Friday, October 30, 2009

It has been said that no matter how bad things may be for you that there is someone in the world who has it worse. The way things have been going lately, I would sure hate to see that person. Sometimes I feel like I could add a chapter or two to Job.

I recently received the above picture from a friend and it brightened my day to know that some may have it even worse with animals in the deer family taking over their yard. I’m going to have to stop complaining about my deer after seeing what those poor people in Montana have to put up with. The elk are larger but my deer make up for the difference by sheer number. There are now about 30 of the scrawny pest eating my foliage.

I’m still studying effective deer deterrents and so far I have found that there are none. My book on poisonous plants hasn’t even helped. One of the most lethal poisons in the world is ricin, which comes from the bean of the Castor Bean plant. The Castor Bean plants are pretty common and have a big leaf. Some people have planted these in their yard because they are supposed to keep flies away. The problem is that the deer love the leaves of the plant, which are tasty and nonpoisonous. They don’t eat the beans.

I had always thought that the human was the most intelligent of the species. After living on the planet for several decades and being part of that group I’m convinced that is untrue. The deer are the most intelligent of all the animals even the fox and dogs. They just roam around eating anything they want and are protected by the law. They are very promiscuous and apparently have a lot of fun just breeding with each other with no major objections from others in the herd. The does don’t seem to be the least bit jealous and don’t really care who they breed with. There are some in the human species who exhibit similar behavior but they frequently end up in jail or the morgue.

I guess the best thing is for me to just give up on the deer problem. If we build another home we will probably have a rock yard in the desert. With my luck there will be something else to contend with such as scorpions, Gila Monsters and such. I would probably still have a porch just to admire the absence of deer.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Everywhere I go the traffic is horrible. Everyone is in a hurry and there are thousands of cars on the road. I have finally figured out where everyone is going. They obviously aren’t going to work because everyone is unemployed.

This week we have been in Dallas accompanying my daughter to some doctor’s appointments. I know now that everyone is rushing to a medical appointment of some type. The parking lots and garages of every hospital and clinic are packed. At our local hospital there is always a sea of cars in the parking lot. It’s that way at every medical facility and it’s going to get worse. When national health insurance is available to everyone then the entire population will be at the doctors office every day. The problem is that there will not be enough doctors. It’s hard to get a doctor to accept Medicare patients now and with the government plan it will be worse. Very few doctors will accept government plan patients.

The people who are packing the doctors office now will greatly increase and every doctor will be in overload. The remainder of the people who are driving around on the road are either going to the shopping malls or to a sporting event. This bunch of folks will be joining those already waiting to see the doctor. Going to the doctor is more fun than the Super Bowl or shopping.

Healthcare is the one field that is pretty much depression and recession proof. These folks are always busy. They may be paid less in the future but they always have a job. It’s great for everyone involved, not just the doctors. Many of the non-physician CEOs and other support functions for healthcare make a lot more that the poor doc or others actually seeing the patient. Many CEOs make well over a million a year and are almost in the league with bankers and other Wall Street gangsters. The more you are involved in direct patient care, the less money you make in the healthcare business.

It’s a long way from my old country doc who made house calls. He couldn’t do much but he made you fell a lot better and at least he took the time to communicate with his patients.

Government healthcare is definitely coming so I suggest increasing the number of parking places at the medical facilities and widening the roads. There is going to be even more traffic. From the porch I can hear the steady hum of traffic on I35 which is more than a mile away. Soon that will be a roar. My hope is that it might frighten the deer away.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today, my spouse and I attended an interesting talk by Stephen Harrigan, author of the book “Gates of the Alamo.” He has written several other book but the Alamo book is his most famous work. He has certainly researched the subject of the fall of the Alamo. Harrigan claims that the story about Travis drawing the line in the sand is a myth. This is the famous story about drawing the line in the sand with his sword and inviting all that were willing to stay and fight to the death to cross over. The story is that all but one stepped over the line. The lone dissenter was a fellow named Moses Rose who claimed he had a family and was too young to die.

There is no good historical evidence that this drawing the line ever really occurred. A fellow named William Zuber wrote a book about his 80 years in Texas in which he claimed that Rose came to his home in Shiro, Texas and told the story to him. Harrigan doesn’t believe the account by Zuber because Zuber told the story 40 years after it occurred and his memory was getting rather dim. Harrigan claims the whole story is a myth.

In history, it’s hard to tell what is myth and what is fact. I grew up thinking the Yankees were evil invaders of the South. Now the story makes the South the total bad guys. Some now believe that the holocaust never occurred. This will become dimmer with time and the Muslims may eventually convince the world that there was no holocaust. The Bible has really been picked apart about fact vs. fiction. Did Moses and God part the Red Sea and did Jesus perform all those miracles or was this all myth.

