I Have An Alibi

Man stole housemate’s comic books to buy ‘food, cigarettes and marijuana,’ police say:

The Springfield man collects Magic the Gathering cards, Pokemon cards, vintage video games, figurines and more.

And some of those items — including three comic books signed by Stan Lee — carry special meaning for Pappas.

* * * *

When some of his items started disappearing early this year, Pappas said he confronted his housemates.

Some of his housemates said their video games were also going missing, Pappas said, and another couple who lived at the home claimed they didn’t know anything about it.

Narrator voice: They did know something about it.

Fortunately, this won’t happen to me, as I have children, who are already filching my role-playing games and comic books and destroying them, ruining their resale value. So burglars and housemates of questionable character (of which, we only have cats) will do better elsewhere.

So I’ve Read That Metal Is Family

I read in Metal Hammer magazine that metal is family, but I found that hard to believe. When I was growing up, the kids who listened to metal in our trailer park certainly didn’t treat the awkward, small younger version of me like family at all. So I’ve been skeptical of the claim even as I’ve outgrown being small.

However, stories like this make me reconsider: After a fan’s death at Milwaukee show, metal band Ghost coming back to finish concert in his honor:

Theatrical metal band Ghost’s sold-out show at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on May 31 came to an abrupt and tragic end when fan Jeff Fortune collapsed at the venue and died that evening.

* * * *

The band also will be selling an exclusive shirt at that show, with an illustration of band frontman Cardinal Copia and Fortune wearing Michael Myers costumes from “Halloween,” with all proceeds being donated to Fortune’s family.

Ghost recently came to my attention because the local radio station has been playing their new song “Rats”, and I liked the sound of it:

I recently considered picking up their latest album Prequelle, but I opted for Apex from Unleash the Archers instead.

But you can bet that Prequelle will find its way to my mailbox soon.

Coming Soon: The County Curse Jar

I’ve been seeing this headline all over my social media feed: Missouri becomes first state to regulate use of the word ‘meat’:

On Tuesday, Missouri became the first state in the country to have a law on the books that prohibits food makers from using the word “meat” to refer to anything other than animal flesh.

This takes aim at manufacturers of what has been dubbed fake or nontraditional meat.

Clean meat – also known as lab-grown meat – is made of cultured animal tissue cells, while plant-based meat is generally from ingredients such as soy, tempeh and seitan.

The state law forbids “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” Violators may be fined $1,000 and imprisoned for a year.

Yawn. Wake me up when the state finally gets around to fining people for using the word there or your incorrectly.

I find it hard to work up a particular outrage about this because 1) I’m mellowing as I get older, and 2) the government does a whole lot of regulating of dietary labeling already. You know, mandatory posting of calorie counts at restaurants, certifications for ORGANIC, and so on. The European Union is also very particular about foods named after locations, going so far as to sue to keep people from calling it Parmesan cheese if it’s made in the U.S..

So, yeah, no. I think mandatory labeling laws can be petty (a year in jail for making a candy called Sugar Meat? Really?), I think it’s par for the course.

I do think this particular bit is getting passed around on social media in a twee fashion, though, because some of the passers are trying to imply or reinforce that Missouri is crazy or that people who eat meat are dumb enough to think tofu is meat unless someone smarter than them points it out. A few, perhaps, agree with my perspective that such laws are petty and often giveaways to organized interest groups. But without additional commentary by the sharer, one is left to wonder which of the above points the social media sharer wants to make.

Not worth my time, aside from an excuse to generate fresh content for you, gentle reader, whom I hope to convince to “Meh” along with me.

Also, note this legislation does not affect a real travesty: Allowing Big Turkey to continue to market turkey “bacon.”

In Milwaukee News This Morning

This could be my cousin:

A man stopped for driving 99 mph in a 55-mph zone said he was speeding because he was late to a soccer game.

The 26-year-old man was stopped on I-94 southbound in Oak Creek by a sheriff’s deputy working the speed saturation patrol shortly after 8 p.m. Monday.

The math and the sport works out right. I’ll have to ask him.

Fedora-wearing man charged in armed robbery of West Allis jeweler:

A man in a suit and a fedora who robbed more than $200,000 worth of jewelry from a West Allis store later pawned the goods for money to buy heroin, according to a criminal complaint.

