March 30, 2011

It looks like a plot is afoot. I only hope it spreads quickly or we are all lost.

The neighborhood eight and A. Jones

Tomorrow the baseball season opens, so what else...a baseball story.


The Neighborhood Nine were down to eight, and the big game was coming up. The rules were tight and had to be followed. Only kids who lived within their area could play. The team had done well all season, but now the biggest game of the season was coming up against the Mean Machine. The Mean Machine from the industrial area of town were big and tough and good.

They looked the rulebook over and over, but there were no loopholes. Nine must play and they had to be from the team's area. The eight didn't know what to do. They moaned and groaned and scratched and spit. They whined, and grumbled and pounded the mitt.

In the background, stood a skinny freckle faced girl with sandy hair in pigtails, tucked under a baseball cap. She wore rolled up jeans and droopy socks and a shirt half in her pants and half out. Her name was Agnes and girl stuff was not enough for her. Her dream was not to be Miss America, or prom queen, or a cheerleader. No, Agnes' greatest dream was to be a shortstop, not a girl shortstop, but the greatest shortstop ever there was. She wanted to be better than Omar, Nomar and Jeter. But the boys would not let her play. They just laughed and said she was just a girl and a skinny one at that. But now, maybe now, when they had to have one more player...maybe now was Agnes' turn.

What were the eight to do? How could they show up for the big game with eight and Agnes? But no other options were to be found, so on the day of the big game there they were, Bobby and Tommy, Joe and Sam, Maxie, Georgie, Jimmy, Timmy and the new guy A. jones.

The game was tight and the teams were full of fight. Machine was up by one in the second, the Neighborhood Eight and A. jones tied it in the fourth and went ahead in the sixth. The day was hot and tempers were too, and the Machine forged ahead to show they were not through. The bottom of the ninth was here and the Neighborhood Eight and A. jones were behind by one.

Maxie led off with a hit and hope was born. Georgie and Jimmy did their best, but the Machines pitcher put them to rest. Next up was Timmy, but he had not gotten on base all day and it looked bad for the eight and A. jones. The count was full, three and two, when Timmy knew what he had to do. The pitcher wound up his long arm and let it fly and Timmy let it hit him in the eye. Take a base.

So here it was bottom of the ninth, two out, two on, one run behind, and coming to bat was the skinny new kid, A. jones. Agnes had made Omar, Normar and Jeter proud, but now it was A. jones against the biggest, strongest boy of all, six foot tall and born from steelworkers, tough and mean, but backing down would destroy her dream.

A. jones dug in at the plate, and stared at the mound. Pitcher stared at batter, and neither blinked. The battle lines were drawn and no quarter was to be given or expected. A. jones scratched the dirt with her cleats, and the pitcher tossed the rosin bag down at his feet.

The pitcher rubbed the ball and squeezed it hard, showing his muscles to all in the yard. The batter stared back and dared him to throw it past her if he could. He wound up and plateward it flew, spinning and twisting like a magical round orb and into the catchers glove, strike one. Ohh, gasped the boys in the dugout. A. jones looked their way and gave a reassuring smile, as if she knew what was coming next.

Pitcher stared at the catcher, gave a long look and shook off one sign. He looked in again and shook off another sign. The third sign got a nod and he rocked his big body and the ball came out of his hand as if shot from a cannon. A. jones' body became a coordinated batting unit, arms flexed, and the bat starting forward as the ball streaked towards the plate. A. jones felt the air move as the ball smacked into the catchers mitt and she nearly screwed herself into the ground as her bat met nothing but air. No balls, two strikes, no room for error now. A. jones stepped back, stared at the pitcher, then stepped back in and waited for another hard fast one. The pitcher glared and launched another equally fast cannon shot right at the batters belt. A. jones squared her body in front of the plate and put down a beautiful drag bunt, leaving the pitcher shocked and the catcher struggling to get to the ball. The man on third streaked toward the plate as A. jones dashed toward first. They started their slides at the same time and as dust rose from home plate and first base, the two umpires bellowed in unison, "Safe."

As it is in life and in the movies, when the dust had finally settled, years had passed, and another youngster was standing on first base trading high fives with his first base coach. He was smiling as he stood there, thinking once again how thankful he was that his mom, A. jones, had taught him all of her baseball skills.

