The bite of inflation

Let’s begin 2022 by talking about an issue that has bullied its way into our national consciousness in the past year, inflation. All of us are paying more for various items, but in my case it’s measured with a quirky but useful yardstick.

I have a Friday lunch routine that began a couple years ago. In my “real” job I work four nine-hour days Monday to Thursday and have a four-hour Friday, meaning my weekend generally begins at lunchtime on Friday. So to start my weekend I go to Chick-Fil-A and order the same thing each week: a spicy deluxe meal with a side salad in lieu of the fries and a diet Dr. Pepper. (In and of itself, that’s a routine because it’s about the only time I drink Dr. Pepper. The one thing I don’t like about Chick-Fil-A is that they pour Coke products and I’m a Pepsi guy from way back.)

Because I always get the same thing, I know exactly how much it will cost before they ring it up. Thus, I was surprised a few weeks back when the number increased for the second time this year – sure enough, a look at my old bank statements confirmed this. Back in April that combo set me back $8.93, and over the summer it went up to $9.29, which was the number I was expecting. Instead, they told me it was $9.89!

Doing some hasty public school math with my phone’s calculator, the first increase was 4.03% while the second was 6.46%. Combined, in the space of about six or seven months, the price for my meal went up 10.75% – that’s pretty steep, because I don’t recall my income going up 10.75%. (I did get a raise in 2021, but not that much.)

Of course, there are costs involved, and the restaurant wants to stay profitable. So the increase has to be passed along to the consumer somehow, and since CFA hasn’t been cutting corners on the food they’re forced to charge more for it.

First and foremost, the smiling lady behind the Chick-Fil-A counter almost certainly has a higher wage now than she did when the year began, as do all her behind-the-scenes helpers. More importantly, the cost of the raw materials have gone up as chicken isn’t so cheap anymore, nor is produce or bread for the bun. It costs more to power all the food service equipment required to bring my sandwich and salad to my waiting hands.

But our nation got used to inflation that ran maybe 1-2%, meaning we might see just a modest increase every year. Now that we have so much funny money floating about, however, we got saddled with two significant hikes in six months. (And yes, I realize all this started with the last president. But he only did one stimmy, in reaction to the forced shutdown of “non-essential” businesses and complete revision of the service model for restaurants like CFA. In and of itself that was a gross overreaction, but I digress…)

Obviously I’m diving into the anecdotal here, but as a busy family we eat out a lot: usually three to four times a week for dinner. So we are attuned to the steady rise in prices that’s seemingly accelerated since the CCP virus began to take its toll on the restaurant industry and its players almost two years ago. It doesn’t matter if they’re chains like Chick-Fil-A or Texas Roadhouse or local restaurants such as Laurel Pizzeria, Pizza King, or La Tolteca in Salisbury – every time we go there it seems some of the prices have gone up a quarter here and 50 cents there. We get that costs are going up and food service is a brutal business model right now, but there has to be an end somewhere.

Perhaps if we stop with this artificial stimulation of the economy where valueless dollars are printed, we can eventually get back to that nice, predictable, and steady 1-2% annual increase (and bring back the period of not so long ago where wage increases were faster than inflation.) Otherwise, my over/under on my Friday lunchtime meal by the end of this new year is $11.50. Any takers?

We can make a partial course correction in 10 months. Hopefully some inspiring candidates for said change will step forth in the interim here in Delaware.

2021: a monoblogue year in review

As two weeks to stop the spread drags ever closer to two years, it’s time once again to review where I’ve been during the year.

My first post in January had perhaps the best first line of a year and perhaps the worst prediction. I began by saying, “From all appearances, January 6 may be a momentous day in our nation’s history, and grassroots supporters of Donald Trump will either be elated or despondent at day’s end.” But then I made the prediction, “Given that the 6th (a Wednesday) is a regular workday for D.C. and everyone else, I wouldn’t expect a major six-figure crowd there as there was for previous pro-Trump rallies.” Okay then. Upon further review, though, I still think it’s true that “if there really was an insurrection you would have had hot and cold bleeding politicians.” In that month I also had a rare guest opinion regarding Kamala Harris and shared my thoughts on becoming the loyal opposition.

What a way to begin the year, huh? I also started the second hundred of odds and ends, threw shade on my erstwhile professional organization, looked at the Gamestop stock phenomenon and asked what is truth?

It may have come out in February, when I reviewed my pleasing predictions. I also had to inform you of a new local grift as well as deal with another waste of energy and – believe it or not – more odds and ends. But the month gave those of us on the Right the sads because we lost our truth detector, a legend who finally repaid the talent he had been loaned.

I began my March by pondering the prospect of Trump fatigue, talking about some misdirection, then getting into local impact races. I then took a first look at how our state stacks up political district-wise before concluding with (you guessed it) even more odds and ends.

There was more of a Delaware focus in April as I looked at the changing of the guard in state political advocacy groups and attended one of the newbies’ local meetings, which had a heavy Second Amendment influence thanks to its location. That came in handy for a supportive 2A solution my member of Congress would never adopt, even though she should.

Then again, if Delmarva were a state she would possibly have company in Congress. I reprised a post I did in 2017 based on this cycle’s results and found we were still a purple region. Yet I found time to discuss infrastructure, too, and got myself back into practice for both the resumption of the Shorebirds season and a pictures and text post for the first time in over two years, well before the CCP virus hit us!

I began May with treatises on government dependence and fear before turning my attention to competing endorsements and disappointing results of the state’s school board elections. To make it a trifecta, our state also advanced a terrible idea – but what else is new? One thing new was a radio host with a radical thought I expanded on.

