Saturday, March 29, 2008

I’m a thinkin’ and a wonderin’ all the way down the road…

I probably shouldn’t be writing anything right now having wasted a trip across town on a job that didn’t pan out. I got a call to make keys for a 1984 Oldsmobile ignition; “Never mind the door key, just the ignition key; don’t have enough money for a door key”. I’d quoted a price and it was agreed upon before setting out across town; except it turned out to be a 1994 Oldsmobile which required a VAT key, one of those with the little electronic pellet which also cost considerably more. You guessed it, “I don’t have enough to pay for that.”

I didn’t cuss or anything; must be maturity setting in. Words to an old Peter, Paul and Mary tune came to mind as I drove back across town, burning gasoline and time with no hope of recompense, “…You just sort of wasted my precious time; but don’t think twice, it’s alright…”

The Houston Chronicle ran a story to help the
undeserving obtain part of the Bush stimulus package; tax refunds for those who don’t pay taxes. The IRS is going to open up extra offices today to help these folks save the economy by issuing them checks out of the general tax fun to spend money they didn’t earn by taking away from folks who really did.

I had another customer call me out to make a set of keys for his car. I drove to the apartment complex, pushed the buttons at the security gate so he’d let me in and it was then I found out, talking to the speaker attached to the post, “Never mind, my girl friend had an extra set.” Did it never occur to him to pick up the telephone, the same one which he used to request my appearance,; let me know not to waste my time and efforts since my services were no longer required?

“….We never did too much talkin’ anyway, so don’t think twice, it’s alright…”

Glenn Beck wrote a column the other day,
The $53 Trillion Asteroid, a disturbing piece of information; the national debt is somewhere around $53 trillion dollars. He compared the awesome impact and fear that would accompany each and every individual in our country if an asteroid was headed our way and such measures were needed to stave off the destruction to our way of life. If the figures are correct, and they appear to be, these numbers established the fact that every household’s chunk of the national debt stands at $455,000.

I’m not making this up; I just now had a “customer” call up while writing this rant, kicking the tires so to speak, as she asked how much it would cost to replace a set of keys to her 2007 Ford Mustang. Once I told her she said, “Well, I can get it done for free on my sister’s AAA card.” Well then, go on and call AAA; quit wasting my time. Can you see the veins in my neck swelling?

My efforts to enjoy the fruits of my labors just got a major hit. How long do you think the madness can continue before it all comes crashing down around us? I just wrote off a couple of “zero profitability runs” on folks who have no problem wasting my time and efforts; I wouldn’t let the doom and gloom figures worry you too much because your households won’t be expected to bear up to such a burden; that will be added on to my portion and those who really are taxpayers.

“…but, don’t think twice, it’s alright.” I told you I shouldn’t have written an article while I was still consumed with reality. As a side note, I saw where my last post was #1040, would that make this one 1040a? Sorry, couldn't resist...

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Chinese Lead in U S Products

If having lead in toys which came from China isn’t bad enough, now there are reports of ammunition being distributed in Afghanistan which contain lead from China. What’s that, run it by again? You heard right, bullets which were supposed to have been manufactured in Hungary apparently were made in China. Sources investigating said, and I had to laugh at their choice of words:

“…provided the Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Illinois, with a Certificate of Conformance that you knew to be false or misleading…”

Was that supposed to be “mis-lead-ing”; is it just me or is that funny?

That could be dangerous, I mean ( use your best Arlo Guthrie voice when saying “I mean” ), what kind of ammunition are we using when our bullets have the wrong kind of lead? Somebody could get hurt, don’t ya’ know.

I remember something from my youth, a phrase mom attached to folks who appeared to be doggin’ it, ( lazy ). She said they suffered from Chinese Anemia, an accumulation of lead in their hind quarters (behind, butt ). Bear with me, there has to be a reason for getting upset when the bullets used by our troops might have the wrong ( wong, lol ) kind of lead. Just suppose for a moment how this might affect an autopsy; did the fellow die from an injury caused by regular lead blasting apart vital organs, did he suffer from lead poisoning or was he simply too lazy to live?

The tip off that the ammunition might have come from China had to do with the packing. Instructions on how to use the product in a weapon, “Please to insert round portion of explosive projectile front facing in section of weapon loaded.” Upon dismantling several bullets, small pieces of paper were found, “This is not your lucky day” along with suggested lottery numbers to play.

Okay, I Admit I’m Not a Computer Geek

This morning I ran into a challenge which I was unable to figure out; something which I'll get my daughter to solve when she has a spare minute or two. I was visiting Tiger Sue’s Jungle and found a neat little add on she’d acquired, a music player loaded with a handful of songs at the bottom of her blog.

I activated it by accident when I scrolled down the page. The music began playing Picard’s flute solo from a Star Trek show. I then listened to a sampling of listed tunes which included many of my favorites. I wanted to add this neat contraption to my blog; reality check time, I’m not a computer geek.

I’ve been taught how to do many wonderful things, tricks which permit my use of programs in order to function in this electronic world. What’s the old saying, “Just because you know a few tricks doesn’t mean you know the trade”; well, that happens to be true. I couldn’t tell you how many years it took me to find out that by hitting Control A, Control C and Control V, sections of a document or the entire document could be copied in an instant. I have a Word file which I bring up each time I want to use a link; it has the HTML command and all I have to do is substitute the intended link with the formatted link; it works and makes my blogs look as if I know what I’m doing.

I went to visit where I planned to download the necessary embedded codes to place within my blog. I’ve learned the English language has been altered; those who speak modern English are unaware that the older generation might wish to join in, just not sure what you said and what to do with what I thought you said. ( all this while I’ve been enjoying Tiger Sue’s play list )

I got as far as the Pin code, which I did receive on my cell phone; however, once I entered it on my computer it took me to a site which explained how my “free player” would only cost me $9.99 each month. You see, this is another example of how the English language is used differently by one generation to the next. My use of the word free doesn’t include a reoccurring bill at the end of the transaction each month.

I closed the site and decided I must have taken a wrong turn, that there really is a free player somewhere floating among the Ones and Zeroes; I’m just not geek enough to have seen the sign at the fork in the road. It would be nice to share some of my music via the blog format for those interested; maybe I should have waited for Bonnie and avoided having my blood pressure issues, grinding my teeth and that feeling of inadequacy.

I’m letting the Mozart Clarinet Concerto waft at a slightly elevated volume as my carrot of inducement; Bonnie played this piece back in high school and I can see her fingers moving across the imaginary instrument while rehearsing it in her mind. Come on girl, get down here and help this old man get on with the day’s challenges. You do the work and I’ll take credit once all the music is loaded on my blog.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Priscilla Slade - Next Candidate for Congress

You don’t have to be from Houston to appreciate, and I use the word appreciate with a great deal of sarcasm, the plea bargain deal reached by Priscilla Slade . Since entering a plea of guilty I guess it’s permissible to do away with the pleasantries of including the word “alleged” when referring to the theft of nearly half a million dollars while acting in her capacity of president of Texas Southern University.

Priscilla Slade used the money to improve her home and life style at the taxpayer’s expense; however, and you better pay attention to the difference between the language you and I use and the language that was cooked up by our justice system, Priscilla Slade only admitted to being president of TSU and by being president was responsible for the misapplication of funds.

“I accept responsibility as the President of Texas Southern University with regard to the expenditures described in the indictment as misapplications in not ensuring that Texas Southern University policies were followed. If I had the opportunity to do things differently I would do so. My thoughts and prayers are with the Texas Southern University family to whom I apologize.”

