Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who are our friends? (If we have any)

I think of friends as those who have our best interests at heart.  Between nations, the relationship should be mutually beneficial.  With that in mind, whom can we count as friends in the Mid East?  Forget whether we like the leaders or approve of their form of government. Other than Saudi Arabia who is our friend?  We don't like a lot of things about the country but Saudi Arabia  has a number of times upped the production of crude to bring the price of oil lower

Mubarak was no saint but he cooperated with us for over 30 years.  Now that we have helped overthrow him we have no ally in Egypt (yes, I know we have reached out to the Muslim Brotherhood:. Gaddafi wasn't pretty but he has kept Libya friendly for several years. Who knows what will happen when conditions are settled there.

We talk about Israel being the only democracy and we must protect that country.  But is Israel our friend? Well, there is no question Israel benefits from us, receiving funds and a military umbrella. How do we benefit? Israel certainly does not love us and s doubtful if they respect us even a little.  Rabbi Vitzhak Shapiro has written a book proclaiming it is all right to murder gentiles, including children and babies.  He is supported by other rabbis, some who teach from his book.  Rabbi  Ovadia Yusef  preaches that non-Jews are allowed to live only to serve Jews and without that thnere is no place in the world for  Gentiles.

 We want to have friends but the hard truth is that the United States cannot depend upon anyone but ourselves.  Just take one thing for example -- oil.  We can supply ourselves with all the energy we require and could sell to other countries if our stinking government would come to its senses.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Everybody must live frugally but the politicians

Cut back everyone, except the president and family and Congress.  This is not the time to waste the people's money, if there ever is justification.  Obama is great to criticize corporate spending while he lives a lavish lifestyle. Michelle and girls vacationed in Africa, including a safari, spending over half a million.  Now the Obama's will vacation on Martha's Vineyard.

Congress is just as guilty.  Many members find it necessary to visit country after country; of course they can justify those trips with such important matters as comparing rate of mushroom growth in European capitals and the South Sea islands.  Give us a break, you stinkers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cardiologist wants me to have heart cath

I have been of  two minds about writing this.  I don't want to give the readers too much boring detail about myself but on the other hand this blog is partly like a diary. Anyway, here goes.  Last Wednesday I had an angina attack.  Nothing unusual there except in its severity and duration. After treatment with nitro and aspirin the pain was halted and I was relieved that I was scheduled to see a cardiologist Monday morning. 

The cardiologist I have seen for five years had resigned and will go to another hospital in July, resulting in me consulting Dr.Davis.  After reviewing my history, listening to me and studying the EKG, he insisted a heart cath is  necessary.  I don;t look forward to that, but the question I have is what would be next.  I asked for a month to consider it.

Remembering a bad day at school many years ago

For my last three years in high school I got a grade of C in English.  Sometime during that period I mentioned that I couldn't understand why I never got a higher grade.  I was told that this teacher would not give a boy a grade above a C; this satisfied me and I didn't worry about it anymore.  During my freshman year I did get A's in English.  It was in this class that something  so odd happened that I continue to wonder about it many, many years later.

The teacher was Miss Bell.  She suddenly stopped her lesson and began to condemn me for something that I supposedly had done.  She never said what it was but the way she blasted me, never stopping until class ended, that it must have been little short of murder.  I asked my friends what it was that I supposedly had done; no one had the least idea.

The worst was yet to come.  The next day in class she started by reminding the class that some member had interrupted the class by doing something terrible.  But, she said, "we are going to forget all about it; I don't even remember who it was that was so bad.:"   Of course, every eye in the class turned to stare at me. I know that probably everyone has been blamed for something he was not guilty of.  It happens more often than being credited for something good that we didn't do.  I am still puzzled at what crime I was supposed to have committed.

(By the way, although I had been out of  the classroom more than three years, I scored near or at the top of the freshman English exam at LSU and had to take only half year of English to get a full year's credit.)                                       

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another member of the Homer "Iron Men" heard from

Saw in the Homer Guardian-Journal that Sammy Camp and wife Julie were given  the Homer Heritage award for business and community service.  They founded Red River Pharma and have served their church and community in many ways and have been married for 51 years.  I could not recognize either one from their pictures in the newspaper.The last time I saw Sammy, over 40 years ago, he asked me if he would have been better off if he had gone to LSU instead of Tulane. I told him I didn't think it  was a mistake.  Sammy was a member of the 1957 football team famed as the Iron Men.  From that team Ray Wilkins, Bobby Flurry and Fred Miller played for LSU the same time.  Fred made all=American and played professional with the BaltimoreColts.

