Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thanks to John and Milly Sloan of England for sending Carolyn and me some cd's that belonged to John's brother Ken, whom died just recently. They gave me five Stevie Ray Vaughn discs, and Carolyn has one by the super-foxy Emmylou Harris singing duets with various other singers, and one by John Prine whom is a terrific song writer and poet, but is lacking in the vocal department. Fortunately for my ears, he has some duets with real singers on the cd.

Thanks again, you two! We shall always think of you, and especially Ken, when we listen to the music.
Exxon Mobil Corporation is showing an $11.68 billion profit for the second quarter of this year. My, my; who would have thought it?
642,233 is the number of cars owned and operated by the US government, costing taxpayers $3.4 billion last year.
John McCain is proud of the campaign cutthroating he is doing, especially the important issue of comparing Barack Obama to a couple of celebrity floozies. and stating that Obama is playing politics with the race issue. I didn't know there was a race issue. There is, however, a strong "Jerk" issue, and both jerks are attempting to trump each other in "the American voters are stupid" game. Maybe we will show them just how dumb we are and elect one of them!

By the way, I've decided I just may vote. I know; I swore I wouldn't unless an honest man comes along. Well, one has! I just might do a write-in vote for for a tell-it-like-he-sees-it Harry S Truman type. "Fellow distinguished delegates, I place in nomination the name of the only man I know of whom is qualified for the high office of President of these here United States! Yankeepez of Florida!" Mark, I think know you are the man! You are the only one whom is pessimistic enough not to promise anything except doing it the best you can. Pez for Prez! I go Pez! Pez in '08; prosperity in '09! Well maybe in '10!
I posted a photo of an onion (yes, I am a freak) on Flickr last evening, then gave its Last Rights, and Carolyn fried it up with some potatoes. It was delish! The bad part: There has been only one person in the history of history whose farts can excite the senses more than my lovely bride's. My best friend from the 70's was black belt and exalted master at butt stench. He could peel paint off a Porsche at 10 yards! Grass died in his presence! Lighted cigarettes burned like a fuse! The man was that good! We whom knew and loved him miss him and his emissions very much. Now for a strong second place master of macabre misery. To say Carolyn had the room stinking last night is a big understatement! She can puke a buzzard off a gut wagon. She can gag a maggot. She had no meat to eat last night, but she did have green beans and creamed-style corn to go with the potatoes and onions. The lack of meat rotting and churning away in her intestines probably saved my life. Even at that, I had no nose hair when I finally made my escape at 7:00 am. My eyebrows were wilted and hanging across my eyelids. My eyelashes were matted with a greenish looking jello-like material. The inside of my mouth was raw and I had swallowed my tongue. When I stepped outside on the porch, the fresh air brought me to my knees as my seared lungs fought with oxygen atoms in an all out war of life or death. I became extemely nauseated and threw up my tongue. Then it was over. I showered in the other bathroom and went about my day as I normally do. See, this happens at least once a week, and has been doing so for at least the past twenty years. I am used to it! I expect it! But for heaven's sake, I don't like it. The first one of you whom informs on me to Carolyn that I wrote this, well, just think of what all I can write about you! I put it down here near the bottom hoping that if she does start to read the blog, she will get bored before she gets this far.
JJ called his best friend and he is ok. They had to send four more people from Greenville to Illinois to help oversee the work. He may be home Saturday.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tipton-Haynes Farm, site of the 1788 Battle
for the Lost State of Franklin.

Barack Obama says John McCain sees the country as being on the right track! It is going to be the same old crap from both candidates; attacking each other instead of the the enormous problems that confront the nation and the world.
W signed into law his pet piece of legislation that bails out the home loan industry, but leaves the homeowners up the creek. It was another Democratic congressional sellout to the whiny-assed, fat-cat Republicans. What happened to all the progress the Democrats promised the voters in the 2006 elections? SOLD OUT! They did get the minimum wage raised, but it won't come close to covering the price of gasoline, much less the cost of living.

Provide me with an honest politician in either party that has the betterment of this country as his agenda, and I will provide him a vote. Until then, screw all of them! I will not vote for the lesser of two evils, as that particular philosophy will only compound the misery in which this country has placed itself. "Lesser of two evils!" What a hell of a way to elect a president.
Again W is bashing the Democratic Congress over offshore oil drilling. His own Republicans refused to allow such drilling during his first six years in office, now it blames the Democrats. He would rather take a big gamble on further polluting the seas than do what it takes to conserve and not have to use the reserves. A conserving conservative... that is an oxymoron if I ever said one! I smell Dick Chaney all over this one! Did these people's mommas raise them to be such assholes?
Do you think W would like for one good thing to happen that he can take credit for before he slinks out of Washington DC and takes his stink with him back to Crawford Texas? Maybe a Mid-East peace deal of some kind? Or a sudden upturn in the economy? He doesn't care one way or another! Sure, it would give all his bleak years something of a momentary sparkle, but as far as caring what happens in the world or to hard working Americans; he doesn't! His agenda has been fulfilled. He has made the Republican Party and its shareholding benefactors very wealthy. Hell, they were wealthy beyond our comprehension to begin with, and now a big part of them have become the new Super Rich. My personal opinion: The events of September 11 2001 were the best things that ever happened to or for him. He and Chaney are oilmen, and now look at the price and profit of oil!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Boone Lake Saturday night

As we were people watching and awaiting sundown at Watauga Lake last evening, Carolyn offhandedly said as she looked out across the wide water, "I wonder if there are any sharks in there?". I thought it over for a moment, then I told her I didn't know, but there probably aren't. There are times to keep one's mouth shut. Fortunately, she doesn't read this blog or even look at my Flickr photos.
I read where Obama got selected president in Germany. Well, that is a good start, I suppose. I wonder how he would fare in Iraq or with our dear friends the Saudis?
The in-fighting is getting good in the Democratic presidential circus. Jealous Jesse Jackson versus Badass Barack Obama is making some news. The Reverend Al Sharpton is refereeing, but seems to be siding with Jackson. See it all on pay-per-view for only $49.95.

