December 30, 2005

Big Lobster

In an effort to relieve the numbing ennui brought on by the advanced exercises in life-force inertia currently underway here at the feedlot, I obtained a number of 'classic' science fiction movies. One stood out in particular: Teenagers From Outer Space. My virus ravaged brain made synaptic connections between the sad circumstances from which a mixed-up teenager from space seeks refuge on Earth, and the Dutch way of life. On Mars, it seems kids are produced in test tubes and the government euthanizes the sick and elderly.

The worst part of the movie, in terms of its recurrences during my long periods of fitful sleep, was the reason these space invaders came to Earth in the first place. They wanted to raise their livestock here, to use the Earth as a giant feedlot to fatten up their hideous man-eating Gargons. They even brought one with them to see if it will thrive on Earth.

When the spacemen first get their Gargon out of their space ship, it looks suspiciously like an ordinary lobster. They tie the Gargon up in a cave to wait for the space fleet to deliver the rest of the herd, but things get out of hand once the teen-age spaceman gets a load of the fun Earth teens are having. After all, it was the late 50's, the very best time to be a teen-ager in the history of our planet.

Not to spoil the movie for you, but the Gargon eats a few humans, grows apace and escapes from the cave. You can see the giant clawed beast threatening Earth in the stills above. Ultimately, the space teen has to kill it with his ray gun. In my diseased mind, I could see the creature turn a bright pink after it gets death-rayed. I did not buy the 'colorized' version, so this was an imaginary effect attributable to my fever. Stick a fork in him, space teen, he's done!

The whole business becomes more confused after I fell asleep on the cold floor and began to dream of the Gargon and the ever so narrowly avoided fate of the Earth. In the dream, the monster became identified with a particular lobster I had seen earlier. Somehow Arabella, of Trattoria Breve, is saving the Earth by scalding the Gargon to death and eating it. This is more frightening than the real movie by many degrees of magnitude.

Talk about waking up in a cold sweat! I know I shouldn't blog when I am feverish, nor sleep on the floor after eating but I wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year! May there be many hot buttered Gargons for all of us as wants 'em in the coming year. The Earth will be safe!

Oh, and yours don't?

Abe, our neighbor in Nebraska's second city, tries to get a rise out of the old feeder with a post about feedlot odors. Lincoln, of course, smells good all the time because it has no big feedlots right in town.

For 3 years I was commuting to Lincoln almost every day. This was almost 30 years ago, and Gretna still had a giant working feedlot along the East edge of town. My NU East Campus car pool met in Gretna. We called the feedlot Kauschwitz with its imaginary wrought iron gate reading Fressen Macht Frei. Some days it was pretty smelly. I never worried about the stink making me sick or anything.

Once in Lincoln, getting stuck at the light just South of Highway 6 on 48th Street , day after day, made me worry about my health. There was (and may still be) a plastic blow-molding factory at that stop light that gave off what I would call fumes, something stronger than mere odor. I choked and my eyes watered. I tried holding my breath, but the light was too long. Those burning plastic fumes had to be toxic.

The factory made those big poly tanks you see on farm trucks. They must have been selling tanks, as they worked long hours. I suppose the folks that had steady work there told each other it was "the smell of money."

December 28, 2005

Christmas Book

How to get out of the rat race and live on $10 a month
The very first time I saw the title of this book, advertised in the big Herter's catalogs, my entire outlook on life was changed. My struggle with the state had taken a serious turn, and I had moved into a rustic (read: abandoned) farmstead that rented for $10 a month. My new life required the sort of equipment Herter's catalogs used to offer. That was a long time ago. The old catalogs are now collectors items. George Leonard Herter's colorful catalog writing was what made them so cool. Today you can order the few products offered under ther Herter's brand from Cabela's. But It isn't the same.

Herter wrote quite a number of, well, interesting books. He self-published and sold the books mostly through his Herter's catalogs, where I was first exposed to them. His Bull Cook became fairly well-known among hunters. As for the others, here is a partial list I got from Amazon, (I don't know how Rilke got on this list, but that is another story). At any event, I lost my copy of How to get out of the rat race and live on $10 a month long ago, so I got myself one for Christmas.

