Friday, February 27, 2015

. . . and Unavoidable

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about the "selfie stick."  Seems now it has overtaken everyone, even my heroes.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Found in the Cupboard







 I have no idea.  The can is still more than half full. The object is a solid metal can with a round flip out top like the old cocoa cans.  There is no UPC on the can.  Product was manufactured in Vermont by Bread and Chocolate, Inc. currently dba Burnham and Mills.  This item is apparently no longer available.

Wonder what it tastes like?  Personally, not likely to find out.  I mean, a milk product at least half my age?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Last Period Study Hall



If you are thinking "rogues gallery" please don't do that.

Study hall is a school institution which should not exist as the only excuse for it is to serve as a holding pen for the inma... er, students.  I can testify to the veracity of this statement based on my experiences as a student who was on occasion assigned to a study hall, and upon my experience as a teacher who was occasionally assigned to monitor a study hall.  The time of teachers and students alike could be put to better use.

Go with me all the way back to a study hall to which you were assigned when you were in high school.  Are you there with me?

This particular subset of America's finest and brightest circa mid-20th century was assigned to a sixth period study hall.  Please understand that the young people pictured here were neither the officers of the National Honor Society nor were they the hoods and molls of the school in question.  The former were out running errands for the office staff or had been released early on their own recognizance or were otherwise earning brownie points or serving their community.  The latter we will get to later.

To the upper left of the collage is Blendina Faye Adamson  Upper right is James Jefferson Catt.  Below him is Mary Ann Appleman and in the fourth corner is yours truly.  Mary Ann is the only Junior in a room full of Seniors.  She could hold her own. In the center is the lucky guy who was assigned to supervise the motley crew that met each afternoon in the library.  From his appearance, you might guess that Bill Stradley is not much older than his charges, and you would be right.

Our table was east center of a very large room, and I am guessing that there were usually upward of sixty students assigned to this area from two-thirty to three-fifteen each day.  Kitty and I sat opposite each other with a girl between us on either side, arranged much as the picture above.  The table comfortably accommodated four people and their books and pens and so on.  Do not assume that the books and writing implements got much use.

Give everyone a few minutes to shuffle their stuff and settle in while Mr. Stradley takes a stroll around the room, roster in hand, checking off any absentees.  He settles at the east end of the room, ostensibly grading papers, and probably he was, for he is an English teacher.  The visiting at our table is not excessively loud, but it persists, and Mr. Stradley finally feels compelled to walk over and remind us of our "purpose" in being here.  And the fun begins.  Probably against his better judgment, Mr. Stradley very quickly finds himself immersed in our conversation, he himself being a participant.

"Kitty just installed a set of mean Stromberg 97s," said Mary Ann.
"Really?  What would a pair of those do for my Merc?"  Mr. Stradley.
Kitty squirms a little in his chair, sits up a little straighter.  "It'd fly, but you should install dual pipes and glass packs first."

The first man out the west library door put the stop down so it would stay open.  The hoods are slipping out one and two at a time as we earn our chops with them for distracting the warden.

"Would Mrs. Stradley let you do that?"  asked Blendina.
"She's okay with it," replied our teacher.  I bet you didn't know I met her at a car show, did you?"

Crackling of the loudspeaker, then "James Catt come to the office; James Catt to the office, please."

Kitty said, "Come out to the shop Saturday.  I can fix you up with those glass packs."  He got his crutches from beneath the chair, turned and swung himself up and headed out.  Kitty's lower appendages swing along with him for the ride, but it is his amazing upper body strength that propels the young Catt through his life.  His eyes are only a bit more than five feet above the floor, but his shoulders look to be five feet wide.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Time is of the Essence

"Redeem the time."  This injunction was repeatedly voiced by my male parent.  In keeping with his instruction, I have made some adaptations to my television viewing routines.  I have read after or have been told by numerous people that they save much time by recording their favorite programs, then skipping the commercials when they view.  Most seem to estimate the time saved at one-third the total length of the program.  I believe I have made a major improvement on this technique.

By recording the program then skipping the show and watching the commercials I save twice as much time as my friends save with their approach.  Additionally, another benefit accrues to me.  I get the greater amusement, for the advertisements tend to be much more entertaining than is the programming! 


This one cracks me up every time.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kate and Tommy

In Springtime, they wander through the flowers, walk in meadows, long, happy hours.  “A year this June,” Tommy said, “in yon church we will be wed.  You’ll meet me at the garden gate.  My carriage comes.  Don’t be late!”

