Friday, July 31, 2009

New stink from an old fart




I will attempt to write a bit while I have some decent sight this morning. I have been awake since 5:30, thinking about life in general. Nothing deep or profound was contemplated, just musing about where I am in life, where I've been, and where I think I will be for the unforeseeable future. I also thought a lot about the people I've known, the friends that have passed through, and the few whom I have left alive. One expects older family members to die and leave a void in his existence, but when friends pass by death, it is particularly troubling. Nearly all my real-life friends have been younger than me from a few months to several years; probably not by any choice of ours, but that is just the way it has been. Now, one only remains from my past, and I could not have been blessed with a better person than dear Alice. Yes, men and women can be friends without the "sex thing" being brought into play.

In this virtual world, things are a bit different. Actually, I've had only a handful of online people I would say are true friends, but even at that, we hardly know one another. Some whom I thought were my friends have just disappeared without a trace, while others have popped into and out of existence several times before their bits and bytes finally became only memories. The anonymity of the net makes it so easy to be a ghost-like entity and "just go away".

Whether they now are dead or alive, whether they be flesh and blood whom I can physically touch, or whether they are real people emoting in a virtual ether via an internet umbilical, each has been—and still is—very special. For the ones whom have come and gone, thank you for being a part of me and making my life so much better. For those whom are still with me in one way or another, thank you for your patience, kindness, and understanding.

Why am I saying all of this right now? For one thing, it probably has something to with becoming another calendar year older, and for another thing, I am about to go through some huge changes in my life; many things I have taken for granted for many years are going to be replaced by new things and there will be new trials to face and also some new opportunities for being a better and wiser person. I hope I have the "right stuff" for all of it, and I hope I can keep my dignity throughout. One thing about we hillbillies, we may look like fools and act like ignorance ordained to outsiders and flat-landers, but as long as we have our dignity, we have all we need.
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Be forewarned: Come Sunday if at all possible, I intend to do another of my little sermons concerning the bible. It will not be aimed at any one person, at anyone's faith, or at any one's brand of Christianity. It will be as inoffensive as I can make it and still be clear about my thoughts, but I am sure someone will take it and make it to be what it isn't, and to tell the truth, I will be disappointed if someone doesn't. Life is good and people are interesting.
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I still have a lot I want to say today, but my old eyes are beginning to fail me.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Today both eyes are running sores so I will not be posting unless I find some relief. Thanks everyone for caring.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Going to town

Clarification concerning yesterday's post: Just because I am desperate and stoopid enough to put Neosporin in my eyes, doesn't mean I reccomend it for anyone else do so. Read and heed the directions on all medications and pay no attention to the rambling words of old men and witchy women.
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How poor were we when I was a small boy? Money poor for sure. Fortunately, my grandmother owned a few acres of the the old family farm which she was able to sell piecemeal when we became very needy. I did not have a lot of support from my dad (financial or otherwise) in those days, and my mom worked in the textile mills in Johnson City to support herself and me while we lived with my grandmother and shared the small house with with two of of my mom's brothers whom only did odd farm work for cash to buy their clothes and tobacco. Uncle Roy liked to drink, so most of his earnings went to various bootleggers. Another uncle moved out not long after returning home from WW2, and my aunt Iva married and moved on when I was small. As an only child, I was very spoiled by all these well meaning family members.

After walking the mile to the bus line and then riding into Johnson City, my mom and I usually spent several hours window shopping and browsing in the various five-&-dime stores. If she had some extra change, we would enjoy a ten cent hot dog and a nickel coke at the Woolworth's lunch counter. If the cash wasn't there, we would remain hungry until we got back home. It wasn't a big deal then, but if I thought one of my kids or grandchildren were missing a meal, it would fret me beyond reason. At that time, my mom could not afford to buy feminine napkins very often; instead she used cut-up sheets for such and washed and reused them. One time in the Kress store, we had been browsing for a few minutes, and she finally picked up a box and headed for the checkout. Being a curious little boy, I was tugging at her dress hem. Suddenly she stopped in her tracks, bent over and warned me not to ask what it was she was buying. Kotex was a word that was sometimes whispered in the presence of children, and hardly ever discussed among adults. My mom was not one to easily endure embarrassment, and if I had asked her in public what she was buying, I can only imagine the consequences for both she and I.

