Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tick Tick, Tock Tock

Both of the pocket watches hanging from the wire shelf above the computer here are doing their thing......springs unwinding and cogs and wheels turning....letting me know every time I look over there that bedtime is approaching.

I intend to beat ol' man 2008 to bed and wake up at my customary time......30 minutes after the eggs have gone cold so's I have to zap them in the microwave for 20 seconds.

A new day, a new year ahead of us. What will it bring? I have no idea, but will be willing to bet a buck that at the end of 2009 we'll look back (should we be so lucky as to make it through) and be glad to see the ass end of it also.

May you live in interesting times has been said my more than a few to be a Chinese Curse. Hope that you will all prove that to be wrong in the New Year.

So Happy New Year Friends and relatives. I won't be there to sing 'Auld Lang Syne' and give you a big ol' kiss.........but if I were, I count yourself Lucky.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An exercise in futility

Or at least so This would seem to me.

I mean.........come on......if you look at a nighttime satellite image of that part of the world (Korea) you see only darkness above the 38th parallel. Kim ding dong has continued the process of sucking the life and money out of the country and they can barely produce enough to feed themselves a starvation diet.

I don't know why I bother to comment on this event except it happened right after I got married almost 41 years ago and at the time was a big deal, yet the US was as hapless in dealing with it as so many other episodes over the years.

Yes.......we have a judgment....given by a Federal judge in this country as a result of a lawsuit that N. Korea didn't even bother to respond to. Do they ever think they'll get a penny of the award?

Now if they had been given the authority to use any means they could come up with to collect the money or other satisfaction they might deem appropriate against the leader of N. Korea, including letters of Marque allowing them to seize (if they could hold it) property anywhere in the world, or to take a pound of flesh, blood, or bone from nearest his heart. (I wouldn't make the mistake that one of Shakespeare's characters made.) Then they might feel that they obtained justice.

Still they have to remember that the Crew of the Pueblo were spies and and as such really shouldn't even be having this conversation. They knew the risks when they signed on.

I'm tired of this topic.........

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What's coming in '09 ??

I have to confess that I am not optimistic.

Some other people are not either.

I post decide. Either that or ignore it and wait and see. Methinks that is what most people will do, to their peril.


I'm all for it.

Lately I've attempted to do a little walking, in order to prepare myself to do a little hiking and exploring in the N.E. Georgia hills.

Did you know that NE Ga contains the only rain forest east of the Mississippi?

It's true........a small area just north of Clayton in Rabun county Georgia receives more that 150 inches of precipitation a year. The coves and valleys there are verdant with flora and fauna both..........many not seen in any other area.

I digress however, from the topic of Torture in the heading.

I decided I'd try to reduce the amount I consume daily (a task that is somewhat difficult around the Christmas Season as there are so many goodies to get rid of).

A small remnant of some of the things I have to eat for the Holidays yet.

I also decided I'd go to the park and walk around the track...........Ha

More like hobble around. It's 6/10 of a mile and by the time I'd gone half way around it my heels and feet told me that Plantar Faciatitis was not a thing of the past, but an all to real present. Likewise just a few strides further let me know that shin splints will nearly make and old man weep. I finished the circuit, but was passed by little old men and ladies half again my age and by one ol' gal with a walker. One joggers dog thought I was a light post and tried to piss up my leg...
.......f**king mutt.......I'd have kicked at it but didn't feel up to having my ass kicked by an 18 year old Coed.

Just Damn!!

Both the above problems are caused by tendons and ligaments which are too tight for one reason or the other.. Much stretching and taking of pain potions are in order.

Since I don't seem to get enough benefit from the amount of stretching I do, I'm reduced to wearing the below torture device for several hours each night. I'm supposed to wear it all night, but somehow it comes off during the night.

Alternating it between feet on successive nights and increasing the amount of tension on the straps to pull my toes toward my shins has given me some relief as has a new set of insoles to compensate for high arches.

You'll be glad to know that I can now walk completely around the track and the last time out only developed shin splints during the last 100 feet. But more torture and walking will remedy that hopefully and soon the hills will be alive with the huffing and panting of my-own-self as I pull myself along from Rhododendron to Pine tree, all in pursuit of the end of the rainbow and the Fountain of Youth. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Very, very good

While munching on chocolate covered cashews (yum) I learn that my sister's youngest son is home from Iraq. Missed Christmas but just in time for New Year.
Life doesn't get much better than this.

I wish I were more tech savvy..........I'd copy and paste the picture of her hugging him. Her smile would light up America's Mall for weeks.

Thanks Seth.........Welcome home.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Home again, Home again

Jiggity Jig
I ate enough to stuff
a rather large pig.

Merry Christmas late in the day.
We've arrived back from the eldest daughter's home where we ate and laughed, broke open the presents and scattered wrapping paper to the four winds.

We guys sat and stood around laughing at ourselves, Obama, the kids and Grandkids running amok. We talked about hunting and fishing and the ills of the world.
The women folk put on a feast that would have fed twice as many.

I was treated to a Japanese Fruit Cake by the eldest daughter for my birthday...Yum!!
Brought most of that bad boy home so will have to delay the diet for the new year till all is consumed. Right now I am feasting on the requisite Pistachios I receive every year for Christmas. That will aid in the scrubbing of the colon which I undertake at least once a year by consuming several pounds of those salty bits of goodness as fast as I can shuck and gobble them down.

I hope you all had the best Christmas of your lives, whether young or old. I certainly did. At least for a little while the looming depression, recession or EOTWAWKI was eclipsed by something greater than our puny cares.

God Bless us all, Everyone.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter winds

Winter blew in yesterday with blustery arctic gusts that while not too bad in the morning, were brisk enough to drive a person indoors before the sun set. On a positive note though, was sunny and bright.

Today also dawns sunny and bright, with the thermometer reading down about 26 degrees......low enough to put a thin film of ice in the water bucket. Droplets froze on the sides of the dipper as soon as it was exposed to the air.

The leaves are all down on the ground and blowing around where they are dry enough. I don't guess a little tannic acid from the oak leaves will hurt the dogs water. Probably cure her insides a little making her tougher. When I first went outside she was in her little house ( a plastic 55 gallon drum wrapped in two layers of quilt, then wrapped with a double wrapping of plastic tarp, the inside layered with cedar shaving and wheat straw set on the porch of the tool shed), all the way in the back with just her nose stuck out of the straw. I don't know how warm it was but will say that I was tempted to get in there with her.

We loaded up the car and went down to the mother-in-law to spread a little Christmas cheer with her and the sister-in-law. We went out to a local Chicken Express where every one except me got the Catfish plates.......and I got the chicken livers. One might be excused for ordering 12 livers when you consider the average sized chicken.

They must have bred these chickens with Pterodactyls because they were each the size of a Cornish hen. I did my manly duty though and only had to give away six of them. I think the guy doing the counting went to the same high school I did. Lets just say that it looked like more than twelve.

Of course by the time we arrived back home it was time to take a mean meditate, in the Lazy Boy.

The economy must be really bad............I had a lady this evening try to sell me a plastic bag of sand, calling it gold. Claimed it had been tested at a lab and everything. I hope she kept her receipt and kept up with the boyfriend who gave it to her in exchange for a small loan. She'll have to get repayment for that by taking a pound of flesh from nearest his heart. LOL

I'm guessing that the investors who gave Billions to Bernie Madoff might be feeling much the same way.

Another cool night on the way, the a start on a new year with a warming up spell...
.......near 70 degrees by the weekend. It's sure tough living here in the South. Must be that Global Warming we've been hearing about.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where do you find Barney Frank?

I read and make snide decide.

by Byron W. King

Clearly the Fed wants to spread more cheap liquidity around the world. But
is the world’s problem really not enough cheap dollars? It seems to me
that we got here – deep in this current recession – with too many dollars
floating around. Too many people borrowed too much cheap money. Now the
big blowback of history is that we’ve entered into an era of deleveraging.
So the biggest concern for most of the world’s governments, businesses and
households is overall solvency. Can people pay down their bills as they
come due? For far too many people, the answer is “No.”

My inner-Austrian economist tells me that what the world needs is more
savings and more capital formation. The world needs more basic
productivity. Instead, we are getting more bailouts and government
programs that will benefit people and firms of dubious productivity.
That’s not capital creation. That’s capital destruction.

