Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas, Schristmas, Oy Gevalt!....KnowwhutI'mSayin'?

First and foremost, let's be realistic here. While I know when it is in my best interests to attempt political correctness, more often that not, I am getting my peepee whacked for being brutally frank, and calling a spade a spade(no, not yet.....I'll cover Kwanzaa in a minute).
Christmas is just that. Christmas......allegedly a celebration of Christ's birthday, as practiced by Christians the world over, and in particular, by the majority of the folks who founded this country. The origins of the holiday, despite the fact that it has become a symbol of the wretched excess that is strangling our country, are not in question. Granted, there are a lot of guys named Murray Katz, and Harv Levin, reaping the benefits reaping the rewards of marketing an event that they don't believe happened, but the fact remains that Christmas is just that. I will out of force of habit, tell you Merry Christmas. Regardless of my religious beliefs, wen I tell you that, know that I am wishing you goodwill, prosperity, and a joyous holiday season. But unless you are looking for a fight, do not try to correct me, or ram Kwanzaa( a manufactured, throwdown ACLU holiday), or Hanukkah down my throat, because while I respect your celebration of your own religious holidays, and wish you the best, they have nothing to do with Christmas, save for the aforementioned Murray and Harv, and their need for all of them to be lumped into a "season" for profit's sake. I don't even know what the Muslim equivalent, is, or whether they are pushing for equal time in the Toys-R-Us sweepstakes, but no matter what, they have nothing to do with "Christmas". I will say as another blogger I read did: If I wish you a Merry Christmas, and you reply with a Happy Hanukkah, I will say "thank you and to you as well", and I will sincerely mean it, but shame on you if you attempt to P.C. me, and if you take issue with what I an my kids, and my grandparents and their grandparents have come to accept as tradition, because you and Lawanda or Mustafa and Nabila, or Murray and Harv are offended because I don't defer to your homeland's traditions in my holiday festivities. If you have a problem with hearing a warm "Merry Christmas" from my countrymen and women and myself, then I suggest you pack your bags, and embrace another of my country's slogans......"Delta is ready when you are".

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happily? Or Happily Ever After?.........

Without an in depth discussion on same sex unions and relationships, which for anyone who has read my writing, it should be evident that I think that that decision is or should be between two individuals, without any remote government meddling or legislation, I felt motivated to make a comment on an article in the Victoria Advocate, which based on my past experiences commenting and blogging there, will surely be summarily deleted, given the G Rated story. There is a slight hint at a child's obviously coached opinion on the aforementioned subject here at the article's close. I applaud Robert Earl Keen and Jimmy (Bubba) Buffet, for over the years, using the word gay in their songwriting, as it was taught to mean - happy. I think the double meaning of the word was incorporated here by an innocent....So in the form of a blog, based on a sweet story of elementary school science fair projects which can be read here , the following is my likely short lived comment on the story.....

Okay, realizing that I am probably going to hell for making comments on such a story, I suppose they all had a snack of poached goldfish after the judging was completed.
Many years ago, my son had a class guinea pig, also black and white, named Oreo, and at years end, rather than put him out to pasture, they had a drawing to see who got to adopt him. My son won, and he came to live with us that summer. Unfortunately he did a high dive from their fort in the back yard and broke his back, (guinea pigs, unlike cats, do NOT land on their feet, or have nine lives)immobilizing his back legs. He actually lived a normal life afterward, thanks to the little trailer we built for his aft section. But due to his injury, he was never in the position of having to make the choice of happily(well put, by the way), or happily ever after.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Need For Speed, and Other Small Town Observations

"The Need For Speed" - I recall that line from "Top Gun", however, I think Maverick was referring to the speed that is a catalyst for a totally different sort of rush than I will be covering lightly here. Meth. Yes. I have tried it. Let's put that into perspective. I am almost sixty. That little mistake was forty years ago for me. As much as I yet enjoy a good buzz, these days, and yes for decades now, I am quite content for that buzz to come from a bottle of Chilean wine, or a snifter of brandy, while in the company of my mate or a quite small circle of good friends. The closest I ever come these days to substance abuse, is after one of my periodic episodes with dental damnation, or my occasional miscalculation of my age and ability when it comes to sports, motorcycles, and the like, and have trouble believing that I no longer need to try to fill that friendly bottle of Vicodin, just one more time..........As far as quitting the meth, I had sense enough to know, even at twenty, that it would kill me, so I stopped. Also, the fact that Peruvian flake was readily available, and actually quite socially accepted among the lawyers, architects, doctors, and professors I hung around with at the time, made it a bit more justifiable, at least in my eyes, to try that little diversion instead.......and speaking strictly for myself now, when I opted to stop that little habit, it was simply a matter of economics and desiring to seek gainful employment, and I have never looked back. Case closed. And yes, I do realize that is not the case for most everyone else who has dabbled in drugs, and I do consider myself fortunate, and I will rain merciless hell on anyone that I discover attempting to involve my children in even the most "innocent" of drug use. You may call that hypocrisy - I choose to consider it a well informed decision.......

