The Mouse In The House

Seems as though every family has a special word or phrase that they use as code to bring a smile to everyone’s face.  Usually the phrase comes from some event that occurred during the routine of life but made everyone laugh a lot at what some family member did or said.   It could be as simple as “I’ll have ketchup with that” or anything that recalls that silly or humorous event.  Like when your brother asked for ketchup and then when he hit the bottle with his hand the top cap fell off and he got a bottle of ketchup in his lap.  It passed down into family lore and simply repeating the phrase years later will make all the family smile and it will be used anything goes wrong, even without a ketchup bottle in sight.

I started using a phrase decades ago that didn’t recall a specific event but rather a circumstance.  It started with my own children and then carried over to all my grandchildren.  When our guys were little, say less than 10 and I would come home and here them running around the house doing their kid things I would often cry out “There’s a mouse in my house” or some variation of that phrase like “I hear a mouse in my house”.  I did it because usually I would hear them long before I saw their little smiles with those small baby teeth gleaming through.  I got lots of responses from “I am not a mouse” to “its me”.   But playing that little game always meant a lot to me.

It meant so much that when the grandchildren came along I would do the same thing whether they were at my house or we had gone to visit the grandchildren at their homes.  Papa more often than not would enter the abode with the sing-song cry about the mouse in the house.  It constantly made my heart light and happy when I would get a response either verbally or see one of those smiling little faces peek around at me.   They knew when they heard that phrase that old grand dad was there.

We still have several grand kids that are small enough that I can play the game with them but they now live pretty far away so the chances for it are much smaller than they used to be but I still look forward to  being able to play that game every chance I get for the next few years.  Won’t be very long and the youngest  will all be teenagers . But heck I might continue to do it even then just to irritate them and make my own heart lighter.   It was almost a daily thing for the longest time and when they all lived nearby it was certainly a regular feature of each visit.   I liked it being my trademark intro and greeting.

If you have a mouse in the house cherish every moment of that time.  The first puff of smoke from the campfire is thick and very visible but turn away for just seconds and then look back and it is gone.  You are blessed and privileged to have a mouse in your house.  Sometimes I can hear the sound of small running feet or the tiny screams and giggles of those mice I had in the house even though they are only the memories of times past but they still seem so real.   The echos of those sounds resonate in the memory chamber with a clarity formed from the happiest of times.  Your mouse is so special, may your have the wisdom to see that.

“Never take anything for granted”  Ben Disraeli, British 19th century PM.  olcranky.wordpress.com

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Christmas Memory Album

Only a week to go til Christmas morn and the weather here is about what you would expect for the time of the year.   The stockings are hung, the trees, yes plural, are decorated and the house sprouts Christmas trinkets and artifacts galore.  It is a lot of work and there of course is always the battle of trying to stay within some budget; even unlimited budgets can be busted I have learned over the years.   I, for one, do relish the nostalgia, the cloying sentimentality and the sights and sounds of the Season.  It is impossible at the end of a year to not have some reflection on not only the past year but some of the years from much farther back.   When you close your eyes you might remember the smells from the kitchen as your mom or wife prepared home-made double chocolate fudge with extra walnuts or pecans or recall the thrill of that special present under the tree when you were under 4 feet tall.   Rather than resist some of those memories I suggest your throw open the memory gate and let them flow in and surround you.  Satisfaction with life after all is but the memories we make and have.

We had trees when I was young but they varied from year to year.  The first I can actually recollect was a flocked tree with that white goo all over it.  My mom just loved those trees but the rest of us much preferred the real trees unadorned with the plastic.  They started doing those flocked trees way back because I go way back and w0uld know.  They were hard to decorate because all that goop constantly fell off when you added the lights and decorations.   For a few years when I was under 10 we did get regular green trees.  Once Dad brought home a cedar tree.  I really didn’t like that one.  Didn’t like the smell and it reminded me of hot summer days playing around them.  There are lots of them naturally in our area.  Maybe we were a little tight that year with money and Dad was able to just cut one down.  Kids never think about money they just assume you can get them what they want.  Then for several years Mom ruled the roost again and we had those blasted flocked trees.

She did give in one year  with a Frazier fir and she wanted to do the old-fashioned tree.  I was probably in my early teens about then.  She insisted that we do the popcorn garlands around the tree.  If you haven’t done than then I suggest you give it some real thought.  It ain’t as easy as the movies make it look like.  First of all you have to thread the needle and the thread needs to be really long which is a nuisance.  Then you best have a thimble for your finger.  Pushing that needle through the popcorn is tricky and the kernel can be tough and the back end of the needle will poke your finger quite hard and it doesn’t feel to good.  Lastly, class, I am here to tell you that those darn kernels break or crumble when  you run the needle through about half the time so cook up at least twice as much as you think you will need.   Each string of the popcorn garland will be at best three feet or so, trust me on that so it takes a lot of them to cover your tree.  But heck it you have nothing to do on a Saturday before Christmas go for it.  Oh, the kids might say they want to help but they won’t last more than about 10 minutes so you are on your own.

