Month: April 2012

She’s A Purty Thang!

baby picture of Georgia
Baby Georgia

Yes, she is. Her name is Georgia, and she is my two-year old grand-daughter. Her second birthday was last week, but her party will be today, the first available weekend.

The interesting thing to me is that she looks very much like her mother at that age, and also much like my wife. I can spot signs of my mother’s looks, too. That is one reason why grand-children are so precious. You can see not only yourself in them, but also the looks and mannerisms of other family members. Life is beautiful when they are young.

In my opinion there will never be a time when she becomes not-pretty. She will always be beautiful, but, she will mature in her personality, growing physically and mentally every day. Darn it!

Picture of Georgia Age 1 1/2
Georgia Today

Someday, she will be a teenager. God forbid!

There is a better than even chance that she will be like her mother, who was a beautiful girl, but drove us almost to insanity with her hormones coursing through her veins. As teenagers, girls are terrible specimens of the human race. Thank God Georgia is my grand-child, and I can turn her over to her parents for rearing during those troublesome years.

They all start out so sweet you could just crush them when hugging them. Then, they start growing up and slip into those awful teen years when everything you say is wrong, and nothing you say is heeded. Life is not fun during those years.

Then, sometime after college and a couple of dozen whacked-out boyfriends, she will grow up and become the person you wanted to raise in the first place. It is interesting that God brings us these tests of faith, knowing that not only will our children challenge our faith, but that those same faithless creatures will return to the values of their upbringing.

Life is good, and Georgia is our reward for a job well done. God bless grand-children.

The Windows Smart Phone Is Here!

I bought one. Yep! I bought the Nokia Lumia 900 smart phone, one of the first new Windows Phones from Nokia.

Picture of the Noki Lumia 900 Windows Phone
Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone

You remember Nokia, don’ t you ? At one time Nokia had the very best cell phones on the market. Their fall from smart phone grace had to do with bad management decisions, and staying with the Symbian cell phone operating system, which never took hold in the US. Nokia’s new CEO, Stephen Elop , a former Microsoft Executive, decided to pitch Nokia’s future with the new Microsoft Windows Phone system. It looks like it may work.

The Nokia Lumia 900 is a great phone. I decided to replace my iPhone 4 with the new Windows phone because I didn’t see any real progress from Apple in their product. Nokia has done their normal great design job with the phone with the buttons in the right places.

In my opinion the Lumia 900 is easier to learn to use than the Apple iPhone. The Windows phone uses tiles to run an application instead of icons. The system is reliable, and the screen is fantastic, using a technology called AMOLED, active-matrix organic light emitting diode. The screen resolution is not as much as some other phones, but AMOLED gives you a bright, colorful, and easy to read display. The Lumia 900 has a large 4.3 inch diagonal screen as opposed to Apple’s 3.5 inch screen.

The smart phone world is light years ahead of last year at this time. Apple is fading on sales of the iPhone in the market, while Android phone sales are really heating up. And, they should. Pretty much all the Android phones have larger screens than the current iPhone, and you are not held hostage by Apple’s iTunes.

There aren’t as many apps for the Windows Phones as for iPhone and Android. That will change. There is one app I really like for the iPhone and Android phones, and that is the Audible.com book application. There is not one in the Windows Phone library, but one is under development at the present. Applications are being added to the Microsoft Windows Phone library at a high rate.

I could have bought an Android phone, and there were lots of great Android phones on the market. But, I wanted to take the chance to try something  new. So far, I do not regret my decision.

Old Dogs and Old Men

picture of Sam, 15 year old Dachshund
Old Sam

When one enters those golden years of retirement and reflection on one’s life, you grok things that have evaded your understanding. Maybe you completely ignored certain things earlier in life, or reserved a particular exercise in cosmic contemplation for another day.

Guess what? Sometime around the age of sixty, that day of contemplation will come, whether you want it or not. As a matter of fact, some things you totally forgot to think about will come back and haunt you as a blinding glimpse of the obvious (BGO).

You will remember conversations from thirty years ago where you were completely slimed by someone you thought was a friend. Past occasions float into your memory, and you suddenly realize that something you did socially was the equivalent of farting in church. It was just wrong, and you didn’t even realize it at the time.

