Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lena Horne

On June 30, 1917 Lena Horne was born in Brooklyn, NY. She started her professional career at the age of sixteen, a year before I was born, as a member of the chorus line at the Cotton Club. Miss Horne proved herself to be, without doubt, one of the premier entertainers of our time. Singer, actress, stage performer, she was all this and more.
I had the good fortune in the '80s to attend a live performance by this lady. Near 70, still belting it out, still a star performer. She is now 92 and no longer makes public appearances, but she will always be a star.

Happy Birthday, Miss Horne.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hope That is Real

Just a few snippets from Pastor Doug's sermon yesterday.
Read Psalm 42.
"Your feelings don't have to be your reality." The psalmist chooses to live differently from his feelings.
"The world is filled with hopelessness and hopeless people."
We have lost hope when we've lost God's word; when we've lost faith in God.
"A lost hope is a lost memory." If you have lost hope, you have lost your memory of who God is.

In Isaiah 7:9, God says, "Unless your faith is firm I cannot make you firm." God cannot bless us if our faith is not firm.

The psalmist says I will remember God when I am on top of the world, or when I am in the depths. (42:6,7)
Those who are saved are those who endure.
Jesus is your hope.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Our Awesome God

Today's post is a bit longer than usual, but ponder this.


Now Jonah, who lived in the Galilee, was a companion of GOD. He was a man who talked with and to GOD; and he was a man to whom GOD talked. There was true camaraderie between Jonah and Jehovah.

GOD saw that Ninevah, a great city, was truly wicked and walking in ungodly and unseemly ways, so he said to Jonah, Go up to Ninevah and tell them that if they don’t repent I, the LORD, the LIVING GOD will destroy them. Okay, so here are some truly noteworthy things. First, Ninevah is not a city of GOD’s chosen people, but rather a vast city of gentiles. So it is clear that GOD’s intent was to send the message of salvation through repentance to the gentiles. Second, Ninevah is a l-o-n-g way from Johah’s home territory, about 400 miles as the crow flies. It’s location was east beyond the Euphrates, and east beyond the Tigris, and thus 170 miles north of Baghdad at the location of present-day Mosul.

Jonah, though, does not complain of the distance. No. He knows GOD with a true heart. Thus he complains that, If I preach this word to the Ninevites, they will repent and You, GOD, will repent of the destruction and the people will live. But GOD said, Go.

So Jonah went. But not north and eastward toward Mesopotamia, but rather he went westward to the sea, where he boarded a boat which in no wise could take him anywhere but away from Ninevah.
But wait. In Sunday school I was left with the impression that this was a story about Jonah, but it isn’t. It is ABOUT GOD!

What happened next is familiar to every child that ever sat in a dank basement classroom on a Sunday morning. GOD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and all aboard the ship were sure they were lost. However, by casting of lots and such necromancy, they determined that Jonah was their, well, Jonah, so to speak. Jonah 'fessed up and asked his compatriots to toss him overboard, which they were loath to do. However the storm worsened, the timbers cracked and the very souls of the sailors were shaken, so they jettisoned Jonah into the sea. At which point, GOD appointed a great fish to swallow the pathetic and disobedient prophet. In the innards of the fish he abode three days; yet from within he cried out to GOD. His prayer, recorded in chapter two, is a beautiful poem in which Jonah says, I cried out of my distress to the LORD, and He answered me. The prayer concludes with, That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD. The fish puked Jonah out onto dry land.

Now the second time the LORD said to Jonah, Get up and go to Ninevah and proclaim the message I tell you. So Jonah went and preached the Word from GOD, namely repent or else. They repented and turned from their wicked ways and GOD spared them.

It made Jonah mad. So he said to GOD, Please LORD, didn’t I tell you this is what you would do while I was still in the comfort of my own home? And to prevent this from happening, didn’t I board a ship to run to Tarshish because I know that you are a gracious and compassionate GOD, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and One who relents concerning calamity? So please take my life, for to die is better to me than life. And GOD said, Do you have good reason to be angry?

So the poor pathetic, yet obedient prophet withdrew from the city and sat down in the desert under a makeshift shelter he tried to cobble together from detritus he found there so he could sit and watch to see what would happen in the city.

Now GOD appointed a plant to grow up over Jonah and provide him with more adequate and cooling shade to alleviate his discomfort. And Jonah was exceedingly happy. About what? About the PLANT! But the next day at dawn, GOD appointed a worm to attack the plant so that it withered and died. Then the LORD appointed a scorching east wind and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul for GOD to let him die, for death would be better than life.

