Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy? New Year

Let me be among the first to wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year,  a year that promises to be as eventful as the one soon to be over. 

Turmoil escalated in the  the Mid East, including the attack on the consulate in Benghazi and murder of  the ambassador and three others.  Greece led the way to financial crisis but is not the only nation in danger because of socialism.

On the national scene we enter the coming year not knowing had hurtful actions or failure to act by the president and Congress will affect all of us personally.  We know we will be paying higher taxes as Obamacare alone will add one trillion dollars in new taxes.  Actions that could lead to the creation of jobs and increase in governmental revenue are not being considered.  Instead, measures that increase taxes and take away jobs are pushed.

In the face of all the bad news, I am still able to be optimistic that the American energy that overcame wars and depressions will triumph finally. So, again, best wishes for a happy New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

She eats greens again

Last year in a post on eating turnip greens I mentioned that my then two-year-old granddaughter ate greens and seemed to enjoy them.  I was surprised; most kids don't like any green vegetable, and I hated them as I grew up.

Saturday we had greens and not only did she eat them she asked for second and then third servings. They were not even very good greens (they were cooked with olive oil; at 86 I want to eat for flavor not for health.)

Too many draw government money

The number of people drawing social security benefits has  tripled in the past 30 years to more than  eight million, putting social security in danger.  Together with the two million drawing extended unemployment benefits makes the need to create jobs critical, and increasing taxes is just the wrong way to accomplish this. Somebody must work, even if for minimum wages, to pay those who are not working.

Too late now, but Mitt Romney had a plan that would have almost painlessly reduced spending the first year by half a trillion dollars and by the second year would have balanced the budget and  created  jobs.  The nation is near to falling off a "cliff" where more people will be depending on money from the government than are working and paying taxes. That will be disaster.

Friday, December 28, 2012

You're invalid, your license that is

Five friends, ages twenties and early thirties, took advantage of the holidays to get together and have dinner in Shreveport Thursday night.  They were enjoying visiting and decided to continue by going to a lounge, have a drink, and talk some more.

Four went through the formality of showing their driver's licenses for identification, but the doorkeeper told Josh his ID was invalid because his license had expired.  Josh had observed a birthday recently and it had been four years since he had renewed his license.  That ended their party but at least it reminded Josh to renew his license.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cliff or not, disaster is here

Whether this nation falls over the "fiscal  cliff" or kicks the can down the road again,  with some actions that make conditions even worse, will be known in a couple of days.  When I speak of making conditions even worse, I particularly refer to Obama's proposals that will have us spending 55 per cent more than in 2012.

Contrary to more spending we need to take action to reduce spending and create jobs in order that we will have more people working and paying taxes while fewer people are milking the government.

Let's be brutally honest here.  Talk of cutting  welfare programs, and I include extension of unemployment pay as welfare, is meaningless.  We have gone too far on entitlements to pull back now.  Disaster of our economy is just ahead.   Half of the government's bills are paid with newly printed money, guaranteeing hyper inflation lies ahead with the dollar becoming near worthless.

I wish that I could offer a glimpse of hope, but we have let ourselves get too far with welfare that makes the recipients better off financially than if they worked.  That word "entitlement" tells the story.  When we decided that people were "entitled," politicians competed in offering  greater and greater benefits.  Thus disaster for the economy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blog began three years ago

This blog, Roy E, began three years ago as a Christmas gift from my daughter, Jessica.  I didn't know what to do with it, but I began posting mostly memories of events of my childhood.  I posted a few times about my service on the USS Pickens, APA 190, and was delighted that this led to contacts with others who served on the ship and families of former shipmates. I hope to stay in touch with as many of the shipmates and their families as are interested.

Eventually the blog turned into an abbreviated editorial column, which is not surprising since I edited a weekly newspaper for 20 years.  Who knows how this blog will be in the future or even if it stays alive. At this moment I plan to continue to submit whatever is on my mind, not being concerned whether I have readers or whether they like what I write.  Here's to three more years plus as many more as I can offer.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Jim Nabors - Go Tell It On The Mountain

Go tell it on the mountain...

