Monday, January 31, 2011

Let's Go Swimming...!

Well, maybe not swimming, but it's pretty close!

I don't know, but for some reason I felt like some warm water sports! Guess it's all the ice and snow on the ground all over the country!

This has just got to be one of the coolest water toys I've ever seen! I'll bet my man Mayberry would sure like to get his hands on this for a test drive!

Check this out!

Doesn't that look like a fun way to spend an afternoon? Man, I can just envision sitting on a dock somewhere after a ride in this...knocking back a cool one! I guess that will be something to look forward to later.

For now, guess we'll just have to be satisfied with some video assisted daydreams! Enjoy!

Now, coffee in the kitchen this morning. Supposed to turn cooler tomorrow, I think!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What Goes Around, Comes Around...!

Karma is a b*tch, and can bite you in the butt!

Sooner or later, you are going to get as good as you gave! You have to wonder if this guy thought this was the best way to reap the rewards of his past actions! Another case of the bad guys playing the system for all it's worth!

Fugitive surrenders to get cancer treatment; sheriff doesn't want to pay

By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel

Jan. 28, 2011

A man who eluded Rock County authorities for six years turned himself in earlier this month because he realized he needed treatment for cancer.

But the sheriff didn't want taxpayers footing that bill, and asked a court to order the inmate released, so someone else would pick up the tab.

According to the Janesville Gazette, it's unclear who that will be, but that Anthony S. Darwin, 30, was in surgery in Madison Thursday regardless.

A doctor who initially treated Darwin at Rock County Jail testified at a emergency court hearing that he has testicular cancer and called his prognosis bleak, the Gazette reports.

Darwin, of Beloit, had pending charges of aggravated battery, bail jumping, battery, robbery with use of force, substantial battery and identity theft going back to 2004 when he turned himself in Jan. 10.

I'm torn between two thoughts on this one. I'm feeling bad for the guy's condition, but have to ask myself if he felt bad when he committed the crimes against other people! Probably not!

I can't help but think that is a little bit of payback from a higher authority! My sympathy is gonna be pretty slow in coming, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen today. It's starting to rain outside!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thank Goodness For Companies Like This...!

At least there are still some companies that believe the older folks can still be of use!

When you think of all the business experience some people could share with younger employees, not to mention management, it's a shame so many are forced to leave their jobs just because of age! Here's a story from the Chronicle that highlights just how these "older employees" can contribute!

To thrive past 65
Geezerfest celebrates workers who keep going strong at advanced ages

Jan. 28, 2011, 11:32AM

Just because there's snow on the roof doesn't mean there's no — well, you know the rest.

That old saw took a slightly different twist Thursday when a bunch of old guys gathered over a catered lunch to swap stories, boast of successes and demonstrate that meaningful work doesn't have to end at age 65.

The event was the 3rd Annual GeezerFest, hosted by Venturetech, a Houston oilfield equipment business that makes a point to hire ex-convicts, recovering substance abusers, old-timers and others who otherwise might be deemed unemployable.

This year's fest honored equipment designer Jim Strickland, who recently turned 82. Strickland, a gray-thatched but robust man who kayaks in his spare time, joined the company 12 years ago after being laid off by his previous employer.

"Older workers, obviously, have valuable experience," said Venturetech chief Larry Keast, who argues that companies that force employees out the door at 65 are only cheating themselves. "I'm out to educate small-company CEOs that giving old-timers a second chance is good for their companies and for the workers."
Good years are ahead

To further that end, America in Recovery, a non-profit organization established by Keast, operates a free Internet job clearinghouse for seniors at

"When you reach a certain age with some companies, they think you're through," Strickland said. "Those may actually be your best years. I feel I have done some of my best work in the last 12 years."

Strickland was pushing 70 when he was pink-slipped, and the job loss was devastating. For three months he futilely hunted for a job in his profession, working Christmas holiday stints at a big box retailer to tide him over.

He found his current job by answering an employment advertisement in the newspaper.

"I just didn't fall into this job," he said. "It was a considerable effort to find something."

Three Venturetech employees out of a workforce of about 30 are older than 65, including Keast, who is 67.

Thursday's GeezerFest, which doubled as Venturetech's monthly employee appreciation luncheon, drew a handful of other old-timers - company customers, former co-workers and friends. Gathered around folding tables on the workshop floor, they dined on chicken casserole and green beans, and chewed the fat about their past and future lives.

On hand were Cecil Kirkland, 87, who operates a family oilfield service company and buys equipment from Venturetech, and longtime pilot, Hollis McAdams, 83.

"When I was 58, I thought about retiring," Kirkland said. "But playing golf, fishing and hunting got tiring after a while." After five years of "semi-retirement," he said, he went back to work. "I still go out on the jobs."
Active alongside son

McAdams, a longtime oil-industry pilot, now works with his son manufacturing electronic metronome-tuners, which help musicians set tempo and tone.

"I ship and receive, handle quality control, take parts and assemble them and talk with customers," he said of his duties, which he handles from a workshop in his home.

"I never just did a job," he said. "I'd be building boats and airplanes. My dad and I built race boats - and we'd win. ... I've worked all my life. I've never entertained the thought of stopping. Sometimes I pause."

McAdams lauded Keast as "totally unique" and had sharp words for businessmen who fail to discern the potential in hiring older workers.

"There's a lot of leaders who don't have much vision," he said.

Kirkland, five years Strickland's senior, offered the younger man advice.

"Just hang in there," he said. "A job is good for your health and brain. It keeps you sharp. Don't quit work. Most guys go and sit in a rocking chair - they don't have any hobbies - and a few years later they send them to the cemetery."

Sound advice, perhaps, but it fell on deaf ears.

Strickland insists he will retire - just as soon as he hits 95.

You know, in some of the more "primitive" cultures age is revered and respected! The advice and knowledge of the elders is sought out, their wisdom taken to heart. In this manner, time proven ways were not lost, but handed down from generation to generation.

However, now days we are much too often managed by those that already know-it-all...and need no advice at all from anyone! People of advanced years are considered "disposable" and the knowledge they possess considered "useless"! What a crock!

Maybe it's time for some of us to become just a little more "primitive", ya think?

C'mon, friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen. You can trust me...I'm old! Not necessarily wise, just older! OK?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hanging Is Too Good...!

Somethings should just never happen! This is one of them!

Pearl Harbor survivor found living in filth; caretaker arrested on suspicion of elder abuse

January 26, 2011 | 6:29 pm

A 93-year-old Pearl Harbor survivor was found dirty, disoriented and living in filth at his home outside El Cajon, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

The man's caretaker, Milagros Angeles, 63, was arrested on suspicion of elder abuse. Sheriff's deputies also discovered that thousands of dollars had been taken from the veteran, the Sheriff's Department said Wednesday.

When deputies went to the tiny home on Euclid Avenue on Tuesday, they found the resident clutching what apparently was his prized possession: a picture of the ship, the Vestal, that he was serving on the day of the Japanese attack.

The Vestal, a repair ship, was moored next to the battleship Arizona. After being repaired at Mare Island in Vallejo, Calif., it returned to the fleet and engaged in several major battles.

Suffering from dementia and dehydration, the victim was taken to the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Diego. His name was not released, in accordance with rules involving elder abuse cases.

His status as a Pearl Harbor survivor was confirmed by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn., according to the group's past president Arthur Herriford. "It's a damn shame that this happened," he said.

Sgt. Mark Varnau of the Sheriff's Department elder abuse unit said the the suspect initially did not want to allow deputies into the home. The veteran was found sitting in a chair, holding the picture, he said.

