Monday, April 30, 2012

What -- No celebration?

Louisiana is 200 years old today.  The state became the 18th state in the union April 30, 1812.

Louisiana, with New Orleans already an important city, was the most valuable part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.  The purchase added  a huge territory to the young United States.

Congradulations, graduates

and condolences to high school and college seniors being graduated this spring. You are facing problems of a government in debt and over-spending, a lousy economy and fewer and fewer  jobs.  Making it worse you have a government that is causing  problems instead of solving them.  Take heart, however, others have left school to only to be challenged by bad situations.  Many put studies behind them to face a depression, poverty and starvation. Others, like my generation,  joined others to battle not only a depressed economy but a war that threatened to destroy our freedoms.  Those who came before you have met the challenges and you will do as well.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Because He Lives

                                                    Because He Lives

                                      God sent His son, they called Him Jesus.
                                          He came to love, heal, and forgive
                                       He lived and died to buy my pardon,
                                     An empty grave is there to prove my Saviour lives.

                                     Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
                                        Because He lives, All fear is gone.
                                     Because I know He holds the future,
                                   And life is worth the living just because He lives.

                                   How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
                                      And feel the pride and joy he gives.
                                   But greater still the calm assurance,
                                  This child can face uncertain days because He lives.

                                  Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
                                     Because He lives, All fear is gone.
                                Because I know He holds the future,
                                    And life is worth the living just because He lives.

                                  And then one day I'll cross the river,
                                   I'll fight life's final war with pain,
                                And then as death gives way to victory,
                             I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives.

                                 Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
                                     Because He lives, All fear is gone.
                               Because I know He holds the future,
                                   And life is worth the living just because He lives.
                                                      -0  -

What makes a hymn great? It is doubtful that any English professor would call this Bill Gaither hymn good literature but  I cannot hear it sung or sing it as we did in church today without being strongly affected emotionally.  The song cannot even be considered  the best the Gaither's authored and would never be compared poetry-wise to Issac Watt's awesome "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross."  All I know is  the song has a message that  reaches my heart.




Friday, April 27, 2012

Remembering Grandma Berry

While trying to ease my anger at Obama's EPA affirming Obama's determination  to "crucify the oil companies," I turned my mind to pleasant memories.  Every time Grandma Berry visited us on the farm she would prevail on us to get  her some sacks of  "black magic" fertilizer, which was well composted horse manure., to take back to Shreveport.  She took the name from a brand of marketed fertilizer.  She was successful in growing flowers, but then she and all six of her daughters had the proverbial green thumb.  Some people in Homer who knew her when they lived on a farm remembered her as always looking very neat and well groomed.

When she would visit us for a week or so she would send me back from the table at noon if I didn't have my hair combed, and not just a lick and a promise but neat.   At her house when a large family group was there for dinner, kids ate first, men second, and women last.

I was in New York  on an industrial prospecting trip when I got the word she had died.  She  had  fallen breaking  her body.  She was 96.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I wasn't riding the bull

Although I have had several serious illnesses and a number of  bad injuries, only twice in my life have I thought for sure I had only minutes to live.  Obviously, I was wrong, thankfully.  Here is one of those times.

As my   wife and I discussed the many events we have coming up in May, including  Mother's Day, she observed that it was 25 years ago I had the  Mother's Day from hell..  Several of us were celebrating the day with Mama when I grabbed an axe and went to cut  some young slender tallow trees to use to stake tomatoes.   The women were on the front porch watching, as was my second youngest son Josh, as I attempted to go through a group of cows.  Among those cows was a Polled Hereford bull which had been raised as a pet from the time he was a baby calf. He had never shown signs of violemce befpre but suddenly he realized he was a bull and not a child  He hit me, knocked me high into  the air.  I fell on a piece of tin and now the fun started. He hit ,me in the ribs with his huge head and, using all of his 800 pounds, mashed me and ground me.  I felt I had only moments befpre my insides were crushed. My brother came with a curved fork and challenged the bull who then left me for a new target.

My brother  Jon  sold the bull the next morning.  We all were afraid that Mama, 83 at the time, would go out and try to pet him, thinking since he had never acted this way before I must had done something to get him angry.

