Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Donald Sterling And The Right To Be Wrong

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I don't watch ANY kind of organized “professional” sports. I honestly don't know why any adult would. PLAYING games for fun is one thing; watching someone ELSE play is a different story (unless your kid is on a team). Still, to each his own. What I REALLY can't figure out, though, is why it's anyone's business what the owner of a team, like Donald Sterling, says in private OR EVEN IN PUBLIC! We should ALL have the right to say what we think, regardless of whether it will offend some folks or not, as long as the language isn't horribly profane. Before someone jumps me about being against profanity, remember that profanity is not an idea. It's a method of supposedly expressing an idea, perhaps, but not an idea in its own right.

Moving on, let's remember that the guy OWNS the team that they want to ban him from managing. It's said the NBA is trying to force a sale. Do you know what I'd rather see him do? I'd rather see him simply shut the team down, lock, stock and barrel. If he's banned, no more playing for his team in the NBA, either! Give all the players and other staff their pink slips and wish them well. Why should the NBA make money on his team if he's not part of the deal? NOWHERE in the Constitution is any “right not to be offended” mentioned or insinuated. If the NBA is so offended by Sterling’s presence, then he should make sure they don’t have to put up with anything he that has bought, built or organized.

One great thing about America is that we have always had the right to be wrong (Yes, I know it’s not worded that way, but the right exists within the spelling out of our other rights). When we lose the right to be wrong, then we have absolutely no others to fall back on. © 2014
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A Darn Good Movie

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 My wife and I haven't been regular theater-goers for years, due to the dearth of movies worth seeing these days. That makes her collection of old movies rather valuable to us, even though I'm sure her son's and our grandkid's generations would find them otherwise. Since there wasn't anything worth watching on the tube tonight either, she put an old VHS tape in the player while I was in my office next-door. I knew the theme music sounded familiar, but I tried to ignore it, as it was already 9 o'clock, and I hate to start watching a movie that late.

It turned out to be "How The West Was Won," starring more excellent old-time actors and actresses than I care to mention. Being more-or-less of the western genre, I soon found myself watching it with her. Anything involving history, horses and guns will always manage to catch my attention. I first saw that movie with my parents, when it was released in 1962. I saw it again when my wife bought the tape many years ago, so this was my third time around. I miss the old actors and actresses. I don't know if they were that much better, or I just think they were, since they were a part of my childhood. I know that very few of them would play in the trash that passes for entertainment these days.

There was some good music in the movie, plus, some songs from our nation's past that you don't hear anymore. I feel blessed to have gone to school when music was still taught and many of those songs taught were from various eras of our country's history. How long has it been since you heard someone sing “Oh, Susanna,” “Fifteen Years on the Erie Canal,” or “Oh, My Darling Clementine?” Or what about “John Henry,” Blue-Tail Fly,” “Oh, Shenandoah,” or “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad?” Those are songs with a bit history that TEACH a bit of history; they’re songs sung by some of our ancestors. Some would be considered “inappropriate” by our-oh-so-politically-correct dregs of modern society, but they were a product of the times, both good and bad, and should be accepted as such. Like many other aspects of history, I fear we are losing our musical heritage.


To get back on-subject, the movie ended about midnight, so that wasn’t too unbearably long for this old geezer. It helped that they included the intermission, complete with music—no joke! It was an evening well spent. It was a good movie that touched on a lot of history and brought back a lot of memories of my own younger days. Like Martha Stewart used to say, “That’s a GOOD thing!” © 2014
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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Listening

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Yesterday morning, the sun was just rising as I took the Mighty Dachshund out for a drain. The red eastern sky told me that nature had decided to go along with the weatherman. The first drops began to fall as we headed back to the north porch. I sat down in the swing and she took her usual position at my feet. The crisp brown leaves still surrounding my home rattled as each raindrop collided with the earth. It sounded like a cross between electrical static and a barely-audible drum-roll. It seemed the pooch was as mesmerized by the sound as I was.

The birds, singing heartily before the rain, continued as if nothing had changed. I could hear at least three different calls, but my recall has faded more than I realized from my decade-long absence from the woods. I DID recognize the call of a chewink from the timber west of the house and down the ridge a bit. It’s easy to know a bird that says its own name. I may have heard a cardinal, too, but I couldn’t be certain, since it wasn’t making the customary “pretty bird” call that I associate with them, and I couldn’t spot any red dots in the woods below the porch. I’m thinking the third call may have been a robin, but I can’t be sure. We always have one build in one of the oaks near the front of the house, but this one was hanging around in the brush where I couldn’t see it. A single crow called in the distance to the east side of the county road that passes in front of the house.