The man has relatives in Southern California, but they were unaware of his condition, Varnau said.

"We tell people they should check on their kids," Varnau said. "They should check on their parents too."

The suspect was booked into county jail. She is being held on $100,000 bail.

Where was the family and relatives? Why wasn't someone checking on this man's condition from time to time? Where was the social services people that proclaim to be in charge of these types of programs? Where were the church groups? Anyone...?

What the Hell is going on in our once proud country today, that we sit back and allow our elderly...especially our vets to be mistreated in such a manner? Someone should have known! Someone should have been checking!

The same goes for the children today! Much to often, they seem to be the targets of abuse and mistreatment by the lowlifes that are supposed to be taking care of them! Far too often, no one seems to speak up for them until it's too late!

This kind of thing just makes me sick to my stomach. There should be a special place in Hell for folks like this, and I'll be glad to help 'em get to it!

Let's get some fresh coffee! I need it to wash this bad taste from my mouth!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Taking The Day Off...!

Sorry, but I need to take a break today!

Got a really bad case of the blahs...and I need to self medicate for the day!

Help yourself to the coffee!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yep, I've Got It For Sure...!

Sometimes you come down with something age-related and there is just no denying it!

I'm afraid that this is the case for me! Guess I always knew something like this would happen! Let me explain!

AAADD (Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder)

I just wanted to let you know that I have recently been diagnosed with this condition. The scientific world is frantically searching for a cure. This is an ailment many of us suffer from and may not as yet have been diagnosed.

However, now you may be able to discuss it with your loved ones and explain what really happened to you all those times you worked so hard to accomplish something and didn't. I call it the 'But First Syndrome'.

You know, it's when I decide to do the laundry. I start down the hall and notice the newspaper on the table. OK, I'm going to do the laundry.....BUT FIRST I'm going to read the newspaper. After that, I notice the mail on the table. OK, I'll just put the newspaper in the recycle stack.....BUT FIRST I'll look through that pile of mail and see if there are any bills to be paid. Yes, now where's the checkbook? Oops...there's the empty glass from yesterday on the coffee table. I'm going to look for that check book. BUT FIRST I need to put the glass in the sink. I head for the kitchen, look out the window, notice my poor flowers need a drink of water. I put the glass in the sink, and there's the remote for the TV on the kitchen counter. What's it doing here? I'll just put it away......BUT FIRST I need to water those plants. Head for the door and.....Aaaagh! Stepped on the cat. Cat needs to be fed. Okay, I'll put that remote away and water the plants....BUT FIRST I need to feed the cat.

END of Day: Laundry is not done, newspapers are still on the floor, glass is still in the sink, bills are not paid, checkbook is still lost and the cat ate the remote control.... And, when I try to figure out how come nothing got done all day, I'm baffled because.......I KNOW I WAS BUSY ALL DAY!

I realize this condition is serious....... I'd get help........ BUT FIRST..... I think.....I'll check my e-mail!!

What say we get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen? BUT, never mind!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It Does Make You Wonder...!

You know, the English language can be very strange!

It's no wonder that many folks have a lot of trouble trying to learn English!

Many things about it have puzzled me over the years. For example:

We have some words that are spelled the same, but have totally different meanings, such as "pitcher," and different pronunciations, such as "lead." Some have different spellings but are pronounced the same, such as "two," "too" and "two."

And why are there words that have similar sounds but different spellings, such as "mnemonic gnomes never know pneumonia?"

Why is general information for privates and private information for generals?

Why is an advertising circular usually rectangular or square?

Why do we sit on a grandstand?

The cowboy said he was riding a quarter horse. What are the other three quarters?
Or was that its monetary value?

Why do pitted olives and prunes have no pits, but seeded watermelons have seeds?

And is a seeded bun in any way like a seeded tennis star?

How do you know if your olive oil is extra virgin, slightly virgin, or previously virgin?

And isn't being extra virgin akin to being extra pregnant?

And finally this disturbing thought: If a vegetarian eats only vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Oh...we can't forget the ol' famous " If vegetable oil comes from vegetables, and corn oil comes from corn... where does baby oil come from?"

Just a few things to ponder on a rainy Tuesday! Cold and rainy...what a miserable combination! Guess it could be worse! It could be ice and snow! Now there is a miserable combination for ya!

Let's have some coffee in the kitchen! I long until Spring?

Monday, January 24, 2011

How About Some Nice, Warm Chowder...?

With the weather being cold and damp in most parts of the country, I figured that it might be good to have a steaming bowl of chowder!

I started having corn chowder last year...and it has quickly become one of my favorites! I found this particular recipes in the Almanac, and since it's so easy and can be made with things you probably already have on hand it seemed to be just the thing.

Corn Chowder

Out of season, two cans (16 ounces each) of cream-style corn may be substituted for the fresh. Either way, you'll hear calls for seconds. "Common crackers" are the approximately two-inch grooved crackers so long served with chowder. After a period out of fashion, they are now being made again and are available at most "country" stores.

Yield: Makes 8 generous servings.

* 6 to 8 medium ears of fresh corn, shucked
* 5 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
* 1 medium onion, sliced
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 5 cups milk, plus extra (approx. 1/2 cup) for soaking the crackers
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 8 to 10 common crackers, split

Cook corn in a covered kettle with a little water for about 12 minutes. Remove corn and add potatoes and onion to the corn water; cook slowly until just soft. Slice corn from cobs with a sharp knife and add to the kettle along with butter and 5 cups of the milk. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Hold on a warm burner without further boiling for 30 to 60 minutes to gather flavor. About 25 minutes before serving, set the crackers to soak in the remaining milk (takes about 20 minutes). Then add them to the soup and serve.

Soup and chowder have always been one of those "comfort foods" that can make the most dreary day a lot more enjoyable, ya know? The fact that this one is so much easier to make than many others is a big plus!

If you make enough to share, I'll be more than happy to share a big ol' bowl with you! Heck, I'll even make a fresh batch of cornbread!

Coffee in the kitchen sound OK to you? Fresh biscuits on the stove there!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Some Things Are Timeless...!

When someone talented does what they are really good never fades away!

No matter how long ago a thing was done, if it was a thing of beauty to begin with, it stays that way! It's a shame we don't see more talent like this anymore!

Let's get some fresh coffee and talk about old times!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One Secret To Long Life...!

Many activities can help to give you a long and healthy life!

Here is just one example of one of those activities for you to ponder!

An 80-year-old man went to the doctor for a check-up and the doctor was amazed at what good shape the guy was in. The doctor asked, "To what do you attribute your good health?" The old timer said, "I'm a turkey hunter and that's why I'm in such good shape. I'm up well before daylight and out chasing turkeys up and down the mountains."

The doctor said, "Well, I'm sure that helps, but there's got to be more to it. How old was your dad when he died?" The old timer said, "Who said my dad's dead?" The doctor said, "You mean you're 80 years old and your dad's still alive? How old is he?" The old timer said, "He's 100 yrs old and, in fact, he hunted turkey with me this morning, and that's why he's still alive... he's a turkey hunter."

The doctor said, "Well, that's great, but I'm sure there's more to it. How about your dad's dad? How old was he when he died?" The old timer said, "Who said my grandpa's dead?" The doctor said, "You mean you're 80 years old and your grandfather's still living! How old is he?" The old timer said, "He's 118 yrs old."

The doctor was getting frustrated at this point and said, "I guess he went turkey hunting with you this morning too?" The old timer said, "No... Grandpa couldn't go this morning because he's getting married tonight." The Doctor said in amazement, "Married?! Why would a 118-year-old guy want to get married?"

