Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hello, I'm NOT Johnny Cash !!!

Hello, I'm NOT Johnny Cash! Sorry, but there was only one of him, and, sadly, he is gone. The good news, however, is that his music is still very much alive, and, in fact, is still thriving some fifty-plus years after his first record was released on Sun Records in Memphis (1955, I believe).

I should admit that this particular 'Rant !!!' is somewhat ego-driven. To omit this disclaimer would be quite disingenuous on my part. I will bring you up to speed momentarily.

For those of you who do not know me personally, I am a song writer. I am also the world's oldest living rock & roll drummer (the rest surely must have passed on by now), although I haven't played the drums in many, many years. In fact, I don't even remember which end goes in my mouth (still a bad joke, but I digress).

I first heard Johnny Cash in 1956. He had a hit record entitled "I Walk the Line". It is still being played on radio stations around the world to this very day. It is, without question, a classic. Although I was playing drums in a rock band at the time, I actually (at the tender age of eighteen) stood at the microphone and sang "I Walk the Line". It was my first public vocal attempt, for better or worse, but it stirred something inside of me that has never gone away: my love for the music of one 'John R. Cash'.

My songwriting has been greatly influenced by his music through the years. There is a simplicity and an honesty that transcends into the lives of the common people (us'ns). His lyrics tell the story of everyday life in America. Nothing fancy, nothing phony, nothing slick or polished. Just pure Americana. I could go off on a tangent here and indict the current state of today's music industry and their complete lack of creativity and artistry, but I just did, didn't I?

As I promised, let me now go back to my ego disclaimer: This past Friday night I sang at a very neat place on the square in Murfreesboro, Tennessee called 'Liquid Smoke'. It is a place where friends gather to enjoy a good cigar and a 'cold one' of their choice. It seems I have been accused of sounding like Johnny Cash when I sing (close, but no cigar, unless you're at Liquid Smoke). I assembled some friends, along with two of my grandsons, to back me up musically, and we did a two hour set of nothing but Johnny Cash songs. The show was incredibly well received and more fun for me than an old person should be allowed to have.

Which brings me to the point of all this: There is no way for me to tell anyone how thrilled and how honored I was to emulate the 'Man in Black', and to share his music with others, if only for a short two hours. I did my best to 'do him proud', as they say in this part of the world.

Johnny Cash, as a songwriter, as a musician, and as a man, will live forever. He is a true American hero. A true American legend. His music is as fresh today as it was fifty years ago, and it will live in my heart forever. He was 'one of a kind'. Hey, sounds like a song to me!

No, I'm NOT Johnny Cash. Couldn't be if I wanted!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Global Warming Re-Visited !!!

Following are two articles of interest, that seem to be fact based, regarding 'global warming'. I am becoming more and more convinced, as per my last 'Rant', that this whole global warming thing, aside from feigned hysteria, is all about making money, nothing more. I am kicking myself for not being smart enough to cash in on opportunities like this, and, I am totally dismayed that Al Gore is obviously much smarter than I am.

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NZCPD Guest Forum Augie Auer 18 February 07 Imagining Climate Change

