Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve. The wife and I went out to run some errands and pick up a few last minute items. Also stopped to deliver a present to the barn. I see the Horses are ready for Santa. On the way back home I noticed the crowd was getting bigger at our neighborhood tavern. Wife and I got to talking about that. It seems they will be open tomorrow afternoon. She then told me about the Gay men that she has known for many years. It seems that on Christmas they often get together for potluck suppers at their bars. It has to do with many of them being disowned by family, so they get together with the only family they have. Each other. It’s not going to be so different at the tavern down the street. The reasons one might find them alone on the holiday are as many and varied as the people you will see there. In our lil tavern everyone knows someone else there, and there is no shortage of Christmas spirit. As my good friend Don once said to me, “Evil lurks in the heart of man, not the haunts of man.” Over the years we have had many guests over for Christmas dinner. Friends that had nowhere else to be and no one to be there with them. They have always been a welcome addition to our table, especially with both of us being so many hours from our families. Tomorrow when you get together with your families, remember those that are close to you that might not have a place to be, or someone to be with. As for me, I think I’ll pop in to the pub and have a round with the folks in there. Just to share a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Colin Powell

I wonder if anyone else caught any of that interview that Colin Powell gave I think Bill Schieffer? He sure sounded like a surrender monkey to me. I don’t mean that I disagree with everything he had to say, but it was close!
I remember a time when as a young boy my class went on a field trip to the lake that was set aside for our school. It was a day trip in the fall so there was to be no swimming. We were there to work planting trees and doing other conservation type things. It was during a time of goofing off just before lunch that a bunch of us had gathered on the old rickety dock to look into the water of the lake. One of our number, a kid named John had gotten careless with a brand new compass that his mom had bought him just for this trip. We heard KE plunk! And I watched the compass sink down to the bottom of the lake. Now at this time the water was quite cold and we had no change of cloths so going in wasn’t an option. Also John was terrified of the water. He became very upset over the loss of his new toy. I wanted that compass and devised a way to get it. I then stated my intentions to John. He was less than thrilled that I was going to go get the compass and keep it for my own. I explained that I was the only one that could get the compass and if I didn’t then no one would have it. He then said to me that if I would get the compass for him that he in return would give or do some other great thing. I agreed. I then went and got a stick wit a three-twigged fork in it. I stripped to the waist and leaned into the water as far as I could go while having two other boys hold my legs. I took the stick and very gently snagged the compass and brought it up. When I gave it back to John he then asked me what might he have to do for it? I told him that because we were friends he should thank me. Had I been of less then honorable intentions I would have kept it because I wanted it.
Back to Colin. I’m sure he was a good soldier and seems at times to know a great deal. So here he was talking about us losing in Iraq. Lets define our goals before we us the losing word. He said more troops wouldn’t help. On that point we agree. He then says we need to get involved with Iran and Syria so that they will help us win this thing. General, if I may be so blunt…… They …..Want to keep the compass and they’re not our friends and they are certainly not honorable!

Friday, December 15, 2006

This too goes with the series for John.

Remembering the face of a liberator
Guest columnist
OTTAWA — Encouraged by his beautiful wife of 56 years, he proudly rolled up his sleeve to show me what time cannot erase.
I asked him if I could touch his arm, run my fingertips across the number burned into the skin: 725858. Under the middle “5” a roughly etched triangle identifies him as a Jew.
David Shentow spent his teenage years in Hitler’s concentration camps. He was born in Poland, raised in Belgium and long ago emigrated to Canada, where he met and married Rose.
They are a handsome couple, passionate about each other and life, perhaps in a way one can only be after you’ve lost everything you’ve ever loved, when you’ve faced years waking up in anticipation of your own death.
Something else the Shentows have an almost holy reverence for: the United States of America.
It’s interesting how reality offers meaningful perspective.
While some of our own elected officials, various national media and pundits, as well as the usual Hollywood bright lights, accuse our country, our president and our troops of everything from greed and stupidity to torture and murder, here is a marked survivor of real evil who calls the United States a “great liberator.” I guess when you’ve been to hell and back, you’re not given to hyperbole and hysterics.
On April 29, 1945, David Shentow thought he was dead. He had somehow managed to survive years of abuse and starvation first at Auschwitz and then at Dachau, but now, with nothing left of him, there was no way death would wait as an enraged Nazi beat him mercilessly with a club. He doesn’t know how many hours he lay unconscious.
He was surprised when he did wake and found himself as he says, “still clinging to life.” But the camp was different. Except for the moans of his fellow prisoners, all was quiet. The SS guards were gone, their sentry boxes abandoned.
And then music to his ears: the rumblings of a tank headed toward him. When the tank stopped and the turret was opened, Mr. Shentow looked upon a smile that would hold his imagination and his heart for the rest of his life. It belonged to a young African-American soldier.
“Hi, young fella!” the American GI said, “How are you doing?” He then threw the bewildered captive the only thing he had on hand at the moment — a stick of gum.
“This was the moment of my liberation!” Mr. Shentow tells me. “The day of my birthday. I had just turned 20 years old.”
The Nazis murdered Mr. Shentow’s parents and his two sisters, along with his youth. But “an American soldier gave me back my life,” he says.
Yes, the American soldier.
The same who now stands on the front lines in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The one who fights for the same cause of freedom as those American patriots who went before, who volunteers to protect us from an enemy bent on nothing less than our obliteration.
Mr. Shentow’s arm: 725858. That crooked triangle. For me, forevermore, it is now, also, the symbol of the policy of appeasement.
The world hoped for the best in 1938 and looked away while Hitler marched on.
Today, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls the Holocaust a “myth,” wants Israel wiped off the map and says that “anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nations’ fury.”
I’ll take him at his word. We’ve been down this road before. Only now our expectations are different.
We expect instant satisfaction, demand immediate victories. CNN and The New York Times stand ready to dub any U.S. military operation a “quagmire” within the space of days.
There are no instant fixes for what we face in Iran, Syria, Iraq, North Korea.
We all want — indeed pray for — diplomatic solutions. But “solutions” must not include appeasing evil, “feeding a crocodile, hoping it will eat you last,” as Winston Churchill put it. It must not include abandoning the battlefield when the war has not yet been won. It must not demand instant victories; only a steadfast commitment to success.
It’s lonely at the top. But the bottom line is that the United States has the resources and moral fortitude to fight — and defeat — the forces now conspiring against the Western world.
Certainly much of the world resents this fact, and the more tragic fact is some Americans who think peace should come at any cost now view our country as the aggressor — a country they work to bring to its knees.
I wish they could see Mr. Shentow’s arm.
Ms. Cox served as director of communications for the S.C. House from 1998 to 2005 and as chief of staff for Speaker David Wilkins. She currently serves at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa. The views expressed here do not represent official U.S. policy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Illusion or delusion.

The story I'm about to tell you is true. As with everything else here if it weren't I'd tell you so. The reason I tell this and maybe more story's is for the benefit of John so that he may be something more then an atheist.
We begin by getting in the truck to go to work on a clear summer day. I'm not in my big Blue Ford with the monster tires this day. I have had a breakdown and am left with using my Mother in laws GMC four wheel drive to get to work till I get some time to fix mine. For background her truck is a 1978 GMC 1500 with a 350cid engine. The truck is white with a white shell on the back. At the time I worked as a mason tender, stacking block and mixing mud to make basements and brick walls. I had gotten my lil bro Craig a job with my company. We took turns driving to the town we worked in. At that time we worked in a town called Okemos Michigan. It is a bedroom community of Lansing and East Lansing. Yes I even did some landscaping for the head coach of Miami Dolphins Nick Sabin. He was the defensive coordinator of Moo U in those days. (otherwise known as the Michigan State Spartans.... See the green hat on Michael Moores fat head)
One must understand that I'm very nearsighted in the one eye that I have left. I've always had Coke bottle glasses and made up for it with cat fast reflexes. I'm also going to give real street names for those that choose to view the rout I took that a.m.
I had picked up my lil bro and headed north on Cedar st to Jolly road. I turned right onto Jolly and headed east. The next road was the last semi major in town that went north south. It was called Aurelius road, and was about a half to three quarters of a mile away. Jolly went from four to two lanes about the time it got there. We were running late as I had left late from getting the kids up. I was speeding, about 50 in a 45 mph zone. An odd feeling came over me that I've had a time or two before. As I was driving I saw superimposed on my vision a sight that wasn't there. I saw the death agony of a young Black woman! As I pulled back from the scene, I saw that I had hit a Chevy Chevette broadside with the truck. The woman inside didn't stand a chance. I saw her face as I hit her. I saw her eyes open and looking at me in shock. I saw her neck break.
As fast as I'd seen this terrible vision it was gone. Replaced by the real vision of the road..... and a lil white car in the turn lane ahead of me. As I got to the intersection I slammed on the brakes and swerved to the left. A lil white Chevette turned left into the path of my truck. My Bro Craig impacted the windshield. I missed her! I missed her by the hair on my young chinny chin chin! I saw the terror in her eyes as we went by. We had ten or so miles to go to get to work so I kept driving. After a while Craig asked how I knew? He said that I made my move a split second before she turned in front of us, and had it been him with his perfect vision she would be dead. I just knew, and I don't know any more.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I found this plate on the front of a late sixties era Chevy truck. A yellow dog in the Carolinas is a very common sight, We grow them wild down here. They are related to the Dingos and Russian step dogs. It is believed that they came over on the land bridge that used to exist. The saying as told to me by Daddy Bob was that this fool would vote for a Yellow Dog if the dog was running as a Democrat. Some peoples problems are very evident.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Vicky's page

