Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We are a very paranoid society and nothing illustrates this more than racial profiling. I know there are inequities that are disgusting but we have carried the paranoia of racial profiling too far. A little profiling would sure help streamline things. The security hoops we had to go through with our recent trip to see Laura Bush and the absurd obstacles on our way to board an airplane are examples. Is it really necessary to frisk a kid or an old grandmother?

The sub-human idiots who give their lives as suicide bombers seem to have diminished a bit. Maybe they have run out of folks who don’t see the future in this endeavor. The suicide bombers have all been promised they will go to heaven and have a covey of virgins for their pleasure. With seeing pictures of virgins like Susan Boyle I suspect this may have changed some minds. Hearing a beautiful voice in the promised land is probably not what the bombers had in mind.

Anyway, the people who have been the terrorist and doing the bombing are all swarthy looking, so it makes sense to pull these people aside for a little more frisking. Some groups in Arizona are opposed to the new law that allows a policeman to check and see if they are an illegal alien. I guess they just want our borders to be completely open so Mexicans can pour across for free medical care and every other right granted to a US citizen. It’s okay for them to come across but they should do so in an orderly manner and be granted a work permit and the opportunity to become a citizen if they want to pursue this. After all, they are the only ones who do the manual work in this country. How are the authorities in Arizona going to identify illegals if they don’t ask? I seriously doubt if the authorities in Arizona would be asking blacks or grey-headed grandmothers if they are an illegal from Mexico. Maybe another option is just to annex the entire nation of Mexico and add that to the national debt since it is already so much it really doesn’t matter. Bring on the Muslims and everyone. Bring us your tired and hungry and we will care for them all as we disappear into the sink hole of debt..

So, if there were any authorities to check out the destruction of my yard by something eating all the plants, I would say look for a four-legged creature that looks like a big Bambi and don’t bother the elderly couple who walk by my porch every morning. I’m afraid to say anything about my problem because our Salado police would probably end up water boarding the elderly couple to get a confession.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My spouse loves to read biographies. She enjoyed the recent book by Laura Bush, “Spoken From The Heart.” So, today when Laura was at Fort Hood, for a book signing, we were invited by my daughter-in-law to go to the event with her family. It was quite an experience.

My son drove, and getting through the gate at Fort Hood was the first challenge. We were turned back and had to go to the Visitor’s Center for a pass. This required extensive questioning and documentation about the car and personal identification to obtain a permit. On reentering the gate everyone was required to present their drivers license but the kids were not interrogated at that point. We could have easily slipped a dwarf terrorist through this checkpoint.

When we got to the location of the signing, at the PX area, it was unbelievable. There was everything from secret service down through every grade of federal employee, checking and approving our passage. We went through large metal detectors and emptied our pockets on two occasions to gain entry. Our body was even scanned by a hand held detector. We had wrist identification bands attached and the books we were to have autographed were scanned. There were over 25 people involved in this process. It made airport security seem like a picnic. There were even people walking down the line to keep us against the wall. All these people were acting official, and were serious about their business, as if they were looking for Osama bin Laden or other known terrorist on the loose. Wow, all this to see Laura Bush.

Laura was behind a barricade surrounded by another covey of protective guards. With all this trouble I was expecting to get to see her in the nude or something else spectacular. I thought she might have at least danced or performed in some way. But no, we were whisk by her as she automatically signed the books in a flash, with a big fixed smile on her heavily made up face. She was perfectly dressed and polite but only allowed about 5 seconds contact. There was absolutely nothing personal, just a signature.

I’m not even sure it was Laura Bush that we saw. I think it may have been a mannequin that looked like Laura Bush. Anyway, our time of exposure from seeing her until the quick signing was about 15 seconds. I’m sure we were the only people, not associated with the military, who attended the signing. No one in their right mind is going to go through that much trouble to get through security, unless it is an actual terrorist who would have been successful. The only people they stop are idiots like our family.

My wife did enjoy the occasion and I mainly got my kicks out of being with the grandkids and just going through the ridiculous experience of getting on the army post to see a celebrity. Next time, however, I think I will just stay on the porch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The oil spill story and BP got a little relief from the media this week when everything focused on the big mouth of General Stanley McChrystal, the military commander in Afghanistan. McChrystal bad-mouthed the President and his administration about their understanding and support of the war in Afghanistan. His remarks were published in the Rolling Stone magazine and infuriated the President. He has been summoned to the White House and will likely be fired or forced to resign.