And pity poor OPEC. Saudi Arabia needs oil prices at $60 per barrel or so
just to cover its national budget. At $45 per barrel, they are losing
money. Russia needs to see oil at $75 to keep its accounts in balance, and
that’s before they lay the keels for the new fleet of aircraft carriers
they are discussing. And those poor souls in Iran? Mr. I’m-a-Dinner-Jacket
needs $100 oil to meet payroll. While Generalissimo Chavez of Venezuela
needs $125 oil to cover the national outlays. So OPEC wants to cut output
and try to drive the oil price back up.

Will it work? Don’t bet against OPEC on this one. They want to cut output
by over 4 million barrels per day. That’s a lot of crude. So expect to see
oil prices heading back up in 2009. We won’t see $147 again any time real
soon. But expect higher oil prices as 2009 unfolds, and expect to see
higher prices for everything else within the energy chain.

OPEC’ predicament just goes to show. The key OPEC players sure got used to
high oil prices in a hurry. They believed their own press releases. They
thought that oil was high and going higher, as if there was never an oil
bust before.

So you can have a lot of money, but not know anything about how money
works. Then again, we in the U.S. shouldn’t gloat at OPEC, let alone
laugh. Not as long as we keep electing the same members to Congress, year
after year.

Speaking of that, did you see Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) on CBS’s Sunday
evening show 60 Minutes the other day? That noted public intellectual
Leslie Stahl interviewed him. Along the way Ms. Stahl called Mr. Frank
“the smartest man in Congress.” Wow. If that’s true then we’re in trouble.
OK, Rep. Frank is smart. He sure is not dumb. He came across as bright and
quick-witted. Ms. Stahl made sure to tell us that Rep. Frank “went to
Harvard.” (Big deal. So did I.)

But Rep. Frank came across as an angry and bitter man. From what I saw on
60 Minutes, the meaning of money does not register with Rep. Frank. He
just wants to spend dollars on things that make him feel good. And if you
disagree, he has a prompt explanation for why you must be a bad person. He
will give you a non sequitur of a comparison for why his subjective
feelings are better than yours. And if you persist he has a personal
put-down. He’ll call you an “idiot” or something worse.

Well, Rep. Frank is what I think we’re going to look back on, one of these
days, as a “financial sociopath.” He comes across as just in favor of
spending the national wealth with no regard for the long-term
consequences, as if the $10 trillion national debt is not already
crippling the nation. As Ronald Reagan once asked, “Where does this
country find such men?”

In Barney's guess would be to look for the asshole on the end of a dick.

It just goes to show about 60 Minutes. They can misquote you. Or worse,
they can quote you correctly.

Until next we meet,

Byron W. King
for The Daily Reckoning

P.S. I’ll keep you updated on these issues, and on other news about the OI
portfolio, in future articles. In the meantime, check out my latest

Editor’s Note: Byron King currently serves as an attorney in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of
Pittsburgh School of Law in 1981 and is a cum laude graduate of Harvard
University. Byron is also co-editor of Outstanding Investments, and editor
of Energy & Scarcity Investor.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let us Scam

Sung to the tune of "let it snow"

Let us Scam, Let us Scam, Let us Scam.

This from CNN's Cliff Mason...

"But I can't deny the similarities between how social security operates and what Bernie Madoff was allegedly doing with his investors, or should we call them marks?

With the Social Security system, workers pay 12.4% of their salaries into the system to cover payments to retirees, who themselves paid into the system when they were working. Except the original recipients of social security in the depression never had to pay payroll taxes because the system didn't exist when they were working.

Now look at the definition of a Ponzi scheme courtesy of wikipedia: "A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that involves paying abnormally high returns to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from the profit from any real business."

As a creation of the previous Great Depression, the Social Security System may find its end in the coming years, as Baby Boomers begin to collect their dues and the system's obligations begin to rapidly outpace new deposits. Indeed, should the next few years be as turbulent and costly as 2008, the system could simply unravel.

But many of you are already either fed up or frustrated. You've had enough, and you just want to know something for certain. You want to know the truth. And rightfully so, because so much of the world economy really is just lies piled on top of more lies piled on top of even more lies.

The charts and graphs that give ‘economists' all their power...are honestly just a sham...

But hey.........interest rates are at zero %.......I'll refinance my house which is now worth less than what I owe on it and live large off of the money I'll get back.


Dear Sam Jr.

Hope to hear that you are doing well and looking forward to a nice Christmas. We continue to get along and are glad that we don't have to worry about our jobs like so many other folks at the end of this year. It's hard to miss what you don't have. So we are fortunate in that respect.

The economic turmoil and almost daily revelations of losses and scandals by heretofore well respected and supposedly well funded financial institutions has cast a pale of gloom over this country and much of the 1st and 2nd world countries. The third world just keeps trying to find enough grasshoppers to exist on.

It is interesting to me to note that the country which first gave the world a Democratic form of government, Greece, is experiencing Riots over the shooting of a young man that threaten the stability of their government.

Although ours is supposed to be a Representative Republic, it is devolving rapidly into Democracy to the point that even Represetatives to the Congress don't know any better. Will our populace ever reach the level of disappointment that the Greeks are experiencing? Wouldn't be a pleasant thing to go through, but may in the end be necessary.

Time will tell.......I suppose.

Till next time.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Too soon spoken

Found to my dismay that the Elgin, spoken of in the previous post, will need a little loving attention paid to it. Seems to be a bit tired after 98 years.
Fortunately I know a competent watch and clock man. Since it ran so good and smooth it may just need a little cleaning and adjusting.....perhaps a new mainspring.

Would that the current financial problems that supposedly plagues the world be so easy to fix.

Perhaps if the Fraud of the Federal Reserve hadn't been allowed to exist for the last ninety-five years, we wouldn't have so many corrupt politicians and so called money managers around.

If the presidential election was to be held in 2009 (and not 2008) would that make a difference for Ron Paul?

One of Washington's most conservative of fiscal conservatives; Ron Paul preaches the ways of small federal government, hard money and an end to the Federal Reserve/Bankster regime that's decimated the global economic system. I for one believe his message would have resounded with a much larger audience in today's economy than it did a year ago.

After all, US$8 trillion in taxpayer promises could probably swing a few votes.

Especially when those promises are combined with the shady actions of those in power.

It is even more apparent now that everything possible was being done to keep the cracks in the system from becoming huge gaping chasms until the election cycle was in the to speak.

We cracked open a bit of the food storage the other day. I'll have to replace that and add to it, and the ammo storage before too long.

The tree rats in the back yard are good and fat from the abundance of acorns this fall. If I can hold off till the next crop are started in the spring, maybe I won't have to cause this particular bunch to go all extinct.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Stuff like This fascinates me.

Quite possibly because I am more adapt at tearing things apart than putting them back together, so that anything with clockworks draws me in like a moth to a flame (or a light bulb, since I don't use lots of flames now-a-days).

And if it is wrapped in 14kt gold like this little # 12 Elgin pocket watch I picked up yesterday, while stopping in at the Jewelry Store where the Portuguese Beauty works, well......... all the better.

I would have brought home the PB (Portuguese Beauty) but I'm pretty sure the wife might have objected.

Oh well........I'll just have to be content with small mean Stuff.

I also got a small ladies pocket watch made by Champ Watch Co. Switzerland in 14 kt gold with small mine cut diamonds set in a moon shape on the back.

The Elgin keeps perfect time so far (24 hours)....the Champ....not so much.

Now-a-days you can get the time from your cell phone......

......but it doesn't have the same STYLE.

It is just so much more satisfying in drawing your watch from your vest or pants pocket and gazing at it for a few seconds.......maybe holding it to your ear to make sure it ticks and tocks.......then giving a couple small turns to the winding stem. Then placing it back in it's pocket and giving it a light pat to make sure it's secure.

In a time of political change, economic upheaval, doubts about the future.......we can look at something crafted with pride one hundred years before, then think of all the upheavals since that time and know that some things can be counted on.

It's sort of comforting in a way.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good Evening Cousin Sam

"The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!

If this is true, it is a serious fact, and moral duty requires me to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to it."

Good evening cousin Sam jr.,

Hope the letter finds you well. It seems that much of what we hear now-a-days gives the feeling of doom and gloom. People are uneasy about the economy and how the greater amount of government, with new laws, will affect it. A great deal, I suppose depends on what the new Democratic Administration will try to do. They are all ready making pronouncements, even though, as of tonight, technically, Obama isn't even the President Elect as he seems to think he is. Tomorrow the Electoral College meets to make every thing official. Don't foresee any thing changing the outcome, but, one never knows.