Now as for the story that prompted this, I must defer to the Advocate's coverage of the meth lab bust in this morning's paper. While it has some points to chuckle at, is is a serious issue, and I for one, am happy those folks are out of business, and would like to see all the rest of them shut down as well.

The story was actually fairly well reported, I thought, though as is frequently the case at the Advocate, apparently the copy editor who came up with the headline for it, just plopped down the first thing that came to mind. In retrospect, they might have used the word"suspected", or "alleged", in place of the word "possible", don't you think? But then, anything's possible. I like the fact that the raid was a collaborative effort among the agencies involved, and in particular, the fact that the press was invited, and chose to accompany them.

Now for the "small town" part. I find some humor in some of the comments by readers to the story. Cop hater Zorro's(zero?) was totally out of line, but not in the least surprising, based on his track record of commenting.
Wh1t3f0x's little comment "I just watched the report on fox and in the video was the Rock 'N' Blues truck parked in front of the building. Did anyone else see that? I'm not trying to spread rumors I'm just looking for a reality check"........was just a hair finger pointingish I think, despite his "I'm just sayin'" disclaimer, huh?

Equally amusing, but actually believable, was rbguy, the club owner's disclaimer to distance himself, and go on record explaining the fact that his truck was photographed at the scene of the bust.......some quick butt covering and brow wiping and "please God, make this go away" went on in that poor guy's head, I am sure....
Fact is, I have known more than one drug dealer in years past, who was in the automotive service business, in addition to their little moonlighting operation. That does seem to help with explaining some of the excess traffic coming and going as the result of a drug operation. Being a speed dealer(alleged), I'd be willing to bet he could tear down and reassemble a tranny in record time, ya think?(I'd bet the Rock 'N' Blues truck owner agrees with me on that) On the other hand, maybe he wasn't a speed freak, or was just a most speed freaks I have seen in years past, tended to have a little slimmer waistline.......

I noticed where patientearth thought that a better photo could have been used to accompany the story. That's a matter of opinion I suppose, but aside from the aforementioned perplexingly pudgy perpetrator(alleged) in the frame, I found the sign leaning against the wall of his auto/pharmaceutical enterprise, to be a bit ironic. I reckon that as the proprietor of a legitimate auto shop, such a sign would be in order to not get wiped out by being held liable in the event of a fire, but considering the double duty the place was doing as a meth lab(alleged), one does have to consider the possibility of a rather untimely spark from one side of the room causing the other side of the room to put the entire operation into orbit, doesn't one? You'd think a mechanic would know that..........

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Travels With A Pal - Trip Notes

Okay, let's call this one for lack of something better, a trip journal.
A pal and I set out on a journey, the fun kind, with no really etched in stone itinerary, but I took some mental notes, and I'd like to relate some of it to you.

Both of us greying, and with a lot of miles under our respective belts to this point, it was only logical, that we would make it a point to see the areas where we each grew up, and share stories of "back when.......", and make notes, of how things had changed, and what looked the same as we remembered it to be. There were fish stories told of eating walleye, and spearing carp in the mountain streams of New Mexico, and telephoning up catfish on the Llano River. Stories of hiking in carrying an aluminum skiff to a mountain lake in the Rockies, and stories of ice fishing in Minnesota for Northern pike, and what a pain cleaning and getting all the bones out of northern's are.

We went down into Canyons in the Rocky Mountains, and to the streets where he grew up as a boy, in the high desert of New Mexico, where he was quick to point out the houses of his childhood friends, and the local churches and landmarks.Before the trip ended, we went to the dunes and the barrier reefs on the Texas coast, that I wandered as a youth, where there is history that includes everything from Civil war encampments, to WWII U.S. Army Air Base, to a Vietnam era S.A.C, Air Force base, to a natural pass from the Gulf of Mexico, that was sailed by merchants and plundered by the likes of the pirate Jean Lafitte.