On the day I met Bill's sister nothing much out of the ordinary happened. I had gone to his house and there she was. End of story.... So I thought. A few chance encounters later and I realized that she didn't shy away from the kid with the massive glasses, even made a point of starting a conversation. It didn't take long before I thought she was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Most of the guys used to make fun of her because she was like nothing any of us had ever seen. Jet Black hair to the middle of her back, and lil wire glasses offset by a black leather bikers jacket and her own dirt bike. The Fonz wasn't going to do any better. I don't know how it happened but we became friends, then good friends, and then something more. She was my first real girlfriend. It was she that taught me the finer points of how to bury a bike into a berm low and get a good holeshot coming out. She took over my paper rout while I went off to wrestle for school glory and a couple of medals along with two blown knees. When I couldn't walk she would come see me. We had part of a summer and on through the next. Then she gave me the news that she was going back to California to live with her mother. It seemed that dad was moving and she didn't want any part of being a farm girl. I was at the time crushed. We said our goodbyes and moved on. Over the years she was never more then a step or two away from my mind. When I was racing motocross I thought of her often, and wondered if I would ever see her again. As time went by I was about to take a new job working for an old friend at a huge office complex. About a day or two before I was to start my new job I went to my Mothers house to pick up what then was my only daughter. I got to the house and found Mom softly weeping. When I asked her what was the matter she gave me that days paper. It told of a young woman that worked at the complex I was about to go to work at. She was killed in a jeep rollover while out four wheeling with friends. I knew for sure it was her when I read the names of her two brothers and where they lived. She had at that time a husband and child. I don't know what the plan is but there must be a plan. This sort of thing doesn't happen without a reason. She and her friendship are to this day a treasure of mine. There was one more Jeep incident but I survived it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Life's people still

So it’s the season again. I always have a hard time about this time of year. The reasons vary from the simple to the complex. They range from the people and places that are no longer in my life to the ones that still are but are very distant. It is the one time of the year I don’t like living in the Deep South, something about the power of snow falling to cleans the soul. For whatever reason cold rain doesn’t suffice. It was a December about eight years ago that I experienced my toughest year, but that is another story. I got an e-mail from my sister Kate; she sends me mail by the score. This one told about there being three types of people in everyone’s life. It had to do with time frames that one interacted with others. Said something like a reason, a season, or a lifetime. It got me to thinking about even more of my life’s people, and what might have been or should never have been. About a million years ago, when I was about thirteen or fourteen I met a couple of people that were only to be there for a season. I use the term season a lil bit loosely because I believe God has longer seasons then we. Anyway to begin the story, I used to collect Baseball cards. Along with my wrestling, it was my passion. I had Mickey Mantle and a Babe reprint, and a Mark Fydrich; the man that talked to baseballs. The friend that got me started in all of this had long since gone God only knows where. My collection was getting kinda stagnant. One day a friend told me that a new boy had moved into the last house on our street two blocks away, and he was a collector. It was my first ever meeting with a kid from California. He didn’t seem different to me, but they aren’t at that age. He was just a slight bit older and a lot more confident about most everything. It was Bill LeFever that convinced me that it was worthwhile to ride the city bus an hour to another city and spend the day in dusty old bookstores looking at Baseball cards and old books. I had no idea such places existed, but when I found out! I would forget to eat while searching out Edgar Rice Boroughs Books or the rare Mantle card. Bill and I were never real close. We had our time, but it was when we could squeeze each other in. Never the less, I’m grateful for the things he taught me in the year we had together. I am most grateful for the introduction to his sister. Continued.

Friday, November 24, 2006


With yesterday being Thanksgiving here in America, I took the time to reflect on the holiday. It's a celebration of family, as much now as it ever was. My wife and I didn't travel this time, work got in the way. We spent the day together cooking our feast and watching the Lions lose another football game. It's a tradition.... with the Lions that is. Never have so many sucked so badly for so long. Bill Ford ought to get a lifetime achievement award. Ahh I digress...
Anyway I got to thinking about my family and what they mean to me. As most of you know I have two kids, an ex wife, and a wife. I include the ex because you can never be rid of them when you have kids. My mother once told me that when you marry someone you marry the whole family. She was telling me I was making a mistake. I did much better the second time around. My oldest was taking her boyfriend to her moms family's house for the meal, I recommended that they stop and get him a bottle. He has no Idea what he is in for. So after to obligatory phone calls to the relatives I had time to think of my extended family. A bottle isn't needed with them in most cases. My family was blessed to have a small weekend cottage on a lake. Every once in a while we could get all of the friends I had to come and spend some time. That was special time for family. I liked to get up early and walk down to the water with a cup of joe just to watch God work his magic upon the coming day. It was just such a morning when I was joined by my lil brother Craig. He had brought his wife up for one last time. He broke the news of their divorce to me on that dock. I hugged him and told him we would get through it together as we had everything else. On another morning I was joined by brother Mikes daughter Rae. She was the first to hug me and wish me a happy fathers day that year. I can think of many people that I consider family from that place and time. My family is always growing, it now includes people that I've never actually met. I have a friend in Minnesota that I've never met, yet she always sends me cards and thoughtful notes that remind me that I'm important in her life. A couple more in Washington State, a bunch in Canada, Texas, and on the road. (Don)
I have a neighbor couple that I'm so close to that they just have to be kin! D and I along with Ted and Judy would sometimes spend the whole evening and half the night just puttering around the lake and chatting about everything. Ted is one of only two or three people that I would ask for advice on this earth, and is my only older brother. It is because of these people that the ship of my life can weather the storms that blow in from time to time. To all of my family, know that I think of you with love and hope the best for all of you during the coming Holiday season.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Blog that Bird

I got mine, how bout you?

Ten fortyfive AM The bird went on with lots of Hickory. Dinner will be in about three hours. Out door temp is 61 and sunny on its way to 70' F. Lake is going up and I'm happy!

Bird update! YUM!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lifes people #5

Well as you can see I'm still here so that means I didn't get up and start swinging. I did however get up and ask him what the hell he did that for! Turns out that while he was at Paris Island becoming a Marine his girl was seen with the neighbor boy....The one with glasses! Well dude I hate to break it to yah but you got the wrong one. I aint dating her! Period! Now seeing as your kinda new in the neighborhood, (only a couple of years) you might not have noticed that we all grew up together! Your girl and I have been friends since kindergarten! "Ohh sorry! Say, you wanna punch me in the face to make it even?" "No, I think I'll pass for now. They started to get in their cars when Richey came back. He came running down the street waving a three foot piece of pipe and screaming that he was gonna kill somebody! I then sent Craig to stop him while I reminded Jeff the Marine that we all were in the middle of a road and he was drunk! He and crew got into cars and split. We took a sec to get our wits about us when I heard the sound of hot Oldsmobile come skidding to a stop. Mike outs with a 16 gauge shotgun and starts looking for someone to shoot. Richey says "ohh yeah I went and called Mike." We then took Rich and Craig home and went to have round two with Jeff. Remember I don't use my fists when in a fight. Backing up a few years we have the event that shaped us as friends and neighbors for all time. Tom C had managed to get a date to the Junior High prom with the prettiest girl in school. (yes even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while) My hobby then was riding my dirtbikes and racing anyone that wanted a whuppin. One afternoon I had Rich and Craigs lil brother on my bike riding him around the field behind my house. He was six and kinda the neighborhood pet. He pestered me like all lil brothers do till I took him for a ride. I would put him in front of me so I could hold his helmet in place with my chin and off we would go. I then saw my Dad waving to me to come home, it was time to go get my shoes for the Prom. I dropped "Putt Putt" (we called him that because that was the noise he made when playing with cars) off and told him I would give him a longer better ride when I got back. He thanked me and trundled off on his bike making motorcycle noises. After getting my shoes we drove past the house to get some Burger King. Coming home the road was closed with emergency vehicles. I ran as fast as I could to see what was the matter. When I got to the scene Craig came running over to me crying that Putt Putt was dead. I looked out to see the sheet someone had covered him with and then I saw his shoes in the road. It seems he snuck off to follow big brother Rich to the convenience store across the busy highway. Rich had to turn and face the highway as he was going into the store. It was then that he saw Putt ride out into the first lane of a forty five mph highway. He had just enough time to yell for him to get back, then the truck hit him. To this day I wonder what kind of a man you would have grown into Dennis.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lifes people #4

