Thursday, June 30, 2011

Family Circle

We received a mailing from the nice people at "Family Circle" offering us an opportunity to save big money by subscribing now! Or I could save even more by not subscribing. My take, not theirs.

A few days ago, we visited a memory from my youngest son's childhood and discussed Green Stamps. Today, we go back a generation and look at a childhood memory of my own. Mom, when she needed staples that we did not grow or kill, would make a trip to the Safeway. A premium they offered in that far-distant day was a copy of "Family Circle." I believe that at one time it was free with purchase, but while I was yet a lad, they raised the price to a nickel. This may have been a two-edged function of market economics. It would have put a stop to the kids coming in to buy a five-cent candy bar, then taking their complimentary copy of the magazine. This is not outside the realm of possibility. I enjoyed the magazine because it had some funny cartoons in each issue. And I was not above trying a new cake recipe from time to time. The other economic aspect is this: a nickel is more than nothing.

I am choosing not to subscribe to today's "Family Circle," for it is not a great deal different from most of the other publications in the genre known as "women's magazines." And in fact, it is owned by the same people who publish a number of other similar items. Actually, the company is quite large in communications, owning thirteen television stations and a radio outlet. The CEO is a Lacy*, but that is irrelevant, or perhaps I should say, unrelated.
*Stephen M. Lacy, CEO Meredith Corporation

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Well-qualified Leadership

Juan Peron married his second wife, Eva, or Evita as she was known, after being a widower for seven years. Evita was an extremely popular figure in Argentina, and indeed she captured the imagination of the world. But she died at age 33.

Juan Peron married yet again in 1961. His third wife, Isabel Martinez de Peron is a piece of work. Dropping out of school as a fifth-grader, she became an exotic dancer and met Senor Peron in Panama during his exile from his country. She tied her wagon, so to speak, to a star whose political power overcame his exile and returned him to the halls of Casa Rosada.

As Vice President, Senora Peron was sworn in as interim president upon the incapacitation of her husband on June 29, 1974. He died on July 1, and her presidency became full and official. She was Argentina's first woman president. During this time, extremely interesting, nay, terrifying things were going on in Argentina. While we in the US were consumed with the politics of breaking-and-entering, a resigning president and such trivial matters, in Argentina people were dying left and right, and many others were "disappeared."

In January of 2007, Isabel Peron was arrested at her home in Spain on the order of an Argentine judge in the matter of the disappearance of a political activist during her tenure as President. Spain refused to extradite her.

From 1973 through the balance of her term ending in 1976, it is documented that there were over a thousand political assassinations and disappearances.

At age 80, Isabel Peron still resides in Spain.

Caveat: This is not a term paper. There are no annotations or attributions. Mrs. Peron is an interesting, if evil, person and should you have a true interest in learning more about the subject, do your own research. Sourced from old news articles and the internet.

Image: BBC News


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


We have a 3500 square foot fenced area in our backyard. The original thought was that it would make a nice place for Cookie to roam unattended. The cottontail that lives in the area thinks it is a nice place to lay her bunnies. Some years I caught her at it and ran her off. Some years Cookie got the bunnies.

This spring Mrs. Cottontail built her nest and populated it before we were aware of what was going on. Cookie, though, guided us directly to the nest. We pulled him off and banished him from his yard, thinking, "Oh, well, a few weeks and the bunnies will be grown and gone."

Yesterday, just as darkness enveloped our world, I spotted the doe in the middle of the yard. Not really expecting much, I aimed the camera and snapped this somewhat astonishing picture.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Look Down

A good friend will help you up when you fall..
But a best friend will help you up, laugh, and trip you again.

And perhaps while you're down this time you could look around you. Beauty is where you find it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Genesis 31

Today we continue Jacob's story as recounted in The Message, Genesis Chapter 31.

Jacob learned that Laban's sons were talking behind his back: "Jacob has used our father's wealth to make himself rich at our father's expense." At the same time, Jacob noticed that Laban had changed toward him. He wasn't treating him the same.
That's when God said to Jacob, "Go back home where you were born. I'll go with you."

