The Useful Duck!

Contribute to my Vacation, please...

Saturday, May 29, 2021

I refuse to go to work in the morning and pretend to listen to a self help book but actually listen to...

 I am a bad farmer. A lazy farmer. There is hay to cut and in three days, there will be hay to bale. I have feed to make, I have a broken tractor, a broken motorcycle, a broken golf cart, and several axes to grind. (metaphorically speaking)

It is 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday. I have a baler to put together and I am blogging. Perhaps that is where the Lazy Farmer name does truly apply.

What I would rather be doing

I hate working on baler plungers. I have trouble reading the instructions. When I had my larger helper Bill, we would argue over the instructions and somehow figure it out. I do not think in the same way as my new helper. Nothing against him. It just doesn't work the same.

This needs to be installed and adjusted and then readjusted and then adjusted again. Then I will probably get it wrong.

I have a book but I can't read... Actually, I can't understand instructions...

I need my daughter. But she has abandoned me.

The weather man is calling for 90 degree temperatures next week. I am taking a vacation. I am going to drive a dumbstruck for the company that is redoing the steam lines at my University. I also have an interview at another University as a handyman groundskeeper. There is a very unlikely possibility that it will pay two dollars an hour more. If so I will take it.

My daughter is working in the grounds department of that University this summer. It is where she attends. She has been advocating for my employment there. I am not sure this is a good idea. I tend to interact too much with her. She objects, but then turns around and seeks me out. This job is an example. She was going to work in my grounds department but then got a job at her University. Then she tries to recruit me.

She said, "At LU I am known as Farmer ....'s daughter. At GFU you will be known as Lulu's dad." A subtle difference. But somehow important in terms of status....

The decision to switch jobs is actually impossible. I was offered the job a couple years ago. The pay turns out to be almost the same when the extra half hour drive is figured in. The drive kind of sucks.  At my current job I now I have 15.5 hrs of PTO per month and they give me all sorts of interesting junk. They are renovating the science building and I am really hoping for cool scientific junk this time! 

I am listening to "How to stop worrying and start Living," by Dale Carnegie. It is a refresher course...

Ok, I'm lying... This is what I am really listening to. Probably why I can't read.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

The difference a week makes

Last week I was looking at this!
The Road Really Did go on forever...

 Friday I was looking at this in front of me!

Poa Annua goes on forever...

Last Sunday this was the view out of the Crane Hotsprings!

Dramatic view last Sunday!

This weekend I descended into the bowels of the baler! Somehow the baler got put away without being cleaned and inspected. The top plate under the knotters was broken in four places. Saturday my helper and I took it all apart. This is the view from below. I am also sharpening the knives. We probably should be baling hay.

I think the handle of my hammer has dried out! It was a bit disconcerting when it flew off. 

And no baler repair is successful without injuring yourself. The amount of blood from such a small cut was amazing. 
I was removing a knife bolt with the big air wrench. I was holding the head of the bolt down with my finger. Laying on my back under the baler. The head of the bolt turned in the slot and a sharp sliver of metal sliced my finger. When I felt it happen I had the sinking feeling that I had really injured myself and was going to have to sit in the emergency room at 7 p.m. on a Saturday evening. 
Just a flesh wound. Makes it hard to type with a bandaid on.

Monday, May 10, 2021

We visit Crane Oregon

 We are staying at the Crane Hotsprings just a couple miles from the huge metropolis of Carne, Oregon. Crane is notable for being tiny and having a public High School where students board. The area is so sparsely populated that it is too far for student to ride the bus to school. So they live there!

We took a long drive today. The GPS tried to send us to Winnemucca, Nevada. This was not where we wanted to go. Fortunately we had a map. We went French Prairie. We wanted to see an old Ranch and were temped to take the Steens Mountain loop. However we settled for an Ice Tea at the French Prairie Mercantile and headed home. 

We did find a ranch for sale on Ru-Red road near the Malheur wild life refuge. If someone would like to buy it for me. It is only $295,000. A bargain!

The high desert is very dramatic. Rock formations jump out of the sagebrush. 

People also seem to like to live in really crappy old manufactured homes a half mile off the highway. There are also quite a few alfalfa farms. We even found a mint farm on a gravel back road.

A great time is being had by all!

