Sunday, August 30, 2015

Yes, we have no bananas

"People on the Street" is a regular front-page below-the-fold feature in the Saturday edition of our local daily, The Tipton County Tribune.  Yesterday's question was "What's your favorite vegetable?"

The reporter sought out children ages eight to ten to whom she posed the question.  Before reporting the children's responses the writer offered several  "tips" on getting the kiddies to eat their veggies.  The moment I read the question my answer came to mind.  But first the children.

Kaiye, age 10, said, "Broccoli raw with Ranch dip.  Green is my favorite color and broccoli is green.

Paul, age 8: "My favorite  vegetable is apples.  I eat them raw.  I really like the flavor of apples.

Eric, age 9 said,  "I like carrots because my parents said they are really good for your eyes.  I like carrots raw or cooked."

McKae, age 10 replied, "Carrots are my favorite vegetable.  I don't like any other vegetables.  I eat carrots raw or cooked. "

Maelee, age 10: " I really like the flavor of carrots.  I like to eat them raw."

Now Me, age ancient:  Potatoes.  My guess is that potatoes are the favorite vegetables of more than seventy percent of the American people, young and old.  But they are so commonplace, so ubiquitous, so served at every meal that people don't think of them as vegetables.

Baked, boiled, fried, mashed, hashed, in the soup, in the goop, scalloped, Au gratin, so long as they are not rotten, french fries, potato chips, smack your lips.

And yet these youngsters picked broccoli (20%) and carrots (60%).  I don't know what to say about the 20% who said apples.  But I like apples, too.  My guess is that in a cold survey among people who have not read my little article that while the favorite for more than 70% really is potato, fewer than 5% would answer "potato."

I think we become so accustomed to our preferences that we sometimes jump the rails when confronted with a head-on question regarding them.  And I'd bet McKae eats french fries.

As nearly as I can determine from my extensive (three-minute) research, the potato is, in fact, the number one vegetable in the United States by consumption.  The tomato is second, thanks to a government fiat declaring it a vegetable and primarily, I suspect, due to the enormous consumption of pizza in America.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Scooters


BBBH has waited if not patiently then desperately for her scooter to be operational.  Friday afternoon a trip to Kokomo, a lightening of the wallet to the tune of forty-five bucks for the part, a few minutes of time back home, and voila! she is a happy camper again.
The news is less encouraging on mine.  I'll probably have to ramp the thing onto the camper, cart it to Grandpa* who knows more than I do.  About scooters, that is.







*He calls himself "Grandpa" and the name of his business establishment is "Grandpa's."  But he's not as old as I.  By a few months.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

No Letter Today


The mail receptacles along our block are pretty much the standard you've-seen-one-you've-seen-them-all sort.  Most have a newspaper box on or near the post.  Quite ordinary stuff.

Some of the denizens, though, have undertaken to liven things up a bit, a little decor, in a manner of speaking.  This one is ours spruced up, or more accurately, yarrowed up with a bit of greenery and pretty white flowers most of the summer.



 This is the neighbor to the south.  Rocks and RoundupTM.
The neighbor next door eschews frivolity, lets the lawn grow around his post.  But the neighbor two doors to the north has the winning display in my opinion.  Perhaps my liking for portulaca influences this judge's selection.  For years in my prior residence we had a rose moss ground cover in the front yard flower bed.  Ir reseeded itself every year and thus required little maintenance.

The lady at this residence says she has no such luck.  She resets the bed each year.  It is a bit past its peak right now, but portulaca is so colorful and varied yet so uniform in height that one has to admire it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Butterflies and Heroes

A typical Millennial, she was not the least bit interested in anything that happened before her lifetime.  How could she have been?  The world did not exist before  her birth, nor would it survive after her demise. She is the world, there is none else, only transient and ephemeral players provided as if from her own imagination solely for her own pleasure and amusement.

The Butterfly Syndrome.  They are born, cocooned, break from their chrysalis, flit through an unthinking and unsatisfying life, seeking entertainment only, having no concept of the needs of others, nor indeed any concept of the existence of others outside the parameters of the above described amusement.

This could be an accurate portrayal of today's youth.