One of the neighborhood roosters to the north gave a single crow and I heard what sounded like a cowbell to the northwest. The latter sound brought back a flood of memories from my youth, when the area hills and valleys alive with the lowing of cattle. Most area farmers had small herds and only put bells on two cows—the one most likely to stay in the pasture, in hopes the others would stay with her—and the one most likely to get out, so she could be more easily found. The bell in the distance had a better ring to it than most cowbells, though, and I had to wonder if it was some neighbor’s single-gong wind-chime ringing in the breeze. I remembered that I have one of our old cowbells hanging on my wall in the hallway, complete with neck-strap and a small, rusty pipe elbow on a wire (used to replace the lost clapper many years ago).


This evening found me and the pooch sitting the same place we were yesterday morning. The sun was just setting and long shadows from the trees behind the house lay on the ground before us. The sky was reddish, but not overly so. The weatherman says it’s going to be sunny tomorrow and then rain the whole next week. Time will tell.

I didn’t hear the chewink this evening, but there was a blue-jay squawking its head off in the hollow below the porch. The “cowbell” was still to be heard in the distance, whatever it is. (There’s a pasture and a couple houses in that direction.) The evening breeze made an obvious sighing as it passed through the still bare, but greening, tree limbs. A dog barked in the distance, causing the Mighty Dachshund to give a barely audible growl. The birds which had been singing earlier started doing so with less volume, as if they were wearing down from a hard day. Surprisingly, the breeze seemed to bring the sound of an auto race. The track is nearly ten miles away as the crow flies, yet sometimes when the wind is right and the back door is open, we can hear it in the moments when the TV is silent. I didn’t think they’d started it up yet, though they’re saying they’re going to.  Only a few minutes after sitting down, as the pooch and I left the growing darkness and stepped into the house, I heard the whippoorwill in the hollow give his first call of the evening.


I sometimes forget how blessed I am to still have most of my hearing. © 2014
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Maybe It Works For Her

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We’ve all seen the people standing near stop signs with signs that say that they’ll work for food, they’re out of work, they’re passing through and ran out of food, or some other variation on one of those themes. Some, sadly, are legitimate; most are not. I recently saw a new wrinkle a while back at the Wally World on the south edge of town. A young woman, trim of figure and blond-headed, had a cardboard sign that began with the words “struggling artist.” I couldn’t read the rest, as the first two words pretty much ruled out me stopping.

Within a stone’s throw of where she was panhandling were two fast-food restaurants. I had to wonder if she’d applied at either. Perhaps I’m wrong, but her sign made it sound like she was trying to support herself by her artistic talents and wasn’t having much success. Most struggling artists and musicians have day jobs to support themselves. I just couldn’t help but wonder if she thought she was above manual labor. Obviously, she wasn’t above begging on the street.


She’s been there a couple times since then, with the same sign. I never see anyone give her anything, but she surely wouldn’t return if she hadn’t experienced at least SOME success. Maybe the trim figure and blond hair help. I can’t help but believe, though, that she’d get more donations if she’d scrap that “struggling artist” malarkey. I suspect a lot of folks will be like me and take it that she’s too proud to work like the folks who are giving her their money. That won’t fly with most folks around here; the times are too tough on nearly ALL of us around here. © 2014
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

People Are “Interesting!”

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We have several things advertised for sale on Facebook right now, all at bargain-basement prices. One item had been up for only ten minutes when my wife got a call. Half-an-hour and 10 miles later, the guy was here in his new truck. Unfortunately, he was a despisable old cuss from the word go. His wife stayed strangely silent (as did I for that matter, since it was my wife’s item). Finally, he told my wife, “Well I’ll give you X (about ¾ what she was asking) and not a penny more.” My wife turned red as a beet, but replied calmly, “Well, it’s a shame that you drove all this way for nothing, but thank you.” Then she turned and walked away. I followed her. I thought I heard him growling to his wife as they walked back to their truck.


“I probably would have sold it to him for that if he hadn’t been such a hateful old goat,” my wife told me later. I suspect his wife knew that, but experience has taught her silence, no doubt. © 2014
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Children – The Weapon Of Choice


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Being an old geezer, I can remember being taught caution as a child. You don’t play in the street. You stop, look and listen at rail crossing. You look both ways before crossing the street. You don’t step into other people’s path and so on. These lessons were backed up by the good examples set by our parents.

Unfortunately, even while I was still young, I could see an increasing incidence of parents letting their children run wild. This resulted in a lot of kids being hurt in ways that most kids would have avoided in an earlier era. Now that the unwatched children of that era have become parents and even grandparents, I’m seeing a new phenomena. Children are no longer just being allowed to run wild and endanger themselves, they are actually being used by their parents as a sort of passive/aggressive weapon for the parents to sidestep manners and good sense.

