Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Students grade each other in conduct

In my crazy seventh grade nothing should have surprised us; yet when Mr. Trout said the students would grade class members in conduct we thought he was joking.  When we realized he was serious,  most of the boys were gleeful with the opportunity to vote an "F" for a friend -- but that friend had a vote, also.  As one might expect, boys uniformly got "C" while girls were accorded "A" or "B."

That was the way it went until we voted two of the most popular girls "C."  Actually, the grade was  fair; those girls were the life of the class, talking and joking the way we boys did.  The teacher didn't think so; he overruled the class and gave the girls a grade of "B."

Wouldn't it be great if we the voters could grade elected officials that way, giving them a grade every six weeks and if they make below "C" they would have to leave office?

Of course, show ID in order to vote

What valid reason could anyone have to oppose showing identification in order to vote?  The only reason I can see is to cast an illegal vote.

I cannot recall ever voting without first showing my ID, even though for years I voted at the same place and the commissioners knew me well.  I consider it my protection; no one can falsely claim to be me and steal my right to cast my own ballot.

Some Democrats and Obama supporters are calling the requirement to have identification as racist and discriminatory to Blacks.   This is just one more charge of racism the Democrats are relying on to keep voters from considering Obama's miserable record in his first term.  Every thing is racist, according to some Democrats and news media.  Cokie Roberts of National Public Radio claimed Romney's visit to Poland was racist.  How stupid.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hot, Dry July comes to an end

Hot, Dry and Hot again -- that's been July, which ends after tomorrow.  Will August be any different?  I'm no weatherman but the heat and the lack of rain will likely continue until very late in August.  Summer last year was very hot and dry, also.  Many people, including me, gave up on their lawns, letting drouth and insects win. I've seen a few small trees that died last summer, including my dogwo

Growing up on a farm I worked outside no matter how hot but now the heat really bothers me.  My blood pressure gets real low and I become dizzy.  I was out in the heat for only a few minutes this morning but my blood pressure dropped to 88 over 42.  Once I was seated inside it came up to a safe level.

Sixty per cent of the country has suffered from the heat and drouth with damage to crops estimated at 12 billion dollars.  That's only pennies compared to wasteful spending in Washington.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pickens nears San Francisco

Sixty-seven years ago, in late July,  the USS Pickens was on the way to San Francisco after nearly 12 months in the South Pacific.  We were to pick up the Blackhawk Division and take part in the first part of the invasion of Japan.  While still on the way to San Francisco we were told that the navy expected 50 per cent casualties.  We were not  surprised, having seen the effectiveness of suicide plans at Okinawa.

All of us looked forward to liberty in San Francisco and hopefully to  get leaves.  Some crew members did get leaves; I was not one of them.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The moving crew made it

Jessica and her moving crew arrived at the apartment in Durham at 1 p.m. today, their time.  Jen called to say they were all tired, naturally, and were joining Mark and Julie for lunch before beginning the job of unloading the truck and installing every thing in the apartment.  I hope it is on the first floor; Mark and Julie got a third floor apartment when they moved to North Carolina.  The two of them had to take their couch and other furniture up by themselves.  I don;t see how they made it,.

Well, at least when they get the furniture moved in and placed they will have time to visit Mark and Julie and the grandchildren.  Then Jessica will be alone as she begins another chapter in her life.  Jen, Josh and River will fly back this weekend.

(A note for Mark and Julie.  Have a glass of  champagne and a piece of cake for me as you celebrate your wedding anniversary this weekend.)

Eat dirt and live

Can you conceive of a doctor prescribing chewing tobacco for an eight or nine year old child?  You might if you knew the child was killing himself eating chimney dirt.  My dad told me that was the case with his brother, my uncle, Finis.  Eating chimney dirt was not uncommon.  Dad said girls who worked in the fields would crumble enough dirt into a tobacco sack to last until noon, replenishing the dirt after lunch.

 It would be unusual to find a dirt chimney outside of a museum today, but many chimneys once were a
wooden frame plastered with clay or other dirt. That dirt must have provided some mineral or nutrient that people were not getting from food grown on those poor Claiborne parish hills.

Did my dad eat dirt?  No, he ate chalk,  making sure on Friday to steal a piece to last him over the weekend.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A new chapter begins for Jessica

I have a feeling that my life is entering a new phase, but it is not me that is beginning a new chapter but my daughter, Jessica.  She is moving to North Carolina this week to prepare to enter Dude University and begin three years in seminary.