Quoting from an article which appeared in the Houston Chronicle:

“Mike DeGeurin, Slade’s attorney, said she is not admitting guilt and would not be forced to admit she committed a crime. He said she accepts responsibility for not ensuring that proper guidelines were followed.”

I’d love to have been in court as this one got finalized in front of the judge.

“Are you pleading ‘responsible’ and for being president of TSU?”

“Yes, your honor, I am responsible.”

“…and you’re pleading responsible because you are responsible and for no other reason?”

“Yes, your honor. I am responsible.”

“In that case the court finds you responsible; oh I almost forgot, being a responsible person the court requires you to return $127,672.18 of the half million that was taken, money that wasn’t yours to being with. You may go now.”

“If that don’t beat all?” I know, terrible use of the language; I’ll need to improve my style if I ever hope to be president of TSU, to spend money like I was the Queen of Sheba and then smile for the cameras as I waltz past.
There was a statement which should send shivers down your spine, a hint that we will be seeing more of Pricilla Slade; perhaps running for an elected position since she is so “beloved”, isn’t that what the reporter put in his article? I look to see Pricilla Slade as Comptroller of the City of Houston one day with being so responsible with money, maybe Mayor, Governor of the Great State of Texas, Congresswoman or Senator wouldn’t be out of the question. There is no doubt in my mind, Pricilla Slade has all the qualifications for any one of those positions because she’s already sold her sole to the devil and came away smiling. With all that preparation here’s the line that caused me to sit down and write my article:

“I thank God that it's over," Slade told reporters after the plea bargain. "I can move on with my life to bigger and better things.”

Bigger and better things?..., hide the silverware, Pricilla Slade’s coming over and she’s smiling again.

Photograph of Pricilla Slade with her attorney Mike DeGeurin originally posted in the Houston Chronicle by Julio Cortez to accompany the article written by Brian Rogers and Matthew Tresaugue.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Great Speeches in Films

Tony, A Red Mind in a Blue State, had a light hearted article naming his favorite show stopper speeches in films. He has a link which includes video snippets, more than I intend to provide; but if you have the time go watch some clips.

I’ll start by including a couple from Tony’s list; not necessarily in order of how I’d rate them, simply as they come to mind; and yes, I laughed at the one liner from Die Hard.

1. Albert Brook's "devil" speech from, “Broadcast News”, the one I have always thought fit a certain unnamed-in-this-non-political-post former President -- except the last line:

(What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he's around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I'm semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing... he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance... Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he'll get all the great women. )

2. Wilford Brimley's movie-stealing scene in, “Absence of Malice”.

3. Jimmy Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd in, “Harvey”, where he goes about explaining, “My mother used to say to me, ‘Elwood’ -- she always called me Elwood – ‘Elwood, in this world you must be oh-so clever, or oh-so pleasant.’ For years I was clever. I’d recommend pleasant -- and you may quote me.”

4. Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth in, “Shakespeare in Love”, when she clears the air regarding whether or not a bet had been won or lost forcing the payment and explains the loneliness of being a woman in a position of power, herself.

5. Spencer Tracy in, “Adam’s Rib”, where he aims the licorice pistol at Amanda and then takes a bite out of it after getting her to admit that nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands, “I just love licorice.”

6. Cameron Mitchell playing the part of “the gas jockey” in, “How to Marry a Millionaire”, when they’re all sitting around the counter and he pulls out a roll of money that would choke a horse and starts naming all his stock holdings, buildings and accumulated worth.

7. Dustin Hoffman in the role, “Little Big Man”, as the movie starts off in the old folks home where he’s being interviewed, “Turn that thing on…I’m the sole surviving white man from the battle of the Little Big Horn…”

8. James Cagney as George M. Cohan, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. I’ll stretch the topic to include “great speeches without words” as he tap danced down the enormous staircase at the White House after having talked with President Roosevelt. In my wildest imagination I’d love to have the agility to strut down a set of stairs like that; call 911, I think I broke something.

9. Still in the category of “great speeches without words” would be, “The Guns of Navarone”, at the very end where the mountain is ablaze, the huge guns have already fallen and the ships horns and whistles all applaud the victory knowing safe passage is assured. If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes and a lump in your throat then put a toe tag on; you’re already dead.

10. Marisa Tomei in, “My Cousin Vinny”, the courtroom scene where she validates the issue of whether or not she’s an expert witness in the automotive industry.

I wouldn’t call this a challenge; but if you’re of a mind to, make a list of your own with ten movie scenes worth remembering. This beats listening to the political mud slingers and pundits.

U S to China - We Accidentally Sent the Wrong Parts

You have to love the fact that the U S military folks packaged a box of parts and sent them off to Taiwan; only problem was they were the wrong parts, fuses for atomic warheads instead of rubber bands for their fleet of air support. Hey, it happens all the time; no need to blow up a country over a clerical error. China is not happy and wants a full investigation into the matter or it will; just what will these thugs do anyway? Shove some Baptist ministers around just like they did the Buddhist Monks or will they add more lead to toys sent to the U S?

I tried to order my own atomic missile over the Internet; had to purchase the parts separately and put it together myself according to the ad. I thought the prices for the various parts were exceedingly low; but with the crackdown on personal firearms I figured I better get one before they closed the loophole. Imagine my disappointment upon opening the box only to find a child’s toy scooter instead of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Last month I got a catalog from a locksmith wholesale house where I purchase a good portion of my inventory. On the front cover were photographs of several items which are readily identifiable; one in particular caught my attention, a Ford Focus replacement ignition switch. I took a second look at the photo and knew right off it was a Chrysler/Dodge ignition switch and had a good laugh for their not having done a very good job of proofing the front page of the catalog prior to sending it out to everyone. Like I said; hey it happens, no need to blow up a country over a clerical error.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Well, at least he hit the plane

I read where, “Federal authorities are investigating how a pilot's gun accidentally discharged in the cockpit on a US Airways flight from Denver to Charlotte, N.C.” The incident occurred during final approach according to the report. The bullet didn’t injure anyone or damage any of the controls and likely exited through the bulkhead.

“TSA and the Federal Air Marshals Service take this matter seriously and an investigation is underway,” the TSA said. “The pilot was authorized to be in possession of the weapon and he completed the appropriate training.”

A few random thoughts went through my mind, what was the reaction of the other pilot at the moment the weapon discharged and are those remarks recorded for posterity? Will any of them require medical care for damage to their ears? How many hours will these pilots spend filling out forms to explain this incident? How big a hole did it make when it exited the plane? Was there a Pilgrim’s Cleaners nearby?

Many years ago when I was with the Houston Police Department a similar incident occurred, if having a weapon discharge inside a patrol car can be compared to one going off in the cockpit of an airplane. According to well informed sources, a police sergeant had borrowed another officer’s semi-automatic pistol; but wasn’t familiar with its operation. While examining the pistol inside the police parking garage it discharged and blew out the front window of the police car.

That wouldn’t have been so bad had he not tried to act like nothing had happened by not reporting the incident. The bugaboo which came back to bite him in the hind quarters was when the other officer who’d been sitting in the car with him applied for workers compensation after going to the doctor’s office with a blown out ear drum; oops!

