Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kant

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804 A.D.)

Philosopher

By Richard E. Noble

Matthew Arnold and Ernest Hemingway both are agreed on how to become the best ... read the best, they advise. So in my process of self education, I have been trying to do just that. But nevertheless, I have to be discriminating because as Carl Sagan points out, there are just too many books and not enough time. So one method I have of discriminating is to read a little on a person's personal life before I dive into their philosophy or advice. If the man seems 'reasonably' sane, or insane in an understandable way, I pursue his writings.
Immanuel Kant? I fear, little Immue, if he came into my little place of business he would never have left. The reason being, that he could never have made up his mind. In his, "Critique of Pure Reason" he explains in a modest eight hundred pages that the existence and or nature of God is beyond human reason and understanding. When all of the religious community jumped down his throat, he had a sudden change of heart and wrote another eight hundred page book in which he says basically that, "Old Lampe" his simple hearted and simple minded servant needs a God to believe in, as all other simple minded people do or they can never be happy ... and therefore there must be a God, and if there really isn't, for God's sake don't get all bent out of shape over it.
He decided that masturbation was an even greater sin than suicide, and thus he begrudgingly decided to marry. But while he was tabulating the cost of his future bride in terms of silver spoons, chinaware, and new bedroom sheets, she left town and married someone else. In later life he comments, "When I needed a wife, I couldn't afford one, and when I could afford one, I didn't need one." A statement of pure logic understood by every man, but nearly incomprehensible to most women.
Immanuel was frail, sickly and besides being very, very short, terribly afraid of sweating. Whenever he felt a sweat coming on, he immediately stopped in his tracks and waited breathlessly until it passed. He was so skinny that he couldn't keep his socks up. He invented an apparatus where by, through a system of metal boxes containing springs which he kept in his pants pockets, he attached strings from the springs through holes in his pockets to the tops of his socks.
He was a serious hypochondriac. He developed a method of breathing through his nose, and would talk to no one in the street on his five o'clock afternoon walk. The neighborhood set their watches by him. He had a couple of sisters, who lived in the next county whom he didn't talk to for over twenty-six years. He felt them to be too stupid to bother with, and my God don't visit him at tea time, unless you don't mind sitting to his back in a corner or in some closet.
Immanuel Kant, I think was a poor little man who was horrified of the possibility of losing his steady job at the University. Despite all his efforts, he did finally die. His last words were, "It is good." And once again we are left to wonder, was he talking about life, or death?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our $2000 Mattress

The Eastpointer

Our 2000 dollar mattress

By Richard E. Noble
Two years ago, after a lifetime of tossing and turning, my wife and I decided to buy a “real” mattress. We used Christmas as our excuse. This was no spur of the moment matter. This story is not a tale of impulse buying. This decision was thought about and analyzed for years - perhaps I should say decades.
Over the years we had slept on $250 mattresses from bargain stores; we had been given old mattresses by friends and relatives; we had even bought a mattress from the God-only-knows-where-it-came-from store.
But why not? Our whole life was K-mart sneakers, secondhand clothes and home constructed everything. Why now should we be buying a $2000 mattress? Were we crazy? Did we deserve a $2000 mattress?
Can a $2000 mattress really be 10 times as comfortable as a $250 mattress? What if we buy a $2000 mattress and it is no better than a $250 mattress?
You spend half your life in bed; don’t you deserve the best that you can afford? But what does “afford” mean? Because you have $2000 does that mean that you can just spend it - on a MATTRESS?
Two thousand dollars could also buy a vacation on a cruise ship. Two thousand dollars could be a fancy hot tub, a secondhand pickup truck, a vacation at a resort, a whole new living room set, a deluxe stereo system, five years worth of fast food burgers - two thousand dollars is a lot of money. My god, yes! Why our entire home only cost $8,886. But so what! We now drive a car that cost us more than our home. In fact it cost more than double the price of our home.
But we had to do it; we deserved it. We were getting old and we didn’t want to die never having slept on a “real” mattress. Buying a real mattress wasn’t like sailing around the world, or climbing the Matahorn. We had the money in our saving account. So why not just do it! Bite the bullet and get it over with.
We went shopping. We checked out everything on the Internet. We checked foam, springs, feathers, air, adjustable, hospital beds, everything. We made our choice. We wanted a Simmons Beautyrest. The one with the special super-duper extra cushion on the top and the forever-and-a-day guarantee. Of course we would try to get our $2000 mattress for the best price possible. We would shop until we dropped.
We laid on every Simmons Beautyrest showroom mattress in a 200 mile radius from our home. They all felt great. Yeah, but how would they feel five or ten years from now? What if we blow $2000 on a Simmons Beautyrest mattress and we then both get hit by a truck and die?
We finally bought our Simmons Beautyrest super-duper deluxe mattress from a small shop over in Panama City. We got it for the bargain price of just $1600 including delivery and set up. What a deal!
We have been sleeping on it now for two years. We’ve stayed in hotels and motels and none of them have been as comfortable as home sweet home. I even spent a couple of weeks in the hospital recently with their $10,000 electronically controlled fancy-dancey beds and when I got home, there was no comparison. Our Simmons Beautyrest was better - much better.
But now we have a new problem. This purchase was a once in a lifetime purchase for us. What happens if a hurricane hits Eastpoint and we have to evacuate? The mattress that fits easily into our $8,886 trailer home doesn’t fit into our $20,000 automobile. Figuring in depreciation our Simmons Beautyrest is the most valuable household item we now own. How can we just leave it behind? If this mattress blows away we will never be able to afford another one. It would be a shame to lose my record and CD collection, but I don’t spend half my life listening to music. I can take my computer hard drives with me. Nothing else that we own is worth a darn. But what about my Simmons Beautyrest?
I could strap it onto the roof of my car but it is usually raining before and during a hurricane. We tried to buy insurance on the contents of our trailer. But if they won’t insure our trailer why would they insure its contents? I checked. They wouldn’t.
Now I understand how the rich folk feel. They finally get enough money to buy the Hope diamond and now they can’t wear it because they might lose it or somebody might steal it. I read about this rich lady who had cheap duplicates of all her expensive jewelry made, so that she could at least pretend to wear it. I know exactly how she feels now. I’ll bet she has a Simmons Beautyrest and doesn’t know what she is going to do when the disaster hits her neighborhood either.

“The Eastpointer” is R.E. Noble latest publication. It is a series of selected columns from the Franklin Chronicle. It is available now at Amazon.com or from the author. Local bookstores or businesses who would like to sell The Eastpointer or other books written by R. E. Noble should contact the author for specials and discounts. Richard Noble is a freelance writer who has lived here in Eastpoint for nearly 30 years.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Tricks of the Trade

The Eastpointer

The Tricks of the Trade

By Richard E. Noble
As with all types of hard, physical work there are always “tricks to the trade.” Oystering is no exception.
Number one, all physical work causes pain. You must do any physical work long enough to grow accustomed to the pain. From my experience it doesn’t matter what type work you had been doing prior to a new physical job. Every type of physical work affects different muscles. Topping onions was the only job that I ever had that hurt my toes. Tonging oysters, of course, affected the back, shoulders and arms. Whenever we had a layoff from oystering it took me a week or two before the aches and pains once again became tolerable.
Despite what many people think, oystering requires experience and know-how. Culling the oysters is an art. A good culler can make a big difference in production.
When we first started, Marion Millender jumped onto our boat one day and demonstrated his skill at culling for four or five minutes. Just watching him that first time was enough to give us the proper idea and start us on the right track. Where you hit the oyster to separate it from another oyster or other oysters is important. Being able to flip that clump around with one hand and smack the appropriate oyster with the culling iron in your other hand was a money maker.
We started our oystering adventure on Cat Point. Cat Point is a giant oyster bar. You don’t have to drag around trying to find oysters. The Cat Point bar fills the space between Eastpoint and the Island - just follow the telephone poles. The oysters extend west to the Island Bridge and east about a hundred or so yards. The trick when oystering Cat Point is knowing when you are on good oysters or just spinning your wheels.
My wife liked to work in scrappy areas as opposed to areas filled with clusters and clumps. We had an ongoing argument until one day she brought out our alarm clock - neither of us liked to wear a watch. We compared scrappy areas with areas filled with clumps and clusters. Where there were clumps and clusters I could deck up the cull board and then sit-down and help with the culling. In the scrappy areas I had to move faster with my tonging just to keep up with my wife’s culling and I never got the opportunity to sit-down. We found by extensive experimenting that we could fill bags faster in the scrappy areas than in the clump and cluster areas. In the scrappy areas there are more single oysters – oysters that need or require little culling.
We never stayed anywhere that took us more than a half hour to cull one bag or one bushel. The best spot I ever remember sitting on, Carol culled a bag every ten minutes. No matter what time of the year or season, we tried to keep under a half hour a bag. Of course there were times when a half hour was impossible but even in those times we kept moving and timing our production.
I eventually ended up maintaining three sets of tongs. I had a short handled pair with 8 to 10 ft. handles for the winter and working inshore on the low tides. We had some of our best days oystering inshore on those cold winter mornings with that punishing north wind. If we could stay close enough inshore the trees on the land would protect us somewhat from that cold wind. A second cull board used as a wind break didn’t hurt either.
I had a regular set of 12 to 14 foot handles for working most of the bay. And then I kept a pair of 16 to 18 foot tongs for late in the year when everything had been worked to death. We made the 18 foot handles ourselves. With those big tongs I could go off to deeper water along the edges of the bed and find spots that hadn’t been worked at all.
Another big thing with physical work is pacing yourself. It is one thing to go out and run up and down the deck for an hour or two. But that doesn’t work out too well when you plan on staying out for 8 to 12 hours in one day.
Many people think that having a big motor is important. If you have to travel to a bed it is, but if you are working someplace like Cat Point or you have a good trailer where you can dump your boat in close to the beds it really doesn’t matter all that much.
One season my wife and I worked between the 1 and 3 pole on Cat Point for the entire season. We had this old 25 Johnson that was dying on us. We didn’t want to buy a new motor so we pushed that little Johnson until it finally started dying. A few times a friendly stranger towed us home and on 2 or 3 occasions we had to pole ourselves back to shore using our thick bamboo poling rods. We used to get the thick bamboo poles up highway 65 at the first or second bridge.