My mom was really big on Christmas and I enjoyed that.  She made lots of adornments and even made her own stockings for us.  My wife and I still hang a stocking my mom made when we were so young with both our names on it.   Merely looking at it brings those memories of my own children when they were babies or ankle biters and we had lots fo them.

When I had my own family and we were establishing our own traditions and habits for the Christmas season I always looked forward to the Sunday before Christmas at church.  Our choir was really good and they would have a special Christmas program will all the music of the season with an orchestra accompaniment.   We went to that program many years in a row and then would go have a great lunch at the club back when I was rich and famous.   During those years the wife and me would work so hard on Christmas Eve getting everything organized and typically would be up till 2 to 5 in the morning with aiding Santa’s miracle.   Morning came early and for about 10-12 years we would leave on Christmas day for our ski trip.  So the morning was a flurry of activity tearing into gifts and shouts of joy and smiles and laughs and photos for the memory box.  That was  ensued by the frantic effort to get everything loaded on the Suburban for the 13 hour drive to Raton N. M. on our way the next day to Colo and the slopes.  Absolutely exhausting.  The energy was totally drained and then of course a week of skiing ahead and getting all that gear organized.   The drive always produced screams, threats and fights between every combination you can imagination between six brothers and sisters with a 9 year spread among them.  As painful and draining as those Christmas weeks were and they really were, I can assure you I wish I could start all over again, doing it all over again.   To paraphrase someone famous–they might have seemed to worst of time but they indeed were the best of times.

As much as you may enjoy recalling your own Christmas memories it is even more important to bear in mind that life is always about tomorrow.  Enjoy those memories and miss them, that is ok.  But never forget that you have the chance this year and every year to make new memories that are as good or better.  You book isn’t finished yet and you ARE the writer of your tale.  Yes, with God as a guide you will be the master of your destiny.  Go out there and build those incredible memories.

Unto us a Savior is born.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Wonders And Amazements

We have so many wonders around us every day that we don’t notice and it is amazing the current events and historical occurrences that are ignored by our media.  It must be that old adage at work about hiding in plain sight as the best way to remain unnoticed.

Speaking of adages, the next time you are trying to learn the origin of one, start with the Bible.  There is a very good chance you’ll find it there.   Remember Hamlet  “our fate is not in the stars but within ourselves”?   Well, the Bard was paraphrasing Job.  There when facing the common lament that God caused some misfortune Job responded “why persecute Him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?”  How many times have you said something like “you are the apple of my eye”?   Well, take a gander at Psalms 17:8.   There really isn’t much new under the Sun.  Even that comes from Ecclesiastes.

We worry about global warming and all manner of natural disasters but are ignorant or choose not to face facts that the laws of physics and astronomical facts harbor  enormous changes in relatively short order.  The global warming debate is primarily forecasting conditions roughly a century from now.  A long time compared to a human life but a blink in the grand scheme.  You want to worry about something then try to understand the implications of precession.   That is a term that describes the wobble of the earth as it rotates on its  axis.  You know that the earth tilts at a 23 degree angle that gives us our seasons.  And as it does it also wobbles just like a top slowing down.   For several centuries and for a few more we have had our North Star found using the far end of the pot of the Big Dipper and taking an imaginary line four times that length to find it.  It has been very reliable for a long time.  But, but, but as the earth moves on its wobble the North Star is moving and a few short centuries down the road it will not be the “north” star any longer.  The complete precession takes 23,000 years but not that long to move quiet some distance.  What does that portend for our climate down the road?  No one knows for sure, but perhaps another ice age.   Neanderthals and Cro-magnons made it and hopefully homo sapiens will also.

These modern punters have such big averages per punt.   Not all that impressed with them.  Those punters back when had it much rougher to get a forty yard average for punts.  They changes the rule a few decades ago to make it easier.  The rule used to be that the kicking team could not down the ball inside the opponents ten yard line.  The punter had to be much more accurate to kick it out-of-bounds to achieve those really good numbers.  It was a penalty if the ball was touched or d0wned by the kicking team inside the ten and the receiving team got the ball out on the 20 yard line.  Not like now where the kick team can have guys run down quickly and down the ball near the goal line.  That change immediately pumped up the numbers for the modern kickers.  So when you see the averages from some old punter back in the ’40’s, ’50’s or ’60’s remember the rule he had to work under.

We notice that Apple  and Google and others are using new encryption methods to protect users’ privacy from government surveillance.    A great idea.  The Feds already have too much access to our everyday lives as it is.  I recognize the occasional need to track down a missing child or elderly person or similar emergency.   Fine, let those and other extraordinary circumstances be exceptions.  Require the Feds to go to a judge and lay out those facts and then get access, otherwise leave us alone.

I don’t recall any big feasts for Thanksgiving when I was small after the War.   We had very modest circumstances.  But we had as roof over our head and food on the table.  I guess we had a turkey or maybe a big chicken.  I do know we had pies and cakes.  Mostly even then I knew I had a remarkable Dad and Mom and I never doubted that Dad would take care of us.  I do remember when I was about 5 and we lived in a rented house with an ice box.  Yes, a real ice box where Dad brought home a block of ice every few days to put in the special drawer and my job was to empty out the drip pan every day.  Those were modest days but abundantly lived.   May each of you be so blessed.

