Welcome to the Koyote Press!

cropped-win_20140120_143759.jpgHello, and welcome to the Koyote Press! The place to come for unabashed opinions about nearly everything! The subjects covered here will include current events, music, movies, and other forms of entertainment; religion, politics, sports, and the stock market…wait a second!???

I’m not going to cover that stuff unless I have something to say about them. If you want movie reviews, go to Rotten Tomatoes. For any other BS about who’s doing who, or what some politician said, or how your team did, you know where to go. If you want to read what I post here, fine. If not, then leave. I’m not going to be held to some preferred topic list, or politically correct ramblings. I’m not going to do “the top ten best brand of dog food” or anything like that (unless I feel like it, of course). If you are sick of reading canned articles on Yahoo! (and even more sick of the stupid commentaries), like I am, you might enjoy what I have to say. Or maybe not. So what. Who cares. Not me.

Here’s what I like, and will probably write about a lot: Dogs (and animals in general), motor sports, including motocross and speedway motorcycle racing, NASCAR, mountain bikes, Hawaii (I lived there for a long time), progressive politics, Humanism, psychology, criminology, psychic phenomenon, or any unexplained mysteries, education, history, philosophy, and dogs (did I mention that already?).

I also might rant about some things I  dislike, such as right-wing nut jobs, and stupid, inconsiderate, self-absorbed hypocrites (that’s kind of all the same things, isn’t it?).

So thank you for visiting the Koyote Press, and be sure to sign the guest book, and pick up your free gift on the way out! Okay, there’s no guestbook, only a hit counter. I can’t afford any free gifts for anyone. But you’re welcome to donate! Have a fantastic day!

Will religion ever disappear?

Why Evolution Is True

by Grania

If somebody were to ask me this question, my short-hand, non-researched reply would be: probably not.

I think that humanity currently seems set to become more and more secular as religiosity drops in the newer, younger generations; global birth rates start to show signs of coming under control and even slowing, which we know tends to have a positive effect on poverty; and as poverty decreases, so does religiosity. All these indications are pretty positive.

But humans are pattern-seeking mammals, and we have a tendency to believe the strangest things for very bad reasons, even if they are fairly smart and well educated; so I tend  to think that religion will stick around for a number of reasons.

Over at BBC Future, Rachel Nuwer takes a look at the question referring to what various books and papers have to say on the subject, and they tend…

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Transportation Oddities

People are always trying out new ideas in the area of transportation. Unfortunately, most of the cars on the road today look like they came from the same mold. The only way to identify the manufacturer is from the emblems on the back, or in some cases, the serial number that is located in some hard-to-view spot. Here are some of the vehicles that didn’t really take off in Detroit, or where ever they make cars these days (or moLITTLE SPORTS CARtorcycles) But they would surely turn heads if we saw them cruising down the highway!

LOG CARbeni-bischof-handicapped-hover-cars-9PEDAL PUBstrange-inventions-previewBOAT CAR
SQUARE CAR
WOOD CHOPPERWIND CARV-8 BIKECAMEL TRANSPORTMOTOR HOMEMETALLICASWAMP BUGGYStrange-looking-carUSPS TruckHarley Jail BikeHUMAN-POWERED CARHI-HEEL CARWE POOR

Obey Authority, But Don’t Be Afraid to Question It.

I think most of us fair-minded folks would agree that there were no winners in the Ferguson, Missouri situation. Regardless of how one feels about the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, the decision not to indict the officer by the Grand Jury, and the ravaging reaction by residents to it, no one should criticize the way it was handled, unless they were actually present when it occurred. There were only two people that were there throughout the entire ordeal, and only one of them is alive to give his side. There are always at least two sides an event, even if there is only one true reality. Nevertheless, when I poured over the headlines the day after the decision not to indict Officer Wilson was announced, there was the predictable criticism from both conservatives and liberals over the way the other side handled or portrayed the entire story. Articles from Newsmax noted that Officer Wilson testified that Michael Brown, who was 6-foot-4 and 292 pounds, “Looked like a Demon” and “ran at him like a football player.” They also noted that he had “marijuana in his system.” Big Deal. So do half the residents of Oregon and Colorado.