When all was said and done the sergeant got suspended without pay for three days and had to pay for the damage to the police car out of his own pocket. I caught wind of the hushed up deal and decided to have some fun since I knew the sergeant. He was a regular customer at the James Coney Island hot dog stand downtown. I got the manager of that store to give me one of their employee paper hats with the company logo imprinted on it. I then drew a bulls-eye target with expanding outer rings; marked 1, 2 and 3 Days Off. I then hung the target from the rear view mirror of his police car so he would see it when he got back from his unplanned forced vacation. My guess is the pilot who shot his airplane will have years of similar experiences to put up with from his fellow pilots.

About the only good thing I see coming out of this mess will be that terrorists will have to consider the fact that some pilots actually have firearms in the cockpit. What’s that line from the movie, The Untouchables, “Imagine, bringing a knife to a gun fight!” That little extra doubt might be the difference between a high jacked airplane and an uneventful flight; but that’s one we’ll never hear about, now will we?
Updated Friday March 28, 2008:

I got this from Say Uncle, an article published in the Washington Times claims that the pilot was following a poorly thought out weapons lock down policy and that the pistol went off while attempting to install the required trigger locking mechanism.

I left my comment:
“Don’t you just love how things get screwed up when idiots write the rules and refuse to listen to those who must conform to them? This information explains much more about how and why the gun went off; as opposed to the idea that the pilot was a total and complete incompetent boob as was generated at first.

This reminded me of a WWII story about gunnery personnel having their thumbs crushed or cut off while operating according to the manual. The fellow who wrote the instructions had to go and show them the procedure step by step. When he got to the part where he slams the bolt face home he remarked, “And that is how you cut your thumb off”, as he jerked what was left of his hand back…”

Too Afraid to Speak Up

The problem of being alert and aware in this day and age is having to explain simple truths to a those around us who, for one reason or another, get their feelings hurt. When pointing out issues which need to be addressed we’re accused of being insensitive, mean spirited louts without compassion. Rather than make our friends uncomfortable we sit around biting our tongues and choke on the blood running down our throats while the situations around us continue to fester until at some point they become more threatening; threatening to the point of endangering our lives.

I ran across an article over at Wayne’s Dirty Lab which fits the mold I just described. The use of Sci-fi makes it acceptable to anyone; after all, it’s just a piece of fiction. Just because most of the information happens to make the hair on your back begin to tingle doesn’t mean a thing; no, it doesn’t mean a thing, it’s fiction.

“So you kept telling yourselves,” said the Time Traveler. His voice was very low but there was a strange and almost frightening edge to it. “But the ‘peace’ in 'Islam’ means ‘Submission.’ You’ll find that out soon enough”

Thank you, Dan Simmons and also Col. Hogan for a rewarding piece of reading. We won’t do anything with this information; but it was interesting, for a piece of fiction.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

We were taught the Gospel on Easter

Imagine that, going to church and hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ being taught; kind of makes you wonder about what’s going on in some other churches. The Easter program was one of those “Gospel in a Nutshell” kind of lessons presented musically from beginning to end. It started with an explanation on the birth of our Savior and had speaking parts throughout; but mostly it was a musical presentation on the life, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord.

I should explain that there was a problem with the organ. I’ve no idea other than the organist attempted to get something working to his liking for a few minutes prior to walking across to the other side of the stand and sitting down at the piano. I suppose if you have enough talent you can get away with such minor inconveniences, Brother Davies can get away with it; the entire program had his keyboard marking time which made it possible to start and end on time.

For those who don’t believe in angels or miracles; well, you missed your chance to verify their existence today. Our choir is so small we’d have trouble making a baseball team without closing off right field; but they sounded wonderfully full as various members stepped out and did solo performances and then returned to fill in the gaps. There had to be invisible angels helping make the choir sound so good.

We didn’t hear any political nonsense, nothing about race relations, nothing about how the country was goin’ to hell in a hand basket; just stuff from the scriptures that told about God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost and important information about the resurrection and the atonement. I suppose this is my way of inviting all those from other churches to come sit with us next week, those who weren’t taught these Gospel principles today; instead being fed a steady diet of angry rhetoric intended to stir them up rather than calm them down with a sense of peace; peace which is freely given by the Lord to all his children.

You have all week to hear about that other nonsense; Sunday is reserved for quiet contemplation about the many blessings which the Lord has given us and for which he may bless us in the future. Sunday is a day to worship the Lord, not to use the bully pulpit as a means of working some political or social agenda. Those responsible for perverting their flocks will have to answer to the Lord. I just wish you could have been with our group today so you could have had a proper Easter Sunday meeting.

Easter Morning

I know there are folks with different beliefs regarding the life of Jesus, parts not specifically covered in the Bible. Dan Brown’s book, The DaVinci Code, made into a movie, claimed Jesus had a wife named Mary and provided a lineage down to present day. I think it’s foolish to speculate on parts of the scriptures which were not made abundantly clear; however, as long as folks are injecting their own ideas; why not have some fun?

I for one, wondered if Jesus might have had two wives, Lily and Amaryllis. Every year around this time these beautiful flowers make an appearance and are closely associated with Easter. There has to be a reason these two flowers come out to honor our Savior at the same time. I took this picture in my back yard and often use it as wallpaper for my computer’s monitor.

Then again, ask any child and you might get a different answer, “Who was Jesus married to?” They might look at their shoes for a moment, a blank look across their face as their eyebrows search for a possible answer. Then a smile would grace their cheeks as a name popped into their heads, a subliminal hint looking at them from atop the kitchen table.

“I’m not sure but I think her name was Bunnie.”

In case you may be wondering, none of this is considered church doctrine, authoritative or “eggleasiatic”; file this under light hearted and frivolous.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Making the Yard Look Nice for Easter

Lucy and I were outside clipping back limbs and cleaning the leaves out from around the base of the bushes where they’d acted as protection for the plants all winter. I got out the string trimmer and edged the drive, walk and curb line before mowing the yard. We then swept up the mess and put it in black plastic bags to be hauled off on Monday.

The last thing to do prior to going on our Saturday date was to wash the little green Z. I pulled it up on the freshly mowed grass and hosed it off since it really was dusty from all the yard work hanging in the air from the blower. One of my neighbors came by to harass me, something about violating a deed restriction by having my car in the yard. I told him it wasn’t really a car; it was just a better than usual yard ornament, sort of the “ultimate yard ornament” according to BMW.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hope the windows were up

The difference between a thief and what I’m doing; a thief wouldn’t give credit to Mike over at No Angst Zone for posting this video first.

Fredericksburg, Virginia Outlaws Jesus Christ

No, that’s not a misprint, the town of Fredericksburg has banned anyone at their city council meetings from using the name of Jesus Christ while closing a prayer during meetings there. You’ll have to read the World Net Daily story to see that it’s okay to pray anyway you like as long as you’re not Christian.

“( Rev. Hashmel ) Turner joined the council in 2002, but since the 1950s the council called on members on a rotating basis to open in prayer. He prayed both for himself individually that he might have wisdom and guidance in carrying out his duties and likewise for the council, officials said, ending "in Jesus name."”

I could see how asking for divine guidance and wisdom would be offensive based on how many city councils operate; money changing hands in back rooms, under the table and in coat closets. Who’s going to ask the Lord to put His blessing on those kinds of shenanigans, for Pete’s sake?

“The city also adopted a penalty of "disorderly conduct" for anyone violating the ban on praying "in Jesus name."”

I understand that inquiries have been made to purchase land where a replica of Rome’s Coliseum is to be constructed, complete with holding pens for Christian Gladiators. It’s being put to a vote; the ACLU had a “thumbs up” on the deal.