Children, warned to wait for their parents by previous generations, are now allowed to run into both foot traffic and vehicular traffic to clear a path for the parents. I suspect our lawsuit-happy society has helped encourage such behavior, for you sometimes hear the phrase “ just you let someone hurt one of my kids…” I’m not sure how a lawsuit would bring back a dead child. Granted, you never know what a child will do, even one raised by responsible parents, but you can tell that some parents are willing beneficiaries of such dangerous behavior.

The thing I see that most amazes me, however, is the number of parents, usually young women, who push their baby-stroller out into traffic to make cars stop and clear a path for themselves. Genteel drivers will stop and allow a woman with children to cross safely anyway, though such drivers are also shrinking drastically in number. Many young women just charge into traffic baby-first, though, seeming to dare drivers not to come to a screeching halt. Many don’t even look at the traffic, apparently assuming that the rest of the world will look out for their child better than they are. Sadly, they’re probably right. It’s a dangerous time to be a child. © 2014
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Aggravation And Pleasure

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We made the effort to meet a fellow today who supposedly wanted to buy something from me. He turned out to be a no-show. I’ve tried twice before to make connections with this guy, but to no avail. He saw my ad on Facebook, so he’s some sort of troll, apparently. Oh well; live and learn. I then had to run a few errands, including dropping off some applications at the job service office in town. People are rushing around almost as bad as they do at Christmas. I guess they’re trying to get their last Easter items picked up. One thing is for sure, some of them should never be allowed behind the wheel of an automobile. We were glad to leave town and the traffic behind us.

When we got home, I went over to where I need to fall another oak tree and dug around a small hickory that I wanted to make into a root maul. It’s right where I need to fall the oak, so will be damaged if I leave it. Unfortunately, it had been filled around a little when they made the log road beside my house when the tree was just little, and the roots were a bit deeper than I wanted to dig. Furthermore, it may have some internal scars from a dozer, but I can’t be sure. I decided that I’m just going to make a “butt-swell” maul, rather than a root maul. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but then I’ve always been a trend-setter.

After getting my fill of digging, I honed one of my small axes with a disc-shaped stone that was my father’s, and then marked the first two logs on each of the three small oaks I fell recently. I also trimmed off the small limbs up to where they got big enough that a chainsaw or a bigger axe is required. I guess they must have formed from epicormic sprouts, since they were quite a bit smaller than the ones further up the tree.

Next, I sat on the larger of the three tree trunks and soaked in the ambiance of the warm spring evening. The birds were still singing a bit, though it was nearly sunset. Strangely enough, a rooster was crowing about a quarter-mile away, something I’m more used to hearing before sunrise than at sunset. I suppose some roosters are just blabber-mouths, like some people. I was watching a squirrel hopping around the woods when my wife called from the side porch that she was putting on a movie.


The missus has a fairly extensive collection of old movies, most of which she got in the $5 bin at Wally World, probably because they couldn’t sell them to today’s “normal” consumers. It turned out to be “Easter Parade,” with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Peter Lawford and Ann Miller with some of the numbers (maybe all) written by Irving Berlin. Face it, if you know who I’m talking about, you’re OLD like us! The musical had the typical shallow plot, but great voices and fantastic dancing of most musicals of that era, so my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. It was filmed in 1948 and was set in New York during 1912 and ’13, so that was a plus to a history buff like me. It’s nearly time for the late news as I type this, so I guess it’s time to return to reality, such as it is. © 2014
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Bundy Ranch, Tax Day, Foul Weather and Pear Blossoms


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For those who haven’t been following the situation out in Nevada, there’s a whole lot more to the story than the media tells. Understand that I cannot vouch for the validity of any of the information here, I’m merely repeating what I have found at various non-government sources, and which I believe to be the truth. I’m not going to get into the legalities of who actually owns the land, some say Bundy still owns it, while others claim that it had already been legally stolen by the feds years ago. Few people in the media have even admitted Harry Reid’s connection to it all. You see, he represents a Chinese company that wants to put a “solar farm” on part of the land. The Chinese say that cattle roaming through their fields of solar collectors could damage their equipment, so the company wants to get rid of the cattle belonging to the American rancher. Reid is doing his best to help the Chinese company, of course, NOT the American rancher.