Besides being a pretty good basic guide for wild-men, hermits, trappers, prospectors, would-be survivalists, poseurs and other outdoorsy folks, the book provides a wealth of little known facts and humorous anecdotes. The reader is treated to such lagniappes as: "Watching a bobber on the water of a hole through the ice is a lot better for the soul than staring at city walls waiting for a hydrogen bomb to turn you into fertilizer." (p.294) and "How to kill a wild boar with a shirt" and an axe (p. 350).

I still haven't shaken my cold, but reading about winter survival the Herter way is keeping me warm. At least it is keeping me thinking I'm warm. Relatively warm.
Mr. Herter also offers some very curious tips for catching mountain lions in How to get out of the rat race and live on $10 a month. I'll share these after the first of the year, at which time I plan to publish and analyze the results of the Plains Feeder Mountain Lion Poll. There is still time to stuff the phoney-baloney ballot box!

December 26, 2005


In a previous post I considered coffee as medicinal, recreational and ultimately suicidal. The average joe can count on dying with his eyes wide open if he drinks 50-100 cups of drip grind in a day. It's good to respect the power of this popular beverage. Some people can't handle it well at all and are wise to avoid it.

An article in U.S. News & World Report all but touts coffee as the world's most perfect food. If you happen to be a drinker and are interested in the results of some test studies that will help you to fully appreciate just how smart you are for having the good (healthful) sense to wire yourself every day, then check out the article. Afterwards, pour yourself a cup and drink it with the knowledge that you're protecting yourself from many diseases along with energizing yourself and giving yourself a mild lift from occaisional depression.

December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas from the Feedlot

Wishing you all the very best.

Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel's Christmas opportunity

Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel got a box full of his late father's World War II memories this Christmas. Lets hope Chuck learns something about patriotism, honor and duty from his long dead father's words. Hagel talks the good talk to the home folks, but it is what Chuck says and does in Washington D.C. that endears him to the anti-American defeatist left. Hagel will never be President. His old war injury, the head wound he and so many others received in Viet-Nam still keeps him from thinking straight.
More Hagelisms at the Plains Feeder

December 22, 2005

Scalding thugs

Folks in the Omaha city limits must deal with numerous city ordinances which restrict and complicate gun ownership and use. I have always thought it was wrong for the cities to try to nullify the quite reasonable Nebraska State Constitution's provisions on the right to 'keep and bear'. But the cities infringe this right with impunity.

Be that as it may, it warms my heart to see resourceful and courageous Omaha folks defend their lives and their property with whatever deadly force comes to hand. Last week a couple of ladies thwarted a home invasion style robbery in their own home by throwing a pot of boiling water on the intruders! You go, girls!
A pot of simmering water left on the stove adds much needed humidity to dry, heated winter air. Now it can serve another pupose as well; scalding them as would do you harm. If you don't have a gun, for whatever reason, keeping a pot of boiling water, at least in the winter months, seems wise.

December 21, 2005

OPS "Transition" Plan

So now it is euphemistically called a Transition instead of a Takeover, according to this WOWT story. I guess it sounds better than a Final Solution to the OPS problem. These patronizing, 'we know what is best for you' creeps still don't give a damn what the people want. Shame on them.
Find more from the Plains Feeder on the Omaha City/School power grab here.

New Blog

I don't know what Tiscaligate - Patric Roctus is supposed to be about, but I liked the picture. I think Tiscali is a big european ISP, but why it has achieved gate-suffix status I'm not sure. Something to do with Italians trying to get the Germans to have more backbone. Sounds like the blind leading the blind to me.

Intelligent Design

Zookeepers at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo have submitted this photograph of a baby aardvark as evidence that there was no intelligent design involved in creation. I think it proves the opposite.

Happy Solstice

Winter Solstice 2005 - click for big
The technical Winter Solstice will 'happen' at about half past noon today, Central time. Compare the GeoClock image above to this Fall's Equinox here. What it really means is that we have just been through the longest night of the year. Today will be the shortest day. The Solstice and the Equinox were among the first important aspects of astronomy to be noted by our ancestors. They generally tracked the phenomena using rocks and their shadows, as at Stonehenge. The old feeder uses push-pins on the wall opposite an East-facing window to mark the rising sun. Before you call me a pagan, just remember that Christians observe the Winter Solstice as the symbolic birthday of Jesus. Here is a picture of this morning's sunrise at the Feedlot showing how I mark the seasons besides using GeoClock.