What a wonderfully powerful human trait is the imagination. No other form of animal life can think creatively as we humans…to dream up scenarios of passion…love, joy, hatred, anticipation. But distort our imaginative powers with a bit of fear & guilt instilled by mischievous science…and presto, you have the makings of the catastrophic global warming [ooops, I’m sorry], I mean, climate change hysteria. This hysteria was reinforced on 2 February when the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its ‘Summary to Policymakers’ (SPM); but the report on which the Summary is based, IPCC’s 4th Assessment 2007, will not be published until May. The problem is that the SPM was produced, not by the scientific writers and reviewers, but by a process of negotiation among unnamed bureaucratic delegates from sponsoring governments. Is it any wonder that this SPM attracted considerable media interest because of its alarmist dogma. The “Man bites dog!” stories always do. So what is going on? Are we are a course of certain environmental Apocalypse? Of course we’re not. Here’s why. Every one of the outcomes predicated on present & continued burning of fossil fuels by mankind are projections generated by computer simulations of future climatic patterns. They are not reality, not certainty, rather a kind of computer imagination. And even with all the mathematical manipulations, the climate models are only as good as the knowledge that is imputed to them. And as much as we would like to think that our knowledge of all atmospheric processes is substantial, the fact is it’s grossly lacking in both scope & thoroughness especially when it comes to looking decades into the future. This means that high levels of accuracy & certainty just can’t be achieved. Sometimes computer models can’t predict our local weather with useful certainty just 48 hours in advance. Then there’s the matter of CO2…that harmful gas that Al Gore would have us believe is choking us all to death, that greenhouse gas which Jeanette Fitzsimmons claims “the planet is groaning under the weight of”. Again, let’s set the record straight. To start with, CO2 is not a harmful, pollutant gas! It could best be described as an airborne fertilizer that humans exhale. Diesel exhaust, now that’s a pollutant. The Earth’s constituent gases consist of 77% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen with the 2% balance comprised of the so-called ‘greenhouse gases’. These trace gases are water vapour (averaging about 1%), followed by carbon dioxide (CO2) at a whopping 0.038% (usually reported as 380 ppm [parts per million]), methane at 0.00015% and even lesser concentrations of minor gases. So how can a gas that occupies a measly 0.038% of our atmosphere warrant so much attention? That’s what needs to be challenged. The greenhouse effect is a near–miraculous process that carefully regulates the temperature of the planet. By absorbing & re-radiating downward some of the heat energy that would escape to space from the Earth, greenhouse gases effectively keep the average temperature of the planet near 15C rather than at (minus) –18C. So the greenhouse effect is required for life! Water vapour is, by far & away, the most dominant and naturally-produced of all greenhouse gases, contributing to a massive 95% of the beneficial warming process. Within the remaining 5%, there isn’t much clout available for carbon dioxide; it only contributes a meagre 3.5% or so. And when this input is subdivided into naturally produced & anthropogenically sourced, just under 97% comes from Nature, just over 3% from mankind. This means that the human contribution of CO2 to the Earth’s greenhouse warming process is an inconsequential 0.12%. Even if CO2 doubled in the atmosphere due to man’s activity, its impact on greenhouse processes would remain miniscule. Furthermore, the efficiency of CO2 as a greenhouse gas does not increase with concentration, as the Al Gores of the world tell us. Its effectiveness obeys the law of diminishing returns. Only the first 150ppm or so is all that is needed for the planet’s greenhouse effect to operate near maximum. Additional carbon dioxide only serves as a spent force. Because of the dominance of a simple, Earth–unique gas, water vapour, we could say that mankind could not alter our climate if we wanted to! Since carbon dioxide is not the problem, there is no need for any mandatory reduction of planetary CO2 or punitive taxations to prevent its use. Note that this not a proposal to abandon our responsibility of stewardship of the planet’s atmosphere. Scientists have an ethical responsibility to be truthful in their research, to avoid being arrogant, intimating & intolerant. This is not intended as a criticism of all those involved in climate research, but it is directed in some regard to politicians & policymakers who, in interpreting the ‘science’, tell us “You have a problem, we can solve it & no other opinion matters”. They communicate through a seemingly biased media emphasizing unsubstantiated fright & sensationalism: e.g., a rise in sea-levels that would inundate Pacific island nations. “We must act now!”, the global warming zealots scream. Yet I recall my Dad warning about high–pressure salesmen with the ‘It must be done now’ pitch. Where’s David Russell when you need him? Recall the admonition of Robertson Davies, a 20th century journalist/novelist: “Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion.” Imagine that!

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20 November 06 An Inconveneient Truth By Ron Goodwin

All people interested in global warming should see Al Gore’s film, if only to appreciate how the whole world is being hoodwinked by pseudoscience. There is no question that the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing for many decades, albeit from a very small percentage to a larger but still very small percentage, currently about 0.035%. However, there is no sound scientific evidence that I am aware of, that this or any other factor is actually causing any global warming. Nature is such, that there always has been and always will be enormous extremes in climatic conditions from time to time. That is why urban development plans consider what will happen in a 1 in 100 year storm and hydro dams work on 1000 or 2000 year events. Glaciers will continue to grow and recede. The Arctic Ocean will continue to freeze up and thaw. Large areas were unfrozen in the 1930s as they are today. Such is the ebb and flow of nature. The Vikings used to grow corn in Greenland . The River Thames froze so solid around 300 years ago that thousands of people and even an elephant walked on the ice. Mountains like Mt Kilimanjaro will continue to lose snow, not due to any evidence of global warming, but due to a reduction in precipitation caused by the post-colonial deforestation of surrounding areas. Massive hurricanes will continue to come and go. The movement of tectonic plates will continue to make coastal areas rise and fall. And what’s more, the ozone hole will continue more or less centred over Mt Erebus so long as this massive active volcano continues to spew over 1,000 tonnes of super-heated chlorine gas straight up into the stratosphere every day, as it has done since 1982. If the ozone hole was caused by man-made emissions, it would be in the northern hemisphere, where 90% of the world’s atmospheric pollution comes from. Yes, there are records and graphs of temperature increases. As any meteorologist knows, most long-standing weather stations were originally established in major towns and cities, most of which have now become large metropolitan centres. These are now subject to what is known as “the urban heat island effect”, a warmer micro-climate caused by all the energy consumption and other factors peculiar to major cities. The increase can at times be as much as 2oC to 6oC for very large urban centres. The graphs of mean annual temperature for small cities and remote places are what should be studied. Invercargill has accurate records from 1946. Whilst each year varies from the trend line by differing amounts up to 1oC, the trend line over 60 years is actually a reduction in temperature of 0.3oC. Christchurch , still a very small city by world standards, has accurate records from 1864. Each year varies from the trend line by up to 1.1oC. But the trend line over that whole 140 year period is dead level. Better still, how about a remote Pacific island where there is absolutely no heat island effect - only the effect of global warming, if there is any. Norfolk Island has kept proper met records from 1915. The trend line has a slight downward gradient, a temperature drop-off of 0.2oC in 90 years with peak years typically up to 0.8oC above and below the trend line. Temperature records from numerous other remote weather stations display a similar trend; absolutely no increase in temperature, and many with a slight decrease as for Norfolk Island . So I am sorry Mr Gore, the fact that there is absolutely no solid scientific evidence of global warming, man-made or otherwise, is your “Inconvenient Truth”.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Monty Python Re-Visited !!!