And GOD said, Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant? Yes, said Jonah, yes, I do. I have good reason to be angry, even unto death. And the LORD replied, You had compassion on the vine which you did not plant, and for which you did not work, and which came up overnight and perished overnight. And should I not have compassion on Ninevah, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right hand and their left, as well as many animals?

1. Would you agree that when God makes an appointment it will be kept?
(What certain appointments do we have?)
2. What is the significance of God’s concern for a gentile city?
3. Do you ever have to be told a second time before you obey God’s command?
(Gideon’s fleece. Do you ever “try” God?)
4. The presenter characterized Jonah as “poor and pathetic.” Do you agree with this assessment?
(Both in his disobedience and in his obedience.)
5. Do you agree with Jonah that he had “reason to be angry?”
(What NT character basically said to die is better than to live?)
6. The conversion of Ninevah is sometimes characterized as the “world’s greatest revival.” Would you agree?
7. Most commentators suggest that God’s description of the Ninevites as “not knowing their right hand from their left” could correctly be interpreted to mean that they did not know good from evil. Does this make sense to you?
8. Is there any significance in that God drew attention to the fact that his compassion on the people of Ninevah extended to the animals?
9. Did you ever wonder what happened to Jonah after this last recorded conversation with God?
10. Following their conversion, what happened to the people of Ninevah?
(Read the book of Nahum.)
(Mosaic, Ste. Anne Melkite Greek Catholic Church, North Hollywood)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Car Story: Finis

Perhaps we'll wrap up this car thing. In addition to the cars I've already written about, we have owned a 1989 Plymouth Voyager, my first minivan; and a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am which belonged to BBBH when we got married. We traded it for a 2003 Grand Am (she does like her Pontiacs); and we parted with it for the 2007 G6 GT that I described in the "Orphans" story.

Certainly in a span of 55 years of car ownership there were many adventures and misadventures, moments of elation and times of distress, all related to the vehicles I have owned. I am sure that the same is true for you if you have ever owned so much as one automobile. Did you ever sign the papers and then have buyer's remorse the very next day?

There were some "dream cars" I never acquired during my long love affair with wheels. The "want" was there, the "wherewithal" wasn't.

1941 Cadillac 62 (Preference: five-window coupe, but a 4-dr sedan would have worked.) Teen dream.

Studebaker Golden Hawk (A Silver Hawk would have worked. Or a Speedster. Couldn't swing that, either.)

1957 Chrysler 300C (I still drool at the thought. A 1955 300 would work, too.)

Any Morgan Plus 4 (It is a dream, you know.)

There were others, but that's the main list.
Safe travels and fun times to you.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Over the Precipice

219 - 212

Richard's Garden

My friends, Richard and Heide, have devoted their entire yard to a fantastic flower garden which features lilies. I believe this to be one of the most extensive not-for-profit lily gardens anywhere in the area. Dick does flowers, punctuating the display with various species. Heide plants the tomatoes.
Each year in July these flower aficianados host the local garden club so that all may enjoy the bloom. Dick is quite worried that the buds are "popping" too soon for this event. As I walked through his display I tried to reassure him, pointing out that the day lilies in particular tend to set new buds for quite some time. Good luck with the party, Heide and Dick. I certainly enjoyed my tour.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Visitors on Two Wheels

We arrived home from a quick trip to the grocery this evening to find three young men in the street in front of our place, each on a bicycle with trailer in tow. Immediately guessed that they were on a cross-country tour. Visiting with them soon led to an invitation from BBBH for them to make our abode their stop-over. She then proceeded to fix up a great good ol' country cookin' dinner while they showered and relaxed.

Dietrich, Seth and Bobby started their tour in San Diego on May 21 and here they are in Tipton on June 25. I understand that they were four when they started, but Dan chose to drop out in Colorado. These three stalwarts will push on to dip the bike wheels in the Atlantic!

All three lads are college students, but they all attend different schools. However they are all graduates of the same Pennsylvania high school. You can follow their adventures on their blog: http://tourdefour.blogspot.com
Safe travels. Vaya con Dios.

Burl Ives

Tuesday afternoon, being so hot and all, was the very definition of a "lazy summer day." BBBH and I, in a most literal interpretation, lay down for a nap. I awakened with Burl Ives on my mind. I had not thought of him in years, probably. But now I had this desire to hear his melodious voice again. Fortunately in this day one doesn't even have to search through the vinyl, but has only to go to the interwebby thingy! I have been enjoying the listening. Hope you like this one.

Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (June 14, 1909 – April 14, 1995) RIP
[Irony: I missed his birthdate by a few days.]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Place Your Trust --

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD." --Jeremiah 17:7
[Window detail, St. Joseph's Church, Jersey City]

Monday, June 22, 2009


Foreign Iron, Part 2

Saturday we went on about the VW and scarcely got to the Opel. The Opel Manta was a sporty little white coupe with a black hood. She looked great. (Clearly these are not pix of the unit we owned but it's the right marque.} Now picture this. We had a lake cottage about 85 miles from our primary residence. Ellie and a 110 pound golden retriever, plus Spot the attack dog, about 55 pounds, in the back seat. Mother and her dog in the front seat while I am in the driver's seat. There is no air conditioner, so windows open, ninety degrees and high humidity. The dogs shed. All of them. Hair is flying about the interior of the car, all of us doing the "ptoo, ptoo" trying to keep it out the mouth. At the end of the journey tufts and threads of hair settle everywhere.

All this by way of explanation as to how it happened that we traded this cute little machine for the already mentioned and little-loved Phoenix. Okay, so there was more room in it and it seemed the thing to do at the time.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers' Day

Happy Fathers' Day to all you Dads, and to your spouses and progeny. Today's devotional is a short article written by my father when he was in his late eighties. My parents have passed on now, but I remember them with love and honor.


It has been my privilege [in] biblical research [to explore] a most intriguing line of scriptural truth. The Genesis gives a complete record of Our Lord’s preparation of his intent to make man. I want to call this paternal preparation a masterpiece of Holy origin. Christians owe it to themselves to read carefully the record of beginnings as revealed to us by the Lord, our Sovereign Savior.

Approximately 4000 years after the record of God’s paternal preparation for the reign of man we find light in St. John 2:9 concerning THE WORD.
He is presented as God, as executive agent in the creation of all things as presented in the Genesis record. Christ was there in the beginning as Creator and will be there in the final great assize (judgment).

The Garden of Eden was the handiwork of God, a nursery of preparation… Nothing was omitted; [there was] complete coverage of all things necessary for comfort and growth. The only guidance [man] had in the occupancy of the Garden was an invisible Key known as the Law of Faith. Nothing was under material lock. The Lord put Adam and Eve into their new home with these words (Genesis 2:15): “Dress and Keep it.” That was an unwritten law. There was an exception and commandment that says their welfare was under the canopy of Divine authority and protection. “You are not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil." A reasonable relationship. Adam and Eve understood by having the image of God’s Spirit encoded in the brain and boundaries defined. We must understand that the Garden was an open one in which God came (Genesis 3:8), and the Serpent came also.

Adam was endowed with responsibility, transcending intelligence and wisdom; and the Law of Faith contained the complete essence of God’s intent and Adam’s understanding: a constitutional awareness and rapport between them.

Photo of Dad and Mom, 1932

Today is also solstice which in our culture and here in the northern hemisphere is considered to be the "first day of summer." Let the good times roll!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Foreign Iron

I mentioned earlier that I had owned only three foreign-made vehicles.*  Now, I understand that cars nowadays are made everywhere, pieces, parts and assembly. But here I am referring to cars built by manufacturers that are principally considered to be owned and based in another nation.

I told you about the Fiat. Enough said on that subject.
My first foreign car was a 1962 Volkswagen camper. This mini-minibus was rigged as an RV, with bed, icebox and well that's about it. It was powered by a 1.2L flat four, aircooled, 30 something h.p. This vehicle provided many adventures for my young family throughout the late sixties and early seventies.
At the outset, the sleeping arrangements worked like this. Mom and Dad slept in the bed, along with the baby. I know, we were lucky that worked out all right. There was a space under the bed between the back seat base and the front seat backs where the older boy slept. The older girl had the front bench seat as a bed, and we slung a hammock above her across the cab for the other girl. This worked swell, but darn it, the kids kept growing. Soon enough an augmentation to the camping experience appeared in the shape of a nine-by-nine tent. Now Mom and the girls got the interior of the VW and Dad and the boys slept in the tent.

Some of our experiences included two trips to the east coast, including, the first time only, driving this thing through Manhattan, if you can believe it. There are probably to this day superannuated cabbies telling their great grandchildren about the time the idiot in the minibus with Indiana tags --.
From New York we continued on to Hammanassett (how the heck is that spelled, anyway?) Beach where we camped for a week. Then on to Misquamacut Beach (dang! these New England names) RI where we played some more in the ocean. We eventually got through Boston and over to Gloucester and Cape Ann.

