Sunday, November 29, 2009

Your Time Capsule

I wanted to share part of today’s lessons, some from church and some from here at the house. When we got home from our meetings Lucy was smiling as we pulled into our driveway; she’d noticed the Fall colors had made their way into the Houston area. She asked me to snap a few photographs while some left over turkey from Thanksgiving was prepared for lunch.

Here in these two pictures moments in time were captured; a very light breeze, only enough to gently push the paddle which activates the wind chimes; but not enough breeze to generate its music, a healthy Philodendron plant next to the garage and further back the brightly colored leaves of our Crepe Murtle near the back fence. I heard the squirrels protesting loudly on the other side of the yard and it didn’t take long to figure out why; one of the Hobo Cousins, Head Buttr’, was hiding in between the pickets of the wooden fence just below where the squirrels like to play.

At church I was a last minute substitute in Primary, the other substitute was sick. I was asked to give a lesson on the Handcart pioneers who’d made their way to the Salt Lake Valley . That’ a tough lesson to teach, not because I didn’t have enough information; being able to control my emotions from dripping down my cheeks while explaining the many hardships those folks went through.

The Handcarts folks could barely afford the westward trek, taking the clothes they wore on their backs, perhaps a few small personal items, their scriptures and not much else; the size of the cart reduced their options considerably. These folks depended on the wagons to carry food and other provisions; but for the most part, what went on the cart was what they took across the great distance.

Many of them wore out their shoes and had to improvise, taking pieces of cloth to wrap their feet as protection from the sharp rocky ground and cold temperatures as winter fell upon them more quickly than anticipated. When they were ever so close to their destination, the Salt Lake Valley, a terrible storm trapped many of them and threatened their very lives as provisions ran out.

I had the children remove their shoes and imagine how it must have been to walk on and on each day, only to do the same the next day and the day after that. They wouldn’t have had electronic toys to pass the time, no television, no iPods or much to eat. They wouldn’t have a nice house to keep them warm at night; only a fire to keep them warm.

I asked them to consider what item they would have wanted to take with them on such a long trip, something that would fit in the handcart? It would have to be small and not weigh very much; even then their parents would have had to approve even the smallest item.

Sharing Time with these same children added a chance to reinforce my question, “What would you have taken on your handcart?”, as the next instructor brought out a make believe time capsule. She had assembled an assortment of items to be placed within the box which would be found fifty or a hundred years in the future. She then had one of the children begin to place items into the box and explain why it was important. What items would you put in a time capsule that would indicate things that are important to you today?

One of the items picked was the game Trivial Pursuit , a way to express how games are a good way to have fun as a family; but a different thought came to my mind. I thought it represented the less important “things of the world”, efforts spent obtaining stuff we really didn’t need that could have been more productive; maybe I’m looking at things as an adult instead of as a child.

I’d put my scriptures in the time capsule, all marked with favorite passages and notes I’d jotted along the edges of different pages. I’d carefully pack a laptop computer with instructions on its use, battery stored separately, with a high capacity external hard drive so as to be able to have all my writings, favorite music, books, photographs available and even a selection of my favorite movies.

I’d include a smaller sampling of the photographs and printable items in book form, carefully wrapped and protected from the elements, just in case the data or device was damaged by sun spot activity or some other electronic disaster. These printable items would include photographs, blog articles, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights and some front page sections of the local newspaper. I’d also include a nice dictionary and thesaurus in the event the finder of these articles needed a Rosetta Stone ,of sorts, to figure out the written samplings.

I might include some coins and paper money as an example of our monetary system and culture , or lack thereof. I might include my old high school class ring or some other piece of jewelry made of gold. Archeologists of the future might not figure out anything else; but they always understand the value of gold.

In the movie, The Time Machine , Mr. Philby asked a long reaching question once he realized the circumstances and the significance of limited space in such a contraption, pondering his friend traveling in time, a friend who’d come back to retrieve a few personal items and some books. Philby turned to the house woman, a woman who knew more about what might be missing, “So, what would you have taken with you, to start your brave new world?”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Parade Memories

This morning we had the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tuned in as they went through the star studded lineup about to be seen. Spiderman was floating in all his splendor, held by several ropes, the workers grateful for a calm day. Various famous actors, actresses and performers would eventually make their way to the cameras; but of all them, Santa was the one the children would be waiting to see. Santa coming into town signals the beginning of the Christmas Season.

Years ago, I’m talking thirty plus years ago when I was assigned to the Point Control Division of the Houston Police Department, Thanksgiving morning meant working the parade. It started with 5am Roll Call, and you’d better not be late; don’t even think of staying home unless you already had a toe tag. There would be intersection assignments for crowd control, “go-fer” duties and then a rare few got to escort Santa at the end of the parade.

The three wheeled motorcycle, a cross between the worst parts of a two wheeled motorcycle and the worst parts of a standard automobile, was the vehicle of choice for Point Control. These interesting police vehicles did have some redeeming social value, couldn’t think of how to put that seeing as how this might be read by folks with tender ears; where was I, the three wheeler could operate downtown, either on the normal street surface or even the sidewalk depending on the need.

You could usually tell if the motor was at operating temperature, it would melt the inboard cuff of your dark blue police issued trousers. A brittle bead of crystalline substance, which at one time had been a blend of wool and polyester fabric would form a gentle arch along the bottom of the pants.

The actual parade wouldn’t start for hours so my partner and I would drive over to my folk’s house, at the edge of downtown in the Montrose area, and invite ourselves in for breakfast. We didn’t have to be on post for a couple of hours so it was a leisurely breakfast with my folks.

I remember driving back towards our assigned area, the sun was just up as we neared the old YMCA building. On the sidewalk was a young fellow with a boom box crouched on his shoulder oblivious to the rest of the world as he jammed methodically northward. An evil thought entered my mind and without speaking, a wry smile crossed my lips and alerted my partner of the planned attack on the unwary victim.

I should explain that three wheelers didn’t have a siren, or much of a horn for that matter. We’d learned a trick or two on how to get the attention of folks, either to pull them over for a traffic violation or to have them get out of the way when we were trying to get some place in a hurry. The most effective noise we’d been able to come up with involved locking up the front disc brake and simultaneously pulling the handlebars as hard as would permit, as if to make a turn, all the while giving the motor full acceleration. The combination of efforts ground the front tire along the pavement as if in a horrendous accident; folks gladly got out of your way, often times you could see their shoulders come together in one giant flinch, their heads bowing on pulled in necks waiting for the imminent collision.

Back to the happy go lucky fellow with the boom box; my partner and I both locked up the front end and gunned the engines, a horrifying air busting cacophony of sounds echoed off the nearby buildings. I failed to mention that there was a retaining wall of sorts next to the sidewalk in front of the YMCA building. The young man bounced off the retaining wall on his first attempt to avoid the accident which was happening off to his blind side, the boom box bounced along the sidewalk as he made it over on his second try.