I work for an institution more dysfunctional than the local co-op

 I am on vacation. I am setting on the porch of a prefab cabin at the Crane Hotsprings.

It is a beautiful day. 

I have internet. My wife is off searching for hot coffee. This is a hilariously working class resort. 

Yesterday we were in Bend. There were lots of stringy tanned people with weird sandals and kayaks on the roof of their Subaru's. Now we are with people who have big-arsed pickups, Romeo shoes, baseball hats and Camo. There are a couple hippie families here also. I am not complaining or making negative judgements on either group. Everyone is friendly. It is just funny that there are differences between the two locations.

I am not sure of the point in writing about my college. I am sure most of my 20 remaining subscribers have heard about my college University in the news as I have had calls from as far away New York asking me what is going on.

There are two parts to this. There is the Tyranny of Tenure Professors who are part of a small community of self-congratulating self styled intellectual writers that are the source of most news opinion in the country. They Twitter back and fourth about the dangers of White Supremacists and how terrible Donald Trump still is, and they live to be oppressed. They are so happy when someone objects to their stupidity because then their free speech rights are being restricted and they are being bullied. A love fest ensues.

But my college University has its own issues which won't allow it to respond to internal criticism. The University started as a small local college. There were ups and downs but it's heyday was twenty years ago when the economy was booming and the President was a lady who loved everybody.

When I was hired I the college contributed 11.25 percent of wages to retirement. My insurance payment was very reasonable and of course there was the free tuition with a tuition exchange program with like 400  other colleges. 

There were also employee associations, I believe their was a faculty group, an administrator's group, and a hourly wage employee's association. We all felt we had a say in the governance of the college.

The new President thought we should all be one. It was his vision for unity at the college. He didn't realize that the groups had uniquely different needs and attitudes which needed a line of separation for the groups to function smoothly. 

Then the Wu-Flu hit...

Suddenly we were all on zoom meetings. Then a decision was made to combine the Employees Association and the Administrators groups. We were pissed (hourly wage people). There are some serious differences between wage and hour people and their supervisors. Namely that some of the supervisors seem really nice but are really petty and mean. We nearly revolted. I actually talked to a labor organizer and then realized two things. I don't like labor organizers and I really don't have to work at the college.

Somehow we all feel we own the college. That is not true.

During the Wu-Flu crisis I worked from home. I put a sprayer together in my own shop. Did a pretty good job of it also. I also installed my own sprayer controller ($1000 retail value but I bought it on eBay for a lot less). I was unloading the sprayer in the parking lot. (one of the features of my sprayer is that one person can install it in the back of a Kawasaki Mule by himself) A long term employee of the college was making his rounds and stopped to help me, I joyfully explained all the features of my sprayer. He smiled and shook his head.

"Buddy," he said. "I have been here long enough to know one thing... L...... doesn't give a fuck about you..."

I was shocked but the more I thought about it the more I realized that the college was a bureaucracy and yes I was expendable. It was a wakeup call. I have been much happier since realizing this.

At the same time the English Professor revolted. This is when the real attack on the president started. It was so outrageous I had to defense the President. I emailed him and we patched things up. Had some coffee and talks about music and philosophy instead of Linfield issues. Honestly, the President doesn't like to be disagreed with. But, the thing is he had a vision. He was hired to change things. I don't like change but you have to do something. We were going broke, no one had a better idea. I mean starting a marching band seemed pretty cool but I think there might be more and better ideas.

The problem with the college is more than just a few faculty members who have tenure and shout down anyone who dare disagree with their woke White Savior complexes, 

The administration does not respond well to change. They fall back on an authoritarian stance. We complain about retirement cuts we get an impassioned speech from an upper level administration lady who nearly breaks down in tears describing our "benefit rich" compensation package. It is no longer benefit rich, I could get a $10 per hour raise if I went to work for the local co-op. The college is no longer contributing to my retirement. My insurance is pretty expensive.

Four years ago (or so), before the current president, the Libertarian student association attempted to bring in a conservative speaker. Reshmi Dutt-Dutt went ballistic. Again, called students Nazi's. Wrote an incredibly self absorbed opinion piece against free speech on campus.