December 20, 2005

Marxist terrorist cripples New York City

The man who shut down New York City for Christmas is Roger Toussaint. Born in Trinidad, this cat is a dangerous Marxist thug.

December 17, 2005

Are kids more stupid now?

It seems to me kids are less intelligent now than they were even 50 years ago. This series of stories from KETV, Omaha's Channel 7 News, does nothing to dispel that notion.
  • October 13th: Palmyra Fatal Fire Is Suspicious
  • October 15th: Bodies In Palmyra Fire Are Of 2 Teens
  • Today: Teens Most Likely Started Fatal Palmyra Fire
These 18-19 year old cats started the fire themselves, then sat still for it to kill them. Otoe County Attorney Jeff Funke said "there was no sign of suicide or foul play and the teens may have become disoriented after starting the fire", and "search dogs were unable to find evidence of a fire accelerant at the property". There is no mention of meth or booze other drugs being found in the autopsies.

If there wasn't foul play, and it wasn't suicide, that leaves only stupidity to blame for the deaths. Two people don't just burn themselves to death by accident, do they? Even if it was some sort of freak accident, how smart could these young men have been to get into a situation like this? Mr. Funke thinks they became disoriented after starting the fire. I think they were disoriented before they started the fire.

December 16, 2005

Patriot Act torpedoed?

US tanker Byron T. Benson torpedoed April 5, 1942
In what the AP called a "stinging defeat for President George W. Bush", pantywaist US senators proved once again that we don't have a victory oriented wartime Congress by stalling the new Patriot Act. This brings to mind how the US leadership stalled and delayed, much for the same reasons, the implementation of a complete black-out of the US eastern seaboard after we entered World War II. A mistake that cost America numerous lives and a great deal of money. Some say this delay hurt our chances for an early victory on the European front.

Most folks are unaware that dozens of US ships were sunk by German U-Boats off our east coast during the first months of 1942. Sometimes in sight of shore. While Americans nattered and quibbled about their 'civil liberties', the city lights on our coasts continued to silhouette our tankers and freighters. The German U-Boat commanders, trained to attack at night, called it the American Turkey Shoot. Our sailors, charged with defending vital wartime shipping, called it 'Torpedo Junction'.

Who wants some government goon telling you when it is 'lights out' in your own house? What business wants to be told they have to shutter their display windows and turn off their signs? Important civil liberties were at stake. But when folks in 1942 were made aware of the costly carnage that was the result of their indulgence in debating fine points of law, they came to their senses. Our national leadership stepped up to provide America with real wartime leadership. A national blackout was ordered, and the German submariners second happy time came to an end.

The old feeder wonders if this Congress has got what it takes. I never hear anyone in Congress say the word Victory. This worries me.

December 15, 2005

Feedlot Christmas Cards

Christmas, 1975
I actually do send out a few Christmas cards. For most of my adult life I hated Christmas. Avoided it like the plague. Claimed it depressed me. Decried its crass commercialism. My only concession to the season was to include it in my generally cheerless drawings and writings.

These days I can honestly say I enjoy Christmas again. I don't make a big deal out of it, but it doesn't make me sick any more. Unless, of course, I can't stop that tape loop of Gene Autry's Here Comes Sannee Claus from playing in my head. (Mind worm courtesy deFenestrator)

December 14, 2005

War with Canada?

Who struck the first blow? The Canadians, with their nasty attacks on US policies, or the United states, bent on influencing the Canadian voters with its intentionally intimidating bigness?

U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, issued the sternest warning yet:
"It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and constantly criticize your friend and your No. 1 trading partner. But it is a slippery slope, and all of us should hope that it doesn't have a long-term impact on the relationship," the U.S. ambassador to Ottawa, David Wilkins, said in a tough speech to the Canadian Club at the Chateau Laurier.
How far the acrimonious war of words will slide down this 'slippery slope' is anyone's guess. The rising tensions have the Eurofied Canadian sissy communist environmentalists worried it will have a chilling effect on their lying for office. At the same time salivating trade war mongers in the US northern tier of states eagerly anticipate sealing the border against such brazen Canuck insults and unfairly subsidized goods.