Partner and I waved and laughed as we drove off, the sun at our backs, “your police department at your service”. The City actually paid us to perform these modest and useful acts of public service. Did I mention how to make a three wheeler’s muffler crack from repeatedly using it to detonate unburned gas fumes, intentional backfires? I guess I should leave well enough alone.

I started out to write about the thrill brought about when Santa was escorted, by a handful of exceptionally skilled three wheeled motorcycle officers, officers who’d distinguished themselves throughout the year by their professionalism. Yup, I got to escort Santa Claus at the end of the Thanksgiving Parade, more than a couple of times.

That reminded me; my first recollection of ever meeting a police officer was the time my brother and I had been hiding behind a hedge of low bushes one winter. We were surprising passing motorists with a cache of snowballs on a dreary afternoon in Levittown. We jumped up, threw our snow balls at the next passing car and made a direct hit on the open window of our local police unit.
Our legs refused to work or we’d have made our get away; instead we stood there, frozen in our place until the officer walked over and explained how he wasn’t all that happy with our actions. He took us home and handed us over to my mother; never needing instructions from the officer on how to appropriately correct our character growth. Ironic, isn’t it, how some folks follow a path through life which leads to who knows where.

All this time the Macy’s parade has moved along and here I am going on about the past; hope I didn’t miss the Rockettes. Several years ago Lucy and I flew up to New York to experience the sights and sounds of that great city during the Christmas Season. It was the same year our troops found Saddam Hussein hiding in his spider hole over in Iraq, an interesting way to remember dates; a picture on the cover of the New York Daily News of that scoundrel getting hauled off was an early present that year.

Lucy and I had tickets to see the Rocketts perform at the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular that year. It was plenty cold as we waited in line, the shadows from the building along with the sounds of the city engrained as fine memories to this day.

I’m rambling again; have a great Thanksgiving, hope you’re surrounded by those you love and appreciate. Most of all give thanks to our Father in Heaven for the many blessings we’ve been given and pray for an extension of those blessings in spite of our many short comings.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Proclamation of National Thanksgiving

In case you were wondering why you had a paid holiday off for Thanksgiving, maybe putting things in perspective would be useful. I was driving down the road on the way to a locksmith job when I heard Rush Limbaugh read George Washington’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation on his program, that along with some of the associated history.

A couple of years ago I’d expressed my thoughts on Thanksgiving and was roaming around the blogosphere for other articles of a similar nature. What I found repulsed me to a certain degree as I read about everything except gratitude to God for the many blessings we have been given. I found folks patting themselves on the back for a job well done, the greatness of their individual accomplishments and hardly a mention of the hand of the Lord in protecting our nation or the miracle that is America. Thank Heaven for men like George Washington who captured, in a fairly short proclamation, the essence of our gratitude and the humility we should continue to exhibit on a daily basis to our Creator.

I should give credit to Rediscovering George Washington , the source where I found this document even though it may be found elsewhere. The photograph, slightly cropped, is from Meridian Magazine’s fund drive article wondering if folks who received their free internet publication were thankful enough to send a donation; thought it was beautiful and didn’t think they’d mind sharing their artwork.

Proclamation of National Thanksgiving
George Washington
City of New York, October 3, 1789
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Steve Farrell has a good article over at his site, Thanksgiving for the Divine Source of our Claims – De Tocqueville.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Retired Teacher Bonus?

I read where the Texas State Comptroller’s office turned down the legislature’s request to pay retired teachers a five hundred dollar bonus .

“Attorney General Greg Abbott on Monday issued an opinion that says normal procedures for distributing the $155 million were not followed by the 2009 Legislature.”

Please don’t read anything into this that isn’t there; I have the highest regard for teachers. In an economy that is less than robust; what kind of idiot legislature contemplates handing out bonus money? Did that money grow on a money tree or is this more wealth redistribution?

My locksmith business is directly tied in with the automotive industry; and our figures have been pretty ugly for this past year. You won’t hear about belt tightening because I’m not in the unemployment line; but our business is off around 40%. I’m not complaining and I’m able to keep my head above water, pay those I owe and even have a little left over.

The economy is “on the rebound”, at least that’s what I’m hearing from mass media sources. According to them the recession is over and we should all enjoy a very good “holiday season”; heaven forbid they mention Christmas. I should be thrilled for retired teachers who are able to enjoy part of my hard earned money.

Shucky Dern, I know where the money came from, or at least part of it. Each year the State of Texas STEALS about five hundred dollars from my account so I can renew my locksmith license . I want to thank the legislature for explaining, at least in part, why being in being in business is so rewarding.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Screen Savers - Getting Spoiled

I was remembering a screen saver program that I enjoyed many years ago when the Personal Computer was in its infancy. It was part of a package of screen savers made for computers that did silly things like green monsters that bounced around for awhile making gross noises until it would explode and start all over; but the one I was thinking of had a forest scene. On Thanksgiving the internal clock of the program triggered a magic button and all the little fir trees in the forest somehow were trimmed with Christmas lights that lighted up and stayed that way until Christmas or some extended time thereafter; been a while so I could be off on the ending time.

I thought about looking for that old time screen saver program; but couldn’t figure out where to start, there being so many new screen savers now. I found one that made me smile, a 3-D Four Seasons image that has a changing landscape with mountains, trees, a lake and birds flying all around. When it kicked in the leaves changed from summer to fall, leaves dropped and then the snows came to make the lake freeze over and the mountains were covered with snow. A few minutes later the ice melted, birds returned along with new green leaves; quite a production for a free program.

If anyone remembers the program I was referring to, it had a toaster with wings on the original package; probably made for Windows 3 or some other ancient Windows platform, see if that is still available. I’d love to have some of those older screen savers from an age when simple graphics were accepted and revered as something of a miracle; these newer ones are spoiling me.

Thankful for Hobo Kitties

We’re finding quite a bit of joy in watching the personalities of the Hobo Kitties as they grow individually. This morning we captured Brother hiding in what at one time was our tomato garden; now covered in Wandering Jew until such time as we replant.

Lucy happened to look out the door and saw Princess up on the protective fence around the tomato garden, one that never did all that much protecting; but it looked impressive. Princess was curious about the wind chimes; except when someone appears at the back door they know “good things happen”, dinner, treats or a scratch behind the ear.

