Month: September 2011

Taking Potshots At Environmental Pubs Is Fun

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t spend a lot of time writing blogs for this site. I enjoy writing, but as a condition of surrender to my wife, I will no longer write long, accusatory, and inflammatory blogs about politics, no matter how bad or how wrong those other guys are. Blogging is supposed to be bad for my blood pressure.

There is a loophole.

As far as I am concerned, I am not prohibited to comment on blogs or other articles. This is important. You see, I can get online, read a bunch of blogs and articles, and comment to my heart’s content. I can say anything I want to without having to accept responsibility because I am pretty much anonymous in my commenting.

Let me give you an example. On a Saturday mornings, I might read and scan 20 to 25 blogs, and check out 50 or more articles in my Google Reader. With these articles, sometimes the newspaper or magazine will allow comments, and this is where I go bananas.  Articles in all sorts of publications accept comments, and I will close in on one or two articles that I deem really dumb, or totally out of the realm of reason. This is mostly true with environmental pubs, and I take a devilish pride in ridiculing the marshmallow intellects who believe the garbage they read there.

Mother Jones is a great pub with which to do a drive-by commenting attack. The people who hang out there are at the bottom of the intellectual food chain, and don’t have the capacity to reply in a coherent manner. Plus, the article is usually so old that nobody is reading it but me, anyway. I am assured of having the last word,

I can sometimes spend hours peppering the unsuspecting world of smaller brains with my wisdom and smart-ass comments. It is a lot of fun.

It is also a waste of time. But, I don’t get caught putting the same stuff on my own blog and violating my spouses rules to keep street language out of my writing. I suspect she knows what is going on, but as long as my words cannot be connected with her, my life is secure.

God bless the environmentalists. Without them, we would have to look long and hard to find the stupid people.

The Political Season

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1

This is a Biblical thing that I have always read with an eye to actual experience. To say that there is a time for EVERYTHING is a strong statement, and brings out the legalistic monster in all of us.

For example, is there a season for killing? Does everyone get to go about killing at random, or at will? Is there a season for sinning? I thought pretty much all sinning was open season. For Ecclesiastes to speak in such generalities is to me like one of those sayings generated in small towns by out of work farmers dipping snuff and whittling on wooden sticks.

Like many sayings, there may be some truth in this one. We all know that our year is divided into seasons, and agricultural societies look forward to the seasons to plant, nurture, harvest, and breed. In our modern society all this stuff is transparent, but we can still name seasons like baseball season, football season, and chili season (not seasoning). Hamburgers and hot dogs are good year round.

The National Political Season used to come every four years and lasted only a few months. The cycle is still four years, but the duration is up to about one and one-half to two years, now. Some presidential candidates campaign pretty much full time, including the incumbent.

With the political season come new rules of conduct that should apply only during that period of the cycle. Politicians have the right to modify the rules of language and courtesy, and fling BS…

OK, we need to pause, here, for some language modification. It is not polite to use bathroom or fecal related expressions in civilized circles. Who knows, maybe there are children present. To repair this linguistic error, I will borrow a phrase from my childhood that means pretty much the same thing as the metaphoric BS. Let’s replace BS with Horse Feathers (HF). Now, I feel better.

To continue…
During the political season, politicians have the right to modify the rules of language and courtesy, and fling BS horse feathers at each other with impunity. A pol can lie, twist meaning, misquote, and even accuse his opponent with ridiculous crimes and not be held responsible for any of this calumny. 

Most importantly, a candidate is allowed tons of horse feathers in establishing their political positions on important issues like abortion, gun control, genocide, and jay-walking. The news media awards points to the most creative, and nuanced positions. For example, a liberal candidate is allowed to say that he/she is pro-choice without explaining that their choice is between candy and breath mints. Cool, huh?

After the primary wars have cleared the field to only two opponents, these guys are allowed to change their positions to further comply with a large segment of voters, comically called “independents”. Independent voters are parasites who get taken out to dinner, invited to phony town-hall meetings, and wined and dined by election consultants who need warm bodies for their focus groups. 

The idea that independent voters have not made up their minds is a double load of horse feathers. The truth about independent voters is they always have their minds made up. 

They will vote for whoever gives them the most goodies. That’s the American way.

Happy political season, everybody.

I Want My New Day

As I watched my fifteen year old dachshund, Sam, stumble around in the yard this morning in pain because of his arthritic joints, it struck me that he would not have many days left. The day would soon come when I would have to have him killed. I do not look forward to that day.