Summer’s languid afternoon found Kate and Tommy on the ground, the picnic blanket spread, their hungry bodies to be fed.  “Not yet,” said Kate, “Mama counseled me to wait.  The pleasures of wedded life to be shared by man and wife.”  “I’ll wait 'til then, don’t be late.  Meet me at the garden gate.”

That Fall needles on the ground from dark green pine trees all around.  “Here, Love, lie with me on the duff.”  “Oh, Dear One,” said Kate, “That’s not enough.  I’ll hold and keep you evermore after we exit the church house door. I’ll meet you at the garden gate.  And, oh, Tommy, don’t be late!”

Winter's winds now harshly blow as Kate walks alone through the snow.  Her heart, though is far away for on this cold December day Tommy’s ship is hast'ning home and nevermore shall Tommy roam.  His last words to her had been, “Don’t be late; I’ll meet you at the garden gate."

And at June’s first full moon breezes aloft softly croon.  Kate in gown of white shimmering in evening’s light was waiting at half ‘til eight at end of lane, at the garden gate.

The moon is high, no longer evening; bright, starry sky.  Tommy’s horse and shay have not appeared this summer day.  Mama comes to hold Kate’s hand.  The girl sobs, “I don’t understand.  He said he’d meet me at garden’s gate; promised he would not be late.”

“Kate,” Mother said, her voice severe, “Each mid-June you have stood here.  Tommy’s ship went down, you know.  It’s time for you to let him go.  It’s now been eight long years.  Get up, sing again, and dry your tears.  Tommy cannot meet you at the gate; life marches on, and you’ll be late.

©2015 David W. Lacy

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bring on the Dueling

In an article published here a few days ago, the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton was mentioned in passing.  My sister, Vee, commented that ” [The duel] doesn’t fit my narrative of a civilized society.”  So how does the “civilization” of the American nineteenth century compare to twenty-first century America?  200 years ago a public figure shooting off his mouth, insulting an opponent, if you will, might easily lead to the offended party demanding “satisfaction.”  This in turn could well lead to a meeting on a remote river island with pistols at thirty paces.  Someone might die.

In today’s America, insults are bandied about with impunity, the press picking up the duel of words as the offended party responds with what he hopes is a greater insult than the one he received, all done under the guise of exposing the truth, of course.  The louder, then, and more extensive the words, the more the media love it and the pot boils.

200 years ago, the principals and their seconds trudge home from the dueling grounds, perhaps carrying a body, or perhaps not, and the matter is settled.

In what way is that “less civilized” than the character assassinations our current leaders engage in?  In what way is the 19th-century response less civilized than the pot-stirring public display of animosities the press and the public engage in today?

Currently, our biggest problem would be finding enough remote river islands in which to conduct the hostilities.  But perhaps on the Capitol steps in full view of the cameras?

I wonder.  I wonder how long it would take some people to gain control of their tongues and introduce some civility into their discourse were we to revert to some earlier practices.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Old Farm Revisited

Uncle Jep and Aunt Grace had been gone forty years.  I had inexplicably turned into an old man.  Without doubt, this will be my last trip through the Valley.  

My father’s youngest sister, Esther, had passed away.  The funeral was in La Junta. Aunt Esther, at 95, had lived not only long, but well.  I would have made no effort to attend the obsequies were it not for her oldest son, Hugh.  I mean, I thought highly of Aunt Esther, but she is gone.  Hugh, though, is a brother to me.  He is but six months younger than I and we grew up together.  We were best pals from the time we were five until I went to the farm to work for Uncle Jep. Hugh and I maintained our friendship throughout our lives, and now we are two old guys in their late seventies, spouses gone, and most of our friends laid to rest.

I am living in Tulsa now.  I can no longer drive, thanks to tunnel vision, but my son, Marvin, lives nearby and he was willing to make the trip.

The burial and the four-day visit were soon over, and Marv had to be back for work next week.  Hugh and I made arrangements to meet in San Antonio at Christmas.  Marvin and I were eastbound, had an early start on the day.  As we drove we chatted about the days I spent in the area in my youth.  Marvin perceived that I was waxing nostalgic, and it was he who suggested we might drive up to the old place where I had spent so many good days with Aunt Grace and Uncle Jeptha.

