Saturday, March 31, 2012

USS Pickens at Okinawa

Yes, I know, I wrote about the invasion of Okinawa on April l the last two years, and I am going to commemorate this event as long as I am able. Sixty-seven years ago on Easter morning the battle for Okinawa began with an attack by Japanese planes  on the 1200 ships and other crafts of the United States and England.

The  Pickens was second in line behind the USS Hinsdale, APA 120, in column of attack transports carrying the Second Marine Division.  Around 5;;50 a.m. a Japanese plane hit the Hinsdale around the water line, exploding several bombs and blowing holes. Another plane headed for us but did not clear the mast of an LST, fell to the deck and exploded.  We put boats in the water and picked up 735  survivors from LST's-884 and 724 and the Hinsdale.

The Battle of Okinawa has been called the largest sea-land-air battle in history.   . Casualties were very high, 72 thousand for the Allies, over 100 thousand for the Japanese, and tens of thousands civilians. Suicide planes took a heavy toll of our ships and sailors and influenced President Truman to drop the atom bomb and avoid invading the homeland.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The time I slept through the call for Gerneral Quarters

It was early morning March 30, 1945, and the USS Pickens was part of the armada heading for Okinawa. For several days all of the ships were calling General Quarters to be on full alert for possible attacks by Japanese suicide planes. The Japanese  liked to attack at dawn from the east and the rising sun.

On this morning I awoke to an empty compartment and eerie silence.  I had done the unthinkable -- slept through the blaring sound of a call to General Quarters.  I didn't know what time it was but I quickly dressed and headed to an outside deck, thinking it would be the quickest.  There was a problem -- my right leg was asleep and I had to drag it.  As I crossed the boat deck I had to go over a cable.  I couldn't raise the right leg and could only drag it over the greasy cable.

I finally reached the radar shack, only a few minutes late, and nothing was made of it.  Two days later we would face an attack and I would be fully awake during it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A promise from Obama -- higher utility rates

"If someone wants to build a coal-fired plant, they can but we'll bankrupt them because they will be charged  a huge sum for the greenhouse gases  being emitted."  This is a direct quotation by Obama and it   can be seen and heard all over the internet.

That promise -- or threat -- is being carried out with the new regulations being imposed on coal-fired electric generating plants.  The Obama administration  is convinced this will keep any other such plants from being built and will begin to force others to close.  Remember when Obama made the promise to eliminate coal-fired plants, he also promised much higher utility rates.  Rates have already been increasing and if this summer is hot and dry, brown-outs are certain in parts of the country.

With gasoline prices soaring (which is what the Obama group wants according to the energy secretary) and utility rates doubling, Obama will have a lot of what he promised. 

I have commented many times about energy -- that we must become self-sufficient, which will create jobs, aid the economy, and improve  national security.  We have huge reserves of coal; now we know we have ample supplies of natural gas and enormous reserves of petroleum.  By developing these resources we would create millions of jobs.  To accomplish this we must defeat Obama.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our interest in annivserary of War Between the States

The writer of the book we are using in Sunday School raved about General Grant demanding unconditional surrender from General Buckner and the Confederates at the Battle of Fort Donelson. I thought this was very inappropriate to say the least. Our lesson was from John's Gospel and the message was that whosoever believes on Jesus Christ shall have everlasting life.

The nation is supposed to be observing the 150th anniversary of the War Between the states, which began April 12 with firing on Fort Sumpter and officially ended with the last shot being fired June 22, 1865.  I hope that this observance will not be used to create bitterness.   Our family has a huge stake in the war.  The eight of us are grandchildren and great grandchildren of former Confederate soldiers.    