Does anyone know what the hell the Right Reverend Jessee Jackson does for a living? I've known of this man for many, many years, but all I ever see him do is stick his nose in somewhere. Not to say he hasn't helped in certain situations, but what exactly does he do to earn a living? I've always said that my biggest failure in life was not becoming a preacher and hitting the television and political trails as the permanent underdog. Maybe it isn't too late! Please send donations via PayPal and I will offer up a prayer for you. Sign your Social Security check and send it to me immediately. God wants you to do this, so don't take a chance on forever burning in the hellfire of Hades. Do it! Now!
I see where Ted Stevens, the long time Republican Senator from Alaska has been indicted for concealing loot and stealing money from the the American taxpayers. Wonder what kind of spin Fox News and Bill O'Reilly will put on that? Well, at least he didn't accept a blowjob form an intern!
Terrible thing the shooting in the Knoxville church. Some are blaming Rush Limburger and other right-wing extremists for the tragedy; I blame the wacko whom did the shooting. Limbaugh and his ilk are more into situation comedy than politics. They are laughable. I better shut my Liberal mouth before a sicko comes gunning for me.
A Flickr friend sent me an email early this afternoon saying he was being all shook up by an earthquake near Los Angeles. I told him to get outside immediately when he felt something like that, and that he could wipe his butt later. He is an old hand at those things, so he will more than likely be ok.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Carolyn and I visited Boone lake Saturday evening, hoping to get a night shot of a big and high-dollar house. Too much activity around the boat ramp where I needed to set up the tripod, with fishermen coming in with their boats, and game wardens checking each one for offenses, real and imagined. All but one boat that is. One guy in a fancy rig docked it, walked up the ramp drive to where the wardens were writing tickets, talked with them for a few minutes, got his truck, trailered his boat, and drove by the officers without being stopped. There always has been and always will be the privileged few whom are relatively unaffected by the rest of society.
Last evening, we drove up to Watauga Lake with the express purpose of getting a sunset photo across the water. I did just that, but before I left at about half-hour after the sun went behind the hills, I took a shot up the lake toward the north, and in my opinion, it was better than the ubiquitous sunset shots.
JJ got a job through a temp service at a furniture factory near Greenville, and after just three days, the company hired him on as a regular employee. Very unusual! Saturday afternoon, he received a phone call from the company headquarters in Quebec, Canada wanting to know if he was willing to ride with another employee to Champaign, IL to oversee the set up of furniture at The University of Illinois main campus' dorms. He left home at 9:30 am yesterday, and we haven't heard from him since. It is now 6:40 Monday evening.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saving Our Economy

How about this to kick-start the housing market and possibly send the USA economy to unprecedented heights.? The Chinese start building and exporting prefab homes and mobile homes to the USA. Not only that, but allow them to do the mortgages through their banks at two or three percent interest. They could probably send green card crews over to assemble the homes for a lot less money than our construction workers make. These crews would just seek political asylum here, you say? Not if they are violent felons from Chinese prisons. I don't think even W would allow them sanctuary as permanent residents.

This scenario would be a win-win situation from top to bottom. First, we wouldn't be using up our tree and mineral resources for construction, or have to import lumber and nails from Canada; the Chinese have much more than we. After all, they are communists and due to the fact that we don't like or trust Bolshevik types, using up theirs would expedite their demise.

Our banks would be forced to lower their interest rates and "fees" to match those of the Chinese lenders. With lower rates all the way around, manufacturing will increase and prices will fall thus pulling our economy from its doldrums.

Think of all our domestic oil that we use to make plastic siding for houses. It will no longer be needed for that purpose, and in the long run we will be more energy independent.

Another gain for us would be freeing up our skilled and well paid construction workers for other industries such as fast meal preparation, sales, and delivery, which is a more politically correct way of saying "working at McDonalds"! This will be a boon to the Chinese economy, too. It means our workers will no longer be able to afford quality goods, but will have to buy any cheap and shoddy thing the Reds send us.

In the end, we will have affordable houses to live in and jobs in the service and manufacturing industries. Our manufacturers will have to lower their quality control to nil, but most of them aren't too damned good anyway. For our factories to successfully compete, workers will be required to give up those frivolous days of money and time wasting called paid vacations, paid holidays, and paid sick leave.

We are Americans; we can do this!

See! I can write an article without being cynical!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Gotta love the video man's shirt!

