Since my education became a rather silly topic of discussion at another website, I kinda figured I'd just post it out here. And in answer to the un-written questions, No, I don't spend a helluva lot of time self-promoting. In part, that's because I've learned a salient truth. What matters to objective reality is what one has done, what that one thinks about what they've done, and what they do about what they think about what they've done. What doesn't matter is the letterhead on the piece of paper telling them how important they are. That being as clear as mud ...
I graduated MSU in 1992, with a BA degree in Philosophy. That would be graduated with Honors, Highest Distinction. Yes, I passed the curriculum of the honors program. My grade point average was 3.87. It would have been higher if not for the year and a half of physics, calculus, geology and environmental biology. I think I got a B or two somewhere in there. I never would have had a 4.00, because no white male got anything better than an A- from the Native American studies professor I had. And don't start with claims of reverse racism, because I don't care. I got an A from Linda Sexton; in fact I got 2. If anyone knows the woman, then you'd understand that as the accomplishment it is. She expects a great deal of reason from any of her students, men as well as women. I studied the philosophy of science under a professor who wrote an 147 plank proof of Kant's Categorical Imperative. Thanks, Corky. There were 3 levels of logic courses taught, and I aced them all. I completed both emphasis in the carriculum, religuious studies and pre-law. I fell 3 credits short of a History minor because I refused to take a course on the American Industrial revolution from a person who was a strict feminist deconstructionalist. In truth, that was my bad. I was accepted to Graduate schools in Philosphy at U of M, Texas and Cornell. I was accepted to law schools at U of M and Lewis and Clark. But life often intervenes, and that's what happened. I worked so that my then-wife could go back to school and flunk out for the 4th(?) time. She has since graduated MSU, and good on her. I was the first "Kailey" to have a 4-year college degree. And I did that working full time, except for my senior year.
Yes, I am fucking proud of my accomplishments. It hasn't led me to fame and riches. Few people's choices ever do. But if anyone wants to challenge my education as 'sub-standard', they have a bit of Sysiphean struggle ahead of them.
Let's take a break from the goofy-ass shit that passes for our so-called national discourse, shall we?
Cracked online posted yet another of their absolutely wonderful lists, this one being near and dear to my heart. The call it, 7 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Outbreak Would Fail (Quickly). Let's be clear here. Their reasons are not scientific. They are assumptions based on observation and known behavior of corpses. please read the whole thing, and then we can continue.
Done? Good. Let's treat with them one at a time.
1) Natural predators. Not so convincing. Many carnivores prefer fresh meat, and those that don't require such (save avians) tend to be in limited numbers. Also, it's never made any sense in the Zombie mythology that they would only eat human flesh. If one examines zombies as simply a bipedal carnivorous machine, many of the drawbacks that hinder humans in self-defense against predation disappear. We spend the first many years of our lives learning to control our natural strength; hence primates half our size appear much stronger than we are. Remove those controls, and you have a pretty dreadful diminutive form of the incredible Hulk. Now multiply those numbers ... The insect argument also holds water only so long as onme assumes natural order for a creature that is by defination, not of nature.
2) Heat. I've had a dead pig explode on me before, so I have some emotional sympathy for this one. But again, it assumes that death process is natural for something that defies the death process by definition.
3) Cold. This one has teeth, but still suffers from the same assumptions as number two. Internal heat can be generated by a variety of sources, and zombies aren't imagined as big lizards. Something animates them, and there are no guarantees of a cold constitution.
4) Biting as a spread agent. I like this one, and it has played out in movies before. Sentimentality, affection and concern all lead to the spread of disease because zombies are (or were) us. It's not that difficult to believe that biting (saliva) could be an effective agent of spread among a species which so embraces itself. Rabies spreads pretty effectively among a species population; so it isn't that difficulty to see another such plague spread equally well. The STD analogy just doesn't work here. I can bite a co-worker a whole lot easier than I can convince one to have sex, especially if I'm drooling and muttering "Braaains!".
5) Healing. Again, a fair complaint, based on the assumption of current biology working in a creature who's existence is defied by all known biology.
