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 a long time after; 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.

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.