Rush Limbaugh kept referring to Brown as “the Gentle Giant” as he blamed “50 years of broken promises by the Democrats.” Yeah right, Rush.

Overall though, I think most people viewed the incident the way I did.

First of all, you don’t disobey the police, or give them any cause to shoot, beat, tase, arrest, or even give you a parking ticket, because they will. I’ve had plenty of run-ins with the police in the wilder days of my youth, and I quickly learned that if you suck it up and said “yes sir, officer” you had a good shot of getting to sleep in your own bed that night.

Yes, there are hard-headed cops out there. Some of them are barely on the right side of the law. I have degrees in criminology and criminal justice, so I can say that with authority (I also watch a lot of the ID Channel!)

Seriously though, the police face ethical challenges just about every day. Most of them joined the police force or sheriff’s department because they wanted to take on the challenge of serving their community. But when they become entrenched in the cop culture, with that notorious blue code, they began to see everyone else as the “enemy.”

We’ve all seen videos of police brutality, and a lot of it seems to be directed at young, poor minorities. Some people sit at home in their recliners and watch the carnage, and think “well, they just brought this on themselves. If only they had made better choices” (thanks for your advice O’Reilly).

Unless you have experienced life in their shoes, don’t ever think you know all about someone, or an entire community of someones. Watching something on TV, or hearing it on the radio, or reading it on some trashy news site, does not make you an authority on the subject, even if you heard it from “the most trusted name in news!”

The Walking Dogs

Sunday morning about 10:30 my doorbell rang. When I opened the door, there stood my neighbor Maria, and her little Pomeranian, Ty. She wanted to know if Toby and I would go for a walk with her. “Sure, why not,” I replied. I was just about to take him for a walk anyway. But suddenly I remembered the few other times that I walked with Maria. She always ventured into areas that I try to avoid, like Nova Lane, a gravel road with pit bulls and Rottweilers behind flimsy chain-link fences at every yard, and a snarling  German shepherd in the last yard behind a rickety fence about three feet high. Toby is a little 13 lb. rat terrier mix, and between the loose dogs and coyotes and other wild animals in our neighborhood, I have to constantly be on guard.

There was another time I walked with Maria, and we ended up at a garage sale. She disappeared for several minutes, leaving Toby and I in the driveway with a bunch of drunk gang-bangers. They were talking to each other in Spanish and making me nervous. I was just about to head home when Maria suddenly appeared. After that episode, I thought to myself that the next time I took a walk with her would be right after hell freezes over!

Maria is from Costa Rica, and she’s a real character. She loves animals. Besides Ty, she has a parrot that often utters embarrassing phrases, an iguana, a potbelly pig, and a snake or two. She had a German shepherd named Moosey that she rescued from an abandoned home with about 10 other dogs and cats. They had been without food or water for about a month, and most of them had to be euthanized. When Maria was away, her husband would walk the dog while he rode in a golf cart around the three-quarters-of-a-mile street in our gated community. Then one morning she and her husband found Moosey on the floor of the bathroom, dead. Apparently several burs in his ear that were removed after he was rescued became infected, but went unnoticed because it was deep within his ear canal. But all the gossipers in the neighborhood spread a rumor that he died of a heart attack because her husband had ran him too hard beside his golf cart.

So back to Sunday morning, I told Maria I could go but I couldn’t go very far. So she told me that she knew a place right across the road where we could take the dogs. Across the road? There’s nothing there except a cemetery and a funeral home, I thought to myself. Surely she wasn’t taking us there!

Sure enough, when we reached the entrance to the cemetery, instead of going past it like I usually do, she walked through the gate and into the graveyard, and Toby and I blindly followed. We walked past the headstones, observing the names and dates of the departed. This is not bad. It’s actually kind of interesting, I thought.