“The Eastpointer” is R.E. Noble most recent publication. It consists of a series of selected columns from the Franklin Chronicle. It is available now at Amazon.com or from the author. Local bookstores or businesses who would like to sell The Eastpointer or other books written by R. E. Noble should contact the author for specials and discount opportunities. Richard Noble is a freelance writer who has lived here in Eastpoint for nearly 30 years.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Andrew Johnson (president from 1865-1869, 17th)

By Richard E. Noble

Andrew Johnson, the original "Man in Black" form Tennessee, had quite a time of it. He was a typical Democrat of the period. He favored the Union, but was not all that interested in abolishing slavery. In this respect, he was very much like his boss Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was a Republican, but just barely. If anything, Lincoln was a liberal, left-wing Republican.
Johnson was right in line with Lincoln's liberal, tolerant and forgiving, reconstructionist attitudes towards the South. But the Republicans, who were right-wing, religious, abolitionists to the core, wanted no part of such an attitude. The Republicans wanted to occupy the South militarily, give the franchise to blacks, remove the franchise from the Southern whites, confiscate white property and plantations and delay, if not deny, the South's return to statehood. To the Republican, the Southern whites were traitors and revolutionaries and they should be treated accordingly. The South should be nothing more than occupied, defeated territory.
Johnson was from common working stock and the Confederate state of Tennessee. His Unionists attitudes made him and his family flee to Kentucky during the Civil War. He was a tailor, and a runaway apprentice, at that. He and his brother broke their legal contract and ran away from their apprenticeship. A year later when they returned to face the music, their boss had gone out of business and no fine or imprisonment was imposed. The charges, though not forgotten, were not pursued.
At Lincoln’s second inauguration, Johnson, a tea-toddler, was offered a whiskey to quiet his nerves. The first drink did so well he tried a couple more. When the time came for his acceptance speech as vice president, he could barely talk. He mumbled and fumbled to his own embarrassment, and was labeled from that time on as "the Old Sot." After Lincoln's assassination he was promoted by his enemies as a common, uneducated, drunken, Southern democratic, sympathizer and appeaser. The Republicans wanted no part of him and wanted him out. They tried their best. He was impeached by the House and then tried in the Senate. He missed being thrown out of office by just one vote. The charges are considered today to have been trumped up, unconstitutional, and political. A freshman, radical Republican himself, a man named Edmund Ross, senator from Kansas voted not guilty and thus forfeited his own career and future.
It was during Johnson's administration that the U.S. purchased Alaska, but this was viewed as no notable achievement. Seward's Folly, it was called. Seven million dollars wasted on icebergs, igloos and polar bears. He sent troops to put down a take over of Mexico by Napoleon III.
Though his opponents hated him, he certainly had the approval of his electorate. He was elected five times to the House of Representative. His opponents got so tired of him that they actually gerrymandered his district right out of existence. So instead of running for the House he ran for Governor and was elected, not once but twice.
After his failed presidency and impeachment, in 1875 he ran once again for the Senate and won. Upon returning to the Senate, the galleries roared with applause, his desk was covered with flowers, and even his one time political enemies pressed forward to shake his hand.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rousseau

Rousseau (1712-1778 A.D.)

Philosopher


By Richard E. Noble




If I were to say that Rousseau was as nutty as a fruit cake, this would not be a statement of personal prejudice. Rousseau finally went mad and most probably committed suicide. But just because a man is as nutty as a fruitcake, is that any reason to not read what he has to say?
Maybe not, but it is a hell of a good start, especially when there are so many books to read and so little time. And I also have this sneaking suspicion that if one continues to read nutty people, he may very well end up nutty himself. But the question is, was he always as nutty as a fruit cake, or just driven nuts by the circumstances of his life? That's a good question. And the answer seems to me to be that he was always as nutty as a fruit cake.
His first sexual experience came while being 'spanked'. That's right. He liked it ... getting spanked that is. And I mean really, really liked it. It seems that he had the additional problem of finding sexual satisfaction with women he truly admired. He had a lot more fun with women he had no respect and admiration for at all. I suppose that is not so uncommon. But the fact that he spent the majority of his life with a woman who he claimed to have no attraction for whatsoever; who was not only illiterate but rude, crude, lewd, and confirmed as an ugly witch (and that witch can be spelled with a 'b' if you like) by everybody who ever knew her, does seem a little unnerving.
I find it equally difficult to take moral and ethical advice from a man who unashamedly admits to impregnating this woman on at least five different occasions, and then dumping the babies off at the nearest fondling home. His basic defense of this action was that he didn't have the mental, emotional, or economic capacity to care for these children properly. And since his incapacity was precipitated by an immoral society, these children were more his neighbors responsibility than his own.
Okay, now ... do you want to read 'the Social Contract' in which this man devises the perfect moral and ethical society?
He was also a thief, a disloyal friend, willing to do anything for a frank, totally promiscuous, eventually paranoid, but never, never one to tell an untruth in his writing. He swears to this by crossing his heart and undoubtedly, wishing and praying to die.
And we conclude our evaluation of Rousseau with the fact that he was never able to overcome his inclination to piss in his pants. He claimed that it was a physical condition, but an autopsy after his death found nothing askew, or seemingly abnormal.
The fact that this man was not a defender of the rational and logical goes without saying. He managed to get everybody mad at him, was chased out of his country, and only allowed back if he agreed to keep his mouth shut and never write another word. Having no place else to go, nor any country to accept him, and no friends left anywhere ... he agreed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Eastpointer

One man’s trash

By Richard E. Noble

We were cleaning up after a hurricane a while back and we were told that we could put our debris out in front of our property on the side of the road and the County would come and pick it up. Well, that was great, but something curious began happening. Pickup trucks, vans and even cars began stopping by our mountain of trash and sorting through the debris. To my surprise many people found things that they took away.
One fellow in a late model pickup even salvaged the cover from an old gas grill. He told me that the gas grill covers were made out of something that he got good money for at the salvage yard.
After that experience before I hauled anything off to the dump, I put it out front beside the road and waited to see if it would disappear.
I put a broken, washing machine out there; it was gone in a matter of hours. When our kitchen stove died, I wheeled it out to the side of the road and like magic, it was gone. I had two ancient electric space heaters that went next. We had a 15 year old hot tub. We finally got tired of fixing it. We took it apart, put all the PVC pipe and motor parts in a wheelbarrow and then, end over end flopped that old hot tub out to the road’s edge. That stuff hung around for a whole day before it disappeared.
I finally got tired of storing old lawn mowers in my shed. I had at least four dead lawn mowers. I stuck them out beside the road’s edge. I had people fighting over those things.
First a lady came by and asked if I was throwing all those mowers away. I told her that I was.
“I want them all” she said. “I’m going to rush home right now and tell my boy to come back and get them.”
“Fine,” I said. “They’re all yours.”
She drove off and two minutes later another pickup pulled up and then a third. By the time I got my shoes on and got my butt out there again, these two guys were in a heated debate. They had avoided a brawl and compromised. They agreed to divide everything up even-steven. When I told them that I had already given the mowers to a lady and that her son was coming back to get them, they began debating with me. They said that the “rule” for side-of-the-road garbage picking was first come - first serve. I told them that the absent lady was first. They disagreed. She didn’t come prepared to haul, they argued.
Now I had a dilemma. I didn’t want the stuff and I really didn’t care who got it. But I had already told the lady that her son could have it.
“Well, where is he?” my roadside lawyers protested.
I told one of the men that the mower he was looking at had a bent crankshaft anyway.
“No problem,” he said I have a crankshaft straightener.”
Just then a third pickup truck pulled up. “My mom just called me and said you had some old broken lawn mowers for me?”
“I do.”
“What about us?” the other two men protested.
“You will have to talk to this young man,” I advised. “They’re his mowers now. You’ll have to excuse me. I hear my wife calling.”
“I don’t hear anybody. Did you hear anything, Loy?”
“I didn’t hear anything.”
They were still debating as I ran to the house. I don’t know who got what but as I peeked out from behind a curtain, it looked like everybody got something.
Now what’s really interesting is a short while ago me and the wife went to Fort Lauderdale to visit with some of the relatives. It was Saturday morning when we arrived and my niece and her husband and the kids were all loaded up in their pickup truck and about to embark on a tour around the neighborhood. They had a big pile of junk stacked on the side of the road in front of their house and they were going to find better junk in other piles stacked in front of other homes around the block.
It seems that this is not only an Eastpoint phenomenon but a national pastime.