We neared Holly and turned north.  It was a matter of a mere three or four miles, and there was the spot.  What memories welled up as I looked around the place!  The old house where I had eaten so much of Aunt Grace's wonderful cooking and fantastic pies, where I had listened to so many of Uncle Jep's yarns, was still standing.  It was clearly well-cared for, seemed to have recently received a fresh coat of white paint.  The old cedar shingle roof had been replaced with modern red tern roofing.  The chimney at the peak of the house was gone, replaced by the PVC vent utilized by modern furnaces.  The propane tank beyond the house gave testimony to modern ways.

The old barn was gone.  In its place stood a much smaller pole barn, its blue steel siding likely to withstand the blasts of winter and the heat of summer for many decades to come. The windmill was no longer present, but a watering tank for the stock was still located where the mill once stood.  As we had passed numerous circular fields it was evident that modern irrigation was being practiced and wind power was replaced by electric power in the barn lot and by diesel fuel in the fields.

Just beyond the barn was a very sturdy pen in which was a lone Simmental bull.  Sudden mental flashback to Uncle's story about Red Hurd's purchase of a bull all those many years ago.  Beyond the bull's pen was a windbreak of Black Hills spruce extending about 10 rods to the east.  On the other side of the trees, a fenced pasture was host to about thirty head of nice cattle. 

Behind the house, we saw an old red Dodge truck, but no other vehicles.  Waal, we parked in front the house and went up to the door anyway.  Knocking brought no response, and as much as I would have liked to walk part of the property, just for old time's sake, doncha know, I wanted even more not to get arrested, or worse, shot, for trespassing.  We returned to the car and drove another three miles to the little knoll on which lay the burial plots for my Aunt and Uncle.  We parked beside the road.  With my pocketknife. I cut six pretty brown cattails from the swale.  These I carried with me to lay on the graves of my departed loved ones.  So ended our brief foray into my past.  We got back on the road and headed eastward.

Marvin was subjected to my recounting of Uncle Jep's tales for the next few hundred miles, but he was a good sport about it.



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Short Term Presidency

Pedro Lascurain was born in Mexico City in 1856.  He died in 1952 having lived a long and distinguished life.  Among his achievements was the attainment of the Presidency of Mexico, for Senor Lascurain was that nation's thirty-fourth President, serving on February 19, 1913.

Yes, Lascurain's was the shortest term ever served by a President of any nation, its duration not one day, but less than one hour!  Various accounts estimate the time at anywhere from fifteen to fifty-four minutes, with twenty-eight and forty-five minutes being the most often noted.  Apparently no one put a stopwatch on it.

Among Lascurain's achievements was a long term practice of the law to which he had been trained, director of a school of law, twice Foreign Minister under President Madero, Mayor of Mexico City, and of course, President of Mexico.

The constitutional line of succession to the Presidency was Vice President, Attorney General, Foreign Minister, then Interior Minister.  On the February day in question, Lascurain was Foreign Minister.  Enter one General Victoriano Huerta.  On this day, he overthrew Madero's government. A little intrigue to lend legitimacy to the takeover ensued.  The President, the Vice President, and the Attorney General were "persuaded" to resign.  This left our hero in line for the Presidency.

Huerta's scheme required Lascurain to be inaugurated President, then name Huerta Interior Minister, then resign, leaving Huerta to ascend to the Presidency.  Huerta offered Senor Lascurain a cabinet post, which he wisely declined and returned to his law practice.

And so it was, 102 years ago tomorrow.

References
Cronica.com.mx  (Yes, I use Google Translate.  It is better than nothing and far from perfect.)
Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Election of 1800

The presidential election of 1800 was conducted from October 31 to December 3.  At that time, each elector had two votes, ostensibly one for president and one for vice-president, but there was no distinguishing between the votes.  Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, Jr. running as Democratic-Republicans garnered more votes than did incumbent John Adams and C.C. Pinckney, Federalists. But Jefferson and Burr were tied at 73 votes each.

The determination of the country’s next President fell to the House of Representatives.  On February 17, 1801 on the thirty-sixth ballot, they elected Thomas Jefferson, and he became President at the March 4 Inaugural, with Aaron Burr becoming Vice-president.

Jefferson ultimately served two terms and history remembers him as one of the nation’s best presidents.  Burr served one term only and lives in history under a cloud, as he was tried but not convicted of treason.  Burr is also remembered for having killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel which was fought while Burr was Vice-president.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It was inevitable.