Why is it everyone hears about a guy in a fedora, and they automatically think of me? I bet this guy left the feather in.

Flashback

In 2004, coincidentally the last time we had a Republican president, we had violence in the streets and one particular party Democrasplaining it:

But the fact is that the reason the Republican Party is feigning righteous indignation is because they don’t want to talk about the 30,000 jobs lost and the 180,000 Oregonians who have lost health care,” said Neel Pender, executive director of the state Democratic Party.

I’m in the process of slowly going through the old posts here and ensuring that all quoted sections have the <blockquote> style and that all posts have categories and post titles (because I was blogging before Blogger had a field for the post title, werd). One thing I’ve discovered (again) is perspective in that all the contemporary news and noise has its roots in the past, and also that we’re still quibbling over the same damn things fifteen years later.

Of course, I first realized this when I caught up on old Wall Street Journal. In 2007. (And also when I caught up again several years later.)

Spoiler Alert: It Won’t

This data may change one way you think about guns

What’s this “new” data?

A decade’s worth of data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services shows that thousands more people die from self-inflicted gunshot wounds than from assaults.

From 2005-15, the department tracked that data. There were 3,533 firearm assaults that resulted in death, while 5,483 people died from self-inflicted gun shots (55 percent more).

The difference in rate is even greater locally. Over the same period in Greene County, 56 people were killed by guns fired by another person, while 262 died by firearm suicide (368 percent more).

The article includes several scary graphs about how gun suicides are more successful than other mechanisms for self-harm.

Which leads us to the inevitable coda:

A measured change to gun laws can help this specific problem because if we can keep firearms out of the hands of people who may be suicidal, we have a much better chance of saving their lives.

The author also says:

Folks in Missouri are protective of guns, built out of a culture of defending ourselves and providing for ourselves. We don’t have to change that culture, but we may have to change our law.

Folks with good intentions may be inconvenienced by waiting for guns. But for people considering suicide, it could save their lives.

Summary: I didn’t know this, so here’s an argument for increased legislation based on what I just learned.

But people who know about guns know about the risks. Especially the risks of turning the ratchet to the right.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Two stories from Friday’s Springfield Business Journal‘s Today in Business newsletter:

Trump tariffs blamed for potential closure of SEMO employer:

George Skarich of Mid Continent Nail Corp. says President Donald Trump’s tariff on steel imports could put the company out of business.

“Cheap nail imports from China and other countries don’t face this tariff and are increasing every day. We need our wire to be excluded from this tariff or we will have to increase the layoffs we’ve already begun,” Skarich says.

The Poplar Bluff-based 500-employee operation is said to be one of the last major U.S. nail manufacturers.

Steel company JSW USA to add 1,000 new jobs:

JSW Steel USA plans to invest $1 billion in facilities in Mingo Junction, Ohio, and Baytown, Texas.

“We are going to be hiring over 1,000 people,” JSW President and CEO John Hritz told CNBC.

Hritz credited President Donald Trump’s steel tariffs for allowing the company to supply more steel for defense and infrastructure purposes.

Now, I’ve not studied Common Core math, but this looks like a net positive for employment numbers.

I note, though, that the headlines blame Trump for the job losses but credit the company with job creation.

I Was Just Telling My Child About Recycling

He was slowly dumping a bottle of old soy sauce into the sink while I was trying to do dishes, so I grabbed it from him, put the cap on, and tossed it in the trash.

“But recycling!” my children chirped as they’ve been taught.

So I gave them a little talk about how recycling consumes resources and produces a recycled product of dubius utility.

This was last night. Today, a story reiterates what those of us paying attention and concerned with actual economic costs instead of simple absolution rituals already know: Some Inconvenient Truths About Recycling:

It has become an article of faith in the U.S. that recycling is a good thing. But evidence is piling up that recycling is a waste of time and money, and a bit of a fraud.

The New York Times recently reported that, unknown to most families who spend hours separating garbage into little recycling bins, much of the stuff ends up in a landfill anyway.

Penn and Teller had a program on in the old days called “Bullshit!” that had an episode on recycling. The whole thing doesn’t look to be on YouTube, but a small sample is (Penn language warning):

Me, I recycle just because otherwise I might have to pay for another garbage cart to be picked up weekly.

