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Topics - West of the Rockies

Random Topics / Military firearms history question
June 25, 2016, 09:14:14 AM
Do any of our military history experts know what sort of rifle or musket would have been in use by the military in the Oregon territory of the mid 1850s?

Thank you for any insight you might have.
Random Topics / Threads you avoid
September 24, 2015, 08:26:37 PM
Are there any thread no-go zones for you?  I reluctantly drop in on the Falkie thread, always to my great regret.  I feel a mix of shame, revulsion, sadness... I get that it is a reality show essentially, but how Falkie can be so obtuse, how people can kick the sad sack mysyifies me on most days. 
Politics / 2016 Likely Candidates for POTUS?
October 05, 2014, 03:09:56 PM
Anyone you think will run (either party)?  Anyone you think is already history?

I don't think Newt will run again.  That dog won't hunt.  I hope a Trump doesn't throw his ugly-ass toupe into the ring.  I don't think Sarah will go all in (just threaten a bit)....
I don't know that this thread will have legs, but I was thinking about bits of info those of us of a certain age assume everyone possesses.  For instance, doesn't everyone know the name Manfred Richthofen?  D.B. Cooper?  Humphrey Bogart?  Can't we all play the tapes of Columbia and Challenger in the theater of the mind?  When I hear the word "guppy" I think first of the huge cargo plane. 

Teapot Dome Scandal... The Corps of Discovery... Jaclyn Smith (perhaps the most beautiful creature to have walked the earth).  Waterloo.  Rhodesia, Siam, Prussia...I daresay a majority of teens and older would not know these terms.

But no... Many (most?) of today's 20-something's have no idea.  I once had a student in my college freshman comp class who'd never heard of Adolph Hitler; the name meant nothing to her.

I am getting old....
Any thoughts on who is the radio host causing the most damage to society?  I know that is a somewhat nebulous topic, but who do you feel is spewing the most misinformation, the most toxic material that is causing non-useful polarity, fear and hatred?

For me, if a program has only a hundred thousand listeners, well, that is less dangerous than someone with a million regular listeners.

Personally, I find Hannity to be the worst.  His constant "You're a great American/patriot" crap is creating loads of toxic division.  Just my opinion....
Politics / Five Biggest Threats to Humanity
June 23, 2014, 04:32:38 PM
What do you all think are the five greatest threats our world faces?

I (with no real forethought) would say:

Climate change
Radical Islam
Corporate greed
Lack of education/intellectual curiosity
The creation/acceptance of unstable governments in the pursuit of national goals
Random Topics / What keeps you coming back?
March 18, 2014, 10:09:21 AM
No, I don't mean what keeps you coming back to a woman (or man)...  I mean here, to BellGab?  Rather that forecast the site's doom and lament those who have moved on or been banned, I wanted to go in a more positive direction.  I'm not trying to create a hugfest, but to offer Michael a sense as to what especially does work here.

I come back for Agent Orange's clear and engaging comments on the Astrophysics thread.  He is an awesome addition to the forum.  That he takes such time to explain complex topics is great.

I value MV's fair and judicious forum moderation, the user-friendly layout here, and the overall content.

I dig Onan's sage perspective, his essential humanity and humor.

I enjoy the new addition of Pyewacket and her jokes thread -- it's  nice to come here and smile instead of leaving with a frown.

I love that I can toss out a random name from a 1960's baseball team roster, and FighttheFuture comes back with an anecdote or statistical fact about that player.

I don't want to list everybody here; I could easily go on with another dozen names.  Anyone else wanna take a stab at this thread? 
Anyone have any thoughts on what NASA and the ISA should be doing in terms of (wo)manned space travel?  Mars is the obvious and "sexy" destination, but it sounds like we're a ways from really trying (other than some sort of pie-in-the-sky private ventures being discussed).  I hear landing on an asteroid could prove very edifying and beneficial. 

It saddens me that we no longer have even the shuttle to kick around.  At least we do have the International Space Station.  It is one of the brightest objects in the night sky out where I live (northern Cal).
Don't know that this thread'll have any legs, but having read a few comments about The Family Circus being pretty stale, it got me thinking about other comic strips we might think of as having been on the decline for two or forty years. 

This is damn near blasphemous, I know, but I'm rather surprised that some newspapers print Peanuts strips still.  Schultz died in the year 2000. 

