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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
September 25, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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September 25, 1997

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10 Thursday, September 25, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette The Internet -- a great place forideas, or is it? The interact is a fascinating place. As we approach the new millennium, it is "the". place to learn about nearly anything and everything. Within the labyrinth of counecfions that make up this high-tech society you can go to any subject your mind can think up. There's no doubt that the internet is the future. There's something scary about that. This past Sunday I had a terrible case of writer's block. I dragged myself out of the sack around 7:00 a.m. and the very first thing I thought of was the fact I had to write this column. "What do I write about this week?" I asked myself. My brain went, "Phttt" Blank. Gone. Darkns. A few subjects of local interest flashed amt danced but simply didn't spark. "Well bow about internatioual' I thought. Last week I wrote about the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, But I don't care to dwell on too many international things. I like to keep it local if I can. I tumedon the computerand staredat a blank screen for about 15 minutes. Nothing. I looked down at my dog, Pepper. She just rolled over on her back and went to sleep. No help there. Stupid mutt. Then came the light bulb. I switched the computer over to the interact and signed on my favorite chat group, the Third Age Cafe. Surely, I would get a column idea from the folks that regularly visit this high-tech environment. Now, for those of you nnt familiar with this complex technology, a "chat" group is a place you can go on the internet to have a conversation with other people. The computer screen displays the conversation and you type in any comments you care to make. Everyone else sees your comments also and can discuss what you've written. It's a unique environment where you "see" what others are "saying." Everyone uses a "screen name." Mine is "DthViyDave." The screen name must be unique so you can distinguish who is saying what. No two people on the same net can have the same screen name otherwise you wouldn't be able to dis- I I NORTHrRN EXPOSURE by Dave Downing tinguish who is who. Some have their name followed by numbers, i.e., Dave 1234. They might have wanted just "Dave" but someone else al- ready had that name when they first signed up on Third Age Cafe. After the usual greetings were exchanged I told the group about my problem. "Anycolumn ideas?," I asked. Certainly, I thought, this group of high-tech complex new age people would give me some great material. "Why don't you write about the new blue M&M's," responded Chelsea. "I'here's a cockroach problem in Texas," responded Jim93. "I like the blue M&M's," wrote Pam-pam. "Do cockroaches like blue M&M's?" asked Ark, A little while later Ark wrote, "I have to go. Noah wants to ride the seven seas. Bye." Chelsea imerjected, "I used to work quality control at M&M's but was fired for throwing out all the ones with W's on them." "I'm in deep trouble," I thought. While people are "talking" in a chat group you can do other things. One of these is to double click on their names and up comes a little box that contains a profile on that person. This is something the person writes that tells a little bit about them- selves. I began double clicking on names. When I clicked on Pam-pam I discovered an interesting item in her profile. She loathes hunters. Being an avid outdoorsman (for five years I wrote and edited the PVGazette's outdoor page) I went back into the chat group and asked her about it. "Why do you loathe hunters?" I asked her. "Because they kill animals," she responded. "That's OK if they're cockroaches," Ark quickly responded. I found myself still staring at the computer screen wondering where to go from here when the subject turned to the weather. Someone wrote, 7My knee can always tell when it's going to rain." Someone else responded, "Me too. My wife has instructions that when I die my left knee is to be sent to the weather bureau." Pam.pam told me about beetles. "They are kept in Japan as pets," she wrote. "They're quite expensive starting at about $500." "Wonder what they feed them?" I asked, "Do they pick up beetle food at the supermarket?" "No, that's where they find the beetles, Dave," said Ark. It was right around this time that I got a column idea. I was right after all, the internet was a great place to go for it. t 1 1 The rebirth of Socialism Rupert Murdoch is an Australian tycoon of the news media. What follows are excerpts from a recent speech he made at a Forbes CEO conference. After reviewing the effects of two world wars in one century, the cold war and countess revolutions and police actions, Mr. Murdoch turned to his central theme. "The danger I want to discuss is not external, not foreign and not military. It is operating in our own societies, right under our own noses. Let me put it this way: If socialism is dead, why won't it lie down?" The classical definition of socialism is public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Socialism, in that sense, is dead. No one talks about nationalizing industries any more. But then no one has to nationalize industries - because the extraordinary growth of regulation has given effective control of them to the government, without its having to assume the hassle of ownership! Socialism haseffectivelyreinventeditself. Wecancall it neosocialism. Anyone who owns or manages a business must be aware of it. They find hiring, firing, buying, selling, just trying to operate, vastly more complicated than they were 15 or 20 years ago. " Farmers in the U.S. are now outnumbered by employees of the Department of Agriculture. The same situation is occuring in most other industries as well. Here in the U.S. we have a characteristic American touch...regolafion through litigation. Trial lawyers have become, in effect, private vigilantes enforcing neosocialist writ. It takes a whole village of lawyers to create the ludicrous situations we now see in employment laws. From the Washington Post: In January, a former track driver for Ryder Systems, Inc. won a $5.5 million jury verdict after claiming, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, that Ryder unfairly removed him from his position after he suffered an epileptic seizure, saying that his health condition could be a safety hazard. During the time he was blocked from his job at Ryder, the driver was hired by another firm, had a seizure behind the wheel, and crashed into a tree! Maybe 30-40 percent of that $5.5 million will go to lawyers in Changing Patterns by Richard Reul 00lllliiliilll00 expenses and contingent fees. So the profit motive is in good shape, but private enterprise is less so. Why do we hear so little about this surging ncosocialism? One reason is that it is quite new. The regulating revolution in the United States really only began in the 1960s. Socialism was originally advanced under the banner of efficiency. Planning was supposed to be rational. The waste of capitalism was to he