March 29, 2011

Pacific Glory

I just finished a new book by P.T. Deutermann titled PACIFIC GLORY. I read it in record time for me, about three sittings. The action scenes which are many and in depth grabs your attention and keeps it. The verbage is graphic and details battle scenes which are no doubt true to life and will get your heart racing. There are several moments where your emotions are grabbed and you, or I it should be am in awe of those who must fight to the death in our many wars. This is a good war book, I would hope he writes another in this genre.

March 28, 2011

A little harsh first thing on Monday morning

It's Monday morning, a day when I was working I dreaded. But now I awaken when I awaken, eat when I want to eat, check out the weather to decide if I will venture out today, and if not maybe catch a movie on the TV. But today I decided to flick on the internet and see what has been stirring as I slept. My God the first crack out of the box I read this little article from the Washington Post. Now I don't think I am over sensitive on the subject or unaware of old folks importance in the scheme of things at my stage of life, but this..this was a little harsh, not new news but the first thing on Monday morning? Jeeze!!

Sorry, older folks, but by some business strategies, you're obsolete

By John Kelly
Tuesday, March 15, 2011; 11:42 AM

No offense, but if you are old, no one cares about you.

They don't care what makes you happy. They don't care what makes you sad. They don't care what opinions you have, how you spend your time, or what your life was like before you were old.

I come to this conclusion sadly, but not surprisingly. It was ever thus. Life is a factory that turns babies into old men and women. To be human is to be on a constantly-moving conveyor belt. The people at the beginning of the conveyor belt don't think they have much in common with those at the end of it.

For example, dozens of people called and e-mailed me to express how disappointed they are that Verizon is discontinuing its 936- weather line and 844- time line. In the space of just 10 minutes last week, I spoke with two women who both began the conversation exactly the same way: "I'm 89-years-old, and I call that every day."

All I could think was: "Eighty-nine years old? Oh, sweetheart, Verizon really doesn't give a blip about you."

And why should Verizon? Save for a few outliers who are in their 30s or 40s and have kids who dial the weather line, the phone company knows most of the service's users are older people who will be dead before too long.

Verizon would never say that, of course, but behind its pronouncement that the service is obsolete - supplanted by shiny new technologies - is the unspoken belief that the people who use it are a bit obsolete as well - and supplanted by shiny new people.

And I'm afraid many of the people who have gotten in touch with me do little to refute that argument. "I do not have Internet at home," wrote one. Several others wrote that they don't want to have to turn on their computers first thing in the morning to check the weather.

You mean your laptop isn't blazing away 24/7? What's wrong with you?!

We definitely have a prickly generation gap. Some of the people who commented on my story online were downright contemptuous of the people who were still clinging to the service. "Take your head out of the sand," wrote one. "There's a whole new world out there."

DCist, the Web site for the young and hip, snarkily headlined its blog post: "Verizon Killing Weather, Time Service You Didn't Know Still Existed."

(Age contempt can go both ways, it should be pointed out. I remember how irritated I was as a teenager when old people - in their 20s, say - wouldn't take me seriously.)

Verizon won't tell me how many people use the service. It apparently isn't enough to make it worth the company's while, even as a public service - a public service for blind people, several of whom contacted me. And rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, who base their dosage on the day's barometric pressure and told me the recorded weather report on Verizon is the only regular source of that information. And people whose homes lose power all the time, where the land line phone is the only thing that works, and thus the only source of weather information.

(I know some younger readers are going: Land line phone! Where do you keep it, Grandpa? Next to the Victrola?)

Someone started a Facebook page "Save the Verizon DC Weather Line." As of Monday, a paltry 99 people had "liked" it. But then that's not really how members of the weather-line demographic would express themselves, is it? They would write Verizon a letter, which would be ignored. They would call Verizon's toll-free number, then give up when they got mired in automated phone-tree hell.

I hear from lots of readers in this job, so many that I can't remember them all. But there's one reader I can't forget: a woman who called not long after I started writing this column seven years ago. I don't recall the exact topic of her call, just that she felt she was having trouble articulating what she wanted to say.

"You'll have to forgive me," she said, flustered. "I've never been old before."

