ALD: The US Mint says “No Accounts for You”

Bernard von NotHaus revealed on FMNN’s eRadio last Friday that the US Mint has apparently taken action against NORFED behind the scenes as well as publicly.

To go along with the harassment that the Liberty Dollar and NORFED are enduring in the press, as well as the false accusations posted on the Mint’s website, Bernard revealed on the podcast posted Monday that the US Mint has acted to have bank accounts associated with NORFED and the Liberty Dollar closed, making it extremely hard for the American Liberty Dollar to conduct business.

This ratchets the battle between ALD and the US Mint up another notch.

Where it goes from here is anybodies guess. As Bernard states, CBS’ hatchet job on the subject suggests that it’s a crime even to possess ALD (it categorically is not a crime to own silver or ALD) much less use it. I’m quite certain that if they intended to arrest anyone for using ALD, they would have done so already.

Silver is up again today, once again going over 13 dollars an ounce, spot price. My suggestion is, buy silver.


Here’s the issue of Liberty Dollar News that discusses the latest developments. As an aside, the Associate of the month, Jon Roland, is a personal friend of mine. Wander by Constitution.org and check out the volumes of work that Jon has put in on the subject of liberty and the Constitution.

LIBERTY DOLLAR NEWS: November 2006 Vol. 8 No. 11

CALL TO ACTION:

Contact the media: Urge the media to report on the Liberty Dollar!

As you will read below, Mike Johnson has resigned, which is why I am back writing the news, your chronicle about the life and times of the Liberty Dollar. This issue is yet another blockbuster with shocking news and developments that nobody considered possible. It is also a call to action for individuals and organizations that support the ideals that the Liberty Dollar symbolizes. I urge you to not only read this Newsletter but I also urge you to contact the newspapers, publications, and organizations that you respect to report on the Liberty Dollar. Very quickly, we need to build a broader base to take action in support of the Liberty Dollar. Without meaningful action the Liberty Dollar could become extinct in a short period of time…

IMPORTANT…THIS JUST IN: Help… a few self-described experts, working through Wikipedia, are at it again. This time they’ve added a Pros and Cons section on the Liberty Dollar. While this Wikipedia article is more accurate than earlier versions, it still needs to be updated. Please take a moment and post a quick comment (hopefully to the “Pro” section!) at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Dollar#Pros_.26_Cons_of_Liberty_Dollars.

Thank you for your continued support, one dollar at a time. Now the BIG news…[/size]

WAIT: I forgot to mention the upcoming Liberty Dollar University-12 in San Jose from January 10 – 13. If you want to find out what is going on and influence the direction of the Liberty Dollar… you have to come to LDU-12! Call the office now for a reservation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

  1. Liberty Dollar Faces Extinction
  2. Mike Johnson Resigns
  3. Treasury Letters
  4. Bernard’s “Second Law of Money”
  5. New Vanity Number: 888.LIB.DOLLAR
  6. Hawaii Dala Announced
  7. Signs and Shirts by Jeff
  8. Letter / Article to the Editor
  9. Success Story / Incident of the Month
  10. Question of the Month
  11. Liberty Associate of the Month
  12. Quote of the Month

1. Liberty Dollar Faces Extinction

The Liberty Dollar is now under attack from… our bank. On Monday, November 20, the Evansville office received a certified letter from our bank, Old National Bank, which said: “Please be advised that if you do not close the Account within 15 days of the date of this letter (11.16.06), Old National
Bank will exercise its right to close the Account.”

Had we bounced checks? Nope, not a one. Were we a difficult customer? Definitely not. Had we done anything to warrant the bank to close our account? No, but obviously something upset the banking powers to be. The VP for Bank Security, who ordered the letter, told us that they had investigated our business and said that the “nature of our business” was too risky for them. Of course the bank’s action is clearly the result of someone calling the bank and telling them to close our account. Probably the same person who told the US Mint to issue their warning. The same person who told CBS Lies (not worthy of “News”) to do their dirty work. The same person who urged the Washington Post to write their propaganda to kill the Liberty Dollar idea. The same morally corrupt person who might even be reading this Newsletter.

The Liberty Dollar is clearly under siege. Quite simply, without a bank account and merchant card services, it is all but impossible to do business in this day and age. We face the real possibility that the Liberty Dollar could die… and put all the ideals it stands for at risk! A very sobering thought I dare say.

Does this alarm you? I hope! It should alarm you that the government can single out a business without any past criminal history, indictment, or even criminal intent and instruct its bank to close its account! As you can note in Article #3 below, the US Mint does acknowledge that the gold and silver paper certificates are 100% legal. So if one form of the Liberty Dollar currency is legal, what’s wrong with the gold and silver that backs it up? I hope this latest bank development signals you that we need to find a much broader base of support for the Liberty Dollar. It should alarm you enough to take action. I am urging you to contact your newspaper, the organizations you respect, publications you subscribe to, and any public forums to investigate and report on the Liberty Dollar. We need to develop more awareness about the Liberty Dollar, and we need to do it very quickly. Up to this point the silence from our side regarding the government’s attack on the Liberty Dollar has been deafening. That needs to be corrected.

2. Mike Johnson Resigns

It is with shock and disappointment that I must inform you that Mike Johnson has resigned, telling me he was too “concerned” to be the Executive Director. So now I have to add “courage” to my list of requirements for an Executive Director. Of course this experience cost us a lot of money as we invested in Mike with the idea that he would generate more volume, but that was not the case. In fact, we have very little for his 2-1/2 months on the job. We wish Mike well and are now accepting applications for a new “courageous” Executive Director, please.