Go tell it everywhere that Jesus Christ is born.  I wish for everyone a happy Christmas, with a special thanks to our men and women serving overseas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jim Nabors sings Silent Night - Na Mele o na Keiki (2009)

We enjoy Josh's Christmas lights

The little town of Logansport has erected Christmas lights along the river, joining residents  of that area who have elaborate displays adding to the holiday spirit.  Son Josh has his home and yard lighted and some of his lights are coordinated with music, attracting visitors every night.  We went to Logansport  to see and enjoy his elaborate display.  Especially enjoyable to children was a Santa who moved in and out of a second story window and at times waved.  Thanks are to those who have outside displays that the public can enjoy and gain the holiday spirit.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I refuse to give thought to nation's problems

I am giving myself an early Christmas gift by ignoring the nation's problems and the lack of a commitment by our elected officials to make a start toward solving them.  We have a president who is more of a Marxist than a socialist and a Congress that is made up of idiots or cowards or both.  For a few days I'm not going to waste my time or mind on what they do or don't do. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Landlady outdrinks Navy captain

One of my early stories on this blog was about my landlady driving with windows closed so people wouldn't know her car was not air conditioned. She was quite a lady with a great sense of humor.  Her daughter, Margaret, was married to Hugh Oliver, an officer in the Air Force.  They were stationed in Washington, D.C. at the time this event took place, and  son Ralph was an ensign and stationed nearby.  Mrs. Thomas was visiting and watching Margaret prepare for a party they were hosting, at which Air  Force and Navy officers would attend.  No member of the Thomas family drank, but Margaret was preparing alcoholic drinks.
She told her mother that there were non alcoholic drinks, also. Mrs Thomas saw her make martinis and decided she would drink water with an olive and fit right in.  During the party she got to talking with the naval captain on whose staff Ralph serrved. She became so involved in hearing good things about her son, she consumed fake martinis one after another. The naval captain tried to keep up with her, only he was drinking full martinis.  The next day he told Ralph, "You're mother can really hold her liquo
Time for another song that reminds us of the real meaning of Christmas.  Jim Nabors sings "Joy to the World" here.  Great with every thing he sings, Nabors rendering of  "How Great Thou Art" is  as powerful as that by George Beverly Shea.

Jim Nabors - Joy To The World

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Congradulations, Jessica

Jessica has received her grades from the first semester  at Duke Seminary.  She made all A's, including in Hebrew.  If you plan to speak to her, please don't try Hebrew.  For several hundred years before Christ, the spoken language was Aramaic, and we believe that Aramaic was the language of Jesus. Educated Jews, like Apostle Paul, also spoke and wrote Greek.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Birthdays amid holidiays

We attended granddaughter Tia's violin program Monday night, the first family event of a busy holiday season. Her brother Kyle will celebrate his ninth birthday tomorrow, the first of several birthdays during the holidays.

A good friend and member of our Sunday School class will be surprised as her family and friends celebrate her 70th birthday December 22,  Julie, our daughter in law, will celebrate her birthday December 23, and my next to youngest of my five sisters will mark her birthday Christmas Eve

Our youngest son,  Mark, will arrive from North Carolina Wednesday with their daughter, Lily. Julie and son Oliver will follow two days later.

It is definitely more pleasant writing about happy things than politics so, while I am filled with comments I could make about our government, I'm glad to take a day of rest.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Get to the back of the line

I attended Jen's office party the other night with Jen and Doc Moore arguing whether it was the 28th or 29th for the  company,  which began with four people.  The affair was held at the spacious Shreveport Country Club.

Food was great, served buffet style which meant there was a  line, and where there is a line for food I think of standing in line aboard ship.  I remembered an occasion when I had reached the end of the line and picked up a tray only to be ordered to go back to the end of the line and start over.

This didn't happen on the USS Pickens but on the ship I know only as AGC 11, a ship with the most modern and sophisticated electronics at the time.  The navy invited several former radiomen and radarmen with World War experience to spend two weeks aboard the ship as it sailed for about 100 miles from shore. We were from the New Orleans district and found that we were not expected nor wanted.  Instead of being enticed to re-enlist we were determined not to participate again.  I had once considered doing this every summer.