The Asylum on the Potomac (AotP) has ceded much power to the Secretary of Treasury, Hank Paulson, over spending a huge amount of money in any way he sees fit. The Cowards in the Asylum want to have someone else they can point to if anything goes wrong. Abrogating their responsibility seems to be the new in thing up there.

This has caused me to think much on the matter of What is Law, and why do we have laws. Do laws grant us rights, or do we grant rights to lawmakers?

The Declaration of Independence states in part that we are given rights by our creator, and in turn give rights to a governing body;

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,"

......Suggesting that since a Creator has given us life......whether you believe in a Creator or not........that since we have life, we have the right to preserve, develop and to perfect it, to the best of our individual abilities.

We take our abilities and apply them to the resources available to us, convert them into products and use them. They become US so to speak......our production....a part of us.....our property. But, since it is in the nature of man to want to survive with the least discomfort possible, and work or labor is discomfort to some, they will seek to take from the producers and use those products to preserve their own life....or comfort......without work.

Since we have the right to life, hence to the produce of that life, we, if smart, will join together to preserve each others life and property and freedom, or liberty against those who would take with out effort on their own part. In other words we have the right to defense, carried to a logical joining together, to preserve, defend, and protect those rights.

But, some how, we have gotten away from many of the ideals that my Uncle so proudly stood for.

I will continue to think on these matters Sam jr., and invite you to send me your thoughts when you can.

Love to you and your family,


Saturday, December 06, 2008

It's beginning

There be times when I am a little slow to get the Christmas Spirit. Not so this year. I've already bought the one present I have to buy each year........well, I do pay for most of them......but, I don't have to do the shopping.

We listened to Celtic Women sing "Oh Holy Night" on PBS and I've already been dancing to Christmas songs with the youngest Grand Child. We are keeping her tonight so her Mom and Dad can go out to eat for their 3rd anniversary.

She was dressed in her new Princess Dress.
Here is a shot of her and Nanny with the dog and his chew bone.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Good ol' Fred

There seems to be very little good news on the economic horizon......or above it or below it, these days. For those who might have flown back during the dark ages you might remember having to cage the gyros. This consisted of holding them steady until they were spinning at the proper speed. If you didn't, you might find yourself following an apparently level horizon into a spiraling turn into the ground......where upon you would suffer a gruesome death caused by recto-cranial inversion.

But there are those out there who have been in the midst of the AotP (Asylum on the Potomac) for long enough to be able to translate the gibberish they put out so we the great unwashed can understand.

In an effort to further your education and enlighten you (and because I have nothing original to say myself, I present Professor Fred.

I freely admit to swiping the idea from Guyk who got it from someone else.

Why, Oh Why, didn't he run harder? Of course I don't blame him.........the mindset of at least 51% of the population is one of plunder and likely will be for as long as it takes for envy to be reduced to tolerable levels once again or the producers of this country all fly away to a Galt's Gulch somewhere. Current and future leaders will be blamed for this debacle for a thousand years. But only by those who understand......or have the ability to learn.

Dr. Gary North wrote a book over 25 years ago called "The Politics of Envy". As usual he was a prophet unrecognized but by a very small Remnant. A watchman on the wall that no one wanted to listen to when giving the warning of the Barbarians approach.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Dear Cousin


Dear Cousin Sam,

How ya doin' cuz? I know that it has been a long time since I contacted you. I'm sorry that it takes something like a death in the family to bring relatives together.

Your father and my Uncle was a great man. Do you still go by Junior, or is it Sam now?
It would seem strange to call you Sam. Your old man left some mighty big shoes to fill. I'll just keep calling you Jr., or maybe Sam Jr. That'll help me keep things straight, 'cause you know your dad and I were very close.

I remember as a teenager how much I looked up to him.......and he was always willing to reach out and give me guidance and wisdom, gleaned from a long life full of experiences, both good and bad. His falling out with his parents gave him a perspective that he was able to share with me when I disagreed with my father. Because they were later reconciled and able to recognize each other as equals and partners, he was able to get me to see the longer term picture.

His battles with his brothers taught me to work harder on patching up the disputes I had with my siblings. Standing up for freedom for everyone, even in foreign countries, motivated me to also fight for that in a place that most people would as soon forget. Thinking of him and Aunt Libby and the disagreements that they had with you and your brother and sisters taught me that sometimes we can learn from both those older and younger than ones self.

This being Thanksgiving, I just wanted to write and let you know that I believe your dad is still around.........maybe not as close as once he was, but his spirit still lives on, and I'm thankful for his example and for all the rest of my family, even as spread out as we are. Even though the times may be hard and unsettled, I have a confidence that as long as there are a remnant that remember him and all he stood for, there will be a brighter future to look forward to. We may have to exert ourselves a bit more to achieve it, but tried and true principals and commitment to them will bring us through.

Anyway Sam jr., I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you and look forward to communicating more in the future.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

blah blog

I seem to be out of the steam that keeps me chugging along here on the information highway.............well my little dirt road in Red Hill land......actually moved to the urban sprawl of the Classic City, home of the sometimes over rated and sometimes under, Georgia Bulldawgs. Kennel for Uga. My would have been alma mater, had I lasted more than 3 months away from my main squeeze (40 years ago, and still today). Well..
........maybe my grades might have been a small factor in the equation.

Still, I've come far, ("seems far", as Mr J. Johnson said). Can't say I've accumulated much moss on my down hill journey......mainly because I kept banging off bigger rocks and trees. In fact I seem to be like those river rocks as they wash downstream, getting worn more and more smoothly like those red sands you can find in the creeks of N. GA,......... unless you look at them with some magnification you wouldn't know that they were once Garnets of red and purple hue. Not worth anything, just a curiosity now........ something interesting to point out to the younger Grandchildren, who soon find shinier and more interesting things to oooh and aaaah about.

So I prop my wrists on the padding of the keyboard, in an effort to keep the blog from just showing a white page. Finding no motivation to rant at the latest antics of the inmates of the Asylum on the Potomac (AsPo)as they give away the store to the real Powers that Be (PB) the Money Manipulators of the World (MMW) who in their unhurried way, lured us all into more debt than we could pay, for things we mostly did not need, then went whining that we weren't paying them on time and, "OH Woe is Us", we're going to foreclose on the fools and get the government to bail us out at the same time. Does this seem a little bit like double dipping to you?

(well, I might get a little wound up yet)

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving............I'll work and loaf in alternate sequence here at home, since the Family will all get together on Sunday for our festivities. Got to give the hunters a chance to spend as much time in the woods as possible, although they have filled their freezers and are now working on filling the freezers of friends and neighbors. We just might be very, very thankful that they have these skills in the coming year or two.
I've really thankful that we are so blessed. It doesn't take much looking around to see people who have less material goods.......although I don't think we would make too many envious with our lack of marble mansions worth less than is owed on them, or our ten year old vehicles that aren't worth keeping collision on them since replacing a fender would cause the Insurance company to total them.

We're blessed that most everybody is healthy and have all their fingers and toes, although there are a few toenails missing here and there. Those with jobs are, at least for now, still employed. Gasoline is down to the point that I can fill the Dodge Ram for less than $40.00 most days.

So all-in-all we have every bit as much reason as the Pilgrims to celebrate and give thanks to The Creator that we are where we are, for there are some, like my redheaded nephew with the 10th Mountain Division, who might at times wish they were back in Maine.

Take a moment tomorrow, if you are so inclined, to give a little thanks for those who are not here, but wish they were, and petition whatever Deity you might prefer, that they return home, safely, soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I read on the Drudge Report tonight that New York City is trying to tell churches they can't take in the homeless at night. (Look it up, I'm too lazy to copy and paste and copy and paste)

WTH over?

One might be forgiven for thinking that a city the size of New Frooking York, New Your would have more important things to think how to keep some of those investment bankers from stealing the silver ware from the restaurants. (Th' Sumbitches...........or how to keep the billionaire who runs the place from screwing it up so bad that the subways begin to smell better than the garbage barges.

I've only been there one time for a very brief trip thru from the airport and then back to the airport. If the Jewish dairy farmer who was picking us up hadn't lived so close we'd have gone somewhere else. (although I really can't think of anyplace north of Virginia I'd want to live be anyway)

If I were a member of a church that would bow down to the Great God of Government (G3) I'd leave after shooting the board of deacons and all the Priests, Pastors, and Reverends. The Golden Rule doesn't say do unto others unless the G3 says you can't.