Part of my June docket had to do with the aforementioned radio host, who got some competition that ended an era in talk radio. But I brought back two things in the month: the odds and ends you breathlessly waited two months for and the Shorebirds of the Month I very, very impatiently longed to do for nearly two years.

But we also had to deal with it being pride month and with the avalanche of fake facts, for which I passed along some advice. I also talked about really fixing our Senate and announced someone wanted to fix the House – or at least represent us better – yet again, for the third straight election.

July began with a whimper and not a bang thanks to the Delaware General Assembly closing up shop a bit early, but I still did an accounting on them for this session. I also had some ideas to build up the state’s manufacturing base that led, of course, to more odds and ends. Yet after I discussed how not to be an aspiring writer, I foreshadowed an August post by discussing an upcoming event on Critical Race Theory, which eventually led off our eighth month.

It was a mellow sort of month as I looked at true lies from the opposition, dealt with a #TBT-style correction, and discussed growth in a post-growth town. I even got to do a brief rebuttal to a TEA Party critic because I put up one of my favorite post titles about beggars and hangers-on, too.

A long-neglected division of my site got a two-part update in September, but that wasn’t all. I took an updated look at the new 9/11 two decades later then, in the wake of California governor Gavin Newsom, I fantasized about the idea of a John Carney recall. And while I shockingly did more odds and ends, I had fun looking at my carbon offset and began wrapping up my Shorebirds coverage by detailing the final day and announcing my Shorebird of the Year at month’s end.

Former Trump administration official and Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson visited a local church to begin October, where we heard he was a pretty good brain surgeon, too. (A brain surgeon starting a new political organization, that is.) And once I got through my picks and pans as a Shorebird fan, I opined about a visit to the land of another potential Oval Office candidate, Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Once we returned home, there were rumblings of a pending electoral bloodbath in 2022 that had the far-left opposition worried. And before I closed the month with another edition of odds and ends I talked a lot about Patriots for Delaware, promoting and covering their Unify Delaware Festival and preliminary report on the 2020 election and voter integrity in the state. I even got one more post in November out of them thanks to the long-awaited return of Weekend of local rock.

Earlier in the month, though, we had a bellwether offyear election with (mostly) pleasing results, but the election in Delmar, Maryland was a broom that swept clean. I also began a look at redistricting I would follow on after my Thanksgiving message and Black Friday tradition.

As always, December began with my anniversary post, a sweet sixteen celebration this year. It was once again quickly followed by another tradition: the induction of a new class into the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. I then pivoted quickly into a pair of thought pieces spurred by comments by the chair of the Delaware Libertarian Party before embarking on a three part series on the state’s legislative redistricting. Then I did one last odds and ends for the year before turning my scattered sights to the Pandora’s box of China, criticism of our Congressperson from her left (not much room there), a look at renewable energy, and the annual Christmas message.

That’s where I left it for another year. After a few days away I’m ready to start 2022 strong.

Wishes for a Merry Christmas 2021

Looks like we made it.

Although I always write these a few days in advance, I’m going to presume we weren’t wiped out by the Omega variant, so here’s my greeting to you. I was sorely tempted to repeat last year’s greeting because most of it is still in effect in certain portions of our ailing nation.

Fortunately, the part which holds most true can be excised from it, making this year’s message rather simple:

“Regardless, we must press on, and our biggest asset in that regard is the One who sent His son to be our sacrifice, that Savior whose birth we are celebrating tomorrow… My simple prayer this Christmas is that my readers come home, returning to a life with its priorities in order: God and family first, ‘stuff’ somewhere toward the end.”

With my wife this year, I didn’t buy her “stuff” that goes in a closet or quickly finds its way to a yard sale, I bought her an experience and memory where she will get to enjoy life in a different way for a few hours. The memories will be her gift. I’m echoing the last big holiday in saying I’m truly blessed, as my needs are pretty much taken care of and my wants are few.

In thinking about this holiday, I know Jesus received gifts when he was born and I’m sure all were useful to Him (some more than others.) But there comes a point where we have to ask ourselves what the most thoughtful gift we can give to someone is, and whether we are giving gifts to satisfy needs or cater to “wants” because we don’t want to sacrifice for what they need. In this case I’m thinking more about kids, having been around “only childs” most of my adult life. Some were way too spoiled with stuff by well-meaning family members who thought it would placate the kids, but turned out to do the opposite.

To that end, we’ve talked about inflation and the price of “stuff” a lot this year. While there is a risk of inflation in the waistline from consuming those Christmas cookies from your friends and co-workers and in gathering with the family for the Christmas meal and eating WAY too much, it should be remembered that there is no inflation with God’s love because it remains constant.

This is my Christmas message to all of my readers, as tomorrow my site will be dark.

Merry Christmas.

Digging out of the archives

This could have been saved for the next odds and ends post, but instead I decided it was a nice post for a slow time of year anyway. And, believe it or not, the information is actually useful for my blogging purposes.

This was the e-mail I received a few days ago. I couldn’t quote the whole thing because WordPress is funny about blockquoting lists, so judicious editing was applied:

Hello Michael,

I trust you and your loved ones are healthy and safe at this most unusual time.

I’m writing because you cited (a website, not the one he’s pitching for) here on Monoblogue.

(snip to excise list)

You can learn more (at a site, which I will get to.)

Do you think Monoblogue readers would find our guide helpful? If so, would you please insert a link for your readers? 

Either way, thank you for your consideration, Michael.