Jen and Josh will leave this afternoon to help Jessica and River move Jessica's belongings from her apartment to new lodgings in Durham.  Josh and River will drive a truck while Jen and Jessica will keep pace in Jessica's car.  The trip will require an overnight stay along the way.

I know it is trite to remark how fast time goes  by. It seems only a few weeks since we moved Jessica into a freshman dorm at LSU.  She did outstanding at university and will perform as well during those three years at Duke.  North Carolina is farther than Baton Rouge, but a consolation is that Mark and Julie and the grandchildren live only about 30 minutes from where Jessica will share an apartment with another student.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

No more mules for him

While mayor of Homer I was easily accessible in person or by phone so people with complaints would call on me rather than  the department that was involved.  I would get calls like "you didn't pick up my garbage this morning," or "come get this stray dog from under my house."

One morning an elderly black man came to me with a problem I had not had before. He had kept a mule that he utilized to plow gardens in his neighborhood.  The mule had died and the parish sanitation official had ordered him to remove the mule immediately for health reasons. The only help I could offer was the name of a company in Shreveport that picked up large dead animals.  He was  told Homer was several miles out of the area they covered.

When I saw the mule owner a few hours later, he still had not found a way to dispose of the carcass, but he told me, "I know this; if I ever get rid of this mule I'll never get another one."  (How he managed I don't know, but he did dispose of the mule.)

Most of us are unlikely to have a dead mule to dispose of, but many times if we could foresee  the obstacles we would face later on, we would have the opportunity of avoiding many problems.  On the other hand, if we knew the difficulties ahead we might never start a project that in the future offered  many benefits. I know that I said that about some major projects, including improvements to our water system and the construction of the airport.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wake up, America --- Please

Poverty in this country is the highest its  been in four decades; unemployment is officially 8.3 per cent and actually more like 18 per cent; the national debt under Obama has increased by four trillion dollars-- yet many Americans are pretending nothing is wrong.

Wake up, America.  Unless we change our government, conditions will continue to worsen.  More and more people will be out of work and depending upon food stamps.  Fewer people will be available to pay taxes and a depression greater than we've ever known is almost certain.

I want singing by the congregation

I don't go to church to be entertained; I want to participate as much as possible in the service.  That is usually limited to joining in the Lord's Prayer and a selection of readings, and especially congregational singing.  After missing two Sundays I was looking forward to services but was disappointed  that our opening hymn was not only strange to everyone but also complicated.  Our only other song was "He Touched Me," a favorite.

 We are looking forward to the celebration of the church's 50th anniversary with plans for 400 for lunch and some 500 attending the Sunday worship service.  This would be a  great opportunity renew acquaintances and join in an hour or more of  the congregation singing familiar hymns, giving the church some life and even fire. Instead, the plans are for music to come from selected groups.  I like music presented by talented groups as much as anybody, but I would prefer at least part of the time devoted to congregational singing.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tragedy is no time for politics

While the nation mourns for the victims of the shootings in the Colorado theater, some misguided news media people have tried to politicize the tragedy.  This should never happen.  Most Americans feel deeply for those who were shot and for their families.  Let's join in expressing through prayer or other compassionate actions our love and care.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"it helped my horse, so it should help you"

I kept my appointment for pain treatment Thursday and was greeted by Dr. Germany, my first time to see her.  She wants me to try  some kind of wave treatment that she seems convinced will give me relief from back and hip pain, plus more ability to walk and take part in other activities, "possibly even garden." 
She considered her most convincing point was that the treatment benefited her horse, reducing inflammation.

So much of my life is given over to seeing doctors and paying for medicine.  If  I had a dollar for every hour I've spent in doctor's waiting rooms, including the little cubby holes, I could buy an automobile and travel the country.  It's all part of advancing years.  Still, it's better than the alternative.  At this time I am supposed to call my primary physician and  my heart doctor for appointments.  Before I see my primary doctor I've got to be sure I know the day of the month and the week plus brush up on math to pass the test for alzheimer's,

Two words I hate -- Easy Opening

The package says -- Easy Opening -- but you need a knife, a screwdriver, a hammer and a hack saw to get it open. Last night I attempted to open a box of cereal that was marked "Easy Opening Bag".   First I had to open the box.  This requireD tearing off the entire top to get to the bag.  There was no way to open the bag   except the way my wife did -- cut the top off with scissors.

I remember when packages of bacon, cereal or other food did not say easy opening but could be opened easily.  I find it's best to avoid, if possible, a package of any product that says Easy Opening on the outside.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Need for food and aid becoming urgent

My name must be on the list of every fund-seeking  organization, group or individual, judging by the mail I receive.  I've written about the many items they send, including pens, pads, labels, socks, underwear, labels, tote bags, blankets, and calendars.  Last year alone I received 15 calendars and a few months ago I began getting calendars for 2013. My advice then and now is don't send anything; just ask for money.