Why pay taxes? General Electric doesn't

 GE pays no corporate income taxes on l4 billion dollars of profits. This the second year in a row that GE and its battery of attorneys and tax accountants have used loopholes, and perhaps rabbit holes, to escape paying its "fair  share."  At our 35 per cent rate, GE owes us nearly five billion.

Yes, our tax structure needs to be overhauled.  This nation has the highest corporate tax rate of any nation, a discouragement to many companies that are honest but cannot compete and expand with our high taxes.  I've said many times that it would be better to collect l5 per cent of something than 40 per cent of nothing/

By the way, how much has GE benefited Barack Obama and his campaign for a second term?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just for you, Jen

                    Up from the grave he arose
                    With a mighty triumph o'er his foes;
                     He arose a victor from the dark domain;
                     And he lives forever,with his saints to reign.
                     He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Jen, I quoted this just to let you know what you missed Sunday.  This the first time we sang this Easter song, at least that I can recall, since J. Roddy put it on the program at my request.  Or maybe the last time we sang it was a service in Baton rouge.

I enjoyed all the song selections, which were "There's something about that name," also "Lord I want to be a Christian," and concluding with "Amazing Grace."

Words and music to "Low in the grave he lay" were written by Robert Lowry in 1874. This one of those songs that must be sung during the Easter season.              

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm mad as hell

I'm angry -- no, I'm mad, mad as hell about all this ruckus  caused by this picture of an event in Afghanistan two years ago when some military men are shown with the body of a suicide bomber. I'm mad at the guy who gave the picture to the LA Times; I'm mad at the sleazy Times for publishing it;  I'm mad at the Departments of State and Defense for not aggressively defending out servicemen; I'm mad at news media for jumping at any excuse to find fault with our military, and I'm maddest at every person who, like the LA Times, enjoys blasting our country before the world.

You want pictures? Why not a picture of a 20-year-old American in Afghanistan on his second tour of duty, a picture of his face showing weariness, disillusionment, pain and fear?   Or if that does not  grab you, how about a picture of a woman whose only crime is teaching girls, a picture of her after the Taliban has done to her which it continues to do to women?  Let that provide you with laughs and another way to blast your own country. 

Yes, time goes by fast sometimes

It seems only a little time ago that we were moving Jessica into the freshman dorm at LSU. How could it be that she is completing her senior year and will be graduating in May?  We will attend her honors convocation Thursday, May 17, and graduation the next day.  Actually, it does not seem anytime since we attended Mark's graduation.

Next fall Jessica will attend Duke for three years of seminary.  Duke?  I never envisioned that I personally would know anyone who would go to Duke, much less my daughter.  Let me tell you something crazier; I once considered going to Stanford.  Can you imagine the laughter of  Dude admittance officials if they had received an application from me with my grades and lack of accomplishments?  I doubt my skill at siding-up cotton would have impressed them.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My life with Nell

Nell and I never got along; in fact we hated and detested each other.  I am sure we had met before, but the first time we really had dealings was when I had manufactured a plow and wanted to try it out.  I was assigned Nell because  she walked slow and I was just a kid of eight or nine.  I was to plow the middle between two cotton rows,  the easiest task possible.  However, Nell refused to walk between the rows.  She turned her one good eye on me, saw that I was just a small kid, and turned around, fouling the traces.  Daddy saw what happened and replaced Nell with Snip. As long as Snip knew what you wanted he would do it. The problem was he walked real fast and I had to run to keep up with him.  Soon Dad came back by and said a regular plow would work better than the one I made.  That took all the fun out of plowing and I became a plow hand from that time on despite my age and size.

That didn't end my troubles with Nell although I mostly plowed Snip and then Maude, who also walked fast.
One morning the only people in the field were Nell and I,  and the job assigned was to plow peanuts. Now, peanuts spread on the ground and are difficult to plow unless the mule walks right.  Although I was larger now and had plowed for several years, Nell took it into her head to refuse to walk along the row. She turned around, walked across the row and stepped through the trace chains.  Very frustrated at this point I pulled a stupid stunt (one many plow hands have done), I doubled up my fist and hit Nell between the eyes as hard as I could. My hand was not broken but was badly bruised.  Nell was finally convinced that I was in charge.

