April 29, 2008

Perverse

per·verse /pərˈvɜrs/ [per-vurs]
–adjective 1. willfully determined or disposed to go counter to what is expected or desired; contrary.


I have been told this description applies to my personality. I am not sure why. My Internet buddy JT over at Jundland Waste clearly thinks I am somewhat contrary. He posted a MeMe and tagged me. He said of me, and I quote:

Hoosier Boy - because he won’t do this anyway

JT is a smart guy. He knows that is just the challenge I cannot resist. All my life I have heard "Don't touch that", I bet you can't drink that", "I forbid you", "Keep off". Most people look at those phrases as warnings. To me they are invitations.

So, I will play along. Here are the so called rules:

1) Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4) Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


1. Like JT, I do not like using public pens. Or having strangers touch me.
2. My right big toe has no nail, and I can touch my nose with my tongue (two for one bonus).
3. I can speak words, numbers and phrases in at least 8 languages. But I cannot claim the ability to communicate in any but American English -- even then, my fluency is often called into question.
4. I was an Eagle Scout (and a Firecrafter and member of OA).
5. I have visited nearly every state and 7 foreign countries, but I have lived my entire life in Indiana.
6. I took off in an airplane three times before I landed in one. The first two times I parachuted.
7. My first real job (W4, taxes etc.) was as a janitor.

There, seven random facts. I believe I have divulged all of these in the past. I am pleased I was able to play along.

Consider yourself tagged, if you wish.

April 28, 2008

Mentoring Your Children

Former President Bill Clinton gave a speech in the old hometown yesterday evening. He was literally a few blocks away from my house. I was a little surprised to see the Democrats campaign here. There has only been one Democrat win an office in the city or county in about 12 years. A couple of elections ago the Dims did not even offer a candidate.

The boy and I were in the yard tossing a baseball and I asked him if he wanted to go see the President speak. He asked which President. I told him President Clinton.

"He is not the President".

Well, he is an ex-President. I told him I have never seen a President, current or sitting.

He held the ball and looked at me for a second. "I would not mind seeing a President, I guess", he said, "but not him -- not Bill Clinton".

I am not a complete failure as a parent after all.

April 26, 2008

Sweet Dreams

I had some weird dreams last night. I do not often dream, and I rarely sleep long enough at a stretch to get into REM sleep. In these dreams I was studying a certain kind of ball bearing assembly. There was an engineering question I was trying to solve, but it was fuzzy and indistinct what I was analyzing.

I am not an engineer, but at one time in my career I would have told you I was among the top four or five experts in the world when discussing certain, specific bearings and their application. Just about everyone in that industry would have agreed. I worked with one engineer colleague for more than a year who thought I was a degreed engineer. I bet he was disappointed in his engineering education, when I knew more than him with my history degree! On more than one occasion I have been contacted by my competitors to come and work for them. This is not braggadocio, it is fact. Over time one can only whore out to a certain number of companies and peddle the same products to the same people without losing credibility. "No really, this time the product I am offering is the best..."

Now I sell different bearings in different applications. I have not thought of the old products in a long time. Can any of you amateur Psych majors do a little dream analysis for me? Why am I dreaming of detailed assembly drawings and trying to answer application issues about ball bearings in my dreams? Why am I worrying about the radius of a groove cut into the corner of a bearing? Why am I dreaming about blueprints? I want to dream about nookie, or beer, or baseball, not effing ball bearings.

Weekend Funny

April 25, 2008

Hello Blogworld

I am back from my marathon customer visit yesterday. We were to do a pre-production run of 200 pieces. It should have taken a couple hours. I left home at 5:30 am. I returned at 10:15 pm. There were production line problems, our widgets ran fine. I love my job.

I am going to take advantage of a beautiful Friday to bring back a feature from long ago -- the Friday quiz. I am going to also do what bloggers do best -- steal other blogger's ideas. Some weeks ago Dragon put up a song lyric quiz. I did not answer because the songs sucked (just kidding, Dragon Lady. Maybe) and I did not know the answers (because the songs sucked).

Anyway here is this week's quiz. See if you can name the artist and song. Throw in the album if you like. And no fair googling or using a search engine to find the answers. This is a test of your musical knowledge. The songs are from the 60's, 70's and 80's. All were played on the radio.