Isn't it weird the things we think of around birthday time?
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Christianity: We receive gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus and receive candy to honor his death. Cool!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rambling




Damn, this is a slow week. In fact, the past three weeks have been moving like molasses except for my age of course. I have been trying to think of a remarkable quote for my 65th natal anniversary, but all that comes into my head is "oh, crap!".
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During some work on Main Street in the old "downtown" part of my fair city, the crews uncovered some brick paving and a section of trolley tracks that once served "Little Chicago". The powers that be, along with the local rag are all atwitter over this find of "great historic significance". Those lousy bricks and short span of trolley tracks are going to wind up costing the taxpayers lots and lots of money as the city bows to pressure from the Johnson City Development Authority to use the artefacts as a center piece of downtown re-re-re-renewal. Over the past 30+ years, the JCDA has touted many "center pieces" of renewal, and everyone has been a dud except in the amount of money spent there and several real historic buildings being torn down for one "reason" or another. I will never forgive the municipal government nor JCDA for removing the old Arcade building which had many unique-to-the-city features. Bastards! I suppose they don't care one way or another about my forgiveness.
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My mom used to tell me of riding with my granddad in a horse drawn wagon from their home near Jonesborough to downtown Johnson City to sell cows milk and butter to the locals there. The route was along a road that is now called West Walnut Street in Johnson City, the Old Jonesborough Highway in the county, and East Main Street in Jonesborough. No wonder getting old is so confusing. As a lad, many times I walked with my mom to the bus line on "The Old Highway" and rode into JC for a nickel. Can you imagine what downtown Johnson City was like to a country kid that hardly ever went anywhere? All those big two and three story brick buildings, all those cars steaming and honking, and so many people going into and out of the five-and-dime stores and other public buildings were very imposing. I will get into more of this later when my sight has improved.
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My sight is slowly improving from what it was at the peak of my misery. My left eye is about 50 percent better, but the right one still has a long way to go. I am now taking advice that a witchy woman once gave me by the light of a full moon; I am placing a tiny dab of Neosporin on my eyelids and some of it is getting into my eyes. I believe it is helping with the healing. She was a wise old gal, even while she was bewitching me.
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The photo is of my grandson Jeremy and his best friend, Rimy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Obama seems to have finalized the sale ot the economy to China. I'm glad I'm really too old to give a crap!
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I had two good days of vision this weekend, but today is back to the same old stuff. I'm beginning to believe i will not get well this time. Just something else I will find a way to deal with.
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Cannot see to write more ...
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Just Sunday

Not a lot going on today. I again watched the movie Wild At Heart last evening, and even if Laura Dern's tits were not displayed, it would still be a very good see. The actors are all great. Tonight I will watch Casablanca again for the umpteenth time. I'm not big on love stories, but this one with its remarkable actors, an incredible setting, and perfect script writing has made it my favorite movie of all time. I will not watch the colorized version that Ted Turner turned out.
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Later today I will ride with Carolyn to Elizabethton to clean the building; the one she cleaned in Piney Flats is no more.
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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dogs and Pigs

It is mid-Dog Days and time for my summer bath down at the creek. I am in a bit of a quandary this time: Should I use my regular lye soap to scrub off the crud, or can I find something else? I don't know of anything that will get my hide clean other than the mixture of lard, ashes, and lye, but seeing as how the main ingredient in the soap is rendered pig fat, I am afarid that I will contract insidious swine flu if I use it. I've stopped eating pork and I've given up my aspirations of someday being a professional football player and I will not travel in the state of Arkansas, so why should I risk my health just so I will smell a little better and my hair won't look so greasy? Modern problems they did not teach us about in school.
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Yesterday was my worst eye day in more than a week. Trudy, a Flickr friend whom lives in England has a lot of eye problems also, and she read about my struggles. She emailed me and turned me on to an eyedrop medication called Celluvisc which seems to contain some of the stuff that makes the expensive Lacrisert inserts work. Carolyn bought a box of them at Wal-Mart and I quickly found out I cannot use them in day time but they seem to work fine a night. Thanks very much for the info, Trudy. Celluvisc sure beats trying to place a dab of ointment under my eyelids at night.
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The Smoking Guns's Mugshots Of the Week!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Insurance switcheroo



Original photo is sepia. The other is a version restored with Calvin's Transmogrifier.