But it is not, for although there are those in this generation and there have been in every previous generation those who fit the stereotype there are many, perhaps many more who are caring, selfless, concerned for others; those who are determined to make a contribution to the greater good and not to themselves alone.

Most of these young people perform admirably, noticed by few.  Occasionally some of them take extraordinary action, achieving a purpose rising to the level of heroism  Such an example we saw this week in the three young Americans riding a fast train in France.  Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone, and Alek Skarlatos found themselves unexpectedly at the center of a potential disaster when they disarmed and overpowered  a gunmen intent on murder and mayhem.  Rehearsing the story here would be redundant, for it has been widely aired, as is meet.

Yes, we see much that is disheartening and discouraging.  But I am not yet ready to concede that the human race is doomed.  There is hope.

Word of the day: ephemeral

The italicized clause in the opening paragraph is from The Festival of Insignificance, a novel by Milan Kundera.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tales of Two Insects

The damselfly entered our abode for no good reason other than that we had left the door open.  It did not know what it was getting into and unfortunately it did not find its way out.

We heard the creature whirring here and there in the living room and caught an occasional glimpse of a blur as it darted back and forth.  But we could neither identify nor capture it.

The next morning we found the creature dead on our living room carpet.  It had exhausted itself no doubt seeking an egress from the prison into which it had wandered.

Entirely too many people, lured by the inviting open doors of temptation, wander into a morass from which they cannot extricate themselves.  They may beat themselves into a frenzy seeking escape, but cannot find the way out.  God offers hope and a way of escape.

Psalm 40 I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me,  and heard my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. --KJV


In late afternoon's sunlight we found this cicada on the concrete driveway.  It was immobile and had the appearance of lifelessness.  But as I touched it gently its front leg twitched.  I picked it up and it immediately grasped my finger.

Clearly the creature had just emerged from its exoskeleton and was awaiting the drying of its wings so that it could begin its adventures as a winged insect.

Luckily it was I who found him and not a squirrel.  I placed him on a tree limb five feet above the ground.  Perhaps he will mate and procreate, thus providing insects and singing for us again in 2032.

Perhaps I have an over-active imagination, but I think the images on this beastie's back bear a striking resemblance to a Tlingit or Haida totem pole.  Maybe the totem was carved in imitation of the cicada.

Word of the day: egress.

Home :: Alaska Totem Poles :: Fog Woman Wall Hanging Totem Pole
I saw the "totem" on the cicada's back then found this image.
You may read the Tlingit legend of Fog Woman here.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hair Then and Now

Did anyone notice that my profile picture had changed to this?  This resulted from computer upgrades, loss of previous picture (temporarily) and a stab-in-the-dark attempt to find a replacement.

This photo takes twenty-one years off my physiognomy.  It was made in 1994.  BBBH does not like it and I like to think it is because of the facial hair,1 not because she wouldn't have liked me in '94.  But she did not know me then.


 
So, because she did not like it, and because I am a prince of a guy, I found the picture of the old me, the now me, and reverted back to this identifier.
                                                













If you could take twenty-one years off your appearance would you do it? I know some people who have made  the attempt.2  Pretty good results, too, so long as the collar is buttoned high and the sleeves go to the wrist.

I would not do it.  Yes, I know I look my age, crinkles and ridges and warts and all, and I am okay with that.  Besides I don't like pain.  Or unnecessary expenditure of resources.  Or who people might think I thought I was, doing such a thing.  Can't you just hear it?  "Who does he think he is?"

    
"As a beauty I'm not a great star. Others are handsomer far; but my face -- I don't mind it because I'm behind it; it's the folks out in front that I jar."  --A.H. Euwer, also attributed to Woodrow Wilson, and I heard my dad quote this from the time I was a boy.
                                         
Word of the day: physiognomy

1The goatee was grown as a part of Tipton's Sesquicentennial celebration.  It was shaved in the public square by Dave Hartley.of Hartley's Hair Salon.
2Did you hear about the plastic surgeon who could install a device in the scalp so that one could insert a clock key and get an instant tuneup?



Friday, August 21, 2015

Kaffeeklatsch




This post is dedicated to Chuck as a follow-up to his coffee tutorial yesterday.  Read it here.
I am a master dues-paying member of this group .  Join us if you will.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Whiplash

I went from an elementary student myself on Tuesday to principal of an elementary school on Wednesday. That is a time warp that will give you whiplash.  So where today?