1.Battleships confide in me and tell me where you are,
Shining, flying, purple wolfhound, show me where you are,
Lost in summer, morning, winter, travel very far,
Lost in musing circumstances, that's just where you are.
Yours is no Disgrace by Yes -- Punko

2.Okay, if that's the way it must be, okay
I guess I'll go on home, its late
There'll be tomorrow night, but wait!
What do I see?
Is she walking back to me?
Oh Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison -- Freddie

3.Said - said - said: I remember when we used to sit
In the government yard in Trenchtown,
Oba - obaserving the 'ypocrites
As they would mingle with the good people we meet.
Good friends we have, oh, good friends we've lost
Along the way.
In this great future, you can't forget your past;
So dry your tears, I seh.
No Woman, No Cry by Bob Marley -- Supergirl

4.If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat
Behind Blue Eyes by The Who -- Richmond

5.Over and over.
Ah, my mind's such a sweet thing.
I want to do everything.
What a beautiful feeling
Crimson and Clover by Tommy James --Jerry

6.So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
...We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here by Pink Floyd --Freddie

7.Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old
Mother's little Helper by the Rolling Stones -- Jerry

8.Stepped into a church I passed along the way
Well, I get down on my knees and I pretend to pray.
You know the preacher likes the cold
He knows I'm gonna stay.
California Dreamin' by the Mamas and Papas -- Richmond

9.Six o' clock
In the morning I feel pretty good
So I dropped into the luxury of the Lords
Fighting dragons and crossing swords
With the people against the hordes who came to conquer

Seven o'clock
In the morning here it comes I taste the warning
And I'm so amazed I'm here today
Seeing things so clear this way
In the car and on my way to Stonehenge


hint: You will gnash your teeth and go to Church when you see this answer.

Answer: Cathedral by Crosby, Stills and Nash

This one is really really hard unless you are from Central Indiana, but it was a national #1 hit:

10.Wooow, hey
Mmm mmm mmm mmm

You can have your Cajun queens
Down in New Orleans
And take the movie stars
Who drive impress me more cars

Take your high class show and tell
Don`t need no modern day Jezebel
All I want, ain`t no lie
Check it out, Leroy
They breeze by
I wish I had Girl by Henry Lee Summer -- Dragon

and an easy bonus:

Sitting on a park bench
eyeing little girls with bad intent.
Snot running down his nose
greasy fingers smearing shabby clothes.
Drying in the cold sun
Watching as the frilly panties run.
Feeling like a dead duck
spitting out pieces of his broken luck.
Aqualung by Jethro Tull Freddie

April 23, 2008

Not politically correct...

> It was a terrible nightmare, the most horrible one you could imagine. In the nightmare I found myself nude in bed, and I was looking at a mirror on the ceiling, and I discovered that I am a Negro, and I'm circumcised! Quickly I jumped up, found my pants and looked in the pockets to find my driver license photo - and it was that same color. Black. No, no, God no, it can't be!! I felt myself being very depressed, downcast, sitting in a chair. But it's a wheelchair!!
>
> That means, of course, besides being black and Jewish, I'm also disabled!!! I said to myself, aloud "This is impossible. It's impossible that I should be black and Jewish and disabled."
>
> "It's the pure and holy truth", whispers someone from behind me. I turn around, and it's my Boyfriend. Just what I needed!!! I am a homosexual whore and on top of that with a M exican boyfriend. Sonofa#@$%!!!! Oh, my God..... Black, Jewish, disabled, gay, with a Mexican boyfriend, drug addict, and HIV-positive!!!
>
> Desperate, I begin to shout, cry, pull my hair, and OH, noooooo...I'm Bald!!!
>
> The telephone rings. It's my brother. He is saying, "Since mom and dad died the only thing you do is hang out, take drugs, and laze around all day doing nothing. Get a job you worthless piece of crap.. Any job." Mom?... Dad?... Nooooooooo... Now I'm also an unemployed orphan!
>
> I try to explain to my brother how hard it is to find a job when you are black, Jewish, disabled, gay with a Mexican boyfriend, are a drug addict, HIV-positive, bald, and an orphan. But he doesn't get it. Frustrated, I hang up. It's then I realize I only have one hand!!! With tears in my eyes I go to the window to look out. I see I live in a shanty-town full of cardboard and tin houses! There is trash everywhere .
>
> Suddenly I feel a sharp pain near my pacemaker.... Pacemaker? Besides being black, Jewish, disabled, a fairy with a Mexican boyfriend, a drug addict, HIV- positive, bald, orphaned, unemployed, an invalid with one hand, and having a bad heart, I live in a crappy neighborhood.
>
> At that very moment my boyfriend approaches and says to me, "Sweetiepie, my love, my little black heartthrob, have you decided who are you going to vote for in the Primary?
>
> Hillary or Barack?
>
> Sonofa@#$% Say it isn't so!!! I can handle being a black, disabled, one armed, drug addicted, Jewish queer on a Pacemaker who is HIV positive, bald, orphaned, unemployed, lives in a slum, and has a Mexican boyfriend, but PLEASE don't tell me I'm a Democrat!!!!

wash rinse repeat

I should post something. All I have is boring minutiae of my life. See yesterday's post.

