This Is A Drill. Unless It’s Not.

The Weather Radio just started shrieking a tornado warning, but the weather is clear and the Internet did not show a tornado warning.

The newspaper did, however, mention a statewide tornado warning set for just that time.

The newspaper assures us, though:

If severe weather conditions exist, the drill will be rescheduled for Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

So the siren goes off at 1:30. Is it a drill? Is it really threatening weather? I guess we’ll find out soon.

Book Report: The Damned by John D. MacDonald (1952)

Book coverThis book is one of MacDonald’s situational books. He takes a group of disparate, sometimes desperate, characters and puts them in a stressful situation where they interact. You see this in Murder in the Wind, and you see this in Condominium.

In this book, though, instead of a terrible storm, we have a delayed Mexican ferry.

A middle-aged man with an impulse mistress he picked up and bedded for an expensive three weeks in Mexico City heads back, guiltily, to his life. An expat American who works on his expat father’s Mexican farm waits to go buy farm equipment. A married couple whose husband is a mama’s boy and whose wife is a former model wanting a good married life wait with his mother (who flew down to join them on their Mexican honeymoon), and the mother takes ill in the heat. An American kills a jealous matador who found the American and the matador’s girl in flagrante delicto after the matador shoots the girl with a harpoon while aiming for the American, and the American finds his flight delayed. An aging comedian and the two statuesque members of his act return from a gig in Mexico and are on their way to New York, but not for the reason the comedian thinks.

They find themselves stymied by a modern ferry that’s been put into a shallow river because a Mexican official crossed there once, a while ago. The draught of the boat is too deep, and it requires Mexican laborers to dig a channel for it before it can carry its two cars across. During the hours-long delay this produces, the waiting travellers interact, reach life-altering reconsiderations and decisions, and engage in some questionable activity.

It’s the sort of thing MacDonald does and does well. Even though the book’s ending leaves the storylines unresolved (although you think they’ll resolve badly, or maybe just less happy than you’d hope for the protagonists who emerge), I enjoyed it. There’s a frame story, wherein a Mexican laborer goes to work at the beginning and at the very end returns home very weary but well-enough heeled from the overtime (he has fifty pesos, half a month’s pay for a day’s work). At the very end of the novel, he and his wife are happy with what they have, which contrasts with the busy, machinating Americans who have a lot of plots but little joy.

Recommended. Have I gone a whole year without reading a MacDonald book? (Yes. My mistake.)

Books mentioned in this review:

Greene County Makes Instapundit

A KY3 story about a defending his property with a firearm merited a mention on Instapundit yesterday. The story:

An elderly cattle rancher recently came face-to-face with three thieves on his property, and he took the matter into his own hands. The thieves might have been arrested if Vance West had been able to get someone to help him.

Instapundit notes:

I love how the sheriff uses this as an excuse to ask for a tax increase.

What My Toddler Taught Me About Outlining

I have a college degree in English, specifically in writing-intensive English, but my classes covered topics such as learning how enjambment makes the poem, how authentic speech mouthed by authentic characters in authentic situations makes the fiction, and how complex sentences with many clauses and many conjunctions makes your writing dense, deep, important, and self-indulgent. Professors focused on the romantic visions of writing as organic growth, something done in Parisian or Nuyorican coffee shops in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, those ideals of youth and academia don’t reflect the realities of writing for a living or even as an ascendant hobby leading to writing for a living. Fortunately, though, my newest mentor and teacher has taught me a method to efficient, guided writing. My toddler has not only shown me the value of outlining, but has provided insight into effective outlining techniques to build better articles. Continue reading “What My Toddler Taught Me About Outlining”

Overheard in the Music Library

As you might have noticed in one of my DeRooneyfication posts, I have been moving LPs to my parlor. Where were they before that? Some of the ones, the ones scene in the picture in that post, were in boxes in my storeroom. Others were in my beautiful wife’s office.

You see, the ones in boxes were mostly records I inherited from my mother, some of which she inherited from her mother, which is why the collection is so heavy on Reader’s Digest boxed sets and Elvis Presley titles. Many of the titles I owned or recently purchased were on my wife’s bookshelves since she has been, off and on, ripping the records to MP3s.

