Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time for a Lovely Story -- or Story of Showing Love

With problems here at home and throughout the world, it is time for a story that makes one feel good.

A couple we see at church every Sunday came up the aisle, paused to say hello, and informed us they had marked their 62nd wedding anniversary.  The lady added, "I must tell you what happened.  While waiting to get a table at Olive Garden, we mentioned that we were celebrating our anniversary.  We had our meal and went to pay the bill but the waitress said we owed nothing; someone had paid it.  We said we must know who paid it so we can thank them.  The waitress pointed  to a l5-year-old girl and said she was the one who treated us.  Her mother, seated with her, said the girl did it with her own money.  We can keep our faith in the goodness of our young people," she concluded.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

One of My "Interesting" Plane Rides As An Economic Developer

"The pilot of the plane I chartered is ill and cannot fly, but I'm working on getting another plane." the manager of the newly established Broyhill plant in Arcadia phoned me.  We were to go to Baton Rouge to  appear before the board of Commerce and Industry  in support of Broyhill's spplication for a ten-year tax exemption. We could have flown commercial, but the plant manager did not want "to waste a day in Baton Rouge waiting for a plane."   

I was waiting at Shreveport's Downtown airport when an ancient Piper Cub landed.  I found out this was to be our transportation.  Navigation to Baton Rouge wasn't a problem; the pilot followed Red river until it joined the Mississippi and then followed that river on to Harding Field.  We landed and took a taxi to the meeting.  We were late but it did not matter because our application had not come up.  Approval was just a formality as I knew it would be, but I did not want to leave anything to chance.  Persuading Broyhill to locate a plant outside of the home state of North Carolina was one of my proudest accomplishments.

Flying home was adventurous because darkness caught us, but eventually I was deposited at the Downtown airport and the Piper and passengers headed for Athens.  I was familiar with the home pasture, because that's what it was, and I was thankful I wouldn't be landing there.  The landing area was short and had to be made to end up under some power lines.  They made it okay, and I had another ride in a small plane to add to my many experiences.

Friday, January 28, 2011

For National Security, We MUST Drill NOW

This nation has been in a precarious energy situation, unnecessarily, because we have refused to produce the energy this country needs, choosing instead to import oil and ship billions of dollars overseas.  Much of the oil we purchase comes from regimes unfriendly to us and our supply could be cut off at any time.  Now, with the upheavals and unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, the situation is critical. Obama and his energy czar have made it clear they want gas to rise to seven or eight dollars a gallon and utilities to double or triple.  This could come about, devastating our already weak economy, but more important the situation poses a huge threat to our national security.  Obama took advantage of the oil spill to order a moratorium on drilling in the gulf, and after the moratorium was lifted only two drilling permits have been issued.  Why cannot our congressmen act to stop Obama from hurting our economy?  Why cannot we demand that this country become self-sufficient in energy?    We have reserves of oil, gas and coal and we can utilize nuclear energy.  It is great to search for new forms of energy whether it t be fission, fusion, hydrogen or something else.  In the meantime, let us utilize what we have plenrty of, oil, gas and coal.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Jen. Thanks for 38 Good Years

Yes, today marks 38 years that Jen and I have been married.  I understand how everyone may wonder how any woman could stand me for  one year, much less 38, but she did and we are looking forward to 38 more.
All my love, Jen.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

LSU Baseball Players Who Made Major Leagues

Almost anything and everything is on the internet today. Baseball America lists 62 former LSU baseball players who got at least a cup of coffee in the majors.  As I looked over the list I saw that the third name was Orie Kerlin of Homer, who played fromo 1910 to 1915 for the Pittsburgh Rebels.  When I went to Homer in 1950 I was told that Mr. Kerlin had been a major leaguer but I never interviewed him.  He would have been a good subject for my sports column in the Guardian-Journal. 

Baseball was important in Homer for a number of years, as the Homer Oilers competed in the Big Eight semi-pro league with teams from Minden, Ruston, Farmerville, Bernice, Farmerville and Bastrop. Teams were composed of local men and college players.  Homer relied heavily on LSU but at times had players from Texas A&M, TCU, Baylor, La. Tech, Southern State, and Centenary.  Homer's largest crowd was one night when we pitched the nephew of  Dizzy Dean.  We defeated Farmerville 2-0 and Dean pitched a two-hit shutout.

Games were played Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during the summer.  I was official scorekeeper and in addition coached and managed an American Legion team, which played Monday and Wednesday nights.  It was  not unusual to see major league scouts at the games.

