In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, they can be found by clicking the labels button "stuff I made up".

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

jescordwaineratgmail.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I've Reached The Point...

...where about 95% of the media personalities make me want to puke. They're pinch-faced, condescending, self-important, pinheads, with makeup and the personality of a snake. How it's reached this point is beyond my comprehension. Their world is as unreal as Wonderland.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

An Encounter With the Media

I was in my early twenties, full of it and in charge of a seven person crew repairing the highway. We were the day shift of a twenty four hour operation and we had plenty to do.

The delartment of transportation dictated there was a four hour stretch when rush hour traffic didn't allow lane closures. Since we were on the side where it was the evening rush that was critical, the hours between four and eight in the evening were the hours we stayed off the highway. This meant that at 8:00 pm, a crew would start tearing out the sawed concrete and prepare it for the morning crew to pour. After that, the same morning crew would saw the next sections, tie the rebar and otherwise prepare the project for the night crew.

I was, for lack of a better phrase, screwed by the arrangement. Since the night crew didn't have access to supplies during the day, I was left with securing any materials and repairing equipment, besides the rest of my responsibilites. As time went on, and the hard used equipment had more repairs, I found I was on the project from 4:00 am to after 6:00 pm every day. There was always something else and I was becoming punch drunk from fatigue.

To add to the hard work, we were having a particularly hot summer. The bank clock on the side of the service road constantly reminded us it was 105 degrees in the shade each afternoon. This heat was almost unbearable and could kill within minutes.

The local media, always looking for a story, sent a crew to our site for an interview to add to their story about working in the heat. I saw them coming, which was the beginning of my encounter with the media.

At the start of the project, we contacted all of the media to alert them of slow traffic and congestion. Out of all those we contacted, only one A.M. station responded and broadcast the fact each morning. They had my admiration, the rest, as far as I was concerned, could kiss my ass. They had no idea how frustrating it is to deal with the motoring public and the dumbasses that manage to get behind the wheel.

The television crew's van pulled to the shoulder on the opposite lane from which we were repairing. Otherwise, they'd committed a mortal sin when it comes to traffic control. You never force drivers to choose between the dangerous collision of a motor vehicle and the seemingly open area of what appears as an almost unrestricted lane on the opposite side. That unrestricted lane has people working that have nothing between the bumper of a car and their body, except a shirt and a pair of pants.

I was pissed. We were trying to finish concrete that was setting extra fast due to the heat and extra amount of cement to decrease the set time. We only had a few hours before we needed to be off the highway and the concrete needed to be set before we left. Now, this crew was adding another source of stress.

I had no idea at the time why the crew was visiting our site, so I was thinking: "I bet they're here for a story on the dangers of working on the highway and how important it is to keep the public informed." Since I was the only one who appeared in charge, the young lady - with her entourage of technical dweebs - approached and asked the question: "How does it feel to work in this heat?"

I lost it. The last brain cell grasping sanity lost its grip and tumbled to the bottom. I unleashed a diatribe about disgust, betrayal and my disrespect for the media. I don't remember exactly what I said, but it included my disgust of how they made no effort to alert the public of the dangerous traffic and how inconsequential their silly news story was in relation to the amount of wrecks and mayhem I'd observed since the start of the project. When I finished, and the young reporter managed to close her mouth, she instantly regained her composure and asked one of the concrete finishers: "How does it feel to work in this heat?" Never breaking his stride, he answered: "I work better when I'm not talking."

The reporters stared, I glared. Realizing there was no story, they tucked their tails and left. I fumed for the next few minutes to God and anyone else that would listen. I was still fuming when I left that evening after repairing the damned equipment and making sure everbody had every damned thing they needed - those worthless bastards.

We didn't make the news that night, although they did find some workers more than willing to be on television. It was a cute story that pissed me off. I haven't thought much of the media since that day.

Some Things are Beyond Explanation

Such as the humidity today. It rained yesterday evening, so the evaporating water adds so much humidity to the air, I can only touch on the effects.

There's a haze that causes distant objects to fade into a blue blur.
Walking into the outside from air conditioning makes you realize even breathing is a strenous exertion.
Breathing causes you to sweat profusely.
After a few minutes outside, you're clothes are soaked.
The tiniest bit of physical exertion leads to so much sweat, you can wring sweat from your socks.
The National Weather Service issues a heat advisory for a heat index that can reach 110.

For those of you that think of the South as a place to escape cold winters, think again. The heat is just as miserable and the ultimate effect of not paying attention can be just as deadly.

For those of you sharing the experience, I recommend going back inside and forgetting about doing anything outside.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Day I Didn't Run Over the Dog

When I was a kid, you could save some money and buy a handy slingshot called a 'Wrist Rocket'. Made of aluminum, surgical tubing and designed to lock on your wrist, it was a a powerful tool for character building.

We all had a 'Wrist Rocket'. We'd spend hours wandering the neighborhood testing our skill by shooting at cicadas in the trees. Over time, our skills developed and we became marksmen. Since we all had one, squabbles became almost non-existent. You just don't let it get to that point when you know escalation could lead to really bad things.

I was tooling around in the backyard one afternoon, when I had a brilliant idea: If I took a firecracker, placed it in the slingshot, lit it and launched it, would it be similar to a bottle rocket? I had to try.