As much as you are thinking that we embarked on the trip of a lifetime, one we all dream of taking, I have one more little secret to share with you..... This type of trip is one that I am accustomed to taking on a pretty regular basis.
Here we go again........there's an app for that.........
It's called Google Earth, and there is another one by Microsoft, called I believe, Virtual Earth. Yes, I do travel, for real, at every opportunity, but the trip I just described to with you, was done on a rainy morning on the bay, over coffee, and it is one that anybody can take. You are limited only by your imagination.

If you have aging parents, who maybe aren't computer savvy, can you think of a nicer gift, than to take them on a trip to their childhood neighborhood or trout stream, or sledding hill? It is there for the taking. Just a little food for thought. Happy Trails............

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What's My Line? - The Future Of Local Newspapers

I don't know where this all leads, but I am sitting here sipping on a glass of chardonnay, listening to a local broadcast of a Pacifica radio affiliate(KPFT 90.1-which is also available streamed online), while I read the hometown newspaper out of Victoria, Tx. for FREE on the internet. I doubt if I am of much value to the Advocate(actually, I am sure of that, as they have let me know in so many words and in their actions), as I am pretty sure that I won't be shopping in any of their advertisers' stores.........

Okay - by now, for any of you who read the Advocate, you know that I have just pretty much word for word, turned Chris Cobler's latest blog around 180 degrees. I credit him for the words, but myself for pointing out that this door swings both ways.

Until someone drops the big one, disrupts the infrastructure that affords us instant global communications, and returns us to hand delivered print media, and local low wattage local radio for our news and advertising, the writing is on the wall, for both traditional media outlets I fear.

In the meantime, Internet radio does seem to be in the lead by a neck, because it cooperates with it's affiliate stations as well as competitors, in keeping current information and credits it's sources, as a rule.

I wish the same was true of print media, but I am seeing more and more plagiarism and outright copying of stories and pasting as one's own work, by almost every print media source I read, though some more than others. In blogs of online versions of print media, you almost expect such things, and a lot of the time, the bloggers have their feet held to the fire when someone happens upon a story, that they read elsewhere and know that one of them is a copy of the other. In print however, it becomes a bit more serious offense, as there is hard evidence of literary theft, and we all know what happens when that dirty little secret gets exposed.......basically shame and disdain, and loss of employment for those guilty of reprinting others' work without permission, and claiming it as both truth and to be their own work.........

The other shameful thing I am seeing in print media, is that they are blatantly begging for input from online sources, and relying on what they are told as gospel, and printing it without doing the necessary legwork required of professional journalists, and following up with their sources to verify the facts. They are then faced with having to make an ongoing series of corrections as initial accuracy of the story comes into question, and for what makes it onto the pages of printed news, engage in an escalating number of "oopsie" correction columns daily.

Mind you, there is nothing wrong with soliciting reader contributions. It makes business sense, but for goodness sakes, at the very least, verify it's accuracy, and maybe credit the person who though not on the payroll, provided the lead or the story. Rather than having a stable of twenty something Tweeters compiling reports and then expanding on that for the sake of a print story, how about putting some gas in the Buick and grabbing the steno pad and going out and confirming the details. a real reporter would do. And no, stationing "ranging reporters" at Starbucks..........doesn't count as field reporting. Ask Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane or Christopher Reeves(the guy that was a pretend reporter........AND Superhero....and six-four, 250lb"jockey")

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

There's A Nap For That...........

Play on words? Maybe. Geez I don't even own an I Phone....well, yeah I have an I Pod Classic that has more memory than my desktop computer currently attached to my fingertips, but I have resisted the I Phone to this point. I can only handle so much "screen time", without needing to feel sand between my toes, and a wave slapping me in the face, or seeing snowflakes sticking to the hair of the girl, or my kids. I don't think there is an app for any of that. Just browsing the ISmash Phone - iphone tips, tricks, hacks & cracks site I must admit, is an impressive visit, and there are an awful lot of worthwhile apps out there that certainly are helpful, but man! about a time eater. That is basically what I am seeing with folks literally just having those devices like super glued to their hands, with only their thumbs free and their flailing wildly. I predict a whole new type of arthritis, and repetitive stress syndrome medical field evolving from "smart phones". I am good with a phone that remembers a few phone numbers, takes messages, shows me who's calling, and calls in my pizza order at CiCi's, takes an emergency photo once in a while, and holds my eclectic music collection (my I Pod is for my audio books), I am fine.
When I think about trying to use my phone for a GPS, heart monitor, game console, twitter twatter, internet browser, and on and on......all I can say is.........

there's a nap for that.......