Best wishes,

Joel

Yes, another e-mail beseeching me to do something I may or probably don’t feel like doing. This guy was lucky.

Joel almost blew it when he laid it on oh-so-thick:

PS. (our site) was recently featured on Huffington Post & CNBC, and it’d make my day to see it on Monoblogue, too 😉

Yes, that’s his postscript.

Besides the fact that I’m being mentioned in the same breath as Huffington Post and CNBC, the reason I had to laugh was the post he cited. It’s a piece I wrote a decade ago during the 2012 presidential campaign as one of my endorsement selection posts. While this isn’t a #TBT, just for the fun of it here is what I wrote at the time about the eventual GOP nominee:

Mitt Romney shrewdly addresses energy independence in his “job creation” category. But terms like “government must be a partner,” “facilitate,” and “address market failures” don’t convince he wants a conservative, small-government solution. We see what kind of “partner” government has become, and it’s not government’s job to interfere with the market. And believing climate change is caused by mankind is a nonstarter. I’m deducting three points.

“For President 2012: Energy independence,” July 10, 2011.

At the time I was torn between endorsing Michele Bachmann and the late, great Herman Cain. Anyway, if Joel Foster is reading this, and despite the fact I appreciate his patronage of my site, I have to think he needs a hobby.

Yet in all this dross there was a little bit of gold. Joel wrote me on behalf of commodity.com, which is a little bit like another site I feature here called ammo.com – they sell a product or service, but also feature lots of reading material in their blog. And the story he pitched has an angle that concerns Delaware, thus succeeding in piquing my interest.

In it, I learned that certain states use more renewable energy than others. In fact, ultra-liberal Vermont should be proud of themselves because they receive 99.9% of their electricity from renewables. Now, before you imagine the charming fall landscape of Vermont littered with solar panels and wind turbines, it’s worth mentioning that hydroelectric generation is also counted as renewable and that’s where they receive most of that 99.9%. In fact, that’s the source for the top six states on the list, with seventh-place Iowa checking in with 59.4%, predominantly from wind. (I actually posted on situations that helped create this wind energy figure several winters ago.)

On the other hand, guess which state is at the very bottom of the list? Yep, that would be the First State, with a measly 2.5% of electricity created by renewables and the fifth-slowest growth rate in the last five years. Expressed in megawatt hours, Delaware produces the least by a factor of four behind the second-lowest generator (Rhode Island) and less than one-tenth that of the 48th ranked state in terms of production, Connecticut. Like a lot of states at the bottom, our leading contributor is biomass. (And the geniuses in Dover think they can get to some figure like 40 percent by 2035 or whenever? Dream on.)

A look at each leading source is interesting. Six states, including Delaware, have biomass as their leading renewable source, while 18 states are listed as hydroelectric, seven as solar thermal and photovoltaic, and the remaining 19 as wind. If you looked at it on a map, the Midwest is pronounced wind country, and hydroelectric rules the northwest, northeast, and Tennessee River valley. Meanwhile, solar rules the southwest and Florida but surprisingly picks off a few other states along the Atlantic coast, including New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Before I summarize the information at hand, I have a comment about the commodity.com blogsite. Unfortunately, while the blogging content on ammo.com comes primarily from a single, talented writer who works with a pro-liberty mindset like mine, a lot of what goes on commodity.com is writeups based on lists like the one I cite – a list of states and ranks in a particular area of interest, expanded to a paragraph or so on the top ten or fifteen states, including the list at the end. It’s the sort of work for which a content mill gives the article author a few dollars if he or she is lucky. (Or, even worse, they do it for “exposure.” That and five bucks will get you five bucks.) In looking at their author list, they seem to be a collection of small-time writers who may have other day jobs, or perhaps wish they did. It’s like paint-by-numbers for the written word.

As for Delaware, I guess it’s our lot to be at the bottom of the renewable list. We have too much cloudiness and haze during the year to be consistent solar producers and not enough steady wind onshore for wind energy. (Offshore wind has to be mindful of shipping lanes into Delaware Bay.) Unless we can make wattage out of chicken poop, we are basically stuck where we are – and that’s okay, because all those sources cited as renewable come in an arbitrary and capricious manner. (Hydroelectric is probably closest to reliable unless we have a severe drought.) I wouldn’t mind them doing the seismic exploration off the Delaware shore to site a couple test wells for oil or natural gas, but that’s not going to happen with our shortsighted state government insisting we depend more and more on unreliable sources of electricity. We can also see if there’s anything to having natural gas in the Delmarva Basin below us, but the anti-fracking zealots won’t allow that either.

Finally, one other interesting tidbit: at the end of the e-mail I found out this is a Delaware-based company – at least legally, since the address cited is that of Registered Agents Legal Services, LLC. It’s in an otherwise non-descript office building in the suburban area of Wilmington. Chances are their energy isn’t coming from a renewable source.

Reaching sweet sixteen

It’s gotten to the point where every year I have no idea how I did it and am amazed and thankful I’ve gotten through another one, but here we are – monoblogue’s sweet sixteenth birthday has arrived! Last Thursday I counted all my blessings for Thanksgiving, but one other one is this website because it’s enabled me to have a touchstone through the years, a journal of more than just thoughts and opinions but also occasionally of breaking news and first-hand coverage of events that may have slipped through the cracks otherwise.

And it’s a journal with a lot of entries – according to the back end of my site, where such things are accounted for, this is post number 5,225. I’m not sure if that counts or not my Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame post I have publishing tomorrow but is already completed; regardless, that’s a lot of posts and words to be put up by one person who doesn’t write for too much of his living.