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A few weeks ago, an uninvited insurance peddler and his supervisor came a-calling at my door. I usually shoo them off, but I am about to lose a $25k term life policy next month when I turn 65 years old, so I figured I would listen to what they had to say. The presented and did show and tell about how pathetic life is for old folks without enough burial insurance and how sorry I would be if I left my dear bereaved spouse having to scratch up money for a burial. Sounded as if I would be dead, but in some way still hanging around feeling sorry for Carolyn. I told them I was to have the old "burn and turn" when I kick off in another 30 or so years, and I would not need a lot of money for that. A simple cremation with no services added and the ashes turned over to the family costs about $1500 these days. Nohow, I ended up buying a $5k policy, we shook hands, and off they went with a check for the first month's premium in their paws. A few evenings later, I receive a call from another of their reps asking me the same health questions as the original guys. I told them all I was ok except for the RA. The latter guy said I would be hearing from them in a week or so. Day before yesterday, two new guys showed up at my door with my policy in hand and big grins on their faces. As one of them was about to hand me the papers, he said, "Did the first reps tell you the policy may be 'rated'". I said no. He explained that because I had the RA, the policy had been rated and the $5k had been cut to $2501 but the premiums would stay the same. I told him to take his Liberty Life Insurance Company policy and hit the road, and I had better be getting my original premium back. This puts me to half-blind scrambling trying to find another policy before my birthday in less than two weeks. I have a couple of other small policies, but would like to have a bit more in case Carolyn wants to throw a big hoot when I am gone. I wonder how many people fall for that old switcheroo these guys were trying to pull on me?

There have been two more non-invited pitchmen to come knocking in the past week, but I have put them on their way. Also, I have received many, many letters wanting to explain to me how Social Security only pays $255 to my spouse when I die. These same peddlers also brought that up, and Carolyn asked them why the S.S.A. payed so little. One of them told her it is just how the government operates. I looked him square in the eye balls and said it is like that because insurance companies pay off congressmen to make sure it isn't changed. He admitted that it may be part of the reason. All I can say is beware and be assured of the fact that there are no "good" insurance companies out there.



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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seagate ships 40.6 million hard drives in Q2 but loses $81 million dollars. AMD loses $330 million in second quarter. Does any of that make sense?
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Received my invite and signed up for Google Voice.
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My eyes are bad again today, so it is back to a darkened room for me. Catch you later.



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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stimulated




Remember Obama's old codger stimulus checks that were to be sent to people whom draw social security benefits? It was part of his income tax decrease. Guess who got left out again? The money was supposed to go directly into our bank account like my regular measly funds do, but it did not do so. I have yet to receive one rebate or stimulus payment from the government since the bushman began this silly crap back in his first term. Uncle Sam has always "made up" for it at the next years tax time, but by then inflation has eaten a huge portion and I never see any real cash. I can go online and fill/file numerous forms to try and get it, but it just ain't worth it. Next year at tax time, I will not only allow for the $250, but also for inflation and penalties and interest just like the I.R.S. would do if I owed them. Screw 'em!
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Carolyn is at the church she cleans trying to do some extra work there so she will not have to pay the employees to do so. She is working herself into an early grave trying to hold on.
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Although the eyes are not as good today as yesterday, they are much improved over what I had the past two weeks. Hopefully I will be able to drive Carolyn to do the jobs this evening. Even more hopefully, I want to get back to making and editing photos, plus some writing. One thing for sure, one can think of a lot of things to write about when he cannot see well. For instance, a decent ending for a story I started on this blog has eluded me since last winter, but now I have it if I can see to write it.
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For the lemonade maker: Do not over-squeeze the lemons as they tend to become too sour and all the sugar in the world will not temper the bitterness.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Please be well ...