The price of regular gasoline fell twelve cents from yesterday, the biggest one day drop since after the Katrina disaster, to $3.76 at the nearby Sunoco. W has everything under control and the country is headed in the right direction.
I don't like to lose friends—true friends that is—for any reason. Online friends are important, as well as the flesh and blood ones I can see. I have had many very good friends over the years, but to my great sorrow, most of them have died. I have only one left from back in the day, and she is true-blue as they come. Thanks, Alice.

Maybe I'm a jinx. Fred, Jerry, Brenda, and Steve all were two or more years younger than me, but are now gone. Alice is almost my age, so maybe that makes her immune to my jinxicity. Jinxicity! When you are my age you can use any word or non-word you like. Young people whom do such may be called morons, but I am just an old moron, and being old makes it allright.
I'm one of the worst people in the world to hang labels on others, but I really detest the ones government, insurance companies, and ad agencies expect me to endure. Golden years! Bullshit! That is one of the worst handles to hang on me. I ain't seen one damn golden thing about becoming deaf, losing my hair, getting up three times each night to piss, or becoming forgetful. I can no longer trust a fart. If I don't immediately use one of my rare hardons, it may be days or weeks before another comes rising in my bloomers!

What the hell is with Senior Citizen? How the crap did I miss all my Sophomore Citizen and Junior Citizen years? Oh yeah, now I remember! I got stoned and I missed them, but dammit, I ain't no senior of no kind.

Rocking chair years! Damn, I gave Alice the only rocking chair I ever owned more than 30 years ago. Alice, being you are a senior citizen in your golden years, are you rocking?

Give us a break! It is bad enough having the people whom you love and care for dieing around you with an increasing and alarming frequency. It is bad enough to worry about your forever deteriorating health. These smiling and semi-youthful looking old people you see on the television commercials are at best fakes—and more likely—freaks. They want to sell you another chance at a bit of youth.

Call me a geezer or and old fart; that's okay with me because that is what I am. Call me for my next prostate exam, because I will likely forget it. Don't call me a Senior Citizen or tell me I am in my "Golden Years", unless you want this cane up side of your junior citizen head.


Cynic? Hell yes!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

McCain MacAfied

If John McCain becomes president of the USA, will everyone and everything in the Executive Branch be MacAfied similar to McDonald's? Will he want to be called Mr. MacPresident, or be referred to as the BigMac? Of course he shall have a MacCabinet around him with MacAdvisers, much like a MacBurger has MacFries, and each of these MacInsiders will have his own MacStaff whom will be peppered about like MacSalt. The MacCabinet will be required to attend morning MacBriefings wearing MacRonald McDonald clown MacSuits, and lower MacStaff MacMembers will wear MacHamburglar MacOutfits.

McCain must have a MacOval Office and a MacBlue Room, and press MacConferences will be held in the MacPress briefing MacRoom. He will have a MacHot line to every MacLeader in the MacWorld. His MacFinger will always be near the MacButton that can launch MacNuclear MacDestruction upon our MacEnemies. How MacPissed is he at the MacVietnamese MacGovernment and the MacPeople therein whom MacTortured him for MacYears?

Will he force a MacBill through MacCongress that recognizes McDonald's as the MacOfficial MacEating establishment for the good old MacUSA? Will there be a McDonald's franchise on the aircraft carrier MacRonald MacReagan?

As I MacWrite this, McCain has yet to decide on MacWhom shall be his MacRunning MacMate. He may choose MacSomeone—possibly a MacWoman—from the MacEast, because of the high MacVoter count there, and having a MacWoman aboard the MacElephant MacExpress should help close the MacGender MacGap, and pull in some MacMinorities whom are MacLeery of MacO MacBama.
I tried spell checking the above, but the checker went haywire. A portent of the McCain administration maybe!?

Super-size my MacHappy MacMeal!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Riding In Cars

The oldest car I've ever had a chance to ride in was a 1933 Plymouth sedan. My dad owned it in the late 1940's, and after riding a Greyhound bus with my mom to Detroit where my dad worked, I had the dubious pleasure of riding the backseat of the Plymouth all the way back to Tennessee. It wasn't very comfortable.

The most "what the hell?" car I ever rode in was a 1957 Chevy convertible. This was in 1963, and there was nothing wrong with the car itself. My cousin bought it, and not being satisfied with the "top 40" AM music that was available at the time, he invested in a record player "designed" for an automobile. Any youngsters reading this may not remember vinyl records, but suffice it to say they were easily scratched and ruined. The unit played 45's one at a time; not a record changer.

It was mounted under the dash in a housing that was rubber and foam rubber dampened to keep vibration to a minimum. The tone arm with the pick-up needle was attached so that the cover for the unit held it in place with downward force, yet it was free to follow the grooves in the record. To operate it, you pulled the unit forward on gliders, much like a kitchen drawer slides open. You then raised the cover, placed the record over a very short spindle, closed the lid, and turned it on. It was transistorized and had its own tinny sounding speaker. To say the least, it didn't work well. In fact, the final thing in the instruction booklet said it was best to use the unit when the car was parked. Riding along, it would withstand small bumps on paved roads, but the ubiquitous gravel roads of the day were out of the question. The tone arm applied so much pressure to the record that it was good for only a few plays before it was worn out. After my first ride with "Bull" and his record player, I told him the man that invented the contraption was the second stupidest man in the world; I didn't have to tell him whom was the most stupid. The most pleasure we got out of it was when riding on a concrete road, he would get the car to a speed where the clack-clack-clack-clack of the tires crossing the road's expansion joints would keep time with the beat of the music. We were either poking along with the likes of Sam Cooke and Kitty Wells, or whizzing down the pike with Chuck Berry or Joe Bennett and the Sparkle Tones. We were hated every where we went!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sad Truth

Roan Highlands in background

There's one sad truth in life I've found

While journeying east and west -

The only folks we really wound

Are those we love the best.

