Friday, May 30, 2008

I thought the Indiana Jones movie was a little far fetched until I saw the above photo in the news this week. It’s an aerial photo of a lost tribe in the Amazon. They have never had any contact with the civilized world. I’m sure happy these savages have been found. We need to airdrop some essential supplies to them immediately. They are in great need of television sets and cells phones. The poor creatures don’t even realize they are going to hell. They have never heard about Jesus. The bare-breasted, half naked women are also very vulnerable to the Muslim extremist who my crash a plane into there village in order to kill the infidels.

These poor folks have, not only, never been to church; they have never seen the Super Bowl, Anderson Cooper, Nancy Grace or Larry King. They don’t even know about the American Idol or who won Dancing with the Stars. We must be careful to alcohol wipe all the items sent to take care of their everyday necessities. These people have absolutely no immunity to even the most minor of our infections. A common cold could prove fatal.

As soon as we get some of the necessary electronic material in to them we then need to drop in essential drugs like Ritalin and Prozac, so they can cope with the stresses of the modern world. These unfortunate folks have been deprived for centuries and they need assistance from the UN on down so they can enjoy the miserable state of our world.

I guess one of the most pathetic things about the poor wretches is their lack of dependence on gasoline. They simply need to come to know the vital importance of this precious commodity. They may even be sitting on a rich reserve of the liquid gold and could become filthy rich like other barbarians in the world.

I hope Anderson Copper will have his news team down there right away for interviews. Maybe if the world can see the plight and neglect of these people, FEMA will be forced into action and the incompetence of the Bush Administration further exposed for not finding these people sooner.

In the mean time I think I will watch a few Tarzan movies on the porch so I will have a better understanding of how to deal with these poor unfortunate savages. Wouldn’t it be something if they found King Kong or a big cave full of treasure when we get in there to loot their village?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Grandkids are great to have for millions of reasons besides just loving them. For example, they make it possible to go to movies like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. At my age, if I tried to go to that movie without a kid escort, people would think I was insane or demented. It was a great movie that I enjoyed as much as the grandkids. It took me back to my childhood because it contained many of the exciting events of my youth. It was a review of the old movie serials, comic books and stories of lost cities and treasures in the jungle. I loved those stories and always imagined myself being a great explorer someday and finding a place like Machu Pichuu or King Solomon’s Mine.

At the first of the movie Indiana Jones meets up with a mean female Russian agent who is in search of a crystal skull. The skull has great psychic powers and can control the mind and will of everyone under its influence. If the Russians possessed the skull they would be able to control the world without firing a shot. Right away Indiana Jones ends up in the Nevada desert, in a mock town of the 50’s, right at ground zero for a test explosion of an atomic bomb. He survives the ordeal by locking himself in a lead lined refrigerator.

After all this, the race is on to find the crystal skull at the prompting of a motorcycle riding Marlon Brando type of the 50’s. Crystal skulls have been the subject of a legend, which says they come from Mesoamerica in pre-Columbian times. In actual fact, it has been shown that these skulls, located in various museums, were made in Germany in the late 19th century. One of these skulls is the Holy Grail of this movie and makes a good Indiana Jones story.

The motorcycle riding kid turns out to be the son of Indiana Jones. His mother, Marion Ravenwood, is the old girlfriend of Indiana Jones in an earlier movie in the series. This father, mother, and son team along with a cast of others end up in a quest for the skull and in a race with the Russians.

Everyone, including the Russians in hot pursuit, ends up in the jungles of the Amazon. The huge figures seen from the air on the plains in South America and made popular in the books “Chariots of the Gods,” and “ Gods From Outer Space” by Eric Von Daniken lead them to their destination.

There were great fight scenes with the Russians in the jungle. Indiana Jones and Marion are trapped in quicksand and rescued by their son using a huge snake as a rope. They also barely escape death by an army of man-eating ants. There is even a little touch of Tarzan as the son swings through the jungle on vines along with a tree full of monkeys.