“Barbarism is like the jungle; it never admits its defeat; it waits patiently for centuries to recover the territory it has lost”  Will Durant, American historian.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Ok, sports fans and the great unwashed out there, buckle up for another ride on the
Wabash Cannonball express down the valley of curiosities of the inquiring mind.

Ebola hysteria reigns at least in the headlines and surely in many a concerned household.  But recall that mankind has dealt with far worse plagues and disease outbreaks in times past and we are still here.  The Roman Empire had two major episodes with plague, the 14th century saw an estimated 25 to 33% decline in population from the plague and likewise the 17th century had a horrible outbreak on the plague.  London was hit with the plague and the Great Fire in the 1660’s.  There were two common themes to all these occurrences.   First the plague eventually played itself out.  Either there weren’t enough hosts left to support it or mankind developed its on immunity through the natural processes of biology, or some combination of both.  The medical treatment was simply to let the sick lay down and give them nurture from those willing to risk being near them.  The second feature all those centuries ago was a quarantine.  History is replete with ships from suspected areas of contamination being denied access to port.  They were told to sail away, as recently happened with that cruise ship that was denied docking in Belize and Mexico.  Even with their less sophisticated medical knowledge the ancients understood the basic benefit of cutting off all intercourse with infected areas or people whether that was a nation-state, city or individual.  We really don’t need to try and re-invent the wheel here.  If we did absolutely nothing,  ebola would die away at some point but we can accelerate that process with sensible isolation policy.

ISIS–never go to war half-heartedly and without an intention to destroy and defeat your enemy.  History makes this point clear.  One has only to look at Korea and Viet Nam to see the efficacy of that maxim.  As has been said before War is too important to be left to the politicians.  Once the decision is made to answer the bugle’s call, let the military achieve their assigned objective.   And certainly never telegraph your punch.  Don’t tell the enemy what you will or will not do militarily.   To the contrary let them know that you will do whatever is required to destroy them.   As evil as ISIS is we should eliminate them.  Yes, send in combat troops to every center where they are now nesting.  Kill every one of them we can find.  Sure some will survive and the ideology of hate of that branch of the Muslim world will still exist.  But not one dime of help, aid or nation building.   Destroy what we have to and leave.  Be prepared to come back and do it again in a few years if necessary.   Such a p0licy would encourage most Muslims that there is a better way to express their religion and to function in the modern world with peace and such progress economically as they choose and pursue on their own initiative.

I noted the recent article pointing out how ordinary folks were having their bank accounts seized by the IRS because of a pattern of making cash deposits of less than 10k.   People, that has been the law for decades regrettably.  I have always abhorred those RICO and money laundering laws.  I do understand the desire to corral the mafia and other assorted bad guys,  I don’t like them and wish them nothing but the worst life can offer.  But go after them for an actual crime and why create a “crime” for someone doing what they wish with their own money?   That law is especially egregious.   You can be convicted of a crime for simply taking your own money, honestly earned, and depositing it in your own bank account if you do so in a manner that some damn assistant US attorney in his mind thinks is a “pattern to avoid reporting requirement”.  Hells bells what have we come to?  This is  supposed to be the US where you can mind your own business and live you live quietly and even off the grid if you prefer.  Unless it is stolen money or the fruit of some specific criminal activity you should have the right to do with your money as you damn well please and not be required to offer and explanation to anyone–including the Feds.   And if it is ill-gotten gains then the Feds must be required to prove that in court before they can lay hands on your money.

Karl Marx viewed everything and explained everything in society and the economy as part of the class war.  Modern Democrats divide all Americans by class and view all their political strategies as part of a class struggle.  Black and white, the 99%, war on women, you name it.   They clearly have read their  Marx thoroughly.   Capitalism was the great evil Satan for Marx and what Democrat these days (with rare exceptions) has anything decent to say about Capitalism?  Bernie Sanders is an openly avowed Socialist and believes government should own the means of production for many major industries just as Marx proposed.  Today the Demos don’t advocate direct takeover but they accomplish their goal a bit more subtly by Federal regulation.  They have just turned the entire health care industry into a government utility.  Their prices, services and means of operation have to all  meet Federal standards.   Even the Marx dictum of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” is alive and thriving in the Democratic agenda.  Now the dictatorship is the elites in government whether elected or part of the vast army, literally, of bureaucrats doing the will of their party at EPA, HHS, FERC, FCC , etc.   They know better than the common man  what  is good for him.   Just as the Commies the Democrats don’t really trust the people at all.   You think FDR’s old buddy Stalin trusted those millions in the Ukraine that he starved to death?  Or the other countless millions he and his successors condemned to the Gulag.  Read your Solzhenitzin.

“Where men cannot freely convey their thoughts to one anther, no other liberty is secure”  Wm. Hocking, American 20th century philosopher.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Really Annoying Words And Phrases

The pundits and talking heads in the media apparently do some Wikipedia research to utilize what they consider trendy and “new” words and phrases.  They also slip into the comfortable use of the trite.  Both systems are used to populate their delivery in what they no doubt consider crisp and modern language to elevate the knowledge level of the great unwashed out here in the hinterland. Regrettably, they often merely annoy or offend the educated ear.   Yes, it might surprise some of them to know that there are folks beyond the Hudson or Potomac who are actually literate or erudite.   The following is a small sample of their ill-use of the Queen’s English.