3. Treasury Letters

The bank action and Mike’s departure is not all… “threatening” letters have been received via certified mail by all the RCOs and myself from Daniel P. Shaver, chief counsel for the US Mint. The “Treasury Letter” re-hashed the Mint’s warning and informed all of us that the Department of Justice has determined that the Liberty Dollar is illegal as per 18 USC Section 486. Of course, that is grossly erroneous as 486 only pertains to passing or uttering an item of gold or silver as government “coin” “legal tender” or “current money.” The Liberty Dollar has never been passed or uttered as government money and they should know that, hence the use of the propaganda machine to extinguish the Liberty Dollar. I think the government is afraid to take the Liberty Dollar to court because they know the law and know that they cannot get a conviction.

We also received a copy of a two-page letter in reply to Congressman Hostettler’s inquiry to the US
Mint. This “Treasury Letter” signed by none other than Mr. Edmund C. Moy, the new Director of the US Mint, simply re-hashed the Mint’s original warning with a twist. To Mr. Moy’s credit, he acknowledged that, “…paper gold and silver certificates do not appear to be covered by this proscription [486].” Thank you, Mr. Moy, now if you would just please read 486, you would discover that it only applies to counterfeiting and does not apply to the privately issued Gold and Silver Libertys. And as a further extension, 486 does not apply to digital currencies like eLibertyDollar.com, GoldMoney.com or e-gold.com. For a thorough review of 486 and why it does not apply to the Liberty Dollar, please read our Disclaimer(s) and David Rostcheck’s 42-page report at:
http://www.libertydollar.org/ld/faqs/disclaimer.htm.

4. Bernard’s “Second Law of Money”

All this propaganda, Mike’s departure, Treasury Letters, and banking problems have given rise to Bernard’s Second Law of Money: “Any government action that purports to prohibit an American citizen from using a piece of gold or silver (or, for that matter, anything) in voluntary barter transactions between consulting adults is preposterous, antagonistic to a free market, and totally without legal merit.”

The bottom line is that we are not deterred. Like the old German saying, “That which does not kill
you – makes you stronger,” the Liberty Dollar is not going away. What else am I to do? Return to lying on the beach in Hawaii and drinking Mai Tais all day? Well, that may not be so bad… but I still feel the country is worth saving from the evils of fiat government money and hope you still agree. Right now the Liberty Dollar needs your help! Where are the patriotic organizations on this issue? Where are the great free market economists of our time? Where is academia? Where are the churches on the issue of honest weights and measures? Where is the community that supports individual rights? Where is the hard money community? Where is the gold and silver community? Where is the Mogambo Guru when we really need him?!

I strongly feel that this is the time that we must take a stand; otherwise the government may be emboldened to move against gold and silver and damn us to their depreciating money until it is too late for our country – and the ideals it once stood for – to survive. I remain steadfastfully optimistic that all this will turn out to be an opportunity as yet unseen…. if you take a stand for the right to use gold and silver as money. Again, I strongly urge you to contact your newspapers, organizations, publications, post to email lists, and any forums and urge them to investigate and report on the Liberty Dollar. We need to get the Liberty Dollar published. We need to develop much more awareness about the Liberty Dollar and we need to do it very quickly. Please take action. Do something!

5. New Vanity Number: 888.LIB.DOLLAR

Seems like no shortage of problems this past month. Even renting our vanity phone number 800.NEW.DOLLAR became a problem. So we bought our own number: 888.LIB.DOLLAR. Please change the number on your site or wherever it is used to the new number. And God help anyone who rents the old number… as it is on thousands of Silver Libertys and they are not going to change any time soon. The 888.421.6181 on all the paper currency is still working… and the local number: 812.473.5250 is also working. [/size]

6. Hawaii Dala Announced

So what do I do in my spare time? Recently when I had a couple of days, I went to Hawaii for the weekend and launched a Hawaiian version of the Liberty Dollar.

Announcing the new 2007 Hawaii Dala featuring King Kamehameha on the obverse with a Face Value of $20 so if you are inclined, you can actually use it as voluntary kala because one Hawaiian Dala is equal to one US dollar. Check out the photos:
http://www.libertydollar.org/press-kit/images/fullsize/2007HawaiiDalaKamObv.jpg
http://www.libertydollar.org/press-kit/images/fullsize/2007HawaiiDalaRev.jpg

What is to come? A lot! The six historic mega designs I did for the 30th anniversary for the old Royal Hawaiian Mint in 2004 will be issued in three sizes for a total of 18 issues. One design per size per month. The six designs are: Kamehameha, Liliuokalani, Kalakaua, Kaiulani, Warrior, and Discovers. The three sizes at the current $20 Silver Base will be: one ounce $20 Hawaii Dala, a half ounce $10 Hapalua Dala, and a quarter ounce $5 Hapaha Dala. All in .999 fine silver. [/size]

In addition to each of these 18 silver Dala issues, a minimum of 100 of each issue will be hallmarked with a micro hand stamp with the outline of the Hawaiian Island to denote First Day of Issue. And an additional minimum of 100 will also be hand numbered 001 to 100 with the FDI hallmark. Both of these Limited Issues will be available at a premium to Face Value and market priced.

If you wish to order a hallmarked or numbered Hawaii Dala, please contact me directly via email.

