Friday, April 30, 2010

What Next? A giant oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, from a recent rig explosion, is about to wipe out all the shrimp and oysters I love so much. It will also kill the bird life I have enjoyed watching through the years. The price of gasoline is about to skyrocket and the stock market will drop. This will make Katrina look like a spring shower.

Meanwhile, to the north the planet is melting from global warming and to the south the rain forests are disappearing. To the east and west, terrorist are threatening to vaporize us with a nuclear bomb. While at home, I am about to be taxed to death through taxes on my retirement savings and a value added tax. The new healthcare reform is creating a doctor shortage and there will be no one available to take care of my heart attack and stroke. My car runs away when I press on the accelerator and my food is tainted with E. Coli and other pathogens.

To make matters worse I went to the post office today and opened an advertisement from the Neptune Center, which wants me to sign up in advance for cremation. This will save on the cost for an expensive funeral home and allow me to be buried anywhere. I think Iran and the terrorist plan on taking care of my cremation so I will probably pass on the offer from the Neptune Center.

Pedophiles, rapist and other perverts are moving into the neighborhood, so it’s unsafe on the street. I’m afraid to go to church because an arsonist recent burned ours to the ground and men of the cloth are suspect of being molesters. There is just no safe place.

I’m thinking of building a moat around the porch and filling it with piranhas and alligators. With my luck the deer will probably eat the piranhas. That’s the reason I have thrown in the alligators because they are supposed to love deer meat. It’s costing more and more to fortify the porch. Things just aren’t looking good, but I plan to stay on my lead lined porch as long as possible.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The anti-Christian influence continues to triumph in this country. The Army just disinvited Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, to speak at the Pentagon on Prayer Day. They claim that his recent remarks about Islam being evil would make the Muslims mad. There may not even be a National Day of Prayer because the atheist won a court ruling that claims it to be unconstitutional. The atheist say they feel left out when there is a day of prayer because they don’t believe in prayer.

With some of the examples I have recently heard about prayers, perhaps the day should be canceled. People usually turn to prayer when they are in distress and will promise God all sorts of things if their prayer is granted. I recently heard of a guy who was driving around the parking lot of a large mall looking for a convenient parking spot. He started to pray for a spot and promised God he would go to church every Sunday and give up his sinful ways if he would provide a parking spot. Just before he said Amen, a car pulled out and opened a choice spot. The man quickly said, “that’s okay God, I just found one.”

Another example of prayer was described by one of my favorite authors, Ferrol Sams. He told about this drunk who staggered home, drunk and sick. He told his wife Mamie to pray for him because he was dying. The wife was trying to put him to bed and he said, “please pray for me right now because I’m dying.” She immediately got on her knees and said, “dear Almighty God please put your healing hand on my poor drunk husband.” With that, the drunk looked up and said, “hell Mamie, don’t tell him I’m drunk.”

It seems as if our prayers are often misdirected and perhaps Prayer Day could help us to better learn to pray. I’m sorry that it is now considered unconstitutional and other things like the Army’s decision to rescind the invitation to Franklin Graham are heading us down a path to the Dark Side.

My prayer from the porch is that God will guide our leaders to make the right decisions as he did for our Founding Fathers. The above picture of a statue of an American soldier in Iraq might represent another example of prayer. The soldier is kneeling in prayer in memorial to a fallen comrade and is comforted by an Iraqi girl. That’s pretty meaningful.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I survived the great Waco Tornado of May 11, 1953 that killed 114 people. I also made it through several hurricanes when I lived on the Gulf Coast, including Hurricane Carla. In those days we had no warning system. They just estimated how bad things were by counting the dead and looking at the damage after the event. Now days the weathermen go crazy over a shower. They have every piece of sophisticated equipment imaginable. It’s enough equipment to embark on an odyssey to the outer limits of space.

