August 20, 2017

Me too

My ancestor had to leave his home in Germany after the Hundred Years War.  There was no tolerance for his Protestant Theology in that part of the Rhineland.

Every single Catholic Church, statue of Mary, and picture of a saint reminds me of those terrible years. I want them all destroyed. St. Louis, you need to change your name. These are symbols of hate and oppression, they bring to mind the terrible witch burnings of Wurtzburg and the oppression, hatred, and scorn felt by my family. What about the thousands tortured by the Inquisition? Or the countless "godless heathens" forced to convert by the Catholic Spanish throughout South America?  I am certain that millions of Jews and Protestants whose ancestors fled Catholic Europe feel the same sense of oppressive hatred every time the see Notre Dame football or the Pope on TV.

Tear them all down.

I'm getting too old for this stuff

My daughter and her family have left the premises.. I spent a good chunk of Friday evening and yesterday helping move. When did I become so weak? I used to be fairly strong. I could work at physical stuff all day. Now, after a few hours I can barely move. Frankly, I hurt all over. I'm sure there are more boxes and stuff to be moved today. I will suck it up and do what I can.

It just seems that is not as much as it was just a few years ago.

How the hell did this happen? I think my wife lifted and carried as much as I did yesterday.

August 19, 2017

Lighten Up, Francis. Volume XLII

Here Is a nice story about a guy who just wanted to make his community better. Jim was also a very nice guy.  He lived next door to me in the early 1990's.

Where does it stop?

General George Thomas is one of my historical heroes. My oldest son is named after him. Often overlooked in modern history of the Civil War, Thomas was admired by his peers and enemies alike. One could make the argument that "The Rock of Chicamauga" saved the Western Army.

Thomas grew up on a slave-owning plantation. He won his appointment to West Point in part for his aid in putting down the Nat Turner slave uprising.

George Thomas was a Union general. His sisters were reportedly so distraught he chose to remain in the Federal Army rather than fight for his native Virginia the turned his portrait to face the wall.

There is a statue to General Thomas in Washington DC. Do we tear it down?

August 18, 2017

And now for something you will really hate

Be not like the sun
For it is blind
And sees only darkness

Today is Bad Poetry Day. I'm not just making stuff up. My Amazon Echo told me it is Bad Poetry Day. The Echo is connected to the Internet, and EVERYTHING on the Internet is true. Trust me on this.

Above is my entry, first penned back in the early 1980s when I was a pretentious schmuck.  I think this effort has really withstood the test of time. It was bad poetry then and it is bad poetry now.

August 17, 2017

One last post

Forget anything I have attempted to pen in recent days.

Read THIS : it says it better, more succinctly and eloquently than I could ever manage.

August 16, 2017

The King is gone. That Burger King in Michigan probably has an opening.*

Elvis gave his last concert in Indianapolis Indiana. He died in ignominious circumstances on this date in 1977.  Elvis has provided me with countless hours of entertainment in my life.

I dig some Elvis movies. He is quite good in most of the films because he pretty much played the same character in all of the movies.. He got good at it.


How can you NOT enjoy this?

I guess this tune sums it up:



* for those of you way too young, rumors floated for years that The King was still alive and working various anonymous jobs.

I'm off to see the Wizard

...Not really a wizard, but a highly skilled surgeon. One year later and I am slated for another eye operation today. The procedure is not nearly so complicated nor invasive as those I had one year ago. This time it is a quick zap by a laser to remove scar tissue from the last surgeries. No lying on my back for weeks at a time I hope!

Do you know what we need? We need some good music to break up the tension. Not only is this one of my favorite tunes, I think it sums up the events of the past week pretty well:


Enjoy your Wednesday.

August 15, 2017

Asked and answered

I think many live in your America. The critical question is what does that America do in response to Charlottesville? Stay quiet? Stand up? Or it doesn't matter as long as it doesn't touch you?
Those are real questions. Not judging - honestly asking.
I was asked this question in a comment to a previous post.