Happy 40th Birthday to the Apollo Moon landing!
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I hope I am not spoiling a good thing by talking about it, but I have been able to see better the past two days than at anytime in the past two weeks. Not yet great, but some better.
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Carolyn prepared a huge and scrumptious meal yesterday, consisting of pot roast surrounded by potatoes, carrots, and onions, and she made macaroni and cheese from scratch, fresh green beans and corn cooked together, fresh boiled cabbage, fresh corn on the cob, fresh salad, and homemade cornbread. For desert, she tried her hand at making jello pies and they are delicious. She also made awesome bread pudding out of biscuits she had left from Saturday. After our meal settled and the stragglers left, I rode with her to clean the buildings. She was most ready for a good night's sleep and rest when we returned home. Bless her heart.
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As expected, Republicans are putting down everything Obama proposes for the health care overhaul. They want Big Business to play a major role in the oversight of any new legislation, which would equal the same old same-old. The insurance, drug, and other related medical entities must have been in collusion for many years to have gotten us into this woeful mess. This, along with bought politicians and the lack of federal oversight is what placed this nation's health care in such a ridiculous position. How can insurance companies justify doubling the Medicare drug benefit premiums in just three years?

Here is a recent example ot the atrocities drug companies have perpetrated on consumers. The Lacrisert eye medicine I told you about that is placed under the eye lid cost $39 the last time I bought it several years ago. Carolyn phoned my eye doc and had him call in a prescription for the drug. She phoned this morning to verify the druggist had it and asked what the price would be and it was only $237 for a month's supply. The druggist informed her that no insurance company will cover any part of the drug cost. Is there something wrong here; do we really need a health care overhaul in this country? Another example: The orthopedist prescribed Celebrex for Carolyn's knee and gave her a few samples to try. They really helped her and when she went to get her prescription filled, it was $190 for a month's supply (it was $78 in 2001 when my mom was taking it). Carolyn could afford only a half-month's worth, and she has been out of them for more than a week now and we cannot get the rest of them. Her knee is beginning to hurt again, but there is nothing she can do but bear the pain and go on living. She no longer has health insurance except for a hospitalization policy.

The moral of this story is people like Carolyn and I all over this bought and paid for nation are in a Catch-22 situation. We make barely enough above the poverty level to keep us from getting assistance from TennCare and other agencies, but we do not make enough money to afford any kind of decent insurance except for my Medicare. She will continue to limp and I will be legally blind for at least awhile longer. No, we are not asking for charity and would not accept it if it was offered; we have made it on our own for a lot of years and will continue to do so. At least that is how I feel; Carolyn may feel differently, but I doubt it.

Damn good work, Republicans and politicians!
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday blues




I think I need a secretary. I have a lot of words to write but cannot see well enough to type them myself. At least the eyes are getting no worse. "See" you later.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

To the market ...




Walter Cronkite: November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009. He was a man whom I would have voted for to be president of the United States. The art and honor of of broadcast journalism died the day he retired from CBS television in 1981.
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I rode with Carolyn to the produce markets on 107 yesterday. Would you believe $1.25 for three ears of corn? The first place (David Thompson) we stopped was sold out of ears, but we did get two sacks of potatoes and a few other goodies (I love raw potatoes). The next place was where the prices were so high she didn't buy anything, and the third place (Larry Thompson) she found some corn at three for a dollar, which is still very high. I believe she would have been better off to have gone to the farmer's market this morning when the local growers set up stands and sell their garden produce.
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We planned to go picnicking this day atop the Roan, but the eye problems persist and I am in no mood to be in a good mood. I am dieing to get out and about with the camera; but it may be fall before I am again able to do so. Being like this is much akin to being in jail.
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Chris has finally found another job, but it will last for only a month. Maybe she can make enough to get her car payments caught up. JJ also is supposed to go to work for the "new" Ashley furniture store when it opens next month in the old Hill's/Decorator's Warehouse building.
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My vision is waning for today, so I will leave until tomorrow.
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The Smoking Gun's Mugshots of the Week!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pretty good day