So Jacob sent word for Rachel and Leah to meet him out in the field where his flocks were. He said, "I notice that your father has changed toward me; he doesn't treat me the same as before. But the God of my father hasn't changed; he's still with me. You know how hard I've worked for your father. Still, your father has cheated me over and over, changing my wages time and again. But God never let him really hurt me. If he said, 'Your wages will consist of speckled animals' the whole flock would start having speckled lambs and kids. And if he said, 'From now on your wages will be streaked animals' the whole flock would have streaked ones. Over and over God used your father's livestock to reward me.

"Once, while the flocks were mating, I had a dream and saw the billy goats, all of them streaked, speckled, and mottled, mounting their mates. In the dream an angel of God called out to me, 'Jacob!'

"I said, 'Yes?'

"He said, 'Watch closely. Notice that all the goats in the flock that are mating are streaked, speckled, and mottled. I know what Laban's been doing to you. I'm the God of Bethel where you consecrated a pillar and made a vow to me. Now be on your way, get out of this place, go home to your birthplace.'"

Rachel and Leah said, "Has he treated us any better? Aren't we treated worse than outsiders? All he wanted was the money he got from selling us, and he's spent all that. Any wealth that God has seen fit to return to us from our father is justly ours and our children's. Go ahead. Do what God told you."

Jacob did it. He put his children and his wives on camels and gathered all his livestock and everything he had gotten, everything acquired in Paddan Aram, to go back home to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

Laban was off shearing sheep. Rachel stole her father's household gods. And Jacob had concealed his plans so well that Laban the Aramean had no idea what was going on—he was totally in the dark. Jacob got away with everything he had and was soon across the Euphrates headed for the hill country of Gilead.

Part 4 in a series

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Green Stamps

BBBH baked cracklins in the cornbread which she prepared to serve with the navy beans for supper. I love cornbread and beans. But the cracklins in the pone was a whole new experience, sorta porky, one might say. It was okay, and I enjoyed the meal. But she can leave those little chips out next time, it'd be okay by me.

I had cleared and washed the dishes, wiped down the appliances and the spouse and I had just completed three hands of RummikubTM , which finds me down two games to one. The phone rings.

"Hello," I say, as is my wont.


"Hi, Kenny, what's happening.?

"No, no. No problem. Just something I wanted to ask you. Do you remember when I was five or six years old that Mom shopped at Marsh a lot, and she used to get some kind of little green stamps which she stuck into books?"

"Absolutely." I validated his memory. They were called S&H Green Stamps. They were distributed by a company called Sperry and Hutchinson and merchants passed them to customers as premiums for shopping with them. You got an S&H catalog and when you saved enough stamps you could redeem them for stuff."

"Right, right, and did you sometimes get Christmas gifts for the kids with them?"

"I don't actually remember, but that is not outside the realm of possibility."

There was a bit more conversation. I mean, after all, he had called me all the way from East Tennessee to ask his question. I was pleased both to talk with him and with the fact that in spite of the intervening forty years, we both had memories of a vignette in the life of our household.

Kenny's mother was an amazingly astute and cautious shopper, and indeed she had to be, in order to feed and clothe the two of us and the four kids on the paycheck I brought home in those days. Ken went ahead in our conversation to talk about the drawer in the pantry where he remembers Mother keeping the S&H booklets, and he was right, though I hadn't thought of that in ages.

A little web search after the visit revealed that S&H Green Stamps were introduced in 1896 and at one time Sperry and Hutchinson printed more stamps than the US Post Office did. Although the stamps have been discontinued, they have been replaced with Green Points. Electronic age, you know. If, however, you still have some stamp books lying around, they can still be redeemed, or traded for Green Points.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Twice President

On the twenty-fourth day of June, 1908, the twenty-fourth President of the United States drew his last breath. In complete coincidence with that event, the twenty-second President of the United States did that exact same thing in that same instant.

Grover Cleveland, one time sheriff of Erie County, New York, once mayor of Buffalo, past governor of the State of New York and twice President of the United States, was in many ways larger than life. He was a physically imposing man at about 250 pounds and about six feet in height. He was politically a fiscal conservative and a democrat. Yes, this is true, though I think in today's world, that is a paradox. He was honest, courageous and possessed of an uncommon measure of common sense.