That is the rub. What do we do about unpleasant thoughts in a free society. You see, I do not believe in the concept of "Hate Speech". As I have written repeatedly, the First Amendment exists to protect the speech we find most objectionable. There is no Right to Never Be Offended embedded in the Constitution.

There are some in this country who believe Donald Trump is the greatest threat to freedom in the history of the nation.  Curiously, many of those who hold that tenet are demanding the Government "do something" to regulate "Hate Speech". Do you people realize that it would be the Executive Branch -- in other words, The Donald -- who gets to enforce those regulations? The guy you claim is a closet bigot, a Nazi, a Fascist gets to decide who to jail for failing to think the right group-think. Be careful of what you wish for.

There is nothing you and I can argue that will change the mind of bigoted assholes. There are just some people who think skin color or religion is a reason to marginalize a person. I have never spend a nanosecond as a minority in this country. I have no doubt you see racism every day. That does not mean all white folks are racist bigots any more than all blacks are gangster rappers.

A vote against Clinton as a person, or the Democrat Party platform does not mean I want to don my wife's best bed sheet and demand a return to the good old days of the antebellum South. You know -- when the Democrats controlled the government and Supreme Court. See how easy it is to cast aspersions upon an entire group of people?

We are told that the actions of a tiny percentage of fanatics does not mean every follower of Islam is looking to blow us up. We were cautioned that one Bernie Bro shooting a bunch of Republicans does not mean all of Bernie Sanders socialist followers are set on murdering right-wingers. But somehow, according to Black Lives Matter leaders, the press and Mr. Any Mouse commentor, I have to answer for the actions of a tiny minority of racist, bigoted, misbegotten, white trash hate-filled asshole losers?

No thanks. I refuse to accept that responsibility. The concept of the "White Man's Burden" was an evil philosophy 150 years ago. Nothing has changed, no matter how you flip that coin. 


August 14, 2017

Not in my America

It may be that I live in a fantasy world. Perhaps I am truly blinded by my life and experience and my "privilege", whatever that really means. The hate and violence of the weekend in Virginia is not the America I know.

In my life there are bad black people, bad white people and bad Hispanics. There are even more black and brown and white people who worry about bills, love their kids and root for their favorite sports team. We wake up and get on with the business of living without focusing on race or religion or politics every minute of the day. We work. We live.

I will not pretend I am color blind. I do notice if a person has darker skin than I do. I also notice hair color and tattoos and how you are dressed. And yes, I occasionally make judgments. Sorry, if you are sporting a Hell's Angels vest I am going to steer clear. The same goes for tear drops inked on your face.  I will also form an opinion if you have a burned cross and rebel flag on your farm or are sporting a Black Lives Matter T-Shirt. 

In my America you go to your church or synagogue or not. It is none of my business. You vote how you do. Maybe we agree and maybe we don't. You are probably wrong, but that doesn't mean we can't sit together and enjoy our kids' Little League game. Amazingly, politics rarely is a topic of discussion in my America. I have never talked religion, or Trump, or how I vote with a single one of my neighbors. 

In my world the number of folks who actually "March" and protest and riot are, well, frankly non-existent; they are the fringe. 

Of course bigots live and breathe. They are our neighbors and co-workers.They take your money at he store, the bank, the restaurant. They manage to get through the day without letting hate consume them. I am not dragged into their petty world. 

Most of us just don't care what color your skin is. If you are surrounded by people who think of that aspect first, I suggest you find new friends.  

On the other hand, I just might not live in the real America.  

It is gonna be OK

Last evening I sat alone on the patio. Cicadas sang their lonely song, rising in crescendo before fading out in exhaustion only to again cry out their lust a few minutes later. Beneath the waves of insects chirping in the trees the eh-eh, eh-eh of tree frogs heralded the deepening twilight. The boy's dog scampered and rolled in the grass. I sat in silence. I thought I might cry.