We also got a good snap shot of Head Buttr’, also known as Cousin 1. Her sister, Cousin 2, stays out of reach until the Giants, that’s us, go back inside. At that time Cousin 2 darts back and forth looking for a chance to grab a treat only to find there are none left. Head Buttr’ likes to coral Princess or Brother; but has to keep a safe distance from the other Hobo Kitties as they tend to have short tempers.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Environmental Whacko Approved Day the Earth Stood Still

Sunday afternoon was relaxed as I flipped through the channels looking for a movie; unfortunately I found the new “green” version of The Day the Earth Stood Still . Humans are to blame for all the problems on planet Earth and aliens come to save the planet and all the other species, not the human race; fits right in with the environmental whacko hysteria machine.

I never thought I’d say it; but I actually asked to watch HGTV, that stupid house hunting, fixer upper, tear it out channel as part of the repentance process for having subjected our lives to one of the worst films in quite a while. Watching folks blow insulation into a newly renovated house was more satisfying than the “green” version of The Day the Earth Stood Still. Thank you very much; but I’ll stick with the original black and white version .

I found a trailer for this wasted effort along with two actors pleading for “change”; gosh, their message is so important I had to share it with all of you. You better watch this film before the ocean levels rise and flood all the coastal cities. I only have two thumbs or it would get a “three thumbs down” rating.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Past Through Tomorrow Explains Today

I never claimed to be the sharpest pencil in the box; but having observed the White House with its stacked deck of misfits, the idea occurred to me that I’d read about a similar scenario once before. Robert Heinlein wrote a collection of short stories called, Future History Stories – The Past Through Tomorrow . If you’re not familiar with Heilein’s style of writing this would be a good place to start.

The story I was thinking of was called, The Roads Must Roll , about an intricate road system which society relies upon. A malcontent figured out that he could make drastic things happen by putting together a staff of like minded malcontents and attacking society from within.

There's a plot to through a monkey wrench into the works, so to speak, but it's detected prior to its full implementation. The man “at the switch” is confronted by one who has figured out who each of the conspirators are, their having been hand picked for key positions in the administration, along with how they planned to carry out their overthrow.

“…You start a functionalist revolution, and the only function you can think of to perform is to blow up is the road which justifies your title…”

If this doesn’t paint a duplicate portrait of the Obama administration with its radical leftist advisors, their hatred for the free market system which had provided America with the most efficient goods and services for roughly two hundred years; then maybe my comprehension skills are faulty.

I hear about theoretical transformation processes, a means of destroying democracy and the “old America” in favor of some new Utopian society; you might call it the ultimate “hope and change” promised every American in the last presidential election. The problem which has become more apparent with each passing day is that the hope and change promised included some interesting prerequisites; destroying the foundations of the “old America”, the one which provided safe guards for individual rights, a fertile environment in which industry flourished and contained limits on the powers of government.

There’s a solution known as the Cloward/Piven Strategy which would bring about pure unadulterated chaos and I see Heilein’s warnings about to reach fruition.

“Their goal is to overthrow capitalism by overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands. The created crisis provides the impetus to bring about radical political change.”

Now if you complete the thought, Obama has brought his team of radical Marxists together, has this Cloward/Piven Strategy whereby the destruction of capitalism can be implemented and add to that, the willful deceptions practiced in passing legislation which contains thousands of pages of hidden mandates, mandates which violate the very concepts of individual agency and liberty (the old America); and you have a recipe for disaster.

How’s that hope and change working for ya’? When folks tell you they’re just as American as you; don’t you have to ask, “Yea, but which America are ya’ talkin’ about; the old America or that new fangled Marxist America?”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Angels Snoring ?

I had a rare treat this morning to help out in the Primary when one of the regular teachers couldn’t make it. Actually I was a backup for the other teacher, one of those rules where there needs to be two adults in a class so I didn’t have to come up with a last minute lesson.

Primary is broken down into three parts, Sharing time where all the children are in one room for opening exercises, the lesson time where they break off into small groups by age and then back to Sharing time; except this time the group is halved, I was with the older kids this time as they were supposed to learn something they will do for the Christmas program.

I wasn’t familiar with the song, Stars Were Gleaming , as the music instructor, Sister Antezana, had gestures that were supposed to remind the children of the various words as she presented the song. She held both hands above her head and let her fingers point down, as if dancing.

Stars were gleaming…

She rested her head on her flattened hands…

Shepherds dreaming…

Here arms pulled together like she was hugging…

And the night was dark and chill.

Here’s were my ears let me down. I may have mentioned in previous writings, I’m hard of hearing; even with hearing aids certain sounds are beyond my ability to hear. My brain attempts to fill in the blanks with words that might fit, could fit on an outside bet or that make for a fun sentence with no chance in a million of being correct.

She held her hands in front of her as if opening a book; but my ears heard…

Angels snoring.

Come on now, shepherds were dreaming, angels could have been snoring; what do you want, Pavarotti? They sang the song several times and I chimed in, doing my best to learn the new song. Brother Mangrum, the fellow I was supposed to be helping, was next to me. He couldn’t keep from laughing as he heard me singing, Angels snoring where it should have been Angel’s story.

Hearken, he is laughing still.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Baby Sitting Grandchildren

We had JJ and Jocelyne over this evening and through the morning so their parents can attend a wedding. Lucy picked them up and took them grocery shopping with her on the way home. The meatball sampling at the grocery store must not have set well with JJ as he puked it up just before they got home; yuk!

Jocelyne and I watched E.T., something she’d enjoyed with me once before. The movie, when watched with and by a four year old is more fun, more emotional, more scary, and more entertaining all around. Jocelyne remembered the part where E.T. popped his head up from behind the television and spoke the letter “B”.

“Be good”, Jocelyne repeated, a serious look on her face as she nodded in agreement. I fielded questions and listened to her express joy, sadness and laughter as the movie offered a variety of opportunities. The scene where E.T. went into the refrigerator and makes a mess was one of her favorites as she agreed that he shouldn’t throw food on the floor or drink beer.

Jocelyne waited to see the part where Elliot flies in front of the moon on his bike while on the way to set up the “phone home machine” out in the woods. She was all upset when Elliot and E.T. got visited by all those doctors and watched the flowers wilt as E. T. was put in the cold storage box.

I’d have to say Jocelyne was able to take in nearly all the important aspects of the movie without my help; her having “felt” the movie, even when she wasn’t quite sure what had happened.

They have gone off to sleep, perchance to dream; think I’ll hold off watching Hamlet with her until she’s a bit older.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Drawing Blood - Drawing Ire

I should throw my hands up in gratitude for being retired from the Houston Police Department after reading, Police Train To Draw Suspect’s Blood , on the KPRC website. I’d seen a blurb in passing last night, enough to catch my attention and yet not enough to say I’d been informed; I’d hoped my ears had played a trick on me, they had not.

“Houston police confirm plans for the program, but have not released specific details. A department spokesperson said the officers will be trained in the upcoming weeks.”

