Bob's Junk Mail!

Saturday, December 11, 1999

Mike and I flew to Florida this week to pick up our plane that was there for maintenance. On the way we stopped at Demopolis, Mississippi. That's a town that makes Pryor look cosmopolitan. The big story in the newspaper was how they finally caught two people stealing beer from beer trucks outside the beer distributor. It had been happening for a while, so a policeman hid there every night for over two weeks and finally caught them. It wasn't just some kids. It was 2 guys in their 30's with names that sounded like they came from The Dukes of Hazzard. Here's your photo-journalistic report on Demopolis:


I spent an extra day in Florida because the weather wasn't very nice at home:


... and I went to a place outside of Orlando called Wakiwa Springs. There are some springs and a swimming area there, but it's also an interesting place to walk (or run, in my case) around. The Florida Trail, which goes from Pensacola almost to Miami, goes through Wakiwa Springs. Here, it went for miles through jungle or swamp or something pretty neat, I'm not sure what you'd call it.


The Florida Trail Association is a non-profit organization that has been buying up land for this trail. They also con landowners into free or cheap leases and easements. I think that's a good way to do conservation business.

Several years ago I was wondering why the Sierra Club spent so many millions on lawyers and politicians and lobbyists. If they wanted to "save the earth," why didn't they buy it?  So I started the Foundation for the Preservation of Trees. Here's my annual letter:

Dear fellow environmentalist:

I am writing to provide you with the opportunity to help prevent the deforestation of the planet Earth. You might ask, "What can I do?" You might wonder what a single person can do to help save the forests of the Earth.

The Foundation for the Preservation of Trees is continuing the widely acclaimed program that we believe will help you help the world - it's called Adopt-a-Tree. For only $1, you can adopt a tree! This tree will become your tree for a year. The Foundation for the Preservation of Trees will ensure that your tree is not cut down for an entire year. This means for about 2 cents a week, you can save a tree! Do your part for America. Do your part for the world!

Send your non-deductible contribution to:

Save-a-Tree Foundation
One American Way
Pryor, OK 74361

Note:  We also have a group plan - adopt 150 trees for only $200!

Thank you for your time. I am sure that you will want to take part in the reforestation of planet Earth.

This IS a joke, by the way. (But I WILL email you a photo of your adopted tree if you email me a dollar.) I've passed this letter around over the years and some people thought I was serious. In Oklahoma you can BUY land for less than a dollar a tree. I did this because I was irritated at these "nature lovers" who wouldn't put their money where their mouth was. If they wanted to save a tree, why not buy it? Why spend money lobbying and advertising and suing instead?

The Florida Trail Association is buying land. There's also an organization buying land outside of Crested Butte for nature stuff. (I think that's right, I just saw a sign and haven't checked into it.) Rails-to-Trails buys old railroad right-of-ways and makes hiking / biking trails out of them. That's where this picture came from. (WARNING: This is a rerun from junk mail 6):


The Nature Conservancy is buying land in a big way. They have 1300 private nature preserves in the U.S. now. They buy land instead of politicians.

How about the Sierra Club? They said that 88.8% of their contributions go to the implementation of "conservation programs."

However, the largest portion of this, 34%, goes to "influencing public policy." This would be lobbyists, political contributions, lawyers, and advertising. "Membership" is the second highest expense with 24%. Administration, fundraising, public education, and chapter programs take all but 6.5%. Only 6.5% is spent on "outdoor activities." I never did figure out why they only start with 88.8%. I guess they just blew the other 11%.

Near as I can tell, the Sierra Club files lawsuits and tries to get laws passed to do things like keep cows from eating grass. The Nature Conservancy buys the pasture.
Bob's Y2K Checklist:

1. Withdraw 80% of your savings in cash. Send the cash to me for safekeeping. Of course, with the Y2K problem and all I can't guarantee you'll get it back.
2. Buy a weather radio.
3. Buy a portable generator to power your weather radio since there will be no electricity.
4. Buy solar cells to charge the weather radio batteries in case there's no fuel for the generator in step 3.
5. Buy a hand-crank generator in case there's a "nuclear winter" and no sunshine.
6. Get a windsock and a rain gauge in case the computers are down at the national weather service.
7. etc.

I did read this week that, among a myriad of other impending catastrophes, some people are writing computer viruses that "go off" on 1-1-2000. If that's true, I bet the press will be all over it. Also, sewage treatment plants "may stop functioning." I guess we can just hold it.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I think this Y2K stuff is really overblown. Here's what I wrote about it a year and a half ago:

But the other day I was sitting at a railroad crossing waiting on a train. I looked up at a jet crossing the sky. I wondered how my watch would handle the New Year. So I set it to 12-31-99 at 11:59. It rolled over to the year 2000 just fine. But then my car died. And the train came to a stop. And the jet I had been watching started falling! I quickly reset my watch and things got back to normal. Whew!!


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