“A Little Something” is R.E. Noble’s first book of poetry and it is now on sale at Amazon and locally at Downtown Books along with Hobo-ing America, A Summer with Charlie and Honor Thy Farther and Thy Mother. Richard Noble is a freelance writer who has lived here in Eastpoint for nearly 30 years.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


1952 Steel Strike

Striking America

By Richard E. Noble

On April 9, 1952 the United Steelworkers of America planned to walk out on strike against U.S. Steel and nine other steel makers. But on April 8 President Harry Truman had ordered his Secretary of Commerce, Henry A. Wallace, to seize most of the Country’s steel mills. Truman’s argument for this action was the protection of the nation’s security.
This was really nothing new. During World War I the government had nationalized the railroads, the telegraph lines, and the Smith & Wesson Company. Then again in World War II the government had nationalized the railroads, the coal mines, the midwest trucking operators and others. And in April of 1945 and in August of 1946 Harry had seized twenty-eight industrial properties - sometimes entire industries, the railroads and meat packers for example. But Harry Truman was no FDR or Woodrow Wilson for that matter. And the Korean War was no World War I or World War II.
By 1952 neither Harry nor his political party was all that popular. On February 9, 1950 McCarthy denounced the Truman administration on the grounds that they were allowing known communist to run free through the corridors of Washington. But also in 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea and the Korean “Police Action” followed.
On September 8, 1950 the Congress passed the Defense Production Act. This gave the president the power to requisition any facilities, property, equipment, supplies, component parts or raw materials for the nation’s defense. The bill also gave the president the power to enact wage and price controls. None of this was new. This was all wartime procedure. But this was Truman’s war not FDR’s or Wilson’s. And was it even a “real” war?
The steel owners sued. The steel mills involved included Armco Steel, Bethlehem Steel, Great Lakes Steel Corporation, Inland Steel, Jones and Laughlin Steel, Republic Steel, Sharon Steel, U.S. Steel Wheeling Steel and Youngstown Sheet and Tube and numerous small manufacturers.
Even though a few years earlier Harry had threatened to draft all the striking railroad workers, after he had nationalized the railroads successfully, on this occasion he was in total agreement with the workers. On April 8, 1952 he made a radio broadcast from the White House. He told the American people that the steel industry could not be allowed to shut down. “It is vital to the defense effort. It is vital to peace ... We do not have a stockpile of the kinds of steel we need for defense. Steel is flowing directly from the plants to our soldiers at the front in Korea ... If steel production stops it won’t be long before we have to stop making engines for the Air Force planes ... A prolonged shutdown would bring defense production to a halt and throw our domestic economy into chaos.” He went on to inform the public that he was taking over the steel mills and demanding the mill owners and representatives of the mill workers meet in Washington immediately and settle this dispute with the government’s arbitrators.
He explained about the wage and price controls that had been put in place to counter inflation. “The union has accepted these rules. The companies have not accepted them ... On November 1, 1951 the union gave notice that in view of the higher cost of living and the wage increases already received by workers in other industries, the steel workers wanted higher wages and better working conditions in their new contract for 1952 ... The steel companies meet with the union but the companies never really bargained ... They said there should be no changes in wages and working conditions - in spite of the fact that there had been substantial changes in many other industries and in spite of the fact that the steel industry is making very high profits ... About three weeks ago on March 20, the wage board recommended certain wage increases and certain changes in working conditions ... The Wage Board’s recommendations were less than the union thought they ought to have. Nevertheless, the union accepted them as a basis for settlement ... When you look into the matter, you find that the Wage Board’s recommendations were fair and reasonable ... The steel workers have had no adjustment in their wages since December 1, 1950. Since that time the cost of living has risen, and workers in such industries as automobiles, rubber, electrical equipment, and meat packing have received increases ranging from 13 to 17 cents an hour ... the steel industry has been lagging behind in these matters, and the improvements suggested by the Board are moderate.”
Truman went on and on in defense of the union’s actions but owners still resisted. So Harry nationalized the steel industry. The Supreme Court sided with the mill owners and against the president nevertheless - Youngstown Sheet & Tube co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952).
The union went on strike and the strike lasted 53 days and ended on July 24, 1952.
The steel mill owners it seems were happy to get their mills back and consequently they settled with the union. The union got pretty much what they had asked for, four month earlier.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Hobo Philosopher

Supply and Demand

By Richard E. Noble

I just bought 50 gallons of LP gas. It was half the price of the 50 gallons that I bought last time. It is now December, winter! The demand for home heating fuel is up. The price should have been higher. It was lower.
I filled my car with gasoline yesterday. It cost me half as much as it did a few months ago. The price for a barrel of oil is under 50 dollars. The Arabs have cut production, lowering the supply, but yet the price is going down.
John Kenneth Galbraith, decades ago, warned about putting too much faith in classical economic theories like supply and demand. He claimed that we didn’t really live in a capitalist system and that the market system was a misnomer. He described our system more appropriately as a corporate system. He wrote a book about the crash of 1929. I’ve recently read that book. Somebody should reprint it. It’s like deja vu all over again.
But in recent months I’ve learned about the stock market’s effect on supply and demand and prices. It seems that speculators can buy future commodities or commodity futures, or whatever they are called and with no change in either the supply or the demand they can change the whole price structure. Oil was 140 dollars per barrel and I am told that maybe 40-60 percent of that price could have been due to stock market speculators.
The Arabs and OPEC have cut production yet the price of oil at the pump and for the furnace is dropping. What’s going on? Have the speculators stopped speculating? A few months ago they were buying corn and rice futures and the prices were going up. It doesn’t seem to matter what the supply or the demand is. It is more important to know where the speculators are going to “bubble up” things next. Could it be that we have too many people with too much money?
Our domestic automobile companies are going to the government for help. Some politicians are suggesting that Toyota and Honda will be lining up next. How can they make automobiles and sell them when General Motors and Ford can’t? Don’t they deserve a kickback from the taxpayers too?
Well, from my reading they have already got their kickback. When they negotiated to build here, they got free land in many cases from the communities that they settled in. They were given tax immunity from the counties and states where they settled. They demanded that there be no unions in their plants.
I read an account by Robert Reich who was once Secretary of Labor. A Toyota plant was breaking the law with regard to labor practices. Robert Reich and a team of Washington labor experts rushed to the area to straighten out the situation. They told the manager of the plant to straighten up. The next day a big announcement appeared in the local newspaper. Toyota was going to close down their plant in this neighborhood due to harassment by the federal government. Reich and his team rushed out of town with their tales between their legs.
But what about federal taxes? Well, the Japanese import most of their parts from Japan. They only assemble their cars here in the U.S. Japan charges their American based plants substantially for these parts. Consequently their federal income taxes are low or non-existent. In some cases the American government may even owe them money.
Their executives defer their pays, and collect when they return to Japan in the form of pensions and bonuses. The only people paying taxes at the foreign car plants seem to be the American workers who assemble the cars there. On top of all that the Japanese government is involved in the finances of their companies.
The American car producers receive none of these benefits.
Whenever I go down to the post office, the lot is usually filled with SUVs and pickup trucks. I’ve even seen a few Hummers down there. Americans were buying these gas guzzlers just a short while ago. People have told me time and again that they wouldn’t buy a little car like the one I drive because they are not safe.
So now we hear that the paychecks and the retirement of the workers at the “domestic” production plant should be cut or forfeited.
Unions at their peak only represented 30 percent of the American labor force - today they are under 10 percent and dropping fast. It seems to me that there is more than supply and demand going on here.
If workers in our economic system cannot be paid living wages and in some cases “good” wages, then what good is our economic system? When it comes to labor, supply is virtually unlimited and demand almost always inadequate. We call it full employment in our system when over 10 million people are unemployed. And our chief defense against inflation is to layoff or fire employees. If capitalism only benefits the rich, the super wealthy and the corporate executives and the vast majority of people must live either in poverty or mediocrity then what good is the system? Where is the American dream? Maybe that is the answer. The American dream is a dream and only an attainable reality for the few and not the many. Maybe that is the way that it has always been, the majority only thought it to be otherwise.

“A Little Something”is R.E. Noble’s first book of poetry and it is now on sale at Amazon and locally at Downtown Books along with Hobo-ing America, A Summer with Charlie and Honor Thy Farther and Thy Mother. Richard Noble is a freelance writer who has lived here in Eastpoint for nearly 30 years.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Cocktail Sauce Syndrome