The old timer said, "Who said he wants to?"

The moral? Never give up doing the things that make you happy, just because of the date on the calendar! If your head says you can't do it, but your heart says you can...listen to your heart!

Oh, and to your doctor, of course!

Let's have some coffee in the kitchen, OK?

Friday, January 21, 2011

How About Some Weather Proverbs...?

I'm always interested in finding out just how accurate some of the old proverbs are in regards to the weather and to planting.

The Almanac is always a good source for this type of information, and I have just a taste of some of them for you to look over!

Ready for do-it-yourself weather predicting?

Long before meteorologists had sophisticated technology to help them predict the weather, people made forecasts based on their observations of the sky, animals, and nature.

Many of the traditional sayings they used, called proverbs, are accurate. Try out some old-fashioned forecasting—that still works today!

The higher the clouds, the finer the weather.

If you spot wispy, thin clouds up where jet airplanes fly, expect a spell of pleasant weather.

Keep an eye, however, on the smaller puff clouds (cumulus), especially if it's in the morning or early afternoon. If the rounded tops of these clouds, which have flat bases, grow higher than the one cloud's width, then there's a chance of a thunderstorm forming.

Clear Moon, frost soon.

When the night sky is clear, Earth's surface cools rapidly—there is no cloud cover to keep the heat in. If the night is clear enough to see the Moon and the temperature drops enough, frost will form. Expect a chilly morning!

When clouds appear like towers, the Earth is refreshed by frequent showers.

When you spy large, white clouds that look like cauliflower or castles in the sky, there is probably lots of dynamic weather going on inside. Innocent clouds look like billowy cotton, not towers. If the clouds start to swell and take on a gray tint, they're probably turn into thunderstorms. Watch out!

Rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning.

A rainbow in the morning indicates that a shower is west of us and we will probably get it.

Ring around the moon? Rain real soon.

A ring around the moon usually indicates an advancing warm front, which means precipitation. Under those conditions, high, thin clouds get lower and thicker as they pass over the moon. Ice crystals are reflected by the moon's light, causing a halo to appear.

Rain foretold, long last. Short notice, soon will pass.

If you find yourself toting an umbrella around for days "just in case," rain will stick around for several hours when it finally comes. The gray overcast dominating the horizon means a large area is affected. Conversely, if you get caught in a surprise shower, it's likely to be short-lived.

Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.

A reddish sunset means that the air is dusty and dry. Since weather in North American latitudes usually moves from west to east, a red sky at sunset means dry weather—good for sailing—is moving east. Conversely, a reddish sunrise means that dry air from the west has already passed over us on their way easy, clearing the way for a storm to move in.

Observe the sky and see if these proverbs work for you!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Dry Skin...!

One of the worse things for me as I've become the dry skin I seem to get during the Winter time.

I don't really know why it seems worse in the cold months, but it does seem to be a lot worse in the past couple of years.

In searching around for something to help prevent it, I found some information in the Farmer's Almanac that I intend to try. I'll share it with you, just in case you may need it! OK?

Winter’s low humidity and harsh conditions can do a number on your skin, leaving it flaky, itchy, and dry as an old bone.

• Try adding lemon juice or vinegar to your bathwater. Soap, being highly alkaline, may make your skin feel itchy.

• To soften dry skin, add 1 cup of powdered milk to your bath.

• Avoid steaming water or long immersions, which will strip your skin of its natural oils.

Here's a few more tips from the almanac that relate to dry skin!

* As soon as you get out of the shower or tub, while your skin is still damp, slather on the moisturizing lotion.

* Choose a lotion brand that has petroleum jelly or lanolin high on the ingredients list.

* Don't go outside in any season without using SPF of at least 15 on your face and hands.

* Try adding lemon juice or vinegar to your bathwater. Soap, being highly alkaline, may make your skin feel itchy.

* To soften dry skin, add 1 cup powdered milk to your bath. (It worked for Cleopatra.)

* Avoid steaming hot water or lengthy immersions, which will strip your skin of its natural oils.

* Wash gently. Vigorous scrubbing can further irritate sensitive skin.

* Forgo skin products that contain alcohol, which is drying.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. –Samuel Ullman

The only reason I don't like the dry skin is that it is a bit more itchy than during the Summer! I just don't like anything that itches! I don't care if it's 'skeeter bites or wool underwear...if it itches, I don't like it!

How about some hot chocolate in the kitchen? Of course, there's coffee as well! Heck, I might even whip up some biscuits and gravy, if ya want some!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Homeschooling Numbers Rise...!

Slowly folks are starting to catch on to the fact that the public school system is a bit lacking in many aspects.

Given the failure of many school systems in school safety, lack of curriculum, passing falsely or making up test scores for athletes, and hiring teachers without following up on their background checks...and so many more reasons too numerous to mention, I can understand that!

Over Two Million Children Are Now Homeschooled
- Home School Legal Defense Association

In a new study released today the National Home Education ResearchInstitute (NHERI) estimates there were over 2 million children being homeschooled in the United States in 2010. "The growth of the modern homeschool movement has been remarkable," said Michael Smith,president of HSLDA. "Just 30 years ago there were only an estimated20,000 homeschooled children," he added.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2008) there were an estimated 54million K 12 children in the U.S. in spring 2010, which meanshomeschoolers account for nearly 4% of the school-aged population, or1 in 25 children.

Today, homeschoolers can be found in all walks of life and with a widevariety of curriculum options, and a proven record of academic as wellas social success, homeschooling is rapidly becoming a mainstreameducation alternative.

The NHERI study used data from both government and private sources inorder to arrive at the 2 million figure.

I think that more and more, parents are taking charge in the process of educating their children! That's good to see in my opinion!

Only by taking more control of what our children are exposed to can we be sure that the values being taught to them are the ones we want them to carry into the real world when they venture forth!

Life is hard enough as it is, but if folks don't have some type of structure and upbringing to fall back on it's going to be a lot harder!

Let's face it, friends...the moral character of this country is in deep trouble! If you don't think so, just watch the commercials on television! Things are being put out there for sale that were against the law just a few years ago!

The only way that we can be assured that we some day have some leaders with the proper foundation to lead this country, is to maintain a little bit of control over the values that instilled in them! Homeschooling is certainly one way of doing this, and my respect goes out to all the families that are doing this!

Coffee in the kitchen...along with some fresh made brownies! I'll even share!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Bit Over The Edge...!

I'm thinking this might just be over the edge as far as rules go!

I mean, I knew these folks had some strict dress codes, but really...this is going a bit too far! Keep in mind now that these rules are the "relaxed" version!

Swiss bank revises its 44-page dress code for employees

By FRANK JORDANS Associated Press
Jan. 17, 2011, 4:03PM

GENEVA — Good news for Swiss bankers: They may soon be allowed to wear red underwear, black nail polish — and even eat garlic.

Swiss banking giant UBS AG said Monday it is revising its 44-page dress code telling its Swiss staff how to present themselves, which generated worldwide ridicule for its micromanagement of their dressing and dining habits.

The code instructs employees on everything from their breath — no garlic or onions, please — to their underwear, which should be skin-colored.

"We're reviewing what is important to us," UBS spokesman Andreas Kern told The Associated Press.

He said the bank would issue a pared-down booklet with more general guidelines on how to impress customers with a polished presence and sense of Swiss precision and decorum.

The existing code tells female employees how to apply makeup, what kind of perfume to wear and what color stockings are acceptable. It advises them not to show roots if they color their hair and to avoid black nail polish.