The government has been saying that they were kicking the rancher off the land to protect the desert tortoise that lives there. They don’t mention that they have already been killing off the turtles because they don’t think it’s feasible to protect them. I’ve seen figures on the murdered turtles from a few hundred to 300,000. I have no idea what the real number may be. However, it’s obvious that the feds aren’t concerned about the turtles, or they wouldn’t be killing ANY of them. Somehow, I suspect that the construction of the solar farm by the Chinese company might kill a few turtles in the process, as well.

Another thing the media hasn’t mentioned is that a nearby city also wants part of the land for the water that’s available there. Most of you know that when the government, at any level, starts talking about water, it involves a dam, usually with many thousands of acres of formerly dry land being flooded. I have to wonder how land turtles are going to live under water. Let’s face it, the “information” the government has given us through their stooges in the media has been nothing but a pack of lies from beginning to end. Incidentally, Bundy’s neighbors had already given up fighting for THEIR land and had accepted payment from the government that amounted to pennies on the dollar of the land’s actual value. Evil, being as persistent as it is, I’d venture to predict that the feds will be back soon enough. ‘Nuff said for today, I guess.

Today is tax day for America, the day that we should probably be thankful that we don’t yet have as much government as we pay for. Sadly, Tax Freedom Day (the day when your taxes for the year have been earned, thus allowing you to work the rest of the year for your own financial needs) won’t be until April 21 this year, three days later than last year. No doubt that date will move a couple months further into the calendar as Obamacare gets more fully implemented.

I’m glad the winter is over, but I was hoping we weren’t going straight into summer, as we sometimes do. It got into the 80’s here a couple times in the last week, and my wife actually turned on the house air-conditioner yesterday. Luckily, it worked. Not so for the one in my truck. The other day, my wife took a call while we were on a drive, and I put the windows up to make it easier for her to hear. Being a warm day, it soon got hot in the cab, so I turned on the AC, only to learn that it no longer worked. So, I scheduled a time at a local shop to get it repaired. That time was at 10AM this morning. Ironically, on my way to town, it was 36 degrees and huge snowflakes were coming down so thick that you would never have guessed it was April. My studded tires will be illegal here tomorrow, but I’m going to leave them on a couple more days, just in case.

Sitting at the mall the last couple days, as my wife took her daily constitutional, I noticed the ornamental pears were loaded with their white blossoms. Once, I even caught their scent wafting through my open truck windows on the spring wind. Many years ago, I picked a pretty bouquet of them and put it on my mother’s dining room table. In the great outdoors, they had seemed scentless. Returning to the house just after she arrived home from work, I noticed a very unpleasant odor as I entered the kitchen. It grew stronger as I entered the dining room. When I asked my mother what the odor was, she answered my question with another. “Those wouldn’t happen to be pear blossoms on the table; would they?” When I said that they were, she laughed and told me that nearly everyone makes that mistake once. Picking up the blossoms and their vase, I took them outside and put them on the patio table. Like some people, their beauty is best enjoyed from afar. © 2014
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Too Soon Old, Too Late Schmart!

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That was the saying on a tourist trinket that an aunt sent me from Pennsylvania Dutch Country many years ago. I was reminded of that saying on the drive that my wife and I went on yesterday. At one spot along the way, I saw what was a patch of freshly harvested timberland 40 years ago, though the average person wouldn’t recognize it as such these days. My father and I were walking the area with a group of fellow loggers, during a BMP workshop put on by the WVDNR back then, when I spied an unusual-looking stone along the rough edge of a reclaimed logging road. It reminded me somewhat of hematite, but was far heavier. I decided to take it home with me find out what sort of material it was, but after an hour or so of carrying the softball-sized chunk of over-weight stone around, I reconsidered the idea and dropped it along the road’s edge.


It was only after getting back home, doing a little research and asking around among a few knowledgeable folks, that I determined that I had thrown away a iron meteorite. It might have brought what a country kid like me would have considered a fair chunk of change. I considered going back to get it, but I didn’t know who to ask permission from to go on the land and didn’t want to trespass. Besides, it was several miles away in another county. I mentally kicked myself in the keister every time I went by there for a few years. Needless to say, I’ve never found another one! © 2014
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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Musings, Memories And Observations

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I sat a while in the parking lot at the mall the yesterday, while my wife did a round inside for her health. I should do the same, but refuse to walk on that much concrete. Sometimes, though, the Mighty Dachshund and I go for a stroll around the grounds at such times. Yesterday, however, I went online, using their Wifi and did a few things.

During that time, a gaggle of geese flew over as they made their way to the huge mowed area in the back of the structure to graze for a while. Their honking stopped once they hit the ground and started the task at hand. My little companion stuck her head out the window just in time to see them land and gave them an insulted yap, to complain about them landing without asking her permission. Her Royal Lowness seems to think that she owns the world. She didn’t notice the great blue heron that silently flew over a minute later, making great slow silent strokes that made it look as if anyone should be able to fly.