Forgive student loans -- a terrible idea

It has been reporteded that outstanding student loans have reached the astronomical total of one trillion dollars.
And now, in an attempt to buy votes, the Obama administration is talking about forgiving all or part of those loans.  That would mean that over-burdened taxpayers would be saddled with those debts.  And that would be wrong.

Whether the debtor is a graduate or a dropout, he or she was granted a loan and is responsible to repay it. I realize some students and former students have financial problems, some of it owed to the bad economy. There are many people who are struggling with other kinds of debt, also.  Are we going to pay medical bills for some who will be paying all their lives to doctors and hospitals because of an accident or sickness?  They are more deserving than some students who have borrowed money supposedly for education but have bought cars, lived in expensive housing and partied.

A serious student planning to attend college should work during the summer, try to get a job while attending school, get the lowest cost housing available,  live as cheaply as possible, and then, if a loan is the only possible option, borrow the least amount necessary.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

He Lives Within My Heart

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today;
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way;
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart;
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart!

A great Easter song that we sang this past Sunday, a week after Easter.  I don't know what music our church had for Easter because we attended church in Baton Rouge.  Our service concluded with the Messiah chorus;when Dooley was the choir director. the choir always sang this for Easter and Christmas.

The song was written by Ashforth H. Ackley in response to the question, "Why should I worship a dead Jew?
It first appeared in 1933 and has been a favorite of many since that time.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Roses were never better

We only have four rose bushes now but those four were never more beautiful than now.  I still miss  the Queen Elizabeth rose that gave us so much beauty for about 25 years, but it finally died.  I admit that I take poor care of them.  In spite of this they bloom  and never better than now.

My favorite bush was perfect Friday but was damaged by wind Saturday.  The bush even without blooms is very attractive, with a graceful shape and glossy leaves.  I have forgotten its name.  The roses are a delicate pink, almost white. but altogether lovely.I wish I could put a picture of the bush on this blog.

Oh, how sweet it is

Federal and state income taxes completed, e-filed and accepted.  No more income tax forms until next year.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Do not give your wife a George Foreman grill

on any kitchen appliance for her birthday.

Because I am unable to  engage in the physical activities, such as gardening, that I want to, I have almost worn out a Kindle reading free novels -- none of which is in danger of becoming a classic.  I occasionally read something that stirs memories or makes me think.

A former boss and friend, now no longer  living, told us about giving his wife an iron for her birthday in the first years of their marriage.  To say that she was angry is a vast understatement; in fact years later she would still get angry every time she thought about it. My friend said that from that time on he gave her diamonds.

While men are more likely to be practical and women to be romantic, there are exceptions.  During the depression when money was scarce,  a friend had just been  paid for some carpenter work.  He took part of the money and bought his wife, my cousin, a new dress.  Instead of being pleased, she scolded him --they had bills to pay, the baby had needs, and they had to buy groceries.  My cousin was still angry when she told her mother about it.  Instead of supporting her daughter, my aunt chewed her out.  She made her apologize and said whenever her husband gave her a gift or did some other nice thing, she should show her appreciation and never found fault.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cotton planting time

No, I won't be planting cotton, although if I had a few seed I would plant a few in my flower garden. What a misnomer-- flower garden! I have two tomato plants and some feeble marigolds and that's it.  There is plenty of time and the weather is continuing to be beautiful. 

Spring weather began  this year began in January.  If you could have found the plants, you could have set out tomatoes months ahead of the customary time.  The earliest I have set out tomatoes was in March and I had to protect them when a killing frost came. Have we had a frost this year?  I can't remember real cold weather at any time during the winter.  That's not all good;  insects could be bad. 

The biggest task facing us outside is restoring the lawn.  Last summer was very hot and very dry and added that to that was a fungus infestation.  I just gave up and weeds  took over not only our lawn but lawns of others in our neighborhood.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Let's take the fight to mosquitoes

Christ United Methodist Church is joining other Methodist churches and some other groups in sponsoring a Skeeter Run to raise funds to buy mosquito nets.  A worthwhile cause but sadly lacking in effective control of mosquitoes and eliminating malaria.