We flatter those we scarcely know,

We please the fleeting guest,

And deal full many a thoughtless blow

To those who love us best.

--Ella Wheeler Wilcox


After the end of WWII, we were pressured by a generation whom lived through a depression era (caused by greed) to live the "American Dream". We were taught to better ourselves at every turn in our lives. Get a steady job in a mill or factory, buy a car, get married and have a family and most of all, buy a house. A lot of us followed that doctrine to the letter.

Our parents didn't learn one damn thing from all those years of depression poverty except that having money to buy things is better than being poor and sometimes hungry. They didn't stop to realize that money is what makes a person poor. Our problem now is that we have never had to do without for very long, if ever.

I've never been hungry in the sense that I had very little to eat and the prospects of having food were at best an illusion. I am happy, because my elected government, financial institutions, and ad agencies say that I am.

I am in debt up to the topmost gray hair on my thinly populated head. I'm happy! I am nearly 64 years old and get credit card offers in the mail on a near daily basis. That makes me happy. There is no way I can ever pay off my creditors, and in a short time--dead or alive--I plan to turn my back on all those wise institutions.
That makes me ecstatic! They know now and knew when they trusted me with all the credit that my income was from government dole.

They and I must reap what we have sown.
Just read an obit telling that an old neighbor from my youth has died. George "Tootie" Keys passed away in Monroe, Michigan. Tootie was one of those characters in life that we never forget. He had tales to tell, and told them well.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Roan

Roan ascent

Yesterday Carolyn and I went back to the Roan for a bit of reprise from the heat, where it was probably about ten degrees cooler than in the valley. We paid out three bucks and went to the picnic area near the gardens. We sat around for a couple hours, then went back down the mountain and turned back on the road that goes to the Miller homestead. It is an old farmhouse with outbuildings that are being lived in, used, and preserved. You can descend to the house on a bunch of steps if you are physically able. It all belongs to the US government.

When we left there, we rode the short distance to the top of that mountain where the Miller family cemetery is located at the corner of an open field. Just below the graveyard is a wooden overlook platform that gives a good view of the Roan Highlands if the air is clear, which yesterday it wasn't.

We parked in the shade near the cemetery, and for more than an hour, we enjoyed the serene quietness of that beautiful place.

Carolyn did all the driving yesterday, and when we left the Roan area, she decided the day was still young enough for some more auto-mountaineering. She drove through the town of Roan Mountain and turned onto the road that goes to the Buck Mountain area. After several miles of ascent, she turned onto Walnut Mountain Road, which has three ways out that I know of. One is through Dennis Cove to Hampton, another outlets at Fish Springs community on Watauga Lake, and the third comes out at Elk Mills near the North Carolina border. She chose the latter because of a little church that sits on the mountainside. It has been abandoned for many years, but we found that someone had installed new doors and windows on the main floor, and was cleaning up the vandal damage in the basement. I took pictures there last fall, and a few more yesterday.

By the time we got off the hills, Carolyn was worn out and had a backache. She was glad to get home after a 10 hour day, a big part of which was spent driving crooked mountain roads.

I shot nearly 250 photos; digital film is cheap! Of that number, I may have ten percent that are suitable for sharing here or on Flickr.
My dear old friend Mouse has bestowed a new nickname on me which I like very much. From now on, y'all can call me "Precious"! Mouse tries to get under the skin whenever possible, but he knows I am immune to his needles!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Iraq! Love it or leave it

Yankeepez has me thinking again; he does that a lot. I am thinking of John McCain's extension of Bush's plan to keep troops in Iraq for a long, long time.

Should we leave? When should we leave?

The reason I was very anti-war to begin with—other than it is morally wrong to attack a sovereign nation just because our president doesn't like their president—has to do with the complicated political and economic realities of the region. Show me one person or any group of persons whom say they are Middle-East experts, and I will show you one liar or a group of liars. Sure, there are a few people whom know a lot about the region and its problems, but there is not a one that understands it well enough to say, "I know what is wrong and how to fix it".

The main fact is the people of the region, including Israel, don't want us there. We are seen as invaders and occupiers, and even worse, infidel invaders and occupiers. Do you understand Muslim religion and how it is interwoven into the lives of these people? Do you understand the history of the Gulf region? The Muslim religion is their lives! It is their history!

The only reason I can think of for still being in Iraq is to keep that nation's oil out of the hands of Muslim fundamentalists like those whom control Iran. Does Bush really want democracy in Iraq? No, but he does want the free flow of oil to keep coming to the big businesses that paid for his appointment and election.

If you don't like the price of gasoline now, you darned sure aren't going to like what comes when the US pulls out. Not only will the price skyrocket even compared to what it is doing now, but you will see the same supply situation we had during the oil embargo of 1973 when our good friends in Saudi Arabia cut us off. You remember the Saudis, don't you? The Muslim nation that gave us Osama Bin Laden and most of the 9/11 hijackers?