We reprised this trip a couple years later, except we went from Ham Beach up the Connecticut to Hartford and western Mass. Probably the one thing about these two trips combined that any one of my three oldest kids would tell you stands out in his/her memory would be that on the way home ten miles south of Ft. Wayne on Indiana State Road 3, Dad stopped the vehicle and threatened "Don't make me come back there."
This has turned into a travelog; but I can't recall the vehicle without remembering the good times. Our longest trip was in excess of 7000 miles and took us to S. California, where the transaxle broke in Oxnard and I had to call the bank for money (we did not carry plastic back then, unless you count the cheap sunglasses). Repaired car then took us north to Seattle where Ann got to see the place of her nativity, then finally we headed east toward Indiana. We got as far as Galesburg, IL and still a long way from home when at least one and maybe two of the four cylinders quit firing. We limped on home at twenty-something mph.

You may have heard how very simple it is to change out a VW engine, and it is true. Four bolts, a gasline and a few wires. Brother-in-law and I did it in the driveway and I drove the thing for a good while longer. When it finally gave up again, I gave up on it for good. There's another funny story, but BBBH just spoke up and said, "Does anyone read anything that long?"
My other foreign car was an Opel Manta, which I did not buy, but whose owner I married. It's the car we traded for the Phoenix. The Eagle Premier mentioned earlier should probably be counted as foreign iron. It was an AMC-Renault, car sold by American Motors and then by Chrysler when it acquired AMC.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Today, June 19, is the holiday, Juneteenth. This celebrates the abolition of slavery and in Texas it is a legal holiday. Thirty other states recognize the holiday, although they do not require closing of state offices as Texas does.
It is a day of jubilation. How about a good old- fashioned picnic in the park? A few fireworks and a band would be in order, too!

You've Got to Be Kidding

Just when one thinks Ingrid and her loony associates at PETA can't get any sillier, they provide us not with one, but two new lunacies!
One, it is a tradition at Seattle's Pike Place Market for the fishmongers to toss the fish as they vend them. These people have been asked to perform in a fish-tossing demonstration at a veterinarians' convention. PETA protesteth. Corpses as entertainment is not cool. This has created a foofaraw, needless to say. And the vets say the demo will go forward, and besides, the fish will be eaten afterward! Yum,yum.
Two, scarce had this uproar started than Prez O swats a fly with his bare hand. Nice shot, but what is all the media replay about? Big deal. But the insect has its champion, for it is PETA again-- (who would have guessed?) who raise the alarm concerning an otherwise great national leader who shows such disrespect for life as to slap a fly to death!
Someone has calculated that there exist some 160 million or more insects per person. Ingrid and her fans are welcome to my share of them.
Now, where did I put that can of diazanon?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Progress (Continuation)

The Hometown downtown, noon today.

Commerce on East Jefferson

Two days ago I showed you a demolition project on West Jefferson. Here we are today a block to the east, just beyond the courthouse. Jeweler actually built a new building on one of the "gaps" and conducts a tidy little business there. The picture, though, is a sign that appeared recently in front of the establishment.
Yes, we are that kind of community!

On this date in 1812, President James Madison declared war on England. This has been forever after known as "The War of 1812." As is most often the case with war, nobody won. It was ended by the Treaty of Ghent in December 1814, but fighting continued until the spring of 1815.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gardening in June

This morning BBBH planted more flowers along the fence.
Meanwhile, I was engaged in pulling weeds and thistles in the "secret garden." Funny thing, that. I worked for about an hour, accomplished about what I could have done in fifteen minutes just a few short years ago, and felt like I had been working for six hours. Would someone explain the 'theory of relativity' for me once again?
"Single Daisy with Pink and White Yarrow"

I Write the Songs

Happy Birthday to American Music Legend, Barry Manilow. He's sixty-six today.

Demolition progress, 10 a.m. today.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Downtown Hometown this afternoon, demolition of the next-to-last building (but for the gas station on the corner) in the 100 block of West Jefferson Street. Another gap, what? another parking lot, but for the fact that if there are no businesses there are few needs for parking. Some vacant lots have been planted to grass, some graveled or paved, but they are what they are: vacant gaps where once bustling commerce thrived.

Going to the Movies

If you read on you will find some of my favorite movie lines.

1. Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. [Matthew "Ferris" Broderick in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."]

2. The kid gets it all. Just plant us in the damn garden, next to the stupid lion. [Josh "Walter" Lucas, reading the uncles' will in "Secondhand Lions.]

3. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. [Tim "Andy" Robbins in a letter to Morgan "Red" Freeman in "The Shawshank Redemption."]