My oldest boy had just crammed the last items into his over-stuffed car and pulled away from the curb headed west to a new life. He is not the first person to move from home and family. He won't be the last. But he is the first of my family to head far out into the wide world. He has not lived at home for more than a decade, but he has always been just an hour or so drive away; close enough we could have lunch or dinner whenever our work schedules permitted. We could always count on him for birthdays and holidays. He will be fine. That doesn't mean his leaving isn't sad. He will always be my little boy. On top of the impending death of my yet-unborn grandson it is a lot on my plate emotionally right now.

I sit here wondering why I cannot sleep at night.

This too shall pass. People have been moving "west" since the beginning of time. The old drive for manifest destiny, the pioneer spirit, still lives in the breast of the hardy. Horace Greeley's exhortation to "Go West young man" was not a new concept when he printed it in the New York Tribune. The spirit of seeking a better life is what brought my forefathers to this continent and led a branch of my family to this part of the heartland we now call home. I live a few dozen miles from where my ancestors ripped the trees from the soil to plant a farm some two hundred years ago. If anything, it is I who has failed to live up to the pioneer spirit.

The boy is off in his modern Conestoga wagon. Instead of oxen, his goods and person will be pulled by a hopefully dependable Ford engine. He will cross the Great Plains not in weeks and months, but in hours. The trip will be just as exciting. He will be filled with just as much trepidation. His mom will worry just as much as I am certain the early settlers' mothers worried.

It is gonna be OK.


August 13, 2017

The world is full of jerks

KKKers, Nazis, Skinheads, White Supremicists -- piss on you all, you bigoted assholes. Skin color is just like hair color, a result of genetics. You are ignorant dickheads.

Those who want to erase history, I fart in your general direction. Take a lesson from Germany. They preserved the Concentration Camps as museums for a reason.

And most of all, those who would use this disgusting rally in Virginia to paint all white people as fascist and racist and haters: you are bigoted assholes too.

Learn some damn history. The Fascists and the Nazis were left-leaning socialists.

Do you know what mostly killed off the KKK? Lack of attention. Nothing hurts a fringe movement like a lack of attention. Instead of the local TV news showing up to spotlight 16 bigoted assholes in dressed in their wife's good bed sheets , no one came to view their idiocy. That is the ultimate ridicule. When counter-protesters show up with mace and pepper spray, that is the best recruitment effort ever. Don't resort to violence, point and laugh. It is way more effective.


August 12, 2017

Dear Keith Ellison

Why do you hate America so much?

As always, counter arguments are welcome in the comment section.

Roy Orbison was a musical genius

Here I sit, pecking away with one finger on my electronic keyboard at 5:00 AM on a Saturday morning. I would rather be snoozing, huddled down in my cozy bed. It is not to be. I woke at 4:30 and couldn't get back to sleep. It is not like I went to bed early either. It was pushing midnight when I headed up to bed.  I dunno either.

The coffee is good this morning. I spied some bacon in the 'fridge yesterday. I may fry some of that up later. I don't need it. I do want it. Maybe I will wait until my granddaughter gets up and make some pancakes. She loves pancakes.

I really wish I had some better content for you. I have read some of my old scribblings. I will not claim they are great columns, but I have lost my blog mojo somewhere along the way. What started as a journal of my times has become a shell. I think that happens when our hobbies become habits.

Part of it is our times. I'm sick of politics. It has become impossible to have a reasoned discussion or even a polite argument. Perhaps there is no middle ground any more. Like the song says, "battle lines are being drawn. Nobody's right if everybody's wrong". We go through this political polarization every couple of generations: the Jacksonian years, the antebellum period, the 1890's, the 1930's, the Sixties. Maybe that nut in North Korea will bring us together. It is a sad fact that war can heal political wounds.

It is way too early for so much seriousness. Enjoy your day.

August 11, 2017

Life advice

I'm late posting to the old blog today. I would like to proudly proclaim that the wait was worthwhile; alas, I cannot lie to you. Not about content anyway.

