Category: personal

A Song About My Wife

She Ain’t Got Ugly, Yet

When I was young and full of myself
I dated long and often
Then I met a girl who caught my eye
With her good looks and her cooking

She ain’t got ugly yet
No, She ain’t got ugly yet
Her momma was a looker and a real good cooker
And she ain’t got ugly yet

I made my pitch and we got hitched
With each other to live forever
She raised our kids and she’s still a looker
We have managed to stay together

She ain’t got ugly yet
O, She ain’t got ugly yet
She was the prettiest girl in Tennessee
And she ain’t got ugly yet

She don’t like football, booze, or cars
And she frowns on those who do
She kicks me around like an old hound dog
And her kids are afraid of her, too

O, She ain’t got ugly yet
No, she ain’t got ugly yet
She runs our family with an iron hand
And she ain’t got ugly, yet

We are getting old, and tired and slow
Folks see my deterioration
When they look at my woman they like what they see
And wonder how we got together

O, she ain’t got ugly yet
No, she ain’t got ugly yet
She’s tough as nails with a tender heart
And she ain’t got ugly yet.

We are on life’s downhill, all retired
Our lives we have lived together
We don’t care what we look like now
Our love continues forever

O, she ain’t got ugly yet
No, she ain’t got ugly yet
She started life as pretty as they come
And she ain’t got ugly yet


Note: This here song is copyrighted by me and if any of you folks copy it or parts of it I will find out and do terrible things. Just think, Law Suit.

Mrs Garmin Messes Up

pictureof Washington Monument
Washington Monument Easily Identified From Mrs Garmin’s Route

Our Garmin GPS device is one of those that talks to you, letting you know when to turn, or when to go straight. One of those things about the Garmin I bought is that I get new maps whenever they are available, and the price is included in the base price of the GPS device.

One of the features of course is a feminine voice that can give you directions as you drive. I believe the instruction book calls the voice, Jill. I give my GPS’s voice great honor by calling her Mrs Garmin.

Occasionally, Mrs Garmin will pick a horrible route to a destination. On this trip, I entered the address in the Baltimore area for the wedding we were going to attend. With my brother and our wives in the car we were counting on Mrs Garmin to navigate us through the North Carolina and Virginia countrysides, and to find a way to dodge the crushing traffic in the Washington, DC area.

We were moving along pretty well, with Mrs Garmin estimating our arrival in Maryland at about 4:30 PM. Hoping to miss the rush hour traffic in the DC area, we decided to delay our arrival for a couple of hours by doing some shopping.

The Potomac Mills Shopping Outlets in Woodbridge, VA are known far and wide as some of the best. We pulled off I-95, parked at the huge outlet mall, and shopped for a couple of hours. I bought a pair of New Balance shoes, and my wife found more clothes for our grandchildren at Gymboree, a famous store for kiddie clothes.

Getting back on I-95, we soon figured out that Mrs Garmin was taking us through the middle of Washington, DC. The traffic was still in the rush hour phase, and we started and stopped pretty much all the way through DC on I-395. It was brutal. The only redeeming thing was being able to see the Pentagon right next to the freeway. From that vantage point, the Lincoln and Washington Monuments were easily seen, too.

Expecting to eventually find our way back to I-95 we were disappointed. Mrs Garmin routed us to Baltimore on the Washington-Baltimore Parkway. This was the long way.

To make matters more interesting, my brother pulled out his ten year old map of the area, and was constantly arguing with the signs as we passed opportunity after opportunity to change our course. I was caught in the middle of an argument between my brother using his ten year old map, and the recently updated maps of Mrs Garmin. My brother of course was right even with the ancient map, but I would not give him the pleasure by admitting it.

Somebody told me there would be days like this. Thank God it’s over. We are now safely encamped at a motel in Maryland having arrived at 8:30 PM. We are looking forward to the festivities this weekend.


What Is Your Destiny?

From one point of view, our destinies are sealed at birth. The fact is that we will die. There is no getting around this one.

Most of us think that our destiny is to do something good, be a rock star, or to become wealthy. Instead, we get humdrum educations, take humdrum jobs, and save only enough money to pay for our funereal. Some people cannot even do that. It is easy for people to say that life sucks, and they cannot get anything done.