I surely hope that these Churches are extending the Fickle Finger of Fly Away (FFFA) to any of the minions of G3 which come around spouting that BS. Haven't they ever heard of Separation of Church and State. Oh yeah, I forgot the Bill of Rights is only in effect where permitted or prohibited by law.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Oh well, Just Damn Government. When they forget the true purpose of Law we descend into something that would sicken people like Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, James Madison and others. It's only by virtue of my strong gag reflex that I keep from painting my monitor.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Face of Grace

There are those among us who may have a negative opinion of anyone who joins the military, especially in these times. They may think that the only purpose of an army is to shot and blow up things and people. That is not, however, their only mission. Most of the time they have a higher purpose in mind, and the means of accomplishing their goal requires a little 'diplomacy by other means'.

I followed a link from LL and lifted a post from Soldiers Perspective. You can read it below. My sister and her husband currently have a son in Iraq. I know what kind of family he comes from. Service......not his goal I'm sure.
Having once been in a similar situation......I know it.

Anyway won't regret it.

CJ Touching The Face of Grace (Tissue Alert)
November 20th, 2008 by CJ

I found this essay, written by the father of a deployed Soldier, on the American Legion website. It was introduced into the Congressional Record by Frank R. Wolf, R-Va, on September 16th. It's a very touching and inspirational story should be required reading by the defeatists in Congress. Here it is:

“Whatever your political take on the war in Iraq, nothing can alter it more than having a loved one in the midst of it. Nor is anyone’s current perspective balanced until they hear at least some things from a soldier’s point of view.

“My wife and I learned these truths when our son, a 2004 Handley graduate, decided to join the Army in 2006. His reasoning was simple: he wasn’t comfortable knowing that thousands of others his age were sacrificing their own freedoms to protect his. When he signed up to join those thousands, it changed our perspective as well.

“Up to that point, it had always been other people’s sons and daughters doing the fighting. Now it would be our own child. Naturally, no one wants their child to volunteer to go in harm’s way for freedom’s sake. It was something of a conviction, though, when my wife and I had to ask ourselves why it shouldn’t be our own son in the Middle East, why we should be spared the rituals of anxiety, prayer, hope and waiting that tens of thousands of other families over here have already endured.

“In early June, we flew to Fort Hood, Texas, to see our son deploy for a 15-month tour in Iraq. Again, one’s perspective is limited until one attends a deploying ceremony for a unit of soldiers. Spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends, all crowding a gym, all clinging closely to their treasures in uniform, accompanied by flags, prayers, cheers and tears. Our son had joined a ‘band of brothers.’ My wife and I had joined the ‘band of others’ who would be waiting at home. Both those going, and those left behind, carry the war on terror in a personal way.

“Still, those of us left behind need to see something of what our soldiers see, and not only what is offered us in the news. To that end, here is one story our son, Luke, shared with us by phone that must be shared with anyone who claims an interest in what our soldiers are doing in the Middle East.

“Stationed outside a city on the Tigris River, Luke had accompanied his colonel into town as part of a security team, while the colonel spoke with a local sheik. While standing guard, Luke noticed a woman approaching from behind and cautiously turned in her direction, his rifle at the ready.

“An interpreter told our son it was OK – the woman just wanted to touch a soldier. Still uneasy, Luke stood still while the woman reached out her hand and touched his face, tears in her eyes.

“Looking to the interpreter for meaning, our son was told that the woman simply ‘wanted to touch the face of grace.’ It seems this trembling woman, like most of the people in her town, looked upon our soldiers as angels of grace, sent by God to protect her from the violence and oppression her people had come to know up to then. Learning this, our son squeezed and kissed the woman’s hand, and she left, weeping.

“The ‘face of grace.’ How many of us, safe at home debating the politics of the war on terror, have ever seen our soldiers in such a light? How many of us have even read such an uplifting newspaper account of our soldiers?

“To be sure, our soldiers are not virtuous simply by being soldiers. At home in their ‘civvies’ they are as un-angelic as the rest of us. Yet when they voluntarily get into ‘full battle rattle’ (as they call their battle gear) in a hot and hostile land, their job is both protective and sacrificial – as angelic a purpose as humans can take on.

“People like this woman, having suffered years of oppression and fear, have eyes and a heart to see this, and the desire to “‘touch the face of grace.’ Do we have the ability to see our soldiers in the same way? And not merely our soldiers: Can we see the ‘face of grace’ in the police who protect us in every town, day and night? Or in the fire and rescue teams who are ‘soldiers’ in their own right?

“My wife and I obviously pray that our son and his ‘band of brothers’ will come safely home to their personal ‘band of others.’ After listening to our son’s experience, though, we have added the prayer that Americans in every community will be given the eyes and heart to see the ‘Face of Grace’ in all who protect our lives and freedoms – especially in soldiers like our son.”

Posted in Military Perspective

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


the stupidity of people in large groups........and each of those individuals also, if you can.

Choices have consequences............even those of whom to associate with.

Kinda makes you want to have a short interview for intelligence before you talk seriously with them. Maybe a 10 question hand out that they have to score at least 70% on before you waste too much time............although now that I think of it, the entertainment value could be pretty high, so if you need a laugh, just jump right in.

Big chested blonds in the bar late at night might be exempt, but only until the next morning.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New day

There's a new day a coming according to all those who want change in the world.

A day where there'll be no more war, no more hunger, no more hatred, all our wants and cares will be attended to..........a day where we'll drink free bubble up and eat that rainbow stew.

Of course there may be some who would ask, "Kudzu, who's gonna pay for all that fine ol' time"?

Now what kinda idjit would ax a stoopid question like that? Why the gubbermint will be taking care of all those sorts of things. All we gotta do is eat, drink, be happy and makin' more babies to be raised at the gubbermint tit, to grow fat, happy and voting the way they are told.

Our elected servants in the asylum on the potomac have just guaranteed the big banks that they have no worries, and will soon do the same for the big three automakers. After all they don't have to worry about the deficit between what they take in and what they shovel out. Why just crank up the printing presses boys.........well sign another couple hundred IOU's to the Central Bankers and money will float down from the sky.

I've been telling a few people (those that still come around. Few and far between nowadays) that the National Debt and Deficits don't matter. The powers that be will just keep on cranking out dollar bills by the bunches and all we have to do is hold our hands out and look up into the sky.

Now our new power that be says the same Thing.

Good times are coming boys, dig up yore Confederate money, they'll be redeeming that next.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some times words are not needed

I would really love to be able to speak and understand a foreign language.

Unfortunately I have never taken the time, or put enough effort into learning one except for a very few words of Vietnamese, German and Spanish. I really would like to speak Spanish since I'd love to travel around South and Central America. A friend leaving for a week in Spain seems to have sparked this wistful feeling in me.

However there are some things that you understand simply by watching them. Take this example from Youtube for example:

Just Damn! Who knew music could be so much fun?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This is why

We honor Veterans on this day.

Click Here

They don't ask you to honor them..........Just Don't Forget Them

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ruminations on a Saturday afternoon in November

As I came across the backyard toward the house this afternoon I noticed that today we jumped past the peak of our leaf season here near the Classic City. While the White Oak leaves are still mostly green, the Tulip Poplars are trading their brilliant yellow for brown, the Hickory leaves, also yellow and gold are beginning to fall more quickly, the Black Gums are still a brilliant red and falling fast, but the maples..
............oh, the Maples are the true stars of the forest. Red, and pink and subtle colors that only an artist could describe.

But the peak is past us, a heavy rain or combination of brisk wind and rain will carpet the lawn with reminders that we need to cut the grass one more time and mulch what leaves I can. I would normally rake and pile them to be placed on the compost pile, but this year I'm gonna leave them in place. The rocky red and yellow soil here can use as much help as it can get.

On another note.......thinking of the lateness of the year, I recently picked up an old clock I'd had in the shop to be tuned up and adjusted.

An Oriole model E. Ingraham, circa 1906, made in Bristol Connecticut. Part of the original label is still affixed to the back. It chimes on the half and top of each hour.

The steady 'tick tock, tick tock' and the chiming reminds one, as do the leaves falling and the grey in my hair, that time marches on, and waits for no man.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Does it work or does it not work

Well, having finally regained my equilibrium after a couple weeks of sinus infection and bronchitis, I once more venture out to continue my yearly quest to drive one and a half times around the world at the equator.