It’s quite apparent how my site evolved from occasional look at the political scene to daily news and commentary until I saved myself from perhaps being consumed by the monster five years ago and took the steps back from both the daily grind and the political world within about a month of each other. I kinda like where I have it now, although along the way I lost about 2/3 of my readership or more. I was looking at this the other night to document this and found that, back in 2014, I had over 70,000 visitors to this site. After the 2016 shift away from daily posts, that number dwindled to a point where 2019 featured less than 1/10 that number, averaging only about 120 visitors a week. Since I haven’t really stepped up my writing pace that much, the increase back over 30,000 this year makes me wonder if it’s counting bots and crawlers incorrectly or not – regardless, I always say that even if I have one reader who I inform or (even better) inspire to act to preserve our liberty, then I did my job.

My site’s been around long enough to make me realize it is sort of a dinosaur – you don’t see many long-form blogs anymore. As an example, a couple weeks ago I told you the story about Karen Wells, who was a blogger before she got into local politics in her town. Ousted as mayor in the most recent election, she put up a social media post revealing her intention to return to blogging along with a screenshot of her former blog from 2009 and its links – out of perhaps 15 blogs there, there are only two still operating that I’m aware of and mine is one of the two. You could say I’m a survivor and I suppose at this point I’m a lifer: I have no face for video and don’t think I can converse for a podcast in such a way to make it interesting. I like this format where I can choose my words carefully and easily edit out the mistakes before (and even sometimes after) publishing.

Another thing I have noticed over the years is that I have several different audiences. There are readers of mine who don’t care a whit about my politics, but can’t wait to see who my Shorebirds of the Month will be and speculate about who will be the next member of the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. By the same token, back when I had a lot of Weekend of Local Rock posts and album reviews I had a handful who followed my site just for that stuff. Of course, I also have my “stick to the politics!” crowd, too, as that was (and is still) the bread and butter of my site. While I’m sure it didn’t do wonders for my readership because I didn’t pick a specialty, I can say that I would have never made it sixteen years any other way. The burnout on particular subjects and lack of quality writing on my part was the reason I stopped doing this daily.

So, while in past years I’ve set a number of lofty goals for myself that were (in looking back) probably unrealistic – wealth? I will likely make far more in a month as a staff writer for The Patriot Post than I’ll ever get in the tip jar here – the only real goal I have this year is to try and keep writing good stuff on an occasional basis. I still plan on doing Shorebirds of the Month for next season and will definitely keep my ear to the ground on Delaware’s political races and General Assembly. (Thanks to compiling last session’s votes, I already have a head start on the monoblogue Accountability Project for next year.) If I think about it and have the time, though, I do want to keep working on repairing the old posts where needed because the photos were missing or they were old Examiner posts that are no longer on their site. As I say, don’t let good writing go to waste and that’s part of my legacy here.

So I’m going to close this little state of the blog address by once again thanking all my readers – near or far, every time I post or just one visit to read an obscure tale – because I couldn’t have enjoyed this nearly as much without you. Remember, I only have to impact one to be a success in my eyes so everything else is gravy in that regard.

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

After a hiatus last Thanksgiving, I have returned to write my annual Thanksgiving post. I should explain, though, that the reason there was no holiday post last year wasn’t completely the pandemic, but the Wuhan flu did have something to do with it.

For a couple years, we had been taking vacations as a family – the “we” being my wife’s extended family of her sisters, assorted husbands, significant others and kids, and her mom. In 2020 we were supposed to go in June, but all the uncertainty over the CCP virus led the sister who planned all this to postpone the trip to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. I’m not sure who had the bright idea to make it a Thanksgiving excursion, but that’s what we did. And I usually don’t take my laptop on these trips and didn’t think to write a post beforehand. So much for tradition.

This year, thankfully for many reasons, we are back to our usual Thanksgiving arrangement, and you get this post.

Speaking of traditions, I’m completely surprised that more isn’t being made that this year is a quadricentennial anniversary of our first Thanksgiving 400 years ago. It makes me wonder what things will be like in five years when America celebrates its 250th birthday, particularly when I remember how we as a nation celebrated the Bicentennial in 1976, when I was 11. I suppose when the 1619 Project and its emphasis on slavery is more of a thing than the 1620 project of pilgrims seeking freedom to worship as they pleased it’s a sign of the times.

And I would imagine that people feel less than blessed these days. There is so much uncertainty in the world as people worry about their jobs, health, and families. At the moment I’m blessed enough to enjoy all three, but it takes some work, some vigilance, and some common sense to keep all of these things, and you can’t take them for granted. But could you ever?

Each day I try to take a few moments with my Savior and often as part of my prayers I pray a prayer of thanksgiving, even for little things like the opportunity to be with our small group. I probably don’t thank the Lord as often as I should for all my blessings: one in this case being the God-given talent of writing and having a place more or less of my own to write at, and another of having readers like you who have cared enough to stop by and see what I have to say. It’s not a number that makes me financially wealthy (not that I’m trying too hard to be) but if I steer one in the right direction I consider this a successful venture.

