Friday, August 29, 2008



It seems yankeepez (Mark) and I are doing pretty good at predicting VP candidates. In his blog a while back, Mark surmised "If I had to pick for him I say Biden as VP" that Joe Biden would be the best candidate to run with Barack Obama. In this blog a while back, I said that "If McCain has sense enough to select a middle-of-the-road minority or woman outsider as his political help-mate, he should be a shoo-in as our next president".

I don't know about the shoo-in part, but this surely has the Obama people worried. If Sarah Palin is politically clean in her home state of Alaska, she can be a tremendous help in wooing women voters whom see Obama as too much show and not enough go.

The good:
  • She has a history of being her own woman and no one's patsy
  • She seems to be able to get things done, at least in Alaska. (I know; being second or even first in command for all of America is quite a step up from sparsely populated Alaska)
  • She talks the talk and walks the walk
  • She has a child with a major disability (not a good thing, but it does give her a lot of insight on problems the handicapped and disabled and their families face)
  • She has only two years experience in any kind of major political office
  • She has pissed-off people in both political parties
  • She is physically attractive, and that seems to be important to how much media coverage a candidate receives
  • She is no Dan Quayle
The bad:
  • She has a lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association, an organization to which a lot of women are flatly opposed
  • She has only two years experience in any kind of major political office
  • She is a proponent of breaking the constitutionality of separation of church and state
  • She opposes same sex marriage
  • She is for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and McCain is against it
  • Her husband works for British Petroleum
Of course all of these things aren't necessarily real bad or real good, but they are all going to be talked about a lot in the coming presidential marathon.

McCain's timing was perfect on this selection because it steals the thunder from the freshly invigorated Democrats, and gives him some needed momentum going into the Republican convention.

This is building up to be one hell of an election, but I still won't vote. None of the concerned parties running deserve to be in high office!
I was surprised this morning to find that the C.E.O. of Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Steve Ballmer had left a comment on one of my photos. Whatever his agenda is—if he has such on Flickr—I believe he will be fun to interact with.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Got up early and went to doc's office for the blood work, which turned out fine. I won't have this particular one done again for a month.
Ok, I've had enough rain for a while, drought or no drought! A spot of sunshine will be in order for tomorrow, and somebody better see that it happens! I did get to sit on the open side of the porch for a while today when the rain abated a bit. The squirrels were happy to see me.
Dad gum tv is working again! All summer long a tree limb and leaves has blocked reception of our satellite dish, and all summer long I didn't care. I can get local stations with rabbit ears, so what the heck! The dish—which I installed on the back porch all by little myself—has been in the same place for 10 years, so I can't really complain. Directv was supposed to come out Tuesday past and move the dish, but they called and said the rain would prevent it and we would have to call for another appointment. Carolyn did so, and the earliest they could get to us was to be the fifth of September. Not good enough, because Tennessee football begins Monday! Carolyn told them "No Thanks"! Later, they called back and asked if the work had been completed! I talked to a woman this time, and explained that we had been with them for 10 years, had never been late with a payment, and that I think they should be able to accomodate us. I also told her we would go back to the hated cable if they didn't, and I wasn't lieing to her. Comcast has a special this month where I can get a full year of tv for $25 per month. No contracts or gimmicks. I am paying Directv $70 per month and no premium services. She said she would see what she could do.

The service men showed up unannounced today, and put the ugliest satellite dish I have ever seen on the side of my house. It looks like an alien flying saucer has crash landed against the genuine plastic siding. Now I will have to buy a shrub to hide it; if I can find a shrub that is big enough.
Is the convention over? If so, whom won? Yep, not having tv has been a blessing, except I've missed Spongebob Squarepants.
Hey! The sun just popped out! I am outta here!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Beauty Spot, looking into North Carolina.

Happy Birthday, Brenda.
Brenda died in 2004, and would have celebrated her 60th birthday today.
We miss you!
Welcome back from paradise, Robin!
My friend Mouse, whom I've written about before, had a heart attack Saturday past. They put him in hospital and stuck a stent (stint) in him and he is back home. About seven or eight years ago, Mouse underwent successful surgery for lung cancer, and he was supposed to quit cigarettes. Maybe he will this time.
We've had more rain the past two days than is normal for the entire month of August. We needed it and a whole lot more. T.S. Fay may have caused problems in Florida, but it sure has been a blessing for us.
I have to go for more blood work in the morning. I think I have been pricked about enough.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Other than the Czarists and Bolsheviks wanting to kick some Capitalist ass, the biggest news today as far as I'm concerned is the untimely death of one of my favorite ex-NBA players. Kevin Duckworth died at age 44.
I saw several kids walking to the corner to catch the school bus, and each of them was wearing a backpack; actually they were large backpacks with enough storage space to tote tucker for a six month hike on the Appy Trail. Being big on investigating absolutely anything of little consequence, I asked the kids what they were carrying that was so heavy it caused them to lean forward for balance as they walked. In a nutshell, it seems they carry a lot of personal items, along with their school books and thin notebooks. Personal items were anything from a comb, a hanky or tissue pack, keys to their houses, snacks, lunch sandwiches and small cans of fruit or pudding, a tote-type rain poncho, small handheld electronc game devices, and even cell phones. Didn't see any weapons.

