Monday, June 20, 2011

A lot of words seem to be disappearing from our everyday language. Words like; thank you, excuse me, pardon me, I’m sorry, and hello are used much less frequently than in years past. Many older folks still use the terms, but they are becoming extinct in the vocabulary of the young.

Today, was a good example for me. I went to the post office to mail a couple of letters and on exiting rushed to the door to help a young lady struggling with lugging a baby in one of those large baby seats. I successfully got the door open for her to make an easy exit and she said nothing. No thank you, kiss my foot or anything. If I had dropped over with a heart attack she would have just stepped over my body and kept going. Unfortunately, her actions are becoming all too frequent and the norm for today’s society. I was raised adhering to the Boy Scout Oath and have tried to help those in need or in distress. I also said “thank you” if someone helped me, and “excuse me” if I inconvenienced anyone. Rude is now the expected behavior.

Personal correspondence is a thing of the past. Most of this is now by e-mail or texting. With texting there is no greeting. With e-mail and a rare letter the greeting is now “Hi.” “Hi” has replaced “hello”and "Dear." It’s a much more informal world, so I guess “Hi” is the appropriate word.

Finally, the words “I’m sorry” are rarely uttered in this day and time. Nobody apologizes for a goof, it’s always someone else’s fault. There are so many lawyers; they have indoctrinated us in this philosophy. Every error is somebody else’s fault and they must pay.

For a few weeks we are living in a temporary house while our new home is completed. I don’t have a porch to calm me down, so my blogs are the ravings of an old man. I don’t even have the deer to rant about anymore. I awake in the morning and look at the drought, parched yard in this place and am blessed not to have a herd of deer staring back at me. I’m not sorry about that and also say thank you for the ordinances or whatever that keeps them off the city streets.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I spent the morning in the Verizon store straightening out my multiple communications paraphernalia. I have more stuff than the Apollo astronauts when they went to the moon. My latest addition is a 4G Broadband Mobile Internet Access. It’s a little box, smaller than a cell phone that lets you get on the internet from anyplace. No more paying large fees in fancy hotels to get computer access and you can hookup anywhere Verizon has coverage, which is everywhere. It’s very fast and cost $50 a month. I’m going to use this for internet access in our new home since we are in a remote location and the telephone doesn’t have DSL and there is no cable hookup.

This internet box is only one of my Verizon toys. We have two cell phones. My phone is a Droid which is the same as an iphone with dozens of applications including; GPS, e-mail, facebook and all other internet connections. I can tunes into ball games through ESPN or get instant weather reports including Doppler pictures that are real time. That little phone lets you have the world in your hands.

I have mixed feelings about all this fancy communication. I still like my old phone with a cord that just rings rather than playing some fancy tune. That old phone has the ear piece over the ear and the mouth piece in front of the mouth and I can actually hear the person I’m talking to. There is also just too much dependence on the phone these days with everyone having an answering system. I can never talk to anyone in a business I try to contact without going through a complicated menu of punch 1,2,3 etc. I’m always placed on hold to listen to music and some voice telling me that all representatives are currently busy and please hold because my business is very important to them. Humbug!. Where is the secretary or other human? The phone is the reason unemployment is so high.

I long for the old days when I picked up the phone and the operator said number please. My number was 134. The operator probably listened to all the conversations but she could also find anyone for you. That was real personal service.

Don’t guess I should complain because all the numbers I need to know are programmed into my phone and all I have to do is push a button and the party I’m calling addresses me by name when they answer because the have caller ID. If I don’t want to call, I now simply send a text message. All this is pretty fancy stuff, but it comes with a price tag. My communication bill per month is now as much as I used to pay for groceries for 6 months. Oh well, talking rather than eating is a good way to Keep the weight down. Maybe I should write a book on that subject.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It’s only June and we have already had several days when the temperature broke 100 degrees. July and August are going to be miserable. To make matters worse, there has been no rain. We are in the mist of a devastating drought. Even more damaging is that we have slipped into another recession. All this is a possible replay of the Great Depression. We have another Dust Bowl, unemployment and no money. It’s going to be a long hot summer.

Even with all the heat, I prefer summer to winter. The other great thing about summer is the food. Food is just better in the summer. Fresh vegetables can’t be beaten. Homegrown tomatoes are a gift from the Gods. I can eat tomatoes from Mexico and other foreign places during the winter if they are disguised in a hamburger or salad with a lot of dressing. The tomatoes grown locally and ripened on the vine are a gourmet delight and I like to just slice them and eat them with other fresh vegetables, like peas, corn and okra. Of course, fried chicken is a perfect compliment to a tasty plate of fresh vegetables. Local watermelon is also a summer delicacy as well as peaches from the orchards in East Texas. Ice cream is nectar from the Gods that is best eaten on a hot summer day. I have paid multi-bucks for meals in fancy restaurants but none of these places compare to the summer delicacies prepared at home.

Other important facts about tomatoes are; they must be obtained straight from your own or a friends garden and be firm and red at the time of picking. They are also good if obtained from a local farmer who may be selling then by the side of the road. Even homegrown tomatoes seem to lose their rich taste if they are cycled through a store. Most are pretty good if bought at a farmer’s market, but sometimes the foreign substitute can sneak into these places.

Anyway, a friend just gave us a big batch of the red beauties from their garden, so I know what I will be eating for the next few days. Nothing in winter can beat the summer delicacies and the satisfaction of a home cooked meal. Even the news of a recession is tolerable with that kind of feast.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

We have been shopping for fixtures for the new home. We are also looking at counter tops for the kitchen and bathrooms. Granite is the “in” thing for the kitchen and there are various grades of this stuff. The bathroom may be marble or tile. It’s all very confusing and expensive.

Plumbing fixtures are the other items we have researched. It’s amazing how toilets have changed. Manufacturers are now designing them to use less water for flushing. There are now big holes in the tank to allow a larger quantity of water to flood the bowl very rapidly and produce a forceful flush. Unless the occupant is holding tight they may be sucked into the sewer system in the twinkling of an eye. The toilets come in various colors and heights and can be attached to the floor or wall. They have become a work of art. The internal mechanism in the tank is very complicated and looks like the interior of a nuclear reactor and can produce a melt down of the deposit in the bowl.

The toilet has come a long way since I was a kid and used the bathroom facilities of my uncle. He had an outdoor privy with a single hole. Some folks had a two holer so another person could keep you company for a dual evacuation. We didn’t have toilet tissue. That would have been a luxury item. We used a Sears and Roebuck catalog which gave a slick wipe.

The privy could be a dangerous place and was a common home for the black widow spider that could inflict a poisonous and painful bite. Wasp and other creatures also inhabited the privy. The privy was always located a safe distance from the house to minimize the odor. Lime was sprinkled on the excrement. I never saw my uncle clean the facility but that must have been an unpleasant chore.

Anyway, science has given us some amazing things in the past few years, but the toilet ranks up there with rocket ships, the atomic bomb and the CT scanner. Just hope I don’t encounter my demise with one of those powerful flushes.