Not satisfied? That is what she said...

Alright, ask me a question, give me a topic.

April 22, 2008

Go Cubs

Consider this a really pithy, humorous post.

Work and absolutely beautiful weather prohibit me from actually making an effort.

April 20, 2008

What is bugging me today

I was in that fuzzy period between deep sleep and awake when I had the most brilliant flash of ironic insight. It was a terrifically humorous observation. I jumped from bed. In the moments after taking a piss and getting the wife an aspirin the thought receded on the outgoing tide of sleep. Like waves on the sand, the imagery recedes. Now the genius of my observation is mere trash on the beach, discarded rubbers, beer cans and broken shells of memory. My thoughts are soggy bits of half-burned driftwood and empty Cheetos bags. The damn seagull screech of reality interrupts my thought processes. I have spent the last couple of hours trying to get it back to no avail. I know it had something to do with Biblical names...

The wife says I cannot wash down my bacon with a Slimfast shake. She says it will defeat the purpose. Instead I had some bacon and OJ and a Dr Pepper along with a bowl of Sugar Pops. No milk. I refuse to give in to the political correctness of the minions of health at The Kellogg Company of Battle Creek, Michigan -- The Best to You Each Morning, Kellogg's. Today's Corn Pops look the same, taste the same, even the box is similar to the tasty breakfast cereal I enjoyed as a kid. Some health Nazi or marking fool mandated that cereal should not reflect a sugar content so now we have Corn Pops instead of Sugar Pops, Honey Smacks instead of Sugar Smacks and Super Golden Crisp instead of Super Sugar Crisp. They even call the mascot 'Honey Bear' instead of 'Sugar Bear'! Jeepers. Anyway, I hardly ever eat cereal and I guess I will have to start my regimen of healthy diet eating on Monday. I will enjoy a Slimfast shake in the morning followed by a sensible lunch and dinner. Or maybe not.

Danica Patrick finally lived up to five years of hype and won a race. Now let us see if she can do it again, or at least finish in the top ten in points before we anoint her GODDESS of ALL RACING.

Is the NBA over yet?

If you sent the blurry picture of a baseball game to my cell phone last night would you please ID yourself and let me know the point of sending the picture. I don't get it.

Doves. They are dumb, loud, stubborn, and not worth the effort to kill and eat. I will kill that bastard if it does not cease sitting outside my window at the crack of dawn (Who the fuck is Dawn and why is her crack exposed anyway?) making that whoo-oop hooo call over and over and over and over and.....@^%$^**&%$#@ birds.

Speaking of birds, the wife and I were watching Iron Chef yesterday. One of the dishes was fried squab (pigeon?) and the chef instructed the diners to bite off the back of the head and suck out the brains. He showed them how to hold the beak just so. He also fried up some tripe. It used to be people ate tripe and pigs feet and souse (head cheese) and brains and sweetbreads and blood sausage and such because they had to use the whole animal. It was an economical decision. Now the rich and decadent go for the entrails and brains as a delicacy. What next -- an appetizer of deep fried pig ears and chicken beaks served with leach and blood salsa, followed by roasted haunch of field mouse (free range) and seasoned with dandelion curry, served with wild rice tossed with toe-jam infused butter and accompanied by a rich salad consisting of field greens, pink yak-milk cheese and fried catfish tails in a warm dressing of cow butt swipes? I think I'll stick with bacon and hamburger and steak.

Oh, if I can get 80 or 90 of you to visit, or one of you to click here 80 or 90 times I will hit 70K visits. That is more visits than people who live in my county. Thanks for your continued support. Why you come here, I don't know. What you are looking for is an even greater mystery (except for the dozen or so hits every day looking for pygmy sex -- mostly those are from middle eastern countries). I do appreciate it.

Weekend Funny

April 19, 2008

History lessons


We have all heard the famous quote about those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. I will not reproduce it here because it is a load of crap. History does not repeat. We can learn some valuable lessons from the study of history that can be applied to modern situations though. Human nature does not change.