Last night we had a line of thunderstorms move through the area, as is common during the spring. There was a team of weathermen at each TV station tracking the storms from their origin in west Texas right on through Central into East Texas. They were up most of the night interrupting regular TV programming and on continuous video via the internet. They gave a blow-by-blow description of every raindrop and lightening strike. They had live animated Doppler trained on the clouds and cameras stationed at key locations throughout the viewing area. The cameras could be rotated at any angle to see the action. They talked about the potential size of hail, ranging from softball to pea size. They described the various wind forces and estimated velocities to within a fraction of a mph. They referred to tornadic winds within the various colors displayed on the Doppler. They spoke about highs, lows, fronts and used many other meteorological terms that would take a take a PhD in meteorology to understand. My spouse and I were so frightened by the news that we got out of bed and dressed to await the coming disaster. I knew, a couple of hours in advance, when the very first drop of rain would hit the porch. As it turned out, it was just a moderately heavy rain for a few minutes and we didn’t even have any of the dead limbs fall out of the trees. I guess we should just be thankful that it wasn’t any worse and we had these experts to make us aware of the potential danger.

Another interesting thing about their predictions is that all these storms seem to start in west Texas and march in a straight line right through Central Texas and the I35 corridor. You would think it is raining in west Texas all the time, yet when I visit that part of the country it’s like a desert.

The weather is just too complicated for me to understand and I’m not so sure I really want to know that much about it. The worse thing about these alarming weather reports is they drive me off my precious porch. I‘m afraid to stay in that exposed area and get blown away like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I enjoy writers who can spin a good yarn or tell a good story. My most recent blog was about Elmer Kelton my favorite Western storyteller. I have many others in different genres.

Some of my other favorites are:
Michael Crichton for science and medical yarns
Robin Cook for medical thrillers
John Grisham for legal thrillers
Robert E. Howard for fantasy
Edgar Allan Poe for the macabre
Arthur Conan Doyle for detective tales and Sherlock Holmes
Ferrol Sams for homespun tales about small towns and ordinary people
David McCullough no yarns but great biographies and history

Of course, the all time great storyteller and spinner of yarns was Mark Twain. He has no match in American Literature.

Today is the birthday of the master of all story telling, William Shakespeare. He also died on his birthday. Even though I don’t always understand his language he is considered the father of story telling outside of the Bible.

Shakespeare had this to say:
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe
And from hour to hour, we rot and rot
And thereby hangs a tale

The tale or yarn is about people and is between their ripening and rotting.

So from the porch, I wish the bard a Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I have enjoyed my career in Medicine and wouldn’t trade it for any other. I still fantasize about other things I might have done. It’s interesting that many of these fantasies haven’t changed since childhood. I grew up in the time of Western movies and always thought it would have been great to be a cowboy like those I saw in the movies. I have never even owned a horse but the life of the cowboy always appealed to me. They lived an adventurous, independent life.

I just finished reading the final novel of my favorite western writer, Elmer Kelton. Kelton died last year and it is a great loss for those of us who love anything Western. He was one of the last of a dying breed that started with Zane Grey. Kelton’s last book was, “Other Men’s Horses.” I then picked up, “Cloudy in the West,” and just completed this great yarn. Kelton had a terrific imagination and could really tell a story. He wrote about the Golden Age of the cowboy, which was after the Civil War until 1900. The peak time was 1880. He incorporated much Texas History and folklore in his stories. He loved the Texas Rangers. He has written multiple novels and his classics are; “The Time it Never Rained,” “The Day the Cowboys Quit,” and “ The Good Old Boys.” To me, all of his stories are classics.

I had the good fortune to meet and speak to Elmer Kelton on a couple of occasions. He was a very unpretentious, average sort of fellow from San Angelo, Texas. He grew up on a ranch in west Texas and was very knowledgeable about horses and cattle. He started writing for a Farm and Ranch magazine and also wrote a newspaper column related to ranching. He knew his stuff.

Some have claimed that J. Frank Dobie was a great writer of western material. I have always found Dobie boring and dry, although he knew a lot of Texas Folklore. Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove” is the only thing to rival Kelton but Kelton is more a master of the Western yarn.

It’s simply a wonderful thing to let my mind escape, on the porch, into one of Elmer Kelton’s great stories. I’m just so sorry he won’t be around anymore to keep them coming. Unfortunately, there is no one on the horizon to fill his shoes. I’m afraid the westerns have died with Elmer Kelton.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Religion may soon go the way of the Confederacy. A federal judge in Wisconsin, Barbara Crabb, has ruled that the National Day of Prayer scheduled for each May is unconstitutional. The atheists have triumphed again. Lawsuits by minorities continue to rule the country. They want God eliminated from the Pledge of Allegiance, the Ten Commandments removed from courtrooms and prayer made illegal in schools.