I've noticed a difference in some requests this year; they -- especially those asking for donations to supply food to children here and abroad -- have an air of urgency.  One group included a financial statement showing that needs are greater but donations are less than this time last year.  This is a reflection on the poor economy and high unemployment, and unless the upcoming election gives us a new government we will continue to have greater needs and less money to meet them. 

My first and last chew of tobacco.

I never smoked cigarettes but there was a time years ago that I enjoyed an occasional cigar.  I never had a desire to dip snuff, but there was one time I tried chewing tobacco.  My first time was also my last.  It was this way.

I was six years old but I was sitting in the back of the school bus with some practically adult boys and girls. One boy brought out a plug of tobacco which he shared with his friends.  Responding to my begging, he cut a chunk off and gave it to me.  I put it in my mouth and began to chew.  My mouth quickly filled and I was faced with swallowing the tobacco or spitting it out.  I chose to spit and it landed on the white skirt of a girl, who immediately slapped me hard.  I haven't chewed tobacco since.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pleasant visit in Baton Rouge

Jen and I had a pleasant visit in Baton Rouge Saturday with women we had worked with at Commerce and Industry,  along with their husbands.  We laughed about many humorous things we remembered and about many that didn't happen.

Conversations touched on many things, including North Carolina, where Ralph and Paula Ford have a home and where Jessica will attend Duke University.  I found very interesting Ralph's story about Beverly Shea, the former great singer with Billy Graham.  Shea at 102 drives an old truck each morning to pick up mail and blows the horn each time he passes Graham's house.

Cities advised to address causes of their problems

It should be obvious that in order to fix a problem one  must identify what causes it.  Many of our governing officials whose cities are in financial trouble lack either the knowledge or the courage to admit that their problems are caused by too expensive retirement plans and other benefits they have promised.  I pointed that out on my blog in December 2010 under the heading of "Too  generous pensions to cause troubles ahead."

It is not as if these problems just arose and are a surprise.  About four decades ago long time Shreveport mayor Clyde Fant scolded the Louisiana legislature for promising benefits to city employees without providing a method of paying for those benefits.  Legislators had only one answer  -- levy more taxes. People are rebelling and cities are calling for their states to rescue them; states are begging the federal government for help, and the feds are calling on China for more loans.  

Some cities are buying a little time by laying off some workers.  It those employees are not needed they should not have been hired in the first place.  Eventually, the cities will have to renegotiate those benefits; why not do it now?

This reminds me of the time I was mayor of Homer and a member of the council revealed that he had promised a raise to a group of city employees (something he had no authority to do.) I responded that the budget had been adopted and there was no funds for raises. I asked him what he would  suggest be eliminated from the budget to free up money.  He came back with this, "Oh, there will be money here after we are all long gone."  I think many of our governing "leaders" understand the situation about that well.

Does stealing a watermelon make it sweeter?

My brother Jon brought a couple of watermelons by and got me out of trouble with Jen, who was a little upset that we passed through Hope on the way back from Branson without buying a melon. Some may remember the water melon stories I have posted on this blog; well, I was reminded of another one.

Two cousins, my two brothers, and I spent some Sunday afternoons  walking the farms and woods.  One afternoon we came across our watermelon patch, chose a melon, broke it open and ate it with our hands. We returned home by the roads and as we approached the house Dad came out on the front porch and yelled, "Come on, we are fixing to cut the watermelon."  This was an every Sunday event during summer.
We looked at each other, and Mike, the oldest of us, yelled back, "That's great,  I'm really hungry for some watermelon."  I don't remember which melon was sweeter, the stolen one or the "legal" one.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's Grandma's car

Eunice, my sister older by almost two years, and I were with Dad when he parked his 193l Model A Ford under a sign that said, in big letters, "No Parking in Alley.  Saying "Be back in a minute" he crossed the street to the back doors of Uncle Henry's store. (Some of you may remember me telling about him leaving me with the barber and no money with the  same promise of "Be right back")

A large, heavily loaded truck pulled in behind the Model A, with no way to progress farther and into the street.  Three black men came over, looked at us and said "this car has got be be moved so we can get through."  Here we were, about  six or seven years old, and there was obviously no way we could move the car.  They started asking  "whose car is it?"  We answered "Grandma's car."  After Daddy  traded in his Model T and bought the new car, Grandma began calling it her car, and that's all we knew.

