Friday, August 31, 2012

Oliver is one today

The weather here in .Apex, North Carolina is perfect as we celebrate our grandson Oliver's first birthday.
We are renewing our acquaintance with Lily, who was three in July, and of course with Julie and Mark, and Jessica, who is beginning studies at Duke.

My thoughts on GOP convention

As conventions go, the recent GOP convention in Tampa was at least average in the party getting its message out, which basically amounted to Obama has failed and the team of Romney and Ryan will be successful in creating jobs.

Several speakers electrified the crowd with attacks on the Obama administration while  others, like Condoleezze Rice, sobered those attending and watching on television with a warning that the United States must lead in national affairs.   (Transcript can be found here TRANSCRIPT)  The Democrat spokesmen on TV were most upset with the stirring words of Ryan as he strongly attacked Obama while promising the Romney-Ryan team will bring prosperity.  They also took offense at the ridiculing of Obama by "make my day" Clint Eastwood.

Meanwhile, Louisiana and other Gulf states struggled to cope with Hurricane Isaac and its winds and floods

In other tragic weather news, an earthquake and tsunami has hit the Philippines.  The wife of one of my sons lives on an island which was subject to damage.  We have been unable at this time to communicate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Christie calls for honesty from elected officials

If there is a criteria for keynote speaches, I will agree that Chris Christie remarks Tuesday night did not meet it.  His speech was more like a presidential candidate, calling on government officials to be honest and for all people to stand with him in facing the real problems and working to solve them.

At one point I began to think that Christie has been reading my blog.  How many times I have said that we need a Congress with the guts to tell people the truth about our problems and the sacrifices that will be necessary.  As recently as August 18 I was asking "Can voters accept truth?"  Christie was emphatic in his belief that voters will accept the truth if elected officials are honest with them.  Let's hope he is right.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We leave for North Carolina

Jen and I leave Wednesday for North Carolina, arriving around 9 p.m.  We will be on hand to help Oliver Roy celebrate his first birthday Friday, August 31.  It seems like yesterday we visited a the time of his birth. This will be my third trip to North Carolina since Mark and Julie got jobs there and re-located from the Washington D.C. area.  Jen and Josh were there last month helping Jessica move from Baton Rouge to Durham.  Jessica has begun classes at Duke Seminary.

I am looking forward to the visit but I dread the trip, especially changing planes at the Atlanta airport. Even worse is when take-off is delayed for weather or any other reason and you have to sit in the plane not knowing how long you will be required to wait.  As I have emphasized at the time of other trips, passengers should be allowed off the plane and to  wait in the lounge area.

Obama must disavow outlandish attacks

It is unfair to hold a candidate  directly responsible for every  unfair and outlandish remark made by a supporter, but the candidate must repudiate the remarks and the person making them.  In recent days Samuel L. Jackson and Ellen Barkin have made profanity-laced statements wishing that Tropical Storm Isaac would drown the delegates to the Republican convention in Tampa.

Barkin called for Isaac to "wash every pro-life, anti-education, anti-woman xenophobic gay-bashing, racist SOB right into the ocean." Obama would not use those exact words but the tone of his campaign is reflected in them.  Campaigns should be about what you have done to solve problems and  your plan to make things, such as the economy, better.  The Obama campaign, with only failures to run on, has resorted to calling everyone who does not agree Obama's philosophy to be a racist.  Recently, they have added anti-woman to their message.  The national media allows Obama to get by with this.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Was I psychic or psycho?

There I was blindfolded, holding hands with another boy and bumping into desks and walls while students giggled and laughed.  How did I get put in such a situation?  Maybe, I volunteered or maybe I was selected; I don't remember. Out seventh grade teacher, Mr. Trout, was trying to prove something and provide a break from the monotony of studies.

Most people have experienced a feeling that some one was staring at them, turned around and found it was true. Or they have stared at some one  and seen that individual finally look around.  I was blindfolded, an object was placed in full view, and my companion was to keep his eyes glued on that object.  He was not to lead me or steer me in any direction.

After stumbling around, embarrassed and convinced I would never see the object, something happened; I could plainly see the  paddle the teacher loved to wield, and I dashed toward it, supposedly proving  one person could transfer what he saw and concentrated on to another person.