August 20, 2050.  My great-great-great grandson will start school today.  Of course brick-and-mortar, steel-and-glass schools exist only in the memories of a very few and dwindling number of people alive today. Books are remembered primarily as resource-wasting cumbersome items that required more storage space than the archaic and now useless knowledge contained in them merited. Of course, too, people had functional limbs called "legs" which enabled them to move from place to place.  Imagine that.  Well, how silly, and again wasteful of resources when all sustenance can so easily be piped into the cell in which this youngster lives; all waste and detritus piped out.  Knowledge, learning, lore: piped in through the ether.


Now imagine the first day of school.  It cannot be done.  Our history and understanding will not allow us to comprehend the world in which our progeny will live a mere three decades down the road.  Doubt me?  Think back three decades.  Do you have 1985 fixed in your mind? Now how does today look compared to that time?  Recognition through memory only and today's children cannot conceive of the primitive lifestyles we practiced a mere thirty and forty years ago, nor can we imagine the world of the really quite near future.

Of course, blessedly I won't be here to see 2050.

Ciao.

Word of the day: progeny.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Margot Goes to Kindergarten

Little Margot sat primly at the table.  The pink bow tied her long honey-colored ponytail, the perfect accent to the pink-on-white polka dot pinafore she wore.  Margot's hands were folded atop the table and she listened intently as Miss Roz was giving first-day instructions to the new kindergarten class.  It was a bright, hot August day outside, but the whir of the air conditioning fans overhead promised comfort in the classroom.

The table accommodated five scrubbed and enthusiastic, or frightened, or subdued children and Curtis.  Miss Roz knew within moments of the day's opening exercises that Curtis would be a handful.  What she had yet to learn was that Tina, seated next to Margot and across from Curtis would,  over time, make Curtis appear to be angelic, in a manner of speaking.

Curtis was jumping in and out of his chair grabbing pencils and books that did not belong to him.  Miss Roz, not yet frazzled,  was making a valiant effort to corral the tyke. Tina leaned toward Margot and said, "That is the ugliest dress I ever saw."  Margot, stunned, never said a word, but a tear formed in the corner of her left eye.  And Tina said, "Why don't you cut off that awful hair?  It looks like throw-up down your back."  The floodgates opened and Margot's cheeks were inundated with tears.  She turned toward Miss Roz, but Miss Roz had heard what was going on.  She, too sweetly Margot thought, chastised Tina and asked her to apologize.  Tina turned to Margot again and said, "I'm sorry you can't take a joke, you skinny stick.  Bet your mama starves you so she can eat it all herself, the fat pig."

Margot turned full in her seat, faced Tina, put her pointer finger within an inch of Tina's nose and said, in a clear voice, "You're just a little shit."


This is essentially a true story, especially the last line which is a completely accurate quote.  I have lived to see Margot elected to the local Board of Education. Names changed of course to mask the identities of the real-life participants in this little tableau.

Word of the day: pinafore
 © 2015 David W. Lacy

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Memorable Christmas


It was perhaps the year I was nine though more likely when I was eight. I am thinking eight because that was the year I was in grade three, the year I had the tonsillectomy, the year I missed nearly as many days of school as I attended; the year the teacher had no name.  Okay, she had a name, I suppose, but I cannot remember it.  I may have erased her the day she smacked the back of my hand with the ruler, which is about the only thing I remember about her.

This account is written in the first person whereas in most of my school tales I have identified myself as "The Boy."  This is not a school tale as such.  This particular year as the Christmas wish book arrived from Monkey Wards I began to dream my Christmas dreams.  And I wanted one thing under the tree this year.  This item was so precious, so dear in cost, that I knew to dream of more things besides would place me squarely in the realm of fantasy.  I wanted This. One. Thing.

A Wood Burning Set.

I had never used such a thing.  So far as I know I had never even seen such a thing but Montgomery Ward told me it existed.  And that I needed it.  Lust began.  But dare I hope?  Well, I did.  Hints dropped, days passed.  Hints became less subtle to the point that even Father knew what his only son wanted.

Then Christmas came, as Christmas will.  Sister and I, still p.j. clad, rushed to the tree, and behold there was a package for me which approximated the size I imagined would contain

My Wood Burning Set.
And it did!

