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The Alleged Death of “Experts”

 

Much ink has been spilled and many teeth gnashed among the media and academic class over the last year over the death or experts and expertise. According to, oddly enough “experts”, the popular will is overthrowing the proper rule of experts and creating a world without real expertise. That is the thesis of Tom Nichols’ The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters. 

This is complete nonsense. What is happening is not the death of expertise but the rational pushback against the overreach of experts.

To understand this backlash, you have to understand the various types of authority. Authority comes in three forms; expert authority, moral authority and legal authority. Legal authority is just the brute legal power to do something. Expert authority is the authority over the how. Expert authority tells you whether your house is built on a proper foundation, or whether your not feeling well is a case of the flu or something more serious. Moral authority is the authority of the should. An engineer has expert authority on how to build a bridge, but does not necessarily have any moral authority over whether the bridge can be built.

Two things have combined to create a backlash against “experts.” First, experts have tried to assert expert authority over value questions which should be ruled by moral authority. Economics is a good example of this. Economists do have expert authority over the expected effects of a given economic policy. They can tell you that a tariff will cause the price of consumer goods to go up by a given price. And that opinion should hold some weight. What they cannot tell you is whether the tariff is a good or a bad idea. That is not an expert question. That is a value question.

Maybe higher consumer goods prices is a price worth paying for greater employment security or to ensure that the US maintains a certain manufacturing capacity for national security reasons or whatever. Deciding which interest should win out is a moral and political question and not something that economists have any special authority over answering. Yet, time and again a particular economic policy is said to not just be best but the only legitimate answer because “economists say so” as if they have any sort of special authority over larger questions about what kind of an economy or society we should have or which economic interests within it should be rewarded.

Health experts are another example of this sort of overreach. Health experts can tell you that this or that activity creates a greater risk of a heart attack or some other bad outcome. But that knowledge and authority does not translate into any moral authority to tell people how they should or should not live. That is up to the individual. If a person finds that the pleasure of smoking or drinking or eating good food outweighs the risk associated with the activity, no health expert has any moral authority to tell the person they are wrong. Yet time and again the expert authority to explain risk is translated into the moral authority to tell someone what choice they must make.

When experts in a field, be it health, economics, or any other start to claim their expert authority over a subject gives them moral authority over the decisions relating to that subject, people who are affected by such decisions and who do have moral authority over them understandably reject the “expert” advice. This is not a rejection of expertise. It is a rejection of expertise conferring moral authority over an issue.

The second reason people are rejecting experts is that many of our self appointed “experts” are experts in fields that either do not lend themselves to expert authority or are so underdeveloped that they are scarcely better than cargo cults. There is a push and pull between science and collective folk wisdom. Science looks beyond mere trial and error and our perceptions and finds a deeper truth. If we went by our perceptions, we might still think the earth is flat or that bad humors caused illness.

Folk wisdom, in contrast, is the collective wisdom of trial and error. It doesn’t know why its answers are right or wrong but through trial and error often gets the right answer. To understand this, think of the state of medicine today and in the 18th century. Today, medicine is a real science with real answers and understanding of the problems it seeks to solve. Today, only a nut would seek a folk remedy over modern medicine. In the 18th century, however, medicine was still in its infancy and doctors barely knew how to keep from killing their patients and more often than not did more harm than good. Folk remedies in contrast at least didn’t kill you and often did some good, though no one understood why. In the 18th century, you would have been a nut to go to a doctor and were better off sticking with the folk remedy.

Pretty much all of the social sciences are about where medicine was in the 18th century. Before he became a performance artist, Paul Krugman described the state of economics as about the same as medicine in the late 19th century. Economists, like Victorian doctors, had figured out how not to kill their patients, they know for example that printing huge sums of paper money or a government not honoring its debts or enforcing contract and property rights would kill an economy, but they really have little idea how economies really work or how to fix a bad economy that isn’t the victim of the government trying to destroy it. He is about right. And economics is probably the most advanced social science. The rest are even worse. Yet self appointed “experts” in these fields expect their expert authority to be treated the same way as an M.D.’s expert authority in telling you that you have cancer or diabetes.

This of course is absurd and people know it. Just like the folk remedy worked better than the treatments of the trained doctor in the 18th century, today the parent or the local teacher often knows more about how to educate the children they are responsible for than any self appointed expert in “education.”

Richard Feynman pointed this phenomenon out 40 years ago in his famous “cargo cult” speech. He stated:

So I found things that even more people believe, such as that we have some knowledge of how to educate. There are big schools of reading methods and mathematics methods, and so forth, but if you notice, you’ll see the reading scores keep going down—or hardly going up—in spite of the fact that we continually use these same people to improve the methods. There’s a witch doctor remedy that doesn’t work. It ought to be looked into: how do they know that their method should work? Another example is how to treat criminals. We obviously have made no progress—lots of theory, but no progress—in decreasing the amount of crime by the method that we use to handle criminals.

Yet these things are said to be scientific. We study them. And I think ordinary people with commonsense ideas are intimidated by this pseudoscience. A teacher who has some good idea of how to teach her children to read is forced by the school system to do it some other way—or is even fooled by the school system into thinking that her method is not necessarily a good one. Or a parent of bad boys, after disciplining them in one way or another, feels guilty for the rest of her life because she didn’t do “the right thing,” according to the experts.

What we are seeing is not the “death of experts.” We are seeing people no longer being intimidated by pseudo science and rejecting the claim that even real expertise in a subject confers moral authority over the decisions made relating to that subject.

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Eliminate the Filibuster for Repeal of Legislation

 

It seems fairly obvious to me that the next time Democrats get into power they are more likely than not going to eliminate the filibuster completely. After all, their base will demand that the illegitimate Trump administration is negated completely, and there will be no action that is outside the realm of legitimacy.

My proposal would probably only last until the Democrats regain power, so in that respect the rational is more aspirational than practical, but here is the logic. It seems to me that if one is really for limited government, it should be much easier to get rid of legislation than it is to create it. This could have been done Constitutionally by creating something like a Congress of Repeal, who’s elected members only power is to repeal legislation, so instead of being a bunch of Lawmakers who feel their job is to make new laws (and thereby erode our liberties), these would be Laweliminators.