233 years ago today there was a group of hard working citizens. They loved their country. Their Government did not love them back. It stomped on individual liberty. It imposed burdensome taxes and regulations. The final straw was when they tried to confiscate the citizen's guns and ammunition. On April 19, 1775 The British Army marched to the towns of Lexington and Concord to seize weapons and powder. There, citizen soldiers stood up to the Government. "No more". they said.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood;
And fired the shot heard round the world.
--Emerson


In those brief moments of violence and death a nation was born. Our Sixteenth President said it best:

[O]ur fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.


It is ironic that the day we pay our taxes falls so close to the anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War. A rebellion fought primarily over taxation and the overreach of Government. Take time today to give thanks you were born in the United States of America. Thank God your forefathers had the courage to fight for the freedoms we enjoy today. Reflect on the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces since in wars that have allowed the peoples of the world to drink from the cup of liberty and freedom.

God Bless America

April 18, 2008

A letter to one of my favorite bloggers

I rarely comment on other's blogs. I think if I have nothing to contribute why bother? You, for some reason, compel me to comment. Unfortunately, I never can find the words to say what I want to convey. You have a real talent for writing. You need to take pride in the life you have. You are a good Mom. I can think of no higher compliment. I am not presumptuous enough to offer any advice. You should live each day to the fullest. It took me a long time, but I finally discovered that if you spend every day concentrating on what is wrong with your life you miss out on what is right and good. I have to repeat that mantra often, but I am far happier when I keep that in mind.

Yawn

There was a minor earthquake in the area this morning (5.4 rs). It was about on the magnitude of a really strong peal of thunder, only it lasted about 10 or 20 seconds. You know the kind of thunder I am talking about if you live in the Midwest. It shakes the house, rattles the windows and such. The whole thing was no big deal, just strong enough to wake me up. After the earthquake the wife moved some very heavy candlesticks and a brick on the shelf above my side of the bed. What is up with that?

Anyway, in typical fashion, the local news went crazy with wall to wall coverage. They even pre-empted the Today Show to extend the coverage of the earthquake. Keep in mind, there was NO DAMAGE, NO INJURIES, and many people (including my son) did not even wake up. The news (every Indy channel) took calls and read emails from viewers telling about their "experience". Each account was the same -- "the walls shook and the windows rattled". What kind of loser speed dials the local TV station to tell his story? This is the biggest non-event since the blizzards that did not happen this winter.

In other exciting news I went to a concert last night. There were no guitar solos, pyrotechnics or roadies. It was a combo Eighth Grade/ High School band concert. It was only slightly less thrilling than the Earthquake 2008. The good news is this is my very last band concert. The boy is dropping band after this year. I wonder if that will make the local news?

April 17, 2008

Start your day off right

I used to say there was no better way to start the day than by getting a little nookie. It has been so long since that happened I will leave the truth of that statement to be judged by others more fortunate.

I can say with assertive authority that a serving of bacon each morning goes a long way to ensuring a happy start to the workday.

A few Cheetos in the afternoon can help keep up your waning spirits as well.

You are welcome.

April 16, 2008

Vacation Pictures

Have you found yourself in a situation that made you ridiculously uncomfortable? In the olden days, before cell phones, before most of us had computers in our house, when I was a young Hoosierboy fresh from college, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, I worked as a management trainee at an injection molder of plastics. As such, I spent time with the white-collar types that inhabited the front office. In fact, I was the backup for almost every position. I did scheduling, payroll, customer service, shipping paperwork, etc. I also spent time in various supervisory positions on the shop floor. Whenever there was nothing else to do, I worked in the shipping/warehouse department as unofficial assistant manager.

In this duty I received the list of shipments for the day, then as the shipments were ready I went to the office and detailed the weight, number of cartons and pallets so the lady who prepared the shipping documents could type the Bill of Lading, Packing Lists, etc. These are all mundane tasks that occur in manufacturing plants and warehouses every day.

The lady who did the this paperwork was a semi-attractive blond in her middle to late thirties. She always struck me as a nice, if not too bright, person. One spring she went on a Caribbean vacation with her husband. I filled in for her while she was gone. Upon her return I went to other duties. For some reason one of my colleagues went to get the list of daily shipments that Monday morning. I was busy all day shrink wrapping, preparing shipments, etc. Jeff gave me the paperwork to take up front to get the Bill of ladings done. I asked why he could not do it, I was busy. He just laughed and said I should go. He said I should ask Donna to see the pictures from her vacation, if she did not offer.