They finally find the crystal skull but must return it to its place of origin in the lost city in the jungle. The team survives going over three waterfalls, the equivalent of Niagara, to finally reach the underground city. There in an enormous cave filled with treasure and several crystal skeletons sitting on thrones in a circle. One skeleton is without a head. They then attach the missing skull and everything begins to shake and tremble with a massive earthquake. Naturally, Jones and his bunch barely escape leaving the Russians to be consumed in a horrible death. The crystal skeletons fuse into one and become a large space creature who then ascends in his very large space craft to depart the earth after hundreds of years of entombment. The spaceship is the heart of the city itself. The whole thing ends with Jones marrying his long lost sweetheart and thus making the kid legitimate.

Boy, was I glad to get home to the porch and settle my nerves in the rocking chair. This movie has everything. It was worth all the bitten fingernails and cardiac stress to see such an exciting movie and a trip down memory lane with the grandkids.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I enjoy reading about the American Indians. They were once a brave, proud race who inhabited our continent. We managed to dispose of them pretty effectively. Hitler admired us for our method of genocide. The Anglo-American settlers killed most of them by the diseases they brought to the new world. The Indians had no immunity to any of our usual childhood disease and a case of measles was usually fatal. Smallpox was a big killer. Those who didn’t perish from disease were put to the sword or rounded up and placed on the worthless land of desert reservations where they became alcoholics.

We go to Santa Fe, New Mexico each summer and there you can see some of the remnants of these original Americans. They are sitting around the Plaza and Governors Palace selling their jewelry. Most are old and toothless. When my young granddaughter first saw them she was very disappointed. She had expected what we see in the movies. She expected young warriors, armed with bows and arrows, with face paint and feathered headdresses.

One of the Indian stories I like is about Kutoyis. This was an Indian brave, of the Blackfoot tribe, who was supposedly born from a drop of blood. Kutoyis traveled about from one village to another freeing those who were treated unjustly. It’s too bad the Blackfoot didn’t share him with the other tribes as a consultant.

My son and I were talking this week about the problem with the Indians. I think a major problem is that they promoted from within and there was too much inbreeding within their organization. If they would have acted like Americans businesses they might have survived. Rather that promoting a hard working young brave, with a belt full of scalps, to chief; they should have hired a chief from another tribe. Geronimo, of the Apaches, could have been replaced with Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota. The Sioux could have obtained a top brave from the Comanche’s as their chief. It really didn’t matter if Sitting Bull defeated Custer, he should have been replaced to ensure the continued success of the Sioux by giving them a new mission and vision. I guess the Indians didn’t have the means to pay the high salaries of chiefs recruited from the outside. There simply weren’t enough buffalo to pay them what they were worth. No American business promotes from within. The new CEO always comes from the outside. The new CEO then comes in and fires everyone on the executive staff or those in a leadership position and replaces them with his own team. The Indians should have used this business method; maybe they would be around rather than selling their jewelry in Santa Fe or laying around sot drunk on the reservation.

Even though the Indians didn’t succeed it’s fun to read about them as I sit in the porch and imagine some of their exploits in my mind. I think it would have been more fun being an Indian chief rather than the CEO of a big company like Exxon. The Indian chief was willing to die and suffer with his people. I don’t think the average CEO would be willing to do that. At least I would be able to go to the happy hunting ground with a clear conscience.

Friday, May 23, 2008

When I was a kid I raised three pigs. They became very large hogs. I was also in on the killing and butchering. When they were small and cute I was opposed to ever killing the sweet little animals. When they became large with obnoxious and gluttonous personalities I was glad to see then converted into bacon and ham.

Feeding the animals was one of my chores. As the hogs grew they became more aggressive and would even charged at me and attempted to bite at the bucket of slop. I would slam the bucket into the head of the largest one, who I called greedy gut. Nothing would stop them as they consumed every morsel of the food and scraps. I’m sure they would have eaten a small child or anything that couldn’t defend themselves.

Today, when I saw the sign at the service station announcing $4.00 a gallon for gasoline I pictured the oil executives and rich Arabs, who are rolling in profit, as the hogs I once knew. The hogs I refer to are described in George Orwell’s book “Animal Farm.” People like these hogs are the CEOs, oil company executives, Arab oil producers, dictators, communist leaders, Presidents both Republican and Democrat and others in the trade.