6) Landscape. Fair but pretty pointless. In the milieu of zombie presentation, there is no consistency concerning their intelligence, or lack thereof. They obviously recognize food from not-food, which is completely ridiculous given their obvious appetite for the 'long pork'. So, they couldn't recognize a drop from a rise? I'm not buying it.
7) This one is spot on and to the point. Not one bio-infestation on this space rock has ever been as good at the killing as Homo Sapiens. We think about it, we plan for it, we plan to plan for it. We build monolithic structures to our ability to eradicate. We are one nasty ass bunch of bipedal hominids, far worse than any corpse that dug itself from the grave. That was the view of Romero, (hallowed be his name). It was also the view of Max Brooks in his definitive description of the Zombie Apocalypse, World War Z. Brooks only got one thing wrong. He posited that, having come to the conclusion that we in America faced total war, our leadership would pull back to the defensible position of Hawaii. No. He need look no further than the Rockie Mountains. The Western third of the US would be clear of dead-walkers faster than you could say"do you hand load or buy factory?" The American South wouldn't likely be far behind us. What Cracked also got wrong is the role of the military. Unit cohesion and ROE would spread infection, and keep the military from a large initial role. After that, it's a corpse fest.
Done? Good. Notice, most of those postulations stand against the latter screed about corpse behavior. But there's a missing link there. Waaaay on back in 1954, an author by the name of Richard Matheson wrote a book he called I Am Legend. Now in that book, the 'antagonists' were Vampires. (Yes I do use the word ironically, given the point of the book and it's title.) They were not albino Satanists, or daylight hating animagus, as other movies have pretended. The undead were brought back to life by a bacillus, a bacteriological infection which sealed the pores and imbued the walking dead with a hunger for human blood. It was a parasitic form of life which defied most of what Cracked's 'scientific' complaints espouse. The behavior that we're talking about here is very much like the 'nano-bot' threat level that Cracked rates as OH SHIT!. That could well be the Zombie Apocalypse. And if it happens ...
Amanda Marcotte took a day off from railing against anti-feminists and looked at the Zombie issue as any rational person would. Her conclusion is brilliant. The stupidest thing of all about visions of the Zombie takeover is that resources would be scarce. Think about it. Everything Zombies need is contained within their shambling shells. But everything we Homo Sapien Killer Monkeys need is now unprotected, unclaimed and available for the grabbing. I agree with her. When If the Zombie Apocalypse happens, guns, ammo and food will be the least of my worries.
I don't tend to delve into the personal much on this site and I'm not
really going to now, but sufficed to say while there are a lot of
people out there worsr off than me, things could also be a lot better.
Things were a lot better only a few years ago. I'm starting to compile
the last two years of material for my next book now, and looking at the
optimism from only two years ago against what's happening now is...
well... depressing as hell.
I want so hard to believe in Conan O'Brien's departing message that
great things will happen if you're just not cynical and are kind to
people and work hard and everything in politics right now just fights
that idea. Megan McArdle, seven years later, makes more money than I'll
ever see in my life, despite making mistakes that would get me fired
from my job if I made them on that level. Pam Gellar and Glenn Beck,
who have spent the last few years doing nothing but promoting abject
racism, have TV shows and hundred-thousand-dollar book deals. Sarah
"The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied
or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."
Tennessee was the thirty-sixth state to ratify, giving the amendment the
requisite approval of three-fourths of the states; the amendment passed
because 24 year-old legislator Harry Burn changed his vote, at the insistence of his elderly mother.
Still, how much value can one place in any Constitution when the ignorant and evil opine over what should be simply a matter of course. I seem to remember an agreement of Constitutional law that read something like:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
Once and for all, can everyone stop holding up (Howard) Dean up(sic) as a TRUE PROGRESSIVE that Obama shits on?