I know this happened.  I tried this with my brothers and sisters but they were usually  too impatient, although I seem to remember it was successful once.

Hellfire sermon called for to warm cold church

My Sundays of wearing short sleeve shirts have ended; I'll have to go back to coat and tie.  I almost froze in church this morning, and I wasn't alone as people moved from pew to pew seeking a warmer place.  I told Tom Howe that if he was going to keep the church so cold he needed to preach hellfire sermons to bring some heat to the church.  Bill Compton said that some churches his group sang in had a pile of blankets for those who got uncomfortably cold.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jessica's work with homeless told

Jessica completed registration and began classes at Duke this week, beginning a three-year period of  seminary studies.  She had devoted several days to community service and to orientation as she entered the road to becoming a United Methodist pastor.

Meanwhile, her accomplishments at LSU were being recognized.  The LSU Honors College interviewed her at length about her work with the homeless, the research involved and the five short stories she wrote as part of her thesis.

The article can be reached on the internet in several ways, including Helping  the Homeless by Jessica Lowe, or LSU Honors College, Helping the Homeless.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Steve Van Buren dies

I almost never comment on sports on this blog but I do, though infrequently, contribute to Tiger Rant.  Big news today is the death of Steve Van Buren at 91.  Van Buren may be the greatest running back ever for LSU and is considered by some as the greatest running back ever in professional football.  His records and accomplishments are available on the internet.

Van Buren had graduated and was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles when I entered LSU.  People were still talking about him only playing running back one year.  Before that he had played end and blocking back. Most likely had Al Dark not having to enter service, Van Buren would never had had the opportunity to play and show how talented he was.

I went to school with his brother Ebert, who was an average running back who also played pro with the Eagles.

NBC attacks Mormonism

Because they will do almost anything to win, it was to be expected Obama supporters would bring religion into the presidential campaign at a time they think it will hurt Romney.  NBC is running a two-part series on attacking Mormonism and thus Romney. 

Will they be fair and look as deeply into the religious beliefs and actions  of Obama?  Forget that; how about getting Obama to explain his plan for creating jobs, reducing the deficit, and restoring the economy.

A seventh grade memory

So many of my memories about school involve the seventh grade and are unhappy.  The year 1938-39 was unhappy for the nation.  The economic depression worsened every year; the threat of war became a reality as Japan invaded China in 1937, and Hitler backed up his threatening speeches by invading Poland in 1939.

Years ago I concluded the seventh grade was made so tough academically not to prepare students for high school but to flunk a large percentage of students to avoid exceeding the high school capacity and making it necessary to employ more teachers.

I suppose the class was as boring for our teacher, Mr. Trout, as it was for us.  I've related how he spent a week building bird houses and how he became so angry when some people stole gum drops off  of his thorn Christmas  tree.

He related  stories of unusual events that he claimed he was involved in.  For example he coached a seventh grade football team that defeated the high school team.  That's the part of the story that is somewhat believeable. Then, he claimed, the seventh grade girls challenged the boys to a football game and won.

One of his typical stories was about the star hurdler who ran without opposition and still lost the race.  It seems that no other hurdlers qualified, but the star hurdler ran anyway, hoping to set a record.  At that time a hurdler would be disqualified if he hit three hurdles or the last hurdle.  In this race the hurdler had hit two hurdles as he approached the final hurdle.  He knocked it down so was doubly disqualified and lost the race although he had no opponent.  Whether that was true I don't know.  Today a hurdler can hit all hurdles and not be disqualified unless he knocks down a hurdle deliberately by foot or hand.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Name one good thing, Mr. Obama

A year ago President Obama promised that after he returned from his vacation he would reveal his plan to create jobs and if the Congress did not agree with his plan he would campaign against Congress. The president was asked "why wait, if you have a plan to create jobs why not reveal it now?" We are still waiting on that plan.

In the face of high unemployment,  the president claims he has created millions of jobs.  Where are these jobs?  I would like him to name one thing he has done that has created jobs and got us on the way to economic recovery and health.