4. I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating! [Katherine "Rose" Hepburn to Humphrey "Charlie" Bogart in "The African Queen."]

5. You're too old and fat to be jumping horses. {Kim "Mattie" Darby to John "Rooster" Wayne in "True Grit."]

6. Fill your hands! [John "Rooster" Wayne to Robert "Ned" Duvall in "True Grit."]

7. No grit, Rooster Cogburn? Not much! (Mattie in "True Grit.")

8. It ain't dyin' I'm talkin' about...it's livin'. [Robert "Gus" Duvall to Tommy Lee "Woodrow" Jones in "Lonesome Dove."]

9. Comes down to a pretty simple choice. Get started living, or get started dying. [Tim "Andy" Robbins in "The Shawshank Redemption."]

10. Promise me. Whatever happens, don't let them eat my dog. [Tom "Lewis" Berenger to Barbara "Lillian" Hershey in "The Last of the Dogmen."]

11.  George made a bed; he's expecting to get laid.  [Kyra "Lace" Sedgwick] No, just hoping.
[John "George" Travolta] in Phenomenon.

12.  Am I right?  I'm right.  You all go to hell! [Robert "Doc" Duvall in Phenomenon.]

"Get on your horse, Jasper, we got cattle to drive!"

Incidentally, I think that line in #10  woud have been a great place to end the movie. Too many flicks pass a good ending line and sometimes even two or three of them before it fizzles out. What are your favorite cinematic quotes?

Monday, June 15, 2009


Some of you are aware that I get bent sometimes concerning the development of language, in particular with regard to those elements that seem to be disintegrating. I am not a professional language maven. But I am somewhat of a traditionalist. More to the point, I like to see words used in a manner such that they mean what they say. (Wow, am I living in the wrong historical era.)
One of my pet peeves for a long time has been the artificial creation of a verb where the role of the word is traditionally that of a noun. A case in point and the one in particular I want to deal with this morning is "author." Clearly this word is a noun and it refers to the person who creates written material. It has long annoyed me to read or hear things such as, "She authored a book on that subject."
But even I can come to new understandings given sufficient time. To say, "She wrote a book on that subject," may or may not be the case. Anyone today can claim to be the author of a book or an article even if they are totally incapable of writing a coherent sentence, much less a paragraph. Right. All that is required is that the would-be author find someone with passable writing skills who is capable of listening and transcribing, sort of, the thoughts that the putative author would like to see in print. Thus, if the material is published, the author did, indeed, "author" an item, but he could never claim to have written it. Okay, I get that. But "He authored --" still grates on my sensibilities.
Oh, would that that were the only instance of this noun-to-verb atrocity.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Power of Doing Good!

Pastor Doug's message this morning was on "The Power of Doing Good!" It was based on Titus, chapter three with support scriptures from Ephesians and from the words of the Master.
Our people must devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.--Titus 3:14

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
--Ephesians 2:10. This is to say that we are designed, prepared, destined by God to do good works, that is, to serve others.
The goal in our relationship with Christ is to become like Him.Jesus gave us the Great Commission, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
--Matthew 28:19-20

Old Glory

Flag Day!

Here I Go Again

Saw an interview on some talkfest Friday in which a guest was a former White House staffer in a democrat admin. He made an interesting point, and clarified once and for all the unnecessity of an "oppostion" party. He said (I am paraphrasing):
You conservatives should open your eyes and see the direction in which we are going; because we are going there. You might as well quit trying to throw up roadblocks and get on the bus.
Seldom have I seen such total arrogance in an argument. This may, or may not, characterize the dismissive attitude of liberals today toward anyone who disagrees with them. I think so.
Logic, reason, discussion, cooperation, and civil discourse have had their day. We are in charge now. Get used to it.

I just realized this is my 200th posting to this blog. I did a "celebratory" item on the 100th; so I shouldn't let this milestone pass without at least remarking on it!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good Cars, Bad Cars

From an aesthetic point of view, from perspective of travel comfort and pride of ownership, I have to rate my 1962 Lincoln Continental as the one car that meets the standard. Lincoln introduced this body style in 1961 and did little tinkering with it through 1965. The simplicity and elegance of line and style make it the most beautiful car built in America. Ever. In my opinion, the 1962 was the epitome of the marque.

I traded my 1965 Mustang for this beast in Portland, Oregon in the summer of 1966. It was originally gold in color, but I had a premier body shop in Fort Wayne repaint it. I chose a medium dark brown metallic. Take a look. Was that not automotive perfection? I learned, thanks to my friendly Ford dealer in Converse, that most mechanical parts, when needed, could be had from Ford parts numbers at a considerably smaller cost than the same part under the Lincoln parts badge. The one mechanical task I undertook myself was the replacement of the nylon gears in the power window on the front passenger door, having found replacements in the wrecking yard.