So whether you eat during the Lions game (they’re 0-9-1 and playing the 3-7 Bears, so I don’t blame you) or eat at dinnertime like we do, just take time to count your blessings, too. I’m going to get back to something I did for a few years and close with Philippians 4:4. Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Additional developments

Last week I promised you I was going to dig into Delaware’s redistricting? Well, I have all these piles of dirt around me and yet there’s still more gold in them thar hills, so that is a series I may begin in December since this is the time of year I take care of other blog business: the annual Thanksgiving post (if I don’t decide to use a prior version), my anniversary post on December 1, and the induction post for my Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame Class of 2021. (I may push that back a week to December 9, depending how the others and the updating of that page go – updating it takes longer and longer as the roster of members increases each season. Because of that, the SotWHoF will likely go dark for a bit as I start this maintenance this coming weekend.) Usually I try to do this sort of housekeeping last, but then I noticed I’d been away a week and I don’t like to leave y’all hanging too long.

One thing that happened in the interim was the local election in Delmar, Maryland. It would have normally been a boring ballot in a small town except for them having the whole controversy about the on-duty killing of Delmar Police Cpl. Keith Heacook this past April. Once things calmed down a bit, that incident sparked an allegedly well-funded slate of challengers in the town election as neither of the two incumbent commissioners opted to run again; meanwhile, incumbent Mayor Karen Wells drew her own opponent as she decided to seek another term. Last Tuesday the new broom swept clean as the reformer slate won all three positions. (They were assured of winning one commission seat as just three ran for the two slots, but the slate outperformed.) So Wells, who had been Mayor since now-Delegate Carl Anderton resigned the position to represent the town in Annapolis after the 2014 election, was ousted after six-plus years in office.

While it’s a peripherally Delaware story only because of Delmar being “the town too big for one state,” the other reason I brought it up was that Wells was a blogger before she moved into public office 12 years ago. I used to link to her sites, the most recent being Off The Cuff, a site for which she apparently turned the keys over to someone else when she became an elected official. I welcome her back to the game because she’s going to provide both insight and oversight to her erstwhile constituents in Delmar.

It was rather funny as well because on social media she shared a screen shot of Off The Cuff from 2009, with a list of blogs that were “good” and “bad,” with the “bad” one being Salisbury News. I think out of the fifteen or so sites listed, mine and Salisbury News are the last two survivors. (And I’m the last one with the original author.) Maybe I’m the glutton for punishment, but it would be nice to have some of the old gang back. I miss those days of blogging.

Weekend of local rock volume 76

Subtitled: The long-awaited return!

You know, I never really thought I would go almost 2 1/2 years between WLR volumes 75 and 76. But thanks to some irresponsible (or sinister) technicians in a Chinese lab, we had this pandemic from what some call COVID-19. I call it the CCP virus; regardless, it put a real damper on live music for the better part of a year and a half, including two summers. This fall we are finally beginning to see a recovery back to normal and one thing that sealed the deal for us going to the Unify Delaware Festival last month was the opportunity to see some live performances.

You may recall that in the past I’ve done a lot of multiband shows where I basically have space for the photo and a short overview. This time, though, I really have a bit of room to stretch my legs, as it were. The Unify Delaware Festival had three acts scheduled, and I caught the latter two: Jovon Newman and Trent and the Trainwreck. (The band I missed was Lincoln City.)

The second act, who played when the largest number was present, was local singer Jovon Newman.

Newman presents a unique story and, it can be argued, is a product of new technology that allows easier integration of a instrumental backing track. (I have a social media friend several states away who does the same thing, but specializes in Frank Sinatra songs and others in that vein.) I certainly won’t argue that Jovon doesn’t put his own stamp on things, though – one song with a twist I enjoyed is a tune that should be in his wheelhouse, Wagon Wheel.

Jovon wasn’t afraid to engage with the audience, such that it was when he began. It’s an advantage of his performing genre.

In reading his story, I can see just how he got his stage presence and demeanor. Jovon looked like he was having a good time and as the show moved along the crowd warmed up to him. His song mix was a pleasing combination that drew from both country and pop, so he was working in that crossover appeal with an audience that was most likely to lean in that direction.

Newman, though, only did about a 50-minute set, which left sort of a blank space that didn’t get filled by the DJ immediately. (You can see the next band was already pretty much set up in the photos.) It may be a product of him primarily playing on social media rather than a stage, but as he fills out his repertoire a little bit (he’s put out two singles in recent months) Jovon could get enough to be a headliner. If not, he has a valuable daytime job with the Delaware Air National Guard, which allows him to make music a hobby he can really devote himself to. (Sort of like writing for me, I guess.)

After that long pause, we were treated to Trent and the Trainwreck. As they describe it, they play “Southern Rock, Country, Red Dirt, originals, and everything in between.” Based on what they played: check, check, check, check, and check. (Okay, I’m assuming they did “Red Dirt” since that’s a description I’d not heard before. But I think they played it since they covered the rest.)

Closing the festivities for the day were the country-rockers Trent and the Trainwreck.

As opposed to Jovon Newman, who primarily “plays” online, Trent and the Trainwreck have done a fairly full complement of shows in various configurations: over the last few months they have played venues all over the coastal regions of slower lower Delaware like Lewes, Milton, and Rehoboth, venturing as far as Ocean City once, and in looking at social media they are already lining up shows for 2022. (One intriguing show: it looks like they’re playing the hopefully-resurrected Blessing of the Combines in Snow Hill, Maryland next August.)

So these guys had fun. As an example: the second song in, as I’m downing a great burger, was Folsom Prison Blues. All right, good choice for the crowd. But then it suddenly morphed into a song I wasn’t familiar with but somehow fit: I Don’t Even Know Your Name by Alan Jackson. Interesting, since I was today years old when I learned what the song was called – I just remember the lyric about marrying the waitress. Then back to Folsom Prison we went.