The Congressional Budget Office is warning that if taxes are increased the nation will be on a "fiscal cliff." 
We could plunge into a recession that might last longer than the Great Depression and more people will be out of work.  Obama wants the government to control every facet of our lives. I fear that if he is re-elected the nation could fail so badly that recovery may be nearly impossible.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Thanks for birthday wishes

A number of people took time to with me a Happy Birthday yesterday, which I appreciate.  Most were posted on Face Book, which I seldom visit, but my Gmail informed me every time someone posted.  I wanted to thank each person individually, but, I screw up trying to take advantage of Face Book.  I  have my blog where I feel comfortable even though so much about it I  can't use effectively.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm 86 today

Yes, today is my birthday, and while I hurt in many ways I am thankful that God has given me these many days.  I hope that I will learn to take pleasure in those things I can do and refuse to lament the things I cannot do.

Obviously, I cannot remember the day I was born, but I heard about it several times from my mother. I think she never got over being angry at Dad and the doctor for eating watermelon while she was hurting.  I've mentioned how there were so many of us children that birthdays were barely noticed.  The kid whose birthday it was got to pick the kind of cake we would have on the nearest Sunday.

I have written before about missing my 19th birthday due to all the excitement about Japan surrendering and the USS Pickens heading for Japan but stopping in the Philippines.  I don't understand why I didn't receive at least a card from home, but they probably forgot it, also. They had to be overjoyed that Japan had surrendered and I would not have to invade Japan.  From the time I entered  the navy until my discharge, I never received a leave.

Several relatives and friends have birthdays this month.  I want to wish Frank Cascio, my brother-in-law, happy birthday Wednesday, August 22.  Mark White, a former shipmate who I have learned to know through his son John, would have been 99 tomorrow.  Oliver Roy Lowe, our youngest grandson, will be one August 31.  Jen and I plan to be there to help him celebrate.  He is such a happy kid, always smiling.

Monday, August 20, 2012

We must stamp out West Nile

The West Nile virus is a serious threat to our health and every possible way should be taken to combat it and eventually stamp it out. This past week Louisiana  reported 24 new cases, giving a  total of 92 cases  and six deaths this year.  The seriousness was brought home to us Sunday when a member of our class informed us that his daughter has the virus.

An all-out campaign to fight the virus includes destroying the mosquito breeding grounds by draining stagnant ponds, using larvicide,  and spraying with an effective insecticide.  I get angry every time I think about how environmental extremists got DDT banned, resulting in millions in Africa dieing from malaria.  We must demand that the most effective insecticide that can be made is used against the mosquitoes who carry West Nile and those who carry malaria.

Everyone supports a good  environment and one without mosquitoes will be just  lovely.

Memories of August 1945

August 1945 was eventful for the nation, the USS Pickens, and me personally.  We had arrived in San Francisco August 3; an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima August 6 and a second bomb hit Nagasaki August 9, with the result that Japan surrendered August 14.  We left August 24 with the Blackhawk Division on board, but instead of invading Japan we took them to the Philippines and took on board the troops that had been occupying those islands, then took them to Japan.  I have written the past two years about how all the activities and events caused me to forget my 19th birthday August 21.

We visited the Philippines several times but I have no memories whatsoever of any of the visits.  I even have a bunch of snapshots taken in the islands, but not only am I not in any of the pictures I have no idea who gave them to me or why.

I am no different from 95 per cent of veterans; we had no interest in remembering our experiences or talking to family about them.  Mark White, father of John White, was different.  He was the ship's photographer and kept not only pictures but other material and his own writings.  John has kindly made much of this available to Pickens crew members.

Best wishes to all as I observe my last day of being 85 years old.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I enjoy today's hymns

In the past I've found fault with the selection of songs for morning  worship, so today I should express my thanks for the hymns we sang. With the organist being ill, we relied on the piano, which may have  influenced the choice of hymns

Our opening hymn of praise was "Majesty, Worship His Majesty." This was followed by "What a Friend We Have  in Jesus," and the choir presented  a special arrangement of  "Love Lifted Me."  When we sang
"The Unclouded Day," the computer went crazy and the words on the screen were different from those we sang. The congregation took it with good humor and even applauded.

Our final hymn was "Marching to Zion," a song seldom sung in church now because some consider it to be "too militaristic." 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Can voters accept truth?

T. Harry Williams often shocked his class when he described Franklin Roosevelt as "the most dishonest politician."  Roosevelt lied to the American peoople when he said he was doing everything possible to  keep America out  of the war in Europe (I hate wah; Eleanor hates wah; Fala hates wah) while  he was trying to provoke Germany and take other actions to get the United States in the war.  Williams would then say he considered Roosevelt  a great president because the result saved the free world.