"You can extend the life of your knee socks and stockings by keeping your toenails trimmed and filed," Zurich-based UBS told its female staff. "Always have a spare pair: stockings can be provisionally repaired with transparent nail polish and a bit of luck."

Men are told how to knot a tie, to make sure they get a haircut every month and to avoid unruly beards and earrings.

"Glasses should always be kept clean," the code instructs. "On the one hand this gives you optimal vision, and on the other hand dirty glasses create an appearance of negligence."

The guidelines also recommended that employees always wear wristwatches to signal "trustworthiness and a serious concern for punctuality."

The UBS style guide prompted derision and disbelief when it first surfaced last month, but Kern insisted it was still good for the bank's reputation in the long run.

"Everyone knows the staff in our banks strive for the perfect look," he said.

So will employees now be able to wear red underwear? Who checked to see if they did before? Kern declined to give specific examples of planned changes.

A spokesman for rival bank Credit Suisse said he understands what UBS was trying to achieve.

"Every Swiss bank with private or retail customers has some sort of guidelines," Marc Dosch said. "UBS has taken it to absurd lengths, but in general it's a good thing that people have some guidance."

He noted that banks aren't alone in telling their employees what to wear: "There are gas stations, burger bars and supermarkets where you have to wear ties, and even silly hats at Christmas," he said.

The 157-year-old UBS has a history of providing detailed advice for its employees, which numbered 65,000 worldwide at the end of 2009. A handbook for bank trainees gives a country-by-country behavior guide.

In Russia, it tells employees to be prepared to hold your drink at business engagements and to "never reject an invitation to the sauna."

In Latin America, "turning up before an appointment might even be considered rude."

And in the United States, it says, "never criticize the President."

Now, I guess my main question is...just what the hell does all this have to do with how well these folks handle all the money they look out for? My guess is NOT MUCH!

This is the kind of thing that makes me realize just how screwed up the world is in the matter of priorities! The right colored underwear? Please...give me a break!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning!

Monday, January 17, 2011

How About Some Trivia...?

I know, I know...I should be writing something relevant, but it's Monday!

Even though I'm retired, I still remember what Mondays were like when I was working! Because of that, I like to think of myself as taking Mondays less seriously than I did before.

Along those lines, I think we should have a little bit of trivia today. You know, something light and entertaining, but maybe a little something to remember as well!

What is Prince's real name?

Prince Rogers Nelson.

What do you call a group of owls?

A parliament.

How many bones are there in an elephant's trunk?


Who was on the cover of the first edition of Rolling Stone magazine?

John Lennon.

What river flows both north and south of the equator?

The Congo.

In a deck of playing cards, what is the only king without a mustache?

The king of hearts.

What animal were the Canary Islands named after?

The dog.

How many dots are there on a pair of dice?

Which stroke starts a swimming medley?

What is the most common gas in the Earth's atmosphere?


What is the only type of bird that can fly backward?


What is the capital of Burkina Faso?

The flag of which country is solid green?

What U.S. city is the largest in land area in the contiguous 48 states?

Jacksonville, Fla., which covers 758 square miles. Sitka, Alaska, which covers 2,874 square miles, is the largest in area in all 50 states.

What do you do when you nictate?


What is the first hit song more than five minutes long?

Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."

What was the first record played on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" in 1957?

"Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" by Jerry Lee Lewis.

What is the official language of Nigeria?

What is the most widely spoken language in the world?


How many medals did Russia win at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics?

None, it boycotted the event.

Now, I'm sure that many of you already knew this stuff! After all, it's a wise and knowledgeable bunch that gathers for coffee at the Hermit's. But if there is something here that is new to you, then I'm glad to have brought it to the table!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and go sit in the kitchen. OK?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Some Smiles For Sunday...!

Sometimes I just can't help myself!

I find some things that I think are funny, and just want to share them in case anybody might need a smile or two. This is one of those cases!

I had not heard any of these, and that in itself is pretty unusual. I found these funnies over at the Oregonian...I hope you get a little enjoyment out of them!

A fifth-grader asked her mother the age-old question, "How did I get here?"

Her mother told her, "God sent you."

"Did God send you, too?" asked the child.

"Yes, Dear," the mother replied.

"What about Grandma and Grandpa?" the child persisted.

"He sent them also," the mother said.

"Did he send their parents, too?" asked the child.

"Yes, Dear, He did," said the mother patiently.

"So you're telling me that there has been NO sex in this family for 200 years? No wonder everyone's so grouchy around here!"

Men, pay attention

A bagpiper was asked to play at a graveside service for a homeless man who had no family or friends. The service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky backcountry.

The bagpiper got lost on his way to the cemetery, and, being a man, didn't stop for directions. He arrived an hour late and all that was left were the diggers and crew, who were eating lunch.

So he went to the side of the grave and saw that the vault lid was already in place. Not knowing what else to do, he started to play. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around.

When the bagpiper finished he headed for his car, and as he opened the door he heard one of the workers say:
"I never seen nothin' like that before, and I've been putting in septic tanks for 20 years."

Let me just draw a bead here

A man, we'll just call him Tex, walked into a convenience store in Austin, raised his T-shirt to reveal a caulk gun and demanded money.

When the clerk didn't take him seriously, Tex took out the caulk gun and attempted to pistol whip him (we guess it must not have been loaded). The clerk retaliated by hitting Tex with a plastic trash can.

Realizing things weren't going well (you have to at least give him credit for that), Tex fled empty-handed and jumped into a red pickup that was driven by a man dressed in drag. Needless to say, the whole situation attracted a lot of attention and someone got the license plate number of the truck, which led to Tex's arrest.

We're thinking his problem was the color of the truck.

Well, that's really all I had today! After all, Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest...right? That being said, I think I'll share a fresh cup of coffee with ya and then I'll start thinking about my nap! It's all about priorities, ya know?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Just Trying To Do My Part...!

If you need some help losing a few pounds after the holidays, this might help!

I found this expert information from this site right here, and you can read the rest of this article, as well as some other interesting tidbits if you are so inclined! I put the link in here just so you know I didn't make this stuff up!

I mean, I'm good but not THAT good!

Narrow slice rule: Cutting food into narrow slices reduces calories. By cutting very thin slices it is possible to eat an entire pizza, muffin, or doughnut with a very minimal caloric intake.

Eating while standing rule: Any foods consumed while standing have very few, if any, calories (and are obviously digested much faster).

7 a.m. rule: It is important to start the day with a healthy meal. Therefore, any foods eaten before 7 a.m. do not count toward the day's caloric intake.

7 a.m. rule, midnight sub-clause: Foods eaten after midnight automatically have a reduced calorie count.

Mental exercise rule: A sharp mental state of mind is the most important part of exercise. Therefore, a good psychological mindset for exercise is the most important part of losing weight. Hence, just thinking hard about exercise will shed the pounds.

Liquid food rule: Foods in liquid form are much lower in calories than solid foods, since food that doesn't have to be chewed is better for a diet.

Meeting snack rule: Since meetings are a job requirement, snacks eaten at them have no calories.

Thin food rule: Foods that are thin obviously have much fewer calories than thick foods. Because of this rule, baklava should be considered a low-calorie food, and anyone can see that crepes are better for a diet than pancakes.

Potluck food rule: Like cookies at a meeting, food consumed at a potluck is also free of calories (editor's note: although we have no idea why).

No need to thank me! After all, making you all slim and trim is just part of the service provided by the Hermit! And just to show how much I want to help you, feel free to send me any cookies or chocolate that may be a temptation while you are trying to shed those unwanted pounds and inches!