7. Signs and Shirts by Jeff

A lot of people have done a lot of development for the Liberty Dollar. But none have more than the
amazing Jeff Kotchounian our favorite RCO in Michigan. Here is a list of the 12″ X 18″ Liberty Dollar signs made with HammerMill 100 lb paper, Laminated with 5 mil plastic. There are one sided and two sided signs.

  1. Sign with “Toll Free Number” at the bottom. $2.00 each
  2. Sign with “Available Here” at the bottom. $2.00 each
  3. Sign with “Accepted Here!” at the bottom. $2.00 each
  4. Sign with “Accepted Here!” on both sides. $3.00 each
  5. Sign with “Accepted Here!” on one side AND the Toll Free Number on the other. $3.00 Please note that the new signs have the 2006 dated Gold Liberty.

Jeff can put gromments on the signs for .25 each and has suction cups to hang the signs from the grommets for .40 each. Jeff also has a ton of t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, mouse pads, Liberty Dollar holders, signs, banners and many other custom Liberty Dollar items. I encourage you to visit his web site at: http://www.chooney.com/liberty/productpage.html
and contact him via email at chooney@cardina.net.

8. Letter / Article to the Editor

I am deeply indebted to Kevin Innes, our notable RCO in Asheville and RCO Executive Committee member for this reminder about FEAR.

Fear is also a Weapon

This is a period in human history when, once again, public perception of reality is manipulated. The acronym: “F.E.A.R: False Evidence Appearing Real” is a useful reminder to check yourself in case fear wells up inside you. Those in power are very adept at using fear to keep us all in check and NOT do the things that need to be done to pull us out of this morass.

Information is exaggerated, distorted, concocted and processed for maximum effect: domination and profit. Each of us has a choice to either succumb or rise about those fears. Which do you choose? Controlling the flow and intensity of information/misinformation about what new fear we should have is the main weapon of those who want power over you. Yes, there are horrible things happening to many people around the world and in your neighborhood but what about the countless acts of courage, generosity and care expressed by countless people and movements that are igniting people to action as a result and doing the work that is inspiring countless others to take action for our planet? We don’t hear about that, as much do we? When what you fear is confronted with both feet on the ground – face to face – in broad daylight – you realize the folly of that emotion. It is self-destructive! You realize that Fear inhibits the taking of actions that would allay that fear, for example, to find out if the facts are even accurate; to find out if the power that threatens you is fearful itself. You will find out that the indomitable spirit within you is more powerful than that which you (used to) fear.

The ability to create anything but 100% backed money is at the very core of their power. Now is the time to be bolder and smarter in our actions to establish integrity in the financial arena. It is time to shake off the shackles of self-doubt and come forward, with all our little imperfections, and be brutally honest with ourselves and with others and admit that we don’t have all the answers but we have the
will to keep working tirelessly and in a united way to develop better solutions for a better future. Great leaders have the humility to admit and learn from their mistakes and move forward – hopefully a little wiser and more effective. The Liberty Dollar is a great opportunity for you to establish yourself as the great person you intended to be in this brief period that you have walked this planet. So onwards – without F.E.A.R! It’s a great time to be alive!

Kevin Innes/RCO can be reached at
kevin@ashevillelibertydollar.com

Please send in your letter or comments
for publication to: info@libertydollar.org

9. Success Story / Incident of the Month

There are no incidents to report so we have this great Success Story:

Dear Liberty Dollar…

First we went to Wal-Mart…

We just received our Associate Kit with our first Liberty Dollars, and we set out today to spend them
locally. We had $40.00 in Liberty Certificates, and two $20.00 Silver Libertys. First we went to Wal-Mart, and made a purchase for $47.75. I gave the young, male checker $40.00 in Liberty Certificates, and $7.75 in Federal Reserve Notes. He looked at the Liberty Certificates and asked if they were traveler’s checks. I replied, “No, they are Libertys.” He said “Do I need to check something?” and I said, “What would you like to check?” He went to check with a manager. He was gone a long time! The line of shoppers behind us got longer while we waited. We watched him show the certificates to a CSM (the first line of management), and then the CSM went to the Customer Service counter. We were wondering if they were calling the police!

Finally, a CSM came to get our cart, and took us to the Customer Service counter. Four women cashiers had gathered there, and a male Assistant Manager. The women all said they had never seen them before, exclaimed how pretty the certificates were and asked us where we got them (I said we got them from NORFED, and the web address is on the certificate). The man was digging in his wallet for $40.00. He hadn’t said a word to us. He gave the cashier $40.00 in Frauds and he took the Silver Certificates. The cashier told me that he wanted them to give to his grandchildren.

Then my husband Alex took a $20 Silver Liberty out of his pocket and dropped it on the counter where the silver rang out. He said to the Assistant Manager, “Maybe you would rather have silver.” The guy’s eyes bugged out! He said he would be right back. We think he went to borrow $20 from a friend! He came back and bought the $20 Liberty from us. We then explained to him what it was all about, and told him how he could be an Associate and make money like we just did. Alex also explained how Wal-mart could make a profit with Libertys if they signed up to be a Liberty Merchant. He took our brochure (with our contact information on it) and said he would check it out. One of the cashiers asked for NORFED’s phone number (we gave her a business card) in case Wal-Mart gets more Libertys.