Photograph taken by Bonnie while she was on Spring Break. Go take a look at some of the other neat stuff she took pictures of.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Houston Temple on a Spring Night

Earlier today I posted a picture of the Houston Texas Temple with a Redbud Tree in bloom in the forefront. I returned this evening and took the same basic photograph, this time with Lucy’s camera. I wanted to see if the extra mega pixels were doing whatever they’re supposed to do.

I was glad to see the security guard was keeping an eye on me as I wandered around, now and then leaving the pathway as I got inside the landscaping to size up various shots. I guess by now they are accustomed to having folks with cameras snapping off flash equipment and trying for the “perfectly framed temple picture”.

First Day of Spring 2008

I wanted to post a picture of the Redbud Trees in bloom just to let the rest of you get a whiff of Spring. Last night as I was leaving the Houston Texas Temple, the parking lot nearly empty around 10pm, I noticed how beautiful the Redbud tree near my car appeared with the night sky behind it. I wished I had my camera with me; perhaps I’ll go back this evening.

We had a front push through, clearing the air and leaving it relatively cool and dry with temperatures in the low 60’s when I returned this morning. The parking lot was packed so I walked around snapping shots and hoping one of them would give an idea of how lovely it can be.

As I was leaving I noticed another fellow had pulled into the front gate at the Temple, just barely getting the back end of his car out of traffic. He had a very fancy looking camera resting on the driver side window as he sat taking photographs of the beautiful landscaping provided by the full time staff. I hope he took the time, after pulling the rest of the way into the parking lot area, to walk around and enjoy the peaceful feeling which surrounds that building.

I remember visiting Washington D.C. on a field trip with my classmates in the late 50’s or early 60’s. I thought it was neat that we were permitted to board a train so early in the morning for the trip. The Cherry Blossoms were in full array all through the city; unfortunately all I had to take pictures was an old Kodak Brownie with black and white film; still I can see those pink and white flower petals blowing in the breeze as the tour bus took us around the various locations. I’ll dig around and find a picture from the past and post it later.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

If there is no God there are no God Given Rights

The Supreme Court has begun hearing a case which will determine whether or not the Constitution includes an individual’s right to bear arms. The District of Columbia claims the power to deny its citizens private ownership of guns on the grounds that no militia exists as a prerequisite under the 2nd Amendment.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It might also be well to include other concepts as part of the decision making process, perhaps the 9th Amendment.

“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The political maneuverings which I’ve both heard and read would lead me to believe that neither the 2nd or 9th Amendments are at the heart of the issue; instead the American individual’s ability to govern his/herself is in jeopardy. This “Great Experiment” in self government was established on the premise that, “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

The information reaching my eyes and ears would lead me to wonder how many of my fellow citizens have lost faith, not only in themselves as capable of self government and control; but of a larger more important issue, that of the divine nature of our Creator and the origin of our freedom as a nation.

Members of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence could be heard as they chanted “guns kill”, “save our children” and other reasons to include accidental shootings as if those in favor of individual gun rights go about killing indiscriminately and have no thought for the safety of our little ones. Being of sound mind, red flags of warning wave each time I hear such tainted lines of illogic and, rather than dismiss them; instead I wonder what agenda would be achieved by someone so foolish as to spew them. In the words of the recently departed William Buckley, “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said”.

“Anise Jenkins, president of a coalition called Stand Up for Democracy in D.C., defended the district's prohibition on handguns.” “We feel our local council knows what we need for a good standard of life and to keep us safe,” according to the FoxNews article.

Have these folks no understanding of the expectations of the human condition here in America? Do they have no understanding of the foundations of Democracy? The answer would have to be, “No, they haven’t got a clue” or they would never turn over a God given right to anyone; much less to an arm of government.

There are many who would claim, “…the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them…” doesn’t refer to the Judeo/Christian God found in the Bible; but to a more generic terminology such as Springtime or some other vagary. I involved myself in such a discussion and posted it back in May of 2005 under the title,
Author of Liberty, as I found several individuals who could not bring themselves to offer thanks to God for our individual rights; gratitude to the Creator not being found in their character.

This past week I ran across a rather disturbing advertisement on the Internet, an opportunity to purchase a DVD intended to blast away any faith in God. The presentation is called, “The God Who Wasn’t There” , if you are so inclined. Quoting from their official website:

“Own the taboo-shattering documentary that Newsweek says "irreverently lays out the case that Jesus Christ never existed.”

What possible goal or agenda might such a presentation have other than to destroy an individual’s faith in God, Jesus Christ and as an added bonus, destroy the foundations from which our nation sprang? If there is no God there can be no God Given Rights. If there are no God Given Rights then these “privileges” must come from some other source; then they must, by default, be the product of government and such privileges can be either added to or taken away by government.

It might be difficult for many of you to follow along with me from this point as I refer to the Book of Mormon concerning the nature of certain men, men who will deny the existence of God. Be that as it may, the Book of Mormon stands as a witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ and has wisdom within its pages that can be confirmed by the Holy Spirit for those willing to invest themselves in honest prayer.

A man declaring his disbelief in the reality of God is presented in Alma 11: 21-46 when Zeezrom confronts Amulek. Zeezrom starts it off in verse 21, “And this Zeezrom began to question Amulek, saying: Will ye answer me a few questions which I shall ask you? Now Zeezrom was a man who was expert in the devices of the devil, that he might destroy that which was good; therefore, he said unto Amulek: Will ye answer the questions which I shall put unto you?” Does this look familiar to similar settings today?

You’ll have to use the
link if you want to find out how it turned out, I wish to move along.

There can be no discussion on God Given Rights without first establishing the existence of that God who is capable of granting individuals those rights. Like I said a moment ago, it might be difficult for many of you to follow along with me from this point as I refer to the Book of Mormon.

Alma 30, starting in verse 6 we meet an unhappy fellow named Korihor, “But it came to pass in the *latter end of the seventeenth year, there came a man into the land of Zarahemla, and he was Anti-Christ, for he began to preach unto the people against the prophecies which had been spoken by the prophets, concerning the coming of Christ.”

There follows an explanation as to how the law of the land grants unto each individual the right to either believe or not believe in God with no penalty as long as the other laws of the land were followed; basically the Ten Commandments. Alma 30:6-11

“And he did rise up in great swelling words before Alma, and did revile against the priests and teachers, accusing them of leading away the people after the silly traditions of their fathers, for the sake of glutting on the labors of the people.” Alma 30:31

You’ll have to use the
link if you want to find out how it turned out; but I warn you in advance, you with little or no faith, you won’t like it.

Okay, just one more reference to the scriptures and I’ll close. This next one is for anyone who is too lazy or time challenged to sit down and read all the Bible or Book of Mormon in order to gain a complete understanding as to our relationship with God; remember, the object of discussion has to do with God Given Rights, individual gun ownership rights and stuff like that. In one chapter, less than two pages of serious reading you can pick up everything you might wish to know about God; don’t believe me, give it a try anyway.

One more time, you’ll have to use the
link; but I warn you with little or no faith, you won’t like it. There is little good gained from teaching pigs to sing, it wears out the teacher and only serves to annoy the pigs.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tricks with Geography

Mover Mike posted an article about quake activity near the Oregon coast along with a map of the area. Mike’s been showing the seismic activity in that area for quite some time now and I keep waiting for the “big one” to hit, the one where volcanoes erupt and half the state falls into the ocean.

This morning when I was up early getting ready for my Sunday meetings I happened to glance at Mike’s map of the Oregon coastline and something in my brain was momentarily confused, the puzzle piece supplied was trying to fit into a different map somewhere in the back of my head. It dawned on me that it vaguely resembled maps of the Holy Land in the back of my Bible.