As bad as it seemed, rollovers and jeeps would have a place in my life at least once more. I was lucky. I remember being the kid with the self esteem problem in Junior high. It effected almost every facet of my life then. Girls were no different, though lord knows I tried. For some reason I was never able to see what others saw in me, only what I saw. What I saw was a scrawny half blind kid scared half out of his mind about everything. Most of the kids that were on my street were a year or two younger then me, least the ones that lived close. We were an exceptionable close group and will always be, even though we seem to have lost touch. I remember hanging out and partying one night after bowling league when one of the guys asked me for advice about something kinda personal in his life. I had no answer and told him as much. The dumbest of the bunch then piped up and said " What do you mean you have no answer? Your the big man! You're supposed to have an answer!" I've always thought of myself as one of a group and never knew how much I was counted on. "You never know just how you look through other peoples eyes." Again the song Pepper. A little about the one with the question I couldn't answer. He was the younger brother of two boys that lived down the street. We were always together, the three of us till the event. After the event it was mostly the younger and I till we grew up. We shared some awful and traumatic moments Craig and I. I love and miss him to this day. One of the first things I remember was him and a bully named Richard (I also knew) at the elementary school on a Saturday. Richard was going to kick his six year old ass just because he could. When I got there Craig was in tears and scared out of his mind. Richard was bigger then me but a year younger. I told him to go away before I kicked his ass. He listened, thank god! Craig was my lil brother ever more. It was him that skipped school and walked four miles to be with me on the day I had my worst fight. It was his voice I heard the day I had another bully in a Judo sleeper hold and was saying goodbye! Matt you owe your life to someone that you never even knew. One Friday night we went walking to the lil park not far from our houses when a car skidded to a stop and a guy got out and asked if I knew him, he then told me his name and punched me in the face, knocking me on my ass. I didn't know him from Adams house cat. Here we were, me on the ground with Craig on top of me whispering in my ear. He had seen my glasses go flying, and knew I couldn't see a damn thing without them. What he said to me..."Dude there's about ten of them and some have knives. Richie ran (his older brother) and its just you and me. Your boy is a damn U.S. Marine! If you get up were both dead but I'll put my back against yours as long as I can. He meant it! Continued.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Again lifes people.

So we've come a long way since then. There was a gun involved on that day, lucky for me it was a replica .44 semi auto .177 caliber bb pistol. Had it been real I'd be dead from a chest wound. As it was we were both kicked out of school. Him to return after an exam with a shrink because of the gun, me after my mandatory three day rest. I was asked if I might not be happier going to school somewhere else.....Please. I would rather have my testicles removed with a spoon than go back to school there, so off I went. First stop was a place called re-entry school. There were only four weeks left of the first semester and I needed credits. It was learn at your own pace which helped me to get the time I missed skipping school and getting high in the woods. In that four weeks I believe I read every thing William Shakespeare wrote! It was years before I could ever stomach the theater, but don't miss the Scottish play if anyone has the balls to perform it.
After Re-entry was a highschool for kids that got into lots of fights, and drugs, and alcohol, ect ect. It was run by of all things a Canadian, I think his name was Brian. We were in an old two story elementary school in the very center of town. (the ghetto)
The neat thing about this place was pretty much everything. You had to get past an interview with the Canadian to get in. Once in it was learn at your own pace and you could test through any class without taking it. At seventeen and working a full time job I was right where I wanted to be. It wasn't church. We had dope and whisky some mornings to start our day. We then went in and went to work. Real work. Everyone was on a first name only basis, teachers too. I find it interesting that for a bunch of thugs our chess club was full of the finest I've seen play the game. I was on the lower rungs of that ladder. One of the oddest things about the place was even our nerds could whip your ass. In the time I was there I never got into a fight. I never even saw a fight. I did see and help to defuse a situation or two, but never a fight. The leader of the kids in school was a Mexican (i think) named Bob. Big Kid with long black hair and a body the gals all admired. I remember him as the man that made the soup. On my first day there I got out of my car across the street and heard my name yelled along with a heads up! I looked up to see a football coming right at me from about fifty yards away. I caught it and then walked toward the guy that threw it. I threw it back when I was close enough not to embarrass myself. I then asked how he knew my name. He told me that Brian, the Canadian had told him I'd be coming that morning. He never let anyone enter the building without feeling welcome, every morning. One morning early in my senior year I got to school and there was no Bob. We were met by Brian and asked to go to the student lounge. It was there that we learned that he had been killed in an accident over the weekend. He and friends were out getting high and four wheeling and rolled a Jeep. Bob was in the back without a seat belt. He fell out and was crushed. The whole damn school played football that morning, and cried. Continued

Sunday, November 12, 2006

More of lifes people

I remember leaving the small confines of our little school for a major high school. Went from a class of less then twenty to a class of over 1200 kids. With that many people it takes time to work your way around the pecking order. What I found out was one hundred fifteen pound half blind kids are pretty low on the order. I could hardly stand to go to school because every day was going to be a fight. If you didn't stand and fight you simply got beaten for the fun of it. Anyone that knows me knows I don't back down even when scared so I gave some lumps as well as got. One day in the locker room a kid threw a stick of old gum that hit and stuck under my left eye. It's the only eye I got left so I went over to have a word of prayer. He was a good bit bigger then me and willing to have at it right then and there. Some of his friends intervened, telling him I would be to easy and not to hurt me. It pissed me off to be thought so lightly of but hell I didn't have to fight that day. Turns out he used to run a small gang uf hoodlums in Junior High. No body with sense messed with him. I don't remember how it happened but we somehow became best friends. Our friendship has had many ups and downs over the years, I even worked for him on a few occasions. Almost thirty years I've known him, sharing our hopes dreams fears and tears. In a couple of weeks He and his wife will drive the thousand miles to spend a lil time with my wife and I over Thanksgiving. I love you Mike.
Some of the kids I fought with were never going to be friends, they were mean and way beyond cruel. I can remember how badly I wanted to kill some of these jerks. One day I got into a fight with one of these clowns for stealing a purse from one of the girls that used to hang around Mike and I. Mike as usual asked me if I wanted him to handle it. I said no. One must remember that after breaking my hand on Rodney's head years before I didn't hit people with a fist. I let him start it and then damn near killed him. That started another phase in my life with some real characters. Continued

Monday, November 06, 2006

Lifes people

I don't mind the sun sometimes. The images it shows. I can taste you on my lips and smell you in my clothes. Cinnamon and sugary like softly spoken lies. You never know just how you look through other people's eyes.
Words from the song Pepper. By the Butt Hole Surfers.
I got a letter from an old school mate today. Got me to thinking about my distant past and some of the people that inhabited my circle then. I went to school with this person in Junior High. I was the boy your mom always warned you about back then. Second best wrestler on the team, (I wrestled High School in Junior High) Smoked a lot of tobacco and weed. Drank what I could get my hands on. Spent a lot of time around second and third base. I don't remember having been much of a humanitarian in those days. Hell I even remember going after those that annoyed me because I could. I remember one kid in particular that used to pick at me and then run like hell. He made a fool out of me many times. He had my help. One day I finally caught him and made him face me. I told him I wasn't going away til he made me. He said "Alright but you've forced me!" He then knocked me on my ass and ran. I was up and caught him in about four steps (don't know how that happened) spun him around and laid a haymaker on what was supposed to be his nose. He ducked his chin and I heard my right hand break against the top of his head. I think about him on and off over the years, and remember the lessons he taught me. Some I didn't understand til years later. When last I heard from him he greeted me as a friend. I'm grateful for his forgiveness cause it was more then I deserved. Knowing what I know now, I'd have found another way to deal with his obnoxious behavior. There was something wrong between his ears and I didn't take the time to deal with it. Rod I'm sorry. Wish I had it to do again, I'd have left smaller footprints on your lawn. Hindsight is hell. So I get this letter from a gal I went to school with, and in it she thanks me! Thanks me for the kind words and support I gave her when things weren't good for her. I remember some of our talks, but god knows there should have been more. She hung out with among others the boy I mentioned earlier, and a few other kids that were at best weird and at worst nuts. Looking back on it I could have been a better friend. I'm sorry to you as well Beatrice. Continued.....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


As many of you know I went to the windy city for the weekend. Winds were 35 mph and about 38 f with some light snow. My main reason for going was to see my oldest daughter graduate from the Navy boot camp.
A secondary reason was to meet our friend Diane, and see some art.
My daughters graduation was a nice event made even better because she was in the performing division carrying one of the state flags. She starts out her Navy career as an e 3, two notches ahead of many because of her determination to go to school and earn enough college credits while waiting for her turn to serve. Members of my family have served in every generation and conflict since ww1 except panama. That would have been my turn had I been physically accepted to serve. I am proud of all our service and dedication to keeping watch through the night, and it is now my daughters turn. She is a good person, and a brave young woman that I've a lot of respect for.
The second thing about the trip was the art show. The show was held in the Hispanic area of Chicago, and had I a few days more I'd still be there eating from all the local restaurants. My wife and I got to meet some of the artists, and had a nice chat with Diane and Maryam Hashemi. I would like to thank Diane for the tour, and opening the cage to let me see and touch the exhibits. I am no art connoisseur but with Diane's help I was able to see the many facets of the work which they do, and why they do it. I came away impressed with these people and their skills, but mostly their minds. One of the things I've noticed over the last 20 years is that we are all in a fight of some kind. Some choose to stay in the shadows and some choose to step up and confront. Diane and her compatriots step up in a big way. As a man with daughters I thank you. To Miss Hashemi...... "I don't trust the parrot!" :)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Stolen from Indigo Red