Back in the day, we carried our notebooks and school books in our hands, at least the ones of us that intended on doing homework did so. If we took our lunches to school from home, they were invaribly packed in brown paper bags, or "pokes" as we called them. We had no cups of fruit or pudding, nor did we carry ponchos. A small electronic device back then may have been a radio the size of a bread box, and it certainly wasn't portable. Most of us didn't have telephones in our homes, much less ones for our non-existent backpacks. All the boys—and some of the tom-boy girls—went armed. All the years I went to school, I never knew or heard of a kid cutting another kid with the folding pocket knives we carried. We traded them; we played mumblety-peg with them, and we would sometimes throw them at targets. We darned sure didn't consider them as being weapons of mass hysteria! As for the backpacks, not a one of us owned enough personal stuff to even half fill one of them.

"Yessir, these modern day kids just don't know how to live," sez this old geezer!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Walt Kelly

My mentor would have been 95 years old today. Bless your ever lovin' blue-eyed heart, Walt Kelly. Walt, a newspaper cartoonist, and his friend Pogo loved the political season leading up to the conventions, probably because Pogo himself usually was a candidate or a non-candidate candidate for the high office. Yes, Walt Kelly was a Democrat, but most of all he was a true-blue American. I don't think he would like the political shennigans that have gone on since his death in 1973.

I remember when he portrayed the Soviet Union's Nikita Khrushchev and Cuba's Fidel Castro as a pig and a goat. This was during the cold war when each of these gentlemen was plotting against the US of A. Many American news editors thought the the two might take it as an afront and declare war on us, so they temporarily or permanantly dropped the Pogo comic strips from their newspapers.

Here is a link to my last year's post and Walt's autobiography:
Obama selected a sure winner when he chose Biden as a running mate. Just what America needs to go with Barack's fresh blood approach and promises. Biden is one of the regulars and part of the same do-nothing Congress that helped or allowed the Bushies to get by with nearly destroying everything good this country stood for. If McCain has sense enough to select a middle-of-the-road minority or woman outsider as his political help-mate, he should be a shoo-in as our next president. I suppose though that he will follow the party barf and get a good ol' boy much like Biden or worse, a Bushie.
I've been reading some of O. Henry's short stories again. Most of them are online at:
I highly recommend them, and a good one to start with is: The Last Leaf.
We are getting a bit of moisture from TS Fay, but it is mostly in the form of cloudy skies, hot tropical stickiness, and a little drizzle.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Viewing southwest from Pleasant Garden.
Mt Mitchell, the highest peak east of the
Mississippi River can just barely be seen
in the center background.

Carolyn and I drove to Limestone Cove via the Rock House Road area, the Laurels, Siota, and 107. We turned onto Red Fork Road and drove to near the summit of Unaka Mountain at the old overlook called Pleasant Garden. We were up there on the final day of summer last year, but the view was mostly obscured by brush. This time was different. A lot of he brush has been cleared, and the view was spectacular; at least it would have been on a very clear day. The air was typical summertime hazy which made distance viewing difficult, but added its own beauty to the smokey mountains effect. There are no tables or picnic facilities there, so we made do by sitting in the Escape and eating sandwiches. Carolyn picked blackberries and I found some huckleberries for desert.

We left there and drove on over to the Beauty Spot, and it too had a lot of brush cleared and the view was pretty good considering the atmospheric conditions.
Carolyn could have gotten a lot more blackberries, but she was afraid a bear would get her.

The day was cool (according to Carolyn) and very windy atop the hills. The wind was from the south; probably from the Florida storm.

In the gap between Unaka High Knob and the Beauty Spot, we found a bug photographer's paradise. A patch of milkweed, black-eyed susans, goldenrod, and other plants had lots of different butterflies, bees and wasps, beetles, and other assorted insects and spiders. I was pretty well worn out by the time we got there, and didn't get many good shots of the critters.

Back in the 50's and 60's, Unaka mountain was a popular spot for families on Saturday—and especially on Sunday—outings. Then a series of crimes were committed there, including murders, rapes, thefts, and automobile vandalism. Local law didn't have or wouldn't use resources to patrol the area and the outlaws thrived for years. Now that Unicoi County is trying to build its tourism, it has again become a relatively safe place to go, as far as I know. The tourism council is even promoting visits there, but I doubt it will ever be like it once was with picnickers and hikers all over the place on Sunday afternoons.
We drove by our old friend Ken Moore's house, but we didn't stop. The back door was open, but Brenda's Dodge truck wasn't parked anywhere to be seen. There was a small red truck in the upper driveway.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another dull day in the 'burbs. Got my shot; whoop-de-do!
The Fed chairman is reporting to Congress that the financial crisis is taking a toll on the economy. I suppose that by hearing it from someone will be the only way our lawmakers would know about it, because they are so isolated from it. If I need a tooth pulled, I will check to see if I can come up with enough money to pay a dentist. If a president or his henchmen, a congressman, or a Supreme Court judge needs dental work, they just have a limo carry them over to Walter Reed Hospital for free care. They could give a damn less how much pain you and I are in.
Obama is going to reveal the answer to the big mystery! Tomorrow we should know whom he has picked for his second in command. If it isn't me or you, then to hell with it; it doesn't matter one iota.
McCain doesn't know how many houses he owns. However many it is, I bet the mortgage payments aren't too awfully high. I also bet he doesn't know how many servants he owns, either.
I feel so badly about Obama and McCain being merely wealthy instead of members of the super rich club.
Reckon either of those two gentlemen ever sit down and surf blogs like this one to see what Jane and Joe Average think about things? Probably have a servant do so once a year or so and report the highlights to a loyal secretary (personal assistant) whom conscientiously files them away for them to read later. They listen to the heartbeat of America!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The countdown 'til autumn has begun!

