Monday, August 31, 2009

The Old Well

From the old house we lived in on the farm, it was a long walk for short legs to the well. It was located up past the first garden, about half way to the barn and corn crib. There was a farm road to cross to get to the well.

It had a little shed over it with a floor around the well. A box enclosed the well which was about four feet in diameter. The box would shake like there was an earthquake when we let the bucket down. Remembering, I'd say it was about 20 feet to the water. The sides of the well were of dirt. There was no way to get out if you fell in.

The windlass was used to haul up the full bucket. It was made of a log with an iron rod through the middle (more or less). The rod was crooked so all you had to do was turn it round and round and let the rope wind up around the log. When the bucket got within reaching distance, you leaned over and grabbed the handle and swung it to the edge of the box while holding onto the iron rod. If you accidentally turned loose of the rod (handle) the bucket would go back to the bottom or to the water surface with a big bang. It could damage the bucket so you tried to never let that happen. If it did happen, it was good to not have your fingers on the handle or try to reach and grab it. It could break fingers and arms. You could however slow the bucket by putting your hand on the log.

On wash-day, we might draw up dozens of buckets of water. It was a job that left your body one big ache. Bath water was the same if the river was too muddy or the water too swift.

The worst time was after dark when the water bucket got empty in the house and someone had to go get a bucket or two of water. Snakes were common on the farm. That is why we loved our dogs, they would attack a snake if it got close. Those buckets would be heavy for me now, I know they must have strained my arms back then.

I never fell into the well but I had a cousin who fell in another well about that time. He survived after his dad jumped in and held him above the water until someone could get a rope to them.

Nowadays, the wells are drilled and are too small for a person to fall in, but those old wells were dug by hand and were death traps if not treated with respect. Something to keep in mind while exploring old home sites.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Health Care Debate

In regard to the nation wide debate on Health Care, I must be myself and be skeptical. I have to ask myself: "What's in it for the Democrats including the President?" Do they want a feather in their cap for doing what others have tried and failed to do? Is it their snuggle up relationship with big health care organizations? What exactly has them so stirred up?

I doubt that they have suddenly developed a warmhearted feeling for all the poor people in the country. If they were so caring, they would not exempt themselves from restrictions they vote into law on the rest of us.

Even I know that the reason people cannot afford good care is because the cost is too high. It is too high because people are charging too much for everything. Now that took a lot of research.

Back when I was studying criminology, there was a course on white collar crime. One category in the study was on the medical field. They discussed the way patients are billed for charges. For example, you could charge $25 for swabbing a wound. If you split that action into several different actions, you can charge for the swab, the antiseptic, nurse fees, doctor's approval and the piece of gauze used to catch the excess antiseptic and make the charge say $125. So long as there is a different code for each process, it will fly.

Well, call me crazy but I think there are things that will go into that bill (the much debated health care bill) that will shock us when it is put into play. The end result will look nothing like what is being discussed. The end result will be that we, the consumer, will pay more (one way or the other) and we will have less control over our own life than ever before. On the 'bright' side, they will dope us up so we really don't care.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Write anyway - What's the Use?

Why keep on beating the keys when no one seems to be reading and certainly not buying to a profitable degree? I suppose it takes a case of the 'can't help its'. When something is in my mind that won't go away (if it wouldn't land me in jail), I have to write it down to get some peace.

Have you had a child interrupt you over and over while you were trying to do something? You try to continue your task but the child persist. Finally, you answer just so you can get on with the business at hand. Love those children but sometimes they can be, shall I say continuous. So, you take care of their business so you can get back to your business. A story can be much like that. It starts as an idea that may even seem foolish. Then, it just builds until, like steam in a boiling pot, it must escape.

One of my favorite authors, Frank Peretti, writes wholesome Christian novels and I think he has a series now, greatly impressed me with his story of his early years and his first book. He had failed to get it published and finally tossed it in the garbage can. His wife rescued the book which later sold millions of copies. Someone believed in him. The editors did not, at first, but his wife did and sometimes one is enough.