Religion in this country is being attack by the media as well as the legal and political system. This combination is enough to make it fade into oblivion. To make matters worse, Christianity is corrupting itself and contributing to the demise. The sex scandals in the Catholic Church have shaken it to the core and have gone all the way to the Pope. The divisions with the Protestants and adoption of liberal views and practices have diluted the message of the faith and resulted in diminishing numbers of followers.

The other faiths are also in danger of extinction. The Jews are becoming more isolated on the world stage and are threatened with annihilation by the Muslims. The Muslims are busy killing themselves by suicide bombing activities. If the Muslims don’t have anyone else to kill they will fight among themselves to gain quick entry into the hereafter to be with their virgins.

The Buddhists also have their problems. China suppresses this religion and the only thing the monks can do is set themselves on fire. Many of the Hindus continue to starve to death and barely exist in a third world environment.

So, the whole picture for religion looks bleak. I’m not sure what the atheists have to gain since they don’t believe in anything. Life just bluntly ends for those folk with no hope of anything in the way of an afterlife. So, why are they busy initiating suits to make it hard for those of us who do believe? What do they expect to gain by removing any hope for the human race? Maybe it’s just that misery loves company.

Meanwhile on the porch, I’m looking for a hiding place for my Bible. After the recent decision, by Judge Barbara Crabb, regarding the National Prayer Day, I want to keep the Bible in a secure place when the book burning starts.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My last blog was about how political correctness has caused any celebration of Confederate History Month or recognition of the Civil War to be considered as racist by the media. The purge of any southern heritage continues at many levels. Ole Miss University is in the process of eliminating their mascot, Colonel Reb. The flag of the university has been changed and the band is no longer allowed to play Dixie. The Confederate Flag cannot be displayed at football games and the rebel yell is forbidden.

At Ole Miss and most universities, multicultural activities are encouraged but native culture is deemphasized. I’m sure that the cowboy will soon be banned at the University of Texas. Even my alma mater, Baylor University, has moved away from its Christian origins to become more liberal and accepted in the academic world. In order to be a top tier school in research it must abandon its Bible College image. Muslims and other religious groups are encouraged to organize and meet at most college campuses. There is a proliferation and emphasis on minority groups at most universities. This is somehow equated with intellectualism and freedom of though an expression so dear to academicians.

Pardon me, but this is the first time I have had to stop writing the blog to barf. We are eliminating the Ten Commandments and references to God in most public places as the minorities continue to triumph. Public schools are banning prayer but prayer will never disappear from school as long as math is taught and final exams are given. More and more books are banned. It’s hard to believe that Huckleberry Finn could be banned because of the N word. That book is all about the terrible practice of slavery and does more to recognize the feelings of the blacks and make them an equal member of the human race than anything I have ever read. One has to be very shallow not to appreciate the meaning of that great book and Huck’s love for Jim. The book wouldn’t have been nearly as effective without the N word.

Anyway, our southern heritage and many other things that are native American are in danger of being “Gone With the Wind.” That was sure an appropriate title for a book and is a great way to describe the state of affairs with our world today.

I keep a copy of “Gone With the Wind” on the porch just to remind me of where we are going. We are in a brave new world of intellects, intoxicated by our freedom of though and acceptance as we await vaporization under a mushroom cloud.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The governor and State of Virginia are in trouble with the media and the entire black community for designating April as Confederate History Month. The Sons of the Confederacy and others are doing Civil War reenactments and having celebrations to commemorate and remind us of that part of our history. The celebrants have neglected to say slavery was the cause of the war and this has enraged the media and the black folks. The Civil War enthusiasts have been accused of being terrorist and traitors. The media and angry blacks say it’s like the Germans praising the soldiers and battles of the Nazis regime.

I have always loved the study of the Civil War and have given several talks on Civil War Medicine. Now I’m afraid to give the talk anymore and am considering getting rid of my excellent collection of books on the Civil War. I must admit, I never think much about slavery when I talk and read about that conflict. I’m interested in the various battles and generals like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. My ancestors in Texas were poor dirt farmers and cattlemen who didn’t rely on slave labor. They viewed the situation as Yankees invading their homeland and were trying to protect their property and families.

