Latest Event Updates

The fork in the road …

Posted on Updated on

The new day dawned. Soft words were spoken over the morning’s coffee. A painful fork in the road had appeared from nowhere. “When you get to the fork in the road, take it!” said Yogi. So, and in hand, we step into the fork. Do we believe our map, or not?

“I never watch Fox News. That is why I can tell you what all is wrong with it!”

Posted on

“I never watch Fox News. That is why I can tell you what all is wrong with it!”

 

I have been cruising some my feel-more/ care-more-than-thee Liberal blogs and websites this morning. A few of them I actually maintain friendship with in spite of our sharply opposing views. The news is rather grim for their side this electoral season, but perhaps had they as much open mindedness as they pride themselves in, they should have seen this train wreck coming.

A very common theme is: “Ug! Fox News. Never watch it!” … but they sure do know what it is all about. How is that? I guess they have some opinion makers that feed them the ideas they need. Many on the right end up having to watch such left wing pundits like Chris “tingles” Matthews simply because liberal outlets outnumber conservative outlets five to one on TV, and far more in legacy media.

Looking like deer caught in the headlights, they just don’t understand why almost half the people in the US do not think their ideas are all that good. They crammed down the throats of people a healthcare ‘fix’ that wasn’t wanted or needed, nor did they feel it was necessary to do it without bringing the great unwashed aboard. They actually could have done it had they swallowed some of their hubris. The United States Government is not the sole repository of all things good.

A more modest plan financed and conducted by the States would have kept the Constitutionalists aboard their grand train.

A less ambitious plan could have legitimately left those who had good private insurance to keep their plans. And allowing for non-taxed medical savings accounts could have kept the professional class on board.

The left was done in by hubris and elitism, not bad ideas …

Jonas Salk … a forgotten hero …

Posted on Updated on

 

Today’s Google Doodle is Jonas Salk, whose work gave us polio vaccine.

It got me to thinking back. I am old enough to remember the polio scares of the 50’s. They were real, not like the politicized AIDS and Ebola B.S. floating around right now. No one knew what polio was, nor how it spread then. Public swimming pools and theaters were off limits to many kids of that generation.

Ron, my friend, contacted polio as a five year old, and it caused the atrophying of his extremities. He had one semi strong arm, and one that through much effort, was made strong enough to propel his wheelchair. Ron was afraid to use a powered wheelchair for fear that he would deteriorate. When he reached his sixties, Social Security gave him one after his weak arm gave out. He was right. His arms and chest wall atrophied, and he died in his mountain cabin.

I had another childhood friend who was in an iron lung. That was his whole world as a child. I lost contact with him when I was eight, but I presume that he lived a reasonably long life afterwards. Since then, the clunky iron lung was replaced by a tube inserted into the neck, allowing for more mobility, and no more are iron lungs are being manufactured, although they are still used for people who have spinal deformities. When one is needed, they quickly repair it and put it into service.

This recent Ebola thing shows me that our press, health care system and government is not prepared for a viral outbreak. The CDC was politicized during the Clinton administration to carry forth a gun control agenda, and it did with zeal. I think it was at the expense of developing a plague strategy to contain the outbreak. We have grown cocky, and I think some future generation is going to pay for this malfeasance.

Anyway. Back to Salk. What a national godsend he was, and we dutifully lined up for the vaccinations, as painful as they were. The medic would put a blob of the vaccine on your arm, and then puncture the skin repeatedly with a needle to let the vaccine soak in. Later the sugar cubes came on the market, and finally, an injection. I received all of them.

So today, polio is a byword. It means no more to later generations than the war of 1812 means to me. People reject lifesaving vaccines like those for smallpox and measles without so much as a backward glance. Odd how you can have such negative opinions on diseases once they are eradicated. Sometimes I wish that people could see a pockmarked face of a young girl who survived small pox, or a child confined to a huge tank because of the poliovirus.

Yeah. I am pro inoculation.

Twin Peaks is returning!! All new!!

Posted on

I hardly ever watch bandwidth hogging videos.  But! Twin Peaks is returning!!

A blue bonnet

Posted on Updated on

I had written a similar piece years ago that was lost when multiply® went south. I don’t have the original because once I write something, I usually lose all interest in it afterwards. It is a true story as seen through my eyes as a nine year old, though I am guilty of a tiny amount of dramatization. It is one of those stories that never is fully told, even though it may told many times.

… ninety eight, ninety nine, one hundred!

Betty (Miz Beatrice to me) released the pump handle of the little vertical hand pump that watered her vegetable garden, and fanned herself. That would probably be the last time this year that she would have to water it from the well. She didn’t mind the pumping, though. Frank had brought the pump from Montgomery Wards and it pumped water from the well that he hand dug when they were young marrieds and moved to New Mexico to build their dream.

When she had rested a little bit, she walked over to the towering Alamo tree where Frank was buried. The day she lowered his casket into the grave was just as fresh in her mind as it was 20 years ago when he was killed by a cave in in his molybdenum diggings. She and her ten year old daughter dug his body out of the fallen rocks, washed it, built a casket of unfinished spruce, and lowered it into the grave with the help of the pastor and deacons.

Next to Frank’s headstone, Betty had dug a new grave for herself in the hard caliche soil, and carefully covered it with boards and canvass. She did not want to be beholden to people, even in death. Under another tarp was an identical spruce coffin for her. She even put the nails into the lid so that whoever buried her wouldn’t have to buy them.