It's a tough job, but someone must do it. gets me out of the house.

Visited a few of my more frequent haunts, up by Commerce, where whispering Bill Anderson penned the long ago hit "City Lights", to Lula, where there was nobody at home, and then down to Jefferson via Gainesville, where I found a temporary cure for my fever.

There was a wide range of emotions about the recent election, ranging from, Gloom & Despair, to mindless Euphoria, and a lot of people just trying to dig their way out from under a huge load of bullshit.

Me............I'm just glad that you can find gasoline @ around $2 bucks a gallon.
Besides............I've out run the devil that we don't know.

I was thinking that there ought to be better solutions for the current problems that polarize so many of us.

Maybe there is............

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Lost.........I think not

I've just finished reading this evenings post from SWG. A fine young man and a credit to his parents.

Go and read him.

He expressed many of the feeling I've felt today, and I had to comment on his post.
I'd been thinking of whether to post today or not. I can't think of anything else to say, so I'll post the comment here.

Eric, I'm not as old as the old man you remember, although my hair is becoming more and more grey, and my war was a little later, but still a jungle even though I flew over it. The feeling of loneliness comes to us all after we leave the company of men (and women) who are united in a commitment to freedom and duty to country on a daily basis, but rest assured that the same spirit still lives on today, and not just in the hearts of veterans, but in many good and decent people. They, and we, have a duty to speak of that spirit, to show by our actions that we will stand up for the freedoms, granted by God, protected by our Constitution.. ....sometimes forgotten by our fellows in their desire for safety or security.... never realizing that as ol' Ben Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Thomas Jefferson once said that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

And might I add, "of traitors".

I'm not advocating Violence here, but we would do well commit ourselves to the destruction of thought and ideas that are contrary to the concept of Life, Liberty and Property. (Yes, I know the words used were 'pursuit of happiness') We can do that by living so as to show everyone we come in contact with, even those whose who might oppose us, the superiority of right principals over destructive ones. We must never let ourselves be defeated by the Mob of democracy. Rather we must commit ourselves to the rule of Law, which even despots must bow to.

It's easy to forget that while the results of the elections seem to speak ill for the majority of people today.......there were many who did not take advantage of the right to speak up for their rights to Liberty. We have not had in a long time, if ever, the total number of voters exercise their right to vote. If we ever do, we might be more pleasantly surprised.

Regardless, I will not surrender....tempting though it may be. And if it takes my blood to water the Liberty Tree....... so be it, they can have it, if they can take it.

I thank you for your service to our country..
....... not only in the Marines, but as a citizen exercising your franchise in the voting booth.

God Bless America (he will, but only if we do the work first)
Posted by kdzu on November 5, 2008 10:36 PM

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Be very Afraid

Ol' Ben Franklin, a Founding Father of this once great Free Republic, an all round pretty good guy, considered wise by some (less now than then), now residing on the US $100 bill, and a personal favorite of mine, second only to Lady Liberty on St Guadians and American Eagle coins, had this to say:

"Those who would give us ESSENTIAL LIBERTY to purchase a little TEMPORARY SAFETY, deserve neither LIBERTY nor SAFETY."

I wonder what he would think of this little statement made by the NEW MESSIAH?

With the new advantages in technology and surveillance, it may be time to change some of the way we do things.

Me?? I'm gonna start wearing a tinfoil hat and keep my ID, and money in a lead lined wallet.

Be very, very, very Afraid.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Duty done......


Finally sucked up my courage and went to the Classic Center here in the Classic City.

Time to gird my loins and put on the softer pair of athletic shoes.

Went to vote in the much talked about (oh, please, why don't they STF up, already) National Election. Voted for almost every libertarian on the ballot. Wished after hitting the vote button I had thought to bring a list of people to write in for those races where there was no competition.

It was much different from my last experience of voting out in the wilds of Redhill at the Flint district polling location. Today my standing in line entailed a wait of 2 1/2 hours before getting to slid my card in the electric voting machine, rather than the typical 2 minutes to get in and have a neighbor look at my license and say, "yep, that's you all right, before letting me have access to the ballot.

That's why they call it a secret ballot........after you've left you wonder if the entries you pressed will really be counted or if the machine has been rigged. Hopefully someone actually goes around and checks on things like that.

The long wait wasn't a total waste as I looked around and tried to judge who people would vote for. Couldn't really get a feel for most of them as they all looked pretty pissed off..........

Well there was this one Goth girl with the black, purple and green hair. She just had a bored look on her face as she attempted through body language let us know she didn't care if we looked at her funny. Only saw her facade drop once as she looked so lonely she wished she were dead. (almost went up to her and just wanted to give her a big hug and say, "it's alright". Hope that's not really what went through her head. I also wonder if the multiple piercings of her left eyebrow and upper lip were painful.

I asked one young college student how the nose stud she was wearing stayed in. Whether it was just hooked or had some sort of clip that had to be inserted up her nose. Welllll excuse me.........I was just curious. Having had a head cold for over two weeks, I wonder how she would have handled having to blow her nose every 10 minutes like I have?

Anyhoo, went and fulfilled my civic duty one more time. I was number 26,211 to have voted in this county. Wonder what next Tuesday will look like. Poll worker says they expect a better than 80% voter turnout. What would it have been if we'd really had someone qualified running for office, I wonder.

Remember........Vote often.

Can you tell me

Why anyone would want to hear the opinion of this Twat.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

As Planned

I was at the VA's door early. Shuffled over to the window and said, "I feel like shit, could the doc take a look at me?".

OH, you should have called to set up an appointment. We'll try to work you in.

I got there at 7:45,I finally got in about 11:45. Left 10 minutes later with script for antibiotics and an inhaler.

I didn't mind the wait too much. As long as I sat very very still and took shallow breaths I didn't cough too much.

So I sat very, very still. There are rumors that I may live

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Get a Haircut

I have been getting a little shaggy here lately.


is just one of the things I've listened to for the last 45 minutes.

Thanks to GuyK.

Most fun I've had this week. Give it a try, bet you wake up singing in the morning.

Still breathing

Someone once told me to just keep breathing in and out.........everything else would take care of it's self.

That may be, but it's hard to drain the swamp when you are in water up over your head.

Still fighting the chest and head congestion. I've now started to hack up the right lung a bit at the time. I'll be at the VA doctors door when they open in the morning..........along with the rest of the old farts, and a sprinkling of more recent Vets.

Speaking of old farts, on my foray into to the wilds last Saturday I stopped alongside an old Ford van that two guys were getting into while wearing blaze orange vests.
I asked if they'd had any luck and was answered in the negative. Turned out to be a Father and Son seeking the elusive white tailed deer. These were two guys that looked to be straight out of the movie Deliverance. Not so surprising as it wasn't too far away from where the movie was filmed. They might have had a mouthful of teeth between them. Instead of a banjo the son was equipped with a nice deer rifle atop which rested a 3X9 scope. Considering the average sight distance in these hills is much less than 100 yards...... a bit of over kill IMHO.

I was under the impression that the older gentleman was at least my age, or older, as he had that rode hard and put away wet look about him. I told him I was having a hard time walking the hills, being as I was so out of shape. Imagine my surprise when he said that he'd soon be 50 and was glad to walk mostly down hill during their hunt. Shit....9 years younger than me. I may not be doing so badly after all.

In other news the amount of doom and gloom combined with premature celebratory victory parties now-a-days is enough to make one wish to become a hermit. Preferably on a hilltop in Nepal or somewhere. Well, maybe back in the jungle on the Island of Yap,( Part of Micronesia)as I prefer the warmer climes myownself.

Damn I'll be glad to see the far side of this election cycle.

Folks, let me tell you something.........either way it goes, we're in a mess, because the Demo-cans want to tax us to death, and the Republi-crats want to spend us to death. If you ain't already figured it out and if you ain't already prepared......them's the breaks. Won't make much of a difference to me.

That may come across as a little callous, and I really don't want to be, but there are certain basic principals that make our time above ground a little easier. The first and foremost is, as John Wayne was reported to have said, "Life is's harder still if you are stupid". Don't be so stupid.

I've tried in the past to try to lead stupid mules to water, and have always found it to be a tiresome and unrewarding task. The urge is still there but I can fight it better with the advantage of hindsight. Now-a-days I just work on myself, while ranting and raving at the lack of progress I seem to have made.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shoot me......Shoot me now!

