Saturday, October 13, 2018


I am living in a kaleidoscope of color – it’s breath taking.  The color peaked two days ago then yesterday it rained and today the wind is stripping the trees.  Outside there is a carpet of copper dotted with gold and red; the trees are in their final yellow and gold dispersed with orange and vermilion, and it is raining gold and yellow and red as the trees give up their leaves.

While in the southeast death rode swinging his scythe of destruction and leaving in his wake ruin and sorrow. 

Is there a lesson to be learned from this?   Only if we think everything is about us. 

We are only observers on this ship earth that charts its own course; and when we have past, the ship will move on without us in a new evolutionary winding – or not.   Perhaps it will be content to be a ghost ship looking at the past epoch as a failure.

the Ol’Buzzard

Thursday, October 11, 2018


The New York Review of Books just published a review, by Heather Ann Thompson, The Trials of Nina McCall, by Scott Wasserman Stern; about a young Michigan girl institutionalized and brutalized on the charge of possibly having contracted a venereal disease. 

Politicians, with the support of religious leaders, have always been inclined to impose themselves in the sex life of citizens – mainly women.   The Comstock Law of the 1870’s outlawed the circulation of information and use of contraceptives, including condoms, in an effort to discourage sex outside of marriage. 

At the turn of the century, before the advent of antibiotics, syphilis and gonorrhea were at epidemic levels.  During the First World War what was known as sexually transmitted infections (STI) became a military concern.  Soldiers on leave before deploying to the battlefront were being infected resulting in over 10,000 being discharged from the war effort.  

In 1910 a compilation of laws known as The American Plan was instituted.    What was originally meant to combat prostitution around military bases quickly spun out to a nationwide purge.   The federal government divided the nation into ten sections and supervisors and field representatives were sent out to investigate prostitution and female promiscuity.   This movement was championed by churches and well-to-do women who were concerned about their husband’s sexuality. 

Many of these field representatives (often women) and the doctors designated to the program were zealots.   Should they decide a woman was likely to have an STI they had the authority to detain her, subject her to a medical examination and quarantine her indefinitely; forcing her, against her will, to painful and dangerous medical treatment involving regular injections of mercury. 

These women were deemed a menace to society and the ‘detention hospitals’ where they were held in captivity were cruel and inhumane prisons.  Women who resisted treatment were often physically tortured, including an early form or waterboarding

The American Plan was abused by doctors, field reps and local law enforcement.     Young women could be detained for simply being at a dance unescorted, or being in the company of a group of men.   The doctor could declare a woman likely to contract STI in the future and place her into the program.

Of course, woman of wealth or position were not in danger – if they contracted a sexual disease they could be treated by their private physician and the condition appropriately covered up.   This was a program aimed at poor women and disproportionately women of color. 

The American Plan is still alive today and was recently resurrected as the justification for enforced quarantine of a medical woman returning from treating Ebola victims in Africa.

I do not understand why men who love sex have vilified women’s sexuality, beginning with Eve.
the Ol’Buzzard

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


In a normal business you buy a product wholesale, figure the cost of expenses, set your profit margin and advertise your price.  

Gas pump prices can sometimes change hourly.   The buyer buys the gas, sets his profit margin and advertises his price; then that evening he raises it by two cents and the next day raises it by a ten-cents, and that evening drops it by six-cents…

What the fuck?

Gas is not like most products where you can pick a replacement or just do without.  We need gas to get to work, to get to the grocery store, to get to the hospital or doctors appointment, to have our fuel delivered, to receive protection from police and fire departments…

Fluctuating gas prices are not necessary.   The government could regulate supply and price if they wished too. 

It seems that the only bipartisan thing our Senate and Congress are capable of agreeing on, is supporting unregulated oil and gas companies.

I am not complaining about the cost of gas in the U.S as we are cheaper then many progressive countries.  But why not have a regulated price: set a reasonable price and leave it the fuck alone?

the Ol’Buzzard


Everyone is flabbergasted because the Saudis just murdered an American citizen.   How many times do you have to take a blow to the head before you realize that the person hitting you is not your friend?

Saudi business men financially supported Osama bin Laden – himself a Saudi.   Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers that attacked us on 9-11 were Saudis.    Saudi Arabia is a fundamentalist religious nation that allows public beheadings and stoning of unfaithful wives. 

The idea that Saudis uphold our ideals in the Middle East and therefore are our allies is a Faustian bargain.    

I know the Bushes love them because of the oil connection; but it makes you wonder what other influences they have cultivated that have allowed the U.S. to look the other way?

the Ol’Buzzard

Tuesday, October 9, 2018


I recently posted a blog reminiscing about changes I have seen in my almost eight decades.  Yesterday I posted about a pole saw from Harbor freight, and Rob ( Observations on the road ) commented about the poor quality of Craftsman tools.    This brought to mind how the quality of almost everything we buy has deteriorated over the last fifty years.

When I was a child my grandmother (who raised me) had a toaster that was steel: it was heavy to lift.  After years one of the heating elements burned out and she had me take it to an appliance repairman in the town and he replaced the heating element.  We had that toaster for my entire young life.   Today I have a Cuisinart toaster that is so light I am sure I could cave in the sides if I smashed it with my fist.  I can’t count the number of toasters I have owned over the past sixty years. 

Remember when the bumpers on cars were so substantial you could actually push another car without damaging either vehicle, and the dashes were steel?

Craftsman tools use to be the standard in durability; but now they have gone the way of everything else – produced as cheaply as possible.

Back sixty and more years ago people purchased things for a lifetime; now, nothing is expected to last more than a few years.

This generation has a different mindset; they don’t want to keep old things because ‘Wayfair has just what you need.

the Ol'Buzzard

Monday, October 8, 2018


At my age I don’t buy Craftsman tools any more – they come with a lifetime guarantee and being an old man that is no longer a selling point for me.   There are people who scoff at Harbor Freight tools.  Granted they are made in China and can’t compare with the professional grade; but I have had pretty good service from what I have purchased.

I needed to trim some tree limbs and went down to the tool rental store – they wanted $50 for the day rental for a gasoline pole saw.   Harbor freight had and electric pole saw for $70.00 and 20% off.   I ordered it a few weeks ago; but just got around to unpacking it today.

The saw has a nine-inch Oregon blade and Oregon chain, and expands to nine feet.  I ran about 100 feet of cord out to the offending trees and trimmed the lower branches.  

I am really impressed with this saw.   It’s a man’s tool, definitely heavy to wield, but it cut through branches up to four inches like butter.   I did not find the cord a problem at all, and I think the electric is superior to a gasoline as the chain does not run continually, but only when you press the trigger.   The saw is also available in battery for a little more money; but I don’t like battery operated tools as the batteries are always depleted when I want to use them.

Just thought I would share.
the Ol’Buzzard

Saturday, October 6, 2018


Justice Cavanaugh has been sworn in and there is righteous indignation – especially among women.   Our ire is focused on Republican Senators and Republican pundits; but that is like being outraged because a wasp will sting.  

It is not the Republican’s fault that a partisan, misogynistic, anti-abortion, anti-gay, racist is now a member of the Supreme Court – this is who Republicans are – this is what we expect from them.  

It’s the hypocrisy that most buggers me.

If you did not vote for Hillary because of her e-mails;
If you wrote in Bernie Sanders for President;
If you voted for the Green Party;
If you voted for the Libertarian Party;
Then shut the fuck up – you own this.  


the Ol’Buzzard