Williams also observed that Roosevelt had heard some place and was  convinced the America voter had the intelligence and knowledge of a 12-year-old, and he governed with that thought in mind. (That could explain why Roosevelt thought he could succeed in enacting laws that violated the constitution.) 

Yes, that's history, but do we not have dishonest politicians today?  Are we intelligent enough to see that something must be done to  save this nation?  How many people seeking office today believe they can be elected if they tell voters the truth?  Our country is deeply in debt but excessive spending goes on and the debt gets larger every day.  Many will say we should reduce spending but how many have the courage and honesty to show us how it is to be done?  So-called entitlements are head ed toward bankruptcy but every group getting  benefits says "cut spending but don't cut us."

I may be mistaken but it appears to me that Paul Ryan has come nearest to presenting the unwelcome  truth of our condition and has had the courage to recommend changes that would be painful and unpopular. Face it, there's no way this nation can be saved without pain.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Some family news

Wife Jen had a procedure done today and has slept most of the afternoon.  It will be early next week before she knows the results.

Saw the sonogram of my next grandchild this afternoon.  Is it not amazing that while no larger than a peanut, a fetus is very recognizable as a baby?

Appointments were supposed to be made for me with my cardiologist and an eye doctor.  I'll remind my primary physician Monday.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Potato or Potatoe

Joe Biden's penchant for gaffes is  treated gently by the media,  "that's just Joe," but his shouting out to an audience 50 per cent black that Republicans "want to put you  back in chains" has maybe overstepped the line even for him.  Just suppose a Republican had made a similar mistake while speaking.  Remember Dan Quayle?

Candidates for vice president are utilized in some silly ways and Quayle was called on to call out words in a spelling bee.  When a youngster spelled  potato Quayle, with a cue sheet with the word spelled potatoe, asked the student for the final letter.  The news  media, unfair as usual, treated this as a major failing of intellect and  kept this going unfairly even today..

Potato was spelled potatoe for years and can be found in publications as late as  June 1992.  There have been 64 variant spellings of potato.

While the campaign goes on and many speeches are made, there will be many misspeaks and gaffes.  They should not be given a lot of  importance unless a harmful remark is deliberately made.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Don't trim that rose bush -- there's a wasp nest

That was my wife warning me that wasps had built a nest at the top of a window above a rose bush. I have to admit I'm careful about wasps; I'm very allergic to the poison in their stings.

I was not always so allergic although of course any sting hurt and caused swelling.  I've been told I was just a toddler when I had my first adventure with a wasp.  I picked up a wasp I thought was dead and threatened my sister, who was less than two years older than I. While I chased her the wasp "stung me on my winger."

Everyone thought it was funny the first time both of my eyes swelled shut after I was stung and I  had to be led around. After that every time I was stung by a wasp or by a bee my face would swell so bad my eyes would be closed and I could not see for hours or days. I learned a wasp can fly faster than I can run when one chased me down and stung me on the temple.

Yes, I agree that wasps are a helpful insect in some ways and I am agreeable to leave them  alone if they will stay away from me. Years ago I went to call on a man and knocked on what I took to be his front door. He came out another door and said "we aren't using this door," and he pointed to a nest almost the size of a saucer covered with hundreds of red wasps.  I shiver when I remember and think how close I  may have come to death.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Today is 67th anniversary of VJ Day

I wrote about my activities on this day extensively two years ago and again last year so I plan to be briefer today. The USS Pickens was in San Francisco taking aboard troops to invade Japan. I had left the ship on a rare liberty (I had been standing double watches because some had leave) and entered a restaurant where I was seated at a table with strangers.  The restaurant let me in but shut the doors and closed.

Excitement was in the air as rumors floated that Japan could be surrendering.  President Truman confirmed that Japanese leaders had agreed to surrender terms. Streets and sidewalks quickly filled with people going wild in their celebrations.  A girl grabbed my hat and ran; I had to chase her down to get it back because the shore patrol was eagerly arresting sailors for being out of uniform.  As people got more and more exuberant I could not share their excitement.  I had been spared from invading Japan and likely losing my life but I had sort of a let-down feeling; the occasion was too important to celebrate the way it was being done.  I left and returned to the ship.  A few days later we headed for Japan.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I visited the doctor

Visited my primary physician today.  Gave a little blood for lab work.  Appointments will be made with an eye doctor and with a cardiologist.  Went to Brookshire's to pick up medicine and was painfully out of breath just from walking from the front of the store to the pharmacy and back to my car.