Everything follows the price of gasoline, so welcome to big time inflation. The only things going down are the stock market and the value of your home. I read this week that some farmers are beginning to use mules again for plowing. The mules are much cheaper to feed that the cost of gasoline for the tractors. I guess we are heading back to the horse and buggy days. My lessons in raising and slaughtering hogs may come in handy. I can also have fun pretending they are some of our gluttonous dictators or CEOs when we do the slaughtering.

My partner and I sat on our open front porch this evening until after dark. We watched some of the first fireflies of the year blinking their way around our yard. We reflected on the older times when everyone used mules for the farm work, people stayed at home and visited with their neighbors and you could fill the gas tank of the car for three or four dollars. Those times were not so bad and the food was great.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It was upsetting to hear about Ted Kennedy’s brain tumor. When he was admitted to Mass. General Hospital last Saturday with a seizure, I told my partner that he most likely had a brain tumor. It’s amazing how television reporters handled the news about his initial hospitalization. They dismissed his problem as trivial when it was announced that he didn’t have a stroke. Geraldo Rivera even had a physician on the show who said that Kennedy would likely be okay and listed all the causes for a seizure except a tumor. I have known since I was a sophomore in medical school that a seizure in an adult isn’t a trivial thing and one of the most common causes is a tumor either primary or metastatic to the brain. Unfortunately, Ted Kennedy’s tumor turns out to be a glioma, which has a very bad prognosis and he probably has less than a year to live.

I have certainly not agreeded with the politics of the Kennedy’s but they are the nearest thing to a royal family America has ever had, with the possible exception of George Washington. JFK’s speech about putting a man on the moon in the next decade is one of the most visionary speeches I have ever heard. It’s most unfortunate that our image of the male Kennedy Clan has to be spoiled by their womanizing and philandering. JFK’s affair with Marilyn Monroe and others and Ted Kennedy’s escapade at Chappaquiddick and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne spoiled the whole image. As I have said, sexual arousal is produced by the drainage of blood from the brain to the organs of reproduction, thus rendering the victim void of any power of reasoning or logical thought. The same thing happened to Bill Clinton and other greats like Thomas Jefferson and FDR.

Nevertheless, JFK’s time in office was as close to Camelot as we will probably ever be. Borrowing the closing lines from the great book, “History of the American People,” by Samuel Eliot Morison; “With the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy something seemed to die in each one of us. Yet the memory of that bright, vivid personality, that great gentleman whose every act and appearance appealed to our pride and gave us fresh confidence in ourselves and our country, will live in us for a long, long time.” With demise of Ted Kennedy the same statement can be made for him as we see the close of the Kennedy Clan chapter in American history.

The above is only a reflection from the porch and does not express the political opinion of anyone.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I really don’t have anything against gays except their preference for the same sex. That sounds like a Yogi Berra statement, but it’s true. Gays have given us some great music, art and literature, but it’s hard for me to understand what they see in another hairy ape with a mustache. Gays are proliferating like rabbits. California and many cities like New Orleans and Austin are heavily populated with same sex couples and those looking for others of the same sex.

Interestingly enough, the economy and inflation may soon have men looking like women. This will further confuse the identification of a gay. A purse is usually an identifying bit of apparel for a woman. I think that men will soon have to carry purses to hold the money necessary to carry on daily activities. Wallets simply aren’t big enough anymore to hold the large number of bills required for even the simplest thing. It now looks like I have a growth off my rear end because if my bulging wallet. I’m thinking about carrying a purse to hold my many keys and the cash necessary for doing daily business.

The price of gasoline is now through the roof at $4.00 a gallon and everything else is starting to follow. I went to the barber yesterday and the price of a haircut has now gone to $12 rather than $11. It seems like only yesterday that he went from $10 to $11. I remember when I was a kid I paid a quarter for a haircut. That’s a 4700% increase in the price of a haircut. When the haircut was a quarter, gas was 16 cents per gallon; that’s a 2400% increase. My partner tells me that a shampoo and set at the beauty parlor cost $1.00 when she was a kid and in some places it is now $28.00. A permanent or styling at the beauty shop may run close to $100.00. So, some things are beginning to outpace gasoline. I won’t begin to talk about the cost of medical care. That’s one of the reasons national health care is on its way. I sure wish the government would include a haircut with a doctor’s office visit when universal healthcare is enacted under Obama. They could even throw in a half- gallon of milk and a loaf of bread with the visit because these items have become unaffordable for the average family. They could even include a ticket to a movie that has gone from 9 cents when I was a kid to the present $7.00 for admission.