We then went to the health food store where we spent $20.27. I did the drop and gave the young checker our last $20 Silver Liberty and waited. The owner of the store was 10 feet away, helping another customer. The young woman looked at it, hesitated just a moment, and said, “Where is the
27 cents?” I fumbled and gave it to her, and we left without saying anything to the owner. We shop there often so as soon as our next order of Libertys arrives in about a week, we’ll go back to the store and talk to the health food storeowner about becoming a Liberty Merchant.[/size]

My heart was pounding a little at first, but we had a great, fun time and can’t wait to go shopping with Libertys again![/size]

Alex and Jan Salsbery
Susanville Liberty Associate

10. Question of the Month

QUESTION: I have been all through your site… and I see that the government has said that the Liberty Dollar is legal many times. Why have they changed their tune?

ANSWER: Good question! Some people think it was because of our “in your face” Press Conference on August 9, right in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Lower Manhattan. Other people think it was just the fact that we have grown big enough to be noticed. And still others think it is because the gold and silver market is getting ready to blast off and the government may want to try and control it…. and can’t with people using Liberty Dollar free and easy as it is now. “Why” is anybody’s guess. The main point is that why does not matter. What matters most is that the Liberty Dollar IS legal and you should exercise your right to protect your money as best you can… and
certainly the Liberty Dollar is ideal because you can get it at a discount and use it at a profit… so you can grow your money back to total value… just like it could happen for the country at large.

11. Liberty Associate of the Month

What the hell are you?! Maybe you are a Republican? If so, wake up! As we are a long way from any
“Republican” ideal. How about a Democrat? No difference for the well informed, as it is common knowledge that both organizations are controlled by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Hence the saying that it does not matter who you vote for – you get the same old government. Frankly, I would not be one of these damn titles if my life depended on it. And ditto for our very noteworthy Liberty Associate of the Month. Since way back to September 12, 1995, around the time of the birth of the popular Internet, this outstanding Associate has been preaching “Constitutionalism.” And I could not agree with him more. For that reason and a thousand more reasons, like he has a Liberty Dollar banner and link on his home page (as hopefully we all do), I am very proud to acknowledge Jon Roland as the Liberty Associate of the Month.

Jon defines “constitutionalism” as a commitment to strict enforcement of a written constitution of government as it was originally understood by its framers and ratifiers, then its opposite is the doctrine and practice of “legal realism,” which holds that the “law” is whatever judges do or can be expected to do, whose main tenet is the doctrine of stare decisis as presently practiced, and which is fundamentally in conflict with adherence to a written constitution.[/size]

Over 1,000 web sites from around the world (sites like George Mason University and the US Department of State) currently link to Jon’s web site: www.constitution.org.
And when I visited it recently there had been over 1.6 MILLION unique visitors! Please support Jon’s effort. Visit his site and send some eLibertyDollars to jon.roland@constitution.org.

Congratulations Jon! It is wonderfully good Americans like you who make the Liberty Dollar great. Thank you for helping return America to value – one dollar at a time.

12. Quote of the Month

“Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of Liberty.” Thomas Jefferson

Closing Remarks:

As we edge up to 2007, I wonder what the New Year will bring? 2006 has certainly been a hell of a year. As many of us know, it has not been a simple task to introduce a new value based currency and save America before its debt-ridden economy self-destructs. I am sure there some amazing things to come and will hopefully provide yet unseen opportunity.

Many thanks to all the Liberty Associates, Merchants, and RCOs for your continued support. For it is only by banding together and adopting a free and independent currency which provides us with “just weights and measures” will we be able to throw off the yoke of a manipulated monetary system and generate a peaceful and prosperous society.

Thank you again for all your efforts to return America to value – one dollar at a time!

And last but certainly not least, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Bernard von NotHaus
Monetary Architect/Editor
www.LibertyDollar.org
888.LIB.DOLLAR
888.421.6181



“May you live in interesting times” to quote the ancient curse. I think we’ve found ourselves in the midst of some interesting times here.

Lapsed Trekkie Still Angry About B5 Laserdiscs

I’m currently a lapsed Trekkie, I guess. I don’t have copies of any of the Episodes of any Star Trek Series, in any format, other than the mpg’s that I’m pulling off the air on both The CW Austin and TV Land.

We sold our laserdisk copies of episodes at the Las Vegas convention The Wife went to. I think she got 25 bucks for the first season of Star Trek and all of the Babylon 5 disks that were made. Compare that to the much larger amount that we spent obtaining those disks, and you begin to understand the disgust I feel right now. C’est la vie.

I’m waiting for everyone to sell off their old copies of the Star Trek DVD’s so that I can get a copy of my own on the cheap.


The fact that I don’t own a copy of Star Trek in any format can be blamed directly on my experiences with attempting to collect a more recent series, Babylon 5. I had a few choice words for Warner Brothers over that debacle.

To Whom it May Concern:

I noticed that the B5 episodes are coming out on DVD. I’d like to state, for the record: I love B5, it is one of the best SF shows ever to see broadcast. I would also like to state, for the record: I will not be buying the DVD’s until season 3 is available due to previous experiences with Warner Bros. and video releases of B5.

We were told, when the laserdisk format episodes were released, that all the episodes would be available in that format, that there wasn’t going to be a release on DVD (I believe they said ‘ever’), and that the widescreen formats DID NOT EXIST (even though we had been assured by those who worked on the production that the shooting was done that way). This was all told to us by representatives of WB.