Throw in a couple originals of theirs, and you get the idea. I always have a thing for bands unafraid to play their own stuff – it may not be great or even that good, but to me (as someone who, admittedly, can’t carry a tune in a bucket) that’s how you grow as a musician. I think doing the originals will also help them shape the cover songs to their style better since they didn’t always quite to seem (to my ear) to match a complementary vocal style to the cover song. But maybe that’s the Red Dirt style coming out? (Just kidding.)

I think I’ll put up a few more pictures of the band that Kim took now…

My apologies to the drummer – if I had known Kim was taking these I would have gotten a close-up. They always get the short end of the (drum)stick.

Okay, I’ll show myself out. Let’s just hope I don’t have to wait 2 1/2 years to do the next volume of Weekend of Local Rock (and my first as a Delaware resident.)

Thoughts on the offyear Tuesday

Back in the summer, there was this political race going on. Everyone thought the guy who had been in office for four years and hand-picked his successor after that was going to cruise to victory, since we had just elected a still-popular President with whom he shared a party affiliation.

But sometime around Labor Day, the shine began to come off that President thanks to some REALLY bad decisions he made. Meanwhile, the school year began and there were a lot of parents who saw what their kids were being exposed to in school and that they had to wear face diapers, and they didn’t like it one bit. So they began coming to school board meetings only to get resistance from the status quo in the school boards.

Then came the debate, the one where this supposed shoo-in told parents it wasn’t their job to chime in on what their children were taught. Proving how out of touch he really was, this candidate brought in surrogates from all over the country to campaign for him, including that unpopular President. And the opponent? He took the parents’ side, and made it his mission to tell them so by traveling all over the state to meet with them in person. Like a certain President’s ice cream cone left out in the sun, Terry McAuliffe’s polling lead melted away and Wednesday morning Virginians were officially told there would be a Republican governor come January once McAuliffe conceded.

And talk about coattails! Not only did Glenn Youngkin win his race in what would have been considered a stunning upset even a month ago, he brought along his party’s lieutenant governor and Attorney General candidates as well as enough House of Delegates members to flip control of the body back to the GOP.

All over the country, it seemed like the GOP was ascendant. They came close to winning the New Jersey governor’s race, in a contest they were predicted to lose by double-digits. Down the ballot, a three-time candidate who reportedly spent $150 on his campaign (not counting slate money, which bumped it up to about $2,000) knocked off their Senate President, a longtime machine Democrat. Even better, it was a tough day for so-called progressives, who saw their candidates and causes shot down all over.

There is such a thing as overreach in politics. Overall, we are still a center-right country and the far left hasn’t quite sold us on their snake oil yet. They’re working on it with the youth but the occupant of the White House is the conservative’s best salesman. It doesn’t, however, guarantee success in beating them back next year.

And if I wanted depressing results, I only had to turn to my old hometown. As they circle the drain, they elect the same old morons and vote to raise their own taxes then wonder why they don’t succeed – unless success is considered making everyone dependent on a failing city government. Even their suburbs aren’t immune, as a good friend of mine lost his re-election bid to their town council. Now those are some voters who voted against their best interests.

So, with these results in hand, we now begin the 2022 campaign in earnest. Those of us in Delaware will have a quick detour in the spring to determine school boards (now those should be interesting campaigns) but the real action will come next fall as all 62 seats in our General Assembly will be up for grabs with spanking new districts. (Mine will be the same old ones, though.) We also elect our treasurer and attorney general, a race which already has some interest. In the next few days these races will begin to populate as the new districts become official – I think that’s why we don’t have a candidate list yet.

Odds and ends number 107

This will be a little shorter than some, but I thought it was a good time to clear out the mailbox and give you some good reading.

All solar and wind is all wrong

Recently I got an e-mail from the Caesar Rodney Institute that told me:

Proposed legislation nationally and in some states would establish a requirement 100% of electricity be generated from “renewable” sources such as wind and solar power. This policy will lead to unacceptable electric price increases and blackouts. 

100% Wind and Solar. 100% WRONG.” Caesar Rodney Institute, October 8, 2021.

This goes in the category of “duh” for me, but apparently some states are thinking they can pull this off – and in principle, perhaps they can. But there is a big problem with the reality, to wit:

When we look at states from Virginia to Maine, with some of the most aggressive requirements for wind and solar power along with taxes on emissions from power plants, we see two disturbing trends. One is more reliance on imported power. The Virginia plan drops reliable power generation from 95% now to 45% in 2035, and imports from other states grow from 25% to 40%. The RGGI states have increased imports from 5% in 2008 to 17% in 2019. Electricity exporting states are also under pressure to reduce conventional power generation. Pennsylvania’s Governor Wolf would like to cut generation by 30% by 2030, which would end exports. Massachusetts is importing 57% of its power, Delaware 50%. It is likely there will be very little export power available, requiring each state to generate 100% in state.

Ibid.

The second part is the government-created market for so-called “renewable energy credits” (read: mechanism for wealth transfer.) I like looking at farm fields, not 600-foot tall wind turbines (that would make all of us sick from the low-frequency noise) or acres of solar panels that might power a few hundred homes at peak efficiency, not twenty years down the line.

If I store a tankful of natural gas or a lump of coal for a time, it works pretty much as well as it would have when I put it there, at a cheaper price point. Let’s ditch these phony market mandates, shall we?

A Made in America call

My friends at the Alliance for American Manufacturing alerted me to this irony: those who created the CCP virus and allowed it to come to our shores are benefitting from dumping cheap N95 masks on our shores while American companies suffer.

