Archived Messages from July 10th to August 22, 2003

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?

oops. um, i guess we needn't answer that question.

urrummuh, well and healthy we hope.

Mark 8-22-2002 23:01

Look up.
Your moon sounds just like our moon.
Pollution in the atmosphere turns it pink/red if it is rising in the dusk. The shallow angle to the surface means that the light from it travels through much more dust etc. than it does when it approaches its zenith, whereupon it turns silvery white.

Eddie 8-22-2002 16:59

Hi All :)

It's a hazy, humid day today. My computer doesn't like it and neither do I, but I'll work us both anyways. :)

Mary - a very big congratualtions and {{{HUG}}} I will send good wishes that your headaches disappear into the mist. My hubby gets migraines and I have suffered once or twice in the past so I do understand the pain associated with them.

I have a question for any of our sci/fi writers out there -- I've been trying to find a scientific backup for a feature I want on my "world" -- the feature, a moon which goes from white to pink to red and back again. What atmospheric conditions would cause this and how would it affect the planet and lives of its inhabitants (outside of the emotional/religious aspects)? So far I haven't been able to find a site to help me with this question and I'm running out of ideas for keywords/phrases to plug into search engines. My advance thanks for any ideas. :D

I did go the route of doing research all this week. Oh, what wonderful ideas I found! Now its a matter of getting back into the story and filling in all these wonderful ideas. If anyone ever needs it, I found a Shaman site that holds the wisdom power of over 300 animals.

Tina - I just discovered one of my nephews is going to take a tandem jump for his 18th birthday. I'm not sure who is braver, him for wanting to do the jump, or his mother for taking a bunch of his friends with them on the excursion! hehehehe At least from your posts, my anxiety level isn't as high as it would be without it. Thanks for that. :) See the effect of your work? And thank you too for the good vibes, I needed that.

Now, I'd best get back to writing before another day disappears on me.

Be healthy and happy everyone!

Carol 8-22-2002 16:01

ELAINE: You are an inspiration to us all. It's time we picked up our pens and got to it.
Good girl, well done.

Teekay 8-22-2002 1:59

Got the URL wrong on that last post. BTW, in case others did not notice. Tobias Buckell, a past visitor to the Notebook, is up for Hugo Award as part of Tangent Magazine and also a nominee for a John W. Campbell Award. Nice to see others doing well who began visiting here in the past.

Jack Conjose 8-22-2002 1:27

Belated great congratulations, Jerry. Glad to see that our written words are getting themselves out and about and you deserve hearty pats on the back.

Trying to get things together before heading down to Worldcon. That and getting use to my new dry suit. BTW, we were out at Cove 1 about a week ago and got buzzed by a harbor seal and I caught it all on video. If you are interested, I have included it on my Northwest Diving Videos page -

Take care everyone and, yes, I will get around to archiving before I leave for California. Take care everyone.

Jack Beslanwitch Conjose 8-22-2002 1:22

Mary - Congrats! (They found out what causes that you know) Just kidding) So happy for you, but sorry to hear of the head pain. My VA Doc told me that the only one she ever heard of taking Toradal (A med I take daily) was one of the VA Patients who take it im for migraines. She said it works great for that too.

May try to get something done for shorty night, I've missed that a bunch, in fact I haven't written much lately, too many computers and not enough time! I've been fixing my sisters, her daughters, my daughters, now my wife's is on the blink, damn things, I should just put linux on all of them, but then I'd have to teach everyone how to run Linux, and that's another pain, but at least Bill Gates wouldn't be giving me migraines. (Well not migraines, but headaches none-the-less.)

Now that we have Mary back, where's Debra?

Jerry Robot surgery 8-22-2002 0:33

Hi All,
MARY: CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!! I am soooo happy for you. The headaches you describe definitley sound like migraines.

EDDIE: Heard on the news 2 nights ago about how a 30 year old woman was going to be stoned to death under sharia law for having a child out of wedlock.
Apparently the ruling pleases the vast majority of Moslems in Nigeria.
Stoning - imagine it, how totally barbaric is that???? Seems that monsters don't always hide under the cover of darkness and slither away under the glare of observation. Sometimes they name it religion and call it good.

About those people who have had a hard time of it through childhood. I don't imagine that all people who lack conscience come from that background. I'm willing to bet that there are cold blooded murderous who cause harm through sheer sociopathy.

I think I said it right :-D

My view points are fairly diverse.

When I said about how you felt about the girls siply because you knew of the town, again, I wasn't trying to be judgmental, again it was an observation.
My heart broke when James Herriott died. Didn't know him, never met him, had no idea what his favourite colour was and wouldn't know him if I fell over him in the street. James Herriott wasn't even his real name, but he was brought close to me through his work.

Be well all.

Teekay 8-21-2002 22:42


Manfred did put on a show on Sunday. We had the Hornet make three passes. It is a beautiful thing to see. The piolt made these very slow passes. It was really something. I think I can turn off just about any sound. I can isolate sounds most of the time. You know, hear what I want to hear. I think it is a skill that you get from growing up in a large family with a lot of loud people. There was also lots of music in my home. I had to learn to tune out extra noise.


I hope that your headaches go away. I know that when I was preggers I got some pretty nasty pounders. Most of the time I don't get pain with migrains (spelling)? When I'm preggers I get the pain. Isn't that weird? I wonder why that is. I don't really have to worry about it any more (grins). I don't really plan to carry another child. Then again you never know...

Take care all.

Rachel 8-21-2002 22:20

Hi all!

Jerry, congratulations on getting published!

Mary, contratulations on getting pregnant!

For everyone else, and the world, here's a hat full of good vibes ///\\\///\\\///\\\///\\\

And Mel, if you get a chance to look in here, I got your letter/crit. Thanks! Except I'll have to send you my proper snail mail address. That one went to the place I used to work; I used their mail account to send you the hardcopy of shadow since they had business mail rates. E-mail me when you get back on line. As for your crit, I'm thinking much about it. Some very sound observations. Thank you.

Rachel, you can turn off the sound of an F117 screaming overhead? Very cool skill to have. Did the B117 stealth bomber come by on Sunday? It was freaky cool. And what about Manfred in his sailplane? I love Manfred, but he didn't perform on Saturday.

Blue skies!

Tina 8-21-2002 22:14

MARY -- I've heard lots of reasons why people have been absent from the notebook, but this is the best yet! :-)

howrad 8-21-2002 21:51


That is fantastic news. I am so happy for you (big hugs). Be sure to let us know when your due date is.

Take care you.

Rachel 8-21-2002 20:58

Hi Guys!!!

I have been trying to catch up on the posts, but it is taking me a while, I have been suffering some of the worst headaches of my life the last few days. You know, the ones that make you worry if something isn't BAD wrong with your brains. I lose all my peripheral vision and get white spots in my field of vision. Freaky.

There is a bit of news I wanted to share with you though! I am expecting a baby! No clue when I am due, but I will hopefully find that out Friday after my ultra-sound, so I will keep you posted. This is really exciting and totally unexpected.

Gotta run for now, but will be back soon.


Mary 8-21-2002 19:10

MARK -- thanks for the pointer! That is excellent! Does that site post that level of poetry all the time?

howard 8-20-2002 23:20

I know after a sunny post like that you'll be kind of wondering a little at this post, it's going to be a little more... oh how do I put it, mellow? This is a poem I wrote, my sister says it's touching but what do sisters know? Just kidding. She's actually my critic, (in more ways than just writing). Just to explain it a little bit before I post it: it's a poem about a widow who is trying to get over the fact that her husband has died. She is still standing by his gravestone and in her mind she is hearing the last word her husband whispered to her. She answers that word with her own despairing thoughts.

Thoughts of a widow
(whispered) Goodbye...
Why must you leave me?
() Goodbye...
Please do not leave me!
() Goodbye...
I'm begging you to stay.
() Goodbye...
You can't...
I need you to be strong, to stay.
() Goodbye...
Must I...?
Must I stay silent as you're leaving me?
() Goodbye...
My head realizes that you must go. It is only my stubborn heart that is still resisting the fact that you have already said goodbye.
() Goodbye...
Never, never again will I gaze upon your beauty, your face. Let me look at you so that I may always know your wonderful features, every laughter line, all the weaknesses and strengths of you, so that when you are gone forever from my sight, I will still have your imagin inside my heart.
() Goodbye...
So this is heartache... this is what the heartbroken feel... the aching for you when I know that I may no longer have you, touch you, see you, know you, feel you... this is lonliness of the greatest degree known to the human race.
() Goodbye...
Why must you go and leave me in this broken and perlious world? You loved me when no one else would. You picked me up when I had fallen. You healed me when you saw my infliction. You comforted me when I sobbed hopelessly and helplessly for a release of the anguish I felt...
() Goodbye...
Don't leave me. I've no one else left. Who will care for me when I am sick? Who will I care for when they are ill? I have no one and no one will have me. My heart is shattered and the tiny pieces of which si left is enough to cause a pain that overwhelmes me even as I look at you.
() Goodbye...
No... sorrow is caused solely by the knowledge that I will never again hear my name uttered from your sweet lips, never again will I be able to look into your beautiful eyes and see the love that is hidden and unhidden behind their brillance. My heart aches jsut to hear one reasurring word from your lips.
() Goodbye...
My heart is broken into pieces so small that they are unconcievable to the naked eye. The only way to see my shattered soul is by looking into my eyes and seeing the sorrow that I was unable to hide there. Hope is far away and not within a year's throw. Hope is not the word that inspires the thought of peace and a sense that there is still a future, a tomorrow.
() Goodbye...
My heart is like a plant withdrawn from the sunlight that is needed for survival. My heart beats in expectation of you walking through the door and my head drops in despair and sorrow when you weren't there.
() Goodbye...
You were my light, my hope, my life. You held the threads of my heart together as a masterweaver threads together a beautiful tapestry. You made my life be filled with joy and laughter, all of which is now forgotten. You are telling me that I must leave you, that I must say goodbye. All I want to do is stay by your gravestone and pray that I am living in a nightmare and that when I wake up you image will be there, assuring me that everything will be all right. I miss you as I have missed no one and nothing else before in my life. To say that I must bid you farewell is to say that I msut say goodbye to life itself.
() Goodbye...
No...and yes.
Yes, I must say goodbye, the one word that might kill me. But even my death is better then the dreary world of which my life has become. You are gone and no wishing in the world will bring you back to me, even though I wish for it with all the broken pieces of my heart. My soul yearns for you as a crop yearns for water after a drought. Still there is no hope only a conscienceness that urge me to keep moving through this mediocre life of which this life has become. There is thawt urgency that I must survive, must keep going even though the hope has left me and the joy is gone. It has come down to this. I shall always be yours; forever more.
() Goodbye...
Well that's it and my parents are shoving me off the computer.
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 8-20-2002 23:15

Whew! Link below to a knockyersocksoff poem.


Mark kiss 8-20-2002 23:12

CONGRATS to you JERRY!! I just can't wait for the day that i'll be published. By the way with this talk of celebrations, I have my driver's liscense!!!! WHEW! I thought I was going to have to ride the bus to school every morning and afternoon to school. Talking about frost, it feels like we're going to get snow any day now. Just feels like it, the weather forcaster's didn't say anything about it (yet) here in Fridgeria. I want to thank Heather, Jon, Carol (twice) and Randall again. Thank you, there was a lot of well timed and well thought advice of which I needed desperately. It has helped so the advice wasn't misplaced. "All the world's a stage" but all the sight's a story. Well, see ya all in an updraft...(of snow)
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 8-20-2002 22:41

Carol - all the editor told me in the email was that she had selected my story for the next issue, I see it's published every other month, and it appears that the next issue will be Sept. Oct. so I assume it should be up in a few weeks. I'll let you know here when it happens, as I assure you I shall be checking to see when it's there daily.

Interesting, the news just reported that the US has had troops in Iraq now for the past 8 months on recon missions, and search and destroy missions. They also tell us that there are terrorists of the El Quida branch who are in Iraq and that they are using Sadam's labs to produce their weapons of terror.

It is on FOX so I tend to believe them. Also good news, the Amber Alert has saved another child in California today. It's rare that I say Attaboy to the press, but ATTABOY guys actually doing something right with all the reporting of missing children. It's about time they drop all the political sex crap and get on with true news, where they can be some help.

Now if they just keep it up...

Thanks everyone for the good words.

Write ON!

Oh I might explain, I used to be known (in college at least) as the "greetings and salutations" guy, however when I came to this notebook TOM (The Old Man) used something close to that, so I never used it, seizing instead on Write ON!

Or was it Goodweed? Could have been, haven't seen either of them around for quite some time. Wonder how their doing, and what about SKS Perry?

Jerry 8-20-2002 22:18

Umm, just a question, where did workbook go and is it coming back?

Laura 8-20-2002 22:10

No, I'm not dead and I will be putting up something soon, I have an idea I'm hashing out and I need some help on it.


Laura 8-20-2002 22:09

Hi All :)

Congratulations Jerry!!! That's wonderful news. Now do let us know exactly when your story will be put up and ready to read. I'm looking forward to seeing it as I entered this website after the Workbook disappeared. :)

I keep wondering how to comment on this recent discussion. Wondering just what my feelings, thoughts and ideas are. Truthfully, they are too mixed up to make any coherence from. One thing that caught my attention though was how hard it is to really know the mind of some of these, shall we say, oddities? My thoughts went immediately to this past spring when my undiagnosed lupus was acting up. I recall how scared I was of the temper I was experiencing. I do occasionally get upset, even burning mad, at things. But this was so different. It was like there was a cold steel bar running throughout my body where the blood and bones should be. I could feel that coldness in the back of my throat. Hubby could have said "I love you" and I would have wanted to strangle him. It was truly the oddest and most terrifying thing I've every experienced. It was only knowing that this was abnormal to my personality and my faith that kept me from acting on this oddity. Now that I know the cause of it, I will be even better able to handle it if it occurs again. But it does make me wonder .... and now I do have an experience, complete with sensations, to use for my villians. I know, none of this info helps to solve the problems of our world. Just a stray thought that found its way onto the page.

Carol 8-20-2002 14:36

EDDIE -- I agree wholeheartedly that something needs to be done. We've held up our precious freedom of speech (and it is indeed precious) until it's become a perverse god -- controlling and manipulating our society until we have difficulty telling right from wrong.

I believe we're beginning to harvest the fruits of the "good/evil/truth is whatever you believe it to be" philosophy. We as a society have denied the idea of an absolute standard (there's that word again -- maybe we're ready for it now?), until now we're becoming sickened by the evil that we've allowed to expand beyond the bounds of all that's decent.

Our president was derided when he used the "old-fashioned" term "evil-doers" to describe the Taliban, the Al Quaida terrorists, and those who support them. I think he was right on the money -- and the term ought to be expanded to include these monsters who prey on the innocent. We need to recognise that there is indeed evil in this world, and it is not merely a concept, but an active force that seeks to control, overthrow, and destroy all that is good.

We've listened too long to our shrinks, analysts, and crackpot psychologists who try to explain these aberrations away by saying that "The poor murderer, rapist, abuser, molester, thief, cheater, adulterer, whatever, is himslf a victim, and to him these actions are only a backlash against the society that has wronged him." These so-called doctors are suffering from the same delusions as their patients -- how can we expect a cure from them?

I'm currently doing some research, and re-reading a book called Practical Christian Theology, written by Dr. Floyd Barackman, an acquaintance of mine. It covers the major doctrines of the Christian church. I'm into the section on Hamartiology -- the doctrine of sin. That's another old fashioned word/concept that the learned doctors decry. It's awfully hard to read it without mentally seeing a direct correlation with the world around us.

No, it's impossible.

howard 8-20-2002 13:39

Well done Jerry.
It just had to come around some time soon.