Then she walked towards the funeral area. There was obviously a funeral going on. The parking lot was full, and two lady ushers were directing traffic. They said hello and petted our dogs. No one yelled at us for being there. This is not so bad, I thought to myself. We passed the staging area for the burial procession. There were several Asian men in suits standing around. We were almost back to the main road when Maria turned towards the buildings where the administration offices were. “Have you seen the fish tank inside here?” “No”, I replied. So we walked inside the building, dogs and all. The fish tank was about 12 feet long, but it was difficult to see the fish because the water was murky. Maria went into a smaller room to look for the light switch to the aquarium. Suddenly a woman in formal attire approached us and asked “Can I help you?” She seemed kind of freaked out. We probably startled her. I was wearing a Beatles t-shirt, basketball shorts, and flip flops. Maria looked like she was dressed for a 10k. We had dogs with us in a funeral parlor. What was the problem?

She politely told us that the light was disconnected because they had a problem with algae. Then she went back to her office. Probably calling the police, I thought to myself. Then Maria headed towards the open double doors of the chapel, where there was obviously a funeral going on. I foolishly followed her into the chapel, which was full of what looked to me like Filipinos. It was really eerie. No one was stirring. No crying. They just sat there still as mannequins. I looked towards the podium where an open casket was situated. I could see the head of an elderly dark-skinned woman lying in the final hours before she would be buried. I’m getting the heck out of here!

As we made our way back to the main road that led back to our little gated community, Maria turned to me and said “You know what Kevin? The woman in the casket, she was wearing glasses!” “Yeah, well, it’s probably difficult to see in there.”  That’s it.

dogwalk

I Grew Up with the Beatles

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A couple of weeks ago there was special on TV that celebrated the arrival of the Beatles in America, and their landmark appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in February, 1964. Several contemporary artists played classic Beatles songs, while surviving Beatles Paul and Ringo, their spouses, and other family members including Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon rocked out in the audience. The big finale saw both ex-Beatles taking the stage to perform some of their greatest hits. Ringo went on first. He looked very fit and energetic as he sang songs such as “Boys”, “Matchbox”, and “Yellow Submarine.” Then Paul joined him on stage for a performance of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, and “With a Little Help from My Friends.” From time to time the camera would scan the audience, where celebrities such as Tom Hanks and Dave Grohl were enjoying the show. There was also a lot of twenty-something women dancing and singing along like it was a Taylor Swift concert.

It’s always nice to see young people that appreciate the Beatles’ music, or any of the music my generation grew up with. Not that today’s music is all that bad. It just doesn’t have the same quality that music from the definitive years of rock and pop had. Another let down is that today’s music, and movies, and just about every other form of arts and entertainment, is way too digitalized. The pounding, pulsating sound of electronic dance, house, club, disco, or what-have-you is such a mind-numbing experience, who cares what the song is about. Then there’s the American idol, MTV, or YouTube path to stardom. In my day we used to stay up till midnight on weekends to see our favorite bands on shows such as “In Concert,” or “Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert”. There is an aura of mystique that surrounds a band that you only see in magazines or a couple of times a year on late night TV.

Getting back to the Beatles (Get Back Jojo!), I have read comments from some individuals on the internet that don’t like the Beatles, and can’t understand why Sgt. Pepper is considered by many to be the greatest rock album of all time. Some of them are just internet trolls, or right-wingers that think the Beatles were a “liberal” band, and their music appealed mainly to left-wing hippies. But there are some that just don’t like their music; and that’s okay. I didn’t like the music my parents listened to when I was young (even if I did, I wouldn’t have told nobody!). Let’s face it: The Beatles started out with only 3 guitars and drums. No backup keyboards, synthesizers, or orchestras (until later in their career). The Fender amps they relied on to power their sound was no match for today’s sound systems. If you have ever seen the video of the lads playing Shea Stadium in 1965, you know what I’m getting at. They couldn’t even hear themselves sing because girls in the audience were screaming so loudly. These days’ musicians have cordless microphones and headsets. A lot of the music seems to be piped in so the artists can focus on their dance routines. All this along with Dolby Surround Sound systems would make anyone sound better.