The redeeming thing to the sexagenarion male  about these revelations is that they don’t matter, anymore. Age is an effective leavening factor in knowledge, emotions, and attitude. You see, old guys just don’t care.

Just as my 15-year-old hound dog doesn’t care where he hikes his leg, old guys get to the point where they don’t care where they relieve themselves, either. Well, the poor old hound can’t hike his leg, anymore. Come to think of it, I can’t hike mine, either.

When you see an old man wandering around with his fly unzipped, it is not that he is flashing people, or trying to scare teenage girls. He is no longer a threat to anybody, and he knows it.  He also doesn’t care who hears him curse, either, and there will be a whole lot of cussing from an old guy because some of his parts don’t work anymore.

So, instead of kicking my old hound dog when he pees on the floor, I just cuss him some and clean it up. I am afraid I am starting to understand the old boy, after all.

The Unsinkable Happened – 100 Years Ago

Picture of the Titanic
RMS Titanic

At 11:40 PM ship’s time 100 years ago today, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic ocean. By 2:20 AM on April 15, 1912 the beautiful, gigantic, and formerly unsinkable ship disappeared beneath the frigid waters. Over 1,500 people died that night out of the total of 2,224 souls aboard that maiden voyage.

Even today, we are stricken by the immensity of the tragedy, and wonder how and why this  happened. Some years ago, I toured the Titanic Exhibit at the Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee. The organizers made sure that the air was positively chilly while you walked through the exhibits.

On display were actual pieces of china from the ship’s dinner service. I distinctly remember a serving jacket a steward would have worn, and how small the people had to have been. The ship’s bell was on display. Even without the lower temperatures in the hall, the effects of seeing all these artifacts was, indeed, chilling.

In the gift shop, I ignored all the books, cups, and other paraphernalia when I spotted a shelf full of little plastic pyramids embeded with tiny lumps of coal from the Titanic. Now, I wish I would have bought one or two of the books showing pictures of the artifacts, but I had an austerity attack that day.

I paid $15 for that tiny lump of coal that was brought up from the Titanic wreck location. It means more to me than almost anything else about the event to possess an item that was on that great ship.

picture of plastic pyramid with embeded lump of coal
Titanic Coal

Television coverage of the Titanic anniversary has been extensive. There have been a couple of shows that have brought out new facts, or possibilities of things responsible for the tragedy.

In one interesting show a maritime expert asks the question, “Why did the Titanic crew not see the iceberg until it was too late to take action to avoid disaster?”  The research was very interesting.

It was a distinct possibility that the Titanic lookouts were deceived by a super mirage, a well-known effect in an area where cold currents meet warmer air. That was precisely where the Titanic was as it entered the colder Labrador current from the warmer Gulf Stream waters.

The same phenomenon applied to the closest rescue ship, the Californian, which was within sight of the Titanic part of the time. The lookouts on the Californian claimed that they say a much smaller ship than the Titanic, but they never saw the Titanic. They could have been deceived by the same kind of super mirage, making the Titanic look much smaller. Even so, the Californian’s officers ignored the emergency distress rockets fired from the Titanic, even though they were clearly seen by the Californian’s crew.

An interesting line of research into the ship’s design revealed that the construction of the Titanic and its sister ship, the Britannica were slightly different. The expansion joint design had been modified significantly. The design of the joints on the Titanic probably contributed to its sinking so quickly.

With a different design of the expansion joints, the ship would not have split in two, and would have stayed afloat longer. This would have allowed the rescue of all the passengers, not just the 710 that the Carpathian gathered later that morning from the life boats.

What wonderful hindsight technology gives us.

The 1,514 people who died that night were part of history. I know I will never forget them.

Friday 13 – A Bad Day?

To begin, we woke up late. Rush, rush for my lovely wife to get to work. Dang! I should have set both alarms. I never hear just one, anyway.

While driving my valuable spouse to work, Moby In The Morning let us know that the date was, indeed, Friday 13th! Wait, Moby In The Morning? Moby is on a country music station. When did my wife start listening to country music? Is there something else going on, here?

picture of a four leaf clover
Four Leaf Clover - Good Luck, Today!