Oh, if we could just win a lottery, then we would show our real potential.

Only a very few people win a lottery, and many of those squander their winnings, accomplishing very little except attract a lot of social parasites. Yeah, I still buy lottery tickets. Sometimes it is fun to dream. Like a lot of rednecks, I think I would get a couple of really fast cars. “Hey, hold my beer and watch this!” Remember those words?

Life brings what life brings. It is not up to us to demand something different. We have to accept what comes along, do our best to overcome negative situations, and use our intelligence to set goals and achieve something. I don’t believe people who go through life in the United States and achieve nothing have goals. Most of use take what comes, and try to adapt to situations.

Reasonable goal setting is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It was easy to set the goal to get a college degree when I was in school, even though I was having to work full-time while going to school. When I got married, it was only natural to set the goal for my wife to be equally educated, which we thought was a worthy thing to do. The problem is that there was a time when we both had graduated, and found ourselves without any goal to pursue.

The day I graduated with my engineering degree, we had a house, a car, and two well-paying jobs. We had it made.

Then, the children came. How can you set goals when you are not getting sleep, and the baby has the colic? How can you set goals when the inflation rate during Jimmy Carter’s administration was in double digits? How can you set goals when you have a child, a mortgage, two cars, and an unemployed wife whose main job is to mother her children?

We thought it was too hard to do these things. We were wrong. Given a little maturity, we would have known that kids grow up, and that the economy can change. We both got masters degrees, and moved up in our respective professional worlds. At that point, the problem became reconciling personal with professional goals. How many promotions do you need in view of the fact that your family is comfortable in their current situation, and any promotion would involve a continental scale relocation?

So, you see, life is tough for everybody. The problems we faced were minor to some people in the world whose only goal was to put some pinto beans on the table.

I guess the whole point of this article is that we should understand where we want to go, and what we want to be doing before launching out on quests for our destiny. Sometimes, we can be satisfied just knowing we can put some beans on the table.

Be thankful, and make sensible goals. Share part of your prosperity with those stuck in the no-food line. Help them meet their goals. Maybe that will give you some ideas on meeting yours. Maybe in all this goal setting and helping people, you will find your destiny.

My New Math Career

Yes, I did it. Even though I am officially retired, I have started college almost all over, again. Well, not exactly all over. I do have a couple of college degrees, and I wanted to take a couple of math courses at a local university.

Part of the entrance requirements is that I had to enter a degree program, no matter how many degrees I already have. So, I signed up to be a mathematics major just to take a course in Linear Algebra.You see, I have a latent interest in things statistical, although I have not harbored any ambition to be a statistician. However, after starting this particular gambit I just may become one.

Most people think math is infinitely boring, and I thought so when as an undergraduate I did the minimum work to get passing grades. Now, I know better. Mathematics is important because we live in a world of numbers. If you really want to be smart, you need to understand numbers.

We see mathematics being applied all around us everyday. When you read a news article about a new study, the authors of that study depended on some math magic to get their numbers to work out so they can continue to get government grants. Government grants are academic welfare. Somebody has to fund all those stories claiming to show that watching Fox News can turn you into a Republican.

I have started looking into some of these studies, and you don’t have to be a mathematician to see that some basic assumptions are BS. Indeed, many times the arithmetic is done correctly, but the assumptions are all wrong. There was one psychological study, recently, that proposed that people who didn’t totally buy into catastrophic climate change also believed that the NASA moon shot never happened, and was filmed in movie studios on earth. This particularly idiotic study was dubbed the “Moon Hoax Study”.

Maybe with my new math skills, I can do some studies and make some of that government money, too. All I have to do is make up some stuff, and then throw in some impressive statistical math for looks. Maybe I will be published by Rolling Stone magazine.

Why Do We Blog?

I think there are several reasons why people write articles for their web-log, or blog. First of all, if you have something to say, it is a good place to say it. Plus, you have the added reason that somebody else may read your essays, and be convinced that your opinion, or presentation, is good. On the other hand, with other people reading your essays, there is the overwhelming chance that others will disagree with you.