Small wonder that citizenship itself is under attack. Reasonable men are willing to consider completely unreasonable positions, based where a building sits or where a woman drops her progeny. Reasonable men are willing to consider that reasonable men shouldn't be made to feel unreasonable by having to include the opinions of obviously unreasonable women. That was the argument against woman's suffrage. Unlike that same for blacks, it wasn't based on fear of retribution; it was based on disdain. That's why they're willing to listen to the outcry from a woman that is batshit insane. They think her opinion carries weight because it agrees with their prejudices and after all, she's a woman and all women think alike. And what of the law? Who cares. Women can be dismissed at will, especially by other women. Men eat that up, and face no consequence to date for doing so.
For the first time in our history, we have 3 women serving on the Supreme Court. That's 3 out of 5 total. That wouldn't likely be the case, if not for what happened 90 years ago.
I have the strange and sad feeling that if more women understood and celebrated the 19th amendment, and the process which passed it, we wouldn't currently be witnessing the blatant and ridiculous attacks we are seeing against the 1st and the 14th. I'm not blaming women for our current national malaise. I'm just rocking gently on the water, and seeing a light in the distance.
Alternate title: The Apple Fell From From The Tree. I am certain that Mike Wallace has lain awake at night in despair that he didn't go all SPARTA! on his dimwit son.
One of the best things about being a blogger in the age of YouTube is that you don't have to keep having the same struggles and arguments over and over again. Often the only response necessary is already out there. I believe that anytime a coworker, or commenter or terrified teabagger supports oppression through the righteous might of superior voting numbers, or wails in futility about judicial activism favoring someone who isn't them, they should be coerced into watching this incredible interview with Ted Olson.
And no, I'm not writing about one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon, though I have that as well. I have met Dennis Quaid at a gas station I worked at here in Bozeman, and he's working on some project or other with Kevin Bacon. But that's kind of beside the point.
No, this is about one degree of separation from a serial killer. In a recent discussion about Dillon at Montana Cowgirl's joint, a commenter brought up his encounter with a Sheriff Dale Dye in Hamilton, and how that proved that Dillon is a little crazy. Only one little problem; Dillon is not Hamilton, and Dale Dye was never a Sheriff in Beaverhead county where Dillon is the county seat. Dale Dye was Sheriff in Ravalli county when I matured there, and Hamilton is the county seat. To those unfamiliar, Hamilton is in the middlen of Ravalli County, a long narrow strip of fertile earth between the Bitterroot wilderness and the Sapphire mountains, south of Missoula.
I grew up in Stevensville, the first community in Montana, having moved there when I was barely 10. Stevensville, as with the other communities in Ravalli county, was a normal small Montana rural town. Except Darby, which was and remains a little ... off. By 'normal' I mean that very thing, which is why I laugh at those usually urban dwellers who paint small towns with the brush of Mayberry USA. Stevensville wasn't Mayberry, it was normal. We had a bar owner in town who was an unbelievable bully. Everybody knew he was dealing drugs out of his place, as well as other nefarious things, but he was aided by the inaction of the town cops. The latest of those 'fine officers' as I grew up is now the mayor of Stevensville starting in January, and what a twit he is. The bully kind of shriveled up when an ex-NFL football player bought the bar across from his. Funny how that works. We had (and have) the yearly celebration of our town's industry, the Creamery Picnic. The junior high math teacher ran away after being caught banging the wife of the junior high science teacher. He ended up in Polson for a while. None of my female classmates cared because they thought the math teacher was creepy. He'd stand at the bottom of the stairs between class, especially on Friday when girls were required to wear dresses. There were the usual rumors that the senior prom queen was sleeping with the good looking chemistry teacher. Our town's prominent business men were often corrupt and usually licentious. There was never a lack of apples or of plums to be had for the taking come August or September. They were everywhere, and the apple orchards provided some damned good hunting. The county Sheriff's department spent its time investigating high school fights and keggers, with the occasional theft and violent domestic dispute. We had a high school literature teacher who was a total stoner radical, and he hooked up with the totally flighty teacher who was buxom and also a total stoner. I hope they went away to live a life of wanton sex in a commune somewhere. We had a totally smoking hot drama coach. I lost my virginity in her apartment, though not with her. I was apartment sitting. We had a vice principle who thought himself a drill Sargent in the marines. He kept flexing his neck in the oddest way. The Mormons ran the school board, and the older richer families ran the town. It was what one would realistically expect. It was all pretty normal.