A train sounded its whistle for a grade crossing just out of sight, and then came through the small section of woods between the mall and the store just upstream. Guess I forgot to mention that the Ohio was rolling southwestward just beyond the lawn, the tracks and the woods. In not too long a time, the train was gone, with only a single growl from my little friend. I suppose she thought that she had no business mouthing off to something THAT large. Soon, four teenage boys came strolling down the tracks and then sat down side by side on the nearest track to discuss whatever is important to gentlemen of that age these days.

When I got home, I repaired one of our water hoses. I’d ruined the male end last winter when taking off a corroded nozzle to allow the hose to drain. Since the neighbor likes to have bonfires, and our home is surrounded on three sides with trees, my wife wanted me to get it fixed, in case he got careless. It was at a bonfire where I met my first wife many years ago. I guess that goes to prove that not everything that begins well ends well. I spent a lot of hours with friends or family, sitting or standing around burning brush heaps, campfires and bonfires in my youth. I must say that I miss the camaraderie of those days, though I wouldn’t choose to reconnect with every person from those days.

The three of us took a drive in the next county today. The first thing I noticed is that their highway department is as stupid as ours, when it comes to sign placement. Have you ever noticed how many times they don’t tell you that a road is closed until you’ve passed the last possible place to turn around easily? And then there are those 55mph signs posted only a few yards before the signs that recommend the safe speed for the immediate bend in the road is only 30mph. Of course, I should know that common sense and bureaucracy don’t mix.

You know the old saying that people are the same all over? It’s partly true, at least. As I tooled along at a “overly safe” pace on a crooked road with 55mph signs, they would ride my bumper the entire length of the passing zones, and then pass on a double yellow at the start of a bend.

Also, if you ever want to see how slow “fast” food can be, stop at a chain burger joint in a small town. If you live in a city where things are a bit faster paced, you’ll have time for two nervous breakdowns and one appendectomy before you get your order. It was hot and we wanted some ice cream for us and the pooch, but we ended up leaving without it.

Now that it’s warm enough that an air conditioner would be handy on occasion, I learned today that the one in my truck isn’t working. My wife’s body has never regulated its temperature properly, and she was a bit over-heated when we arrived home. Luckily, the house air-conditioner is still working and she got cooled off okay.

Sitting here at my desk, I see the price list that arrived yesterday from a company that buys botanicals. Years ago, I collected a few herbs and roots and dried them. They made a fair-sized package, but when I got my check, I saw that it was for “samples” and amounted to less than $20. With the amount of work involved, I knew that I’d never do THAT again, but at least I got a good laugh out of it. For one thing, the prices they pay are so low that it barely covers the shipping.


Strangely enough, those botanicals are turned into common medications that are prescribed by doctors who scoff at herbal medicine. I suspect their attitude is more a matter of protecting their turf (and the related cash-flow) than on any scientific evidence. Most botanicals are also edible, so I think they have more value to the average person as food to help PREVENT sickness in the first place. © 2014
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday

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I slept late this morning, since I’d been up late last night posting items for sale on Facebook sale sites. Since I’ve been successful at selling a few things there, my wife has decided to try her hand, except she makes ME do the posting. It wouldn’t be so bad, but my wife never does anything halfway. She now has 31 years of “stuff” that she has decided to sort through and sell some of. She wants to thin her things out, and enjoys getting the money. At the same time, I can tell that it really shakes her up to part with her belongings. I’ve been doing it for years, but this is something new for her. Since folks will only pay pennies on the dollar for most things, I can only imagine the monetary loss she’s suffering.

After taking the Mighty Dachshund out for the second time this morning, we sat on the porch and watched a storm approach. There wasn’t a lot of breeze at ground level, but the clouds were moving along fairly well. The birds were out doing their thing at what seemed like a faster pace, trying to fill their bellies before they had to weather the storm, I suppose. As the thunder got closer, a gobbler on the next ridge began to shock gobble with every rumble from the heavens. I thought that he would surely lose his voice when a passing jet added its noise to an especially long jostle of “the old tater wagon.”

We met a lady in town today who bought a couple things from my wife. She was obviously not hurting for cash, but she still thought she had to get the price knocked down. Most folks just allow for that by asking a little more than they’ll take just to satisfy the egos of all those folks who have to think that they need to have the upper hand in the deal. I don’t know who thinks their fooling who.