But another way to have a similar effect would be to make it far easier to repeal laws than it is to make laws inside the structure we currently have. Which is why I believe it is in the interest of Republicans and consistent with their philosophy to eliminate the filibuster in cases of repealing law. Think of it as an extension of Reconciliation, which I believe must be scored as reducing the deficit in order to be used. Something that only reduces the laws on the books could bypass the filibuster as well, but it would be allowed any number of times.

One is right to worry about the eventual elimination of the Filibuster and cautioning about being the ones to go first, but the Democrats always go first, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma advises that retribution must occasionally be wrought. Eliminating the Filibuster just for repeal would allow Republicans to assume the upper hand (for once), would be consistent with their philosophy, and would be good policy.

The Democrats are probably going to eliminate the filibuster completely their next time around no matter what, but allowing the repeal of laws without it could be both a legislative and political winner in the medium term.

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Women Do Appreciate Advice

 

Recently, a Ricochet member posted a humorous video skewering a common complaint women make about men. When a woman is talking to her husband about an upsetting topic, he should just listen, women say. His tendency to come up with advice to solve the problem ignores her feelings as well as the fact that she’s not looking for solutions–she just needs to vent. This complaint has become part of our culture, self-deprecatingly accepted by men and referenced as a bit of go-to humor everyone relates to. The video responds to this cultural chestnut by suggesting that this male “problem-solving” they get accused of can be a case of simply pointing out the painfully obvious. Meanwhile, the venting woman is indignant that she is not being heard.

It’s possible, however, that the cliche about women just wanting to vent has it all wrong. And the description of unwelcome input from the listener as “problem-solving” might be framed more accurately as something else. Women would actually welcome advice from men. This male-female divide may have more layers than generally assumed.

First, I’ll tackle the accepted notion that when women are upset they just need to pour out their story and process their emotions. Advice at the wrong time, goes the claim, merely escalates the situation and the man is left puzzled at what he did wrong. Actually, women appreciate input and problem-solving. I’ll go as far as to say that when she’s pouring out her story, advice is ultimately what she is really seeking–some wise counsel, a different perspective. An understanding listener who can offer wise words makes a woman feel loved and cared for. In fact, women give one another happily accepted advice all the time.

To illustrate, I had a friend telephone me years ago very troubled. It seems that she went to visit her sister in another state, but ended up not being able to stay at the sister’s home as planned. Her son was too allergic to the cat to be able to cope there. Far from being understanding and flexible, the sister appeared to harbor resentment over it. I settled outside on the porch steps as the story details unfolded for several minutes, every now and then inserting “I’m sorry,” or “That wasn’t kind.”

Then I explained to my friend that the situation made sense to me. I knew someone who would react a lot like her sister did, and there was a rational explanation for this behavior. Some people just look forward to planning a visit and being with their guests so intensely (especially when it’s family or close friends), that their disappointment when things don’t work out is almost tangible. It doesn’t make their reaction right, but my friend could take it as a compliment that her sister longed to spend time with her. In response to my perspective, the tightness went out of my friend’s voice. She agreed that it made sense and expressed appreciation for my talking it through with her.

Another time, I was on the receiving end of a caring friend’s counsel. I told her a sad tale that had been troubling me: relations with a neighbor were awkward because I had responded in white-hot anger upon finding out that on the first day of school, her new stepdaughter had verbally shredded my daughter. A confrontation ended with my being ordered off the neighbor’s property, and now I didn’t know how to approach the neighbor or whether I could trust her. What would I say? This friend, Margaret, understood why the standoff bothered me and what my own role had been in it. She sweetly set forth her suggestions that included me taking a plate of cookies to the neighbor. I didn’t act on the suggestions, but Margaret’s words made me feel as if reconciliation were possible. More than that, I felt loved by my friend.

Women long for good advice, helpful insights, problem-solving. Bring it on. But the question is, does all input qualify as this highly sought after response women look for? Admit it, you’ve seen this happen: a woman will share a problem and her distress over it. Let’s say she describes her frustration with a work friend who keeps claiming credit for others’ ideas. The input this woman might hear from a male listener is: Well, maybe you shouldn’t work there anymore. Or, You should stop being friends with her. You’re always complaining about it.  Just don’t hang out with her anymore. That’s pretty efficient problem-solving, right? You don’t work there anymore, or you cut off your friend, bingo–no more issues. Yet the woman would not want to follow these suggestions except with extreme cases. And, if he thought about it, the guy probably would not quit his job because of conflicts, either.

I suggest that two dynamics are going on in the male-female scenario above. First, the guy doesn’t want to see the woman upset, and he hates that she is having problems. It’s a caring response. He wants her problem to go away. And, he wants taking care of her pain to be like popping an aspirin, fast and efficient. Second, though, he wishes for the talking part to be over, so he can go ahead with whatever he was doing. Why she has to use so many words, and include so many details, is beyond him. Backstories are for comic book villains, not for conversations. His word processing capacity, especially for a drama-laden, detailed narrative like this one, is running low, and he’s got to say something to stem the tide–and soon.

To the woman, I would say this: she needs to be open to recognizing good counsel in what her man is saying. He doesn’t have to frame ideas perfectly for his words to be sound. Also, she can admit that insights from an outside source, like a friend, tend to be better received. Sometimes shared history can make spouses less receptive to one another, even when spousal feedback is solid and if not eloquent and well-timed, from a heart that’s true.

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Specific Reforms Needed

 

Health reform is not so hard. First we must understand that there are two markets at work here. There is the market for actual health care. And then there is the market for health insurance. The market for health care needs to be more transparent. So encourage providers to get together and establish a standard list of a la carte services and procedures. Require that these prices be published and kept up to date. When a person/family member wants to arrange for healthcare, require providers to give an estimate for this care. Establish fairness in the law that would subject providers to excessive service, price gouging and under-estimating complaints. Let the trial lawyers do the rest. On drugs, open up distribution rights to all foreign sourced drugs. Allow exclusive rights only to patented drugs. Limit patent terms and allow one renewal only. Allow foreign prices to be used in drug price gouging actions.

The health insurance market was largely state regulated before the ACA. Let the states still regulate the insurer ratings/qualifications, claims and complaints in their states, however get them out of the policy term/coverage regulation business. Let the industry come up with a standard insurance form to be used nationwide. Let the insured select the coverage, deductibles and self insured limits from a standard, easy to understand menu for any policy. Policies would all be written as “major medical” policies with or without “routine and well-care.” Limit coverage to US risks. Let people buy special policies for out of country risks. Allow the insurers to provide discounts to those who belong to health maintenance or consierge care programs.