The Eastpointer

Cocktail Sauce Syndrome

Paved Roads and Telephone Poles

By Richard E. Noble
“Another example of the Cocktail Sauce Syndrome,” I mumble to my wife Carol as we sit and watch the nightly news.
“Exactly!” my wife will answer.
We met many, many years ago in a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale where I devised the original Cocktail Sauce Theory.
The Theory evolved from the General Manager of the restaurant chain that employed me.
This guy was a cocktail sauce fanatic. Every time he would walk into any of the chain’s thirty-seven family style seafood restaurants, he would pick up a platter from the waitress station then wander around to any unbussed (not yet cleared) table and gather up all the unused 1oz cocktail sauce containers.
He would then cart them over to the manager and give his usual speech. “You see this? Now these all would have gone into the garbage even though they are unused and unopened because nobody cares. Now you want to see that food cost of yours go down and get this restaurant making money? Save the cocktail sauce.”
I went into the office after closing time and sat down with all the cost and analysis sheets. I added up all the costs of the cocktail sauce that the restaurant used in one month.
If I didn’t give out any cocktail sauce to any of the customers, I could not lower the food cost even one point. It required, like a $2,000 drop in my cost per month to lower the food cost one point. I could run around all night gathering cocktail sauces and I wouldn’t accomplish poop. They wanted me to lower the food cost by about 20 points.
This was not very hard to figure out, I had to find some big expenses and cut them down and stop sweating the small stuff. And I did. I lowered the food cost in about six months by more than 20 points. When the general manager came in with my analysis figures he couldn’t believe it.
“What the heck did you do?” he asked.
I told him that I had all the waitresses saving the cocktail sauce.
He had me promoted shortly after that.
Now that brings me to paved roads and telephone poles.
They finally paved my road, against my will, and I have never estimated the cost but, way back then, when they finally paved it, there were probably ten or fifteen homes on my road - and they were all trailers. There wasn’t a regular house on the street. I will bet that they could have come up to each of us and gave us a million dollars each in place of paving that road.
People lately around here are saying, “Where did all my tax money go. I don’t see anything new around here.”
Well I do. There are paved roads everywhere. Even the Island had dirt roads when we first came here. And now all these paved roads have to be maintained and kept up and that’s only a half a million dollars a foot, instead of the original million dollars a foot.
Most everybody who came and settled here 20 and 30 years ago got the seafood poverty dividend. Things were for nothing around here compared to the rest of the coastline of America and all because Franklin County smelled bad.
When people came here to visit me they would say; What the heck is that smell. I’d tell them it was the spent oyster shells from the shucking houses and spoiled fish guts - this is a seafood town.
“How can you stand it?”
“Well the folks around here are all seafood workers and they made a choice a long time ago. They could either have oyster shells and fish guts and a livelihood, or they could have fancy-butts like you running around trying to clean everything up and complaining about the smell. They chose the fish guts and oyster shells.”
My friends would always laugh.
So in those days we had no paved roads, no fire plugs, no cable TV - no TV reception at all - in fact you could barely hear the local radio station while oystering out on Catpoint. And shortly before that there was no radio station at all.
There were very few rules and codes that anybody gave a darn about. And that was because poor people buy a piece of property because they are tired of paying rent, not because of its “curb appeal” or who lives next door. They are happy they finally were able to have a place to live rent free. They don’t even know the meaning of the word “equity” and they usually don’t care.
So the Cocktail Sauce Theory is that while everybody is sweating the small stuff, the big stuff kills ‘em.
Instead of taking jobs away from county workers, I would suggest that we stop paving roads for a couple or three years. Firing workers is not only tragic for the people who get fired but it hurts the local economy. Putting more people to work is the solution, not the problem.

“A Little Something”is R.E. Noble’s first book of poetry and it is now on sale at Amazon and locally at Downtown Books along with Hobo-ing America, A Summer with Charlie and Honor Thy Farther and Thy Mother. Richard Noble is a freelance writer who has lived here in Eastpoint for nearly 30 years.

Monday, December 01, 2008


Hitler and Conservatism

By Richard E. Noble

Making no appologies and accepting the notion that "Liberal" is to Communism and Socialism as "Conservatism" is to Nazism and Fascism, I took up the assignment of investigating and researching Aldolf Hitler many years ago. I did so because I wanted to know where my counrty was heading - and how I could prepare. I did this casually - I never realized how quickly the transformation would be upon us.
I have read many people accusing the Bush administration of Hitlerism. But how true is this accusation? I think that I have read and studied enough on the subject to write an objective and informed essay on such a comparison.
First, Adolf was an advocate for war. Adolf was pro-war. He was not a reluctant warrior. He was unabashedly in favor of conflict. He not only favored conflict as a method for solving politial problems, but for changing social conditions. To put it very bluntly, from Adolf perspective war was not only good but absolutely necessary. It fulfilled God's demands for the eventual perfection of the species; it built character in the individual; it turned boys into men; it promoted national unity and patriotism; it expanded the values of courage, honor and country; it gained the respect of the other nations of the world.
Many philosophers, kings, conquerors and rulers before Adolf felt exactly the same way - along with many of America's famous leaders and generals.
I think that the Bush administration here in the United States speaks a slightly softer rhetoric but I would have to say that philosophically they are in agreement. They believe in war and conflict as a means of resolving "problems." I think this is a bi-partizan policy. I think that both parties believe in war or aggression as a political tool. They disagree only on the technicalities - who, where and how - not whether we should or whether we shouldn't. And Like Adolf no one is concerned with whether it is ethically right or morally wrong. Politicians are already telling us that this will not be our last war either. No more are we fighting the war to end all wars. We are fighting this one as a learning experience and training ground for the next one.
I would say that Adolf was more of a purest in regard to war than president Bush. He approved of war and violence first in an idealistic way. He believed that he could bring "peace" through war. Once he controlled the world - he could then insure peace to the citizens of the world - as the Romans had done. He accused Woodrow Wilson of espousing the very same doctrine. Woodrow was going to make the world safe for Democracy - if you will remember. I have read other people who have quoted Ronald Reagan as saying the very same thing - peace through war.
I feel that Adolf liked war in and of itself. He felt that it was morally, philosophically, and ethically righteous - the fact that it could be economically beneficial and stimulating to the industrial development and general prosperity of the nation was important to his cohorts but secondary to him.
I think that the Bush administration has those same priorities but in reverse. But whatever, the behavior turns out the same.
Secondly, Adolf believed in militarism. He wanted to turn his nation into an armed camp. His idea for his State was rather Platonic - a la Plato's Republic. The soldier would be held first and in the highest esteem. Everybody in the nation would eventually be a soldier in one shape or another. Pure Arian women would breed children for the Fatherland - children would be "little soldiers." Adolf established military youth groups - our Boy Scouts was an offshoot of this notion. Adolf believed in a militarized State or nation. I would have to say that in the heart of every Conservative exists a similar notion. The idea of a draft or some sort of mandatory service to the State has not been mentioned too often recently. The "draft" has a rather turbulent history here in the United States and already those who oppose the idea are organizing. But if the conservative notion that all that is needed in Iraq is more troops and victory is at hand - I think that it could very easily be re-instated especially in a Republican dominated legislature.
But all through our nation the police state has been growing. We have a whole Central American country housed in our prisons today. No country in the world today has more people in their prisons than we do here in the land of the free. And the emphasis on rehabilitation and humane treatment is getting less and less. Americans want to punish criminals. We have prisons now in the United States that are housing prisoners in tents, providing inadequate health and dietary needs, promoting violence and indecency. The American people are agreeing to this on the grounds that a prisoner should not have better living and social conditions than the lowest of the law-abiding. So as the social conditions of the law-abiding drop due to unemployment and poor economic policy the conditions inside our prisons get worse and worse. One day soon we may be providing the setting for the re-make of the movie "The Midnight Express" or "The Gulag Archipelago."
Americans now believe that there are certain criminal types that are incorrigible and incurable and do not deserve a second chance. People who have drinking and drug problems and end up killing someone are held in the same regard as employees of Murder Inc. or thought of as similar to a perverted serial killer. Many people are serving life sentences in our prisons for multiple petty theft crimes - three strikes and you're out. In fact 80% of those in our prisons are there because of drug related crimes.
Adolf Hitler felt exactly the same but he carried his conservatives a step further. He felt that supporting incorrigible, anti-social individuals with taxpayer’s dollars was a waste of decent people's money. Eventually he turned his prisons into work camps and finally added incinerators to expedite the disposal and eradication of these type people. As time went on he expanded on the types to be considered incorrigible. Eventually the disposable included gypsies (homeless?), mentally ill, homosexual, radical, communist, various religious types, union organizers, prostitutes, the retarded, non-producers of all sorts - and of course you all know about the Jews.
Prisons under conservative regimes have been known to foster a tendency for people to "disappear." You will remember not too long ago in Argentina, mothers were holding pictures of their sons and daughters who "disappeared." Militarism and disappearing seem to go hand in hand.
We have recently been exposed to people "disappearing" here in the U.S - people who were citizens; people who had businesses or jobs; people who were professionals.
Our current administration has just admitted to hiding people in foreign countries - of course these people were deemed to be international terrorists. But nevertheless the comparison to Hitlerism can not be avoided. Granted Hitler was a bad guy and our leaders are good guys. But when the behavior for the bad guys and the good guys is the same, how do us simple children know good from evil? Obviously we must make our white hats whiter and our black hats blacker.
In the future we will justifiably increase our police, our intelligence, and our "homeland" security guards all over America. I, like you, agree with all of this - but really do we have to call it "homeland" security. "Homeland" and "Fatherland" are just too heil Hitler-ish for me.
The Jews are building a wall along their northern border and we are building one along our southern border and the last report on Baghdad a wall is being planned there also. You know it didn't seem all that long ago that at least once a week I was seeing an old flim clip of Ronald Reagan saying; "Mr. Gorbachev, take down this wall." I haven't seen that clip for awhile lately. I don't mean to sound paranoid but is something happening here?
Militarism ... inordinate adulation for soldiers, huge military industrial complex expenditures; maximum moneys for bombs and bullets and minimal allocation for health and education. Extreme patriotism ...
In Nazi Germany, German soldiers would gather around a table of citizens in a restaurant; they would then start in singing the German national anthem. If the people at the table didn't join in they would interrupt their song long enough to pounce on the diners and beat the hell out of them.
I saw an American on the TV the other day. He was traveling around the country painting American flags on the roofs of buildings. He said that he didn't think that any country could have too much patriotism.
During the Nazi period in Germany the German people were willing to kill anybody and everybody in the name of the Fatherland. This may seem bold of me, but I think that is a little too much patriotism.
Osama bin Laden may not have a Country so I guess that we can not call what his followers feel patriotism. He claims to be fighting for the "Arab Nation" - wherever that is. But whatever it is that you would like to call this type of loyalty or devotion that gives people permission to kill and destroy anybody and everybody - I think that it is a little bit too much of something. You can call it whatever you like. It is really difficult to distinguish between the philosophy of Osama bin Laden and the philosophy of necessary "collateral damage." In fact, if I am not mistaken, these fundamentalists Arab terrorists use this Western tradition established so vividly at Dunkirk and Hiroshima as a basis for their reasoning. Adolf Hitler believed in all out war. Unfortunately all out war can go both ways. Today the Conservatives are debating the necessities of the Geneva Conventions - even torture - this point of view is fundamental Hitlerism
Militarism ... I read any number of comparisons on this idea but the last one was the most dramatic, I thought. The author stated that the United States spends more on it military budget than all the rest of the world combined.
I don't want to sound like Andy Rooney here, but I think that's too much. Couldn't we at least cut back to half as much as the rest of the world combined? Yes we may have to invade fewer countries because we don't have the means - but let's share this responsibility with some of the other free and conscientious countries of the world.
I would also say if we are not a militaristic state - we are certainly spending enough to be one.
Third ... torture? Adolf believed in torture, but torture has been a fundamental of the established conservative order for as far back into history as you want to go.
After World War II Allen Dulles and cohorts incorporated Reinhard Gehlen and a host of other german nazi war criminals into our intelligence network and eventually into our CIA. Today's conservatives believe in torture - as conservatives always have.
Reinhard Gehlen probably retired at the expense of American taxpayers. He lived a long and happy life as a part of U.S. intelligence - most likely training our boys and girls in the CIA to torture and interrogate Nazi-style. To incorporate these types into our intelligence system was a conservative program - torture and American conservatism are nothing new. You can read the memoirs of General Reinhard Gehlen in a book entitled "The Service" published by the World Publishing Company in 1972.
Of course we all know that Adolf had no problem with torturing people. I can honestly say that I would never have thought that I would see the day that a president of the United States of America would be making the case for this country's right to torture people - any people - on national TV. I may be naive but I thought that we were above such behavior. The Japs and the Kruts did that type shit - not America. But, argues Alan Dersherwitz - a man who claims to be a JEW of all peoples - torture in the name of saving lives is justifiable. This man is a famous "liberal" lawyer. I must say Alan, a Clarence Darrow you are not. A Francis Bacon you very well may be but a Clarence Darrow you certainly are not.
When we declare torture as legitimate practice for U.S. interrogators does not the conservative and the liberal sympathizer have to look into his Mein Kampf and take a deep breath? Please ... give me a break!
Hitler actually gave lectures to his troops the goal of which was to immunize his soldiers to the necessity for brutality. Killing and brutalizing the enemy was good and necessary, Hitler explained. Jews for example were not to be considered as human beings. They were to be classified as parasites and vermin. They were plague carriers. Therefore no German soldier should feel any guilt in torturing or brutalizing any Jew - women, children and babies included.
As time went on this immunization was carried over to consider all enemies - internal and external. These people were all needless and unnecessary - consequently expendable. Adolf went so far as to tell his soldiers that they were doing the work of the Creator whose goal it was to eventually breed the perfect human species. So eliminating the imperfect was doing God's work on earth.
This is not too far off from the present conservative Evagelical notion that to bring on World War III and therefore precipitate the return of Jesus Christ and the destruction of all sinners is a good thing and a part of God's plan. In effect, right wing Christian Evangelicalism is certainly the stepbrother to Nazism. And I seriously doubt if Jesus Christ would have anything to do with any of this business.
Unfortunately this did not work. It seems that many German soldiers were having mental breakdowns from being forced to kill or machine-gun too many innocent or unarmed people. Adolf then went into training super loyal, super patriot killer squads. These soldiers followed the invasion forces and then dealt with the mass exterminations after an area was occupied.
This was followed by new scientific techniques to more efficiently exterminate people with a minimal of German soldiers participating.
Hitler believed in "all out" war. The only rule of war was winning. If you win the war, you will write the history books and you will tell the world what happened. If you lose then clearly you were not God's chosen elect. If you lose then you were wrong. If you win then whatever you chose to do will be justified. The goal of a nation at war is then to concentrate solely on winning - no talk or actions to the contrary should be tolerated.
Hitler was even annoyed that the German press printed love letters from home from the wives and sweethearts of the men on the front lines during World War I. He accused them of a kind of treason through ignorance.
So we have Hitler and our conservative agenda ... 1) War is good; 2) Militarism and the expansion of the military are the policy; a) expand domestic security - police etc.; make prisons harsher; 3) torture is good. a) immunize the soldiers and the general public to cruelty, killing and the nobility of dying in battle for their Fatherland and later for the Fuehrer.

