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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I'll Be Dead. I Don't Care.

But someone's going to have to decipher the cost (I have only a master's degree) of putting my carcass in the ground should I decide to be buried in Wytheville.

Get out you calculator. Here's the deal:

Town increases burial fees
By Nate Hubabrd, Wytheville Enterprise Staff


Folks will have to dig a little deeper in their pockets in order to have 6 feet of dirt shoveled in Wytheville cemeteries.

The Town Council approved an increase for a variety of town fees during its Monday evening meeting, including multiple raises associated with the cemeteries.

Mausoleum crypt rates ... rose considerably from $365 to $500.

Another significant change to the fee regulations is a move up from 4 p.m. to 2 p.m. for extra grave digging expenses.

Any opening or closing of a grave on Saturday, Sunday, town holidays or after 2 p.m. on weekdays kicks in extra fees. Those additional charges also increased significantly.

For example, under the old schedule a Saturday opening and closing of a 6-foot adult grave would have cost $390. Now the same procedure will cost $725.

[Town manager Wayne] Sutherland said often a grave can be opened in advance even if a funeral is held on a weekend, which would save $225 if the grave was opened during normal hours from the hypothetical scenario with the new fees.

The additional grave opening charge was previously $75.

The above example is one of the most dramatic increases, but many individual cemetery fees were increased by close to $100 and the cost of multiple after-hours services doubled. (link)

Got that?

A ravine out back is looking rather inviting about now.

Looking Up From Down Below

While some look down upon our beloved Southwest Virginia from their insular, air-conditioned splendor, and fret that "we" just aren't doing enough to preserve our millions of acres of trees and mountains of rocks (something about maintaining our quality of life), we worry for the health of our children:
Wise County, Va., students and faculty deal with heat in non-air conditioned schools
By Kathy Still, Bristol Herald-Courier Staff Writer


Appalachia, Va. – Michael Hill, a junior at Appalachia High School in Wise County, bought some extra shorts for school this year.

He knew he’d need them because temperatures in the 50-year-old brick building can reach 100 degrees or more on the second floor during hot August days. Appalachia High has no central air conditioning. None of Wise County’s aging high schools do.

"I even wore swimming trunks a couple of days," Michael said. "I looked stupid, but it was comfortable."

He and other Wise County high school students are used to starting off the year fighting sweltering heat, but familiarity doesn’t make it easier.

English teacher Lacie Holmes keeps fans swirling in her second-floor classroom. Her room faces the sun and bakes most of the day.

"I keep the lights off," she said. "It stays cooler in here."

Cooler on Wednesday afternoon in her classroom was 95 degrees. (link)
Lacie Holmes tries to teach her kids with the lights off. To keep the temperature down to 95°.

We need to have a discusson about that "quality of life" thing.

I've Been Humbled

Here I ridiculed Roanoke Times columnist Christian Trejbal's call for a boycott of Wal-Mart on Monday, and the very next day I read this in the New York Times:
Wal-Mart Cuts Annual Forecast

Wal-Mart sneezed today. Will the economy catch a cold?

The company, the nation’s largest retailer and a bellwether for the economy, warned that its profit would be lower than expected for the year ... (link)
I think maybe I should reconsider just how much clout this fella actually wields ...

Make The Case, Big Guy

First, let's start with this reality:

If gun shops in Virginia were doing anything illegal, someone would be in jail. Nobody to date has been arrested.

Now, let's turn to a column in this morning's Richmond Times-Dispatch by Ray McAllister:
No one wants blame for crimes with illegal guns

Tuesday's column reported that Cole's Gun Shop of South Boston, which settled a lawsuit initiated by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg alleging illegal gun sales, has closed.

Bloomberg's sting operation brings up this key question: Are dealers doing all they can to curb illegal sales?

Michael Cole, brother and lawyer of the South Boston gun shop owner, said: "Essentially, the [suit's] claim was that we were supposed to read what was in people's minds based on cues that were vague or ambiguous."

He said the shop has turned down suspicious sales by the hundreds.

"The political climate these days is not conducive to gun business, which is a shame," he said.

It is a shame.

But a bigger shame is illegal gun sales that lead to crime.
"Illegal gun sales."

This is particularly annoying. Nowhere in this column is there a mention of that which has made any Cole's Gun Shop transaction - in history - illegal. Ever. None.

Are the sales illegal because some liberal mayor up north has decreed them so? Do Michael Bloomberg and this Ray McAllister know something about state and federal law that none of the rest of us know? Including local law enforcement, the Virginia State Police, the FBI, and BATFE?

Again, no gun shop owner has been cited for breaking gun laws. Any laws.

So, if this columnist wants to suggest that Cole's Gun Shop has been involved in "illegal gun sales," he should make the case.

Or move on to a subject about which he may actually know something.

On Hillary & Subprime Loans

George Will reminds us (like we needed reminding) why Hillary will bring doom and despair on this at-present great land. He also sees some good coming out of the subprime mortgage lending crisis:
Many banks, hedge funds and other institutions have pocketed profits from their dealings in the subprime market. The losses are theirs, too.

The ill wind blowing through that market has blown two goods: The public mind has been refreshed regarding the concept of moral hazard. And the electorate has been reminded of just how reliably liberal Hillary Clinton is.