1.  At the end of the day–Gee whiz folks come on.  No one ever heard or used that expression until the Gulf War when the British commanders were interviewed and they used that term.   CNN and the others apparently thought it sounded very learned because it became the standard for wrapping up and conversational point.  How about not using it at all?   Simply state whatever is on your mind.  In the final analysis.  The denouement will be—.   The result will be….  There are alternatives believe it or not.  They should show some creativity and stray from the herd at least occasionally.

2. Body of work–This is of particular use by those in the sports world when talking about a specific athlete.   The phrase historically was used to talk about the work of artists.  The true thing,  painters, sculptors, etc.  How about “look at his history in the game”.  His record shows—-.   A great track record.  Based on past experience—.   Or again, how about simply dropping the phrases altogether.

3.  Exact same—A real irritant in the world of redundancy.   How about similar.  Or same thing.  It is like what happened before.  Exactly.  Same means just that–the same and the qualifier of exact is a waste of syllables and the alphabet and our time.  We get the idea.

4.  Just/Really.  Oh, boy where to start.  How many times do you hear or read someone who throws in a just or really fifteen times in one short paragraph ?  A tip to the allegedly educated pundits and everyone really (pun intended) don’t use either word ever unless you really really need it as an emphasis point.   You will be understood by the man on the street if those words never cross your lips or appear in you typing.

5.  So–  Since when that become the required lead in for every sentenced uttered?   That use to start ever sentence makes you sound so Valley Girl.   Drop it already.  Try to emulate Hemingway a bit.  If the word doesn’t add to your intended narrative or move your intended content forward don’t use it.  It is a wasted word and certainly doesn’t make you sound more intelligent to your audience be it large or small.

6.  Here’s the thing–the cousin of “so”.  Read the advice given above.   To spice things up a bit if that is your goal how about “in point of fact”.    Anything.  For heaven’s sake try something different that what everyone else is using.  Y0u’ll come across as the most original guy in the room by dropping that unnecessary lead in.

7.  Great question–.   Or often phrased as “good” question.  You are not required to constantly compliment your interrogator.  To repeat, drop the phrase altogether and answer the damn question without further ado.    Of course we wouldn’t begin to  believe that one of those pundits is using that phrase as a method to let you know how smart they are because they can answer such a great question.

8.  Under the bus–.  Is there a political talk show where they don’t use that expression every time there is a public disagreement among p0ls on the same side?   How about ol what’s his name is being sacrificed for —.  He is going on the altar of public sacrifice for—.   He is being abandoned because—.  The English language is rich and a similar concept can be conveyed in many ways.  Get off the bus already.

9.  Wheelhouse–another favorite of the political pundits when discussing the expertise and or lack thereof of particular public figures.  Of course not a darn one of them have ever been on a sailing ship or other blue water vessel and have no idea how the wheelhouse works.  One can only suppose they believe it gives them a jaunty lilt to their comments.  It merely makes them appear silly and pretentious.  How about “they are not competent” in that area.  Better yet make a straightforward statement without the qualifier.

10.  You know—You know that is my personal favorite annoyance.  It is like sitting next to someone is smacking that damn gum in public.  Every sentence, every paragraph does NOT need to have that phrase sprinkled throughout like salt on the french fries.  Concentrate, get a grip and don’t use that expression.  You come across as the most ignorant of hillbillies even with that degree from Harvard.

At a later date we will add to this list.  No doubt you have many other words or phrases in your mind that could be added to this list.  Following the suggestions here would sure shorten the segments on those talks shows and might even leave some of those pundits tongue-tied.

“Man is not made for defeat”  Old Man And The Sea”—Hemingway.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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Rebellion And Independence

It is often forgotten or never reflected upon by most that our nation did not start with the Declaration of Independence.  If you did a survey of the “man on the street” no doubt a vast majority would assume that the Declaration was the beginning of our revolution.  The facts are that the Colonies had rebelled and were committing acts of treason for 15 months before the Declaration was issued.   The rebellion began in the spring of 1775 with the firefights at Lexington and Concord and then those battles were followed by the siege and seizure of Boston by a British naval and army force that summer.  That was the time and place for the battle at Bunker Hill.  Th Brits were in firm and complete control of Boston and were strangling commerce and intimidating in an effort to quell the rebellion.