I cannot write like Mister Peretti. Nor can I write like any of the other famous authors that I respect greatly. Like all writers, each of us must be true to ourselves even in the face of failure or criticism.

When I wrote Harvest 2050 AD which is a free add on to Preserved Intellect, I felt injured by the words in the book. To think that humanity could bend to such evil deeds insulted my faith in people. Is it not better to cry snake and avoid the bite than to wait until after the damage is done? I make my stories fiction in the hope that someday they do not become historical facts. These are stories of science taking things beyond moral boundaries. They are not long stories for I wished to leave the darkness of the pages as soon as possible.

Transient was an escape for me from the darkest side of mankind to, what we think of, as ordinary life. It is sad that ordinary must include the tragedies that engulfed some of the characters. In life, even adults need heroes. I know I certainly do. I don't mean a perfect person to look to, rather a person who maintains high standards even during adversity. Tommy Bookmark faced danger, loss, had to delay his dream and grew old while duty held him captive. Yet, he gripped his cross with determination and found joy along the way.

Suppose there are no rewards for spending the hours it takes to pull a story together. Suppose the dreadful task of checking and rechecking the work is a waste of time. Then is it a story that should not have been told? Perhaps, one day, that one person will find that one thought in my books that changes their life for the better. Even if I could quit writing, I think I would still drum out the stories for the hope that they will somehow make a difference. A good difference in some one's life.


Webster has decided to take the word privacy out of the dictionary with the next issue. The reason given was that there is no such thing as privacy. Just kiddin' but ain't it the truth?

The other day I was looking around to see if I could save money on my car insurance. I went to a site and filled in my name and address like they wanted and up popped every car I owned right down to the year. I had never done business with that company before. I also did a credit report just for kicks. The people who are checking my credit are the same people who send those junk mail / preapproved offers. (now spell check tells me preapproved is not in the dictionary - tell the mail man!)

I bought some auto parts and they wanted my phone number as usual. Up pops the size underwear I wear. Kiddin' 'bout that too but don't people just know too much about us.

You can be in the back yard, behind a row of hedges in the dark and if you trip, someone will ask you the next day if it hurt when you fell the other night.

I like the secret ballot we get to use at election time. Are you Republican or Democrat? Well, there goes my secrets. Then, you get letters thanking you for your support on your vote.

Some guy calls and says we noticed you gave such and such five years ago to help so and so. We'd like to ask you .... 'click'.

Yet will all this information sharing going on, you go someplace to get something taken care of, they still make you fill out those stupid forms. It's not because they need the information, they have it, they just want to see if you tell the same story this time.

Somebody told me the other day they pulled me up on a satellite.

Did you know hand held phones can be picked up on scanners? That's what I heard. I heard that legally, anything that goes out on the air waves is fair game. Ever wonder why your neighbor is mad at you? Call 911 and your house number goes out for anyone and everyone to hear. They probably think you are a fugitive.

Well, I need to go clean up the kitchen and put some clothes in the dryer. But you already knew that didn't you?

I am so convinced that people are listening that if I say anything in my house , even jokingly, that might be misunderstood or taken as a threat; I put in a disclaimer for those who are probably listening from across the road. I once held a Top Secret clearance, another reason for them to listen.

I'm sure that when I die, they will put a microphone in my casket to see if I talk in my sleep and tell some national secret.

Note: One of the question marks in this post is really a hidden camera, so quit frowning and sticking out your tongue. Yes, your hair looks fine and no that dress doesn't.....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Never Too Young or Old to Learn

Grandpa, Leah and Rachel. These are the special moments we live for.

Medicare and Checks

They are already messing with the old people. Guess you heard, that next year the medicare payment will go up but there will be no cost of living increase. The end result will be a net decrease in checks. Now, which of my medicines can I cut back on to make up for this shortfall.

It is starting. They have dug a hole and now the price is to be paid by those least able to pay.