Clinton leapt to explain the subprime problem in the terms of liberalism's master narrative -- the victimization of the many by the few. In a speech favorably contrasting a "shared responsibility" society with an "on your own" society, she said, in effect, that distressed subprime borrowers are not responsible for their behavior. "Unsavory" lenders, she said, had used "unfair lending practices." Doubtless there are as many unsavory lenders as there are unsavory politicians. So, voters and borrowers: caveat emptor. (link)
"Folly & The Fed," The Washington Post, August 15, 2007

Well, The Chimney Made It Through

Can we talk about the use of the word nearly?

From the Wytheville Enterprise:

Fire nearly destroys house
By Dan Kegley


“It sure doesn’t take long.” That’s about all Sandy Griffin could say as roiling flames spread from the back of her house to the front late Thursday afternoon, eventually almost consuming the structure before volunteers from the Chilhowie and Adwolfe fire departments could douse the fire. (link)
The house was "nearly" destroyed.

Here's a photo taken at the scene:

This ain't even a "glass half full" kinda scenario. This house is flat gone.

Nearly? So many adverbs that might have been chosen ...

Photo courtesy of the Wytheville Enterprise

He Set Out With Such Promise ...

From a Washington Times editorial this morning:

Mr. Edwards's rank hypocrisy is boundless. While jointly spreading fear about global warming and fossil-fuel-related greenhouse gases, he and his wife, Elizabeth, built a 28,000 square-foot house in North Carolina, which he claims to be "carbon neutral" but whose utility bills he and his campaign have refused to share with the public.

There's the nearly $500,000 he pocketed as a 15-month consultant to the Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based firm with $30 billion in assets. Fortress's hedge funds are incorporated in the Cayman Islands, enabling investors to delay or avoid paying U.S. taxes — a policy Mr. Edwards has vehemently condemned. Mr. Edwards claims he signed up with Fortress to learn the relationship between capital and poverty, but he says he did not know that Fortress had greatly expanded its subprime-mortgage operations while he was a consultant and investor. Moreover, during his Katrina-related New Orleans speech in which he formally announced his candidacy for president, Mr. Edwards neglected to mention that a Fortress subsidiary had pursued efforts to hold a 67-year-old New Orleans resident in default on her subprime mortgage in October 2005, two months after Hurricane Katrina flooded her out of her house.

There's his widely scorned $400 haircuts, a couple of which were originally charged to his current presidential campaign before they became public. (During the 2004 general-election campaign, Mr. Edwards paid up to $1,250 for his haircuts, but a spokeswoman reminded The Washington Times that $1,100 of that amount was spent flying his hair stylist from Beverly Hills to Atlanta and paying for his travel time and hotel expenses — a detail that no doubt resonates throughout middle America.)
"John Edwards, sanctimonious hypocrite," August 15, 2007

Why The Mainstream Media Is Viewed So Negatively

Occasionally you'll still see or hear of someone in the press trying to make the argument that journalists are fair and impartial. But not often anymore. For reasons like the following. So many reasons ...
Seattle Editor Declares, Keep Political Views to Yourself -- Then Responds to Reaction
By Editor & Publisher Staff

New York - No matter what you think of Karl Rove -- or anyone else in politics -- please keep it to yourself, or at least [fairly] quiet. That was the message in a note sent to staffers at the Seattle Times by Executive Editor Dave Boardman after what he called "an awkward moment at yesterday's news meeting."


What happened? According to Boardman in the latest email installment of what he calls "Dave's Raves" it was this: "When word came in of Karl Rove's resignation, several people in the meeting started cheering. (link)
If it's not pathetic enough that these people call themselves journalists, they're cheering the resignation of a Deputy Chief of Staff. How pathetic. How revealing.

Seems Fair To Me

This is going to be received poorly, I know. But I've never quite understood why it's okay in professional baseball for a pitcher to intentionally throw a missile (90 miles an hour, hard unforgiving ball) at an opposing player's head but it's not okay for that opposing player to retaliate.

Well, apparently one has, and is in big trouble for it:

Offerman Charged for Bat Assault
The Associated Press

Bridgeport, Conn. (AP) - Former major league All-Star Jose Offerman was charged with two counts of second-degree assault after hitting an opposing team's pitcher and catcher with his bat during an independent minor league game.

Offerman posted $10,000 bond and was due in Bridgeport Superior Court on Aug. 23, court officials said Wednesday.

Offerman, playing for the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League, homered in the first inning Tuesday night. The next inning, he was hit by a pitch from Bridgeport Bluefish starter Matt Beech and charged the mound with his bat.

Catcher John Nathans was hit in the head and sustained a concussion. He tried to keep playing, but left the game with nausea and collapsed in the dugout, team spokesman Nick Razzette said.

Beech, a left-hander, sustained a broken middle finger on his right hand. Both players were treated at a hospital and released. (link)


I don't advocate the intentional injuring of any player. But a pitcher throwing directly at a batter - often at his head - in professional baseball has become commonplace. And it is far more likely that a hitter, some day, is going to be severely injured than it is that a pitcher is going to suffer permanent damage.

Perhaps they should have arrested both parties in this incident. It's time to get back to the game of baseball.