I sat down next to Donna's desk and gave her the pertinent info. As I was about to leave the office (this office was shared by three women) Donna asked if I had seen her vacation pictures. She handed me the packet. The first was a picture of the resort and the beach. Beautiful. The rest were of her in various poses, some with her husband and some not. In each of these pictures, she was either topless or completely naked. They had gone to a nudie resort.

I was 25. These were pictures of a naked chick with a nice rack. What is the proper etiquette? Does one rush through the pictures, or study each in detail? How long is too much when staring at naked boobies and bush? Keep in mind, she was not showing these images for shock value; in her mind she was just sharing pictures from a great vacation. Her Tetons and Grand Canyon pictures were a little different than mine.

The pictures laid on her desk for about a week. Every guy in the shipping department got a chance to take up the shipping info. Guys share like that. I was never able to look at her the same.

Graphic Pygmy Sex Video

Have you noticed we are not hearing so much about Global Warming anymore? Now the buzzword is "Climate Change". That way the prophets of gloom and doom will be right, no matter what happens. Clearly, what is important is we do all we can to cripple capitalism and promote a new age green way of living. I find it interesting that every solution to limit climate change involves more government regulation and more control over our lives by a few individuals.

Maybe I am just paranoid.

April 15, 2008

Don't you wish you were me?

I took an early lunch today to go to the store. I wanted to throw a roast into the crock pot for supper. There were only two lanes open at the grocery; the express lane and a regular lane. The store is not busy. The lady in line in front of me is an acquaintance of my wife's. I know her only well enough to say hello. Just after I get into line a stereotypical white trash woman/girl shoves in behind me. You know the type -- a peroxide blond with about two inches of black roots, early twenties, mouth breathing, gum smacking, nose pierced, overweight loudmouth. She is talking on her cell phone. The conversation involves how drunk she was last night. I am not eavesdropping. She is talking loud enough for the whole store to hear. I start to put my things on the belt. In front of me, the checkout girl discovers that one of the jars is leaking. They send the sack boy to get a replacement. The lady gives me an apologetic look. I am not concerned, these things happen.

"They only have one fucking lane open, can you believe it?", shouts the trash. "I hate this fucking store. Oh,my God, this old bitch in line is taking, like, forever. What is that fucking bitch doing? Come on! Unfuckingbelievable." says this epitome of lady-like breeding.

We all turn to give her the stare. She is oblivious. As I finally begin to check out, she is still complaining to her friend about how long it is taking. Every other word from her mouth is a cuss word. In a flash of inspiration I decide I will write a check, just to piss her off more. I am about to affix my signature when I hear her say "Oh Christ, he is writing a fucking check, come on dude". I quickly void the check and tell the checkout girl, sorry, I want to write this over to get some cash. The checkout girl starts laughing. I write very slowly. The trash behind me is about to stroke. I ask for my $25.00 in tens and fives and ones. The checkout girl very deliberately counts the money. I stand there a few moments longer to put the cash in my wallet, put my checkbook and pen in my coat pocket and store my receipt in the bag. Only then do I move away. Childish? -- you bet. Worth every minute? ditto. It is the little victories over the assholes that make life worth living.

I wonder if the bank would take a check written with Roman Numerals? That would really slow down things next time. How do you write $17.98 anyway?

$ XVII. XCVIII?

View from my windsheild Volume XIV


These clouds looked fake yesterday afternoon. This was taken just a few miles from where I was born and raised. It was also very close to where Jerry lives. It is a little flat around there.

Blogging 101

Today's lesson -- things that seem funny as hell at 1:30 am, may not seem so amusing in the cold light of day. Brain filters are a good thing. Use them.

Crazy

Crazy -- that is my life lately. Not Patsy Cline Crazy, but padded room hysterics crazy. The weirdness of life continues to envelope me in its warm protective arms, whispering sweet nothings in my ear. I feel safe. I keep looking over my shoulder for Nurse Ratchett. Questions, questions: do I scratch the same spot on my arm repeatedly until it bleeds or do I bounce around the room like Daffy Duck shouting whoohoo, whoohoo? Maybe I should manifest my festering psychosis by sitting in the chair twitching and drooling while insisting I only watch Law and Order reruns? That may be best since that show is on at least one cable channel 24/7. Hell, for all I know it is the rest of you who are the lunatics and I am the sane one. Is it a bad sign when Syd Barrett lyrics start to make sense? Some days I swear I can hear the synapses sizzling as they short out, the smoke and sound echoing in my cranium. Ponder on that imagery for a while, gophers.

