Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jessica arrives Thursday night

Jessica completed her finals at Duke Seminary today and needs only to finish writing a 20-page paper to close her second year at Duke. Jessica will fly home Thursday night but will barely have time to take a breath. She and Jen will participate in "Paint Your Heart Out" Saturday morning and leave for Baton Rouge that evening.

While in Baton Rouge Jessica will have separate meetings with three Methodist ministers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sort of a defence of Kerry

John  Kerry, secretary of state, is in trouble because of some politically incorrect statements  he made concerning Israel.  Basically, Kerry declared that Israel had a choice-- either agree to two nations or have a country practicing apartheid.

Ordinarily I would enjoy Kerry's problems (I don't like him) but this is a serious matter.   Will we ever have peace in the Mideast?  Does Israel practice apartheid?  Support for Israel in the United States is so strong that I could be in trouble just for listing some of the conditions in that country, but here goes:   

     Arabs make up one-fifth of the population but do not have the right to vote.
     Some roads can be traveled only by Jews.
     No right of free speech or assembly.
     Arrest and imprisonment without trial..      

Israel controls all Palestinian borders and all movement between towns and cities.    

Jimmy Carter was the first to declare some of the conditions as apartheid.   This no complete statement on behalf of either side, but both must give up some things to attain peace.          

Monday, April 28, 2014

Brighten pushes his cozy coupe

                                           Brighton at 13 months

Friday, April 25, 2014

I cause Saipan to be put on alert

The battle for Okinawa  waged fiercely with many casualties daily, including native Okinawans as well as Americans and Japanese.  USS Pickens, no longer able to contribute, returned to Saipan. I think it was during this time that I caused forces on the islands and every ship to be put on alert.

I was not on duty but I walked into the radar shack and turned on the surface search radar.  I picked up a plane heading slowly our way.  I flipped the switch for IFF and saw the plane had no identification. I assumed the plane was returning from a bomb run over Tokyo where it had been damaged.  Still, it was my duty to report it and let some one above me decide what action to take.

Immediately, General Quarters was sounded and everyone, on land and ship, had to man battle stations. The plane continued toward us and was identified as powerful lights were turned on, showing a damaged B-29.

Jessica prepares for finals

The week Duke allows to prepare for final exams ended Friday and finals will begin Monday.  Jessica found time to have breakfast with the visiting Louisiana Methodist bishop  and to practice for a triathlon she will compete in three weeks from now.  Before that she will take part in a 10K race this weekend and will spend some days visiting us at home.

The triathlon consists of biking, running and swimming.  Jessica has beee training hard for the swimming part and swam 36 laps in the pool this week.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bob Dole -- stuff it

I have admired Bob Dole at times, even appreciated his acerbic wit, but he is out of order in his statement that Rand Paul does not have the experience to be president.  Dole may have a valid point but he is hurting the Republican party and its stand for limited government.

Let me  ask one question -- are we satisfied with the job our so-called experienced administration is doing?
Take the economy for example.  Canada has a tax policy friendly to industry and its middle class is doing well.  We are doing every thing possible to hurt the economy and our middle class is hurting.  We must do the right things, like reduce the corporate income tax, and jobs will be created.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A shared birthday

England's Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 88th birthday Monday, April 21, four months before I will reach 88 on August  21.

Certainly, neither birthday is of world-shaking importance, but it reminded me of something I had long forgotten.  I shared a birthday with the late Princess Margaret, who died at age 71 in 2002.  We were both born on August 21.

This was pointed out to me by a man who studied  the Homer band calendar, which had thousands of birthdays noted, each costing ten cents.  Some people not only gave their family names but  added the names of pets and toys. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fun with the parking meter reader

A year two after the end of World War 11,  Homer joined many other small towns in installing parking meters in their downtown business district. In Homer that was the court house square. 

Some people didn't take to the meters happily; in fact the meter reader often was the victim of anger from the unfortunates who were ticketed.  On many occasions the response was more fun than anger.  Such was the case of some elderly men, mostly retired farmers, who hung out at a corner drug store.

One  day after a ticket had been issued. the victim, a retired farmer, tossed a bale of hay in front of the meter man and said, "Here, I've paid my fine."  The meter reader  responded, "What can I do with a bale of hay?  I don't have a horse and I don't have any  cows."