They forgot or decided not to give me the test for dementia; lucky for me because I feel like I would have failed it.  Tomorrow is another day and I expect to feel better.  After all, I must celebrate VJ Day. It saved me from invading Japan but as I have said many times the excitement caused me to forget my 19th birthday.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Church 50th Anniversary Celebrated

We celebrated  the 50th anniversary of Christ United Methodist Church with an open house Saturday and church services Sunday morning. Twenty-five charter members were in the congregation, seven of  whom are still members.  Former pastors and their families were recognized, including Mrs. Oscar Cloyd, wife of the first pastor.  The observance concluded with lunch being served to more than 400.

As I look back over my many years of attending church special observances, I can't recall whether all were reunions or any marked a particular anniversary.  One that will always be in my memory, though faint, because I was about six at the time, was  when the Lowe families had a reunion in keeping with a special celebration at Bethlehem Methodist Church.

The church building also served as a school which my dad attended in his early years.  He was able to show me his initials carved into the back of a pew.  His cousin was the only teacher for the school.

I can almost see the piano player, a short chubby man, as he pounded on the keys.  I heard for the first time the hymn "Life's evening sun is sinking low; a few more days and I must go."  Every time I hear that song I remember that reunion and that church.  (The actual title of the song is "A Beautiful Life."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Would this be communism?

Of all Obama's threats, promises, proposals, plans, suggestions-- whatever you may call it -- the most dangerous to our nation is his recent talk of the government taking control of all manufacturing companies. He boasted that he had saved the auto industry and would save all companies the same way he  had saved
 General Motors. Stockholders and bond holders were robbed of every penny they had invested in the company and taxpayers are still on the hook for billions of dollars they will likely never receive.

We believe that removing harmful and unnecessary regulations will allow manufacturing companies to compete and innovate, leading to added employment and an improving economy.  Obama's plan would favor certain industries  and companies and penalize others.  For instance, a favorite industry of Obama's is solar energy while he opposes the country becoming energy self-sufficient through more development of our 
fossil fuels.

I can name 14 solar energy companies that Obama gave taxpayer money to, and all failed. Here they are:

Amonix Solar; Solar Trust of America; Bright Source; Solyndra;  LSP Energy; SunPower; Beacon Power; Energy Conversion Devices;  Evergreen Solar; Ecotality; A123 Solar; UniSolar; Azure Dynamics; Ener1.

Remember the story of  "You have two cows."  Under socialism the government takes one cow and gives it to your  neighbor; under communism the government takes both cows and shoots you.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Arrested on the board walk

I watch very little TV (something that will change when football begins) but I'm glad the television was on when Nik Wallenda walked a tight rope 100 feet above Atlantic City Thursday. He walked 1300 feet without any safety harness or net.

His experience in Atlantic City was better than mine. No, I did not walk a tight rope -- I was arrested walking the famous board   walk. Let me give a little background. I was in Atlantic City to attend an apparel show, during which I hoped to acquaint cut and sew companies with the advantages Louisiana had to offer. This was about 40 years ago when I was an economic development specialist for the state.  I attended the show for two days before going to New York to spend a week keeping appointments I had made with garment manufacturers.

I arrived in Atlantic City Wednesday night, checked into a hotel, was bored and decided to visit the board walk.  I was dressed in a suit, white shirt and tie when two officers arrested me.  My crime was I was not wearing a top coat and to them that made me a suspicious character.  They let me go but ordered me back to the hotel and said I must stay off the board walk unless I wore a top coat.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Don't kill Dad's Purple Martins

The Lowe's were known for having a hot temper, but I can remember only one time I saw my dad lose his temper and threaten to commit homicide.  The victim of his wrath was our mama cat; she had killed a Purple Martin and displayed it proudly as if she had done something praiseworthy.

If you are familiar with  Purple Martins,  you know that they like to nest in communities.  Dad maintained a house with several compartments and we always hosted several Purple Martin families.  The house was high on a pole; I don't know how  the cat got to the bird but she managed.  Perhaps the bird attacked her first. No matter, Dad made it clear, he preferred the Martins to the cat.