The Burning of the Reistag and 9-11.
The Reistag burnt down mysteriously. The Reistag was the Capital Building, the seat of the German Government. This horrified the German people. It was like the Pentagon had been bombed - can you imagine! A great symbol of the German society had been destroyed by some crazy "terrorists." This convinced the German people that their tolerance and understanding of radical groups had gotten out of hand. An internal crackdown was necessary. This led to the accepted establishment of a German police state and purges of Adolf personal and political enemies.
As it turned out Hitler himself may have authorized the burning of the Reistag for the very purpose that he had planned. Now he would have the support of the "masses" to eliminate all opposition; to arrest anyone he wanted; to remove restrictions on the police and enhance state control of the nation. And that is exactly what he did. Who would believe that anyone could be this cleaver or nefarious? But history is full of such examples - Nero, Caligula, to mention just a couple.
So far only a few extremists have accused the Bush administration of being complicit in the destruction of the Twin Towers but a recent poll indicated that 32% of Americans believe that the U.S. Government was somehow involved in the catastrophe of the Twin Towers for the sake of precipitating a war.
Could it be possible? Well, there is certainly more circumstantial evidence in associating the Bush family and the Conservative movement and the Republican Party with Arab Terrorist than there ever was in associating Franklin D. Roosevelt with Japan or the Axis powers. Yet at least four investigations were held investigating the Roosevelt administration during World War II. There were additional investigations after the war and accusations are still being made today by authors, writers and journalists.
I hesitate to even venture an opinion on such an inflammatory accusation but that the 9-11 event is being used to instill fear in the general public for the purpose of increasing state and police power is obvious. Not only is the state and police power being advanced but "rights" long regarded as unalienable by the American people are being abandoned - wiretapping, spying, unauthorized search and seizures, torture, the right to a fair trial and to be confronted by your accusers; the sanctity of one's home; to be informed of the charges and the evidence against you; denial of rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
The abandonment of the Bill of Rights as something only tolerable during times of peace is being proffered by the administration directly to the American people - and they are accepting it. This may be the most blatant attack on the fundamental principles on which this government was founded than ever before in the history of this nation.
Preemptive striking of an enemy.
Of course Adolf Hitler was a proponent of preemptive striking. He believed in out right aggression and defended this notion of the survival of the fittest in his book Mein Kampf. But even he was not as bold as the Bush administration.
Adolf provided the world excuses for his initial aggressions. He made up stories of German citizens being harassed or of territories really belonging to the German people in the first place. In one incident he actually took German prison inmates to a desired invasion site; dressed them in German military uniforms and then executed them and left their bodies at the site. He then put their pictures in the paper and told his people and the world of the terrible atrocity that had been perpetrated against the "Homeland" and the German people.
This administration simply announced their right to strike preemptively - and then did it. Even Adolf Hitler didn't have that kind of balls - at least until Poland anyway.
The American people were then told by several TV apologists that the U.S. had always had a preemptive strike policy and what the present administration had done was nothing new or unusual.
Preemptive striking prior to the present administration referred to our response to a possible nuclear attack. In other words if the U.S. detected that there were nuclear missiles on their way to our shore - we would launch a response before these missiles even landed. This would be termed preemptive because we would technically not have been attacked ... yet.
It did not mean that we could strike out at another nation because we were suspicious that they were planning an attack against us or because we thought that they would attack us if they had the capacity - and certainly not because of the opinion that the world would be a better place without "their kind."
In the cold war with Russia we had a policy of mutual destruction - not a preemptive strike. What were we supposed to do; "Wait until we see a mushroom cloud?" Ahh ... kind of. Yeah, that was the plan - wait until we saw the rockets coming anyway. In today's world we would say that would be too late - we should attack Russia immediately. We didn't do that and no one said it - at least not publicly.
An act of this nature (preemptive) has always been considered an act of aggression. It was in accordance with this notion of aggression - the one who strikes first is the aggressor - that we convicted the Nazi leadership at Nuremberg after World War II. In fact, it was at these Nuremberg trials that it was decided for the first time in all human history that he who strikes first would be considered the aggressor and that such an act of aggression would be a violation of international law.
It was the United States of America that paid for and orchestrated these trials at Nuremberg - supposedly to define for the world once and for all who is the guilty party in a war.
We and our allies executed many of the remaining German elite on the charge of initiating a war of aggression. It was decided by studying documents that the German leadership had planned, orchestrated and initiated a war of aggression and they were found guilty and executed.
When the Bush leadership says that they preemptively attacked another country and they were wrong and had acted on inadequate information, I find it very difficult to believe that the American judges at Nuremberg would have accepted any such excuse from Herman Georing or any of the other defendants back in 1946. But, we have always believed that a man is innocent until proven guilty in this country - but I don't know if that still counts in this 9-11 "new world." But are there grounds for prosecuting the present administration for starting a war of aggression under international law?
I would say if the present American leadership is ever brought to trial on this regard - things do look bad for the "good" guys. They certainly cannot deny that they initiated the attack. It has been plainly recorded in all the newspapers. But they may have one ace in the hole. From the way this war has been conducted it may be difficult for the prosecution to prove that this war had been "planned." The Germans were convicted for initiating and "planning" a war of aggression against Poland. Having no plan or a stupid plan may not be an excuse but it is worth a try.
Hitler also believed as a point of leadership that any decision was better than no decision. Even a wrong decision was better than vacillation or making no decision at all, according to Adolf.
I think that when Mr. Rumsfeld said; You go to war with the army that you have, not the army you wish you had - He was agreeing with Adolf's idea of any decision is better than no decision. And when we consider that we have no exit strategy; we don't have adequate forces; we didn't anticipate that the Iraqi people might not look at us as "liberators"; that we didn't anticipate a gorilla war once we got to Baghdad; that we could go it alone if we had to; that we might unite the terrorists; that disgruntled Arabs might then attack Israel; that Russia, China, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon and whoever might work against us if things didn't work quickly; that our boys didn't need armor under there vehicles; that depleted Uranium could kill our soldiers as well as theirs; that maybe our young people would stop joining the military because they can't go to college if their dead; that we don't have the money to sustain a never ending war; that we can't afford to take care of all the injured and damaged who return home; that we would make our oil dependency problem even worse; that violence begets more violence ... you can continue, I'm tired.
On the other hand Adolf was an extreme nationalist. He believed in Germany for Germans. In fact, he believed in the whole world for Germans - eventually. He believed in good wages for German workers; he believed in full employment; he believed in health care and education for all Germans; he sponsored paid vacations and free holiday cruises for business and their employees; he didn't believe in homeless Germans; when Adolf substituted "foreigners" in his factories they didn't replace German workers at lower wages. They were prisoners or "undesirables" who were worked to death in order to make life easier for Germans. Adolf did not believe in birth control. On the contrary - he encouraged German motherhood and it mattered very little if the mother was married or not. If she was German she and her baby were paid and cared for by the state. He encouraged German businesses to work for the betterment of the German state and the German people. He hated "internationalism." He would not be a fan of the "Global Economy" - nor would he participate in any "Free Trade" agreement that undercut the Homeland. If it didn't benefit Germany and the German people, he didn't do it.
Neither of our two political parties would be considered Hitler-like in any of the above.
Adolf as we all know did not like the Jews. He considered the Jews to be an international pariah. Although he criticized the Jews for not having a homeland, he did not care much for the idea of Zionism. He considered a Jewish homeland to be nothing more than a pirate’s hideaway - a place where the Jews could hide their ill gotten gains.
I don't think that either of our political parties could be considered to be against Zionism or the nation State of Israel. Although I have just finished reading a book entitled, the Secret War Against the Jews, which attempts to make that very case. I suppose that the authors of this book might equate the current situation to be a roundabout venture by the U.S. to unite the entire Arab world against the Jews - which would have a certain amount of credibility. As far as I can see though the general opinion is the exact opposite. If anything, it may be that the American people are of the opinion that the U.S. government is too cozy with the state of Israel at the moment.
Adolf had a bitter hatred for the press. He not only censored the press but eventually he took over the press. It does seem that the Nazis invented the word propaganda. I interpret this word "propaganda" to be what is referred to today as "spin." Propaganda would also be the leaking of false information. It could also be the misdirection or falsification of information (intelligence). It could also be the suppression of true information. The controlling of the news, the press, and information in general was a foundation stone of Nazism.
Conservatives have always had this same animosity - especially during a war. The British conservatives went bonkers when William Howard Russell, the first war correspondent, started sending his dispatches from the Crimea in Russia back to the British press. His version of the "Charge of the Light Brigade" was not nearly as romantic, patriotic or heroic as Rudyard Kipling's version. The British people were shocked at the ineptness of their military leadership and other facts of the war. Not only hadn't the British government sent any doctors or nurses, the soldiers didn't even have bandages. The whole war was a sad story of ineptitude and bad planning.
This administration has been criticized as the least accessible and most antagonistic to the press, possibly in all of American history. That is a pretty rugged statement when we consider the Nixon administration. But it does seem to be true. The so called "embedded" press in these present invasions is credited with doing a horrid job of reporting; though they are getting great marks for "propaganda." Even with no pictures of blood or dead bodies, and no returning caskets of American soldiers the conservatives are still complaining that not enough "positive" images of the wars are being reported.
At home we are indulging every type of illegal search and seizure; every type of spying on civilians; confiscations of property, secret arrests; reporters being discharged, staged press conferences, phony questioners and questions, administration officials being fired or being forced to resign, and most recently the president’s appeal to the people to approve of torture as a necessary tool for interrogators.
To say the least the current administrations attitude and tactics towards the press could very easily be considered Hitler or Nazi-like.
Hitler did not put the rights of the individual or of religion ahead of the state. The rights of the State trumped all in Hitlerland. If the State made a law and you felt that this law was against your natural right as a human being or your faith in a Supreme Being - you lose. Order came first in Hitlerland.
In America this view is rapidly on the rise. People are once again challenging anyone's right to take the Fifth Amendment or to refuse a polygraph, or to allow their person or home to be searched, or to testify against themselves, or even the admissibility of a forced confession. I have been reading a good deal of American history in the last few years but I do not find that the American people have ever in the past acted this cowardly in the face of any danger. This may once again be a first for America.
So to re-cap our comparison of Hitler and conservatism: We have War - not merely necessary but good; militarism is the desired state policy; torture is necessary; slanted propaganda is "fair play"; Police state is desirable for security and order; freedom of the press is a ridiculous notion - censorship is mandatory; complete state control is even better; patriotism to the point of elitism and racism is the "way things should be"; 9-11 and the burning of the Reistag - suspicious to say the least; Prisons should be more brutal and fearful - rehabilitation of diseased, sick minds is a waste of taxpayers money; War reporting should be totally of a positive and patriotic nature; any decision is better than no decision
Where Adolf differs from present day conservatives: Adolf favored "nationalism" and opposed "internationalism"; Adolf favored good jobs, good education and good health care for German workers. To Adolf the German people came first - to American conservatives the American people come last. Republicans have now adopted the old Tom Payne liberal adage - We are citizens of the world.
Now let's continue. Adolf as I said hated the international minded. He considered "internationalism" synonymous with treason. In fact he placed it all as a part of the "International Jew Conspiracy.” He more than likely got this notion from that American hero Henry Ford. For those of you who may not be aware, Henry Ford was an avid anti-Semite. He published a book in the 1920s entitled "the International Jew" which he had disseminated all over the world. But consequently Adolf was very strong on German domestic production. He supported the business community one hundred percent. Initially he didn't like the stock market, banking, or capitalism in general - but as time went on he came around. He had to, because as he rose in power it was these very capitalists who were buttering his bread.
Hitler loved entrepreneur-ship and individual wealth and control. He was very much in favor of the "One Great Man" idea. He did have one criticism of Big Business which I read about in William Manchester's "The Arms of Krupp." It seems that Mr. Krupp was not only manufacturing bombs and bullets for the domestic market but was also selling them to Germany's enemies or potential future enemies. Hitler actually considered such a practice treasonous.
Most Conservatives today consider this practice as simply good business or at the least unavoidable. But Hitler in his naiveté thought selling weapons and technology to the enemy to be unpatriotic. He supposedly tried to get Mr. Krupp to stop doing it. He went to talk with Mr. Krupp personally, claims Mr. Manchester. Krupp supposedly told Hitler that he would sell his weapons and technology to anyone he damn well pleased and if Mr. Hitler didn't like it, he (Mr. Krupp) would move his entire armament operation to Soviet Russia. We have almost no - and very possibly none - of our large corporations who are not international - usually receiving more of their profit and revenue from foreign investments.
Supposedly Hitler negotiated a compromise and convinced Mr. Krupp to only sell last year's "models" to the enemy and this year's models to Germany. This seems to be the present day U.S. policy but, of course, most of our defense contractors have already moved the bulk of their operations to foreign countries - labor cost being so much more reasonable. I have also read that this has been done for "strategic" reasons also - we don't want to have all our eggs in one basket, it is claimed.
So though the American people pay dearly for their arms and arm technology - most of the related job employment has been shipped over seas - Americans still get to be the soldiers though. Many Americans think this to be a benefit. I would personally rather have the armament jobs performed in this country by Americans and the soldiering farmed out to foreign countries - but that is just my opinion. I think that making the bullets is much safer and more lucrative than shooting them. But then again I was never much of a one for soldiering.
So Hitler liked and supported the business community much like our present day conservatives. The difference being Hitler supported the "national" defense by employing the workers and industrialists of his nation - not the international, Global economy - at least where he had the power to do so.
Hitler not only believed in "Peace through War"; he also believed in "Wealth through War." Hitler and his associates were salting themselves away a personal fortune. When reading about Hitler and his friends one seriously has to wonder if all their aggressive behavior was not a matter of their personal desire to amass wealth and fortune. This was once the goal of all great conquerors. It is said that even as late a Napoleon the promise to the soldiers was the opportunity for rape, pillage and plunder. Hitler and his friends were certainly in favor of pillage and plunder.
Form what one reads in the newspapers the present administration and friends could very well be of a similar mind set. We have Halliburton, Unical, Zapata oil and a host of "Privatization" war technologists who seem to be doing very well lately. In any case, the days for our presidents ending up bankrupt in their post presidential years seems to have died out with a few of the early forefathers.
U.S. Grant, a good Republican tried his best - but it seems with all his military wit, wisdom and courageousness, he still managed to go bankrupt. It seems that he had a good mind for war but not for business - very un-Republican of him.
Most people do not think of Adolf Hitler and God or religion but Adolf was certainly messianic. He was born a Roman Catholic. He mentions the Creator, the Prince of Peace, Divine Providence, and the Divine Plan in Mein Kampf. Their is no doubt that he felt himself to be fulfilling The Creator's Divine Plan here on earth; he was fulfilling Nature; he was purifying the races; he was "inspired"; he heard "voices" and felt intuitive inspiration. He never claimed to be an atheist or an agnostic. Adolf was a believer and not a non-believer. I remember no reference in Mein Kampf to any particular religion - but Adolf was certainly a believer. He felt himself to be inspired and to be doing the work of the Creator. In this respect he is certainly in line with the present conservative leadership and the conservative movement.
Elitist vs. Populist
This is another one of those confusing areas. As I see it, Adolf preached an elitist philosophy that had a resounding appeal to all class levels of the German population. He was not a "populist" preaching "demagoguery" in any American politically comparative interpretation. He was not a man of, from and by the people. He was not "Mr. Citizen." He was not Harry Truman or William Jennings Bryan or even Huey Long as I see it. He was no Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was not for the common man. He was without doubt a "trickle down" kind of a guy. He appealed to all the various classes of the German people because the German people for the most part were all elitist who considered themselves to be superior to the rest of the human race - any German of the lowest rank was superior to the best of any other race or society.
In this respect the present administration and the present conservative movement is exactly the same. Certainly George W. Bush and the present conservative movement appeals to the same type and class of individuals as did Adolf Hitler. They think of themselves as superior, hard working, patriotic, pragmatic, unsympathetic, stern, disciplined, self-sufficient, self-made, persevering, members of the elect ruling class and deserving of all they have and everything they may stumble upon in the future. They are the ultimate in individualism. "There, but for the grace of God go I," is not a part of their understanding.
But as with Adolf Hitler they are "plain folk" who consider George W. to be a "regular" guy. The kind of a guy that they would like to sit around and drink beer with; he's the Mr. Malaprop of the presidency; he's the guy-next-door president; the common American supposedly feels one with George W. Clearly today’s American conservative is very much like the "regular guy" in Hitler's Germany.
This is the same type of popularism that Adolf had. It is just that no German citizen thought of himself as a "regular guy." Adolf spoke for the "regular" German. It is just that the "regular" German was elitist at heart. This is very much the same in the conservative movement of today in America. Conservatives today speak elitist, authoritarian, dogmatism in a very common every day manner.

