Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Law of Unintended Consequences

From a recent news article:
There’s one potential casualty of the fiscal cliff that hasn’t gotten much attention at all: the price of milk.
Come Dec. 31, Washington’s inaction could push the country’s milk prices to as much as $6 to $8 per gallon unless Congress passes a farm bill renewing federal support for agriculture programs. 
Here’s how that would happen: Without legislative action in the next five days, the government will have to revert to a 1949 dairy price subsidy that requires the Agriculture Department to buy milk at inflated prices. Much like the current fiscal cliff, the law was left on the books “as a poison pill to get Congress to pass a farm bill by scaring lawmakers with the prospect of higher support prices for milk and other agriculture products,” as Vincent Smith, a Montana State University professor, told the New York Times.
Goodness, that is seriously whacky.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Today In Wyoming's History: Sidebar: Wyoming and World War One

Today In Wyoming's History: Sidebar: Wyoming and World War One: Recently I did a Sidebar post on Wyoming and World War Two .  So, a followup on Wyoming and World War One is a natural in some ways, alt...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Spam, Spammers, and Counter Revolution

Recently here I wrote on the topic of junk mail, and touched upon the topic of email Spam.  In what is perhaps an oversight, and perhaps a bit ironic, subsequent to that my Facebook page was the victim of a Spam attack.  I guess that's what a person would call it, but I'm not entirely certain, as I'm not really a the most computer literate in some ways.

I do have, as noted, a Facebook page.  I don't "friend" everyone like some folks do, and the people on my friend list are actually my friends. That's about it.  It isn't even my habit to check it everyday, like many people do.  I'm much more likely to check one of the blogs.  Anyhow, I guess I'm fortunate in that I did check it the day of the Spam attack.

I wasn't alone in being the victim of the cyber assault. At least five other folks I know were. Basically, all of us ended up having something or somebody get onto our pages and post links to videos of scantily clad women.  One of the really quick to react managed to get the offending links off prior to anyone seeing them.  I thought I was on pretty early myself, but apparently not so early as many of my friends and relatives, who have teased me about "liking" a video that apparently features a young woman's nearly naked rear end.  Nifty.  One of my other friends found that she was featuring a video of another barely clad young woman's cleavage, which she was appalled to learn of later in the day.  A nice decent young man ended up hosting the most offensive of all the links.

I don't get this sort of behavior at all.  My guess is that these pirate links are designed to draw attention to some nasty website in Russia or something where the host either attempts to swipe financial information from the visitor, tries to sell them nasty junk, or infects their computers with nasty viruses. Anyway you look at it, it's really appalling all the way around.

Its in part appalling as its a massive waste of computer talent.  In this day and age when computers are so important to commerce, surely these folks can better employ their talents.  If they must act in a secretive manner, why can't they be hacking into Al Queda's bank accounts, reprogramming Syrian missile strikes, causing the Iranian nuclear program to serve frozen yogurt, or wiping out ever single episode of Zack and Cody?  You know, something useful if sketchy.  I'd think that more rewarding than hacking on the Facebook pages of the innocent.

Beyond that, I'm really bothered by how this is ample evidence, to some degree, of the moral sewer nature of much of the Internet.  I'm sure an entire treatise could be written about this, but it doesn't say good things about society in general when so much of a a really useful tool is dedicated to encouraging deprivation.  It's really bad, quite frankly.  For some time its seemed to me that some moral codes in regards to dress have so declined in the US that people aren't aware that there are any, and stuff like this doesn't help.  Its popular to say that a person should always guard against censorship but, here, I'm in favor of it.  Call me Victorian if wish, but I am.  But frankly I think the situation was better when the people who wanted to view this stuff had to suffer the embarrassment of having to actually buy it, which at least must have been some brake upon the conduct.

Additionally, it may say something about me, or perhaps its just because I'm getting old, but it bothers me that there are so many who are willing to prostitute their images for whatever thin amount of cash that must yield, and I'm sure it isn't much.  It's just flat out sad that there's a pool of young women who are willing to have themselves portrayed in this way. Why would a person want to be known for their naked appearance?  Worse than that, why would they want to be known for their naked appearance in a manner which appears to suggest that they're offering themselves for sale?  One of the primary struggles of the women's movement in the Western world has to be seen as equals. Well, these young women are the guerrilla warriors of a counter revolution, in essence, as their behavior screams that they wish to be viewed as objects.  If for not other reason, and there are a lot of other reasons, they should be ashamed.

