive me nuts. In my more recent books, I do searches on many homonyms to make sure I use them correctly.
Actually, as I started this my purpose was to write about computers. I guess I got off on a rabbit path. Nonetheless, it isn’t too far off of the beaten path. The fact is, without computers, I’d never be able to write. It would be hopeless. I have heard of other authors who were highly successful. You can do a Google on dyslexic authors and there will be a big list of them. (Including Earnest Hemingway and Jules Verne.) The word processors, as great as they are, simply cannot find all my errors. I have no idea how the old authors managed it, but many did. Maybe they just had good editors.
Here lately, computers have really made a mark on recent history. The text-to-speech has really made things nice. First time I heard one, a man had a small box connected to a desktop computer. He had it set up so that anything he typed, it said, though it sounded a little like Robbie the Robot. Also, it did mispronounce things. In baseball, it pronounced the e. It sort of made it sound Italian. The problem was easily solved by separating the words… base ball.
Nowadays, the text-to-speech programs are very good, though some provisions have to be made for some words. The one I purchased always read the word read the same way, present or past tense. Nonetheless, I do use my program a lot. I use it to help me with my editing. Others might find the program far more useful. Even at seventy, I have full use of my eyes, for which I am thankful. Some are not so fortunate. People who are blind can listen to books. Before computers, the blind couldn’t read anything that is not in Braille.
On the other hand, computers help those who have a difficulty hearing. The old hearing aids, as great as they were had one problem; they amplified all frequencies about the same. That was fine for most, but sometimes people hear almost all frequencies but a small band, especially high frequencies. Current hearing aids are smaller, but they can also be programmed for a specific person. They are expensive, but for those who have problems hearing, they are well worth it.
Then there is the cochlea implant. What an invention that is. And it is only possible because of computers. Indeed, it is a type of computer. As far as I am concerned it is one of the greatest inventions of modern man. You might argue with me about it, but not with someone whose life it has changed.
I sat and watched TV one day and saw a cripple man walk. I was absolutely amazed. He didn’t walk well nor did he walk very far. He carried a computer on his back that had probes connected to his legs. …and when he wanted his leg to move, it moved, using his own muscle. I was floored. I worked around computers almost all my life and I was stunned to see what they did.
From that day, I understand that they have made large advances to help people walk with the help of computers. It is a wonderful thing, if for no other reason than to keep the muscles from atrophying.
What wonderful things these computers are. To be sure, they are a tool. They can be used for good and they can be used for things not so good. They can be used to spy on people. They can be used to track all that an employee does all day. For a while, I was even one of those employees.
I can’t help but think, why do people use computers for bad when they can be used for such good? Who knows? Maybe, one of these days they will make a word processor that can correct all my mistakes. I don’t think that will happen really soon though.

A Word or Two About Some Obscure History

I guess it was a few decades ago that I recall watching an old black & white Sherlock Holmes movie.  In it, Holmes notices a man with military shoes and deduced that he had been a soldier.  Not was a soldier, but he had been in the Crimean War.

Immediately, I was launched into thought.  I knew I heard about the Crimean War, but I hadn’t an inkling of anything about it.  My wife gets angry with me for doing such things, but I immediately went into research mode.  I decided I’d not sleep until I found out about it.

I won’t bore you with all the info about the war, but there are some things I gleaned that most everyone should know.  It is a small peninsula jutting south from The Ukraine into The Black Sea.  It started at or about 1862, slightly before our Civil War.  The most famous battle was The Charge of the Light Brigade.  It was such a disaster that Tennyson wrote a poem about it.  Afterward, the method of selecting and training the British officer corps was drastically changed.

It is in during this war that Florence Nightingale became famous for her help of the wounded.  Yalta, a city on the south coast, was the place that the leaders of the US, Brittan and the Soviet Union met near the end of WWII.

For quite a while, I liked to test who really knows their history/geography.  I simply asked where Crimea was.  Of course the peninsula has become better known recently, since Russia took over the Peninsula.  This is a something of a paradox, being as that was the reason for the Crimean war.  Hence the war only delayed the takeover by Russia.

By the way, even with Crimea being in the news so much here lately, I would suspect there aren’t many that know where it is.  I am sure there are far fewer who know the history.

While the Crimean was very important, I won’t bother with all the details.  You can look it up yourself and I would suggest you do.  In spite of the fact that the little plot of land is so small, the land and the war were and are a very important part of history.  Besides, you will be able to impress your friends with how knowledgeable you are.