I have one item advertised that’s a little more expensive than most things I’ve sold. I did a search to find what such things were bringing and priced it a little on the low end of the scale, since we’re in such an economically depressed area. Even then, some guy who moved here from out-of-state tried to get me to reduce it considerably, but I didn’t. In fact, it was all I could do not to tell him to go back to where he came from. Guys like him come here and steal our jobs and then complain about our state and brag about their own. I figure if it’s so great elsewhere, don’t let the door hit you on the backside.

I’ve managed to get some applications and resumes turned in this week, plus had one job interview. Interestingly enough, it was in a McDonald’s parking lot, standing by the back of a garbage truck. Dern right I’d do it, the pay is very good and I’d get the exercise I need! He’s already interviewed seven other guys, though, so who knows.

I’ve been following the goings on at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada. I believe the BLM would have turned it into another Ruby Ridge if they’d had the chance, but they may be too much in the spotlight now. If there’s going to be a civil war in this country, it may well begin at some such event that our insane government thinks is insignificant. I pray it doesn’t come to that, because I think OBAMA is hoping for exactly that, so he can declare martial law and never leave office.


I really believe the Lord may be coming before long. I’m almost to the point of wishing he would. © 2014
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Once A Curmudgeon....

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Here's some unsolicited advice I gave on a sale site on Facebook. Tell me what you think! LOL
Here's a tip for people who make offers on items for sale here. Some stubborn old cusses like me don't deal with people who start their offer with the word "I" or "Give." that's a rude way to deal with someone who you want to cut the price for you. Be ladies and gentlemen and you'll have better luck.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My, How Things Have Changed!

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I heard this afternoon about a knife-weilding attacker at a school. In my day, even many of the girls would have fought back, NOT ran or cowered. Many guys would have taken him on one-to-one and beat the snot out of him. We've turned our children into such wimpy panty-waists that few would ever consider self-defense. Of course the school would expel them if they DID resort to self-defense, but better to be out of school than dead. We're just where our enemies want us. Can you imagine during WW II, if someone had tried hi-jacking a plane with a box-cutter? He's have been laughed at first, then decked. It ain't good, folks; it ain't good!
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A Scare Tactic, Or A Message?

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I had another strange dream, yesterday morning, just before arising. Few dreams shake me up; THAT one did. I dreamed that I was in some city at night and entered what seemed to be a business of some kind. Once inside, though, it appeared to be a night-club, with things being done and said that you wouldn’t normally expect, and that I didn’t really need to experience. Feeling the pull of sin, I knew that I needed to leave, and did so. When I crossed the street, I found that my vehicle was no longer in the parking lot where I’d left it. Feeling the urgent need to leave the area, I first asked passers-by if they’d seen my vehicle. Then, I started asking if any were headed in the direction of my home and would they give me a lift. I received no answers to either question, only grins and laughter.

Knowing that I would need to walk home, I looked around me and realized that I was on the lower end of the main street in my own hometown. The buildings all were known to me, though many of them no longer exist in reality. Though it was night, they were lit up with flood-lights to where they seemed to nearly glow of their own accord. They were not complete, though. The insides and roofs were mostly missing and they reminded me of the bombed-out cities of Europe during and after World War II. A loneliness came over me which made me shudder—a loneliness and aloneness that I have never felt. Then, I awoke.


The feeling persisted into my waking moments. It wasn’t just a physical aloneness, but seemed to be a spiritual aloneness that penetrated my very soul. I was wondering if Satan was trying to shake my faith, or if God was trying to give me a message. I still wonder. I spent several minutes in prayer and was reminded that the Lord had spoken to me on at least two occasions, plus had answered many prayers. My salvation surely wasn’t the issue then. Was Satan trying to make me doubt that; was God trying to give me a message, or was Satan trying to offset a message that the Lord was trying to give me? I’m still not sure. However, I’ve noticed that I’ve been wondering a lot, since, if the coming “blood moon” and the first horseman of Revelation might be connected. Perhaps I’m just suffering from information overload, and perhaps not. I’ll be watching…….and praying. © 2014
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Bad Day, But A Good Evening

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I was up a bit earlier yesterday than I normally would have been. The folks who bought my old homeplace had made this month’s payment with a check the evening before, and I wanted to be present when their bank opened, for reasons you’ll soon understand. As I suspected, it bounced. I then went over to the DMV office to take care of the last paperwork to get my CDL. There was a line of people standing in the rain waiting for the place to open at 8:30. I didn’t figure that it was quite THAT important, so I stayed in my truck. When the doors opened, I headed in and was probably about number 30 in the line. Soon, there were another 30 behind me and they had ONE window open out of 13. Gradually, a few others opened.