Desire No Shackles
Diane Carriere, our artist/blogger friend in Canada, and fellow artists are presenting a new show in Chicago at the d'Last Studios and Gallery at 1714 S Ashland, Chicago, Oct 7 - Nov 11, 2006. The show, entitled "Desire No Shackels", features the work of Amir Normandi, Maryam Hashemi, Marcia Middleton Kaplan, Tim Arroyo, Rosy Torres, and Diane.Diane has focused her work in the last few years on the conflict between the forces of fascism and Islamic fundamentalism, and the strong desires for Freedom and Liberty. Of particular interest has been the plight of women and children, the bringers of life and the most vulnerable.The current show has been planned for many months, but recent censorship events have placed an additional importance on the work of the assembled artists. As Diane has written:
Even in the Age of Information, it would seem that not all information is created equal: the closure of a successful 3-year-old production of Mozart's opera 'Idomeneo' because, said Berlin police, it posed 'incalculable risk' of inciting Islamic fundamentalists to violence is a stark reminder that censorship throbs with power while the lifeblood of art is wrung dry. Last year, outrage from Muslim students led Harper College, located just outside Chicago, to remove an exhibition of works by Amir Normandi depicting the oppression women suffer in many Islamic countries. Partly in response, Normandi, himself an Iranian-born Muslim, has curated a new exhibition of works by local and international artists, 'Desire No Shackles/ Imagine No Borders', to examine oppression and the notion of borders in Islam and other contexts.The work of Amir Normandi, an Iranian, is often none too subtle. The images are forthright and unapologetically confrontational. One cannot ignore the crossing of boundaries as in "Women's Rights by the Book". The woman holds a book, presumably the Qur'an. The holy book of Islam gives permission to men to break the barrier of human decency by beating their wives, daughters, sisters, and mothers, treating them as meer objects. The woman in the image crosses the boundary between being the object on display and being a real human being by reaching out through the picture frame.In another, we are shown what lies beneath the all concealing black shroud of the burqa that holds women in a portable prison. The same rigid religious ideas that keep women in thrall to the will of men also envelopes the entire state of Iran, Islam, and all who submit their freewill to the god, al'Lah. No matter what is used to hide, shield, cover, or mystify our outter selves cannot even begin to shackle what is inside, the glory that is our 'self'.In "Rose", Tim Arroyo demonstrates the ephemeral quality of reality and life. He has created a beautiful red rose in a vase using smoke and digital photography. The image slowly wafts into oblivion as all matter must, reabsorbed into the greater connectivity of the cosmos.Diane presents a stark fact of life of life under fascist Islam. The execution of women is a common occurrance in Iran. Tradgically, it is too often the only way a woman can escape the prison of the burqa and the shackles of Islam as depicted here in another masterwork. Seemly two women have been hanged - one clothed in a burqa with eyes blindfolded, the other naked with eyes closed, but unblinded. Are they really different women, or the same woman - one a body in death, and the other as the freed spirit. As with all of Diane's work, the layers can be peeled like an onion revealing far more than is evident at first glance.I would encourge anyone in the Chicago area to stop into d'Last Studios and Gallery, 1714 S. Ashland Avenue, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m., Phone: 312/922-1400.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The answer

What I've shown you is a water treatment plant for a small community. The very earth we live on filters and cleanses the water. The plants catch and hold things that might be harmful such as heavy metals. At the end of this stream is a river and a medium city. If we were attacked with a dirty bomb or god help us a nuke, I wonder what the mothers response will be? How long will it take her to clean up after us? What can we do to help? How much can she absorb?

The pic is a praying Mantis we caught at work and put outside.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lake # one below the dam

This is the last lake I'll show you from here though there are I think two more in the chain. The answer in a couple of days.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Below the Dam

Pretty country if I do say so. On this day in the thousands of acres I was on I saw about ten people camping. Stay tuned because there is a mystery here, just not what Don expects.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This is on the upper side of the dam.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Once again Haymarsh Dam

K I'll use a different pic. Over the next week I'll show you what is on both sides of the dam. Be patient as I only have dial up.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Another of my favorite places. I like to retreat to a place where nut jobs aren't threatening to kill the Pope. Answers anyone?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Michigan is known for more then just Michael Moore. It is also the land of my birth and a place of raw beauty. You are looking west toward Minnesota along the shore of Lake Superior. To the right and on the bottom is the Edmond Fitzgerald. Farther to the right is Canada. Behind me is Whitefish Point. To the left is land that was timbered by my Grandfather.

Friday, September 01, 2006

My name is Queenie

My name is queenie.
My name is queenie, and I served a man. I died today, but before I went into that dark night I got to tell a small segment of a story. It is the story of my owner and my love, the man I served for over thirty years. The man who would not give me up even though my bones were old and brittle, and I ached in every fiber of my being. As you can see I'm a vintage Ford LTD. I was bought by a man as a new car many years ago, 1971 I believe. My man is a very powerful and well thought of man though I believe I was proceeded in death in some ways by my man. My man was a Football Coach at a major southern university where he compiled the best winning percentage of all that had coached there. He then retired and became a state senator that represented his people as only a southern gentleman would, with only their best interests at heart. It was my duty to ferry the Senator back and forth to work, and his many engagements including family activities. I have been very fortunate to have had the best care by mechanics that loved me, and my man. As the years rolled by and parts became impossible to get, my mechanics made and improvised parts to keep me alive. I've always been proud to be the Senators Queen, and He always proud of me. Time is a friend of no man, or car and we both have aged. My beloved man, the one I've shielded lo these many years is ill with the most foul of the devils work, Alzheimers. I know that I'm his memory train, storing thirty years of thoughts and memories but I grow weary. It is time now for me to pass and so I shall among friends that have cared for me these many years, only to await you dear Senator.
My name is queen, and I served a man.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

All men are created equal

I had noticed that one of the posters on ITM had made light of one of our friends. Said she was the most childish person he had ever seen post. I was remiss in answering right away but decided that it had occupied too much of my time. Here is my response to you and those that think that way.

Ole Abe had it wrong when he spoke of all men being created equal, woman too! We come from many backgrounds that define us. Some of these things are economic, some are race, and some are class. We don't all get dealt the same deck of cards as one another nor the same means of dealing with the cards. The simple truth is that some of us are idiots. Lets not get a big head and think NO NOT ME!!! Yes You and Me and the guy next door!!! Wanna talk about intellect? gotta see the bell curve before we judge. I hate to call a person a dumbass under any circumstance because of life experience. I have passed the test and failed the test depending on who was administering it. Lets not forget cultural differences and the time of day can have a role in what we all think and perceive. Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost sight of the fact that some are more powerful then others, and with that comes some responsibility. The responsibility to act like a gentleman would be a good place to start. Don't worry I see the log in my eye as well.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Okey doke. Here it is.

1... Things that scare me.
a. The prospect of a long, lingering, degenerative death. I'd rather make my exit real quick, thank you very much.
b. Losing my eyesight and my brain before I can read all the books on my bookshelf.
c. The big crash when oil runs out. (I won’t be here, but my kids will be.)

2...People who make me laugh.
a. My staff at work. Coffee breaks are a riot.
b. Stephinkeln (aka, da 12th Anon) at ITM
c. My totally free-spirited daughter and her free-spirited friends.

3..Things I hate the most.
a. Political correctness.
b Apologists and appeasers
c. Arrogance.

4...Things I don't understand.
a. Why time passes very, very slowly when you’re young and at warp speed when you get old.
b. Lefties. (I guess I covered them in # 3)
c. People who are sour and negative all the time. (I’d put this one in # 3, too, but you won’t let me have four.)

5...Things I'm doing right now.
a. Answering Tom’s tag.
b. Hunched over my keyboard. (No wonder my back hurts.)
c. Thinking about the long day I have to put in tomorrow.

6...Things I want to do before I die.
a. Write a book.
b. Get fit.
c. Help my kids grow spiritually by doing that myself.

7... Things I can do.
a. Take risks.
b. Lay back and enjoy the journey.
c. Let go the things I cannot change.

8... Ways to describe my personality.
a. Analytical.
b. Funny.
c. Accepting (of most things).

9...Things I can't do.
a. Run a mile.
b. Any math more complicated than grade school arithmetic.
d. Vote democrat. (I can’t vote Republican, either. Hehehehehehe. ;-))

10...Things I think you should listen to (in no particular order).
a. The sounds of nature on a warm summer evening, far out in the country.
b. Children playing.
c. Your conscience.