Not much going on in my life at present... I seem to feel like I'm in some kind of twilight zone, somewhere between reality and Los Angeles. I've had blood drawn four times in the past 10 days, and I'm getting pretty tired of that routine, too. Tomorrow is shot day, and then comes a welcome weekend. Carolyn doesn't have to work, and maybe we can get away and relax for a few hours. By relaxing, I mean a picnic and my eye glued to a camera eyepiece. I haven't been away to take photos in a month, and it is time! I hope we can get out of town for a couple of days on Labor Day weekend like we did last year when we went to north Georgia. I wish I had stayed permanently in the Chattanooga area!
JJ got to going good with his job, and then yesterday the entire workforce at the plant was laid off. Well, they did keep 12 people on for another week or so. I don't know if he has worked long enough to qualify for unemployment checks.
Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I heard the same type of propaganda that is being put out about Obama when John Kennedy was running for president in 1960. Kennedy was Catholic, and the pulpit rhetoric claimed that if he was elected, the Pope would run the country from the Vatican. Lie after lie was told to scare the flocks to Nixon's doctrine. I know all Christians don't buy into the fear mongering, but I'm afraid there are enough to put the election in the lap of McCain. I still don't like either, and I'll vote that way.
Michael Moore has an open letter floating around the internet addressed to Caroline Kennedy. Moore seems to think that Caroline should be Obama's running mate. Some very interesting scenarios here. The universally known Kennedy name, and the fact she is the daughter of a well loved president whom was assassinated, leaving her fatherless when she was a small child all will play well, I believe. And the fact that she has chosen to stay out of mainstream politics all these years makes her look like the perfect outsider Obama needs. But she is politically savvy. She has always been on the outer edge of inner circle Washington goings on. Like Obama, she was against the Iraq invasion form the beginning. I believe she would help the Obama cause if he decided to bring her aboard. I don't think he will though; for one thing he isn't smart enough to see her potential, and another thing she probably wouldn't want the job.

Following is a copy of Moore's letter:

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
"Caroline: Pull a Cheney!" An Open Letter to Caroline Kennedy (head of the Obama VP search team) from Michael Moore

Dear Caroline,

We've never met, so I hope you don't find this letter too presumptuous or inappropriate. As its contents involve the public's business, I am sending this to you via the public on the Internet. I knew your brother John. He was a great guy, and I know he would've had a ball during this thrilling and historic election year. We all miss him dearly.

Barack Obama selected you to head up his search for a vice presidential candidate. It appears we may be just days (hours?) away from learning who that choice will be.

The media is reporting that Senator Obama has narrowed his alternatives to three men: Joe Biden, Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine. They're all decent fellows, but they are far from the core of what the Obama campaign has been about: Change. Real change. Out with the old. And don't invade countries that pose no threat to us.

Senators Biden and Bayh voted for that invasion and that war, the war Barack ran against, the war Barack reminded us was the big difference between him and Senator Clinton because she voted for the war and he spoke out against it while running for Senate (a brave and bold thing to do back in 2002).

For Obama to place either of these senators on the ticket would be a huge blow to the millions that chose him in the primaries over Hillary. He will undercut one of the strongest advantages he has over the Hundred-Year War senator, Mr. McCain. By anointing a VP who did what McCain did in throwing us into this war, Mr. Obama will lose the moral high ground in the debates.

As for Governor Kaine of Virginia, his big problem is, well, Obama's big problem -- who is he? The toughest thing Barack has had to overcome -- and it will continue to be his biggest obstacle -- is that too many of the voters simply don't know him well enough to vote for him. The fact that Obama is new to the scene is both one of his most attractive qualities AND his biggest drawback. Too many Americans, who on the surface seem to like Barack Obama, just don't feel comfortable voting for someone who hasn't been on the national scene very long. It's a comfort level thing, and it may be just what keeps Obama from winning in November ("I'd rather vote for the devil I know than the devil I don't know").

What Obama needs is a vice presidential candidate who is NOT a professional politician, but someone who is well-known and beloved by people across the political spectrum; someone who, like Obama, spoke out against the war; someone who has a good and generous heart, who will be cheered by the rest of the world; someone whom we've known and loved and admired all our lives and who has dedicated her life to public service and to the greater good for all.