For years I intended to install a Martin house in my garden.  I would examine houses at Lowe's and Home Depot but always preferred to  build my own.  Now the garden is no more but a Martin community would still be great in the backyard because the birds are beautiful to watch and they eat the hell out of mosquitoes.

Martins winter in the Amazon basin, returning to North America in the spring. We benefited from a large population of these birds in the 1980's, but they have become scarce and depend upon the support of humans building nests for them.

Nagasaki bombed; Japan surrenders

Three days after the first atom bomb hit Hiroshima, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki 77 years ago, August 9, 1945.  The next day Emperor Hirohito overruled some members of his war cabinet and agreed to unconditional surrender.  Fighting did not stop immediately, and the Japanese sank two American ships. It was not until August 14 that the Japanese people were told of the surrender and that is the day we celebrate as V J Day.

The Pickens continued loading on the Blackhawk Division  to take part in  the invasion of Japan.  I wish I could recall when we began to hope that the invasion would not be necessary and our chance to live was greatly improved.  I have heard several veterans of Okinawa say of the decision to drop the  atom bomb that "Truman saved my life."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

17 years living with a stray

Seventeen years ago she showed up at our front door, dirty, gaunt, hungry and pregnant (though we didn't know this at the time), just a pathetic stray. But you know how kids are about  strays -- they want to adopt them, and we gave in and let them make a bed for her in the garage, and  Sarah the cat joined our family.

Jessica was five at the time and I suppose if the cat belonged to anyone it was to her.  She convinced us to  temporarily move Sarah's bed from the garage to the room with the washer-dryer and refrigerator. There she gave birth to a litter of kittens who soon acquired names -- Phantom, Precious, Uno, Pop Tart, and Runt.

Three soon found homes and we were left with Uno and Pop Tart.  Then came tragedy; I ran over Pop Tart, killing him.  The following Sunday I was greeted by several church members who had  attended early service with a puzzling statement, "I'm sorry about the loss of your cat."  It seems Jessica had asked that Pop Tart be added to the prayer list.  Sure enough, at the ll o'clock service as requests were made for prayers, Pop Tart was included.

Sarah had a visit with the vet and he convinced her it would be best if she didn't bring any more kittens into the world.  Uno became the Lothario of the neighborhood but failed to return after one of his romantic pilgrimages. 

I don't want to give thought to the amount we have spent in 17 years on vet bills and cat food. Every few years Sarah brings a little dead bird  to the house, depositing it  on the mat in front of the front door.  I can only believe she thinks she is repaying us for the money she has cost us, but it is a habit I wish she would give up.

After 17 years, though, I don't expect  Sarah to make any changes.

Monday, August 6, 2012

To Pickens shipmates and families

It has been my experience that most veterans did not talk much about their time in the  service. A time comes when family members become interested in knowing more about their father, grandfather, uncle, etc. and it is often too late.  Often I have posted about the Pickens or some other service matter on Tiger Droppings and have had people ask if anyone knew their loved one. 

At this moment I wonder if any shipmate remembers C. E. McCracken or Jose P. Ramirez, both of whom served on the Pickens.

We say goodbye to a great human being

We said goodbye to a member of the "Greatest Generation" this morning with a service celebrating his life. Jim Brooks was a neighbor and a friend.He had lost nearly all  his eye sight so it was our pleasure to give him a ride to church on the days he was well enough to attend  Jim never amassed great wealth, never won a big award, never was elected to a high office.  He was a decent man, devoted to his family and generous to his family, his church, and to people in need.

Jim enlisted in the Navy at 17 and served his nation during World War II. Sadly, the veterans of that conflict are leaving us too quickly.  This nation will miss their wisdom, their courage and their honor.

Atom bomb is dropped on Hiroshima

Seventy-seven years ago, on August 6, 1945, the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima  and the world has not been the same since.  When the Japanese refused to surrender, a bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Japan surrendered a few days later.

At the time I was in San Francisco on the USS Pickens which was taking on troops in preparation for the invasion of the Japanese mainland.  I do not have a clear memory of our attitude after the first bomb; did we think that possibly Japan would surrender and we would not have to face those suicide plane attacks which did so much damage at Okinawa?