No one has. Getting old - being old - will be new for each of us. It would be nice if we could show the same sort of empathy while we're young that we hope we're shown when we're old.

By the way, Verizon's fourth-quarter profits last year were $4.65 billion.

March 19, 2011

The sign says:

If you've had enough snow and cold, PLEASE raise your hands.

We have had two days of sun in a row and we have taken to the road. Of course we are septuagenarians and a half hour of 'walk' is about enough for now.

March 18, 2011

chess game comes alive through claymation

I've played some games that feel as exciting as a war, but mostly I am outmatched and lose meekly and quickly.

March 17, 2011

Coney's built at home

All you out there who like occasionally to partake of "coney's" will want to take heed of this product. When we get hungry for a coney, but don't want to drive to where they are, we sometimes go the home-made route. Of course onions, and mustard are no problem, but the sauce is usually not exactly right. Except this time we have found one that is really very good, and it is spicy too. Tony Packo's hot dog sauce, which we found at Krogers is great. Try it coney fans.

The natives are getting restless

..taken out of context. Written by Ronni Bennett of the website TIME GOES BY.

I wish I trusted the president. What have we gotten from him in a little more than two years?

A transfer of untold riches from the citizens to banks and corporations
Collapse of housing values, impoverishing millions of non-rich people
Refusal to prosecute the perpetrators of this transfer of wealth
Continuation of senseless wars at the cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of lives
Reduced taxes for the rich
Elimination of public unions
And now he will not speak out to assure today's and future elders that he will defend the most successful social program in the history of the United States (probably the world), one the people have paid for from their wages and has nothing to do with the deficit.

Worse, it will not surprise me if the president signs a budget bill that includes those $1.7 billion in Social Security cuts.

Obama entered office at an extraordinary moment in American history when the people of the nation were in dire need, hurting nearly as much as during the 1930s. He could have used his office, his power, his bully pulpit to hold fast against Republicans and tea partiers and thereby have become one of the great presidents.

Instead, he bowed to the wealthy, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves.

No way do I believe that McCain/Palin would have done better. And I don't see a single person on the Republican roster whom I could vote for in 2012, even holding my nose.

That leaves only one recourse: constant, unrelenting protest via phone, email, blog posts, urging friends and relatives to do so too and, when the time comes, showing up for demonstrations in our cities and states.

March 16, 2011

Garrison Keillor Says He’ll Retire In 2013 « CBS Minnesota

Garrison Keillor Says He’ll Retire In 2013 « CBS Minnesota

Should I Buy an IPAD2?

I have been pondering whether I should buy an ipad. I currently have a laptop pc, and a kindle ereader and am happy with both. But for some reason I keep trying to justify bringing home an ipad, which is not an easy decision. After all it requires me slapping down five hundred bucks, and I don't do that willy nilly. I reached out to google to help me persuade myself one way or the other. I zeroed in on these two websites and they answered my questions.

3 questions you should ask before buying an ipad2

Rock, paper, scissors, should I buy a ipad 2, kindle, or a pc

These two sites helped me make my decision. Take a look for yourself.

March 15, 2011

The Japanese Catastrophy

Can I feel sorry for a country? Of course I can. Japan is suffering through its third nuclear attack. This current one is not from an enemy nation, but from within. This one portends to be worse than the other two as it seems impossible at this time to stop its growing menace to the population. I read now that it has the capacity to work its way into the food and water sources. The pictures we see show devastation as bad as or worse than during world war II, as one nuclear reactor fails after the other, and another.

We here in the states have made jokes about the situation on twitter, and others have breathed a sigh of relief that most importunately their investments are safe. This is from just a micro-small percentage of people, but wouldn't you think they could just shut up with the jokes or the greed of worrying about their bottom line for all the world to hear.

When the situation settles itself, it will be time for us to become a good world neighbor and do whatever is asked of us, but until then concern and caring and a prayer or two is not too much to ask of a civilized society one for another.

March 14, 2011

Funny People: OGDEN NASH

Ogden Nash

Frederic Ogden Nash was born in 1902 in Rye, New York.

This American humorist was educated at Harvard University, and his comical and nonsensical verses are what made him famous. Puns, rhymes, asymetrical lines, and amusing parenthetical statements were what made Nash's verses amusing and magical.