11...Things you should never listen to.
a. Whiners and complainers.
b. Yourself, when you’re in a bad mood.
c. Self-righteous jerks, like Snot from Oregon and Leech from the Institution.

12...Things I'd like to learn.
a. Tai Chi.
b. How to do more on the computer. (No, I didn’t forget to change this one. I just want to do this, too.)
c. More about history.

13...Favorite foods.
a. Anything that I don’t have to cook myself.
b. Old fashioned Sunday dinners, with a roast of some dead farm animal.
c. Anything with a gazillion calories in it. Why is that?

14...Beverages I drink regularly.
a. Milk.
b. Orange juice.
c. Ice cold water

15...Shows I watched as a kid.
a. Bonanza.
b. Gun Smoke.
c. The Ed Sullivan Show.

16...People I'm tagging.
a. Sorry. Don’t know enough bloggers to feel comfortable doing this.

Anyway, thanks Tom, for giving me the keys to your blog. You may live to regret it. ;-)

Your friend, Louise.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I got tagged.

Time to get to Indigo Reds tag.

The MEME of three.
1... Things that scare me.
a. Losing a child.
B. Losing my wife.
C. Liberals.

2...People who make me laugh.
a. Andrea H.
B. The folks at (Reginald)
C. My Dad.

3...Things I hate the most.
a. Cancer.
B. Bullies.
C. Arrogant people.

4...Things I don't understand.
a. How all the smoke gets inside electronic devices.
B. Why some people beat someone just because they can.
C. Why I can't let that pass.

5...Things I'm doing right now.
a. Answering Indi's tag.
B. Sipping a good Michigan red wine.
C. Waiting for the cloths to dry.

6...Things I want to do before I die.
a. Feel the breast of a female body builder.
B. Feel the breast of any other woman that's ok with it! :)
C. Fly an ultra light.

7... Things I can do.
a. Fix almost anything mechanical.
B. Speed read.
C. Listen.

8... Ways to describe my personality.
a. Outgoing.
B. Funny.

9...Things I can't do.
B. Surgery.
C. Vote democrat.

10...Things I think you should listen to.
a. Wind and rain in the trees.
B. The sound of a fish jumping on a cool quiet morning.
C. Your conscience.

11...Things you should never listen to.
a. Rap
B. Liberals.
C. Nay sayers.

12...Things I'd like to learn.
a. How to ignore idiots.
B. How to do more on the computer.
C. How to write.

13...Favorite foods.
a. Filet Mignon with Garlic potatoes and snow peas.
B. Pork tenderloin.
C. Pizza.

14...Beverages I drink regularly.
a. Good Beer.
B. Wine.
C. Gatorade

15...Shows I watched as a kid.
a. The Night Stalker.
B. The Al E Cat show.
C. Wild wild West.

16...People I'm tagging.
a. Louise at Search.
B. The educated Shoprat.
C. Bandit.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pat Tillman

I will edit and have something to say in a day or two.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Time off

I'm going on vacation. Be back in a week. Peace all!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Are you ready?

Are you ready for the changing price of transportation? I believe the price of gas is going to near double in the next year and a half. I don't really need to get into the details of why I think this, just look at the middle east today. What I want to do is give you some knowledge about the new technology from a mechanics point of view. Remember that knowledge is power. I finally got out of my lil suv, (Jeep Cherokee) and into a newer Honda Civic. Country of origin is United States, and it gets 38 mpg on the highway. I chose this car over some other forms of transportation that are very fuel efficient. (Jessie the horse) In today's world there is a lot of (MIS)information about how to save energy when traveling, and what car to travel in.I'll try to give you the skinny on some of the popular choices. First let me say that we will not run out of oil any time soon. The reason is that as the price of a gallon of gas goes up the usage goes down. Sooner or later alternate sources will be cheaper. Is there a magic bullet that we can use now and keep from having to support the terrorists in the middle east with the purchase of their oil? No there isn't, but we do have many little sticks we can and should throw at them. My very efficient Honda is one of them. I noticed a man commenting on ITM about electric cars and how great they are. I too am a fan but know that half the things he said were not true of most electric cars. We have all heard about the Hybrid cars from Honda Toyota and Ford. Sound to good to be true? It is too good to be true, and I know why. GM has been making cars that can burn ethanol for years, and they work very well but is that the answer? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Picking your battles.

I had an experience at work the other day that went beyond the normal. This says a lot because what is normal for my life is kinda out there. (reference the five foot grinch in the post last week)
I went next door to purchase some Gatorade to combat the high heat and humidity we have been having. While standing in line I heard a commotion behind me. I turned and saw the manager of the gas station yelling at a young black man to drop em and get the hell out! Also yelling for the man behind the counter to call 911. When I turned around I saw the man in question carrying three eighteen packs of Bud Light with a large black woman pulling on him and yelling. (she was the manager) He got out the door and was running across the street in seconds. On that day the place was being cleaned by a crew from the corporation that owns the station. I then saw a large overweight white male go tearing hell bent for leather after the thief. He chased him into the ghetto across the street. I've been in this neighborhood for about ten years now, and know a few folks around. I know it's no place for a white man to be fighting a black man over some Bud, especially Bobs Bud. Yes I know the owner of the corporation, slightly. We drink at the same bar sometimes. He would have a fit if his guy got hurt doing this so I elected to get involved. I thought it would be better if the man following had some help. It was about nine in the AM and the temps were about eighty two already with about ninety percent humidity. I had too much to drink the night before. This day was going to hell fast! We followed the thief about a block up the road and then a left turn into a side yard of an apartment building. We asked repeatedly for him to stop, saying we would continue following until he stopped. He stopped! He then set his beer down while we began to catch our breath. (not lying here) He then pulls a full sized ball bat out of his pants! Saying I wish you would!!! He comes at the man I was with. I circled around to get behind the thief. The thief, at a distance of about three feet does a Willy Mays imitation and tries to knock this mans head slam off! For a fat guy he could really move! He ducked the blow (barely) and jumped back. I, at that time, should have tackled the thief but was too far away! I couldn't make up the fifteen feet between us in time. I wasn't in a real hurry to close the gap as these guys have all kinds of things in and on their person that you don't want to touch. Needles an such. I feinted towards him to take the pressure off the other man, causing the thief to turn and run into a large mass of Kudzu. Kudzu is a vine that grows up to ten feet a day and can stop a battle tank! I, at this time, was talking to the police and asking them to hurry! I turned to follow the thief into the Kudzu. About four feet in I lost sight of him and everything else! They had a room carved into this stuff! It was dark and he was not where I could see him. I could hear the other man and several people from the neighborhood yelling at me to get the hell back out where they were. At that time I decided the beer wasn't worth all this. It was after all Bobs beer. I backed out and went back to work. What I didn't know was that I'd chased him right into the arms of the law as they came up the next street. I chose not to get into a fight and he got caught. Picking your battles! I won't be doing anything like that again.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Page two

So now we wonder what the solutions are to these, and other problems we are faced with. Can't say I'd do the right thing but here is what I'd do. Iraq: Hang Muqtada from a public lightpole and leave him there for no less then three months. Anybody wanna come get him? Shoot them. Shoot on sight anyone caught carrying a weapon in public. Use metal detectors (hand held) at check points to find weapons. Set up check points at random, no more then one hour in any single spot. Any foreign fighters found would be shot on sight and their bodies shipped back to the country of origin and dumped from ten thousand feet. Run all schools in Iraq according to American standards. Close down any mosque or madras preaching violence. Lebanon: Give an ultimatum to disarm Hezbollah and secure the border with Israel or face an invasion to protect the border by establishing a permanent buffer zone. Don't like it? Tough shit, come and do something about it. You'd rather face us then Hezbollah? Don't think so. Syria: Massive air bombardment of all government and military targets along with anyone else that stickes their head up and bitches about it. It's time Syrians died for their little war instead of leaving that part to others. Iran: Give them about one week to get rid of the nuke technology. If they even so much as say one damn thing take em out hard. I'm talking Nuke bunker busters followed up with conventional bombardment of all military targets. KSA and Egypt. You have one year to hold democratic elections and let the people decide their own fate. Said fate will be meted out by the U.S. military. All madrases to be destroyed. And now the bonus round. North Korea: You have taken far too many American lives to just let you off the hook. Bury small battlefield nukes along the border with South Korea. Tell China it's their baby to control, then starve them. One more missile launch will be met with a high value target being destroyed. No-body gives a damn how big their army is if kept in a small area. Think about killing Fire ants. Pakistan: Shut down the madrases and educate the people in something else besides Islam. Any high level terrorists caught to be hung by the neck and left on public display until the bodies have ceased to be offensive. This act is meant to inflame. Fire ants again. Kick a mound and get them out in the open.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Midle East, my view