When the odometer reached 139,000 miles, I traded the car for the Worst Automotive Decision I ever made. And the dealer put the Lincoln on his lot and told prospective buyers it was an "estate car." Okay, I may have been brain-dead.

I bought a brand-spankin' new 1971 Fiat 124 sedan, one of only three pieces of foreign iron I've owned. What a piece of junk. With less than 24,000 miles on the odometer and in traffic in downtown Cincinnati, 150 miles from home, the thing started burbling and steaming. Managed, with sufficient stops for water refill to get it home. But home was a long way from anyone who would work on it; and what I found when I did find a willing workman was that it had a cracked block. Fiat was willing to go only so far, and I was shopping for a replacement vehicle. Back to the Ford fold. Used, but reliable.

Among the 'good' I would rank the '65 Mustang V-8 which I mentioned in my Ford article as a vehicle which is hard to beat for sheer fun of driving and owning. And over the years I had several vehicles with the 289 powerhouse. What gems those were.

Also among the 'good' would be the 1994 Dodge Caravan. Yeah, I know it screams "Soccer Mom," but trust me, for all-round reliability and utility it was the best. For eleven years it was my only vehicle. (For a guy who often had three cars at a time that is saying something.) Mine was all-white, but I really don't need to show you a picture, because if you've seen one minivan you've seen them all; and believe me I know you've seen them.
Another fine-looking vehicle in my fleet was the 1984 Pontiac Phoenix, the first new car I had purchased in 13 years, the first GM car I ever bought, and, like the Fiat, a piece of junk. The feature that sold it (maybe) was the "five-door" or "hatchback" body. It was a unibody construction, the platform shared with the Chevy Citation, and has ever after been referred to as the "X" car. And it should have been exed out, and in fact for me it was soon my eXcar. It was powered by the 4-cylinder 151 ci "Iron Duke" engine, the only part of the vehicle about which I'd no complaints. But after only 48,000 miles and the installation of the third in-tank fuel pump I said, "No more." I hope the next owner enjoyed it more than I did.
Besides the Continental, the one car that I have owned and would buy again if Ford would make them again is the 1950 Custom 239 cid V-8. Easy to maintain, economical to drive and elegant simplicity of style. (Are you getting an idea of who I am; or at least what appeals to me?)
Don't be misled. I do like simplicity of design, but I like my women complicated. Well, "complicated woman" is a tautology, is it not?
(Next: the other foreign cars.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Good Times at Home

We had visitors this week. Our friends Arnie and Arlene from Minnesota spent three days in our town. We had a wonderful visit and hope we can do it again. Safe travels to these good people!
Thursday evening we went to dinner across the creek right here in the Hometown. As we were leaving, I stepped back for a group who were entering. The young lady stepped up to me and said, "Hi, I'm Elizabeth." What a pleasant surprise! It was Elizabeth from The Big Red Couch, a blog I follow. ( http://thebigredcouch-bitty.blogspot.com/ ) I am flattered that she reads my blog, as she is a brilliant and insightful young person. She introduced me to her brother and her husband. They were up from their home in Kentucky to visit with her grandparents. With the Minnesota friends waiting, I felt I had much too little opportunity to visit, but it was nonetheless a great experience for me.
Sometimes I am really glad that I joined the 'blogosphere.'

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Step Two

Wow! That didn't take long. (See post below.)

The Obama administration is set to announce today two proposals that would empower shareholders and the Securities and Exchange Commission to have more oversight over executive compensation at all publicly traded firms, government sources said. The measures would require legislation, which is expected to be sent to Capitol Hill soon, one of the sources said. --Washington Post 10 June 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pay Czar

You can't make this stuff up. And you can't keep up with this stuff. Prez today announces the creation of a government post the responsibility for which will be the monitoring and setting of compensation for the top 25 employees in any enterprise which has received TARP funds. Oh, that was easy. We need to apply these criteria to all of corporate America. Wait, why not just set national pay scales for all endeavors.
You think I jest. Think again.

American Hostages

Free Laura Ling and Euna Lee; bring them home.