What it comes down to is, you had to have been around back then. I was 7 when the Beatles performed on Ed Sullivan in 1964. Soon after, I got “Meet the Beatles”. When “A Hard Day’s Night” premiered at the movie theaters, I went to see it. Likewise for “Help”. I think I had every album up to “Rubber Soul” when “the Monkees” TV show premiered in 1966. At that point, the Beatles, and their music had matured, and so had their audience. I was only 9, and the Monkees were on every week. So I concentrated less on the Beatles and more on the show that was created after two producers saw “A Hard Day’s Night”, particularly the scene where John, Paul, George and Ringo danced and goofed around in fast motion while “Can’t Buy Me Love” played in the background (essentially the first music video).

My older brother bought “Revolver”, which is still one of their best albums in my opinion, and I would listen to it from time-to-time. But for the most part my interest in the Beatles had waned somewhat.

Then Sgt. Pepper came out….wait, no, 2 singles with accompanying videos came out first: “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”. The songs and videos were radically different than anything I had ever seen before. Time magazine called SFF “the latest example of the Beatles’ astonishing inventiveness”. It was dark and moody, and the imagery was haunting. It almost gave me nightmares. Penny Lane was more cheery, but still radically different from anything I had seen before.
When we got Sgt. Pepper (by this time my whole family was Beatles fans), I played it about 10 times a day. It wasn’t one particular song, but the way each song transitioned into the next one that compelled one to listen to it in its entirety. Now the band used new instruments, explored different genres, and experimented with recording techniques that were revolutionary.

After Sgt. Pepper, I mostly bought 45 RPM singles (remember those?) instead of whole albums, and I began to listen to the radio a lot. So I had singles like  “All You Need is Love”, “Hello Goodbye”, “Rain”, “Come Together”, “I am the Walrus”, “Back in the USSR”, “Get Back” “Revolution” and a few more that were big hits back then. I don’t think I ever owned another Beatles album after Sgt. Pepper, but obviously I was still a fan, and I paid attention to the latest Beatle news, from their trip to India, the death of their manager Brian Epstein, the Yoko Ono buzz, the Manson family connection, and finally, their breakup in December 1970. I had just turned 13.

About 7 years ago, I rediscovered the Beatles when I bought a laptop and an iPad, and began downloading music. My brother-in-law has a subscription to a website where you can download files of all kinds, and I downloaded about 4,000 songs, including about 280 Beatles songs. I found that I like their music more than ever. I also downloaded songs by the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Elvis (Costello and Presley), CCR, and many others. With a 16GB iPod that holds about 1300 songs, I would put it on shuffle, and go for a 10 mile run. Whenever a Beatles song came on, I always savored it. The Beatles really were the greatest rock band ever, and I’m so glad that I literally grew up with them.

amazing_beatles_by_anatomy_of_a_dream-d39rsip

Coyote Sighting!

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Well, it happened again. I saw a young coyote running across the alfalfa field less than a minute after my dog and I left the area. I always get anxious when I walk Toby down Evans Road, which is mostly dirt, and runs through the field where the coyotes ténd to congregate. I’ve actually developed a characteristic similar to what was known during the Vietnam War as the “thousand-yard stare.” It may sound silly, but coyotes are fast and sneaky. If they are close enough to see, they can be on you in a second. This one was on the small side. Last year, a mother coyote was always around a drainage ditch in that area; maybe this is one of her offspring. California is in the middle of one of the worst droughts in quite a while.The coyotes are normally not out in the middle of the day. But now they have to seach for water, as well as for the dwindling populations of squirrels and rabbits. That is when they start looking at little dogs like the Tobster with increasing interest. If you’re wondering why I continue to to walk in that area, well, there’s just no where else to go.To the west there are low-lying mountains. Last week, a homeless guy was attacked by a mountain lion not far from there.So we will continue to walk down Evans Road, but I will have to start carrying my billy stick and stun pen again. Toby is lucky to have a master that looks out for him 24/7. But does he care? Of course not. That’s okay, though. It’s best for him to be happy-go-lucky and care free always!