It worked, although I just couldn't get the altitude I wanted. I was thinking of fashioning an apparatus with some weight to attach to the firecracker, when my brother walked out the side door. It was one of those golden moments when everything fell in place. I had a fresh firecracker loaded, the fuse was seconds away from being lit, and my mind went to another plane.

"Hey!"

When he turned, I fine tuned my pull and launched the firecracker in his direction. It was perfect. The location of the explosion was 5 feet in front of him at eye level; just far enough to keep from putting an eye out.

"YOU COULD HAVE PUT MY EYE OUT!"

Uh oh. I had the slingshot reloaded with more substantial ammunition in seconds. He had that look on his face like he wanted to whip my ass. Maybe so, but  I would get off at least one shot before he did.

We stood staring at each other for a few moments. Me ready and him fuming. He stomped away, jumped into the car and ran over the dog.

I heard the howling and ran to the front yard. There was the miniature dachshund in pain, me freaking out and my brother yelling at me: "LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE1"

Damn. I didn't mean to. Hey, wait a minute: "I didn't do anything, You ran over the dog."

I was trying to comfort the dog, when my mother ran to the front, asked a quick question and summarized the situation. Within seconds, she and my brother were off to the vet. I stood in the front yard feeling lower than whale shit and worrying about the dog.

They were back within an hour. The dog, which obviously was made of titanium - like most dachshunds - had a sprain and the vet told us to keep him quiet for a few days. He survived and lived  for damn near two decades, constantly reminding me of that afternoon with his "Go to Hell look."

Up to the day he died, my brother blamed me for what happened. Maybe it was my fault, but I didn't run over the dog.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Olympics

It's time for the Summer Olympics once again. All of the world participates and cheers their athletes to victory and honor. It's a grand time, with hundreds of thousands living and breathing the event.

Personally, I'm not interested. Never have been and probably never will be.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Things Were Different

Both my parents were raised during the Great Depression. As children, they learned many things, but the greatest lesson wasl: You do with what you have.

Many people had nothing. No home. No food and very little hope. They'd work for a meal, if there was something available they could do. They didn't expect anything from anyone, but they did hope for a chance.

The lucky people had work, a place to live and maybe a plot of ground to grow vegetables, or raise a few chickens. It wasn't uncommon for school children to have a tomato sandwich, or some other vegetable to put between two slices of bread. They were lucky because those that didn't have anything went hungry.

People ate a lot of beans. If there was meat, the beans might have what was left on a ham bone boiled during the cooking. If there was no meat, it was hoped there was some onion to add some more flavor.

There was no air conditioning. During the summer, the windows were raised and the lucky people had electric fans to stir the air. If not, they slept in the hot, still, humid air and woke covered with sweat.

Clothes were washed in a No. 3 washtub and either rung out by hand, or through a hand wringer. The clothes were placed on a line stretched between two trees or posts in the yard. If it was a dry year, people hoped the clothes would be dry before any dust was kicked up by a passing car down the unpaved streets.

Today, it's different. Even the poorest of people have access to anything they need just by filling out some paperwork and waiting. It's a blessing this can happen, but it's a curse to a healthy society. Too many fail to recognize the significance of this blessing and expect it as an entitlement. Instead of being grateful, they have complete disdain for those that work hard and provide the tax money for what they're given. There is no worry that it might end and the best course is to avoid such a life unless absolutely necessary. The miracle of a productive free society is disappearing because many are too willing to trade their freedom for the luxury of not being productive.

It will change, whether by responsible actions or not. Those that produce are more than resentful. Those that don't are becoming more dependent and defiant of participating. No matter what the government thinks, or does, the final outcome will either be a return to responsibility or the destruction of society. I think those that are unwilling to produce and the politicians that continue to let this happen will ultimately lose. The United States wasn't created by the people that stood by and waited for things to happen. It was created by those that wanted more and were willing to work to satisfy their ambition. It's centuries of genetics that can't be changed by the arbitrary whims of foolish philosophers and their ignorant followers.

My mother always told me "The pendulum swings both ways and it never swings gently." We've tried "The Great Society" and it's an abysmal failure. The pendulum is swinging the other way and the changes won't be gentle.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Short Comment About Colorado

I think it's a crying shame the heroes of the event were shielding loved ones with their bodies, instead of confronting and shooting a bad guy with a gun.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bloodline