All of them played American Legion baseball for me and all took part in basketball and track.  Sammy always wanted to run the sprints but he  was better as a quarter miler.  I wanted him to try the 880 but he didn't want to do it.  My theory was to try longer and longer distances with the idea that if a sprinter could develop endurance he had an advantage.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Can of string beans $1.67 at Brookshires

What?  a headline about a can of beans; how trivial, you may say.  But have you purchased groceries lately? The forecasts of stagflation (some predicting inflation doubling) cannot be ignored.  Some products like soybeans and sugarcane are already near double those of a few weeks ago and prices will soon be felt on store shelves.

Add inflation to 15 million unemployed workers and you get stagflation like we've never suffered before.  Can you believe that President Obama claimed in a recent speech that he and his people have created 2.1 million private sector jobs?     No wonder his remark was  greeted with derisive laughter.  Can this nation survive more of Obama? We have lost five million manufacturing jobs and there is no sign we are taking any action to replace them. Don't people understand that you must make a product or provide a service for an economy to  grow or at least survive. 

Public service employees, including federal, state and local, have escaped much of the bad times suffered in the private sector, but their day is coming.  Promises of liberal retirement benefits are  like social security in that they have huge unfounded liabilities.  An economist has said that to meet pensions in the future will require $1400 from each household for the next 30 years.  Workers should  prepare for lower benefits in the future because there is no way citizens will agree with that.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Father's Day gift surprises me

We've called Jessica my Father's Day gift because she was born two days before Father's Day on June 15, 1990.  /She surprised me by coming home Sunday evening with her mother.  Jen had gone to Baton Rouge to attend a 40th anniversary party for her brother Jeff and his wife Diane.  Jen was also going to see Jessica and her dance partner Rivers take part in a two-day dance competition.

I would not be surprised to see Jessica pictured and interviewed by the Baton Rouge Advocate for some of her many school and community activities but I certainly did not think it would be for dancing.  The Advocate was covering the event and chose to interview Jessica and Rivers and run their picture on the front page of a section.  Jessica got a shock at church Sunday morning when many members commented about it.

The important thing is that we got to share a combined birthday and Father's Day cake and to spend some time together.

Buddy died this morning

A faithful old friend, Buddy, a registered Golden Retriever, was scheduled to visit the veterinarian at l0 this morning.  He had not eaten well for several days and was having difficulty getting to his feet. He had crawled into his house and went to sleep, never to wake up.  Josh and Jessica went to pick him up to go to the vets when they discovered his dead body.  Now he is on the way to be disposed of.

Buddy had a good life.  He came to us in an unusual way.  One morning he showed up in our back yard. and immediately won Jessica's heart.  When his owner came for him I told him that my daughter was about to steal him. The owner responded that maybe that would be a good thing, that his yard was too small and the dog continually got out.   Jessica, just a child, visited the owner and made an appeal for the dog if he decided not to keep him.  A couple of weeks later, the owner and his family visited, bringing the dog, a house, and a bag of food.  Buddy escaped from our yard a few times in the first weeks but soon adjusted and was happy.  A year or so ago the back gate was left open and Buddy decided to see the world.  After a few days of freedom he was taken by the dog catcher, where we reclaimed him.

 Buddy had all the beauty and grace of his breed.  I loved to watch him run, something he hasn't done for the past several months.    Goodbye Buddy; we'll miss you but we won't forget you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The time I was threatened with sentencing to Navy brig

My seventh grade teacher once described me this way.  "If  people are walking through the hall and a warning comes for everyone to get back against the wall, every person will obey except Roy, who is already back against the wall and will then move to the middle."  I leave it to the reader to decide if that was a compliment.

The American navy does not punish by keel hauling or flogging but a minor offense can get a seaman five days in the brig on bread and water. I've told about getting cursed out by the officer of the deck for being late to report for a watch although I was innocent. There was one time I was threatened with captain's mast, where punishment was ordered.

Our division was composed of quartermasters, signalmen, radiomen and radarmen.  The leading chief petty officer was a quartermaster who did not like radar operators, me in particular.  For some reason the division, and probably the whole crew, had a brief muster on deck.  As we proceeded back to the radar shack we had to enter through the quartermaster shack.   A chart blew off of a table and the chief turned to me and, using much profanity, including questioning my paternity, ordered  me to pick up the chart.  I answered that I did not cause the chart to fall but would be glad to pick it up if he would apologize for his profane language.  He crew more profane and threatened to have me thrown in the brig. He had to go through the division officer, whose duties including overseeing the communication center (essentially the radar operation). He said he did not want to put one of  his men on report and wanted to settle it in the division.  The chief argued but finally said he would settle for me picking up the chart.  I agreed if he would apologize for the names he had called me.  He really blew up then, but the lieutenant refused to put me on report but assigned me to  15 hours of extra duty.