Today has been busy since 7:00am. I've done payroll, filled various forms for various agencies and companies, got stuff ready for mailing, faxed some forms, renewed my driver's license online, ordered a supply of checks, ordered a battery for my laptop pc, and now I am blogging.
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Does this make sense: Mortgage foreclosures rose by 15 percent in the first half of this year while one of the nations largest mortgage lenders profits rose 36 percent? More than 336k households received foreclosure-related threats in June. The money Obama placed in these bank's care for relief to stressed homeowners has apparently gone on the banks books as profit to boost stock sales. You know what? We the people are going to sit idly by and allow it to happen. Dammit, it is our money!
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The unemployment taxes Carolyn is required to pay to the state on her employee's income has risen from .15 percent to 1.9 percent and is retro to January1, 2009. She has already paid in more than three times as much this year compared to all of 2008 on a far smaller payroll. The tax base also went from $7k cutoff to $9k on each employee.
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From desperation, I used some 10 year out of date medicine in my eyes which has helped a lot. The drug is called Lacrisert, and is actually a small pill that looks much like a piece of spaghetti (could be?!). It is placed under the lower eyelid with a special soft plastic tool and it does a good job of relieving dry-eye symptoms. I was under the impression that they were no longer manufactured but I checked as I was writing this and they darn sure are being made; now I have to convince some doctor somewhere to write a prescription for them. I still have a few of the outdated ones, but they do not last as long (nearly all day) as they did when fresh. I believe with them and an occasional allergy pill, I can get back to doing a little something.
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For Alice: Alan McCartt is my eye doctor's name.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shingles



Last time I was at the RA doc, I asked her if I could or should have a shingles vaccine as my regular doc advised. She thought about it for a moment, and told me not to have one until she did some more checking. She wants to find if there have been any recent studies done on the subject because the shingles shot uses the living virus and that can make the someone like myself more susceptible to having the disease. I have a suppressed immune system and so do most RA patients whom use the methotrexate drug.
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I was hoping my eyes would be some better by now, but the symptoms wax and wane. Mornings are not too bad, but by evening I am in misery; at least they say I am miserable to be around. I know I become ill tempered when I am like this and try to stay away from people as much as possible.
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I rode with Carolyn to do the buildings yesterday, and I had to get a shot of this green house that has fascinated me for months. I had her set the camera exposure to f/8 and let the auto-focus do its thing. I like this light.
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I will say so long for today, and hope to "see" you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sermons Inc.


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Happy FĂȘte Nationale (Bastille Day) to the French people and to all whom love that great nation.
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Today it becomes legal for certain private citizens in the Confused State of Tennessee to carry loaded firearms into establishments where alcohol is served and sold. Folding Buck knives are still illegal to carry in public. R.I.P. Common Sense. I suppose a good anarchy is what we need to help pull us out of this recession; maybe our national leaders will follow suit. I think gun carrying should be mandatory in churches, schools, and Wal-Marts. Maybe CNN will have some bloody news to incessantly pour through the airwaves instead of the endless, mind numbing, repetitious crappola they feed us when one of our national gods kicks the bucket. R.I.P. Common Sense. Let's all grab the kiddies and go to the park and hope to see a good old fashioned OK Corral type shootout. Maybe we will be lucky if a gunslinger bullet hits one of us or our brats so we can sue someone like the citizens of this law-based nation are prone to do. R.I.P. Common Sense.
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A.I.G. is petitioning The Fed to allow it to use bailout funds to give raises to its executives and others in the slimy organization. Bank of America is wanting more, more, more. Citi Group is claiming a profit for the first quarter this year, but it is just numbers to make its stock look favorable to investors; it is still in dire straits.

Last week, Carolyn took her '06 Chevy van to the dealership for an oil change and tire rotation, She also asked them to repair under warranty the oil pressure gauge which quit working for the second time since she bought the van new in Nov. '06. Also to be fixed was a wobbly latch on the side cargo door. All was done, but the bad latch was replaced with something that looked like it has been well used and is rusty from disuse. This from a company that is pulling itself out of bankruptcy at taxpayer expense and promising to do better. The New General Motors is still operating in a business as usual atmosphere and I see no reason for them to be any different than the "old" GM.

