Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
We woke up to this sight.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
"OK, I'll go and buy one. Are you going to get one on your lunch break? And maybe Rachel can get one on her lunch break," I told her. (Then we will have one for each of our youngest grand children)
"No, you go buy them all," she replied.
"Isn't that against the rules?"
So, I went to the store. There they were with a sign indicating only one per customer per day. I bought one and took it to my truck. Then, I went back and got another one, went to a different check out line and took that to the truck. Then back into the store for the third Zhou Zhou. I felt like that guy in the movie Midnight Express who was caught trying to smuggle cocaine out of Istanbul, except, I didn't get caught. That was the most daring thing I've done since that time I returned a video to a rental store without rewinding it.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
If you liked Freakonomics then you will probably like the latest book by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Superfreakonomics. Steven Levitt is an economist who can sift through mountains of statistics and come up with plausible reasons for the cultural trends in our society. He asks (and answers) such questions as:
- How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?
- Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands?
- Did TV cause a rise in crime?
- Are people hardwired for altruism or selfishness?
- Can eating Kangaroo save the planet?
If you like books that spur you into out-of-the-box thinking then you are in for an entertaining read.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
In grade school we all learn that George Washington cut down a cherry tree. Then when as adults we begin to read history on our own we find that the cherry tree incident was just a legend. Richard Shenkman's book, Legend, Lies, & Cherished Myths of American History is full of information that everyone knows but just isn't true. Some of the actual facts from the back cover:
- The story that Columbus discovered that the world was round was invented by Washington Irving.
- The Pilgrims never lived in log cabins.
- In Concord, Massachusetts, a third of all babies born in the twenty years before the Revolution were conceived out of wedlock.
- Independence wasn't declared on July 4 (and the Liberty Bell was so little regarded that Philadelphia tried to sell it for scrap metal but nobody wanted it.)
- There's no evidence that anyone died in a frontier shootout at high noon.
- After World War II the U.S. Government concluded that Japan would have surrendered within months, even if we had not bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
--Andrew J. Bacevich
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I cut out a cloud shaped paper stencil and held it to the side of the cake while Dorothy sprayed the sky blue. When the stencil was taken away, voila! Clouds. I used my pasta machine to roll out several colors of fondant icing then cut the shapes of the boat, sails, locomotive, etc. with a pizza cutter, then pressed them into the icing. Marley, Hunter, and Jenna helped by taking turns at the pasta machine crank. They also grabbed any scraps of fondant to do their own sculptures.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
The next day I left early and made the 1-1/2 hour drive to Tulsa to get a certified copy. Although I was unable to renew my license with the original birth certificate, I easily obtained a certified copy of my birth certificate with my expired driver's license. The copy has a lot of features that the original was missing, such as numbers, bar codes and a watermark, things that are very important to a bureaucracy.
That afternoon I was back in the agent's office ready to renew. I sat in front of this computerized technical wonder that would electronically take my picture, signature, and finger prints, and then produce a new license. We started the process and then we had this conversation:
She said, "Uh, oh".
"What?", I replied.
"The computer compares the just taken photo with the one from your old license and it's saying 'identification failed' ". She turned her screen around so I could see it and both photos were identical. I hadn't changed in four years. I hadn't even lost any more hair. So she started the process over and had the same results. She called someone in Oklahoma City who could pull up the photos on her computer and authorize the resetting of the local computer in order to proceed with the issuing of the license. After conversing with the woman on the phone for a moment she turned to me and said,
"She said you have a nice beard".
"Tell her I said thank you", I replied.
"She said all the good ones live too far away or are taken," she informed me. My face began to feel warm. The other customers in the office laughed. Well, to make a long story short, I got my license.
I told my 21 year old grand daughter, Tara, the story about what the woman in Oklahoma City said. She said,"When grandma hears that there's going to be a smack down in Oklahoma City." But when Dorothy got home from work and I told her the same story, she just smiled, patted me on the back, and walked away.
Monday, October 05, 2009
We - facing the truth about the American voter he states that
just as the American voter is wielding more power than ever the
voter is less informed and more easily manipulated than ever.
Here are some nuggets from the book:
- About 1 in 4 Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. But more than half of Americans can name at least two members of the cartoon family, the Simpsons.
- In January 2003, three months before our invasion of Iraq, a majority of Americans falsely believed that "Iraq played an important role in 9/11", according to a Program on International Policy Attitudes survey.
- The majority of American could not answer these question that were asked in polls over the last three decades: What happened in 1066? (the Norman Conquest). Who said the"world must be made safe for democracy? (Woodrow Wilson). Who was Plato? Just 34 percent knew. Which country dropped the nuclear bomb? Only 49 percent knew it was our own country.
"......How ignorant are we? Ask the political scientists and you will be told that there is damning, hard evidence pointing incontrovertibly to the conclusion that millions are embarrassingly ill-informed and that they do not care that they are. There is enough evidence that one could almost conclude--though admitted this is a stretch--that we are living in an Age of Ignorance.