Steve stepped from his porch, surveyed the day and decided today was a good morning to explore. He was now completely moved in and ready to spend some time examining the land he purchased.
Steve was once a very successful owner of a small construction company. Years of hard work, some good contracts and a natural inclination for selling led him to the opportunity of selling his company at the young age of fifty two.  The deal was lucrative, which left him with a fortune and the ability to do whatever he wanted.  After years of working every waking hour, his immediate want was to spend some time relaxing and enjoying the freedom of what others might describe as retirement.
Steve’s land was almost ten thousand acres in the deep woods of East Texas. The land, never acquired by the lumber industry, was a rarity in such a large quantity. The original family harvested some of the timber years ago, but the rest was still unmolested by mankind.
Steve met the last surviving heir to the land before the start of negotiations for his company. She was a strikingly beautiful woman, whom he guessed was in her late sixties. Not the least bit reserved, her questions were direct and to the point.
They met while attending a construction conference. He was having breakfast, when she stopped and asked if she could sit at his table. Her explanation was she didn’t like eating alone and he had an honest face. Not really knowing what to say, he told her he’d be honored.
Over the next hour, they spoke of business, the construction market and the current economy. He found they had similar opinions and strategies on taking full advantage of what was offered. It was a pleasant surprise to Steve. His original impression was that he would not enjoy his breakfast. Instead, he was a little disappointed when she politely excused herself and left for a meeting.
As the conference progressed, Steve realized the woman was far from a small business owner. She was a major stockholder and on the board of one of the largest construction companies in the world. Later, he would find out more and realize she was far from a trust fund baby, even if she had inherited much of what she used to increase her fortune.
When the large company offered to buy Steve’s company, he was surprised and felt a little uneasy. He wasn’t on the market, but knew it wasn’t uncommon for such offers to be made. Before he responded, he sat down with his accountant and attorney. His instructions were to assess the complete worth and research the legalities of the transaction.
Steve stated his price and waited. Over months he received no information except for a letter stating the offer was received, even though it was sent by certified mail. He was impressed. It was a small unexpected courtesy.
While on a project site, Steve received an unexpected call from the woman he met at the conference. She asked if he could meet with her and discuss his price. He agreed and they set the meeting date one week from that day.
Arriving at the corporate headquarters, Steve was escorted to the woman’s office. She rose, shook his hand and asked him to sit. After a few pleasantries, she handed him a small stack of papers and asked him to review the information before he responded. 
“This might take some time.”
“I’ll have my assistant bring us some coffee.”
It took almost an hour for Steve to complete his examination of the papers.  The well prepared information was almost identical to the report from his accountant, which he used for basing his price. An expert at negotiations, he added twenty five percent to the actual worth for his asking price. Obviously, either his accountant had provided the information to his buyer, or they were well prepared for assessing a company. Either way, it was time to get down to business, so he set the papers on her desk and waited.
“As you can see, we have a pretty good idea what your company is worth. If your accountant is worth his beans, the figures we’ve provided you are close to what they provided. So, that’s why I’m going to offer you fifteen percent over that figure as my final offer.”
Steve just sat over the next few moments and sipped the last of his coffee. Before he could speak, she had one more thing to add:
“There are two more things I’ll add before you make your final decision: You must agree to not compete for ten years and you must purchase some land I own with stipulations attached.”
Steve looked into her dark brown eyes and tried to read what was on her mind. The effort was fruitless, so he asked:
“How much land and how much is it per acre?”
“Ten thousand acres, with a comfortable home and the price is one dollar per acre.”
The price was astoundingly low. Unless it was a chemical waste dump, even just doubling the price for resale would be well worth the paperwork.
“What are the stipulations?”
“You cannot sell the land to anyone. You will have enough money to guarantee the preservation of the land from developers or business.”
Steve had to know, so he asked: “Why so cheap and what’s so special about this land?”
She responded:” I’m hungry. Why don’t we discuss this over lunch?”
Steve agreed and spent the next two hours learning the history of what would soon be his.
She was the descendent of original settlers to the land. English by heritage, they carved a life out of around eighty of the acres. From this land, they survived, but one of the sons had a particular skill that led to the family fortune. In the present, he would be an engineer. In his day, his ability to move large amounts of timber down the Sabine River forged an enterprise that grew over time. As the family fortune grew, the ability to keep the land from harvesting became a family tradition. While others harvested the timber, they refused to change what they learned to love and protected the land fiercely.
“I’m the last descendent with any interest in our heritage. I have a daughter, who I love dearly, but she’s as wise as a box of rocks and horribly self-indulgent. She has no interest in the land and I can never trust her decisions on the land would be best. That’s why I’ve made you the offer. You’ve proven your honor by your actions and from our conversation at the conference, I can see you have a deep respect and love for the land. We may be some of the greatest manipulators of our environment, but we can never reproduce old growth trees or accelerate what takes centuries to change.  I’m not so foolish to believe the entire world needs to be treated as such, but I am wise enough to know some things within our grasp are treasures to cherish.”
Steve sat and pondered on the offer. Amazed at how wonderful it was, he was hesitant to agree. Could there be some other stipulation? What was he missing?
“You’ve put a lot of trust in someone you barely know.”
“I know, but I’ve found my opinions on people are true over time. I don’t think I’m making a mistake.”
“I think we need to shake on our agreement.”
Steve rose, reached for her hand and said: “I have one stipulation before we close this deal.”
Surprised, she asked: “And, what is that stipulation?”
“You must personally give me a tour of the land. I would trust nobody else.”
She smiled; they shook hands and started discussing the process of finalizing the deal. Before the day was over, they agreed on when the tour would happen.
The tour was on a brilliant early spring day. The dry, cool air of a late cold front had provided a perfect day for their task. A few red buds were blooming, but the heavy growth was still mostly brown from the winter.
Steve immediately liked the house. Modest in size, it had a covered porch that ran completely around the perimeter. The single story building sat on brick piers, which were enclosed by a skirting. The windows and doors were modern, but the he could tell the original structure was old. Time, and effort, had preserved the old building, which now had modern appliances.
Behind the house was a large combination work shop and caretaker quarters. It too was old, but had been modernized. The quarters were comfortable and the shop was well equipped with just about anything a craftsman would need.  At one end was a small stable stoutly built and well drained. Adjacent to the stable was two acre pen enclosed by a wood fence.
“Does someone live in these quarters?”
“Mr. B lived there up to six months ago. His age, and health, finally prevented him from doing what he loved.”
“It sounds like you really like him.”
“He’s like an uncle. He loves this as much as I do, but he knows it’s time to turn it over to someone else. He’s very glad you agreed to purchase the land.”
“You can tell him I’ve decided to move here.”
“That’s rather sudden. What brought that on?”
“The last hour; if I wanted to, I don’t think I could build something that fits me this well.”