At one time I was for a GM bailout, but not the kind we the people decided to allow them to have. I will not make the same mistake again. Let these companies go under and let the investors, homeowners, and policy holders take their lumps. We need to re-invent ourselves as nation of, by, and for the people, and it will not be done until we make it so. It will be very tough, but we will be strong again. The Spirit of '76 is sorely needed in our heats and in our hands.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

A new week ... a new hope




Today is a bit better sight-wise, but nowhere near normal. Yesterday I uploaded some photos and it was the first time I had done so in a while. I cannot say if they look decent or terrible.
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Mark, better known on the net as yankeepez, has created a new photo blog he is calling Fading America Photography. Please give his work a look-see if you have a chance. Like myself, yankeepez is very much concerned about the direction our country has taken over the past several years, but unlike my bitching and whining, he has dedicated his new blog to photos of what he considers as America in decline and he includes brief descriptions of the places and things he has seen. It is a sobering look at the nation a lot of us grew up in, and he has hope for this country, truly believing we can save ourselves.
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I rode with Carolyn to clean the buildings yesterday, making the entire trip to Elizabethton without having to stop for any of the 10 traffic lights we had to go through. Don't tell me I have nothing to do!
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Speaking of my bride, she and Vicky worked Saturday doing some floors and pressure washing. Humpty-dumpty Carolyn was taking trash to a dumpster when she somehow made a misstep and fell forward barking her knees, elbows, and the tops of her toes; one of her toes seems to be broken. She was sore yesterday but she hasn't complained today. Did she learn that Crocs® are not made for work in the janitorial field? No! I cannot imagine a line of work where they would be safe to wear, although they have become very popular with nurses. Give me leather or give me death! Sorry about misusing your famous quote, Mr. Patrick Henry. Sorry for using your skins on my feet, Mr. and Mrs. Cow.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Time ...

I am going to take my two hours of reasonable vision and try to do a little something positive. I am very thankful to have this bit of time, and here is a link to a Helen Kellor Simulator that shows why. Even now, I must dim my monitor and increase its contrast to do my short-time thing, and it makes photos look terrible.
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I read where Obama is asking Americans to give his stimulus plan time to work. I don't know what he expects to happen to make it viable, but all those jobs are obviously not being created. A lot of the work is for national infrastructure which means heavy construction, but folks believe me writing from the viewpoint of a heavy-construction electrician, there will not be many jobs like that created either for tradesmen or for supporting and collateral work. It just doesn't require a lot of people to build something unless it is a priority job and the powers that be are willing to pay for less efficient and more expensive shift work and overtime pay. It takes "X" amount of man-hours to complete a structure no matter how you go about it, and when it is done, workers must move on to another project. To have a large quantity of big time construction depends on a lot of people investing money into the nation's future, and it is not going to happen until a real-world leader steps forth and convinces citizens that he or she has a long term plan with a chance of being implemented and producing results. Obama is obviously charismatic and probably sincere, but that in itself does no good. Blindly throwing money at a problem looks good at first, but lacks any positive long term impact and worsens the short term implications. We will have a much better infrastructure when all is done—it is surely needed—but the economy is going to have to expand and show promise of sustainable growth several years into the future before large construction projects again help rebuild America. At best, there are no short term peacetime fixes as the administration seems to want us to believe; it is the same old Washington politics at work trying to put a positive spin on sorrowful conditions. Just tell us the truth, Mr. Politician.
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The Smoking Gun's
Mugshots of the Week!
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday the unseenth

Another shot day has rolled around; I hope I can see well enough to drive to doc's office. If the sky remains cloudy, I should be able to make it ok and if not, I will whine until Carolyn decides to drive me there. I've been outside the house for only one short period since returning from the eye doc's place on Monday. I have a couple of hours each morning when I can see fairly well, but the rest of the time is mostly boredom of sitting around in a darkened room or with my eyes closed. It is both pleasing and disconcerting to know I have enough weird things going on in my head to keep me entertained during these periods. I am thinking of trying another eye doctor as the one I have now doesn't seem to have time enough to diagnose my problem. My long time eye physician retired a year or so ago, and his replacement just don't have a clue. I need prescription allergy drops, but the new guy says it is dry eye instead of allergies, whereas my retired doc said it is both and treated all the symptoms. Hell, I've known for more than 20 years that I have chronic dry-eye; it is another of the inconveniences caused by the RA; most arthritis patients are possessed by the demon to a varying degree. I generally control the dryness by making my own tears from looking at all the bills that flood the mailbox each day and at other times I use artificial tears.

Gotta go rest my vision and stretch my imagination for awhile.
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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Until my eyes clear up, posting to this blog will be intermittent. I thought they were getting better, but now they are as bad as day one. Doc says severe and chronic dry-eye; I say there is more to it than that as it only gets this bad in early summer and early fall. At one time in my life it was much worse than at present, and it will probably get well as soon as whatever I'm allergic to goes away.
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The few wonders of the world only exist while there are those with the sight to see them.
~ Charles de Lint

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

When I go ...