Other actions (which could be separate bills), limit torts for medical malpractice to actual damages with a top end limit. Exempt drug/device manufacturers, once products are FDA approved, from class actions. Limit damages to incidents of gross negligence.

Eliminate the “employer provided” insurance tax preference. Allow anyone to use pretax (income and withholding) dollars to buy immediate family medical insurance without limitation. Encourage other groups – union, fraternal, religious, academic, alumni, social – to get into the group insurance business. If they allow once a year open enrollment, allow them to participate in a high risk pool program.

Expand health savings accounts. Let contributions and interest be pretax and pre-withholding. Let insurers manage these accounts to tie into health insurance and provider payment.

Establish a national “high risk pool” reinsurance group. Use professional actuaries to establish what specific risks qualify as “high risk” and what assessment on each dollar of insurance sold needs to be paid into this fund on every policy written. Redistribute these funds to the insurers to cover a ratable portion of their underwriting losses from high risk policies.

The keys here are: we negotiate our own deals with health care providers. We buy our own insurance. We use pretax dollars for all health related expenses. We are treated fairly by providers. Those groups who provide insurance and allow open enrollment will have the benefit of reimbursement for underwriting losses on high risk policies.

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The Response to the Maryland Rape Case Is a Stain on the Right

 

We are all, justly, very sensitive to and sick of charges of “racism” being thrown around promiscuously at the right for any and every deviation from leftist orthodoxy. But just as we say to Muslims about terrorism, our ability to object with credibility depends on a willingness to police our own.

Our media, including many of our Ricochet luminaries are failing in that task right now by joining in the hysteria over the undoubtedly horrific rape of a 9th grade girl in Rockville, Maryland.

For the benefit of anyone who doesn’t know the story, it is fairly straightforward. The victim was allegedly forced into a boys bathroom at her school and brutally raped by two older boys/men. Reports I’ve seen state that one was 17 and the other 18.

So far we have a horrible, but local, crime. It has become a cause celeb because at least one (and perhaps both, reports I’ve seen vary) of the alleged perpetrators was in the United States illegally.

To get the obvious caveats out of the way: 1) this should never have happened and the victim deserves our sympathy and support; and 2) if found guilty the perpetrators should have the book thrown at them and if they ever get out of prison should be launched back to wherever they came from by catapult, preferably after being doused in gasoline and set ablaze.

My point isn’t about the victim or the perpetrators in this case, it is about (some of our) eagerness to make this case about something more than the victim and the perpetrators.

Racism is a species of what we used to call “prejudice” – the “prejudging” or having a negative presumption about an entire class of persons based on the behavior or attributes of a few members of that class. The two have become somewhat conflated in the public discourse for two reasons I think. First of all, back in the day racism to a significant degree took the form of widely held negative stereotypes about black Americans (e.g. all blacks are criminals), and second, frankly, the “racism” charge has been thrown around so much by the left at this point that it’s sort of taken over the field. It’s made it difficult to recall that it is really pre-judgment that is wrong – the tarring all members of a class/race/etc. with the negative attributes or acts of a few. The fact that some of the most problematic pre-judgment was at one time against blacks is historically contingent. That just happened to be the form in which the underlying pathology of prejudice most obviously presented itself.

My understanding of the position of the right has been that, while we object to the overuse of the charge of racism, we have accepted the quite reasonable view that prejudice is in fact wrong and that individuals should be judged on their individual merits.

That notion comports so perfectly with other ideas important to the right, such as equality before the law, self reliance and individual responsibility, and respect for legal process.

Yet for some reason, in the current environment, it’s become acceptable for even usually very sober and responsible voices on the right to take this case and treat it as representative of every illegal immigrant in America. That is pre-judging of the worst sort. Whether it is racially motivated or not is irrelevant.

In an effort to police our own we need to remember that facts still matter. Not everything needs to be a meme. Here the facts are as follows:

  1. Two men (allegedly) committed a heinous crime.
  2. At least one of them was an illegal immigrant.
  3. But the illegal immigrant population did not commit a heinous crime.

A couple of other facts worth remembering are that a) most illegal immigrants never commit a crime save crossing the border illegally, and b) illegal immigrants are in fact incarcerated at a much lower rate than native born Americans.

I know the major media, which is in the business of selling hysteria, will not keep these facts in mind, but among ourselves it would be nice if we could discuss this subject with some precision and remember what we’re actually talking about. It would be even nicer if our mandarins here at Ricochet with a louder bully pulpit than we puny mortals would take heed as well.

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Tight Lines, Mon

 

“Virgil, what is the name of the fish eating predator bird?”

The 67-year-old entrepreneurial cabbie could have said “Mu’ad Dib” and I’d have half believed him but it was simply a fish hawk. The nice man, or mon, had delivered me to an inlet lake where bonefish prowled for crab at high tide. I’m staying at some all-inclusive resort at Turks and Caicos. It’s free for me and enjoyable despite being canned like a cruise ship.

I came to this muddy mangrove lined lake with my 14-year-old a couple days ago and found only one bonefish which we spooked. I shared a beer with him too and I’d do it again as it’s a ritual of manhood. He needs to learn rituals are important, telling him so pales to showing him. I taught him about flycasting in the wind and lessons about stalking prey. We had a great time. Sadly I only caught one little pompano and to post that pic is the equivalent of showing a photo to your buddies of the 4 a.m. gal you intoxicatingly kissed.

I returned today with vigor but had the same result. I was hoping to see tailing fish along the shore but did not. I don’t go fishing with guys who look for the other kind of tail. I have enough problems in life without giving or inviting too much trouble.

Virgil dropped me at a deep channel spot. I exited his cab and made my way through some polluted shoreline. I’m sure the flotsam and jetsam all have stories, not all of them bad despite the defiling of nature.

The water was a bit muddy. Enough to obscure skittish fish from seeing me but not enough to hide my fly. I tried some blind casting for an hour. At first I pridefully cast normally until I hooked my back but I go barbless so it came out easy. After that I used a cross-sided cast and the usual slow strip twitch. An odd colorful jellyfish surfaced near me and my first split second instinct was to swat it but I backed up and let it be while it pulsated away harmlessly.

