Monday, February 22, 2010

One Liberal, One Conservative

I recall a conversation, back in 1939, between a liberal and a conservative. My grandfather, Leon Beauregard, and my grandmother, Louisa Beauregard (nee Langevin) were having a loud disagreement about electrification. The farm in Canada used oil lamps for light in the evenings. I found the lamps charming and even magical at age nine. Sometimes a lamp had to be lit just to go to the outhouse when it was totally dark. The province of Quebec was in the process of studying whether the inhabitants wanted electrification or not. The liberals in parliament were pushing for electrification and the conservatives were against it because of the cost. My grandfather was a liberal and for electrification, my grandmother, the conservative, said no farm could afford getting electricity to it. The plan under discussion offered to allow a farm ten years to pay for the wires and poles to come down the dirt road upon which they lived. An extra charge would be made to connect the farm house to those wires. She said the additional cows and pigs they would need to cover the payments would be too much work. She blasted him by saying he was not capable of carrying a full man's load even now. He retorted that a hand could be hired (they already hired one hand for the summer) that would carry the extra work. She was adamant in her position, saying that the war (Canada had joined England in the war) was taking more manpower for the army every day and soon there would be nobody to hire. She scoffed at his recklessness to put them in debt. He stated she could not understand how the world was changing. He pointed to Bernie and me and stated: "They have electricity all the time in Detroit, we should have it too." I think she won the argument because when we went back for our annual visit the next year they were still using oil lamps. However, the year after that, they did have electricity.

Friday, February 19, 2010


The other day, while having breakfast, I looked out the window and saw about twenty Robins in the backyard. They were all on the ground and hopping around looking for worms. They are working their way north from wherever they spend the winter. The temperature this day is thirty-eight degrees, cold I figure for a start up north. While driving out of my Sub-division, looking up I saw a flock of Canada Geese flying east. Even with all the windows closed I could hear their honking. After turning north onto US 17 I saw another group of Canada Geese flying east. I wondered why they were going east and not north. A short time after I had turned onto Fleming Island Parkway, I saw an extremely large flock of Finches. As I looked up there were thousands flying hither-and-yon similar to the movies of swarms of locusts that we have all seen. Many were landing in the trees but the vast majority stayed in the air. None landed on the ground. These Finches were primarily gray with a small slash of green and yellow under the wings. Upon returning home, I saw no evidence of Robins, Canada Geese or Finches. Looking out the back window toward the lake I could only see a lone fisher, a Great White Heron. Watch out you Northerners those birds are coming.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Twenty-two Assistants

There are reports that Michelle Obama has twenty-two assistants to help her do her job as first lady. Most are paid quite lavishly. There is no constitutional mention of an office of the first lady. I can understand if she did not want to cook and hired a cook, but the White House comes with a cook. Laura Bush had two assistants, Hillary Clinton had two and Barbara Bush had one. What is going on here? The White House is taking on the appearance of the French Court of the king of France, Louis the XIV. How can this be justified? There are no private business that accommodates a president's wife. Wives must make do on the salaries of their husbands. Michelle is not feeble, illiterate, weak, stupid, lazy, or in constant pain. Why does this Country tolerate such a display of opulence?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Spanish Moss

We have lived at this address for almost ten years. This year has been the best year for the growth of Spanish Moss that we have ever seen. The moss grows very well in old oaks, but this year it is growing in trees that I have not seen it grow, and it is in abundance. Every week I pull moss that is growing down to head level and brushing my head as I pass under it. It appears to be growing even through the cold spells. Over one hundred years ago, Jacksonville supported a matress business that used Spanish Moss for the stuffing. About 1914 the business had a huge fire which destroyed most of it's drying racks which were set out under groves of massive oaks. That fire caused a set back for Jacksonville business and we had a local depression because of it. The fire is commerated in a downtown resturant named "Mossfire." When I first went to that resturant and saw the old pictures of the business on the wall, I wondered where did they get enough moss to stuff into all the matresses. Well, they must have had years like we are having now. In case you are wondering, "Can the moss be pulled off and used?" No, for comercial matress sales it must be chemically treated to kill bugs and organisms, then washed and dried. The moss is soft, even when pulled from the tree, and in a pinch, it can be nicely used for bedding without treatment.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Global Warming

Now that the "science" of global warming has been shown for the fraud it is, how long will it take for "green house gas" advocates to face the same scrutiny. If it happens soon enough there may still be time to save our automotive industry. Imagine if emission standards were dropped because they are irrelevant, and other government restrictions were set aside, thus freeing the automotive companies to design and build the cars that would sell, what that would do for our economy. Just the simple engine designs resulting from no requirement to adjust for ethanol in the gasoline would be a great savings. Gasoline would be cheaper because of the now required gasoline blends for different seasons would go away. Can't happen too soon.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Help For Haiti

When our kids were younger, they helped to send aid to Nicaragua after an earthquake had hit there. Most of their work, loading boxes of goods and stacking on pallets, was done at Miami International Airport. Many churches helped in that effort. I felt good that our kids were able to participate in work for such a good cause. Recently, the Catholic Bishops in Florida requested a special collection be taken at each mass for relief of the Haitian people after their earthquake so devastated their Country, Port Au Prince in particular. The money was sent to Catholic Relief to purchase food and supplies. There are many Protestant churches in Jacksonville that had their own fund raisers, especially the Baptists and the Presbyterians. Our Church has two cities in Haiti, Gressier and Jeremie, that they help year around through it's FISH ministries and have been doing it for twenty years. There is a Baptist church nearby that supports a few missionaries in Haiti and they live there for a year, rotating every year. Twice a year we have people from our congregation go to help out for one week at our chosen cities. At this time, we pray for all Haitian citizens every Sunday.