That Hagar the Horrible still has readers astonishes me.  Ditto for Blondie, Marvin, Garfield...  I think Dilbert reached its apogee about a dozen years ago.  Beetle Bailey seems pretty dull to me as well.

The comic strip artists who bow out gracefully are few and far between:  Berkeley Breathed and Bill Watterson come to mind....
Random Topics / Old time radio
October 14, 2013, 06:04:01 PM
I imagine Bell Gab has to be lousy with old time radio buffs...  My 7th/8th grade English teacher (this was back in the mid-70's) used to hold "listening skills" exercises on every other Friday.  We'd listen to old radio programs:  Gangbusters, I Love a Mystery, etc., and answer about half a dozen minor plot-point questions and such to see how well we were paying attention. 

I know that for a time Costco would sell packages of old programs (twenty 60-minute tapes, for instance, on comedy, westerns, etc.).  A lot of them came with the original commercials, too.  The comedy doesn't hold up all that well, really, but the other material is still pretty good.

There was also a syndicated program that was on my local NPR station on Sunday nights that featured two hours of old-time radio.  My daughter grew up listening to these old programs.  We read to her all the time, but when we'd put her to bed, it was often to old time radio programming.  She's 12 now and still enjoys it.  See, children CAN survive without television (though we've got Netflix).

Anyone else remember fondly old radio shows?
Radio and Podcasts / Schnitt Show
September 11, 2013, 12:48:23 PM
Has anyone heard this guy?  He's new to my area, and I've given him ten minutes of my time probably four or five times now.  I can't stand him.  He thinks he is hilarious and insightful, but -- IMO -- is juvenile, loud, abrasive, repetitive, and essentially toxic.  In looking at his website, he looks fairly young and (judging entirely by appearance) not overly bright.

This thread may go down in flames, but here goes....

Are there any fictional characters with which any of you identify?  I know, for instance, that I could relate to most of the kids in the J.J. Abrams film Super 8 (probably the minor character Preston).  I was just a couple years older than them, but I did many of the same things.  I could certainly relate to being awe-struck and quite in love with the Alice Dainard character (Elle Fanning) at that age.

Now I probably relate more to Melvin Frohiki (minus the many cool and esoteric talents).   
Random Topics / Things that bring me joy....
July 19, 2013, 03:21:12 PM
We've got a "things that annoy us" thread, so how about one that focuses on things we like?

I am a sucker every damn time for those Daddy/Mommy is coming home from Iraq videos.  Love 'em....

Girls in their summer dresses... model rockets... campfire stories... a really good grilled burger... a starry night... an ice-cold beer... banana slugs lumbering over moss... women with sparkly purple (or bubblegum pink) toenail polish... the crack of the bat... a well-sung rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner"... the smell of books... looking at the world with wonder....

How 'bout you?  In the words of Ross Miller, "Wanna take a ride?"
Random Topics / Old plane buffs?
July 17, 2013, 01:47:13 PM
I don't know if anyone has brought up this rather esoteric topic, but do any of you have a fondness for old airplanes?  I've always found the P-61 to be a striking design.  (I still have a Monogram 1:32 scale model of that plane I need to build.)  I also always liked the old racing plane, the Gee Bee.
Radio and Podcasts / Talk of the Nation on NPR
June 27, 2013, 02:02:14 PM
Just listened to the sign-off for the last ever Talk of the Nation on NPR (with Neil Conan).  Science Friday will continue (thankfully!), but I will miss those two hours of usually informative news coverage.  I thought Conan tried to play both sides of the fence too often -- maybe that was his task a host of the show, but I'd have welcomed a bit more confrontation with guests when one said something clearly untrue or foolish.

Anyway, it was a bit like the last episode of MASH or Mary Tyler Moore.  I'll miss that show.  Something new will replace it, of course, but it's rare to get a long, fairly informed non-partisan conversation on current events.
Whose comments do you always click on to see what (s)he has to say?  I find that I eagerly look to see what certain posters have to offer on just about every thread:  Onan, Sardondi, YorkshirePud, McPhallus, ChewMouse, Eddie Coyle, The General, Morphiaflow, MV, Analog Kid, Paperboy...  I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch of names.  I do not ignore anybody and really enjoy the back-and-forth on this forum.  I wish I were more adept at doing things like adding links and such to make my own postings more edifying.  I guess I'm not Mr. Technology....  Anyway, I'm not calling for a group-hug, but I do appreciate the voices on this forum.  Thanks, MV.
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