A pair of pelagic raptors shrieked to one another above me. One swooped down and missed its quarry, shaking itself free of water as it flew up to hover for another pass. It’s mate struck home and procured a small fish but instead of gulping it the bird headed to a little island where shrieks erupted. Baby birds. I wandered over to the island and got about 30 feet from the nest but the parents were very upset. I love birds. I never kill anything I’m not going to eat and I have a respect for nature. I think about my mom when I’m outdoors and she was fond of teaching me that we are not apart from nature but a part of it. As much as I wanted to see the baby fish hawks I backed away through the muddy mangroves.

Fishing, especially flyfishing, is an art. I’m very good compared to most but I know lots better. My great friend Alan reintroduced me to it 20 years ago and I’ve been around the world with him stalking tarpon, bonefish, permit, trevally, trout, steelhead, salmon, and shad. He owes me his life and in a way I owe him mine. He was a Purdue QB in 44 and a tailgunner over the Pacific in 45. He is the finest fisherman I know and that’s saying a lot. He ends his invites with “tight lines.” Tight lines means something deeper and deeper as I get older. Be squared away with your gear. Know your terrain. Know your prey. Respect your prey. Be observant of your surroundings. Make your best casts but fish a bad cast if that’s all you got. Rod tip down and tight line for when the strike comes your opportunity fails you if you’re not ready. Everything one needs to know about life is in the phrase “tight lines” if one extrapolates properly. Tight lines to me means being in tune with God at times also.

I walk along the shoreline and see a feeding crane. I almost stumble over a banana spider. The dappled sunlight hits a little creek just right and I see the face of God. I wonder how the great scorer will judge me when it’s time. As the great philosopher Rutger Hauer said,”I’ve done questionable things.” I’ve also shown the kindnesses and tender mercies that exemplify the glue that holds humanity together.

I remember forgetting my fly box as a 13-year-old on a trout stream in New England. I amused myself by catching insects and using spider web to attach them to a loop in my monofilament tippet and getting brookies to rise and feed. A nice older man came along and gave me a couple streamers. I haven’t forgotten the kindness that allowed a young boy to catch some fish and feel proud of himself despite the mistake of not being squared away.

I walked a lot of flats today and casted to plenty of shadows. No fish. I went to the appointed place and cleaned my boots, socks and stored my gear just as Virgil arrived on time. I will try some sandy flats on the south shore of Turks and Caicos Saturday. In my mind it’s sunny and I can see the bonefish. The casts are accurate, the fly presentation good, and my line is tight and ready. Whatever happens I can handle it.


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No Proof, No Proof, No Proof, Nunes … We Always Knew There Was Proof

 

One Week of White House Press Briefings.

Thursday 3/16 – No proof, so when are you going to apologize to Obama for accusing him of surveillance (a 30 second watch)?

Next presser, Monday 3/20 – No proof, so are you prepared to apologize to Obama for accusing him of surveillance (a 30 second watch)?

Tuesday 3/21 – No proof, so when are you going to prove there was surveillance (a 15 second watch)?

Minutes after Devin Nunes’ announcementWednesday 3/22/17 – We in the news already knew there was proof of surveillance (30 seconds).

Yes, they always knew, but pretended they didn’t for weeks. Who should apologize now?

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Why I Boycott Target Corporation

 

A friend asked me a couple months ago if I thought Target carried some certain brand of phone. I told him “I don’t know. I don’t go to Target anymore, and I never will again.” He had vaguely heard of the American Family Association boycott, and knew it was about so-called “trans-genders,” but that was it. He asked me why, and this is roughly what I said to him.

When I was shopping with my daughter as a toddler, and she needed to go the bathroom, I checked the Men’s room to make sure nobody was there, walked her in, and stood guard at the door until she came out.

When my wife was shopping with my son as a toddler, she took him into the ladies room with her.

Any man who has been to a major sporting event or especially a concert, has seen the occasional brave lady use the men’s room because OMG the lines in the ladies room are insane!

These things have been going on all my life. It’s not a big deal, really.

So what, exactly, was Target saying with their “bathroom announcement” of April 19, 2016?

Reading between the lines of the announcement, what Target said was that it is perfectly fine with them if grown men use the ladies restroom if they want to do so. They have zero concern for the safety of their customers, especially young girls, in Target bathrooms. As Target stated in the Announcement, everyone “deserves to be protected from discrimination” and the safety of our children be damned.

I imagine this scene: My daughter comes running from the Target restroom screaming that there is a man in there. I catch the pervert and gently put him on the ground and call the cops. The cops get there and the grown man says, “no you misunderstood, I just felt a little feminine today!”

The cops let this monster go, and arrest me for assault.

That is why I will boycott Target forever. If they had announced that they were going to add additional “gender neutral” restrooms (with locking doors) to their stores, I doubt anyone, myself included, would have said a word. This was never about trans-whatever people. It was about the safety of our daughters, wives, nieces, mothers, and grandmothers.

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Ricochet – Where Entrepreneurial Teams Are Born

 

I’ve been a Ricochet member since June of 2010 and never really approached the site as a place to connect with other members to pursue business opportunities. But I’d certainly recommend that now to anyone who thinks that Ricochet is only a discussion site to hash out political or cultural issues.

In December of last year, I received a message from the owner of a firm that I had commissioned product design work from over the last couple of decades for some of the high-tech companies where I had worked. The owner conveyed to me that they had a client who was working on developing an interactive, safe gun-training system to be launched on a crowdfunding site and that the inventor/engineer needed some marketing and product launch help and would I be interested? I was, but I knew that I would need the help of someone who was an expert on firearms, knew the gun industry, had marketed firearms products before, understood the various vertical markets within the gun industry, trained people on gun skills and safety and wrote regularly about guns, gun training, the Second Amendment and gun rights. I reached out to Ricochet Contributor, Kevin Creighton (@kevincreighton).

Designing the iPTS1700

Kevin was very enthusiastic as I described to him what my client was bringing to market and I knew immediately that this would be a good fit, especially given Kevin’s easygoing manner. In fact, over the ensuing weeks on conference calls with the inventor and engineer of the system, Kevin’s wise counsel and expertise helped to modify the inventor’s original concept. Kevin’s insights and efforts have been invaluable for the overall effort and bringing him into the project was probably one of the best business decisions I’ve ever made.

Kevin and I communicate daily now as we get closer to the launch to coordinate all the outreach and social media activities.