It was during this time that the Continental Congress appointed George Washington commander of the rebel army and he was finally successful in extracting the British from Boston months later when he got the cannons from fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York and brought them to the heights overlooking Boston and its harbor.   Their force and navy was exposed to destruction from them and to take them seemed imprudent with the forces at hand so they changed strategy and took their fleet and army to New York.  Washington and the army followed by land and encamped in New York City for a while but the British arrived in the summer of 1776 and drove out our Continental Army after several short but brutal battles.   Washington himself was almost killed where the public library of New York City is located today.   Just before the battles for Long Island and Manhattan the Declaration was made but the outlook in New York was grime.  Our army was on the run but intact as a fighting force although severely diminished in capacity.  Washington was retreated  toward Philadelphia were the Congress was still in session after the Declaration.  The British view and that of the Tories was that they were about to teach the rebel upstarts a real lesson in power and the consequences of rebellion.   The prospects for a successful rebellion were not very bright at that time.   Overtures had been made to  the British for an amelioration of the laws and practices deemed most onerous to the Colonies but all such Petitions (and they were just that, appeals) were rebuffed.  That was the general background of circumstances as the summer of 1776 passed mid summer’s day.   We had been fighting and that certainly is rebelling for over 15 months but no formal position had been taken.  At this dark hour the Congress felt it necessary and appropriate to state the case of the Colonies to Britain and the world at large.

It is worthy of note that the Preamble and the Close but reference God and invoke His blessing.  “the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them”  (preamble) and then in that great peroration “We therefore ….appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World……with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our Sacred Honor.”  Failure meant hanging at best.  Another example of that old bromide about there being no atheists in foxholes.

The Declaration laid out over 25 specifics charges or justifications for the rebellion and the declaration to be independent.  Sadly those reasons are rarely discussed today but they may resonate with a reading anew.   A few that may bear on the events of our day–

“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”  He wouldn’t follow the existing law of the land but viewed himself as beyond or above the law.

“He has forbidden His governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance unless suspended in their operation until His assent should be obtained,and when so suspended,and when so suspended he has utterly neglected to attend to them”.   Again the King wouldn’t enforce the laws authorized by the legislatures created by the Charters of the Colonies.

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our People and eat out their substance”.   Hello, CFPB, EPA, IRS and the endless list.

“For depriving us, in many cases of the right of Trial By Jury”  Drone attacks on US citizens by the decree of the President alone.

“For suspending our Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with the power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever”   I have a pen and a phone.

And one on the allegation that the King was not enforcing the immigration laws pertaining to the Colonies; it is too long to quote here.  Are we currently dealing with a tyrannical Executive that refuses to faithfully execute the Laws of the land regarding immigration?

A few years later we established the US with our Constitution.  A singular document for the principles it proclaimed.  All prior governments from recorded time were based one way or anther on the assumption that every man owed fealty to someone over him; be it baron, knight, king, emperor, sultan or other liege lord.   Our new loyalties were to principles set in law and formalized with a contract between the governed and the government setting out limited powers of the government and the rights of the people.  Truly and unheard of relationship prior to that time.  Read the Constitution again, it is quite short, remember you are a party to that contract.  At least as long as we remain a country of laws and not of the whims, prejudices and preferences of men.

“For pride was not made for man, only as a tormentor”  John Adams, second President.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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Summertime, In The Good Old

When the air begins to hang heavy and the winds diminish, the Sun is unobscured by clouds and the heat hits you when you open the door my thoughts drift often back to those summer times of my youth.  School would be out and we kids had almost three full months of relatively free time for our moms to fill.  We are already pretty well acclimated to the heat by the end of May because the schools then had no air conditioning.   That’s right even in Texas we were expected to endure the horrible discomfort of being hot in class.  Each class had one large blow fan up front for the teacher and the front row or so.  The really nice teachers would sacrifice and not take any of the fan-borne breezes but would let all reach as many in the class as it could.   The windows would be open but that was not much help as all it did usually was let in more hot air unless there happened to be an actual breeze blowing hard.   Oh, we certainly were not allowed to wear shorts to school, applied to both boys and girls.   The guys were all in the standard uniform of the day, jeans and t-shirts, white.  The girls wore mostly sun dresses by late May.

No one then went to camp of any kind.  It was pretty much unheard of in the middle class neighborhoods.   We and our moms were expected to find our own entertainment and amusement for those long summer days.   For the majority of us the only organized activity during summer was Vacation Bible School which was usually in June before the heat became unbearable because not all the churches were air-conditioned either.  Yep, big fans again, even in the sanctuary.  the various churches would organize miniature parades around the neighborhoods honking horns as a way to promote VBS and the cars would be decorated.    VBS was ok for me when I was really small but by about 9 or 10 it began to be a real drag.  By that age boys are hard pressed to get much pleasure and excitement out of the arts and crafts we did there.   We were too energetic and sitting at the table pasting things together didn’t have much appeal any longer.

Today most of our moms would be considered derelict parents who endangered their children.  We would often be off in the neighborhood, actually outside, for hours at at time and under no adult supervision (other than the watchful eye of neighbors which was the unwritten rule of the moms).  We all had bikes but the difference then was that we truly used them everyday, all day, of hoofed to our play and activities.   We did most of our hard playing in the mornings and late afternoons and even after dinner (which was at 6) to avoid the worst of the heat.  After breakfast many days me and a couple of buddies would go the creek nearby. Normally the rule was I had to be home by lunch.  First we would powder ourselves all over our legs and arms with the powder sulfur mom kept on the front porch.   It would ward off the chiggers and the mosquitoes a little.  Those times were terrific.  We hunted for anything and everything.  Most of us had pocket knives  and envisioned ourselves a true Daniel Boones.   There were frogs, tadpoles, sometimes minnows or very small white fish and a complete assortment of fossils in the limestone rock that lined the creek bed.   I almost always  brought something home as a trophy of the exploration.   The times that were slower was when I had to take my little brother who was 4 years my junior.  A 7-year-old is a real drag to an 11-year-old especially when you know it is your fault if he gets hurt and comes home telling on you for being “mean”.    Poor guy he probably didn’t like himself and mom got him his own friends as much as she could.