That person, Caroline, is you.

I cannot think of a more winning ticket than one that reads: "OBAMA-KENNEDY."

Caroline, I know that nominating yourself is the furthest idea from your mind and not consistent with who you are, but there would be some poetic justice to such an action. Just think, eight years after the last head of a vice presidential search team looked far and wide for a VP -- and then picked himself (a move topped only by his hubris to then lead the country to near ruin while in office) -- along comes Caroline Kennedy to return the favor with far different results, a vice president who helps restore America to its goodness and greatness.

Caroline, you are one of the most beloved and respected women in this country, and you have been so admired throughout your life. You chose a life outside of politics, to work for charities and schools, to write and lecture, to raise a wonderful family. But you did not choose to lead a private life. You have traveled the world and met with its leaders, giving you much experience on the world stage, a stage you have been on since you were a little girl.

The nation has, remarkably (considering our fascination with celebrity), left you alone and let you live your life in peace. (It's like, long ago, we all collectively agreed that, with her father tragically gone, a man who died because he wanted to serve his country, we would look out for her, we would wish for her to be happy and well, and we would have her back. But we would let her be.)

Now, I am breaking this unwritten code and asking you to come forward and help us in our hour of need. So many families are hurting, losing their homes, going bankrupt with health care bills, seeing their public schools in shambles and living with this war without end. This is a historic year for women, from Hillary's candidacy to the numerous women running for the House and Senate. This is the year that a woman should be on the Democratic ticket. This is the year that both names on that ticket should be people OUTSIDE the party machine. This is the year millions of independents and, yes, millions of Republicans are looking for something new and fresh and bold (and you are the Kennedy Republicans would vote for!).

This is the moment, Caroline. Seize it! And Barack, if you're reading this, you probably know that she is far too humble and decent to nominate herself. So step up and surprise us again. Step up and be different than every politician we have witnessed in our lifetime. Keep the passion burning amongst the young people and others who have been energized by your unexpected, unpredicted, against-all-odds candidacy that has ignited and inspired a nation. Do it for all those reasons. Make Caroline Kennedy your VP. "Obama-Kennedy." Wow, does that sound so cool.

Caroline, thanks for letting me intrude on your life. How wonderful it will be to have a vice president who will respect the Constitution, who will support (instead of control) her president, who will never let her staff out a CIA agent, and who will never tell her country that she is "currently residing in an undisclosed location."

Say it one more time: "OBAMA-KENNEDY." A move like that might send a message to the country that the Democrats would actually like to win an election for once.

Michael Moore

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Barack vs the Anti-Christ

Is Barack Obama really the anti-Christ? If he is, what purpose does the anti-Christ serve except to scare the hell (literally) out of Christians? What makes American Christians think they are God's chosen people? Hasn't He already made that choice; weren't the Isrealites Jehovah's chosen children? Oh, I see. The Children of Israel (nee Jews) deemed Jesus as not being the true son of God of whom the prophets foretold. I suppose God demoted them and we Blessed Citizens of the United States of America sort of slid in Heaven's door ahead of anyone else and before it closed.

There is no reason to think that Obama is the Final Destructor as described by the gibberish of the Christian Book of Revelation.* And don't pretend that you know what the passages in that book really mean! George W. Bush would come closer than anyone I've known to fitting the description of anti-Christ, yet American Christians seem to love him.

Did you ever wonder why God needs so many demons, devils, and anti-Christs to keep Christians in line? After all, He is all-powerful. Isn't God loving you and you loving God enough? It would seem men needed and created these hideous, evil-doing creatures from places like Hell, Naraka, and Tartarus to help keep himself in line. If that be true, the Christians whom embrace these beliefs cannot have enough love of God in their hearts, and they are actually denouncing their Creator in a back-handed way. Shame!

Let's allow Barack lie to us the same way John and George are doing. After all, it's just politics.

*One time I messed up and called it Revelations, and a passing reader jumped all over the fact I made a mistake.

Monday, August 18, 2008


The rock group Journey has released a new album with a new front man/singer named Arnel Pineda. I still don't like the group. I heard that for some reason they fired singer Steve Perry whom had been with them for many years. I know little about the other individuals in the group except for Neal Schon, the very good guitar player whom got his big break playing rhythm and backup guitar for Carlos Santana. The problem with Journey in my opinion was Perry. He just seemed sort of wimpy to me, and rock-and-roll is no place for pussys. He may be a great guy, and from the few interviews I've seen, he seems to be just that. The problem now is that Pineda sounds almost like Perry, and in my mind's eye I see Perry when I listen to the song, over which the radio stations are gaa-gaa. With the song Never Walk Away on the Revelation album, the band has a big-time pop hit on their hands. To make it worse, one of my favorite Schon quotes is "I am not a pop musician; I don't want to play bubble-gummy pop stuff." Well Neal, even if you don't play that bubble-gummy pop stuff, the song itself sure is that. It makes me freaking sick!