Kevin lives in Florida and I in California and it’s been a lot of fun getting to know him and understand just how much he knows about this field.

iPTS – the interactive Pistol Training System will be launching April 15 on Indiegogo.com. We feel it’s a much needed training system that finally brings together some of the attributes of other training methods and products and takes them to the next level – by incorporating an electronic and wireless training pistol – the iPTS 1700, and combining it with two interactive targets and the iPhone, iPad and Android smartphone and tablet app – the iPTS Virtual Trainer. Shooters, whether they’re novices, professional trainers, competitive shooters, or in the military or law enforcement now have a system they can train with when they can’t get out to a range, that doesn’t require expending costly ammo, and that can actually give them prompts and guidance and provide detailed metrics through the app.

We believe this is a solution that can provide some much sought-after critical guidance for anyone who wants to learn how to shoot quicker and more accurately or for those who just want to keep practicing to keep their shooting skills at a high level but need a safe, bullet-free way to do so in or around their home.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve received some very enthusiastic feedback on the system from other firearms trainers and gun industry experts, so we’re quite optimistic that it will do well.

Given new, more optimistic perspectives on the economy since the election, it seems like a great time to launch new products and ventures. Have a new product or business venture you’ve been thinking about? Is there a Ricochet member who might help you get it off the ground? Read Ricochet regularly and find out what other people are thinking, what their skill sets are, what their expertise is … and venture forth.

I mean, shoot … it’s worth a shot.

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Get Yourself Some Real Coffee

 

Trying not to make this really long and preachy. Also trying not to screw up the links this post calls for. Apparently this Schultz feller over at Starbucks decided, as a foil to duly elected POTUS Donald J. Trump’s policies, to commit to hiring 10, 000 “refugees.” Ookay.

Black Rifle Coffee Company replied, “Well, we want to hire veterans, and we think Starbucks is on the wrong path.” My words, not theirs (hey, I’m trying to summarize, here. Here’s an article with the statement of BRCC’s CEO.

BRCC has some great ads (some, uh, not exactly PC, I’ll put those in the comments). But their Jumpmaster Dad video never fails to warm the cockles of my heart. For context, here’s a Jumpmaster performing his duties.

I like their punch-up response to Starbucks (full disclosure, I’ve never liked Starbucks; I’m a Dunkin Donuts/Turbo Shot guy myself), so I went on their website to order me some BRCC. Almost every blend was sold out. I got a caveat with my order of the “Blacker than black” blend of “due to extreme customer volume, your order might be delayed by two or three weeks.”

I brought a coupla/tree bags of BRCC Blacker Than Black into work. All the guys loved it. All the guys promptly went online to order it. Every blend of BRCC is sold out. ‘Murica. God bless this country.

Great Dads, Need Great Coffee. Black Rifle Coffee Company has you covered.

Posted by Black Rifle Coffee Company on Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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The Standard Reaction to London’s Mass Murder

 

Get ready. Here are the steps:

  1. This has nothing to do with Islam and he does not represent Islam.
  2. Claim it to be the religion of peace.
  3. It’s blowback for the west being in the Middle East.
  4. The guy was mentally ill.
  5. It is “lone wolf attack.”
  6. It’s just part of living in a big city.
  7. Claim Christians do these things too.
  8. Those who object are racist bigots.
  9. Change Facebook profile to flag of inflicted country.
  10. Light some candles, hold a vigil and go on a peace march.
  11. Some lad will sing “Imagine.”
  12. Forget the dead.
  13. Have articles banging on about how we have to protect Muslims.
  14. Ignore the attacker’s religion, motivations, or ideology.
  15. Claim Muslims are the real victims.
  16. Wait for the next Islamic terrorist attack to happen.

Courtesy of Facebook.

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The NEA: Count Me Out

 

I am a bit conflicted about the Trump initiative to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. On the one hand, art has enriched my life immeasurably; on the other hand I can’t pretend that the NEA operates in the same universe as I do.

As a member of the Board of Directors of a small private museum and a long-time collector, I should be as upset as most in the art community seem to be, but I’m not. The art world got along just fine before the NEA was created in 1965 – I argue that the state of art in America was actually better before the NEA. It’s not about the money, the NEA budget is “only” $148 million, the problem is politics, decency, politics and a lack of definition of what “art” is.

I am a retired person, but if someone asks what I do for a living I can jokingly reply that “I’m a fund manager, a writer, and a political analyst and economist” all of which is true to some degree. I manage my own assets, write comments on Ricochet and submit an occasional column in the local newspaper; I also generously share my political analysis and economic opinions. Many so-called artists do much the same thing. A person can call themselves an artist and create something called art; in fact, anything can be called art. According to the NEA any expression by any person is art, be it graffiti or flower arranging. Call it what you may, but count me out. In my mind the creation of art implies a certain degree of talent, skill and craftsmanship. The product should be at least admirable and at best awe inspiring.

I get my fill of political correctness, social justice, feminism, environmental concerns and other leftisms every day of my life. Art should be a refuge from such bombardment, not another arrow in the quiver of the Left.

It is argued that some countries, notably Germany, France and The Netherlands outspend the US in art funding by a wide per capita margin. That’s true, but they do so under the umbrella of protection provided by the United States which spends a prodigious amount covering the backsides of virtually every free country on earth. Also, consider the fact that Americans devote more personal resources to charitable pursuits — per capita — than any country or combinations of countries of similar size.

According to a recent article by George Will, Americans’ contributions to arts organizations reaped $17 billion in 2015, which dwarfs the government’s NEA contributions, which could easily be replaced by those who actually use those organizations. The arts will be just fine without the bureaucracy of the NEA.

I don’t subscribe to the opinion that art is meant to challenge, shock or disturb one’s senses; there is plenty of that in life. If one is entertained by a crucifix in a vial of urine or elephant feces adorning an image of the Virgin Mary or pornographic photos or plays designed to insult and outrage the audience, then funding for such garbage can be raised through some form of crowd funding. The NEA and other such organizations should stand on their own two feet and obtain funding from those who are moved or entertained by such things.

I realize that some good comes from NEA funding, but that’s the price you pay for failing to require a minimum of decency.

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Up in Smoke

 

There has been a national tragedy playing out for what seems for some an endless stream of days, weeks now. It has warranted hardly more than passing notice from the national media to an extent that many in unaffected areas have little more than a dim sense of it at all. For the last several days there have been any number of compelling “human interest” stories on national media which touch areas around the world. But few on this one so close to home.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of families whose day to day existence was considered symbolically American for more than a century have experienced sudden destruction of family holdings whose tradition is not measured in years but in generations. It is not the destruction of a way of life, but it is a severe test of it. The wild fires which have swept over parts of four prairie states are still a threat even as the rebuilding is going on.