Are they actually charging admission for Michael Jackson's funeral? I wanted to be cremated without a service of any kind, but if Carolyn can make a few bucks off my friends by charging them to see the spectacle of my funeral and burial; I am all for it. Here are some suggestions for the charges on the sad occasion.
  • Sign the guest book: $10
  • View my body before the wake: $25
  • Attend the wake: $25
  • Reserved seating for the wake: $50
  • Eat donated food: $50 per plate
  • Attend the funeral: $100
  • Reserved seating for the funeral: $500 $250
  • Privilege of being a pallbearer: $100
  • Riding with Carolyn in the limo: $150
  • Privilege of shoveling dirt on my coffin: $5 per shovel full
  • Donations for my monument: $50
  • Be the first to piss on my grave: $500

As you can see, I am running a pre-event sale on reserved funeral seating. All the above may be purchased in a complete package deal plus all the donated food you can eat at the wake along with the right to toss ten shovel's full of dirt and a choice of one of my old shoes or a pair of well used underwear (mine or Carolyn's) to display for your friends for only $1995 ($1745 while on sale). But wait! If you order now, you can keep the shovel used for my burial; I will personally autograph the handle and the blade and will be happy to dedicate it to you. There's more! You will receive an eight-by-ten suitable for framing black-and-white photograph of yourself sitting on the lap of the deceased (me). What a great conversation piece for you and your friends! There will be only ten of these package deals for sale, and it is first come, first served. Hurry! I look for them to quickly sell out.

Place your order today: PayPal, certified check, or cash will be accepted, but there will be a 10% surcharge for using PayPal. In case you die before me: absolutely NO refunds! I believe this to be a much better deal than the one the owners of Mr. Jackson's remains are offering.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Dog Days

Dog Days came quietly calling Friday. They last 40 days and will end on August 11. For me, they mark the heart of summer in East Tennessee; long, lazy days of intense heat and violent thunderstorms. Seeing as I cannot see well today because of dilated pupils from my visit to the eye doc, and to celebrate and commemorate Dog Days, I will place one of my first stories here for your reading displeasure. It will soon be rewritten and resubmitted for republication.

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Yesterdays No More
A Tragedy
by
Ken Anderson


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. 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 the 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.

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Copyright© 2007 Ken Anderson. All rights reserved

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Mine eyes




I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist tomorrow morning; hopefully he can give prescribe something for my eyes, but of course they are much improved today.
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Obama has been in office nearly six months, and let's count off what has changed for the better: 1. Uh ... George and Dick are not in office; 2. uh ... . Actually I cannot think of a thing domestically that has changed for the good other than number one. One-eighth of his elected term has passed, and ... hey; wait! I know; he is still in the planning stage. It took GW eight months of planning before 9/11 shook him out of his tree, and I suppose Barack is awaiting a similar disaster so he can morph into Presidential Mode and decree something. God, I hate our political system. It has turned into the very thing our Declaration of Independence said we should shake off: " ... whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." It doesn't necessarily mean that we should take up arms and violently overthrow the government; it means we have the right to do whatever it takes to secure a sound and responsible government, but we must have unanimous consent to do so. With today's political machines grinding away at our freedoms and the unsettling lethargy of voters, I only hope that some grass-roots movement will be started which can fire the public fervor and force real change at the ballot box. One time, a woman approached President Franklin D. Roosevelt and told him he should do such-and-such about some project that was important to her group of like-minded folk. He replied something like this: "Madam, I want ot carry forth your project, but you must make me do so". Government will listen if enough people scream so loudly they can not be ignored. People, we must scream!