You are not allowed to go on liberty when you have extra duty hours to serve.  I have yet to serve the extra duty (although I worked many extra hours as of necessity) and when there came a time we were in port I went on liberty, much to the chagrin of the chief.

That does not end the story, however.  When we were taking liberty on a deserted island, the chief and his only friend attacked me and broke the little finger on my right hand.  Every attempt to bandage it failed because I had to use all my fingers in operating  the radar and the dead reckoning and relative movement chart.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bring back those low paying jobs

Perry Mullen of Garam (with whom I worked to locate several cut and sew plants) would tell community leaders that there were still two industries where work was hard and pay was low -- the garment and saw mill industries.Well, you can't move saw mills to China ( although at least five are closed in this area due to the lack of construction) but the garment industry years ago as industries with better wages and working conditions moved in.  Now, with 14 million people looking for jobs, we need those manufacturing plants.

I recently bought two pair of trousers, checked the labels and discovered they were made in China.  They could have been made in the United States and jobs would have been saved.  They were not made in China to save on labor costs; at least the price did not reflect that.  They were priced at 56 dollars a pair although I paid half that because they were on sale.

We have millions of people who will take any kind of job but the government's policies five us little hope that conditions will bet better soon. In fact, many economists warn that conditions are going to get much worse.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Happy birthday, Jessica

All birthday anniversaries are special but some are more special than others, and this is certainly true of the 21st.  We will have to think of you as an adult now, won't we?  I still have memories of you as a baby and a child, including the first, when Dr. Jobe met me in the hospital hall with you, newly born, wrapped in a blanket, and proved that yes, Jen had given birth to a girl.  You will always be my best Father's Day gift.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Today is Flag Day, but it is almost forgotten

In fact, I forgot it myself until a few hours ago, although I was aware a few days ago that it coming Tuesday.
It is one of the holidays as members of the Homer American Legion post we would post flags through out the business district.  We should remember our national holidays, especially when we have so many Americans serving in war.  Make that four wars.

Monday, June 13, 2011

How did you come to know Christ as your personal savior?

It started with a Baptist calling attention to the dramatic decline in baptisms, reflecting a lack of interest in religion. He blamed it,  in part, by change from old-time preaching and singing to services more tailored to entertainment, designed to get persons who don't like church to attend.  Some call it contemporary and hope it will attract young people.  As others joined the discussion on Tiger Droppings, they agreed that the denominations are losing members and attendance is down. Non-denomination churches are enticing numbers of church-goers, some offering dynamic preaching while others provide light entertainment with little emphasis on the bible.

This went on for a couple of days and then someone threw a bomb, asking this question --
     "How did you come to know Christ as your personal savior?"
The response was overwhelming as one after another told of  his conversion experience.  For some it was sudden and dramatic, such as one who was changed by a car wreck, and one converted by a prayer  with Pat Roberts, .  For others it came about through steady growth, study of the bible and attending church or even youth camps.  I was reminded  of this by a song we sang Sunday, one of my favorites although no one could claim it is great poetry.

     He touched me,
     Oh, He touched me,
     And oh the joy that floods my soul.
     Something happened and now I know,
     He touched me and made me whole.   

Obama meets in White House with evil dictator

With the way President Obama wolfs down chili dogs he must have a strong stomach but it would have to be cast iron to stomach his meeting with Ali Bongo, dictator of tiny Gabon and evil personified.  Seeing the picture of the two smiling and joking together should have made every American sick to his stomach; it certainly did me. Gabon has a population of about one and one-half  million but it ranks third among African nations in the production of oil.  That does not profit the people.  The Bongo family has used the oil wealth to fund a life of outrageous luxury while the people suffer.  Children with pot bellies and cut off hands stand helplessly while men and women have their genitals mutilated.  Again, I say, Ali Bongo is evil, evil, and should never be allowed in this country, much less the White House.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A salute to Joe Guillery, barber and friend

Joe Guillery, my barber for more than 30 years, has died.  Joe was more than a barber; he was a friend. Joe had little formal education but he was well informed and could discuss any topic, especially history and politics. My last visit with him he was especially talkative, hardly having time to cut my hair.   He was constantly researching and recently was reviewing the history of some cemeteries.  As he came across with some information that interested him, he would write it in a notebook and could refer to it at any time.  He was responsible for putting Norton Gallery in touch with me to be interviewed for their oral history collection.

