Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pretty Card

While checking out at Walmart the other day the person in front of me swiped a very pretty card. My thought was: I like that so much , why does my card supplier not have such a pretty card? I definitely would opt for one like that. Then, to my amazement, the lady pulled out some cash to pay for something else off the card. It was then that I realized it was a food stamp card. What ever happened to the actual stamps? When did they stop using them? Why did they stop using them? Of course, I realize it is much easier to check-out using a card and I prefer that method myself. In thinking back to my last experience to a person using food stamps, it was in Columbus, MS as a young man forced his wife to cut in front of me to get to the check out line quickly. He had a full buggy of food and the girl saw I had only a three items. She tried to defer to me but the kid would not hear of it and reproached her for hesitating. He was an angry person and it bothered me not a bit to get behind them. He avoided looking at me, yet, I was ready to give him a big smile. No use, our eyes never met. Did he work for a living?, I thought, An angry attitude like that cannot be conducive to extended employment. The girl brought out some food stamps and the cashier had to remove some items that had already been rung up. I could see the kid was furious but he said nothing. This is my experience with food stamps. The cards are better.

Friday, October 23, 2009


The Orange Park little girl, Somer, was picked up on the street by someone, murdered and dumped. I have driven through that area a few times going from Wells Road to Kingsly. It is a multi-racial area with many nice homes. A map of the registered sex offenders in that area, five mile area from the point of loss, shows ninety sex offenders. That is a very large group of people. Furthermore, the police actually questioned one hundred sixty sex offenders in their search. Now and then we hear that we are not a tolerant society. This certainly gives the lie to that statement. We tolerate these potential threats by letting them live among us. The American people are understanding and compassionate, knowing they must live someplace. This community has not called for their removal, or persecution but only that the murderer be found and prosecuted. The registering of sex offenders is a good law and it worked well here. The police were able to do a search quickly and eliminate people as suspects. I never thought much about that law but now I see how important it is. We hope the murderer is found soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I remember how I felt during the four times I collected Unemployment Compensation. The amount recieved was not enough to cover the expenses the family was incurring. The money came from insurance that I had paid for during my periods of employment, however, it was distributed by the state government. The state had a number of rules that had to be followed, and followed exactly as they saw fit. Deviate slightly and the check would not be rendered, moreover, all checks could stop. I was just a number on a list at that time. Nobody in the state buracracy cared whether I recieved that check or not, only that the rules were followed. One time I went out of town for a job interview and missed my scheduled report time. The check was withheld for three weeks and I was required to report for a personal interview with a specialist. I felt trapped in the arms of government, like I was in bondage. As we approach 10% unemployment there are now many people that feel as I did. It is not fun to rely on someone to dole out a check that you need to keep going. It is demeaning to realize that you are not in control of your own destiny. Also, that there are forces beyond your control that could stop those checks from coming. Extensions are often given to maintain a stream of checks, as is now happening. Fortunately, I never stayed on unemployment insurance long enough to need an extension. But for many right now it must be nerve wracking to not know how long this is going to last. Many, many people in Detroit and elsewhere are in bondage to the government. Their very existance is threatened if the checks stop. Yet, nothing is being done to get the economic growth that is needed. I know of no person that is willing to open a new business at this time. I don't even know of any that are truely expanding their business. What is to become of us?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Flu Shot

For many years I paid no attention to flu shots, they were not on my radar. About the age of 65 I was made aware that it might be a good practice to get a flu shot, can't remember who influenced me, maybe Pat. Since then I have been getting a flu shot. One year there was a shortage because a bureaucrat, in his wisdom, closed two of the three manufacturers of flu shots. The reason for closing: the two manufacturers had raised their prices higher than the bureaucrat thought proper. The scarcity gave me the impetus to get a flu shot that year. (Get it while the getting is good.) A few years ago Lori had a terrible reaction from a flu shot. She became mysteriously sick and her doctors could not find out what, or why. One doctor finally doped it all out and traced it to her flu shot. Lori had had an allergic reaction to the eggs used in the vaccine. Lori has not had another flu shot since. These past few years, the "Chicken Littles" in this country have become more and more insistant that all people must have a flu shot. This panic usually comes from people who have no idea how the shot is designed, how trade offs are made, the statistical guesses that go into its composition, or that many in the manufacturing process have their fingers crossed in the hope that everything comes out all right. This year, the final decision was postponed so long that practitioners were clamoring for shots. This produced a rush, rush in the manufacturing area. Did they cut some corners? Did they get it right? Did the vaccine get watered down to "play it safe?" I don't know. This year I intend to do a more intensive study about whether I truly want a flu shot. My immune system is intact, I feel healthy, I have positive outlook on life. Why should I gamble on a flu shot?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Ritual Change

Last Sunday was the first time I noticed the change. All the Eucharistic Ministers pumped a small amount of anti-bacterial onto their hands just prior to serving the parishioners. It was probably done to assure the peope that their hands were germ free. It may have helped with the Host but fewer people are taking a sip of wine. The last big change I remember was the removal of the bells during the Elevation. I do miss the bells and there are times during the Elevation when I faintly hear them in the recesses of my mind.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Prediction 2

Iran will achive neuclear weapons on Obama's watch. The waffeling and stalling for time currently underway is the same as we experienced from Sadam Heusien. The Europeans looked to us for action then (just as they are doing now) because they have not taken individual action since WW II. It is the U.S. that has picked up the defence of Europe for 60 years. Obama is very weak on international power politics and the people who surrond him match his lack of expertese. He is convinced that talking things over with the enemy is all that is needed. Temporizing with such an enemy will not succeed. They want to deal death to their enemies. We can only pray that once the Iranians begin to lob neuclear missiles Obama is not the person in charge to create a response.