We don’t know how she supported herself, but it was believed that Frank had put money aside for her somehow. Growing up in the Depression did not engender much trust in banks with Frank. Betty lived very frugally with spot, a non-descript mutt who was always at her side, even at the little church.

Every Sunday morning, Betty dressed in blue a blue gingham dress, one of two she owned. But she never wore one that was carefully folded and wrapped in brown paper and packed to keep rodents out of it. That was the dress that Frank saw her last in.

Each dress had a bonnet made from the same material. Sturdy black lace up shoes from JC Penny’s completed the outfit. One pair for daily work, one pair for Sabbath and burial.

Sunday she would haul water out to the old Reo pickup truck to fill the radiator. It was a 1920’s model, than my grandfather kept running for her. It didn’t have an electric starter, just a hand crank that she have developed a rather refined familiarity with. The truck sputtered to life in a cloud of blue smoke, and Spot and her clattered off to church.

But today was not an ordinary day for her. Normally, after watering the vegetables, she would sit under the Alamo with Spot and refresh herself. But today, the angina did not go away, but rather burned with a new fury. She knew time was short, so she forced herself up, went into the house, washed her face and brushed her hair before taking the dress down out of the closet. She apparently knew time was short.

The following Sunday, people at her church noticed she wasn’t there, and several made a mental note to stop by and check on her. But life waits for no one, and they quickly forgot after services were done. Life was hard in that forgotten part of New Mexico in 1950, and there were fences that needed mending, hay that needed to be put up, sermons needed to be prepared, and so Betty’s absence was forgotten.

And Sunday rolled around again, as it always does. And once again, Betty was absent from services. This time, the congregation knew something was wrong, and they all drove up the narrow road to her home nestled at the feet of the Sangre de Christo mountains, and found Betty, laying on her bed, dressed in the gown Frank had last seen her in. Next to her, curled up in a ball, old Spot had passed too.

Neatly stacked on the bed were several yellowed pages of instructions, and a sheaf of bills. I don’t remember how much it was, but it was enough to pay the stonecutter for chiseling the dates into the headstone and a few extras for the laborers to cover the grave.

They discovered under the tarp that she had also made a dog sized casket, and some more money in a cookie tin to cover Spot’s keep. Of course, Spot probably had died of heartbreak we supposed. We really don’t know. We never located her daughter. Rumor had it that she met with a bad fate in a far off City. We know nothing of Franks family, nor Betty’s last name.

Betty, even in death, would not allow herself to be beholden to anyone. Many years later, the State dug up the bodies, being that it wasn’t a properly registered grave, and moved them to a dry, barren cemetery out in the sagebrush. The headstone was broken in two pieces, one for each grave. Most of those who knew Betty had long died by then so no one protested. The old Reo truck, now a rusted hulk, was towed away somewhere. And Spots remains disappeared, because law would not allow an animal to be buried in a cemetery. Rumor was that he was left in Betty’s grave.

And life goes on.

 

Time and Space on Five Acres

Posted on

Finally, after sitting in front of my PC a couple of hours going over the days news, facebook posts and emails, my fingers get around to writing. Some days are like that. Don’t wanna days, I call them. I am not a real social person by nature, being a bit shy and awkward. A couple of events at the end of the week are pushing me out of the house and into doing things, and I sit here in mild resentment over those demands on my precious time.

I have lost track of time and space. I seldom get the day of the week right. Today is Wednesday, yet my mind insists it is Thursday, a day that I have committed myself to make another puppy run for one of the tireless rescuers in a nearby big city. I gripe about 180 miles once every so many days. She easily runs 500 miles a week and never complains about it. Not me, though. I bitch about everything.

Finally got my Sukkah down yesterday, but now the problem of storage comes up. I don’t know where I am going to put it. I might just get a couple of sawhorses and put the pieces on that, and wrap it all up in a tarp.

So that is the day today. Action packed and exciting, eh?

Good morning!!

I am not a Christian, I am a Protestant!

Posted on

“*huff!* I am not Christian, I’m a Protestant!”    

 

Well, that was not precisely the way the lame rebut went down. However, what it does mean is they do not really know the source of their belief, nor could they make a well-reasoned apologia for their religion.

I suppose that is why the visible church today has become the butt of jokes that it has. I often find myself defending Christians when I myself am not one. I am embarrassed for them because of their lack of knowledge, and have frequently felt the need to protect them in debates because of that naiveté. You would think that of all people, they would know the words of their Messiah, who he was speaking to, the culture from which he sprang. You would think they would not dismiss two-thirds of their Holy Books as useless, because their God who does not change suddenly changed his mind.

Here you have a visible “church” that moved in great power for three centuries before its power vanished, never to return. Yet its devotees never ask why. More, they will drive a thousand miles to bring in a new convert to their powerless fellowship so that they can worship impotently together.

They will tell you of miracles that happened over there or over here, but they cannot demonstrate one miracle in front of a disbelieving audience. They dress their clergy in gold and purple to perform solemn rites that their god never asked for. They build vast empty cathedrals that are just as empty of authority as they are themselves. They sing majestic paeans to an almighty God that hasn’t stepped off His pedestal in 1700 years. They dance in victories they never participated in nor won.

So why do l love these people so much?