So we pay a price for the present administration's idiocy and greed. Either keep sacrificing our service people to the Holy Oil, or be prepared for this nation to grind to a near halt in its ability to do anything that is based on the use of imported oil.

No, I'm not for McCain's proposal to "win"; I know it can't happen unless we bomb the entire region back to the stone ages.* Nor am I for Obama's plan to pull most troops out in less than two years because I believe it will cause utter chaos and we will end up bombing the hell out of them anyway and have to return our service people to an even worse slaughter. Don't forget to look over your shoulder, because the biggest player of all in this situation isn't saying a lot right now. Instead, China is quietly buying and stockpiling all the oil that it can, using the money you spent for their cheap goods, a lot which were manufactured by an "impressed" prison labor force.

We have our selves in a lose-lose situation, and there is no 'lesser of two evils' here. I see no way out unless someone comes up with a miraculous and quick alternative to imported oil.

*To say the truth, I'm not entirely against bombing them into history, but it is unrealistic. I fear any kind of strong, religious uprising anywhere in the world. I fear that religion will eventually pull us all back to the stone ages. At the present, I am afraid of Christianity more than any other communal faith because it is so widespread and downright sneaky and hypocritical, but the thought of uncontrolled Muslim fundamentalism gives me chills in my spine.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Not a heck of a lot to talk about today. Carolyn looked at another job for a possible bid. That in itself is a rare thing these days. She used to bid on three-to-five jobs a month, now one every three months is exceptional. If she bids on this one, it will make the third this year. With inflation, companies are cleaning their offices using their own people. It saves money as long as no one gets injured while doing janitor chores, because these firms usually don't buy the expensive workman's comp. insurance. If a regular office employee incurs an injury while cleaning, the employer will not be insured and stands to be sued. If that happens, having a professional cleaning service would have been much cheaper and the cleaning in most cases is better done because the regular office employee doesn't want to be there after hours anyway.
I see where one of McCain's advisers has had to step down (fired!) because he called the rest of us "whiners" for complaining about the economy. He was telling the truth, and apparently we are being heard. How can anyone be more out of touch with real people than the Republican Party elite? It was President George W. Bush's fellow Texan and indigenous loud mouth ex-Senator Phil Gramm whom made the remark. He also said Americans are in a "mental recession" instead of an economic one. I bet that son-of-a-bitch hasn't been in a grocery store personally to buy food for his family in decades! What the hell does the stupid bastard know about an economy that working people have to deal with?! His economy is fine! He is wealthy, as are most of the Republican big-wigs. As puppets of big business, all they know how to do is shovel shit on our plates and and we've been pretty good at eating it for the past 40 years!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Politicking '08

We need a National Presidential Election. The media will shorten it to NPE. The Electoral College may have been a good system in 1800, but with speedy (sort of) national transportation and communications systems, it has become rather archaic, cumbersome, expensive, and as seen in 2000, not always reflecting or respecting the people's choice. If you were trying to get something done at city hall, would you rather know the man whom knows the MAN, or would you rather know the MAN himself? Most people would rather deal with the MAN personally, I think. Same way with voting. Would you rather vote for the candidate, or for someone else whom will cast a vote in your name? The later is the way our nation's voting system operates.

I believe The United States of America is the only country in the free world—or any world for that matter—that does not have a national election of any sort. We have the Red States of America and the Blue States of America, but no real United States of America in any sense when it comes time to elect the front man for all of us.

The Constitution of the United States, which I believe is the most important document ever to be written, treads a thin and narrow line—or maybe a better way to say it is a thin and narrow thread—between the rights of individuals and the duties of government. That fragile thread is what binds us as a free society. However, it is a thread that is flexible enough to allow for change. YOU are the person responsible for getting it changed. The American election system needs to be positively altered: One Person; One Vote, and each vote should count!

The wisdom of The Framers of the American Constitution boggles my mind. Newton, Einstein, da Vinci. et al. were geniuses, but The Framers were a collection of extremely wise geniuses. In just a short time and by working together, these men changed the world. Every freedom, however large or small that we enjoy today, including me being able to write this article uncensored, was proposed and fine tuned by these great individuals working as one*. If only the Electoral College worked this well!

*Actually, freedom of speech and freedom of the the press are parts of the First Amendment to the Constitution, but The Framers foresaw a need for change and wisely allowed for amendments.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

While out and about today, I saw a guy with whom I attended high school. He was driving a late model Corvette, white in color, wearing sunglasses, and looked very well for his age. He lives in an upsacle condo in an upscale part of this low scale town. Gated, tennis, pool; all the amenities that tells the world: 'Look at me! I've got mine!'.

I'm all for it. It is the manner in which he got "his" that perturbs me. His path to monetary gain came through some shady alleys. As far as I know, except for a couple of years immediately after graduating high school, he never worked a day in his life. Anything that is illicit in this town, he has been involved in. At least that is what I've been told by some of his friends. He has owned night clubs, bootlegged, imported and sold drugs, owned prostitutes, and operated betting and bookmaking services. Yet, he has never been caught or convicted of doing any major wrongs.