I played with that thing a bunch yet no memorable events occurred, neither untoward accident nor fantastic creation.  No physical mementos of my efforts survive.  If I created anything no one remembers it nor do I.

And eventually I did not use The Gift  anymore.

But what do we say about kids and their toys, and the boxes they came in?



Word of the day: tonsillectomy

Happy birthday to my beloved daughter, Ivanelle, aka Ivy.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Old Machinery


I attended the Mid-America Threshing and Antique Show again this year.  I have rather made it an annual excursion, inasmuch as the venue is just a nice bike ride from home.

In the past I have shown you tractors and steam mills at work.  This year my camera concentrated on badging.  Here is some of what it saw.




















 The A Model gets a full-vehicle shot.


Word of the day: badging

Sunday, August 16, 2015

In the Woods

Last week we had a wonderful time with the CCF pals at Ouabache (correctly say "wah bash," or if asking directions of a convenience store clerk, "oh BOTCH ee") State Park in Bluffton, Indiana.

Bicycle riding has long been one of her pleasures, but BBBH has not been able to do that for some time.  She was delighted to be able to take a spin in the park.  We were not on the trail a long time, but it was a good ride and we enjoyed it.



 Pretty fungi at the base of many trees near our campsite.
 

The denim fabric on my knee.  Lots of sitting around.

 BBBH leads us in singing.

Harvey teaches from The 91st Psalm.

 Old people in their natural habitat.

Psalm 91:14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Overshare

I was browsing through stuff I once saved on an old hard drive.  Don't ask.


Examples:




Seventeen undocumented pomegranates were found in a pickup truck stopped by FDA agents on highway 31.


Mrs. Winthrop prepared deep-fried immigrants for dinner.


The greengrocer was fined ha’quid, tuppence for displaying purple eggplant and red tomatoes.


Multitasking for me is ignoring more than one thing at a time.




“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ~Isaac Asimov

Word of the day: ignorance

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Caravan Cookstove

Throwback Thursday

I have mentioned, perhaps a long time ago, that I write this blog primarily for my own entertainment and that I am gratified if you find pleasure in it, too.

I do go back through the archives on occasion, as you have no doubt inferred from the occasional "reposts."  I found this one recently, liked it enough to bring it forward.  From November 2011.

Pawing around in the loose pictures box yields not only images, but memories. This may be the principal reason for taking photos and snapshots of people. The examples here were taken in the fall prior to our marriage in February. The little lady checking her watch there in the kitchen may have wondered why I had yet to arrive. Well, as you can see, the refrigerator has morphed into a Dodge Caravan, against which I am leaning. I am enjoying a beautiful fall evening and who knows what I am thinking? I don't even remember.

This may have been the very evening during which she asked me to marry her. At any rate, it is all the beginning of something good, something exciting, and so far, something lasting.
Might I say it is all good? I might, but is there such a thing as any marital relationship in which it is all good? In this instance, it started out good and just gets better and better!



Word of the day: inferred



















Wednesday, August 12, 2015

OS:? Oh, yes.

I have an eye-dee ten tee problem.

Speaking of ten, I chose yesterday to download a new OS.  I have been quite happy with Windows 7 and have become familiar with it, warts and all.  I like it.

So I was advised that Windows 10 would enhance my computing experiences, I would "love it," in today's vernacular.

I am an idiot.

If I go to a "restore point" just prior to the download, will I get my "7" back or am I, again in the vernacular, screwed?

Ta ta da!  Got "7" back.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Shake it Off

Excuse me.  Over here.  Hey! I'm talking to you.

It was that Krup character again.

"I have been in the back of your mind for nearly six years now.  I have begged you, pleaded to be put into a tale suited to my character and abilities.  Still, you do not write me up."

"Okay, Uggy.  Here's the deal. It is true that I cannot get you out of my head.  but I have come to an understanding as to the reason I cannot create and relate the adventures you so ardently crave.  I will explain it in hopes that you will quit pestering me..