I write the blog mostly for fun, but it’s also a little historical account of the terrible things happening in the world. I’m keeping these on files but most likely no one will ever read them. I often wonder about my great grandfather who fought in the Battle of San Jacinto. I wonder what he really thought about things and I even wonder about what he ate and the ordinary things in his daily life. If future generations care I will have an account of the view from my porch and about the beginning of the deer before they completely took over the world.

Monday, October 19, 2009

We are definitely out of news. All I have heard for the past few days is about the balloon hoax. This guy in Colorado set a large helium filled weather balloon adrift and claimed his son was inside. He was apparently trying to gain some sort of national recognition to be part of a reality TV show. The little kid was safe at home all the time while the police and national guard in Colorado were chasing the balloon. The kid finally gave the whole thing away when the family was interviewed on CNN and the kid said it was for the show.

For several days we have heard this story and seen the balloon in flight over and over. Maybe it’s good to have something this benign distract us from the horrors of the recession (which is over), unemployment, home foreclosures, bank closings, abysmal consumer purchases, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the development of the bomb by Iran. Even Healthcare Reform has taken a backseat to the balloon story. I’m sure that next we will have a Congressional hearing to investigate this outrageous hoax that was a threat to national security.

As for me, I think the kid should be the one to receive the Nobel Peace Price. He took the minds of the world off all our problems for a few hours and made us focus on the balloon. We were concerned about this one kid while at the same time several died around the world from starvation, accidents and a host of other things like the swine flu. What this kid needs is a good spanking for spilling the beans. Seeing him on TV makes me think he really needs Ritalin but the Nobel Peace Prize should do just fine.

This whole thing has made me look at several ways I can bring national attention to the deer problem in my yard. As we approach the Christmas Season, I’m thinking about constructing a giant helium filled Santa Claus and sleigh and attach some of the deer in front so they will look like they are actually flying through the air. That may get someone’s attention and I can become famous and get rid of the deer at the same time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I am very honored to announce that I have received this years Nobel Prize for, “Best Blog.” This is the first year the blog category has been recognized and it is with a great deal of humility that I accept the award. When contacted by the Nobel Prize committee I was told that I was selected because my blog has accomplished absolutely nothing and is read by only a handful of loyal friends. The committee assured me that the criteria for selection was the same as for the Peace Prize. Boy, was I honored! The Peace Prize recipient couldn’t make that statement.

There are several other categories that have been added this year. Some of the new categories are: Best Club Newsletter; Best Get Well Card Greeting; Best Letter To The Editor; Best Bumper Sticker; Best Tee Shirt Slogan; Best Protestor Sign Slogan; and Best Wall Comment on Facebook.

I am especially honored because there are literally millions of people out there writing worthless blogs. I was also pleased because the committee couldn’t figure out if I am a liberal or conservative. They apparently knew I wasn’t Jewish or Muslim or I wouldn’t have been considered.

This is really something else. Now I can join the ranks of some of my heroes like; Hemingway, Steinbeck and Faulkner. I know the current recipient of the Peace Prize must feel the same way. He must be thinking, “gee I’m right up there with people like Jimmy Carter.”

Anyway, it’s a great honor. I understand that my prize will be a coupon for a large bag of fries at McDonalds with purchase of a Big Mac. I do hope they give me a certificate or plaque so I can hang it on the wall of the porch along with the other certificates I have collected since childhood like my “Captain Marvel Club Certificate.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We live in a rip off world. I just did battle with a major company over a rebate I was promised after buying a major appliance. After filling out the complicated maze of questions, online, I was notified several weeks later that I didn’t qualify for the rebate. After exploding and several phone calls threatening the company with legal action I received the rebate. It’s a game they play hoping that there is so much of a hassle getting your money that most people just give up and the company chalks this up as additional profit. The rebate game is a technique created by marketing people to sucker the customer in and hopefully make additional profit. I usually play their game because to me it is a game I am set on winning, no matter how difficult it is to claim the prize and no matter how small the prize may be. My enjoyment is playing the game; getting mad, talking to customer relations people on the phone, writing letters and making all sorts of threats. It would be a lot easier on everyone if the folks selling the product would just lower the price for the amount of the rebate at the beginning and not create this frustrating game.