Of course I don't want to eat them for my own enjoyment, but I'm just doing my part to remove all of these nasty ol' calorie laden temptations from your sight in order to make things a lot easier for you!

After all, I gave up worrying about the added waist line a long time ago, ya know? Just my burden in life as a certified "cookie remover"!

Now, my friends, let's go to the kitchen and have some fresh coffee. Feel free to bring any extra cookies you might want to get rid of, OK?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mom Is Home...!

Yesterday about 3:00 P.M. I got a call from Mom at the hospital, saying she was being released!

I had just been there in the morning and at that time, she didn't know when she would be released! She was feeling fine and getting around on her own pretty good! The problem was that for the last two days, her white count had been climbing and no one knew why!

A blood specialist had been called in to check things out, and when she came back with the test results...she said that the white count was going up because of the steroids the doctors had put Mom on to help fight her illness.

So now she's home. She's happy, her cat's happy, I'm happy...the main thing is that she is feeling OK, just tired!

One week yesterday, she went in the hospital. A week in the hospital, away from home, is enough to make anyone tired!

Her thanks (and mine) go out to everyone that sent prayers and good thoughts her way! I know in my heart that it made a BIG difference in her getting better so quickly! At Mom's age, any illness like pneumonia can be very, very serious! Mom knows that and I know that! We accept it as part of the life cycle, so we do what we can to make the best of things while we can!

Folks, we all need to learn to live each and every day just like it was the last one we had left to be with our loved ones! You know why? Because someday, maybe someday WILL be!

Peace and love from the Hermit, my friends! Coffee's on me!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another HOA Attacks The Flag...!

Whenever I hear a story like this, I get really mad!

I'm not very fond of HOAs to begin with, and actions like this is one of the main reasons why! To me, this is just another case of a patriot hating group of power hungry bozos trying to show how strong they are!

The excuses the HOA makes for trying to stop this flag flying make no sense to me, unless they are just out to prevent the flag from flying altogether! Here is the story from the Houston Chronicle!

A (too) high-flying flag?
Marine vet's 20-foot flagpole has homeowners association filing suit over a display of patriotism that stands taller than allowed

Jan. 7, 2011, 4:49AM

Marine veteran Michael Merola says he "just didn't buy" his neighborhood association's reasons why he couldn't put up his big flagpole.

A Marine Corps veteran is being sued by his Cypress-area homeowners association because the flagpole on which he flies the United States and Marine Corps flags does not meet his subdivision's design guidelines.

Mike Merola and his lawyer, Lee Thweatt, say this is a classic case of overreach by a nitpicking homeowners association. Lakeland Village Community Association says it is seeking to enforce its rules evenly on all residents.

Standing in his backyard in a black T-shirt bearing an eagle and the American flag, the 60-year-old Merola called that argument "a lame excuse." After his application to erect a 20-foot flagpole in his backyard was denied, he protested in a series of letters and, ultimately, erected the pole anyway.

"They just don't understand, unless they've been in the military, to feel the pride that I feel in flying that flag high and proud," said Merola, who served in the Marines from 1969 to 1977. "The excuses and things that they came up with for me not being able to fly that flagpole, I just didn't buy. That's why I bucked the system and put it up."

The association's lawyer, Nina Tran, said her clients encourage residents who wish to fly the flag to do so — as long as that flag is attached to a 6-foot pole mounted on a resident's home, as the bylaws stipulate.

Such an approach is "in keeping with the residential nature of the community," the board wrote in a statement. The suit alleges the pole is "a detriment to Lakeland Village and … (causes) imminent harm and irreparable injury to (the association)." The suit seeks a $10 fine for every day the pole stays standing, a court order to remove it and payment of attorneys' fees.

"The problem with a flagpole of that height and that significance is that it flaps in the wind and causes noise to other homeowners," Tran said. "If we allow the mounting of a 20-foot freestanding flagpole in the backyard, who's to say that the next person isn't going to mount it to the top of their roof? We have to have standards."

But Merola, who moved into the neighborhood in March 2009, bringing the flagpole from his former residence, said he's received only compliments from neighbors about the pole, whether from kids skateboarding by on the walking path behind his back fence or from neighbors who've stopped to investigate the source of all the gossip. The neighbors don't mind !

"I don't understand why the homeowners association overreacted like this," said Thweatt, Merola's lawyer, and a Marine himself. "I understand they have to protect the property values of the people in that subdivision, but they've had no complaints. It's not like the guy painted his house neon orange."

Merola's next-door neighbors, Satish and Ann Kalra, said the pole does not bother them.

"The homeowners association should look at the rules again," Satish Kalra said. "If the rules need to be modified, they should be modified. … That would be the logical thing to do."

Tran said even if Merola has not received complaints, another neighbor with a similar flagpole might.

Thweatt, who took the case pro bono, said he believes the suit violates the Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, which says, in part, that a homeowners association "may not adopt or enforce any policy … that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag."

No court date has been scheduled in the case.

"I hope we can come to some kind of agreement that will let me continue to fly the flag loud and proud for as long as I live," Merola said.

You know, time and time again we hear stories where HOAs are attacking folks about the way they display the flag! Why? Do they really feel that proudly showing the American Flag will hurt the property values in their neighborhood?

I'll tell you one thing! I'd be a lot quicker to locate in a neighborhood flying the flag than in one that didn't! To me, this is just one more case of a HOA throwing their weight around! You would think that any neighborhood would be proud to have a true flag waving patriot in their midst, instead of some of the alternatives!

But...that's just me! Personally, I'd feel a whole lot better with having this vet as a neighbor than some of the neighbors I have now!

Fresh coffee and hot chocolate in the kitchen this morning! It's 29 on the patio and for me, that's just too cold to sit outside!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chasing The Rainbow...!

The news from the hospital is a little good, and a little bad.

Well, I say bad...but that may not be the case. During one of the blood work ups yesterday, the lab came back with a report that Mom's white count was a little higher than it had been. Despite that, Mom says that she has been feeling better and seems to be eating well. She seems to be getting around pretty good as well!

When the doctor came to see her later in the evening, he told her not to be very concerned about the elevated white count...that several things could cause that level. He said the main thing was that she was feeling a lot better! He also said that if all continues to go well, she might be able to go home Thursday. We'll wait and see about that, as there are several other doctors involved and they have to approve the release as well.

As much as Mom wants to go home, she knows that it's best she get completely out of the woods with this pneumonia before trying to do too much too soon! I think she realizes that she is in the best place to be properly treated and cured of all the bad stuff that has been nagging at her and pulling her down as of late!

I think the staff and the hospital has been outstanding so far. I can't say enough about the care shown by the nursing staff, that's for sure! That goes double for the doctors! One even came to see about Mom's condition a little after midnight! How many times do you know of doctors doing that?

Anyway, that's where we stand right now. I'm hoping that I can find out a little more this morning when I go back up to the hospital. It really makes it a lot easier when you can stay informed about what's going on, ya know?

It's kind of like chasing a rainbow! You think you know just where the rainbow ends, but the end is never quite where you expect it to be!

I'll sure be glad when it's all over and she is back home! I know she will be, as well! Probably the happiest will be Mom's cat, Amy! With just the two of them living there, Amy really gets lonely when Mom is not home! I make sure to spend some time with her every day, just so she doesn't feel as though she has been abandoned!

Our pets have feelings as well! Just like people, a little bit of caring can go a long way!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning! Way too cold to go out!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thank You, Teddy Roosevelt...!

This is one thing a president did that I can really get behind.