Those seniors and those who have loved ones who are seniors who voted for the present administration should get out their pens and write thank you notes to Mister Obama.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back on the Wilderness Thing

After doing considerable looking, it seems that comfort is the main reason people live where they do. Well, that and being born there with too little money to leave. So that leaves the uncomfortable places for expansion. I've concluded you'd have to generate your own electricity. In door plumbing could be had by melting snow for water. To avoid hauling in diesel fuel, you'd need wind or a stream that goes year round. Just kicking ideas around. I know it's already been kicked to death but it just seems to me that there must be a better way than freezing oncs self like a side of beef. I like snow okay but I like a place to shake it off me too.

I'm going to keep at it and if I figure it out by myself, I'll disappear someday. What's your take? Can anyone give up comfort for peace? Is there a spirit of adventure left in us?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


In all fairness, we need politicians. Someone has to run the country. I certainly don't want the job. I wish they had someplace they could all go to talk about things besides Washington DC. No one can think straight in that town, I was there for three years and never want to go back. I used to feel confused before I got to the city limits or district line, what ever they got. It is just an atmosphere of confusion. It is one of those places that just makes the ants crawl under your skin. How in the world do they think up there? Well, we know. Some of them surely enjoy it. 'Hi, I'm Congressman so and so." "I can top that, I'm SENATOR so and so." "Well I work in the White House." "Did you say work?" Laughter and spilled drinks. (Insert drum roll.)

I have nothing against politicians. At least, they live up to their title. As I said, I have nothing against them. As a matter-of-fact, I try to keep all I got hide from them. They will put a tax on it if they know about it.

The media is largely responsible for my feelings. They seldom tell about hardworking, dedicated, clean living, people of character who go to Washington for no personal gain but only to help the country. If the media did run across one of those they'd report them to immigration. The media could not believe that such people still live around here.

The media is alright. They look nice. They can read the teleprompter really good. Some even almost cry on sad stories about trees and ducks and dead critters.

Well, I'm awful grumpy today, so I will shut up and go watch the news to cheer me up.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wilderness Living

I've been thinking about it for a number of years. I'd like to find that place by a good stream with lots of fish and a simple house or cabin with a few conveniences. Electricity would be nice but a diesel powered battery system would be alright. Indoor plumbing is just too convenient to do without. So, I suppose I am thinking of semi-wilderness living.

I've also been thinking about all the stuff we have that just takes up space. If I were to move, it would be a nightmare of packing and throwing away. I thought maybe it would be nice to just have what we need.

What's behind the moving to the sticks idea? Well, fences are not enough anymore. It takes space around you to have any peace. Where I live used to be country. Now we are elbow to elbow. I don't do well with elbow to elbow. I like to go on the porch without someone craning their neck to see if I'm drinking coffee or tea. I like to wash my car without someone starting a phone chain about it. If I miss a week mowing my yard, I'd just as soon it wasn't the topic of discussion for the entire week.

I'm country by nature. I like to stop off someplace along the road and eat a snack and listen to the creek splashing over the rocks. Around here, there are two ways to do that: stop in some one's yard which they frown on and pay the government a parking fee to visit one of their parks. I said their parks on purpose. If the parks were mine, as they often say, I would not charge myself to go there.

The Internet has a load of information but try to find a place out yonder and about all you get is real estate companies selling small tracts with half-million dollar houses on them. You could throw a rock and hit the next wilderness dweller's dog. So, if you know where a poor man can find some space, I'd be interested. They tell me the land in Belize is real cheap but I am sort of attached to this country. They say the land in Nova Scotia is pretty cheap but it's cold up there. The Yukon has under 50,000 people (28,000 in 1991, I guessed at the increase) but again it is really cold and not in the United States.

I wonder if you could take a load of plexi-glass up to the Yukon and build a dome to build a house in. It would be like a snow globe with the snow outside.

It is not that I totally don't like people. I just believe in moderation. You know too much of about anything is bad for you and I think it applies to people. People in closed in spaces just cannot get along for long. Mark it down, someone will want more than their share.