Well, not in this case.I have little of value to write about today.

My customer visit earlier in the week has partially paid off. I received a decent-sized RFQ from that customer. In case you don't know "RFQ" stands for "request for quotation". I hate acronyms and I am sorry I used one here. If we get the business that would be great. It is out of my hands. The production cost is what it is.

You don't care about the mundane aspects of my work. Heck, you don't care about my work at all.

I would like to tell you my job is hard. Tens of thousands are spent every year on Sales Seminars and training. Pshah, I say. If you want to sell something or convince someone of something one only needs a three step process: Need Plan Benefit.

Discover the other guys needs. Offer a plan to meet those needs and describe the benefits of going with your plan. Need. Plan. Benefit. This will work for sales, for politicians, for convincing your husband to buy that new dining room set, for getting a little nookie.

Of course, the other party may not agree with your plan, or ascribe to the benefits you offer. That is the rub. Such is life. That is why sales is often no more than learning how to handle rejection.

I have become good at it.  My wife gives me plenty of opportunities for practice.

Enjoy your Friday.

August 10, 2017

Wedding Cake and Gym Membership

I read a story yesterday (I'm too lazy to find it again to link) about a gym in Atlanta. The business has a sign saying memberships are not for "F-ing Cops". The owner says he will not allow cops or military in his establishment because they make his minority members uncomfortable.

So can you lawyers, folks who played a lawyer on TV, or maybe those of you stayed last night in a Holiday Inn Express explain tne difference in that small business owners' policies and those of someone who refuses to bake a wedding cake or cater pizza to a gay wedding? Why is one deserving of ridicule, protest, criminal and civil action and the other perfectly reasonable?

Remember when

BJ Clinton sent Jimmah Carter over to North Korea to negotiate an agreement where we gave them aid and reduced sanctions and in return promised that North Korea would never get nukes?

They didn't quite call the agreement "Peace in our time", but almost.

August 9, 2017

Rooms to let, fifty cents

The imaginary neon  "No Vacancy" sign hums and flickers in the warm August night as fireflies flash their "come hither" Morse code in the darkness and moths beat a relentless tattoo against the porch light. The rooms are full for the first time in years. Hotel Hoosierboy is sold out.

The summer has passed quickly and uneventfully. The return of all my children and their families has been marked by the lack of issues. I really have nothing to complain about. The past month or two has passed with a lot of tears (see below) and even more laughs.

Things are about to change. The oldest boy leaves this weekend for Denver, where he will start a new job and a new life far from home. He is scared and excited. I confess I don't want him to go. He is a grown up. It is he who makes his life choices, not me. It is a great opportunity to start over and escape a dead end job. Does it have to be so far away?

My daughter closes on her new home next week. They will move in (and out of here) one week from Saturday. Yes, they will take my granddaughter with them, despite my arguments to the contrary. There was never any doubt. My granddaughter will think it is Christmas when she rediscovers all of her old toys that have been packed away in storage for so long.

That will leave my youngest. He has finally turned the corner economically and can start saving to get his own place. I'm sure he is counting the days until he can move out again. Since he works evenings, we don't see him much anyway.

Very shortly my wife and I can again sit and stare at each other over dinner. The house will be so quiet and empty, I'm not sure what we will do. I'll get my office and closet back. There is that. Perhaps we could take in a boarder. Surely there are no serial killers on Craig's List looking for a couple of old people to torture, rob, and chop into bite-sized bits to serve with A-1 sauce?

I need to flick the neon sign back to "vacancy".

August 7, 2017

The Dragon Battle on GOT last night was pretty darn awesome

I have not spent much time on the road in my new gig. I think tonight is my first overnight trip since May. For a guy who averaged two nights a week in a hotel in my previous job and three or four nights a week in the distant past, this extended home time has been a tad unusual. I have spent 24 years on the road. Driving a desk all the time is hard. As proof I'm out of travel practice, I left home without my meds. Not a good situation, but it is just a day. I have never forgotten my meds. A belt once. Dress socks another time. The ability to write sentences that are not sentence fragments I clearly forgot this time too.