If more constructive actions like this were done by the head man, all of us would be better off. At least, that's what I think!

On January 11, 1908, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt declares the massive Grand Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument.

Though Native Americans lived in the area as early as the 13th century, the first European sighting of the canyon wasn't until 1540, by members of an expedition headed by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado.

Because of its remote and inaccessible location, several centuries passed before North American settlers really explored the canyon. In 1869, geologist John Wesley Powell led a group of 10 men in the first difficult journey down the rapids of the Colorado River and along the length of the 277-mile gorge in four rowboats.

By the end of the 19th century, the Grand Canyon was attracting thousands of tourists each year. One famous visitor was President Theodore Roosevelt, a New Yorker with a particular affection for the American West. After becoming president in 1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley, Roosevelt made environmental conservation a major part of his presidency. After establishing the National Wildlife Refuge to protect the country's animals, fish and birds, Roosevelt turned his attention to federal regulation of public lands. Though a region could be given national park status--indicating that all private development on that land was illegal--only by an act of Congress, Roosevelt cut down on red tape by beginning a new presidential practice of granting a similar "national monument" designation to some of the West's greatest treasures.

In January 1908, Roosevelt exercised this right to make more than 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon area into a national monument. "Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is," he declared. "You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see."

Congress did not officially outlaw private development in the Grand Canyon until 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act. Today, more than 5 million people visit the canyon each year. The canyon floor is accessible by foot, mule or boat, and whitewater rafting, hiking and running in the area are especially popular. Many choose to conserve their energies and simply take in the breathtaking view from the canyon's South Rim--some 7,000 feet above sea level--and marvel at a vista virtually unchanged for over 400 years.

I don't know of anyone that would dispute the fact that protecting the Grand Canyon from development by the Mega-corporations in this country was a very wise decision...and probably made just in time. Knowing how big industry operates and knowing that they have enough money to bribe some of the weaker lawmakers that hand out the permits to destroy, protecting it was a good move!

Anyway, thanks to Teddy...our generation and those that follow should have this beautiful area to enjoy for a long time to come. Providing, of course, we can keep from somehow blowing it up, or otherwise reeking havoc as we are often prone to do!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit! OK?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Putting The "Bang" Back In Sex...!

I'm sure that there is a moral in this story somewhere, but I'm just not sure what it is!

There are so many things that one could say about this plan, I'm not sure just where to start! One saying that comes to mind is "beware of Greeks bearing gifts". Seems like the smartest thing would be, first, not to use these things anyway...and secondly, always know who any unexpected gifts are from!

Man charged with two felonies for making homemade explosive device

Terry Allen Lester

WASECA — A Waseca man has been charged with felony creation and possession of an explosive or incendiary device and felony terroristic threats after authorities discovered a homemade explosive device hidden in a sex toy.

Terry Allen Lester, 37, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine if convicted.

On January 1, Officer Kari Kalow responded to a home in Waseca about a civil matter.

According to the woman, Lester had been staying with her and another woman at her apartment, but he was forced to leave when the manager learned about this.

He left the apartment on Dec. 31, but left behind some bags. The contents of the bags made the women uncomfortable so they contacted authorities.

The women brought Kalow the container of items, which included a container with the words “Christmas Gifts” written in black marker.

One of the women told Kalow that Lester had spoken to them about one of the items.

According to the criminal complaint, Lester had made some modifications to a sex toy. He put gun powder, BB shot and buck shot from shotgun shells into one with black and red wires that connected to a trigger with a battery port.

There was no battery inside the device.

The complaint went on to say that Lester planned on giving it to one of three women. In each of those cases, the relationship had ended badly.

Also left at the apartment were tools used in the construction of the explosive device, including cords, cables, a small tool kit and two other sex toys.

The Bloomington Bomb Squad was contacted by Waseca Police Sergeant Scott Girtler. The squad arrived two hours later and x-rayed the devices after first inspecting them.

The first device, the one shown to Kalow earlier, had two wires coming out of it that were connected to what appeared to be a trigger from a cordless drill.

The other two devices appeared to be unaltered and checked out.

The bomb squad cut into the first device and removed the projectiles and gunpowder, rendering it inert.

Lester remains in police custody.

This seems to me to be a pretty brutal way to get back at anyone. I'm guessing that this guy has some very serious anger issues that need to be addressed! I mean, it's one thing to plan to injure someone, but to do so in such a barbaric manner is completely inexcusable in my opinion!

Now, after all that's been going on during the last couple of days I need some fresh coffee...a LOT of coffee. One thing about the hospital that Mom is in...close by her room in the hallway, they have a "serve yourself" coffee cart, where they furnish free coffee for the visitors. Pretty fresh, too! Nice to see things like that once in a while, ya know?

Come on in, grab a cup, and we'll sit in the kitchen for a bit!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back...!

Well, where do I start this tale?

As you know, I took Mom to the hospital ER Tuesday, where we spent about 8 hours waiting on a room. They decided not to admit her and sent us back home after all that time!

Wednesday things started off pretty good with Mom seeming to be getting better! But by the late afternoon and on into the evening...she was in constant pain and really popping pain pills. The worst thing for her was not being able to get any sleep, because by the late evening she was coughing really bad and, of course, that caused the pain in her back and ribs to escalate!

Thursday morning, with some help from my niece (who is a nurse) and one of Mom's friends, we managed to get Mom back to the ER again, thanks to a call from one of Mom's past doctors. Baby Sis talked to him several times on the phone, and he called the hospital to arrange for a room. About 9 hours later, after a wide range of more test, we finally got Mom into a room and settled in.

I made sure she was OK and then drove the short distance back home, getting there about 12:15 in the morning! Fed the animals, checked Mom's house and mail, brought in the mail for my neighbor, and managed to get some sleep.

Back to the hospital Friday to check on Mom and found that Baby Sis had beat me there. We talked to Mom's doctors and found out that she has pneumonia and pleurisy! The doctor said that she would be there for a while and set no date for her release. It could be at least 3 days and up to 10 days! It all depends on how long it takes to clear up the pneumonia, which is my main concern.

So anyway, that's the update. Mom is finally getting some rest, her coughing is much better, she's in a place that can deal with her pain much better than I can, and I hope that with all these issues getting treated in order...she will be back on the road to recovery soon!

It may take a while, but she is 84 and folks just don't heal that fast at her age!
That's all I had today. I just wanted to bring you up to date after all the kind words to her after finding out she was ill. I appreciated that very much...and so did she, believe me.

Now, I sure could use some fresh coffee! How about you?

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Official End Of The 12 Days...!

I guess we can officially call the holidays over and done now.

The end of the "12 Days of Christmas",known as the Epiphany, was yesterday...and that makes today "Distaff Day". For those of you that don't know what that is (like me) I have a brief explanation for ya!

Distaff Day

The day after Epiphany (January 6) was traditionally the one on which women went back to work after the 12-day Christmas celebration. A distaff is the wooden rod (staff) that holds the flax or wool on a spinning wheel. The term distaff came to refer to both women’s work and the female branch (distaff side) of the family. The women’s husbands did not go back to work until the following Monday (see below), so they would mischievously try to set fire to the flax on their wives’ distaffs, while the women, lying in wait, would douse them with buckets of water.

The English poet Robert Herrick wrote:

If the maids a-spinning goe
Burn their flax and fire their tow.
Bring the pails of water then
Let the maids bewash the men.

I'm not exactly sure just why the women had to go back to work, while the men got off until the next Monday. Guess that's one of those many mysteries I never found the answer to.

Seems to be a lot of those around.