Well.........not really. I've been shot at many times and only ever hit once, and that was not in combat, but in a field of my grandfathers during a dove shoot. Not so bad as it didn't break the skin, having been fired from half way across the field. It was about like being shot with a strong BB gun from 5 feet away. The guy (one of my uncles) didn't even know I was there, but later he picked up a big black snake and it bit him on the thumb. (Poetic justice I thought.) Still # 8 shot packs a sting.

Being shot at with hi-powered rifles and the occasional anti aircraft weapons is some what less fun, but as I think Winston Churchill is supposed to have said......."there is nothing quite like being shot at, and missed".

No, I don't really want to be shot, but I would endure a good spanking by Jessica Alba to be rid of the sinus and chest congestion that I am experiencing. It's getting a little better since I hacked up the rest of my left lung and spit it out yesterday.

I had decided to travel north to the gentle hills we here in Georgia call the Mountains to do a little prospecting in an out of the way spot where many long years ago were several gold mines.

This required a two hour or so ride which included a rugged dirt path where my forward advance was stalled by a river ford I didn't think I'd try with only a 2 wheel drive. So I backed into a turn around and consulted my map and GPS and set off for the creek I was seeking.

Just Damn! Mankinds sway over nature in this area was limited to the sometimes maintained dirt road. Once you started trying to break trail through the thick under growth you wonder how man ever hacked his way across this land. Of course the Forest Service will not use the ol' Indian trick of using controlled burns to clear out this, waiting for the right spark, tinder. This was not helped by the UP and Down terrain. It wasn't bad as long as I was going down hill, but when I started to go up and sideways my heart was pounding like a drum in an African mating ritual. (come to think of it, I've heard a few of those just up the street, coming thru car windows backed by 5 million watt speakers.)

Just damn, I am out of shape. The more my heart pounded the more my lungs labored to get air into me through all the phlegm I keep spitting up. After about an hour and a half I just gave up and used the GPS to plot the straightest line back to the road. That trip in it's self was enough to make one reconsider the wisdom of hiking in the woods. My youngest grand daughter with her short legs would have out done me by a mile. I was just damn glad that no one else was around to see the pitiful husk of the stud I once was. I don't think I'm looking forward to starting middle age here in a few years. When does that start anyway??

Still the lure of the yellow metal does call. Don't ever catch gold'll likely be with you to the end of your days, and if you try it when out of shape, that won't be long.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Someone has to say it

Click over to Ann’s house

Angry young Blacks

Maybe we need to turn away from the coverage of the election here in the good ol' US of A for a few minutes and let our tempers cool off a bit.

Perhaps reading a little bit of recent history (so recent it's ongoing) might sooth our worried brows.

Lets take a look at the bread basket of Africa, that verdant green oasis formerly known as Rhodesia. The BBC gives us a look at this utopia that has flourished since they rid themselves of all those evil white people who once held their nappy little heads down with their hob-nailed boots and cruel Missionaries.

Living is more easy now that they have a socialist black man running the country.

This year's harvest in Zimbabwe has been the worst in the country's modern history.

In Mashonaland West province, some people are trying to survive by eating wild fruit and digging for roots

If we don't get help now, most of us are going to die. Nearly everyone here is starving

Mashonaland West villager

"It's very very bad. I've got 12 children and it's hard to find anything to give them," says a local village chief. "The whole of my village is struggling. No-one has food.

"There's nothing left here. So there's nothing I can do."

Driving deep into Mashonaland West is a reminder that most Zimbabweans live in rural areas.

The area around Karoi - 200km (124 miles) north of the capital, Harare - provides an illustration of the suffering currently being experienced in the countryside.

Farmers are without seeds, fertiliser and fuel. Next year's harvest is already being written off as a disaster as well.

As the political paralysis over the formation of the new power-sharing government continues, people are experiencing severe food shortages brought on by the catastrophic mismanagement of the economy and the virtual destruction of the country's commercial agricultural sector.

School dropouts

Some Zimbabweans get by on one meal a day if they are lucky, but there is a growing sense of desperation.

A person hold the amount of money needed to buy a loaf of bread in Harare in September 2008

Wads of cash are needed to buy what food is available in towns

One consequence is that thousands of children are said to be dropping out of school to look for food.

"In one district, 10,000 children of a population of 120,000 left school in a period of six months," says Rachel Pounds, country director of UK charity Save the Children.

"There's a lot of lost hope. Zimbabweans put up with things that get worse and worse, but you can see the despair in some of the poorer families in the villages.

"It's causing a breakdown of the community when people have to leave in order to find food," she added.

One villager in Mashonaland West pleaded for help before it was "too late".

"If we don't get help now, most of us are going to die. Nearly everyone here is starving."


He showed me three tins of stored maize, but said that with seven children to feed, the supply would only last for a week.

Earlier this month, the UN World Food Programme appealed for $140m (£86m) to provide vital relief rations over the next six months.

The UN warned that more than five million people (45% of the population) could need assistance by early 2009.

In the meantime however, non-governmental organisations working in Zimbabwe have been hit hard by the economic collapse of this once prosperous country, and the resulting cash crisis stemming from levels of inflation that are now completely out of control.

But it is not just the rural population which is suffering.

Bizarre and depressing

In the towns and cities, food is also in increasingly short supply.

A walk around a suburban supermarket in Harare is a bizarre and depressing experience.

We are distinctly aware that this is a food crisis that is growing

USAid's KarenFreeman

One store I visited looked as though it was in the final stages of a clearance sale.

Only two of the 19 check-out tills were operating, and most shelves were entirely empty.

There was no milk, cheese, margarine or yoghurt.

Some cabbages, onions and limp bunches of spinach were available, along with a few odd packs of frozen meat.

The aisles intended for household goods such as soap and toilet paper were empty and closed off.

The only fresh-looking food items in the shop were a few loaves of bread, priced this week at Z$30,000 a loaf (about $1).

However, Zimbabweans are only permitted to withdraw Z$ 50,000 a day from the banks.
A boy lifts a tin of water from a hole in Harare in September 2008
Residents of Harare are digging holes to find water

Most people often cannot afford what little food is available.

Only those fortunate enough to have access to foreign currency can circumnavigate the shortages.

"We are distinctly aware that this is a food crisis that is growing," says Karen Freeman, the director of USAid in Zimbabwe.

"The issue of urban vulnerability has never really been felt here before.

"You could go to the store and buy food in the past, but now you have no option.

"There's no food in the store and there's no food on the ground. The crisis now is one where you can neither buy food nor grow food."

This is almost entirely a man-made crisis, created by President Robert Mugabe's government, and his administration stands accused of having done nothing to help."

I see on Drudge the Celebration of the new regime has already started in Pittsburgh

No bias from this reporter

they simply report the facts.

Do we have more of this to look forward too??

If I'd only known

How much fun grand children were, we'd have had them first.

I don't guess it works that way, and besides, we like their parents pretty well also.

Nanny picked Callie up at day care this afternoon and she has been a hoot. Of course she had to watch her favorite cartoons and no body better get in her way. But then she came outside where I was working and we swung high in the yard swing, threatened to terminate the dalmatian with extreme prejudice for picking up a vial of gold panned out of the rivers and creeks, while we were checking the metal detector, and ran off with it. (she didn't know how close her brush with death was).
The last 45 minutes or so were spent listening to Shirley Temple sing as a young child actor. Callie sat so still you'd have thought she was asleep. But, she was staring at the monitor with her hands clasped in front of her and her ankles crossed. Of course her Pa Pa used to watch Shirley Temple back in the day, although the films were a couple of decades old at the time. But it never hurts to watch the classics with the grandchildren, and even sing along. (fortunately she doesn't recognize just how badly I maul the lyrics just yet)

Here's a picture of her helping Nanny at the kitchen counter a couple of weeks ago. It suddenly had gotten very quite.

She's our own little Curly Top.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Keep your powder dry!

A phrase I've used many, many times over the years....

by Chip Wood

It must have been quite a meeting.

It began at 3:00 pm this past Monday at the U.S. Treasury’s plush offices
in Washington, D.C. On one side of the table sat U.S. Treasury Secretary
Henry Paulson. He was flanked by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair.

On the other side were the chief executives of the nation’s biggest banks.
They were arranged in alphabetical order, with Bank of America’s chairman
on one end and Wells Fargo’s CEO at the other. Between them sat
representatives from the Bank of New York Mellon, Citicorp, Goldman Sachs,
J.P. Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and State Street.