Since we still had room even with the polished and repackaged 45- and 78-rpm records, I went down to her office to get more of my albums to move upstairs and to listen to. Not to steal LP Cover Lover‘s thunder, but I found some things familiar and some things strange. Continue reading “Overheard in the Music Library”

Book Report: Home Is Where The Quick Is by William Johnston (1971)

Book coverWhen I was looking for a paperback to read, I found this book on my shelves and thought, “Is that the William Johnston?” Which pretty much ensures I’m the only one to ask that question in the last 25 years, or maybe ever.

This is a 1971 novel based on the television show The Mod Squad, which was about a trio of young detectives in LA. They were young and hip. Mod. You dig it? At any rate, wow, that show had a bad syndication deal or something. I’ve never actually seen it. I don’t remember it replaying later in the 1970s when I was a kid with naught but a television to entertain myself. So I went into the book without anything but precursory knowledge of the program.

Which is unlike the other too William Johnston television-show-turned-novels books I’ve read, and I think it comes out a little here. It’s probably the same problem you get when you drop into the middle of a series: the book knows the characters and assumes you know a bunch about the characters, too, so it doesn’t get too much into that. Instead, onto the adventure that is more complex than a half hour sitcom plot (in the case of the Happy Days and Welcome Back, Kotter books I read) or an hour-long cop drama.

The plot: Someone kills a well-liked cop, Al Quick, who might have been dirty, and it might have something to do with a safe place for drug-addicted youth called simply Home (you see where the title comes from, do you?). It also might have something to do with a gambler named Gino Paul (seriously). And the well-liked cop’s brother is an inspector who insists upon frequent briefings and seems very eager to close the case. It’s a pretty thin plot hung upon a number of discrete scenes, too many of which are the detectives chatting with each other and wondering how they could miss the obvious for a couple more minutes or pages.

It’s a short read, and it is what it is. Apparently, a collector’s item based on the price from Amazon.

You know, there are so many paperback writers from the 1960s and 1970s who plied the trade and put out a lot of books and made a living at it that are mostly forgotten today. I guess that’s William Johnston. The books touted at the end of the book include the early Executioner books, the first Death Merchant, the first Butcher, some science fiction by Don Pendleton (!), and whatnot. Interesting stuff. Well, for me anyway.

Books mentioned in this review:

Cracked Joins the War on Wealth

What would Sylvester P. Smythe say? Cracked magazine takes an unsympathetic (and unfunny) look at 6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying.

I’ll sum up the list:

  1. “Well, $500,000 a Year Might Sound Like a Lot, but I’m Hardly Rich.”
  2. “Hey, I Worked Hard to Get What I Have!”
  3. “If I Can Do It, So Can You!”
  4. “You’re Just Jealous Because I Made It and You Didn’t!”
  5. “You Shouldn’t Be Punishing the Very People Who Make This Country Work!”
  6. “Stop Asking for Handouts! I Never Got Help from Anybody!”

What follows each point in the list is What we hear, which drifts into a bunch of nonsense. Let’s take a look at them briefly:

“Well, $500,000 a Year Might Sound Like a Lot, but I’m Hardly Rich.”
It’s all about the cash flow, brother. The rich get into bigger houses, have more expensive cars, and pay more–dare I say it?–taxes than the non-rich. When I was working at a startup and had dreams of stock option wealth, I watched the multi-million dollar homes in the St. Louis area. Many of them had annual property tax bills exceeding my salary at that time (and the worth of my stock options by a factor of tens of thousands). I know, I know, you’re saying you don’t have to live in a house like that, but in some cases you do, because you have to throw parties and have the right people over to show your status. Fair? No. But $500,000 a year in salary–cut down to, what, $300,000 by income taxes and then bitten by property taxes, sales taxes, and whatnot. Suddenly you’re living well, but not Larry Ellison well.

“Hey, I Worked Hard to Get What I Have!”
You know what? A lot of them have. Read The Millionaire Next Door and learn how most millionaires make it over a lifetime. I don’t care what this “humor” writer “hears.” It’s not true.

He also goes on to mention millionaire football players, as though NFL players don’t work. The author lacks insight into the NFL experience. Those guys have lots of meetings, film to watch, things to study, and workouts to attend. (Remember the content of Run to Daylight.) To say nothing about going out on Sundays for almost half a year and getting hurt. It takes talent, but it also takes a hell of a lot of work. More than it takes to write an Internet humor column.

“If I Can Do It, So Can You!”
I don’t know many who say that except the ones selling DVDs and books about how to do it, too. It takes moxie, tenacity, intelligence, and a heaping helping of luck. You might not be able to do it, but you can try. Just don’t expect your attempt to succeed if it involves writing a column on the Internet or writing manuals for an enterprise information integration start-up.

