Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

The last blogging opportunity of the year and I have nothing to write about. Until you find yourself obligated to write something nearly every day, you don't realize how boring your life can be. I follow several blogs and am amazed at the ability of some folks to be creative, funny, interesting, and thoughtful, day after day.

It will be another subdued night for us, New Year arrival, or not. We have a movie to watch, so that will probably take us up to the midnight hour. It’s no use trying to get to sleep earlier, as one neighbor usually fires a shotgun and another launches fireworks as the clock strikes twelve. The dogs will panic and bark, so sleep will have to wait until everything quiets down.

Here’s hoping that by this time next year we will find our Republic on the road to recovery…without blood in the streets.

Monday, December 28, 2009

One Year Almost Gone and Another Approaches

I might be crazy, but I can already feel the stirring of spring about this time of the year. Despite the daylight hours being only seconds longer, it's noticable already. Even the Cardinals are singing their spring mating song.

The hydrangias are expressing similar optimism, as fresh, green growth is already showing. Ditto for our mutant weeping cherry. As I was removing the Christmas lights, I saw new buds that weren't there three weeks ago when I put up the lights.

I did manage to get all the Christmas lights down and packed away. Only the tree remains to be stripped and banished to the attic for another year.

I've been working on the replacement engine for my convertible. It's been sitting in a corner waiting to be assembled since before we moved to East Texas and I finally got around to putting the pieces together. I'm missing some small parts that are on order, but when they arrive, I should finish in a couple of hours. It sure is nice to have a warm, brightly lit shop to work in.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Folklore or Fact?

It doesn't show very well in this photo, but there is a bright ring around the moon tonight. According to the experts, it doesn't mean bad weather is on the way, but according to the achy muscles and joints in my body, we're in for a storm. The Weather Channel agrees with the experts, as they are calling for only a slight chance of showers on Tuesday.

I guess we'll see who calls it right, and if I'm wrong, I can always blame it on impending senility. If they're wrong, they'll have to blame it on bad science.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Roy Orbison at Christmas

Christmases Past

Our schoolhouse was slightly larger than this one. It had three windows on each side, but it was much the same design.

As some of you know, my first eight years of formal schooling took place in a one room country school bereft of such luxuries as electricity and running water. Toilet facilities consisted of his and hers outhouses a hundred feet from the schoolhouse and water was hauled from farm wells to be carefully rationed out by the teacher.
The intense cold of the North Dakota winter was kept at bay by an ancient pot-bellied stove that the older kids kept stoked with chunks of locally mined lignite, and the glowing ashes from the coal stove were spread outside the door to help melt the ever present packed snow and ice in winter.
Despite rustic accommodations, the rural schools were the social centers of the townships and some type of event was held there on every major holiday during the school year. Christmas was no exception. In fact, it was the biggest celebration of the year. The modern issue of the separation of church and state was non-existent in a part of the country where the right to worship, or not worship, was respected and tolerated by everyone. There was even a framed copy of the Ten Commandments hanging on the schoolhouse wall and the ACLU might be disappointed to learn that religion in our schools didn’t turn everyone into Christian fanatics bent on denying Atheists their right to not believe.
Immediately following Thanksgiving, the teacher and students would begin preparing entertainment for the Christmas party that traditionally took place on the last day of school before Christmas vacation began. A play was always the main event and every student took part, often reciting their part from a simple script written by the teacher. I seem to recall that every year it was a story about the birth of Jesus, presented in different ways, which gave us the opportunity to sing different Christmas carols.
The day of the Christmas party, we would create a stage and curtains at one end of the room by hanging borrowed sheets on stove pipe wire strung across the room. Fathers would bring planks and concrete blocks from home to make benches for the audience to sit on. They also brought gas lanterns and kerosene lamps so we could hold the party after dark, which fell very early at that latitude, only a day or two after the winter solstice.
All the students would go home after classes, change into their best clothes, and return to the school for one last practice to see if everyone had learned their lines. The parents and neighbors would arrive early, each bringing casseroles and trays of goodies to be shared by everyone.
The play would last perhaps 10 minutes, then the kids would sing secular carols, and the best readers might read a poem, or short story. Then it was time to dig in and visit with friends and neighbors for the last time before the new year began.
No matter how long I live, I will never forget the sights, sounds and scents from those simple gatherings. Christmas was unapologetically called Christmas and people celebrated the birth of Jesus without a concern for political correctness. It was a good time for our country, and I was fortunate to have lived it.

Merry Christmas, Everyone.

Monday, December 21, 2009

When I Need a Music Fix

In my opinion, there has never been a better singing voice in the popular music field than that of Roy Orbison. His new website has a great feature called Roy Orbison Radio that features all of his music, as well as interviews and interesting bits about his life and career.
Roy Orbison Radio

Texas' Grass Roots Candidate for Governor

She has an uphill battle ahead of her, but word about her candidacy is finally getting out. If she doesn't win the Republican nomination, I hope she runs as an indpendent.

A Letter to the Editor

If the blogs I follow are any indication of typical blog activity before the holidays, I don't feel too guilty for not writing. In a lazy attempt to fill the blogging gap, I'll post a copy of the letter I wrote to the editor of our local paper today.