Although no reporters were present, journalists later pieced together what
was said. All accounts agree on the following: For over an hour, Paulson
and Bernanke told the assembled bankers just how grave was the situation
threatening not just this country, but all the known world. (All together
now, can you say, “the gravest financial crisis since the Great

At the end of Paulson’s and Bernanke’s remarks, aides handed each banker a
document. The pages contained the government’s terms for becoming their
partner. It detailed how much money the Treasury would “invest” in each
bank (a total of $125 billion for those present), how much ownership it
expected, what their new dividend policies would be, even the limits that
would be imposed on executive pay. (The top five officers at each
institution could not receive more than $500,000 a year.)

While discussion was permitted, negotiations were not. Paulson explained
the deal was for their own good and the good of the country. Then it was
time to “shut up and sign.” And every banker did.

Any questions, any doubts, any disagreements were blithely ignored. Thus
was born a new age in what was once the land of the free and the home of
brave. Government would “save” capitalism by becoming its partner ... nay,
its boss.

It may not be a Brave New World. But I can guarantee you, folks, it’s
going to be an expensive one. Time will tell how expensive – to our
wallets and to the free-enterprise system.

The ancient Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times,” wasn’t
meant to be a blessing. No, I’m told that it was always intended as a

To call the past two weeks “interesting” would be the understatement of
the decade. Whether in the markets, in Washington, or in politics, I can’t
remember a time when we’ve experienced so many startling reversals and
unexpected shocks.

The largest S&L in the country, Washington Mutual...gone. It’s younger
sister, Wachovia, is about to disappear.

The nation’s largest insurer, AIG, will have a new owner when Uncle Sam
steps in with $85 billion (subsequently raised to $120 billion-plus) and
ends up with 80% of the company.

Two of the most venerable (and, as it turned out, most vulnerable) of Wall
Street’s august institutions, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers...gone.
Merrill Lynch, meanwhile, exists in name only. The employees there are
about to call Bank of America “boss.”

Over the past two weeks, the stock market experienced what some have
called a “slow-motion” crash. Many investors felt as though they’d stepped
into a boxing ring against Smokin’ Joe Frazier. Bam!, down 500. Wham!,
down 300. Slam!, down another 400. Then last Friday came the most
incredible day of all. Moments after the opening bell, the market
plummeted over 700 points. The Dow dropped all the way to 7900. Then it
started back up.

What a recovery it staged over the next five hours. Before you could say,
“no mas!,” the Dow gained back all of the 700 points it lost and tacked on
300 more. I wish someone had rung the closing bell then, but no, worried
investors couldn’t leave well enough alone. Mr. Market gave up all of
those gains and a bunch more before the session finally ended at 4:00 pm.

When the dust finally settled, the Dow closed down 128 points last Friday.
Come Monday, a lot of investors decided all that selling was a mistake.
With a weekend to think about it, on Monday morning they became buyers
instead. And buy they did – in record numbers. By the time the final bell
was rung, more than 1.5 trillion shares had changed hands and the Dow had
gained a record 936.42 points.

On Tuesday, volatility returned with a vengeance. First the market soared
400 points. Then it plummeted 700. Like someone tied to a bungee cord, it
bounced back up again. Then it fell again. When the day was finally over,
the Dow finished down 72 points. That’s barely a blip on the radar,
compared to what the past few weeks had seen.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Dow gave back nearly 80% of those record
gains it notched on Monday. I gotta tell you, my tired old ticker can’t
take much more of this. (Not to mention my wallet.)

Are we there yet, mommy? Is the bottom finally behind us? No one knows for
certain. Of course Monday’s explosion to the upside was a delight to see.
It was the biggest one-day point gain ever, and the largest percentage
gain (11.1%) since March 15, 1933.

Still, it was nowhere near enough to bring us back to break-even. The Dow
is still down 34%, or more than 4,775 points, from its record high back on
October 9, 2007. More than $5 trillion in investor assets have gone to
money heaven.

A lot of pundits are predicting the market will hit more lows before it
comes anywhere near its old highs – especially if, as seems likely,
President Barack Obama is greeted by Democratic majorities in both
branches of Congress when he takes office in January.

Meanwhile, let’s talk about the legislation that’s supposed to end all of
this travail. I’m referring, of course, to the $850 billion bank bailout
bill, officially known as the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of
2008.” It’s got to be one of the most odious pieces of legislation ever
approved by Congress and signed by the President.

How did a $700 billion bank rescue turn into expenditures of $850 billion?
It’s simple, folks. In the words of an old television show, they socked it
to us. The Senate packed the measure with $150 billion worth of pork. The
so-called “sweeteners” included $397 million for a “domestic production
activities deduction” for the motion-picture industry (hooray for
Hollywood), $33 million for an economic development program in American
Samoa (hey, Samoans vote, too), $100 million in tax breaks for “certain
motor sports racing track facilities” (gotta love those NASCAR fans), and
even a $2 million excise-tax exemption for “certain wooden arrows designed
for use by children” (you aren’t against kids’ toys, are you?).

If there ever was an event where our elected representatives showed their
complete and utter disdain for the numbskulls who elected them, this was

By the way, some of you may have wondered how a spending bill could
originate in the U.S. Senate. Doesn’t the Constitution require that all
appropriation bills begin in the House of Representatives? (Not that
anyone in Washington, on either side of the aisle, pays any attention to
the Constitution anymore.)

Here’s how that particular trick was done. The Senate took a bill that had
been passed in the House some time ago – in this case, the Paul Wellstone
Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 – and voted to replace all
of the text with their spanking-new measure. Presto-chango, a new (but
unconstitutional) spending bill was transformed into an appropriations
bill that originated in the House.

Did I already mention how this measure, more than any other I’ve seen,
shows the total and complete disdain our representatives have for us? I
guess it doesn’t really matter if its origins were strictly
Constitutional, since the measure itself will finance the biggest
government takeover of business we’ve ever seen in this country. Would
someone please show me where the Constitution says that the Treasury can
take taxpayers’ money to buy stock in a bank, an insurance company, or
another financial institution?

But I keep forgetting; we don’t operate under the Constitution any more.
Haven’t for decades.

The authors of this monstrosity call it a “Troubled Asset Relief Program,”
or TARP. I think J.T., one of my Alert Readers, was a lot closer to the
mark when he said it should be called the Special Official Congressional
Institute for Assuring Liquidity In Secure Mortgages. What a perfect
acronym: SOCIALISM!

I’m running out of space for today’s rant. But before I say goodbye for
this week, let me make a few observations.

While everybody and his brother (including a lot of my conservative
colleagues and friends) agree that government had to rescue the financial
system, no one ever said what the alternatives were. What would have
happened if we didn’t allow Uncle Profligate to spend an additional
trillion dollars (which he doesn’t have) to bail out the banks? We’ll
never know.

What will the rescue cost? And will it work? Again, we don’t know the
answers to either question. I think it’s a safe bet that the final cost
will be many times higher than even the worst estimates we’re hearing now.
How can I say that? Because that’s been true about every government
program since FDR wheeled into office.

Whatever the nominal cost of this rescue plan, the hidden costs will be
many, many times worse. The Federal Reserve is about to flood the country
with a tsunami of new money and credit. In 2007, loans from the Fed to our
nation’s banks averaged $10 billion a month. For the first eight months of
this year, they soared to over $100 billion a month.

But listen to this: Last month, the Fed increased its lending to an
astonishing $2.7 trillion. The total for the year is over $3.5 trillion
and climbing. Makes a billion-dollar bank bailout seem puny by comparison,
doesn’t it? No wonder some wags say that FED actually stands for
“frantically expanding dollars.”

At this point, every single helicopter in Ben Bernanke’s fleet is in the

And what happens when tons of new money and credit flood into the economy,
class? Can you spell i-n-f-l-a-t-i-o-n?

The money masters in Washington, aided and abetted by academia and the
media, have fooled the public into believing that “inflation” means rising
prices. You and I know differently, don’t we?

Inflation is an increase in the supply of money and credit. Period. Yes,
it causes higher prices, as people realize their dollars are worth less
and less. But blaming rising prices on inflation is like blaming wet
streets for causing rain.

John Maynard Keynes, the famed economist, understood the process very
well. Nearly a century ago he warned, “By a continuing process of
inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an
important part of the wealth of their citizens.”