“You’re Just Jealous Because I Made It and You Didn’t!”
The rich should definitely not say this because it misuses the word jealous when they should say envious. But the author and his thoughtless ilk are envious, even though they’re blessed with Internet connections and a standard of living better than 99.99% (est.) of humans who have ever lived (and maybe ever will).

“You Shouldn’t Be Punishing the Very People Who Make This Country Work!”
That’s a very blanket statement. The .05% calling themselves the 99% aren’t that surgical in their punishment. I’ve seen this sentiment expressed elsewhere, and it confuses the hell out of me. People expressing it often haven’t started businesses and/or hired people. They haven’t invested in corporations that have hired people. They just expect jobs and whatnot to materialize. Or maybe they expect the government to print jobs the way government prints money. I don’t understand.

“Stop Asking for Handouts! I Never Got Help from Anybody!”
You know what? This is crap. It conflates help with government help, which is different. Charity comes from voluntary contributions. Government wealth redistribution comes under the penalty of death, ultimately. The author then goes into luck (poor station at birth), family obligations (your parents fed you! That’s help!) and a bunch of other crap that pretty almost goes so far to say that the worm that makes the rich loam you grow tomatoes in HELPS YOU YOU HYPOCRITE! But he might not have thought of that.

It very conveniently smears the bright line between government-enforced extraction of wealth from those who make their own and the giving to those who do not and pretty much everything good in life.

Which, frankly, is the type of intelligent argument that one expects from the people fighting the War on Wealth.

I know, I know, it’s Cracked. It’s a humor magazine! But it’s not funny, and it makes a political argument. An unsound and invalid set of political arguments, in fact.

However, here is one thing the rich should stop saying:“I feel that it’s okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay. I have two houses.

(More also at Hot Air.)

For People Who See Nuance, They Sure See Some Black and White When Convenient

Evil Republicans hate veterans!

Paul Carroll, an 86-year-old World War II veteran who has lived in the same Ohio town for four decades, was denied a chance to vote in the state’s primary contests today after a poll worker denied his form of identification, a recently-acquired photo ID from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The poll worker rejected the ID because it did not contain an address, as required by Ohio law.

You see? The Republicans (the ones who favor voter ID laws) hate the military!

Except this fellow tried to vote with a photo ID that was not approved by the voter ID law. Like most student IDs.

This incident mirrors one almost exactly like it in Wisconsin. Almost like it’s a coordinated assault on voter ID laws.

Why do the ACLU and Think Progress hate election integrity?

See what I did there?

Whenever Republicans and the like oppose something, say mandatory contraception coverage in insurance plans because it eliminates the freedom of the individuals (or their proxies) to select insurance benefits they want or need, suddenly the nuance gets sucked right out of the stance so that it can be falsely painted in a tweet OMG PL RT REPUBLICANS HATE WOMEN!

Book Report: Rogue Warrior by Richard Marcinko with John Weisman (1992)

Book coverI picked up this book because some article regarding the release of Acts of Valor mentioned that Marcinko started SEAL Team Six. I remember buying this book and one of its fictional follow-ups at a book fair, so into it I went.

The book covers Marcinko’s career from his early postings in the Navy to joining the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) (the Frogmen), his joining the SEALs before Vietnam and serving in Vietnam as a SEAL through his middle management career and the eventual founding of SEAL Team Six and then Red Cell, an internal infiltration testing squad.

The book is self-aggrandizing, probably, as Marcinko settles scores from prison, where he was sent for a rather tepid charge of conspiracy to defraud the government. He tells readers exactly what he thinks about some officers and how he warned them about the Iranian Desert One debacle, the embassy vulnerability in Beirut, and the invasion of Grenada. The very end might be a semi-fictional lead into the fictional books in the Red Cell series (which continue to this day, so he’s having some success with them). So one has to take the history here with a grain of salt.

But it’s a pretty good read as a grunt’s view of Vietnam and the military. The first portion of the book deals with incidents and missions in Vietnam and Cambodia and paces as well as any fiction. The middle of the book deals, as I mentioned, with him working up the chain of command, so the reading drags. Towards the end, though, he trains with his troops and they perform missions, so it picks up again.