It's more than just knowing the village where the girls lived. I have a stronger connection. More info later, if and when the trial develops. But really, even if it wasn't I would still feel the way I do. It is the culmination of a number of these recent events that move me. And this:
A few weeks ago I was looking for some software on the net and I was directed to a site (by a search engine) that had no relevence to my search. It turned out to be a 'violent sex' 'rape' type site. I thought I could look at this site in an objective way, to 'investigate' what is really out there. I couldn't! The depraved minds of some people out there defy description. I wont describe some of what I saw there before I had to close it down. I almost gave up on the internet. Then I remembered this site and knew that it would be letting the monsters rule my life. I am still here but I have been affected by what I saw and I am now re-considering my views on internet regulation.
ISP's have a huge responsibility which they are ignoring. If they don't do something now then legislation will come and it will be their own fault for not acting. I know that there are countries around the world which will not comply and I have heard all of the arguments about the dificulties of policing the net but - "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".
Somehow we have to get to grips with this problem.

Eddie 8-20-2002 8:52

JERRY -- Congrats! That was a good story!

Drawing and quartering would be appropriate, but I can think of a five way split that would be even moreso!

howrad 8-20-2002 5:56

BTW: About the turning into a cold blooded killer thing, I didn't mean that to come out judgmentally, it was just an observation from your post. I was shaving my legs and the blade fell off the razor for the 5th time, and I was about ready to commit murder myself, though for less noble reasons.

Like I said, as writers we are able to have varying perspectives on life, the earlier one was my removed, clinical observation. I pray to God that I may never have a first hand account and am only left with my imagination as to how I would deal and feel with such a situation.

The reason I had to come back and say this was because I was putting my shoes on my son, and he looked at me with those huge child's eye's and said, "I love you, Mummy." And I thought of the conversation we're having here, and I wondered how much hate a person must have within them to do some of the things they do.

CONGRATS AGAIN JERRY!!! I am soooo happy for you. Now haven't I been telling you for ages??

Teekay 8-20-2002 3:29


Evening all ...

On human predatory monsters ... They have always been with us. From time before time. They will always be with us. Time after time. Humans, so much responsible for all that is good in the world carry an equal amount of related human garbage as well. We cannot possible understand these child rapists and murderers, because we, the good folk, cannot relate to them. Most of us are not predators who prey on young and innocent. Their inner motives and horrific actions are as remote as the back side of the moon to us. You can study them till hell freezes over and still not answer the simplest question ... WHY? In fact there is no answer other than they are a part of the human population and in all probability, sadly, will never be weeded out.

If this seems to be simple reasoning, it is. There has always been a percentage of human monsters within the general population. It is just that as populations increase world wide so do human predators with perceptions of reality beyond our understanding. (9/11 can fall within this category) Add to the expanding growth of human predators ... an active media...and you have the situations that are developing today. Prevention is the only answer and that will be darn hard to achieve. Evil evokes at will, while reaction is after the fact.

How would I do it?

Well, most of these guys have police records regarding child molestation. If within the human population of adult predator and child prey lie percentages of evil intent, then we must increase the odds in our favor. It is folly to allow ANYONE with even one known incident of child molestation to go unrecorded within any population. To that respect we must adopt a well known political scheme to achieve this goal. Best used in the Anita Hill hearings many years ago when she accused a supreme court appointee of sexual misconduct. "The seriousness of the charge..." was valid then and IS still a focus of American politics. Note there may be no facts, no collaboration of the charge, no witnesses, but ... "The seriousness of the charge warrants further investigation." Any investigation, however slim, of the charge of child molestation for a person could be prolonged and prolonged and prolonged.

True, this may violate the "due process" statute to some extent...but then how valuable is the life of a 10 year old girl? Reports of missing children in America are 2,000 a day. We're losing to many of our personal freedoms Randall! Thats right! Now it's time to make the evil doers lose theirs.


Randall 8-20-2002 0:21


CONGRATS! That is great (big smiles to you).

Rachel 8-20-2002 0:04

Teekay - so good to see you back again, I've missed your posts. Yes, I'm ready to turn into a cold blooded killer to extract retribution. Please not though, that this killing should be done publicly, televised on all channels, on prime time so those who think to harm another will think maybe twice before doing so.

It is right for society to kill those who kill, and anyone who wants to throw religion at me to show it isn't have read only those parts of the bible that they wish to honor.

At any rate on a totally different subject:

I AM BEING PUBLISHED!! Well it's just in an ezine but published none-the-less. is putting my Tiger Piss story in their next issue, just got an email from the editor letting me know the same and confirming that I want it published.

Teekay - it's one of the ezine's you pointed me to several weeks ago, I just dug out one of my stories from Americo's project on food, oh so many months (years?) ago, way back when we had a WORKBOOK here to post such things.

I am happy about that.

And thank you Teekay!

Oh and by the way, I was exaggerating a bit when I called for drawing and quartering, in truth, I would be happy to see them get the needle.

I am beginning to change my views on the death penalty, maybe it's age, maybe the exposure to you folks, probably the result of Illinois experience where 13 men who were on death row were found to be innocent, thanks to a law school project that went out and found the real killers in each case. If one state can make so many mistakes, then perhaps we should be a bit less blood thirsty, and way more careful. From what I've heard the conviction of those men can be attributed to some police misdeed, some prosecutor misdeed, and lots of abuse of the prison informants.

At any rate, I am beginning to doubt the use of the death penalty, not because I think it murder, no, I think it a punishment that should be dealt out to one who will kill another. But because it is so final, once a guy's dead it's hard to bring him back and say "sorry bout that."

Anyhow must be off, Law and Order is on for the fifth time tonight, think I'll watch it.

Jerry 8-19-2002 23:47

Hi Tina,

Yes, I did get to the airshow. We were there on Sunday. It was pretty cool. My kids were blown away by the size of some of the craft that they saw. The airshow worked its usual magic on me. That is to say that around half way through I did the lay back, look up and stop hearing the sound of them. When I get tired I tend to turn off what it is that is keeping me awake (grins and laughter). It is really something to look up at the show and hear nothing at all. Talk about selective hearing. Maybe I just decide it has been to loud for too long. I used to live near train tracks. It got to the piont where I didn't even hear them any more. I had to be very careful when I would cross the tracks. I would look with great caution up and down. I had times when the trains were very close. I think they way I decide to hear things is a little odd. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your stay in the lowermainland. It is a pretty awsome place to live (big wide smiles). When it socks in for the winter with rain, rain and some rain, then I will dream of living in your neck of the woods. Iíll sit back and think about powder snow and wish for something different. Iím glad the writing bug has taken a chomp out of you (winks). Happy writing/editing to you.

Rachel 8-19-2002 22:54

Hi all;

EDDIE: I agree, Grandparents ought to play a big part in the life of their Grandchild, assuming they're normal (generous boundaries) that is.
((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))))))) to you too.

There's a guy who has written 3 books about what happened to him, he was rated the third most abused child in America (that survived), but somehow he managed to overcome his past and to get on with his life productively.

I imagine that would be an incredibly difficult thing to do, easier to bury the soul and live by the flesh, which is what I think a lot of people who have had really brutal pasts might do.

I mean, how hard is it for someone to give up cigarettes? Gambling?

Imagine as an abused child, and I'm not talking the mild stuff here, not the normal everyday not listening to your kids when they talk to you, not spending quality time with them, not teaching them values, not teaching them to be a well rounded compassionate human being, nor the next step down, shouting and slapping and telling your kids they're good for nothing.

I mean the big stuff, imagine trying to throw off a whole perspective of yourself as shallow and worthless, Imagine having spent a childhood devoid of love, and somewhere warm to turn? Imagine a childhood where those who ought to have loved you best were those who abused and hurt you, how do you, after years of being told you were nothing, convince yourself that life is valuable? How do you learn to respect yourself and others, how do you come to believe that life is worth living, and that there is a God?

Sure, it's happened, there are people who have overcome amazing odds to come out of the dark, but for everyone that has, there are so very many more that haven't.

The human psyche is a delicate thing take EDDIE for instance, comes across as a normal decent human being,with not too much, if any of a terrible past, and because he knows the village where the two girls came from, is strongly questioning God's motives, maybe even existence.
JERRY also is ready to turn into a blood thirsty murderer, for the sake of retribution.

By this:
There will come a day when there is no more death, no more crime, no more evil. Jesus will return and he will reign.

What does that mean? That heaven will be on earth?

Be well all.

Teekay 8-19-2002 21:15

Right on the button!
As parents and grandparents we have a responsibility to see to it that our young are given decent values and standards to live by.
I think I posted some time back about the value of grandparents in society but I don't remember getting a response. It is an important role which MUST be fulfilled.

Eddie 8-19-2002 19:37

EDDIE -- you're right -- if only people could be basically good, and considerate of others, this would be a much better world to live in. Unfortunately they're not.

Like this afternoon, for instance. There is a stretch of country road near here that's posted 20 mph through a village, next to a playground/swimming pool where there are lots of kids coming and going. The road is narrow, with bushes and trees on both sides. I've seen kids dart out into the road suddenly, as if from nowhere.
This afternoon I was driving through the village, and I slowed to 20 as I usually do. A woman behind me had been tailgating me for some distance (I try to obey the speed limit, or just over it). She blew her horn, impatient to get to wherever she was going. As we passed the last 20 MPH sign I pointed at it, and held up two fingers, indicating the speed limit -- 20. She promptly signalled back that she thought she was entitled to go at least one mile an hour faster! And this in front of two kids in her van who were in kiddie seats, as well as a couple older children. Now what kind of a lesson did those kids learn from their mom?

howard 8-19-2002 16:18

Hi everyone ~ It feels very odd to be interrupting the current sombre mood on the NB to announce my short leave of vacationing absence; however, I won't be here tomorrow to leave this post!

I am taking along a good many of the P* stories to the cottage, and will be editing a pile of them at leisure.

Have a great week, everyone, and hopefully the dark clouds on the horizon will bring only rain; not sorrow as well.

Heather Hemlock Bags 8-19-2002 14:37

I understand that view, hence my quick re-post to Rhoda. I do accept (It should be obvious from my stated viepoint) that a lawless society, by this I mean a society that has no formal constitutional laws not an out of control society, can be a good society if everybody remains basicaly decent and considerate to others. However, my experience of the religious view of 'conscience remains the same. I was raised catholic and at one time served on the alter as an alter boy. My memories of that time are filled with the constant reminders and warnings of the fires of hell and purgatory for transgressions of the faith. This is indeed the instillment of the fear of punishment for sins by others, be it peers or diety. So my observation still stands (In a very simplistic manner I know)
I'm sure that everybody who wishes will be able to quote some passage from the bible which will clarify or even disprove this. My concern though, is for the here and now. There has to be a response to this increasing evil and it has to come from the good, no matter how we define the reasons for 'being good'
Not a good response I know, but I have one of those 'innocents?' on my knee and she insists on asking just what EVERY bit of equipment in this office does and she wants to know NOW!

Eddie 8-19-2002 14:18

EDDIE -- The conscience is not a thing regulated by the fear of retribution from other people. The Christian view of the conscience is that it is an innate understanding of what is right or wrong by God's standard.

The Bible describes those who "do not have the law, but by nature do the things contained in the law...which shows the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness..." (Romans 2). In other words everyone knows down inside what is right and what is wrong -- even to the extent that that innate knowledge is compared with the knowledge of the law (what we know as the ten commandments)(), and that knowledge is placed there by the Creator.

It further says that this conscience is not indestructible, but can be overridden by the will (1 Timothy 4:2) and made of no effect. That is what Rhoda described, and what God calls "inexcusable".

howard 8-19-2002 13:18

Reading my last post back after posting it, it may look as though I was answering you personally and it read somewhat harshly. That was not my intention. In better times I may have found a less blunt way of explaining myself. I know that you are a deeply devout christian and a good person. I did not mean to belittle your concept of conscience. We live according to the rules which we set ourselves but the results are generally the same; We become decent human beings.

Eddie 8-19-2002 12:00

Yes I do grieve. I grieve for the state of mankind too.
Just to pick up on something in your post (something which I have heard or read before)
"throw off the shackles on conscience and go where our inclinations would take us.. etc."
This often taken position has never sat well in my mind, I have tried to reason the intellect behind it and have failed every time. Here is my take on it:
I do not need a 'conscience' to live my life in a caring and thoughtful way. This implies that I am 'good' only because I fear the retribution of my fellow beings if I 'stray' from the path of decency and trust. This implies that I live a decent life only because I wish not to bear the consequences of transgression. If that was the only reason for me to live as society wants me to then I would be able to confidently weigh up the pros and cons of a given situation and make a decision about how I want to behave.
Jerry said that people kill or commit other henious crimes because they want to. The same goes for the opposite; I do not want to be a cruel B***tard! I do not want to steal from anybody and I certainly have no wish to harm the innocent.
I do not need a 'conscience'to tell me how to live my life. I do not say this lightly, I have thought it through in a philisophical manner. I have looked at it from every angle.
I am not naive however, and I do know that some will attempt to hurt me or cheat me. I have seen death and horrific injury, I know how it can get. All life is to be treasured and protected as far as we can possibly help it. Sometimes we make mistakes or fall down on the job, but we learn from these mistakes.
The preponderence of monsters in this world is a frightening development which needs careful consideration and effective management. Decent human beings will only take so much evil. They will act. It is engrained on our Psyche, just remember every story you ever read as a child, every drama or film that you watch now. In the end a HERO comes to save the day. The hero is a metaphor. The true hero is human decency. We have to believe this or we might as well give up now.
Sorry to take up so much space.

Eddie 8-19-2002 11:52


It is horrible, and I grieve with you as I do grieve about the children who have been taken here in the United States as late. And yes, I do believe it is getting worse.


Your explanation sounds so logical except it doesn't account for the fact that each person has a soul and a spiritual dimmension that transcends genetics, environment and gives each person a decision how they are going to live their lives. There are exceptions such as people who are dealing with a mental illness, but biochemistry, medical condition and environment will never explain everything.

There is evil in this world. Every one of us flirts with it in some form or another because we have something in us that is flawed. Christians call it "sin," a very old-fashioned word. Everyone also has a sense of right and wrong, a conscience, and that keeps most of us in check and helps foster the better parts of our nature like love, hope, generousity, compassion, etc. But what if conscience is squelched and squelched at such a young age that it never fully develops?

Is there anyone here reading this post who hasn't had a thought or notion they are soon after ashamed of? Do we have a flaw such as a bad temper maybe, or a tendency to drink too much, or a tendency to be selfish at times? I would bet that we all do. The difference is that we know some of these things are wrong and we temper them. I don't think any of us would hurt an innocent young child, but were we throw off the shackles on conscience and go where our inclinations would take us and lose all fear of the law and of God, it might be shocking to most of us to what depths of depravity we might sink to after five, ten years or more of living this way. What if there were no loved ones or no law either to curb all this? It would be hell on earth if enough of us were in this situation.

Well, there are people who for one reason or another make that decision. Some of these folks might do nothing worse than rob a few banks, embezzle from their workplace, run a house of prostitution, sell drugs on a street corner, etc., but there are a significant amount of them who will murder innocents.

I think the Bible give the best insight into the heart of man. I have found it consistent with what I have observed in 42 years of life. The good news is that one day things will be different. There will come a day when there is no more death, no more crime, no more evil. Jesus will return and he will reign. I know that is a hard thing for intelligent, modern people to believe, but I'll take it to the bank. Until that day, we just must work within our ability to examine our own hearts and make our lives something of worth. We take care of our families, friends and our neighbors who need a hand. We do what we can do to make our community better and safer.

Rhoda 8-19-2002 11:14

I know the press, the intelligentie, the shrinks, the Doctors, the social workers, and all the other elite's have theories about how monsters become monsters. Many say that it is due to abuse as children, many claim it's because the monster grew up deprived and poor, they say that the monsters grew up in homes that were one parent homes, or that the monsters parents were alcoholics, drug abusers, or trailer house trash.

Yet with all this information that they postulate, how come the vast majority of those who grew up in abusive homes, who's parents were alcoholics, drug abusers, who were raped and beaten when children, who were trailer house trash grow up to be good productive citizens who through their own efforts drug themselves up from the gutter and made something of their lives.