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

I was disappointed in the hymn selection Sunday so this morning I have been listening to carols to get me more in the holiday mood.  I like this presentation of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church.   It first appeared in 1739.  George Whitefield changed the first couplet and the music came from a cantata by Felix Mendelssohn. Wesley wrote thousands of hymns, many of which are still popular today.  I listened to some that I don't remember hearing

 (Note - I have recently discovered that after "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" you can reach an entire concert by the Celtic Women)

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Choir of Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin

Saturday, December 15, 2012

We need answers to many questions

Before we knew how many victims there were, some television people and political people were trying to make capital our of the shooting at the Connecticut school.  Families of those killed were not given an opportunity to mourn and bury their loved ones but were being sought out for comments.  How heartless.

Politicians like New York Mayor Bloomberg were calling for more gun laws, and some Democrats in Congress were threatening to use this tragedy to advance their gun bills.  The president tried to look sad but his faking tears as he promised some legislation was cruel.

So many questions are unanswered.  What possessed   this young man to kill his mother and then go to the school and slaughter so many, including 20 children?  How could he enter school with four guns without being seen and 911 being called?  What kind of security does the school have?  So many questions we need answers to before trying to make political points.

Friday, December 14, 2012

For God's sake, why?


Several items had been in my mind from which I planned to select one to comment on today, but all are gone from my mind as, like you, I try to cope mentally and emotionally with the tragic event of today, the shooting and killing of 27 persons including 20 kindergarten children -- just precious babies.

I can't help it; my eyes are shedding tears as I write.  How in the name of God can such an awful thing happen?  It's too soon to attempt to find an answer.  What we can do is pray for the families of the victims and offer them our love, letting them know we are grieving with them. They are not alone.


O Holy Night - Susan Boyle

You have not heard O Holy Night until you hear Susan Boyle sing it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Does it feel like Christmas

"It just doesn't seem like Christmas."  You've said it and you've heard others say it many times. Why do we feel that way at times when there is no real problem to cause the feeling?  Is it because  memory of some past  Christmas either lightens or dampens our spirits?  I'm not talking here about memories of sad events that happened during the holidays, only about little things that were especially happy or the opposite.  I begin to recall some Christmas seasons.
                                A Christmas without a tree
A few days before Christmas it was our custom to walk the woods to find the very best little pine, bring it home and place the few decorations we had on it. I was always looking for a holly with berries but while we had holly trees in the woods I never found one with berries.

One Christmas, mama said, "Let's not get a tree this Christmas but hang stockings instead.  That's what we always did, and it was fun."  So, we did not get a tree and hung stockings by the fireplace.  To all the kids, something was lacking.  We may have hung stockings in other years, but we never did without a tree again.
                                 Music brings Christmas spirit

During the 20 years I edited a weekly newspaper in Homer, we took Christmas day as a holiday, but we worked Christmas Eve if it fell on a week day.  Depending on the day Christmas fell on, we would work the previous weekend, and all in all the season was a time of stress.  You can understand that throughout this time Christmas was lacking as a joyful time. Except for gifts I had to purchase early to mail, I did my shopping on Christmas Eve.  I would visit the stores around the square, make my purchases, leave them to be wrapped and pick them up later.  

One Christmas a young merchant rigged up a sound system  connected to a tree on the courthouse lawn.  A few weeks before the holiday, he began playing holiday music.  Hearing those songs for weeks made it feel like Christmas for me. I realized that it was the music that gave me the Christmas spirit in a way that I had not felt it before.

I make Gallup happy

Why me?  I've been a Gallup panel member  for more than a year, and I'm totally the wrong person for it. When  the questions are on politics, I'm okay, but their polls cover a wide range of topics.  This one I completed today was on physical, mental and emotional health, with questions about doctors and drugs, among other things.

It seemed like I answered more than a hundred questions when it could have been boiled down to sad, yes; in pain, yes;  unhappy, yes; depressed, yes; stressed, yes; worried, yes.  My replies should make Gallup's day.