I wrote a post in support of the concept of using whatever appropriate means necessary to secure the release of American citizens Laura Ling and Euna Lee. First, I must say the article as I wrote it was cynical and nasty,and bellicose.
Since then I have heard numerous reports and opinion pieces about the situation, including some which actually proposed the same possible solutions I had put forward. I will say that thirty-one years ago Ross Perot sent a rescue team consisting of his own EDS employees led by Bull Simon to retrieve two of his employees held by Iran, and successfully. Perhaps Al Gore could exert his extreme power and influence to obtain the release of his two employees held in a hostile country. An inconvenient truth may be: perhaps not.
These women, according to one report I read, were convicted of "disrespect" for the North Korean government. How indeed could anyone respect anyone who did not disrespect the NK government?
There. I've toned down the invective.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Just Jump In!

Church this morning opened with the singing of "Power in the Blood," rock 'n' roll version. Wasn't too enamored of it. Team redeemed themselves later, though, by leading the old hymn "And Can It Be?" in the manner to which I am accustomed.
As it was Commencement Sunday, youth leader and congregation honored the graduates.
Pastor Keith's sermon was entitled, "Just Jump In!" This is the second in the series "Living Beyound Myself." The scripture lesson was Romans 12:1 - 6. We won't know how good things are until we jump in, so come on in, the water's fine.
1. Do I want to jump in? Do I really want to get involved?
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
We are created to do good works.
What matters is not the duration of your life, but the donation of your life.
I need all the others. (v.5) We are all pieces of the puzzle. A missing piece = an incomplete picture.
God made us unique, and your uniqueness is not for your benefit.
"As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." I Peter 4:10
My purpose in life is to serve God by serving others.

2. How do I jump in?
Evaluate yourself.(v.3) "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
Each person has a special divine gift.
Find out where you need to be involved. (v.6a) "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us."
It might be noted that among persons, there are different measures of the same gift; and note, too, that God may call you in a totally different direction from the one you perceive as your strongest gift, or perhaps not. Note the disciples who were fishermen. Jesus called them to be apostles, writers and preachers. And Paul, though, a scholar and logician, was called to serve in that very area as a scholar for Christ.

3. Just Jump!
It is really about trust. Are you going to trust God?
"Trust and see that the LORD is good." Psalm 34:8

Saturday, June 6, 2009

D-Day + 65 Years

June 6, 1944, forever immortalized as "D-Day." May we never forget the cause or the sacrifice.

The ranks of those among us who were in that historic event are thinning daily. Nevertheless the world shall always owe a debt of gratitude to them and to all who served in that war.
Twenty five years ago on June third, I flew to Europe from JFK and had the good fortune to be on a plane loaded with vets and their spouses who were making the trip back to the scene of their heroic efforts for a Fortieth Anniversary celebration. It was a privilege to be in their company, though some might say for a bunch of old guys and gals they were pretty rowdy! It was a celebration. A celebration of victory, of survival, and of life itself.

Ford Gallery

Last week, I shared a bit about the "Oddballs and Orphans" I have driven over the years. This week I'll share a bit about the Fords I have owned. The 1936 Ford was the car I drove for my first driving test. It was not my car, however, as it belonged to my best friend, Wes. The car had three-on-the-floor, mechanical brakes and arm-wrestling steering.

The first car I owned was a 1950 Ford Custom Fordor. In the parlance of the day, it was "loaded," as it was equipped with radio, heater, overdrive, and exterior sun-visor. This baby had about 94,000 miles on it when I bought it and I drove it to about 125,000. A week after I bought it I got married and following the reception as we were driving to our "getaway" we had a collision which seriously damaged the right rear quarter panel, driving capabilities not impaired. Insurance company paid me for "constructive total" the book value of the car, which was more than I had paid for it. A back-alley hobbyist replaced the panel for me for $80 and we had a free car!

Here is a list of the Ford vehicles I've had.
The 1950 Custom 239 ci V-8
1962 Lincoln Continental 7.1L with suicide doors

1965 Mustang 289 ci V-8. Brilliantly (or perhaps ironically) this was our only car during a period during which we had three kids under age ten.

1967 Galaxie 500 289. I actually "owned" three of these at the same time, although I didn't know that until the day I sold one of them. I was driving a beautiful 4-door which I had purchased from my Dad after he had put 139,000 miles on it. (I finally sold it when it had 201,000 miles.) Saw a bright red 500 convertible which I couldn't resist, so I bought it just for fun. Good thing, too, because it got about 100 miles to the quart on oil. Meanwhile, my minor son bought another 500 and kept it at a neighbor's yard a couple blocks away. He didn't tell me he had it until the neighbor told him he needed to get it off his lot. So I took care of it. Sold the thing the first time I ever saw it.