I have read a number of letters by southern soldiers involved in the war and none of them mention they are fighting to preserve slavery. I realize slavery was the major issue but it was not the only issue and certainly not for a large number of the soldiers caught up in the fighting. I guess that’s the way it is with a lot of wars. Most of the troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan probably don’t even know the reasons behind the conflict. They were only kids when 9/11 occurred but have little understanding of Muslims and those we call terrorist. Even the generals don’t know we are really fighting about oil. Everyone thinks it’s about freedom. When I was drafted as a physician during the Vietnam War, I really didn’t know that war may have been wrong. I just went into the service because it was the thing I was expected to do for my country. I also went into the service because I didn’t want to go to jail or be disgraced. I’m sure that many of the southern soldiers served for the same reason I served. Now they are being called traitors.

All this has caused me to forget my political correctness. Instead of getting rid of my books I may hang a Confederate Flag in my front yard and put up a picture of Robert E. Lee on the porch.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

This week the famous Texas Stadium was demolished. The stadium had been the home of the Dallas Cowboys since it opened on October 23, 1971. It survived for almost 39 years. It had the famous hole in the roof so that God could watch his team play. It was the home of many football greats and one of the greatest coaches of all times. It was built to replace the aging Cotton Bowl Stadium, which still stands. I was thrilled to go there, on a few occasions, when the Temple High School team was once great and made it to state playoff games. I even got to see my son’s name displayed on the big score board when, as drum major, he marched in with the Temple High Band.

Now in our throw away society the great stadium is gone. We use buildings for a while and then just board them up or demolish them and move onto something more fancy. We keep using these super building materials that are made of so-called durable stuff that is outdated a few week after it is used. Everything supposedly keeps getting better, but we still discard it before the warranty expires. Nothing electronic last. Computers, recording media, cell phones and just about everything else is outdated or a piece of junk in a matter of months.

In contrast we have something like the Roman Coliseum that was built in 80 AD. It was almost as big as Texas Stadium and would seat over 50,000 spectators. It was the home of gladiatorial contest and really featured some good stuff like, gladiators killing each other and hunting wild beast that roamed around the arena. Hunts and battles were staged in the arena. They even filled it with water and had a battle of sailing ships. The Colosseum (Roman Coliseum) has stood as a symbol of the grandeur of Rome. It has also been used for housing, as a fortress and as a Christian Shrine. Many Christians were fed to the lions as entertainment for the spectators. The Colosseum (Roman Coliseum) has been picked apart for the past several hundred years but is now a major tourist attraction.

I’m sorry that Texas Stadium had to go. It would have made a fantastic tourist attraction to remind us of the the team that was once great and was in fact “God’s Team.” I don’t think God cares much about that bunch of thug millionaires anymore. It’s too bad that they couldn’t have had the current owner of the Cowboys thrown to the lions as a final event in the stadium. That would have drawn a big crowd. I might have left the porch to see that one.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Darwin Awards are a designation given to someone who has eliminated him/herself from the gene pool doing some stupid act. Muffling the explosion of a stick of dynamite by holding it between your legs is an example. Those tuning a radio or using a hair dryer while standing in a tub of water are other candidates for the award, which is usually given posthumously. I want to have another category for the award for those who do acts or say stupid things but are not eliminated from the genetic pool. This latter group remains on the planet to further dilute the pool with stupid people.

Yesterday there was a good candidate for this new category. A so-called diplomat from the tiny oil-rich country of Qatar sneaked a smoke in the lavatory of a United Airlines flight from Washington DC to Denver. When confronted about the smell he remarked that he was trying to light his shoe, in reference to the shoe bomber. This set off an immediate alert. Jets were deployed as escort and the airliner reduced it’s altitude and hastened to land. After landing the other passengers were detained for questioning. This idiot smoker should have been shot on the spot and sent to Allah to be with his virgins. He was just joking.

I also experienced another candidate yesterday. This was a doctor who had to be in his early 50s. We were sitting at the same table, having lunch, prior to my lecture on the “Deaths of American Presidents.” The projector was on as we were eating and a picture of Dwight Eisenhower was displayed on the screen. The picture is an introduction to my lecture. The intellectual giant of a doctor ask me if this guy had been a General as well as President. I started to just cancel my lecture because I knew that he and the 150 other people in the audience would, likewise, have no appreciation for history and the US Presidents. I just wanted to say, “beam me up Scottie there is no intelligent life down here.” In the case of the audience, I was wrong. The lecture was well received. This brilliant lunch partner was a college graduate, but where he has been is a mystery. He was like an alien from another planet. It’s hard to believe that anyone his age would have no knowledge of World War II. During the course of my lecture I talked about the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy and I’m sure these were breaking news items to him.