How do I reconcile the long, well researched post on the price of oil and the falling dollar that generates a mere whisper of discussion? My fiction is worse than I imagine -- crickets offer louder applause. That is OK, I can take it. I understand -- boring just ain't in. But when I smack the keys at random, enter a few space bars and hits on the return key, I generate the most comments in months. It is all crazy I tell you. or maybe I am just a fucking genius. Blame it on the orange juice. Or maybe the vodka I water it with. Just kidding. Maybe. Look, some bloggers offer you free panties, I can only retaliate by letting you see the train wreck that masquerades as rational thought patterns. Welcome to my brain peoples.

Against my better judgement I will be coaching a baseball team again this year. The foul weather has delayed tryouts and hence the start of the season. The boy is chomping at the bit to get going (or is the right word 'champing'? I know nothing about horses or bits or bridals). There is going to be a real shortage of pitching and catchers in this years' draft. The card draw to determine drafting order will be key. A coach always has to take his own kid first in the draft. Since mine is not a pitcher I am always at a disadvantage. Some teams are getting their second pitcher before I get my first. edit: I know, but this is the crap you get if you want me to post anything at all.


Freeze warnings out for tonight. The neighbor's Magnolia is almost hitting full bloom. I am ready for some warm weather. I am going to hit the library tomorrow. I feel the need to digest a little Hemingway. I might try on a little Ivanhoe as well. There is a clear juxtaposition of styles for you. I suspect I do not have the patience to suffer through Scott any more. I have spent the last hour reading about Ivanhoe, which led me to Robin Hood and that took me to King Arthur. Damn research sucks me in every time.

It is now 1:45 am. I should be in bed. I know I am boring you, I am not real excited myself. Maybe this will help set the mood:

April 14, 2008

Right on the mark

If you read nothing else today, read this post:

click this link now

Learn Something Monday

I was surfing through the channels yesterday and landed for a minute on Fox Sports Midwest. There was a documentary on about a baseball player who played for the Washington Senators. Click this link. The man hailed from Dana, Indiana (tiny Dana was also the birthplace of Ernie Pyle). His promising baseball career was cut short by WWII. He won several medals and was shot down over Austria in 1944.

After the war, he fought to get back into baseball. He finally got his chance with the Senators. He was primarily a batting practice pitcher, but he did finally get into a game. Oh, he lost his right leg below the knee when he crashed his plane.

April 13, 2008

Even Jerks can be right about some things

I love history. If you have visited here any length of time you know that. But history is full of periods and subjects and disciplines. There is ancient history, Asian history, art history, American History, European History, Political History, Military History, blah, blah, blah. One era I have never really enjoyed in the history of the Middle Ages. Feudalism, serfs, snooooze...As a history major in College I took one course in that subject. The professor was a retired member of the faculty and was quite good, probably because he had been teaching the subject for about 60 years, or maybe because he was alive in the middle ages. The required text was big and brown and weighed about 6 pounds. More significantly, it cost well over $100.00. That was a steep price in the early 1980s. My copy was stolen from under my desk the second day of class during lecture. I know who took it, but I could not prove it. I made it through (with an A) by paying real close attention and borrowing the text from a guy down the hall. My appreciation of the history of the Middle Ages did not improve.

Years later I had a boss who was a complete dick. He was the worse boss I have ever had. For example, he thought his salesmen should read from a script when they visited customers. You cannot imagine the laughs this got at the sales meeting. Anyway, he was always talking about this novel set in the Middle Ages. He knew I loved history and thought I would enjoy it. I avoided the tome for two reasons: He recommended it, and it was about the Middle Ages. The book was The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It details the lives and fortunes of those building a cathedral. I know, snooze city. I fianlly broke down and bought the paperback version.

Trust me, this is one terrific book. In fact, you owe me big time because I am spending my Sunday telling you about this book instead of reading the last twenty pages. I will not say more. Do not let the subject or time period keep you from reading this novel. Read it, you will thank me later.

April 12, 2008

RIP Petunia

About a year ago the wife was gifted a pink petunia in a hand decorated pot. I am not sure if it was a gift for teacher appreciation day or an end of school token or what. That pink Petunia sat in the kitchen window through the spring. Summer saw it grow and bloom. We moved to this house in the fall and it sat on the kitchen counter and thrived.