All four of our boys got their first barbershop hair cuts from Joe.  Later I would take all four boys with me and we all would get our hair cut.  Joe gave me a special price, 25 dollars for all five of us.  He had an old-time  penny gum machine and would reward each boy with some pennies after he had gotten his hair cut..Joe will be missed by his customers and many other people.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Obama gives us change -- and destroys our hope

President Obama talks a lot of crap but sometimes he means what he says.  He and/or his czars promised to do away with coal fired electric generating plants, gasoline at seven or eight dollars a gallon; higher, much higher utility bills.  He said that Congress can oppose his energy policies but his EPA will do his will as will his energy czar.   It is estimated that the EPA will cost the electric utilities 180 billion dollars.  Five plants have been forced to close, leaving some areas short of power.  Shortages, higher rates, and the loss of thousands of jobs must follow, adding more pain to our hurting economy.  This country can produce all of its energy needs and could export petroleum to China and other countries, saving us hundreds of billions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs.  Obama seems determined to wreck what's left of the economy and add to the number of workers out of jobs.  If we had even one congressman with guts, he would take the floor and raise holy hell about what the president is doing to this country.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Yes, I really did break a window at school.

I guess it was really the glass on a door.  Have you ever known someone who hated you and you have no idea why?  A boy who lived two or three miles from us, rode the same school bus, and played sports with us, did mean things to me just out of the blue.  Once we were playing baseball and I hit a home run (at last  I kept running around the bases) and as I got to home plate breathing hard, he hit me on my nose, flattening my nostrils and leaving me gasping for air.  Oh, by the way, he was three or four years older than I and much larger.

One morning shortly after we got off the school bus and was waiting for the bell to ring, he started throwing rocks at me. He ran to stand in front of a school door that had about 14 inches of steel at the bottom and top and small glass panes.  I threw a rock back to him, trying to make it hit the concrete in front of the door and hopefully bounce and hit him.  It  bounced all right, cracking a bottom pane.  He ran and told the principal I was throwing rocks at him and broke the door.  I was summoned to the principal's office and he refused to listen when I admitted breaking the glass but that the other boy started if for no reason.  The principal said I was a liar, that the other boy was too good and nice to do such a thing.  He threatened to expel me but I managed to escape that but was punished in other ways.

Dear Jessica -- stay away from fire ants

Jessica, on a mission trip in Florida, was bitten by  fire ant Tuesday and her ankle was so badly swollen that she had to go to the hospital and left on crutches.  Then today she was bitten on the other  ankle and it is swollen also.Apparently she is allergic to aunt bites. She is in charge of a group of junior high boys and girls and is doing the cooking and is involved in work and other physical activities all day and into the evening.  She will handle it just fine, I am confident. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

June 6, 1944, is anniversary of D-Day Normandy

Just a reminder that today, June 6, is the anniversary of the landings on Normandy and the battles to free Europe from Hitler and the German armed forces.  While the first day of any major battle is labeled D-Day, most people associate that designation only with the Normandy invasion.  Let us be aware that  American men and women  are dying now in wars across the world, five servicemen being killed yesterday by an Iraq attack  Any peace we enjoy is bought by lives.  Let's not forget that freedom is not free.  Someone must pay with his life.. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ronald Reagan died seven years ago today

(I was reminded of this by Political Talk on Tiger Droppings)  Remember these remarks by perhaps our greatest president?

"Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.  We didn't pass it on to our children in the bloodstream.

"It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same  or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States.":

Friday, June 3, 2011

Our Schools Are Failing Miserably

That is not news by any means as we have known for many years that instead of improving our schools are doing a poorer and poorer job of educating our children.  Recent results of tests given to fourth, eighth and high school students by the Department of Education show just how bad the situation has become.  If three out of four students passing  is minimally acceptable, only Bossier of four Northwest Louisiana parishes comes Percentages of students passing fourth English tests are Caddo 69, Bossier 78,  DeSoto 59, and Webster 54. Grades for math, science and social studies are similar.  Here's the danger part; grades for eighth graders are mostly lower.  That downward trend continues for high school -- Caddo 51, Bossier 54, DeSoto53, and Webster 53.

I have noticed for years that United States children enter school fairly even with those from other industrialized nations but fall further and further behind the longer they attend school.  There is no attempt to fix blame here, but something must be down.  Why can we not take a hard look at schools that are succeeding, at least compared to the majority, and try to emulate their method of success?  One thing we know for sure -- throwing more money at schools does not result in improvement.