Monday, November 2, 2009

Walking The Plank.......

Yes, I am aware what I am inviting for furthur by posting the last blog here as well, but this is my first priority as a place to write and share. I suppose I will find out where I stand over there, huh? I always enjoyed posting and commenting over there, but it was allowed to devolve into a hatefest/dorkfest, and I railed against that and it cost me. I still disapprove of the direction the Advocate has gone, and I would like to see some changes in both the print an online versions, but I think my days of engaging a few of the goofballs that blog and comment there, are finished. I will hope for some changes, and lobby for them when I have an audience, but my days of head butting with them are over. Nothing to be gained from that, but incurring more petty and aggravating management censorship, which is counter-productive. If they ban "further", I will just assume that to be the result of a personal grudge and a death sentence on their part, and let it go. If not, I'll dabble on the hometown site from time to time, and try to bite my tongue when the urge to throw spears tugs at me. Besides, I always have this site to organize protests, rant, and piss and moan, free of meddling moderation, should I be so inclined.

Reminders Of Our Mortality

This weekend, on consecutive mornings, I was given a reminder of all of our mortality, as I read in The Advocate Obituaries of the passing of two different people who had impacted my life, and who were close to the ages of my own parents. One of them was the school vice-principal at my high school. While he was feared as a disciplinarian by some kids....(most notably, those lacking discipline), the truth is, he was a dedicated and effective educator, the kind that most any of us would probably, whether we want to admit it or not, would like our own children to benefit from having guide them through high school. Rest in peace Mr. Moore. The other was a man that as a 12 year old, I was around as a friend of his son, one of my classmates. I remember his love of music, hunting, fishing, and most anything outdoors. I remember sitting around his house, listening to his boys and him play guitars and fiddles - probably the first place I ever heard one of my all time favorite songs, "The Orange Blossom Special". I remember that he was a pretty good boat builder, and even built a canoe for the Water Safari one year. Can't recall whether it was ever used, but his buddy Butch actually won the race a year or two afterward. I remember his arrowhead collection, and how he actually learned or taught himself, using only flint and a deer antler, to make dead replica native American type arrowheads.

I must say though that he was a local lawman, with a real hatred of hippies, longhairs, and anybody that fell into that category, which in my teen and later years, put me on the opposite side of the fence from him. Needless to say, he will also be remembered, as a person who made the lives of a few young people quite miserable at every opportunity he had, and that for many years, I had a horrible grudge and resentment for some of the indignities, that I and others suffered at his hand.

I had to tell you that, to tell you this. Given the choice of remembering an ill tempered, and unjust, misguided redneck, (not at all unlike the one that raised me), or a good father, who was eager to share his love of music and the outdoors with his sons and their friends, well I just chose remembering the former as opposed to the latter. I will on occasion, run into his oldest son at breakfast, and shake hands and exchange howdys, and I must say that despite the fact that he and I grew up worlds apart, from what I have heard and read of him, he turned out to be quite an outdoors expert and pioneer sort and a good man. I am sure his dad would be quite proud of him. Rest in peace Jack. I appreciate the things you showed and taught me as a boy, and as far as the grief and crap you heaped upon me as a rebel teen....that is all forgiven. I do wish though that I had had a chance to show up at your bedside with my thinning ponytail and grey beard, and have been able to tell you that in person.

As I said, these serve as a couple of things to remind me of my own mortality, and that I need to make a few things right with those in my life. I am reminded weekly of that as well, when I go home to see my folks. Dad is sneaking up on 90, and is frail, but getting by. Mom on the other hand, though years younger, is as likely to recognize me when I walk through the door, as her brother, her dad, or the bus driver who's come to take her to school as she is to see her oldest son walk in the door. Life is cruel sometimes, and sometimes, I think it all should be played in reverse.........