Image result for selfie stick
Prior to this week, I had never so much as heard of a "selfie stick."*  Our technology has developed to the point that we can always maintain contact with anyone, anytime, anywhere.  It has been equipped in such a way that it can be utilized to ensure that we never have to be in contact with another human creature.

So it is that since we no longer need each other, it is critical that one be able to fend for himselfie in all circumstances.  Therefore, one must be able to record the activities of the selfie. For a mere thirty bucks or so, you, too, can be the prideful owner of a selfie stick.  You may prance and preen for the camera without the assistance of another.

Now we can record every step in life
With no need for friend or wife.
Anywhere, everywhere snap a selfie
Store the memory stick on a shelfie 
For no one else gives a crappie
Now doesn't that make your ego happy?

New York City
Sunday afternoon, February 15
Newsflash

The MoMA announced today that it will impose a ban on the selfie stick on its premises.

Now there is someone who got it right.  A bold statement and a move in the right direction.

*I should have anticipated the introduction of this gizmo, for BBBH gave me a camera for Christmas which has a screen on the lens side for the express purpose of framing "selfies."  I don't know whether or not it works.



Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bedtime Chapel at St. Mattress

This was Saturday afternoon just before the total whiteout.  What you can't see in the pictures is the wind, about 70 kph.




Setting this to auto-post, going to bed, and pulling the covers over my head.  Think I may not look out in the morning.

Heavenly Father, keep us safe and warm.  Oh, Lord, hear our prayer.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fabrics


 Denim.  The WranglersTM.

 Cotton blend.  The shirt.

Acrylic.  The cardigan.

Cotton/acrylic blend.  The socks.
The casual man.


For my BBBH.

The warp, me, and the woof! you, woven together,
the fabric of our lives.

Friday, February 13, 2015

New Intersection


Barb

Disclaimer:  This is an 800-word essay, and rather inane.  Spend your time on it at your own discretion.

I dream.  I am told that everyone dreams.  This is a fact about my dreams, though.  I often remember when I awaken that I was dreaming, but I cannot remember the dream.  But occasionally the vividity of the dream impinges itself upon my waking consciousness.  Case in point.  I dreamed last night, a continuing dream with intervals of wakefulness, then back at it when sleep returned.

I am with a couple of other fellows in a park-like setting.  On the ground is a tarpaulin, and on the tarp are four porcupines.  Dead porcupines.  Unbidden and without any particular reason, we strip the quills from the animals with our bare hands.  We pile the quills on the tarp and lay the carcasses aside.  “There must be three or four pounds of quills there,” I observe.  Now I am standing there alone when my younger son walks up and says, “I see you have found my porcupines.”  Conversation reveals that he has taken up Indian-style beading and he is using quills as a part of his beadwork.

The offspring and the quills are gone, but the area is now filled with people who seem to be having a picnic.  Family reunion, I am advised.  A rather odd and seemingly arrogant fellow  a few feet away to my left is bloviating about something.  I don’t know him.  My father walks up on my right and says something I have never heard my father say, ever.  He said, “I don’t like that man.”  I inquired as to who he was, and Dad told me he didn’t know his name, which in itself is totally uncharacteristic of my parent, for he always remembered the name of anyone he ever met, but, he said, he was some sort of distant relative.

Dad is now on a go-kart, zipping away.  How droll!  Father’s behind is a mere wheel's radius and a two-inch plank away from the pavement.  And here he comes down Walnut Street, approaching Green Street.  As he enters the intersection, and Green is a through street, a car approaches from the north.  The driver sees that Dad is not going to stop, hits the brakes.  The tires skid on the pavement but clearly the car is not going to stop in time,  The driver swerves behind the go-kart, drives over the curb and through the front yard of Padgett’s home and back into the street, and goes on.  Dad, realizing he was supposed to stop is now in the middle of the street, backs his cart out of the intersection.  But he apparently has no awareness whatsoever that a car had approached him, avoided him, and went on.

Standing on the lea with a bunch of people around, someone says to me,  “You have a porcupine quill stuck in your face.”  I don’t feel a foreign object in my face, but I don’t touch my face, either, in the event that there is a quill there.  So I ask my father if he sees anything stuck in my face,  “No.”  He walks away, but then a lad of ten or eleven years walks up to me and an uncle tells me, “This boy has very keen vision.”  The boy fixes me with his peanut-butter brown eyes, looks intently into my face, and says, “You have a porcupine quill stuck in your right eyelid.”