They spent the remainder of the day sitting on the porch in idle conversation. By the time to leave, both were much more comfortable with what they set in motion. When they left, she was leaving forever, except as visitor. He was leaving only long enough to make final deals and prepare for moving. Her sadness was obvious, but she found she admired his exuberance and was content with her decisions.
_____________________________________________________________________________
Steve walked to the stable and opened the door. Bill, his gelding, snorted as he entered and pawed at the ground for a few seconds.
As Steve opened the stall, he spoke to Bill: “I know. I’m ready too.”
He let the horse loose into the pen adjacent to the stable. Bill pranced as he went into the pen and immediately rolled in the sun warmed grass. Steve ignored the horse as he gathered his saddle and tack. He’d let Bill spend some time being a horse until he saddled him for the ride.
As he worked, Steve thought of his new life. He’d never ridden in his life, much less owned a horse, but it was part of the deal he made. Since motorized vehicles were to remain off the land, he needed some method to move about the land other than by walking. Bill was his all-purpose vehicle. A stout quarter horse, he was trained to do just about anything Steve needed. The trainer had taken extra time to insure Bill was totally prepared and choose him from stock that was known as smart and gentle. Bill cost Steve much more than many would pay for a horse, but for those that knew such things, he was well worth the money.
“Are you ready?”
The horse snickered and walked to Steve. Within minutes, he was saddled, wearing a halter and obviously energized. He’d be a little frisky for awhile, but Steve knew he would soon fall into his steady walk, which he could accomplish all day, if needed.
Steve headed toward the creek that ran through the property. At the widest places, it was only around 30 feet wide. Artesian fed, and shallow, it supplied a constant supply of water, which was necessary to the original settlers.
As they travelled, Steve’s mind wandered. Without the constant pressure of running a company, he was still amazed at how little leisure time he had in the past. He never noticed, but it was now apparent. He had a better understanding of why his short marriage never worked and why he was almost alienated from his son. They had completely different outlooks on life and his musician son seemed to avoid anything that resembled his father.
Steve decided to parallel the creek and travel to the north, which was upstream. He’d cross if necessary, but planned on staying on the west bank. He had plenty of other days for the other side. Today, he would concentrate on only one.
After an hour, they reached a low bluff, with few trees. Deadfall was apparent, and the groundcover was thick. Blackberry vines created a thicket, which was impenetrable by the horse and rider. Deciding to cross, Steve nudged Bob toward the bank. Hesitant, the gelding slowed and became nervous. Knowing enough about horses, Steve gently spoke to the gelding and rubbed his neck. Eventually, after one step into the water, the horse almost lunged into the water to avoid tripping. When the shallow water cooled the horse’s legs, he snorted in contentment and continued. Steve stopped him in the middle. The bottom was sand and hard packed iron ore, so there wasn’t any threat of sinking. He gave the horse rein and allowed him to drink for a few moments.
Looking upstream at the semi-straight channel, he decided to proceed upstream in the creek. It was shallow and he knew the only deep spots would be on the outside of curves. They should be fine and he’d turn around if he didn’t like the passage.
Bob seemed to enjoy the extra work of waking the shallow water and seemed as curious as Steve.  He scanned the banks and his ears would turn forward at the sound of a frog or movement on the band. Birds flew between the branches of the trees and squirrels fussed at the strangers in their territory.
They were about one quarter mile upstream when they found the creek blocked by a deadfall tree. Thinking of turning around, Steve changed his mind when he noticed the bank gradually sloped up to what appeared as a small clearing. They left the creek, climbed the slope and found a small meadow, only a few hundred square feet in size.  Steve dismounted, let the reins fall and decided to explore a little further on foot. Tying Bob to a small tree, he eased on through the thin brush at the north end of the meadow. He wouldn’t go far; he only wanted to see if he needed to prepare for extended time hiking in the future.
He wasn’t far when he found the tree, or what was left of it. Lying on the side, it was at least six feet in diameter and covered with moss. What had caused the magnificent tree to fall wasn’t important, but the fact it still remained after what must have been decades –or longer – was what stirred Steve’s thoughts.
From the side, Steve estimated the huge remaining section of trunk was thirty feet in length. Close examination revealed what appeared as char on the outside. Steve was wondering if Lightning killed the tree as he worked his way to the end. When he reached the end, he peered into the large hollow section. The other end was covered with dirt, so it took a few moments for Steve’s eyes to adjust to the darkness. As they did, he realized the trunk had been occupied at one time.
Crude furniture occupied several sections of the hollow trunk. They appeared to be old rotten crates with crude timber boards on top. Time had deteriorated the furniture to the point it was hard to discern the original intent, but the crude comforts of home soon became apparent.
On one wall was a crude bed, with a shelf at the far end. Across from the bed was a table with a badly tarnished fork and spoon laid correctly as though they were part of a dinner setting. A large porcelain saucer sat in the middle. The remains of countless candles lay in a puddle on the bottom and the stub of the last candle stood only a few inches above the puddle. It was gnawed at top; probably by a hungry squirrel. Carefully stepping into the primitive abode, Steve examined the walls and floor for snakes. Finding none, he stepped further in towards the small shelf at the end of the bed. The metal box on top was the focus of his attention.
Before reaching for the box, Steve carefully examined the outside. He knew the shape, and the remaining writing indicated it was a surplus ammunition box. Badly rusted, he didn’t want to move it if it would fall apart. Satisfied it would survive being moved, Steve carefully picked up the box, made one last survey of the hollow tree and made a mental note to return in the near future. He had gauged his time and knew it was time to start the trip back to the house. Any unforeseen events could lead to being out without the proper equipment after dark. He knew better, so his curiosity would have to wait.
Returning to Bob, he tied the box to the back of the saddle, quickly mounted and they were off. The next few hours were spent with Bob’s mind in motion. Who was the inhabitant? Was it a former family member’s camp? Was it a stranger? Where did they go?
After reaching the stall, Steve removed the riding gear, gave Bob a quick brushing, placed a little feed in his bowl and left the door open so he could graze in the pasture. Steve would return before dark to close him in the stable.
Stepping into the workshop, Steve found a can of penetrating oil, sprayed the hinges and placed some more on the latch. He’d let the oil work while he prepared his supper. Returning to the house, he cooked and would occasionally look toward the workshop. His mind was on what was inside. He could feel it had something in it. What this something was now completely occupied his thoughts.
After finishing his evening tasks, Steve returned to place Bob in his stall and to open the box. Carefully, he pried on the latch until he had some movement. Working the latch a little more each time eventually allowed the latch to be released. A few minutes more and the latch came completely loose and allowed him to start on the hinges. Using a screwdriver, he pried a little on the lid, which allowed a tiny amount of movement. More penetrating oil, a little more force and Steve continued with successfully opening the box. Within a half hour of tedious work, he had enough clearance to peer into the box. Whatever was in there was wrapped in some type of plain oilcloth. He’d have to completely open the box before he could remove the contents.