A bachelor when he was inaugurated in 1885, he soon married his 21-year old ward, Frances Folsom. The wedding ceremony was held in the Blue Room of the White House. They became the parents of five children.

Although he won the popular vote, Cleveland was defeated by Benjamin Harrison in the election of 1888. It is said that Mrs. Cleveland upon departing the White House on inauguration day, March 4, 1889, told the staff to be sure to keep things in order, for she would be back. When asked when she was planning to return, she replied, We are coming back four years from today. And so it was, for in 1892 Cleveland defeated Harrison for the Presidency.

Stephen Grover Cleveland 1837 - 1908 RIP

Nevins, Allan. Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage (1932)
Image: Wikipedia

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Think Twice

I keep a journal, such as it is, infrequently as I post therein, as--
Well, this post I dropped on it over a year ago is explanatory:

I maintain this blogsite simply as a place to record thoughts, be they sensible or not. I look back at it once in a while, primarily to remind myself that it is a good idea not to share everything one thinks with everyone one knows. Or doesn't know.

It seems to me as I surf through the interwebs, as I read newspapers, and as I listen to the radio or television, that there are entirely too many people with too much to say which is unfiltered and unthought. I suspect I have been guilty of same. But I do try to confine much of the drivel that seeps through my mind to the private blog, or better yet, to the dustbin. When I choose to post something on String Too Short to Tie, it is my hope that, while I know I was entertained by it, if someone else should happen upon it they, too, will be amused or enlightened.

So, in summary, think twice before posting once.
I do wish I could learn to apply that rule to conversation with BBBH!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I was in our local public library. In the foyer they maintain a table of books for sale, paperbacks four bits, hardcovers a buck. Sometimes folk don't know what they have. I found two hard bound Pogo books. Best two dollars I have spent in a long time. Pogo `a la Sundae, 1977 Gregg Press, and Uncle Pogo So-So Stories 1977 Gregg Press, original copyright 1953.
These are a wonderful addition to my Pogo collection. The bike ride to town was well-worth the effort expended!

I posted an article about Walt Kelly in the Philosophers I Admire series two and half years ago.

Clip from Uncle Pogo So-So Stories.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Beginning

Depending on your location on the globe, today is either summer solstice or it is winter solstice. We say in the northern hemisphere, "Today is the first day of summer," somehow totally overlooking the fact that we have already sweltered through many days of ninety+ heat. So, technically today is the first day of summer. It just got a running start!

Monday, June 20, 2011

June Rose

"Medallion" may be my favorite rose.

Top, peak bloom.

Bottom, same rose four days later.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jacob Sets the Wheels in Motion

In our last visit with Jacob in Haran, we found him working his second seven-year stint for his father-in-law, Laban. Jacob had acquired two wives, Leah and Rachel, each of whom had a personal handmaiden.

Now we find that he wishes to depart for "home" with the rather large family he has now engendered, for he is the father of eleven sons by the four women with whom he lives. The building of this family and the loving kindnesses exhibited between his two wives who are sisters is a story that should be studied. It is detailed in the thirtieth chapter of Genesis. Here we pick up the story following the birth of Joseph to Rachel, her first-born.

"Aw, c'mon, Jake," Laban pleads. "The LORD has blessed me in your presence and in your tending of my flocks. Stick around. I'll make it worth your while. Name your price."

"You know, Uncle, that I've served you well and you have prospered hugely. So what about my provision for my household? Make me an offer I can't refuse."

"What'll it take, Jacob? I need you here."

"Okay. Here it is. Give me nothing. That's right. Nothing. But rather let me sort through your flocks and take all the speckled and spotted cattle and all the brown sheep, and all the mottled goats. Let these be my wages."

Laban said, "Done, and done, my Boy."

And so it was that Laban removed all the brown sheep, and all the spotted and rain-straked cattle and goats and gave them to his sons; then he took off for parts unknown, leaving Jacob to care for the rest of his flocks.