"I have thought about my writing, volumes of it now, and I realize that one thing is common to virtually every piece I create.  Each story, or tale, or account of events is based on something that I have lived, or experienced, or observed for myself.  So why am I not able to create your life?  It is precisely because I have never had, nor is it likely that I ever will have, an understanding of what it means to have, to be responsible for, to even conceive of what it must be like to have the kind of resources you have.  Annual income in the 'upper seven digit range.'  Give me a break

"So lacking the requisite experience, how could I possibly create your story?  Get lost, already."

"C'mon, man.  I'll tell you my story.  You can be my amanuensis."

"Don't whine, Krup.  It's not becoming.  'Bye."

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Denomination Matters

Friday I mentioned that I had met a gentleman from East Tennessee.  This is Sunday and needs a Sunday story, a church story or a sermon.  Today I am going with the story.  The man said
My mama is eighty-two years old now, lives in the same house she has lived in for the past fifty years.  Mama attended a little church down the street which had operated on its corner of the village for more than a hundred twenty-five years.  But the church was dying, attendance shrinking, until only a handful of the old guard remained.  Well, six, seven years ago the inevitable happened.  The church closed its doors and my mama was devastated.  Wringing her hands and near tears she said to me, "What am I to do? That place has been my spiritual home for fifty years."
"Why, Mama," I said, "all you have to do is walk right straight across the street to that fine church just opposite your front door."
"But that's a Christian Church.  I have been a Baptist all my life, and I'm not about to become a Christian now!" 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Grandma, meet Grandma

I met a man the other day who said he was from East Tennessee.  I told him my mama's people were from East Tennessee.  Something in common.  We shared a few stories.  I told him an abbreviated version of this one.

My mother's uncle, her mother's youngest brother, married my mother's daddy's first cousin, a relationship which has no bearing whatsoever on the story, but it is interesting and something for you to puzzle over.  Mama's cousin, a granddaughter of this couple, told me this story many years after both the elders had passed.  She said
I did not know my grandmother chewed tobacco  until many years after her death. Grandpa and Grandma had dressed for an ocasion and Grandpa had gone ahead, was sitting behind the wheel of the car waiting, as men are wont to do.  Grandma came to the car, opened the door and got into the seat.  She reached back, pulled the door closed and died.  Grandpa realized she was gone and reached over, tenderly removed the chaw from her mouth.
Grandma was fifty-five years old.
My new acquaintance then shared this tale.
Our family has a big ol' reunion in the hills ever' summer. Always have eighty, hundred or more people.  To raise funds to continue the tradition we have an auction every year, the items mostly being family trinkets or heirlooms which get returned to the sale time and time again.  The item that brings in the most cash, ever' year for the past several years, is Granny R's spitcan.  She was the matriarch of the clan and has been gone now for twenty years.  Last year the can brought seven hundred dollars! 
Word of the day: chaw


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Level It!

The cake is thinner in front
than it is in back
easily solved if two-layer cake,
A souffle though is hard to make.
Unlevel stove annoys the cook
so today we finally took
the time to solve the problem.
Well.  Sweat and struggle
might and main
Twist and turn an hour to gain
a semblance of levelitude.

For who installed it
Eyeballed it.
Workmen today, 
both suave and rough
 live by the mantra
"That's good enough."

Word of the day: levelitude 

(Okay, okay.  I made it up. Don't you like it, though?)


A semblance of levelitude





Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Comments on a Favorite Author

The presentation of Mark Twain's little story is concluded.  Grace wondered if I would have any remarks on it.

I am not a Twain scholar, but I have been reading and rereading in many cases most of his works since I was a lad.  I greatly admire and envy the man's facility with the English language.  I am taken with his humor and his ability to see and relate the funny side of life.  I recognize that he was shrewd and insightful and he often used his humor and his writing to skewer the foibles of humankind.  One of the best items I have ever read on people's understanding of wage/price economics is contained in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court,

I have not read any part of the recently published (two of three parts) autobiography which Twain demanded not be published for 100 years after his death.  Each of the first two volumes runs to over 700 pages, and I understand the third volume to be released later this year runs to almost 800 pages.

I started my Mark Twain collection when I was fourteen years of age.  I bought a thirty volume "Authorized Uniform Edition" in a used bookstore and hauled it home in a cardboard box, riding on a city bus.  I still have the set, except for ACYIKAC which I loaned to someone and never got it back. But my sister, Vee, went searching on-line and a couple years ago she presented me with the volume which matches my set.  What a sister!