I was thinking that the only cost would be $5 for a duplicate license, since I still had a year on my current license. Not so! They “HAD TO” give me a six-year license, which cost me $50. I didn’t have that much cash on me (though I DID have a bad check in my pocket for over $500), so I did what the other folks did to me and wrote the DMV a bad check for it. During my time at the DMV, I also learned that an error of omission by the county clerk’s office many years ago would cause me to be unable to get the federal version of the license. The lady waiting on me said that since the suffix in question was on my current license, I should be able to get the state version, though. So, I left there with my CDL, after an hour-and-a-half. Needless to say, the next thing I did was to scramble to cover that check before the modern electronic banking system could make a criminal of me!

Later in the day, I got a call from the DMV saying that they should not have put the suffix on my name, even on the state license, and asking me to come back, so they could correct it. I won’t discuss my feelings towards the DMV at that moment, but I DID have to wonder why the name that had been fine for 42 years was suddenly incorrect. They WERE kind enough not to charge me for their mistake, and I was surprised at that. After waiting another 50 minutes, I walked out their door with my new “corrected” CDL that did NOT show my full name. Ironically, the paperwork for me to send to the state capital to get my birth certificate corrected was on my desk at home. I’m sure that when I get it corrected, I will be given the grand privilege of paying them $5 for the license that they SHOULD have allowed me to keep in the first place! Let’s see, they got $30 for the “learner’s permit” test, $50 for the test that I had to take over, $15 for adding the tanker endorsement, and $50 yesterday. That means that little piece of plastic in my wallet has cost me $145, SO FAR. That doesn’t include the cost of the school, which the state paid. It all sounds like a racket to me!

On getting home at last, I got the chainsaw out of the basement and cut down three small oaks in the back yard. One was growing into the small stained-glass window in the west wall near the peak of our upstairs bedroom ceiling. The other two had to be felled to make it easier to safely fall the first one, without smashing into our deck. I was glad to see that my efforts succeeded. It felt good to reconnect with my roots, having been raised in the woods, working with my father.

For those among you with timbering experience, I use only the open-face notch anymore, never the old 45 degree notch. I feel the open-face notch gives far better control. The small trees measured 9, 12 and 14 inches dbh (chest height). Most folks would see only firewood in them. I see at least eight 8ft. 4x4’s, plus at least 200 feet of side lumber. I was surprised that my International Rule Biltmore stick actually scaled them at 285 feet. I’m sure the Doyle rule would scale them at far less. I see some firewood as well, and maybe even a couple rustic chairs (if I get industrious).


Soon after dark, the lady showed up with the cash to cover her bad check. Later, we watched the old movie Parent Trap, with Haley Mills, Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara. It was filmed 53 years ago. No wonder we got a kick out of it; it’s old, like us! © 2014

Here are the oaks that I felled. Click the image if you wish to enlarge it. Notice the limbs mostly on the right side of the larger one. They were hanging over the deck.


Notice the closeness to the deck in this photo. Incidentally, that post is plumb, but the camera angle makes it look otherwise.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Finally !

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After much time and aggravation, I finally have my CDL for all practical purposes. All that remains is some paperwork next week at the DMV. Thanks for your prayers and moral support. (Some folks have always felt that my morals NEEDED supported!)
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Friday, April 4, 2014

The Good, The Bad And The Lightning


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With Satan’s influence, which came into the world at the fall of man, God’s many blessings often seem to be mixed blessings. In Fiddler on the Roof, the words are sung that life is full of happiness and tears; and so it is. The Orientals refer to this situation as Yin and Yang. This understanding is even touched on by science, with the observation that every action has an equal and opposite REaction.

It is, perhaps, a flaw of my character that I see with sometimes uncomfortable clarity the apparent dichotomy of nearly all things in life. A former co-worker once told me that I always had a “but.” Not a “butt,” mind you, though mine is prodigious, but a “but.” Until then, I guess I never fully realized my tendency to see the bad in good things and the good in bad things, or my tendency to express it.

And so it is with the seasons, it seems to me. Good and bad walk hand in hand through the calendar. It’s easiest to see with winter and summer. The end of mosquitoes, flies and bird flu is countered by snow and cold. The season of growth and warmth is countered by bugs, droughts and heat waves. Spring and fall are judged a little less harshly by most of us, I believe. Autumn, with its vibrant colors, harvested crops, and generally mild weather is much loved, but we always know that it’s the harbinger of winter. Spring, too, is rather pleasant, as the cold of winter slowly transitions to the warmth of summer, bringing with it all the sounds, scents and sights of renewal. Yet it, too, gives hints of things to come.