Another quote from the book that struck me was: "If an idea cannot be expressed on a bumper sticker you can probably give up any hope that it will ever attract much support. It likely will be ridiculed to death before it ever has a chance to be seriously considered. At the moment of its introduction somebody will be sure to cast aspersions on the intellectuals who dreamed it up in their ivory towers, and that will pretty much be the end of it."
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
Before we left I bent over to tie my shoe. I heard Hunter and Jenna laughing and when I sat up they were not only laughing but their faces were lit up with pure joy.
"What's so funny?", I asked.
"We saw your butt crack!" they replied in unison, loud enough for all the customers and crew to hear. Even the kid in back flipping hamburgers looked up.
Hunter, being the sensitive kid he is, must have sensed my discomfort because he whispered in my ear, "It was hairy".
It gives me a sense of fulfillment when I can bring, even in some small way, merriment to my grand children's day.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
A few years ago I read a book called The Clearing by Tim Gautreaux. It was an excellent read. So I was anxious to read another novel by Mr. Gautreaux. The Missing is the best book I've read this year. It's a satisfying read on several levels. First, the dialogue is at times very funny, yet it's a serious story. The reader gets a history lesson about the waning years of the old steam paddlewheel boats that were still traveling up and down the Mississippi River just after WWI. And it's a protrait of human loss and redemption and the need for revenge.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
p.s. My dear readers. Not all twitters that tweet nor bloggers that blog are telling you the truth. Use your noggin.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
- It's a full moon. I found that out when its light shone through my bedroom window at 4:00 a.m. this morning and woke me up.
- The summer is spent. Fall has not arrived yet but summer has walked off the job like a recalcitrant employee; like a runner who, lacking the heart to finish the race, just walks away. We have plants loaded with tomatoes, but they are slow to ripen without hot days and warm nights. The mornings are crispy cold and the afternoons are warm with a cool breeze, perfect for sitting under the tree but inadequate for gardening. I think I'll go outside and dig up some Day Lillies, divide them, and replant them for next spring. Maybe after winter the sun will come back with renewed vigor determined to redeem itself. I've done that after a failure, haven't you?
- I've been reading Pat Conroy's new book South of Broad, but I put it away for awhile because in the space of two days I received Newsweek, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, and the Sun, so I'm catching up on my magazine reading before I continue the novel.
- As I peek through the blinds I notice the moon is gone, but the sun is beginning to light the sky. I think I'll put on a pot of coffee.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Here is our neice Cindy and her daughter Rachel (petting the donkey) Marley poses with them.
Dorothy and I pose with all our grand children except for camera shy Hunter. Sami's boyfriend Blake is with us.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
- In the last four years I've joined several organizations and quit them soon after. First was the local volunteer fire department. It didn't take long to learn I was too old to be fighting fires, pulling hoses, and breathing smoke. Then I was hired by a greeting card company and resigned before I ever punched in. Last spring I was hired by the Census Bureau and worked for them for three days and quit. I'm really not a quitter; I worked in a career for many years and came away with a pension. I think it's just that now that I don't have to do anything I don't want, I'm not going to continue any activity that doesn't satisfy my soul.
- I even quit attending a church that I have been a member of for eight years. I am appalled at how the neo-conservative faction that has hijacked the Republican party manipulates evangelical voters. I can't be a part of it. That's all I'll say about that.
- Here's something I'm not too happy about. It took 3-1/2 years to gain 33 pounds after I retired. I've lost 8 pounds in the last few months and I'm trying to get back to a good, healthy weight. I'm not on any special diet or exercise plan. I just eat smaller portions and walk at every opportunity. Each shopping trip to Wal-mart I walk around the inside of the store several times before I begin shopping. I'm 64 years old and take no medications, but if I don't stay in shape and lose weight that will change.
- I've been making progress on learning to play the keyboard. I use Youtube tutorials to learn the songs I want to play. It's a lot of fun and I call it my anti-senility therapy. As we age we should keep learning, keep learning, keep learning.
- I've scaled back my gardening. This year I put out 10 tomato plants. I miss having new potatoes, green beans, and okra in the garden, but we can pick them up at a local farmer's market. I don't miss the back breaking effort to weed, cultivate, and pick all that produce.
- I'm beginning to think it would be good to sell our place in the country and buy a smaller house on a postage stamp size lot in town. A place with minimum maintenance requirements would free me to read, play music, play with the grand kids, and pursue any adventure that strikes my fancy.
- I think the most important part of retirement is trying to find your place in the universe. When we're young we are drawn away from self examination by the need to make a living, raise a family, conform to the social milieu we find ourselves in. But, as we mature we recognize the artificiality of a life composed of Pavlovian responses to the commercial, political, and religious stimuli that reflect the spirit of the age. I've never been able to fit in (except in my own family), but who knows? Maybe before I die I'll find a place for myself somewhere in this crazy world.
Thursday, August 13, 2009