Why can't we all just get along?
Update: North-South conflict escalates as Canada strikes back.

December 13, 2005

The Ascension of Tookie - God Wills him dead, California helps

Stanley "Tookie" Williams has died and ascended into bleeding heart heaven today. God called Tookie early this morning, through His servants at San Quentin. By the further grace of God, no riots ensued. Tookie was a swell cat who only killed a few folks, wrote children's books on butt-wipe and helped start the Crips Youth Clubs. He was also nominated repeatedly for the Nobel Peace Prize. Liberals were seen crying openly as the poisoned convict's tattooed visage rose into the sky.

Folks with their heads screwed on straight were just relieved that God's will had finally been given effect. Such comments as "Good riddance to bad rubbish" were heard throughout the Red States. It is unclear whether Winnie Mandela will honor Tookie's wish "to be buried in South Africa under a yohirimbi tree or my ashes scattered in the Blue Nile river to feed the fish there."

December 11, 2005

Great Christmas Gift - maybe

Truly a multipurpose product, this stuff is good for you and yours. Made in the USA since 1899, the old feeder has been using it almost since then. I wonder if you, the esteemed readers of the Plains Feeder, can identify this wonderful product from the picture? Do you have any? For what purpose do you use it?
Addendum: In keeping with my bass-ackward blogging methods, I finally got around to searching for "bag balm" using Technorati. I was surprised. I got a joke from Kicked Puppies, and a cute story at Chelle's boring life, featuring Horse Shoer who fixes everything with Bag-Balm & vet wrap . But the most shocking and horrific openly-blogged use for Bag Balm yet, the one I wouldn't have imagined, I found at, [here I warn you not to look if the URL makes you feel queasy],, a penis foreskin restoration blog subtitled "Keep on Tugging". No kidding.
Update: Ryne McClaren, the Panhandle Pundit, identified the product correctly, has some at home and uses it on his lips. Click the picture to find out more about this great stuff.

Sunday Sermon: Deny Social Darwinism at your own peril

The same godless NeoDarwinists who favor teaching evolution exclusively in our schools are against teaching competition. Evolution is competition. They don't want creation or 'intelligent design' taught, but yet believe humans and their world to be the pinnacle of evolution.

If Darwin teaches the believer anything, it is that if we don't compete, we don't evolve. The NeoDarwinist's hypocrisy presents as contradiction: evolution isn't for humankind or the planet* they inhabit, as though they were the image of the god; the same god they don't believe created them.

The contradiction has consequences. If Man, having reached his destination, has alighted from the evolutionary train, then he has ceased to be a competitor or a participant in evolution. The godless are philosophically and physically doomed by their efforts to save themselves.
* Environmentalists generally oppose continued evolution as well.

December 09, 2005

Hillary Clinton For President

Reporting for duty?
It is official. The Hillary Clinton for President Committee has filed with the Federal Election Commission. At least that is what it says at "CNN covered our history making accomplishment on today’s [December 06] edition of the Situation Room." They have a video clip.

To get to know the other folks who have taken the history making decision to run for President in 2008, Google this: 2008 official "for President" "United States" OR US. Give me strength. Its a cruel world.

Corn stoves revisited

Grow your own energy! Drudge links this story on the growing popularity of corn burning stoves. Plains Feeder featured a bit on these maize fired heaters a while back.

It must be true that corn stoves are catching on. My friend Ray told me today that his brother, who lives near Schuyler, Nebraska, bought one. Ray says he told his brother he ought to get one for the old home place years ago, but his sibling said the idea was stupid. Then one of his neighbors got one. "It's never a good idea if I have it first.", whined Ray.

Ray is threatening to go see it for himself. I'm as interested as anyone in cheap heat, so I'll report on Ray's recon.

December 08, 2005

More stuff re: Omar al-Faruq, the CIA and al Qaeda

For a larger image, look closer
I hadn't seen this graphic from the New York Times until I saw it in this Sydney Morning Herald story: "Al-Qaeda man's easy jail escape". It just reprints the earlier NYT story about the escape of Al-Qaeda terrorist turned CIA informant Omar Faruq's miraculous escape from Bhagram Prison last summer. You will get more of the NYT story here, if you can stand it.

