Monday, February 21, 2011


This word, unsustainable, is the new word for the year 2011. This is the word that many must learn and it is not a palatable word. I learned this word while in the fourth grade. I bought a small bag of fish oil potato chips for two cents, they were delicious. The next day I bought another bag, followed by another bag the following day. I was left with a nickle and realized that I would run out of pennies in a few days. Yes, the chips were good but the rate the money was going down was not sustainable, I would soon be out of money. That was not acceptable to me and I stopped purchases of chips. Many of our cities have run out of money, many of our states have run out of money, this Country has run out of money. Borrowing and bailouts have become the fall-back of choice for many people but this is unsustainable. If a nine year old can learn so can all thinking people. Unfortunately, we have many people that do not want to learn but, like an addict, want things to remain the same. Taking it from those that have it is not just, or fair. It would not have been just or fair for me to look for others to buy me chips. It was up to me to solve the problem I had brought on myself. How many will be able to learn this word - unsustainable?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cutting Expenditures

Well we finally got a budget out of Obama and, proving he is no dummy, he has punted on cutting the budget, tantamount to placing the ball on the one yard line. His budget has a huge deficit which he knows the Republicans will try to pare, after all, the Tea Party has forced them to get our fiscal house in order. The liberals have conservatives right where they want them. Any cuts made from now on will be fodder for the Democrats in the next election. The mantra, "the Republicans want to take your social security away from you" will be screamed at every polling place.There are enough non-thinking voters that will believe those shouts. We must stop spending beyond our means. The Democrats know this and are quite wiling to see the Republicans punished for doing what they are obligated to do. A major political trick will have been accomplished if the Republicans are able to actually cut expenditures and not pay for it at the polls.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Memorial Service

Yesterday, I attended a Memorial Service for Margo, one of my students. She had died suddenly after receiving one event of chemo-therapy. She was in her late fifties and her husband survives her. Upon entering the Church I was greeted by an individual with a beard and long scraggly hair. He said his name was Jack, I shook his hand, introduced myself then walked to sit in one of the pews. As I looked to the front I found a strange sight. In the center there was a pair of skies, to the right of the skies was a board with purses hanging from it, to the right of the purses was a picture of a beautiful catamaran sailboat. To the left of the skies was a display of crocheted items, to the left of that was a picture of a beautiful Corvette Convertible, to the left of that was a book with which to sign your presence. The service started with Jack walking to the podium and talking about Margo: how he met her, liked her, what a nice person she was, what she had accomplished in her life, what she had owned in her life, her knitting and felting skills, how she had taught first grade at many military bases around the world, where she had sailed with the sailboat she loved (picture on the right), how she came to appreciate Corvette cars and bought one (picture on the left) how she liked to ski and where she went to ski (skis in the center), what a fun loving, quick witted person she was. He then talked about how she met Howard and how they married soon after. They had three children and that two were not there. By this time I realized Jack was the Minister of this Church. He finished by asking anyone who wanted to say something to come up. He then sat down. A woman came up and began to talk about how wonderful Margo was and how she had learned to knit from Margo. She then pulled out a scarf about 12 feet long, the Minister got up and helped her display the length. She was proud of her skill and told how Margo had helped her with the colors and type of yarn. She said she would miss the discussions they had while knitting. Another lady got up and talked about how she enjoyed the group discussions with Margo present and how funny she was and laughed often. She said they were all liberal democrats and had much in common. She became very emotional and said how much she would miss Margo. Three other persons got up with similar comments on her life. One told how he had gotten Howard interested in Corvettes and Margo fell into line with them. She finally bought a Corvette of her own, picture on the left. Then the Minister got up summarized the talks, announced that some piano music would play some of Margo's favorite music. After the music was over, so was the service. Most of the people got up to leave, I went to sign the book. This was very new to me, a service covering: accomplishments, things owned, places visited, conversations had. There was no mention of God, Christ, or an after life. The name of the Church: The Unitarian Universalist Church.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Global Warming

All this cold weather is really God's way of saying to the scientists: "You are all wrong, ha ha ha." But all those scientists should not take it badly, eventually the earth will warm, we just don't know when. Al Gore should refund the admission for everbody that paid to see his movie "An Inconvienet Truth." Of course he has made so much money with the "carbon scheme" he can afford those admissions.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Tom hangs out at McDonald's. He normally stays outside sitting on a low wall, facing the parking lot. He is very dirty, clothes and skin. Hair is wild and matted, a stubble beard and mustache. He always wears a baseball cap that has never been cleaned. The first thought an observer has; this guy is a bum, keep him at a distance. His eyes are dull and he always looks down to the ground as he is passed. I suspect he partakes of drugs that may be stashed nearby.
In the summer he will from time-to-time enter and cool off for awhile. I have never seen him buy anything. In the winter he will enter to get warmed-up then resume his stand outside. One day I was surprised when he had a cup of coffee outside to keep warm.
The other night, Pat and I went to McDonald's for a Hot Fudge Sundae. The temperature was about 35 degrees, very cold for us in Green Cove Springs. Tom was outside shivering against the cold. I had only seen him in the mornings never in the evening. As I passed I asked him how he was. He replied: "My sister kicked me out." We were both shocked - realizing he had no place to go and the temperature being so low. Inside, we had a short discussion about his plight and that is was a bad situation for him.
Upon leaving, I asked him where he was going to sleep, and he said he did not know. I think I said: "Good luck on a night like this". Pat and I drove home to a warm house and said no more about Tom. The next day I pondered Tom's situation: Should I have done more? Should I have contacted some shelter for him? Should I have brought him home? Can I really just turn away and do nothing? What I did do was nothing.
The next time we saw Tom he had clean clothes, was shaved, had a smile on his face - in short, looked normal. Pat asked him what happened to him, he said he had reconciled with his sister. He was still standing outside McDonald's but the change was pleasing. Sometimes it is difficult to know when you should be a good Samaritan. Help may be offered too soon. A person may change when his situation becomes too difficult to endure.