Alaska seems like a nice place unless you get further north. Most of the people live in the cities in the south. The only thing is you need plenty of money to back you up. It would not do to get stranded up there. You know, no food, no home and turning into a human ice cube.

I know few people see this blog but if you happen across it and have some beneficial knowledge about getting away from the crowds, I hope you will leave a comment.

TV Chef's

I'm just wondering why all those TV Chef's talk with a foreign accent that is difficult to understand on television. Must we call food by foreign names for it to taste good?


Now that was a surprise for me to find out that AARP is backing Obama's liberal agenda. Well, it won't be long until the season to change our medicare provider comes around. Personally, I am looking for an alternative to AARP.

It is obvious to me that those who are on board with the socialistic agendas of this administration stand to benefit from that agenda which means those of us paying the bills will be the losers.

Disappointed but not Surprised

I am deeply disappointed in President Obama for his globetrotting. He is acting like a poor man who just won the lottery. Okay, so he paid for the trips. Show me the receipts. Regardless of whether or not he paid the bill, he is taking advantage of the people who put him in office to do something about them loosing their homes, etc. He is acting so hastily with policy changes and newly acquired access to pleasure trips, it is as if he knows he is a one term president and he better get it done while he can. Travel on, Mister President, we are keeping count.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hats off to Readers Digest

Readers Digest is thought provoking. You know the kind of thoughts that provoke your thinking. I gleaned from them some good information about omega-3 this week. I like the part about gaining some good percentages by consuming those omega-3 rich foods. That's not news but it's just the way they put it. I don't usually try to build up magazines but you know...give credit...

They got a nice father and son story about elk and bear.... Your welcome!

The jokes are not as good as they use to be but learning some about humor around the world was a kick. Presidents need to get a load of that.

Besides doing a little lite reading, I've been breaking beans and washing them three times. I was wondering if since I have to break them one at time do I have to wash them one at a time. Anyway, I didn't. Hope that was alright. 'Nobody cares about that stuff.' 'I reckon, but come winter, them beans will taste good.' 'I know. I was talking about telling it on a blog.' 'Oh. I see. Y'all forget that part.'

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Believe It or Not

How to catch a herd of elephants:

needed: a small milk carton, a pair of tweezers, a pair of binoculars

First, you watch them through your binoculars until they gather at the watering hole. Then, you turn the binoculars around so you are looking through the other end. You will notice that the elephants are very small. Now, you take your tweezers and pick them up and drop them into the small milk carton.

Don't look at me, the guy who told this was killed somewhere in Africa.

Why do elephants have flat feet?

From jumping out of tall trees of course.

Why did the elephant wear red sneakers?

His blue ones were dirty.

How do we know elephants have long memories?

I forgot.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get the mail. Dah!

Identify Yourselves

My dad bought some little chickens back when we were young. His plan was to raise some laying hens so we could have eggs for breakfast. My older brother liked eating chicken. I tell you that so you will understand his motives here.

Dad told him 'Now we don't want any roosters in the pen so watch them and if you see one crowing, we will know it is a rooster and we will have it for supper'. My brother got to wanting some chicken to eat and so he started watching those chickens. They were all grown up now. He picked out a big fat one but it never crowed. That did not stop him. 'Dad I've been watching that chicken right there and I believe it is a rooster.' 'Well, catch it and we will have it for supper. And so he did.

A couple of weeks past and my brother got to wanting some more chicken to eat. He picked out a nice fat one and pointed it out to Dad. 'Catch it up and we will have it for supper.' And so he did. Right on schedule in two weeks, my brother picked out another one.

Dad is getting a little suspicious by this time so he told my brother to "Put it in a separate pen and we will watch it for a few days."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cleaning Out the Corners

No, it's not what you think. By cleaning out the corners, I mean the brain.

I was in the Marines for 8 years. Needless to say, we had a special language. Certain words cut a lot of corners when it came to gettin' it done but those words do not fit well with raising a family, going to church and dodging the back of mama's hand.