Maybe I will just sit on the porch and let my hair grow long and forget driving. I might be able to live off my okra and tomatoes for .a while if the deer don’t eat them first. I’m considering throwing in a little venison with my meals if the deer dare eat my precious plants.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sir Richard Francis Burton, the famous English explorer said, “The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.” The more I study man’s interpretation of religion the more I’m convinced that Burton was right. A famous quote from the great leader of India, Mahatma Ghandi is; “ I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Unfortunately, Ghandi is also right.

Everybody thinks their way is the right way and most think it’s the only way. The Muslims think we are all infidels, the Jews believe they are God’s chosen people and there are as many different beliefs in Christianity as there are denominations. It boils down to people worshipping themselves rather than God, as Burton said.

The gays are rejoicing in California with the latest court decision that makes it legal for them to marry. This is already the case in Massachusetts. I’m sure it will follow in the remainder of the states after Obama is elected and with the support of people like Nancy Pelosi in Congress. TV star, Ellen DeGeneres has already announced that she now plans to marry her partner Portia deRossi,

If gays are permitted to do their thing; I sure don’t see what’s wrong with the polygamy bunch in San Angelo to do as they please. After all we are violating their religious rights. Maybe they will again permit human sacrifice in church. When that occurs I have a few folks I am going to suggest that they may achieve atonement by considering themselves for sacrifice. The Muslims are already way ahead of us Christians on this one.

I realize I’m out of sync with the times but have enjoyed living with my partner of the opposite sex for all these years. Church used to be good until all the loud music made me seek refuge on the porch. As long as my iPod works on the porch, I can still crank up songs like “ How Great Thou Art” and some of my other old time favorites.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

We can’t stand too much more excitement in Salado. Last week it was the President who paid a surprise visit and today we had a surprise visit by a tornado. The Village was fortunate in that there were no injuries but many beautiful trees were uprooted or had huge limbs split from the trunks. Just two houses down from us, trees were stripped and uprooted. Downed trees blocked many of the streets and several cars were crushed.

I was especially fortunate because we lost only a few limbs, but the yard looked like it had snowed leaves. We were without power for several hours and the worse thing to happen was that I had to evacuate the porch.

After the high winds and rain I can sure appreciate the plight of the farmers and how they are affected by the weather. My tomato plants suffered some minor damage. I secured them again to the stakes and only hope that not much permanent damage was done. The crop will be affected somewhat by the storm and each tomatoes will probably end up costing me at least $200 to produce, rather than the $100 I had predicted. I now know how the wheat farmers must feel.

It’s sure great that Jenna Bush had her wedding last weekend. The places in Salado where the pre-wedding festivities took place now have the trees reduced to rubble. Poor George Bush leaves a path of destruction wherever he goes. Iraq, New Orleans, the economy and now Salado are all victims from the mere presence of George W. Bush.

As I settled back into my routine on the porch I reflected on how very similar the tornado and the economy are. Both are leaving a path of destruction. The war is not even in the news anymore. Our weatherman is predicting another round of bad weather tonight just as the economist continues to forecast doom and gloom. Even the porch is not a safe place from the bad weather or the terrible economy. There is no place for me to go and no one to vote for.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Last Friday, my little village of Salado was in the world’s spotlight. The Jenna Bush wedding party was in town for a bridesmaid’s luncheon and the rehearsal dinner. It was a big kept secret. Even the owners of the establishments where the events occurred didn’t know who was having the parties. The places had been booked for months.