The administration didn't know what to do. Finally they found some bogus reason to force the speaker off campus. Security objected or something. But, they caved. And they caved in such a way as to piss everyone off.

The same thing is happening now. The school administration falls back on rules and fails to act proactively. There was a student protest over the firing of Daniel Pelzner-Pollack. Student wrote on sidewalks with chalk. Security followed behind and washed off the chalk. Apparently one security guy actually started fining students $25 for making a mess.

There was a protest at graduation. (The protests are pretty lame. Ten heavily masked odd looking students and four Professors with signs saying things like "do better," stand around and read poetry) Professors had the audacity to put signs in the windows of their building. The "do better" and "Fire Davis and Bacca" signs inspired a security raid on the offices and the signs were removed. Considering that probably half the student body and 3/4 of the parents think the angry professors are idiots the signs were inconsequential.

Now the Professors are claiming oppression and there has been another round of indignant articles in local press.

So the professor has been fired and the University is really not putting out any press on why and there are no articles showing what a great and personable fellow Miles Davis is. I suppose the plan is to just let it all blow over but I am not a PR guy.

Miles Davis is a cheerful and positive guy. He likes to hug people, he is interested in students. He is a good speaker, he works the crowd, he is a salesman. He thinks all his great ideas boosted enrollement by 10% his first year but I think it was him getting out there and shaking the hand of prospective students that boosted enrollment.

When my daughter was checking out colleges Miles Davis made an appointment with her and spoke with her in person. She was impressed. (Did not change her mind but she was impressed)

The wife of my coworker passed away from Pancreatic cancer. I was standing in front of the administration building with a coworker when Miles Davis came down the steps. He said he was going to the viewing and why didn't we go along. I went with him. We discussed religion and farming and paid our respects. I think that shows a great deal of humanity.

I don't really have an answer but I think it I such a shame that it all seems to be going to hell. I wish he would just fire them all and take the hit. There are three reasons to attend my University. Business, Nursing, and the Sports department really works hard to support student athletes regardless of their ability. Also, I think there used to be a good music department but I haven't heard a lot about music but it isn't like anyone from my University is going to read this blog. Also one good Psychology professor.

Whatever, I am going to try out the hot springs. Also brush up my resume...

I will proof read tomorrow... maybe...

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Why a liberal arts education is the worst thing you can buy your student

I am setting on my porch in the middle of nowhere. There is a hot springs. The neighbors are listening to Dwight Yoakam. Many them are wearing camo, It makes them hard to spot. I frequently run into people and have to say, "sorry I didn't see you."

It is nice to be away from home and work.

Life at the small College University is getting frustrating. There are two reasons for that.

First of all the College of Arts and Sciences contains four Professors who just flat need to go. I can't believe how ideology has replaced religion in this country. If you see someone with a bumper sticker that says, "I choose love," or who is wearing two masks, or has a rainbow flag, or "I choose Science," you know they are pretty much a closed minded, bigoted, and a horrible person. Of course they are pretty sure that they themselves and all their friends are wonderful, as long as everyone minds the party line. If one should stray a little then those people suddenly become the worst people on earth.

Secondly, my college has this totally dysfunctional bureaucracy which will not allow them to make a correct decision.

Why my college hired their first black president I was skeptical. I read up on him and discovered he was Muslim and had come from a poor background, joined the Navy, joined the CIA, took advantage of a doctorate program for people of color and moved into higher Ed. He seemed to be too enthusiastic and I was nervous.

Then I met him. I shook his hand, he invited me to coffee and there I was, a farmer turned groundskeeper having coffee with the President of the College. He actually seemed interested in my life. I found myself liking and respecting him. This is kind of weird for me as I dislike authority figures. But I have respect for people who work their way up from the bottom.

Conversely the faculty were overjoyed to have the first Black President in the history of the college. Then he actually addressed why the college was going broke. He asked Professor's to justify their jobs. He refused to cut the facilities staff. He noted that there were classes with only one student and that salaried professors were maybe teaching one class.

The liberal arts faculty revolted. They claimed he was destroying the college. They refused to do anything to help. They refused to admit any culpability in the potential failure of the College. Meanwhile, the business Professors, the sports department, the Nursing Professors continued working hard. Those are the departments that are bringing students into the college. However, the liberal arts department is important because the idea of liberal arts college providing Nursing, Business, and Sports Management classes is to provide a "well rounded" education. But, students who are destined for success. I mean the kids who work hard and take workstudy jobs in grounds or building and trades or utilities hate the utter idiocy of the politics pushed by liberal arts Professors and take those classes only because they are forced to do so.