I hope the City does a better job of researching the liabilities sure to follow before implementing this new policy of police officers drawing suspect’s blood by force. State law already provides a stipulation on DWI or DUI cases whereby a suspect’s refusal to supply a breath or blood sample results in the automatic suspension of a driver’s license. Such a refusal amounts to the same thing as failure of the offered test. How would forcing a suspect to provide such a sample improve the prosecution of such a case; the answer, it would not.

There are concerns by many, myself included, that such forced body samples constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure. Beyond than, what about the civil litigation which might follow; non-medical personnel taking body samples, injuries related to such forced samples both immediate or those which might become evident at some later date, traumatic injuries either claimed or real and the list is nearly endless.

Let me help with writing the new Manuel which covers forced blood sample procedures for the Houston Police Department:

After having observed the suspect to ascertain probable cause for stopping said suspect for DUI or DWI and after having pulled the suspect’s vehicle over safely ( see SOP for safe traffic stops ),

Drag suspect from vehicle using approved techniques (see SOP for approved take down techniques).

Perform field sobriety tests ( see SOP for approved field sobriety tests).

If suspect fails test, offer suspect new field blood test. If suspect refuses, knock suspect to ground, position boot on suspect’s throat while making sure not to completely render suspect unconscious or dead; remember dead suspects require additional paperwork. Minor injuries are to be expected as a result of resisting arrest; don’t fret the small stuff, you’re covered because we have a strong employee’s union.

Insert needle in suspect’s arm, leg, neck or what ever is available; we’re not doctors or even trained medical personnel so don’t let minor issues get in the way of obtaining evidence.

In the event you accidentally get pricked you will need to fill out additional forms for Injury on Duty; don’t get pricked, Hepatitis and AIDS can be fatal.

If for any reason the suspect sues the City of Houston or the Department you will be out on the limb all by yourself, just as with any other law suit. It will be shown that you were incompetent or failed to comply with the SOP’s which you were supplied with and signed for. You will be suspended for failure to show or use good judgment and left hanging in the breeze.

Why would the City of Houston or the Department expose the citizens of Houston to any litigation which could bankrupt everyone? What is to be gained by such an asinine approach to law enforcement; remember, State law already provides a guaranteed conviction when an officer, based solely on his/her field observations and experience, when he/she fills out a refusal form for either a breath or body fluid request. The reasonable doubt required to obtain a conviction has already been met, why subject anyone to an invasion of their body, with or without warrant?

Before leaving this topic; why include a provision that considers obtaining bodily fluids from any suspect “without a warrant”? Maybe Chief Hurtt wants to change the image of HPD; you know, from Houston’s Finest to Houston’s Gestapo.

We don’t need that old image, the one which works on the premise of following the Constitution; it’s become so inhibiting and inefficient. There are sweeping changes in America; Chicago style politics are firmly entrenched in Washington, ACORN and SEIU have set the example of thuggery, a way to silencing those who disagree and Houston wants to be a part of this great Hope and Change movement.

Once again, in case you missed my opening thought; I’ll express my gratitude for being retired from the Houston Police Department.

The Cruise Ship Voyage

I’ve heard this told a couple of times by different folks and couldn’t say who should get credit for the original version; all the same my thanks for a great story. I dedicate this to my friend Probligo as an answer to the many challenges he’s left to various articles I've posted in the comment section.

There was a cruise ship passenger who’d saved carefully for her once in a life time trip, figuring down to the last dollar, each day’s expenditures. When it came time for dinner she excused herself and went to her cabin where she’d planned ahead, having very modest meals pre-packaged so as not to worry about spending at the luxury restaurants on board the cruise ship.

She made friends with another woman during the week long cruise, walking the decks, exchanging stories of work, romance and family. Each evening when it came time for dinner the young woman was able to find an excuse for not going down to the fine restaurant; “I’m not feeling well”, “A bit sea sick, I’ll just go to my cabin and rest”, or some other casual reason for not attending.

On the last day of the cruise her friend again invited the young woman to attend the fancy dinner, a celebration beyond any of the other meals as it was the night before returning to port. The young woman calculated how much money she had left and decided it would be okay, her having enough to justify a little splurge.

She sat next to her friend and marveled at the items on the menu; but was reluctant to order because there were no prices next to the items, remembering how the best restaurants had similar menus. Her new found friend, somewhat bewildered at the situation posed by the young woman asked, “Didn’t you know, the price of all your meals was included in the price of your passage ticket?”

“No, I’ve been going to my cabin each night in order to avoid extra expenses.”

So it is with mortality; many are not aware the price has been paid, the many blessings which are available go unclaimed due to insufficient knowledge of the rules. Some are not aware of their relationship to the Captain of the ship and when given the opportunity to sit at his table slink away, feeling they cannot afford to attend or that they possibly are not worthy.

I hope the message of this story covers those who, for one reason or another, are reluctant to accept the invitation to dine at the Master’s table.

There is another story, one which I’m hesitant to share; but feel compelled to offer as an alternative. There was a fellow named Zeezrom, who challenged anyone who claimed to have a knowledge of God, antagonistic at every step. He tried to out smart and make fools of those claiming such knowledge. The story can be found in Alma 11:20-46 and all of chapter 12 . I’ve included a link to the starting point; enjoy your cruise through these passages.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Judge Andrew Napolitano Natural Rights and The Patriot Act

Thanks and a tip of the hat to my friend Steve for sharing this via email. It looks like an extension of my thoughts from the other day .

“Judge Andrew Napolitano gives a speech from the heart about freedom and from where our rights come. The Judge explains the hard core truth about the Constitution and why we must fight to regain and retain our freedoms…”

Part One of Three

Part Two of Three

Part Three of Three

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Skunk Visitor

I mentioned how a skunk had wandered into the garage while the ladies from church were picking up their containers . Nobody was all that upset by the little visitor who eventually came back out to see if there was any food left in the bowls we put out for the Hobo Kitties earlier in the evening. Lucy’s warned me not to put too much food out; guess I’ll be putting Hobo Kitties on rations, can’t be inviting every stray “cat” to chow down.

Another 18 Wheeler

I helped Lucy clear out a portion of the garage this afternoon in preparation for a delivery of plastic containers, a group order for the ladies at church. I should mention how my work truck had the engine warning light come on this morning after my first job. I was able to drive to the next job, a heat case where the customer was already on the way to test drive a car; but they couldn’t find the key.

When I pulled in to the used car department the salesmen pointed out the vehicle; but when I went to move closer to it my truck wouldn’t start. I was able to complete the job, walking back and forth, just in time for when the customer arrived.