1969 Thuderbird Fordor, again suicide doors. (Couldn't find picture, so imagine the above is a four-door which has been painted Washington (dark) blue. Much prettier than the picture.)
1973 Galaxie 500
1985 Crown Victoria LTD and
1951 Custom fordor which was my principal to-and-from-work driver for many years from 1968 to 1978. It went through several cosmetic permutations. It was Hawthorne green when I got it. I had it painted a bright banana yellow which it presented for several years, then it got a metallic grey paint job, thanks to Earl Scheib.

Also had a 1952 F-1 pickup which Ellie and I refurbished by taking an auto-body course at the local voc-tech school. Painted it fire-engine red and drove it for several years.

And a 1956 F-100 pickup which I owned for about eight days. I drove it home 25 miles from point of purchase, parked it in the driveway, washed and waxed it, and sold it for twice what I paid for it. These two vehicles were the only cars I ever owned on which I made money.
And when BBBH and I decided to get into the RVing thing, we bought a motor home on a 1996 Ford E350 chassis with 460 ci V-8. We used it six years, then traded for a similar MH on a 2009 Ford E350 chassis with V-10 power.
And our current Ford vehicle is a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer.
[Next week: Good Cars, Bad Cars]

Friday, June 5, 2009

Teed Off Yet?

I don't recognize the world I'm living in any more. Probably makes me one of the "useless eaters" the intelligentia would like to dispose of.
Got up yesterday morning to watch the leader deliver his speech in Cairo.
Later at the post office I discovered that a standard 6 x 9 envelope is "oversize" mail and requires premium postage. I would have been less annoyed had the "line" on the scale by which the clerk makes that determination not been set at 5-7/8". (Is this like the 16 oz. can becoming a 13 oz. can, then an 11.5 oz. can, and so on?)
I am way past being able to discuss the theft the gummint and the bankruptcy courts are perpetrating on the people and the nation's retirees. If you don't get this, find out why the Chrysler deal will not go through this morning, at least until after the Appellate Court has heard the State of Indiana. I could go on but enough for now.
I'll just ask the question, "Are you teed off yet? If not, you may be an inert blob of protoplasm; or possibly Pollyanna's more chipper cousin.
"This 'attack on the most fundamental of creditor rights,' Indiana argues, 'has been funded and controlled by the Treasury Department, even though the executive branch is prohibited from spending funds and taking over corporations without congressional approval.' Further, Indiana contends that the Obama administration did not have the authority to spend Troubled Assets Relief Program funds intended for financial institutions to rescue automakers.

"In a 70-page brief that at times takes a spunky tone, Chrysler criticizes the Indiana funds for their 'cockeyed way of looking at the Fiat sale. The transaction is a sale of assets for a price that far exceeds liquidation value, to a purchaser who wants to use the assets in a productive enterprise,' Chrysler said."
--Washington Post, June 5, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Around the Yard

Here's a what is it.
While strolling around the yard I snapped a few pix. The columbine is among my favorites. We have several varieties, including a "double" pink which has already gone to seed.
This picture is looking north along Buck Creek, which is technically (well, actually)not in our yard, but it runs from north to south about 300 yards east of the house.
This last shot shows the river birch clump in our front yard just south of the driveway. I planted this nine years ago when it was about six feet tall. I like birches very much. The first picture is also a shot of this birch.

Remember Tiananmen Square, June 4, 1989

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beanie Babies and Collecting

Did you get caught up in the "Beanie Baby" craze once upon a time? I did. A grown man? Yeah, I'm a dork. However, I backed into it or I was backed into it. My spouse at that time, who was incidentally also a grandmother, thought "How cute! The grandchildren will love them." And the purchasing began. The grandkids did, indeed, acquire a bunch of them on special occasions such as Christmases, birthdays and here-we-thought-you-might-like-this-one days.
But for some reason, the acquisition soon outran the distribution and our household had another collection, this time the froofy, cuddly little animals but yet with their versey little tags intact. Then as the collector fad burned hotter and hotter, catalogs were published citing current values of the little vermin. I have a "Baby" to this day that was once "listed" at $120. Oh, had I had foresight. But even then, one had to find someone willing to pay the price. But we weren't in business; though I did visit a couple of stores where the asking price was indeed the "boob" --oops, typo--I mean "book" price.
A decade ago, Grandma passed away, and the BB fad died as well. One can scarce give them away now, and hence I still have a basketful of them in one of the unused bedrooms upstairs. BBBH, who in her turn has backed me into some other "hobbies" has little interest in these anachronistic toys. Here look at this.

[and Happy Birthday to son Delbert]