(Link via Instapundit.)

An Unfortunate Banner

417 magazine has a cover story this month Your Guide to the Best Swimming Holes in the Ozarks.

Although it’s not the magazine cover image, here’s the banner on the Web site:

The magazine hit the stands this week. Also in the news this week: High cliff jump into Buffalo River breaks paddler’s neck:

Nearly 40 feet high on the side of a cliff, [redacted] knew instantly that his double backflip into the Buffalo River wasn’t going right.

“When I turned backwards on the cliff I started falling backwards,” [redacted] remembers. “I over-rotated on the way down and I didn’t land it well.”

I’m not from around here, so I was not aware the cliff jumps were a thing. I grew up in the projects, where we went wading in the storm water basins, and nobody was going to dive from the overpass into a couple inches of water over concrete. But apparently it is.

Although it’s not illegal to jump from cliffs in Buffalo National River Park, ranger Casey Johannsen advised against it because of the risk for injury.

“We have signage in the park that strongly discourages it,” Johannsen said Friday. “My recommendation, always, is don’t do it.”

There are no fines if someone is observed jumping off a cliff, but Johannsen said several people a year are injured doing risky cliff jumps.

It shouldn’t be illegal, of course, but people need to be careful.

Strangely enough, the incident reminded me of a book: The Dive from Clausen’s Pier. Between the book, though, and cliff-jumping into an unknown stretch of river, I’d be torn.

That’s Not A Bus Strike

Madison County bus strike possible, agency chief says:

Madison County’s transit agency is preparing for a potential strike by its 200 or so bus drivers amid a stalemate in negotiations on a new contract, the agency’s chief said Wednesday.

This is a bus strike:

Excessive speed played a role in Tuesday’s crash of a Milwaukee County Transit System bus on the Marquette University campus, officials said.

The 59-year-old male driver of a route 12 MCTS bus lost control about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday along West Wisconsin Ave. and the bus crashed into Johnston Hall on the Marquette University campus, just east of Gesu Church.

For the record, I did not take the 12 to get to Marquette. I took the 23.

Something Other Than Coyotes

As the sun is coming up here at Nogglestead, we often hear the coyotes calling as they return to their dens in the national battlefield just across the fields.

But yesterday, about 5:40, we got a novel new sound: a high speed police chase.

Police closed part of U.S. 60 in Republic Saturday morning after a pursuit led to a crash.

The crash happened near Farm Road 170.

Republic police say the pursuit was initiated by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

What does a police chase sound like? A siren in the distance, getting closer, and then cars passing by at high speed. I caught sound of the sirens and looked out of my office window to see the fleeing car through the trees followed by a couple of deputies at some remove.

This is the second high speed pursuit I have seen within a year. The last was when the fleeing car and the deputy passed me in the opposite direction on the county highway. Everyone, I was pleased, stayed in their own lanes.

For the record, I prefer the coyotes.

Not Me, But Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought Of It

Self-storage units surge in Milwaukee because ‘people don’t like to get rid of stuff’

As you might know, gentle reader, I like to retain things as artifacts of my youth as I’m a few decades ahead of my peers in not having many friends or family with whom I can reminisce. So I have bunches of things from my dead family members on mantels and shelves and in boxes in my closets. I also collect a lot of things, from comic books to old computers, that take up space in our store room. I don’t like to let things go.

But strangely enough, the only time I’ve considered renting storage space is to clear space in my garage, where we have boxes of children’s or my beautiful wife’s books, some kitchen stuff not in frequent (that is, once in a decade) use, and some craft gear that I’m not actively using, and some furniture that I’ve been meaning to refinish for the last twenty years (what, you say–have I really moved these articles four times? Yes.). If I put them in a storage unit, I can make room in the garage for me to actually do things in it.

But so far, no. I’m afraid of what would happen were I to get one storage unit. I fear it would be like putting the first item in the bag at a book sale’s bag day.

So I’ll just have to resign myself to the remedy that we’ve used over the years: buy a bigger house.

I Buy My Swords And Trucks, Thank You

So many people across Springfield saw this story and thought of me: Man Steals Truck, Swords then Flees Police:

Police in Springfield are looking for a man who stole from items from Vintage Stock, including display swords.