A couple of Sundays ago our pastor made an announcement that angered me.  In promoting the Skeeter Run he said that every time a mosquito net is purchased a child's life is saved.  I wish it were so.  Nets can give only partial and temporary protection from mosquitoes that carry malaria.  The war must be carried to the mosquito by destroying breeding areas and by spraying with an effective insecticide.  Millions of lives were saved  when we sprayed with DDT and millions of lives have been sacrificed because we banned the use of DDT.  I would have appreciated the preacher more if he had pointed this out while asking for funds to buy nets. 

Last year I commented on how costly the ban of DDT has been and I received dozens of responses supporting me. I had not realized how many people are so angry that we do not use an insecticide and save millions of lives.

Oh, what a happy time of the year

Yes, time to wrestle with income taxes.  I bought a more expensive tax software program than usual and it was a big mistake.  Figuring our taxes this year should have been a piece of cake; we had no new source of income and no new deduction.  It should have been just  a matter of typing in the new numbers.  It didn't work that way.  The new software did not pick up the information from the previous year. It should have been possible to start from scratch, but the software required us to complete the form for 2010 before we could insert the data for 2011.

Although we have put in  the current figures as called for, it is not correct.  Whether we should acquire another and simpler tax software is yet to be determined.  I know it is driving me crazy.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

We are off to New Orleans

Jen, Josh, Matt and I leave at noon today for New Orleans where we will meet Mark, Julie, Lily and Oliver at the airport. This will be the second year we have been together  for Easter in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Only one missing is Jason, who has to work.  I don't know at what time Jessica and River will join us. They and Julie will take part in the 10K run Saturday.  We may also be joined by Jeff and Diane. Sunday we will go to Baton Rouge to attend church with Jessica and River.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Battle of Shiloh to be marked

The battle of Shiloh in east Tennessee, also known as Pittsburg Landing, will be marked this week as the observance of the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States continues.  Events of the war  are chronicled daily beginning with firing on Fort Sumpter April 12, 1861.  Shiloh was fought April 6 and 7 of 1812 and was the bloodiest war n American history at that time.  Casualties were extremely high, 13,047 for the North and 10,699 for the South.  This can be compared with Iwo Jima, where American casualties numbered 7,000 killed and 19,000 wounded. For those interested PBS will have an hour program on the war at 7 p.m. Central Daylight time.

How do you put on socks and shoes?

I don;t like to do much serious thinking, but lately I have been pondering something that could have real significance.  I dress sock-sock, shoe-shoe, in contrast to people who go sock-shoe, sock-shoe. I understand that some people are  left-brained while others are right-brained, and they re-act differently to situations.

Has any research been done to see whether sock-sock people respond to situations in a different way from sock-shoe people?  Perhaps, a federal grant is justified. Possibly, it could lead to solving some of the world's greatest problems.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I sorta miss Ole Buddy

Buddy could give me a little companionship and help fill some of my many loely hours.   I used  to enjoy watching him run; he was a beautiful dog when he was clean and brushed.  As a registered Golden Retriever he wasn't good for anything except as a companion.  If a burglar dressed in black wearing a mask and armed with two guns came to break in the house, Buddy would have greeted him as a friend.  That didn't keep some people from being scared of him.

Buddy was a good scholar; he learned well at school.  However, he quickly forgot what he had learned or was just too stubborn to do as he had been taught.

Although our backyard is spacious, Buddy never overcame his desire to escape and see the world. Only a year or so before he died he left when the back gate was left open.  We searched for him several days before finding him in the pound.

His penchant for escaping  was how we  got him.  He got in our yard and Jessica was wth him long enough to fall in love and ask the owner for him.  Two weeks later the owner and his family came bringing Buddy, and a big back of food.  The next morning Buddy was gone.  We searched and called but no Buddy. Then I looked in my car, I had left a window open, and there he was.   Eventually the yard was escape proof except when someone would leave a gate open. 

Well, I suppose he is where all good dogs go when they die. I hope he doing what he enjoyed and did best -- running.