I would like to see Neal get completely away from Journey and all its baggage and form a band that leans a lot more toward hard rock and away from the semi-hard ballad rock. Schon is a very talented and hard working guitar player whose licks trancend the journeyman label. Give us some more of that great Gibson Les Paul, Neal! Give us those killer solos! With Journey, he has made a lot of hits and a lot of fame and money. Actually the only album I ever bought that he was on, other than Santana stuff, is a solo cd he put out probably in the early nineties. I still play it.
Ever feel like you are in a big hollow place all by yourself? For some reason, I have had a lonely feeling for the past day or so. Probably part of getting older and forgetting where I am.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

One time on an out of town job, we were sitting down to eat our lunches. It was right after Thanksgiving, and the local boys were packing pumpkin pie and other leftovers from the feasting. The guy I was working with had a piece of said pie in his lunchbox, and informed me that he was going tp play a trick on the rest of the guys we ate with. There was usually a dozen or more construction workers from various trades in the group, and his scheme promised to be good for a laugh.

Before going to our usual eating area, my buddy carefully placed some of the pie on the edge of his boot sole, making it look like he had stepped in shit. He coached me on what to say to get things started, and then we joined the others. Just after we began eating, he casually crossed the doctored foot across his knee and went on eating. That was my cue. I told him it looked like he had stepped in shit, and he looked to where I was pointing on his boot. He exclaimed that he probably had done so, because half the crew was too lazy to go to the shitter. The other guys were obviously getting uneasy about having to look at poop while they were eating. My buddy then said it probably wasn't what they thought it was, and to go on eating. One of the others asked him why didn't he go outside and scrape off the offending material. My buddy told him he would show them it wasn't shit. He stuck his finger right in the middle of the brown mess and held it to his nose. About half the guys immediately got up and left. My buddy got a quizzical look on his face and said it sure smells like shit. He then stuck it to the tip of his tongue and said it damn sure tastes like shit, so I guess it is shit! With that, all but one of our victims left the area post-haste, and most were gagging and one was holding back puke. The one guy whom didn't leave was laughing so hard he was crying. He thanked us and said that was the first time in about 30 years he had seen the trick pulled off; actually since his dad and himself had done it at Oak Ridge in the '40's.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Red wasp

The computer is back to normal, such as that was. I did, however, lose a hard drive that was mostly for backups, but it did have a few things on board I can't replace.
I feel lazy this evening, so I will just say "Happy Full Moon".

Friday, August 15, 2008

My computer is still messed up, but sometimes runs long enough to access the web a bit. To top that, I awakened at 6:00 this morning to find the electricity had gone missing. A tree had fallen across power lines about two miles from my house and had taken down two metal poles and a bunch of utility lines. To beat that, I have allergies and can barely see to write this.
My Flickr friend's—James Cameron, aka lumin8—mom died Wednesday past. She was 94 years old, and lived in Calgary, Alberta. Our hearts are with you and the family, James.
I still sit on the porch of the mornings, but the accompanying bird songs have all but stopped for this year. All I heard this morning were jay birds screaming at one another from various trees around the neighborhood. A female cardinal flew into our front storm door and was killed. Her mate for life looked and called for her all day. There are many robins around, but they are busy feeding and building flight muscle reserves for the long journey south.
Whatever it was Microsoft sent me yesterday, it caused all my restore points to be deleted, and I can't access the Control Panel. There is only one thing left to do, and that is to reload Windows XP and start all over. It has been about two and one-half years since I've had to do this, and it is a bitch to go through with, but it leaves a clean machine that is usually faster and more reliable. I still have my Linux install to fall back on, but it won't run a couple of programs I really need, and Linux wireless networking leaves a lot to be desired. I would like to build a new computer, but cash isn't easy to come by these days.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I've tried to do a blog here today, but a MICROSOFT patch has broken either Firefox or Google, or both. I had to end up doing this much in notepad and copying and pasting to here. Has there ever been anything more screwed up than a Microsoft Operating System?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Politics as usual today.

This Edwards guy that ran for the Democratic nomination... is he the one that got the $400 haircuts? Says his wife was in anguish over an "affair" he once had. Big whoopity-freaking-do. Now that the campaign money isn't rolling in, I'd be more concerned on how hubby is going to pay for those twice-weekly haircuts than over him diddling a movie-maker. She probably came free of charge as a job perk. People in high places have affairs, and politicians should know by now that they are fair game for any so-called news reporter in the world.

Seems like McCain has graciously inherited some of Bubba's political baggage in the form of Ralph Reed, an orifice from all the way back in the Reagan days. He was onetime boss of the "Christian Coalition", a lobbying group that held a lot of power in and over over this country as late as the 2004 elections. Reed was a wimpy, boyish looking "person" in a conservative suit. He too had a nice haircut, which makes one wonder whom he was porking. The good voters ate his line of bullshit until he admitted being an ally of the convicted crook Jack Abramoff. Well, he is now in McCain's Victory 2008 Team. No wonder I get pissed about religion and politics sleeping in the same bed.