As he continued to work on the latch, he wondered why he didn’t just use a power tool to remove the lid. It didn’t take him long to remember he had all the time he needed and to destroy something as rare as his find seemed unconscionable.  He needed to be patient. Within an hour, the hinges finally were free and he could open and close the box without the grinding restriction of the rust. It was time to examine the contents.
The oilcloth was almost brittle, but still in fairly good shape. Reaching into the box, he grasped the wrapped object and set it on the work table. Peering into the bottom of the box revealed a handful of tarnished silver quarters, some buttons and a badly deteriorated sewing kit. Turning to the bundle, he carefully removed the oilcloth and found a small leather binder. Opening the binder revealed a few pencils and what would soon occupy the majority of his night.
Steve cleaned up his work area and placed the box on a shelf. Grabbing his new found treasures, he returned to the house and placed it on the kitchen table. He decided the occasion called for fresh coffee, so he started a pot before he set down to his task. Within minutes, with a fresh cup, he opened the binder and started on the first page of writing:
If you’re reading this, either the good Lord has taken me, or I’ve been found once again. Either way, this journal is far from a culmination of my life, but there’s enough to where I feel what I consider important will not be lost forever by the passage of time.
I was born in 1931 in Illinois. I was raised on a farm, but the farm was not my goal, or my parents. They wanted me to obtain a degree from a university and have life with more opportunities. Through frugal living, and hard work, they saved enough and I studied enough to be accepted for higher education. My goal was to be an attorney, but the tragedy of a tornado took my parents during my last year of college. Without the resources, or the heart to continue, I struggled through and finally ended up with a degree in business. It was enough to start my life and allow me to forever be free of Illinois.
I landed a job with a medical supply company. At that time, a tremendous amount of money was to be made in Occupied Japan, so I was sent to work in the branch office in Tokyo. It was a learning experience and changed my view of the Japanese people. Where I hated them during the war, I found them to be far from the hideous monsters as portrayed in the war films and by reports. They were mostly the victims of the unbridled power of a cruel government. Their only fault was to blindly follow their leaders and they suffered tremendously from this error.
The big change in my life came after a tragedy at a local house of ill repute. A young sailor, inebriated on Sake, turned over a lantern, lit the entire facility on fire and managed to not only receive severe burns, but suffer a horrible cut to his leg. This is where I became involved.
The burns were in need of immediate treatment, but the cut had caused severe blood loss. I was at the hospital at the time, had the right blood type, so I volunteered a pint even though my work mates felt it was foolish. They cautioned the sailor would die eventually from the burns, so why waste a pint of good blood? I wasn’t raised that way, so the blood was given.
I didn’t think much of it and the matter eased from my thoughts over the next week. The young doctor that treated the sailor cornered me in the hall of the hospital and asked me to follow him to the room of the sailor.
When we arrived, I was surprised to find the sailor in good spirits, healing as though he’d spent months in the hospital and unbelievably strong for someone that had suffered such severe burns. Instead of hovering near death from dehydration and infection, he was talking of how soon he would be able to leave.
Within a week, the sailor took a turn that was even better. His skin was healing without severe scarring. This is when the doctor asked me to run a few tests, which I agreed to perform. That was my mistake. I should have denied the tests and run like my life depended on it.
Over the next few weeks, a multitude of tests were performed. Besides the tests, it seemed as though they drained at least half my blood, although I didn’t seem to suffer any problems from the loss. I felt like a human pin cushion and trapped by my surroundings. The doctors offered platitudes and encouragement, but as time went on, I felt like a laboratory animal and they seemed like they only cared for results.
I told the young doctor I’d had enough and wanted to leave. This was my second mistake. I should have just slipped away into the night and disappeared. Within a day, I was escorted to a transport and flown to the mainland. I ended up at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. There, I was kept under guard, while they continued with the tests.
Over time, I realized my blood was being harvested. For what I have no idea, but from the constant visitations of high ranking officials, I assume it was for personal friends or family members. My personal life was gone and I only had a few workers at the hospital I could call friends. This is what led to my escape.
One Christmas Eve, while most of the staff was gone, or drinking, I realized my guard was suffering from a bad meal. He constantly left for a few minutes to relieve the symptoms. That’s when I made my move. Through constant watching, I knew the mail truck would leave at 11:00 pm, the guards never checked the outgoing truck and my only opportunity might have just been presented. I escaped without a hitch, but I knew I only had a few hours to disappear.
I managed to leave the truck at the San Antonio post office, which started my life on the run. At first, getting by was tough, especially with the constant efforts to find me again. There was no massive manhunt, since they didn’t want to reveal the purpose. Eventually, I blended in, found a way out and made my way to Houston, Texas.
I worked on the docks for awhile, but soon realized it was too confining and would allow me to be found. I went from there to the oil fields, which were filled with people that had pasts that they hoped would disappear forever. Few questions were asked and nobody really cared.
One evening, while I was hitchhiking to a prospective job on a rig in East Texas, I found myself on the open road with a tremendous storm approaching. I hid under a bridge to wait the storm out and fell asleep. That was a mistake. The rain swelled creek caught me in the middle of the night and swept me downstream. I ended up caught in some trees, in complete darkness and without any hope of help. Morning brought a better perspective and I found a huge deadfall tree for shelter from the continuing rain. That’s where I made the decision to go “native” and live off the land.
It took some time to acquire the things I needed to survive. I had to find the nearest town and do my business without anyone noticing the stranger. I eventually accomplished this task and returned to my new home.
Now, I will journal my life; hopefully without notice and maybe be free from the constant worry of being found once again.
I would give my name, but it might only cause you to acquire problems you never would wish on anyone. If you must place a name to this journal, call me John Brown. It’s a name as good as any, without the stigma my actual name carries.
Steve continued to read the journal. From that point on, it was the daily reflections of the writer. Some entries were detailed, but most were only short descriptions of the weather and if the writer was successful in finding food.
Steve finally reached the end, which was dated July 16, 1961. It only had a few lines describing the heavy logging noises to the north and the need to run the limb lines in the creek. Closing the journal, he sat and sipped the last of the pot of coffee.
Steve’s mind churned with thoughts about the writer. Where did he go? Did he die? Was he captured? During his musings, the old caretaker’s name came to his thoughts: “Mr. B” He realized he never asked his full name or for any details. Could he be John Brown?
Steve realized he would need to turn over some rocks to find the answers. He, also, knew turning over those rocks could reveal things about powerful people that wouldn’t appreciate his efforts. He decided to take the journal, replace it in the box and return it to the tree. He’d make sure it couldn’t be destroyed by nature and leave it for some future explorer to find.  It was too soon to unravel this mystery. Only time would reveal the secrets, or not.  
Steve placed his coffee cup in the sink. He would read the journal one more time in bed. Tomorrow, he would return it to hiding. After that, he would only have memories for recollection. They would have to do.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Realized Something Just Awhile Ago