The next six years draw on much too long to detail here, but suffice it to say, geneticist that Jacob was, and more importantly, the favor of GOD on his life, Jacob prospered beyond even his wildest dreams. He wound up with vast herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. He had many camels and donkeys and servants in abundance to assist him in his work. And his beasts were stronger and healthier than were Laban's.

Needless to say, Laban's sons were ticked.

Few of you, I'm sure, had as many children as did Jacob, but Happy Fathers' Day to all men who strive to raise their children in the way they should go, and to those who have already done that.

A truly great Fathers' Day post: Trey nails it here.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Napoleon and the Owl #T

It was on a Sunday, June 18, 1815, that Napoleon Bonaparte met his Waterloo.

The little owl couple reestablished their claim to the apple tree. They had nested there the previous year and terrorized the avian residents throughout the neighborhood.

Napoleon had been terrorizing Europe from his position as Emperor of France. Although he had been forced into exile on Elba, less than a year later he escaped and returned to Paris and reestablished his control of the French armies.

The birds in the neighborhood had had enough. It was a late spring day, bright and sunny when Owl wandered out of the tree and the birds immediately attacked. It was a veritable "Coalition of Birds," consisting of robins, blue jays, starlings, a cardinal, and even some sparrows.

The Seventh Coalition consisting of the United Kingdom, Prussia, Russia, and Austria, determined to rid themselves of the French threat. These forces and Napoleon's were facing off at Waterloo.

Though it may have been interfering with nature, I rescued the battered, bloodied and half-blinded owl and exiled him to a cage in my yard in an effort to save it. It died.

Though it may have interfered with manifest destiny, Napoleon's life was spared and he was exiled to St. Helena. But he died six years later.

Perhaps my efforts on behalf of Owl appear to interfere with nature. Don't forget that I, too, am an element in the natural world, and my actions were in keeping with my nature.

Perhaps Napoleon's defeat was the end of divine right of kings in France, for though Louis XVIII was given the throne, things were never again as they once were.

Wellington and Blucher suffered 22,000 casualties, Napoleon 25,000 plus 8,000 taken prisoner.

The birds fared better. Well, except for the Owl.

Image: by permission of the artist. Thanks, Jamie.Sources:
BBC History
Personal observation in my backyard.
© 2011 David W. Lacy

Friday, June 17, 2011

Camping in June

We had a wonderful five days away from home base while this blog ran on autopilot. Our destination Sunday afternoon was Miami State Recreation Area on Mississinewa Lake. We arrived early enough to pretty much have our pick of campsites. We chose the same spot we had last year. As you can see in the above collage, the choice of vehicles is quite varied-- different strokes for different folks. The vardo was hand-built by a very interesting couple, both artists. His medium of choice is water colors, hers, fabrics which she creates.

The young man who drove the Challenger camped in a tent with his son. We drive the class "c" and Gary and Janet whose ultralite has travelled the nation almost always bring flowers to brighten their spot.

There was lots of firewood burned, and I hope to get the woodsmoke aroma banished from my person really soon. I may be the only member of the entire entourage who doesn't "get" campfires. Although I have to say I cooked a pair of t-bones to perfection Wednesday night on the campfire, much to the envy, and snide remarks of the brat-eaters and burger broasters. If you got it, flaunt it.

The weather was not without its interesting moments. Wednesday morning we awakened to a deluge. It went on its way bime bye but not before we had slept away a major portion of the day!

And on our final morning, we arose to a beautiful sunrise. This view is of the eastern sky just moments before the sun crested the treetops.

A safe and uneventful trip home was the capsheaf to a great week!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Borrowed, Continued

Cookie welcomes you this morning with his CSL* greeting. He has placed his little paws in such a manner as to form a heart saying, "I love you."

Here is the continuation of the cribbed post started yesterday.

16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
17. Every one has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.
18. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
19. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
20. What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
21. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.
22. Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
23. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.
24. Just remember - if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
25. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Number 23 is the one I find myself quizzically pondering most frequently. Really, I remember my past, and yet I still cannot for the life of me figure out what happened.

*Canine Sign Language

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Frankly Borrowed Material...

..I'm not nearly this clever.

I was looking through some files stored in the word processor. This one was saved over five years ago, and I neglected attribution; or perhaps I never knew who the author is. It's fun.

