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Dismuke

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About Dismuke

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    Fort Worth, Texas
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    I have a strong interest in the music and architecture from the pre World War II decades of the 20th century and own a large collection of vintage 78 rpm records. I regularly feature vintage records from my collection on my website at Dismuke.org. I also operate a 24 hour Internet radio station devoted to popular music and jazz from the 1925- 1935 decade which can be accessed at RadioDismuke.com

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  1. Dismuke

    "Organic" Foods

    Maybe it does. And if one can demonstrate that it is riskier than conventionally grown produce that has had pesticide exposure - well, I would find quite amusing. My point, however, is that, even with a higher risk level, the odds of getting sick from produce, organic or otherwise, in the USA are VERY low and is not something one should be especially worried about if one sees an item of produce that looks good and one wants to buy. Blowing risks out of proportion is a tactic the environmentalists use. It is just as absurd for us to do it in reverse simply because the target is something the environmentalists like to eat. Well, let's see.... the e coli tainted packaged spinach that was pulled off the market several months ago that made people in many states very sick was sold through conventional supermarket chains under a variety of national name brands - including Dole. Taco Bell recently had an e coli outbreak in a handful of states that was traced back to lettuce from a certain supplier in California. Taco Bell supposedly has some of the highest food handling practices in the industry. In both cases, the origin of the e coli was suspected to be the result of the farms being right next to cattle fields where cow patties had tested positive for e coli. In the case of the spinach outbreak, it was belived that wild boars broke through the fencing that separated the spinach field from the cattle and the pigs brought the tainted dung into contact with the spinach. My guess is that the major supermarket chains and Taco Bell would classify as competent professionals. As for erring on the side of caution when it comes to food germs - you might also want to consider not eating out in restaurants. For example, check this warning out. Imagine you were passing through that area of the country and stopped at that restaurant for a bite to eat during the days covered by the warning. A few hours later, you are hundreds of miles away and never hear that warning being issued. Despite the mention that officials in other states have been notified, how many media outlets in your part of the country are going to carry warnings about a restaurant in some podunk town in New York State? Heck, if I ate at a restaurant here in Fort Worth/Dallas that was infected, I might never even know about it because I never watch TV and rarely pay much attention to other local media. And consider what happens when McDonald's employees wash their hands after going to the bathroom. McDonald's, being a Politically Correct company does not have paper towels in most of their restaurants. They have hand dryers. And once one has dried one's hands under the hand dryer, one must use those clean hands to open up the door to exit the bathroom - the same door that people who DO NOT wash their hands after using the bathroom also touched in order to open. The percentage of people who do not wash their hands after going to the bathroom is shockingly high - and it is even higher when there is nobody else in the bathroom with them to observe. I, for one, will NOT touch faucets or door handles in public bathrooms. I grab a piece of paper towel and open it up using that. How many McDonald's employees do you suppose do the same? The fact is, while all of these things are scary and unpleasant to think about, the risk of getting sick at a restauarnt or a McDonalds is very low. And so is the risk of getting sick from buying produce.
  2. Dismuke

    "Organic" Foods

    I don't doubt for a moment the ideological origins of the organic movement. Nor do I buy into any of that nonsense or have any sort of irrational fear of pesticides and such. If world agriculture suddenly converted to organic, there would be starvation because there would not be enough food to go around. And it would also result in more "wild" land being converted to agriculture - which I am sure the environmentalist would squawk about. Much of New England, for example, as reverted back to wild forests. Between 100 and 300 years ago, those forests had been cleared so that people could farm the land. Today that land is considered sub-marginal for farming. Why? Because fertilizers, pesticides and breeding have resulted in significantly higher crop yields per acre thus requiring less land to produce a greater amount of food. It simply isn't worht the effort to farm rocky land in New England. None of that, however, changes the fact that if you wish to purchase certain types of very high quality specialty produce, that produce is very often these days going to be marketed as "organic" and grown in accordance to the methods that will make it legal for it to be labeled as "organic" - and many farmers do it for the economic reasons I mentioned and not out of any idealogical motive. If conventionally grown produce of a similar variety and quality was available - then you might have a point about not purchasing the organic. But the simple fact is that, in many cases, a conventionally grown product of similar quality is NOT available. And I, for one, do not think it would accomplish anything for a person to sacrifice his passion for gourmet food on such a basis. It would accomplish jack squat in terms of any sort of economic impact on the organic industry - and, as most people here probably already know, the battle is primarily philosophical/ideological anyway. A similar issue is involved when it comes to "fair trade" coffee. That is nothing more than a movement of Commie-Lefty anti-capitalists. But go out and try to find really top quality coffee beans these days that are not labeled as "fair trade" coffee. It is becoming increasingly difficult And if you go to Starbucks - well, that is "fair trade" coffee too. As disgusting as that is, I don't think a person who values a quality cup of coffee in the morning would accomplish anything by sacrificing that pleasure and drinking cheap swill instead - other than, of course, giving up something that added to his enjoyment of life.
  3. Dismuke