Another rip off is the extended warranty. Every time I buy a piece of electronic equipment they push me to purchase this extended warranty which is another way of making a little extra profit for the company. I suspect that these extended warranties are rarely used. The electronic gadgets are usually under warranty for about a year anyway, and if they are going to break it will happen within that time. Again, it is a major hassle getting something fixed with these warranties. All the retailers use this marketing gimmick weather you are buying a computer, a clock or a car. The auto salesman tries to tack on dozens of things like insurance for dents, and a myriad of other possible defects and mishaps that may occur. Before you are out of the showroom they have added another 10 thousand dollars to the price of the car. I keep hoping that my transmission or air conditioning will go out before the extended warranty expires at 70 thousand miles. In my case they always go out at 71,000 miles. The guys making the cars carefully calculate this so you will then be buying a new vehicle and starting the process all over again.

As I sit on the porch and ponder life I am amazed that my folks never had to deal with warranties or rebates. They didn’t even have health of life insurance. I just don’t know how they lived so long. Life was so much simpler before colleges had marketing majors, but my folks had to deal with highway bandits and others in the trade.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The strategy for conducting the war in Afghanistan has changed. We are now trying to convince the folks that we love them and really don’t mean to go through the villages slaughtering everyone. The average citizen in that country is afraid of the Taliban and apparently don’t want them in power. Our mission is to tell the citizens we are there to protect them from the Taliban. The Taliban are very strict fundamentalist and won’t even let the girls attend school. The Taliban also allows al-Queda to run freely and permit them to have training camps that will launch terrorist attacks against the US and others.

We need more troops to accomplish this new love mission. It would seem hard to tell who is the average Afghan citizen and who is al-Queda. These guys are all covered with facial hair and have sheets wrapped around their body and head. Who is the enemy?

The President is about to permit gays to be open in the military. No more of this hush, hush stuff about no asking or telling. This should greatly increase the number of gays in the military. I have nothing against gays but if I were a member of that group I would prefer to be in San Francisco rather than Afghanistan. The Muslims don’t take to homosexuals very well. They usually behead them after removal of the genitalia. The main advantage of having the homosexuals would be that they would be better able to carry out our new mission of loving the citizens. The main problem will be to have the soldiers stop loving each other so that they will have time for the hairy Afghan men. I don’t know what attracts lesbians to each other but in Afghanistan they are going to have to be satisfied with the eyes because that’s all you can see of their women.

My how times have changed. We used to want mean, bull riding, redneck types in the army. They were better killers. Now we are moving to an army of homosexuals. Maybe there is something we don’t know. The new weapons of mass destruction may be AIDS or other STDs. These weapons may be more effective than the sophisticated stuff we now have. Our current weapons don’t seem to be very effective, so it’s time for a new approach.

The view from the porch is very foggy this morning. That is in keeping with our future and our military presence in Afghanistan. The nice thing about the fog is that I can’t see the deer very well as they destroy my yard.

Monday, October 05, 2009

A report today indicated that there is an increasing number of premature births in the world. There are about 1 millions deaths a year attributed to prematurely. Africa is at the top of the list with the US a close second. About 10% of births are considered premature which is a pregnancy that ends before 37 weeks gestation.

There are a number of factors accounting for this alarming rise in premature babies. The incidence is higher in the lower socioeconomic group who are not healthy and do not get adequate prenatal care. Another major factors is the increased birth rate in teenagers. Prematures are also common in women who have their child at a more advanced age. Women now have a tendency to start a career and then take time off for a baby when they are well into their 40s. Infertility problems with multiple births resulting from the infertility drugs is also another leading cause. C-Section deliveries used to be done only in emergency situations but now are done for convenience and the result is commonly a premature baby.

It’s also amazing what can now be accomplished in the neonatal nursery. Infants as low as 24 weeks gestation survive with all the artificial ventilation support along with the drug surfactant which prevents the lungs from getting the lethal hyaline membrane disease found in the premature lung. Neonatal nurses are highly skilled and the care of these tiny creatures is miraculous.

In the old days the mother came in from the cotton field and had her baby at home. All that was needed was some blankets and boiling water. I have never figured out why they needed the boiling water, but it worked. The babies were strong and were soon out in the field helping the mother and dad on the farm.

Our staggering infant mortality rate in the US from prematurely is often stated as a reason for universal healthcare. We need universal healthcare but it is not going to solve the problem of premature births, stated above. We need a cultural change as much as universal healthcare to improve our health statistics. That cultural change is also needed to reduce our crime rate and to advance our educational efforts.

Japan and Europe do better than the US with life expectancy and infant mortality because they are a more homogenous population with much the same culture and values.

We could take a few lessons from the deer in my back yard. They just drop their fawn in my yard and move on. In a few minutes the fawn is up and on its way. The fawn all seem to be pretty mature. The deer, however, are following many of the habits of the human, which may give some hope for their eventual demise. They are very promiscuous and interbreed, thus weakening their species. They are also becoming a welfare state as they look for handouts from humans who are stupid enough to feed them.