Unionism
Adolf spoke out of both sides of his mouth when it came to the "working man" and unionism. The first group that he attacked when he got into power was the unions. He shut them down; he wrecked their offices and burnt their files and put their leaders in prison - or killed them on the spot. The present day conservative and the conservative movement have done much the same thing only in a much more sophisticated manner. The last stage of the American anti-labor movement took control immediately after the death of FDR. Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bushwacked II - I don't think anyone can find any real labor heroes in that group. Even the Labor unions that survived into the second half of the 20th century were not workingman unions. The AFL was elitist. Samuel Gompers stood up more for the business community than he did for the working community. John L. Lewis of the CIO was a Republican - need any more be said. The Teamsters were gangsters and Mafioso. Labor unions in today's United States are either dead or dying. Public support for unions is nil to nothing. Everybody whether they are right or left, young or old have the same single phrase when it comes to unions in this country; "The Unions at one time were good but then they went sour and in today's world they aren't necessary." And I suppose that they won't be necessary until the middleclass is in the dumpsters with the lower class; then we may see some turning around. As more and more Americans loose their good jobs and their retirement promises and their health care and insurance benefits we may then start to see some sort of a gradual return. But the business community has become a lot smarter and they certainly have not lost their ruthlessness - it will be extremely difficult for the union movement to ever rise again. It is going to take some creative imagination and some new ideas by those who are so inclined to help reverse this type of deterioration.
No unions were allowed in Germany after Adolf. Unions were built, controlled and organized by Jews according to Adolf. They were destroyed not because they were unions but because they were a part of the Jewish Conspiracy. Of course everyone that Adolf didn't like was a part of the Jewish Conspiracy.
Another fundamental of Hitlerism was the principle of the consolidation of your enemies.
Adolf as I just finished stating had very little respect for the common man - the masses. He felt that they were basically stupid and could not grasp a complicated enemy. He advised his Kampf that all of their enemies should be consolidated under one title. And all the problems of the society should be accredited to this one simple to understand group. Adolf chose as his symbol for everything evil and troublesome - The Jew. Adolf was truly unique in this regard. He had Jews everywhere. He had the hated rich Jew capitalist up in the window of his successful factory, cheering the Jew labor leader down in the factory yard who was inciting a strike. The Jewish capitalist didn't really care about all the money that he was losing because of the labor strike - because the main goal of the International Jew was to promote chaos and discord. The International Jew's main goal was to collapse and undermine the stability of all nations so that they could eventually rule the world.
The conservatives unfortunately do not have the International Jew these days - instead they have the Liberal. The American Liberal like the Hitler International Jew is all hated things under one simple heading. Liberals are traitors; liberals are cowards; liberals are social deviants who want to undermine the basic principles of the established society. Liberals hate God; they hate women, and liberal women hate men; liberals even hate themselves.
Just as Adolf was able to place every hated thing under the dog-tag of the Jew, so today the conservative has categorized the Liberal. Liberal is a bad word in today's American Society. Even Liberal's won't admit to being Liberal any more.
Amazingly, with the fall of Communism, Liberals have even become today’s fascists. Once upon a time the Liberals were Communist and the Conservatives were Fascists. You would think that when the Communists collapsed the Liberal would have collapsed with it but no; the Conservatives went from fascists to patriots and the Liberal went from Communist to Fascists. There should be absolutely no doubt who inherited Adolf's propaganda gene. But Adolf claimed to learn the techniques of propaganda from the capitalists warmongers; and I must admits the capitalist warmongers still maintain the edge in this field.
It should go without saying that Adolf believed in a "Secret Agenda." The general public had no need to know anything other than what Adolf thought was best for them. This notion is still basic conservative policy.
Adolf was not a fan of Thomas Jefferson in this respect. There was no amendment protecting the public's right to free speech in Nazi Germany.
Conservative's today certainly do not believe that an informed public is the best safeguard for a democratic society. They believe in secrecy - they believe that even the truth is not absolutely necessary, especially when half the truth would be sufficient and more acceptable to the "common people."
Adolf was a conservative and many of today's conservatives have great difficulty in distinguishing their philosophy from that of Adolf. Not too long ago we had David Duke running for something. Many of my Republicans friends and associates thought that he had many good points - although they didn't agree with his "basic racism."
Conservatism was not born of Fascism or Nazism - but Nazism and Fascism were born of conservatism. There is no doubt about that.
The Eastpointer