My wife and I foolishly, in hindsight, bought LD’s as they came out, instead of waiting for them all to be available. WB only released seasons 1 & 5, half of 2, and half of 4. None of 3 ever saw LD format. If you add it up, 40 bucks a disk, 12-14 disks a season, that comes to about $1700 that was wasted on those disks, which are worthless now; worthless, not because the format is dead (I generally watch a laserdisk at least two times a week) but because the series is incomplete, and is missing THE BEST EPISODES.

Time pases, SciFi shows the episodes, and low and behold, the widescreen versions do indeed exist. Now they are releasing the ‘entire series’ again, this time on DVD’s, one season at a time.

As the saying goes “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I’ll wait for the episodes I need to make a complete set. I’ll be glad to make a even trade with WB, episode for episode, for all of the B5 that I already own on LD format. From where I’m sitting, ya’ll would be getting quite a bargain…

Sincerely,
-R.Anthony Steele

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


I own the Babylon 5 DVD’s, because they were all released in that format. The funds wasted on the Laserdisks have left a sour taste in my mouth when it comes to attempting to collect other television programs in any format.

Just when I was ready to spring for Star Trek DVD’s, the remastered versions show up, as well as the newly conceived format of HD-DVD. And I get that feeling that I’ve wasted money…

One…

More…

Time…

So, once again, I’m not buying anything else media related until I know what the eventual result of the format wars will be. When ya’ll (the bigwhigs in the media conglomerations) figure out which end is up, let the rest of us know, will you? Until then, I’m duping on-air copies of programs and burning them to disk myself.

Of course, they could offer to upgrade previously purchased media to the new format (as I suggested they do with the B5 Laserdisks) but I’m sure they don’t see any reason to cut into their profits and offer to make good on their take on intellectual property rights (as in I don’t have the right to duplicate my purchased copies of their intellectual property for my own use)
and guarantee that the average user (me) doesn’t need to duplicate their copy protected material in order to keep using our purchased copies.

Consequently, I don’t see any need to run out and line their pockets with money that I can ill afford to spend right now, purchasing copies of media that will be defunct and in need of replacement a few years down the road.

The cost of digital cable and blank DVD media is a bargain in comparison.

Home is Where the Heart Is

A story about the old home town, on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday when I was growing up. I called a small town in Western Kansas home for most of my childhood years and Leoti, KS still occupies a special place for me even though it may not be home. I lived in Leoti for eleven of my first 14 years. Now that the grandparents have passed and dad has moved to Colorado, I have a hard time thinking of it as ‘home’ anymore. But I know every square inch of the place intimately. Or rather, I did.

A small town is a great thing when you are a child. You can ride your bike in the street with little or no concern for car traffic. Amber Gribbon lived in the house facing the main highway, across the alleyway from our house. Amber is the only person I know who was struck by a car in the 11 years that I lived in Leoti. She had just been given a brand new pair of sneakers for her birthday, and she thought she could run faster than a car after putting them on. She was quite unhappy to find out that she could not. She enjoyed showing us her cast and telling us the story, but she seemed no worse for wear even with the cast.

In a small town, everybody knows you. More importantly, everyone knows who your parents are, so you know that everything you do will probably get back to them. Nearly everything worth doing is within easy walking distance so there is no need to drive, at least not with any sort of a hurry required.

My paternal grandparents lived 4 blocks away, just past the old City Park. My family had lived in the area for several generations. My Grandfather’s uncle had bequeathed his property to the state (after his only son died) for the purpose of turning it into a state park. It still is a state park, featuring one of the few natural springs in the area. I still have the map Grandpa drew for me showing how the homestead was laid out. He once told me the story of how the orginal dam was made of wood, a palisades dam as he described it. One spring brought heavier than average rains and, as he told the story

We watched the wave of water advance on the dam from the top of the nearby hill. the water covered the dam and went over it. When the flood passed where the dam had been, there was no remaining evidence that the dam (and our work) had ever been there. The ground was scraped clean.

The only other story of working with his uncle that I can recall him telling was when the university types began to take interest in the indian artifacts that they found when grandpa and his uncle were out working the fields. The guy nearly had a stroke and then a whole bunch more of them showed up and started digging around in the dirt looking for more useless stuff. I think that was my first introduction to the field of archeology. I’ve remained fascinated with useless stuff ever since.

There were (and still are) at least a hundred Steele relatives in the immediate area of Wichita, Scott and Saline counties, and about that many Heims (Grandmother’s family) as well, so a family gathering was a massive affair, something to really look forward to. Grandmother loved Thanksgiving. She loved to cook and there would be pies, made from the sour cherry trees she and Hyland cultivated on the back side of their property, baking a week in advance in preparation for the family event. Everybody brought a dish of their own, in addition to the massive turkey that would be cooking in the old gas oven at Grandma’s house.

You never knew who would show up for the event from year to year. The same old regulars would generally be there; Uncle Jake, Edna and Ted, Uncle Russ. But there also seemed to be a varying cast of additional characters that you never really got to know, but you knew were related somehow. They’d explain it to you if you asked, but I could never keep it all straight.

A little after noon the feast would commence, and it didn’t stop for the rest of the day. After the initial round, the adults would break into groups and play cards or watch the football game, with the occasional return to grandmothers massive cherry banquet table, just to make sure that you were indeed no longer hungry. The children would go out and play in the croquet court (Grandad’s pride and joy. concrete curbs and leveled bare earth) or just wander around town. It was a very relaxed affair.

I can remember those times as clearly as if I was sitting in the old house right now. But the town has changed from what I remember. Changed and yet is still the same.

