Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween is always one of our favorite holidays. My spouse and I love it because our first date was on Halloween. We taught our kids to love it and it has always been a major holiday for us. Pumpkin carving and decorating have become a family tradition and a big event for the grandkids. Granddad enjoys it more than anyone. Halloween takes me into another imaginary world and provides an escape from our misery. It is especially welcome this year with the presidential election. I’m thinking about writing in the name of Count Dracula or Frankenstein for President because they would be a much better choice that the two we have.

This year the grandkids converted our front porch into a spook house. It’s a pretty elaborate thing as pictured above. You have to enter the enclosure to get the full effect and see the primary display. This is a coffin that we constructed from foam insulation material and painted black. I got the pattern off the internet and it took us several hours to construct, tape together with duct tape and paint. We have a skeleton in the coffin with a plastic skull containing eerie red lights that illuminate the sockets. There is also a dummy severed bloody leg and severed fingers. Eyeball lights and orange ornamental bulbs give the other illumination. At the entrance is a fog machine that gives it just the right effect for a foggy evening where scary things happen and ghost and the dead come back for a day of celebration each year.

The trees in the front yard are decorated with hanging skeletons and ghost. There is a skeleton embedded in the flower bed who looks like he is coming out of the ground. Two skeleton arms are sticking out of the scrubs that line the front walk way. The whole place is kind of scary. We also plan to have some scary music.

In the next couple of days I have to decide about a costume. I’m thinking about an Obama or McCain mask but that would be too frightening. I also fell a little guilty about frightening folks on Halloween because they are already frightening enough with the economy, energy crisis, global warming, Iraq and the choices for President. The only good thing about all this is that I will be celebrating Halloween on the porch with the grandkids.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

There is nothing worse than being called a racist. Much of that started after what Hitler did to the Jews. People wouldn’t even say the word “Jew” for fear it was like the “N” word today. Racism and “Brotherhood” are deeply ingrained within us and are very much alive today. It has come in focus because of the current political situation and the endorsements by various folks.

It’s only natural that all blacks will vote for Obama, just like all Mafia would vote for a Mafia candidate, all Jews would vote for a Jew and all Mormons vote for a Mormon. Naturally all Red-Necks would vote for a Red-Neck and most Catholics for a Catholic. With all this, it’s no surprise that Colin Powell supports Obama. It’s like the game of scissors, paper and rock we played as kids. Scissors trumps paper, just like race trumps party affiliations and other loyalties. I’m sure I would vote for a Red-Neck from the piney woods vs. an educated Ivy Leaguer.

In a way, I can’t blame Colin Powell. He was completely embarrassed after he went to the UN to convince them that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. As it turns out no WMD were found and Powell quietly disappeared from the scene. I don’t blame him for being hacked off, but McCain is not Bush and Powell and McCain are supposed to be big friends. As I have always said, Scum Always Rises. I suspect that in the privacy of the voting booth that Condolezza Rice will vote for Obama.

So far all the various endorsements have had no effective on me except in a negative way. I really don’t care who Oprah or some movie star is supporting.

Another thing that has become apparent in this election is that Independents are really all Democrats. That’s how it’s always been. The Independent is against the party in power. In Clinton’s day they were all Republicans. They want to give you the impression that they are some deep thinker and have really figured things out as an Independent. I say BS. I’m the only Independent person I know because I really don’t like either candidate. So, I endorse No One. At least my conscience is clear and I don’t feel like rising scum driven by race or some blind loyalty to a Brotherhood.

I can accept either McCain or Obama a President but would prefer to have neither. Surely, there must have been stronger, more qualified people out there to lead us and to abandon partisan politics.

Obama concerns me because of his previous demonstration of the lack of patriotism and his questionable background. Yes, I am prejudiced regarding Muslims when they believe that we are infidels and should be destroyed. Obama claims not to be Muslim, but he is heavily tainted. I am concerned that he will drive us to a complete welfare state and that increased taxation is inevitable. I also have concerns about his readiness to abandon Iraq (even thought I don’t support the war). I am also concerned about him keeping America militarily strong and protecting us. I also have great concerns about his moral fiber and the meaning of the word Christian.