I used to listen to all this bs about the poor abused kids who had no choice but to be criminals, until I began work in law enforcement.

Then I became very aware that it was all a bushel of bull shit. Monsters become monsters because the want too. It's just that simple. It's the same with criminals, they turn to crime because THEY WANT TO!

Oh I'm sure they didn't start out saying "I want to kill little girls!" No it started out with "I want that toy!" and they stole that toy. Seeing how easy that was, they continued with larger and greater thefts, just a matter of degree until they felt they could get away with anything.

Much the same with mass killers, who began by cutting up live animals, and went on to bigger animals until they came to people.

I could be wrong, but that's the way I see it.

Jerry 8-19-2002 11:05


Again, I will be archiving in the next day or so. In part that is to make sure the Notebook does not grow totally out of size as I head off to the World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose. I will also after it is over be off to do some diving at Los Lobos and on the Monterey Express.

Jack Beslanwitch World Science Fiction Convention 8-19-2002 4:38

Eddie and Jerry: Let me expand slightly on what I stated before. In part this could be a developmental outcome due to untreated abuse at an early age or outright abuse to the point that a conscience never developed at a critical juncture in the developmental process. That and/or genetic components that allow for certain environmental pressures to express themselves in certain types of ways. This is not to exonerate the monstrous actions you allude to and I will recuse myself from the death penalty discussion since my own personal and religious beliefs are opposed to it, but I am sorely tempted in situations such as you describe to step away from principle. Serial killers, aggressive pedophiles and similar ilk, are individuals that we should deal with, yes, but also attempt to learn from as best we can to at least attempt to preclude it from happening again. What truly results in a monster is a question open for exploration and as writers this perhaps is a useful if unfortunate thing. It allows us to take our own tact on how we create a monster. My previous allusion to Hannibal Lector is replete in the three books with the motivations that ultimately resulted in the monster he became.

Point of fact, that might be an interested discussion in terms of creating the central antagonist in a story line. How do you create a monster. One of the assignments at a Clarion West in the past that I heard of was to come to class and create the worst most revolting and evil villain/monster that you can create. Then when everybody arrived with their take on this, the writer instructor told the class now make them sympathetic.

My usual approach or my hoped for approach is to mine the angst and anger and anguish that comes of such monstrous circumstances to motivate the words and the muse to make me put words on screen. This sidesteps entirely the specifics of the monstrous actions done in the last several days, but I can well understand the gut level desire to seek vengeance and justice in circumstances such as this.

Jack Beslanwitch 8-19-2002 1:04

Eddie - I know what your feeling right now. Can't say that I can explain a thing about how people do such things, they just do.

I fear that we are not half so civilized as we think we are. It's just that most of us control our hate and anger better then those who kill.

Those who kill kids though they are a different breed all together, they should die the same way they kill their victims, or worse. There is no fitting punishment for such animals, but as a civilized society we try to lock them away for awhile then tell ourselves that we have rehabed them then turn them loose on an unsuspecting society again.

We are facing 19th century animals and delving out 21st century punishments. Perhaps we should go back to death by the lash, or maybe drawing and quartering, but I doubt that it would help.

Most of these animals think they will not be caught, and know that if they are the punishment will be neither swift no fitting.

Yes, I think public drawing and quartering, that may be the answer, at least the one who is drawn and quartered will never hurt another child.

Jerry 8-19-2002 0:11

You postulate that our intellect outstrips our genetic bent by at least a couple of hundred years.
God help us then!
The right way to live seems so easy to me. Why then is it so confusing to such a significant number of human beings.
My heart is broken right now. I just can't bring myself to believe that this is some genetic throwback behaviour which was at one time partly acceptable.
These animals should be removed from the face of the earth. It is so simple. It is not, and can never be, right to inflict this sort of pain onto the world.
(Cherish the children, for they are the future.)
Where was God when these innocents were so cruelly taken and killed.
Every day we find more reason to suspect that God has turned his back on our world.
(This from a person who has never been over religeous.)
If it is within our power as writers then we must try to turn the tide and make this a better world.

Sorry for the rant everybody. I just can't accept that any human being could do this thing.
Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Eddie 8-18-2002 22:18

p.s. I noticed that we care starting to get large. Some time in the next week I will archive. Also, I have a video up on my underwater video site of a harbor seal that scoped us out recently as well as cloud sponges and a wolf eel. Take care everyone.

Videos 8-18-2002 21:41

Eddie: As much as this sad and twisted event comes to assault us and bewilder us about the circumstances that would spawn such monsters, it is possibly good to remember that this is not new, just better reported and better pursued by the police in question. Set aside current depravities such as Ruanda and Cambodia and set back a century and think about the actions of the white population towards the Indians and the blacks. The etiology and causation of such madness, and it is madness, can be cultural, biochemical, genetic and more. The one lesson I think is important to bear in mind about all of this is that in the last fifty years we have become more and more knowledgable about how much nature there is to such homicidal rages and pedophilic depravities rather than nurture. The fact that we understand ourselves better now than a century ago and perhaps consider what was the status quo then as monstrous now perhaps says we are at least started to be pointed in the right direction. As writers and creative individuals who are prone to explore the nature of the human psyche we need to step back and not necessarily understand them, but at least be able to recognize what makes them tick. One of the more chilling books I read in science fiction was an account of an alternate history in which the defeated tories and confederates went to South Africa. The first and second books were told in major chunks from the perspective of the slave holding monsters and you found yourself drawn in deeper and deeper into their psyche until you snapped back and looked on in horror. It is this ability to draw the reader into the mindset of the monster that can create some quite compelling pieces of fiction. Another example that comes to mind is the trilogy of Hannible Lector, including Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs and Hannible. We may not like the real world outcome of these sick and twisted actions, but we can use them as inspiration for our writing endeavors. It does not change that we do not have Genghis Khan or Torquemada living today, because point of fact that are alive and well, just, hopefully, not with enough power to perpetrate actions on the scale such individuals have done in the past. That beggars the question as to whether it will happen again. The answer is likely yes. Hitler and Pol Pot and other of their stripe are not that far away. They are still trying to figure out how to adjudicate the individuals that comitted mass murder in Ruwanda. The best we can hope for is that we can mine the many faceted and very flawed diamond that is the human condition for some meaning that we can write about.

My 2 cents worth.

Jack Beslanwitch 8-18-2002 21:39

It is a sad day for the world.
This country has been glued to the news channels for the past two weeks.
Yesterday the bodies of ten year old Holly Wells and her best friend Jessica Chapman (Also ten years old) were found in a wood near to their home village.
I know the area well as it was badly hit by the foot and mouth outbreak last year. I spent some time in the Village.
The whole thing begs the obvious question. What the hell is going wrong with the World?
How do we breed these strange creatures that prey on the future of our society?
I gave up trying to get inside the criminal mind a long time ago, it was just too painful. If I think too deeply about it I may decide that I no longer wish to live in such a world.
Where do we turn now for directions?
Do we bring back capital punishment?
That was my gut response this morning.
I really don't know any more.
F***ing BASTARDS!!!
Sorry for my bad mouthing but it berst describes my anquish.

Eddie Simply Writing 8-18-2002 18:50

JERRY -- Please understand that I'm not picking on you, or poking fun, but "duel control on the electric blanket" does provoke some hilarious images! :-)

howrad 8-18-2002 9:12

Send a bit of that hot and muggy our way, the weatherman used the "F" word in the forecast tonight, no he said FROST!

Way too early for that, heck the garden isn't even close to producing tomatoes as of yet, and that's all that grew in this dry HOT arid summer. Now winter is creeping in, so very early. The past few days have been cold, in fact I put an extra blanket on my side of the bed last night and it felt very good. The wife would like to sleep with the windows open in the winter should I let her, she so loves her cold for sleeping. That's why I have a duel control on the electric blanket in winter, but it's too early for that too.

They say it may again get up in the 80's but then again, it may not.

Yesterday was so windy that more branches fell, gusts were over 70MPH again, that was what brought the cold spell, or so the weatherman said.

Oh well life goes on, and we should be writing about it shouldn't we?

Write ON!

Jerry 8-18-2002 0:18

It rained here today. Now it's hot and steamy.

howard 8-17-2002 22:17

RANDALL -- A pool of crude that's just a headache! That IS rich!

When I was about 8 years old, we were all coming home from a day at the lake. As we approached Lockport city limit, we passed Reid's Hot Dog stand. It was mobbed. My mother said, "He has a gold mine there." I stared at that stand and the people around it until it went out of view.
"Mom. If he has a gold mine, why does he keep selling hot dogs?"

Mark 8-16-2002 13:45

Want to end the drought??

Women's naked farming ritual brings rain
August 16 2002

Some 200 women in Nepal who ploughed their fields naked in a desperate attempt to bring rain to their drought-stricken region were rewarded as the monsoon began shortly afterwards, a report said yesterday.

The women had last week locked their husbands inside their houses and then stripped off to till their fields at midnight in a bid to appease the Hindu god of rain, Indra.

The superstitious women were trying to bring showers to the far western Banke district, where the monsoon had failed to materialise and farmers had been unable to plant rice.

Naked farming was not the only ritual performed by the locals, they also "married" male and female frogs and staged naked dances - all thought to provoke divine intervention to end dry spells.

Days after the naked ploughing, it began raining in western parts of the country and it seemed the rain god Indra was finally appeased, the Nepali-language daily, Nepal Samacharpatra said.

Local official Rajesh Kumar Mahato from the neighbouring Dhangadhi district told the newspaper some places in the region had 197mm of rainfall at the weekend.

The ritual had worked so well that excessive rainfall caused roads to become flooded.

Meteorology Department officials forecast the rain would continue for a few more days, the newspaper said.

Some 422 people have died in Nepal from flooding and landslides during this monsoon season, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.


Jerry 8-16-2002 11:28

Hoo! I've just come in from the garden, and it was sooo hot and dry out there...

How hot was it ?

Well, when I finally worked up enough moisture to spit, I was immediately attacked by three beets and a thirsty turnip! That's dry. They get mean when they get dehydrated.

Picked a bucket full of cucumbers for pickles though, and enough green and yellow beans to can a dozen or 15 pints. I always get to thinking about Greg Brown's song about this time of year. One of the best lines I ever heard was his "...and Gramma puts summer in a jar..." from that song.

It's supposed to rain this afternoon and tonight. I hope it does.

howrad 8-16-2002 11:21

As has been suggested right here in the notebook, I've spent this evening browsing news from around the world, including online papers from England, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Russia, Malta and a few others who's names escape me at the moment. There was this nice page at the BBC world news that gives links to other news services, that's where I found the papers.

At any rate, from these papers I get the impression that first off, most of the world is simply too busy with their own worries to care much either way about how the US goes after Iraq. Now there were a few editorials both for and against such action, most suggested that while it is probably necessary, the US, should either 1.) Get permission from NATO, and other European powers, or 2.) Go ahead but don't ask us for help, or 3.) Mind our own business, leave the middle east to middle easterners, and attack only when attacked.

None of this comes as a surprise to me, what did surprise me was all the hell that other nations are suffering right now with the bad economy world wide, and their internal problems. They seem to face major problems, many of which come from the very social programs that many here in the US want us to go with, such as socialized medicine (200 health care workers jobs cut!) (Doctors on strike!) and so forth. One paper what complained that since guns are band, the increase of attacks by knife and hatchet are up, no surprise there, when someone wants to kill they take what is handy to do the job.

It was an eye opener. Now we spent the day on a trip to Bismarck where we got the shelves the wife has wanted since we moved into this house, and I haven't heard any news on TV, but I did find in many of the European papers that the US has been shopping charities to dispatch 6.6 million dollars to the poor and injured in Iraq.

This could well fit with Howard's hunch that the shit is about to hit the fan for Saddam, who by the way according to one paper was just nominated again by unamouse vote by the ruling council for another term as President of Iraq.

See, and you thought I couldn't read. (Just kidding)

Write on, the world needs your voice now more then ever.

Jerry 8-16-2002 1:13

Dunno if it means anything, but we got word tonight that the wedding we were to attend the day after tomorrow has been postponed indefinitely. The groom is unable to be here because his leave has been cancelled. He's in the Navy, stationed on the west coast. He had applied for the leave and been approved, with the good wishes of his commander. They notified him yesterday -- three days before the wedding -- that his leave is cancelled.
D'ya suppose something is about to break loose?

howard 8-16-2002 0:35



Have I got a story for you! (Giggle) Boy is this rich! (Chortle, chortle) Talk about a key word ... rich! No, no we haven't won the lottery or anything like that. Well, it seems that two major restaurants are about to begin construction within a block of our store. TWO! Won't have to drive anywhere! No sir! Walk over and eat lunch! Great!

During the course of the last few months there have been hoards of persons examining the future adjoining construction sites. Various contractors examining two old buildings that will have to be removed. Men and women in hard hats spraying orange paint at various locations on the ground, surveying, plotting, writing on clipboards. And the core drillers. A lot of core drilling.

These core drillers are small, truck mounted drills that take samples of sub-surface materials. As the store delivery driver I have noted these operations on a daily basis. The core drilling has increased to such a frenzy that sometimes one crew will have to wait till another is finished before they move on site and begin! I mean, they have drilled so many holes it's a wonder the whole area doesn't sink! We're talking about an acre or so in size and the core drilling goes on! Day and night!

I recently talked to a man I know outside the store. He runs a crew that does dirt work. You know, the men who build pads that businesses sit on? These guys own backhoes, small loaders, dump trucks and a crew of hung-over, longhair, scruffy looking, blue-jeaned construction workers. I asked him if he was doing the dirt work?

"Well, not sure now," he replied wiping sweat out from his hard hat. "There may not be any construction at all."

"What?" I asked as we watched a large core drilling rig pull onto the property. While we looked the hard hats swarmed around and within minutes another hole was being drilled.

"They found sub-surface contamination. A lot, and the insurance companies are hesitant to proceed. That's why there is so much sampling going on."

One of the businesses to be torn down was an old gasoline station. No surprise there on contamination. The old timers routinely dumped used crankcase oil behind the station and never replaced underground tanks. Consequently, a lot of gasoline and diesel leaked into the soil. The EPA has put out of business thousands of mom and pop gasoline stations because they were unable to dig up and replace leaking tanks. Too expensive.

"But that's not the major problem Randy." He grinned at me. "They're finding crude oil. Shallow pockets of natural gas and crude oil. It seems there is a pool of oil underneath us that runs over a mile south."

CRUDE OIL? Texas Tea! Black Gold! West Texas crude is going for 25 bucks a barrel! By the gift of nature, free money! Good Lord! All ya gotta do is drill and case the hole and put up a pump jack. Call Haliburton Production, (Vice President, Dick Cheney's old outfit) and watch the money flow in! The stuff of legendary oil men! (H. L. Hunt who in 1981 tried to corner the silver market ... world wide! His brother Lamar who owns the NFL Kansas City Chiefs football team.) Instant wealth! From mule to Cadillac in a heartbeat! From tent to a swanky Houston penthouse! Overnight! Shades of J.R. Ewing! Edna Ferber wrote a novel about Crude Oil ... to some a testimony akin to the Bible. A little tome called GIANT ... a movie was made, pouty James Dean and stalwart Rock Hudson and luscious Liz Taylor.

Beautiful, black, stinking OIL! CRUDE OIL! Why, the very thought brings to mind the legendary "Spindletop" well in south Texas. When she hit it blew thirty foot joints of drill stem, top of the derrick, a greatly pleased tool pusher and a couple of startled roughnecks yards high. Spindletop! Blowing out thousands of barrels of oil a day! Crude Oil! Without Crude Oil no GM, no Ford, no airliner, no nutting! The stinkiest, gooiest, most awful liquid you will ever come across...and its right under our feet. Screw the Arabs! We got our own, and it's right here!