Did anyone read the USA Today the other day. It had a picture of an old woman waving a couple of pistols or some such. She was celebrating Hesbollahs attack on Israel.
Funny, she didn't look like an islamofascist to me. She is gonna drown in her own blood before this is over, taking god only knows how many of her begotten with her. I gotta tell ya I'm just about sick of that whole arab/muslim mindset. Never have I seen a people so bent on bloodshed and destruction. I have heard that Israel is over reacting to incidents of late. I dunno, I'd get kinda tired of scraping my friends and neighbors off the sides of buildings and outa the street. I'm also not much on the idea that it was palastinian land before Israel came into being. I could be wrong but I think it was a part of Jordan. What would they do with the land anyway? Sit and bitch cause no-body would feed them? It is my belief that those folks were born to fight, and islam keeps em stupid enough to. On that note we turn to Iraq! I have come to believe that there are some very fine people in Iraq, but by no means a majority. The majority seem islam stupid. They really don't have time for Jew killing, so they kill one another for being the wrong type of muslim. Even through all that they still find time to protest the war Israel is waging for her survival. Bloodthirsty bastards will take shots at our forces or their own people but scream bloody murder when the retaliation takes the lives of their loved ones.
How about them innocents? What innocents? You mean the Lebanese? The ones that won't purge their own democratic country of the terrorists? Makes them as bad as the French during WWll. It's funny to see the Syrians willing to fight to the last Palestinian, and The Iranians willing to fight to the last Syrian.
Geez everyone fallin all over themselves to push the other into a fight. Remember highschool? On that note lets look at The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sorry gang but any country where one of our fighter pilots has to be escorted around and wear a vail cause she is a woman aint no ally of ours. Don't even get me started on cultural correctness! (my word) More women then men are born in this world, and keeping them under subjugation is never correct. What was that? Islam? Sigh! Continued

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Thanks to Louise

Words To Taps
(Note: there are no "official" words to Taps, below are the most popular.)Day is done,gone the sun,From the hills,from the lake,From the skies.All is well,safely rest,God is nigh.Go to sleep,peaceful sleep,May the soldieror sailor,God keep.On the landor the deep,Safe in sleep.Love, good night,Must thou go,When the day,And the nightNeed thee so?All is well.Speedeth allTo their rest.Fades the light;And afarGoeth day,And the starsShineth bright,Fare thee well;Day has gone,Night is on.Thanks and praise,For our days,'Neath the sun,Neath the stars,'Neath the sky,As we go,This we know,God is nigh.

I first learned the words to taps in summer camp as a child.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Grinch

Well junk week resumed today at work with the arival of a fifty ford flathead, a 70 Toyota land cruisor, and The Grinch. The grinch was set down outside and next to our building by a nut. The man yelled and cursed Grinchy, then left for an hour only to return and yell and curse Grinchy again. He then left for about three hours then returned and took Grinchy with him.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Blackbirds an such

Ohh do you remember these? The black one is for sale...first 25 takes it. Sheesh. The other one is a one owner til death seperates them.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Aint to pretty in the heat of the afternoon. Temps about 100 in my area. Thought I'd mess with my new camera phone. Not a bad pic for such an ugly topic huh? I will get serious next post....Maybe

Friday, July 07, 2006

Life, dreams and yonder the next hill

K it's time to stick my nose in. Everyone has heard that life is short and to live hard, get what you can. My wife is fond of telling me life is an adventure, and with her it is. I was asked by a professional once what I liked best about my wife. I answered, "She takes me along on her adventures!" I moved about a thousand miles from home to be with my wife, leaving kids, parents, sister, friends galore, a business, and a career. Not a day went by that I didn't question myself or my motives. As things didn't go well I was tempted to throw in the towel on many occasions. It's been nine years now and I'm finally feeling at home. In the early months the homesickness was like a fist in the face. I was bewildered and lost. didn't have the social contacts I was used to, and no one to help sort it out. All the more reason I'm amazed at our forefathers coming to this land never to return home. As time goes by you make new friends, gain the respect of new groups. A partial list of problems would include some language issues, behavior issues, (we don't think and act the same under like circumstances) homesickness, and no support group. (who ya gonna talk to when you and the misses are fighting) pluses? Yep there's a few. Self confidence is gained. Financial discipline is a must. New friends, climate, and sites to see. This is just a small sample of what one is up against when one leaves their home space. The best thing I can say is that it's important to know and be comfortable with who and what you are. It's a mighty big apple out there. Make sure you can chew the bite you take.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The fourth

I am the Flag
by Ruth Apperson Rous
I am the flag of the United States of America.
I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.
There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.
My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.
Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.
My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.
My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.
My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.
My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.
I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.
I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.
I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers - the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.
I am as old as my nation.
I am a living symbol of my nation's law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
I voice Abraham Lincoln's philosophy: "A government of the people, by the people,for the people."
I stand guard over my nation's schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.
I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.
Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.
I have my own law—Public Law 829, "The Flag Code" - which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.
I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.
Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.
I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.
If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.
Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.
As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are - no more, no less.
Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.
Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: "One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.
God grant that I may spend eternity in my "land of the free and the home of the brave" and that I shall ever be known as "Old Glory," the flag of the United States of America.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Page two

In Racing we had a saying that was used at the bars in the winter when we would all get together. "If yer racin yer cheatin, if yer talkin yer lyin." It wasn't really cheatin so much as an intelligent reading of the rules. That's what I used. Some of the teams were blatant about cheating, and the tech inspectors had no clue how to catch them. Enter Billrilla. Bill would wear work cloths and show no affiliation with me or our group in the early days and at any new track. He could wander around and chat with the other teams as they worked on their cars, getting a good look at what they had. He would try to verify what he saw, and then bring me the info. In some cases I would just sit on the info and we would just go out and win. Every once in a while when the cheatin got way outa hand I would wait til we lost and then file a complaint to the tech guy. Usually had to hold their hands while they looked for what I told them. We gave that up after a while when they started shutting hoods at the sight of Bill. Bill called a few on the things he had seen, and some wanted to fight him. I made sure he didn't hurt anyone but let him answer the challenges after the night was over. Funny how everyone had somewhere else to be when the officials were out of the picture. One time we were working on a car in my shop. I was under it and Bill was on top in the engine bay. We were using some heavier then air solvents to clean stuff. I was breathing the fumes and soon noticed the world going black. The last thing I remember was reaching out and hitting Bill on the leg, and then I was out. When I came to, I was outside and on my side with Bill asking me if I was ok. If I hadn't hit him on the leg it might have been five or more minutes before he would have noticed a problem. As it was he had me outa there in seconds. Thanks bro.

Friday, June 23, 2006

My lil brothers page.

Billrilla is my lil brother. I don't remember exactly who named him that, I think the ex wife. The reason is simple. Bill V, the half brother to my best friend in highschool is somewhat an ape! The fun little boy we used to tease and Bro Mike used to call "The Runt" has an uncommon strength about his upper body. Bill is a very gifted auto tech that can build anything, and has the analytical skills to be among the best. Bill didn't have the cash to own his own shop so he worked for me or his brother Mike. His loss is our gain. This worked out well because I was never sure if Bill was comfortable with his ass swinging in the breeze. If something blew up it was always better if it was Toms or Greggs but it was in reality as much Bills. I remember one time we built a stationwagon to race on the street. "The Magenta Mauler" it was called for its purple and chrome engine. (built for ex wife.) The damn thing ate the starter and ring gear, requiring the removal of the transmission to fix the gear. Bill had assembled the unit and I disassembled it. When I got to take the ring gear off I couldn't budge the bolts. I propped my feet against the wrenches and pushed to no avail. Bill, with a double stack of wrenches tried and broke a couple of wrenches before getting the thing loose. That is where he got the nickname Billrilla. If Bill tightened it it was tight! Godamighty tight! Continued

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I want to say a few things about friendship. Some say that a man is truly blessed if he can count one true friend in this world. I've many! In the almost 44 years I've been here I have accumulated many friends, some very close and some not. I take friendships very seriously as I've had the opportunity to win and lose some. One of the things I have noticed about friendship is that distance is a killer. It isn't really distance so much as it is apathy. If you aren't the one to keep the fire stoked so to speak, then you will lose touch. If you stop and wonder; What ever happened to so and so? You are at fault. You took your eye off of your friend and the winds of time blew them away! Always remember that time has no effect over ones love of another human being so reach out! Always be willing to reach out, and take the initiative to preserve that which gives pleasure and comfort. I can think of nothing to this day that brings more comfort then friends. Doesn't matter if they are new or old, they bring warmth and comfort. That is why I had such a mad house as a young man, people coming and going, lots of laughter and fun. The one thing I miss about my old home is the close proximity of old friends. One of the things I love about my new home is the new friends. Friends can be of many types and from many arenas. Some you don't have to have met at all. (thanks to al gore and the internet..LOL) I am grateful to one and all. The reason I'm grateful is dependent on which friend I'm speaking of. Bill V, the one that drove 15 hours to my wedding, and Don, my soundingboard, Andrea, just makes me smile, and Donna, showing me that which I've never seen. I love Louise for her different point of view, always reminding me to keep an open mind. The list goes on forever, and I love you all. Don't lets ever forget one another! Our strength is in our belief and love in one another.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Ron's page