So for years after I got out, I worked hard to use substitute words such as 'ouch' when I hit my finger with a hammer. I was in my several years of trying and doing pretty good when some whacko pulled out and tried to kill my family with their loaded 3500 pound machine. I told them a thing or two and gave them an appropriate name at the time. That tantrum bounced all over the car and right back in my face. I felt shame and embarrassment. My children were thumbing through the dictionary trying to find the words, my wife looked through me to some place across the road.

I kept trying to stop those words from escaping that special place in my brain where I keep the vocabulary of former Marine Sergeants who have to work with some of the dumbest people on earth. They can shoot and they can fight and some even have brains but you had to show some of them where they were (the brains I mean). I love Marines but believe me boot camp is necessary to turn out those good fighting men and women.

Every Marine didn't develop the rotten language habits I had so Know that I'm talking about me and not them folks.

Anyway, I will always remember that one day when I brought that hammer down on my thumb or finger, I forget, and the word that came out naturally was o-0-0-0u-u-u-ch! I admit I was proud of myself and I know pride goes before a fall, so I am cautiously optimistic that I can keep those ugly words corralled. I sure hope so. Dumb drivers are a whole different challenge. I honestly don't know if I say some of the applicable words out loud or just think 'em real loud but I do wish folks would learn to drive or if they know how, I wish they would apply their knowledge on the road.

That's all I got to say about that..... thanks Forrest. I got beans to break and a car to jump off (if I can figure out how to get up on the thang). I need to go look in the grass for my lawn mower but it is awfully hot around here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

So Much for the Rocking Chair

Forget the pictures. You know the ones where Mom and Dad have become Grandma and Grandpa and all they do is sit on the front porch, slap at flies and hum pleasantly to themselves. They don't have a care in the world. The mortgage is paid off. The grandchildren come by and wave and pull out their mowers and trimmers and do the yard work. Law enforcement talks nice to you because you have served your country, obeyed the law and paid your taxes. The phone rings and it is one of children telling you how the latest baby said their first word and you both smile and brag like it was the first time it ever happened.

Those pictures are but a moment of peace the old couple carved out of a life filled with high bills, leaking pipes (in the house) and telemarketers calling with every scam they can scrape out of the gutter. The doctor finally knows you by name and treats you with the latest medicines and soothing words. Other people are half way to the store while you hesitate at the door, do I have to go (to the bathroom) or did I forget to remember something and what was it in he second place.

The walls are covered with baby pictures of children who have children of their own and you just don't feel like driving more nails in the wall. Frames are twice what they were anyway.

You realize that giving good advice is about as useful as talking to a dead stump.

It takes so long to get around the car to open your wife's door that you both forgot if you were getting in or getting out.

If everyone is so worried about how they are going to take care of the baby boomers, you'd think they would study on how to take care of themselves, then we might have more time to take care of our own selves, if there was any money left.

Not complaining, just talking to myself, old people do that you know...hello, you still there?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

North Korea - The Journalist

I am glad the girls are out safely.

Everyone who believes the president did not know what was happening, please lift both feet to your shoulders and wave your hands.

Did they say Algore owned the media company that the journalist were working for?

Is Bill Clinton still president?

What will all this cost us in free stuff to North Korea? I hope they demand food for their starving people but I think they will probably want more bullets or techie stuff.

Anyway the girls are home. I can't figure out why they all got to be so sneaky about the whole thing and start denying stuff even before anyone ask them questions.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Crimes and Bullets

Tough subject.

There is now an ongoing story in our area about a young man that was supposedly talking of suicide who did not cooperate with police and was shot over 20 times (perhaps many more). They played the tape of the whole thing and it was awful. I remember three volleys of shots.

Now what's going on. We are not suppose to be in combat laying down cover fire.

Things are different from what they were thirty years ago. Back then a policeman could do as much with a good tongue lashing as today's cops can do with a tazer. It is now a different breed of citizen and a different breed of cop.