I got home from my meetings and scanned one of the Holy Land maps; I hope the use of copyrighted material won’t get me thrown in the slammer. See for yourself; okay so it’s not an exact match, it might help if you do this while half asleep.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Regarding Woody Williams, “Oh, Schlitz”

Spring training for the Houston Astros has been anything but a walk in the park for seasoned veteran Woody Williams. Coming off a less than memorable year, posting a losing record of 8-15 with a 5.27 ERA, I had to wonder why the team offered Woody another $6.5 million this season.

Photo courtesy of Tony Dejak, major league stats for 2007 along with the last three years can be viewed on Yahoo’s page here.

Quoting Joseph Duarte, Eye on the Astros section of the Houston Chronicle,

“Woody Williams' future with the Astros is in serious jeopardy after being rocked in his latest outing Wednesday.

Williams allowed eight runs -- including four home runs -- in three innings against the Detroit Tigers.

Williams allowed 10 hits in the game -- seven for extra bases.

He gave up back-to-back home runs to Edgar Renteria and Ivan Rodriguez in the third inning.

Williams had two other shots off him caught at the warning track.

In his last two spring outings, Williams has allowed 13 runs and 16 hits in 5 2-3

It could be a long year for the Astros with pitching being a major issue. I suppose we should list Woody as a batting practice pitcher since the team has no intention of putting him in the bull pen or sending him down to AAA. That’s a real shame too as I remember many great years for Woody when he was with the Padres and Cardinals. I suppose having Woody on the team is good as an attendance draw, even if only for his name.

This reminded me of a pitcher from another era, Bill Famous. What, you’re not familiar with the name? Long after he was able to contribute to the team, at least on the mound; Bill would sit in the bull pen and talk baseball with the young up and coming pitchers. He’d sign autographs for the fans and relax knowing that his job was mostly public relations; the odds of having to pitch were similar to winning the lottery twice in the same day.

Late in the season the team was well out of the pennant race. It was a hot Saturday afternoon and they were in the seventh inning, trailing by a considerable margin. Rather than waste a relief pitcher in a losing cause the manager pointed to the bull pen and had Bill Famous warm up; he was actually going into a game.

Bill strolled to the mound while the stadium rocked with a standing ovation, old men pointing to their grandchildren, explaining how a piece of history was being played out before their eyes. He took a few more warm up tosses and the batter stepped into the box.

“Ball One!” Bill reached down to something at the back of the mound, picked it up and walked around a bit before the next pitch.

“Ball Two!” The pitch was a foot and a half out of the zone and the catcher had to take a quick jab just to coral it. Bill repeated the act of bending down and walking the mound.

“Ball Three!” Bill didn’t seem to be overly concerned, having been in plenty of situations over the years where he had to battle back while down in the count.

“Ball Four, take your base”, the umpire let the words fall as the batter tossed his bat off to the side and strutted down the line. Upon reaching base he took a modest lead while the first baseman began the barber session.

“What’s that brown thing Bill kept going to between pitches?” The first baseman kept his defensive position with one foot wedged against the bag in the event of a pick off move. The runner smiled and began to laugh at the rookie ball player.

“Why, that’s the beer that made Bill Famous walk me.”

Straight Talk on Respecting Islam

I posted a video back in February which had an English fellow doing a short explanation of Western/Islamic relations in simple terms which, to some folks might seem insensitive or bigoted. While cruising the blogosphere I stopped by Third World County and found this second video with the same articulate fellow in which he captures the heart of the issue; again in clear language which even stupid, politically correct, diversity loving pin heads should be able to understand. Thanks David; you get two Atta-Boys and a pair of green stars on your achievement poster.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Dog Ate My Homework

Yea, right; and the check’s in the mail. I had to chuckle for a moment after reading about the kid in New York who was denied taking his dog to school.

“GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — A public high school has turned away a deaf student's service dog despite a state ruling saying the animal should be allowed.”


“Cave and his family say the teen, who uses cochlear implants, needs the service dog to help with his studies. School officials say they're concerned for other students' and staffers' health and safety.”

I don’t claim to be knowledgeable on the use of service dogs other than for folks who are “sight challenged”. Just what does a hearing impaired person use a dog for that would help in school? I don’t have any jokes about a dog helping at school; somebody, help me out here.

Sgt. Who?

Many years ago when I worked downtown for the Houston Police Department one of the officers I was partnered with, Donnie White, had some rather interesting personal habits which annoyed folks. I won’t list them all; but one in particular, one which summed up his lasting respect for supervisors was “in tune” with my own sentiments. When either of us, how should I put this, would “pass wind” the other would immediately ask, “Sgt. Who?”

Donnie’s sense of humor was more warped than even my own, waiting for an elevator door to close prior to releasing such a burst of immodesty, then laughing until the next floor was reached while others in the elevator quietly endured. Some habits last long after they should have “evaporated” and I continue to ask, “Sgt. Who?” My grandchildren are amused; JJ at age 6 tells me, “That’s just a fart” while Jocelyne remarks, “Who?”, her little eyebrows jumping up and down as she smiles.

I got a YouTube video in my email, twice; once from Lucy and again this morning from Steve Sanders. What can I say, they know me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fun with Headlines

I miss the way DL over at TMH Bacon Bits would have fun with the headlines. DL, if you’re out there, get back to the keyboard, sabbaticals are different than retirement.

Jury selection begins for dad accused of microwaving baby

We’ll be done in a jiffy.

Obama wins Mississippi's Democratic primary

I wonder if he’s whistling Dixie

Assisted Suicide Doctor Jack Kevorkian Plans Run for Congress in Michigan

He’s a dead on favorite.

House Fails to Overturn Bush Veto of CIA Bill That Banned Waterboarding

Bush has them over a barrel

Pakistan Police Probe Possible Al Qaeda Ties in Twin Bombings That Killed Dozens

Scientist testing theory; Sun warms the Earth.

Shipley Settles Employee Discrimination Lawsuit

They had to, their case was full of holes.

Had enough, or should I look around for more? Okay, you talked me into one more.

Billy Crystal to Play With Yankees for One Game

One game and I already have an asterisk next to my name.

Time for some Serious Music

I posted this last year when I was under the weather. I think March is a time when everyone needs a little cheering up; bread makers knead a little cheering up as well.

Please Don’t Try This at Home

If you tear your lips off, don’t come looking for any sympathy from me. Lucy saw this somewhere on the blogoshere and sent it along to me. Buddy Greene on the harmonica; you can visit him at the State hospital where he is recovering.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Secret of Life

In the movie, City Slickers, with Jack Palance and Billy Crystal riding the trail there’s a now famous scene, one for the ages. Come on now, if you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m looking for. I need to thank Laura Lallone for her post, The Secret to Happiness? It’s Your One Thing, where I was able to borrow a portion of the script. I couldn’t find a large clear version of the picture I wanted so this will have to do, scanned from the back jacket sleeve of my laser disk copy of the movie.

Along the trail Jack Palance asks Billy Crystal, “Do you know what the secret of life is?”

Crystal responds, “No, what?”

Palance holds up his gloved index finger and says “This”.

Crystal jokes, “Your finger?”

Palance says, “One thing; just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean (bleep)!”

Crystal asks, “That's great, but what’s the one thing?”

Then Palance says in a knowing way, “That’s what you’ve gotta figure out”.