How in the dickens would these NYT reporters know anything at all about "possible escape routes"? Either these cats are making it up or they have swallowed the currently operative official line, hook and sinker. Sounds like a put-up job to me. Remember, the same sources the NYT cites for this story weren't even owning up that Omar was missing from jail until months after the fact. Suddenly, they are credible?
Previous posts in the Plains Feeder concerning the escape of Omar Al-Faruk (aka Umar al-Farouk, al-Farouq, al-Farook, al-Faruk, Aw-Fook and sometimes Mahmoud bin Ahmad Assegaf) here and here.


Today, just for the hell of it, I'd like to propose a distinction that us die-hard coffee drinkers would just as soon didn't exist. And that is the difference between medicinal coffee and recreational coffee. I think most of you fiends - and you know who you are - could just as well write this blog yourselves.

Knowing the difference is the trick and I don't presume to have any easy answers, myself being drowned in an oh- so- sweet addiction. There's an old Turkish adage that describes my fondness for the bean: Coffee should be black as hell, sweet as love and strong as death. With that in mind I would consider an eye-opening cup in the A.M. as medicinal. After that the line between medicinal and recreational becomes blurry in a hurry.

I won't go into the further notion of self-abuse. As a coffee drinker it makes no sense to drink something with the accompanying thought that it's bad for me. However, for those who are interested in how much caffeine it would take to kill you check out this web site.

December 06, 2005

¿QuĂ© es el Feedlot?

What do you call a cattle feeder in Spanish? An Engordador?

Pen gun takes young man’s life?

What a stupid headline! The Springfield, Ohio News-Sun prints this: Celebration turns tragic when pen gun takes young man’s life. Sounds like the 'pen gun' deliberately disguised itself as a harmless writing implement and killed this poor cat when he wasn't looking. Actually, the idiot, a budding rap singer, put the nasty little gun up to his head and pulled the trigger. Pulled it repeatedly. What kind of man puts a gun that he knows is loaded but believes to be 'jammed' and therefore 'safe', up to his head and clicks away? A man too stupid to own a gun, I'd say. I can hear the "ban this, ban that" crowd scratching off letters to their legislators right now. "Ban the rapper killing pen guns!"

I'm not sure what a pen-gun is, but it sounds like maybe a novelty item. It fires a wimpy .25 cartridge, which not known as a man stopper. But if you shoot one up the nose, in the mouth or up against a relatively thin spot on the skull, it could cause death in fairly short order. Wounds elsewhere could prove fatal, but generally won't if medical care is available. There is no cure for being a rapper. As far as I can tell, not a one of them is fit to carry a gun. Not even a novelty gun.

The headline should read: "Stupidity takes young man's life, cop a lesson, kids."

December 04, 2005

Cats in the house

Jeff and Lisa Spory of Manassas, Virginia give catnip to their cat, Marley. Although I don't know what catnip does for cats, I have seen lots of them get into it. But I never saw one get this messed up. Jeff and Lisa better hope the PETA terrorists don't find out about this. Then, again, maybe not.

New Snow

Rime on the Catnip
Sunshine on the new snow at the Feedlot makes for tracking fun. Didn't see any mountain lion paw prints, but there are always lots of rabbit tracks.

December 03, 2005

Details Emerge on a Brazen Escape in Afghanistan sez New York Times

An update to the still-to-develop story, blogged earlier here and here, of the Al-Qaeda escapees, including Jihad big shot turned CIA informant and operative Omar Al-Faruq (aka Umar al-Farouk, al-Farouq, al-Farook, al-Faruk, Aw-Fook and sometimes Mahmoud bin Ahmad Assegaf),.

The New York Times, a rag for which I have no respect, has the inside story here: Details Emerge on a Brazen Escape in Afghanistan. It seems the prisoners "took advantage of 'a perfect storm' of mistakes by the military guards" according to one unnamed American intelligence official the NYT quotes. There really hasn't been any change in the cover story. The Times story concludes with this hot emerging detail: "How the men got out of their cell remains a mystery".

Plains beatnik writing

Are you in the mood for some beatnik writing? I know it really isn't stylish to admit it, but PT went through a beatnik phase. Bill Burroughs, a real Plains Beatnik, always fascinated me. I went so far as to visit his old haunts in Tangier. Now, I keep my copy of Naked Lunch where visiting kids and preachers can't find it, along with a few other remnants of beatnik interests.