That is precisely what our government is doing to us, folks. It is
stealing your wealth – a lot of it through the direct and indirect taxes
you pay. But a lot more through the loss in value of every
dollar-denominated asset you own.

I’ll have a lot more to say about all of this in the future. But for now,
let me conclude by saying that we have just witnessed the greatest
financial heist in all of history.

We should be putting the culprits in jail. Instead, we’re going to elect
them to Congress – and one of them to the White House. Others will be
rewarded with fancy titles and plush offices in Washington and New York.

Truly, we live in a world gone crazy.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

Chip Wood

......and might I just add............your HEAD DOWN

No Mas'


Do you want pap or can you handle roasted corn kernels and jerky?

Amazing isn't it, Wall Street's Disaster Capitalists screwed up, likely planned or let happen this meltdown and recession. Yet America's clueless taxpayers just reward them by giving the screw-ups massive bailouts, control over more than $2 trillion of tax money, and the power to clean up the mess they made. Oh yes, we are dummies!

This end game was planned for years in secret war rooms on Wall Street, in Corporate America, in Washington and the Forbes 400. Democracy is too cumbersome. It had to be marginalized for Disaster Capitalism to take over. Reagan, Bush and Paulson were Wall Street's "Trojan Horses."

Naomi Klein summarizes the game in "Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism." This "new economy" generates enormous profits feeding off other peoples' misery: Wars, terror attacks, natural catastrophes, poverty, trade sanctions, subprime housing meltdowns and all kinds of economic, financial and political disasters. Natural (Katrina) or manmade (Iraq), either way "disaster capitalism" creates fortunes.

So you, me and the other 300 million better get out of denial. America is no longer a democracy. Voting is irrelevant. Best case scenario: We're a plutocracy, a government ruled by the wealthy, the richest 1%, the Forbes 400, the influential wealthy elite, while the other 99% are their "servants." Meanwhile, the inflation-adjusted income of wage-earners has declined for three decades.

Worst case scenario: America's no democracy and as a result of the meltdown and the surrender of our power to Wall Street's new Disaster Capitalism we are morphing into what one WWII dictator called "corporatism," a "merger of state and corporate power," kind of like what's going on now with Goldman Sachs' ex-boss as de facto president.

Read the rest here

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Last Honest Reporter??

Are there any Honest Reporters out there??

A good question, and Orson Scott Card asks a few questions of the media to try and find out.

Well, I'll give Ann Coulter a while longer.

Anyway click on his name and read what he has to say.

Updated to reflect the accuracy of LL's astute comment. And of course Ann Coulter is also a commentator. Their observations are still worthy of thought.

Monday, October 20, 2008

So long, Farewell

In fashion typical to our family, today we bade adieu to my Beloved Aunt Margret, Matriarch of my direct paternal line. The Reins now pass to Uncle Jim.

As so many times in the past, we gathered at Tommy Wages Funeral Home in Lawrenceville, where the owners have laid to rest the remains of so many of my family over the past 50 years or so.

She struggled to shuffle off this mortal coil for a week after suffering a major stroke. Finally giving a last little sigh last Saturday morning.

We all gathered in the room with her casket and laughed and cried and fellowshipped with each other in a loud and joyful meeting and greeting of all of us who haven't seen each other since the last death. We're a talkative bunch.........always have been. I guess when you grow up close to the earth you know that death is a natural part of life and those that remain have to go on whether the dearly departed can talk or not.

A few funerals back we were gabbing as always with the noise level getting louder and louder, when the funeral director made an, almost fatal to him, effort to shush one of my aunts. He was soon made aware of the fact that this is how we pay our last respects and by damn if he didn't like it he could just go outside. The celebration of life well lived then continued until they shut off the lights for the night. We don't always suffer fools too well. This is our time to see friends and relatives from near and far, to catch up on what's happening in their lives. I'm pretty sure the dead understand. After all, they are part of a huge family, who, even if we don't always call each other up every week or so, still love and appreciate each and every one of the and out-laws alike.

One thing I think Aunt Margaret would have gotten a grand kick out of was my grandson Lee. Soon to be 9, and quick to inform you of same, almost as soon as we got there and he looked around, he started to go up to every one in the room, stuck out his hand and said I'm Lee. Knock me over with a feather..........I was under the impression of him as a shy young man. He claims he wants to be a soldier, but I think he might have a future as either a preacher or politician. Or maybe as a funeral director, as he had a great time helping the morticians lower the casket, take down the winch and fold up the chairs. He had to reach out to touch the vault as it was being lowered. I'm pretty sure his great-great aunt was thanking him for his service as the dirt was pushed in on top of her.

We may not be Kings or Queens in this life, but we know how to honor those who came and go before us.

So Aunt Margaret.........a last farewell to you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I ain't rich..........

Today was a reflective day.

I soon tired of the talk radio jocks as I drove up and down the highways. At my first stop they were busy as a three legged dog in a rabbit chase. Finally I sat my sorry ass down in a wheel chair outside the door and watched the customers come and go. Smiling every now and then at what people thought something was worth and what others were willing to pay.

I must have brought him good was nearly two hours before it slowed down enough to have our little bit of business. The weather was just right for sitting in front of the store, high white clouds scudded across the robins egg blue sky. Rednecks and outlaws went in and out of the restaurant next door and the gas station was selling gas for twenty cents the gallon less than yesterday. I saw one place that dropped forty cents between morning and afternoon.

At the next stop I didn't buy anything but we talked each others ears off for two hours or so. He did have one bauble that was nice. If anybody wants a radiant emerald cut diamond so white and clear that it almost hurts your eyes, for a hell of a good buy, just let me know.

This evening I'm listening to Bob Wills and Asleep at the Wheel on you tube. Faded Love and Amarillo by morning are just a couple.


...........but Lord I'm free.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

The leaves are falling

For the first time in maybe five months or more I donned a long sleeved shirt today. I'd bought it and 3 others several months ago at a flea market/yard sale sort of place along Hwy 29. All brand new, brand name, still in the original plastic. The guy had maybe a thousand of them and I found 4 that were large (my size).....the rest were XL or bigger. Eight bucks apiece, about one quarter retail, I had been looking forward to the fall when it would be cool enough to wear them.

I look forward to fall each year. The cooler nights, while the days are warm and sunny. You can leave the A/C off and open the windows....let some fresh air in.

We drove west down Hwy 316, toward Lawrenceville, the four lane cutting exactly in half the old dairy farm I was raised on. The old homestead is gone now, the house, barns, trees and gentle hills scrapped flat in anticipation of another great slab of asphalt and concrete with shops and stores built thereon. The once fertile, productive sandy loam gone forever to instead grow monuments to consumption and the service society we have become.

But the trees that are left standing along the creeks and areas not yet ready to be developed are starting to turn here in early mid-October. The dogwood leaves are red, the poplars turning a bright yellow. Soon the mighty oaks and hickories will turn bright red and orange. They are beginning to shed now, but in a few weeks after a light frost followed by some brisk breeze, they'll shower leaves down to carpet the ground, crisp and cracking when it's dry and soft, spongy and quiet when wet.

Our destination is the Gwinnett Medical Center.........not a trip I had looked forward Aunt Margaret is lying there, with an oxygen tube under her nose, he five feet nothing or less height shrunken against the pillow, daughters, brother, sisters, nephews, nieces and in-laws and friends gathering around, speaking quietly, smiling sadly as they remember a life well lived.

She's eighty four years old, she'll not see eighty five in the flesh, and to say she had a good long life seems to diminish her somehow, for she was not just old. She was a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and great-aunt to so many nephews and nieces that I can't begin to name even a quarter of them.

Short she may have been.......she shrank even shorter as the years passed by. As long as I can remember her hair has been a beautiful white, like a glittering crown or halo on her head. Which seems appropriate to my memory, for I remember her as full of for her family, not just for her husband (long gone) and her two daughters, but full of love for her extended family. I can never remember a time when she didn't show that love to all who knew her. Unconditional love that was evidenced by a concern for all of us. She seemed to beam when she saw any of us, even if like mine, the visits were not as often as they could have been. She would ask after us, our spouses, children and grandchildren, remembering their names, for she had a capacity for remembering them all.

Our family tree is a massive old white oak, the trunk still sound, the branches spreading widely with many a twig growing wildly, but her leaf will soon fall, to become compost for young oaks that have sprung up around her, who will hopefully stand the straighter and taller for feeding on her love.

I know it's in the order of things, but........

Damn, I hate the fall.