Yes, he got his, but many others lost theirs to his avarice. On the other hand, these unfortunate souls would have lost it to someone else had not this fellow been in the "entertainment" business.
While I was sitting on the porch this morning, two red-tailed hawks kept me entertained for about 15 minutes as they rode the air currents. I do believe that were having immense fun swooping and diving at each other. They flew in wide circles above me for most of the time, and only once did I see one flap his wings, and that was just for one stroke. They eventually disappeared over the southwest woods. At first sight, I thought they were buzzards, and as I hadn't showered yet, figured they were looking for me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Last evening's sunset was spectacular. It began with some dark clouds in the west and then came multiple rays of cyan shooting from the cloud tops across the darker blue sky. Next was the orange, fringed with yellows and reds. Cloud tops turned from dazzling white to orange in just minutes as the sun dropped lower toward the horizon and the rays disappeared as the oranges became brighter. Colors and shades played across the sky from zenith to western horizon, before slowly fading into dusk. Did I get any good photos of these sublime happenings? No; not a one. Why? I didn't want to leave the show for a moment to walk the 30 feet to get my camera.
John McCain says we are doing so well in Iraq that we need to use the same strategies in Afghanistan. Woof!
W says the US financial system is "basically sound". Arf Arf Arf!
W's Fed chairman says the economy is "fragile". Woof Arf!
We're going to the dogs! Sorry about that, dogs!
Got a little bit of writing accomplished today. On one story, I have a beginning and a fairly decent end, and some of the body is finished except for editing. It is very difficult to get anything going when there is porch sitting to be done. Squirrels demand attention, birds sing, and the sun shines. Sometimes even an old curmudgeon like myself gets a bit of enjoyment that brings a smile.

Monday, July 14, 2008

These are the latest California wildfire statistics:

Peak Fires: 1,781
Contained: 1,493
Active: 288
Acres: 839,343
Personnel Committed: 21,255
Resources Committed:
Engines: 1,513
Crews: 482
Dozers: 227
Water Tenders: 391
Helicopters: 120

This is a situation that must have had human involvement in setting some of the fires.
Ken Sloan, my friend John Sloan's brother, was laid to rest today near his home in England. I hope John and the family will soon find peace and tranquility. He was a musician, and when John discovered his body, Ken's head was lying against his favorite guitar. If it had to be, that's the way for it to be.
John McCain says he'll keep the war "effort" alive if elected. Barack Obama says he'll keep using tax dollars to fund private parochial schools. Both of these programs are children of a clouded Bush brain. W has done exactly nothing right since appointed nearly eight years ago, so why should anyone want to continue supporting blatant failures which don't fit the Constitution as I read it. In McCain's case, he is a warmonger trained in warfare and an ex-military officer. Overall, he is more than likely a good man... as politicians go. We don't need good men; we need honest and wise men. Obama is just plain ignorant of what the United States is all about and what it was intended to be, much like W is ignorant of everything except money.

Remember Ronald Reagan, the so called "great communicator"? He is touted by Republicans as being one of America's great presidents. Iran-Contra was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the shennigans of the 1980's presidents. Reagan was one of America's most corrupt presidents, but not nearly as much as W. The misdeeds of the past five Republican presidents easily trump a Democratic blowjob, yet the consentual sex act was seen by all Republicans and most Americans as worthy of impeachment; not the fact that Clinton lied about it, but the act itself by two adults in the privacy of one of the involved party's homes. Republicans had to have the impeachment score back in their favor, only one ot their grand old party (Nixon) versus two of the low-life Democrats (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton). That is American politics and is exactly what you will be voting for when you go to the polls. So when the time comes, get out there and vote! Continue the sorry mess we are in. Or stay home in protest! Some shithead is still going to be elected with or without you. Seriously think about it. I may be wrong, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thanks all whom viewed my window photo and read my words on Flickr, and for all the great comments.
I have been remiss by not mentioning a blog which I regularly read. Maggie, another Flickr friend has a site called My Garden, in which she chronicles the things that are important to her, including her flowers, her daily activities (sometimes) and she posts most of her photos there before they ever get to Flickr. She is a super person, one of Flickr's best photographers, and she has taught me a lot with her suggestions and comments on my poor attempts at using a camera. She is recently back from a Russian river cruise, and has brought us some wonderful photos, even though she was ill some of the time. She even managed to get picked by a Bolshevik pickpocket. is a link to her blog. It is also on the sidebar of this blog. Please visit her and the other links I have listed on the sidebar.
If you are planning on voting this year, and for the life of me I can't understand why you would, I hope you are the only person nationwide that shows up at the polls and casts a ballot. There is a 50-50 chance the vote will be miscounted. Whomever you should choose to be the leader of the "free world" will make little difference to the status quo. The two potential candidates are a two-headed coin, or maybe a better description would be a two-headed snake, although that is very disparaging to the world of reptiles. Believe me: The truth ain't in them! Power and Glory are their goals and if any good for the country should come from either of them, you can bet your hanging chad it is unintentional. So go ahead and vote! I want to be able to say 'I told you so'!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Carolyn and I drove to the markets on 107 this afternoon. Local produce is coming in pretty well, but some things like melons are still being transported from South Carolina. It will be at least another month before those delicious Chuckey River cantaloupes and watermelons come in. After the market, we went on to Horse Creek campgrounds and sat around in that superb mountain setting for an hour or so.
My Flickr friend yankeepez has started his own blog and he is calling it Iconic Rambler. I believe if you care about the negative direction this country has taken in the past few years, you will want to read his words. He may step on our collective toes, but it won't be done with malice. He is the opposite of a Bushite Patriot, because he loves this nation and not the wealth its privileged citizens amass.
Here is the link to his blog:
The link is also on the sidebar of this blog, so you have no excuse for not visiting him! I'm sure he would love to read comments on his thoughts, so drop by and say hello.