After I finished cutting my mother's yard, I realized I'd spent the entire time in the place I go when a yarn is brewing. I was visualizing the scenery, the people, the events and working with different ways to write the story. I'll obsess until it's complete.

In a less civilized society, they'd be putting leaches on my body, burning herbs and banging drums to chase away the spirits. In our society, it's called writing and my sometimes obsession.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Okay. I've Had Enough

It's 5:00 am, the temperature is 77 degrees and the humidity is 96 percent. Add that it's calm and you have the perfect environment for a heat stroke. Breathing causes profuse sweating. When the sun rises, things will only get worse. 

Bleh.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An Afternoon Rain Shower and Memories

It’s been brutal the last few days. After the rain event last week, there’s plenty of moisture for afternoon showers. They appear from nowhere, grow within minutes and the short deluge fills ditches. After the shower dissipates, there are only a few high clouds and the oppressive heat accentuated by the high humidity.
Today, while passing down rain soaked pavement, with almost completely clear skies, I remember returning home from a family vacation when I was young. We were returning from visiting relatives in Chickasha, Oklahoma and were all tired from the 500 mile trip.
My father stopped at a Texaco station in some small town around 100 miles from home. The paving was soaked, water ran in the ditches and the hot, humid air took my breath. We stretched our legs and I thought of the week we just spent in Oklahoma.
If you’ve never been to Oklahoma, you probably don’t know how dry it can be. Lakes slowly recede from lack of water. The dry, red dirt sucks almost all the life from the parched Bermuda grass and the afternoon heat is a dry baking heat, like you feel when you open a hot oven. Asphalt becomes soft and you can smell the oil as it bakes in the sun. Relief is found from “swamp coolers” and those with any sense do anything they can to avoid the heat.
I don’t know what it was about that vacation that really stayed in my mind, but it did. I remember fishing with relatives, lurking in the cool, red dirt basement at my grandmother’s and late evenings – when the dry air finally cooled – collecting fireflies in jars. There seemed to be millions and I can only describe my feeling as mesmerized. The older folks sipped beer and tried to stuff years of thoughts into a few short nights.
We were now close to home. I took a drink from the filling station water fountain and thought how it tasted like the water at home, which didn’t have the minerals and distinct taste of what we drank for a week. The sun was barely above the trees and the golden light turned the surrounding trees an unreal dark green, which sharply contrasted with the dry vegetation of Oklahoma.  All traces of the cloud were gone and the rain hadn’t quite defeated the heat of the day.  The wheels of passing cars sizzled as they stirred the heavy steam from the highway.  Although it should have seemed familiar, it was more surreal. The short time in Oklahoma had changed my perspective.
It’s strange how common, daily events can stir memories. They’re hidden away and appear as small treasures at the right moment. Moments in time captured forever; waiting for discovery.