Grandfather T. T. Lowe fought in many battles, including Chickamauga (where he was wounded), Atlanta, Nashville (where eight Confederate generals were killed), and finally at Bentonville. After Lee surrendered, his group surrendered, and he was imprisoned for some time

Col. Joseph W. Berry, our great grandfather on the other side of the family, was in the Louisiana state legislature and voted to secede from the union.   Of course, he was out of the legislature while carpetbaggers were in control, but he was later again elected.  Later he was clerk of court for Webster parish.  Whether we want to or not, we have  an interest in how this observance is carried out.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Race for Republican nominee for president needs to end

Today is the election; thank goodness the robo calls have stopped.  I received nine calls Thursday and Friday asking me to vote for Santorum or blasting another  candidate.  No calls for other Republican candidates although I did hear from Wolfe, a Democrat seeking the nomination opposed to Obama.   

I will be happy to see the contest for Republican presidential nominee come to a close.  The longer it goes on the more Obama benefits and I sincerely believe the nation cannot survive four more years of him and the Democrat senate.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

As I have said before, I hat e the phone

 I should do away with my land line phone.  Almost every call I get is a solicitation of some kind. Yesterday was a busy day for the phone and I must admit that I wasn't always polite and got rid of  every call as soon as I could. Each time it rang I had to get up and limp to the phone, my hip giving me a high level of pain. I wish there was some way to block the daily calls from credit card companies wanting to reduce my interest rate; I never let a card bill go long enough to pay interest, but they have some gimmick they want me to fall for so they can  get  money out of me. 

My last call was from a pollster.  I went to hang up immediately but waited when the caller said there would be just three questions and would take less than 30 seconds.  He lied; maybe he wasn't counting the questions to determine that I was a male and over 65.  He asked if I was going to vote Saturday; I answered yes.  The next question was who I was voting for; I told him.  Then he wanted to know if I might change my mind -- no. A second choice  -- I gave him one.  Then came this question -- are you a evangelical.  I said no; I don't even know how people define evangelical.  I saw where 35 per cent of the people who call themselves evangelicals believe Santorum is an evangelical even though he said, as a Roman Catholic, that Protestant churches are not Christian.

I am very much opposed to churches getting involved in partisan politics and would walk out of our church if a person running for any office took over the pulpit or the minister said or did anything in favor or against a politician.

Jen babysits in North Carolina

Jen left yesterday for North Carolina to take care of Lily and Oliver while Julie and Mark attend conferences or business meetings.  Jen was looking forward to being with the children until Sunday when she returns home. She will enjoy being with them but I expect she will find it a bigger job than she expected.  Julie had known for some time that the would be attending a conference and then Mark found out the company wanted him to go to Austin for a business meeting.  Jen didn't hesitate to jump at the opportunity to be with the children.  I wish I could have gone but  I have too many physical problems.

This leaves me alone again. Last weekend Jen was off with the Cub Scouts. Thinking about it, for the last several years most of my waking minutes I spend by myself.  I think that as one gets older the added aches and pains are not as bad as the loneliness you have.  It  is much worse for me now that I  can't have a garden or even a flower bed unless I can get help in preparing the soil.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mosquito nets help but DDT is the solution

The Methodist Church is again promoting the purchase and donation of mosquito nets for Africa.  Nets give limited protection from malaria carrying mosquitoes.   What is need is to drain the areas where mosquitoes breed and to spray with an insecticide.

There was a time when spraying with DDT was bringing malaria under control and saving millions of lives. Enviroment extremists got DDT, a safe and effective insecticide, banned with the result being millions of deatshs from malaria.

I posted remarks along these lines on Tiger Rant last year and got overwhelming response in support.  The nuts that carry "protecting the environment" to absurdity have caused great damage to our economy but the costs in lives is even more tragic, and in this case the United States has the power to stop it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thoughts on a Sunday afternoon