My friend noticed the look on my face. "Not enough for production though. Just enough to mess up the whole show."

He grinned. "Ain't that a bitch. Imagine a fellow in some office somewhere staring at the lab reports. All he wants to do is build a restaurant and the location is atop a low yield pool of oil! Seventy-five years ago, this would have been a minor strike. Now it's just a headache. Thats gotta hurt. More money in "Burgers and fries and cherry pies" than in oil production."

As an August sun blazed down, we watched another core drilling pull up.

Crude Oil! Who needs it!

Tina...thats ok. With a stiff upper lip and hands on the table I'll read your stories.


Randall 8-15-2002 22:09

There's been a lot of talk of the new laws allowing the government more power so they can catch terrorists. One such law that has yet to be passed, and I pray it is never passed, will require our local postman to report on any activity he deems dangerous.

I can see us now looking on all federal employees as enemies, much as the good people of Germany became fearful of those who wore the swastika.

I can see it now, Ralph the postman is angry because Beth has failed to give him a Christmas gift as most of those on his route do. To get even with Beth, he reports to his superiors that he has seen meetings taking place at Beth's place where many Arab men gather and he has seen them reading the Koran.

Now in actuality, Beth is a member of the local Methodist church, and has never even heard of the Koran, except on the nightly news, yet two days later, members of the combined federal task force on terrorism sneak up to her front door, and on the command of the unit commander signals the invasion, machine gun carrying SWAT members rush her house, breaking the door, tearing their way through her pristine home where photo's of her children in their youth are knocked to the floor, the glass ground into the very fabric of her carpet. She is located in her sewing room where she is cross stitching a pattern of Old Glory, and taken into custody for interrogation by the terrorists investigative forces. She is held seven days without being charged, and on the statement of the postman, is transported to Getmo and imprisoned with the prisoners of war, to be interrogated by investigators there.

The neighbors whisper at her duplicity, her ability to mask her religious beliefs, her Arab herriatige beneath her old grey hair. Marble Smith tells her neighbors that she never trusted that old bat, always knew there was something different in the pickles she made for the state fair, after all how could she have won that blue ribbon seven years running!

The rest of the folks on the mail route are even more generous with their mail carrier, and he is happy with the results of his little game. Who will be next to be caught by the terror police/mailmen?

Will it be me, or maybe you?

Jerry 8-15-2002 21:09

Here's one of the sites I visit regularly for a bit of down to earth talk of what's happening in today's military and the world.

Jerry Soldiers for the Truth 8-15-2002 19:31

JERRY/MARK -- I've been reading and hearing too much about this "righteous war" too, and I'm just hoping and praying that it's not just political posturing. I do admire and support our president, but at the same time I recognise that he's human, and susceptible to the same failures as anyone else.
Then again, from what I've been reading over the past dozen or so years, Saddam is an evil blot on the face of the earth. He cares nothing for his own people, having demonstrated his disdain for human life in attacking even his own, and in placing them deliberately in harm's way.
Perhaps we should practice some "stain removal" and put him under. But I'd hate to think we're doing it for the wrong reasons.
Thanks for the site MARK! Looks interesting, and I'll check it out later tonight.

howard 8-15-2002 16:45

I know this is probably too long, but it's a true story, and it just kind of poured out.

Bob was headed home. He hit 'resume' on the cruise control, and the big Olds accelerated away from the toll booth on the Garden State.

He'd just stopped to call Elsa, to tell her he'd be there around 3AM. She had protested that it was too late, that he ought to stop at a motel to rest for the night, but he was in a hurry. He'd made this trip so many times that he could do it in his sleep if he had to.

"That's what I'm afraid of," she'd said, "please, if you get to feeling too tired just pull over and rest for a while."

"I will," he'd reassured her, "but right now I don't feel a bit tired."

He had turned off the air conditioning and opened the window, thinking the fresher outside air would keep him alert. And no radio tonight -- he wanted to think about his son, and about the donut shop. It was getting near retirement time, and he was worried that Bill was more interested in girls and cars than in keeping the family business going. "I guess there are more important things in life than getting up early to make donuts," he mused.

He glanced at his mirror to check on traffic coming up behind as he approached the merge lanes. "No sense getting flattened by a tractor-trailer," he thought, still feeling a shiver as he remembered the last trip.

Something caught his attention as he looked back at the toll booth. A car was coming on way too fast to have stopped, and it was accelerating and catching up to him. He glanced at his speedometer. "Sixty -- that guy must be doing seventy already!"

He tapped the brake to disengage the cruise so that the other car would be past him before he reached the merge point. "Let him go, and hope I don't have to stop to pick up any pieces if he flips that thing down the road!"

The other driver came roaring by, and the next couple of seconds seemed to slow down and stretch into an eternity. He could hear loud music playing from the 8-track cranked up to the limit as they caught up to him. Strangely he recognised it -- "Sounds like the tape Bill listens to." He looked closer in his side mirror and saw there were at least three, maybe four people in the car. He caught a glimpse of something flashing through the air, then felt the crushing pain in his arm as something shattered against it. He smelled the beer as the quart bottle exploded against his arm and another on the window frame, showering him with shards of broken glass and splattering him with beer. And he heard wild laughing and someone yelling "You crazy s-o-b! I said not at the window!" as the car sped on by him and disappeared into the blackness ahead.

And then the lurch and bump, and the scream of metal on concrete as the big sedan jumped the concrete curbing and rode it to a stop a hundred feet down the road.

And then silence.

The siren in the distance told him that he was still alive, but he was hurting like hell. His arm alternated between numbness and excruciating pain, and the side of his face stung where the glass had embedded in his cheek. He could smell oil and antifreeze, and remembered that the car was overdue for an oil change, and he'd better take it in to have the cooling system checked in the morning.

The siren grew louder, and it began to get on his nerves. "Why do they have to run that thing so loud? I've already got a headache, and why is everything all blurry?" The noise stopped as if he'd wished it away, and he tried to smile gratefully, but it was more like a grimace as he sensed someone walking toward the car.

"Please step out of the car, sir." The voice sounded angry, or disgusted. "Now! Out of the car!"

Bob tried to move, but couldn't -- tried to talk, but all he could do was mumble incoherently.

The officer reached for the door just as his partner walked up. "I said ge.. Oh Jesus! Carl -- help me get him out!" What the hell happened to him?"

"I dunno, John," exclaimed his partner. "I can smell the beer, but I don't think he was drinking it. Looks like he got hit with a bottle! I'll call for an ambulance!"

They eased Bob to the ground beside the car and the first officer began to check over his injuries while the second ran back to radio for medical help. "Did you get a description of whoever did this?" asked the cop.

Bob shook his head. It was beginning to clear now, and the pain was increasing. "No," he rasped, "just caught a flash of blue as they went by. Three guys, maybe four." He groaned again as the cop checked his arm.

"It's broke for sure," he said, "but all the blood's coming from your head."

"I think they got me with two bottles. First one hit my arm. The second one hit the door frame and scattered back at me." Everything started to go blurry again.

"Just relax and don't try to talk any more," said the cop. "The ambulance is almost here."

Bob tried to nod, but it hurt too much. He grimaced again as he heard the approaching siren. Then he lost consciousness again as the ambulance arrived.

They took him to the ER at the local hospital, where it was determined that his injuries, though serious and painful, were not life-threatening. They cleaned up his face, sewed up the gash over his eyebrow and removed the splinters of glass from his cheek. Then they x-rayed and re-splinted his arm, and told him that the ortho guy would have to fit him with a cast as soon as the swelling went down. Then the nurse asked what he'd like for breakfast.

"Haven't got time for that," he insisted. My wife is expecting me, and I've got to get home. Got a business to run! Please, where's my clothes and my car?"

The ER staff protested, but he was adamant, and signed himself out. His car had been towed to a service station near the hospital, and he found the mechanic checking it over as he arrived.

"This your vehicle?" asked the station owner. "Stan says it needs an alignment real bad, and there's a busted oil line. Nothing really serious, but it needs fixing before you drive it very far. Geez -- are you all right?"

"How long to fix the oil line?" asked Bob, ignoring the stares of the owner and the mechanic.

"'Bout ten minutes," said the mechanic. "No trouble to fix it right now. But the alignment will take most of the morning. Gotta take it over to the tire shop for that."

"Can I make it home the way it is?" asked Bob, "I'm in a hurry -- late already."

"Well I guess," said the mechanic, "but I wouldn't drive it too far the way it is."

"OK, just the line then, and I'll take care of the rest when I get home." Bob looked around, "Got a phone so I can call my wife and let her know where I am? She's probably worried sick!"

He thanked the man, and limped into the office to call Elsa, moving stiffly all the way.

His wife was indeed worried, but calmed down as he told her that he'd only had a bit of car trouble, and would be home around noon. "And then we'll sit down and talk to Billy again. I think I really want to retire this time."

The Olds pulled to the right all the way home, just as the mechanic had said it would, but eventually he pulled into the driveway and shut it off. There was that hot oil smell again, and the tic-tic-tic that he hadn't heard before. "Guess I'd better see about getting rid of this one, and maybe getting something smaller. Wonder if the insurance will cover any of it?"

Elsa nearly became hysterical when she saw the bandages and splint, but he calmed her down, joking about it until she actually laughed at the thought of the cop ordering him out of the car. "He thought I was a drunk driver, until he saw all the blood!"

They had lunch, and talked with Billy, who was also unnerved at the sight of his father's injuries. "Yes, dad, I'll take it from here. It's time you did retire, and I do know what needs to be done."

"He opened this morning, dear," said Elsa, "as soon as we realized you weren't going to be home in time he went down and got everything ready for the morning crew."

"That's good to hear, Bill, I'm just getting too old and tired to keep this up much longer. Speaking of tired, I think I'll take a nap for a while -- it's been a long drive!"

"I think I'll join you," said his wife, "I never get much sleep when you're on the road anyway."

They went up to the bedroom, where Bob laid himself down gingerly. Elsa helped him get his shoes and outer clothes off, and stretched out beside him, and they both drifted off to a fitful sleep.

Soon she was awakened by a choking noise, and sat up to see and hear her husband breathe his last, as a massive blood clot from the shattered arm invaded his heart and lungs, overwhelming them. Death followed quickly as she sat helplessly holding him, pleading for him not to go.

Somewhere near the Garden State Parkway there are three or four young killers. Unaware, yet murderers all the same. Their fun and games were directly responsible for my uncle's death, and even though it's been twenty-some years, we still remember. And we hope and pray that somehow they'll remember too.

howard 8-15-2002 15:12

JERRY -- You say that you are seeing a whole load of information on the coming war and it all seems to echo the same sentiment about how that war would be 'right.' The link below is to a website with wildly alternate views expressed in dark, dark humor. Reading the cartoons there, I laughed until I cried. They take on the war in Afganistan, CEO honesty, political shenanigans, etc.

The really telling point (for me) in your post was the notion that maybe you've read too much and are writing too little. Amen, Brother. I need a balance in my life, and I'm sure I can bury my head in my own thoughts until the only world I know is the world in my head. Similarly, I can study the published world until I have no original ideas, until I know (on any event) only what other people think. I am a man of extremes. I've done drunkenness and sobriety, war and peace, hate and love. I know what I eat and what eats me.

Even my search for centeredness could be called extreme. I console myself with the notion that at least I no longer seek the extreme outside edge of things. In 1988 or 89 I fell asleep in front of the news about a possible Hurricane strike right on Port Arthur / Beaumont. I woke up to find that the hurricane had sped up, hit the coast, and we were too late to evacuate in front of it. I was happy. I wanted that experience. Turned out that the roughest part of the storm landed just West of us and went through the sparsely populated areas between Beaumont and Houston. Oh, well. We had a couple feet of rain. We were flooded. I put up a stack of cinder blocks in the back yard so the dog had a place to squat. Friends on the bayou had alligators in their backyards. I felt cheated. It had been too easy.

Mark dark humor 8-15-2002 14:48

Hi All :)

Just a quick pop-in to say hi. The writing has been going fairly steady the past couple of days though I do need to do some major research to fill in some holes. If I do that, then I should have a stand-alone chapter that can be submitted as a short somewhere. The only danger with that is getting so involved with the research that I don't write. I hate trying to make a decision like this. There's pros and cons for me both ways. I really don't want to stall out on this story like I have with so many others in the past. I'm enjoying this one way too much. Then again, maybe that enjoyment will pull me back into the story with less problems then I faced in the past. Perhaps I'll flip a coin. Course, then I won't be able to decide whether to call heads or tails. hehehehe Nope, after getting that off my chest here with you all -- I'll keep writing while the flow is going and then when I've got one of those days when I can't think of the next word -- I'll research and get the motivation to get going again. That sounds like a plan don't it??

Have a fun day everyone!

Carol 8-15-2002 12:26

Hi all!

Thanks guys for pumping up my ego ;-)

Randall, how about I put a warning at the beginning of my skydiving posts, hmmm? You know, something like, 'WARNING: the following post contains explicit details that height fearing individuals may find disturbing'.

Jerry, you know, your post about media and mixed messages was written very eloquently. To get a wider picture, though, check out the sites put up by people who oppose what's happening, and international sites for a POV outside of the US. You may find info that will rock your socks off.

Jumping tomorrow. Can't wait (she says while sighing a long, impatient sigh...)

Blue skies!

Tina 8-15-2002 10:57

Ok so here I sit with my new celeron computer, and it works just fine. Got the new processor for the old one today, and installed it in the wife's machine (she took my old machine when I got my new one) and it still locked up. Decided to part it out, and as I took off the cover, I figured one last try, took the ram out of the machine the wife used to use, and put it in the old machine, and all is well with the my old (the wife's new) athlon screamer.

So now I have a brand new HP with a celeron 1.2 gig processor that runs about half the speed of the wife's 1 gig athlon machine. Well it could be that 64 meg video card I had in the athlon vs the 32 megger in this one.

Oh well the wife deserves the best, after all she does have to put up with me every day.

Listening to some stupid news show today, when the reporter revealed that this sudden rash of child stealing isn't something new. In fact he reported this year has been slow compared to other years when many more children have been stolen. The difference? Well the press decided to cover them now.

You know how the press is, once they bite into a subject, they beat it till it's very dead, and very tender.

Not that there's anything wrong with the coverage of stolen children, my god the problem is where were they last year when there were more children stolen by the same month last year? Well they were chasing political stories, and were too busy to be bothered by missing kids.

Write on.

Jerry 8-15-2002 0:10



Tina...I must request you refrain from further stories relating to jumping out of an airplane. Unless there is a real emergency of course. I don't know if it's the dad in me or the scardy cat in me, BUT YOU"RE SCARING THE BEJESUS OUT OF ME!

There, it's out in the open. (Grin)

Mountain climbing is high on my list of no no's, leaping carefree from a airplane ... way before that! I got chill bumps watching VERTICAL LIMIT. Indeed spent several moments peering around a kitchen wall at the TV as the climbers attacked K2 cause I couldn't sit down!

Well, anyway, you be careful lady!

Wow! Howard, now that's hot!!!


Randall 8-14-2002 22:08

Tina - Thank you so much for that trip through the sky. You have taken my old broken body places where it can never go, places where I can only dream about. I was there with you from the ground to the step of the plane and back to the ground again. Super writing.

I sit here tonight watching a TV special on the war in Afghanistan, while our President has us at the very edge of the cliff, one more step will lead our nation, and our brave young men in uniform into yet another war.

I have to stop and think about this one. I know the President is probably right, I know the history of Sadam Insane, and I know that it needs to happen, yet somehow it doesn't feel right. To start another war, oh sure we'll probably win, but at what cost?

I look around and see most of the rest of the world saying they will not stand by us if we invade, and I wonder if it's right, if they're right.

Such things happening now, the attack on our nation, a war still being fought in Afghanistan, and now another just around the corner.

I examine my feelings, and find that while I don't hate all Muslims (heck I don't even know any Muslims) I'm not happy at what I hear in the press, and what I don't hear.