I enjoyed that movie and in particular that scene with the index finger held high in the air begging for a respectable answer. So, what’s your one thing? Isn’t that a question that sounds strange coming from a cowboy riding heard? What’s the secret to life? The answer is pretty much like Curly says, “That’s what you’ve gotta figure out”.

I was reading in the Book of Mormon the other day, the part where the Brother of Jared sought the Lord’s help to illuminate the insides of barges which would be used to transport his family across the ocean. The account is found in the third chapter of Ether.
Knowing the Lord can do remarkable things, the Brother of Jared made sixteen balls from molten silica which were clear as glass. He then asked the Lord to touch them to provide light for inside the sealed barges.

“Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.
And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.”

Think about that for a few moments and imagine yourself standing there before the Lord making the request and having full faith that it would come to pass. Then consider the eye opening realization that the Lord’s finger looks just like your own, flesh and blood. Would that fall into the Secret of Life category?

I find a certain peace knowing that we are indeed created in His image, that we are His children. That, along with the many blessings which are promised us, provided we learn to live after the manner of happiness by following the commandments and striving to become even as the Lord would have us; that is the secret of life.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wait 15 Minutes

Around here in Houston there’s a saying, “If you don’t like the weather all you need to do is wait 15 minutes.” While that may not be exactly true or accurate, there is something to the notion.

The other day I was waiting for a customer to show up at his job where he’d lost the keys to his vehicle so he could drive home after getting off as a truck driver. He was late because a crane used to load his delivery truck had broken which put him behind schedule. I decided to polish my work truck to kill the time even knowing the forecast was predicting rain; not just rain but severe weather. We were under a watch for tornadoes, high winds, hail, lots of thunder and lightning; other than that it was a perfect time to polish my truck and shake the floor mats.

I keep some soft cloths and polish in my truck and got to work. The weather was moving in fast as I finished, a few bolts of lightning followed by a low rumble off in the distance. Lucy called and was wondering where I was as she sat at the computer watching the line of storms move across town on the monitor; lots of yellow and red patches to indicate heavy rains and violent weather cells. I was out near the airport in a warehouse row as the rains hit. I took a few pictures as the beads of water formed on my nice clean truck.

Last night it got down close to the freeze mark; but with the crystal clear sky it warmed quickly which permitted the washing of all the vehicles. The truck only needed a toweling down after I blasted it with the hose since I’d polished it the other day. The little green Z was about the same since I keep it polished most of the time.

The reflection off the hood reminded me of the nature album we like to play on Sunday mornings. There are scenes of landscapes reflected off of lakes, ponds and streams showing the bent images created by the temporary surfaces as the water rippled. The hood of my Z can do similar things, another reason I enjoy that car; it looks good just sitting still.

( Google/Blooger was having techincal troubles while I attempted to load the second picture. I'll have to add it at a later time. I guess Wait 15 Minutes applies to Blogging as well as the weather. )

Friday, March 07, 2008

We Broke Mommy

This weekend Lucy and I are taking care of our grandchildren while their parents are in Colorado for the wedding of my son in law’s sister. My daughter called to see how the kids were doing, a chance for them to hear her voice and put them more at ease.

We passed around the portable phone so each could have some time with Mommy; all the while it was set to speaker phone so everyone could hear. JJ and Jocelyne were momentarily distracted by something on the television and the phone dropped to the floor, the cover for the battery pack fell off and scooted a few feet away; but the conversation continued.

I watched Jocelyne’s reaction, both hands drawn to her mouth, both arms tucked tightly to her chest as her eyes shot wide with horror for having dropped Mommy on the floor; the loose piece of Mommy was quickly retrieved and put back. Jennifer kept asking what was going on during the surgical procedure to save her life and Jocelyne was relieved to hear Mommy was okay and not broken after all. Watching a two going on three year old miniature person provides insight as to what kind of thought processes are going on inside; this event was worth the price of admission.

Eminent Domain or Highway Robbery

There’s an interesting article tucked away in the local section of the Houston Chronicle, also on their website if you dig a little and use the search engine provided; otherwise you’d never know it was even there. Brothers say City Hall trying to pull a fast one

“The brothers are challenging the city's action in court, arguing that the park is a pretext for the city's true purpose: to assist a prominent local developer who has amassed most of the property around theirs for a 21-acre mixed-use development known as BLVD Place.”

I read through the article and found “the meat” boiled down in just a few sentences:

"August 1982: James and Jock Collins pay $363,750 for property at San Felipe and Post Oak Lane as an investment for their retirement.

• February 2004: The Uptown Houston District offers the Collins brothers $398,035 for their property to widen San Felipe and for unspecified other purposes. They decline the offer.

• April 2004: Wulfe & Co. begins negotiations with the Collins brothers to buy the property.

• February 2005: Wulfe & Co. announces plans to redevelop property near San Felipe and Post Oak. The BLVD Place development will cover 21 acres with office space, retail, high-rise residential units and a hotel.

• July 2006: Wulfe & Co. offers $1.4 million for the Collins brothers' property. The brothers decline based on the proposed payment schedule. The company says it will make no further offers.

• October 2006: The city of Houston informs the Collins brothers that it intends to acquire their property for a pocket park.

• May 2007: City offers the brothers $433,800 for the property. They decline.

• November 2007: City files suit to acquire the property through eminent domain.

• Feb. 25: The brothers file a legal challenge to the eminent domain proceeding, arguing that the compensation offered is insufficient and that the city is taking the land for the benefit of Wulfe & Co. rather than the public."

Somewhere between 1982 the property was valued at a little over $350k and purchased, in 2006 they were offered $1.4 million; but declined that offer. Now the City of Houston thinks that same property should sell for just over $400k; is that about the way you see it? My guess would put the value at nothing less than $1.5 million and maybe as high as a three million since there is a specific improvement in the works which pretty much requires that piece of land. Maybe there is a skunk in the deal, something sure smells to high heaven.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Did I Call it or What?

Yesterday I wrote my thoughts regarding the Anti-American attitude engrained within a good portion of folk songs which bashed the establishment. I’m not sure many read the article; I don’t exactly shake the blogosphere with my slender readership averages; how unfortunate.

I only mention this because Michelle Malkin happened to write about Draft Card Burning yesterday. I didn’t catch the piece until this morning while reading her take on this morning’s bomb blast in Times Square, the one that took out a military recruiting station where anti-war protests have occurred in the past. While details are sketchy at best, it does appear to be the work of home grown disgruntled anti military folks rather than the imported variety; though it’s hard to tell which are worse.

There is something ironic about a peace movement which claims to be against war while working late nights to build explosive devices and blow up their chosen enemies; sounds like war to me. I think I called it, these folks aren’t so much anti-war as they are ant-American. I don’t think this is what Martin Luther King had in mind when he said, “We shall overcome”; now light the fuse and get the heck out of here before the whole damn building comes down on us.

Somehow the words, “We shall overcome”, turned into a song performed by the so called peace movement got perverted by the likes of Joan Baez and the anti-American crowd who thought all the establishment was to blame for the world’s ills. Here we are, slaves of the most oppressive regime, the U S Government and it’s up to us to brake those chains. Watch this and try not to puke in the nearest trash can while Joan stirs the down trodden masses to walk toward the light of freedom.