A friend of mine worked for Broadwing (a fiber optic cabling company) and was working in Kansas a few years back (2004ish) when her tire blew out. It was Sunday, she had no car, and she needed to be someplace else. When she called me, I asked her where she was. She said “Leoti”.

I told her to hang on, and made a call to my uncle Frank. Uncle Frank was Dad’s best friend, and owned the gas station directly across the street from my Dad’s (Grandad’s before him) filling station in Leoti. Between them they owned the only two fueling spots in the entire county at the time when I lived there. While I hadn’t spoken to Frank in several years, I knew he would remember me. Sure enough, we dropped right back into old times, and as soon as I mentioned my friend’s problems, he said not to worry about it.

My friend called me in amazement a few minutes later. “How did you do that? Every place in town is closed, I checked.” Two guys showed up with a tow truck, took the car down the road to the service station, and got it back on the road in a few hours. This happened on a Sunday in rural Kansas, where nothing gets done on Sunday. I just called an old friend, I said. Someone I really should have talked to more frequently.

I have visited Leoti since then and I didn’t like the changes. Frank’s son had inherited the family business and had to compete with a convenience store that they had built just off the town square. They knocked down what I remembered as a ginormous brick brick building, the home of Jaeger Implement for all of my memory, and erected a split faced concrete block and painted steel wart, right in the center of town. Well, the wart of a convenience store is directly across the street from what was the slab of the first grocery store in town, never rebuilt after the fire that gutted it, with what I always remembered as the State Farm insurance offices built on the back half the corner with brick tables and benches taking up the other half. The bank building on the opposite corner never was a bank in my memory even though everything about it said bank other than the occupant who lived there.

The tavern is still the second building behind the insurance office, right where I remember it being, the many times grandpa would drive us downtown on errands to buy groceries for grandma. He’d always have to stop in and shoot a snooker game with the boys along the way. His former filling station is now a bare concrete slab, and his house was bought by the mayor after Grandma left us. Time changes everything.

Kansas, it’s a great place to be from, a saying I’ve heard several times. Home is someplace else now, but Leoti lives on in my memory, as fresh and clear as if I was there yesterday. A memory to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. May yours be a happy one.

How About an Example of a Bad Show?

OK, so I like the new BSG and the re-mastered classic Star Trek. Does that mean I have no taste? That I will buy anything the studios throw out? Not really, no.

The last two incarnations of Star Trek that Paramount produced were so bad I didn’t watch one of them, and I wish I hadn’t watched the other.

I sat out the last three seasons of Voyager, not because the show had lost all contact with the characters that had started in the series (it had. What was Neelix still doing on the ship without the love of his life?) but because it offended my sensibilities that Paramount would use Star Trek fans to browbeat the local broadcasters into carrying their failing channel UPN. The show wasn’t available in the Austin market for about a year because we didn’t have a local carrier for UPN, and when one finally showed up, I had already decided to sit out the remainder of the program.

I also sat out the first three seasons of Enterprise. Enterprise was so flawed in conceptualization that I couldn’t even watch the show, although I tried watching the premiere. I just couldn’t suspend disbelief. Basically, it comes down to the established fact that there were no Vulcans in Star Fleet before Spock. Every time the boob babe flounced on screen in Enterprise, I was thrown right out of believing the show. Combine that with the fact that I couldn’t stand Scott Bacula even when he was on Quantum Leap, and you’ve got a show that I can’t watch and enjoy.

There were two episodes of the last season (I tuned in to watch Brent Spiner open season four, stayed for the end of the season) that I actually could sit back and enjoy. They were the two part In a Mirror, Darkly (a prequel to Mirror, Mirror) which could be viewed as canon because the existence of Vulcans on the ship was explained, and they were watchable because Bacula made a very convincing bad guy.

Overall Enterprise was a show I didn’t watch, and didn’t mind missing.

I wish I had missed the movie Nemesis, I want my money back for that film. It wasn’t just bad Trek (which I had grown used to) it was bad cinema. I don’t know how it ranks a 6.5 at IMDB. I give it about a 3, which it gets for stunningly expensive special effects alone. The storyline gets it about a 1. Completely unbelievable, with a dune buggy thrown into the middle of it just to add insult to injury (Gene never allowed wheeled vehicles on the show. It was one of the ways that he separated the Star Trek universe from today’s world. They had grown beyond the use of the wheel) and yet another Data clone (how many versions of his android did Dr. Soong make and throw away before he made Data anyway? Just a but casual with his creations, isn’t he? Leaving them scattered about on different planets. Don’t they have littering laws in the 24th century?) and the never before mentioned race of Remuns that are in competition for domination of the Romulan binary homeworld system.

Lame from start to finish, and the only saving grace is the most impressive collision of starships that I’ve ever seen on film. (Worf finally gets to run into something) Not enough to make it worth the cost of a ticket.

And then there’s the proposed script for the next film, tentively dubbed Star Trek XI
This is one fan that sincerely hopes that J.J. Abrams is as good as his word, and isnt’ contemplating shooting Harve Bennett’s Star Trek Babies script. (although the page still talks about Kirk and Spock meeting at the academy. Maybe somebody should point out to him that Spock and Kirk met for the first time on the Enterprise. Spock had served in Star Fleet for 30 years before meeting James T. Kirk. That also is canon) They’ve been pretty tight lipped about the production so far. I hope that’s a good sign. I’ve liked several of the projects he’s worked on in the past. Here’s hoping that he continues the trend.