I guess, taking this one step further, there seems to be a general trend in behavior in this fashion, and it's really detrimental to all sorts of things.  One of the people I do know on Facebook has a female friend who comments on his posts who has taken all the liberties that Facebook profiles presumably allow in posting her own photograph.  Why would you want to post a photo of yourself framed in such a way that it's pretty clear your shirt is missing, and you're framing the photo so as to be barely within the presumed limits?  Surely you must have other merits other than your chest?  And why would anyone be interested in the comments of a person whose sole attributes were below the neck?  Such a person would, by definition, not be very interesting.

But, by the same token, some of the young women I see waking into public school every day, at least when the weather is warmer, are on display. Again, why would they want to advertise themselves at that age?  Not a good start in the almost adult world.

For that matter, while I'm on this tirade, there's a lot of female advertising going on with tattoos.  I don't care if people have tattoos or not.  And I'll concede that the artistry that goes into tattoos is much more advanced than it was when only Marines and Sailors had tattoos.  But a lot of these tattoos seem to be in very private locations, and that seems to inspire people to display the private locations.  I was recently in a setting which traditionally has been been one in which people presented themselves in very formal attire, when a nice looking young woman was wearing jeans so tight, and so low, that she inadvertently partially displayed a tattoo on her rear end.  A tattoo in that region is going to be suggestive, intentionally or not, and that isn't going to help a woman receive the respect and attention she deserves.  I'm sure that if you know here, you'd learn to overlook, so to speak, the tattoo, but more often than not, in many settings, we're amongst strangers.  I don't think most folks want to be giving out the message "hey! . . . look at my ass!"  At least I hope not.

Well, this has meandered frightfully.  But I guess the overall message is that I wish cyber pirates or vandals would move on and be productive, and I wish that young women would really think about the image they give out. I'm sure that all women wish to be respected.  I'm also pretty sure that one naked photos wipes out the work of a hundred female supreme court justices, in terms of image.

Today In Wyoming's History: Sidebar: World War Two and Wyoming

Today In Wyoming's History: Sidebar: World War Two and Wyoming: Regular readers here may have noted that there's been a lot of entries regarding World War Two recently. And, as a result, they might legit...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Images of Oil Production

Oil Field, Grass Creek Wyoming, 1916.

Some other "big picture" oil photographs from outside of Wyoming:

The "small picture":


 Lance Creek, 1920s.

Moving Drilling Equipment, Lusk, 1920s.  Public Domain from Wyoming Tales and Trails.

1930s and 1940s:

Loading facilities, Cody, 1930s-40s.

Geologist at work.

I find this photograph interesting as it exactly how I recall doing this in the early 1980s.

All photographs from our Flickr site.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Today In Wyoming's History: December 7

Today In Wyoming's History: December 7:

Today is, by State Statute, WS 8-4-106, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  The Statute provides:
(a) In recognition of the members of the armed forces who lost their lives and those who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, territory of Hawaii on December 7, 1941, December 7 of each year is designated as "Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day". The day shall be appropriately observed in the public schools of the state.
(b) The governor, not later than September 1 of each year, shall issue a proclamation requesting proper observance of "Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day".
(c) This section shall not affect commercial paper, the making or execution of written agreements or judicial proceedings, or authorize public schools, businesses or state and local government offices to close.
Your Recollections:  What about you?

Do you have any personal recollections about December 7, 1941?  Either first hand, or that you recall hearing from family and friends?  And, by that, not just Pearl Harbor stories, but I'd be very interested to learn of any family recollections from those at home, on that day.  Wyoming is three hours ahead of Hawaii, did your family hear it that morning, or later in the day?  Just after church, or while tuning in for a football game?  Any recollection is welcome.

(More text follows on original post).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Virginian Hotel, Medicine Bow Wyoming. . . and location near the railhead.

The Virginian Hotel was built in 1911. At the time, it was a major hotel on the Union Pacific, and soon thereafter a major hotel on the Lincoln Highway.  Indeed, when first built it was one of the largest hotels on both routes, although the near contemporary Plains Hotel in Cheyenne was larger.

The reason for the hotel's location is evident from the photograph below, which also appears on our companion Railhead blog.  The hotel is directly across from the Union Pacific train station, which would have made it a  very convenient stop for travelers.

This arrangement was the archetype of pre 1950 hotel location.  Most long distance travel was by rail, and those who got off the train were often looking at a short walk to a hotel, or at most a short coach ride.

The Virginian is an exception to the rule in that it remains a going concern.  It's still a significant hotel in Medicine Bow, although Medicine Bow is neither as isolated or important as it once was.  The hotel and restaurant are still stops for weary travelers.

Photographs from our Flickr site.