McChrystal is a hyperactive, brilliant guy who sleeps four hours a night, runs seven miles a day and eats one meal a day. I think he has spouted off because he wants, personally, to get out of Afghanistan, and doesn’t want our failure there to go down as his fault. Even with the big troop surge that McChrystal requested we are fighting a losing battle. The ignorant people of that country don’t want to be liberated or change their ways. They are content with Taliban rule and continuing their miserable existence in the Stone Age. All they care about is living in the dirt, starving, growing dope and keeping the women enslaved and pregnant. They are happy to not shave or bath and just squat all day. We will never kill Osama bin Laden in those mountains protected by unbathed guys with rocket launchers slung over their shoulders. We don’t even know what these people look like. They are completely covered from head to toe with a dirty sheet and carry a machine gun. The only body part exposed is a dirty beard. As far as we can tell our troops are just firing into the wind. Our soldiers are marching up and down the road tripping roadside bombs and leaving their arms and legs behind. We never even see the enemy. All we have accomplished in our several years of fighting is to maim many American kids who now have to face life as amputees and try to function on artificial limbs with markedly disfigured bodies.

McChrystal realizes all these problems, and the hopelessness of our situation. He has found a way out. He will come out a hero. If he leaves his post and we lose, he can always say it wasn’t his fault because the administration didn’t listen to him. If by some miracle we win, which is highly unlikely, he will claim it was his troop surge and strategy that led us to victory. In any event, he will leave the military and get a high paying job as a CEO of some company and make millions. He will also give speeches at $100,000 a pop. The loser in the whole affair will ultimately be President Obama and the American people. Osama bin Laden will remain hidden in the mountains terrorizing the world.

Unfortunately, Afghanistan will go down as another one of our lost wars that was unnecessary. The only way to have won in Afghanistan would have been to sterilize the entire place with a few well placed nukes, but that would have been barbaric and not fighting fairly. It’s more proper to crash planes into the World Trade Center Towers. It’s almost as bad as the losing battle I fight with the deer in my backyard. My command post is the porch but it’s sure a lot nicer that the miserable place where McChrystal lives. No wonder he wants out

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I have always been intrigued by Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. I can’t buy the whole thing, but I do think we have evolved within our species and in some aspects we have reached the pinnacle and are now headed in the other direction. There is even evidence that we are moving in both directions. In recent years, some have become stronger physically as evidenced by the many sporting world records that have been broken. Of course, steroids, shoes and equipment have contributed to much of this advance in physical feats. It is confusing, because when we see the specimens on the football field it’s a good argument that we are going back to ape status. We have certainly regressed in music as we hear the deafening sounds of rock and rap.

Certainly, the human brain has advanced in many areas. There have been numerous, startling inventions and discoveries such as the airplane, automobile, rockets, computers, television, antibiotics, DNA, birth control pills and the ability to create life by cloning. We have even put a man on the moon and invented an atomic bomb to destroy the human race. Advances in the ability to communicate are phenomenal, starting from drums and smoke signals and progressing to the telegraph, telephone, e-mail and now text messaging. With things like the iphone and the new ipad we literally have the world in our hands through the internet. Through satellite contact, we are anywhere on the planet and beyond with the speed of light.

With all these advances, in many ways, we seem to be moving backward with communication. We have lost our ability to write a letter or to communicate in longhand. We were typing, but this has evolved into text messaging. Facebook and other media allow us to stay in contact, but with a more abbreviated language. Text messaging resorts to all sorts of abbreviations and symbols. This is even spilling over to oral communication. Teenagers speak in rapid high pitch tones for speed and no one seems to articulate their words or speak distinctly. It’s enough to drive Professor Higgins of “My Fair Lady” crazy. Soon we will be communicating with mere grunts and groans. I ask you, what kind of words are; AML, NE, RUCMNG, BCNU, D8, XO, LOL, NBO, NP, ADBB and ☺. Why can’t the English learn to speak?

Yes, I think I believe in evolution. We are now going the other way. At least we can’t return to a fish, because the ocean is filled with oil and that would guarantee our extinction. I hope I can just stabilize on the porch even though no one understands my archaic language.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I have written before about my love for the old Southwest Conference. I grew up with those football rivalries and always looked forward to the champion playing in the Cotton Bowl. I loved stars like Doak Walker and Bobby Layne. When the Big 12 came along I really lost interest, but still followed my losing Baylor team because it is my Alma Mater. I never expected Baylor to win but have been very proud of them in the past few years with Men’s and Lady Bears Basketball.