Winter was tough, the blooms dried up and one of the 'branches' withered and died. I nursed it through the cold, faithfully watering and talking to it each morning as I made the coffee. The last few months saw the plant struggle with life. After one long trip I berated the wife for not giving old Petunia some water. She said I should just throw that old dead thing away. I pointed out that it was still green, that she would bloom again come spring. The very heavy travels of the last two weeks took their toll. Maybe it was lack of water, maybe it was old age, perhaps the plant missed the soothing melody of my voice, but I think the Petunia has died. I tried doses of glorious water, a little fertilizer to no avail -- no form of life support has brought color to the brown lifeless stem. I think I will have to pull the plug. Goodbye old friend.

April 11, 2008

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April 9, 2008

You title the story

As I waited in construction traffic yesterday at the I -65 to I -80 west ramp I looked around me. The sky to the North was an impossibly perfect shade of blue. It was the blue you see in your mind when you close your eyes and remember the carefree days of childhood summer. Not a cloud marred the sky over the distant lake. You know which lake.

Not so long ago as you neared this part of NW Indiana near Gary the sky would have a faint yellow tinge. The air would smell of chemicals and the rotten egg odor of sulfur from the refineries and steel mills.

I rember the trips we made in the early 1970s to visit my only aunt and uncle in Western Illinois. The stretch from Gary to the Illinois line was a time of misery, of watering eyes, of choking smells. Those of you who lived and worked in Hammond, Whiting, Gary, or Griffith probably did not notice the air like a traveler from a Central Indiana farm town.

Today the air is clean and fine. Is this a function of environmental awareness or the decline of the US steel industry?

Missed opportunities

Sometimes I wish I had a camera implanted in my head so you could see the things I see in my travels.

For instance, today while traveling northbound on the recently completed Intetstate 355 (North/South Tollway) I passed a car in the right lane. The car was going maybe 50 mph. It was a 1970s era Cadillac. Emblazoned across the rear window was the phrase " ELVIS LIVES".

Not only would I have loved to take tha picture, I would like to spend an hour in conversation with the driver. That, my friends, is the faith of a true fanatic.

Wednesday Wanderings

Not blogging last week was kind of nice. You have no idea how close I came to just walking away from this hobby obsession. I felt no compulsion to post, at no time was I plotting and writing entries in my head. Then yesterday it all seemed natural again. One post late Monday followed by two on Tuesday. Here we are on Wednesday and again I have nothing -- so far. Where does that leave us? Writing and reading blogs has started to take up hours rather than minutes in my life. As we move into the summer months indulge me if I post a little less often and visit your blogs a little less frequently.

The good news is I tried this before and became more prolific than ever. You never know...

April 8, 2008

We are Family

I try hard to protect my anonymity. On the other hand I enjoy seeing pictures of other bloggers and their families. It makes them real. It makes me know them a just a little beyond the electronic world we all inhabit. I have posted a few pictures of me in the past. Here is one of my wife, daughter and youngest son (the oldest boy is at college and was not with us). The little one, as you can see is not so little any more. He is now taller than his sister and his mom. Excuse the quality, it was taken with the camera phone. View it while you can.

Big Oil sucks, vote Obama

Every time I fill up the vehicle I cringe at the prices at the gas pump. I detailed the reason for the escalating gas prices about a month ago. When I see the profits of the oil companies for a moment I am upset. But if you look at the profits as a percentage of sales, rather than a raw number, the profit levels are not out of line compared to other major companies. Also, remember that the local, state, and Federal Governments all tax your gas as a percentage. This means the higher the price -- the higher the tax. Depending where you live, the price of a gallon of gas is increased by 30% or more because of taxes. Why are there no protests and outrage at the tax windfall for the Government?

If you are really appalled at the profits of the oil companies you should try and get a little back. Invest in Exxon or BP, get a little dividend, reclaim your share of the price at the pump. In fact, if you have a 401K -- you probably are benefiting from the big profits. Perhaps you would rather NO company made any money? That would be a disaster for your planned retirement.

Obama tells me approximately every 15 minutes he is going to put a windfall tax on Big Oil. Even the ghost of Richard Nixon and price controls thinks that is a bad idea. Punish Big Oil, make them pay, control the price at the pump. That will get those effers. Do you really think ANY company pays taxes? They are in business to make a profit and they will pass that tax on to you me and our neighbors. Read Obama's website. He is going to force us to drive smaller cars, he is going to make the auto companies build more fuel efficient cars, he is going to make them convert to a more green automobile. And the Government is going to help pay for it! Yay! Government pays.