Another reason people write blogs is because they are narcissistic. They just want to say something, or they want to become known in certain circles as an expert, or knowledgeable person. That works sometimes, and many people will cruise the so-called blogosphere just to make inane comments on others’ blogs. They are called, trolls.

Some people write essays on their blogs because it is their profession. Lots of journalists have their own blogs, or maintain a personal blog on their employer’s website to voice their personal 0pinions. Many times, their blogs are quoted as actual news outlets.

Blogging got it’s reputation from those who operate their blogs as alternative news sources. Many main-stream media stories have been struck-down, or negated by the attention of bloggers who are always on the lookout for bad journalism. Indeed, it has gotten to the point that it is preferable to read blogs instead of main-stream newspapers, or to watch network television news shows. It is sometimes amazing how the public is taken for granted, or as stupid, by the main-stream news media. One of the biggest examples is the Dan Rather/ CBS News hoax with the forged George Bush National Guard papers. The documents were clearly manufactured for Rather’s agenda-directed news casts. Rather later tried to say that even though the documents were false, they were correct. What human being in their right mind would accept this patently false assertion?

Some of us write because we like to write. I am not a professional writer, but I do have an agenda which pretty much anyone can see if they read my articles. I think lots of us are the same way. We are also under the impression that our opinions can make a difference, and occasionally we are disappointed that world events don’t seem to be affected by our constant advice.

It is easy to be a blogger, but it is hard to find something significant to say. Many bloggers just comment on current items in the news. Others comment on things within their field of expertise, and still others talk about personal things, sometimes to their detriment

One thing I know is that now is the time to start a blog if you have anything to say, at all. Somebody, somewhere will read what you have to say whether they agree or not. With enough bloggers out there espousing the same message, anything can happen.

Happy blogging, everybody.

Traveling But Not Blogging

I have not been blogging, but have been tending to personal duties. Plus, we have traveled a bit, also. This past week we drove from Atlanta to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to visit relatives. Up until three years ago, I had not seen those people since our Uncle’s funeral several decades ago.

It was good to have seen them, and catch up on our families. Time has been good to all of us, well, with the exception of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. We heard all the stories, and toured the coast where people are rebuilding, depending on the restrictive, new building codes.

My cousins are brave people, and since they have grown up on the coast, will not let a few hurricanes drive them away. After seven years, they have all rebuilt and refurbished.

Life is good.

Thankfully Yours

Thanksgiving is a special time. It has roots in harvest celebrations that recede into a past that no one knows how long they have been going on. The idea of a harvest celebration is so natural that nobody has any complaint.

Even more important is our current observance of an autumn celebration at a time in history when there is no societal memory of actual crop harvests. We celebrate the day because it is part of our American heritage. The actual observance of Thanksgiving Day as a holiday is peculiarly an American tradition. We have hijacked an international idea and made it our own.

Colonists from Europe started appearing in large numbers on American shores in the seventeenth century. At first, their prospects were not good. A world-wide cold-snap was in full swing. That time is known as the Little Ice Age by scientists and climatologists. Winters were extremely cold, and growing seasons were short. People left Europe because of political and religious reasons, some of which were brought about by the inhospitable climate.

Today, I am thankful for our national tradition and ability to succeed. I will ignore our current march towards economic and political lethargy. I will forget for one day incompetent leadership. I will remember the blessings God has lavished on my family.

Thank you to all my friends who are more than their race, economic condition, or political beliefs.

Thank God for our salvation.

Forty-Five Years Is Not Enough

Happy adversity anniversary, dear wife.

We are celebrating our forty-fifth wedding anniversary today. Yes, we were married on August 26, 1967 at the First Baptist Church in a small town in Tennessee where we promised to love, honor, and cherish each other, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or worse as long as we both shall live. I couldn’t talk her into adding “obey” to the vows.

We agree that these have been the best years of our lives. As a matter of fact, we agree that we have been married all our lives. No regrets, here.

Put together on a blind date when we were sophomores in college, we never dated anyone else. I was not looking for a wife then. God intervened and I married the person that would become my best friend for life.

We could talk about the bad times, but there have been few in our relationship.

So, we celebrate our marriage and our lives together, still in love and acting like kids.

Life is good.