McCain concerns me because of his age. I love Sarah Palin but don’t think she is qualified to be Vice-President and certainly not President. I am concerned about his support of the greedy lot on Wall Street and the CEOs of the large companies who have led us into economic disaster. They have been allowed to squander our wealth with the unregulated environment in which they function. I agree that we should leave Iraq honorably but to continue to pour money into that country for their reconstruction with their incredible oil wealth is unconscionable.

So, how can I in good conscience pull the lever for either of these guys. I may write in my choice as I mark the ballot for other candidates I support who are both Democrats and Republicans.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

With these hard economic times, I’m seriously considering becoming a homeless person. The way I have things figured it wouldn’t be so bad. I made my mind up about this plan after visiting the Temple Public Library today.

For several years I have been using our nice little library in Salado or have bought most of my books. Many years ago I was a frequent customer at the Temple Library but haven’t been back in a very long time. I was most impressed with their facility and the helpfulness of the personal as I was issued a new library card and given assistance on finding a book. The library is well stocked and full of computers and other gadgets for doing research. There is more than ample table room and comfortable chairs for reading. I could research and write my book in that place very easily.

I figure with being homeless I could live in the library most of the time and it would be like being in heaven for me. There are even tons of movies I could watch. At night they have a parking garage that is covered and I could sleep next to the building. The bathroom facilities are clean and excellent. The public restroom is also just down the street in the Visitors Center and no one ever goes in that place. Perhaps I could even arrange to stay there on cold nights.

Across the street is the First Baptist Church and they frequently serve food. I could get a occasional delicious hot meal at the church and stay in the sanctuary most ot the day on Sunday when the library is closed. Several other churches are located nearby and I might be able to drop in for extra meals from these charitable folks. In the winter, if it gets extremely cold I can walk on down to the hospital and stay in one of the waiting rooms, as some folks have been known to do.

Being broke and homeless might not be so bad after all. It might even rival the porch. One nice thing is that I won’t have the deer to contend with. Obama is going to lose a might good taxpayer, but maybe the rich CEOs and Wall Street fat cats can finally save the nation since they caused the problem.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My spouse and I like to eat out but this is about to change because of the economic situation. Fortunately, she is a terrific cook and is polishing up on some of her old recipes. With my retirement vanishing and the collapse of the world financial markets we are gearing up to weather the crisis by eating at home.

We are trying out some of the Great Depression menus such as soup. She made some delicious potato soup from scratch this week. Her vegetable soup has always been my favorite, even in prosperous times. We may even try making some bread. Soup and bread worked in the depression and, hopefully, will see us through these rough times. The deer who have taken over my yard may come in handy during these lean years. They may serve as my main source of protein and might even taste good when added to the vegetable soup. Surely, the Salado police won’t arrest a starving man.

If we eat out I may use another depression trick and order chili. I eat about half the bowl of chili then fill up the bowl with catsup and a lot of crumbled crackers, which are usually free with the meal. I can stretch the single bowl into two or even three servings. To economize on my restaurant meal I now only drink water with a twist of lemon. Tea cost almost as much as the entree and I have eliminated this costly item.

This depression thing may not be so bad after all. I need to lose some weight and this may do the trick. We are staying home more and doing less shopping which is our biggest savings. Fortunately, I stlll own a lot of unread books that will serve as my greatest source of entertainment. When these are all read I will simply go down the street to our great Salado library. Science fiction, fantasy and the pulp magazines were made popular during the last depression and western novels and movies were the rage. Maybe all that good stuff will come back. I may even be able to get my science fantasy novel published.
Church going was also very popular during the depression years. Who knows, that may even become popular again and we can put God back into the pledge of allegiance and start having a prayer before the football games.

If I can implement some of the survival techniques used by my parents during the Great Depression maybe we can pull through this financial meltdown. I would love to stay on the porch but heaven forbid I may be forced to get a job after the Wall Street vultures get through cleaning out my retirement account. The new president is going to be disappointed with me because I have nothing left to tax. It has been said you can’t get blood out of a turnip. I know this is so because the turnip is one of my favorite depression foods. By the way, turnips go great with armadillo and possum, which are readily found in my backyard eating what the deer don’t want.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The highlight of our recent visit to Virginia was a tour of John Tyler’s home. We were fortunate to get a personal tour that took about three hours and we got to see and learn about John Tyler in detail. His home is located on Sherwood Forest Plantation on the James River. The place got it’s name from Henry Clay who said when John Tyler left the presidency, “he is a Robin Hood who can go back to his Sherwood Forest.” Tyler liked the name and it stuck. The descendants have occupied the house since Tyler acquired it in 1844. Tyler was married twice and had fifteen children. Amazingly, his grandson, Harrison now lives in the house.

