My grandfather John Osborne Varian was a man of many skills. They ranged from one who made six foot tall Harps, to being a Misuse, a Minister to his flock who practiced Theosophy which is a Christian religion and whose members were socialists in their political beliefs, he was a father to three boys. Two of which invented the Klystron tube that made Radar possible, one was a notable poet and the other a very descent man who seldom had two dimes to rub together. These qualities I think would give a person good reason to be a Democrat in his political beliefs.
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where I attended college was a boy’s school for the first three years of my term. The last two, the school became co-educational and was the time that I met my wife of now 56 years. My political beliefs for some years to come we're shaped by an economics professor that said, "The government that governs best, governs least." This lead me to stand politically to the right of Genghis Kan. All was going well, I was a dues paying member of the Republican Party. That was, until a section of their parties platform didn't believe that a woman had a right to choose whether she should carry a baby to term. I believe that it's a woman's right and responsibility to decide if bringing a new life into this world has a reasonable chance of surviving and thriving. The Democrats on the other hand, with their policies of handouts to solve all matter of problems that confront we the people has been most destructive to many that would have been better off with a boost to their belief in themselves. So I now find myself and independent whose beliefs will probably never come to pass for there is no political will on either side to modify their stance on these issues.
So, why not champion something that we all need as part of the "What makes me happy puzzle"? For me, to live each day, I need to be honest which is a tall order but it’s a necessary part of my daily ritual. I believe that honesty is in our genes. It's one of the basic tenets for Law and Order and it allows commerce to happen with the least amount of friction. But beware there are some lawyers in our U.S.A. that would like to be the judge of what is true and honest "for us" for a nice fee. But for me, handshake agreements have always worked out best. Anyway I think that a person that goes to bed at night with honesty in his heart is a person with a satisfied mind.
Texas I'm learning is first in lots of things. Some that would make me want to be a Texas transplant and some things that make me damn glad to be a Californian and then there are some problems that we share in common.
Well, I'll start with Zee and my reason for finding ourselves checking into the Crown Plaza Hotel between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday, 2/ 27/14. We've come to see the biggest one day rodeo in the world called the American in the biggest covered stadium in the world, "I think" in the biggest state in the lower 48 and to this day I think there's a low level feeling of contempt in the hearts of all native Texans to Alaska that robbed them of being the biggest.
Thursday Zee and I decided to go to Dallas to see the J. F. Kennedy Museum where our president was assassinated in 1963. The book depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald shot our president was turned into a museum that I thought presented a fair, interesting, and objective view of the assassination.
We had directions on how to get to Dallas but not how to get back to our hotel. So after 2 hours of driving and stopping at seedy little mini-marts with bars on the windows and attendants that couldn't give directions on how to get out of their parking lot and streets signs that used one name to go left and another name to go right and freeway inter-changes that put Los Angeles freeways to shame we made it. But the system left me always wishing that if I could just be on the freeway that I had just passed up it would surely be the one that would get us too our hotel. What finally got us to our destination was 2 hours of driving to go 15 miles. I blame most of our problem on no mountains to help with our navigation. This country is flat as far as the eye can see and I also think that these 2 cities are jealous of each other so that whichever town a tourist finds himself in, there’s a sinister plot to put up signage that always directs you back to where you started from. Friday we met some friends that were also going to Fort Worth to see the Cowgirl Hall of Fame that my cousin Sheila Varian and our friend Audrey Griffin had been inducted into. The museum was beautiful and those selected represented cowgirls that rode horses on working ranches, cowgirls that rode their horses on the silver screen and those that called the rodeo arena their home. We finished up with a tour of the restored Fort Worth Stockyards then headed back in the hotel van. We didn't miss a turn.
Saturday was the Iron Man Bull Riding at the AT&T Stadium and all the vendors with their wares were located in a parking lot out behind. The temperature was 84 degrees as we watched Chris Cox start a 2 year old colt that showcased Chris's ability to communicate with the horse and showed me he was head and shoulders above all others that train horses for a living. Sunday morning I awoke and looked out the window to see a skiff of snow on the ground and the temperature 17 degrees. By American Rodeo time the wind was blowing and I quickly understood the need for a covered stadium. The rodeo was all that I had hoped for and more as Zee and I watched young guns and some from the ranks of a previous generation all competing for the $2,000,000 in prize money. With the rodeo over we headed outside to weather that Texas had not told me about. I don't know how the Chamber of Commerce was going to gloss over a change in the temperature that in less than 24 hours went from 84 degrees to 7 degrees below zero, closed schools Monday and left the landscape littered with wrecked cars that suffered from fender benders to total wrecks.
It's now Sunday 3/9/14 and Zee and I are seated in the grandstands at the Clovis Calif. Rodeo Grounds watching our 5 grandchildren performing at a high school rodeo and the temperature is a pleasant 75 degrees. There are 200 high school kids giving it there all, so, "in its own way we had just as satisfying a day as at the Dallas Cowboy football stadium".