    "Organic" Foods

    But how on earth would you be able to tell if the produce at a supermarket or at a wholesaler is diseased or not? Bacteria is invisible and I can assure you that produce that has been sitting in a bin in a supermarket for any length of time is going to have been pawed by far more filthy and grubby hands than the produce you would find at markets such as you describe. Again, the key with any produce you buy from whatever source is to make sure to wash it before you eat it. Is it possible to get sick from contaminated produce in the USA? Sure - but the odds of it happening are extremely remote. Your odds of getting food poisoning or some other disease from eating in even a very excellent restaurant are far more likely than from eating produce at even a third rate produce vendor.
  4. Dismuke

    "Organic" Foods

    I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe defining "farmers market" would help. When I was a kid, there was a HUGE farmer's market in downtown Dallas and consisted of several sheds which one could walk through. It was owned by the city and farmer could rent stalls for something like $5 per day. One of the sheds was reserved for produce dealers who purchased their products from wholesalers and from farms in Mexico. The other sheds were reserved for farmers who grew their own food. The market was open 24 hours a day - the farmers used to sleep in the cabs of their trucks or bring along an RV. At about 3:00 in the morning, buyers for roadside produce stands and small grocery chains from up to several hundred miles away would come and buy produce in large quantities. Sometimes the farmers would stay only so long as it took to find a buyer who would buy all of their product at once and then go back to their farms. Others would stay all day and sell in smaller quantities hoping to get a better price per pound. My parents used to go there every two weeks and we would buy half bushels of tomatos, bell peppers, peaches, cucumbers, melons, black-eyd peas etc. Usually we ended up having to throw some of it out due our not being able to finish it all before it spoiled. But even with the spoilage, the produce cost only a fraction of what supermarkets charged and was MUCH better because it was actually picked ripe unlike the tasteless stuff at most supermarkets. Quite frankly, it spoiled me. The stuff at regular supermarkets does not satisfy me at all and the prices are usually astronomical. Alos, it wasn't just hippies that shopped there. There were lots of Mexicans, blacks, "rednecks," who, like my parents, were interested in getting quality produce at good prices as well as people from the more afflent parts of town wanting to get good quality before places such as Central Market and Whole Foods existed - and, yes, there were hippies too. There is absolutely NO significant risk from buying produce from a farm or a farmer here in the USA any more than there is from buying it at the grocery store. The primary risk that exists with both comes from what the product has come in contact with. If someone along the way handles the produce with dirty hands - well, that can be a problem. But that person could be the shopper at the grocery store who picks up the item to sniff it and inspect it while shopping. Chances are if you are buying from a farmer the produce has been handled less. There <i>are</i> occasional outbreaks of food posioning due to produce - it is not limited to organic produce. Recently there was one with bagged spinach. There was also one a few years ago with conventionally grown cantalopes imported from Chile. One should wash ANY produce before consuming it. If you go to third world countries, people are advised to avoid local produce or, at the very least, skin it before eathing it. But my understanding is this is due to organisms that may exist in the water that is used to irrigate it or might have been used to wash it. Such concerns really do not exist here in the USA. And while organic farmers do use manure as fertilizer, it is not the raw product but rather manure that has been composted, a process which involves lots of heat and kills off the organisms. If you go down to your local garden center, you can buy composted manure by the bag full - and it is perfectly safe to handle. I have been to other "farmer's markets" that only had a handful of vendors. Sometimes they have been a tad bit expensive but I have yet to find any that were more expensive than the national chain stores and in most cases, the quality is much better. Sadly, with regard to the farmer's market, the City of Dallas ruined a good thing. They decided to make it more "up-scale" and brought in specialty vendors that never took off. Then they "beautified" the area which resulted in reconstruction of the local streets and made it very difficult to get to. As a result, a good number of the customers and a lot of the farmers themselves were chased away. The market still exists - but it is only a shadow of its former self.
  5. Dismuke