Sources on the internet say that all Muslims wish to see the downfall of our great nation, even those who enjoy it's freedom, it's hospitality, and I wonder who's telling the truth. The sites I find this information at are sites that I feel I should trust. Trust even more then the press, and after the last election fiasco, I find that I trust the press less and less every day. The site's I am going to are put up there by real hero's from past wars, hero's who wear their medals proudly, and speak the language of warriors, a language I understand. They speak of the coming war with Iraq, and say it will be right, but again, I find myself doubting them.

I guess there's just too much information out there, and I spend way too much time looking at the information, and way too little time writing, I must get back to writing again, when I write I am free of the worries of the world, free from the terror of another war on the horizon, free from 9-11. When I am writing I become my characters, I live their lives, love their loves, fear their fears.

Some say reading is the best escape, but their wrong, writing is a much better escape, to just write and not worry about spelling, not worry about word usage, just tell the story, let it flow, live the life of the characters, what could be more of an escape then that?

Oh and I had my day off today, did nothing but sit on my ass and play with my new computer.

Tomorrow is my wife's birthday, I have some plans for her special day, she has to go to a neighboring town to pick up some meat for my mom, while she's gone I can get up town and get some balloons and such to decorate the house a bit. I hope she likes it.

The next day it's our thirty-third wedding anniversary, I must come up with a small gift, as she want's a recliner for her birthday/anniversary gift, and while we've exhausted the possibilities here in town with no results, we are planning a trip up north to Bismarck where we can look for just the right one. There were plenty of chairs here, but none that match her decorating scheme. I don't know a thing about decorating, hell I would have bought her a nice blue recliner, but my chair is brown and the couch is beige with brown stripes. The floor covering is earth tone, the drapes off white with brown specks. Guess she wants a brown chair.

Anyhow I'm filling the page with my babble.

Write ON!

Jerry 8-14-2002 0:21

Just got this from a friend -- it just about says it all:

How hot is it in upsatae New York?

The birds have to use potholders to pull worms out of the ground.

The trees are whistling for the dogs.

The best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance.

Hot water now comes out of both taps.

You can make sun tea instantly.

You learn that a seat belt buckle makes a pretty good branding iron.

The temperature drops below 95 and you feel a little chilly.

You discover that in July it only takes 2 fingers to steer your car.

You discover that you can get sunburned through your car window.

You actually burn your hand opening the car door.

You break into a sweat the instant you step outside at 7:30 a.m.

Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out
and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death?"

You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

The potatoes cook underground, so all you have to do is pull one
out and add butter, salt and pepper.

Farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from
laying hard boiled eggs.

The cows are giving evaporated milk.

howrad 8-14-2002 0:02

TINA -- Wow! Wonderful! That had better find its way into print along with the rest of your jump memoirs! Awesome!

I'm sitting here reading email and checking the notebook while another bat (a smaller one this time) is swooping around my head -- just flew right over the monitor -- I looked up (haven't tried to stand up yet) and it flew directly past my face, within about six inches of my nose! This room is about 12x15 ft, and you should see this critter corner! They're really beautiful creatures! So graceful!

We have several roof windows, and never bothered to put the screens in them.

He just flew out. 'Bye, bat!

Only had one or two in past years, but this is the second bat this week! Better them than the mosquitos!

We get birds once in a while as well, and I have to watch out for the hornets, but no way could we do without the windows. Besides, the cat likes to come in and out them at night.

Still no rain, and I've got strawberry plants coming sometime this week. We've got a spring a little ways from here, just across the river from here. It's been running for many years, and the water is excellent. We've been drinking it off and on for years. There are a couple of pipes coming out of the spring, and the water flows freely out of them and into a concrete cistern by the road.
So I made up a slip-fitting adapter to slide over the end of one of the pipes so that I can run a hose from it to a couple of plastic drums in the back of my truck. It takes a while to fill up the drums, but I can read or write while I'm waiting.
At home I can back the truck right up the the garden, where another adapter lets me water my garden without overdrawing my well.
I think the strawberries will be happy.

howard 8-13-2002 23:51

For your further amusement... the next installment of my skydiving adventures.


I arrive at the dropzone to find it very quiet. The usual crowd is absent, and only a few determined regulars have shown up. I wave a greeting to those nearby as I heft my gear bag from the truck.

My gear bag. Implying, of course, that I have gear. For three months Iíve dreamed about showing up at the dropzone with my own rig, and now here I am, toting my heavy red gear-bag into the clubhouse. It feels surreal, and that makes me giddy.

Finding a clear spot in the clubhouse, I put everything down. Only a moment later Tom pokes his head inside. ďTina, hi. Hey, are you jumping?Ē I nod, he nods, and that quickly Iím on a load. I wander outside, knowing that it will be awhile before I need to get ready. The plane just took off with a tandem load.

I love this laid back, relaxing atmosphere. A few busy people are packing their gear, most just sit in the sun. I join them, happy to be at the dropzone. Twenty minutes later we hear the jump plane approaching on jumprun. I use my binoculars to watch my friends exit; I never tire of seeing that moment when skydivers leave the plane.

Tom reappears with a question. ďAre you going to the top?Ē I shrug. Iíve only jumped this gear twice, both hop and pops from just 5500 feet, and Iím not sure if I should go all the way to 10,000 yet. But I want to.

Soon, itís time to gear up and I need to decide. I find Koyne, one of my instructors, and ask him if Iím cleared to go all the way up. Iím thrilled when he agrees. As I pull on my jumpsuit, Tom asks me again. I tell him, ďYup, all the way.Ē Tom grins, and I know that he knew I wanted to.

I check my gear, turn on my cypress, and borrow a helmet and goggles. While Iím getting ready I realise that I need to decide what to do on this dive. I can do anything I want, and Iím not used to that much choice. I decide to work on my door dive, then just enjoy being stable and doing turns without potato chipping. Iíll pull high, so I can continue working with my new chute. And then, hopefully, land near the target and on my feet.

Now itís time, and I have Bob give me a gear check. Heís very thorough, and I really appreciate that. Especially when he notices that Iím not wearing my altimeter! Iíd grabbed it earlier, and then set it down. I like to think Iíd have noticed its absence before heading for the plane, but mentally I chastise myself for such simple negligence. Bad Tina.

Because I will be the last person out of the plane, I get the comfortable seat behind the pilot. Wings of excitement begin to beat in my stomach as Taylor the pilot taxis out, and then we are speeding up and lifting off and now we are in the air. I canít see outside very well, but thatís the trade for the comfy seat. And my stomach is not complaining at all as we take to the air, a small blessing that has taken 28 jumps to accomplish. No, the anticipation sends a tingle through my skin, but the nervous fear is very mellow now, smothered beneath the joy I know Iíll be experiencing soon. Still, caution makes me touch my pull and handles. They are positioned slightly differently on this rig than on the student rig Iím used to, and I want my arms to know where to reach when the time comes.

The other guys are doing a three way, and I ask them how much separation they want. I tell Taylor the pilot that Iím pulling high. I check my handles again. I compare my altimeter reading with Tadís. I visualise what Iím doing on this jump. I chat with the guys to pass the time to altitude. And through it all, I donít feel the fear that is usually coursing through me. I want this so much, and right now I want to be getting out that door and into the air. Just me and Beauty, my chute, alone in the air so high above the earth that casual eyes looking up would not see me. I want to savour the entire jump.

My altimeter reads 8500 feet as the plane pulls onto jumprun, carefully lining up with the spot we want to be above when we get out. We all shift and move, pull on our helmets and goggles, and wait. We pump each other up with cheers and funky handshakes and thumbs up until Taylor calls, ďDoor!Ē That word turns us all serious, because here is the moment we each dream about and itís time to fly. Bob looks out the door to check our spotÖ and we are too far south. He shakes his head and signals for a go around. What fun! Taylor banks the Cessna into a tight turn, and in only a few minutes we are lined up and ready to go. Again, the door opens and wind rushes in and the guys climb out. Iíve never seen a three way exit, and Iíd like to watch them closely, but I need to get in position. The plane rocks gently when they let go, and Taylor deftly adjusts for it.

Here I am. My altimeter reads 9500 feet above the ground, I am half out of the door of the airplane and perched on the step. The wind calls to me, and I imagine it to be a pillow lying on the earth, but also a pale blanket that waits to wrap around my falling body. Broken clouds are scattered across the sky, Vernon and the airport wait far below me. I can smell the metal of the plane, clean air, and the foam in my helmet. The prop blasts the air behind me and whisks a glove of wind over the plane. No other sounds can reach me here. Itís as if the world has stopped while I perch on the edge of time. There is no hesitation, not today. I count out the separation delay and then release myself into uncertainty; I let go and dive into mid-air.

Iím stable! Yes! Arms out, head up, knees bent sharply. Now stretch it out into a nice archÖ what happened? I tumble once over my side, arch hard and turn onto my stomach. Ahhh, more like that, yes.

9000 feet up in the sky, when no one is with you and even the birds are absent, and only the wind is keeping you company, it is remarkable to discover that you fully believe that this is home. I am falling, I am flying, I am perfectly happy. Alone with the company of my thoughts, I have found a new place in which I belong. The pale blue sky is everywhere, the earth is everywhere, the mountains are everywhere, and I feel their heartbeat as I choose a heading and just stay there, looking out over the ageless world. I am perfectly free.

Okay, now Iíll do a 90o turn right, and now left. 360oís left, and then right. I stop and go, feeling the pressure of the wind as I manipulate my position in it. When my altimeter reads 5500 feet, I stop and wait. Wave off at 5000, return to a stable arch for just a moment, and then reach for my pull.

What is that in the way? Damn, itís cloth, something bundled up. My sleeve? Damn! But I can feel my pull beneath the cloth and I will not feel anxious, I grope a little and then it is in my hand and I toss it. My pilot chute comes out, and relief flies alongside. Iím slanted a bitÖ will that affect my opening? Not this time. The wind breathes into the pilot chute, and then I feel Beauty pulling me upright. She is brilliantly yellow and red and black against the pale sky, and we are flying together. I take a deep breath, and I notice then that Iíd held my breath when I couldnít find my pull immediately. Iíd wondered about that, how you could possibly not find the pull, and now I know how easy it would be.

My Beauty wants to sing, yearns to fly, and now she is able to, running with the wind. We are partners, and I direct her to turn, to stall, to surge forward and slow down. We thrill through the sky, playfully trying stalls, flat turns, and spirals. I push her a bit faster than I did on our previous jumps, and she responds with glee. I can tell that she and I will have many wonderful jumps together.

Around 1500 feet there is some turbulence, and I work my controls to keep her even. She is so different from the student gear, she responds to my commands and to the playful wind much more quickly, and I treat her with caution as we descend below 1000 feet and turn onto the approach pattern. I fly my Beauty very carefully, turning flat and never tempting fate. A malfunction would be very dangerous this close to landing.

The ground comes up so quickly now, and I let her fly with only a few small adjustments to stay into the wind. I judge my height, ready, wait for itÖ now I should flare now but no wait for it! I can see every blade of grass now, okay, Flare! And I pull down firmly and step out of the air onto the very edge of the trimmed grass. Iím on my feet! Beauty collapses into the weeds, and Iíll have to shake out the seeds later. But right now I let out a whooping holler, because I have once again saved my life with a wing of nylon. Not just the life sustained by blood and heartbeat, but the life sustained by reaching beyond the routine of my life and discovering that I have more in me than the world has ever known or demanded of me before. In a world where the dance of life is never ending, I have finally found my song.

Tina 8-13-2002 22:44

Hi all!

Rachel, did you get to the airshow? We were there on Saturday, and it was, as always, awesome. The Snowbirds are my favourite; they easily outflew and outperformed the Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds were very very good, but the Snowbirds have a grace and fluidity that the bigger jets can't achieve. The only disappointment was that the early clouds prevented Manfred from flying his sailplane, and the F117 Bomber was only on static display for a few hours and I missed it. It flew, and that was kick butt, but I didn't get to see it up close. The B2 bomber came by also, but didn't land. THAT is a very cool aircraft. No wonder people thought it was a UFO when it was still classified.

On Sunday we drove into Vancouver to the IMAX at Canada Place, and saw 'Space Station'. If you ever get the chance to see it, just do it. It was phenominal. Most of the footage was shot by astronauts while on the ISS. I think I would do almost anything to get up there. Wish I'd had this burning desire when I was younger, and the possibility existed of going to school and getting up there.

Got to reading and editing 'Shadow' during the trip to the coast, and now I have some new ideas and the writing bug has bitten me again. I'm glad. Although I'm thoroughly enjoying my skydiving obsession, I didn't want to lose the writing bug. My muse must've known better than to compete, and backed off for awhile. BUT now she's back. Yay!

As for 'comfortable'... I say it 'cumfterble'. Ya gotta love the english language, huh?

Blue skies!

Tina 8-13-2002 21:34

Hi All :)

While there are clouds in the sky and a cool breeze blowing, its still a nice day. I'm in a good mood and revved up for adding to my story. But, first I'll gab at you all for a few minutes. You don't mind do ya? heheheh

Elaine - its hard to know what words to throw at you to motivate you to work on your other pieces. If they are stalled, there could be a number of reasons for it. Not knowing what you're working on, I'll just out some stuff and see what happens. Maybe you need to kill off a character, or make one deathly sick, or give him a "happy" event with potentially sad repercussions. An example of a happy event with sad repercussions -- a man loses custody of his young son, years later the missing son wishes to see his birth father once again. By now, said man has a new family, is well settled and happy. What effect will this missing child, who he wants to see desperately, have on the serenity of his new family?

Life experiences do indeed give us everything we need to write. I am most proud of a flash fiction I wrote as the result of hours of watching the northern lights. I encapsulated the experience, the thrill, the awe, into 498 words and that little piece has been published three times. Any thing you experience, you add into your work in one way or another. Whatever captures your attention, add into your work. You see a person walking on the street, they stumble over nothing. Put that "image" in your story and have your character do this repeatedly, intensifing and exaggerating.

Randall -- my parents were watching the original Peter Pan this weekend -- I believe I saw a commerical for a remake coming out soon! :)

Heather -- while that birthday avoidance will make good fodder for writing, I fear that genetic trait will catch up to me in the near future. heheeh When I was young, I'd yell at Mom for coloring her hair, it turned gray in such a pretty fashion. HA! Years later, my own hair is turning gray in the very same pattern, but I'm coloring it over anyways! Its that gray texture, you know, that bothers me more than anything else. ;)

Jerry - here's wishing you a nice quiet day of work. {hug}

Carol 8-13-2002 15:12

Yes indeed!


"How come you never see a headline like 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?"

--Jay Leno

howrad 8-13-2002 12:44

Randall you are absolutely right. Speaking of ducks, the other day we took a drive in the country, and saw a mother duck with her chicks. The chicks were several months old, small duck now not really chicks anymore. As we sat and watched the mother and her brood walking across the prairie, they came to a stream bed that until a couple of days ago was plum empty, now it held a bit of water in the path of the duck parade.

The mother duck came to the water, and happily swam to the other side. You could see the confusion on the little ones. They looked from side to side, quacked at their mother a few times, then walked nearly a block north to where the stream bed was dry and walked across.

I don't know what you would call it, but I had one of those thoughts, and when I got home I rattled off a letter to the Governor explaining the incident, and requesting he go to the legislature for some funds to teach young ducklings to swim.

Yep, we've been having a drought, a bad drought, so bad that ducks no longer know how to swim.

I haven't been doing much writing of late, in fact it's been a very busy week or two, what with hauling the camper back and forth to get it fixed, then there was the computer purchase, the fish purchase, both of which were in conjunction with the camper hauls. Yesterday we called an early end to the pinochle games and came home to mow the lawn, boy that felt good to mow again, I didn't think I'd get to do that chore again till next spring, but the recent rains have been doing some good. Too late for the garden though, the only things growing were the tomato plants and weeds. I cut the weeds down with the mower, that was over half the garden but it looks much better now.