Gallup reported on the last survey, which was about being happy on  the job.  Only 25 per cent of the people working are pleased with their jobs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Me and Right to Work

Michigan's adoption of a Right to Work law brought to mind the handicap in my industrial inducement efforts that Louisiana's lack of this law had.  I contacted Right to Work states and did other research for two years on the effects of the law, failing to complete the thesis as the state passed the law.

I will never forget the reception I received on my second prospecting trip for Commerce and Industry.  I was in St. Louis calling on such companies as ACF, Budweiser,  and  Emerson Electric.  When I visited one large company I was greeted not by one or two men but eight or ten, seated around a table.  As I walked into the room one official said, "Before you begin your  presentation, we want you to know that for every reason you can give us why we should put a plant in Louisiana, we wil give you ten why we should not."

I felt pretty small as he continued, pointing  to the map of the United States.  "Look where Louisiana is located, the worst state for our distribution.  Plus, you are the only state around you without  a Right to Work law."

I tried to respond,  pointing to our advantages, such as available labor,  the ten-year exemption from property taxes,  and revenue bond financing of plant construction.  I did my best but it wasn't good enough, and it was far from the only time the lack of Right to Work was slapped across my face.

(A side note.  Teachers in Michigan are striking against the Right to Work law. They might as well spend their time in the streets --only seven per cent of Detroit eighth graders are proficient in reading.)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Only two weeks to Christmas

Christmas is only two weeks away;   with "black Friday"  having been established as a insane shopping day, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has become a hectic, mad blur.  I don't remember it as always being that way.  In fact,  when I was a child, most people waited until Christmas Eve to do whatever limited shopping they were doing.  Stores might stay open past midnight to accommodate their customers. 

While I was attending LSU one Christmas season I came home for the holidays, planning to take care of a minimum amount of present buying.  I was ill with something like flu and had to postpone any shopping until the last minute.  I went into Minden with my brothers and went from store to store, unable to make decisions.  While in town I decided to take care some grocery shopping, but when I came out of the grocery store I only had two cans of pork and beans.  My family made fun of me for years.

When I got married the chore of Christmas shopping was taken over by my wife.  Thankfully, she actually enjoys doing it.  I don't know of anyone who doesn't agree that some of  the joy that should be part of Christmas has been lost in the stress of buying presents.  Thankfully, we have programs in the church that give us the opportunity to buy for people who have needs, and there are other organizations we can utilize to brighten Christmas for  others in need.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

We hear war declared that Monday, December 8

The Monday after the attack on Pearl Harbor we went to school as usual.  Chatter on the school bus was about the attack and what it would mean.  Some older boys were in the National Guard, which was soon  to be nationalized.

We met in our home rooms to hear President Roosevelt address a joint session of Congress with his "a day that will live in infamy" speech and to hear Congress vote to declare war with one vote against,  that of Jeanette Rankin.  The radio announcer told us she had also voted against declaring war against Germany in 1917.  I remember him saying she attempted to get to the microphone to explain her vote but was unable to do so.

Did we realize how our lives would be changed?  I doubt we could understand what the future would hold for us.

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7 -- 71 years ago

It is becoming fainter and fainter but I still remember that I was in the backyard that Sunday afternoon, December 7, when someone in the house, having heard it on the radio,  shouted that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.  I was 15 that momentous day but I knew my life would never be the same.

As I mentioned last year, this nation paid a huge price for being unprepared.  We had almost no trained army, depending upon the navy to protect us.  Why  then, did we have so much of our navy anchored at Pearl and vulnerable?  The navy partly recovered and we held our own at the Battle of Coral Sea.  Our navy scored a big victory at Midway and, while much fighting and loss of life was ahead, Japan was on the defensive from that time on.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Taxes -- what an ugly word

Taxes -- the word even has a nasty sound.  I have just written checks to pay Caddo parish and City of Shreveport taxes and I'm not in a happy mood.  When we purchased this home, we paid city taxes but homestead exemption took are of parish taxes.  This house is certainly no better than when we moved in, but taxes have increased almost every year.  All that is needed to increase taxes is up the assessed value.