Have Not Posted Lately Because of IIlness

Being physically ill has made me interlectually lazy so I have not posted for several days even though I have wanted to express myself on several topics.  I can report that my routine visit with my cardiologist last Wednesday was encouraging.  I reported on two angina attacks I had away from home.  I almost blacked out after one when I took nitro. The doctor says always sit down before using it, but that is not always possible. 

I missed church Sunday because of a broken vessel in an eye and a general feeling of illness.  Despite feeling bad, I attended the Pinewood Derby races at Sci-Port Saturday.  I went because Jason had to work and could not be there although he had spent hours turning a block of wood into a batmobile.  I went in case we had to make adjustments to the car.  I have made many cars and seen them run in races, but I had never seen a race run the way it was done a Sci-Port.  There were 36 cars entered with each car racing eight times on the four-lane track.  That meant it took 72 races to complete the competition, with the winners being decided by a computer which timed each car every time it ran.  Kyle's car came in fourth in his den and 13th overall.  He had fever and did not feel well enough to really enjoy the races.  We leaned Monday he had strep throat.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Many Believed in Ronald Reagan Long Before He Entered Politics

The 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birthday February 6 will be the occasion for many people to tell special memories of him.  Possibly the first person to propose Reagan for office was a rancher who had a lot pf acreage along Highway 71 between Alexandria and Baton Rouge, if my memory is correct.  He posted signs  declaring "This is Reagan Country " on fence posts all along the highway.  I always wondered who he was and now I wonder if he was alive to see Reagan elected as president.  Whoever he was, he was definitely one of the first to see Reagan as right for this nation.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Have Unions and Cowardly Politicians Brought Us to Our Knees?

Detroit school system is planning to close around half of its schools and enlarge class sizes in order to pay big pensions to unions. Elected officials find it easy to give in to union demands for generous pensions and early retirement when they are not required to come up with the money.  Now, Detroit, the most expensive school system in the country, and  which graduates only21.7 per cent of its students, has to choose between paying union demands or educating children. The school system chose the unions.  Other school systems are going to be in similar situations.  Are private schools the answer?

Camden, a crime infested city, is considering laying off half of its policemen and firemen because it has to pay so much in pensions to these union members who retired while still young.  The only hope for municipalities like Camden is to go bankrupt and start over.  Cities all over the nation are facing similar conditions.  Some one with courage must show the way.

(Note.  Utah is pushing a 401K type plan for state employees; unions are resisting it.  This is the answer for all governments as it is for private workers.  It could eliminate some early retirement plans but, on the other hand, it could mean more money for the worker and his family.)

Happy Birthday, Mark Reagan Lowe

Eat a piece of birthday cake with ice cream for me.  You know, of course, your birthday anniversary is shared with Betsy Ross,  Paul  Revere, and Robert E. Lee.  Also with J. Edgar Hoover, Edgar Allen Poe,  James Watt, Barry Goldwater, and Mohamed.

You have heard the story, and it is true, that Jim Oakes, who was my assistant, suggested that Jen delay having you until January 20, the date Ronald Reagan was inaugurated for his first term, and if  a boy name the baby Mark Reagan, and if a girl Ann Reagan.   Jen had already decided on the first names.  She vehemently rejected delaying the birth one day but accepted his suggestion for a middle name.  I was somewhat reluctant to give you a name of a president; just think, today it could be Obama.  Be thankful, you had eight years under Reagan. His 100th anniversary will soon be celebrated.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Retirement contribution rates cause concern

That is the headline of an article on the front page of the January 15 Shreveport Times.  I have written several times about the problems ahead because of many too generous retirement and pension plans.  Bossier City is facing this now and many other municipalities are in a similar situation.    In 2009 municipalities paid  ll per cent of police qualified earnings and 14 per cent of fireman's earnings in municipal retirement systems. Those rates for Bossier could reach 25 per cent or more in 2011.  Taxpayers who must work to 70 to qualify for a small social security pension will eventually rebel and refuse to fund such liberal retirements.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Obama Will Celebrate Oil at 100 Dollars a Barrel

With oil heading to $100 a barrel and potentially even higher, Obama may achieve his wish for higher gasoline and utility prices  We could see gasoline at  7 dollars a gallon, similar to that in Europe.  While Obama's moratorium on drilling in the gulf  is not totally responsible for the high prices, it is having a large part in it.  The gulf wells accounted for 31 per cent of domestic production and plans were for this to increase; instead, the gulf production will be reduced.  The hell of it is there is no excuse for the United States to import any petroleum or other fossil fuel.  We have the reserves to meet all our needs; the administration must get out of the way and allow us to produce  enough energy to meet all our needs.