I enjoyed the book a bunch and will probably incorporate at least one of his repeated sayings (“Doom on you”) into my own argot. But the language is salty, the main character is a bit of a scoundrel, and it might offend the tender sensibilities of some of my readers. Ha! Just kidding. If you’re reading this, you have no sensibility.

Books mentioned in this review:

Where Can I Turn Myself In?

I am a scofflaw.

Reading my lack of rights

According to this can of bathroom cleaner:

It is a violation of Federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.

And:

1. Spray 6-8 inches from surface to be cleaned.

I am pretty sure that I sprayed from under 6 inches away from a toilet and maybe more than 8 inches, say 8.034 inches, away from the basin.

According to this can, I have violated Federal law several times today.

Now, I know the can is no attorney, but come on, it’s easy to imagine that such a law exists that makes it an actual crime to just let the product sit on a heavily soiled surface for only one minute just because the law says do what the instructions tell you.

Because some regulator or set of legislators saw the problem (what, people huffing aerosols? Using bathroom cleaners on ovens?) and passed/made some burden to put the fear of the Federal Bureau of Investigation into consumers who read the packaging.

Another Federal law that goes unenforced. Unless the prosecutors can’t hang someone for a real crime, and Al Capone goes to prison in the 21st century for consumer-grade solvent misuse.

Sad, isn’t it?

UPDATE Thanks for the link, Ms. K. Hey, if you’re in the IT field, check out my blog QA Hates You. Also note my IT caper novel is available for the Kindle for 99 cents and in paperback. Thanks!

Republican Sponsors Bill To Nullify Contracts

That’s one way to look at Missouri Representative Kurt Bahr’s proposed law to abrogate the contracts between subdivision/neighborhood associations and their members:

That would change statewide for future elections under a bill proposed by a legislator from nearby O’Fallon. The measure, by Republican Rep. Kurt Bahr, would prevent homeowners associations from enforcing or adopting bans on political signs.

“Should a private organization allow you to contract away constitutionally protected inherent rights?” Bahr asked.

Strangely enough, contract law does this all the time.

Consider:

  • Employer contracts that require non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements. These contracts “violate” the rights to assemble and to free speech and press. 
     
  • Employer or other contracts that require drug testing. These violate the right to be secure against unreasonable searches. 
     
  • Lawsuit settlements where terms include nondisclosure and nondisparagement. These also violate the right to free speech. 
     
  • When employers fire you or taverns kick you out without a jury trial. This violates the 7th Amendment 
     
  • Mortgage agreements. Have you ever actually read a mortgage contract? You would be surprised to find out what you cannot do. Storing flammable liquids like gasoline for your lawnmower might put you in violation, which might make you think the bank is violating your private property rights.

And so on and so forth.

The fact of the matter is that people sign contracts and make individual agreements that limit what they can do. This does not “violate the rights” of either party in the contract or agreement any more than holding one’s tongue when one has a snarky remark violate’s one’s own right to free speech.

What Representative Bahr confuses here, as so many do, is that the Bill of Rights limits the government’s authority, not other organizations.

Anyone who signs a contract with a neighborhood association needs to honor that contract. Anyone considering moving into a home bound by such a contract needs to recognize that it is a contract, not a formality, and they need to honor it.

And the Missouri government should not step in and break these codicils when the citizens who signed the agreement didn’t read them or didn’t really expect to be held to them.

I’m not sure the non-enforcement part of the law could stand up in court anyway. After all, ex post facto is not just a river in Italy.

(Representative Bahr’s HB 1380 text here. United States Bill of Rights text here)

High Concept

I’ve got it: For our new brand campaign, a Vulcan. A Vulcan with an orchid. A Vulcan wearing platform shoes with an orchid. Yes! A Vulcan wearing platform shoes with an orchid kneeling in front of a low couch. Not a Vulcan as hot as T’Pol, though, wearing platform shoes with an orchid kneeling in front of a low couch with our handbag in front of her.

Make it so.

Lord help us, they did so.
Continue reading “High Concept”

Book Report: Kipling: A Selection of His Stories and Poems Volume II selected by John Beecroft (1956)

Book cover Did I really say I would read this book soon? The Internet doesn’t forget.

I read the first volume of this two-volume set in April 2010. The first volume collects four of Kipling’s novels. This volume has three parts: 314 pages of short stories (27 in all); 98 pages of Something of Myself; an autobiographical sketch; and 89 pages of poems (58 in total).