That day might be a merciful day for Sam. He can’t see or hear very well, and has to be watched constantly when outside because of his tendency to random sniff/walk into the street. If doggies have an afterlife, he could be happier when that new, painless day comes for him. I am being good to the old hound on the basis that if he beats me to those pearly gates, I don’t want him waiting around to testify against me.

Any way you look at the situation, Sam has a new day coming.

What is a new day for you? Is it like the song, “Our Day Will Come”?

“Our day will come
And we’ll have everything
We’ll share the joy
Falling in love can bring.”

Of course, there are the religious views on new days, and what they herald as in this contemporary Christian song, “There Will Be A Day“.  The message is Biblical, “there will be a day when there are no more tears”. It is a beautiful, comforting message.

There are many “New Day” songs. Witness the incomparable voice of Celine Dion in, “A New Day Has Come“. How about “A Brand New Day” from the Wiz’? All those new day songs speak of freedom, hope, love, and cleansing.

We all want to believe that a new day is coming, and it will be full of good things for us whether it be material riches, or just the love of a person. The expectation of a new day speaks strongly about our faith in the future. Some people live their lives convinced that a new day will be worse than today.

Most of us believe that our new day will make things right, and justify our actions, beliefs, or opinions. That’s OK, and it should not be seen as a selfish thing. It is the natural thought process of a positive person.

I believe there is a problem with some of this new day thinking. If we sit around, waiting for that glorious new day, it will never come. We will not win the lottery. The news media will never report events accurately, and you don’t have a rich aunt from whom you will inherit millions. Well, most of don’t have rich aunts, and most of us will not win a lottery.

Only by acting on our faith can we even begin to expect a newer, brighter day. That day may never come for us, but we may have contributed to our descendants well being.

New days only come to those who work for them. Anything else is just luck, which is another story.

Whence Cometh The Figs

From my earliest memories, my mother always had homemade fig preserves in the pantry. She would serve them at breakfast, along with her delicious, fresh, hot, homemade biscuits. Mmmmmmm…..

Fig Newtons were my favorite commercially available cookie, and were undoubtedly responsible for much of my adolescent obesity.

I also remember standing watch at our fig tree in the side yard, shooing the birds away from my future breakfasts. We all did our part. Mom would pick the figs everyday when in season. She would prepare them by trimming the stems and bad spots.

Then, she would put them into a big boiler and pour several cups of sugar over them. They would sit overnight as the natural juices were drawn out of the fruit combining with the sugar, creating a most heavenly elixir. The next day mom would cook the figs in their magic sugar bath until they were submerged in a light syrup.

My mother always had a fig tree in her yard. I took it for granted that everybody had figs, but learned the hard truth when I grew up. Not everybody likes figs, and very few people look forward to the tasks of growing, protecting and harvesting this Biblical, fruit.

When asked about her fig trees, mom said she would take a cutting from a fig tree, stick it into the ground and it would grow. She was like that. My mother could coax life out of a dead leaf if she tried.

Later, I learned that my mother would take a cutting off her old tree when moving to a new location, and “stick” the cutting into the ground. It took a while but I finally realized that she had been doing this for fifty or more years, and it is probable her original cutting came from my paternal grandfather’s fig tree in Mississippi.

This is the way families grow, and this is the way traditions are born. This is the way nations are made.

You start with something good, and perpetuate it throughout following generations. I can follow the lineage of those fig trees back for more than a hundred years, and it is possible that early cuttings were carried in the migration of my ancestors from North Carolina to Mississippi in the 1840’s in their quest for cheap, fertile land for themselves and their children.

As we have just observed an anniversary of 9/11, contemplating something that was done to us, we can take comfort in knowing who we are, where we are from, and what we are about.

God bless figs, and God Bless the United States of America.

Where Did All The People Go?

My current job is something like, “Driving Miss Daisy”. Whenever my wife has a problem, or just doesn’t want to drive, I am drafted to do the job.

