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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
October 23, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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October 23, 1997

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10 Thursday, October 23, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette Wear those commercial symbols with pride Sports in a rural community is one of the most overrated activities in existence. On the other hand, it is something the entire community can participate in, even if it is just as a spectator. Yes, a rural community tends to go bananas over the local high school sports teams, particularly football. I guess that's OK, but it's still overrated. Professional athletes are made out to be role models. They are not In fact, they disgust me and I hate to see our kids given the impression that if you're not into sports you're an outcast. From drug use, spitting on umpires, allegations of murder to illegal betting on games played in, these are some role models. The use ofacertain commercial symbol on teams'jerseys also disgusts me. The products are made from theequivalent of slave labor by people that can't even afford to buy a pair of the shoes they're making. The symbol disgusts me beyond belief. Go ahead, if you want to, wear it proudly. I remember many years ago watching television. The news hadj ust concluded and up came the sports report. This was before the days of remote control and I was too tired to get up and change the channel  I usually do when the sports report comes on. So, I sat there and waited for it to end. Up came a report about the fast pitcher in the word to he signed to a million dollar contract. A million dollars! For playing a game. I groaned. Well, the sportscaster asked this pitcher what kind of season he thought he'd have. Now, this million dollar pitcher could have said something like, "I expect a good season. The ann is really feeling great, the team has a winning spirit and we're all working very well together." That would seem like a reasonable statement from a million dollar pitcher, right? He responded thusly, "Well, some days youse has good days and some days youse has bad days." Oh joy. I'm sure that millions of sports fans were positively elated to hear that prose. Meanwhile, owners of sports teams, who have millions upon NORTHERN EXPOSURE by Dave Downing millions of dollars, are telling their local com- munities that if the tax-payers don't pay for a new stadium theyql move the team out of town. What's mind-boggling is the fact that com- munities are falling for this. I would never never-- cast a vote for such a stupid waste of tax payer money. These guys are in the big bucks  pay for your own dam stadium. Then the players, making mega-bucks, turn around and strike. Huh? You have got to be kidding me. And then we, as sports fans, give them sympathy and welcome them back when they finally do come back. Why? I11 tell you why. From grade school on we are imbedded with this idea that sports is the most important thing on the surface of this planet. Keeping an eye on statistics. Letting the big guys bully the little guys. Win. Win. Win. A loser should hang his/her head in shame, etc. In a rural town in another state my son wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument. He liked music and wanted to learn more about it. So, he signed up for a high school music class. The Covenant...an epic story In "The Covenant," novelist James A. Michener has told the story of South Africa..:from the year 1453 to the completion of the novel in 1979. In 1,238 paperback pages he follows three primary families who were instrumental in the development of the area. They are the black Nxumalos, the Dutch Van Dooms and the Anglo/American Saltwoods. South Africa is a pleasant, subtropical land of mountains, valleys, lakes and streams. For decades only the southern cape was inhabited by Europeans and used as a way station between Europe andtbe East Indies. Indigenous small brown men called Hottentots or Bushmen served as house slaves when they could he tamed. First the Portuguese came and then the Dutch. Rivals for the East Indies spice trade, they first cooperated and then fought each other. With the fall of the Portuguese stronghold at Malacca, the Dutch became victorious. The Dutch East India Company did not wish to colonize South Africa. The company existed to make a profit and Capetown was ruled by the company. Many of the Dutchmen there wanted to settle the land but the company forbade it. Time moved on and the company's power waned. Many Dutch families moved northward, now calling themselves Afrikaners. This brought them into conflict with the various black tribes, the Xhosa, the Bantu, the Mabuwane and the Zulus who vastly outnumbered them. Most of the Afrikaners were very religious. Embracing the Dutch Reform Church, which was largely based on the Old Testament, they felt they had a covenant with God to rule South Africa. To them the blacks and browns were clearly inferior races, condemned to be servants or slaves and ruled by the whites. The Afrikaners were good farmers and excellent fight- ers. However, most had read nothing but their bibles. In the 1500s they were joined by an infusion of French Huguenots, refugees from persecution by the Catholics in Europe. They brought the art of wine-making to South Africa. The clashes between the blacks and the white settlers became more numer- ous. Because of their guns and superior tactics, the whites usually won. They lost only when they trusted the tribesmen and were betrayed. In 1806, as a result of European battles, the Dutch ceded control of South Africa to the British. At that time the country had only 26,000 white settlers, many of whom were virtually illiterate. The settlers were spread out over so many square miles that there could be no formal schools and the company had restricted access to many things, such as printing presses. The arrival of the British changed everything. English became the primary language; the use of Dutch was discour- aged. The British were skilled in fiaance and accounting. The Afrikaners were not. British missionaries arrived and took a Changing Patterns by Richard Reul ii 00]IIIIIIIIIII .............. I||l|lll|lll|l ll|fCrllll#ll I||! I|l|g .... ! ..... II I dim view of the Dutch religious attitudes. More importantly, the British decided that all races should have equal opportunity. This was intolerable to the Boers, as the British called the Afrikaners. These events culminated in the Anglo-Boer War, commenc- ing in 1899. The city-bred Dutch sided with the British. The largely rural Boer armies were little disciplined, less organized, paid nothing and were well able to live off the land. They attempted to defeat the combined armies of the British Entpire. In less than