Back in the day children were children, adults were usually stronger and could control the younger generation. In our day, many children look like adults due to growth hormones, bodybuilding and the like. It is hard to tell a thirteen year old from a twenty year old.

Cops once knew the people they dealt with. An older cop probably knew who your parents were and you didn't even want him telling dad about your meanness. Cops were in the prevention business then. Nowadays, cops can only respond after a crime has been committed.

Drugs are another thing and in my opinion, the number one problem on the streets and in our homes. I remember the first story I heard about PCP where someone who would ordinarily be average strength was suddenly strong enough to overpower several police and break straps on a hospital gurney.

So cops are afraid of what they are going to come up against when they confront someone even for questioning. They are sitting on a hair-trigger either figuratively or literally. This makes citizens afraid, as they ought to be. A case of mistaken identity or mistaken house or misunderstanding during questioning can land a person in the morgue or hospital or jail.

Basically, we have a society that is afraid on both sides of the law which makes for a very dangerous situation. As someone said, we need to chill out.

I think the definition of aggressive behavior has changed too. Back when I got caught for speeding, I would always get out of the car and make sure the officer saw my hands. Nowadays you better sit still with your hands on the steering wheel. Back in the day, something such as speeding was resolved in a few minutes and everyone was on their way. Nowadays, the car is torn apart and it is not uncommon for anyone to be thrown on the ground at the whim of an overzealous officer.

So what's the answer? On the criminal side, there will be no solution until drugs are taken off the streets and stopped at the source. On the legal side, officers must win their respect back. They must learn again to treat law abiding citizens with respect. There are those of us who dislike drugs and crime as much as they do but all crimes do not deserve the death penalty.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Read It Again,again, again.....

Watching the evening news is like reading the same chapter of a book over and over. Well, I haven't done that but I'm sure it would be boring. The sad part is that there is the rest of the book you would like to get to but it's over and over on the first one.

I know there is a big ol' world out there where significant events are taking place. The New York media's idea of national news is going over to New Jersey (across the bridge) and report on what they think might be happening all over the United States.

If they want to report on the world they will find out where Hillary is an pull up some historical files from the archives to show us. Talk about being lazy.

And what about South and Central America. The place has to have a major earthquake for us to hear about them.

I am glad for the Internet. I can go there and find out a little about what is really happening on planet earth.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Match Stick Houses HONK HONK

I ran across a few pictures of some match stick houses I built years ago. I even wonder how I ever had the patience and steady enough hands to do those things. Here are a few pictures:

This obviously is not a house but don't tell me I can't build a hat out of matchsticks, this one is size 7 1/4 .

Looking at this picture, it is easy to forget that the house is only about 18 inches long. The stagecoach must be bringing the grandparents for a visit.

A replica of a place we once lived as children. House, shed, barn. More images to follow.

Check out the wagon.

He broke up with the girl before I got this jewelry box finished but he still took it with him. He had to furnish the candy :)

Talk about Honking Your Horn

If President Obama was a car, we would think the security device was stuck. He is on television 'all the time'. The media loves it.

Well, I'm suppose to respect the president. I do really, he has a hard job if he does it. All this talk, though, makes everything he says less important. A president should make an issue of things when there is an issue that requires him to address the nation. The rest of the time those he has appointed over different things should do their job and part of that job is to explain what they are doing.

The old saying that talk is cheap has some merit. It is what a person does that shows what he is made of. I could talk about slopping the hogs all day but that wouldn't put any bacon on them if I never got up and fed them.

Mister Obama wants it both ways. He wants a nice family and has one but he does things against family values. He wants to be seen as a Bible believing man but does things that go against the Bible. He wants to be respected but lowers the dignity of the White House by having a beer part for three in his back yard. Besides that they didn't even have NASCAR going on.

I think in the final tally, we will find that Mister Obama has wasted a great opportunity to be president to all the people and to lift us up to a higher level of respect for each other.

As the political mask is chipped away, we will start to see the real man. We will see his deeds and find that that is who he really is. Who he really is may not match his words.