"The more you have, the more you want, the less you get. I think this is what happens to people, corporations, politicians or anybody else, for whom, there is never enough. So it makes all kinds of sense to me that the Subway sandwich conglomerate is casting its lot with all of the above. There are three little words, and they aren't I love you but they are "ain't greed wonderful" and that has become Subway's new mantra.
You might ask, what has ticked me off this time about an outfit that just wants to make a sandwich that your average working stiff can afford, order, eat and be back to work in a half hour, or one hour if your president of your company has one employee and you make two.
Zee and I are on our way to Fort Worth Texas to see the very big $2,000,000 in prize money, 1 day rodeo called "The American." And the 1 day Bull Riding called The Iron Man. The meeting place for lovers of Rodeo is AT&T Park where the Dallas Cowboys play football. Zee and I are also going to visit several ranchers along the way that I think are insightful and top notch operators that will help fill my "need to know" bucket list.
We have just stopped for lunch this 24th day of February 2014 at Sierra Blanco, Texas whose name is prettier than the land it sits on. Jack that wasn't nice of you but the town is able to support a Subway. So here we are. Zee and I are splitting a forest ham sandwich; it’s our minuscule way of being on a diet. I have noticed in the last year that my chest has slipped down around my waist. Anyway, as I was eating my half sandwich I got to looking at a table tent card on our table. See photo that said Subway was donating $10,000 to the U.S.O. and we readers of said tent card might want to make a donation as well. I read the table tent again because my first thought was that the franchisee was making the donation but logic said, this shop, I don't believe makes enough to give that large a donation. So it must be the big kahunas who have traded in work cloths for shirt and tie and Ford pickup trucks for a chauffeur driven Limos.
I think here is how the $10,000 donation came into being. At the last Subway board meeting a member said we have been spending and awful lot of money on advertising lately and I think we need to tighten our belts. Other chimes in "get out the chalk board and let’s throw ideas at the board and what sticks will be how to advertise on the cheap." And the winner is “let’s donate some money to a well known charity." If the reader of the table tent is only thinking what a generous gift the Subway shop they are eating at is making, then the corporate mucky mucks have gained lots of warm fuzzies for $1 a store if there are 10,000 stores. I'm sure there are probably more than that but just suppose this figure is in the ball park. This has the equivalent of giving a waitress a dollar tip on a $100 dinner tab. What an insult. You guys are real cheap skates.
Ain't greed wonderful?
I know that the ranching community has many supporters in our cities and many adversaries also. I'm quite certain that waiting for an invitation from the Sierra Club or the Humane Society of the U.S. with and opposing view would be a wait in vain. These folks have agendas that they crusade with, that are so strict that there is no room for a different view about ranching. My thoughts then are addressed to the common sense of the majority of city folks. My beliefs about each moment in time have a great deal of flexibility built into them because experience and the many new ideas that appear every day dictate to me that it may be necessary to make a course corrections when “it’s not working" becomes apparent.
In the past several years there has been a group of ranchers, U.C. Cooperative farm advisors, Natural Resource Conservation Service people, and the beef manager at Cal Poly who have developed a method for ranchers to measure ones management skills. It’s called Ranching Sustainability Analysis. I think this new resource provides to the practitioner a thoughtful guide for the everyday and long term decision making. The RSA guides the producer through a series of self assessing questions within 11 assessment categories of social, economic, and natural resource practices. This method of measuring the ranching community’s performance of these 11 categories can be part of a message to help educate our city brethren to the ups and downs and to the many unseen difficulties that must be dealt with in the livestock business.
There's nothing as devastating to the livestock industry as drought and the drought that we are in could turn into a real mill stone around our collective necks without rain. Only Mother Nature knows when we will be released from this Dust Devil. That said there are many humane road blocks that weaken our ability to keep our ranches on sustainable footing. One example that comes to mind is a bill that is somewhere in the legislature in Sacramento. It would require special driver’s license for those that replace the pickup bed that your everyday pickup comes equipped with from the factory for a flatbed that is flat which makes it much more useful for a multitude of jobs. I'm sure there will be a fee attached and a day of waiting in line at the local D.M.V. Office. My question to those that live in our cities, will you feel safer because of this regulation? I think not, but these types of nonsense rules stacked one atop the other are the kind of thing that will inevitably find its way to the grocery store in the form of higher prices.
Fees, fees, fees, and more fees in California. Everybody is pretty well tapped out when it comes to taxes so the bureaucrats have invented the “fee” and made it legal by saying it only applies to the benefactor of the service rendered and the frosting on the cake for the bureaucrat is the charge in dollars will be whatever he or she thinks in their eyes only is justified. So each year a service that many of us thought was paid for by taxes we discover is “not so". For us on the ranches fire protection now has a brand new fee and I'm sure that whatever it feels is necessary to protect we the people in the future we the people will be assessed with no recourse. Eventually, if you deliver enough pinpricks to the elephant you will bring him to his knees. But we in the ranching business are a hardy adaptable lot. We will carry the day and every last soul in this state of California will be better because we ranchers are still on the land.