When I was finished mowing we hauled the clippings out to the dump grounds, I always use my bagger on the mower, keeps the lawn nicer I think. Anyhow when we finished unloading the clippings we had to go to the other side of the dumps where household garbage is mingled with tree branches, and as we unloaded the branches I noticed a computer desk, well a bunch of parts that when assembled would be a computer desk.

We picked up the pieces and brought them home, I spent the rest of the day reassembling the thing, and when I was finished we had a very nice very heavy computer desk that the wife fell in love with.

Today was spent rearranging furniture so she could have her desk, and tearing down nearly all the computers in the house to move them to their new places. Boy am I beat, I'll sleep good tonight.

After the busy week, I am silently wishing I could go back to work again, just so I could have a day off.

Write ON!

Jerry 8-12-2002 23:43



Elaine...Writing what you know works for me. Somewhere in your life are life experiences you can use in story telling. Something you saw, a whisper of a conversation, something you heard. A pair of bats flying across a full moon in October. A young woman sitting on a wood corral fence as the sun sets behind her. (Happened to me!) Let your imagination flow. I recently saw a man leading a flock of ducks down the side of a bayou that runs thru town. The old noggin kicked in and now the short story I'm writing is nearly finished.

What were your experiences growing up? In the city? Country? Is there a novel there? (Sorry Mark.) A short story perhaps? A page? A paragraph? One sentence? No? Well, just one word will do! Everything is fodder for the story in a writers mind. How about just an idea? Yours? Your parents? What did your grandfather do. Your grandmother. Anything there? The horizon is wide open! Every single incident your eyes behold ... every word your ears hear ... a book read years ago? I read PETER PAN when I was 12 and never got over it. (I'm 55 now and sure wish Peter and Tinker Bell would show up soon! Times, they are a' running out!) It sent me into the realm of fantasy/adventure and I'm stuck there. "Second star to the right and on till morning."

In the greater scheme of things, it makes little diff what you write, just do IT! Volume makes you better! At least, that is writing to me. :-) Good luck!


Randall 8-12-2002 22:41

Thanks y'all,
The lines were getting fuzzy on which one is my real projects or what ones are there just because. I realized before that it was becoming into a real project and not the practice one that it began as I began it. What I really need is motivation for each of my projects that will bring each of them up to the level of my "practice" one (which is not really a practice project at all). Thanks again for y'all's advice see ya next time.
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 8-12-2002 16:39

Sorry everyone... that link doesn't work, but at least it takes you to! LOL

Heather 8-12-2002 15:33

Hi Carol! Mom's are great at age-denial, aren't they?
I have no idea how I painted that so small with such tiny detail. Ask my eyes, I think they've gone on an R&R!
(Really, I just enjoy it....)
(((HUGS))))) Don't worry, Carol, I'm sure the birthday avoidance is fodder enough for writing when next you have the opportunity!

Heather 8-12-2002 15:32

Hi All :)

Heather - now how on earth did you paint something that detailed and that tiny??? It's beautiful! Good luck with the bidding. I'm tempted, but right now I'm saving all my pennies for a trip to see the kids in TX in another 6 weeks.

Elaine - indeed, write whichever one calls to you. Some great author (wish I could remember who) once said that the first million words are only practice. Try not to label any of your works as serious or practice. Just have fun and see what gets published!

Spent yesterday at the folks. Mommy dearest is ignoring her birthday today, but a visit was in order. So no writing yesterday or yet today. But - my two avid readers are begging for another installment. (Thanks Viv!) So, its nap time and then another round of writing. Oops, no, wait -- gotta check the garden first. :)

Have a great day everyone!

Carol 8-12-2002 14:43

JMS - personal advice, or just quotes to share?

Heather 8-12-2002 13:47

Hi again, this sleepy board of scribes!
Good news! I have officially listed my very first auction item on ebay! Please have a peek and tell me what you think!

Ok.......if the link doesn't work, my ebay user ID is orchestrina, and all you need do is look for me in the search form in the 'sellers'category. I don't know if I can see straight enough to enter in that impossibly huge link addy again! 8-P

Heather Miniature painting 8-12-2002 13:45 not a very experienced writer, but when i do have several things going, i work on the one that pulls me to it. the one in the big pile of stuff that sticks out.

Jon 8-12-2002 11:58

As one very talented writer put it, the difference is intelligence and grace; the difference is art.

Cynicism is not a virtue.

JMS 8-12-2002 6:07

Elaine - what's the difference between a 'real' piece of writing and a practice one? Why did you place single quotes around real, yet not around practice? Go with it.
Write on whatever piece you find is going well.

Heather 8-11-2002 11:06


FYI ... Hi old times in Utah ... or ... How boring can it get?

"UTAH (County)
Orem police say four boys who drove around town throwing mashed potatoes have been cited. Police Lt. Doug Edwards said after a mashed-potato ball was thrown at one car, two people in two other cars started chasing the boys. The youths were stopped by officer Kevin Arledge, who had noticed them driving erratically. They were released to their parents. -- Ann Shields"

And I thought my hometown was dull!


Randall 8-10-2002 22:36



Having a hard time with my sons enlistment in the AF. Our house is too big and too quiet! Cannot keep my mind on writing at this time. I've read all the posts, but will not comment on them. Hello Americo! Nice to hear from you.

I'm trying to work on another comedy tale, but the comedy isn't in me. Maybe next week.


BTW... Looked at "Joes" web site. I would have posted something, but couldn't figure out where to do it.

Randall 8-10-2002 22:26

I'm not dead, nor am I currently working on a big project, I'm just TIRED. Exhausted is more of the word I'm looking forward. I have a writing question. (How long has it been since I had one of those?)
I have two types of projects: practice project and my "real" projects. My problem is that of so many writers, my practice project is getting in the way of my "real" projects and I want to write with my "real" projects but my practice project has turned into something that is better than my other projects. Silly, but then, I am silly a lot of the time. I need help from you more experienced writers out there. Thanks for your advice on the topic.
By and by, how are you all? I haven't been around lately so that I could ask.
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 8-10-2002 22:03

Seeking adventure, horror and suspense serials, short stories and saga for new weekly webzine.

Joe Stories, Tales and Saga Online 8-10-2002 20:55


I also found that a good backhand would make my nose gush. I did try to avoid those...


Then I'll send you some more hugs (big, wide smiles).

Now I am going to go and eat some breakfast. I can smell eggs cooking. I don't usually eat eggs. I have weird egg issues. Today, I have a craving for them that will not be put off. Yum!

Take care all.

Rachel 8-10-2002 13:27

Rachel - Fair enough, no snotty hugs, but regulars will be fine! :oD

Heather 8-10-2002 12:45

Never had anything cauterized, but last Wednesday when the Doctor shoved that scope thing up my nose gave me an idea of what it must feel like. Damn that hurt, but I now know exactly where all my sinus cavities are, and the whole path from my nasal orifices to my larynx.

I neglected to tell him that novacain doesn't work on me, to tell the truth that fact slipped my mind with my MD's voice in the background saying cancer - cancer - cancer. When I have dental work done they always have to shoot me up several times before doing the work, and this Dr. used some type swab with novacain on it to try and deaden the area. Didn't work.

I forgot to put on my regular glasses so he couldn't see the tears in my eyes as he probed around with that damn scope he even pulled it out once and put some vasaline on the end as it kept getting stuck and he'd have to push harder.

It was worth it though.

I do recall in my youth having nose bleeds but only when someone backhanded me, or I fell or something I know that taste though, it's something nobody forgets, I think.

Jerry 8-10-2002 10:40


My nasal passages smile and send hugs to you. Yes, big, snot hugs (bwah, ha, ha, ha). Okay, that's a little sick. How about just hugs?

Rachel 8-10-2002 0:22


OH MY WORD!!!! That is so funny (merry laughter). I honestly can't get past the image of the hag. I think pain and suffering when I see that word (grin/wink). Not that pain and suffering are anything to grin or wink about.

Big smiles to you.

Rachel 8-10-2002 0:21

OMG, Rachel, just read about your experiences, too, oh dear!
((nasal hugs)) to you, too!

Heather 8-10-2002 0:18

Rachel - it's a play on words, silly!
Cauterize = caught her eyes

But thinking of actual cauterization, well, simply put: OUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCH!

Guess it could be applied in other ways - such as in place of 'seared', 'singed', or 'scorched'.
Sorry Howard.... ((nasal hugs))

Heather 8-10-2002 0:15


I've got nose stories! I just gotta share (bwah, ha, ha, ha, ha)!

When I was a girl I had my nose cauterized on a regular basis. I had massive nosebleeds. I have thin tissues, or something like that. I've had lots of troubles with that sort of stuff. I think maybe that is part of why I had the aneurisms in my eyes. I guess I'm just a delicate little thing (grins and laughter). Anyway, I had my nose done every two weeks for several months. It was so awful. The docs felt that they would do it till the bleeding discontinued. My parents eventually gave up. I was a strong kid and I would kick and scream the whole way. I am talking from my bedroom, where I would cling to my bed, dress, door, bathroom, door, sisters, bedroom door, banister, front door, car door, (I think you get the picture). Into the deal the woman who did my nose was a total psycho. She used to pinch my nose when it was done and say "We'll make some scare tissue pretty little one!" My mum was shocked when the doc did that. She told her she didn't like it. The woman tried to defend it. In future, she didn't make any comments. She just pinched my nose. Heck that hurt. I can remember times when my nose would bleed till I was pretty much passing out, it would bleed after I was down for the count. Sometimes I thought I might just bleed to death. My mother and father wouldn't know what to do. I would be sitting at my desk and my nose would just start to gush. I'm not talking a little drip. It was as if somebody had turned on a tap. As my gushers continued I got to know when I would have one. I always tasted metal and salt before my nose would gush. I admit that I did break my nose three times by the age of nine. I was sort of a reckless/accident prone kid. That likely had something to do with all of it. I still get nosebleeds when the weather is dry. They aren't as bad as they used to be. I can't think of the last time I had one continue for more than twenty minutes. I feel bad for anyone who went thought the cauterization experience. It is nasty, nasty, nasty! I guess that is why I can't think of it as a romantic sort of thing (grins). All I really think of is that old hag telling me about how she would get me some scars. I am sure she was a torture expert in another life... Man, she got at my nose when it was still fairly straight and cute ;o)

Hugs to yah.

Rachel 8-10-2002 0:06

RACHEL/HEATHER -- I had the cauterization done on my nose when I was a kid too. I was having constant nosebleeds, and the doc decided to cauterize to stop it. He stuck a red-hot soldering iron thingie up my nose and seared the veins on the inside, causing scar tissue that blocked the blood flow.
Did you see Rambo? The scene where he pours gunpowder into an open wound then lights it -- that's cauterization.
Nasty, but effective.
I had to have it done again when I was in my 20s -- started having serious nosebleeds again. Same doctor now tried a couple of hi-tech "advanced" techniques. First, an injection into the nasal passage, to try to shrink the tissues around the offending vein. Major PAIN! Didn't work.
Then he tried an alternate technique, which consisted of spraying an acid solution up my nose to burn it. More pain. Didn't work. So he rummaged around in his desk and found the same soldering iron thingie.
I started to cry.
Even now as I write this, the memory brings tears...

howrad 8-9-2002 23:32


I'm not sure if the spelling on cauterize is right or not. I know that when I was a kid I had my nose cauterized. It means that your burn something. I guess the person could be saying that they burn for the other. Kind of a strange way to put it. At least it sounds strange to me. For all I know everybody in Holland walks around saying "I cauterize for you baby." Who knows...

Take care you.

Rachel 8-9-2002 22:56

This quote just in from a friend -- too good to pass up here! :-)

"I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate
those who do. And for the people who like country music,
denigrate means 'put down.'"

--Bob Newhart

howrad 8-9-2002 22:52

MARK -- Musing? Me? Much! Mostly mindless meandering, many moments methodically mulling meanings, meanwhile munching M&Ms, mangling my molars!

You mean the kind of musing that runs through a whole story line in one's mind while staring at a blank page, then running into a dead end and getting stuck there because you forgot how you got there, so you can't back out.
Does free writing qualify as musing?

howard 8-9-2002 22:45

MARK -- I'll see your jibe, and raise you two :-)'s (which I guess I should have used in the middle of my earlier post). ;-)

Yes, I appreciated your description of the old Methodist woman. Also the senior center incident. It was all too familiar on this end of the "ist" waggon.

I was really observing that the situations you described are both examples of the ***ist propensities to "do" (and to demand that others "do" likewise) rather than to "be."

Who in blazes are Sam and Betty?

howard 8-9-2002 22:29

Mark - Don't know a thing about Methodists, there used to be a Methodist church here, but they closed it down when the congregation dwindled down to three, the acting minister, his wife and child.

As far as Baptists, the closest thing we have to that is the Church of God, which is fundamentalist, but not so fundamental is Baptists or so I hear. Nope, this old town is split amongst the Catholics, ( I would guess about a third) American Lutheran (about a third) and German Luthern's with a few Church of God and a couple of Prespartarian. There was once a small Mormon congregation but their church as since closed and now houses the Abused Spouse orginization's store house and office. But the Luthern's now there's a bunch. Me and the wife switched over to the Catholic Church in our younger days, but I left them when a Priest gave me particular hell for not attending Mass when I was on duty. His argument "how can you enforce man's laws when you don't obey God's laws!"

Now when speaking of ass holes a few posts ago, that would be a mild oath compared to the oath that I left with that priest.

I have worked with many a good Father from he church in my days, but none were enough to bring me back to Mass, and since returning home we have returned to the Lutheran Church again.

It's rather hard to tell the difference between the two anymore, except Mom is Lutheran as are my sister and her child, along with just about everyone else who lived in the old neighborhood where I grew up, so going to the American Lutheran Church is like a trip home.

When I wed, we chose the German Lutheran church for the wedding, but they've gone over to the deep end, or so it looks, and are going more and more fundamentalist.

Enough religion, back to writing - So Mark are you writing about the Methodist lady?

Jerry 8-9-2002 22:16

Please define 'cauterize':

I met her gaze across the room. I cauterize!


Heather 8-9-2002 21:34

Mark ~ A small wooden box with a rusted latch came to mind when reading your deft description of the methodist mindset. Actually, 'frame of mind' fits rather well.

Heather 8-9-2002 21:34

A wild chunk of my day can be for musing alone. For this luxury (or insanity, should you be an intensely practical person), the sacrifice is an organized house, a list with every item checked off as completed; eight hours per night of sleep.

I'll take the daydreaming, thanks!

Heather 8-9-2002 21:31

You ya fucking middle class prissy prick ya!

Betty 8-9-2002 20:06

Who you lookin'at then?

Sam 8-9-2002 20:01

HOWARD -- In my last two posts there is a core of "writing." Around the writing I left some writerly musing and a jibe or two. I hope the narrative, descriptive core of the two posts, the part that tells a story is taken for what it is. Sometimes I think I should make separate posts (like this) to talk about a piece of writing.

Was thinking about the muse recently when the phrase "writerly musings" came to mind. I see here that the muse has been inactive with some people. How much musing do you do?

Mark 8-9-2002 19:37

The lady at the senior center told everybody that when people come to the center, they should bring exactly two dollars because she won't be able to break any bills. Since being robbed, she won't keep any money in the place.

I dropped off four people with a Five and three Ones (eight dollars for four people). She was aghast at seeing somebody come in with a Five. I said. "Look. Four people, eight dollars." She didn't see.

I picked up the eight dollars, laid two back down and said, "OK. Here's two for Jean" and slid the two in her direction. "Now look, you have those two ones and clearly you have several others, how about I give you this Five for Gordy and you give me three back? I'll give you all the Ones back." She looked at me with some suspicion, but did it. "OK. That takes care of Gordy. Now here's two dollars for Barbara." I laid two more in front of her. She pulled them closer to her side. I put the last two dollars out, "Here's two for Sybil." The last of the four walked past me.