One of the men finally said, "That's Mr. Jess's car. Let's just back up and go around."  That's what they did.
When we told Dad what happened, he was totally unconcerned.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A word of caution to school people

Yes, a word of caution to teacher unions, administrators, and school board members -- do not go to war against  parents and taxpayers; you will lose.  Whether vouchers and charter schools  are a partial answer is yet to be seen, but no knowledgeable person can deny that many public schools are failing miserably and many others are doing a poor job of educating our young people.

I do not claim to have the answers but we could make a start by eliminating the influence that teacher unions  have in the education departments in our universities. We should require those who aspire to teach students to take strong courses  in the subjects they will teach.  Eliminate those worthless courses  that guarantee a good grade for very little effort.  Better educated teachers will result in better educated students.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In which direction is Obama driving us?

You have two cows --

>SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
>COMMUNISM: You have two cows.  You give them to the government, and the government then gives you some milk.
>FASCISM: You have two cows.  You give them to the government and the government then sells you some milk.
>CAPITALISM: You have two cows.  You sell one and buy a bull.
>NAZISM: You have two cows.  The government shoots you and tales the cows.
>NEW DEALISM: You have two cows.  The government takes both, shoots one, buys milk from the other cow, then pours the milk  down the drain.

This is an old joke from the 1930's, but history has a way of repeating itself, especially is we refuse to learn from the past.

Monday, July 9, 2012

We have returned

Jen and returned home Sunday afternoon after spending a few days in Branson, Mo.  We spent the Fourth on the highway traveling  and spent most of Sunday  coming back home.  We enjoyed three shows but were somewhat limited in our activities because of  weather over 100 degrees each day and my difficulty walking with my back and hip pains.  Several  times the heat and low blood pressure made me dizzy and close to passing out.

During the halftime intermission of Country Jubilee  (by the way, an entertaining show with a number of talented performers), they were introducing VIP's and called out the Lowes. I began to laboriously struggle from my seat, intending to enter the aisle and bow, only to be pulled back down by Jen, who whispered, "they mean the Lowes from Utah." That is a group that performs some days.  Actually, they were just recognizing people who work at the huge Lowe's store in Branson. My feelings were hurting until Jen took my picture under a sign that designated me as Passionate. I tried over  and over to get her picture with a similar compliment but the machine wouldn't cooperate, describing her in unflattering ways.

We returned home to thunder showers Sunday and today.  Let's hope the extremely hot and dry spell is broken for several weeks at least.

Friday, July 6, 2012

we are in Branson

Jen and I spent the forth traveling and will return Sunday, While here we will see a few shows and relax. We are staying at the Seven Gables hotel owned by a nice Asian lady. She provides a complete breakfast and sings happily as she makes waffles, picks up plates and generally serves her guests. There are everal subjects I want to comment on but will wait until I return. By the way,I see lawyers have 1300 pages of rules for Obamatax ready to inflict upon us.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Have a happy Fourth

Just don't disturb Obama or the birds.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Government actions cause bad economy

Day by day the economy worsens and more people lose their jobs.  Every action taken by the government at the expense of the private sector makes our problems greater.  Some of us are old enough to say, "We've seen it before," when the constitution was violated time after time and the  Great Depression lasted and hung on and lasted as government programs  succeeded in only one thing -- increasing poverty.

To a farmer the field was a beautiful sight.  Almost every cotton boll was open and the cotton was ready to be picked and hauled to the gin. But my dad and I were not there to pick the cotton; no, we were there to plow the cotton under.  I couldn't understand; I knew  that many people were in rags, but we were destroying what could be made into cloth.  The answer to my why was  "the government"" The same government that killed our little pigs and the pregnant sow, and also our cows.  The same government that poured milk on the ground while children cried for it.

What I did not know then as a child was that Henry Wallace, the "farm dictator" and an admirer of the Soviet Union collectivization of farms, through the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 was controlling the production of cotton, corn, wheat, rice, peanuts, tobacco and milk.  Farmers were paid to destroy their crops while people went hungry.  During the life of the program (declared unconstitutional in 1936 but enacted again in 1938) 6 million pigs were destroyed and 10.4 million acres of cotton were plowed under.

Some economists say that  Franklin Roosevelt's policies extended the depression by at least 7 years.  As soon as the Supreme Court would find a program to  be in violation of the constitution, the administration would re-enact it, often just scrambling the alphabet  for a new name. 

Let us learn and be aware -- no program is worthwhile enough to enact it by edict of the president or vote by Congress in violation of the constitution.