One of the blogs I have read since the day it began is Sir Prize. This is the work of a cat that I know personally. I won't begin to try to describe Mickey. It would be easy to say he's just another madman. Most of my friends are certifiable. But if you have a notion to read some drop dead beatnik stuff, thats what is happening over at Sir Prize of late.

Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel: Iraq Could Be Another Vietnam

It is clear that Nebraska's Senator Chuck Hagel has gone completely around the bend. Visiting the troops in Iraq, he gets out the message: Iraq Could Be Another Vietnam! (e.g. KETV Channel 7 News. Chuck has been repeating this for so long, the article had a deja-vu effect on the old feeder; I had to re-check the date.

This walking wounded Viet-Nam vet's defeatist mantra would be pitiable if Hagel wasn't a Senator thinking of running for the Presidency. This kind of press embarrasses Nebraskans, gives aid and comfort to the cats that danced in the street when the WTC towers fell on 9/11, and encourages the lunatic left that has co-opted the Democrat party.

Chuck is on a junket to Iraq, visiting the brave American troops. Is this the best he can do for a 'dispatch from the front' press release? Iraq Could Be Another Vietnam. No words of hope or encouragement. No praise for the troops. No mention of victory.

Dr. Phil doctors Deepak tape (or more Dutch perfidy)

In today's Post Chronicle comes this sorry accusation from the Dutch, supposedly investigating the disappearance of American teen Natalee Holloway while on a trip to Dutch Aruba:
A tape that was aired on the Dr. Phil television show, in which Deepak Kalpoe allegedly claimed that he, Joran Van Der Sloot and his brother Satish Kalpoe all had sex with missing teen Natalee Holloway, was found to be altered by a forensic lab in Holland.

"The tapes played on U.S. television appear to have been altered to suggest Deepak admitted to a sexual act, our forensic investigators tell us, the original tape did not say that," Gerald Dompig, chief police deputy for Aruba, said in a statement.
I wonder who is lying? Good old homespun Dr. Phil? Or the nasty, American-hating Dutch. Oh, well, the Dutch will get theirs when global warming melts the ice caps enough to put Holland back under the sea. The thought is almost enough to make the old feeder wish America's CO2 output really was causing the seas to rise. Beth Holloway-Twitty, Natalee Holloway's mom, laments, "The taped interview from Deepak is where he admits they all had sex with my daughter, and that's where we're really trying to clarify".
Natalee background in the Feed Trough

December 02, 2005

Last of the garden tomatos

The garden here at the feedlot is very small; for the most part only tomatos and peppers. I eat the produce as fast as I can. The rest of the peppers get pickled, dried or made into sauces; enough to last all winter. I eat lots of peppers.

Just before the first hard freeze, I pick all the green tomatos that seem relatively flawless. Each one, unwashed, gets wrapped in a square of newspaper and stored on cardboard flats in an unheated part of the house. I have to keep checking them, about once a week. As they ripen, I eat them.

It is always nice if they last until Thanksgiving. This year, the green Roma tomatos did best. I'm unwrapping and eating the last of them today.

Kidnappers? Iraq Activists?

As seen on Drudge: Kidnappers Threaten to Kill Iraq Activists - Al-Jazeera video. More like a headline grab by Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, employing non-Iraqi agitators for props. Same nitwit peacenik types as the human shield folks. Useful idiots, I feel sorry for their families. They could outrage more of us infidels with videos of them slitting the throats of puppies and monkeys.

December 01, 2005

Nebraska Mountain Lion News

The mountain lion sightings in the Omaha area continue. KMTV News reported tonight that several folks in the Offutt Air Force Base neighborhood had seen mountain lions. I'd give you a link, but it isn't up on KM3's weak web site yet. [Updated with link to Air Pulse 12/06/05]

Just to let you know how far a story like this can carry, the Nebraska mountain lion sightings have made it into the ChiCom Xinhua News web site. This miserable piece of propaganda uses the Boyd County "ghost town" of Monowi to make it seem as if the American peasantry is on its last legs. We actually have to eat buffalo meat while vicious predators, once eradicated, again roam our deserted streets. At least that is what the ChiComs want everyone to think.
All over the Great Plains small towns are dying. The roll of decline is written on road signs on the road to Monowi. Obert: population 39, Maskell: population 54.