Here I took a restroom break, and thought how silly this all was, surely glad it is over.

Then back in bed, I fell asleep again and started to fret about getting the quill out of my eyelid.  I decided I needed to see an optometrist, so I headed off toward Dr. Doi’s office.  Dr. Doi was my kids’ optometrist thirty-five, forty years ago.  I find myself in a large city. I know that his office is just across the avenue from this vast department store I am walking through. Crowded.  There are more people in here than one would find on Christmas Eve.  The doors from this level to the next open to allow a group of people through, and I rush to join them, for I know that the doors will close quickly and there will be a wait for another opening.  I get through and find myself on another level and facing another set of doors at the end of the hallway.  People scurrying, porcupine quill ever-present in my mind though I still feel no pain.  I start thinking about how the doctor will remove the thing.  I see the traffic in the street now and the office just on the other side.  Doc will turn my eyelid inside out, I imagine, grasp the barb with a tweezers, snip the quill short on the other side and pull it through.

That is what I thought he would do, and now I have told you my dream.

Yep.  It is Friday the Thirteenth.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Berkeley Defined

While Berkeley was by all appearances an excellent Golden Retriever, he had some quirks, non-retriever-like quirks.  We had a wonderful outsized Golden prior to Berkeley's time in our home from whom we learned much about the behaviors of the breed.  I wrote about Dundee here.

My earlier post advised you that Berkeley was well-behaved and properly trained.  It was not until we got to the lake place that we discovered the missing element in his training.  The dog had not been broken to leash.  When we first attached the leash to his collar he set his feet and refused to budge.  Using the choke-chain, I literally dragged the dog down the lane two or three yards, his feet cutting furrows into the gravel.  The fault was soon corrected, however, and the dog became an excellent walking companion.

I mentioned earlier that gunfire or firecrackers made the animal frantic.  And lightning?  Forget about it.  The dog would climb into the nearest lap and beg for mercy.  This was particularly annoying when the nearest lap belonged to the nonagenarian occupant of our home.  Mother was not amused; in fact, she could be described as frantic.  You get the picture.  This problem was finally alleviated when we directed the beast to the shower stall which was quite small and confining.  He found comfort and safety there, and eventually he would head to the shower whenever a thunderstorm approached.

Retrievers love the water and keeping them out of it is a challenge.  Of course, that is any retriever other than Berkeley.  He hated the water, could not abide so much as wet feet.  It was a major chore to get him into the lake for a shampoo, and a greater task to keep him in there long enough to rinse the suds out of his fur.  This phobia was abated somewhat by the spawning season of the fish in the lake.  The nature of the sunfish impelled the creature to come near the shore, fan a nest into existence in the sand where the female would lay her eggs.  In turn, the male would fertilize the roe, then stay to guard the nest until the hatchlings arrived.  This little fish swimming guard on his nest was what attracted Berkeley to the water.  He would stand transfixed for the longest time, watching the show.  But eventually it was too much and he felt obligated to take a swipe.  This got his paw wet, and eventually he decided that if he were to wade into the water he might have a better chance of catching a fish.

That was successful to the extent that his big old foot standing in the middle of fish nest was annoying to the fish.  Frantic bumping and nipping at the offending intruder resulted.  Otherwise, Berkeley failed in his attempts to catch the fish, but like all fishermen, he would return another day to engage in his sport.

It should be understood that Berkeley was not the only canine inhabitant of our domicile, as Spot was already a resident when he arrived.  They accommodated one another early on though little love was lost between them.  We had just concluded that each had accepted the other when one afternoon, having let them into the fenced yard, I glanced through the kitchen window just in time to see  that Berkeley had Spot down and was clearly intent on finishing him off.  I hollered, "Berkeley is killing Spot," and ran for the door.  I got to the animals in time to save Spot's life, but not before Berkeley had torn the scalp loose from Spot's head.

Plastered the scalp down, and it reattached, so no lasting harm.  They lived peacefully together several years thereafter until Spot's demise at the age of fifteen.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Amity









Makes us think of the "Stories" tabs at the top of the page.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Berkeley

I have written from time to time about some of the dogs in my life, from "my" dog, Jiggs, to our current dachshund, Wiener. But somehow I seem to have neglected Berkeley's story.