"If the health bill abomination comes to pass, the time will have arrived for Governor Perry to show some courageous leadership by openly and loudly reasserting Texas’ right to nullify all federal laws that are first, unconstitutional, and second, contrary to the best interests of Texans.
Some states might be content to subserve themselves to power hungry statists who will throw them a financial bone for their acquiescence, but I hope those of us fortunate enough to live in Texas can still find the spine to avoid losing our republic. Unless the individual states declare and enforce their sovereignty, the federal government will certainly grow so huge that it will be impossible to dismantle that bloated, inefficient, money-sucking leviathan on the Potomac.
To prove to the world that we are serious federalists, our state and local leaders need to shift their focus to developing and improving Texas based manufacturing, agriculture, energy production, banking, and anything else that will allow us to operate our own state without federal funding. If we can keep Texas self-sufficient and monetarily sound, we could tell Washington to their funds with all the controlling strings attached, but as long as we are content to lash ourselves to Washington’s whims and dictates, we will continue to lose our wealth, our historical sovereignty, and our liberty.
I recall an old story from back in the fifties or sixties, about a communist politician visiting an auto factory in Michigan. He inquired who owned the factory and was told it belonged to the investors and the stockholders. He then proudly stated that in his country, all the people owned the factories. The American pointed out the window and told the Marxist that in this country, all the people might not own the factory, but they owned all the cars in the parking lot.
Now we have regressed to the same point that Marxist was so proud to brag about half a century ago. The government owns the auto factories and the people can’t afford to buy the cars. Perhaps the government owns most of Michigan today, but if we get off our butts, we might yet prevent it from happening here."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pre-Christmas Catch-up

The weeks before Christmas move at a snail’s pace when you are a child, but it certainly isn’t that way when you reach senior citizen status. It seems as if Christmas has been galloping our way since last January, and I can hear the hoof beats already. Unlike most years, I’m actually done shopping, so I shouldn’t complain. The faster it arrives, the faster spring gets here.
For the first time since we moved to East Texas, we’re hosting a Christmas open house for the neighborhood and some of my coffee buddies and their wives. It’s fun to have a party during the holidays, but the party prep and later cleanup are not on my favorites list.
The weather has been typical Texas…schizophrenic. Two days ago it was 70 degrees and while I was cleaning leaves from the gutters I got enough sun to turn a little bit red. But, not to worry, it didn’t last and winter is back, though it’s barely freezing at night and that's what's forecast all week.

Looks like we're going to have another quiet Christmas with just us and the dogs, as no one can get away until Saturday, so like our delayed Thanksgiving, we'll have a delayed Christmas.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


If ever I acquire a burning desire to go exploring the ancient ruins of some distant continent, I’m going to save my money and instead spend a few days exploring the ancient contents of our freezers and pantry shelves. No expensive travel is involved and it might take as long, be almost as interesting, and contain artifacts nearly as old as those in some Amazonian temple.
Looking for a menu change this morning, I searched the freezer for the bag of waffles that I know I put there a couple of weeks ago…or was it several months ago? Whatever.
I pushed aside the two bags of special pasta sauce from last Christmas…moved the 4 boxes of pie crusts with one missing from each box, then paused for a moment to study the contents of a bag that looked mysteriously like the dressing from Thanksgiving…2008…or was it meatloaf?
When at last I found the frost encased Zip-bag I was seeking, the contents were barely discernable. They were disk-shaped and about the right diameter, but I had to put on my bifocals to be sure I was holding the extra waffles from some previous Sunday breakfast, instead of the bag of hailstones we collected and put in the freezer a few years ago.
It was a memorable breakfast. I don’t recall ever eating waffles that tasted like they had been seasoned with the fragrance of year-old ground turkey, pork roast, pizza, green peppers, ham, and smoked brisket, then dried on the countertop for three days.
I think I’ll have a bowl of fresh-cooked oatmeal tomorrow morning while I read the Sunday travel section in the Tyler paper. Maybe they’ll have an article on exploring the Amazon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Date That Will Live in Infamy...Ignored Again

What a shame that so many important historical events are being ignored by the mainstream media. I watched and listened on November 22nd, and hardly a mention was made of the assassination of our president. Today it was the treacherous Sunday morning attack on our ships an planes at Pearl Harbor in 1941 that failed to headline the news.

I listened to radio and watched television most of the day, and about all the mainstream media covered was the EPS's idiotic pronouncement that carbon dioxide is harmful to humans, and the start of the convention of liberty-thieves and environmental hypocrites in Copenhagen.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that we deserve what has been happening to our country.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Post Holiday Stuff

One major holiday down, and two more to go before we can relax again. The older I get, the less I look forward to this part of the year. Christmas was so much fun years ago, but between the crass commercialization and ever increasing expectations, the fun is long gone.
The weather has been nearly perfect for the past week, so I managed to get nearly all the Christmas decorations up. Last year, a circuit breaker kept tripping from the additional load of several C9 light strings along the sidewalk and driveway, so this year I bought some of the new LCD strings. So far there has been no overload, but the lights don’t match the rest of the clear lights on the house. The LCD lamps are supposed to be clear, but they have a light blue color and are much dimmer than the standard bulbs. They don’t look as good, but I guess the lower electric bill makes them worth it, and if Al Gore is happy, I’m ecstatic.
Our first killing frost is forecast for Wednesday night, so I’m moving plants from the patio to the house. Some of them have gotten huge and they barely fit inside the house. We’ll have to move some furniture just to get enough room to walk. I sprayed the plants with insecticide yesterday, so I think the bugs are all gone, however, it remains to be seen if any toads or lizards have hitched a ride inside, as they did last year.
We’ve been talking about buying a greenhouse, so maybe we’ll make that our shared Christmas gift. It sure would make winter storage easier and at the prices they want for plants now, it sure beats buying new ones every year.
My entries will probably be hit and miss…mostly miss…until the hectic holiday season is history, but I will try and post something at least once a week…or so. I managed to get this written while our clandestine Muslim president was lying about the Afghanistan situation, as I find it too difficult to watch him speak without upchucking.
It began raining a few minutes ago, so I most likely won’t get to post this tonight. Anything more than moderately heavy clouds blocks our satellite Internet service. I sure wish we could get DSL out here.