Heat Cramps

It's been years, but yesterday, heat cramps became a problem. The heat wasn't excessive, but the humidity from the rain last week was brutal. Maybe today will be better.

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Irritating...

...to realize that those that are least able to function in a work environment are those that are the children of those that used to be least able to function in a work environment. We pay for lack of interest, compensate those least interested and it's looking like the gene pool is becoming a little septic. To add insult to injury, these folks are fertile and have no qualms about spreading their crummy genes.

Another thing: If you're determined to drive fast, do so on a back road, without traffic or semi-elderly drivers that are trying to back out of tight parking spaces designed by sadist engineers with an agenda. You scared the crap out of me. If you have some type of death wish, accomplish your wish by wrapping your small SUV around a tree....just don't have any passengers at the time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Proof

If you need some proof that President Obama has no idea what makes this country great, go here and see. There's nothing more dangerous to a free society than a fascist. We have one for President and he needs to be sent on his way.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An Unusual Lack of Spiders

I've only seen one orb spider this season. Usually, they're plenty to be found, although they're still juveniles at this time and much smaller than they'll be at the end of the summer. I don't know if they're reacting to the weather, or if they're victims of some local crop dusting. Time will tell.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Around Eight Inches of Rain

That's how much we've had since Monday. Some places had substantially more with totals of ten inches plus. This will probably balance out the rain deficit from the last year, which is good, although it would have been better if it was spread over a few weeks.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Are You Serious?

From a news report  I read, the United States Olympic team is wearing clothes made in China. So, if you're distressed by current events, you now have no excuse for not vocalizing your displeasure.

Personally, I think this is the last straw. I refused to continue watching the Olympics years ago due to the politics and general crap associated with the judging. Now, I'll carry it farther by throwing away newspapers with Olympic articles and making rude noises during commercials.

You've been warned.

And another thing: The clothes are really, really bad. They look like something designed for sailor day at a summer camp for gay Broadway musical directors. 

Here's a Ralph Lauren AP photo



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Somebody 'Splain This to Me

First, I'll qualify this post by saying I'm writing completely from personal experience. My experience may be unique, which is why I'm asking the question.

I've been motivating around the adult/real world around 40 years. In that time, I've bought some important things, opened bank accounts, dealt with public officials and had various other experiences requiring a form of identification that is official and has my photograph. So, why would anyone assume - by word alone - someone is legally voting?

Have I missed something, or are some people so ate up with the dumbass, they believe saying otherwise is logical ?

I'll await the informative comments.

It's a Type of Insanity

Many people pay attention to polls, including politicians. While in an honest world, the questions and answers would be truthful, the world isn't honest and most polls are BS. Still, people pay attention to polls, which is the reason for my title.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Favorite Founding Father

I caught a brief glimpse of a news story where people were asked who their favorite founding father was. I didn't catch much, but one said: "Abraham Lincoln", which is astounding,

Needless to say, I do have a favorite founding father. While he's not mentioned much, he was a substantial part of creating some of the greatest documents known to the human race. His signature is on all of the founding documents of the United States of America. His name? Roger Sherman

You just need to place his name in a search engine and you'll find numerous sources of information. If you don't know what "founding father" means, look that up first and take some time learning about the lives of the people that risked everything, including their lives, to insure a nation was realized that demanded liberty as the first priority.

Now That All The Money Is Gone...

...what do you think will happen next?

What am I writing about? Municipal funds in the small town I grew up in. I can see the terrible condition of my mother's street, which is as bad as many in the city, yet the city is struggling for cash, even after decades of collecting taxes.

So, where did the money go? From my vantage point, I'd venture to think a substantial amount was slushed for salaries and benefits; it definitely didn't go for improvements. Water and sewer have a fee attached, so I'll leave that out of the costs. So, where did the money go?

Incompetence ate up a huge chunk. You have that with bureaucracies and the other crap associated with money grubbing politicians and the people that cities hire to run their services. You don''t have to be real good at cutting costs. All you have to do is be able to juggle, blow smoke and made appearances at City Hall with explanations that are full of BS, which sounds good to those willing to sit through such fiascos.

Now what's going to happen? There is no money; the tax base has substantially eroded thanks to the crappy efforts of the current and past administrations; the streets are horrible; too many houses are dilapidated; there is absolutely nothing to attract any new money or citizens and the future looks bleak.

Raising taxes will only accelerate the end. Panhandling for grants will only lead to more waste and the problems won't be solved. It's the halfway point to the final end.