Well folks, just like I tried to explain to a city councilman some time ago when he wanted to build a new bridge, I do not think we need it and I do not want to pay for it. He told me we only have to pay 20% of the cost, the Feds will pay the rest! Guess which party he belonged to? I tried to patiently explain that the Federal Government (or State or local) does nothing to produce revenue -- they take it from those who do produce like me and you. I will be paying for the bridge. He gave me a look like I was just too dumb, and walked away.

Anyway, Obama wants to get the Government involved and add a bunch of new regulations, but he does not mention the best way to gain independence from foreign oil producers. That is to drill our own oil reserves in Alaska and off the coasts of Florida and Texas. You see, the Cubans and the Chinese are drilling there. But to appease the Greenies we are letting someone else take oil just off our shores.

Really, if you think this guy would make a good President, you should go to his web site and get edumacated. If you think the economy sucks now, wait until he implements his policies.

April 7, 2008

Ok, already

I went to the store to get some rolls and cheese. Mac and Cheese goes perfect with ham loaf. I threw the groceries in the back seat and buckled in. I looked out the side window and there was a big old yellow jacket perched on the mirror. He was looking in the window at me with that pissed-off look bees usually have. I pulled out of the parking space and the bee stung the mirror. As I pulled out on the street, he manoeuvred himself so he was facing the wind. At twenty he was hanging tough, I imagined his little bee tongue was hanging out lapping the breeze like a hound dog in a pickup truck. At thirty his wings were fluttering and I am sure he was imagining the tales of the speed he 'flew'. In his little bee mind he was already scoring with the ladies. At forty he fell off. C'est la vie.

The boy made it back from DC, he had a great time. He could not get the digital camera to work, but he did take about 250 pictures and a couple of videos on his camera phone. He went swimming over the weekend. He took his best friends with him -- his iPod and his cell phone. Why he put them in the pocket of his swim trunks is a mystery only understood by a teenager (one of his best buddies ruined his cell phone also by going into the Atlantic with the phone in his pocket). Did I mention ALL of his Washington pictures were on his phone? I used the hair dryer on them and left both sitting for a few days. The iPod actually works, but there is no longer a back light. The phone just makes a humming noise. I think it is shot. We have a couple of upgrades coming, so we can replace the phone free. But if anyone knows how to recover the pictures please let me know in the comments. The pictures were saved to the phone, not the sim card. He is pretty upset the pictures may be lost.

I did not go too ballistic, he is usually pretty responsible. Even as a little kid he took very good care of his toys. He did not break them or abuse them. He must have got that from his mother. I was not very good to my toys. Tonka trucks indestructible -- Ha, Otter and I would laugh as pieces fell to the curb. We would stage elaborate wrecks and pile ups with our Hot Wheels. We would beat them with hammers and soak them in lighter fluid or gas for that special effect. Too bad there was no video, our 'crashes' were special.

April 5, 2008

so sorry

No time. No desire. No ideas. no posts.

April 2, 2008

Let me be your personal banker

Sunday evening I went to the ATM to withdraw some cash. I put in my pin and selected the amount. The mahine made its whirring noise and began to count cash. After a bit it told me my transaction was denied. I was not sure if I had asked for more than my daily limit or if there was a problem with the machine, so when it askedif I wanted another transaction, I asked for a smaller amount. I was notified the machine could not dispense cash at that time. No problem, these things happen. Later that evening the wife was checking the balance and my account was debited the $500 anyway! After a couple of phone calls we got this cleaned up on Monday.

Fast forward to Tuesday evening. I am in a strange city traveling. I still have to get some cash. I go to the ATM and request $200. Click whir and one twenty comes out. A few seconds later two more are dispensed. Another appears followed by lots of machine noises That is it.The machine flashes 'out of order'. Great, I am in a strange city at an ATM that is not my bank and it only gave me part of my cash. How often do they balance the ATMs in a hotel lobby?

Fortunately, the receipt stated I only received $80. I bet you could hear my sigh of relief. I do not think I will use the ATM again for a while.

April 1, 2008

Super Tuesday

I hope your Monday went fine. Mine was OK. It looks as if the leaders of the Dimocrit Party are leaning on the Hildebeast to drop out and back B Hussein Obama. That will never happen. She thinks she can go to the convention and strongarm the delegates into voting for her. The good news is this protracted fight means both Obama and Clinton have to spend their war chests fighting each other. That means less money to fight McCain. The bad news is that means I have had to see at least one Clinton pollute the state of Indiana with their presence amost every day. And we have been inflicted with commercials as well from both candidates.

Usually the Indiana primary is held so late (May) that it is of no consequence. Coupled with our relatively small Electoral Vote, we are just ignored by the candidates. Not this year.
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