It takes a huge amount of effort to go racing. In our case we had it times 7. We built engines for anyone we thought would win and gain some recognition for our work. The objective was to have a salable product. It didn't work. Drivers are a tight lot and would rather do it themselves and lose then pay for a product that makes them a winner. When I came home from my day job about six, Bill V was usually already in the shop working. He would sometimes bring some of his friends to help out. One such person was Ron Grubb. It didn't take long for him to fit in, and do a huge amount of work as well. Some people aren't blessed with many gifts, and Ron was one of those. Big and kinda gumpy, not pretty and no money. His teen years were a bit rough. He was going to be your typical ne'er do well. About his gifts. A gentle soul that didn't hurt anyone with a quick wit, and good sense of humor. Would gladly play basketball all night if we would, and a nice hook shot. Would also work all night on a friends car just cause it needed to be done. Tirelessly cleaned and polished engine parts, laying them out for assembly making sure to remove any lint from the parts before we would use them. Always running errands and getting sodas. During breaks he was outside swinging my kids around by the feet, and otherwise contributing to the mayhem that was my house in those days. There wasn't any money to pay such help, but there was food, and parts, and all the skills to be very very fast. I sold Ron a Mustang on the cheap, and then Bill V and I made it damn fast on the cheap. When I left Michigan, he was one of the little pieces of my life that I left behind, secure in the knowledge that he would always be there when I went back. Somehow I never got to hook back up with him and share a soda, and a memory or two. Now I can't! Ron was never the most careful person, and he died because of it. While fixing someones car, he was under it when it fell. It's a little late, but thanks for all those hours Ron. God rest and God speed.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Charmin Carmen

This page is about a woman, and could be titled; Why I would make a lousy Muslim. Racing at the level that we did it is a family affair. I had many close friends among our competitors and worked on their cars as much as my own. The reason was simple. If my guy, or in this case gal was going to win, I wanted her to beat you at your best. On any given Saturday night I would work on between five and ten cars. If Bill V was there he would work on an additional three or four, in addition to helping me. One day Greg V decided to sponsor a woman that had no money, and a very old beat to hell racecar. We put something together for her, and got her out for the last biggest race of the year. She passed two thirds of the field on the first lap. As she got to turn four, she got wrecked by someone not wanting to give up the spot. Over the winter one of our people that we helped with tech stuff approached me about making Carmen a winner. We agreed to work together on this project, thus giving the lady the resources that only the guys with ten or twenty thou a year had to play with. We took the engine out of my wife's old station wagon and tried to race that! It was a little low on breath in the straightaways so we tore it down and rebuilt it over a Monday through Wednesday. During that time Bill V spent many hours trying to get more breath out of a set of heads that were just too damn short of breath. Thanks to his efforts we got about an other fivehundred rpms down the straightaways. Made practice on Thursday and raced on Friday. We wrecked on Friday and spent all night getting ready for Saturday. Saturday was a big track with lots of banking, we knew we were going to run out of breath about half way down the straightaways. On the other hand we could out pull anyone coming out of the corners. All we needed was for Carmen to be able to put the power to the track. We had about five people working on the car that night, three of them drivers from cars she competed against. Everyone loves an underdog, even if it beats you. She beat dear friends that night. I thought Doug, her benefactor was going to throw me off the back of the stands he was so excited. We worked our asses off all year, and she gave us two track championships. We knew she would go out and win, or break the car trying. She, more then anyone else taught me that given a reasonable chance a woman could do anything she set her mind to. I remember one time we finished a race and I was in the pits getting the trailer ready, and packing our stuff to go home. The guy next to us had a bad night and was taking it out on everyone. The pits used to be a forty acre cornfield, so there's not much light. He came in hot, and did a doughnut and hit the trailer I was standing on. It knocked me to the ground, while taking a Lil bit of daylight and sense with it. That girl grabbed him by the face and helped him from his car and over to me. She read him from the book about what she would do to the man that hurt her engine builder or any of her crew. He apologized and walked off. I was looking at her kind of funny so she grabbed her breasts and said, " I've got a pair too! I just wear em a lil higher then you do!"

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hidden thunder

The first page will be Mr V's page. The man I bought the house from was a Vietnam era vet with a need for speed. He was of the James Smoky Yunick type. He would do anything, and blow everything up for one more mile per hour. He can be seen in the movie Heart like a wheel ( The Shirley Muldowney story) if you look very fast. The scene at Pomona dragway in California, Greg is leaving the line in an Orange and blue Buick GS Stage One. It is the car he would set an NHRA record with in that same year. He also had at one time an IHRA record holder Chevy Kingswood stationwagon. Yep we all raced wagons at one time. I had a Chevy Malibu wagon with about 400 horses as a daily driver. I got it with the house, the engine came later. The thing about Greg was that he and his Buddy Jim Paquette were building and racing cars that were spanking the big money guys whenever they felt like it, or had the money to travel on. He himself could have been a big money guy but wouldn't play nice with the bean counters. He took a Chevy Camero to a major race and encountered the engineers from Oldsmobile (our home town) and when approached said "Damn! There's enough Oldsmobiles here to start a junkyard!" Yep Greg likes it his way. Olds went with Dick La'Hae, as did Miller Brewing. Greg didn't care he beat them anyway. When I met Greg he was very fat and way past his driving days, but still the smartest kid on the block. His fault was that he was lazy and didn't want to do the actual work of putting the engines together. Enter myself and best friends lil brother Bill V, no relation to Greg. Bill worked for me sometimes and with me some times and was always and still is a very dear friend. I created a company called Response Racing Engines. Privately we did the assemblies for Gregs people, and tuned them at the track. Thanks to Greg we learned on stuff that was about three to five years ahead of NASCAR. Continued

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Toms Garage

People are everything to me. If I could, I would write about everyone I know. I try to see the good in everyone that I meet, and have a lot of friends because of it. I like to tell their stories. As best I know them. If I live long enough I'll tell yours as well......As best I know it. I need to write about a time in my life that I've put away for about nine years now. I will as I always do, start with a lil background so as not to lose you. This too will take a few posts. I used to live up north in Michigan, the place of my birth. As a young man I bought a house with my first wife. The man I bought the house from was a car guy. I'm a car guy. It was a great purchase because this man taught me a trade that I could turn into a passion. All that was asked of me was to leave his stuff in my garage and let him still work out of it. The rocket ship took off from there. The man, Greg V, built the hottest thumpinest racing engines I've ever seen. He taught me to make some thump too! This story is about that time, and those people that were special in my world at that time. The reason for the write is that I've learned one of them has died. A bit player in my life but as I've said, with me it's about the people. Continued.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Are we right to do the things we do? History will be the judge. This I know; someone has to do something and we are alone atop the mountain. I choose to believe that America is a good and honorable place full of people that care about their neighbors. I don't believe every soldier serves with honor, but most do. What we have here can't be found anywhere else in the world, and it's because of folks giving the final measure.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Sorry gang, been busy as hell. Will try to catch up over the long weekend. John... Now is the time to move any money from bonds to stock funds. Ill explain later. :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

100th post

I too have addictions, some I have beaten, and some I embrace. Now you know why I will never run for public office. Pat Kennedy can come over and hang out at my house any time he long as he doesn't bring Swimmer. My boat with Swimmer on it, and 50,000 acres of water would be too much temptation.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Monday, May 08, 2006

Racism part five.

This may be the last on this topic. I hope so cause I'm tired of talking about it. I see nobody tried to answer the question I put forth in the last post. Here are the answers, yes there are more then one. (drum roll please) The Lottery, and various sin taxes. In my view, if you want to see a real racist, (white ones) look at the politicians that give us the Lottery in so many states. Rich people do not as a rule play the games, and if they do, they don't spend much. They know the odds are so very bad. Better to spend the money in Vegas. Odds are better, drinks are free, and the hookers regulated. Poor people on the other hand throw huge sums at the games in the hopes of hitting it. Blacks as a rule are poorer then whites, and with the exception of my ex, and a few others spend more. Yep, that's right, Blacks support the Lottery in droves, and with real money. It's a tax on you people! I have told them by the hundreds but they don't get it. "I'm gonna be rich!" Yeah right! If my mom had wheels she'd be a wagon. I make a living in the under fifty bracket. My body is slowly failing me, and I know I will never make it to retirement age in my current career. Time is short, and I don't make a lot. You can bet your butt I don't waste much on the Lottery. Since my divorce I've been able to put away a lil bit of money for a rainy day. I've made that money grow at around 12% a year by taking care of my own investments. Yeah, I'm good! I work at it. I do all of this on twenty bucks a week! I watch some of the people in the hood invest fifty to eighty bucks a week on powerball. My god if I had access to that much money I'd be retired by now. Wanna know where the twenty came from? I quit smoking. Hardest damn thing I've ever done. I stopped paying the .50 a pack tax on my two pack a day habit. I'm not so sure the sin tax affects Blacks at a higher rate then whites, but it affects them none the less. Why do I think the Lottery is a racist institution? Because I believe more money at least in percentage comes from blacks, and like me and my cigs, I don't think they can stop. It took me twenty years and a lot of help at home. I think of my friend Thomas the bum. It might be wrong, but every once in a while I'll buy him a beer to go with a meal. I know he can't stop and he never asks anymore. It's a dignity thing I can't explain. He chuckles at the Lotto players, and counts his blessings however few they are. That kind of money would kill him. He says some are better off spending it on the games.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Racism part four