Berkeley, though named for the British philosopher Bishop Berkeley, was not a philosopher, or at least he never discussed such things with me.  We did, however, pronounce his name even as the stalwart Brit pronounced his, and thus it was that people, even his vet, when writing his name usually wrote "Barkley."

Ellie carried her lunch, traditionalist, in a brown paper bag.  As Springtime approached and the southern breezes wafted comfort into our surroundings, she would take her little sack outside and sit on the bench near the natatorium to partake of her sustenance.

A dog found her there.  And she shared her lunch with him.  He returned the next day, and that evening Ellie told me she would like for me to meet her lunch companion if I could get free for a couple of minutes.  I saw what was coming.  The next day I met the animal, and that evening he went home with us.

Berkeley, as we soon named him, was one hundred pounds of beautiful golden retriever.  He did not appear to be the typical underfed stray.  He was very well trained, eager to please, and completely house-broken.  We went to some lengths to find the dog's home, even advertising in the newspaper.  We got one response from a lady who told us the creature was not hers, but she had been feeding it in her back yard for a while.  She, too, had tried to find its home.  She did not desire to keep him. Berkeley was now our dog.

Some of Berkeley's behaviors helped us develop a narrative as to why such a beast would be wandering, unclaimed.  We discovered soon enough that gunfire or even firecrackers sent him scurrying, terrified, for cover.  We pictured this.  Berkeley was a retriever, after all, a sporting breed. Someone had acquired the pup, trained and nurtured him.  Then came the day he would be taught to hunt.  And when the time came for gunfire, the hopeful hunter discovered the dog's fatal flaw.  Well, it could have been fatal, but our Nimrod had a bit of a soft spot in his little heart, so he transported the dog to unfamiliar territory, told him he was on his own and released him.  This, we imagine, is how Berkeley became a valued member of our household.

I found the picture of Berkeley, and on the same page of the album I found a picture of Pig and Duck.  Remember the story of the pig that taught the duck to swim?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Can Spring Be Far Behind?



Perseverance

End of February's first week
Bright sunshine
Gentle breeze
Warmth flows across the frozen earth
Out of Season.

Teasin'.

The heart leaps! Spring is near!
Be not deceived
These latitudes are not relieved
Of winter's ice and cold
This soon.

A respite brief
Yet some relief
From long chill
Set in the bones.

We'll take it.

Then hunker down
'Twill soon be past
Prepare for next cold
Snowy blast.

We'll survive.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Revisiting 2008


We were reminded this week that Bill Murray lived through February Second over and over and over in the movie "Groundhog Day."  In keeping with the theme of reliving the past, I have dragged forward a short piece I wrote more than six years ago.

Memory and History

A couple days ago I posted a snippet titled "Nostalgia." We know that nostalgia is an unreasonable yearning for something in the past, something that cannot be. But what we don't often think about is that everything is past. What we recall, we may hold so long as we can remember. What we record is history.

Imagine a movie being played reel-to-reel. (We have to go retro tech here for the imagery.) The top reel is the future, the lower reel, the past. As the film flicks by the lens the present is revealed, in this case, 1/24th of a second for each frame. But the present can actually be defined by infinitely smaller units: nanoseconds. Nay, even less for instantly the "present" is the past.*  We cannot see the future. We may anticipate it, contemplate it, fantasize about it or even plan for it. But we cannot live it. Only the briefest of instants compose our present experience.

We cannot live in the past; it is gone. But we may remember it, recall it, relate it, thereby relegating yet more of our "present" to the past. What is your life without memory?

For all that philosophers and physicists may expound on this "time" we have, it is just as simple as we have limned herein and just as complex as our memories allow.

Are you making any memories? Are you making history?
Is your hand in the hand of the Eternal Guide?

*I think that, carried to its logical conclusion, this line of reasoning proves that there is no "present" and by extension, you do not exist.  But this is not a course in philosophy.  Draw your own conclusions.
Footnotes, 2015.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Happy Anniversary, BB!

Fifteen years ago today, BBBH and I stood in front of Pastor Herring, a great cloud of witnesses behind us.  We said. "I do," and the rest is history.  Fifteen years of adventures, togetherness, travels, pleasures, and pains.  Together.