It was the biggest thing to happen in Salado since Sam Houston gave his famous anti-succession speech from the balcony of Stagecoach Inn. We are ordinarily a quiet little sleepy village by the banks of Salado Creek built in the 1850s as a Stagecoach stop. The village is located on the old Chisholm Trail. Now it is a little tourist town that still has the original Stagecoach Inn. The Inn is a well know restaurant. There are a lot of Bed and Breakfast establishments and many cute little boutique and antique shops where the people from Austin, Dallas and around the state come to spend money and escape the hustle of the city. The village is located right off Interstate 35 and cannot escape the constant roar of traffic. People don’t seen to mind the noise of the adjacent highway because they are mesmerized by the quaintness of the place. I don’t bother with all this stuff and avoid the village, especially on the weekends when the tourists are here. I settled here because it was a quiet place to build the porch. The only time I am bothered with a crowd is when I go to the postoffice after the mail has been distributed in the morning.

Last Friday was sure different for me. I turned onto main street around 5:30 in the afternoon. I never saw so many police cars. At first, I thought there had been a robbery because one of our local banks is frequently robbed. The remote location of the bank adjacent to the highway makes it an ideal bank for robbing. The only difference on Friday is that the street was lined with American flags. I knew they probably wouldn’t do that for a robbery unless the bank was going to be giving some sort of prize for being the 100th robbery of the year. I should have also been tipped off to some big event because I had heard helicopters all day. Ft. Hood, which is not far away, sometimes has helicopter exercises, so I had sort of dismissed this as anything unusual. It wasn’t until the next day that I learned what had happened. It was like a secret invasion, something like D-Day in 1944. Everyone was surprised. Before we realized what was happening in our little village the events had already occurred and Jenna was getting married safely on the ranch the next day.

It’s simply just too much excitement for me. Even the porch is not safe anymore. At least the helicopters scared the deer away from my tomatoes and okra for a few hours.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The tax refund checks are in the mail. I should receive little or nothing. Any tax advantage never works in my favor. I pay a huge amount of tax and am never the one to benefit. All the theoretical tax deductions you get from giving to charities never help me much. I just give to the charities and pay taxes to boot. Even my son, who is an accountant, can’t help me. When I die the government is going to lose one of its major contributors. They should declare a national day or mourning.

Even if I do receive a pittance of a tax refund it has already been consumed by the increase in cost of gasoline. The trip we took to Dallas last weekend about did it. The only one to benefit from my little tax refund are perhaps, a rich Arab oilman or an oil company executive.

If the trip is only partially paid for, it was sure worth it. Seeing my granddaughter perform was worth ever penny. The experience of the Stoneleigh Hotel was also even better than I imagined. In my previous blog, I mentioned that the hotel, although newly renovated, seemed haunted. I guess it was all the pictures of long dead movies stars who had stayed there. The lack of other occupants on our floor, as well as strange noises during the night, also made it spooky. I was sure I sensed the presence of a ghost.

I finally figured out who the ghost was. There is one. There was a famous director of stage productions who lived in the hotel from the late 40s until her death in 1955. Margo Jones had become famous with her directing talent in New York. She worked with folks like Tennessee Williams on the original production of the “The Glass Menagerie.” She directed such productions as; “Summer and Smoke,” “Inherit the Wind” and many, many more. She worked with famous stars like Geraldine Page. She was born in Livingston, Texas and moved to Dallas in the mid 40s where she ran the Dallas Theater and started the concept of theater in the round. She was very well known and revered by the theater crowd.

Margo lived in the Stoneleigh and at age 44 died from inhalation of carbon tetrachloride that was being used to clean the carpet in her room. Her untimely death left much work unfinished. I think she still haunts the Stoneleigh because she was unhappy with having died so young at the peak of her fame. She is trying to get even.

Margo did nothing to harm us during our visit, but I’m a little nervous about going back to the Stoneleigh. If you think I’m a little crazy, I suggest that you spend the weekend in the Stoneleigh on the 6th floor. It might be interesting to take a video-recorder. It’s a little like the Stephen King movie, “The Shining.” When I got back to the porch and discovered that Barack Obam continues to surge ahead, that was even more scary than the ghost of Margo Jones at the Stoneleigh. If Obama is elected, the Stoneleigh might be the safest place for me to be, because they say that people of his ethnicity are especially afraid of ghost. Maybe the place would even be scary enough to drive the IRS agents away.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I am fortunate to have seven remarkable grandchildren. All play a string instrument, and this weekend my partner and I traveled to Dallas to hear one of them perform. She plays viola and is a member of the Greater Dallas Youth Symphony. It was great to hear this group of young people perform and my granddaughter was outstanding. I’m not going to brag anymore but will just simply say all the grandkids are geniuses.