As luck would have it, I find myself in traffic a lot these days. It is springtime here in the south so we have our windows down, and air off for now. I am forced to listen to the black folks and their rap music at a loud and obnoxious rate. I could respond with Butt hole surfers, or Metalica, or any of a bunch of white guy bands. I'm a mechanic. If I want 5,000 watts of sound per channel I can do that! I can deafen the pope from here if I choose! I don't! I try to keep my sounds in the car with me. If I really wanna hear it loud, I roll up the windows. I have a young friend with a loud as hell rock band that does the same thing. He says "I might not be your thing." He also removes his hat for the blessing, and leaves it off for the meal. I wonder about the word Nigger! Why if it is so offensive, do I hear it about every other word in a black persons car? I got a story for you pal.... If it's good for the goose it's good for the gander. I hate the stereotypical nigger, hate em with a passion. I don't however hate black people as a rule. I've had a few friends that were black living in my home when times were tough. I know they have my back, as I've had theirs. Good and decent people have no color. I met the wife downtown a week or two ago for lunch. We were driving through the ghetto when we stopped at a light. A black man pulled up next to us in a newer Impala with the words fuck and nigger and kill coming out of the car. I looked over at him; guess I pissed him off because he turned it up from loud as hell to earthquake! He then proceeded to sing the song at me while hanging out the window. You caught me on a generous day, I didn't spit at you. I could write a book about how to better get along with white or any one else but it would be lost in translation. Here is a question for you. How do you get a black man...or woman to pay more in taxes without bitching? The answer will be in another post, and it might surprise you.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Words after one year

I received another compliment today regarding the piece I wrote about my late boss. It seems Mike has shared it with some of our customers. (those that knew him) I also received a letter from Bob's older sister. It seems my words moved her. Hers in turn moved me. It got me to thinking about the power of words, and how one chooses to use them. I do make an attempt to correct my spelling, and grammar but I won't go out of my way. I feel that to make no effort is being slack, while having an editor goes to far the other way. (yes I have an editor) As a rule, I don't work on a post for more then it takes me to write it. This is sometimes a bad thing because I could surely do better, but then I'd be writing to you and not for me. The reason I started this blog was to give friends a place to go. A chatroom of sorts. I never intended to write anything for anyone else to read, except maybe "New post". Mike H beat me to the punch, and I had this blog sitting here doing nothing so I put a few thoughts down. It has led to this. I started about a year ago and have over 80 posts. Sometimes I say something that gets a lot of comments and sometimes no one says a word. Yep I've had 70 and 0 and everything in-between. Sometimes I think I've said something profound, and you didn't! Sometimes I think I wrote a bunch of garbage, and you didn't. Words are funny that way. It's like trying to wield a sword when you really don't know how. Sometimes I cut what I want, and sometimes I cut ME! Looking back on all of the posts and comments I'm reminded of a favorite movie; The Breakfast Club. No we aint all gonna get along and probably shouldn't, but what a ride! Back to the words.... I don't believe that I need to hurt someone to expose the truth, nor should I yell, or gloat. I've had some that wonder why I let this or that person comment, or why didn't you apply more force to that one, and on. I tell you this..... A stump is a stump. We all know that, but what we don't all know is that the stump knows it too! My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you. During the last year you were sometimes all I had.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My dad used to do something like this in Korea

The sun beat like a hammer, not a cloud was in the sky.The mid-day air ran thick with dust, my throat was parched and dry.With microphone clutched tight in hand and cameraman in tow,I ducked beneath a fallen roof, surprised to hear, "Stay low."My eyes blinked several times before in shadow I could see,The figure stretched across the rubble, steps away from me.He wore a cloak of burlap strips, all shades of grey and brown,That hung in tatters till he seemed to melt into the ground.He never turned his head or took his eye from off the scope,But pointed through the broken wall and down the rocky slope."About eight hundred yards," he said, his whispered words concise,Beneath the baggy jacket he is wearing a device.A chill ran up my spine despite the swelter of the heat,"You think he's gonna set it off along the crowded street?"The sniper gave a weary sigh and said, "I wouldn't doubt it,""Unless there's something this old gun and I can do about it."A thunderclap, a tongue of flame, the still abruptly shattered;While citizens that walked the street were just as quickly scattered.Till only one remained, a body crumpled on the ground,The threat to oh, so many ended by a single round.And yet the sniper had no cheer, no hint of any gloat,Instead he pulled a logbook out and quietly he wrote."Hey, I could put you on TV, that shot was quite a story!"But he surprised me once again -- "I got no wish for glory.""Are you for real?" I asked in awe, "You don't want fame or credit?"He looked at me with saddened eyes and said, "You just don't get it.You see that shot-up length of wall, the one without a door?Before a mortar hit, it used to be a grocery store."But don't go thinking that to bomb a store is all that cruel,The rubble just across the street -- it used to be a school.The little kids played soccer in the field out by the road."His head hung low, "They never thought a car would just explode."As bad as all this is though, it could be a whole lot worse."He swallowed hard, the words came from his mouth just like a curse."Today the fight's on foreign land, on streets that aren't my own,""I'm here today 'cause if I fail, the next fight's back at home.""And I won't let my Safeway burn, my neighbors dead inside,Don't wanna get a call from school that says my daughter died;I pray that not a one of them will know the things I see,Nor have the work of terrorists etched in their memory.""So you can keep your trophies and your fleeting bit of fame,I don't care if I make the news, or if they speak my name."He glanced toward the camera and his brow began to knot,"If you're looking for a story, why not give this one a shot.""Just tell the truth of what you see, without the slant or spin;That most of us are OK and we're coming home again.And why not tell our folks back home about the good we've done,How when they see Americans, the kids come at a run.""You tell 'em what it means to folks here just to speak their mind,Without the fear that tyranny is just a step behind;Describe the desert miles they walk in their first chance to vote,Or ask a soldier if he's proud, I'm sure you'll get a quote."He turned and slid the rifle in a drag bag thickly padded,Then looked again with eyes of steel as quietly he added;"And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,That we are all that stands between the monsters and the weak."Michael MarksSomewhere in IraqJanuary 25, 2006

Sunday, April 30, 2006


I stopped in at my favorite restaurant and had dinner with Mrs.C on Friday after work. The family that owns it are friends of ours and we share our successes and our failures. One of the waiters is a local school teacher by day, and comes in to help her brother in law at night on weekends. She and her husband have two kids the same ages as mine. I got there a lil early, and before the crowd. She saw me and came over to chat. I asked her how her oldest was doing. A lil background here. He graduated from high school, and went on to college to get his degree. He spent his school days in JROTC followed by ROTC in college, also an enlistment in the Army Reserves. He intends to make the Army his career. He has requested a transfer to a unit that will put him through Airbourn school and then on to Afghanistan or Iraq. He has done this while delaying going to officers candidate school. His reason for doing this is to get his combat patch (CIB?) before becoming an officer. Without going into details, I will tell you that she is proud of her son. Scared yes, but proud. I believe the tree of liberty is well defended for the time being thanks to families like hers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

New post

Geez what a slug. I have never been at a loss for words, and am not now. I just think my give a shit is busted. I've had a crew working on the problem for a while now, but to no avail. Work has been a handful, and the days long. I did however return MG's inTview, so I'm not a total sluggard. Know that during these times I'm reading everyone else's stuff. As a rule, I think there are too many of us out here cluttering up the space, but I won't quit. I'm selfish that way. There are a couple of folks I'd like to see with blogs, if for no other reason then I like to see them think. I would warn you though, a blog is a hell of a master, never satisfied. In that light I envy John, and Don, their ability to post and move on. I like my friend Diane, have a hard time getting to everyone I want to visit, and the newspaper be damned. Blogging has taught me a few things I might list. 1. The world is full of yappy people. 2. The world is full of stupid people. 3. The world is full of bright people. 4. I wish to be one of the few wise people. The lessons I learn from each and every one of you assure that my wish might one day be true. I knew an old woman, a long time ago. She taught school. She didn't just teach school, she taught idiots. I'm referring to the underachievers that suffer some form of handicap. She taught blind children that the others could not reach, or didn't deem useful to reach. I witnessed many miracles among her students that she considered part of the process. She believed that if you exercised the mind, it would grow. I saw (challenged) kids, (Johns word) win spelling bees, and type 70 cwper min. I was beaten by one of her students in a general knowledge bee. The kid, at seventeen needed help getting dressed in the morning, but smoked my butt! I call that Terry's lesson. Don't ever underestimate someone. The stats are against us, but I hope you're living a long and happy life Terry. I hope all of these lessons will teach me.........Some measure of wisdom.