Store employees say the swords are not made to be weapons, but could potentially be used as such.

Police say prior to the theft at Vintage Stock, the suspect stole a Dale’s Roofing truck, which hit a Pontiac Grand Am at the intersection of Glenstone and Barataria as he fled the Vintage Stock store.

To be clear, I’ve bought all the bladed weapons I own except for the halberd, which was a very nice gift from a D&D friend who asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I said, “A halberd.” Because polearms don’t get enough attention in role-playing games and film, if you ask me.

A Little Too Far Ahead Of The Story

The Springfield News-Leader made sure to post someone at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield to capture the chagrin of people who would find the GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN! PEOPLE WILL DIE, OR NOT GET TO USE THE BATHROOMS IN THE VISITOR’S CENTER!

Unfortunately, since the Senate reached cloture and the government shutdown ended, they didn’t get to write the ongoing story of how the shutdown was causing DISASTER and HARDSHIP for all, but with the story already written, they went with it:

Wilson’s Creek visitors frustrated by diminished experience:

Three visitors from Michigan spent a cold afternoon battling whipping wind and a government shutdown in their attempt to see Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

The historic Civil War national park southeast of Republic was nearly empty of visitors Monday afternoon, and no park staff was visible during the short-lived government shutdown.

The popular visitors center was closed, but motorists could still drive through the park property, read the educational signs and listen to recorded bits of history about the first Civil War battle west of the Mississippi in 1861.

In other words, it was about as busy as you could expect on a cold Monday afternoon.

But the journalist was sure to make sure the newspaper’s dwindling readers knew who to blame:

All three, however, laid the primary blame on President Donald Trump.

It’s a shame how many people don’t know that the President signs the bills and the legislature passes or does not pass them. I used to give journalists the benefit of the mendacity when they’d write stories mischaracterizing the political process in this country, but now I’m pretty sure they’re just ignorant, too.

Also Florid and Mockable

As I was reading this post by Don Surber, I came across this oft-repeated nostrum:

The pen is mightier than the sword.

By Edward Bulwer-Lyton (more).

You know the other quote Edward Bulwer-Lyton is known for?

It was a dark and stormy night.

(more.)

The latter has spawned annual writing contest.

One wonders if there should be a similar floridly written fiction contest for journalists who think that their keyboards would best an actual tyrant’s sword, guns, or Polonium, or if perhaps those in the trade who quote the first Bulwer-Lyton confuse their own egos with “the pen.”

(Link via Instapundit.)

Ozark Police Assault Some Deerde Who Wasn’t Doin’ Nothin’

As Ms. K. likes to say, gas stations and convenience stores are like watering holes on the Serengeti for criminals (or something like that).

On Wednesday, November 22, somebody called the police on a suspicious looking young deer loitering outside the Casey’s General Story (famous for pizza). Probably asking for money or for someone to buy some beer.

The police responded less brutally than the Carbondale police department handling an emu, but still, when the deer gave them a little lip, they brutally assaulted the innocent piece of Bambiana.



The question on my mind, though, is who called the police on a wayward deer?

The answer, I think, is the manager of the Casey’s, who wanted to get free publicity for the fact that he or she is currently hiring.

It’s only the Black Friday deals that have kept the protesters otherwise occupied than to organize marches in Ozark.

Stuck in Reruns

You know, as I mentioned, I’m going through old posts and whatnot, and I notice that I used to comment on the news of the day every day.

Lately, though, my posts have been mostly music, mostly books, mostly life.

Why is that, you ask?

Well, it’s partly because I don’t want to sound like a crank on the Internet, and I don’t devote enough time to my commentary to not were I to jot a couple things here and there. Also, in the modern world, I can’t help but wonder if I would lose career opportunities based on my commentary. Although this site with its rich archives is still here, so any job opportunities I would lose I have already lost. And I’m thinking that the field that I am in has changed enough to leave me behind a bit as it were anyway.

Also, it’s partly because like reading a Rogue Warrior novel, I see the same things come up over and over again over the years, and I’d just be repeating myself.