Most days we would also go bike riding.  Yeah, just riding our bikes all around the neighborhood looking for whatever 11-year-old boys think is interesting.  Up and down the alleys looking for figs to pick even though I hated the taste of them.   When it is 103 outside you can burn up a lot of calories and energy riding a bike for a couple of hours.   We would have races and play a bike version of ice hockey in the streets with brooms an any kind of can or ball that came to hand.

Almost everyone had trees in their yards. I had a really big elm tree in my back yard.  A few days a week we would go out there and climb the tree and take our bb guns.  We would shoot at leaves, toy soldiers we sit on the ground, ant mounds and anything else that struck our eye.  We often played WWII using the bb guns as cannon or rifles, they were very versatile that way.  Even though the Korean War was on it didn’t have the magic or allure of the -War.  And the grownups sure didn’t view it the same way they did the War.  We could waste an entire afternoon in those trees but we loved it even though mom constantly told us to not climb higher than one particular limb but we did almost every time.

We would swim but then the swimming pools were pretty small affairs and located on almost every elementary playground.  The gym teach would earn extra money teaching swimming during the summer but there were also free times to swim.  It was free then.  Covered by school taxes.   Today I am sure it would be considered a liability hazard for the school system.   It was several blocks away and we walked or rode our bikes.  The moms didn’t take us and pick us up like would happen today.  For one thing almost no family was a two car family then.  It was relatively unusual for two cars per house then.  We had two but only because dad drove an old International Harvester pick up truck for work that he got to bring home.   Most dads took the family car to work in the morning and brought it home at night or the mom drove him to work and picked him up.

Just warming up to those days,,,,,maybe we’ll talk baseball, kick the can, bat catching and bow making another time.

My child hood was blessed with wonderful parents.  The lessons and underpinning of a good childhood by good parents are your strength in later life with challenged by the inevitable vicissitudes.  It is an endless well of restoring waters to draw from.  Count yourself fortunate if that was your experience.   God bless one and all.

“Think for yourselves  and let others enjoy the same privilege to do so too.”  Voltaire.  olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Alrighty, let’s take a tour around the world and see what’s going on in all those corners of the globe….

We can start close to home in South Texas where we are being inundated with thousands of illegal aliens walking across the border with impunity and no apparent opposition.  The underground and smoke signal network of communication has been in existence since time immemorial.  Those kids, and more to the point, their parents, are aware of the vaguely disguised “invitation” of our guy in the White House that any and all Hispanics are welcome as future Democratic voters if they just cross the border.  Doesn’t it strike anyone else as a bit suspicious that all these so-called refugees claim that they are subject to intimidation and threats from gangs and drug cartels.  We’re expecting 90,000 this year alone.  How many gang members do they have in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras?   I personally don’t see refugees in those media photos but moochers.

Rule number one for any nation since the beginning of time is to have a border.  Each nation has the right and duty to  its citizens to defend its border.  Every nation must have the right to control and regulate the flow of foreigners and commerce across it borders.   That is the foundational definition of  being a nation.

Africa.  Well, the French after almost two years still have troops chasing radical Moslems around Mali.   Nigeria couldn’t be more of a mess Boko Haram roaming around killing and kidnapping more or less at will.  The Congo is beset with turmoil from radicals attacking and killing when the notion strikes them.   Libya and Egypt are both teetering on the brink or sinking into totalitarian status due to the conflict with radical Moslems.   Even a “stable” and democratic Kenya is subject to routine slaughter and attack from Moslems and radicals.   Somalia?  enough said.

Our friends in Europe are clearly rethinking their liberal policies regarding immigration and the influx of Moslems from North Africa and the northern and western marches of the Mid East.  France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and even Sweden are seeing growing and more vocal opposition to open borders and increasing immigration of Moslems.

Sentiment against central governments is growing much stronger across the European landscape whether the central government be domestic or the European  Parliament in Brussels.  Catalonia is voting on separation from Spain.  The Belgians are taking a fresh look at their centuries old joinder of the French, Flemish and Germanic portions of their nation with many calling for independence.  Surely you are aware the Scotland will vote in a few months on independence from the United Kingdom and predictions are for a very close vote.  Northern Italy is stirring even harder and more volubly for cutting loose the southern portions of Italy and letting them make their own way.  The Balkans remain on edge after nearly two decades of alleged peace between their Christian areas and the Moslem portions of that area.  The Ukraine?  Well it is getting plenty of press these days.