Let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen as it's still too chilly to go on the patio and sit!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Little Sister...!

Today is my little sister's birthday, so please join me in telling her to have a happy one!

I'd sing her a birthday song, but we don't want her special day to forever be a bad memory so I'll pass on the singing!

She probably doesn't realize it, but she shares this date with a famous (or at least well known) person from our early history! Since Baby Sis is a little bit of a history buff, I'll share the information of this person with everyone.

On this date in history, Jedediah Strong Smith, one of America's greatest trapper-explorers, is born in Bainbridge, New York.

Smith explored a stunningly large area of the Far West during his short life. He began his western voyages in 1822, when he joined the pioneering fur trader William Ashley on a trip up the Missouri River. Unlike earlier fur traders, who depended on Native Americans to actually trap or hunt the furs, Ashley eliminated the Indians as middlemen and instead sent out independent Anglo trappers like Smith to do the job.

To escape dependence on Indians, though, Ashley needed to find his own sources of beaver and otter in the West, and Smith became one of his best explorers. A year after his first trip up the Missouri, Smith set out with a small band of mountain men to explore the Black Hills region of the Dakotas at Ashley's behest. Despite being mauled by a grizzly bear in the Black Hills, Smith continued westward to the site of modern-day Dubois, Wyoming, where he and his men camped for the winter.

During his long forced halt at Dubois, Smith learned from friendly Crow Indians of an easy pass through the Rocky Mountains. The following spring, Smith and his men followed the route outlined by the Crow and discovered that they could cross the mighty Rockies almost effortlessly. Later named the "South Pass," Smith's new route was a high plain that gradually rose like a shallow ramp to provide an easy crossing of the Continental Divide. Smith's discovery of South Pass was actually a "rediscovery," since employees of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company crossed the pass in 1812 when returning to St. Louis from the Pacific. The Astorian discovery, though, remained unknown, so Smith is credited for alerting the nation to the existence of this easy route across the Rockies.

Smith's discovery of South Pass was monumentally important. Not only did his fellow fur trappers prefer South Pass to the far more difficult and dangerous Missouri River route blazed by Lewis and Clark in 1804, but the South Pass became an early 19th century "super-highway" for settlers bound for Oregon and California. Ideally suited for heavy wagon traffic, South Pass greatly facilitated the mass emigration of Americans to the Far West.

The blazing of the South Pass route alone would have secured Smith's claim as one of the great explorers of the American West, but during the following decade, Smith also explored the Great Salt Lake, the Colorado Plateau, and led the first expedition to cross the Southwest to California—all before he was 30 years old. Having lived through dozens of narrow escapes on his intrepid journeys, Smith decided to retire from his dangerous trade in 1830 and enter the mercantile business. Ironically, being a trader proved more deadly than exploring: while leading a trading caravan along the Santa Fe Trail in 1831, Smith was killed by Commanche Indians near the Cimarron River. He was 32 years old.

See, you just never know who may share your birth date! Always interesting to find these things out, don't ya think?

BTW, many thanks to all that wished Mom well yesterday! She seems to be better this morning, so let's just hope that the worse is over! I'm sorry if I didn't get a chance to answer all the comments, but I was really tired.

I don't do sickness very well, mine or anyone elses'. Wouldn't make a very good care-giver, I'm afraid!

Want some fresh coffee? We'll sit in the kitchen 'cause it's still a little chilly outside!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Need A Break Today....!

Mom has been sick since the day after Christmas...and it's been getting worse and worse!

Went to the doctor's office Monday and again on Tuesday! I was surprised they sent her back home Monday, as she was really sick! The reason? They said that they had no one in the office that could authorize putting her in the hospital!

Anyway, Tuesday we were at the doctor's at 11:30 in the morning. When we left there about 12:15 or so...we were told to go straight to the E.R., so that's what we did!

Got back home around 8:15 P.M. That's right! 8:15 at night and she was sent home with a suggestion to take some pain killers or aspirin!

I'm really tired, Mom is cross with me...because she was hearing voices and was upset that I couldn't hear them as well! One voice she heard was my sister that lives in North Carolina!

Needless to say, I'm tired...very tired! So, I'm gonna need to take a break for today and maybe tomorrow!

Hospitals really suck, BTW!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Story Of "Cannibal Alfred Packer"...!

History is so full of interesting characters, it's hard to keep track of all of them.

I'm not sure that interesting is really the proper description for this guy, but short of saying he was a's the best I could do!

I'm almost positive there were more stories like this that we have never heard, but I'm not really sure that I want to! Do you?

Way back in 1901, the confessed Colorado cannibal Alfred Packer was released from prison on parole after serving 18 years.

One of the ragged legions of gold and silver prospectors who combed the Rocky Mountains searching for fortune in the 1860s, Alfred Packer also supplemented his meager income from mining by serving as a guide in the Utah and Colorado wilderness. In early November 1873, Packer left Bingham Canyon, Utah, to lead a party of 21 men bound for the gold fields near Breckenridge, Colorado.

The winter of 1873-74 was unusually harsh. After three months of difficult travel, the party staggered into the camp of the Ute Indian Chief Ouray, near present-day Montrose, Colorado. The Utes graciously provided the hungry and exhausted men with food and shelter. Chief Ouray advised the men to stay in the camp until a break came in the severe winter weather, but with their strength rekindled by food and rest, Packer and five other men decided to continue the journey.

Two months later, Packer arrived alone at the Los Pinos Indian Agency, looking surprisingly fit for a man who had just completed an arduous winter trek through the Rockies. Packer first claimed he had become separated from his five companions during a blizzard and survived on rabbits and rosebuds. Suspicions grew, though, when it was discovered that Packer had an unusual amount of money and many items belonging to the missing men. Under questioning, Packer confessed that the real story was far more gruesome: four of the men, he claimed, had died naturally from the extreme winter conditions and the starving survivors ate them. When only Packer and one other man, Shannon Bell, remained alive, Bell went insane and threatened to kill Packer. Packer said he shot Bell in self-defense and eventually ate his corpse.

Though shocking, Packer's grisly story would probably have been accepted as an unfortunate tragedy had not searchers later found the remains of the five men at a single campsite-not strung out along the trail as Packer had claimed. Packer was arrested and charged with murder, but he escaped from jail and remained at large for nine years.

Recaptured in 1883 near Fort Fetterman, Wyoming, Packer once again changed his story. He claimed that all six men had made camp alive, but lost and starving, they were too weak to go on. One day Packer went in search of the trail. Upon returning several hours later, he discovered to his horror that Bell had gone mad, killed the other four with a hatchet, and was boiling the flesh of one of them for his meal. When Bell spotted Packer, he charged with his hatchet raised, and Packer shot him twice in the belly. Lost and trapped alone in a camp of dead men, Packer said he only resorted to cannibalism after several more days, when it was his only means of survival.

Having twice changed his story, Packer's credibility was undermined, and a jury convicted him of manslaughter. He remained imprisoned in the Canon City penitentiary until 1901 when the Denver Post published a series of articles and editorials questioning his guilt. Eventually, the state freed Packer on parole. Packer went to work as a guard for the Post and lived quietly in and around Littleton, Colorado, maintaining his innocence until the day he died in 1907.

Though we will never know exactly what happened on the so-called "Cannibal Plateau" near present-day Lake City, Colorado, recent forensic studies of the remains of the men who died have tended to support the details of Packer's second confession.

Now, to me it doesn't matter what version of the story you buy into, the whole thing is pretty scary. I think the reason for that is the ingrained fear of cannibalism we all seem to have!