A couple cases in point: From 2012, stories about local governments in St. Louis County and Republic looking to consolidate trash hauling to a single government-selected option. I know I’ve written at length about this as far back as my Suburban Journal days. Well, look, here the issue is again in Springfield. I wrote about it earlier this year even. What more do I have to say about it except to point out further examples?

I also spotted a story from 2008 about the Hidden Valley ski resort in St. Louis County clashing with local governments about blocking an amenity, and the resort threatened to or it will have no choice to shut down.

It just seems so dull to keep posting the same things, year after year, with little change.

Occam’s Razor Suggests Robur the Conqueror

BOOM! MYSTERY BLASTS RATTLING THE GLOBE:

Those are the questions experts and non-experts around the world are asking themselves in recent weeks as curiously loud mystery BOOMS have not only been hear around the world, but felt – shaking buildings and rattling nerves from Alabama to Michigan, Idaho to California, Russia to Denmark.

The Alabama boom last Tuesday at 1:39 CST was heard and felt through 11 counties, but an earthquake event has been ruled out.

The day after Alabamans were shaken by that incident, something similar occurred in Idaho. No explanation has been forthcoming from law enforcement officials there.

Then, last Saturday, much the same thing was reported in Michigan, according to various local newscast. Still no explanation.

Clearly, it is Robur the Conqueror in his Clipper in the Clouds:

Never had the sky been so much looked at since the appearance of man on the terrestrial globe. The night before an aerial trumpet had blared its brazen notes through space immediately over that part of Canada between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Some people had heard those notes as “Yankee Doodle,” others had heard them as “Rule Britannia,” and hence the quarrel between the Anglo-Saxons, which ended with the breakfast on Goat Island. Perhaps it was neither one nor the other of these patriotic tunes, but what was undoubted by all was that these extraordinary sounds had seemed to descend from the sky to the earth.

What could it be? Was it some exuberant aeronaut rejoicing on that sonorous instrument of which the Renommée makes such obstreperous use?

No! There was no balloon and there were no aeronauts. Some strange phenomenon had occurred in the higher zones of the atmosphere, a phenomenon of which neither the nature nor the cause could be explained. Today it appeared over America; forty-eight hours afterwards it was over Europe; a week later it was in Asia over the Celestial Empire.

Hence in every country of the world—empire, kingdom, or republic—there was anxiety which it was important to allay. If you hear in your house strange and inexplicable noises, do you not at once endeavor to discover the cause? And if your search is in vain, do you not leave your house and take up your quarters in another? But in this case the house was the terrestrial globe! There are no means of leaving that house for the moon or Mars, or Venus, or Jupiter, or any other planet of the solar system. And so of necessity we have to find out what it is that takes place, not in the infinite void, but within the atmospherical zones. In fact, if there is no air there is no noise, and as there was a noise—that famous trumpet, to wit—the phenomenon must occur in the air, the density of which invariably diminishes, and which does not extend for more than six miles round our spheroid.

(Link via.)

I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, But I’m Working On My Alibi Just In Case

For the second time this year, human body parts have been found at a location named in my poetry.

First, it was Bee Tree Park. Now, it’s Okauchee Lake in Wisconsin:

A body found floating in Okauchee Lake near Road J on Oct. 26 appears to have been missing its head, part of an arm and a foot, if a photo circulating on social media is to be believed.

Police declined to comment about the photo, but Police Chief James Wallis said, “It does appear that the body may have been in the lake for an extended period of time.”

The relevant poem: “Okauchee Light”:

Across the dark Okauchee lake, a light,
the marker for the end of someone’s dock,
is strangely lit at nearly twelve o’clock
and breaks the solid black that is the night.
From here, across the chilling April lake,
through busy bar room glass I see that glow,
but life or rooms beyond I’ll never know.
One light does not a utopia make.
Quite like your smile, that single man-made star:
Up there, on stage, you flash a smile at me,
and crinkle eyes to give the gesture weight,
but like the dock-end light, you are too far;
your glow is there for someone else to see,
and now, for me at least, it is too late.

If anything happens six miles south of Tonica, Illinois, I will probably be interviewed.

Weird that “Okauchee Light” did not appear in one of my chapbooks from the middle 1990s. It will appear in my forthcoming volume Coffeehouse Memories, due out whenever I get around to it.