The used car manager, a long time friend was pleased enough so that he got the folks in the service department to put my truck at the head of the line and get it fixed; one of the sensors had been damaged by a leak in the head gasket. The mechanic and I visited while he worked, joked around a bit and I passed the time, keeping my attitude in the right place. I didn’t miss any jobs and was able to pay for the work done; expressing my gratitude all around for them accommodating my needs to the same degree as I took care of their lost key situation.

When I got home I noticed Lucy’s car parked on the street along with my little green Z. I knew she was waiting for a deliver, just didn’t know an 18 wheeler was dropping it off. My truck was also lined up on the street as we did our best to clear a place on the floor of the garage for 5 pallets. This was a continuation of the efforts I’d made last week and so we are slowly but surely cleaning out junk and finding lost treasures.

If I’d had any sense I’d have taken a picture of the fellow off loading the 18 wheeler, his wondering what in the heck we wanted with so many containers. I then told him about some of the other deliveries and he smiled, not quite believing that a bunch of church ladies could disperse all this stuff in a timely manner. I assured him that not only could they; but they do so regularly.

I took this picture a few minutes ago after a couple of pallets have already been dispersed. Lucy explained to everyone that the cut off time for picking up tonight is 9pm, at which time I’ll park my truck up in the driveway next to my little green Z; hate leaving my “shop” exposed on the street, much better to have it back where it belongs. Lucy also informed me that a little skunk wandered up the drive and into the garage earlier; no need to get all excited, leave it alone and it will wander back out later on. Hope the Hobo Kitties are friendly to the funny looking “cat” wandering around behind the pallets.

Monday, November 09, 2009

America Without Its Anchor

I’ll start to write and eventually find my thoughts, thoughts on how America has drifted away from its sure anchor. I should acknowledge a story related by Elder Jonathan C. Roberts of the Seventy who recently attended our Stake Conference.

Elder Roberts had taken his family on vacation to a lake in the Ozarks, boated across the expanse of water to the middle where they deployed a large inflatable deck which they would use as a base. His wife had forgotten to bring along the food and he jumped on one of the motorized ski contraptions to retrieve it.

Not being familiar with the lake he took notice of key landmarks prior to embarking across the water, making good use of his scouting skills lest he be unable to find his way back. Once he’d recovered the food he headed back, taking note of his position with respect to the aforementioned landmarks. He traveled to where he thought he’d started and had a sinking feeling he might have made a mistake, not being able to see the boat or inflatable deck in spite of having the landmarks lined up as his memory permitted.

He scoured the horizon and saw something far off in the distance and made his way closer, the speck growing larger to resemble the shape of a boat and later, as he got even closer, his family playing on the inflatable deck. Upon arrival he asked why they’d moved from their original spot; except his wife told him, “We haven’t moved.”

Elder Roberts checked the landmarks which no longer matched those he originally had depended upon at which time he realized they hadn’t been on a lake at all; rather, a very slow moving river. They had drifted a considerable distance from their original position.

I immediately jotted down a secondary thought, one regarding how this story could be used to explain America and how it has drifted from its starting place, so much so that our landmarks are no longer able to be seen or of much use.

Last week I started to write my thoughts regarding God Given Rights and found myself wandering off on tangents with little progress; this story, along with some of the other thoughts I jotted down during conference seem to adapt easily to what I wanted to say.

For the sake of simplicity, rights come from God and He is magnanimous, enough to permit those who don’t acknowledge His gifts to enjoy them anyway; in short, all individuals have certain inalienable rights, rights which no other individual or group of individuals, to include governments and their associated agencies may trample upon without violating the laws of God, laws which have been in existence from before the world was made .

I grew up hearing how our nation was formed, listening to explanations, mostly from my parents, of the importance religion and a strong belief in God played in the destiny of this country. As I grew older and put many pieces of the puzzle together in my mind; Columbus’s visions and accomplishment to what he considered a God given quest, the Puritans and others who sought only to be able to live their religious beliefs to the extent possible without repression along with our Founding Fathers, individuals who methodically transformed raw thoughts regarding man’s interrelations in society and within the framework of government so as to fine tune their ideas into documents revered to this day as being divinely inspired.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

And yet today I hear many, some in high places and considered “enlightened”, distancing themselves and the direction of our nation away from those landmarks which, hardly recognizable now, anchored us to our starting place. In most instances the subject of religion is not simply omitted; but is unwelcomed. Reference to God has been labeled a disease carried by right wing extremists, a way to marginalize anyone who might attempt to remind a nation’s conscience of their having strayed from a path of righteousness; this is how we are ignored by those with a different agenda, an agenda which stifles individual agency in favor of some protracted social order.

The Founders understood the principles which unite God and His children along with the social involvements which prevail, not only among those who acknowledge and adhere to God’s commandments, laws, restrictions and blessings; but with an understanding of those who would stand in defiance of these same commandments, laws, restrictions and blessings. Our Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights are an acknowledgement of the eternal order of things being made of and through Him, not the institution of a denomination or establishment of a particular faith.

The perversion of language skills, intentional and divisive, a failure to acknowledge God as the Author of our liberties, our freedoms; in short our individual agency to act within the framework provided, our constitution, does not mention of a separation of church and state as declared by our Supreme Court. The wedge used at first now divides a nation; now precludes the very mention of Him as an integral part of our social order.

I act on the knowledge, as supplied in the scriptures, that man was made in the image of God , we being His children and heirs to all, no different than heirs listed in the reading of a will, it becomes “self evident” as stated by our Founders when they put pen to paper, to act upon this information so as to acknowledge not only God; but His commandments, laws, restrictions and blessings which He has provided in order for His children to accomplish mortality in a manner pleasing unto Him. As a matter of extension, all laws instituted by men would, of necessity, adhere within God’s laws rather than be in opposition to those eternal principles.

If we are also to act upon the knowledge that our nation was divinely inspired, for at one time such a notion was prevalent and widely accepted, then what has happened? Has God changed or have we strayed so far as to not recognize the landmarks placed for our own good? The imagery supplied by Elder Robert’s story fits our situation so well as to make it impossible to ignore.

I heard reference to a scripture, “Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?” Doctrine and Covenants 6:23 The message of this particular scripture actually should start in verse 21 and goes through verse 24 where the Lord declares himself to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Again, has the Lord changed or have we turned a deaf ear to Him? I fear far too many are incapable of feeling the promptings of the Spirit, a means of distinguishing good from evil, truth from error and by so doing drift further from their origins and from God.

Upon being reminded of this passage a certain peace did settle on my mind, a witness of the divine origins of the United States of America, the founding documents and our place in the world as it should be; something which has become a concern as I’ve watched the direction we have taken, more appropriately, our wandering down forbidden paths, letting the winds move us according to each daily poll’s results.