Many have tried all sorts of schemes to stay alive. Some have worked, turning them into artist colonies. The novelist Larry McMurtry turned Lucas, Texas, into a mecca for book lovers.

Others have not. Empty business parks, built with federal grants, dot the landscape. It was a reversal of the old ode: "Build it and they shall come." Many towns have built, but the businesses have still stayed away.

The landscape around Monowi and all over the Great Plains is gradually reverting to grassland and prairie. Many farms are switching to hunting. Some have replaced cattle with buffalo, increasingly common on American dinner plates.

Twenty years ago there was a huge controversy when two academics proposed the plains be turned into a wildlife preserve called "Buffalo Commons." But the plains are taking matters into their own hands. Prairie wildlife is already returning as humans leave. When Eiler was growing up, deer were unheard of around Monowi. Now they are so common they are a pest.

Wild elk too have returned. And predators not seen for a century on the plains of Nebraska are back. A handful of mountain lions roam the state, and are even spotted on the outskirts of Omaha, the biggest city.
When you stop laughing, please vote in the latest Plains Feeder Poll over in the sidebar. (If you can see it. I couldn't seem to get it to work with MS Internet Explorer.) Because this has become an international matter, so anyone can vote. . How do you think we should respond to the Mountain Lion Problem?

Henrik Syse: Norway's hired conscience

The Wall Street Journal had an article about Henrik Syse and his new job today. He is a professional philosopher, whatever that is, the Norwegians have hired to provide moral guidance as they decide how to invest their rather large state controlled "Oil Fund". You can read the WSJ article reprinted at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Fast Company's Chuck Salter picks it up and wishes Henrik "Good luck" with the ethial investing.

This embarrassingly large Norsky oil fund results from the oil having somehow avoided becoming private property. Henrik the philosopher will provide the communal conscience, thus allowing the Norskies to avoid moral stain they might otherwise incur if a greedy capitalist family or a wicked corporation owned the oil. How much more progressive goodie two-shoedness can the world bear?

Nothing like socialism, I always say. Rationalize absolutely anything, they can.
Update: LGR at Burson-Marsteller's blog reputation*watch thinks Norway's having so conspicuously hired philosopher Henrik puts a shine on their otherwise dismal public image.

The article also cites another big reputation booster for the land of canned sardines:
the World Bank and International Finance Corporation found that of 155 countries, Norway was the best country in Europe for business. It takes a mere two weeks (13 days) to establish a company in Norway compared to nearly half a year (198 days) in Laos.
How long does it take to start a business in the US? How fast can Kinkos print your business card? Norway's business friendliness is compared to that of Laos! When was the last time you heard of any hot Laotian investment opportunities? (Besides heroin)

Google News Biased?

Morning Google News
The President gives a rousing and well-received "Victory Speech" yesterday. So what did I see this morning as the very top headlined story at Google News? An MTV story: How Did Bush Fall This Far? Google claims their news page is set up without human intervention, but it sure looks to me like the 'algorithm' they use to pick news stories has an anti-Bush bias. Look for yourself; none of the stories about the Bush speech are favorable. He gets 'some praise' overseas, but 'refuses' to set a timetable for defeat in Iraq. That's what they wanted him to do, I guess.

Not one to go off half cocked, I decided to wait until this afternoon to try again. Perhaps the Google algorithm would pick some newer stories. Well, just a few minutes ago, here is what Google News served up:

Afternoon Google News
What do I see? Bush's message 'stymied', Bush losing touch with real people, listening only to yes-men and 'declaring victory', and still 'refusing' to schedule a pullout. if this isn't biased news reporting I don't know what is. I don't care if it is an lib-programmed algorithm or a human hand on the keyboard, the result is the same: propaganda disguised as news.

Why this half commie, half capitalist kiddie company has such a bloated stock value is beyond me. Must be the newness. CNN didn't get any slack for X-ing out Vice-President Cheney's speech. Google News does the same damn thing all day, every day and nobody seems to notice. These cats need some serious Fox News style competition.