My spouse and I are thinking about getting a dog to have as an intellectual companion on the porch. It would be rare to have a dog to ever qualify for a Darwin Award. Humans are standing in line to receive the award. Some will be eliminated from the gene pool but, unfortunately, more will remain to continue to dilute the pool with idiocy.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

I have never been much of a believer in conspiracy theories. For example, I have never believed there was a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy. I’m now beginning to think I was wrong, not about Kennedy, but about other things.

I think there may be a conspiracy to make the Pope resign. I’m not a Catholic or a big supporter of the Pope but recent events make me suspect there is a move to oust him, not by just a few dissenters but by a more sinister plot. The New York Times waited until after the healthcare reform legislation passed to blast the Pope and make it a big news item. The waiting was calculated. This liberal rag sheet controls much of public opinion. The resignation of the Pope would be very damaging to the entire Christian faith. There are also very right wing, fundamentalist Christians who get a lot of publicity and are damaging the image of the entire Christian community. I’m beginning to suspect there is a more sinister force at work to undermine our Christian foundation as a nation. There are efforts to remove the Ten Commandments from public places, eliminate the word God from the Pledge of Allegiance and eliminate prayer in schools. Perhaps it’s just the Devil. The only good thing that has happened recently is the President went to church on Easter Sunday but even this was carefully plotted. He attended a church located near the site of a recent shooting, and this was orchestrated to calm the fears and unrest in a very troubled part of DC.

The Pope has done enough to cause him to be under fire. He has ignored the sexual abuse scandals in the US and Europe. He didn’t alert the civilian authorities or discipline priest involved in sexual abuse when he served as Archbishop in Germany. In 2006 he enraged the Muslim world when he quoted a Byzantine emperor who called Islam, “evil and inhumane.” In 2009 he caused outrage when he denied excommunication of bishops who denied central elements of the Holocaust. He tried to please Catholic conservatives by restating his belief that the Catholic Church is the only true church. Many think his views are narrow and regressive and make it difficult for the church to move forward in the modern world.

All this is far to complex for me on the porch, but I’m suspicious that the Pope is going to be forced to resign and this will make all the atheist, non-believers, Muslims and Jews in the world happy. It will be a step backward for all Christianity and allow whatever sinister force is behind all this to triumph and further weaken America. I’m beginning to sound a lot like Pat Robertson, so I had better get back to just reading Huck Finn and my other Mark Twain books.

Friday, April 02, 2010

People are usually dug in on the subjects of religion and politics. They believe their view is the correct one and don’t want to be confused with the facts. We have seen this in a big way with the actions of Congress. The Republicans just said no to everything on healthcare reform and the Democrats pushed their agenda through regardless of public opinion and the views of the Republicans. Are these two groups from the same country? It doesn’t sound like it.

Christians, Muslims and Jews come from the same God but you would never know it from hearing them talk or even reading their Holy Scriptures. Each believes their view is the right one and everyone else is dead wrong. The Muslims even believe those with an opposing view need to die.

Atheists don’t believe in anything. They apparently think there was just a collection of gases floating around in space that somehow came together to form the living creatures of today. That’s a Jim and Huck Finn mentality, as described by Mark Twain, when they talked about the stars. They talked about whether the stars were made or just happened. “Jim he allowed they was made.” Huck allowed they happened because it would take too long to make that many. Jim said, “the moon could a laid them.” Huck thought that was sort of reasonable because he had seen a frog lay most as many eggs, so it could be done.

I also agree with Jim. I don’t think the stars just happened but they were made. They were not laid by the moon but by the hand of God. Every time I have heard a newborn baby cry, witnessed the blossoming of spring, or seen a beautiful sunset I have witnessed the handiwork of God. These events didn’t just happen. Living organisms and the universe were carefully constructed.

This weekend we celebrate an event that took place 2000 years ago. That event didn’t just happen it was planned and even predicted. It was made by God for the salvation of man. For years it has sparked much controversy and many do not believe it happened. As I sit on the porch and look up at all those stars, Huck and Jim talked about, I certainly believe as if the event took place yesterday.