This is because the Liberal Arts Professors are sanctimonious annoying assholes who think they are wonderful and push this Maoist Progressive agenda that just bugs the hell out of anyone who actually has to work for a living. Things like, racist stereotypes in Shakespearian literature, lesbian themes in English lit, the evils of a male patriarchal white supremacist colonial interpretation of history. It is bullshite and everyone but stupid blue haired white chicks know it.

So they turned on the President. For one week they loved him in their non-ironic White Savior (different from White Supremacy by subtle definitions but still racist as heck) and the next week he was an evil wikipedia quoting Herman Cain sort of bastard.

They linked him to a sexual harassment claim against a College Trustee which happened before he was even at the college. When that failed to stick they got a white female professor to claim sexual harassment when he touched her on the shoulder and made mention of their upcoming scheduled meeting. He was with his wife and daughter at the time. This was immediately investigated and while he did most likely touch her, touching someone to get their attention in a group with your wife and daughter is not sexual harassment. Except by the definition of the lunatic professor Daniel Pelzner-Pollack. A self styled defender of student's rights and defender of the underprivileged. (Say White Savior Complex dickhead)

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner (or whatever his dumbass hyphenated name is) is the professor who cleverly linked Mary Poppins and black face vaudeville and made a name for himself with other dipshit progressives.  He claims to have discovered this with the usual progressive self-absorption although I remember the discussion at Chemeketa Community College in 1983.

DP-P gets himself on the college board of trustees where he continually brings up discredited sexual harassment claims and then moves on to calling the President a racist. Now it all gets really interesting. Having not been shut down, he moves on from misrepresentation to out right lying.

It started to go off the rails when Miles Davis was declared innocent of sexual harassment by the agency hired by the college to investigate that sort of thing. MD did touch the lady but it was not weird. So Pelzner-Popeye claims Davis was guilty of touching the white lady professor who has a creepy sexual thing about being looked at by black guys. (not Jim Crow like at all) Pepto-Pelzner goes nation wide with a claim that is the opposite of what the investigation proved. 

This whole claim dead ends so Punter-Potlicker pulls out the race card. He accuses the president of hating Jews. This is even better. When DP and MD first met DP was talking about Shylock who is often characterized as having a big nose. MD apparently made reference to a study showing Middle Eastern people all have the same sized noses which helps to disprove the stereotype. So DP posted on twitter that MD said he had a big nose because he was Jewish. 

Behind DP is a trollish lady professor who eggs him on but never actually pushes it to the point of going public. Daniel Pelzner-Polldark is the useful idiot to Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt's constant agitation. 

Reshmi is famous for calling the L.....d student libertarian association Nazi's because they had a free speech ball on campus. It was an actual ball where students could write what ever they wanted and some evil Nazi student drew a frog picture. Reshmi went ballistic. She called the Libertarian Students Nazi's and then claimed victim status by writing this virtue signaling rant which puts the blame on limiting free speech on conservatives. (They brought it on themselves)

There is more to say but I am afraid I have gone a bit overtime. And it is cold and my fingers are going numb. I have more to say about this but perhaps I should save t for later. I wanted to label these people as horrible cynical lying bastards but the thing is... They believe what they are saying... Liberalism is a mental disorder...

Maybe I shall proofread tomorrow!

The problem with vacationing

 I don't understand vacations.

I know the title of this blog is the Lazy Farmer. It is true that I am lazy. Perhaps too lazy to actually take a vacation. 

My hero is the original Lazy Farmer who was featured in farm magazines of the 1950's. He would not take a vacation. He was a worker! In that spirit, my goal as a Lazy Farmer is to avoid work. My ideal is to sit next to the wood stove on a winter morning with a cup of coffee and read Farm Show Magazine. My other goal is to have my wife get a good job so that I can sit by the wood stove on cold winter mornings and read Farm Show Magazine with out "Mirandy" telling me to get to work.