In fairness, I guess we never know just what we would do to stay alive under similar conditions! To tell you the truth, I hope I never have to find out!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a while. Still a little chilly outside, at least for me!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Little Gun History...!

Many times we may overlook some of the important or interesting things in history, just because we don't realize just when they occurred!

In this case, I wanted to remind all the gun enthusiast out there of an important event in gun history! This story involves around a gentleman you may have heard of...going by the name of Samuel Colt!

Jan 4, 1847:
Colt sells his first revolvers to the U.S. government

Samuel Colt rescues the future of his faltering gun company by winning a contract to provide the U.S. government with 1,000 of his .44 caliber revolvers.

Before Colt began mass-producing his popular revolvers in 1847, handguns had not played a significant role in the history of either the American West or the nation as a whole. Expensive and inaccurate, short-barreled handguns were impractical for the majority of Americans, though a handful of elite still insisted on using dueling pistols to solve disputes in highly formalized combat. When choosing a practical weapon for self-defense and close-quarter fighting, most Americans preferred knives, and western pioneers especially favored the deadly and versatile Bowie knife.

That began to change when Samuel Colt patented his percussion-repeating revolver in 1836. The heart of Colt's invention was a mechanism that combined a single rifled barrel with a revolving chamber that held five or six shots. When the weapon was cocked for firing, the chamber revolved automatically to bring the next shot into line with the barrel.

Though still far less accurate than a well-made hunting rifle, the Colt revolver could be aimed with reasonable precision at a short distance (30 to 40 yards in the hands of an expert), because the interior bore was "rifled"--cut with a series of grooves spiraling down its length. The spiral grooves caused the slug to spin rapidly as it left the barrel, giving it gyroscopic stability. The five or six-shoot capacity also made accuracy less important, since a missed shot could quickly be followed with others.

Yet most cowboys, gamblers, and gunslingers could never have afforded such a revolver if not for the de facto subsidy the federal government provided to Colt by purchasing his revolvers in such great quantities. After the first batch of revolvers proved popular with soldiers, the federal government became one of Colt's biggest customers, providing him with the much-needed capital to improve his production facilities. With the help of Eli Whitney and other inventors, Colt developed a system of mass production and interchangeable parts for his pistols that greatly lowered their cost.

Though never cheap, by the early 1850s, Colt revolvers were inexpensive enough to be a favorite with Americans headed westward during the California Gold Rush. Between 1850 and 1860, Colt sold 170,000 of his "pocket" revolvers and 98,000 "belt" revolvers, mostly to civilians looking for a powerful and effective means of self-defense in the Wild West.

I think that most of us that are a little familiar with hand guns know what an important influence the Colt revolver had on the history of the American West. Because of it's enduring and substantial contribution to our history, I felt that the introduction of this gun should be remembered!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit! Too chilly to sit outside!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Little Successful "Civil Disobedience"...!

Proving a point the old fashioned way, without violence, may not be as flashy as others...but it could prove to be just as effective!

To beat the establishment without having to open a big ol' can of "whup-ass" on 'em has got to be very satisfying indeed! Not that the first option wouldn't be fun, but the second option isn't as likely to get you arrested.

Public comment ban is lifted in Gilmer
Associated Press
Dec. 31, 2010, 11:26AM

GILMER — Officials in an East Texas county have lifted a three-month-old ban on public comment that led to a protest in which some residents covered their mouths with duct tape.

The Upshur County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 Thursday to overturn their September decision to stop hearing public comment. At least five people with tape on their mouths removed it after the vote was taken, according to the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

The vote came a day after a grand jury indicted sheriff Anthony Betterton and two members of the commissioners court on misdemeanor charges of official oppression, the newspaper reported. The charges stemmed from the removal of a man from a meeting last month after he placed duct tape over his mouth.

Betterton declined comment to the newspaper.

Know what the best part of this whole story is? The fact that the sheriff and some of his cohorts were actually indicted of "official oppression" says a lot about the focus of the law being directed toward the right target!

Sort of gives you faith in the system! Well, maybe not the WHOLE system...! You have to admit it's a step in the right direction, though!

Let's get some coffee, sit in the kitchen, and think about what a development this could turn out to be! OK?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Few Facts About New Year's...!

Once again, from the pages of the Almanac, I've found some interesting things about our celebration of the new year that you might find interesting!

Often we follow old fashioned traditions without knowing their origin. I wanted to find out the source of some, and here's what I found!

Make Some Noise

* In ancient Thailand, guns were fired to frighten off demons.

* In China, firecrackers routed the forces of darkness.

* In the early American colonies, the sounds of pistol shots rang through the air.

* Today, Italians let their church bells peal, the Swiss beat drums, and the North Americans sound sirens and party horns to bid the old year farewell.

Eat Lucky Food

Many New Year's traditions surround food. Here are a few:

* In the southern US, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune. See our recipe for Good Luck Hoppin' John.

* Eating any ring-shaped treat (such as a donut) symbolize "coming full circle" and leads to good fortune. In Dutch homes, fritters called olie bollen are served.

* The Irish enjoy pastries called bannocks.

* The tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight comes from Spain.

* In India and Pakistan, rice promises prosperity.

* Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah tradition.

* In Swiss homes, dollops of whipped cream, symbolizing the richness of the year to come, are dropped on the floors (and allowed to remain there!)

Drink a Beverage

Although the pop of a champagne cork signals the arrival of the New Year around the world, some countries have their own traditions.

* Wassail, the Gaelic term for "good health" is served in some parts of England.

* Spiced "hot pot" is the Scottish version of Wassail. It's customary to drink a glass or two at home before sharing with neighbors.

* In Holland, toasts are made with hot, spiced wine.

Give a Gift

New Year's Day was once the time to swap presents.

* Gifts of gilded nuts or coins marked the start of the new year in Rome.

* Eggs, the symbol of fertility, were exchanged by the Persians.

* Early Egyptians traded earthenware flasks.

* In Scotland, coal, shortbread and silverware are exchanged for good luck.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

In Scotland, the custom of first-footing is an important part of the celebration of Hogmanay, or New Year's Eve Day.

This practice holds that the first foot to cross a threshold after midnight will predict the next year's fortune. Although the tradition varies, those deemed especially fortunate as "first footers" are new brides, new mothers, those who are tall and dark (and handsome?) or anyone born on January 1.

Turn Over a New Leaf

The dawn of a new year is an opportune time to take stock of your life.

* Jews who observe Rosh Hashanah make time for personal introspection and prayer, as well as visiting graves.

* Christian churches hold "watch-night" services, a custom that began in 1770 at Old St. Georges Methodist Church in Philadelphia.

* The practice of making New Year's resolutions, said to have begun with the Babylonians as early as 2600 B.C., is another way to reflect on the past and plan ahead.

New Year's Folklore

Some customs and beliefs are simply passed down through the ages. Here are some of our favorite age-old sayings and proverbs.

On New Year's Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.

If New Year's Eve night wind blow south, It betokeneth warmth and growth.

For abundance in the new year, fill your pockets and cupboards today.

If the old year goes out like a lion, the new year will come in like a lamb.

Begin the new year square with every man. (i.e., pay your debts!) –Robert B. Thomas, founder of The Old Farmer's Almanac

So, whether we resolve to return borrowed farm equipment (as did the Babylonians) or drop a few pounds, we're tapping into an ancient and powerful longing for a fresh start!

Anyway, I thought you might find these amusing. If nothing else, it gives you something new to talk about over coffee in the morning, right?

Speaking of which, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside this morning! Should be warm enough, at least for a while!

Happy New Year !