My poor country!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I see the illegal invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq has placed more than $85 billion of taxpayer money into the hands of civilian contractor buddies of Bubba and Dick. According to news reports, there are 190,000 contractor workers over there, and about that many military personnel. That means each American fighting person should have a personal valet or gun toter. This is all just crazy.
China started cheating in the Olympic Games before athletes went to work. Their singer was just as fake as the communist government. Communism is just one big lie, wherever it lives.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dog Days End

Wind blown mimosa flower

Today is the last of this year's Dog Days, so we will soon be easing into autumn. To mark this auspicious occasion, I am re-posting one of the first stories I ever wrote. I will leave it posted here for a few days and it is also on my writing blog.

Yesterdays No More

Thor walked the earth last evening, lighting his way with the fires of heaven. It was a violent, thundering downpour that sometimes attends a summer cold front.

Today is a good 10 degrees cooler than the previous few days, and the sky is scrubbed clear of the lingering, sticky haze that attends the Dog Days doldrums. It is the first hint of the shortening autumn days that are just over the calendar horizon.

I am half sitting, or maybe half standing at the rail of the porch, taking in the final minutes of dusk. One bare foot is dangling, trying to keep time to the chirping of a cricket.

With Nature's subtleness, the few remaining fireflies slowly begin their lusty dance of light—a few at first—then arise the late sleepers to rescue the night from its own darkness. Glittering stars struggle with the lightning bugs to be the prime attraction of the weakening twilight.

A breeze, as gentle as the breath of a sleeping puppy, carries the fragrance of evening honeysuckle over the railing, teasing my mind. A moment like this cries to be shared, but selfishly I draw it into my soul and savor it as my own.

Oh! My mind reels from an abrupt change in the tone of the evening as my senses are overcome with the gentle scent of the flowering mimosa trees that border the yard. The smell of lilacs flirted with my thoughts on a similar occasion earlier in the year, but the mimosa is tugging me, directing me to take notice, to remember.

Abruptly I am at the end of the porch nearest the trees and their soft pink blossoms. The compelling perfume fills my mind with recollections, memories of a time when the world was young and I was its Crown Prince.

- - - - -

We lay on our backs under the branches of the wide-spreading mimosa tree, its bark carrying our carved names. At times we talked and other times we daydreamed of how good it would be when we grew up.
'Hey Larry, let's play mumblety-peg.'
'Naw, I still got dirt in my teeth from last time.'
We would watch the little green inchworms that probably began their life cycle up high on the tree, descending toward the grass below on their invisible strands of silk. Landing on us, they would bow their backs and measure for the new clothes that some of us might soon wear for the start of the school year.
'Looks like you'll get a new shirt for school this year.'
'Yeah, maybe. If pap sells a hog I might get some stuff."
Always was present the beautiful smell of the mimosa flowers, blooms that looked like delicate white and pink shaving brushes.
It was good to take one of the flowers and ease into the house where I could sneak up behind my unsuspecting mother, reach around and tickle her under her nose.
'Get on back outside. Summer is waiting.'

- - - - -

My breath catches as I return from my musings, and I mull my way back to my perch at the rail, emotions adrift.

As the summers before me become noticeably fewer, I long for the return of those days of my childhood. Helplessness and self pity at becoming old cause a tear to slip down my face as I recall the good life I've had. The hurt of sorrow grips my breast and my throat tightens. I am awash in a hangover from melancholy; the intoxicating scent of yesterdays no more in my heart.

Copyright© 2007 Ken Anderson. All rights reserved

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Not much happening in my little piece of paradise today. Noticed news of another war being declared somewhere in the world. Hope it isn't one of those silly holy wars. All wars are silly, but a war of, by, or for religion is plenty stupid.

Carolyn had to work today, refinishing floors for one of her longtime customers. Of course her two-year old floor machine broke before the work even began in earnest. I took the crew some lunch from the Cottage and saw that there was nothing I could do to get the scrubber in working order, so we had to rent one to finish the job, It is now 8:00 pm, and she has yet to finish the work that they started at 9:00 am.
The two doofus candidates are continuously accusing each other of one thing or another. I shudder to think that one of them is going to be president of this country. They should do like Andy Jackson did when some one affronted his dignity; challenge them to a duel! Pistols at ten paces but this time the winner being castrated on the spot. With the winner on the run over the hill to save his nuts, maybe a real man or woman would step forward to lead the nation. The problem with this is that McCain is too old to need his scrotum anyway, so he won't be losing much but a few disgruntled hormones. BO will want to keep his manhood in case an intern requires training.

A pox on both of their houses!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Build a House 101

Bald Eagle soaring over my house

The poor pic of the eagle was made this morning. I was set up to shoot feeding robins on the ground when this fellow's shadow went by. I got a few quick shots off, but the exposure settings are terrible. This was made at 250mm zoom. I actually didn't know what brand of bird he was until I enlarged the photo on the computer.

Male robins have stopped singing and are beginning to flock to feed with females and juveniles, all in preparation for the annual fall migration which will beginning for that particular bird at any time now. I am already awaiting their arrival back here next year. I LOVE Springtime!
In early spring of 1968, my parents decided they had enough of Carolyn, two small kids, and myself living in their house and mooching off of them. They gave us a tad more than one-half acre of property just up the road from them. Carolyn and I looked at house books, picked a style we liked, and ordered blueprints. The prints were a whopping $35 back then, which in that era was a whole lot of money, actually about a half weeks pay for an apprentice electrician.