My thoughts turn to the Bill of Rights; a means of protecting individual’s God Given Rights from our own government, for such is needed to insure the continuation of our divinely inspired government. Our Founders understood how power corrupts those in office. Having documents in place to secure these sacred rights has worked, more or less for these past two hundred years. Each successive year, however, has shown the effects of erosion, through both neglect and deceit, of these once generally understood individual rights, rights which could only come from God.

Take for example the 1st Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

How in the name of Heaven could freedom of speech, a God given right, be extended to include pornography or profanity? The answer, it doesn’t and never did; such interpretations are in defiance of God Himself and will come crashing down on us if we accept such blatant abuses of language to rationalize our inability to be obedient.

Moroni, an ancient prophet whose words are found in the Book of Mormon warned:

“And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.” Moroni 10:19

God being the same to one generation as He is with all his children is an accepted ideology with most Christians as well as the Jewish faith. Were this not so God would be a respecter of persons and His words would hold no promise. I could go on and on listing scripture; but to what avail, those who discount God hold no respect for those who are guided by His council?

What about the 2nd Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”, are we to throw out yet another God given right to satisfy the whims of a corrupted government unwilling to recognize an individual’s right to self defense; preferring instead to sight numerous abuses and violations of our laws by a segment of our society with no regard for either man’s laws or God’s?

I’ve heard it stated by some how mankind doesn’t have the necessary self control to be entrusted, to have individuals in control of firearms and how nothing good can come of such a disregard for human life. Quite to the contrary, were it not for the ability to defend against tyranny and force from those without any regard for the law’s of man or of God, social order as we know it could not exist. The only ones in power would always be those who crushed anyone who didn’t agree or comply, total and complete tyranny with a never ending battle field strewn from one tyrant’s imposed territory to a never ending supply of fellow tyrants intent of claiming or recovering their own areas of conquest; in short, it would look like much of the Middle East. (No pun intended, just the facts.)

The concept of a nation’s government dominated by self rule has, built within the fabric, the self evident precept of individual discipline consistent with our eternal lineage, our being sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, the Creator and Author of Liberty. How is it that one generation is ordained to fulfill the destiny of self discipline, to be worthy of unalienable rights while following generations are not? The answer comes back, as stated by Moroni, “…that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.”

I wrote in a recent article , “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is no force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist.” ( John Adams. )

The idea of individual property ownership has been a part of our national attitude from our earliest documents; altered somewhat at the onset, the Pursuit of Happiness being a means of getting around the issue of slavery in order to get consensus at the time of the signing.
What have we come to when our Supreme Court voids property rights, favoring one group of investors over an individual’s prior right to a given property in the Kelo decision? How far along the path of property rights dissolution are we when the EPA can regulate the use of private property against the wishes of the owners to such a degree as to make such ownership meaningless?

That last reference has so many violations which could be listed; however the one which comes to mind at this moment would be the shutting down of water to farmers making it impossible to sustain their crops and for what; to prevent the extinction of some bug or toad which has taken residence on the land. We would rather destroy the livelihood of the rightful land owners than protect their right to do as they please with property they own, as if our collective consciousness in the name of environmentalism supersedes that of the rightful owner.

I’m not sure how it has happened, only that it has; nearly half of America actually believes in the false principle of having their neighbor pay for his/her way through life, as if creature comforts were an entitlement which the government could use taxpayer funds to support. Beyond class envy, which has been used to stoke divisiveness, the mentality of entitlement has crossed beyond reason into a “quasi-right” frame of mind; such quasi-rights do not exist and never have, they being an enticement used by politicians to obtain votes neither deserved or sustainable. At some point the well runs dry because those paying for everything eventually run out of resources or simple leave the pool, having no desire to be shorn like sheep.

We have reached a point, a dangerous point, where segments of our society have seen fit to deny certain individuals their agency to act, as if the collective had such powers. Our form of government was designed to prevent that very situation and by ignoring the framework, the built in protections for individuals, this herd mentality has prevailed.

Our legislators, ever aware of the need to satisfy desires get voted out, have included in the workings of everyday legislation terms which mandate appropriate responses at the expense of individual God given rights with little regard for the consequences of such laws. The majority of folks who would blindly permit taxing the rich to pay for anything and everything has grown over the years.

Politicians have successfully suggested that housing, transportation, medical care and entertainment are “rights” rather than being honest and associating such as the fruits of individual labor. The list is endless; after all, the rich can afford it and they really didn’t earn all that money, the least they could do is share it with everyone less fortunate.

Now as I look out across the expanse, spotting familiar landmarks, individual integrity, self reliance and honor, landmarks which once marked the location of America, they are harder to find, having drifted off from its sure anchor. What appeared to be a slow moving river, hardly discernable in motion, now finds us ever closer to the precipice, the speed at which we travel towards oblivion increasing at a frightening pace.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Do You Really Think Obama Didn’t Know?

I was reading a Foxnews article about Obama’s judicial nomination for the 7th Circuit appointment , David Hamilton, about to go before the Senate. Hamilton would seem to be left of center on his politics; but aside from that, has his political agenda been brought into the court room? It would appear so; his rulings in regard to abortion and Christian prayers in public would indicate he is incapable of separating his political agenda while performing his duties as an unbiased judge.

One line by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama at the end of the article caught my attention. Give it a moment while the turnip truck gets further down the street; that should be enough.

‘"This is not the type of service that should be rewarded with a promotion. This is one of those extraordinary circumstances where the president should be informed that his nominee is not qualified," Sessions wrote in his letter.’

In case you missed it, “…the president should be informed that his nominee is not qualified.” No, really; and I suppose Obama didn’t know that most of his Czars are radical Marxists intent on destroying the foundations of our Republic, of course Obama knows this. The idea that the vetting process would have weeded out such an undesirable choice is beyond me; no wonder the country is in such a mess. Some Senators are walking around Washington with sacks pulled down across their heads ever since they fell of the turnip truck.

Senator Sessions, Obama picked Hamilton BECAUSE he’s an activist judge who has empathy for the downtrodden rather than rulings based strictly on the laws as they are written. The only thing you won’t hear from Hamilton would be a variation of Sonya Sotomayor’s line; you know, the one about being a wise Latino woman able to come to a better decision than some old white guy.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Do We Really Want Bureaucrats Running Everything?

The UPS fellow rang the doorbell this afternoon and left an envelope on the front step, having gotten back into his truck before the door could be opened; those guys are quick. I glanced at the return address and recognized it had come from the Institute for Justice, Texas Chapter. I’d been interviewed several months ago by one of their young lawyers, Wesley Hottot, doing a study on the impact of licensing various businesses by the State of Texas, anyone involved in the locksmith industry falling under the authority of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Private Security Bureau (DPS/PSB).