"The Termite"

Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good,
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.

"The Fly"

God in his wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.

March 13, 2011

Set your clock ahead

Daylight savings time is in effect reminder.

March 12, 2011


Needs a couple clicks to enlarge it. Enjoy


TV watching of my favorite shows makes a slim listing. Right now I think my favorite is Blue Bloods with Tom Selleck and Donny Wahlberg. I've liked Wahlberg since I caught him in the series BAND OF BROTHERS, and Selleck forever. I think Selleck is a presence on the small screen now. He's getting older and he can play moody characters. He looks great with that great mustache ala Sam Elliot.

A funny one I like is THE MIDDLE. It stars EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMONDS tv wife Patricia Heaton. It is great, it always assures laughs. She has the quirkiest kids on tv, and this time quirky means nothing but good.

Finally for a serial type show, THE WIFE can't be beaten. Good acting all around every week and great writing, which of course is the thing that you have to have to stick around any length of time.

MAD MEN when they're around is fun.

Double Lemon

My sweet tooth is compelled to report on a great dessert. This was sighted and landed at our local Wal-Mart. Double Lemon, lemon muffin filled with lemon pudding. Oh Yeah, it is sooo goood. Those extra o's denote oh so good.

March 11, 2011

Veggies, picked for taste or looks? Both I think.

Hazel has a love affair with her camera and shopping for veggies. I think she starts out with recipes in mind, but I'm not too sure she isn't struck by colors and shapes in her selections. Whatever, when it gets to me at the table it is ultra yummy.


Comment accompanying superman: That’s the stupidest damn thing, and it makes me smile every time i see it.

I agree.

March 10, 2011

Doctors Who Feel Your Pain Heal More Patients

Doctors Who Feel Your Pain Heal More Patients

This is a subject that causes my blood to start percolating. Fourteen years after the fact I still look back and my blood turns cold. I had just retired from the work-a-day world, and was feeling great, that is except for a little back pain. I went to the doctor and he took x-rays and prescribed some pain pills. I returned for a follow-up and the doctor took another x-ray, then asked me to walk for him. I did. He did not like the way I walked, and looked at the x-ray once again. He sat me down, and said he had no good way to tell me this, but I had multiple myloma and it was fatal. He asked for an interview with my wife. At the interview, he questioned our glum attitudes saying, "why so glum? I had two years to live. On the strength of one x-ray he diagnosed me as having a fatal disease. To make a long story short, they put me through three weeks of tests until they finally did a biopsy. It turned out I had disease of the hip and it was a mess. The x-rays had shown that part of my anatomy as a black area and the doctor had concluded it was a malignant cancer. It turned out it was a missed diagnoses and I am still here, but the cavalier and unfeeling way he treated me and my wife I still find unconscionable. He did the right things, but in a cold uncaring way that scalded those days on my memory. I still get chills thinking of it. It would not have changed anything in the final outcome, but a few kind words at that moment would have made what followed much easier to take. I understand that doctors cannot become personally involved in all their patients lives and still maintain some objectivity, but ice cold indifference is unacceptable.

March 9, 2011

Queen Victoria becomes political commentator

For us in Ohio the queen is not speaking with forked tongue. There was never much of a chance that it would ever really happen, but I sort of hoped it would. The Tories, oh I mean the republicans have taken over and they took care of any chance very nicely.

March 6, 2011

An old joke

ca·no·pic jar noun \kə-ˈnō-pik-, -ˈnä-\
Definition of CANOPIC JAR

: a jar in which the ancient Egyptians preserved the viscera of a deceased person usually for burial with the mummy


Canopus, Egyptian
First Known Use: 1893

Ben Goossens

Take a look at Ben Goossens

March 4, 2011

The Factory

Yes it was a real factory. It has long been abandoned and will be demolished this spring. In its heyday it stood on three square blocks.


By Jim Kittelberger

The smell that permeated for miles around, a mixture of smoke, exhausts and that slight aroma of something electrical burning, was an unmistakable beacon, an unneeded street sign that harkened all who would encroach upon these streets that you had entered the dedicated area that the factory dominated, lock, stock and people. For indeed the people who populated the streets a mile hence and a mile yon were assets of the factory as if they were iron ore or coal.