Railhead: Medicine Bow Union Pacific Station, Medicine Bow W...

Railhead: Medicine Bow Union Pacific Station, Medicine Bow W...: This a classically styled small town railroad station, located in Medicine Bow, Wyoming.  It's now a museum. View with the ...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Subtle evidendence of changing times?

Two photos, taken on the same day, December 3, 1919, in the same location.

Top rider is well turned out, and riding side saddle.  Younger rider below is wearing puttees, broad brimmed hat, and an English saddle.

Subtle evidence of changing times?  Or just different disciplines?

All photographs from our Flickr site.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Mustachioed Era

It can no longer be ignored.

 Wyoming Territorial Governor John A. Campbell.

Something was going on with facial hair in the late 19th and early 20th Century.  And on a massive scale.

In addition to this blog, and my others, I try to catalog Wyoming's history on a daily basis with my Today In Wyoming's History blog.  This being November, I've been running a lot of items on various politicians being elected or appointed, including a lot of them in the 1865 to 1920 time frame. And the evidence is overwhelming.  In order to be anything in that time frame, business wise or politically, you had to have some serious mustache action going on.

George A. Baxter.  It probably took him longer to grow that mustache and cookie duster than he served as Territorial Governor.  Note also the starched upright collar, a type of dress style thankfully now more or less gone.

Francis E. Warren, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from the Civil War and and one of the longest serving Senators in Senate history.  And also father in law to General John J. Pershing.  The Wyoming politician had this serious mustache his entire political career, including the point in time when this photo was taken, after the passing of the Great Mustache Era.

Clarence Clark, long serving but forgotten mustachioed Wyoming Congressman.

James Weaver, a surprisingly successful candidate for President on the Populist ticket, who went right from the Huge Beard Era to the Giant Mustache Era.

Now, it so happens that I happen to have a mustache myself, but nothing like the gigantic mustaches so popular in the this era.  These mustaches are practically their own species of mustache, bearing a faint resemblance to current mustaches the way that giant animals of the Pleistocene bear a relationship to their smaller cousins today.

How did this occur?  It's hard to say. We can tell, of course, that just prior to the Giant Mustache Era there was a Giant Beard Era.

Territorial Governor Moonlight, who'd been a Civil War era general before being appointed Territorial Governor of Wyoming.

Enormous beards seem to have come in during the Civil War.  Perhaps everyone was too busy fighting to shave.  

 Rutherford B. Hayes, whose mouth has completely disappeared from view due to his beard.

Mustaches, however, started to dominate in the late 19th Century.  No idea why.  And not only mustaches, but the super sized mustache, such as that sported by Theodore Roosevelt.

Zachery Taylor.  Apparently razors were in use when he was President, but combs clear were not.

Theodore Roosevelt, who went to the big mustache when was a rancher.

Roosevelt cultivated a thin, very well groomed mustache, until he went to the Dakotas to ranch. At that time, the busy stache was already in vogue in the West.  I've heard it claimed that the reason for this is that it keeps the lip from sunburning.  Perhaps.  At any rate, bug mustaches remain pretty common amongst ranchers and cowboys today, so perhaps there's something to it.  And perhaps Roosevelt's adoption of the style helped popularize what was already a growing trend at the time.
 Goatee pioneer Governor Carey.  Was Carey a proto-hipster?

And it wasn't just in the United States.  It was a global trend.  South of the border, Mexican revolutionaries Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa both sported some serious mustaches.  Lord Kitchener, the legendary British Field Marshall did as well.

 Even now, Lord Kitchener's command is compelling.  The mustache the reason?

Frankly, based upon the photographic evidence, I doubt a man prior to 1914 or so could expect to be a success without a serious mustache.  Just look at William Jennings Bryan, for example.  Universally regarded as brilliant, he just couldn't get himself elected President. And he didn't amount to a great Secretary of State when appointed by the equally clean shaven Woodrow Wilson, a President who couldn't persuade Congress to approve the Versailles Treaty.  Perhaps it was the lack of a mustache that left the Senate lukewarm about the entire deal.

 Writer Owen Wister.  He didn't go into law like his father had hoped, but the sensitive writer had to be taken seriously in print, with a mustache like that.

Well, this leads us to an obvious conclusion.  In this season of seemingly ongoing political confusion and strife we're left wanting for character in our leaders.  Gen. Petraeaus engages in activity that brings him down.  Even many Republicans and Democrats are less than enthusiastic about their recent candidates, Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama.  Clearly something is missing.  And that something must be the serious mustache that obviously instilled moral fiber and character in an earlier stalwart generation. 

All photographs from our Flickr site.