Besides the burned out homes, destroyed barns and outbuildings, charred prairies and at least six human lives, there are thousands upon thousands of cattle to be buried. While the dying flames still baked the earth, cowmen searched for suffering animals not yet dead who had to be shot to end their misery. Animals which had “survived” had to be checked. Those whose feet were burned beyond the white line of the hoof had to be shot (the hoof will sluff off and not grow back). I am not sure that I am fully able to describe what it takes to one by one aim and shoot the object of your life’s work, of your father’s life work and of his father. But I do hope that there is still a clear enough appreciation in the American mind of what is symbolized here.

The dead animals must be buried, in most cases, three feet deep. This in itself is a massive task. This week I filled a friend’s nurse tank with diesel fuel. He pulled it behind the implement trailer that hauled his bulldozer to the Panhandle. He had cancelled a week of contract work to offer himself and his machine for burial duty in an area we both know. He was more than twenty years removed from the ranch where he grew up but the basic elements of a way of life remain. Economic pressures took him from that ranch but perhaps the most important aspect of its mark on him has made him a success. He long ago learned the fundamentals of a free and responsible life.

No one will see demonstrations by George Soros paid protesters demanding help for these families. No one will see these families carrying signs in front of leftist media cameras while marching in state or national capitals.

But one can see trucks and trailers hauling hay, feed, fencing supplies and milk replacement for motherless calves from every corner of the plains. They can see the beginning of a determined restoration of a way of life.

In the second half of the 1880s, the northern plains experienced one of the worst winters anyone could remember (oddly enough it was before climate change, SUVs and Al Gore). From the Canadian line through the Texas Cross Timbers, cattle died by the hundreds of thousands and probably well beyond the million mark. Whole herds numbering into the tens of thousands were wiped out completely. An industry which had relied on free grazing of open range by large Texas herds finished on northern grass came to a bitter end. Granville Stuart had come to Montana before the Civil War and was one of the first to ranch there. He was sickened to the point he promised to never again own animal he knew for sure he could not care for.

The spring thaw revealed whole gullies filled with dead cattle and fortunes were lost along with countless meager, hopeful beginnings. But when the industry restarted after what became known as the “Big Die-Off”, the wise ones begin to cross fence pastures, farm hay, reduce stocking rates and plan grazing rotations. Lessons were learned, losses taken and futures planned.

Natural disasters are hardly new to any phase of agriculture. They are woven into its very fabric. And nowhere is this truth more apparent than the central plains of the United States. Not only is the annual rainfall less than most parts of the country but the evaporation rate in inches during growing season is often twice that of other areas. The average daily wind speed is also normally twice that of most areas.

“Trapped” in the natural alley between mountain fronts on the west and the damp valleys to the east, the plains consider violate “twisters,” sudden blizzards and ice storms, blistering heat, drought and wind tunnel conditions as common fare. For the people, both modern and ancient, who have made their livelihood from them; independence, persistence and a consistent, stubborn resilience have been required. The nature of the plains can, and will, completely reverse your fortunes in the blink of an eye.

With that said, these are also the qualities required of any free people who embrace liberty as a way of life. Liberty might be the natural right of every man but it was not designed to be easy. It does not promise a smooth road. In fact, its road is sure to have reversals of fortunes, tests of both courage and virtue and moments requiring clarity of principle. It is a road that produces men and women with vision, persistence and purpose. That road can run through the souls of men and women in any setting. But it is most clearly seen where the skyline is open and treeless. It is important to all who love liberty that those who live and personify it feel their brothers’ and sisters’ supporting hand when needed. Liberty is an individual thing but it also should be a binding cord for those who pursue it, live it.

In a time when liberty is taught less and less, it is vital that the best lessons of all; the living, daily examples of liberty’s practice; are played out in front of every generation. We do not have a right to our brother’s charity. But those who live in liberty and cherish its future have both duty and responsibility to foster it, in every corner.

Note: There are several locations where anyone find ways to contribute to the aid flowing to these areas, most through the agencies of each state: Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado. An additional thought was brought to mind by a Panhandle friend; the importance of, and great strain on, all the local volunteer fire departments who are always the “first responders” to the grass fires throughout the plains states. They of course have had their resources stretched and then depleted. They are one of the great examples of community cooperation and involvement far from the centralized hand, citizens taking care of themselves and each other. I am sure that a simple dart thrown at a map would give anyone a worthy unit to offer support to.

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Ricochet Silent Radio–“Everything’s Better in Color”, Part 1: The Glistening Bodies

 

Turn back the clock to 1953, and turn down the lights! Ricochet Silent Radio brings you Richard Lincoln, Hollywood’s savviest private eye in an adventure set in the glamorous and exciting world of television. This time we go beneath the surface. Radio’s boldest program confronts truths about race and Reds, modern jazz and Madison Avenue. It’s a Tales From The Pit production that stands apart, but maybe not as far apart as you’d think. With images you can’t see and sounds you can’t hear, we’ll conjure up people who live in the same country, even the same city, but live in different worlds. With the magic of silent radio we present–

(Announcer’s voice:) “Ladies and gentlemen! By special arrangement for the first time, over the facilities of the Columbia Broadcasting System and the National Broadcasting Company! Tonight … The Ford Motor Company Fiftieth Anniversary Television Spectacular for 1953!”

As an unseen audience applauds and the opening credits roll slowly, a line of shiny, brightly colored two-toned cars also roll slowly, through the 15-by-15-foot doors of a TV studio. Their chrome glittering under banks and banks of dazzling overhead lights, the cars appear on the round face of a color TV tube in a VIP viewing room next door. A burly man in a tuxedo and his black tie entourage are watching. Through a glass wall in the back of the room, you could see the control technicians racing around, putting on the show. Next to the color monitor, a plain black and white TV shows the picture as the rest of the country sees it.

Henry Ford II waved his hand. “Look at that. There’s just no comparison. Everything’s better in color, period. As an advertiser, I would pay a lot of extra money for a picture like that. The cars look great, don’t they?

“Mr. Ford, when a guy who spends $30 million a year on TV advertising says he’s ready to spend a lot more, I assure you CBS is listening. And as you know, we have an FCC monopoly on broadcasting color television.”