The latest shuffling with the PAC 10 has been sickening. It all boils down to money. PAC 10 persuaded Colorado to join and they are nothing. I don’t think Colorado even has a baseball team. I hope this whole shuffling process blows up in the face of the PAC 10 big wigs.

It would be great if the Texas teams could stick together in a conference of their own and again include schools like TCU, SMU, Rice and University of Houston. A rebirth of the old Southwest Conference would again make me a fan.

The college football teams no longer represent the student body of the schools. Each school has its own mini-pro team consisting of hired gladiators who are preparing themselves to become millionaires in the pros followed by a life of crime including; murderers, rapist, child molesters and drug addicts. Most of the apes playing football can hardly read. At least it gets them off the street for a while.

Even many years ago, when I was in Baylor, the football team was just above the ape on the evolutionary scale. A friend of mine was a tutor for the Baylor football team. I took a botany coarse with the team. They had access to the test for study and still flunked.

I do hope the Texas teams stay together, otherwise it is going to cost the state millions of dollars. Baylor would probably end up playing the Waco high schools and maybe even Temple. Temple is one they could probably beat as long as the Wildcats keep their current coach.

Well it doesn’t make much difference to me on the porch. I’m now more interested in watching the riots and the spectators getting trampled to death at the World Cup Soccer matches. Talk about a boring game, soccer is almost a bad as watching baseball on TV.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

On most major transactions in my life I have rarely paid the asking price. I always pay more. The purchase of a car is a good example. The salesman will quote one price and at closing there are numerous add on cost that raise the actual amount I pay significantly. Taxes, license, and multiple other added features are killers. Computers, TVs and other electronic equipment always come with the push by the salesperson to buy an extended warranty, which is worthless and nothing but pure profit for the business. I won’t even begin to talk about the add on cost for building a house. The price of material increases daily and the final cost may be far above what you had planned or even imagined.

Everything we purchase has gone up in price and down in quality and quantity. A nickel candy bar now cost over 50 cents and is smaller. There are larger packages and bottles for most every product, but the contents are smaller and we are paying more per ounce for the material than in the past. It looks like we are getting more when in fact we are being duped and cheated.

Diogenes is one of my favorite philosophers. He was a Greek philosopher who carried a lantern around in search of an honest man. He was known as Diogenes the Cynic and founded the Philosophy of Cynicism. He believed we should study the dog. He thought the dog was a virtuous animal and knew instinctively who was friend and foe. Mark Twain probably loved Diogenes. Twain said, not to ask St. Peter to let your dog into Heaven because admission to Heaven is by favor and not merit. If it was by merit the dog would be admitted and you would be left out.

Even the cost of my sitting on the porch has gone up. Electricity is higher and I am no cooler or warmer than in the past. As a matter of fact, since I have adjusted the temperature to save a little I am more miserable. What I pay for my satellite TV coverage is far more than what I was originally quoted. The books I buy are also more expensive and the contents are worse than those filled with the words of writers in the past. I also pay a lot more for what is now called music.

So, is it any wonder why I like Diogenes and the philosophy of Cynicism. I am going to start carrying a lantern in search of an honest man.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

As I get older, it’s frightening to see the bodily functions deteriorate. My spouse has had poor hearing for years but I have now surpassed her. We are constantly shouting at each other. A stranger might think we are mad, but it’s just our normal conversational tone.

In a way, the loss of hearing is the most amusing of the sad losses of bodily functions. This week, I got a big laugh out of one of my miss-hearings. The Chief of the Coast Guard in the Gulf, who is overseeing the oil spill operation, is Thad Allen. It was only a couple of days ago that I realized his name was Thad when his name was scrolled across the TV screen. I had been thinking all along the commentators were saying Fat Allen. While he is a little on the chubby side, I didn’t think he deserved the name Fat. I’m sure glad to have that straight.

One of the problems that makes our situation worse is most of the news commentators are now women with high-pitched voices. They speak very rapidly with a high squeaky voice, so we hear only about 1 in every10 words. Long gone are the deep mellow voices of the Walter Cronkites of the world. It makes the news a mystery when we only get fragments. It’s just as well, because the news is so bad.