    "Organic" Foods

    I have an Objectivist friend who is a connoisseur and into cooking very high quality, gourmet food. He in now way buys into the environmental nonsense. He told me that if you want really high quality vegetables these days they will almost always be organic simply because of economics of specialty products in general. Conventional produce is more or less mass produced for a mass market. Extremely high quality produce needs more attention which means that it can only be produced on a smaller scale - which is also the case with organic produce. Furthermore, because organic produce costs more, in order to have a wider market appeal than just the hard-core hippie types, it needs to have some sort of appeal to justify the higher price. One of the things that can impact a product's taste and desirability is the specific variety of the crop that is planted. Just go to any garden center and look at the many varieties of tomatoes, for example, that are available. Different varieties have different pros and cons. Some are more drought resistant, others are more disease resistant while others simply taste better. Farmers pick the variety they plant based on a number of factors - and the ability of the plant to produce lots of product that will last long enough to get to market is very important and may win out over taste for farmers who sell their products through mass market channels. On the other hand, if you are a farmer and you are selling your product to a much smaller, more quality conscious market and you plan on giving your crop lots of extra attention anyway, then it might make more sense to plant a variety that tastes better despite the fact that it may not produce as high a yield and one has to be more alert for pests and such. So, for that reason, it is simply a matter of good business sense for farmers to market the same product to both the hippie crowd who buy into the anti-pesticide and anti-fertilizer nonsense and to the gourmet crowd who simply wants produce that tastes better. Personally, here in Texas, I buy my produce at a supermarket chain, Fiesta Mart, that primarily targets Mexicans - and we have LOTS of Mexicans here in Texas. Mexican housewives have never really taken to canned or frozen vegetables. They prefer to use fresh and they are VERY quality conscious in terms of taste but not too fussy about how pretty it looks. They are also very price conscious. So the chain I shop at features produce as a loss leader to draw Mexican shoppers in - much like other chains have specials on meat to draw people in. As a result, the produce is very inexpensive there. At the same time, however, it is much smaller. Peaches at the Fiesta Mart might be two inches in diameter rather than four inches in diameter at the national chains. But the price per pound is usually about 60 to 75 percent lower and tastes much better. The complaints of the Indian housewives that software nerd mentions are very much true - the overpriced produce at the national chains tastes like crap by comparison. It is produced to look pretty and is picked long before it has properly ripened so that it can make it to distant markets without spoilage. Near my house is a gourmet-only supermarket chain store called Central Market that features an unbelievable variety of produce - it is not uncommon for them to have a dozen varieties of radish and two dozen varieties of apples. But their produce is expensive and, shockingly enough, the quality is sometimes so-so. Whole Foods, on the other hand, has produce that both looks pretty AND is usually of excellent quality. It better be at the prices they charge.
  6. I hope he gets overthrown as well and they do to him what they did to Saddam Hussein. However, I don't think he is at all concerned about everything falling apart. The man has been to Cuba many times and is pals with Castro. He knows where all of this is leading to - and I think that is exactly what he wants. Cuba is so backwards and impoverished that people are meek and simply obey orders. And most of the people in Cuba with money and education - i.e. the people most impacted by the slide into total poverty and the people who would be most articulate and effective in speaking out against the regime - managed to get out in the early 1960s. What was left was mostly that country's poor which did not have much to start with. Don't be too surprised if there is a huge mass emigration of brains and educated people out of Venezuela once Chavez has finished looting all of their property. What good are such people to him once he has their wealth? Once he loots what they have and they are gone, then he will have a population of mostly illiterate peasants to lord over along with the oil money to finance his various schemes in other countries. My guess is that is what his game is.
  7. Dismuke

    Fired Up for Founders College

    Wow. What a neat place to spend 4 years.
  8. Dismuke

    Water on Mars

    I don't think you could get large numbers of people to do so - not at least for a very long time. Of course, lots of people were willing to move into and brave the hardships and dangers of the wilderness of the American West in order to have their own land. But that won't be quite the same on Mars for a very long time to come. One will not be able to simply go out, stake a claim and start a town or a homestead. Any initial settlement there will likely be a milti-billion dollar venture and the colonists will be mere employees of that venture. A more appropriate comparison than the American colonists or pioneers in the Old West would be taking a job as an employee in some research laboratory in Antarctica or in some god-foresaken backward country that is so awful or primative that one must spend one's entire time in a secured base or compound. Of course, there are plenty of people who are willing to do that either because of their love for their work (as might be the case with research scientists) or because they are paid very high sums of money (as is the case with contractors in the Middle East and Iraq). Mars would have the disadvantage of being - what is it, nine months or so away? How many people are likely to be willing to spend a year and a half travel time plus whatever duration their tour of duty up there is away from their friends and family? Even if you enjoy your job - would you like to be surrounded by nobody else other than your colleagues at work for that extended period fo time? The reality is that, for a period of time, life on Mars would very much be like living on an isolated military base for several years with no vacations or trips back home. I am not even sure that this would appeal to very many sci-fi or space fans. The novelty of "gee, I am in outer space!!" and "gee, I am on Mars!! would quickly wear off. Most people would quickly grow homesick to be back in civilization. Keep in mind that in the early stages of even the first permanant settlement, living there would be like being stuck in a small town - a small town with no roads out. My guess is that, in its early stages, the main industry on Mars would be obtaining stuff that is scarce on earth such as minerals or the production of stuff that would be impossible or dangerous to do on earth. My guess is that much of that work would be done by robots - or perhaps even by prison labor. I don't mean to be a nay-sayer - but I think the reality of what day-to-day life will be like for pioneer settlers on a distant planet will be much more dull and tedious than the sort of romanticized vision that a lot of people might have.
  9. Dismuke