Last week, my wife had been ordered to show up in the county superior court for jury duty. In Atlanta  this involved driving to downtown and finding a parking place before eight o’clock in the morning. In my semi-retirement years I consider this to be too damned early.
On the morning is question, the suspects (us) loaded into the family sedan, hooked by McDonalds for a couple of Egg McMuffins, and proceeded southwards towards the big city. We were immediately struck by the fact that there was hardly ANY traffic. At 6:30 on a weekday morning, this was highly unusual. 
It was not a holiday, nor a day next to a weekend. This was a Thursday morning and all government agencies and banks would be open. There was almost NO TRAFFIC!
“What could be going on?”, I thought. Where are all the people? 
Then, it struck me. I looked at my lovely wife and said, “Did we miss the RAPTURE?”. 
My wife has learned to listen to me, only on occasion. The look in her eyes told me that she was considering whether this was that rare occasion when I deserved a reply. Wives are like that.
As we approached a primary traffic artery, I saw a significant stream of traffic coming our way, headed to downtown Atlanta. I said, “Who are all these people?”.
My better half, in  the spirit of the moment replied, “It’s those Godless people from Cobb County”.
You have to understand about Cobb County. Those Godless Cobbites run rough shod over our roads, causing horrible traffic jams, to get to work in a metropolitan area in which they have steadfastly refused to participate in the regional transit system. It is easy to see that most of them will not be included in the Rapture.
I live for meaningful moments like this. It satisfies me a great deal to know that I married a woman who can think like me.

Heros On 9/11

I have tried to not write of my experiences on the subject of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US. Instead, I have read other peoples’ stories, trying to understand the effect 9/11 had on them.

Oh the blog, Geeez! the proprietor, a lady called, “Z”, tells us that she and her husband were living in Paris, France when the event took place. She relates how she and her husband felt in a foreign land, having no idea of how the French would react. She tells of the Sunday at church when she was in such fear of a terrorist bomber that she left a church service because a middle eastern man entered with something under his overcoat. These were real feelings, and she tells the story well.

Then there’s the story that Angel has to tell. She runs a blog called, Woman Honor Thyself. Angel tells us her story about how she had her husband drive her to ground zero, and how she worked to bring comfort to the Firefighters and others who were struggling to find their comrades, or family in the rubble.

William M Briggs, who lives in Manhattan, tells us how his son was in a high school almost next to the World Trade Center. He lets the reader know how he felt when he realized his son was in danger, and tells about his frantic search that led him into the dust cloud caused by the first building’s collapse. His relief and anger are yours, too, as he closes out his story.

A friend of mine sent an email out to friends telling about his experience, and the things his company did during the disaster. His name is Cliff, and he is a ham radio operator friend, and also a former employee of the company that ran the Blackberry two-way paging network. At that time, I believe they were owned by BellSouth

The BellSouth Network Operations Center at Woodbridge, N.J. was the center of their universe, and I have seen the WTC from BellSouth’s office windows. To play it safe, they transferred their operations to their backup facility in Dallas, Texas. Additionally, the network engineers tracked as many Blackberry pagers in the WTC area as they could, and sent text messages asking if the bearers needed any help. The network techs also calculated the locations of any Blackberrys where the user did not respond, turning the list over to rescuers. The local cell phone companies did the same thing.

The only thing I did on 9/11 was to calm my family, and fume at the Islamic terrorists who perpetrated the attacks, wondering if they had any blows left. It turns out they didn’t, because the last intended blow was thwarted by a bunch of guys like me, traveling business men.

The brave souls who died at Shanksville are mocked by a memorial that incorporates the crescent of Islam as some sort of mollifying statement to the terrorists. How vacuous can these politically correct people be?

We are all insulted by those who blame America for 9/11. The greater sadness is that these politically correct people don’t understand, nor do they want to understand. Ignorance can be corrected, but ignoring the truth is unforgivable.

Baseball Games And Grandsons

When you have a grandson delivered into your family, it is an unbelievable blessing. You become a playmate to him, and not a disciplinarian father. The little boy always loves his Grandpa, and this is one of God’s rewards. You can love them when they are good, and leave them to their parents when they are bad.

It was a super pleasure this past weekend to take my grandson, along with his mother and father, to an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field, affectionately known to locals as, “The Ted”. The Braves were playing the Dodgers. There was not a lot of interest in the game because the end of the season is approaching, and this game would have little to do in deciding playoff slots.  My tickets were free because a friend’s law firm was giving them away. Good times!

Miles, my grandson, was so excited about going to see Chipper Jones, Braves star hitter. that he could not contain himself. Upon arrival, it was all his father could do to keep the three year old tyke from charging down to see the players from our field level seats. He just couldn’t understand.

As the game went into the third inning, there was no score, and the Moose (Miles) was getting really wiggly. So, Bob-Bob (that’s me) took him for a walk inside the stadium, looking at attractions, one of which was a life size figure of Mickey Mouse in a Braves uniform. We had a good time just walking around, and we were out of the rain.