Deep Thoughts For Those Who Take Life Way Too Seriously

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.
2. A day without sunshine is like . . . night.
3. On the other hand, you have different fingers
4. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

6. He who laughs last thinks slowest.
7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.
9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.
14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

Ponder these. Come back tomorrow for the rest of the list.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day

This is the first Official Flag of the United States of America, June 14, 1777.

This is that Flag that was displayed during all twelve of my elhi years.

Alaska was the 49th state and this became the official flag. It was displayed during my first year of teaching. in 1959.

Our current flag became official on July 4, 1960. The 50th star represents Hawaii.

There have been 27 official flags of the United States during the last 234 years.

You may view them at this site.

May the Red, White and Blue forever fly o'er the Land of the Free!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Justice in Colonial Virginia

Genealogical research is possibly the most fun when one comes across snippets such as this one. Sheds some light on the era, the lives and times of the ancestors.
These paragraphs appear in Twelve Virginia Counties.1

At a court held for Louisa County on Monday the XIII day of June in the XII year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the 2nd, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc., Ann. Dom. 1743 before his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the county, to wit: Robert Davis,2 Abraham Veneble,3 Charles Barret, John Poindexter and Ambrose Joshua Smith.

Whereas at a court held for this county on Monday the 11th of April last the Reverend Richard Hartswell, being then drunk, came into court and then and there in the presence of the Justices of the said court then sitting prophanely swore one Oath, therefore it is considered and accordingly ordered that the said Richard pay to the Church Wardens of the Parish of Fredericksville, wherein the offenses were committed, the sum of ten shillings or one hundred pounds of tobacco, that is to say five shillings or fifty pounds of tobacco for being drunk and five shillings or fifty pounds of tobacco for prophanely swearing each, for which execution may issue.

1p. 271
2My seven greats grandfather, agnate.
3Son-in-law of Davis, and my six greats grandfather, agnate.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Con Artist Is Conned

We continue the saga of Jacob's courtship in Genesis 29.

Jacob has given seven years of service to Laban for the hand of Rachel, his daughter. So comes Jacob to his prospective father-in-law and says to him, Pay up! Thus Laban prepares the wedding feast and the community celebrates the coming nuptials. Laban brings forth his daughter and gives her to Jacob to wife. They repair to the conjugal bed, one gathers, to consummate the marriage. But let us keep the blinds pulled.

At any rate, when Jacob awakens in the light of day, he discovers that he has spent the night in the arms of Leah, not the Rachel he desired. He flies forth to find Laban and accuses him of treachery, deceit, and what-not

No, no, My Son, he says, it is not the custom in our country to wed the younger daughter before the marriage of her older sister. But fair is fair. So for another seven years of your fine and faithful labor in my behalf, I will give you the girl of your dreams. And. And! if you are a good sport and agree to this, the wedding shall be held in seven days.

What could the poor lad do, besotted with love of Rachel? He had already devoted seven years of his life to win the hand of his beloved. So, yes, he agreed.

But not, we suspect, without allowing his mind to begin to hatch and ferment some plan of retaliation against his dear uncle. And let us not forget that before he came to Haran Jacob had already proved his skill at deception, fraud and deceit in gaming his brother Esau out of his birthright.

Part 2 in a series

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Move It, Lad #T

In celebration with thousands of seven-year-olds who just finished with first grade, we present unabashedly, nay proudly, a rerun. I am entitled to do this. It is my blog. I like the story; I hope you enjoy it. Again.

It was another beautiful fall morning, but it was a Tuesday. The small boy wore a scowl on his little face as he put on his shoes. Tying the laces carefully, he was muttering all the while, "I'm not going to school today." He went into the kitchen where Mama was just finishing the cooking of the oatmeal on the wood-burning range. The boy sat at the table with Daddy and Little Sister as Mama ladled the oats into their bowls. A dollop of cream from the top of the jar and a spoonful of sugar made the breakfast quite palatable.