If I had to venture a guess, I'd guess the condition of my hometown isn't an isolated incident. The great flight to the shining cities for success led to corruption. People had faith their taxes would be handled with great care and wisdom. Instead, the money was squandered and the shining cities lie in disrepair. Those that can leave, do so as soon as possible. Those that are stuck, share their misery and have little hope in opportunities. Businesses stay away from blight and the crime associated with a desperate populace.

What does the future hold? Eventually, the only solution is an avoidance of depending on any government entity or trusting it will make wise choices. Governments are corrupt and always will be. The most limited government is the best. The less money and power results in more freedom and the opportunities for financial gain increase when there is less to be siphoned away from the producers.

As far as my hometown? I don't see a very bright future. A pass through the town is all that's needed to see there is little left and nothing more coming. Eventually, even those that depend on the taxpayers will leave, since there will be nothing to offer. Industry will swallow all that's left and the history will fade away forever.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

While I'm Writing....

...you robots from the various sites - that visit to find revenue - need to leave a comment. Not that I'm interested in what you have to write, but it will make me feel better.

Pain Chronicles 2

I returned to my doctor on Tuesday. The verdict is that I have a pinched nerve, which is a little cryptic, since there are so many nerves. They did ask me if I had ever had a back x-ray, which I've never had. The immediate treatment, since my pain is substantially reduced, is to watch, continue the anti-inflammatory medication and wait. The next step, if necessary, is to go through tests to determine the problem.

I've had a lot of things cause me pain. Usually, they subside over time, but this last episode was in the same category as the pain I felt before I had my gall-bladder removed. It reaches the point that if there is no relief, death would be better. I don't like that feeling, but I'm thinking it's part of life.

The Price of Freedom

The price of freedom is apparantly around $400 in food subsidies and $1200 in shelter subsidies. That's pretty cheap but it's enough for too damned many people in this country. I'm probably low on the numbers, but I'm not up to speed on how much money is slushed from the sweat of those that work and given to those that don't.

I guess I should be polite, but it only prolongs the inevitable agony of rationing and a cruel government. So, you that are part of this problem don't deserve the air you breathe. I have no compassion and only detest more the bureaucrats that help perpetuate this system of thievery.

In Spite of the Media....

...my reaction to the current weather is that it's just another year similar to many of the past. The "records" are maybe one degree higher than other records, although you'd think the world is coming to the end by the reactions.

Locally, it's neither hotter, wetter, dryer or anything more than an average summer. It's completely not newsworthy, but I know the media will look for something to embelish and report. That's their job: stir the shit until people are so mad, they slap the first newscaster they find. Then, they have something else to report.

Vicious Cycle

A local school district, which lost in its effort to collect taxes from a refinery in the hope of new thievery taxes, is now wanting to raise taxes by 13%. This, after spending tons of money on new schools, which made me wonder how did the old schools get in such bad shape they had to be demolished? To add insult to injury, public assistance housing was placed in locations that were developed for higher income families. The decrease in property values is astounding, besides the increase in crime and other problems associated with such things.

It's a vicious cycle, but the cycle is almost over. The citizens don't have the money and, if the taxes are raised, those that can will leave like scalded dogs. This school district is already notorious for low test scores and is not sought by those that are most needed. Otherwise, the drastic changes of severe cuts are in the near future.

Who's to blame? In the end you can only blame the citizens. They're ultimately in charge and responsible for their school board.

Who suffers most? Those that inspired the whole damned idea of a school district: the students.  If they finish high school, their education is suspect and their chances of success in a tight job market, or in higher education, are reduced.

Considering the amount of money that's been pissed away, it would have been better spent on teaching many of these students skilled trades and basic communication skills. Those are things that can allow a lifetime of earning abilitities. The country needs these type of people and shouldn't have to look at foreign workers to satisfy the need.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Have a Better Idea

The U.N wants billionaire tax to help the poor. I think the better solution to help the poor is to close the U.N., which will eliminate the tremendous annual waste, give the money slushed back to the taxpayers and wait for the philanthropy of the people with more income.

My system will work. Theirs never has. I win.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Celebration

I've been reading some news reports and thought about some of the reports of people that don't like the United States, belittle those that created this great nation and ignore the events that led to its creation. It's disheartening to read these things, but it galvanizes my opinion of what's best for these people: Leave now. Nobody forces you to live here. If you don't want to embrace the simplicity of self-reliance and productivity, then we really don't need you. Go while you can and go with the knowledge you're doing what's best for your life.





Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Line Crews

I've been watching television and listening to the radio about the power outages due to the thunderstorms over the weekend. There's a lot of complaining and empty promises about returning the grid to full function, but there's no mention of the line crews.

I watched these crews after our local hurricanes. They'd start at first light and work until dark, if not after dark. They'd cut limbs, install new poles, replace cables, install new transformers and do so with little or no credit for their work, which was in brutal conditions. They'd get no break from the heat, were working in dangerous conditions and in some situations, lived in what amounted to little more than tent cities, since the hotels were filled with the dignitaries and other useless pogues, including the media.

So, thank them when you can, don't ask them stupid questions and stay out of their way. They're working their asses off, in spite of the daily grief they get from those that have nothing to do without the electricity they restore. They're a great bunch of people and craftsmen that deserve credit for their efforts.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Introspection

Today is one of those days where everything inside seems to demand attention. The thought, memories and events don't go away; they appear and the stark reality of life is portrayed in detail. At this moment, the thoughts are swirling without any substance. Hopefully, before the day is through, I'll be inspired and write something more than one paragraph.