We contacted a builder whom had been recommended to us, and he gave us a price, excluding painting, landscaping, and electrical work (but it did include paint and materials for the electric). We then took the quote and blueprints to the bank that had the lowest interest rates, and they agreed to do the mortgage dance with us. A survey was made, deeds were checked, and papers and contracts were signed, and all was ready for the house to be built.

We notified the contractor, Herman Jones, to go ahead and start the house and we wanted to be in it by mid-autumn before bad weather started. This was late March, and he said it would be no problem having it ready before winter and that he would get right on it. They broke ground in early May, more than a full month later than he implied. Bad omen!

Jones finally got a crew on site in mid-May, and they poured the foundation and put up the basement walls. The house plans called for an offset in the front, with the bedroom area being deeper than the living area. We told the contractor in the presence of the lender that the plans would have to be reversed left to right to accommodate the hillside lot. The contractor agreed and the lender noted it in the contract which we all initialed.

I came in from work the evening after the front wall had been laid, an lo, it wasn't as agreed, but just like the prints showed. Next morning, Carolyn was on them like skin on a banana. She told them plainly that it was unacceptable, and of course the builder argued that he would just move the living area to the widest part. He about had her convinced, but she finally told him to fix it. So down came the wall, and a few days later another went up. Carolyn saw what they were doing this time, but didn't say a word until the masonry was again completed. They had built a straight wall. Again she confronted them, and the argument was that a straight wall the width of the bedroom area would give us more square footage at the same price, which of course was correct. Good old Carolyn didn't buy into it; she said bring down the wall and do it right, which they did, but took their time accomplishing it.

It was near the end of May when the house went under roof. It was inspected by the lender, a check to the builder was cut, and we didn't see a crew back on our site for nearly a month. The builder had started an apartment complex on some property he owned, and was in a hurry to get it completed and begin collecting rent. Our house and another he had going were put so far back on the burner that they could barely feel the heat. He would occasionally send a crew or a person out to do some work, but little was being accomplished. It was obvious we would not be in the house before cold weather started. We did get him to promise us that he would have all his part done before Thanksgiving, so we could celebrate the Holiday in our new home. When Thanksgiving day rolled around, we were still with my parents, looking longingly up the gravel road to what should have been. The brick had all been laid, the roof had shingles, the electric was all finished except for wall plates, and the electricity had been turned on. Carolyn had primed all the exterior wood surfaces and was ready to begin painting the rooms. Finally and just before Christmas, the interior walls were finished, the carpet was laid, the bathrooms and kitchen had their cabinets and fixtures, and we were looking forward to moving in. Basically, some painting had to be finished, and all the trim woodwork had to be put in place, and the plumbing had to be connected to the kitchen sink and bathrooms.

The carpenters had put the kitchen cabinets in the wrong place, and had cut my ceiling heat cable in two when they installed the stove's hood vent to the attic. It took a while, but I finally got it fixed. The sheetrock people nailed the surface layer of ceiling sheathing in the master bedroom in the wrong place, and cut the heat cable so many times it was unfixable without a complete redo and big delay. We were getting desperate, and told them to forget it and I would install a basboard heater later on. I never did, but it didn't get cold in the room as long as the door was open to the hallway.

January 1969 rolled around. In October of '68, Carolyn's dad had died suddenly from heart failure, and we were all still in a funk, and Carolyn being an only child, was spending a lot of time with her mom. At last the trim work was finished, and all that was missing was some plumbing. I finally got pissed and asked a neighborhood Mr. Fix-it to finish the work. He knocked it out in less than a day, charged me $25, and the next day we began our move. Actually, most of our meager belongings were already in the basement, and all we had left to truck to the house was our bedroom furniture.
The moral of this story is, if you are going to have a house built, check your contractor thouroughly! Make sure he is able to do what he says he can and will do. Make him sign a contract giving him X amount of days to have it completed and the shiny new keys in your indebted palms or he will face substantial financial penalties. A lawyer is handy for this sort of thing.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Got up this morning and was greeted by no internet... again. Finally got it to work by disconnecting from router and straight to computer, meaning other two computers have no net access.
Got an urgent message from my firewall maker—Zone Alarm—that I needed to download an important fix for a problem caused by a security update released by Microsoft which wasn't allowing internet access. Might have known good old Microsoft would be behind the snafu! I should know in the morning when I start up if the fix worked. Right now, I am back to normal all the way around.
About yesterday's question. The biggest problem with getting a house built in any kind of timely manner is keeping the contractor on the job. He usually has several projects ongoing, and limited crews to man them. He is going to be where the next big paycheck is. Part of this is because of the way lenders disburse funds for a house. It is paid in stages, with the first big check coming when the house goes under roof and certain other things are done. Once the contractor has a stage done, he reports to the lender, the lender will send out one or more inspectors to look the place over, not so much for quality, but just to make sure the correct amount of construction has been completed. Upon approval, the lender will send him a check. During this time of waiting, which can be from several days to more than a week, the contractor will be using your crew to either start another house or doing another stage on one already underway. He has some big money in his pocket and your dream home becomes temporarily less important to him.