a year, despite bungling British generals, the war was essentially over. However, for another year, Boer com- mandos continued to harass the British. Lord Kitchener took over. He burned the Boer farms and put their women and children into concentration camps. The death rate in the camps was appalling. Soon enough he selected an instrument and learned to play. He joined the band. I thought that was great. A few months into the school term the school notified me of a problem with my son's performance in music and requested a conference. I thought be had been doing well and, in fact, he had received straight A's in the course. Somewhat confused over this, I went to the teacher's conference. Herelwastoldthat my son wasaboutto bedroppedfromtheclass because he had missed two football games. "What?!" I exclaimed. It turns out that one of the requirements to be in the band was to attend the school's football games for half-time entextainment. After some discussion it was determined that the school would not change its position on this matter and I would have to have my son at the football games no matter what. But, as I was leaving I thought of something. "Are the football players required to attend the band con- certs?" I asked. "What? No. No, of course not, why should they be?" was the response. I flat told them that if my son, in his efforts to learn more about music, was required to be nothing more than a supplement to the school's football program then there is something wrong. It's a double set of standards. I demanded that if the band was required to be at football games then the football players should be required to be at band concerts. Well, they let my son finish with an "A" in band but he did not con.tinne his studies after that semester. He told me that all they taught in band was marching, not how to play well. Sorry folks, but the works of Beethoven, Mozart and Debusey have contributed much more to this world than the tikes of OJ. Simpson ever will. The administration of Jan Christian Smuts was anathema to the Boers. Through two world wars they considered an alliance with Germany but were dissuaded. Commencing in 1946, the Afrikaners infiltrated the British- dominated South African government. Smuts was defeated. The Boers won parliamentary elections and obtained key administra- tive positions. Apartheid had begun. Society was rigidly strati- fied, with the whites on top. The coloreds, the Indians and the blacks, if approved, could work in the cities in the daytime but were defiverrxl into their poor enclaves at night. Even a marriage to a black I 0 generations ago could plunge a white family into the nmks of the coloreds. The few educated blacks were rebelling, but institutionalized racism ruled the country. The novel ends in 1979, but history goes on. Nelson Mandela, a black activist imprisoned for many years, is now Piesident. By all accounts he has been a remarkable leader, although besieged by enemies including his own wife. South Africa poses some lessons for our own country. Its statistical projec- tions for the year 2000 are staggering: Fdllllig...Ql:fl Estimated _nopulation Afrikaner 4,500,000 English-Speaking 1,500,000 Colored 4,200,000 Indian 1,250,000 Black 33,000,000 I wonder what America's demographics will he like in the year 20007 Editors note'.James A. Michener, 90, died last week at his home in Austin, Texas. He was considered, "America's storyteller," by many devotmi readers. Michener was born Feb. 3, 1907, in New York City, and was taken as an orphan to the Bucks CountyPoorhouse lu Doylestown, PhiL His name came from his adoplive Quaker parenm In 1996,"FortuneMagazine" nmked him among the nation's top 25 philanthroosts, estinmting he gaveaway$24 mimonin tlmtyearalone."Iamawarehowtough it is to make a living in the arts in the United States," Michener said. "I've had good luck." Lift off back to the east What to, write about is always a problem when Ditto asks, how many stories are you ahead and you realize that you aint? But the trouble I have is that so much other stuff happens that I loose sight of what I was going to write about in the firstplace. Here I was all set to write about my recent trip to San Francisco when my neighbors over at the test site broke up my chain of thought by slxxng off a rocket that didn't go where it was supposed to go. The Department of Energy 0K)E) came by on the following Tuesday. Not to apologize but to explain what happened and how it wouldn't happen again. After they got done doing their bit, the meeting was opeml to questions from the many concerned residents of the area who were present. It was learned that within seconds of the launch of this supposedly safe rocket, they knew that it was going off course and  they didn't know where it was going to land. This thing was scheduled to go up 150 miles kick over and land on a targ 70 miles away on the north end of the test site. The time of its flisht was to be around seven orso minutes. They said that they were tracking it by radar which would probably be of great cancellation had it landed on us here in Goldfield. Silver Peak or Tonopah which fortunately it didn't. Had it done so, we might have gotten a lot more media attention. The PV III II III I I Slim Sez by Slim Sirnes [ Ill I Gazette being the only newspaper re- porting in depth on this incident. All the rest of the media TV, radio and local papers, the few that did mention it, relied on the canned press inaccurate press releases put out by the DOE. When the question was asked, "If you knew that it was going off course, why wasn't the destruct of abort button pushed?" The answer being that there was no such device on this rocket as study's had shown that it was safe and such devises wouldn't be needed or cost effective. I guess safe and cost effective are good enough if one isn't around where it lands. They seemed more concerned with the loss of this two million dollar rocket than of the possible consequences and had no answers when asked what was the total cost of this project. Too bad the thing didn't land in my back yard. If it had, I might have gotten some ideas on how not to build a rocket. So I will just have to go back to my old trial and error methods like they do and build my own version of a rocket. I'm gonna aim it off towards the east over the test site, an area not populated by.any intelligent beings, and if it goes far enough it will end up over at Rachel Nev., where it will make those LIFO peoples day. About the biggest obstacle besides my wife on this project will he on lift-off where the rocket will have to clear my next door neighbors place on it's way east. Might have to schedule the launch for when he goes off to do some shopping. Wdl, I hope wcdonhaveany momoflhesc andIcan go backto writing my rmmml stuff. Havca good  asayiag which I can say now that d Cassini l.ocla,'t was lmnr.hed y. t ....