"Boy," Dad said, "You need to hustle a bit. That pan under the icebox has to be emptied and you need to bring in a dozen chunks of wood before you head off to school."
"I'll take care of my chores," said the child. "But I'm not going to school today."
Dad chuckled a second, then let his face turn to a scowl, a reflection of his son's visage. "I've heard that every day since the first week you were in school. I'm a little tired of it. Now scoot."
The boy carefully removed the pan and emptied the water into the sink, knowing full well that if he spilled any he'd have to mop the floor. But all the while he was muttering, "I am not going to school."
And after the wood was inside in its box, he went out the door still vowing he was not going to school. But that, of course, was exactly where he was going.

It was just after 10:30 and Miss Gibbs had told Sandra twice to face the front of the room and to stop talking. As the child turned her head yet again toward her classmate behind her, the teacher swiftly negotiated the distance between the blackboard and the girl's seat. The children sat agape, stunned at the quickness the Old Lady displayed.
The Boy, two rows over, was stunned when the teacher grasped the girl's face between her hands and rudely faced her toward the front of the room. As Miss Gibbs swung on her heel and started back toward her desk, Sandra stuck out her tongue at the retreating back. The teacher immediately spun around, returned to the girl's place, and swung her hand smartly across the child's face, literally knocking her from her seat. There were 29 first grade children who would believe for the rest of their lives that that teacher had "eyes in the back of her head."

The rest of the day, nay, the rest of that school year, is lost in the mists of that boy's memory. Except for the coloring book incident. Perhaps another time.

Names have not been changed to protect the innocent, as there is no innocent in this tale. Except maybe Little Sister, who only got to sit at the table. In our six-year old cleverness, our chant, when not in her presence, was "Old Lady Gibbs has lost her ribs."

© 2010 David W. Lacy

Friday, June 10, 2011

Inspired by Sister

Verla wrote a short article about Fitting Names for business enterprises. This inspired me to open my eyes and my mind to the possibilites right here in Perfect.

The first one to capture my attention was a business sign on South Main Street:
"Down to the Roots" No it isn't a septic service. It's a hair salon.

Here are others for your amusement.

"Candlelight Services" Not a wedding planner. It is electrical, heating and AC.

"Nita's Alter Ego" is an alteration service. No, clothing.

"Wrench's Auto Service. Seems appropriate.

"Cutter and Co." You are right this time; another salon.

"Sugar Mamma's" The slogan is, "Life is short. Eat dessert first." A confectioner.

"Animal Crackers and Company" Not a bakery. It's a pre-school. I'm proud to say it is owned and operated by one of my former students.

"Renewed Performance" Not a spa or gymnasium. They refurbish fire engines. You know. The red trucks you call for in emergency situation.
"EverReady" Not a supplier of power sources, but a bail bondsman who, for cash, will get your cousin out of jail, any hour of the day or night.

Yet none of these are as funny as Vee's ultimate and appropriate business name.

Have you any cool business names in your community?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blog Interactions

A few days ago blogger pal Sharkbytes posted an article in which she honored the most frequent commenters on her blogsite. Seemed like fun to me, because I very much enjoy and appreciate reading comments from readers of String Too Short to Tie.

I tallied the comments made on STSTT during May, and here are the results listing the top five commenters for that month.

1. Vee with 23 comments. Thanks, Sis.

2. Sharkbytes commented 21 times. Shark not only likes to get comments, she likes to post them as well.

3. Chuck logged in 18 comments. Like Sharkbytes, Chuck is a Michiganian.

4. Lin remarked on the blog 13 times. This gives places 2,3, and 4 to Midwesterners, since Lin is a Chicago resident.

5. Ilene wrote something seven times, barely nudging past Jim at six and Grace at five times. Little Sis made the top five! (No link since she does not blog.)

Do you enjoy comments on your blog?


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shopping Excursion, Part Two

As I related yesterday, we stopped at the mall for a spot of shopping. As it happened, we were on the way home from a graduation party for granddaughter Dakota. When we stepped into the parking lot, the outdoor temperature was 97o. But it was air conditioned in the big box, so merrily we did our things. We had been in the premises about an hour when a voice came over the loud hooter asking that all shoppers and all employees proceed calmly to the restrooms. Of course, sheep that we are, everyone complied.