The bombs took a lot of lives but they saved more.  Many a veteran has said  of the decision to use the bomb, "Mr Truman saved my life."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My saddest time in the navy

Never had I felt so helpless, so sad and depressed.  We were in San Francisco to take on troops and then to invade the Japanese mainland.  But first,  leaves were to be granted, either 6 days or 12 days, depending upon several factors including distance.  I had been informed that I would be among a few who would not get even six days of leave.  The division officer had the authority to grant me a leave but he said I did not qualify for l2 days and could not make it home and back in 6 days.  I begged that I get the 6 days, promising that I wanted to go home even if I saw my family for just an hour.

From the time I entered the navy, I never had a leave, not when I finished boot camp because I went to radar school; not after radar school because I was in the hospital, and not after that because I joined the ship's crew.  We of the Pickens were to be in the first military unit to invade Japan where the navy expected 50 per cent casualties, and I couldn't see my family first. I had been hospitalized with meningitis, and I had fallen and thought I would never walk again, but nothing compared to the frustration and unhappiness I felt when I was not permitted to go home.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Whatever it is, it ain't working

Nor are millions of people who are looking for jobs.  Unemployment (officially) has exceeded eight per cent for 41 months.  If Obama and his advisers have a plan to get the economy moving, that plan has failed and failed again.

Obama seems to have a philosophy of  government control of every facet of our lives.  He doesn't understand that government does not create wealth; it can only take from the producer and re-distribute. If we are going to get the economy going, the private sector will have to do it.

Whether it is a nation, a corporation or an individual, some good must be produced and marketed.  The base for our wealth is composed of agriculture, mining and manufacturing.  That last one -- manufacturing -- has been declining for years, especially recently.  This country must learn how to manufacture competitively again. Mining can make a greater contribution to the economy if the government will allow it; we can and should develop our vast fossil fuel resources to the point that we are energy  self-sufficient.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Where have the Bluebirds gone?

Other song birds are scarce, also, but the Eastern Bluebird has been in decline for many years -- this is in spite of efforts to bring them back.  Nests were built along I-49 as one way to attract the birds.  I have never seen any results.

The Bluebird was common in meadows and near wooded areas when I was a child on the farm.  One time a pair of Bluebirds built their nest in our mail box.  You can see that we seldom got mail. When we discovered the nest it had four beautiful eggs.  Although we tried not to disturb it, just the fact that a human hand had touched the eggs caused the birds to abandon their nest.

Now to see a Bluebird I resort to bird calendars sent out by organizations seeking donations.

Pickens arrives at San Francisco

Visibility in the fog was as near zero as possible as we entered San Francisco bay before dawn on
August 3, 1945.  It was my misfortune to be operating the radar and guiding the ship in to her anchorage. The navigator rushed in every minute calling for the range and bearing on a fixed site while I tried to tell which blips on the radar screen were buoys and which were fishing vessels headed for sea.

That was the beginning of a momentous August that would see the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan and the resulting surrender by the nation that had begun the war with an attack on Hawaii December 7, 1941.
We had served in the South Pacific for more than 10 months, taking part in the battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  We had returned to the states to take on board the Blackhawk Division who would take part in the planned invasion of the Japanese mainland.  Naval casualties, mostly from suicide plane attacks, were projected to be 50 per cent but would have been greater had we been forced to carry out the invasion.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

67 years ago Pickens returns

Sixty-seven years ago, August 3, 1945, the USS Pickens returned to San Francisco after a year in the South Pacific, including taking part in battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  I will talk about my personal experience and how I remember the events that followed tomorrow.

But I would like to hear from former shipmates, and from their family members, how they remember that time or any other happenings on the Pickens.  What about the briefing we received a few days before we reached Frisco. As I remember it, we were told the Navy expected 50 per cent causalities during the invasion of the Japanese mainland.  We know now our casualties would have been much greater.

I do look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

So those are Chicago values

Rahm Emanuel said the Christian values of Chick-FILA are not the values of Chicago.  He further said he would block the location of a Chick-FILA place in Chicago.  What are Chicago values -- political corruption?

Three Chicago thugs beat and robbed a World War II veteran.  As far as I know Emanuel has not been heard from about this.  But is that what Emanuel means when he defines Chicago values?