I  made it to Sunday School and church today though feeling weak after having so much trouble Saturday.  I washed two loads of clothes, certainly not a lot of physical activity, and got weak, had chest pains and blood pressure over 200. It was down to 170 when Jessica called at 10:30.  We talked until 11 and  that made me feel better. It's bad to have symptoms and pain that worry at any time but worse when you are alone.
Scripture for the lesson from the Gospel of John today was on turning water into wine at Cana.  We had a hard time learning much from that.  From the discussion about the seven-day wedding party where wine had run out and Jesus did his first miracle at the request of his mother,  Don began to talk about big family gatherings where women spent all their time in the kitchen preparing food.
I got to thinking about how when you had company, like when you fed the preacher and his family, children ate last. One place that didn't happen was at my Grandma Berry's house.  Children ate  first, men second and then the women could take their time and visit.  My dad said when he was a kid they didn't even get clean plates.  After adults were finished the children had to eat from the plates already used.  I hope he was exaggerating but probably not; remember,  children were to be seen and not heard.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Remembering the Atwater Kent radio

I was looking at pictures of Atwater Kent radios and believe the one we had could have been Model 21C.  It had beautiful cabinetry.  It would have been worth a goodly sum of money if it were available today and in as good condition as it was when I was a small child.  

Atwater Kent was the leading manufacturer of radios for several years in the 1920's.  Manufacturing ended when banks failed, unions caused trouble, and the demand for luxury radios dwindled as the economy became bad.

When the radio quit working, we made no effort to get it fixed or replace it.  The closing of the banks in 1932 changed our lives drastically.  When I heard other kids talk about programs they listened to, like Amos and Andy, I wished for a radio and it didn't help when Daddy would comment, "well, we had a radio when
very few people had them."  We finally got a small radio for about 20 dollars.

So I may be a terrorist and can be shot just for the heck of it

I've learned today that I have signs of being a terrorist and that Obama can have me shot to death for no reason except he wants to. Should I be worried?  No, because  I feel better today than I did yesterday.

Yesterday I went to the doctor's office and offered a l00 dollar bill to take care of the co-pay requirement.  The lady at the window rejected the bill and I found enough other money to get by.  Later I went to the pharmacy to pick up one of my meds for the month.  Charge was 45 dollars so I proffered my l00 dollar bill.  The clerk said she had no change and would have to go to the front to get the bill changed.  The pharmacy does thousands of dollars of business every hour but has no change.

Is money no good anymore?  Must you have credit cards, debit cards, store cards etc. to get by today?  The FBI thinks so.  It has announced that one of  the signs a person is a terrorist is he pays for purchases with cash.  Keep  that in mind the next time you visit Taco Belle.

But I don't have to be a terrorist to be shot.  President Obama has stated a policy that he can have any American citizen killed without any charge, without any review, except his own.  Two of his aides have reaffirmed they believe that American citizens can be killed on the  order of the president anywhere including the United States.  Makes other problems seem petty, does it not?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Thinking about the huge trees that once ringed our pond.

Rain fell hard most of Sunday afternoon but the sun has returned to give us a beautiful spring day.  Some trees are beginning to leaf out, including the pear tree in front and the red maple in the back yard.    Oaks won't be far behind.

Speaking of oaks I was remembering  the huge oaks, mostly will oaks, that once surrounded the upper pond in our pasture.  Some of those huge trees had to be more than a hundred years of age when I was a kid.  The area was beautiful and one year the church decided to have a picnic there.

Nothing lasts for ever and lightning began to take a toll, one by one. Over a period of about 15-20 years after the first big tree was struck by lightning, all of those magnificent oaks were gone.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My answers to health survey lost

I  spent most of an hour answering health questions for a Gallup survey; it concluded with a request for my  cell phone number.  I entered the number over and over but it was not accepted so there was no way I could send in the  survey results.

Feeling as bad as I have for days it was a real pain to answer several hundred questions, some of them reminding me of the pains I have.  When Gallup does not receive this survey I will be taken off the list of people to answer questions on many subjects. One question at the end was my feelings about Obama.  I wish my answer on that question  would be published.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Time for the Shovel and the Lawn Mower

The sun is shining and our spring continues although the official end of winter is two weeks away.  I have been hearing lawn mowers going for the past two or three weeks, but mine continues its hibernation.  The weeds and ugly grasses have overwhelmed the lawn, but I am helpless to do anything about them.