We were herded into the employee "break room," a facility about 12' x 15', which allowed each individual about three or four square feet of floor space. One lady was in a wheel chair, and clearly needed a double allotment. The baby in arms across the way was less troublesome than were the several small children in the room. At any rate, I had been in the room less than five minutes when it became necessary for me to depart. One actually needs to breathe, so I thought I would sacrifice my oxygen in the room to those who remained. Always thinking of others. The hallway was ever so much better!

It was somewhat short of an eternity before we were "dismissed." I headed for the cash register with the items we wished to purchase, notwithstanding that BBBH wanted to shop some more. Go figure. I broke for the car just as a new deluge began. We started home. We got through town and on the country road. Two miles later, the huge tree that was lying across the road totally closed off that avenue. Oh, did I say that the rain was coming down in sheets at this point? Since the pavement was only twelve feet wide, I chose to back up rather than risk dropping a wheel into the mud alongside the road should my turning be less than accurate. Moreover, I had to drive in reverse only a half-mile before coming to a driveway I could back into!

We took the first crossroad and drove a mile south, then headed west again. We got two miles this time before being blocked by a tree. I saw it in time to make another turn. Well, enough detail, but we finally arrived home safely, and the storm raged on. Oh, did I mention that when we left the store the temperature was 67o?

What a fun spring day in Indiana!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shopping With the Beloved One

A few days ago, Beautiful suggested a stop at a nearby mall. I was amenable to the suggestion, but although she offered me the opportunity to requested that I wait in the car, I chose to enter the store.
I did not interfere or hover as she looked over the goods, but after I had noted several disturbing sartorial trends for distaff members of our society, it occured to me that I had a camera on my belt.
It appears to me that if these items are adopted and worn by (I would hope no one but) the young, milady may quite likely fall out the bottom of her clothing (Exhitit 1); or indeed she may fall out the top of her attire (Exhibit 2). If either, neither or both of these occur, it is yet also likely that she may fall off her shoes! (Exhibit 3).

I am surprised that there were no security wardens demanding that I hand over the camera, given the racy nature of the photography. Or perhaps it would be wise for the old man to simply stay in the car in future.

Monday, June 6, 2011


June 6,1944 over 160,000 troops of the American, Canadian, British, and Free French forces landed on the Normandy coast, beginning the largest military assault in history.

Forever memorialized as "D-Day" we pause to remember those who served in that ugly conflict, respecting them with due honor and gratitude for their sacrifices. Casualties were extremely high in number.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jacob Bids for the Prize

In the twenty-ninth chapter of Genesis we read the account of Jacob's arrangement with his Uncle Laban for the hand of his daughter, Rachel. Jacob had travelled all the way to Haran at his parents' behest; and there he met Rachel at the well. Now he asks for her to wife.

And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me.
What will a man give for a beautiful and well-endowed wife? Jacob was willing to give seven years of his labor. He cut to the chase, giving his best offer without negotiation. I, by contrast, would have gone along these lines:

Me: Sir, I would like to have your daughter, Rachel. Would you give me her hand in marriage?
Laban: Ahem, you are a fine young man, bone of my bone, your mother my dear sister. I would be amenable to an offer.
Me: Perhaps I could work in your service for a reasonable and appropriate length of time?
Laban: Capital idea, my boy. Let's say, fourteen years would be about right, and you will at the end of that time still be a young man, virile and strong, to provide me with grandchildren.
Me: I was thinking more along the lines of six months, Uncle, so that I might be back in Shebah by spring time.
Laban: I take your point. It is desirable that at some date you might visit the 'rents again. Let's say ten years.
Me: Oh, sir. I do love Rachel so. I would be willing to go to three years.
Laban: Oh, never mind, you scalawag. I think I will betroth her to Jacob.
Me: (sobs, heartbroken; turns to go.)Laban: Fare thee well, lad. Better luck next time. And never undervalue the prize, nor yet overvalue yourself.

Part One in a series
Image: ethiopiajudaica

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Plate

The USDA with the star-power assistance of Lady Michelle has introduced a replacement for the venerable nutrition pyramid which generations of children learned in their elementary school health classes.