So, does anyone out there actually believe in re-incarnation? I certainly don't! And, I didn't believe in it the last time I was here, either! But, there is this one, wierd little question that keeps running through the back of my mind: Is it possible that Monty Python has come back in the person of Al Gore? Naw, not really! But, what if...?

I haven't seen Al Gore's movie (probably won't, to be truthful), but I can guess that it is every bit as serious and well documented as Monty Python's 'Holy Grail', truly one of the all time cinema classics. Al Gore has really outdone himself this time. A hit movie, a Grammy. Wow! Most people would have been content with just inventing the internet, but not our Al. Good job, big guy! And, living in a fantasy world probably pays very well, too.

Why don't you ask the folks in up-state New York how they feel about 'global warming'. Bet you'll get an earfull! In fact, why don't you ask me? I'm freezing!

The big scare thirty years ago was all about 'global freezing'. Some of you can remember that, I'm sure. So, what happened? My guess would be that all the hot air that went on back then about 'global freezing' actually caused what is known today as 'global warming'.

That is just one of my many theories on the subject. Another theory would be that our politicians have discovered an entire new industry: The 'theory' industry. Simply find a theory that sounds plausible, put it out there as fact, and a whole bunch of people will jump on the band wagon and say, "Yah, that must be true", and you're off to the races! Bottom line: If you can sell a good theory to the world, you will make a whole lot of money selling books, giving speeches, and making movies, even without those who don't buy into your 'uh theory. And the hot air goes on and on and on, effecting a certain validation without requiring proof. Perhaps the word 'hypothesis' would be a better fit here than 'theory'.

As I understand it, filtering fact and fiction, the temperature of this planet has risen a whopping one degree since 1900, and there are scientists out there who claim to have proven that temperature variations are cyclical. Are they? I certainly don't know, and I don't really think you do either.

I continue to hear reports from Great Britain regarding how short the growing season has become there. Hundreds of years ago, for example, there were lush vineyards all across Great Britain producing wonderful quality grapes for wine. Today, the growing season is so short the vineyards no longer exist. This must be treated as no more a piece of fiction than all of the so-called global warming facts we are being fed today. And we can't even wash them down with a good glass of wine!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Left Wingers: Between Iraq And A Hard Place

In the event anyone out there pays any attention to my rantings at all, yes, I did use a portion of this title several months ago. Back then, it was entitled George W. Bush: Between Iraq And A Hard Place. Same Iraq, different hard place.

George W. Bush's hard place continues on, and he is in a tough spot, both politically and militarally (is that a word?). He actually DID win the Iraqi war he set out to win in about the first thirty days. Complete regime change. Downfall of Saddam Hussein. Well done! But then the insurgency began, and, since then, we have been fighting a war we never planned to fight. But this is not exactly an epiphany at this point in time. And, I digress.

Back to the left wingers and their problem. Do they have (a) the courage to win the war in Iraq should they win the Presidency, and (b) do they have the courage to stop the war in any event? I think not.

History tells us that in the past fifty years, or so, the left wingers have failed miserably in virtually every military event they have been involved in. It's a no-brainer. There is no historical fact to make anyone believe that they could go into Iraq and possess the ability and/or the will to win. You can bet your sweet donkey the terrorists are licking their lips in anticipation of a Democratic takeover of our government.

History also tells us the left wingers will not have the fortitude to stop the war. They yack on and on about bringing the troops home by a certain date, cutting off funding for the war and this and that. Bottom line: If either or any of these options were to actually happen, this would put the onus of responsibility squarely on the backs of the left wingers. George W. Bush would be totally off the hook. It would no longer be his dilemma, it would then become theirs.

So, barring a quick trip to OZ, they will never muster the heart, courage, or brains to pull either option off. They will simply continue to posture, like roosters in the barnyard, trying desparately to destroy the Bush presidency in the process. And they are doing this nation a huge injustice in the meantime.