Poverty and the New Depression

By Richard E. Noble


When my wife and I rented our first apartment together, it had no furniture. Our first purchases as a new couple was not a living room suite or a kitchen dinette, it was a set of carpenter tools. We bought a circular saw, an electric drill, hammers and nails. Neither of us had ever built anything but very quickly we had a kitchen table, a bed and a chair - and my wife built them with very little help from me. She is a "builder-bee." If you give her three consecutive days to rest and think - she starts building something.
But this type of practical creativeness is what has been the driving force behind our entire lives together. We didn't sit around dreaming about what life would be like if we only had more money. We asked ourselves how we could do what we wanted to do with the money we had.
Next we were off in a homemade or "Carol-made" van camper touring America. One of our big problems on this adventure was eating. How do you eat food everyday with very little money? We lived while on the road with a combined gross income of less than $5,000 per year.
One of our creative innovations was with purchasing meat. We decided that we would search each grocery store in every new town and make something out of whatever was selling for the cheapest price at the meat counter. This experience led to the possibility of a new and different cookbook. We were going to entitle it "One Hundred and One Different Ways to Cook Chicken Necks." Have you ever eaten a sliced bar-b-que chicken gizzard sandwich? Actually it isn't bad.
My wife had never eaten a beef kidney. How do you cook one, she wondered. Being an old butcher, I had the standard reply - It's easy, you just boil the pee out of it, honey.
While camping on an American Indian reservation in Arizona we ate kidney mutton chops and roast mutton leg for a week. Mutton is an adult lamb. It tastes like lamb but much more so. The Indians raised sheep - any cut of mutton in their grocery store was 69 cents a pound.
Then we discovered fishing. In my big city environment many people fished but they never caught anything editable. My wife bought one of those $3.99 rod and reels one day when we were camped on this beautiful lake in Kentucky. By the end of the day she came walking back to the camper with a whole stringer of crappie - I couldn't believe it. I immediately upgraded the budget to include fishing poles and artificial baits. We ate free fish all over America.
As professional fruit pickers we never ran out of fruits and vegetables - or orange juice. Every farmer, no matter what his cash crops, always had a vegetable garden - and they were always willing to share with the helpers.
In Eastpoint as "oyster people" we ate a lot of oysters, shrimp, fish and crabs. I think we had a few years where we never ate a hamburger or a beef steak.
Our little ice cream parlor in Carrebelle was also a personal act of individual creativity. Initially Carol built all the tables and counters. We knocked down walls and hollowed out closets.
But the real creativity came once we got open. When you have a simple idea that takes imagination and very little money, it sounds good - but it's not. The trouble with having an idea that takes very little money and a bunch of beginner imagination is that once you do it and everybody sees it, then they can do it too.
After a couple of years of making practically no profit and fending off a host of copycats, we were almost ready to give up. But once again our poverty creativeness kicked in and we devised a plan. We cut our loses by closing down every winter. We weren't making enough money in Carrebelle to pay the light bill during the winter. We actually made more money closing up shop.
While we were closed we changed the entire store - inside and out. Every year when our old customers came back, our store was different and our menu was different. It was a lot of work for Carol and me but it kept us "new" every year and it kept our competitors hopping.
I must admit, I was quite proud of my wife. By the end of each season she would be so frustrated and tired that I wouldn't have blamed her if she just gave up. But all winter long she just kept thinking up new things to do next year. I really think that she liked making the changes better than running the business.
As I sit here thinking all of this over, it occurs to me that our whole life has been one big creative experience. For the most part it has been a continuous effort to adjust, adapt or try and beat the odds, but what else can you do when all you have is your dreams?
We're both getting a little frustrated with "dreaming" at this stage of our lives. We're supposed to have "something" by now. But I sometimes think the real challenge for us today and maybe for all older people is trying to keep those dreams alive - no more dreams, no more life!