We are finally going to have to break down and get a hearing aid. We are missing too much of what the grandkids have to say. We will have to shuck our vanity and wear one of those devices sticking out of the ear canal. At least they have gotten smaller and the wires are gone. Many of the young folks are now wearing those huge telephone gadgets permanently implanted over the side of their face, so maybe we will be fashionable.

My father who lived to be 93 always had poor vision. Once, when he was developing bad hearing and also had a sinus infection, he remarked that he just needed a new head. I’m about to that point, but in my case I would require a complete body transplant to be half way normal.

Meanwhile, on the porch, I will just crank the TV volume up a few notches and move a little closer. Sometimes, it is an advantage to be hard of hearing and frequently a little amusing when you think someone is named Fat rather than Thad.

Monday, June 07, 2010

In 1528 Cabeza de Vaca, a Spanish explorer, was the first so-called civilized person to set foot on Texas soil. He, along with three other colleagues, wandered across South Texas, the Southwest and northern Mexico for eight years before being rescued. He could have predicted in 1528 where the oil from the present blowout would go ashore and that Texas and Mexico would be spared. How would he have known this before oil was even discovered beneath the sea?

De Vaca set out from Spain in five ships with over 500 people in 1528. They landed in Cuba after a terrible hurricane destroyed two ships and killed 200 in his party. He then departed Cuba with three ships and about 300 remaining people. He was headed for northern Mexico. Navigation was poor in those days. He sailed and sailed and finally put ashore on what is now Tampa, Florida. Why didn’t he cross the Gulf of Mexico? He didn’t know about the swift current of the Gulf Stream and the so-called loop current that we have been hearing about. His ships, like the current oil spill, were pushed east to the beaches of Florida.

De Vaca didn’t know where he was. They made rafts and sailed along the Gulf Coast. Of the 300 who made it to land all but four finally perished. They starved or were killed by Indians. De Vaca and his colleagues survived by adapting to the Indians ways and also practiced healing with some success. He removed an arrow from the chest wall of an Indian and the patient survived. This was the first surgical operation in Texas.

Cabeza de Vaca recorded his experiences in a Journal. He described how the Indians lived along the Gulf Coast. They had abundant oysters, fish and plants to eat. Unfortunately, they would not be able to survive after our current disaster. They would have moved onto higher ground and more fertile territory. We could learn a lesson from de Vaca about the direction of oil flow in the Gulf and we could also learn from his Indian friends the importance of preserving our environment.

As I sit on the porch and read the account of Cavaza de Vaca wandering along the Gulf Coast it make me sad to think that the beauty and the abundant resources from that area have now been destroyed. Like the Indians, the inhabitants ot the Gulf Coast are going to have to move to more fertile ground.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Memorial Day passed without a blog entry in the Journal about those who have served and died for our Country. Memorial Day also unofficially ushers in summer and it has entered with a blast of heat this year.

I’m sure glad we have Memorial Day to remind us of our past wars and those who died in the service of our country. It seems like we are making an exerted effort to forget some of the wars and as the history books are rewritten some may be forgotten altogether.

There is a “politically correct” effort to squelch the Confederacy in the Civil War. It was our most costly war in terms of lives. 618,000 soldiers died in that conflict and 258,000 were Confederates. History books will probably record the Confederates as enemy deaths and not count them among the Americans.

We have been made to feel guilty about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan and the Japanese American internment camps in WWII, so Japan will probably not be mentioned in the history books about their role in WWII. Iran doesn’t believe the holocaust existed, so to avoid risking our relationship with the Muslims, Germany’s role in the war may also be forgotten.

I served during the Viet Nam conflict and that skirmish has also been erased from the memory banks of American history because we lost and folks like Jane Fonda thought we were wrong. I know a large number of people who served in that war and also several who died, were wounded and even captured. They suffered as much as anyone else who has served through the years.

WWI is all but forgotten. I had an uncle who died in that war. That occurred long before I was born, but I have his last letter that serves as a reminder of his life. He died on October 27, 1918 from poison gas used by the Germans and is buried at Plot C Row 15 Grave 11 at St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Thiaucourt, France. The cemetery is pictured above. John Henry Welch was almost literate, but the last sentence of his last letter pretty much sums up the fears and uncertainly of the soldier facing battle. He said, “ I will see you all again someday. I am going to live in hopes anyway.” He was killed a short time later.

Meanwhile, another Memorial Day has come and gone and summer is definitely here and keeping me on the porch. I’m just thankful that I have the freedom to sit on the porch and write what I like on the blog because of people like John Henry Welch.