At least that’s how James Wyner, the CEO of the Shawmut Corporation tells it. “We worked hard to create an American-made product that wasn’t dependent on foreign governments like China. We labored around-the-clock to get things up-and-running in 120 days, and created hundreds of new jobs in the process. Our masks received rave reviews for comfort and protection. Now Made in China imports are back.”

Interestingly, the tariff suspension was put in place by the Trump administration in March 2020 to deal with the spot shortage of PPE, but no one from the Biden regime has reinstated it. Wonder why?

One can say Wyner is living up to his name because there was always this risk, but we can substitute a lot of things for N95 masks that we should be making – including the aforementioned solar panels that are often made in China.

And since I’m talking about AAM, it’s worth reminding readers one of their annual programs is the Made in U.S.A. Holiday Gift Guide and it’s time for suggestions. Now that Halloween is just about in the rear view mirror, it’s time to start the stampede to Christmas. (Thanksgiving? What’s that?)

WTF is he thinking?

So did you know that AT&T is “by far the largest single funder of One America News”? Me neither. Just looking at it as an observer, maybe it has something to do with DirecTV, which AT&T owned until recently. And when I checked into the story, I found out it was true.

Okay, this is a problem why? (And full disclosure here: we are DirecTV subscribers and my package includes OANN. Can’t recall the last time I watched it, though – maybe immediately post-election?)

Well, the reason I bring this up is because Rick Weiland – miserably failed political candidate and my semi-correspondent loony leftist from the otherwise sane bastion known as South Dakota – sent me an e-mail demanding AT&T cut ties with OANN. Get a load of this rubbish:

Listen, the bottom line is clear: AT&T has not only been helping to spread disinformation about everything from the 2020 election to public safety during the pandemic, it’s also been instrumental in the success of Donald Trump’s favorite cable news channel while it continues to whitewash what happened on Jan. 6th.

AT&T needs to take bold action and join the fight against deadly disinformation — by cutting all ties with OAN. And (sic) your name to demand action now!

Unless AT&T hears from us — it will continue to fund the network that has fueled an insurrection, dozens of voter suppression bills, and the proliferation of disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“WTF is AT&T thinking?”, Rick Weiland, October 11, 2021.

Now I’m not crazy about DirecTV – it’s one of the few options I have for TV watching out here in God’s country – but when you consider the Reuters “investigation” comes down to a entrepreneur creating a product to address a market need, I shrug my shoulders on this one. I think Merrick Garland is doing far more to whitewash what happened on January 6th and Weiland isn’t asking us to kick him out of office.

And next week I expect an e-mail from Weiland condemning a recent attack on a federal building. Should I hold my breath for the call on people to drop their funding? Thought not.

If I want to watch the partisan media, my satellite brings me CNN, MSNBC, and so forth. Maybe we should do more to encourage a variety of viewpoints instead of shutting down those we don’t agree with. However, AT&T did hear from me recently: I sent in another month’s bill.

This one worries me a bit

I think this is more because I’m on a mailing list than being anything resembling a power blogger anymore, but I guess at least someone was thinking of me and it’s worth a few lines.

To avoid going all tl:dr on you, I’m just going to link to the Executive Summary of the 2022 Index of U.S. Military Strength from the Heritage Foundation. While I obviously have an interest in our nation remaining free and independent, I also have an interest in having several young men our stepdaughter knows from being classmates (in the same class as well as a few years ahead or behind) stay on this side of the grass as enlisted men. So judge this one for yourself.

Sunday evening reading

This is more for a particular author than for individual articles. And it all began with selling a book.

You may recall last year during the pandemic that I introduced people to a site called ammo.com. While they sell ammunition, I look at them now as a provider of a different kind of weaponry: potent arguments for limiting government and history you don’t find anywhere else. Where else can you find a retailer that sees deplatforming, righteousness, and the decline of civil society as topics worth discussing? (Being a former league bowler from a Rust Belt bowling town, the latter hit me where I live.)

It’s an alternate view of history and society complements of a writer named Sam Jacobs. If I were to bring back Ten Questions or do a podcast, he would be a subject because I’m curious how he got to a political point not all that far off of mine. They never told me how they liked Rise and Fall, but I do like hearing from their website each Friday.

Speaking of Friday, a programming note: I pushed it back a week because of website issues I was having, but the return of Weekend of Local Rock is now scheduled for the coming weekend. I may get a post in midweek if the mood strikes me (particularly with the offyear elections on Tuesday.) We will see.

But this should do for now, right? Mailbox is clean as a whistle.

Unify Delaware 2021 in pictures and text

Well, the stars aligned just so as the family obligation I thought was yesterday turned out to be next Saturday and my balky knees didn’t balk so walking around wasn’t too unpleasant. So Kim and I took the 45-minute drive across slower lower to Hudson Fields over Milton way to check out the first (hopefully first annual) Unify Delaware Festival.

Veterans of this site know how this works now: the photos get their own caption and help tell the story, although I may write a little more to move the narrative along. Fair warning: it’s a long post alert because I picked out 29 pictures.

Hudson Fields is probably better known as an outdoor concert venue, but the place provided plenty of room for the UDF. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Entering the Unify Delaware Festival it didn’t look like much, but it turned out well nonetheless.
For a first-time effort, the event had an impressive and broad list of sponsors.
Given the Patriots for Delaware slogan “Freedom in Unity” it’s no surprise that was the chosen theme.