Who knows how Iraq will evolve over the next few weeks and months.   The radicals look to have at a minimum a permanent nation-state to consolidate power and use as a base to slowly but surely spread their barbarism in that immediate area of the world and even worse to then plan long term strikes against the West at times and places of their choosing with impunity.  It is very apparent that the US and all Western nations will not intervene in a way that would force them out of the areas they now occupy.  The Shia Iraqis don’t have the will to make a  war against them in those northern reaches and drive them out.  Even if Iran sent troops and everything they had available it wouldn’t work.  Look at the map and consider the demographics as you look.  The geography and Islamic peoples of those regions don’t favor driving out those fiends.  Iran can’t afford the  cost in treasure and military resources and personnel it would take to remove those Islamists even with the help of what exist of the Iraqi army.  That huge swath of earth looks likely to descend into a new dark age for some time to come.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are more or less the same problem sitting across two borders.  The Taliban will take over in reality or behind the scenes in running Afghanistan as soon as we are gone.  Who is going to stop them?  Serious question.  Pakistan can probably and likely will bumble along more or less as it has for decades.  Always on the edge of self-destruction but strong enough to thwart an outright collapse.

In the Far East China is on the march and Japan is slowly but inevitably renewing its martial aspirations.  Sitting between them is the powder keg the two Koreas.   China is readying its aircraft carrier and will use it to intimidate its neighbors and even strike the weaker ones when they feel they can without repercussions.  It is in our long-term strategic interest to back Japan in this growing and volatile mix.   It would be a disaster for China to be allowed free rein in such portions of the Asian area as they wish.  The Philippines just reached yet another in the endless series of truces with the Moslems on its island chain.  It won’t last either.  Lordy how many of those have there been since the SpanishAmerican War?

Saudi Arabia is allegedly an ally and how many of the 9/11 attackers came from there?  We should only trust when we can verify.  Be vigilant and hope some day those peoples will move beyond the 9th century in their outlook on the world and be able to tolerate other views. They are entitled to their own religion and culture and we have no problem with that but they should not be permitted to impose a Caliphate across any section of the modern world with the repression and of differing views.

Be brave,,,,fear never wins the battle and always leads to retreat.   olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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Moving On

That title is certainly not to be confused with MoveOn.org.  This isn’t about politics but rather family and home.   After almost forty years of living in the same home the child bride and I moved in the last month or so.   You’ve no doubt heard that a move is one of the more difficult events in life to absorb and endure.  Of course age and time in location make a huge difference.  When we were young and more or less carefree we moved several times as is common with the youth.  When we were first married we moved into our one bedroom apartment near Stephens Park golf course and then moved within two years to another apartment that had two bedrooms so I would have one for my studies during law school.  After that in my last year of law school we moved when the bride was pregnant with our first child.

We were looking for a house because we anticipated my graduation and real employment as an attorney in short order.   Due to the impending birth and graduation we had to delay the actual home purchase a few months and so everything went into storage and we lived out of our suitcases for a while.  First for two months with my in-laws and then the last month before my daugout ohter’s birth with my folks.  Indeed we were there when she was born.  Not fun living out of the suitcases.  Then we immediately moved into our new house in Garland but that was followed almost immediately with my firing for asking for a 50 cent an hour raise.

So we packed up and moved again to Santa Fe as that was the only place I could find a job quickly and I needed one quickly; there were three mouths to feed.  We moved, I took the bar exam and picked out our rent house all in one week  and spent two of those days at the hospital with our daughter who had dehydrated terribly.  After six months in the provinces we moved back to civilization in Dallas and into another house in Garland.  Whew, we got to stay there for about two and half years and then moved to a really nice place that my Dad built for us.  Cost 21,000 which seemed huge at the time.   Stayed there for about three years until the last move to University Park where we remained until this spring.

All those early moves you note were when we were in our 20’s and young, healthy and full of ambition.  The moves were tiring but each felt like we were moving up and doing better for our family.  Those moves were merely tiring physically but there wasn’t any deep emotional bond to those locations.

By the time we got to University Park we had five of the kiddos and then the last was born there. That is the home they think of when they recall their childhood and it is where we have the memories of birthdays, Christmases and first days of school and neighborhood activities, our church life and all those thousands of sports events we attended.  That is where the kids all had their first crushes on someone and where we endured the lumps of life and also were blessed with the many joys a large rambunctious family brings.    I could drive home from work without even thinking about the route; it was ingrained in my brain.  That house was far more than shelter it was a hive of memories and emotions for both of us.  During forty years you can accumulate a lot of stuff.  Some is just truly junk but you have a memory associated with it and some came from family now in heaven and you can’t trash them.

The current move was very hard physically because there was so much to lift, pack, tote and re-position.  The hard part was the internal feeling of abandoning an old friend and finally having to make those choices about what had to be tossed even after you had given away as much as you could endure.    All those tossed items had been important at one time or another for an event or emotion associated with it or you wouldn’t have kept them in the first place.   I had the feeling of running out on a duty owed to that house because it had been so good to my family for decades.   It will be razed to make way for a new house.