And that makes it all good.  Have we both been deliriously happy, sitting firmly on Cloud Nine during every waking moment?  Be serious.  Do we have joy in sharing our lives with each other?  Yes.  Okay, speaking for myself, yet I believe we both participate in that joy.









I write hundreds of words nearly every week, yet this is a summary of all I have to say:  I love you, JoAnn.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Many Years' Trip from South Bend to Perfect


I had just stopped for the light when this pretty little blue Avanti made a left in front of me and parked on the street behind me.  Now, normally I might have swung around the block to stop and get a better look, but it was cold and I was in a bit of a hurry.  Why would a man of my advanced years be in a hurry?  Waal, one never knows how long he has left.  But I digress.

I knew that the light was a 150 second wait from my position, so I grabbed the camera and snagged this shot.  Seems the lady on the sidewalk found the vehicle to be of interest, too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Random Doodles and Stuff





































I keep a clipboard with a pad of 8.5 x 11 paper thereon close at hand, for one never knows when something of critical importance may impinge itself on the consciousness.

Of course, if you know me at all you are aware that "close at hand" means just out of sight or out of reach when the occasion for need arises, and thus my forgetter wins again.

The evidence before your eyes demonstrates that the clipboard is not always out of reach.

I shall look at this with you, lest you attempt to bicycle-analyze me.

This sheet has been in use for about a week.  It reminds me of a random  page in my notebook that I might have used during a class session in college, say Psych 254.  But that is neither here nor there.

In the upper left, there are several notes I jotted as I read the local newspaper.  These are the items that put me in a funk a week or so ago.  Remember?  In an attempt to balance the bad news, I jotted the "good news" in the upper right corner.  Note my conclusion: "Good news is no news."

What annoyed me?  The 63/30 notation is in reference to an article that told us that the tax review board had allowed a reduction in property taxes for a Meijer store in a nearby county.  This was allowed based on the "dark store theory," notwithstanding that the facility is in full operation.  Thus, it will be taxed as though it is an empty and disused warehouse.  Worse, the county may have to reimburse millions to the behemoth that owns the store for previous tax payments, not to mention the perpetual loss of half-million dollars a year in the future.

If allowed to stand, the door is open for builders to demand application of "dark store theory" to new construction, averring that a building is obsolete upon completion.   Grrr and growl.

The next item is in reference to a bill which has been introduced in the state legislature which if it becomes law will allow the construction of enclosed hunting preserves.  You know.  Raise in confinement and hand-feed game animals then enclose them in a pen with high fences and allow the "sports" to hunt them with rifles.

When I resided in the West, we went into the mountains to hunt game.  Surrounding the habitat were hundreds of square miles of wide open spaces.  Also, we were hunting because we wanted to eat.  It would not be appropriate for me to express how I really feel about this proposal, the people who made it, and the people who would exploit it.  Nevermind. I'm mad now.

The house at the bottom you have seen.  It is the sketch of the first house my first bride and I occupied.  The "church," the "dog," and other stuff thereabouts represents the scribbles I made as I was taking a break from organizing my tax papers.

The next morning I scribbled a part of Shakespeare's "He who steals trash," (Iago) and I do know the missing lines in the middle.  That may have been a follow-up to the discovery that someone apparently stole my registration papers for the vehicle which are normally tucked behind the visor on the driver's side.  Now why would anyone do that?

And so on and so forth, enough is enough.

If you embiggen the picture, it is quite legible, but not, alas, enlightening.






Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tehe. :o)

The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified February 3, 1913.

If you think that had little bearing on your personal life, think IRS.  Think April 15.  Think 1040.

Btw, have you received all your 1099s and so forth?

You're welcome.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Give of your best

A few days ago I posted a photo of the Christmas cactus, wrote a short blurb, and concluded with
"The plant has been moved, repotted, overwatered, underwatered, chopped back, broken and otherwise abused over the years.  It is at least forty-three years old."

I thought at the time that there was a life lesson there, but I wasn't writing a devotional or self-help article.  So now I choose to revisit the statement in order to extrapolate a lesson.

As we face life, planted where we live and work, perhaps not always by our choice, moved about by the buffeting of life's winds, abused, disrespected, under-appreciated, it might be all too easy to lie down and give it up.

Like the plant, though, it is up to us to persevere, blooming when we can, brightening the corner where we are, as the song suggests.  If you feel it is not worth it to do it for yourself, do it for others.  Therein lies life's true joys anyway.

Happy February First!