We are continuing our stupid and costly subsidy for ethanol.  This hurts the economy in several ways. Soon 50 per cent of our corn crop will be wasted in ethanol production, and that makes prices higher for cereal, eggs and all meat products.  This and some other energy policies are hurting the economy at a time of very high unemployment.  We elect cowards to serve in Congress.  How much courage does it take to call a halt immediately to subsidies for ethanol and other ineffective and costly energy programs like solar and wind. Let them compete with oil, gas and coal.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jessica Retuns to School and Jobs

Jessica left today for Baton Rouge to resume her studies at LSU and her three part-time jobs.  We are going to miss her but are grateful she was able to spend the holidays and several weeks at home. She will try to return for a weekend before Easter.  

 While at home, Jessica acquired her first car.  That is always a big event in life, very similar to getting your first bike.  Although the car is paid far, she will find paying for gas, repairs and insurance will make money tight. I remember my first car although I kept it only two or three weeks.  When I got out of the navy in 1946, cars were  scarce since none were made during the war.  I never even considered buying a car while at school, waiting until I graduated and had a job.   Shortly after going to work  I bought a 1948 used Ford for $895. The car was more used up than used and gave me trouble immediately.  I traded it in for a new 1950 Ford, getting $900 in trade and paying $50 a month for two years for the car and insurance.  In some ways that was the best car I ever had; at least the most  enjoyable.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pastor Tom Makes Good on Promise to Wear LSU Tie

Tom Howe, senior pastor and Texas A & M grad, had promised on Face Book to wear an LSU tie Sunday morning if LSU defeated the Aggies in the Cotton Bowl Friday night.   When I saw him in the coffee room he was wearing a regular tie.  I ripped off my LSU tie and gave it to him.  He waited until he was in the pulpit to take off his tie and put on mine.  After church he said of my tie that  nothing so tacky had a place in his closet, but he asked to wear the tie through dinner and I can have it back no later than next Sunday.  He wouldn't consider doing anything disgraceful or damaging to my tie out of revenge, would he?  I should have told him that although I am a graduate of LSU I did attend Texas A & M for a week, spending my days listening to lectures and my nights listening  to Aggie and Cajun jokes told by a Cajun lady.

Global Warming Has Hit Us -- It's Snowing

Cold rain and wind gusts greeted us this morning and weather forecasts were for ice and sleet, with snow to hit further north.  Well, 3:30 this afternoon, the ground is being covered with snow.  I had rather snow than ice, which has caused some trees to fall in the area.  We've been spoiled by mostly warm winters here for several years.  We will just have to live with it and hope we are not in for record type snow (ala New York) or record cold that grips part of Europe.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Landlady Outdrinks Naval Captain

In a post a few days ago I told about my landlady at her son's wedding driving her car with the windows closed so people wouldn't know her car was not air conditioned.  She had a great sense of humor.  Her daughter was married to a officer in the Air Force and they were stationed in the Washington D.C. area at the time this took place.  Her son,  an ensign,  was also stationed nearby so it was a convenient  time to visit. My landlady was watching her daughter prepare food and drinks for a party they were hosting and decided she would drink water but out of a martini class and with an olive. During the party she got to talking with the Naval captain on whose staff her son served.  She became so involved and excited hearing the captain praise her son so much that she consumed one fake martini and olive after another.  The captain tried to keep up with her, but of course his martinis were gin. The next day the captain told her son,   " Your mother can really hold her liquor.  I never believed a woman  could drink me under the table."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Obama Vacation Is Another Costly One

Did you spend too much for Christmas?  If you did, you are not alone.  Most people recognize this when the bills come rolling in.  One family that can over-spend and have someone else bear the burden is the Obama's.
Their two-week vacation in Hawaii has a known cost of $1,470,000.  There were other costs but the exact amount for them is unknown.  Obama and his family could have used more government facilities and saved the taxpayers thousands, but they haven't  learned frugality and neither has our government.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Is Over When Grandchildren Go Home

Christmas is over.  It wasn't really over when December 25 became December 26.  It's not over when the trash has been gathered and disposed of.  It's not even over when all the cookies and candies have been eaten. No, it is over when the visiting children and grandchildren have gone home and you realize it will be months before you see some of them again.  Christmas is over, and it has left us with a hollow, empty feeling.