    Water on Mars

    Well, 200 years ago was 1807 - they didn't even have tax write offs then. Indeed, less than a decade later, the USA was invaded in the 1812 war and it was an open question whether the country would survive. Less than 60 years later the country fell into civil war. Who knows what the situation will be like 200 years from now. Maybe we will live in a wonderful laissez faire world where the sort of taxation we have today will be regarded as barbaric? Or maybe one of the decedents of Hillary Clinton/Ted Kennedy etc. will nationalize everything causing economic catastrophe and plunge us into another Dark Ages. It is simply impossible in the context of our current life span for human beings and human institutions to plan for 200 years. But all of what you say here is still in the realm of science fiction. There is no way one can say, assuming such technology can be developed and implemented, that it will take 50 years or any other period of time. How can one when such technology does not even exist yet? No significant number of serious investors are going to put one cent - let alone billions of dollars - into something that is nothing more than science fiction. And even if it could be demonstrated that it could be done in 50 years - that is still a very long time for one to see a return on one's investment. Let's see - if you are 20 years old when the project starts, that would mean that you would be 70 when it is finished. How many 20 year olds have serious amounts of money to invest? For something like that to work, it would have to be done in such a way that it somehow generates profits in the meanwhile. My point is this: the human lifespan imposes a very hard limit on the range of the planning and the projects that human beings can engage in. If the lifespan were to significantly increase, then that range would increase accordingly. For example, let's say that a medical breakthrough came along which enabled us to live up to 10,000 years. Human life as we know it would be changed forever. Currently, people go to school from anywhere between 12 and 18 years. But if we lived to 10,000 years, why would we stop at a mere 18 years? We could instead spend a thousand years devoted to learning and it would still be a smaller percentage of a person's lifespan than education typically is today. Imagine how knowledgeable - and productive - people could be after a thousand years of schooling. And great minds would stick around and continue to be productive. Imagine Ayn Rand, Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, Aristotle, etc., etc. all still being alive and in the prime of their life. A penny invested in the year 1 AD generating only a 1% annual return would be worth millions of dollars today - a span of time which would be equal to a person with a lifespan of 10,000 years what 16 years is to someone with a lifespan of 80 years. So if the human lifespan could be increased by that much - well, then a project that would take two thousand years to see a profit would suddenly be quite doable. For that reason, by the way, I regard people like Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy who seek to destroy the pharmaceutical industry and socialize medicine to be potentially lethal enemies. By doing so, they are jacking with the possibility of my being able to be around for the medical breakthrough that will enable me to have a much longer lifespan. I rather doubt that Clinton or Kennedy have very happy lives so it may not be a big deal for them - but that is a rather huge deal for me and I am sure for most people here as well.
  10. Dismuke

    Men: Squat When You Pee

    Rumor has it that both Janet Reno and Hillary Clinton stand while they pee. And when Nancy Pelosi pees, her eyebrows are still raised up in a look of perpetual surprise. (Her botched plastic surgery makes me think of the comprachicos)
  11. Dismuke

    Men: Squat When You Pee

    The new rage among the politically correct in Europe. Can we here in Nancy Pelosi's America be far behind? I'll bet that Teresa Heinz already makes her pathetic hubby John Kerry do this. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JohnLeo...ught_to_justice - - - - - Young women in Sweden, Germany and Australia have a new cause: They want men to sit down while urinating. This demand comes partly from concerns about hygiene -- avoiding the splash factor -- but, as Jasper Gerard reports in the English magazine The Spectator, "more crucially because a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women." One argument is that if women can't do it, then men shouldn't either. Another is that standing upright while relieving oneself is "a nasty macho gesture," suggestive of male violence. A feminist group at Stockholm University is campaigning to ban all urinals from campus, and one Swedish elementary school has already removed them. In Australia, an Internet survey shows that 17 percent of those polled think men ought to sit, while 70 percent believe they should be allowed to stand. Some Swedish women are pressuring their men to take a stand, so to speak. Yola, a 25-year-old Swedish trainee psychiatrist, says she dumps boyfriends who insist on standing. "What else can I do?," said her new boyfriend, Ingvar, who sits.
  12. Dismuke