The farmer said, "I expect you to eat it, you damned ass."

Happy Easter

Have a happy and reverent Easter as we observe the anniversary of Christ's resurrection.

Friday, April 18, 2014

We attend Last Supper drama

Helping to make the meaning of Easter clearer was   the presentation of the Living Dramatization of Leonardo da Vinci's the Last Supper before a near capacity  audience at Christ United Methodist Church Thursday evening.

The supper of Christ and his disciples features Jesus declaring that one of his disciples will betray him to the Romans.  Each disciple tells some of hia  experiences with Jesus and ends by asking who would betray him, asking "Is it I?"

Christ is arrested, forced  to carry the cross and is left hanging on the cross as the drama ends.  This same drama was presented several years ago with our son Josh as Jesus on  Palm Sunday and in the play,

I Attend meeting honoring veterans

I have just returned home after attending the luncheon honoring  veterans, former  prisoners of war, former missing in action, and purple heart recipients in   Hoban Hall on Barksdale Air Force Base. Among those attending were two survivors of the Death March and Louisiana's most decorated veteran.

Recognized were veterans of World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, and current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Principal speaker was General Charles "Hondo" Campbell.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Veterans to be recognized Friday

Veterans of the Korean War will get special recognition during a ceremony on Barksdale Air Force Base Friday.  Ofter thought of as the "forgotten war" because it followed closely the end of World War II, its veterans do not get the support they deserve, unless they served in WW II and were called back into service.

The meeting will recognize all veterans and will include speeches and  lunch.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

That wonderful tax day is here

Here it is, Tax Day, the final day to pay federal income taxes without penalty or  interest, unless you have filed for an extension.

The day when we filled out the tax forms by hand and rushed to the post office to get a postmark before midnight are gone for most of us.  We give up solving complicated forms and dump all our records on a professional tax preparer or resort to purchasing a service to be used on the computer.
 and filed electronically.

I hope everyone has finished filing and can enjoy Holy Week.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sinking of the Yamato

Fierce fighting on land, sea and in the air continued after the attack on Easter Sunday 1945.  About a week  into the battle we learned that the Yamato, the world's most powerful ship, had departed Japan and was on a suicide mission to save Okinawa.

Principal duty of the Pickens at this time was serving as a hospital ship. While our days were spent this way, at night we would make smoke and leave the area.  Planes were ordered to leave and ships were ordered to fire on any plane that flew.  Even though we knew the United States forces would handle the Yamato, we could not help but  be nervous.  After all, this was the world's most powerful ship and had been held in reserve by the Japs.

Task Force 58 met the ship and sank it with 12 bombs and 7 torpedos.  This was planned suicide; the men had been told they would not return and the ship had only enough fuel for a one-way trip.

     (Designed  to be twice as large as any other battleship, the Yamato was built in secret.  It displaced 72,000 tons and was 862 feet long.  Armaments included nine 18.l inch guns.  For comparison the Missouri displaced 45,000 tons and carried nine 16-inch guns.)


Friday, April 11, 2014

Brandeis -- Where's my degree?

I haven't heard from Brandeis University about  my honorary degree.  The degree process got fouled up last year and I was passed  over, but surely  I was to be honored this year.  I recognize that mistakes can be made. Something went wrong and they changed their minds on giving recognition to some woman who exposed the abuse  of women by radical Muslims.  Despite my many accomplishments, I have never  done or said anything controversial.

I may have to wait until next year.  You will be surprised to learn that Brandeis is not the only university that has yet to honor me.  I have not been awarded a degree by Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, Oklahoma A&M, or  Slippery  Rock. That's hard to believe, is it not?    

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Palm Sunday -- Jesus is triumphant

The streets of Jerusalem were crowded with people from Israel and displaced Jews from other nations who had come to observe Passover. Down the streets came a man  riding on a donkey.  At first a hush came from the crowds, soon followed by cries of  adulation.

Jesus was recognized by many as the compassionate teacher who traveled the towns and villages of Palestine,   teaching about the kingdom of God,   healing the sick and giving sight to the blind.  The people greeted him with love, calling out "Hosanna, Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord." They spread their coats on the ground and and paved his way with palm branches.