So now it is time to begin making new memories and attachments. We’re in a nice neighborhood.  Everything in much newer here and for the most part everything works and I don’t have to constantly fix everything.  We are very fortunate that we are within driving distance to the kids still living in the area.   The yard will be nice; the little lady has already worked hard putting in our her flowers and garden to add color and we’ve planted a peach tree and the Red Maple comes next week.    Our loyal dog and I get to make our run/walk each morning along a creek bed and see the sights  and wildlife.  Now, the trick is to live long enough to build that new treasure chest of memories with family.  Some of the grandchildren might remember this as their grandparents home and I sure want to insure that they are given that opportunity and more importantly that they feel love and and a sense of joy when they are here.  It can never replace the old memories but if we do our part maybe it will be the reservoir of new memories, life the fresh blooms and leaves of new spring.

“When the state is corrupt then the laws are most multiplied”  Tacitus, Roman orator.  Ponder that as you contemplate our current Federal Registry and US Code and Statutes.  olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Coming out of a winter hibernation and a move so its time to crank up the word machine and brush off the mental cobwebs…..

Moving ain’t fun.  A fundamental truth.  Especially true if you have been in the old homestead for a long time.

The Russians call the Ukraines in Kiev Nazis.  Even some of the media has picked up on that theme and talks about the Ukrainians who fought with the Nazis during the War leaving the clear impression that the Ukrainians were true Nazis at heart.  The truth is much more complicated.  Stalin during the ’30’s literally starved to death untold millions of Ukraines.  The exact number will never be known.  In addition many of the Ukraines like the idea of owning their own piece of dirt as had been their tradition for centuries.  When the War and the Germans came it is true that many of the Ukraines joined the German army to fight against the commies and Stalin.  That did not make them fans of Hitler or the Nazis but simply people who were faced with two difficult choices but decidedly believed the Nazis were the lesser of the two evils and the Germans fostered that notion with hints of some autonomy.  They weren’t Nazis, they were Ukrainians fighting communism.

If Monica wants to be taken seriously then she should have avoided that picture spread with her lounging on the couch.  Didn’t exactly portray the image of a mature gal not trying to exploit her prior persona of the Linda Lovelace of the White House.

When will the civilized world quit pretending that Africa is a legitimate part of the world community?  The latest episode in Nigeria is only representative of their dysfunction.  There is not only Nigeria but we have Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Cameroon, the Congo, Uganda, Chad and Libya to name merely the most outrageous places.  The West needs to stop sending any kind of aid.  Those people have the resources to do quite well.  It is up to them to make the countries and world they want.  We can’t import decency or democracy.  Their militaries by turn are cowardly, incompetent, tyrannical or corrupt.   They need to live in a house they built, not one provided by the Peace Corp.  Can anyone honestly say that the generosity and sympathy of the West has made any significant difference in the last 60 years?  That is three generations.  How would letting them fend for themselves possibly be any worse than the current situation.

Remember that science is never “settled”.  The very nature of the beast is questions and then more questions after apparent answers are found.  Not my brilliant observation but from David Deutsch.  He refers to the dire predictions due to  global warming, prophecies, not science.  Just for you consideration, he is an Oxford don, world renown physicist, philosopher and member of the Royal Society, not exactly marginal thinker or denier.  He would no doubt be apoplectic being called a “denier”.  Check out his The Beginning of Infinity.  Pretty heavy going but worth it in the end.

The current rate for a 10 year Treasury note is about 2.5%.  That rate is strictly a function of the market manipulation of the Federal Reserve.  What do you think  the rate would be if the Fed was neutral and let the market alone determine what the proper rate should be?  Maybe 2% or maybe 6%.  Whatever you think it would be the difference between a true market rate and what the Fed is dictating now means that there are some serious losers in the market due directly to their policies.  Those losers aren’t so-called fat cats on Wall Street necessarily but there are some of them too.  For every trade on Wall Street remember that there is a seller for each buyer whether for stocks or bonds.   Pension plans and unions are some of the biggest investors along with endowments of major universities on Wall Street.  Current losers are the seniors for sure and the savers among us.  It makes those in their mid years to start eating their seed corn rather than save because there is no incentive or reward for saving  in the near term.  Supposedly the Fed works for our benefit but its hard to discern that benefit.  Seems more like the inmates are running the asylum or Dr. Frankenstein let loose on the financial system and sure enough he has created a monster he can’t control.

We’ve all known someone who talks too much.   They will never shut up.  Worse they think you are interested in everything they have to say;  even the stuff that is stupid,  logically inconsistent or borders on that line between outright lies and embellishment.  Why does such a thought evoke images of daily briefings or speeches from the occupant of  the White House of today?

We are approaching  the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  I wonder what the average heart rate was for those boys jumping out of a C-47 or down the ramp from a LST?   It had to be a terrifying experience and their bodies reacted accordingly.  We should be very thankful that they were able to overcome that fight or flee syndrome all men have in face of extreme danger.   I not only tip my hat to them but am grateful and worry whether this generation is worthy of the sacrifice they made.

Strange we don’t hear a peep about the antarctic ozone hole or the impending ice age that were all the rage 30 years ago based on “settled” science.  Although the Yankees might have thought they were in at least a mini ice age last winter.   But, lo, spring came again as it has since the earth began spinning and circling the Sun.

“The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature”  William James, American psychologist and philosopher. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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