Friday, July 11, 2008

For the first time since I've been on Flickr, I spoke with one of my contacts by telephone. I had to crank the volume up high because of my poor hearing (what isn't poor about me?) I missed some words, but we were able to carry on a bit of a conversation. Kim probably thinks I'm an idiot. She was coming to Jonesborough for the Music on the Square that the town has each Friday night in summer. I had plans for Carolyn and me to go meet her, but I am just too sore to walk the short distance. Possibly we can meet her before she leaves in the morning. She is a mighty sweet young lady and a very talented photographer.
If there is one "first rule of photography", I believe it is "Get the shot!". If you have your camera set for the general ambient (is that redundant?) conditions, or carry it set for auto exposure, you should be able to get some kind of photograph; something good enough to work with in an editor.
My second rule is "don't blow the highlights". If possible, meter for the light shaded areas and then meter for the dark shades. Set the exposure in between, weighting toward the highlight side of the coin, and you should be ok. After you make the correct shot, bracket two more around it; one from one-half to one stop lower and one with similar settings to the high side.

Occasionally, I think to do these things!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Carolyn went to the Social Security office today to see how much she could draw if she retires, and to see if she might draw more off of me. After all these years of working and paying twice as much into her SS retirement account than do most people, she will draw barely enough to pay for the different medications she is now taking. For her, retirement is out of the question.
I suppose some people got too much, and some got too little, but this morning's rain event was sure welcome. I haven't seen it rain that much or that long in several months. We never got that much rain for the entire summer last year. The drought still remains, though. Supposed to rain again come Sunday.
I will get my methotrexate shot tomorrow, and I hope it isn't my last visit to Dr. deWit's office. I won't be smiling when I go, and don't expect to be happy when I leave, either.
The new story is coming along, but it likes a lot being ready for first edit.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008
The photos at above link will illustrate the downtown flooding better than I can describe it. This was yesterday's storm aftermath. These buildings could be housing thriving business if the Johnson City Development Authority had wanted it so. Instead, they focused on and wasted money in the "Core" area, from Fountain Square to just beyond Roan Street, a total of one lousy city block of buildings. Years ago, the JCDA had huge fountains put in place around old Fountain Square, hoping to retrieve some of the charm of a bygone era. They were ugly concrete fountains that hardly ever worked and were constantly leaking. The only time they looked good was when vandals poured detergent in them. Lovely bubbles, I'll say! Within the past year, two of the three have been removed, and the other one is not located within the "square" itself, but just south of the main part.
I may as well shut up about the situation because JCDA rules the downtown roost, and whatever they want they eventually get, one way or another.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Here is a bit more of the story I'm writing. This is totally unedited, but I'm having fun writing it.

When enough dust had settled so they could see what was what, the passenger door opened and a voice from somewhere near the steering wheel exclaimed "Boys y'all lookin' for work? I got a couple day's worth if you want it. Don't pay much but the eatin' is fine, and you two look like you could enjoy a good supper".

As Al stepped toward the open door, a long squirt of tobacco spit from inside the truck cab almost hit his shoe. He gingerly stepped around the fast disappearing mud as it sank into the thirsty roadside dust.

"Yessir, we lookin' for some work. We'll take most anything, and that supper will be welcome." He paused, trying to see into the cab through the now rapidly thinning cloud. "Me or Buster neither one ain't got much cookin' skill, and prepared vittles would be a godsend."

"Toss your bindles in the back and climb in the cab with me."

The man waited for them to be seated, with Al riding shotgun. Buster automatically moved his knee over so the man could push the shifter into low gear. He eased the clutch and the truck motor growled as it pulled them away.

"I'm on my way to town. I'll get you boys a cold soda pop and a baloney sandwich to hold you over 'til the missus gets supper ready."

As they bumped along the dirt and gravel road, they were making "weather talk" and sizing each other up from the corners of their eyes.
I don't know how much longer I can work on this story, or anything else for that matter. I may have to go off the methotrexate shots and I can't much function without them. Pain, soreness, and extreme stiffness cause me to stay in bed most of the time when I'm without the medicine. Hate to leave my present doctor because I've been with her for more than 14 years, but things change, and at my age, it is usually for the worse.

Monday, July 07, 2008

My most profound accomplishment this day was to print paychecks.
Started a new short story for the first time in nearly a year. It felt good to write some hillbilly dialogue and begin forming new characters to take on old rolls. Making characters come to life is a major challenge for most fiction writers. The best way to do it is do it everyday. Soon, the writer will see the nuances that differentiate the players. He will feel the swagger of the antagonistic bully and he will feel the angst of the protagonist when his girl takes up with another guy. A writer must be able to live each role in his mind. I was never good at it, because I can't leave the characters alone; I am constantly changing them and small changes can lead to big consequences. If I was smart, I would follow Ernest Hemingway's advice and that is to get the players in character early on, and then spend the rest of the story writing the story. If I was smart.

Others say build the characters slowly; allow the reader to get to know them and either hate or love them. I've done it both ways, but I just am not a good character maker. I am at my best writing the story.

