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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 104-----------FEBRUARY 2011



February 4, 2011

I know, I've procrastinated again!  I had every intention of getting this newsletter done on January 30th for a couple of reasons.

For one, that's sister Cheri's __th Birthday, (No, I ain't tellin' her age) and that was going to be my way of wishing her a happy one.  Sorry I didn't get it done on the day Cheri, but here's belated birthday wishes anyway!

Secondly, it would have prevented brother Ed from bitchin' at me for being late again!

Today is Mom's Birthday.  I do know her chronological age, but will remain silent on that point as well.  She probably won't be reading this as they're not into the technology, but I'll make this a request to brother Ed to show this to her when she's at his house next time.

Something else about this date that should be important, but my memory seems to be failing as I get older????


Today is also Little Heifer's and my 49th wedding anniversary!  Don't know how she's managed to put up with me all these years, but glad she has.  We plan to celebrate tonight with a dinner at Chef In The Forest overlooking Hauser Lake, Idaho.

Chef In The Forest is a long time attraction in this area, small, intimate, with an exceptional menu and wonderful ambiance.  Last year an electrical problem caused a fire in the late night hours and burned the place to the ground!

There was much speculation that they would never rebuild, but thankfully those predictions were wrong!  The owners have rebuilt on the same footprint as the old building, and re-opened for business a couple of weeks ago.  We're hoping that everything is as nice as in the past and wishing them well for the future.

Not much going on in our hunting and shooting world.  The only open seasons that might provide action right now are coyote and bobcat but we haven't seen either for some time.  Bobcat sightings are very rare but coyotes can be heard nearly any night and occasionally make the mistake of showing themselves a few seconds too long.

I did see a large bodied, skinny deer at the salt lick behind the house the other evening.  Closer examination with the Swarovskis showed pedicles where antlers had shed in recent days.  The size of the old antler bases indicated the likelihood that this was a pretty nice buck.  The lack of fat on his carcass was no doubt the result of hard rutting activity in November.  But, in spite of being skinny, he still appeared to have the remains of a smile on his face.

Even though we had some unseasonably warm weather in early January, it still wasn't warm enough to break out the shooting bench!  The snow and ice melted off the driveway and roofs, but the target stand still sits in a foot or more of snow!  Guess I'm just a fair weather shooter these days.  In contrast to early January, recent days have provided us with unseasonably cold temperatures, so we certainly haven't lost any more snow.

The snow is pretty much gone down in the valley, but we still have more than our share in the yard here at the ranch.  While it has settled a lot, we have some stacks four or five feet high where I've plowed it off the driveway.

We always welcome communications from our former Hunter Education students to let us know about their hunting experiences.  We received a couple of emails and pictures about Jackson Moore's hunting experiences over the last couple of months.  Jackson was in our May/June class last year.

Skunked this year but found this in the woods.

Better luck on the pheasant hunt.  This is his first one!

Received a letter a few weeks ago from the U. S. Sportsman's Alliance Foundation back in Ohio.  The letter informed me I had won a gun!  A .22 Savage semi-auto with composite stock and a little 4X scope!  A few words of explanation here.

This is the third consecutive year that I have bought two tickets for the Foundation's '52 Gun Raffle' that gives away a gun or a bow every week for fifty-two weeks.  There are 1,000 tickets sold numbered from 000 to 999.  Each week's winner is determined by the Monday evening drawing of Ohio's 'Pick 3' lottery.  Obviously if your numbers are drawn multiple times in the weekly Pick 3, you can win multiple times.  The tickets are $50 each.

The gun was shipped to me free of charge, but of course had to come to a local Federal Firearms License holder who runs me through the NICS background check and handles the required Federal paperwork.

Now let's do some accounting here.  Two tickets for three years at $50 each comes to $300.  Center Target Sports in Post Falls, Idaho charged me $25 to do the transfer.  So, I'm $325 into a rifle that can be bought at any major sporting goods store for about $150!

I'm poking fun at myself here!  I consider the $100 a year I give to U. S. Sportsman's Alliance nothing more than a donation to an organization that does great work in helping protect our 2nd Amendment rights.  If I never won a thing, I'd consider it money well spent.

As a bonus, the little Savage has a unique and unusual method of locking the bolt open, and will be an interesting and informative addition to our Hunter Education guns.

I noticed that I haven't been on my soapbox for a while, so if you don't want to go there you can quit reading now.

On January 27, 2011 the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) released a report on the causes of the 2008 financial and economic crisis.  The news articles I've read about this report uses words like "Greed and Incompetence" when describing how the FCIC says this all came about and they don't discriminate among Wall Street Executives, Government Officials, and Lawmakers.  While I didn't note any news accounts using the word 'Thievery' it came to my mind several times.

I'm sure the entire report would be wonderfully inspiring reading, (NOT) but I sure ain't wadin' through all five hundred and some pages of it!

I plan to say more about this subject next month but wanted to use this lead in to share an item that was posted on the Outdoors Unlimited website recently.  Outdoors Unlimited was our dial-up ISP before going to satellite broadband.  They still host 2 or 3 email addresses for us.  You might want to check out their website for some interesting news links for 2nd Amendment and gun rights issues.  www.outdoorsunlimited.net

It's no secret that the financial meltdown was fueled by the so called 'derivatives' markets backed by toxic home mortgages.  I admit to having a scant understanding of derivatives and thought this piece explained it in terms an old hillbilly can understand.

Understanding Derivatives -- A Primer

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit .

She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar.

To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.

Heidi keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers' loans).

Word gets around about Heidi's "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Detroit .

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages.

Consequently, Heidi's gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Heidi's borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral!!!

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINK BONDS.

These "securities" then are bundled and traded on international securities markets.

Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as "AAA Secured Bonds" really are debts of unemployed alcoholics.

Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb!!!, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices still are climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar. He so informs Heidi.

Heidi then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts.

Since Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and Heidi's 11 employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINK BOND prices drop by 90%.
The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank's liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community

The suppliers of Heidi's bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the BOND securities.
They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds.

Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multibillion dollar no-strings attached cash infusion from the government.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, nondrinkers who have never been in Heidi's bar.

Now do you understand?

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from a quote from Thomas Edison that I found in the free calendar from our eye doctor:

"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless."

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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