Home Depot and Lowe's are pushing their vegetable and flower plants although it is a little early because a killing frost is possible since the average date for that in this area is March 13. And, I have heard all my life that "we always get a cold spell around Easter."  I used to argue that Easter came early some years than it did at others, but, no matter, people continued to believe the cold spell was certain.

In our gardening we planted some vegetables such as onions, radishes and beets in January or February, with other vegetables following depending upon their most favorable temperatures.  In many areas of the country it is customary to plant the entire garden on or near Good Friday. I knew a man in Homer who followed this religiously and successfully.  I never got him to agree that it would make more sense to plant at the same time each spring no matter when Good Friday came. Dates won't matter to me; I can't expect to do any gardening, but I will insist on putting a few tomato lants in the flower bed.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Maybe people just don't want those damn cars

Government Motors has announced it will discontinue making the Volt automobile for several months and will lay off 1300 workers.   GM blames the slow sales of the battery-power little car on the news media, which has reported that the battery is a fire danger.

Halting Volt production comes only days after Obama boasted as one of his great accomplishments the Volt, and he promised to buy one "five years from now when  I'm no longer president."

Despite the taxpayer subsidy of $l5,000 for any purchaser of the Volt, sales had been  slow from the time they were first offered for sale.  Could this be like other Obama  ballyhooed government  promoted projects, it doesn't  meet the desires of the American people?  Or perhaps like other "green" products, it is not economically competitive. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dinner at Barksdale honors WWII vets

Today I attended, as the guest of my brother, Jon , a lunch at Barksdale AFB honoring World War II veterans. The program lasted more than two hours, including the lunch, speeches and parade of the vets.  A total of 225 veterans attended, including one veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack and another survivor of the Bataan Death March.

I imagine I was among the youngest attending, but while some were in wheelchairs and others used walkers, many looked to be in good health and appeared younger than I.  One man who sat at our table is 92 years old and started a new  business last year. 

(I just noticed that I had not sent this before today.  Obviously, this was supposed to be published last Friday, not today.)

Will we provide for returning servicemen?

I have been reading a very depressing book -- which also makes me somewhat angry, because it reminds me of how badly World War I veterans were treated.  The book is "The  Day of the Beast" by Zane Grey, written in 1922..  It  tells the fate of three badly wounded  veterans of World War I who  have just returned to find themselves broke, without jobs and totally unappreciated by the government and their friends and neighbors.

When I was taking graduate courses at LSU Shreveport, I came to realize that of the many gaps in my knowledge of history the widest was World War I.  To  try to narrow that gap I took at the same time a course on war taught by Dr. Finley at LSUS and a course on World War I taught at LSU in Baton Rouge and by television in Shreveport. 

The war started because there had not been a major war in years and people wanted  one.  Men were sacrificed by stupid government actions and by incompetent and uncaring army and navy commanders. The first day of the Battle of the Somme the Britishers had 57,470 casualties, one-third of them deaths.No other battle in any war has approached that.

Getting back to the book, the main protagonist is Daren Lane, who was short four times, jabbed by a bayonet, and gassed by chlorine and mustard gasses..  He was discharged from three hospitals, not because he was well but because the beds were needed for  soldiers even worse off than him.  He goes to the family physician who tells him he cannot live a year without a miracle.  Lane sees moral decay around him and decides to devote his remaining days to try to save his l5-year-old sister and other young girls.  The book becomes tedious and even silly at times by current perspectives, but it is often thought provoking.

Of course, we provide better medical care of our wounded servicemen now and organizations such as Wounded Warrier  remind us what we owe to those wounded veterans.  However, let us remember how quickly World War  I veterans were forgotten and how terribly they were treated, with tens of thousands in the streets begging for food. Those veterans did not want World War II veterans to suffer the way they did and pushed though the GI Bill of Rights. This made it possible for returning military men to return to  civilian life without too much of a struggle.

Soon, thousands of servicemen will be returning from overseas battlefields.   Will this government and the people be prepared to welcome them and provide jobs and other needed  services?  How we answer that question will tell us much about us as caring people.