As a celebration of my partner’s birthday, we stayed in a fancy hotel for the occasion. The hotel is the Stoneleigh and is located in Uptown Dallas. This is one of the famous historic hotels of Texas and was built in the late 1920s. It has recently undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation and is now a first class place, restored to its original grandeur. It is now best classified as a boutique luxury hotel. I got a special rate, otherwise would not have been able to afford it. It was sure a step up from the Holiday Inn Express hotels where we usually stay. The beds were unbelievable with 350 hundred thread count sheets. The restaurant is really upscale with a famous chef who turns out some very fancy dishes. I had a waffle shaped like the state of Texas for breakfast. It was adorned with delicious fruits with warm maple syrup in a fancy little container. We just don’t have anything like this in Salado.

This hotel was once famous because it was the place movie stars and other celebrities stayed when they came to Dallas. Many of their pictures with autographs grace the walls of the bar. People like Judy Garland, Katherine Hepburn, and Bob Hope were among the many famous folks who stayed at the Stoneleigh.

The renovation of the place is not entirely completed and you can still smell the fresh paint. It’s not quite ready for prime time and the official grand opening is next month. I think that’s the reason we got a good rate. The hotel was not full and we may have been the only occupants on the entire sixth floor of this eleven-story building. It was a little haunting and I kept looking to encounter the ghost of Judy Garland in the deserted halls. I even thought I heard someone singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow during the middle of the night. It was a little like being in a Stephen King movie or an Edgar Allan Poe story.

Anyway, it was a great experience. I would highly recommend the place. It was still great to get back to the porch. I fell much safer here and I know my pocketbook is greatly relieved. The price of gasoline is nothing compared to the price of coffee and orange juice I had for breakfast. Only an executive from Exxon or an Oprah Winfrey would be able to stay there for an extended length of time.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I’m currently reading a book that contains a story about the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798. The Federalist Party was responsible for this piece of legislation that was signed by John Adams. It made it a crime to publish false, scandalous and malicious writings against the government or its officials. Several prominent newspaper editors, at the time, were sent to jail.

Jefferson denounced the Sedition Act as a violation of the 1st Amendment which protected the right of free speech. When Jefferson was elected he set the folks free who had been imprisoned by this harsh law. Some folks were about to be deported because of the law, but I don’t think this ever happened.

If we had such a law today, about 75% of our citizens would be in jail. Everyone is bad-mouthing poor Bush. Newsmen like Dan Rather and most everyone on the CNN staff would be on death row. A lot of our movies stars, who run over seas and coddle dictators and enemies of our country, would be deported. An ex-president might be included in this bunch.

When I was a kid we never thought of saying anything bad about Roosevelt of Truman. Even when Truman okayed the dropping of the atomic bomb, this was fine. Today he would be crucified. The badmouthing of presidents by the news media really took off with Lyndon Johnson and the Viet Nam War. I remember this really heated up after the Tet Offensive in the Viet Nam War. We won that onslaught by North Viet Nam, and with the bombing of Hanoi, it is now known that North Viet Nam was about to surrender.. The American public heard a different story and the news media turned the tide of the war in favor of North Viet Nam and brought down a president.

I am opposed to the Iraq War based on what I hear in the news. I am also most concerned about the economy and that the war is responsible for much of our current misery. I just wish I knew the real facts, but it will take years and history to reveal the truth. The overall problem may be much bigger than Bush and my conspiracy theory may prove to be right. As much as I loved Thomas Jefferson through the years, it is now evident that he was somewhat of a jerk and also bedded down one of his slaves. Boy, would the press have a big time with that one.

All I can do is sit on the porch and read my history books. I will just keep the TV off and maybe someday my grandkids will be able to understand what is happening today as they sit on the porch and read history. Just hope they can afford to have that luxury that I now enjoy.