Just yesterday, from among the scent of daffodils and the sound of birdsong, came the first serious rumble of thunder for quite a while. When I was a kid on the farm, I savored thunderstorms. Their noise and flashes of light were better than any light-show put on by man. I've even heard them called “God’s fireworks.” With time, though, my thoughts changed on those grand displays of nature’s power. Perhaps it started with losing the old walnut tree in the front lawn of my Civil War Era home. It had the best-tasting nuts of any tree around, but one gigantic blast from the heavens and it was a thing of the past. Then there were the neighbor’s barns that burned after lightning strikes, the roof nearly blasted off our outhouse, and the near microscopic strands of fishnet that had formerly been my mother’s clothesline. And there, high on a hill, exposed daily to nature’s worst, stood our home and our barn. Over the years, I've heard of entire herds of cattle killed by a single bolt of lightning, golfers killed on the fairway and farmers killed on their tractors. Thunderstorms gradually became something that I dreaded, rather than savored.

So yesterday, when I heard that first rumble of the season, I knew it was a sign of things to come. July may hold the title of having the most storms, for the Native Americans called July “the thunder moon.” Still, damage can result from any storm, so I did what I always do anymore at the first sign of a storm—I prayed. I prayed that the Lord would cause the storm to be harmless, and that no-one would lose their lives to its fury. I prayed that not only would the people be safe, but their homes, their barns, their livestock, their equipment, their pets and anything else they (and we) might have. I prayed also that our utilities wouldn't be interrupted. I even asked Him to protect the wild creatures and the trees. I don’t get nervous like our little dog, and I’m sure that in the great scheme of things, lightning serves a useful purpose. However, these days, I’m as happy to see it cease as I once was to see it start. I guess age can do that to you. © 2014
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday Ruminations


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My wife and I have a few things for sale on Facebook, but everybody wants a deal. To even get any interest, you have to price things at 10-20 percent of their original value, even if they’re unused. Then, some folks immediately try to get you to lower your price. I was raised that you didn’t try to haggle if you haven’t yet even seen the product. I realize that some folks only have so much to spend, but if they can’t afford the price listed, why would they even call? I swear, I believe that if you offered free solid gold bars, some jerk would ask how much you’d pay him to haul them away!

Some folks seem to feel entitled, too. I’ll never forget the couple (obviously dealers) who came to a yard sale we had and offered an insanely low amount for our whole porch-full of stuff. I told them that if we didn’t get enough to make it worth our while we’d just give it to charity. They could barely contain their wrath as they asked why we’d turn down their offer just to give it away. I just told them that if they thought our prices were too high, that they could check the following week and see if the Salvation Army priced the stuff any lower than we did. They left very unhappy folks. We always hear about dishonest merchants, but sometimes I think we need to remember that the customer should have a little couth, as well.

The Easter flowers (daffodils) are beginning to come into bloom around here. You can often spot old homesteads through the still-bare woods by seeing clumps of yellow flowers in the distance. There’s a spot I know of between a couple large businesses and the railroad tracks where a small rise has a flat top and a huge old maple tree. I told my wife that I was positive there was once a house there. Sure enough, when we went by today, the small stand of young timber now covering the area was filled with yellow and white blooms. When everything else is gone, the Easter flowers seem to remain and thrive.

As I sat on the porch with the Mighty Dachshund this evening, I saw the first bat of the year, flying back and forth over our side lawn. I hope he thins the mosquitoes well, I saw the first of them when the snow was still on. Unlike my wife, I like seeing them around, knowing that they prodigious eaters of bugs. You can get too many in a barn, though. We’ve had so many in times past, that their guano began ruining too much hay. So, we had to thin them down. THAT”S not an easy job! We’ve had two bats get in the house over the years, too. I’ve learned to turn on every light in the house and keep them moving. They eventually seek the darkness outside the open door.

I’m starting to watch for spring greens. It won’t be long now. My wife complained so much about the smell that I promised I wouldn’t cook any more in the house. I didn’t think they smelled at all, so I suppose it’s really just a way to keep me from using the kitchen. She doesn’t seem to mind the smell of cooked cabbage, even though I tell her that “it smells like it’s already been et once.” I really should try watching for morels this year, too, but I think the deer get them all around here. My wife thinks I’m weird eating wild foods, even though she grew up with a mother who foraged. I tell her that they’re the only truly safe foods that you can get. Oh well, her loss.

I found a home for the “invasive species walking stick” from my previous post. A young man that I used to work with has a severe weight problem and is beginning to walk the trails in a nearby park. (I should do the same.)  He was impressed by the stick’s appearance, so I gave it to him. He seemed to really appreciate it. I’m glad it’s going to a good home. © 2014
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