“For now, yeah.”

The CBS man smiled nervously. “It’s still ours, Mr. Ford.”

Ford looked at the man, decided not to get mad, and shrugged dismissively. “Until the General takes it away from you. I know how your business works. Truman’s people gave you the color TV license. Well, he’s gone.” He turned back to watching the program he was sponsoring.

I drifted to the back of the room. When business deals get up into the tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars, businessmen like to know their phones aren’t tapped and their offices aren’t bugged. That’s where I come in. I’m Richard Lincoln, private investigator, the wiretapper that rich clients call when they want to be free of wiretappers. It’s a living, an honest trade that Uncle Sam taught me. Call me Linc.

Randy Weivoda, the car executive who recommended me for the job, broke off from the group and also drifted back. We shook hands cordially. When I last saw him, a couple of months ago, he was in Frankfurt, running General Motors Europe.

“Hello, Linc.”

“Randy, my friend. So you’re in Dearborn now? Does that mean I don’t get to buy a Corvette right off the line?”

He laughed. “Forget about the Corvette. Wait a year or so. We’ve got something better on the way. Nicer. A real boulevard cruiser. Made of metal, not plastic.”

“Oh, so now it’s ‘we’, huh? They paying you good over there?”

“I do all right,” he said modestly.

“So what’s at stake tonight, Randy? What’s the big deal?”

Advertisers—like us, Ford—are pushing for color. We’ve demanded it for years. It just makes the products so desirable. The delays have been insane.”

“But CBS already won. It’s working right in front of us. Why don’t we have color TV yet?”

“The set manufacturers are refusing to build for CBS. The CBS system is much cheaper and has better color, but regular black and white sets can’t receive a picture. That’s a lot of sets. With NBC—or I should say, RCA—the existing sets do get a picture, but the color sets cost a fortune. So many tubes. Guess who makes the tubes? RCA. Whichever technology wins, it means profits forever to the winner, and patent payouts forever for the loser. There’s not much middle ground.”

“So you won’t give me a hint about the Ford two-seater?”

“Who said it was a two-seater?”

“You told me not to spend my money on the Corvette. I know what that means.”

Then Ford caught Randy’s eye, and he prudently moved back over to the boss.

In the next control room, I was surprised to see Matt Balzer, the Wisconsin Mining & Manufacturing Company president, the legendary hatchet man for the Great Lakes empire of the Rhody family. We’ve always gotten along great. We shook hands and shook our heads as well. I last saw Matt when he went off on a Frankfurt bar crawl. We all needed a drink that day. He was here wearing two hats: Rhody is one of the main sponsors here, entitled to the same VIP treatment as Ford. But Matt was also here selling CBS on television recording tape, developed jointly by the magnetic materials specialists at WM&M and a small California company.

Matt knew he had a winner. He enthusiastically demonstrated the refrigerator-sized television recorder. In the meantime, the ads for his programs were running in the background for products like Rhodium aluminum foil, “the housewife’s friend!” Royal Road facial tissues, and their Rhoda Roberts line of copper-bottomed pots and pans.

Matt pressed a button and the big reels of ribbon-sized tape stopped. They backed up at scary speed and stopped again. Then Matt pressed Forward, and waited to see our reactions. We were astonished. It was perfect; it looked just like the live TV he recorded only a moment ago. “Once they buy into this, no more film,” he said proudly. “From now on, the networks won’t have to do a second show three hours later for the west coast.” The CBS engineers standing around were eager. “How much, Matt?”

“This one’s $250,000.” The group laughed incredulously. “A quarter million!? Are you kidding me?” But an expensively dressed CBS executive in the background said quietly, “We’ll take 50 if we can get them before NBC.” The room instantly went silent.

The engineers went back to work. Matt said, “Linc, we’re not getting any younger. You ought to settle down. This detective thing is hard to outlive. There are real people in Wisconsin, not these Hollywood phonies. Get some fresh air in your lungs. Why don’t you pull stakes and join us?”

Balzer’s a fine man. I knew he meant it. I smiled and shook my head.

“I don’t spend all my time firing my .45 and caressing women; just enough of it to keep me in the PI racket. But if and when I get tired of it, I’ll drop you a line.”

The Ford TV show was entering a filmed commercial break. When Ford got up to use the restroom, everyone gratefully rushed off to do the same.

While the next part of the show was being lined up, a young model took her place in front of the color cameras so they could adjust to match her flesh tone. She held a rainbow-colored chart in front of her. She was a beautiful young woman with long dark wavy hair. An older, well dressed man stood off to one side, talking with her.

Matt said, “That’s Jade Green. She’s Miss CBS Color Television. She got discovered just by holding the test charts, and now she’s getting a break as a singer. We’re hiring her as a spokesperson for afternoon shows. Kitchenware.”

“She’s sure got all the right angles,” I said. She had an unusual look, as if she were part American Indian princess, part thin Russian ballerina, with high cheekbones and full lips.

“On that girl you just won’t find a wrong angle!” he said with a laugh. He was right.

The Deuce was right too; everything did look better in color. Why the hell was color TV taking so long to reach the public? When would they ever start actually selling the sets? I’ve read articles in the papers about it for years and years. Now that I’ve seen color television, I see why.

The surprisingly beefy looking scion of one of the world’s largest, best known industrial empires was walking back from the men’s room when he spotted somebody. He yelled out cheerfully.

“Hey! Pale Billy!”

The tall, elegant man he was addressing turned towards us with a look of annoyance that is possibly the coldest look I’ve ever seen on a man’s face. Then he recognized Henry Ford II and forced a smile. Now I recognized him: Bill Paley, founder and chairman of CBS. He was also the man who’d been chatting up the model on stage. Not inconsistent from what I’ve read about him in the gossip columns.

“Hello, Hank. Are my people taking good care of you?”

“They are, Bill, they are. Let’s see how General Sarnoff’s people do tomorrow.”

Paley nodded with a tight insincere smile at the mention of his archrival, David Sarnoff, founder and chairman of NBC. Roosevelt gave them both military rank during the War, but Paley never got farther than Colonel, and Sarnoff never let anyone forget it.

“Try the shrimp, Hank. The hostesses are friendly. We bring the food in from Chasen’s. And when you go up to Burbank tomorrow, make sure to bring a few dimes, because I’ll tell you something, nobody parks in David’s lot for free. Nobody.”