I will be off to China again this fall. Been there and done that. I confess I am not exactly chomping at the bit to go back. It's the job. I ain't crying. I'm not jumping up and down a spitting wooden nickels either.

Anyway, here I am in Holland. Trust me, it is nothing like the real one. I have been to The Netherlands 8 or 9 times. Admittedly, I'm not here on a tourist trip either. I don't want to bad mouth the left edge of the Big Mitten, so I will allow that I might have missed the good parts while navigating to my hotel.

Benevolent of me isn't it?

Buh Doomp

Cinderella is now 95 years old. After a fulfilling life with the now dead prince, she happily sits upon her rocking chair, watching the world go by from her front porch, with a cat named Bob for companionship.


One sunny afternoon out of nowhere, appeared the fairy godmother. Cinderella said, "Fairy Godmother, what are you doing here after all these years"? The fairy godmother replied, "Cinderella, you have lived an exemplary life since I last saw you. Is there anything for which your heart still yearns?" Cinderella was taken aback, overjoyed, and after some thoughtful consideration, she uttered her first wish: "The prince was wonderful, but not much of an investor. I'm living hand to mouth on my disability checks, and I wish I were wealthy beyond comprehension. Instantly her rocking chair turned into solid gold Cinderella said, "Ooh, thank you, Fairy Godmother".

The fairy godmother replied "it is the least that I can do. What do you want for your second wish?"

Cinderella looked down at her frail body, and said, "I wish I were young and full of the beauty and youth I once had."

At once, her wish became reality, and her beautiful young visage returned. Cinderella felt stirrings inside of her that had been dormant for years.

And then the fairy godmother spoke once more: "You have one more wish; what shall it be?"

Cinderella looks over to the frightened cat in the corner and says, "I wish for you to transform Bob, my old cat, into a kind and handsome young man."

Magically, Bob suddenly underwent so fundamental a change in his biological make-up that, when he stood before her, he was a man so beautiful the likes of him neither she nor the world had ever seen.

The fairy godmother said, "Congratulations, Cinderella, enjoy your new life. With a blazing shock of bright blue electricity, the fairy godmother was gone as suddenly as she appeared. For a few eerie moments, Bob and Cinderella looked into each other's eyes. Cinderella sat, breathless, gazing at the most beautiful, stunningly perfect man she had ever seen.


Then Bob walked over to Cinderella, who sat transfixed in her rocking chair, & held her close in his young muscular arms. He leaned in close, blowing her golden hair with his warm breath as he whispered.......... 


"Bet you are sorry you had me neutered".




Yes, this too is a rerun from 2005

August 5, 2017

Mostly I am just waiting on my tomatoes to ripen

The youngest boy* had the early shift this morning. His dog is curled up beside me on the couch. He is snoring. It is a fall-like 57 this morning and temps are forecasted in the 70's. This is not the global warming we were warned about.

My coffee tastes good this morning. The caffeine doesn't seem to inspire my brain to provide entertaining or meaningful content.

I could write about my mysterious case of jock itch. I suspect you are not too interested. I could describe the minutiae of work. I would be bored just writing it. I toyed with penning a rant about free speech and that liberal tyrant Lena What's-her-face. She ratted out two airline employees who had the temerity to have opinions differing from the prescribed progressive orthodoxy. How did we get here so fast? Jackbooted thought police will soon be bursting through my door. 

Heck, no one wants to hear about politics. We are peppered with that every waking moment these days. You sure don't come here for my political opinions. You read here because...well I don't know why. I suppose you have a fondness for the mundane. 

There is a cardinal apparently sitting on the top of my chimney. His early morning chirping is echoing down the fireplace flue. The dog's snores are getting louder. He just ripped out a series of farts. This is not the peaceful early morning alone time I have come to expect. My granddaughter will be up soon. There has never been a happier kid. She can sure bring a smile to my face. 