"Now. That's exactly the same eight dollars we arrived with. Do you see how that worked?"
"Yes. You made me break a five."

Method at the expense of all else. That's the definition of methodism. Small m.

John Wesley and friends started a club at Oxford and called themselves Methodists. Big M. Care to guess what was at the core of club activity? Method. Betty, my Old Methodist Woman, suffers from method at the expense of thought. Her goal is larger than the goal of our two-dollar cashier, but the affliction is the same.

Mark 8-9-2002 19:28

Hi All :)

Been far too long since I've added my own little post in here. Sorry, my story has been calling me almost every day and my thoughts seem to be anchored in that world rather than this one. I'm having a ball writing finally! I get to make up names and when I do, images of the people come at me demanding to be drawn and given life. I'm creating a whole new world and its just simply FUN!

Howard - don't know fer sure how comfortable comes out in my speech. I suppose I really should talk into a recorder one of these days. heheheh I don't misspell too many words -- though I do mistype a lot of them. The always comes out hte. Luckily my processor has picked that up and corrects it for me.

To everyone -- good health, good life and especially, good writing.

Carol 8-9-2002 16:41

oops - didn't go out back. Wife just called me out back a few minutes ago, there was a huge tree limb covering over half our roof. My good neighbor Jon came over with his chain saw and removed it for us. Guess it was his tree that had the limb, but like I told him, neither of us could have stopped the wind that blew it there.

At any rate it is gone now, and the roof looks to be OK, just a couple of brown spots were the tree hit on the new shingles that were put up last year to cover the damage from last years hail storm.

Americo - have a great trip (I know you will) and no sense taking those two unruly pets Pussy and Jon along, they would simply spoil the whole atmosphere.

Jerry 8-9-2002 16:14

I am going to Italy this time. And to Italy will go Jon and Pussy, always following me like shadows in a dream.

So, no fake posts under their names, please...

Goodbye to Rachel, Heather and everybody else.And, Howard, no blackberries or anything with berries in the name. The rest will be all right, I'm sure.

Please behave yourselves in my absence.

Americo 8-9-2002 14:09

Oh and it's comfertble here

Jerry 8-9-2002 11:30

On the ass hole thing, I have heard it used by a female against another, but on very rare occasions. Now the old country Ass hole Song does use it, saying something to the effect "your wife's an ass hole, your mom's an ass hole too" so it does happen in commercial settings too.

A friend of mine sent me the Pledge site by Red Skelton don't know if Howard put it up or not, it seems to me he did, but in case he didn't here it is again below.

Back when I was a kid, we used to speak of cars going around the corner "on two wheels" yesterday, we nearly did that to avoid an accident.

There is this intersection some twelve miles west of here that has claimed the lives of many good folks. I don't know exactly why, maybe because of the remote nature of our part of the world, but anyhow as I came upon it yesterday on my way to pick up my camper from the camper repair store, this old man and his wife came down the intersecting highway. I had the right of way, he had a stop sign, but somehow I had this feeling that he wasn't going to stop. He was slowing and all, but something just didn't look right, and I began to slow. My wife looked at me like I was nuts, but as we got closer and closer to the intersection, it became clearer and clearer that he wasn't stopping. About the time we would have collided, I turned the wheel to the left, the old pickup nearly went up on two wheels, and I swear, my extended camper mirror nearly clipped the old guy's left arm that he had hanging out his window.

They looked like an old farmer and his wife, and probably made that turn every other day for the last fifty years or so. Yesterday could very well have been his last but for that feeling.

At any rate we got our camper back and are again ready for the world of camping, and the fix bill was surprisingly low, hope it lasts. Had it fixed at the same outfit where I bought it a couple of years ago, I think that makes a difference.

We had a big blow last night, winds over 70 miles per hour. Our yard had a few small branches, but the daughter lost a huge tree from her front yard. She was very lucky, the top must have broken first, and fell, then the bottom half, as both parts of the tree are side by side, both nearly touching the side of her house. We've been getting rain now nearly every night, so the drought is nearly over. Way too late to help the poor farmers and ranchers in the area, most have been forced to sell off their heards, what little wheat and other grains they had planted were already to far gone to be helped by the rain. The most they can hope for is a minimal second cutting of hay to keep what little stock they kept in feed for part of the winter. Funny how that works, our half of the state has been so dry and the eastern half have been having flash flood warnings as their ground is so saturated by water it can absorb no more.

Jerry Pledge 8-9-2002 11:27

MARK -- I wonder if it's a regional thing? You've pronounced 'comfortable' the same as I do -- "comfterble" when I'm not intentionally correcting myself. Everyone else that responded so far separates the 'f' and 't'. But I've heard it also as 'comfterble' in the "generic-midwest" engineered neutral-speak cultured for the network newscasts.

Not sure what you're getting at with "narrowing the mind" as regarding Methodists and Baptists. I've been in both, and currently am active in an independent Baptist church. As I've said all along, it's not what's over the door that counts, it's the relationship. Too many stop at the law, and never make it on to the liberty.

Quintillian? From what little I've read, he was a great teacher who drew a connection between rhetoric and emotion. He used rhetorical devices to stir up his listeners, and his first task in any given discourse was to convince his listener/class/opponent that he himself was emotionally involved -- either for or against -- with the subject at hand. I had an eighth grade English teacher who was like that. She taught me to read. Not just the words, but looking beyond them into the heart and mind of the author. Then my 12th grade English teacher actually mentioned Quintillian when we studied speaking/writing/rhetoric.
I wonder if Jonathon Edwards was acquainted with Q? :-)
But I think the method really didn't originate with Quintillian, nor with Aristotle. David used some of the same imagery in the Psalms, and the writer of Job used it as well, in the discourses between the various characters.

howard 8-9-2002 11:20


I spoke to Dan last night. He and I talked about the 'asshole' thing. When I mentioned what you had said his face took on the most surprised look. He leaned back in his chair, he stroked his chin, then he said, "I never realized that." He also could not think of a time, other than generalized, rather undirected shouting was involved that he had ever heard a woman called an 'asshole'. He of course was interested to find out where I had come across such a topic for conversation (grins and laughter).


Americo is not going to Vienna... Maybe Jon could tell you where he is off to, or Pussy ;o)

I'm off to the gym. I must, I must, I must decrease my bust (grins and laughter). Do any of the other women on the site remember singing those little songs? When I was a kid it was (I must, I must, I must increase my bust). I certainly do remember those. I can remember a time when I was quite sure that my chest actually went in and not out. We would sit around and play with our barbies (wonder what ever made us want to have zungas)? and talk about how wonderful it would be to have something to fill out our tops. I remember one time, this girlfriend of mine and I snatched a bag of oranges and a couple of her mothers bras. Wow, did her mother ever laugh when she found us out. She found us because we were both laughing so hard. I don't know if kids do that sort of thing any more. Who knows, maybe I hung out with a bunch of titty obsessed girls. Speaking of what girls do. I recently found my daughter playing clapping games. You know those songs where you sing and clap hands with other people? I was surprised to find that they were singing and clapping the same way that my friends and I had twenty years ago. My daughter just about fell out of her chair when I sat down and did some of these things with them. I even taught them a new one. Hum, I seem to be avoiding leaving for the gym...

Take care all.

Rachel 8-9-2002 10:12

It always started the same way: "How come a Baptist couple can't have sex standing up?"
"I give up."
"It might lead to dancing."
Then someone else would chime in, "Or a Methodist. A Methodist is just a Baptist who finished school."
Then someone tells a joke that has The Old Methodist Woman in it.

I thought The Old Methodist Woman was a symbol of prim outdatedness: a grey-haired old librarian shushing the world even out on the sidewalks or in the department stores. Until now. I have an old Methodist woman living in my house.

Every event in her life is judged by one scale, Right or Wrong. She is generally afraid (or convinced) that she has been wrong lately.
"Oh, is that what I did wrong?"
Frequently I'll hear her say to someone else, "No. No. No. That's not right."

Wrong. Not Right. Little difference there. There is little positive in the world that she can see and a great deal of wrong. I think she's at a point in her life where all her immortal fears come to the surface.

I get the impression that she learned there is but one right way to do anything. That lesson came about as "One Right Way" to get to Heaven and got reinforced with lessons on "One Right Way" to parse a sentence, "One Right Way" to set a table, "One Right Way" to write a check. Every little activity has "One Right Way" to complete it.

I take her Social Security checks to the bank, make her deposit, and bring back a blank deposit slip so she can have one ready for next month. Last month she waited for her son to visit from California and had him take her to the bank. She stayed in the car while he took her envelope into the bank and made the deposit. When she came back home she told us about the bank trip. "They did something wrong."
"What was that?"
"They didn't put a new slip in the envelope that I can write my checks on."
"They don't do that, Betty. I do."
"But my son took it up to a clerk and she took the envelope and everything"
"Yes, Betty, I know, but they don't give you a new deposit slip. You have to pick one up. That's something I do."

This month she itemized the checks to deposit, put them in the envelope with the deposit slip I got her, and sent me on my way. I gave the envelope to the teller and she totaled the checks. "I get a different total than you," and showed me her adding machine tape. I compared her tape and the tally on Betty's slip. The clerk had added $135.12 that Betty hadn't. Betty missed a check. The teller and I agreed that the $135.12 should be included in the deposit, and so it was. I told Betty. She looked at the amended slip. "Oh, I did something terribly wrong. How could I make such a bad mistake?"

I feel sorry for Betty, and for many other old-timers who live lives of persistant fear. I think, from reading centuries of stuff, that it's natural as we get older to see the world as a worsening place, a place less and less desirable to live.

I also see the power of a theme. As a writer and student of writing, I can tell you that the repetition of a thematic idea makes writing more powerful. Seeing Betty, I think the repetition of a thematic idea is also powerful psychology. The writers of the old rhetoric books first observed human behavior, then wrote their principles. I wonder if Quintillian had an Old Methodist Woman to observe, so to speak.

Howard might have something to say about drawing generalities out of specifics, making rules out of incidents, and he'd be right. So I won't go to the conclusion that Methodism works by narrowing the brain. (Baptists do that.) But I believe that we, as writers, need to observe everything and hold it all for reflective observation. James Joyce said that while the party goes on in the main room, the artist stands in the doorway paring his nails.

1) comfterble
2) yes. though i peeked. afterwards i realized that if it had been misspelled, i would have had a flag go up and all wonder would have been erased. hmmm. if i'd taken more time to be a detective, i could have been positive by way of lack of negative.
3) yes.

Mark 8-9-2002 9:23


I use this one!


Debra 8-9-2002 8:05

Oh, shortie night mistress, where art thou?

MARY! We miss you!

Teek, you too!

Christi, you delinquent NBer, you!
(I should talk? hee hee)

And Americo, I take it you've packed for Vienna?
Lovely time of year to sit out and sip the local wines!

Mel, hope you're healing
and Howard, hope everything's going just fine, and that you are breathing easier - in fact, while I'm at it, I'll send a little cool air your way - it should help with the breathing troubles. :o)

Heather 8-9-2002 0:40

Howard ~ I've used the word 'asshole' in reference to several of the feminine persuasion; on the whole (no need for a pun there, just pointing it out) I'd say the word is reserved especially for traffic incidents when the sex of the driver is undetermined (due to distance, mirrored windows, speed of the car as it escapes the intersection...and the fact that the you can't predict sex by hairstyle). Other words fitting this category would be 'idiot', 'jerk-off', 'fuckhead', and 'weasel'. (And a few more, even less-mentionable)

Comftable comfortubble, comfertible, comfurtibble, I can't say that I've never mumbled any of these! Where does the line between laziness and colloquialism lie?

Never you mind those wee seeds, Howard. It's the plant you grow from them that might get you into trouble! ;oD

Heather 8-9-2002 0:23


I think that you could be right about the 'asshole' thing. It seems to be for men. I have heard a couple of women called that (not as their given names - grins). It is usually in some traffic situation, where some hot headed man is shouting out the window. I do believe that you got 'weird' right. A word that I couldn't get right for the longest time was 'control' I also had brain issues with 'before' I would put the e where it shouldn't be and leave it off where it ought to be. I say comfertable (almost comes off sounding like convertable), or if I'm hot, lazy or tired I'll say it cumftubl. I have a my awake and alert speaking, and my lazy, laid back, half asleep talking. How I say a word will really depend on what time of the day you catch me at (winks).

Extra hugs to you.

Rachel 8-8-2002 23:53

A couple of writerly-type questions that have been bugging me lately. Well not really bugging me, but they've been on my mind.

1) How do you pronounce 'comfortable'? I know -- weird question, but how do you say it, and how do you hear it where you come from?

2) Is 'weird' spelled correctly in the previous sentence? No fair peeking! :-) It's one of the words I have to look up in the dictionary almost every time. Must be a mental block. What words give you trouble?

3) This is a delicate subject -- apologies to those easily offended, but I really want to know: Is the word "asshole" gender-specific to males? Why do we never hear it applied to a woman? I don't like to use it at all, and I only include it here because I really want to know if it's one of the few things left in our society that is "for men only."

howrad 8-8-2002 23:29

That link works if you copy/paste the whole thing into your browser address line.

howard 8-8-2002 23:14

Thanks for the prayers and good wishes! Not sure what's going on yet, but it's getting harder to breathe, and by the afternoon I'm whipped.

I picked about a gallon of blackberries yesterday, and made a fresh blackberry cobbler last night. I'm not supposed to eat things with small seeds, but oboy was that good! I only had just a little. OK, two small helpings. And there's only a small portion left, so I guess it'll be okay.

A friend sent me a link to a very interesting article entitled "New Book Blasts 'Serious' Authors"
It's at,2933,59856,00.html
and it's worth a peek.

howard 8-8-2002 22:10


This morning we had the jets fly over. It was pretty cool. I haven't been to an air show in three years. My kids have been asking to go. We still haven't decided if we will or not. Who knows, maybe we will be there at the same time!

Take care you.

Rachel 8-8-2002 19:10


I am having some problems with my server. I thought I would leave a note for you here. Have a great vacation :o)

Hugs to you!

Rachel 8-8-2002 16:19


I looked up what an "Acadian" house would look like. It must be very pretty. I would want garden boxes all over the place. I have garden boxes on the front step of my home. The place has a late garden that my mother in law planted along the front and sides. This place has a wrap around veranda. It is nice. I, in particular, like the poarch swing. It over looks the playground. This place used to be a daycare. The playground is really awsome. I worry about Sebastian when he climbs up to the upper levels and vanishes inside of the playhouse. I worry he will fall out one of the windows, or follow the example of the older children and attempt to climb on the roof. My worry is well founded in some cases. Sebastian seems to feel I am super woman. He will leap from the mid-upper level (about eight feet) before I am near enough to catch him. I honestly have no idea how I have covered the space and made the Seb catches I have had to make.


We used to have an Oscar. He just died. We called him Blink. Blink had been in a few homes before he came to us. At one point, we are old he was put into a fight against another Oscar. We were told that was how he lost one of his eyes. Blink lived with another family for seven years, then he came to us and has been with our family for two years. He died two or three weeks ago. We pulled him front the tank and burried him in the back field. Blink was about 12" to 14" long. He was a big Oscar. Now we have his tank to fill. At this point there are just two little Danio's whipping around in there. I love that they are so on the go. Our other fish tank is currently home to a school of neon tetras, one zebra tetra and a penguin tetra. Know what? I'm not sure how to tell Blink's previous owners that he has passed. I know that they will be sad. They loved that fish. (I bet that sounds weird). The dog that I am fostering (Buddy) is doing well enough. I think that he may die soon. He is thirteen years old, has arthritis, has all these lumps and bumps all over him, he is going blind in one eye and I can't seem to get him to gain weight, no matter how much I feed him. His owner tells me not to worry. I do worry. There are times when Bud is in such pain that he can't walk. He will lay and shake. Then at other times he is like a puppy. He will run on his stiff legs and chase his ball. He is a ball dog. It is all his world to chase a ball. He will never leave you alone with the ball (grins and laughter). My dog has never been much of a ball dog, but she has taken up his ways. She also will come and follow you with the ball. The two of them drive me nuts. I'm allergic as anything to animals and now I have a whack of them. I had intended to get rid of all fur bearing animals and now look what I've done (smiles). I think the bird is the worst for me. My husband would like a cockatoo. I am told that the dander that they kick up would pretty much kill me dead. It is there that I draw the line. Oh, and I don't do snakes either. My husband also wants a snake. We kept scorpians for a time. They were hand tame. We had an old breeding pair. When the female died, the male went into mourning. He did this weird shaking thing all around the cage. Mickey died a little more than a month after Mallory. We were told that Mallory died when she didn't shed her scales properly (or something like that). I think that Mickey died because she was gone. Yikes! Look at me go on about my pets.