The program was going back on, live. The Color Girl model, her job done, left the chair and the cameras were re-positioned to resume the show. The music faded up.

While the announcer was extolling the virtues of Ford cars, the phone in the VIP lounge rang. An attendant handed it to Henry Ford II, who looked amused. He in turn called Randy over. They had a quick conference, looking at me. Randy wrote something down, walked over and handed it to me. He was—chagrined? Sheepish? Embarrassed? Anyway, he handed me the slip of paper. It was a phone number.

“Linc, could you please find that girl and pass this on to her? It’s for…a friend of Mr. Ford’s.”

The brunette beauty was already gone from the sound stages. I hurried eastwards across the vast building until I spotted her, a few hundred feet away, moving towards the main exits and the parking lots. That was pure luck. I followed Miss Color Television across the crowded, confusing studios. The dressing rooms were out this way and I moved through hall after hall of curious, resentful half-dressed dancers and actresses. But I wasn’t looking for a peek. I was in a hurry. I lost her in the farthest end of the maze. Black performers were stuck down here, a long walk from the studio.

I was stopped by a small mob of Negroes, suspicious bodyguards for Lena Horne, the celebrated Negro beauty who had just finished her stint on the all-American Ford show. Out of nowhere, this private eye was totally taken by surprise. There was some kind of mistaken identity or some other misunderstanding I didn’t get, and I wasn’t going to have time to get.

I yelled “Hey! Wait!” but they weren’t going to wait. Two black men about seven feet tall held me to the wall while a third one prepared to break me in half with a brown fist the size of a smokehouse ham.

Then a sharply dressed man stepped up and took charge. He was Negro when he was in the shadows, but as he came into the light, I caught an impression of medium brown skin, maybe mixed race, too—white, Mexican, Chinese? I couldn’t tell. All I knew was, right now he was holding off a beating I wanted badly to avoid. He peered at me carefully through wire-rimmed, military style eyeglasses. For a moment I felt like a bug under a microscope.

“I’m J. Lock. I’m in charge of security for Miss Horne tonight. Who are you?”

“My name is Richard Lincoln. I’m a private investigator working for CBS. I was asked to contact the young lady who was modeling for the color people.” That did not sound quite right so I hastily said “The ah, you know, video technicians doing the, um, adjustments to the color…”

He cut me off wearily. “I got it.” He nodded to the other men, who were already slackening their grip.

I composed my suit. “Thanks”, I said.

“Don’t mention it. I’m a licensed PI myself. The VP of Columbia Records got me this protection gig. So you see, we’re both working for Mr. Paley tonight.”

J Lock relished having the last word. With a sardonic smile, he said “Set Mr. Lincoln free. It’s the least we can do.”

(Ricochet network announcer:) You are listening to “Everything’s Better in Color,” this week’s Ricochet Silent Radio dramatic presentation of Tales from the Pit. We pause for station identification.

(Local announcer:) This is KMGM-AM, Hollywood 980 on the dial, MGM radio in sunny California. (Network announcer:) And now back to “Everything’s Better in Color.” (MUSIC bridge and then fade)

(Voice of Richard Lincoln:) “I was on right on the verge of being beaten to a pulp by three angry Negroes, and it wasn’t the Will Mastin Trio. I didn’t know why. A man named J. Lock stepped in and saved my neck. I didn’t know anything about him, either. I never did catch up with Miss Color Television that night. By the time I made my way back through the maze of CBS Television City, Randy was eagerly waving his bosses goodbye. Mr. Ford was off to the night clubs. My night’s work was done.

I found my bullet-nosed Studebaker in the parking lot. In the moonlight, there was no denying the sophisticated modern look of Television City. That was CBS all the way— tasteful and refined.

I live in the Hollywood hills just above the Chinese Theater, so the ride home was fast. I opened a beer and took out a hard boiled egg. Bachelor’s delight. There was nothing good on TV. It’s funny; maybe five years ago, TV was a special occasion, and now it’s on most of the time. The novelty has to wear off sooner or later. But wow, that color program looked great. It’s like another dimension you never noticed before.

The phone rang just before ten. “Hold the line, please,” a female voice said. I waited, wondering who’s secretary was still at work at this hour. A man came on.

Is this the private investigator?”

“Yes, this is Richard Lincoln. Who is this?”

“This is William Paley,” he said in an icy voice of command. I sat up straight. “Yes, Mr. Paley?” I asked.

“Henry’s—Mr. Ford’s staff tells me you have finished your assignment with them. I have an important matter that I would like you to pursue outside of official channels. It must be kept absolutely confidential. Will you do it?”

“If it’s reasonably legal, yeah, but I have to know what the case is before I agree”.

“Very well. Meet me at Columbia Records in 20 minutes.”

We both hung up. This was exceedingly strange. CBS has its own security force. But Paley wanted me. Well, he can afford it, I reasoned.

Traffic on Hollywood Boulevard was jammed up by a collision between a car and one of those worn out red trolleys. They’ve been talking about getting rid of them ever since the end of the War, but they’re still around. I got to Columbia Records with one minute to spare. A guard had my name and let me in. The floors were mostly dark. The night crew was cleaning. I walked briskly past wall-sized posters of Midge Reynolds and Cris Ebril, the Vinyl Contessa. Two girls who turned me down. There was still a poster of Frank Sinatra. Maybe he really is on the way back up. Paley was temporarily commandeering the top floor corner office while he was in town. I made my way into the inner office.

Paley was there, imperious as always. So, to my surprise and dismay, was J. Lock, looking polished, dapper, and to my eyes quite competitive, for lack of a better term.

Paley clearly valued his own time and wasn’t wasting any.

“Gentlemen”, he said, “The young lady who models for our color cameras is missing. We need you to find the girl. Whoever does will be paid ten thousand dollars.”

(Announcer:) You are listening to “Everything’s Better in Color,” this week’s Ricochet Silent Radio dramatic presentation of Tales from the Pit. Please tune in tomorrow night for the next episode. Until then, this is your announcer Johnny Donovan wishing you a happy and holy Easter season.

Ricochet Members featured or mentioned in tonight’s cast include @Jlock, @randyweivoda, @mattbalzer, @vicrylcontessa, @midge, and @rightangles. Stay tuned for Lion News Radio at the top of the hour.

Three chimes mean good times. This is the Ricochet Silent Radio Network, your home of radio drama, comedy, sports, news, and public affairs, direct from the heart of Screenland.