Sunday, January 31, 2010


While I was growing up and spending summers on my Grandfathers farm, in the late thirties and early forties, I overheard many a conversation in which older people engaged. In those days children were expected to "be seen and not heard." I vividly recall one extended discussion on a late Sunday afternoon in which many of my aunts expressed an opinion. (I had nine aunts just from my Father's side.) The topic was spittoons and they all had strong feelings about them. Many men chewed tobacco, my Grandfather even grew his own tobacco. All of my aunts detested cleaning those spittoons, work that devolved to the female in the family because the males went out to work in the fields, or otherwise out to earn a living for the family. Every farm house I had ever visited had a spittoon and most gleamed bright brass on the outside. The major thrust of the topic was that the world will be most improved if all the men smoked cigarettes. Cleaning an ash tray, they reasoned, was a very easy and more agreeable job to that of cleaning a spittoon. My Grandmother opined that if all men smoked all the barns in the area would be burned to the ground. (My uncle Eldege had recently converted to cigarettes and I was aware of the strict admonishment he had given to my cousins that they should never smoke in the barn.) Cigarettes were expensive relative to just using a chew and one of my aunts said they could not afford to supply her husband with such an extravagance. Buying the ingredients and rolling one's own was brought up, that was what Eldege was doing. One comment I recall was that if the men had to clean them the chewing would stop. This confused me because the men slopped pigs and cleaned out stables, much dirtier work, I reasoned, than cleaning spittoons. Of course, I was pleased that it had never occurred to them to have the children do it, I certainly didn't want to do it. Then again, I did help with the pigs and the stables. To those who may not know, a chew of tobacco required spitting from time-to-time. Swallowing tobacco juice makes the world spin around, not good. When outside, spitting was as prevalent as the actions we see from baseball players of today, who themselves are having a good chew. Wonder what do they do when they are indoors?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


About eight years ago, while attending Mass, I noticed that a man and woman behind us sang very well. After Mass, I commented to the man that he sang well and should get up there with the choir. About two weeks later he and his wife were singing with the choir. We saw him there every Sunday for about four years. Then he undertook to sing the solo portion of the "Responsorial Psalm," which he did well, not great, but adequate. Two years ago, he stopped coming to Mass although his wife continued to sing in the choir. Eventually, she also sang the Responsorial Psalm, she was very good. When I inquired about Norman, I was told he could no longer get the courage to leave the house. Since this had happened to Pat I recognized this as depression. About two months ago, Norman was in Church if front of me, not in the choir. He did sing but not very loud. Three weeks ago he moved up into the choir, and today I got a big surprise, he played a hymn of the organ. I had no idea that he played. It is obvious that Norman is coming out of his depression of almost two years. I do not know if he had clinical help or what might have turned it around for him. I was amazed at myself for being so pleased that he had survived that ordeal. In all the eight years I have seen him, I have never seen him smile. There is no indication that he has any joy in his life, he is a most serious man. Yet, I believe his presence is a blessing to this Church.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A New Tack?

With the recent loss of a Senate seat, will Obama take a different tack? Remember, as a professor, he taught Saul Alinsky's "Rules For Radicals" for a number of years. Alinsky stated that, in the event of a set back it is time to double down and push forward with the agenda. Further, he stated, personalize the attack on your opponents and destroy them. Do not look for a change in the Obama strategy, he will cling to the same thing he has already done. He will ignore the concerns that the Democrats will voice and continue with his program. He will continue to blame Bush.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Long Journey

We have all heard that a long journey starts with one step. Yesterday, a first step was taken in achieving GOOOH's goal of replacing all 535 legislators in our Congress. There now remain 534 to take the fast ride out on a rail. The Tea Party people have thrown down the gauntlet and told the legislators: We are coming for you. In Massachusetts yesterday, it did not matter how people were registered; Democrat, Republican or Independent, they rose up and did what had to be done to regain our Country and ensure liberty for citizens. Some say that all legislative seats are now in play, to me, that appears to be wishful thinking. Nevertheless, it is time to look forward to who will be number 534.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Recession Benifits

She was telling me how her husband had responded when she had asked him about what they would do in retirement. There was no pension for them but they had saved some money. He told her they would invest in restaurants. Over the years, he would buy a part interest in a restaurant that was opening and eventually had over twenty investments when he died. Some had gone out of business but most were still ongoing. She told me how she had recently received a check from one of the restaurants, "Woody's Bar-B-Que," a chain in these parts. The check was for more than she received in the past. When she inquired how did this happen, (because she was expecting less due to the recession) she was told the profits were higher because of lower employee turnover. Cooks and waitresses were staying in their jobs concerned that they might not get another. Less training, more efficient food handling, less spoilage and fewer employees yielded a higher profit.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Flying In The Future

There is a sure fire way to confound any jihadist in their attempt to take over a plane, or to blow it up. Have all passengers fly naked. Don't laugh, it can be done. Males can sit with males and females sit with females, a curtain between the sexes. There already exists male and female flight attendants. All clothes can be put in bins that would be carried in storage. No more pat downs, no scanners, no sniffer machines. Merely take off the clothes in a room, put them in a bin, add your name on the bin, walk onto the plane. Robes can be available on the plane for those that prefer to fly with something on. Can you stand some potential embarrassment to be able to get onto the plane without long lines and rigmarole?