My classmates went on to become town drunks, business leaders, religious leaders, Microsoft and Boeing employees, housewives, high powered sales folk, ranchers and whatever in the hell I've become. But it was normal, and where this story really starts is when I was a Junior in high school. We had a history teacher for two years who was an ex-Washington Redskin. He's the one who went completely off one day about how the NFL is rigged. I'm certain he was hired for his teaching skills ... right. He left. To replace him, we got Mike Shook. Mr. Shook was a likable guy, and completely white bread. My friends and I often joked that he was an android. He spoke in level tones, his motions could be predicted as mechanical and his shirt was always untucked in precisely the same place and same manner. In truth, he was one of my favorite teachers in high school, which is saying something considering how deeply I loathed that whole experience.
In 1980, with the blessings of a volcano, I graduated, and my classmates and I went on our merry. After five years, I married a good friend who was a classmate of mine. This is where I came two degrees from a serial killer. My first wife told me of when her family lived in Bonner, outside of Missoula. Their neighbors were a pastor and his wife. One day, she was brutally (and I can't mean that more forcefully) murdered. The investigation all focused on the pastor, but no evidence could be found to link him to the crime. Sadly, even his children thought he had committed this criminal act. The whole tale was pretty tragic, and yet little more than an anecdote to me. The victim's name was Donna Pounds, and that crime occurred in 1974. That is believed to be the first act of murder committed by Wayne Nance, a serial killer. He was 18 at the time.
If one does the Google on Nance then you can find a brief blurb, repeated in several places. There are inaccuracies in it, and in some of the pastings I've found, complete fabrications. I'm certainly not going to proclaim my accuracy in telling here, because that isn't my focus. I'm simply going to recount what I know, and what I remember. If one want's the full tale of Wayne Nance, then I recommend this book.
1984 found me living in Hamilton, Montana, managing a convenience store. That is the only job that I've ever been fired from, and I can proudly state, I was fired from it ... twice. That's where I got my first real education about the 'good-ole-boy' network. There is a ton of backstory here, but I'll just hit the highlights. The business was owned by a couple of frat-buddies, one of whom was heir to a gas distributorship and the other just a trust fund baby looking for businesses to own. So he bought a convenience store in Missoula, and, as the General Manager would tell it, "he fell into a pile of shit and came up holding a bag of gold". The General Manager himself was a product of white male privilege and a 'good ole boy'. That's how he got hired away from a much more national chain of stores. The owner (the useless one) bought more stores, including the one in Hamilton. The GM hired me away from the larger chain, and I literally walked through the door as the guy I replaced walked out the back in tears. He was reforming alcoholic, and he had been fired. I was asked to quit, or be fired, after four months even though I had the best numbers in the company because I 'wasn't paying attention to the details'. We apparently weren't dusting our canned goods enough. Turns out, the owner (the useless one, TUO) met a young man in Columbia Falls who impressed TUO and TUO wanted to make a place for him in the company. So the GM made a place for him, and he legally robbed them blind. The managers worked hourly at that point, and he was billing for up to 120 hours a week. That's 80 hours of overtime. For the mathematically slow, there are only 168 hours in a week. When the store remodel began, he fell apart and was actually fired. So, in one of the stupidest moves of my life, I went back to the company, got through the remodel, fixed the inventory problems and had the tightest payroll in the company. That was June. I got married in August of 1985, and was 'fired' again in August of 1986, on my last day of work having already given my notice. There's a whole big bunch of terrific backstory there involving my younger brother and a good friend, but the short version is this: I was fired because the GM accused me of spreading rumors that he was balling the young woman who he picked as my replacement. (I laughed at the GM when he told me why I was 'being fired'.) The manager in Darby got fired for it as well. I did no such thing. And he was. He got caught charging motel rooms on the company credit card. She got fired. He was asked to stay but resigned in shame anyway. That is the good ole boy network.