Another holdup is subcontractors, especially electric installers and plumbers. I hesitate to call the electric installers "electricians", because most of them don't really know beans about the electric trade. In Tennessee, an application and $10 will get you a state license to do any kind of electrical work or repairs. Anyway, these guys stay pretty busy, and don't always show up on a job when they are supposed to.

Weather is always unnecessarily uncooperative when it comes time to work on YOUR house, especially in the winter and autumn months. In union areas, labor problems may be a source of delay. Vandals and miscreants can create much damage and cause a lot of extra time to be consumed fixing and cleaning up their deeds. Damaged fixtures and materials cause delays. Even at that, a straight-roofed rancher of 1500 sq. ft. should take no longer than three-to-four months to complete, from the first backhoe bucket of dirt to the shiny new keys being in your hand. It is just a matter of getting people on the job, and it can be done!
Next, our personal dealings with contractors and developers...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Back in the Hunt

Well, I'm back in business, such as it is. Carolyn picked up the new dsl modem this afternoon, and it seems somewhat faster than the antique I was using. Actually, Sprint—now known as Embarq (what a strange name)—was supposed to send one of these new models last year when we upgraded from residential to business. The old modem had been a series of problems since day one, but I never could get them to replace it. Anyway, I hope to get caught up on everything by tomorrow night.
yankeepez has some very good questions on his blog of yesterday. Click on this blog's title and it will take you to his page where you can give him some answers.
Even I have a question! Why does it take at least six months to build an average three bedroom ranch-style house? After the foundation is poured and the cinder blocks are in place, a straight-line roofed house can be put under roof in three-to-four days. That means the floor system, the outside walls including insulating foam sheathing, all the inside stud walls, the roof trusses fastened in place, plywood or particle board for the roof underlayment, and the felt paper to top it off. On top of that, the widows are installed and the interior floors swept! This is all done by four people.

I used to help do this, so I already know why it takes so long. If I think of it, I'll tell you tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Internet dsl modem broken! RATS!!!
Be back tomorrow...
("Borrowing" neighbor's network!")

Monday, August 04, 2008

Flip-flopping Barack

Feeling a bit poorly today; must be a virus of some exotic type. Just old age, more than likely.
I see Mr. Obama has flip-flopped on the offshore oil drilling issue. He is now willing to go along with limited drilling in the fragile seas. He is just as chicken-shit as any other candidate that has run for that peculiar office, and he has sold out to the big oil interests. The candidates just don't get it! We have to cut our oil consumption and we have to do it now. What happens when that resource is gone? We've been paying lip service to oil conservation since the early 1970's, and I see no indication anywhere in anyone's "workable" plan that will make it happen. You and I have to do this; not the nice folk in power whom are owned by big business. I bet George and Dick are laughing their sorry asses off! Hey, all you mis-made jackasses in high places; we want to be heard!

Sunday, August 03, 2008


First snow of August!*

Thanks everyone from Flickr and elsewhere for the birthday greetings.

A special thank you for Sandy Sue whom made me a card with her special talent and creativity. Please stop by her Flickr and enjoy the wonderful works of art she creates from her photos and her canvas works. Click on the title of this post to see my card, and I placed a link to her work on the sidebar.
Carolyn received a nice present on my birthday. Jerry came over and put down her new kitchen linoleum and she is tickled all over. As long as the people I care for are happy, I'm happy.
* My grandmother said many a time that we would know how many snowfalls we should have the coming winter by the number of foggy mornings in August. The thicker the fog, the deeper the snow. We had a dandy fog this morning.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

JJ came in just before 6:00am today. He has to go back out tomorrow to Kentucky for a few days.
The past two days have been very disturbing in a way. An event or two I thought would never happen did so. It has left me confused and a bit shaken, but is something I will have to somehow overcome. Nothing truly serious I suppose, but it leaves doubt in my mind as to how I should relate to and interact with people. It seems I have unintentionally hurt someone with something I said, and I am apologizing for being inconsiderate. I am truly sorry.
Alice sent me an early birthday email. She always remembers even as people in my immediate family forget. Actually, I care little about my birthday since I turned 50 years old back nearly in pre-history. Thanks, Alice. You are the greatest. Now if I don't get so senile that I forget her special day in just over two more months! She managed to get married and later have a child all on her husband Fred's birthday. Fred is now gone from us, but we still have a triple celebration anyway. Oh the parties we used to have back in the seventies. Seems like my birthday started all the friend's birthday season. Mine, Brenda's, Bro Hill's, Alice's, Freds, Carolyn's, Mike T's, The Fly's, and assorted others whom dropped into and out of our lives in those fast paced days were all celebrated in about a 10 week period. I'm sure I am forgetting someone, but that too is unintentional. Christmas became a mild event compared to the natal day parties. Mr. Moore's is in May.

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