To "The Five Boons of Life."  The first four boons, fame, love, riches, pleasure are temporal and fleeting.  The writer tasted of each of them and knew well that they did not bring lasting satisfaction. That the fifth, death, would bring fulfillment was a projection the writer was ill-equipped to make for he seems to have rejected any concept of a loving God, hence "emptiness," or "nothingness," i.e., non-existence must be the boon he cherished.  How sad.  A man of such power, such intellect, one who brought much (temporal) pleasure to so many could find no lasting satisfaction in life.

Twain did suffer mightily, did lose much that was important to him.  Yet he seemed to have no bulwark against cynicism and bitterness.

The tale was written in 1902.  His beloved wife died in 1906 after a protracted illness, his darling daughter in 1910, and he himself that same year.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  --Jesus of Nazareth, in The Sermon on the Mount(Mt.6 KJV)

Word of the day: skewer

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Five Boons of Life V

CHAPTER FIVE

The fairy came, bringing again four of the gifts 
but Death was wanting.  She said:
"I gave it to a mother's pet, a little child.  It was
ignorant, but trusted me, asking me to choose for
it.  You did not ask me to choose."
"Oh, miserable me!  What is there left for me?"
"What not even you have deserved:  the wanton
insult of Old Age."

Word of the day: wanton

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Five Boons of Life IV

CHAPTER FOUR

"Choose yet again."  It was the fairy's voice.
Two gifts remain.  And do not despair.  In
the beginning there was but one that was precious,
and it is still here."
"Wealth--which is power!  How blind I was!"
said the man.  "Now, at last, life will be worth the
living.  I will spend, squander, dazzle.  These mock-
ers, and despisers will crawl in the dirt before me,
and I will feed my hungry heart with their envy.  I
will have all luxuries, all joys, all enchantments of
the spirit, all contentments of the body that man
holds dear.  I will buy, buy, buy! deference, respect,
esteem, worship--every pinchbeck grace of life the
market of a trivial world can furnish forth.  I have
lost much time, and chosen badly heretofore but let
that pass:  I was ignorant then, and could but take
for best what seemed so."
Three short years went by, and a day came when
the man sat shivering in a mean garret; and he was
gaunt and wan and hollow-eyed, and clothed in rags;
and he was gnawing a dry crust and mumbling:
"Curse all the world's gifts for mockeries and
gilded lies!  And miscalled, every one.  They are
not gifts, but merely lendings.  Pleasure, Love,
Fame, Riches; they are but temporary disguises for
 lasting realities--Pain, Greed, Shame, Poverty.  The
fairy said true; in all her store there was but one gift,
How poor and cheap and mean I know those others
now to be, compared with that inestimable one, that
dear and sweet and kindly one that steeps in dream-
less and enduring sleep the pains that persecute the
body, and the shames and griefs that eat the mind
and heart.  Bring it! I am weary, I would rest."

Word of the day: pinchbeck


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Bunch of Words from an Old Guy

I wrote the following list on the occasion of my eightieth birthday.  That has now been well over a year ago.  But I was rereading this and thought it not a bad Sunday school lesson.  Parts of it, anyway.  So here we go again.