Rather than figure out a way to work within the best form of government ever to grace this world, the supposedly disenfranchised anti-war, anti- capitalist, anti-formal religious movement figured on replacing it with something else; what exactly has never been worked out in detail, just as long as it’s different. Let’s blow up the military recruiting center in downtown New York City; that should show the world how much we love our freedoms. Did I call it or what?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

When Will They Ever Learn

I’ve taken an interesting ride this past week, not physically as in a car, a train or even an airplane. The ride was through some old music written or performed by some of the finest performers I can think of. My journey started long ago; but today’s thoughts were prompted by an article posted by the Old Old Lady of the Hills this past week, a spotlight on Pete Seeger’s accomplishments as he was honored.

The music I’m referring to became popular with “my generation”, if such a thing truly exists. I grew up in post WWII America with a noticeable difference between the previous generation, the so called “greatest generation”; we questioned everything and required answers from those in authority. There was an unhealthy aspect to such insubordinate attitudes in the manner such questions were posed, particularly toward the “establishment”. Government, police, schools and especially the military were all ripe targets to be questioned, doubted, ridiculed, avoided or otherwise portrayed as task masters holding back free expression. I’m guessing each generation questioned the way things were done, how they might be improved or even done away; that’s neither good or bad.

Pete Seeger’s music was pleasant to the ear, a soft clear “hoot-nanny” type of singer who invited the audience to join in the fun. Picking the banjo or strumming his guitar didn’t seem to matter as his vision of how America could be “if only” a few things were done better. Other musicians with similar messages come to mind, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie to name a few had concerns about our being involved in war, extreme poverty, union worker issues or a host of other “establishment” challenges. In most cases the establishment was shown to be wrong, at fault, deceptive or less than desirable. The music’s statement, true or not, had a profound effect on how society interacted; think Mr. Rogers with a banjo and enjoy this next song.

I listened to an introduction by Joan Baez in front of an anti-war concert as she was about to perform, Where have all the flowers gone. It was her simple statement which provided some insight as to where the division is between my America and the naysayer protest singers. She explained how the mothers of soldiers crippled or killed in the war were present and how that was the worst experience a mother could face, the death of a child because of a war, a meaningless confrontation; when will they ever learn? I many have taken some liberties with her exact words; but the meaning was hinged on the idea that nothing is worth dying for in war. Listen carefully and you will pick up on her particular agenda; it must be true because it’s a popular folk song.

The idea proposed, and accepted without much thought, is that a valiant young man’s death is the worst thing that could happen to a mother; it just isn’t true. I would think a mother would suffer more knowing her child wasn’t valiant, didn’t understand that some things are worth fighting for, are worth dying for; that’s where I part company with the wrist wringing generation who want peace at any cost. I’d rather be a draft dodger living in Canada and spout off about being responsible than go to war; sorry but that only works if you are responsible to begin with.

I spent quite a while listening to the folk music preserved on YouTube, much of it familiar to my ear and yet the more I listened the veins in my neck began to swell. I heard, What did you learn in school today; all about the brainwashing of our children and the idea that a strong government isn’t good, policemen aren’t friends, previous war victories aren’t something to be proud about and you sure don’t want to join the military and become a dead guy; other than that it was a catchy little children’s tune played with a neat banjo to reinforce the melody.

I listened to a song, Which Side Are You On?, intended to enlighten workers, join the union or stay on the side with the “lousy scabs”; or will you be a man? I’m not saying changes didn’t need to be made to secure safety issues or even that labor hasn’t been taken advantage of; however, take a look at the present state of things and how labor unions have all but destroyed the American economy by forcing unrealistic wages and compensations to be paid regardless of the company’s ability to produce a profit.

GM and Ford routinely post losses in the Billions of dollars because they have to pay outrageous hourly wages to union employees, fully funded retirement and health insurance premiums which add thousands of dollars to the price of each vehicle sold. At some point in the near future the industry will be unable to sustain a footing in the market and the whole mess will collapse. What will happen to the economy, our standard of living and the American way if such a huge segment of our society is destroyed because of greed, not from the owners; but from the laborers? It takes a worried man to sing a worried song. What the heck is a scab anyway; I thought that was some lowlife unskilled person hired to fill an opening when the labor unions were on strike; guess not.

It’s one thing to point out our deficiencies, yet another to despise America; takes some of the fun out of singing, now don’t it? I was going to include a version by Peter Paul and Mary done later in their careers but I couldn’t inflict that kind of visual damage on a stranger; just wouldn’t be right. When will we ever learn?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Pride and Arrogance

I’m responding to a challenge by Tony, Red Mind in a Blue State, where he took a quote from Teddy Roosevelt and wanted others to put their thoughts around it. Here's the quote: “Envy is as evil a thing as arrogance.”

I admire Roosevelt’s character traits and saying as well; however, a more sure footing for me are the words spoken or written by the Prophets. Here are some thoughts regarding the subject, Beware of Pride, given by Ezra Taft Benson on May 4, 1989.

“The Doctrine and Covenants tells us that the Book of Mormon is the “record of a fallen people.” (D&C 20:9.) Why did they fall? This is one of the major messages of the Book of Mormon. Mormon gives the answer in the closing chapters of the book in these words: “Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction.” (Moro. 8:27.) And then, lest we miss that momentous Book of Mormon message from that fallen people, the Lord warns us in the Doctrine and Covenants, “Beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.” (D&C 38:39.)”


Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top (arrogance), such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. (See
2 Ne. 9:42.) There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up (envy). It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.

I went over 250 word "requested limit" a little; but I think the message was worth the ride. Please take the time to read the rest of the information in Ezra Taft Benson’s talk.

Plug for a Friend

I did a locksmith job the other day and got to talking with the next door neighbor. She was about my age and taking care of her grandchild as we visited. She asked if I had my will drawn up or if I needed any other legal services as she handed me a flyer with some of the services she provided. I gave her my card and told her I’d see what I could do.

The more I thought about it the more I wanted to give her a free plug, a chance to have her contact information “networked”; I think that’s what they call extending your contact base now. Legal services are needed everywhere, not just in the Houston area so give this lady a thought next time your dog bites the mailman, or you spill hot coffee on a customer.

Ileen Atkinson 832-651-9867
Or on the web:

I’d rather go to the Dentist

This morning I went to vote in the Texas Republican Primary for president along with several local offices. I waited until those with “real jobs”, the ones who have to battle traffic into town each day; I waited until they got done and then I went since most of my work doesn’t start until at least nine in the morning after the used car managers have a chance to check their inventory and match each car with a key.

Rush Limbaugh’s been going on about how good Republicans should go out and
vote for the Hildabeast; but I just couldn’t do it. In the eternal scheme of things I’d have to face my ancestors and it wouldn’t set well with them. For the record, I voted for Fred Thompson; okay so I flushed my voice down the toilet. Thompson was the only true conservative on the ballot and at least this way there will be a tick mark showing that I had an opinion.

I did run into a friend of mine from church, a staunch Democrat. I’d just finished up and was on the sidewalk in front of the school getting ready to leave when I spotted him walking with his daughter. I thought it odd he’d be at the Republican polling location until I realized he was dropping off his daughter. I greeted him with a friendly handshake.

“So, I finally won you over to the Republican side.” He smiled and we continued with an extended handshake as he explained how he’d already voted, several times, as a Democrat. I should have explained to him that voting twice for Obama and then twice for Hillary; naw, it would have been like teaching pigs to sing.

With all the political garbage that will fill the airways all day, hour after hour, speculations and exit polling data followed by blitzed campaign ads one after the other; I figured what better day than today to sit in the dentist’s chair; couldn’t be much more painful than listening to the radio or turning on the television. Which ever politicians get elected won’t make much difference, the dentist will have cleaned out my wallet first.