I took the Moose to the stadium store, intending to get him a real Braves baseball hat. The darned things were $38, and the one-size-fits-all cheapies were $28. I was lucky that Miles’s attention was drawn to a $13 toy. I got off cheap.

That’s when we heard the crowd’s roar. Dang, I missed the three run homer that put the Dodgers in the lead for most of the game. How about that for luck.

As the seventh inning came around, the game had been in stasis since the Dodgers score. It was also snack time, and we retired to the 755 Club which commemorates Hank Aaron’s lifetime record of 755 home runs.

Fried green tomatoes and chicken fingers were our choices. Cokes were expensive, and beers were $7.25 each. Run of the mill food at spectacular prices. What do you expect in a ballpark? The whole apparatus is geared to make money.

After his snack, Miles went to sleep, first in his chair, and then in my lap. We decided that our game was over, and we packed our stuff to leave. As we were about to get on the elevator, a tremendous roar came up from the crowd. Double damn! I was missing the action, again.

I rushed to the big windows in time to see the last run of a three run homer cross home plate. We watched the replay on the TV in the elevator. We left with the ball game tied, and the rain increasing.

Leaving a baseball game early has its benefits. You miss the traffic jam that comes after every game, and you are out of the rain. Of course, our three year old tour guide was wide awake and chattering about the cars he could see from his baby’s seat.

After we got home, the game was on TV, and my wife, who had kept our grand daughter, GG, urgently told us to hurry to the TV to watch Chipper Jones at bat for the winning run. Two men were on base, and a RBI would win the game for the Bravos.Triple damn! I am still missing the live action.

The Dodgers put Chipper on base by intentionally walking him. The next guy up to the plate drove in the winning run for the Braves.

I managed to miss all the live action in the game, but did get to spend a wonderful day with a little guy who will never forget his first baseball game.

Today Is Special

Today’s gonna be a special day. The sun is shinning, the birds are singing, and the dog is doing his part by barking at, well, nothing.  He’s just a dog.

As I stand in front of my humble abode with the weeds up to my knees, and thorny vines taking over the chimney, I have renewed, once again, my vow to do something about my slovenly existence.

Today, friends and neighbors, I will work up a sweat.

Don’t panic! Please! There is a method to my madness.

You see, there is an advantage to being one of the only senior citizens on the block. Our thirty-something neighbors think we are positively old. I just may represent their best chance to do a neighbor a good turn. For example, three years ago we had a small tornado rip some pine trees up in our neighborhood. Before I could get outside to work on the mess, my younger neighbors has wielded their chainsaws like modern day Wyatt Earps with a six-gun. The wood chips and saw dust were flying around like bullets at the O.K. Corral.  They had my property cleared of debris in no time.

So, I will get out of my shorts and sandals, don some work jeans and boots, and get to work. I figure I am good for about thirty minutes before the sweat builds to the point that you can see my fat belly through my tee-shirt, and my jeans will have slipped to the point of showing fashionable crack. That’s when they will show up and take care of that stuff for me.

9/11 Thoughts

As we approach the tenth year anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers, it is a time to think about what happened, who did it, who excuses it, and who would do it all over again. Credit goes to George W Bush who implemented the laws and missions of federal security agencies to stop any possible terrorist attacks on the mainland US.

One of the really big reasons this didn’t happen is that the US has been putting enormous pressure on Al Queda and associated terrorist organizations through offensive actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush was right. By taking the fight to the terrorists, you keep them on the defensive. It has worked to a large degree, with the only attacks done by home grown terrorists in the US.

Obama can take credit for pursuing Osama Bin Laden, and having the SEALS kill him.

We are faced with other problems, not the least of which is an attitude that somehow those who want to kill us can be reasonable people. Just this thought is preposterous. We know from reading the Koran that Islam thinks it is just fine to lie, torture, and kill non-believers. You cannot reason with these people.

Strangely enough, I like the Muslim people I know. Maybe they are different, or not confrontational. I don’t feel like challenging them, and they are probably hesitant about telling a 6′ 2″, 250 pound guy that they don’t like him or his religion.

Now that Bin Laden is dead, and Al Queda is marginalized in part, what should we be doing?

We are in danger of losing Iraq, and Afghanistan. The current Administration does not want to be there, and doesn’t seem to understand why we are there in the first place, It is a problem that, hopefully, the 2012 elections will settle.

Life is tough. Those who want to kill you make it tougher.