The first collection of short stories is what really bogged me down. Kipling wrote in so many locations, in so many styles, in so many argots that changing between short stories in rapid succession was a real challenge. In one, you might be a pair of American wealthy people looking to move to England and having to deal with the culture shock of owning an English manor where the population thinks in terms of generations instead of months or seasons. Or you might be a regiment private dealing with life on the Indian frontier. Or you might be a mongoose. The styles and idioms differ vastly between each, and you at about the time you’re really dialed in on the accent, the story is done and you’re onto the next. I put the book aside for a long period of time in the midst of the short stories to read other things with more unified metaphors. The collection includes the well-known stories “The Man Who Would Be King”, “Wee Willie Winkie”, and “Riki-Tiki-Tavi” (which will be the name of my next cat, werd, and I hope it’s as good as hunting snakes and lizards as our current aged-and-declining champion Galt).

The autobiography is very enjoyable. Kipling talks about his early days as a newspaperman in India, which in turn led to his success as a writer in England by the time he was in his 20s. He name-drops constantly–his best friend was M. Rider Haggard, the author of the Allan Quatermain tales. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle taught him golf. He talks about Robert Louis Stevenson, whom he just missed in New Zealand on one of Kipling’s round-the-world tours. He talks about the other literary luminaries in the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th and their relationship to him. He knew Cecil Rhodes, who once gave him a lion cub to raise. And so on.

The anecdotes are amusing, and the things Kipling considers are interesting in their own regard. Kipling and his wife lived for a time in Vermont, in the United States, in a couple of domiciles. One, called Naulakha, was a large estate. When rambling about, the couple meet a woman who asked if they were they were the owners of the house on the hillside in the distance (they were). Kipling admitted they were, and she told them how comforting it was to see the lights of another house in the darkness (Kipling, from that moment on, kept the lights on in the rooms facing her and the curtains open). I know the feeling now that I live out in the country–the house behind us has been empty for almost a year, and I can’t wait for the new purchasers to move in so I can see lights in it again).

Kipling was a product of many cultures from his youth in India. When the Kiplings decamped for England, their first home wasn’t right, Kipling felt, because of the Feng Shui. In the 19th century he was talking about Feng Shui. He uses the term Allah for the supreme being throughout. It’s fascinating stuff throughout.

The poems are fun to read, and the set includes the well-known “White Man’s Burden” (about the United States’ dominion over the Philipines following the Spanish-American War), “The Gods of Copybook Headings”, “If”, “Gunga Din”, “Tommy”, “Dane Geld”, and more.

Kipling gets a rap for being an imperialist running dog or whatever, but really, he’s not so simply classified. He recognizes the variety in other cultures, but he recognizes that the Western culture of the British Empire brings a certain amount of Law (see the review of Puck of Pook’s Hill from the previous volume for that progression). He also recognizes the plight of the soldier in the maintenance of the Empire, as seen throughout his poems like “Tommy” and his short stories. So although he’s not as propogandist as portrayed by unnamed and, possibly made up by this reviewer, critics, he does think that certain laws of human nature apply to all civilizations and cultures and that Western culture has done the best good for individuals and maybe mankind of the cultures that have come so far.

Kipling is great stuff, better at defending Western culture than your Hardys or your Dickenses. I wish he were more widely taught.

Now, I must send out a search party for the book’s dust jacket. I tend to take them off while I read the books so I don’t damage them (Aren’t the dust jackets there to protect the books? Shut up, he explained), and there’s no telling where it’s gotten to in the two years it’s been floating around my office during various cleanings and rearrangings of ephemera. Although I can tell you where it is not: 1) on the desktop and 2) in the spot where the other dust jackets are for books I’m currently “reading.”

While I do that, go over to Tam’s place and enjoy some Kipling sung (which sounds like a Korean dish, but isn’t.)

Books mentioned in this review:

Book Report: The House at the End of the Block and The Big Fish and Gas Rationing by Clyde E. Wilkerson (?)

Book coverBook coverI bought these books at Redeemed in the local interest section because I thought they were both little reminisciences of life in the Ozarks. They’re very short–each about six pages or so (but I’m counting them as two books, dammit). But I was wrong. They’re short and independent like this because their the tracts of a local Baptist congregation, either available as a pickup for members or as leave-behinds as the Brothers and Sisters visit homes in the area.

I gave one to my wife and read one myself when we had a couple minutes to kill yesterday, and she first read The Big Fish and Gas Rationing while I read The House at the End of the Block. She said right away that it was very Baptist and didn’t make much sense. I got pretty quickly the parablic nature of my pamphlet, although I was not so harsh as to say it didn’t make much sense. But then I later read the one I had given her (and she did not read the other).