Wesley Hottot read at least one of my articles regarding the licensing of the locksmiths in Texas which had been on the internet and wanted a face to face interview ( There are three more links included at the bottom of that article). He was putting together recommendations to the State of Texas reminding, perhaps enlightening those unaware of the unintended consequences of their actions, specifically, “Occupational licensing is making it harder – much harder than it need to be – for Texans to open a business, create well-paying jobs or switch careers”.

As a matter of courtesy, I’d sent copies of these locksmith related articles to my elected State Representative, Debbie Riddle and eventually was “granted” a small amount of time to meet with a person I’d mistakenly considered a conservative voice. I listened for much more time than I’d intended to her ego trip explanation of how her time was so valuable, visiting schools to be seen rather than supporting individuals with real concerns. I’d taken off half a day’s work to talk about the State of Texas imposing harsh and unrealistic licensing standards on the locksmith industry and wasn’t all that thrilled to be treated like a school boy who would faun over such a prestigious and important official.

I was told that she supported licensing of just about any important industry to make the world a safer place; locksmiths, she said, should be held accountable just like doctors, lawyers or engineers. My information regarding mandatory continuing education requirements fell on deaf ears.

She was interested in the fact that the State Comptroller’s Office was giving out conflicting information regarding the collection of taxes, something which was dear to her ice cold heart; her being on the all important committee of How We Spend Your Money, I may have the name of the committee off a bit. I left her copies of the various faxes I’d received; one instructing me to collect tax on everything I did while the other instructed me not to collect taxes on exactly the same work.

More recently we got a special notice from the DPS/PSB explaining how locksmiths were NOT to record a customer’s driver’s license on any work order; curious since a year or so earlier we’d been given a mandate to include such documentation on all work orders underneath the signature line where the customer’s verified picture ID had been viewed prior to doing any locksmith work. It seems the left handed bureaucrats never bothered to look up previous legislation before making everyone have new stationary printed in violation of that older law, my oh my how I love the way the State of Texas tosses around the word Mandate.

This evening when I opened the envelope I was more than a little surprised to see my image on the front cover of a very nice magazine publication, Bureaucratic Barbed Wire: How Occupational Licensing FENCES OUT Texas Entrepreneurs . As Gomer Pyle would have said, “Well, Gooollllllyy and Shazam! There I am on the cover of a magazine.”

Then on page 35 was yet another picture of me which he’d taken the day of the interview while I stood beside my truck, complete with my one time mandated ( there’s that word Mandate again) magnetized signs; but which quickly became un-mandated, those waffling bureaucrats in Austin cost me another hundred and twenty dollars for signs I didn’t want to begin with so I keep them on the inboard side of the protective shell.

A while ago I was visiting a few of my regular sites on the internet and found an article which tied in with my thoughts regarding bureaucrats screwing up just about everything they touch and control. Rhod over at It Don’t Make Sense posted a warning regarding the establishment of The United States Public Service Academy, Enarchs and H.R. 2102 .

“Here's where H.R. 2102 comes in. Many Democrats, and a few of the suspect Republicans, have seen the future, and it's Them. They've concocted an American version of the ENA. The United States Public Service Academy. Anyone interested in this monstrosity can resort to Google, and read of the sad formulae for the multiplification of liberals and other world-turners who will gorge at the public trough and manage your life.”


“Such an idea from such people is a cancer on a free society. Civil servants churned out by an intellectual Gulag end up managing everything from Washington DC down to your local transfer station. The bad always drives out the good. H.R. 2102 is being driven in the dark, with the lights out. Pay attention. These criminals, liars, punks and shrews keep a low profile.”

So, how’s that hope and change thing working for you? As if it’s not enough for the State of Texas to produce its own crop of Lilliputian bureaucrats, now, if H.B. 2102 gets pushed down our throats by the left leaning Congress at the federal level we’ll be manufacturing an entire generation of these useless elitists.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fall Cleaning of the Garage

Here in Houston the time to clean the garage out is either Spring or Fall as that’s the only time when temperatures in the day are reasonably cool. Lucy has an order coming in on palates soon and I wanted to make sure there was enough open floor to accommodate them; hardly ever know what she’s got ordered, just that she got a great price on what ever it is.

I remember when we were in the old house an 18 wheeler loaded with wheat from Montana arrived, the driver scratching his head as if he’d gotten the address wrong. I assured him he had the right place as he off loaded the whole truck onto my driveway; gotta’ wonder what the neighbors were thinking, “Those Mormons and their food storage thing”.

Lucy made a few calls and before ten that night it had all been distributed to the ladies of the church who’d gone in together on the purchase. Things like that must continue to be a source of wonderment to the neighbors, much less the delivery folks. “Where are they putting all this stuff?” I could start a rumor; tell everyone we had a huge bomb shelter dug in the back yard; they’d be tempted to believe it.

Later this month is the San Francisco Herb order, a mixed blessing. On the one hand Lucy will put in lots of hours sorting little bags of this that and the other for the ladies at church to pick up while on the other hand, our house will smell like heaven for all the varied aromas associated with these herbs; cinnamon, rosemary, marjoram and ginger to name a few. The baking season is around the corner and these items will be in high demand.

Unrelated to the odd delivery of items, or should that read the delivery of odd items; oh well, I found my old battered and worn police brief case in one of the shadows. I went through the few remaining items, a few public relations hand out cards we used to give citizens after a report had been made for a burglary, assault, vandalism or what ever; tossed them in the trash along with some old locksmith price sheets I’d hand out to car dealerships and some out of date catalogs which I’d put in there.

In one of the recesses where folders had been kept I spotted a small key ring with only two keys. Upon closer inspection I remembered what they were used for; one an old post type skeleton key and the other an oddly shaped flat key. They were traffic control box keys. My guess is they would fit most of the traffic boxes at intersections to this very day.

We used to get dispatched to work traffic for special events which would require altering the pre-programmed timing of the intersection’s traffic lights. Inside the control box was a “pig tail”, a push button which permitted an officer to manually change the lights in order to give priority to a certain flow of cars, usually to a parking area near the event.

I remember having the McKinney Street exit from the freeway where it intersects with Bagby next to City Hall. The folks on Bagby needed more time to move toward the old Music Hall/Coliseum complex and we would double or even triple the time over those few getting off the freeway.

The closer it came time for the event, the less we were needed as traffic dwindled down to nearly nothing. My partner and I were standing with the pig tail in hand as we observed a single vehicle slowing down as the driver made his way though the freeway exit ramp curve into downtown. There was no cross traffic on Bagby so I ran a quick light cycle; except I ran past the point I’d wanted by one click. In a matter of moments the driver had seen his light turn green to yellow and back to red; his vehicle doing something akin to a touch and go on an air craft carrier, the brakes being applied, released and then applied in rapid succession.