Microsoft, It’s Just ON the Computer You Buy

If I had a nickel for every free marketeer that waxed poetic about the greatness of Microsoft and how we owed Bill Gates thanks for the computer boom, I could probably challenge big brother Bill for the title of richest man in the world.

But I don’t buy the scenario.

Microsoft doesn’t hold monopoly marketshare because they have a superior product. Microsoft wins because it is supplied on a PC system at no significant charge. It’s a lot like payroll deductions. Most people don’t notice the difference between net income and gross income. They don’t do their own taxes, balance a checkbook, etc. That’s why they support things like socialized medicine; it will be free to them because they don’t count the costs that come out of their pocket before they even know what they had. There isn’t a cost to them at point of purchase, so they think of it as free.

When you buy a computer system, there is a lump sum fee that you pay. There is no detailed record of what everything that goes into your computer costs. There is a software upchage of about a hundred bucks on the average windows system. I can buy a complete computer system with a Linux OS on it for 150 to 200 bucks. Windows systems are generally much higher than that.

If people had to pay for the software upfront, this would all be a different story. Microsoft would not have the marketshare they currently have. The MPAA and the RIAA would not have been able to advance their agendas because there would be no monolithic software giant to enforce their will. There wouldn’t be the problem that currently exists with viruses and malware, because there wouldn’t be a Swiss cheese OS out there that is specifically set up to be hijacked.

[The average windows system is shipped with a default user profile created, and an administrator account invisible on top of it. None of the accounts are password protected, and the average user doesn’t know about the admin account that anyone can log on to. When you plug the box into the network, it’s a simple thing for a cracker to ping it, load his software onto the system through one of a hundred or so open ports, log on to the administrator account remotely, and hijack the system. It generally takes about 15 minutes for this to occur, according to the last article I read on the subject. Systems set up to be hijacked.]

It is the massive market share (and sweet deals for exclusivity with Microsoft) that has gotten peripheral suppliers (like cameras and scanners) to program their drivers for Windows only. There was a time when driver disks had multiple OS options on them. I almost never see that anymore. It’s not the fault of Linux programmers that peripherals aren’t recognized, it is the fault of the manufacturers who don’t support anything but Windows; and will in fact build their hardware to rely on Windows (as in the case of some printers) to the exclusion of everybody else.

It’s a corporate disease, much like a free-government-provided disease.

Classic Trek Gets a Makeover – What was the Fuss About?

I said I’d wait for the premiere when I wrote Classic Trek Gets a Makeover a couple of months back. Now, after having watched about eight re-mastered episodes, I have to wonder what all the fuss was about.

I guess Paramount wanted to hype the fact that they were changing Classic Trek so that they could get more people to watch it. I’m still waiting to see an effects heavy episode (they are holding those back until later in the release schedule, although some preliminary tests for the Episode “The Doomsday Machine” were uploaded to YouTube) to see how close they will stay to the original shots when they are in an extended effects sequence; so far I’ve been hard pressed to find any real differences.

Oh, the transfer quality is beautiful, crystal clear. The effects are state of the art and, so far, they’ve slavishly followed the original effects sequences. We watched Arena a few weeks ago, and I did notice that they cleaned up a good portion of the Gorn’s rubber suit problems, and gave him blinking eyelids, which I thought was a nice touch. Personally, for regular broadcast quality, I hardly think its worth the trouble.

Of course, they didn’t do it for the TV watchers out here in legacy TV land. They were looking toward the advent of HiDef broadcast, which is still being rolled out. According to those in the know, there will be a clear line between shows that were aired before HiDef, and shows that air afterwards; because the flaws that went unnoticed on the old TV set will be glaringly obvious on the HiDef, making the old shows virtually unwatchable unless they are updated. Or at least so they say.

I guess they know what they are talking about. I can’t imagine why they would go to the expense to re-master Star Trek and make as few changes as they have, unless they had a valuable future profit reason to do so.

I’m sure that the purists out there will object to even the small changes that have been made. I say this because I live with one. She rolled her eyes at a Gorn that blinks, and hasn’t stopped complaining about the colors being too bright, and the makeup being all wrong; the effects looking too “video game-ish”.

As for me, I just can’t get enough of the grand old lady of Trek, as she sails crystal clear through unclouded starfields, and circles planets that no longer look like painted balls of paper mache’. But then I’m watching it with my children. Something I’ve not been able to get them to do until now. “Watch Star Trek? That’s for you old people.” They both are glued to the set now. So, I’d say Paramount’s plan will pay off. Star Trek will live on through the HiDef era, with a whole new group of fans.

IF they don’t screw up the next movie…

Daybreak, Deja Vu?

So, they preempted Lost for 12 weeks to roll out this series called Daybreak. It’s all about deja vu, and reliving the same day repetitively. Now I’m having deja vu, because it isn’t February 2nd, but I keep thinking of Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day and Man on Fire, that’s what this thing reminds me of, it’s something of a cross between those two, both films that I’ve seen before, multiple times, making me think I’ve seen this before, which is a serious case of deja vu.

Not to be confused with the movie Deja vu, starring Denzel Washington, who is also the star of Man on Fire, which was being advertised at the same time Daybreak was…

Then there was the Is that Jayne? moment. But it wasn’t. Clearly he’s the Major from ID4 with a desk job.

…is this confusing yet? I could try harder, you know.