A Saturday In June

picture of a beachSomewhere, children frolic in swimming pools and oceans under watchful parental eyes. Somewhere, people are taking the opportunity to drive around the country to see what they can see. Somewhere, people have paid cash money to enter an air-conditioned movie theater to view the latest movie of whoever about whatever.

I don’t have a swimming pool, and learned a long time ago that kids pee in swimming pools. I also do not own a beach cottage, and my kids are all grown so I don’t have to watch them lose themselves in the sun and surf. Movies? I gave up going to the movies a long time ago, unless a really great science fiction flick comes along. Nothing worthy has appeared since the first Star Wars.

So, what’s an old guy to do on a Saturday afternoon? Since I am not a golfer or a gardener, my preference is to stay home and play computer whiz and wannabe intellectual guru on the internet. I have twisted interests, but, so what? It keeps me off the streets.

Of particular interest is the Obama Re-Election Campaign. It’s not working too well when, in the middle of a severe recession with the number of jobs dropping like a rock, he says, “The private sector is in good shape.” He could be a star on a reality show if he applies himself.

On the climate front, a young wannabe climate scienctist and PhD, Joelle Gergis, published a new paper that made questionable conclusions. When asked for her data and methods, she got snarky. Apparently, Dr Gergis’ people skills are even worse than her science skills. The very same people whom she refused found egregious problems with her statistics and methodology, even without all the data. Her paper was put on hold until by the other authors of the paper! Imagine, a half-dozen PhD’s spending over $300,000 on a paper that was written so carelessly.

Unfortunately, much of climate science falls into the category of junk, just like Gergis et al, and sometimes for the same reasons. This was a PEER REVIEWED PAPER!!!  None of those PhD dummies at the American Meteorological Society who reviewed the paper caught the problem. Apparently, those so-called scientists at the American Meteorological Society can’t do weather or climate science. Why are they there?  It took an informal bunch of bloggers to call attention to the crime. A. W. Montford at Bishop Hill gives a good layman’s explanation. Steve McIntyre and colleagues at Climate Audit did the work.

Turning to things personal, this is the second week of my wife’s retirement from the public school system. Today was her first foray into the world of nutrition and grocery shopping. I helped her with a list of things needed, and kissed her for good luck before  she disappeared around the corner headed for stores unknown. Things were good. I had her doing some things to relieve me of my difficult duties.

She just returned from the store. There were no chips. There was no beer. Oh, what have I done? Where is that lawn mower? I need to work out some frustration.

My Worst Nightmare!

picture of busWe all have at least one. I have heard people talk about having nightmares that involved spiders, snakes, alligators, and dachshunds. OK. I am the one with the dachshund nightmare, but that’s another story.

One of my most repeated is the nightmare that takes place while I was in college. This nightmare is the one where there will be a final exam the next day, and I have gone all semester without attending one class. Talk about a queasy stomach.

I still have the occasional feeling of guilt when watching professional football on Sunday afternoons. All those Sundays I was in college should have been devoted to studying, not football. But, that was a Daymare, not a nightmare.

Probably the most common nightmare of my youth involved buses. Yes, it involved the city buses in Memphis, Tennessee where I spent the early years of my life. In the nightmare, I am always riding my bicycle down the street, and a bus starts chasing me.

To make matters worse, I am naked. Yep! There I am, peddling down the street on my 26 inch bicycle, completely naked and being chased by a Memphis City bus. Oh, you don’t know the fear I felt in that dream.

I could ride the bike up driveways, into parks, and hide behind stores and the belligerent bus always found me and tried to run me down in all my naked wonder.

If you Google a search for naked dreams, you will find a plethora of sources, some of them by flaky psychics, and some are probably legitimate. However, the dominant story about naked dreams is that they reflect vulnerability.

Why, heck yes. You would feel vulnerable, too if you were naked and being chased by a bus. Duh!

So, here comes this bus, chasing me down streets, through back yards, up onto porches, and through the park. It would get closer and closer until I could almost see the people looking out the windows at me. What a bunch of voyeurs they have in Memphis to do that.

That’s when I wake up and realize that I am no longer a child riding a bicycle, running from a bus. That feeling of vulnerability recedes and things come back to normal in the daylight.

Maybe the next time, I will do the chasing with my own bus.