“A Little Something”is R.E. Noble’s first book of poetry and it is now on sale at Amazon along with Hobo-ing America, A Summer with Charlie and Honor Thy Farther and Thy Mother. Richard Noble is a freelance writer who has lived here in Eastpoint for nearly 30 years.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rice Cakes - Yummy, Yummy





The Hobo Philosopher

Rice Cakes – Yummy, Yummy.

By Richard E. Noble


My wife, over the past 30 years, has probably been on every diet known to mankind. For the first 15 or 20 years I went along with her. I've eaten almost anything in the name of fidelity and loyalty. But in recent years I have become a follower of Omar Khayyam. Omar's bible is the Rubaiyat. You know ... A loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and thou; Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you die.
I don't know exactly what it was that my wife did that brought me to my first serious reading of Omar Khayyam's the Rubaiyat but I think it was the rice cakes.
A rice cake was the first food product that ever made me regret eating. I found myself, not only reluctant, but annoyed by the act of chewing. For the first time in my life I truly understood how hunger could be a bad thing. The rice cake is a food engineering failure. Those scientists who work at the artificial, commercial, synthetic food laboratory are true geniuses. They can make cardboard edible and even digestible and most of the time they can make almost anything taste like chocolate. But they failed with the rice cake.
As I was chewing my first rice cake my brain was asking my mouth; What is going on here? Aren't we supposed to be spitting this out? My teeth and tongue had a slowdown strike. My stomach, small intestine and duodenum went into a huddle. The conclusion that they arrived at was a question that they forwarded to my brain. Their e-mail said; If this guy decides to start eating mud, AstroTurf, or plastic wrap are we required to digest it? Do we have any rights here?
It seems to me that along with an immune system and all those other involuntary type things we have going on in our bodies there should be a this-is-repulsive system.
I started putting peanut butter, jam, jelly and real butter on my rice cakes but somehow the rice cake was able to contaminate even these few of my favorite things. I tried to wash it down with a cold Miller's. Can you imagine going to a bar and instead of peanuts they put rice cakes on the bar for snacking?
A rice cake is an anti-food. It can annihilate other food and destroy a person’s desire to eat. If you eat only rice cakes you will die. Rice cakes drink all the water in your body, dehydrate your internal organs and then kill you.
I have read that they are working on a spinach flavored rice cake. These people are sick.
I think that I could eat a cup of uncooked, bleached, white flour and enjoy it more than eating a rice cake.
In Japan they have made eating into a suicide sport. They eat these fish that are poisonous and will kill you but they eat just a little so that they can dangle on the edge of life and death. They like to feel the "tingle" of the unknown - the hand of eternity on their shoulder. If I was the manufacturer of rice cakes, I would send them to Japan. In Japan eating is "to die for." Eating rice cakes might become a competitive spot in Japan.
Has anybody thought of a rice cake tossing festival? Are rice cakes biodegradable? I'll bet rice cakes don't go bad. If you made a bird feeder out of rice cakes, I'll bet no bird would touch it. My cats won't eat rice cakes. For that matter I'll bet that rice cakes don't grow mold. I think rice cakes are a bi-product of Styrofoam. I don't believe that rice cakes are really a food.
I think if you handed out bags of rice cakes to the starving around the world, the poor would lie down on the bare ground, cover themselves with the rice cakes and die. Either that or they would bust all the rice cakes open hoping to find food inside.
Compared to rice cakes soy protein burgers are delicious. I even tried frying rice cakes in bacon fat and mixing them with scrambled eggs and melted cheese. Even the dog wouldn't eat it.
I've been thinking of bringing rice cakes to the nursing home. Old people can find a use for anything - plastic bags, used aluminum wrappers, old string, paper clips, plastic bottles, oyster shells, maybe the old people could do something creative with rice cakes.
Hey what about powdered rice cakes on a fire ant hill?

“A Little Something” is R.E. Noble’s first book of poetry and it is now on sale at Amazon and locally at Downtown Books along with Hobo-ing America, A Summer with Charlie and Honor Thy Farther and Thy Mother. Richard Noble is a freelance writer who has lived here in Eastpoint for nearly 30 years.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Check Stations

The Eastpointer

Check Stations

By Richard E. Noble
The most difficult time that I remember in my career as an oysterman was not caused by Mother Nature. It was brought to us oystermen by the State of Florida in the form of “check stations.” Of course the State was trying to help us out. And as strange as it seems most oystermen and dealers agreed with the State’s premise as to why these check stations should be established.
Historically most oystermen in Franklin County caught oysters that were two and a half inches or larger despite the three inch size limit law. But as the season went on and the beds got scrappier and scrappier, the oysters started shrinking.
The catching of small oysters was always a hot topic among the dealers and the oystermen in Franklin County. Many oystermen wondered why so many dealers bought the tiny oysters. Some oystermen went so far as to charge the dealers with calling the Marine Patrol on occasions to “tighten” up all their catchers. With this technique, instead of a dealer simply refusing to buy small oysters from a sorry catcher, almost any oysterman could get a stiff fine for not catching all three inch oysters. Even the best oystermen couldn’t make a living catching all three inch oysters at the traditionally low boat price for oysters of $4.00 to $4.50 per bushel. Finally for the benefit of us all, the State was going to step in and make things right.
Their plan was to set up check stations. Every boat’s oysters would have to be checked and tagged before they were brought to a dealer house. For a time on Catpoint there was a check station at the old ferry dock and at another time they had the check station in the channel behind the breakwater.
All at once the positive attributes of oystering for a living were stripped away. No longer could an oysterman work any day of the week. It was Monday through Friday - just five days a week. In the past it often took seven days to pick out four or five days that were tolerable for oystering. Now you had five days. If it was stormy two of those five days, you were just out of luck. Often times after bad weather oystermen would work seven days or even fourteen days straight to make up the losses in their paychecks. Now if you got behind you stayed behind. And if I’m not mistaken for a time the bay was only open four days per week and there were restrictive bag limits.
Another alternative was to work from sunup to sundown - maybe twelve or thirteen hours in a day. But this was no longer possible either. The check stations closed at four or five. The hourly wage earners working on the check stations couldn’t be allowed to earn overtime. Consequently five hundred to one thousand independent businessmen (oystermen) were forced to work the hours of the State’s hourly wage workers.
But this aggravation was small compared to the social consequences. We had more Marine Patrol stationed here than they had in Miami. And I know that the Marine Patrol who were here at that time will not agree but many of them became overzealous in their duties. Some of the Marine Patrol officers were actually local residents and relatives of some dealers. Their tendency was to settle up old grudges if at all possible. Some of the hired hands working on the check station barges got somewhat intoxicated with their new positions of power. The oystermen called them “Rambos.”
It was a very lack-luster period in the history of oystering. And after all was said and done, it turns out that the basic premise of the three inch oyster was invalid. The mortality rate of the oysters after reaching two and a half inches is substantial. Just to make the point for example, if 90% of oysters reach the two and half inch size only 30% or 40% might live to be three inches. The number of bags caught per oysterman dropped appreciably. Consequently the price of oysters went up considerably. I think at one time they were as high as $25.00 per bag or bushel.
During this period, many oystermen actually made more money. But there were many others who were not capable. Some started hiding bags of undersized oysters under their floor boards. Others started a late night shift - going out in the evenings.
The Marine Patrol had their hands full and, of course, this led to some of their abusiveness. Overall, I would say that this time period was the worst memory of all my oystering days. The fun was gone from the job. Police were everywhere and oystermen felt like criminals. Every oysterman was suspect. There were so many Marine Patrol officers that Eastpoint felt like a large prison.
After all was said and done I don’t think the dealers were happy. I know the oystermen weren’t happy. I really don’t think that most of the Marine Patrol were happy either. They had a dirty job and they got very little praise or support. It was a bad time all around. The attitudes of everybody involved in the seafood business soured.

“A Little Someting” is R.E. Noble’s first book of poetry and it is now on sale at Amazon and locally at Downtown Books along with Hobo-ing America, A Summer with Charlie and Honor Thy Farther and Thy Mother. Richard Noble is a freelance writer who has lived here in Eastpoint for nearly 30 years.