The factory that spread over six city blocks consumed raw materials and people twenty-four hours a day, its insatiable appetite never sated never tired never rested. As it’s appetite increased, train tracks were laid to accommodate boxcars filled with more and more fodder pouring into the bottomless maw. Conveyor belts sped the metal, the rubber, the glass, north, south, east and west into every environ of the factory to be hammered, screwed, shaped, cut, shined, buffed, fitted, assembled into product by human beings rooted into one spot receiving, performing a task, moving it on; receiving, performing a task, moving it on; receiving, performing a task, moving it on and on and on until every muscle, every nerve, every part of the persons brain wishes to scream, STOP, I’m a person, I have an identity, I am someone. But the factory does not care about your identity, your thoughts, your hopes, your fears. They want product, product, product. Do your task or move away to be replaced by another nameless raw material in the never-ending chain, in and out, in and out, faster, faster and faster. Product is profit, more product means more profit. A Christmas turkey and fifty dollars is yours if you hold on. What about the wife and kids, the bills, the bills, the bills.

Hands wrinkled, scarred and aching reach for the gold watch as the speaker talks about the years of devotion to the factory. Legs tired and arthritic struggle one last time through the factory saying good-bye to younger faces still not lined with worry, searching in vain for those he finally remembers went out before him. Slowly, sadly, he struggles toward the exit one last time. The factory has used him up, has taken all that he had to give and threw it onto the conveyor belt to be used along with the metal, the rubber, the glass, his sweat, his sinew, his spirit and converted it all into product.

The weather is sweet and the smell of the factory hardly recognizable anymore as the rocking chair on the porch beckons him and he willingly lowers his used up body, sighs a little and soon dies.

The factory sends its regrets, misspells his name, and states he was a fine man and is sure that his son’s will live up to their father’s legacy at the factory.

My grandfather and my father spent their lives in that factory. I didn't, I couldn't follow in their footsteps. Perhaps it was the oncoming technological age, I was able to see possibilities where they didn't. I can't say I achieved great things, I did not, but my spirit was never crushed out of my body by years of hard mind crushing labor. In defense of my fore bearers they never seemed beaten by the factory so perhaps it is all a state of mind.

March 3, 2011

Grapes of Wrath today.

The country continues its slippery slope to the right as Ohio eliminated the right of its public workers to collective bargaining. Gasoline is increasing quickly upward in large increments. Food prices are rising each week. Driving on Ohio's roads which are disintegrating it seems hourly and town budgets nearly empty makes driving an all-season sport with weaving and dodging necessary to maintain your cars alignment and undercarriage. Repair of the roads in the spring is dicey as town treasuries are nearly empty. I remember Obama mentioning on the stump again and again that our infrastructure is a must do. I sometimes still hear echo's of that refrain, but nothing happens anywhere to show proof that its or will be done. I fear for those citizens of our country whose bottom line has completely run dry with little hope of refilling it anytime soon. It's all starting to look and feel like grapes of wrath in everybody's backyard.

March 1, 2011

How much money is enough?

From the Washington Post

Here's something to think about as Congress tries to agree on budget cuts. A report by

Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi says the Republican plan to cut federal

spending by $61 billion this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012. Zandi's

report follows a Goldman Sachs report whose conclusion was even more dire: The

proposed cuts would slow economic growth by two percent in the second and third

quarters of this year. The report isn't all ammunition for Democrats, though. Zandi

also says that even a thriving economy won't be enough to balance the budget

without "significant government spending restraint."

wouldn't $61 billion be considered enough of a significant government spending cut to do the trick?
Does anybody around here know what they are doing? No, I don't think so. Please dear God, save
us from the experts and the politicians. Does anyone who is supposed to be running our ship of
state have any idea what they are doing. No, I think it's all a roll of the dice. If this doesn't work
let's try this. Oh nuts we all know what they are, they're all jerks.

Natalie Portman and her IQ

Do you want to feel a little better? Do you want to feel more optimistic about our future? Although these women have to thank genetics or just luck for their IQ's I don't care, it makes me feel good to read about it. Especially when being bombarded by unwanted news about Charley Sheen and schnooks like him. Take a look.