One-third hundred thoughts on having lived eighty years.
1.  “All things in moderation” is bad counsel; some things should not be done.  (See Exodus, chapter 20)
2.  Use real butter and drink whole milk.
3.  “All things come to him who waits.”  Torpor, poverty, want. . .
4.  Common sense is often nonsense.  What we need is uncommon sense.
5.  Sugar, if you must sweeten.  Salt sparingly.
6.  Coffee.  Lots of coffee.  Decaf is not coffee.
7.  Nap.  A daily nap may not make you younger or prettier, but you will be easier to live with.  At least while you are napping.
8.  Be punctual.  Late is a waste of others time and disrespectful.  Early is a waste of your own time and frivolous.
9.  You cannot get back a minute of time.  Spend your minutes wisely.
10. Spend your money carefully.  If you gratify every whim, you will find yourself in need. 
11. When you sell your time to an employer, give him his money’s worth.  When you are on his clock, your time is his time.
12. Technology is a marvelous servant.  Don’t let it become your master.
13. Go to church, not to see or to be seen, but to reflect there and worship with fellow believers.  I’ve done it both ways, and going to church is better.
14. Whine not; neither carp nor complain.  All it will get you is a bad reputation.
15. It is true that you are judged by the company you keep.  Choose your companions carefully.
16.  Eat your spinach.  It is not only good for you, it is good.  And Popeye would approve.
17.  You are not Clark Kent, and there are no phone booths anymore.  Leave heroics to the super heroes, but in any situation, do what is right.
18.  If you don’t know what is right, ask for directions or assistance, but do something.
19.  Most people are ordinary; love them, but love the oddballs, too.
20.  Most people are ordinary-looking.  But the people at both ends of the bell curve need love, too.
21.  If you would have friends, show yourself friendly.  Dad drilled this one into me, and he got it from the Bible.
22.  Speaking of the Bible, many people misquote or attribute things to the Bible that are not in there.  Read it for yourself.  Often.
23. Ice cream!  Year 'round, and often.
24.  When looking for wisdom, or “how to live” counsel, you will find unlimited sources.
25.  A very small percentage of the counselors you find in this endeavor will be wise or worthy.
26.  Be nice to the unwise and unworthy anyway.
27.  Many are free with unsolicited advice.  Be kind to them, too.
28.  It is easy to be a cranky old person.  Just live a long time and run counter to a lot of this stuff.
29.  It is not so easy to be a kind old person.  But you still have to live a long time, and you have to work at it.
30.  And on that topic, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  What?  The fewer flies the better, and what a waste of honey.  And vinegar.
31.  Which reminds me, many clichéd sayings are simply silly if not ridiculous.  Think for yourself. However, because something is a cliché does not mean that it is wrong.  Again, think for yourself.
32. Sarcasm as humor tends to wear thin rather quickly.
33. If you can’t be kind, be quiet.
331/3. Eat your broccoli, too.  It’s not so good as spinach but eat it anyway.

Put that on your turntable and spin it.

Happy birthday to my baby sister, Ilene.  She is many years younger than I, but I can't tell you how many since you know my age and the next rule is
34. Never reveal a lady's age. Don't even let her know that you know.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dejazmach Kassa Wolde Mariam

Fall 1954, the start of my junior year in college.  A new dormitory opened on campus and my room assignment was in this facility.  That same autumn Ethiopian student Kassa Mariam transferred to SPC.  He resided on the same floor in the dorm, though while I was on the east wing, he was on the north wing.  A large commons area at the junction of these halls gave ample opportunity for social interactions.

Mariam's course of study took him in a different direction when we headed for classes. I was fascinated by the force of Casey's personality and by the fact that he hailed from such a remote part of the world, remote to me being anywhere outside the Western United States.

The one year concluded my contact with Mariam, for though he plowed ahead and graduated with our class of '56, I laid out a year and he had moved on to his career before I finished.  Briefly, Kassa Mariam, hereditary royalty in his own right, returned to his homeland and in 1959 he married  Seble Desta, granddaughter of Emperor Haile Selassie. with whom he had five children.  He served as private secretary to the Emperor.  Kassa was named founding president of Haile Selassie University in 1962. and following his tenure as president of the university, he was named Agriculture Secretary, the position which he occupied when Selassie was overthrown by the Derg.  

Kassa Mariam was imprisoned in 1974 and in 1979 he was executed.  His widow, also imprisoned, was released in 1988.

For more detail click here.
Open letter from Kassa's children regarding proposed pardon of Derg leaders.  Click here.

Kassa, as a Seattle Pacific student

Kassa W. Mariam c.1934 - 1979 RIP

References:
Seattle Pacific Response
Wikipedia, Seble Desta
The letter linked above.

"Saturday, July 14, 1979, was the feast day of the Holy Trinity. Reports say that His Excellency Lidj Kassa Wolde-Mariam (“Lidj” is the Ethiopian equivalent of a British “lord”) was led from his cell and went to his knees before fellow prisoner and priest, Patriarch Abune Tewophilos, who gave him absolution. Kassa rose and followed his executioners to the appointed spot where Amaha believes his father was strangled to death. Some reports say that his confessor died with him in the same mannr."  Seattle Pacific Response, linked above as more detail.