“Is it any good”, I hear you asking. Why yes, they’re all good. Well, I can’t speak for Deja vu, because I haven’t seen that one yet; at least I don’t think I have. And the deja vu that I’m getting from watching Daybreak as the sun rises is making me wonder if it isn’t February 2nd, and whether I’ll wake up and trip over my gun, or just hear Bob Dylan one… more… time…


I did see Deja Vu (or I saw it again, maybe) and it was good, if a little predictable. Day Break, on the other hand disappeared without a trace.

The episodes are viewable on ABC.com, but one has to wonder whose lame idea it was to shoot and promote a show that they weren’t going to seriously attempt to air (6 episodes isn’t serious, it’s a joke) as long as you are burning through those dollars, ABC, why don’t you send some of it my way. I’m sure I can come up with some ideas for you to spend money on and not show just as well as the next guy…

O.J. Simpson: Confessed Killer

O.J. is coming out with a book and an interview in which he confesses… I mean, theorises what happened the night that he killed… Excuse me, the night that his ex-wife and her boyfriend were viciously, brutally murdered.

I’d like to echo the sentiment of Harvey Levin of TMZ.com that were expressed on the Olbermann show tonight:

I personally didn’t think I could detest him anymore than I did, and he’s actually raised the bar for me.

I consider it a point of pride that I watched not one minute of the infamous trial that began 15 years ago today. And, even though I haven’t watched the trial, I think I can say with reasonable certainty that he committed the murders, just based on the unavoidable exposure to the facts of the case that can be picked up even when you aren’t trying to follow the subject.

I remember O.J. Simpson playing football, watching with my father. I watched him in several films, and while he wasn’t a great actor, he wasn’t an embarrassment either. And then he killed two people, and arranged things (as can be done when you have enough money) so that he avoided conviction for the murders.

Let the record show that the courts are indeed color blind when there is enough green in your pocket.

As disgusted as I am with O.J. Simpson, I’m even more disgusted by the people who would actually pay him for a signature, or to appear publicly. How do you sleep at night, with the blood of his victims on your hands as well as his?


According to the publisher the book is a confession (published for her own personal reasons, stories here and here) no matter what the title says. It doesn’t make much difference to me, true crime is not my kind of thing; especially when written in the first person.

…and now the deal is off. So much for the publishers strength of conviction. It was a bit of a stretch on her part, to compare O.J.Simpsons effort to Hitler and Mein Kampf.

Why Should You Use Firefox?

Bob Rankin over at the Internet Tourbus (a subscription I’ve maintained for nearly as long as I’ve been on the ‘net. 1997, I think) is asking for feedback on whether or not Firefox is ready for prime time, and why should you use it.

I’ve had quite a bit to say on the subject of Firefox over the years. A good portion of it on this blog, but I apparently have neglected to get into my main reason for using it, security.

It’s hard to conceive of any program less safe to surf the Internet with than Internet Explorer. I have used Firefox / Thunderbird for more than three years. I wouldn’t use MicroSoft software to connect to anything for any reason. I only risk the operating system because I need software that isn’t available on other platforms.

The security holes that MicroSoft’s propaganda arm (known as the tech reporting industry) keep harping on concerning Firefox have been patched. If you download the current version you shouldn’t have any trouble; not to mention the benefits of built-in pop-up blocking and spam filtering.

[MS is running scared from the threat that Open Source (of which Mozilla is part) presents to their business model. With good reason. I’ve also been using Open Office almost exclusively for the last couple of years. It’s every bit as good as MS office is, and it’s getting better. Linux and KDE are going great guns. I dual boot a Linux/Windows box currently; most of the programs I use can be installed in both operating systems. When I get a decent Linux CAD program I’m giving up Windows]

As someone who remembers working with Wordperfect and Lotus 123 on 386 DOS boxes (not to mention the playing around with the original MacIntosh) I think I can say I speak from experience. Not to mention the fact that I’m married to the #1 PC repair geek in all of Austin, and so can speak from experience on the repair side of the business, concerning the far greater risk involved in running Internet Explorer rather than Firefox. We routinely install Firefox on clients systems; and when I’m doing the work as a favor for a friend (in other words, for free) I do myself a favor and delete the icons (when uninstalling isn’t possible or feasible) for MicroShaft programs which are a liability, so that they don’t re-infect themselves and waste more of my time.

Why do I say this? Because half of the systems that come back for more work, when I question their owners, are re-infected because the owners went back to using Internet Exploder (the other half are because they don’t update their virus/malware scanners properly) I have never yet gotten a system back that was infected through the use of Mozilla software. These are just the facts.

The other reason to use Firefox is it’s ease of use and customizability…

[Yes, I know that Internet Exploder 7.0 does most of the same stuff Firefox does. Is it a coincidence that Firefox code is available for anyone to see, and IE’s code is not? You decide]

…If I want a toolbar for a particular purpose, it’s generally available at the addons site. There are far more addons than any one person will use, and the extents to which the browser can be modified are quite impressive. Right click customizations for searches (I use it in Thunderbird as well) as well as tool bars for many different popular destinations on the web. The most useful one, in my opinion, is ForcastFox; which is weather, right in the frame of the browser. Too cool.

The extensions work for all versions of Mozilla (including Netscape based on it) although you may have to dig back into the archives to get extensions for older versions…

When I read Rankin’s call for feedback, my first response was “What, you aren’t using it?” My second response was “Why wouldn’t you use it?” Download it today, and give it a try.