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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Clinch Mt. and Cumberland Gap





We left JC just before 7:00am yesterday and arrived at the Clinch Mountain overlook at 8:45am with Carolyn driving all the way. Although misty, the view was superb in all directions, not only from Clinch Mt., but also from Cumberland Gap Pinnacle. People have dramatically changed the area since last I visited, and in Kentucky could be seen the remnants of strip mines left by the coal companies and never—or at best just partially—reclaimed, leaving gigantic scars across the mountains. It has become a common and deplorable practice in the coal fields of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

I slept poorly Thursday night, and it did not help my eye problems one bit; by 2:00 pm I was nearly blind for all intents and purposes. We had many visitors at the picnic site near Middlesboro in Kentucky, and they pounced almost before the table cloth was spread. Four gray squirrels, a chipmunk, and a flock of small birds including tits and chickadees came calling for handouts. Fortunately Carolyn brought two loaves of French bread for our meal, because the critters ate most of one. We forgot to bring the new bag of charcoal, thus Carolyn had a rough time (for her; I laughed a lot) getting the bricks to light, but finally both grills were going. The one with the pots of water for the veggies would not get hot enough, so I suggested she find some small limbs to place with the coals so flames would reach them, and soon they were boiling. It was a fine meal, but due to my eye problem, we decided to make our way back home when we had finished eating. We wanted to stay a few more hours, but all in all, it was a good day.
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The Smoking Gun's Mugshots of the Week!

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

United States Independence Day


Sore eyes seem to be getting better; I hope none of you caught the highly contagious conjunctivitis by reading my blog. If you did become infected, let it be a lesson to be more careful of the people with whom you associate on the internet.
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The Associated Press is reporting that the US Drug Enforcement Agency has joined the Michael Jackson death circus. If it were you or me whom had died under the same circumstances, would the Feds have been called in, and would they have participated? Most likely it would be "he was just a drug-head and got his just deserts". Phooey!
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Carolyn and I plan to take a day trip to Cumberland Gap and Clinch Mountain tomorrow, hoping to beat the holiday rush. We want to have our first real picnic of the year, at least one that includes grilled food and not sandwiches or fast food from McWhacks, etc. I have already programmed the GPS, and given the Escape its instructions. The drive will be less than 100 miles (161km) each way. Generally, our plans for such things fall through, but with fingers crossed, maybe it will happen this time.

Carolyn has never visited the Cumberland Gap area; it is the place where the early white settlers—the most famous being Daniel Boone—crossed the Cumberlands into Kentucky and points west. I haven't been there as a tourist, but as a kid traveling with my parents to Cincinnati to visit my grandmother, I remember the highway tunnel into Kentucky, and the view of the lake area back in Tennessee. There is now a national historic park, and it resides within the boundaries of three states: Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee.
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I hope everyone has a great weekend.
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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

"... and darkness was upon the face of the deep. "


My eyes are still in a mess; but here goes nothing of importance anyway. Last night I experienced something I had not "seen" in many years: total darkness. At about 11:30 as I was catching the last of the local news, the electrical power went out. Total black; or as Spongebob Squarepants once said: "This is not your everyday darkness, this is Advanced Darkness". Apparently a tree fell across the lines and brought down several poles with it. The crews worked all night and the electricity was restored this morning around 9:30. Except for the bedroom becoming a little stuffy because the ceiling fan was off, I thoroughly enjoyed the black of night. At about 4:00am, a distant thunderstorm rolled by, and it made the night much more interesting.
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I see where South Carolina governor Mark H. Sanford (I don't know what his real middle initial is, so I will use one that seems to fit: "H" for Hypocrite) is spilling his guts about his affairs; at least some of them. Will the voters of that fair state fall for his attempt to make them feel sorry for him, or is he counting on the fact that most Americans--including South Carolinians--just think it is politics as usual and dismiss his errant ways from their minds? Whom he screws is his business, but voting to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about indiscretions and then doing the same things (probably) and not resigning from office is just plain wrong. Jerk!
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It is a total failure of the American system and its so-called gaurdians when the top headline of the day is 'Jackson's will to be filed in court Wednesday'. The Americam media should be keeping an eye on the lameness of our government and the people who run it instead of worrying about the after death affairs of someone whom will be just a footnote in a poorly written history book.
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Congratulations to Al Franken for not allowing the Republican political machine in Minnesota to steal the election from him. Now Mr. Franken, it is time to go to DC and not become "one of the boys". Stand up for the things you have been claiming to believe in for so many years. Do not be bought, if it isn't already too late ... already.
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I am using Ubuntu Linux this morning; it is the best Operating System I have ever used. I am including a screenshot of my desktop so you may see it is not some type of archaic monster that has to have every command typed.

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