Jesus knew the terrible events that would befall him but today was a day of triumph, a time when he was greeted by the common  people expressing their love and appreciation for him. Yes, he would face trial and crucifixion  but today he was a king.  Later  we would observe this day as Palm Sunday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Win or lose, students riot

Is basketball the new soccer where games end in riots?   Win or lose doesn't seem to matter -- Connecticut riots after winning the NCAA  basketball championship.  A few days earlier the University of Arizona had a riot after losing a game.

Maybe, it is just that time of the year. Some students  rioting at Iowa State  University said they were rioting because they are bored.  If final exams are tough enough, they will have no time to misbehave.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Moonshining long ago

We were searching for a cow that had broken the fence and wandered off when we passed by the rear of a shed and ran up on a strange collection of machinery. "What the heck is that," I asked.   "The remains of a still,:" Daddy answered.  The family that lived there had been our neighbors for years and had
 operated a small farm. Among other thoughts,  I wondered if our friends knew their dad had a still..

Making whiskey was nothing new in the community, but I was surprised and somewhat shocked.  The federal government  appeared to rate making untaxed liquor a worse crime than murder.  Most people I knew didn't look at it that way.

I was a fairly small boy when I heard some men at church laughing about a neighbor who had been tricked by a federal agent in to exposing his operation.  The fed praised his operation so much the moonshiner said, "You think that's something; let me just show you what I've got."  He then  revealed his entire stock of moonshine and lost it all.

I don't recall how the whiskey maker fared in court  if it ever got that far.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A slap in the face from Iran

In the worst insult  to America ever, Iran is sending a former terrorist to the United States to serve as Iran's  United ambassador to the United  Nations.  The nominee -- Hamid Aboutalebi --  was one of the terrorists who participated in the imprisonment of American diplomats  for 444 days in 1979.

Is our president and our State Department so cowardly and weak  that we will accept this deliberate insult? In Obama's negotiations with Iran, he gave up sanctions and allowed Iran's leaders to boast they got everything they wanted from a weak president.

Will Congress and the American people stand  by  while the Obama administration accepts  another slap in the face, allowing the world to see  the United States as weak and not to  be trusted?  I have no faith that we will act forcefully and gain respect.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Where are Sarah's kittens today?

After 22 years Sarah should accept that her home is in the garage not the house.  But she never gives up.  We feed her near the front door and each time she makes an effort to slip by and get into the house.  Even when she  succeeds she is forced out immediately.

I often wonder if Sarah knows she is a cat and not a dog.  She has adopted as meal times 8 in the morning and 6 in the evening.  If her food is not provided at those times, she whines and cries until she gets what she wants.

Why am I talking about Sarah?  I was wondering where her sons and daughters are now after 20 years.Furthermore, does Sarah often think about her former kittens and wonder how they fare today?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

That Easter Sunday 1945

The sun dawned bright that Easter morning April 1, 1945. Every ship in the huge armada had been at battle stations since 5 a.m,when out of the sun came the kamikaze, planes flown by Japanese pilots on a mission to die attacking  American ships.

I was in the radar shack trying to detect the planes as they came in skimming the top of the ocean. Out ship, the USS Pickens, APA 190, was second in line behind the USS Hinsdale, APA 120, in a column of transports carrrying the Second Marine Division.

Suddenly, hell was was unleashed; Japanese planes attacked   like flies on jam. At around 5:50 a.m. a plane hit the Hinsdale near the waterline, exploding and creating several holes.  A plane headed for us but hit the mast of an LST, fell to the deck and exploded, setting off  several explosions of ammunition,

The Pickens put boats in the water and picked survivors off the Hindale and LSTs 724 and 884,  Flag officers transferred from the Hinsdale to the Pickens.

That Easter Sunday was the beginning of the largest sea-land battle in history.  Navy casualties exceeded those of the Army and Marines combined.  In fact, one seventh of all Navy casualties of World War 11 were suffered at Okinawa.

Talk to a navy veteran who was at Okinawa and slated to invade Japan and he will say something like  "Mr. Truman saved my life," or, "Dropping the atom bomb saved my life."