I hope you have a great Saturday.

*I should quit calling him a boy. He is a young man of 23. Habits are hard to break; he has been "the boy" since I started this piece o'crap blog. He was 11 then  My daughter was just set to graduate high school. The oldest son had just learned to drive. Where did the time go?

August 4, 2017

If it weren't for bad luck...

Back in the early days I had about 19 readers.  Things have not changed much.  In the unlikely event that my  current 19 are a different 19 from 2005, I present the following rerun:


May 14, 2005

The Noble 24th Foot or the South Wales Borderers

You may be unknowingly familiar with this unit if you have ever watched the classic war movie ZULU or ZULU DAWN. If you have not seen these movies go rent them or buy them. Now. This post will still be here, go now.

OK. Awesome right? I planned to talk in detail about Isandlhwana and Rorke's Drift this weekend, but in my research I found that this regiment is not only remarkably heroic, but cursed with hard luck, so what better day to write about bad luck than today?
The 24th foot is an old regiment in HRM Army (hence the number!). The Regiment took part in the ill fate attack on Brest in 1694 where over 300 English soldiers were killed. More than half the regiment died of disease in the West Indies during the War of Jenkins Ear (1739 - 1743). In 1756 the regiment surrendered to the French at Minorca. The entire regiment was captured in the Revolutionary War at Saratoga (Freeman's Farm). Almost half of the second battalion were casualties at Talavera in the peninsula War. Almost half the regiment was captured by the French off a troop ship bound for India in 1810 (before the French became surrender monkeys). Over 500 men were casualties (238 killed) in the idiotic bayonet charge at Chilianwala (India now Pakistan) during the 2nd Sikh war. Most of the 1st battalion was destroyed by the Zulus at Isandlhwana. The unit was at Gallipoli in WWI. The 24th left the lines in France at the end of WWI with 76 men and officers, total. They were captured by the Germans at the disastrous Battle of Tobruk in WWII. The ship carrying the Regiment hit a rock and sank on the way to the Invasion of Norway. 

Bad luck can be found everywhere. This post proves I am still kickin' and it has the added bonus of moving the previous post down a bit.

August 1, 2017

A Post for Me

My daughter is beautiful, smart, and stronger than anyone I know. She lost two babies before giving birth to my wonderful granddaughter. The first was ectopic and she was not even sure she was pregnant. The second died at 12 weeks. This is a pain only a broken-hearted mother can ever know.

Right now she is carrying her fourth baby. She is 20 weeks in. He is a boy. Little Sawyer Timothy isn't going to make it. The angel in charge of putting him together must have been distracted for a moment. The details are not important. The chromosomal anomaly is exceedingly rare. The important organs are not forming as they should. The experts have clinically detailed that Sawyer likely will not survive to term, and for only a few days outside the womb if he does. Yet he kicks and moves clings to life with tenacious spirit.

The little guy might be less than perfect outside, but I know he is all his parents and sister and grandparents could ever hope for on the inside, where it counts. A rare twist of genetic fate will take him from us before we ever get a chance to know him.

I'm heartbroken. My wife is despondent. I have no idea how my daughter and son-in-law can bear it. How will my daughter make it through each day when people ask about her baby, knowing cruel fate has already left its mark? I cannot imagine.

Why? It does not matter why. Random chance, genetic mishap, plain bad luck. I do not question God. I only pray to give everyone strength in the coming days, weeks, and months. If you are so inclined, a prayer to ease the baby's pain and to help his mom and dad would be appreciated.

I have not shared much of my personal life this year. Trust me when I tell you that 2017 sucks.

In the meantime, the usual frivolity, nonsense, braggadocio, and shallowness that make up the bulk of content around here seems a bit pointless and more than a little trite.
Consider everything here that is of original content copyrighted as of March 2005