Photograph courtesy of
Flavio Massari, after searching for a stock photo in my own files all I could find was a picture of an antique dentist’s drill; no thank you, that’s how they got the other folks to vote for Hillary.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Happy Little Mountain

Years ago there was a show with Bill Alexander, the Happy Little Painter Show. I was fascinated with how quickly he could scatter colors on a canvas and come up with a great landscape scene. I enjoyed his extemporaneous comments during the painting session; some may have been the result of his not having had adequate couch time at the therapist or a few too many tilted elbows near the Jack Daniels. In either case he was a joy to watch and to listen to. After he left the show was taken over by an equally talented painter; but the loss of an inebriated Bavarian’s babblings left out a key element of my enjoyment and I quit watching.

Here’s a sample of my work from back then, a direct result of the Bill Alexander technique for turning wanna-be painters into happy little painters. The fellow in the boat is supposed to be my father in law.

Trackback Spam

I just noticed where some perverts had used Haloscan’s Trackback function to further their “unusual social interactions”. I erased at least twenty or so links to sites with some rather disgusting substance. I hope that none of my regular readers were damaged by these attacks and I apologize for not having caught this sooner. I have no desire to advertise for “mature nuns in the nude, Asian cartoon sex or black gay partners. Hopefully the filter ban which I put in place will catch these before they are placed in the trackback link section.

I have enough trouble being a white male conservative who listens to the Rush Limbaugh show without adding to the list.

Texas Independence Day

March 2, 1836 marked the signing of Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. This year it happens to fall during Go Texan Week here in Houston so I thought I’d take a few moments on the subject. Friday all the trail riders made their way into town from all over Texas and even as far away as New Mexico. Yesterday was the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade through downtown, today I wore my Texas “goin’ to church” tie that Lucy gave me and had a friend take my picture prior to going to my meetings. I picked the wrong shirt to wear and couldn’t button the neck or it would strangle me so I left it open; probably Texas pride made the neck swell just a mite.

I wrote on the idea of being Texan before and you just don’t see folks sportin’ their State of Ohio tie; perhaps a Buckeye tie in support of their team, just not the same. We have fans for the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and any other great school here in Texas; but that’s different than the natural pride of being a Texan.

I’ll give you an example; right now I’m finishing off some spaghetti left over from last night’s date; Lucy and I went to a place called Zios, on I-45 across from Tom Peacock Nissan where I’d made keys for that 1984 Cutlass earlier. I didn’t want to take a chance on getting any red sauce on my Texas tie so it’s tucked carefully inside the seam of my white shirt which makes no sense. Most folks would cover the white shirt and consider the tie secondarily; but they would be from some place like Hawaii and probably could care less about the shirt or the tie.

Now I know some folks up in Colorado aren’t too keen on Texans. I heard one of them ask if I knew the difference between a dead skunk in the road and a dead Texan in the road. “There’d be skid marks in front of where the skunk was hit.” No, I don’ think he thought too highly of Texas; just envious I’m sure.

Then there was an old Texan went to the local church and asked to join. The preachersaid, “OK, but you have to pass a small Bible test first.”

The first Question is, “Where was Jesus born?” The man answered, “Longview.”

The preacher said, “ can’t join our church.”

Soooooo....he went to another church and asked to join. The preacher said, “We would love to have you, but you have to pass a Bible test first. Where was Jesus born?” The man said. “Tyler.” The preacher said, “ can’t join our church.”

Soooo....he goes to another church and asks, to join.

The preacher said, “That’s great; we welcome you with open arms.”

The man said, “I don't have to pass no Bible test first?” The preacher said, “No.”

The man said, “Can I ask you a question?”

The preacher said, “Sure.”

The man said, “Where was Jesus born ?”

The preacher said, “Palestine.”

The man mumbled to himself, “I knew it was in East Texas somewhere.”

I got an email from my friend Richard Sutton listing various points of interest regarding Texas which I’ll use to finish off my thoughts. There’s a line in there, you’ll see it again a little further down that sums it up. “In every man, woman and child on this planet, there is a person who wishes just once he could be a real live Texan and get up on a horse or ride off in a pickup.”

Have you ever looked at a map of the world?

Look at Texas with me just for a second. That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast, and the Red River and the Rio Grande is as much a part of you as anything ever will be.. As soon as anyone anywhere in the world looks at it they know what it is. It's Texas.

Pick any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a picture of Texas in the dirt and he'll know what it is. What happens if I show you a picture of any other state? You might get it maybe after a second or two, but who else would? And even if you do, does it ever stir any feelings in you?

In every man, woman and child on this planet, there is a person who wishes just once he could be a real live Texan and get up on a horse or ride off in a pickup.

There is some little bit of Texas in everyone.

Did you ever hear anyone in a bar go, " you're from Iowa? Cool, tell me about it"? Do you know why? Because there's no place like Texas.

Texas is the Alamo. Texas is 183 men standing in a church, facing thousands of Mexican nationals, fighting for freedom, who had the chance to walk out and save themselves, but stayed instead to fight and die for the cause of freedom. We send our kids to schools named William B. Travis and James Bowie and Crockett and do you know why? Because those men saw a line in the sand and they decided to cross it and be heroes. John Wayne paid to do the movie himself. That is the Spirit of Texas.

Texas is Sam Houston capturing Santa Ana at San Jacinto.

Texas is huge forests of Piney Woods like the Davy Crockett National Forest.

Texas is breathtaking mountains in the Big Bend.

Texas is the unparalleled beauty of bluebonnet fields in the Texas Hill Country.

Texas is the beautiful, warm beaches of the Gulf Coast of South Texas.

Texas is the shiny skyscrapers in Houston and Dallas.

Texas is world record bass from places like Lake Fork.Texas is Mexican food like nowhere else, not even Mexico.

Texas is the Fort Worth Stockyards, Bass Hall, the Ballpark in Arlington and the Astrodome.

Texas is larger-than- life legends like Michael DeBakey, Denton Cooley, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Janis Joplin, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Landry, Darrell Royal, Joe Davis, Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Nolan Ryan, Sam Rayburn, George H.W.Bush, Lyndon B.Johnson, George W. Bush.

Texas is great companies like Dell Computer, Texas Instruments, Compaq, Lockheed Martin Areospace, Home of the F-16 Jet Fighter and the JSF Fighter.

Texas is NASA.

Texas is huge herds of cattle and miles of crops.

Texas is skies blackened with doves, and fields full of deer.

Texas is a place where towns and cities shut down to watch the local High School Football game on Friday nights and for the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, and for the night in Old San Antonio River Parade in San Antonio.

Texas is ocean beaches, deserts, lakes and rivers, mountains and prairies, and modern cities.

If it isn't in Texas, you probably don't need it.

Texas even has its own power grid!

No one does anything bigger or better than it's done in Texas.

Our state capitol building is the only one in the country that is taller than the capitol building in Washington, D.C. and we can divide our state into five states at any time if we wanted to! We included these things as part of the deal when we came on. That's the best part, right there.

By federal law, Texas is the only state in the U.S. that can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. flag. Think about that for a second. You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland, California, or Maine and your state flag, whatever it is, goes at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in front of Pine Tree High in Longview or anyplace else at 20 feet, the Lone Star flies at the same height - 20 feet. Do you know why?

Because Texas is the only state that was a republic before it became a state.

Y’all have a good day and figure out a way git here. As my friend Stan Ellis would say, “Any time you wake up in Texas it’s a great day.”