John Tyler was the 10 president of the US and was the first to obtain office through succession. He was the Vice-President for William Henry Harrison. Harrison was born only a few miles down the road from Tyler’s home. Harrison gave a long-winded inaugural address for over 100 minutes in the blistering cold weather without a coat or hat. He developed pneumonia and died one month later. Tyler became president and really had only one great accomplishment during his one term in office and that was to get Texas annexed. That was a very controversial action because Texas was a slave state.

When the Civil War occurred Tyler was elected as a representative to The House of Representatives of the Confederate Congress. Before he could serve he suffered a fatal stroke. His wife Julia had a dream about his death, which was true in almost exact detail. Because of Tyler’s position with the Confederate Congress he was considered a traitor for many years.

The exciting thing about the Tyler home is that it contains a ghost know as the Gray Lady. It is felt to be the ghost of a governess who lived there in the 18th Century. She was in charge of a baby who died under her care. She cared for the baby by taking it up a hidden staircase to an upstairs room and rocking the child. It is said that you can still hear her rocking the baby. An image of the ghost is portrayed on the wall of the staircase and is still readily visible. The image refuses to disappear even though the wall has had several coats of paint and has been replastered. I took a picture of the wall in the staircase and sure enough, the picture of the lady is there, as shown above.

I have always believed in ghost and this picture and story helped confirm my belief. I have had a couple of ghostly encounters in the past, but the one at the Tyler house was fun and I learned a lot of history. I am waiting for a ghost to visit me on the porch and maybe I can persuade it to help scare the deer away.

Monday, October 06, 2008

I have made no entries for a week because my partner and I have been traveling. We took a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. I have been there before, but felt like I needed to return to see again the place of origin of our great country. At Williamsburg, I feel like I am in the presence of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. It’s sort of like going to church. The America those guys created and I once knew seems to be fading and I just wanted to get a feel for it once more.

We attended a candlelight organ recital in the Bruton Parish church. I felt like some of the founding fathers were in the pew with me. I felt their presence, even more, in the Capitol Building in the room where the House of Burgesses met and protested the British taxes. The greatest surprise was the reconstructed building that served as the hospital for the mentally ill and insane. It has a museum containing the devices for restraining the insane and the rooms for their confinement. The basement of this building is joined underground to a modern facility containing a vast showcase of American Art, ranging from weapons, silver, pewter, furniture, folk art and modern art. It is truly indescribable and the hidden treasure of Williamsburg. The old hospital front for this incredible museum is very deceptive. The crown jewel of Williamsburg has always been the Governor’s Palace and the Gardens but this is now rivaled by the museum hidden by the mental hospital.

Of course we ate in some great places including the Williamsburg Inn, King’s Arms Tavern, Chowning’s Tavern and the famous Christiana Campbell’s Tavern. Numerous enactments depicting the times leading to the Revolution took place during our visit.

One of our days was spent visiting the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown. The Jamestown settlement is a must for any school kid and anyone wanting to learn about American history. There is a ship that is an exact replica of the ones used by the first English settlers and a Powhatan Indian Village. The exhibits in the new Jamestown building contain a wealth of information and are a complete history of our early settlers to the time of the Revolution. We also visited Yorktown where the last battle of the Revolution was fought. There was a camp like that used by the soldiers of the American Revolution and a great demonstration of the medical instruments used during the time.

The highlight of the trip was the visit to a couple of plantations on the James River. The visit to President John Tyler’s home was the crown jewel of our visit. I even encountered a ghost at the Tyler home that will be described in the next blog.

Even thought the Revolution was a most troubling time, it almost pales in relation to the current problems facing our nation. I suspect that if Washington, Jefferson and Patrick Henry were alive today they would want to take refuge on the porch with me.