eliminated. Today neosocialism is being advanced in the guise of equity. The common thread is that the government still gets to tell the rest of us what to do...that individuals can not be relied upon to make their own decisions. A new class has evolved that embraces the bureaucracy and those who profit from it. They want to see a nanny state because they are the nannies. This new class is becoming an international phenomenon, a supra-national bureaucracy built above the heads of national legislatures. Its effects are already being felt in treaties and international agreements that supersede local law. Run by center-left political parties, the new class has success- fully subverted center-right parties that traditionally support, capitalism. The current situation is not particularly stable. Neosocialism is prone to economic breakdown. It confronts an inexorable reality...if a citizen is busy filling out forms, he is not produc- ing. For another thing, there are obvious signs that new class monopolization of politics causes the party structure to break down; people look for new vehicles to express their discontent. New political parties are making waves everywhere. Here in the U.S.t the Libertarian party is greatly expanding its influ- ence. This neosocialist attack on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can not go unanswered. Those of us who believe in private enterprise and individual responsibility must train our guns in the right direction. Author's Note: In excerpting from Mr. Murdoch's speech, I have taken certain liberties in minor additions, clarification and organization. But the thoughts are all his[ The Burning Man That's: where I was over the Labor Day weekend and what a weekend it was. While I was there, I fdt sorry for tha people that weren't, who were sitting at home watching this on the tube. There was so much goingon that codd neverall be captured on the screen, one had to he there. At a guess I would say that there was well over 10,000 people all doing things in a positive manner. If you wanted to wander around wearing nothing but feathers and wings, fine; if not, you didn't have to. My different appearing pickup served me well as this allowed me to park along with some other unusual vehicles right in the front row of the viewing area. But even there it was impossible to see all that was going on. Best I can do is lay some highlights on you. As I mentioned, there was some nudity gohag on which, in most cases, I found this interesting and speculated on what the effects of overexposure to the hrsh desert sun would be on areas not normally exposed. Maybe it was a good thing Ditto, my bride, hadn't been with me. On one occasion, a comely nubile wench wearing nothing but her b:dthday suit came up to view the various aluminum art stuff I had on display. Among these art objects was a bra made from aluminum which, up till this point, I had never been able to get anyone to model. It fit and it is unfortunate that the P.V. Gazette, a family type paper, won't he publishing the pies of this. Maybe they would have if I could have gotten this model to wear the aluminum panties that were part of this ememble. Another interesting sight was where some people had con- structed a wooden duck. It must have been at least 30 feet long and perfectly proportioned. It took about 50 people to pick this up and carry it out across the dry lake bed on their shoulders. From our distant vantage point, it kinda looked like a bunch of tiny ants carrying a  duck. It was later set afire when the Burning Man was. I wonder if they got their idea from the Trojan horse of yesteryear which, according to legend_, originally started out as a dth:k till the borse loving crowd got in the act. Myself not being into horses would have gone for an innocent appearing duck which, by the way, would have held more than a wooden borse. There was the big ball of ice about 10-12 feet in diameter sitting all by itself on the on the hot desert dry lake. Slim Sez by Slim Sirnes I got up to the Black Rock Desert, the site of this event, on Wednesday and I see this mysterious square building surrounded by bales of hay with a commercial type refrigeration unit chugging away attached to it. No one seemed to know what its purpose was. Which wasn't vealed until a few days latex when the building and bales of straw were removed and here was this big ball of ice with an arrow through it sitting all by itself. Which was soon surrounded by crowds of the curious. Me included. No explanations were being given as to what its purpose was. Maybe later on there was. I took it upon myself to explain what I thought it was. Explaining how fortunate we all were that it had landed where it did, rather then in the crowded camp area, and how most of the time these objects burned up as they entered the earth's atmosphere. I think some of them may have believed me as I noticed some of them pointing at me as I went wandering away to see more of the sights. Among which was a group who had taken a typical middle class living room, complete with all its furnishings, couches end tables, TV, etc., and mounted it on a car chassis. It musta been about 15 by 20 feet and were driving it around the dry lake bed with its load of average Americans enjoying a Saturday afternoon gathering hefpre tbe game came on. Bands. Every now and then here would come a band comprised of anyone who could, of thought they could, play a musical instrument. Some were very reminiscent of the New Orleans marching bands we see during the Mardi Gra Speaking of Mardi Gins, this in a way describes just a small part of all that was going On. I had taken Cosmo, my nine foot tall aluminum giraffe sculpture, with me and had it tethered out on the dry lake bed all by itself where I thought it looked pretty good. Others seemed to agree. And what added to a fin finishing touch was when some unknown gathered a collection of dog doMo and left it at the rear of Cosmo. Prompting more than one comment as to what a healthy animal it was. The crowds were orderly and would have been even if there hadn't been the massive presence of different law enforcement bodies. All collecting overtime pay and practicing with their heli- copters. We had more protection than the average person would expect to experience in their own home town. There were fire trucks and forestry persomml in case of the unlikely event the desert caught fire, BLM issuing us permits so we could parade with out vehicles on the public dry lake bed and the list could go on and on. The promoters of this event, who were not in it for a profit, had to lay out over $300,000in fees and permits and go through all sorts of hassles just so people who wanted to attend something different could. Well, I've dragged this out quite a bit and it would have been impossible to describe all what we saw and did. All I can say is that when this event occurs next year, wherever that will be, I will be there and maybe so will you. Now I'm getting ready for my next trip which will he over to San Francisco where on the 26-28 of September will be the Fh'st Annual Art Car West Fest at the Somar Gallery, 934 Brannan Street. This also should he a lot of fun. Now I've got to go and do a little touch- up work on my plain jane pickup. Maybe I will see you there. Have a good one.