To finish the story, I will have to take some time off from Flickr. God, how they'll miss me! Not too likely to miss me much, I'm glad to say.

This story is one of my rare ones not built upon something that happened in my life years ago. I will be making it up entirely as I write, and it will require heavy editing from the get-go. I won't have any old acquaintances to build on, so each character will be new to me, but I have to convince the reader (wishful thinking) that I and each of the players are part of one another.

The following is one of my favorite quotes from what I've written so far. This is from the main player as he and his buddy come upon some RR tracks while walking a lonely country road:

"There's a perfect world somewhere down them tracks, but you and me Buster; we just don't fit nowhere in perfect. We best git a walkin'."

I have to convince you to read it like Bogart would say it if Bogart were a hillbilly, and as if you never heard of Bogart.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I saw an article in the local rag this morning that piqued my interest a bit. The city has hired another "fix downtown" consulting firm and the results are in: The flooding problem can be fixed for a mere ten million dollars. Actually not fixed, but alleviated to a great extent. Some city commissioners are just beside themselves with glee. Here, they have an opportunity to spend lots of money they don't have to wind up cutting corners and in the long run making things worse. At least this has been the result of many years of downtown revitalization.

If all the money that has been flushed down King Creek and Brush Creek for these "projects" had been wisely spent, downtown would be either a beautiful place to attract merchants and consumers, or it would have been razed and possibly turned into a municipal park. The latter would have been my choice if I had known that all the waste was going to happen.

Nothing good is going to come of any downtown plans until a comprehensive effort is made to do all that needs be done. Make a long range plan, do the work in phases and not haphazardly, and set a time line and adhere to it. Or raze it.

Curiously, the Johnson City Development Authority (JCDA) is not mentioned in the article. This sort of gives me the willies, because their stench is all over the place. My plan of action would be to merge the JCDA with the Johnson City Planning Commission, hire a city planner (preferrably an engineer) that knows how to get the job done, cure the flooding problem, make most of downtown off limits to traffic, at least parts of Main and Market streets, insist the State put an usable access and egress for I-26 into downtown, create parking for the public, even if it means parking garages, and give the old buildings a facelift without losing their charm. How much money? Over the lifetime of the project, more than a billion dollars; a lot more, most likely!

Or ... raze it!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

We arrived at Watauga Point before 8:30 yesterday morning, and secured a picnic table beneath a small shade tree close to the street and about mid-way in the grounds, but far away from the toilets. Our position in the crowd allowed us to do some people watching. By 10:30am, all the tables were taken, and folk were preparing to have a nice day of relaxation, togetherness with friends and family, and plenty of hot dogs and burgers. Very young and very old all shared the spirit of fun and national pride. Then it rained. Just a short shower that sent people scooting to their cars, but it soon was over for the morning, and the afternoon awaited. We were expecting the boat parade to begin around noon, but we had another think coming. At about 2:30pm, and after most folk had their stomachs full of outdoor-prepared treats and the sky was again threatening, the parade began. It was nice with boat horns blasting and the decks decked out in flags, banners, and bunting. Just not as many boats as usual, according to our neighbors. Within five minutes of the last boat passing, Thor decided his subjects had enough fun for one day, and he turned loose the lightning, thunder, and waves of rain.
Soon after arriving for the day's festivities, the Fed Forrest Rangers dropped in and placed envelopes on each car. These were to collect a $2 parking fee. They way I see it, the fee would in no way pay for the two Ranger's time, the gas the pickup truck and the SUV used, the printing of the envelopes, and all the other overhead costs of them being there. Therefore, my warped logic tells me the money is not for the Forestry Department; it is to support a war. It is nothing more than a war tax!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Dog Days begin tomorrow, and will last until August 11th. I think the government should declare the entire time as holidays.
Today was another day of do-nothings, and a lot of it is now accomplished. Sat or lay on the porch most of the day. No phone, no ipod (don't own one). Carolyn joined me for a while, but the heat soon ran her indoors. I had various birds to amuse me, including a red tailed hawk, a juvenile rabbit, one of the raccoons, and a host of squirrels.
Contrary to yesterday's propaganda, we may not go to Bay's Mountain Park this weekend. May go watch the boat parade Friday on Watauga lake. If we get there early, we should be able to find a picnic spot up around Rat Branch or maybe even Watauga Point. I would rather be at Watauga Point, because better looking chicks hang out there. I ain't too old to look!
I read where Mr. Obama favors extending Mr. Bush's aid to church run schools. Like I said before, they are all alike. May as well throw out what little is left of the constitution and allow George the Dense to stay in office as long as he wants. We can refer to him as George Mugabe.

Phooey on all of them!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Our spread at Dennis Cove Sunday last.
Carolyn is quite camera shy!

Been busy with end-of-quarter plus normal monthly tax and business stuff. Also, many bills have to be paid.
Thanks to all of you whom read this blog. I realize it isn't much as far as entertainment goes as of late—if ever it was—but it is pieces of my life.
We plan to go to Bay's Mountain Park in Kingsport this coming weekend, and I hope to get some good photos if there isn't much walking involved. Never been there, and a holiday may not be a prime time for a visit. It it becomes a no-go, we will probably drive some of the back roads down toward Rogersville and see what we can find.

Blog Archive