The new icon is "simpler and easier to understand," code, I suspect, for "the American people are no longer smart enough to understand a simple pyramid." But fortunately, you have us to look out for you. And besides, the old gadget actually had dessert foods on it, a definite no-no in this new age of nutritional health for all.

Roll-out costs for the new gadget is said to be two million dollars.

I've long said, and I will say it again, "Eat dessert first-- life is uncertain."

Coming soon to a bonfire near you! Cookbook burning! Be sure to get Grandma's snickerdoodle and persimmon pudding recipes.

Friday, June 3, 2011


The first week of June. High School Graduation time.

High schools are winding down their year all over the land. Commencement exercises were recently, or soon will be, held. The gown, the cap, the tassel. The endurance of speeches from those much older and ever so much wiser; the march across the stage, probably in the gymnasium, to receive the diploma are all a part of it. The part that you have been anxiously looking forward to if you are a graduating student or a parent of such an one.

This year we have a granddaughter and a great granddaughter who will forever identify themselves as "Class of '11." The celebrations, the open houses, the hugs will mark the point in the lives of the grandparents where the separation from these girls will come starkly into focus as they move on to college and into their "adult" lives.

The next family high school commencements: two years for a granddaughter, five years for a great granddaughter and a granddaughter, six years for a grandson, and seven years for the last of the grandchildren.

Advice? Stay well and do good.
Congratulations Dakota and Ariel!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Stuff Ag Communities Don't Want to Think About

and the government won't.
Rapeseed and corn biodiesels were calculated to produce up to 70 per cent and 50 per cent more greenhouse gases respectively than fossil fuels.

Our excursion on Memorial Day took us past miles of rich farmland. There were a few fields of rape in bloom, lending a brilliant stripe here and there across the landscape.

A certain cultivar of rape is called "canola" and is used to provide the cooking oil in your kitchen cabinet. Other varieties are used for feed and for the production of biofuels, particularly biodiesel.

The major portion of biofuels are produced from rapeseed and from corn, the former largely in Europe, and the latter in North America.

Recent research has shown that aside from the addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere due to transportation of the product, the fuels themselves when used may be more damaging to the environment than are traditional petrofuels. Specifically, nitrogen oxide which is emitted, is 296 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide. Recent scientific studies have shown that biofuels release twice as much N2O as previously thought. These were done by respected scientists, including Nobelist Paul Crutzen.

Huge numbers of semi trucks rumble past my domicile in the fall on their way to the ethanol plant a few miles down the road. Do the math. And here, my math may be faulty, but it seems to me that the more corn turned into ethanol, the higher the cost of the bacon to go with my eggs. And I get to help pay for the biofuel whether or not I use it, thanks to the government subsidies!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Payoff of Persistence

1630s: Mary Barrett Dyer sides with preacher Anne Hutchinson who taught that the Holy Spirit resides within the justified individual. She, along with her husband and the Hutchinsons, is banished from the Massachusetts Colony. They settled in Rhode Island.

1652: During a trip to England, Mrs. Dyer becomes a Quaker, a follower of George Fox whose teachings were similar to Anne Hutchinson's.

1657: Mary Dyer returns to Boston. She is imprisoned for her Quaker beliefs. She was released when her husband promised to keep her quiet.1

1658: Law passed making Quaker affiliation punishable by death.

1659: Mary Dyer visits two Quaker friends in jail, is herself jailed. They are released, but assured that they would be executed if they returned. A month later, Mary was back in Boston to "look the bloody laws in the face."2 She was again thrown in jail. She and others were led to the hanging site, where she watched two Friends hanged, but Governor stayed her execution. She returned to Rhode Island under duress. But persistence prevailed. She was determined to stand against the "wicked law."

1660: June 1. Boston Common. Mary Dyer is hanged.

"The faith of Mary Dyer inspired a new tolerance, which was enshrined in Massachusetts Constitution, which later became the model for the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights."3

Mary Dyer c.1611 - 1660 RIP

1You might imagine how difficult it was for me to avoid straying down this road; but I'm trying to be serious here.
2Smitty's Genealogy, Quaker, and Civil War Pages
3The Official Website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Smitty's Genealogy, Quaker, and Civil War Pages
The Official Website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts