"It's not that hard".........Howard Schultz

     Each time I hear Howard Schultz, the Starbuck's guy, voicing  his view that  politics is ruining the economy and thereby the nation, a flicker of hope wells up in my gut.  His candid, reasoned, and grounded dialogue is encouraging.  For me however there is a "credibility gap".  Given Schultz's prominence, and his Democratic leaning, why has he not had a a "sit down" with Obama to find out directly why  he and the President are so out of sync. Surly these guy talk.  A public reconciling would be informative.  That this conversation is not out there, either first hand or recounted, is perplexing and perhaps even suspect.


High Tea Pummels Low-T

     For weeks now the only refuge from the "Debt Crisis" coverage has been the absurd "Big Pharm" commercials misleading the nation's "Uneducated" about how to defense their miserable lives from overwhelming fatalism.  If your favorite SNRI anti depressant doesn't adequately dial you down then maybe your a low ability dude and need some "Abilify" to insure that you reach a "who gives a shit" state of mind . If to the contrary, you want to stay in the game but are just to frightened to do "Conan Behaviour", you are perhaps suffering from Low-T and need a Testosterone Hit.  For sure our articulate and even tempered Commander and Chief is of the later ilk.  Will Obama next year fall before the Tea Party juggernaut?  Who knows!  He may well successfully sell moral ism, arguing that he is the "suffering messiah" who honorably agreed to "take one for the team".  If it turns to be so, then it will be a season of "Tea and Sympathy".


Ozark Moutain Bank Goes Highbrow!

Normally I don't look to the New York Times Sunday Review for "good old fashion belly laughter", but yesterday was an exception. Yes, "Web Advertising" often produces some strange content/advertiser bedfellows, but for God's Sakes how many of the very few East Coast Elites reading the Times Culture Section might have taken in the expensive "Banner Ad" from the Ozark Mountain Bank Seriously, what a stupid waste of money.  The Bank should be trying to give away their phantom $100, by putting flyers at the Unemployment Office, or by sponsoring a Blockbuster Promotion. (They could give away a "Winter Bones" Video with every $10,000 CD)  Washington seems to have no exclusive franchise on stupid.  We here in the "Ozark Mountains" be wastin' what little we ain't done spent!


A Sore Foot and a Weak Mind

     For weeks I have endured a painful gout/arthritis inflamed foot.  After a steroid packet yielded reprieve/confirm/resume, I settled in to the minimum doses of indomethacin that allowed me to get vertical.  I am not attracted to alternative medicine/therapies, and although I have occasionally downed a blackcherry extract with unconfirmed benefit, I usually pass on the latest and greatest "web-remedy".  Yesterday, however, in a moment of naive curiosity, mixed with pain, I played patient for a co-worker who moonlights as a massage therapist/reflexologist.  Her siren song extolled the miracle of a "negative-ion foot bath".  With nominal death risk anxiety, I emersed both feet in a plastic container filled with bottled spring water water laced with Morton's Sea Salt, into which my "therapist" placed an electrode device connected by insulated wire to a blinking box accepting 110v electrical current. (Of course it was safe...she bought it on Amazon).

     Within minutes the clear water in the white container started to stain with streaks of brown/green/red, and a scummy foam began to form around the submerged devise.  Close inspection revealed that the weak coffee colored water held in suspension massive numbers of granules ranging from speck to pin head size. I did not shout out "Cured at last, Almighty Lord, I am Cured at Last", but, I did think that something had happened that I did not understand.  My therapist, now joined by a seasoned Registered Nurse and a much experienced Licensed Practical Nurse, who had been invited to "audit the session", explained that the water, now super saturated with "negative ions"  had, "through a complicated chemical reaction" bound to heavy metals, joint inflammation matter,  and excess minerals,  being drawn from my body by "magnetic force".  The residue,  excreted through the pores in my feet, would, I was assured, fix my damnable sore foot.

     It has been but a few hours since my "brown water miracle" and with pain still a foot, I have turned to Google Search to pass the time until, as any decent practioner will confirm, "the cure manifests".

     Fourteen minutes have now passed, and I now have a fairly comprehensive understanding of the "brown water non-miracle", compliments of wikipedia and a few derivative reference papers on the general subject of 'Ionic Bonding", a well known occurance within the complex of electromechanical force.  Without a lot of detail...ionic bonding is a kind of chemical bonding that arises from the mutual attraction of oppositely charged ions.  The most common type of ionic bonding is seen in compounds of metals and nonmetals.  When a highly electropositive metal is combined with a highly electronegative nonmetal, the extra electrons from the metal atoms are transferred to the electron-deficient nonmetal atoms. This reaction produces metal cations and nonmetal anions, which are attracted to each other to form a salt.  The metals of the electrodes l lose or gain mass, and react with the salt (or other electrolyte) in the water to form colored salts which may or may not be soluble.  Or put more simply.....after the unit is allowed to work for several minutes, the bath will fill with iron-chloride (with or without feet). It is from the electrolytic interaction between sodium chloride (salt) that was put into the water, and the iron in the electrodes. (This process can be easily repeated by dissolving a spoon full of salt in a glass of water. Connect the poles of a 9v battery to two large nails and place them in the water (they must not touch). First you will see gas bubbles, than after a while the water turns brown.) As for the gooey, frothy floating stuff.....the water containes oil and sweat from a participants skin, which will react with the Sodium Hydroxide (Lye, or NaOH) produced by the electrolytic reaction to form soap, which in combination with the chlorine and/or Hydrogen bubbles, will make a nice froth, which adds to the nastiness.  In summary.....salt water reacts to electrodes, and basically form iron/rust. Lab test on the water after a so called treatment come back as just iron/rust. No parasites, heavy metals, or toxins. 

    This is too fucking bad.  I was so hoping for a miracle..... but I will not dispair!  Having been a Business Major at a State University, I totally missed physics and organic chemistry and, so it would seem, a capacity for rational thought.  I will most likley bite on many more "miracles" in my days because Google's AdWords knows I'm a Mark!




A Branson Declaration..."Screw Chicken Little"

"The sky is falling, the sky is falling".... perhaps.  It is concerning that a sense of alarm grips the nation from sea to sea and Fox to CNBC.  A million foreclosures a year, double digit unemployment, record high school drop out rates, $4 a pound for tomatoes, etc.  Those who are wandering up and down Main Street anxious about where we might be next year, sense that Chase and Walmart and Empire Electric will prevail, but as for their neighbors, the butchers, the bakers and the candle stick makers....well they're much less confident. Here in Branson, the defacto Ozarks Capitol, we have weathered 3 years of backpeddelering, board-ups and cheap boots. At its best, the tacky "strip" now seems just north of "hospice".  Woe to We.....but wait, perhaps Ozarkians may have a secret weapon. Our "just local" perspective, our tendency to shun academia and our celebrated "make it from scratch" instinct, may well promote action when those more discerning would pass.  Dubiously justified optimism may well be as contageous as  factually validated pessimism.  This week a symbolic tribute to this sensibility took roost on the weary "strip".  It is as though, some guy who, without a clue about econometric projections,  woke up one morning and said, "I think I will open a new restaurant on "the strip", where countless others have failed, but mine won't, because my entry door will be a "30 FOOT CHICKEN".   I hope he succeeds and others join  "Chicken Big" and "Hollywood Kong" in maintaing the Branson vitality in spite of the forecasts.