Just as quickly, I ran another light sequence and got him the green light he thought he’d seen only moments before. We laughed and waved at him as he carefully anticipated yet another malfunction, crossing Bagby Street and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I should find a young police officer, one recently graduated from the academy and give these pieces of history to someone who might get to use them. I think I know just the person, come to think of it.

Old Locksmith Ego Trip

Last night, just prior to the start of Game 5 of the World Series, a call came in to make keys to an older model Ford F-150. The owner explained how the other locksmith had worked on it 4 hours and left, adding that he would come back the next day, pull the steering wheel and/or drill out the ignition switch. I was told the other fellow had gone through his entire box of “trial keys” without any luck.

Well, at least he got the part about “luck” right; geeze Louise, and he called himself a locksmith. I had the customer hold my flashlight, a chance for him to pretend he was the sun shining on my knee while I prepared a key blank; all the while getting more information about what the other fellow had attempted to do. Apparently the guy mistakenly thought it was a “Ten cut” wafer style lock; never figured out it was an old fashioned pin tumbler lock, which is why his “trying to feel the lock” with “specialty tools” didn’t work either.

It was dark, not in my favor, all the same I’d done hundreds, perhaps thousands without exaggerating, of “impression” jobs like this one over the past thirty plus years. Even with my magnifying headset I was having trouble seeing the impression marks as I adjusted its position to catch the light beam.
I went back to my truck for a fancy little gizmo I picked up at one of the trade shows several years back; like a hand held microscope. It snaps onto the end of a small flashlight and puts the light right on the key blade with powerful magnification; Zowie or Vundabar, it worked and I could see the marks with a little extra effort.

Within a few minutes I had a working pair of keys and a very happy customer telling me, “I never saw nobody ever make a key like that before.” It’s a pretty good bet the other locksmith never did either; breathing out slowly and shaking my head, and he called himself a locksmith.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

A line from one of the Star Wars movie comes to mind when watching the shenanigans, and shenanigans is a cleaned up version of what is really going on in Washington. “Be afraid, be very afraid.” Yoda’s warning goes out to everyone, a warning of the dangers when dealing with the Dark Side *, see attached photo of Nancy Pelosi.

I found a video clip of Rep. Virginia Foxx ( R ) North Carolina, standing before Congress at Neil Boortz’ site worth watching, only 4 minutes long. Just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, of what is contained in Pelosi’s agenda to destroy liberty and freedom under the guise of Health Care Reform.

There are, according to well informed folks who have read the so called Health legislation as proposed by Nancy Pelosi, a hundred and eleven (111) new boards, bureaucracies, commissions, and programs created in H.R. 3962, Speaker Pelosi's government takeover of health care package a hundred and eleven (111) new boards, bureaucracies, commissions, and programs created in H.R. 3962, Speaker Pelosi's government takeover of health care package, a package which nears 2000 pages. You won’t be able to wipe your nose without getting federal approval after these folks get installed; nothing to sneeze at.

Monday, November 02, 2009

"Big" Fun on the Stairs

I found this video on Facebook; a tip of the hat to Patricia Carr for giving me a smile on a Monday afternoon. I’m going through my list of places I’d like to see this; but most of them wouldn’t be appropriate, the temple, libraries, schools and other places where extra noises wouldn’t be conducive to the surroundings.

Maybe we could get Tom Hanks to do a sequel to his movie, Big; run up and down the stairs playing Chopin’s Polonaise or Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto; okay, Chop Sticks will have to do. A few minutes on the stair master takes on a whole new meaning.

Free Plug for Meridian Magazine

One of the places I visit often is Meridian Magazine , “The place where Latter Day Saints Gather”, as their header announces. It costs nothing to enjoy, there being no subscription fee as with other quality sources such as the Wall Street Journal on line. They exist because folks donate of their own free will to offset the Proctors operating expenses and keep a really quality publication up and running, much like PBS.

If I can justify sending PBS a donation, knowing how it’s run by a bunch of left leaning progressives, the least I could do is help out the folks at Meridian Magazine; I sent them a small donation a few minutes ago. I think I liked the photograph they used, yea, that must have been why I opened my wallet.

Why They Play Nine Innings

I had to write something about Game Four between the Yankees and the Phillies; my body’s been complaining of jet lag, not having traveled; but because of the time shift over the weekend. The game looked like it might be headed for extra innings after being tied in the bottom of the eighth, a mistake pitch centered on the fat part of the bat left the park and got the Philly’s fans back into it.

The ninth brought Brad Lidge to hold the tie with the hope that the Phillies powerful lineup would snatch a victory in their half of the inning. “Lights Out Lidge”, as he once was called had one of those kind of seasons he’d like to forget; and yet, the year before was one of his best. In my mind I heard Forrest Gump saying, “Life is like a box of chocolates…”; the same holds true with Lidge, “…you never know what you’re going to get” when he takes the mound.

Two outs later and rolling along with some nasty sliders, Johnny Damon came to the plate and was down in the count; but fouling off pitches to stay alive. One pitch he barely got a piece of may have been the pivotal swing, getting him yet another chance as the ball couldn’t be corralled by the catcher on a foul tip. Damon then singled to left and won that battle.

The first thing Damon did was take advantage of Lidge’s slow but powerful delivery to the plate; something known by most. What I hadn’t noticed, fighting off sleep as the game tested my ability to stay awake, was how the Philly’s infield had put on a huge shift for the next batter, Mark Teixeira. I glanced up to see Damon slide into second ahead of the tag, “Safe”, then pop up and step off the bag and head toward third.

I thought to myself how dumb that was; did he think the ball got through the infield or was he even thinking. Oh, he was thinking alright; the fielder who’d tried to tag him at second was the third baseman; remember, all the infielders were on an extreme shift. With nobody covering third, Damon sprinted easily and slid in to third; stealing two bases on the same pitch.

Going back to my youth, listening to the Voice of the Yankees, Mel Allen; I would have loved to hear his take on that one, “Sports fans”. He could have sold plenty of Ballantine Ale on a play like that. Fast forward back to yesterday, Teixeira got hit by a pitch and the flood gates were about to be opened with A-Rod waiting for a chance to hit.

Lidge’s confidence must have gotten shaken by the play and it showed as the Yankees tacked on three runs, the dust of Damon’s stolen bases choking the life out of the Phillies. I guess you could say the Phillies forgot to play the whole game, letting it slip away in the ninth. The Yankees are now up three games to one and only need one to walk away with yet another World Series in their hip pocket.

There’s a line in the movie, Mr. Baseball, where the little Japanese translator hears the English version spoken and then turns to the rest of the team, “After the game is over a fat lady will sing to us.” If you look off in the distance, over by the microphone, there’s a rather large woman warming up; all the same, it’s a seven games series, not five for a reason.