Each year I reflect on how much I would prefer to enjoy the tax rates levied by neighboring parishes and cities.   Then I think how bad it would be to have to pay property taxes similar to those people pay if they live in states like California and cities such as New York.  We could be worse off than we are.  Most people will agree with me that taxes are too high on the federal, state and local levels.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The night Paul Dean Jr. pitched

I recently commented on the Big Eight semi-pro baseball league and how popular and significant the games were to the towns thant fielded a team.  Homer Oilers, playing three times a week, would draw more fans than the Shreveport Sports, the professional team.

The highlight for not only Homer but the entire league was the night Paul Dean, Jr. pitched. Paul was the son of Paul (nicknamed Daffy) and nephew of Jerome "Dizzy" Dean,,both star major league pitchers. Dizzy was the best known announcer of baseball games on radio, later television.
  I knew Paul, Jr. quite well. He was a well behaved, quiet boy who never boasted about his relationship to his dad or uncle. I don't remember why he came to Homer but if I had to bet he attended one of the colleges in Conway, Ark. Anyway, it came time for him to pitch.  The game, which was   against Farmerville,  was highly promoted.  Then Mother Nature took a hand.  It began to rain and rain hard for hours.  Could the game be re-scheduled? No, volunteers  worked to drain the outfield.  Someone donated many gallons of gasoline and all the bare areas of the infield were burned to dry them.  Fresh dirt replaced the mud at the ptichers mound and the batters box. The game was on and the stands and along the foul lines were packed. Well, he pitched a two-hit shutout.

Dizzy was jubilant and proud. Paul, Jr. and Paul Thomas, representing the ball club, were guests for the national broadcast of a major league team.

I tried to find out what became of Paul. He pitched baseball, I know that.  I remember a photograph of  he, his father and uncle, with their hands being compared.  Paul, Jr. not only had a large hand but the middle finger of his right hand was very large, which was thought to help his pitching.  He was announced as a speaker at an athletic club meeting in Conway this year so he may live there.


Folks, it's not going to work that way; cuts in spending have to come from the places that get the funds, and that can include social security, medicare, medicaid, welfare and maybe food stamps and unemployment insurance. (Also, no more handouts called stimulus.)

This country is spending much more than it takes in.   Everyone agrees that we need more jobs and an improved economy which, no doubt, would bring more money into the treasury.  Jobs must come from the private sector, from companies willing to take risks.  The president and Congress seem bent on passing bills that discourage industrial expansion and the creation of jobs.  Punitive taxation and regulations are just opposite the policy we need to get the economy going.  An example is the president's stated goal to eliminate the development and use of our fossil fuels.  This is beyond stupid and smells of the president's hatred of ce

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"We are governed by liars"

Hey, wait a minute -- I didn't say it: I was quoting James Cook, CEO of a precious metals firm. He says that  notion that  the political parties will  pull off a compromise to reduce spending proves you can't believe anything coming from Washington.

I agree; what Obama is proposing, when he takes time between golf swings, is to increase spending and get the nation deeper in debt.  He wants the nation to fall off the fiscal cliff; this will help him do to us and our country the worst that socialism can do.  He knows that no matter what happens, the Republicans will be blamed.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Let's get our holiday greetings right

To my seventh grade teacher, I was an enigma to say the least.  He seemed never to be surprised at what I said or did. Once he said that if everyone was in the hall and a warning came for everyone to move to the walls, everyone would obey except me, who was against the wall and now would move into the center.

One day, about this time of year, I raised my hand to make a comment.  I said the holiday greeting was wrong --   we should say Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year.  The teacher slowly repeated what I said, shook his head, and went on to whatever he had been discussing.

I was right then and am right now.  Christmas is a holy day and should be observed happily and reverently. If you want merry making with fire works and partying, do that on New Years.  Happy Christmas and Merry New Year to all.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Redeemed -- what a wonderfu thought

How can this song by Fanny Crosby not lift a person's spirits?  I taught the Sunday School lesson again today; I thought another teacher might be able to return in December after I was called on to teach every Sunday in November.

No matter.  The lesson was taken from Paul's letter to the Ephesians where he explained that
God has chosen us and we should be counting  our blessings instead of mourning our problems.

Redeemed! - Fanny J. Crosby (hymn with words and music)