In that decade between the murder of Donna Pounds and my residing in Hamilton, Dale Dye was the Sheriff of Ravalli county for much of it. He was a publicity hound, espousing righteous lawmanning and do-goodery. His deputies were good people, but he was really just kind of an ass. The vast bulk of their jobs were breaking up keggers and arresting drunks. Wayne Nance, on the other hand, was kind of a busy boy. He worked many odd jobs, and committed at least 3 murders in that time. He is painted as a "an independent truck driver", but in fact, he woprkd delivery for a company that would rather not have its name associated with Wayne Nance. It was a delivery to the Shooks that led him there, and a delivery to the Welles that led to his demise. It was in 1985 that I came one degree away from a serial killer.
For reasons that will become obvious, I remember that it was late in that year that the news broke of the Shook's murder. A Stevensville high school teacher and his wife Theresa had been slain in their home near Hamilton. Mike had been tied to a chair and stabbed to death. Theresa was tied to a bed, raped and stabbed to death. The two children had not been "sleeping upstairs" as this took place. They had been locked in a closet. As the final act in his crime, Nance put a mattress against the closet door and lit it on fire, hoping to burn the house down (and the children alive). Nance obviously didn't think about civil liabilities or the CPA, or he'd have known that mattresses are designed not to burn very well. The smoke caught the attention of the neighbors, the fire folk and police were called and the scene was discovered. I've often thought of those two kids, and I sincerely hope that they've found good lives beyond this tragedy.
This was shocking news for Hamilton, and I presume, the students at Stevensville. What was more shocking was the honest reporting of the crime. The Ravalli Republic and the Missoulian pulled no punches. They reported the facts in their fullest. There was no mystery about the horror of this crime. They also reported, just two days later, that Dale Dye had refused FBI help, and had claimed jurisdiction over the crime scene. What a pompous ass. It is my certain opinion that he thought this was a bunch of drunk high school kids or some such nonsense. He couldn't have been more wrong, and that arrogance led to future violence.
About 4 days after the murder, I was at work, and the lunch crowd came in, as they always did for their hot dogs and chili dogs and nachos. Several men began to talk about the murder and then start to talk louder. It might surprise many to find that convenience store employees behind the counter are a little too busy at times to see what's really happening. When I woke to the danger was when the first guy went to his truck and got his hunting rifle. Then another. They got more people into the conversation and more damned guns. I remember clearly the very moment that it dawned on me that a lynch mob was forming in my store. I was fricking scared, and that's no lie. In what was possibly the stupidest move I've ever pulled, I went around the counter and informed these guys that they would have to remove their guns from the store, that Mike Shook was a teacher of mine and that they had no idea who they would even use those guns against. It was weird. The mob melted much faster than it had formed. Impotent anger can be a powerful demotivator, when pointed out. But note this, much of the discussion at that point was the sure and certain knowledge that Dale Dye was incompetent at dealing with this, and he had mightily fucked up in refusing federal help. He was voted out in the very next election.
I tried to talk to my wife (at that time) about this. It was obvious to me that there was a connection between Pounds and the Shooks, well before that connection was made by law enforcement. But she was a classmate of mine, and a student of Mike Shook. We never really discussed what happened. In 1986 when Nance finally met his end we still didn't and wouldn't discuss it. She seemed to think I was aggrandizing this whole thing. No. The truth is what it is, and it was horrible.
Carl Graham lives near Bozeman. I live in Bozeman. Carl Graham runs a right-wing organization and lives on wingnut welfare and government subsistence. I work for a living. Carl Graham is an idiot. I'm not.
It would be fun, amusing and likely profitable for some radio station in Bozeman, perhaps some talk venue, to have Carl and I hold a discussion together. Call it a debate if you will. Maybe I'm alone in this idea, but I'd find it to be a hoot.
Everywhere I go in the Montana online, I encounter Big Swede. He promotes himself as an important captain of industry, wealthy and hiring the plebes to do his bidness. A bit of problem with that, though. He spends more time online that any other two commenters combined. Is this why the rich are rich; because they waste their time online and ask us lowly to pay for their frivolous efforts? Just wondering ...