Friday 13th. This could work out to be a bad day, after all.

Apparently, the dog’s constitution is in full alignment with the Friday 13th meme. The fifteen year old pooch unashamedly did his thing in the house. Some creatures deserve untimely departures from this physical realm. I must be careful, though. He could still testify against me in front of St. Peter at that heavenly court when my time comes around.

According to popular legend, the Knights Templar chose Friday 13th to let King Phillip IV of France murder them, and take all their money. You see, the Knights Templar virtually invented modern banking, and the French King was deeply in debt to them. Friday 13th turned out to be a bad day for the Knights, but the King kept his head, his Mercedes, and the money. That’s what kings do.

I don’t plan on any trips, and I am not going to work in the yard. You can never tell when a lawn mower will go crazy on you, or one of those cursed pine trees will live up to their reputation as a widow maker.

Nothing doing, here. I think I will go back to bed. What can go wrong?

All Stars On Idol

Picture of American Idol promotional graphic from WikipediaI am gobsmacked! The only thing I could say about last night’s show is, WOW!

American Idol is one of those shows that has dominated the ratings for a long time, now, and deservedly so. As opposed to earlier years, this year’s lineup of wanna-be artists is very, very talented. Any one of the contestants can be a top rated entertainer.

In my opinion Josh is the best entertainer on the show. His performance last night was nothing less than electric. Even the judges gave him a standing ovation. However, I don’t think Josh is the best singer. He is great with rhythm and blues, but can be eclipsed in other areas.

Phillip and Colton are good, also. I think Phillip gave a great performance last night, and as the judges remarked, made you think of a Johnny Cash who had Steve McQueen looks. As far as Colton goes, I like his performances, but I think he is limited by his voice. I could be wrong.

What can you say about the women, but, wow? All the young ladies are beautiful, sexy, and are great singers and entertainers. From Skylar Laine’s country performances to Jessica’s hot numbers, to Elise’s Lady Gaga piece, they were all great. Once again, all these girls can become great recording artists.

It is important to bring notice to the backup artists and show sets that are furnished by the Idol management. All the backup artists are quality, and the settings are quality. This has to give the contestants confidence that they show their best.

Right now, American Idol is the most entertaining show in television, and is well worth you time.

I am not an entertainment blogger, but I do like to be entertained.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Picture of my Dad and Mom, circa 1920's
Dad & Mom, Circa 1920's

My Dad was born on April 2,1902. That was one hundred ten years ago. Lots of things have happened since then.

During his life, my Dad witnessed World War I, the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, World War II, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, and the evolution of automobiles from the T-Model Ford to the modern car. He witnessed the taming of the Mississippi River, the construction of the Memphis-Arkansas Mississippi River Bridges (old and new), and the construction of dams and reservoirs that generated electric power for rural America.

Agriculture went from subsistence farming in the early twentieth century to the modern mechanized farming we see in the Mississippi Delta, today. He was around to appreciate the early days of radio, and saw the proliferation of television sets to the point that there were at least two TV’s in each house.

Computers were invented during his lifetime, although he never understood their impact on his life.

He witnessed medical miracles, but could never find anybody to cure the deafness in his left ear.

Men and women of that generation made America what it was, not what it is becoming. My Dad would be appalled to see what our leaders are doing to his nation. Being descended from Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers, my Dad was sincerely patriotic.

My Dad and Mom lost six children. Three died as infants in the early years of their marriage,  two sons were killed in  wars, and one daughter died of melanoma at age 31.

He never tired of talking about family, or current events. He instilled in his children a passion for learning.

Even though he never finished high school, he was an intelligent and informed man. Everyday, my Dad would read the local newspapers from cover to cover, supplemented with weekly magazines and television news as that became available.

My Dad led a tough life. Even so, he was thankful for what he had, and taught all of us to do likewise. At every meal, he would ask for God’s blessing, and thank Him for what we had.

My Dad was quite a man.

Here is his blessing, as he said it before every meal.

Heavenly Father, forgive us our sins, and make us thankful for these and all the other blessings. These things we ask for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Amen!