Get A Gun

Back in 1957 a work associate, Clarence Widmayer, advised me to get a gun. He was a member of the John Birch Society and to their believers there was a revolution coming. Clarence often told me to get a gun for self protection. He felt the socialists and communists were going to start a revolution and we all needed protection. The Weather Underground group was doing it's best to start that revolution with their bombing of police stations and shooting of police (pigs). Alas, it did not take. Charles Manson also tried to start a revolution with his "Helter Skelter", again, it did not take. I never did buy a gun, could not see a need for one. Clarence was an extremist and I was not. It is against the law for Egyptians to own guns and they are having demonstrations to overthrow their government. How much different would those demonstrations be if everybody had a gun? Would it be slaughter or would it be more peaceful? Would their government have behaved differently if all their citizens had guns. In Switzerland, by law, all households must have a gun. Those entering military service are given a gun to keep in their homes. They are subject to call-up if their is any trouble. There are no uprisings in Switzerland. There is a story told about the Japanese Military discussing an invasion of California at the beginning of WW II. They finally decided that it could not work because many citizens were armed and therefore the population could not be controlled. They had invaded Manchuria, China, Burma, The Philippines but hesitated at an invasion of the United States. Guns can be good.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Skin Problem

I have had a sore on my ankle for over a year. I believe it started with an insect bite. So, ten days ago, I went to see my doctor about it. He found it interesting enough to take a biopsy. Last Monday, a dermatologist called to say that it was a basil cell cancer and it had to be taken out. My appointment was today at 12:30 PM. I got there at 11:45 AM, checked in and was advised to take a seat in the waiting room. There were two waiting rooms to choose from, each had 12 chairs in them. Nearly all the chairs were full. A number of people had bandages on their face or nose. I was called at 12:45 and told to go upstairs to another waiting room where the surgery rooms were. After 15 minutes I was taken to a surgery room (there are eight of them on this floor.) and when the doctor came in he looked at my ankle, nodded his head, and told the surgery nurse to start preparation. Then the doctor took a closer look, with high magnification, at some thick and scaly skin on my lower leg, just under the knee, and said he wanted to get a biopsy. The nurse had already numbed my ankle and now proceeded to numb my leg. She said that they always work on the largest one first. The one on my leg was about the size of a quarter, on my ankle the size of the fingernail on the little finger. When the doctor came back he got a razor blade and slid off some of the skin on the leg. He left with the sample. There is a lab on the premises and a reading would be done right away. The nurse put a bandage over the wound and sent me downstairs to that waiting room. At 1:45 I was called upstairs and placed in a different surgery room, different nurse. The doctor came in, said he needed to remove more and proceeded to do it. This time he used a scalpel and was taking one level down, but, I could not tell how far down. He left with the cutting, and the nurse put a bandage on the wound. She explained to me that their method was to take as little flesh as possible while still getting all the problem cells out. Back to the downstairs waiting room again. At 2:30 I was called upstairs again and informed that more had to be removed. I was placed in a surgery room, again different than the two I had previously occupied, different nurse again. We played this merry-go-round two more times, a total of four cuts. On the fifth time, at 5 o-clock, it was all out. Each time I was in a different room. In the last room I was stitched up by the stitching doctor. She was a small lady and did her work just as any other seamstress does. She discovered the elasticity in my skin and said it made her job easier. She did a lot of stitching but for closing up she used staples, I think I counted eight. I have an appointment for next Monday to do the ankle.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Does history repeat itself as we often hear? In 1979 Carter revealed to the world that he would be a weak president on the world stage. He moved to drastically cut the Dept. of Defense, let it be known that he did not support the Shah of Iran, admitted there was a malaise in the land and felt helpless to do anything about it. It did not take long for radical Islamists to demonstrate in the streets, depose the Shah and set up a repressive regime based upon Sharia Law. The Iranians took 52 Americans hostage and thumbed their noses at Carter. Obama is reducing our military, let the world know that the U.S. can no longer be a strong man in the affairs of other nations, apologized for what we had done in the world. He said that no nation should have influence in another nations internal affairs. Egyptians have heard him loud and clear and, like the Iranians before them, are demonstrating in the streets. Like the Shah, Mubarak will be deposed and we will have another country with Sharia Law.