That has not happened in my life and so I do feel like I am a bit of a failure. I have had a lot of cracked pot schemes. No-Till planting, Non-GMO pig feed, Selling the original stock of Slik Toy tractors. (Still have several boxes), hemp, hemp pellets, pellets in general, hemp tonic, and 55lb wheat straw bales to feed stores and the latest and most ill conceived scheme of all- Being a Groundskeeper!

All of these schemes boil down a sinister conspiracy to keep me away from my rocking chair and a nice warm fire.

My lovely and gracious wife, who we shall refer to as "Mirandy" for the purposes of this story is a determined woman.

Mirandy alternates between encouraging me to work harder and worrying about me working too hard. Three years ago I declared a moratorium on vacations until our trailer manufactured home was paid off. However, I gave in. Mirandy was of the opinion that I either needed to up my life insurance, go to a doctor and get diagnosed for sleep disorders, or go on vacation. She was so sincere I agreed on a vacation. Mostly because that vacation was three months away from the time of the discussion.

Three months have passed and now I am on vacation. We are in Bend, Oregon. We are on our way to Burns Oregon. I am going to attempt fishing. Also, there are hot springs involved and a ranch. I like the idea of hot springs in the same way I like the idea of smoking hemp and listening to Willie Nelson all day. It is great to have goals but often achieving those goals is a bit of a disappointment.

We were going to visit a cousin in Bend. In fact we allowed time for the visit. However, I neglected to call the cousin and we went to GoodWill instead. 

Earlier we had lunch at the place in Sister's Oregon with a large stuffed dead Black Angus on the wall. There was also a bored looking Buffalo and a rather irritated looking Coyote on the wall.

My wife found half a drywall screw in her French Fries. It was the non-pokey end and she didn't actually eat it so alls well that ends well I say.

We also saw lots of burned trees and a large dam. People were catching trout off the side of the dam. The other side of the dam had a better view.

I really am not sure what a person should do on vacation. If my daughter were still age 10 then I can think of all sorts of adventures. I kind of just want to read a book...

Choices of Books to read on vacation...

1. "Dangerous Visions #1,"  Science Fiction shorts stories curated by Harlan Ellison and Isaac Asimov. (present from my daughter)

2. "Farewell Victoria," by T.H. White. I'm sure that will depress me. End of Empires and God, Honor Country, and all that. Then I will start ranting about the idiot professor at work who has a degree in Post Colonialism, ok really?!!! There is a degree in drivel and you can get paid to teach drivel and no one knows why small private colleges are now irrelevant. I guess the gullible blue-haired girls need something to care about... I suppose I should not have read "The Once and Future King," at such a young age. Might does not make right, Ignoble means are not justified by a noble cause. Lancelot should not have been tapping Genevere, but Morgan LeFaye was hot. I would totally have gone for her.. 

But I digress... (In the worst way)

3."Modernism and Totalitarianism," by Richard Shorten. I started to read this to argue with my Workstudy girl who was taking a class in Nazi/Facism but it turns out we agree on most everything. Her family is hispanic and they work hard for their living. She is not happy with the BS she has to be subjected to in the Linfield College of Arts and Sciences but figures that is what she has to put up with to become a nurse. I try to encourage her. Doesn't like to be called "Latinx" No real Hispanic person likes to be called Latinx. It is kind of offensive. I haven't figured out why yet. I think it is the male/female tenses. 

4."Flotsam and Jetsam," by Robb White.  He wrote some of my favorite books from my youth, "Up Periscope," "Torpedo Run," "The Lion's Paw." 

But now my "Mirandy" has returned and I must concentrate on my vacation.

Have a happy day!

Addendium: The TV is on. What the heck is wrong with our Government. Declares the border open and then when refugees from the L.......d College of Arts and Sciences favorite socialist dream country show up and want asylum the border is closed. But it maybe it is open. But then they deny people are being kept in cages. Liberalism is a mental disorder. 

Also... People won't go back to work because of all the Wu-Flu money. I suspect the only reason the economy is still work a crap is because people are secretly working for cash but also collecting COVID bucks. It is the private economy that is the only thing keeping us afloat. 

And Now we shall pack up and hit the road. I shall catch a trout, club it to death, and I shall cook it with lemon and butter. Or I shall burst! Goal Setting is Important!

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