    Bill Gates becomes a Philanthropist

    Actually, I rarely expect anything more than just that from today's newspapers - and the more allegedly "prestigous" the paper, the more likely for it to be thusly saturated. I take pretty much everything I read in the major newspapers and in the wire services with a grain of salt and if there is a story or issue I am particularly interested in, I make sure I look for articles on it in the so-called "alternative media" as a fact and context check. Very often the mainstream media's reporting on any given story is highly selective.
  13. Dismuke

    Pesos for Pizza

    According to one of the articles on the company's website, a large pizza with everything on it only costs $7.99. That's pretty cheap. I hope it tastes better than CiCi's Pizza. CiCi's is a chain of very low priced pizza buffet - all you can eat for less than $5. Unfortunately, no matter what kind of pizza you get from their buffet, it all tastes the same. That has kind of made me a bit biased against cheap pizza. There is another chain here in Texas called Double Daves which sometimes has very decent pizza buffets - but some locations seem to offer buffets and others do not and those that do are not consistent about the time of day it is available. I think the very best pizza is the kind you get by the slice in hole-in-the-wall dives in New York City. That stuff is so good - anytime I am in New York I pig out on that and White Castle hamburgers which does not have locations here in Texas. I have tried several places in various parts of the Fort Worth/Dallas area which sell pizza by the slice and which claim to offer "New York style" pizza - but I have yet to find a single place that has pizza at all like the stuff in NYC. I can't say I have high hopes of finding such pizza at Pizza Patron - but for $8, I will give them a shot. What I ought to do for kicks is take some of the Euros I have in and watch the look on their face when I present them. Somewhere around here I have an envelope with approximately 60 Euros in cash left over from when I purchased some records from Germany a few years ago. The owner refused to sell them to me unless I sent him the money in cash in Euros. It was a real pain - I had to order the Euros from my bank and the minimum amount I could order was 100 Euros. So I ended up sending the Euro cash in the mail (not the smartest thing, probably) and by the time I finally received the records, it was such a long time later that I had already give up hope of ever seeing them figuring that the money either got stolen in transit or the seller was a crook and did not send them knowing there was very little I could do about it. I really ought to either find some more records in Germany to buy or else take the notes back to my bank and deposit them back in my account. In the meanwhile, however, I could always take them to Pizza Patron and amuse myself by watching the staff try to patiently explain to what they will suppose is a crazy gringo the difference between a Euro and a Peso! For $8 I would not only get a pizza, I would get an amusing side show as well!
  14. Dismuke

    Pesos for Pizza

    The Pizza chain in question is called Pizza Patron and they market themselves almost exclusively to the very large Hispanic market here in Texas and locate their stores in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods. Here is their website: http://www.pizzapatron.com/ My guess is that they will take in very few Pesos when all is said and done and that the small number of people who actually do pay in Pesos could just as easily have paid in U.S. Dollars had that not been their policy. But the policy has been given extensive coverage in the local news media here in Texas and, now, apparently across the nation. In other words, that simple change in policy which will, in and of itself, have little impact on traffic in its stores has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of free publicity which will be positively received by the very people who are in their target market. Furthermore, Hispanics in states that do not yet have a Pizza Patron will now have heard of it and probably be curious about it. And guess what? A major section of their website plugs franchise opportunities. Someone associate with that company is absolutely brilliant, I think. Pizza Patrons are all over the place here in the Fort Worth/Dallas area. I have yet to eat at one - but it is on my list of places to eventually try out.
  15. Dismuke

    Hans Fischerkoesen

    Another Fischerkoesen cartoon has been posted. This one is a cigarette commercial from 1935. There is one scene in it where the main character - an animated cigarette - confronts three dancing pieces of paper, the third of which shows what looks to me like a Nazi eagle. The first paper translates to "great changes." The second paper translates to "payment instructions." The on the road pointing to them translates, as best I can figure out, to "streak of bad luck." So my guess is the dancing papers are supposed to represent tax collectors. I would be curious if anyone else might know for sure otherwise. The animatiion on this is not quite as lush as some of the other Fischerkiesen but the overall cartoon is still very charming. I sure wish someone would publish or post all of his works.
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