Let me talk a moment about the sponsor. I saw some scuttlebutt planted by certain political operatives on social media questioning the motives and principles of Patriots for Delaware, with the scare quotes about them being an “anti-vax” and “anti-mask” group. Does “my body, my choice” only apply in situations when government coercion isn’t present? There were a few there in masks, and that was fine because it was their choice. Let’s work from that happy medium, shall we?

I’m going to move on with the post. In any event like this where one is present, the first place I go is to the car show. They had one – but when we got there, someone else was dropping in to check things out.

After the National Anthem was sung at noon, we had a skydiver drop in. They ended up auctioning off the flags later. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Want. I bet it’s a cool way to flatten stuff (besides pavement.)

Oh, they had more than cars there. Lots of construction implements, this above being one sample. Now we’ll do the cars, beginning with the overview below and then focusing on some beauties.

There were probably 40-50 cars in the show, which was pretty good turnout to me.
Of the group, this was probably my favorite – a first-generation Chevy Monte Carlo.
There were several Camaros there, but I always thought the Pontiac Firebird was a little cooler – even with the flames.
It’s almost Halloween, so why not have a designated driver? Better than the hearse on display down the line.
If there’s a little red truck, my wife will find it. It’s the same model year I am, but in a LOT better shape. Photo by Kim Corkran.
What is this thing?

It’s a Thing.

Yeah, I know it’s a thing, but what’s the car called?

I told you, it’s a Thing!

The Laurel and Hardy-type references can go on and on with this one. Thanks, Volkswagen. Someone also had a nice Karmann Ghia there.
If that wasn’t bad enough, we had cars in character. You can’t see the Darth Vader on the hood. Pity. Photo by Kim Corkran.
This guy wasn’t part of the car show, but the window was worthy of inclusion.
You’ll have to trust me because I try to avoid photographing kids, but we had the trifecta there: planes, trains (the little tram running around), and automobiles. I think they were taking very brave people up in this plane.

Thanks for indulging me on that one. There was a lot of other stuff going on, and I have a nose for finding certain people and groups.

This group is seeking a Convention of States to address term limits, a balanced budget, and government overreach. Problem is getting 34 states in our (supposedly) federalist republic to agree that’s a bug and not a feature.
They clustered the political groups together so people could stay away. (Just kidding – sort of.)

A little scoop about the Julianne Murray tent – according to the volunteer in her tent, Murray was not present because she was fundraising upstate. Part of the reason: she will have a primary opponent (read: stalking horse.)

There were quite a few vendors there. It wasn’t an overly expensive event to set up for (having done Good Beer Festival and Autumn Wine Festival in the past, by comparison this one was really affordable) so it was a strong showing for a first-time event.
A prime example of unity: tie-dye shirts. Or maybe my wife just liked them. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Sure, these were vendors, but the flags were placed in a sweet spot for photos.
This HAD to be a big seller. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Blessing or a curse? An event that drew hundreds of people only had two food vendors. I will say the Blue Ribbon Burger that came from SmashMouth (on the right) was a smash with me! Probably in my top 20 I’ve ever had, it was that good. The taco place (Tacos Mexigo) on the left looked like it had good stuff too, but they ran out of burritos and I like them better than tacos.
The kids had their own place to play as well. Bet there were a lot of tired little ones.
As predicted, I did not participate in the loosely organized cornhole tournament.
And if I can’t accurately toss a bean bag…well, are you kidding?
The organizers had their own space with information and various other ways to attract those dollars from your wallet. My finger was not part of it.
If you liked this sign, it was yours for the low price of $10.
It was a modest silent auction, but decent for a first-time event.
Later on, there was a live auction for several larger items. This design was one of the boards they used in the cornhole tournament.

You notice the stage there? Well, I have some good news: I get two posts out of this! After a extremely way too long hiatus, the Unify Delaware Festival provided me the occasion to bring back Weekend of Local Rock next week! So look for more pictures and text, and maybe some suggestions for their prospective repeat performance next fall – right in the middle of campaign season. Should be fun like this one was.

And to all the naysayers: you really, truly missed an opportunity to unify with a bunch of good people.

The prospect of unifying

I used to do this more often, but still there’s once in awhile I’ll promote an upcoming event even if my prospects for attendance are limited.

Saturday looks like a nice day weatherwise, with a high in the upper 60s. What is most likely to keep me away is the possibility of a family obligation.

What piqued my interest in this event is the sponsor (Patriots for Delaware) and the idea that it’s billed as a family-friendly event. That’s not to say there won’t be hot and cold running politicians there – after all, $10 a person is pocket change for most of them – but it’s not the focus of the proceedings. I would be scoping out the silent auction and maybe dropping a coin or two on the 50/50 raffles while checking out the car show and the bands.

(I like to play cornhole, but my time in the cornhole tournament would be limited to the amount of time it takes for my opponent to throw a half-dozen bean bags in the hole. This is based on experience.)

Of course, this is a busy time of year for everyone as fall sports are in full swing, families begin to get ready for Halloween, and a lot of other church and school-sponsored fall festivals dot the calendar on October Saturdays. The weather is generally cool and that brings people outside, too. So their prediction of thousands may or may not be optimistic – I would consider Unify Delaware a smashing success with 5,000 people. Having worked on the Autumn Wine Festivals for several years, I know it draws about that many during a two-day run – granted, it has a higher price point but they serve alcohol, which Unify Delaware won’t do. Unify Delaware will have more space, too. So I think attendance of 5,000 is very doable, and as a fundraiser it could reach six digits.

So if the family and the old arthritic knees are willing, I may see you there Saturday. Sounds like fun for an afternoon.