I learn a lot from nature just sitting on my porch. I have also learned to keep my doors locked for the same reasons we have a large number of premature births and a high drop out rate in our schools.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A few years ago there were places with signs indicating a safe haven. I believe these were places where kids could go if they felt threatened. I haven’t heard much about these places recently but it sounds like there is a greater need than ever for kids to seek safe shelter. It’s tough being a kid. Everyday there is a story about abductions and kids being abused. They are the main victims of sexual perverts, priest and even parents. This week there was a story about a kid who had been kept prisoner in a closet for four years by his mother.

Mob violence in schools is rampant. Chicago is full of horror stories about school violence and then they wonder why they weren’t chosen for the Olympics. The latest is about the honor student who was beaten to death by a gang. Gangs don’t like honor students or those who are trying to do well and become part of society as a productive individual. There is no safe haven for these good kids. They can’t even trust their parents or the church. The jails aren’t big enough to hold the mobs, gangs, perverts, priest, parents and others in the trade of molesting.

I would invite all the kids who feel threatened to my back yard as a safe haven but it isn’t big enough. I think my backyard is a safe haven because the deer must consider it as such. There have been 30 or 40 deer hovered in my yard for the past week. They have apparently heard that hunting season is about to open so they are seeking a safe haven at my place.

I figure most of the threatened kids would feel pretty safe at my place. The gangs who are after them could see all the books on the porch and the love for learning that goes on there and that would scare them away. Gangs hate books. Books to gangs are like an insecticide to a roach.

Molesting parents could get an ear full from my spouse about how she loves our kids and grandkids and wants everything for them. This should scare the abusive parents away. They don’t want to hear about love. The word love is like a shrill high whistling noise to a dog or other animal. It drives them crazy and is a highly effective repellent.

I will give one of my little sermons to the priest and perverts. These folks will usually believe anything you tell them. Most of them feel that they are Jesus or they have directions from the Almighty to impregnate females of all ages. If I grow a beard and wear a robe and speak to them they will definitely believe I am a prophet who is delivering a message from God. I will describe a place for them that will be full of kids for abuse and where they can practice their distorted view of religion. I can lead them to a boat constructed like the Ark, without life rafts, to set sail for this Promised Land, which is located in the ice fields of the North Atlantic. There it will meet the same fate as the Titanic. Good riddance.

Now, I have solved the problem for all the kids who are in the safe haven of my backyard. The only thing I have to do now is get rid of the deer. That is a much harder problem because they are protected by the City of Salado and the State Parks and Wildlife folks. Hopefully, I can finally think of something.

Friday, October 02, 2009

We have been watching the Ken Burns series on the National Parks. It’s great and I wish every American could watch this excellent story of our greatest national treasure.

We have been fortunate enough to visit many of the parks. Even though my father didn’t have a lot, he managed to take me and a high school classmate on one of my most memorable trips after my junior year. For two weeks we traveled through the west, seeing places like Carlsbad Cavern, The Grand Canyon, The Petrified Forest, Rocky Mountain National Park and several of the parks in Utah. It was a grand trip.

In my adult years we have seen multiple parks ranging from Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Everglades, Big Bend, Volcanoes on Hawaii, Smoky Mountains and most of all the national monuments and Battlefields of the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. It has been a grand journey and the television series brought back many great memories. Our favorite is still Yosemite. Now, my book of Ansel Adams photos of the parks takes me back to places like Yosemite without leaving the porch.

The struggle to create the parks has been difficult. We complain about the government but if it had not been for government intervention and regulations the parks that we know would have been raped in the name of progress. In the past it’s like a bunch of greedy wall street bankers had been turned lose on the parks. Forest were devastated, wildlife slaughtered, and rivers polluted in the name of progress. Thank God for the government who helped protect us from ourselves and preserve the natural beauty of our land for generations to enjoy.

The wildlife in many of the parks was nearly destroyed and many species brought to the brink of extinction. Humans either shoot the animals for fun or feed them, which entices them away from their natural habitat. The animals become dependent on humans, which is against the natural order of things. Their predators, like the wolf have also been destroyed which further upsets the balance of nature. Fortunately, the Park Service reversed this trend.

The same has happened with the deer who inhabit my back yard. People who feed them have made them a weak, dependent bunch of scrawny pest who live off our handouts. With all the good things the government has done, unfortunately, it has also made us humans like the deer in my back yard. Many have become dependent on the government for a handout and are unable to hunt for themselves. The whole thing is a paradox. Government is essential for a society but it must also be restrained. One of the great responsibilities of government is to protect us, not only from foreign powers but from ourselves. Like Pogo said, “we have met the enemy and he is us.” That should be another slogan on our currency along with, “In God We Trust.”

Anyway, The National Park series is great. The National Parks are truly our national treasure.