The Big Fish and Gas Rationing is a little wildy skewing as it runs through a story about the narrator having trouble understanding the man at the gas station during gas rationing (which places the story in the 1940s or 1970s). Then he meets a cab driver somewhere–I’m not sure if he’s going to the airport in Springfield or going to the airport to return to Springfield–and he and the cab driver like to fish, so they make plans to go fishing. When they do, the James River floods (aha! They’re in Springfield. Or Virginia, where a James River flows to the Potomac) and they’re stranded for a couple days atop their car — but if they’d gone to church instead of fishing, they would not be in this predicament. The narrator learns his lesson and returns to the gas station to apologize to the attendant for being impatient and rude. It really doesn’t flow very well at all.

The House at the End of the Block definitely has a better narrative. The Brother narrator and his partner are going door-to-door, and they come to a cluttered house they don’t want to visit, but do because their faith demands it. Inside, they find a drunkard who beats his wife and kids and prohibits them from attending their church, which they had previously. The next Sunday, though, the family minus the husband and the baby are waiting for the church bus, and as they go, the man has an awakening where he sees what his wasting ways have left for his family and changes. That night, they all go to church and the man is saved. Later, the man himself is going door-to-door when he encounters an old drinking buddy who the man tries to save, but the drinking buddy mocks him. Later, the drinking buddy goes to a tavern and gets into a brawl and is shot in the process. When the changed man visits the dying buddy in the hospital, the dying buddy says how wrong he is. It’s a shorter take on a Dickens kind of tale. Overall, this one flows far better than The Big Fish and Gas Rationing.

Both have a number of Bible chapters for one to review to learn more the lessons that the narrator and the others learn.

They were very quick reads, of course, and worth my (little) time because I’m into reading everything. Also, I counted them as two books to make up some ground this year for all the books over a thousand pages that I’m working on.

I was going to say you can’t buy them on the Internet, but apparently ABC Books up on Glenstone offers The Big Fish and Gas Rationing for $25.00. I wonder if that’s the in-store price. If so, it’s more than the buck fifty I paid down at Redeemed. Maybe they’re Baptist collectors’ items or something.

The Rams’ Dome Dilemma in the Wall Street Journal

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about the forthcoming taxpayer holdup by the Big Football/St. Louis City Government gang. The gist:

The fight to save St. Louis’s NFL franchise comes at a tough time. The city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the state of Missouri together still owe $153 million on the downtown dome and face deep budget cuts in other areas. But they are proposing a $124 million plan to build new club seats and a 50,000-square-foot plaza at the dome—with nearly half the cost funded by taxpayers.

In Los Angeles, taxpayers would pay almost nothing for the proposed stadiums.

Economists say large cities often fare better than smaller markets in stadium deals with professional sports teams because they can offer franchises a bigger base of potential fans, and because the larger cities are less reliant on a team to help shape their area’s image.

Despite evidence that these investments rarely pay off in purely economic terms, smaller-market cities continue to offer sports teams millions of dollars in hopes the investments will pay off by improving the quality of life, aiding in the recruitment of new businesses and burnishing their national reputation. Minneapolis and Minnesota are offering more than $600 million for a new Vikings football stadium. And Indiana still owes $649 million on the Colts’ four-year-old stadium.

Two decades after the Rams arrived from Los Angeles, St. Louis is offering millions to try to close an escape clause that could allow the team to return to the glitz of its former home. Jack Nicas has details on The News Hub. Photo: Getty Images

In larger markets, however, cities have managed to keep taxpayers largely off the hook for stadiums, such as the New York Giants’ and Jets’ $1.6 billion, two-year-old stadium and the San Francisco 49ers’ planned $1.02 billion stadium.

Indeed, taxpayers have shouldered about four-fifths of the funding for NFL stadiums in the eight smallest media markets with new facilities since 1995, according to an analysis of data from the consulting firm Convention Sports & Leisure International. During that period, taxpayers have funded less than a fifth of the cost of NFL stadiums in the eight largest media markets where new facilities have been built or are planned, according to the data.

“Investments” in public/private partnerships always work out for the private half, don’t they? The public? Not so much.

Bear this in mind when the state cuts benefits to certain constituencies and when local cities cannot provide basic services like police protection or animal control without additional taxes.