I better get moving. the kiddies want hot breakfast today.

Take care all.


Rachel 8-8-2002 12:50


There is no law that says you must write a book from beginning to ending. It is true that you must have a beginning and you must have an ending, but no one cares that you might have written both after the middle.

I usually write the first draft and try and experiment with any ideas that come my way while I write it. Then I go back and read it and end up usually rewriting the beginning because you don't always know where the best place for the story to start until you have read the whole thing. In the second draft of the story I then tighten plot points and end up eliminating any subplot that drags the pace of my story down.

Some people write individual scenes and then hook them together later.

If writing out of sequence works for you, do not fight it and by all means, do not eliminate material that is good. Put it aside and work it in with all the other stuff.


I am so glad for you.


I have been praying for you.


Sounds like you have a lovely house. I love Victorian style. Mine is known as Acadian, and it is quite charming. There is a big front porch with long doors opening onto it. We are doing much better with the organization.

I am currently on vacation. I am just looking in sparatically. I cannot remember when the weather up here in Northern Michigan was this beautiful. I will be back home next week.

Rhoda 8-8-2002 11:41

HELP!!!! I have two book ideas I have been tossing around in my head for at least three years. I keep starting bits and peices, but last year, I threw out everything. They were good, but I just couldn't find how to start them! I always write the middle or ending and am DESPERATE to write from the beginning to the end. Any help would be appreciated,

Marianna 8-8-2002 11:25

Howard - maybe he turned out to be one of the gators responsible for some footage in 'Faces of Death Part I'?
Bwa ha ha ha ha!!!!!

Heather 8-8-2002 5:13

A friend just sent me this -- thought you might enjoy it!


If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money
to the church, would that get me into Heaven?" I asked the children in my
Sunday School class.

"NO!" the children all answered.

"If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything
neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?"

Again, the answer was, "NO!"

"Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children,
and loved my wife, would that get me into Heaven?" I asked them again.

Again, they all answered, "NO!"

"Well, I continued, "then how can I get into Heaven?"

A five-year-old boy shouted out, "YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!"

howard 8-8-2002 0:28

No, HEATHER, pouts don't do well in a tank. They stir up the bottom too much, and want it too dark. Clown fish are nice, though. And Kulhi Loaches are one of my favorites. Zebra Danios are nice too -- they never rest -- and Neons, and Platys and Mollies, and... I had a Puffer once, and then it bit me. They have a very sharp beak-like mouth. I was cleaning the tank, and reached in the partitioned side where we kept the puffer, and he actually took a chunk out of my finger. Got him back, though. They're voracious eaters. Don't know when to stop. So I went out and turned over a couple of boards in the garden and picked up several of the biggest nightwalkers I could find. Ol' puffer near exploded himself! He literally ate himself to death!

Speaking of pets with teeth, I had a pet alligator when I was much younger. This was back before they had so many exotic pet laws. It was a cayman, really, but lots like an alligator. Especially the teeth.

Grandma Brown found out the hard way.

He'd lay there not moving for hours, just sizing up the territory. Who knows what went on in his little 'gator mind? Anyway, she saw he wasn't moving, and she thought he was dead and poked him to see if she could finally toss him out (she'd never liked him at all). Didn't poke him in the side, nor with a pencil or something like that. Nope, right on the end of the nose -- with her finger. Ouch! He hung right on as she yanked her hand back, and he went flying (all six inches of him) right across the kitchen and bounced off the wall. I had a helk of a time digging him out from under the cabinet.

Talk about hissing! Both of 'em! He didn't draw all that much blood, but she was certain he'd killed her with his "poisonous bite,!" and she went right into her patented heart palpitation routine.

He (we) was 'gator non grata' after that, and I had to get rid of him. They had just filled the reservoir over the hill that spring, so I took him over there and let him loose. I don't imagine he survived more than a couple of days there, but I always wondered.

howard 8-8-2002 0:06

Jerry, I didn't know you were worried about cancer. (((((HUGS)))))) anyway, and that's a relief!

Heather 8-7-2002 23:31

No, absolutely not, no fish talk will get me wanting a tank full of fish!

My son's hamster gave birth to 14 babies a few days ago. My daughter's hamster was the father - boy, he must be proud! We were just plain shocked that a hamster could have that many babies. (And still are!) They have almost doubled their size since Friday night when they were born.

We also have an ancient cat (20 human years old)
who is diabetic and must have insulin shots twice a day after having a 'light snack' of fresh wet cat food. After her needle she gets a small saucer of milk. If we aren't up at 6 am to give her the needle, she'll remind us. And again at 6 pm. Must be the milk reward, I'm sure.

Our last pet is Ginny, the ancient, trained guinea pig. She's 6 years old and in no way looking old yet! She comes when she is called and can climb stairs. (I'm sure I saw her stick her tongue out at the cat last week) She also has a sense of who is walking by my daughter's room even when there's no way she can see us from where her cage is. She knows who's there and squeaks only if it's me. That's because I feed her most often.
She is also toilet trained (even if she's out of her cage for two hours) and won't go unless she's in her cage.

The cat's trained almost like a dog, and will come when you call her as well, but she also 'stays' like a dog will, if you tell her to stay, and 'gets down' from whatever chair she happens to be hogging if you snap your fingers and tell her to get down. She also has this dirty look she likes to give me quite generously if I tell her to get down from the bed.

Our chameleon died last year, but he was a real treat. He loved being a 'free range' pet, sitting in our ficus tree in the living room, or walking around and climbing up the back of the computer desk to sit in behind the vent from the monitor, which is in front of a south-facing window.
Funny, but he died shortly after we finished building a monstrously huge cage. We had him in it for perhaps two months. I think he really liked his freedom, even though he had to wait for me to feed him crickets and such. The cage was insect-tight, so I'd place twenty crickets a day in the cage, and he could eat them whenever he pleased.
Poor wee guy. I miss having him around, but I don't miss having crickets as an additional 'pet'.
I still haven't had the heart to sell the cage, even though it would go for big bucks. There are a pile of chameleon lovers around here - all the chams at the pet store are bought practically right away. Our cage that we built is the absolute best environment, recommended in all the chameleon keeping books. We even built it larger than the specifications so we could fit the whole ficus tree right inside.

Anyhow, have you heard enough about pets yet?
No? I can go on, just so I can forget anyone ever mentioned fish (because I have always wanted to keep a salt-water tank with starfish and anemones and clown fish and...... DANG IT!)


Heather 8-7-2002 23:28

JERRY -- Good one on the word from the doc! That's good to hear!

Fish tank? Boy does that bring back memories! We haven't had a tank set up in years! Never had more than a 10 gallon tank going at a time, though. Been wanting to get another one started, and was thinking about a 29-high on a stand in the dining room.
Our neighbor down the road lives in a mobile home on a tiny little lot. On that lot he's put several small ponds with waterfalls, plants, and some large Koi that eat right out of his hand. He takes them inside for the winter, where he has several hundred gallons (total) of tanks -- including some salt water -- built in so they're out of the way, and they are really beautiful! He's got a couple of Oscars that I wouldn't want to run into while swimming, as well as some beautiful gouramis and angelfish.
Guess I'll have to get started again.

howard 8-7-2002 20:35

I just started a free club for published authors to promote their books. You may share links or ordering information as well as promotional advise. Looking forward to hearing everyone's advise and maybe helping each other out.
I have one book published and am working on the rough draft of a fantasy book

Suzette Forgotten Sacrifices 8-7-2002 17:49

Saw the specialist that my doctor sent me to today, sweeter words were never spoken then "there's no sign of cancer." Lots of inflammation and that sort of thing, and we still don't know what the heck is causing it, but it's quite a relief to hear him say that. Now to find out what it is.

I am liking my new machine more and more every time I use it. The box said it had a built in video card, sharing from one to eleven meg of system RAM. I expected it to reject all my big games, and even searched Ebay for a bigger video card, but when I tried all my big games like Alice, Quake 3, GTA 3 and that sort of game, they all ran as good as they did with my other system that had a 64 meg extended graphics card.

Checking the properties says it is using 4 meg of on board ram, so I don't understand how it's working, but I love it just the same.

Another scorcher today, as has been the last week. It's 97 now, and still rising.

Our daughter gave us her 55 gallon fish tank so we're preparing it for some new pets, cleaned it all up and have it filled with water from our back yard well. Boy is that well water clear, and the ph tests says it's perfect 7 so the fish should love it. The nearest store to buy them is over a hundred miles away, but they will live in the bags for the trip home, or at least they used to when we lived here before.

We used to have fish all the time, but somehow never got back into the fish thing in the last ten years or so. Our old 29 gallon tank is still out in the garage, but has a large crack on one side, so I think we'll just retire it, since the daughter gave us hers. It's a fancy tank complete with stand and all the accessories, well we did buy new filters and air pump as her old ones had sort of fallen apart. I know she hasn't used it for over five years herself, and her thousand buck mansion just doesn't have room for such a big tank, she doesn't have time to enjoy them if she had them anyhow I guess, as she is still working two jobs to try and pay off her student loans and such.

Heather - looking forward to working on the stories again, I haven't done much writing of late, evidenced by my last story post.

Write on.

Jerry 8-7-2002 17:24

MARK -- Sorry to hear about the job. But knowing you I don't think you'll be idle for long. The only thing 'iffy' about the job market out there right now is the insurance thing, and that's across the board.

We're counting our blessings in that we don't have to worry about that -- at least for now. I'm still looking for a job to reverse the cash flow picture. It's still slightly negative, and I'd like at least to break even. We haven't had to give anything up, just scale back a bit. I'm thinking of getting placed on the substitute teacher list for a couple of the area schools, and I think I'll go ahead and get my passenger endorsement so I can drive a school bus. I'd love the half time scenario, because there's lots of things I'd like to do with the rest of my time.

Also - you dropped LINUX in favor of XP? I guess that about settles it for me! I've been holding off on that for some time, because I'd been told that XP didn't support my IBM laser printer, but found out a while back that it does have the driver, and the printer works fine with it. Was still a bit hesitant, but not any more.

Another SHT (Stupid Howard Trick) yestereve -- we went to pick blueberries. Someone said the picking was best down in the middle of the lot. We used to drive down through with no problem. Used to. The Villager is a little wider, and the bushes are a little bigger and closer together. Now my wife is driving a beautiful candy red Villager -- with scratches down both sides. I thought that clear coat was tougher than that. Hope they'll buff out okay...
The blueberries are excellent!

howard 8-7-2002 7:30

Mark, I think the same thing when I see people slaving away for less than half what I make in an hour. I'm sure there are enough people that think MY job's a mere 1/100th of what they make, but hey, I'll take it for the time being! I don't have benefits, but the kids and I are covered under Wayne's insurance, so it works out perfectly.

Plus HEMLOCK is doing well, and will hopefully take off to the skies in sales come the busy season on ebay and the net.
There are three bags not up in the gallery yet that we sold in one week. :oD
Mary and I have put hours and hours into each bag, and they're all one-of-a-kind as well.

(Anyone who hasn't come to visit Hemlock, or hasn't left a comment for us in the guestbook, we'd love to see your name there! *hinty hint!*)

Mel......good to see you dropping by - though I'm sure this message will be long-archived before you're back to the NB in September. (((HUGS)))) anyhow!

Happy spirals in ink,

Heather Hemlock Bags 8-7-2002 0:07

Mark - there's nothing wrong with XP, it's just that Jerry tried to install it countless times and it kept crashing his system!!

Christi - sent you one story back again.... let me know if the changes are good bad or otherwise!

Jerry - I'm almost finished soupin' up two more of yours, and will send them for approval soon!

Thanks, everyone, for your incredible patience so far with the Phatasium project. It'll be a while yet, but the end is at least in sight!

Heather 8-7-2002 0:00

Heather - alas, the blasted thing came with XP Home on it. I've been playing with it for awhile now, I might leave it on for a week or three, just to see the difference between XP Home and XP Pro. So far I've seen quite a lot of difference, in fact I'm sort of begining to like XP Home, an affection I've never had for XP Pro.

They say the Home edition has a bit of ME in it, and I do like ME, so maybe, just maybe it'l be OK. Then again, it only takes a few seconds to type
and that may happen sooner or later too.

It does have a very wastefull 6 GIG partition with the XP Home edition files and stupid things like MSWORKS setup you know crap that nobody except some students, and folks who have yet to experience MS OFFICE use. That made my big 40 GIG hard drive in reallity a 32 GIG, then they packed a bunch of try ware like Quicken Home and Office 2002 on there, as well as having it setup on the hard drive, now that makes no sense at all, and I don't use quicken on this machine anyhow, I use it on my server, where the files are less likely to suffer from an angry FORMAT C:

Mark - sorry to hear about the let go, but then if your were ready to leave anyhow maybe it's a blessing.

Hope you find something very proffitable real soon, this does give you more time to write though.

Jerry 8-6-2002 23:36

Hi, all! Interesting day. My boss greeted me with, "Come in, close the door, sit down." and I was let go. Mucketyruckus about the company losing clients and profit not being there. Company needs a good sales team.

I've been unhappy with the job for a while anyway. Been kinda job searching for the last 6 or 8 weeks. This is just the impetus I need to get serious about it. I'll get four weeks severance, that's cool. I only worked 20 hours a week, but got paid $20 per hour and had insurance. Couldn't go into a restaurant without thinking that I make more in my half-week than workers there do in a full one. I've had it good.

Already have a lead on a per diem gig that pays $250 per day plus expenses. Hope they need me for a few months.

HEATHER -- What's wrong with XP? I'm using it on this machine and I like it. Since using XP, I have quit using Linux. Now there's change for ya.

Mark 8-6-2002 21:37

Hey, Jerry! If you install XP on your new machine, I'll personally come over there and give you what for!

Heather 8-6-2002 18:10

HOWARD - I've said it before, and I'll say it again, getting old isn't fun, and I guess burrying loved ones is also part of aging. I can't imagine how I'd feel if I had to burry mine, it would surely break my old shrivled up heart.

Good day yesterday, it started off with a task I didn't much care for, we took our camper up to Dickinson, some hundred miles north of here to get it fixed, some of the damage that the little blond gal did when she ran into it with her windshield so frosted over that she couldn't see. Her first comment was "why did my car stop?" At any rate the dealer said "It won't be cheap!" sure glad her insurance is going to cover it. The old camper is just so old that they don't make replacement holding tanks for it anymore, so one will have to be specially molded out of fiberglass and installed. So much for a quick fix.

At any rate, the wife wanted to stop at Walley World (Wallmart) and do some shopping, little did I know that she wanted me to pick out my own anniversery gift. She lead me around the store, picking up little things here and there, till we found ourselves in the electronics department. She pointed to the computer display (well stack of boxed computers) and said "pick one out!"

Well I knew we don't have a lot of bucks, so I picked out the cheepest one, it's a HP with a 1.2 gig celeron processor, and not much for ram or that sort of thing, but then I have stuff like that laying around the house. Now I have to find a new video card to replace the UGGGG 11 meg built in share memory thing that's there, but other then that it's a nice machine, and it's quiet. The one I've been using and cursing daily has like six fans on it to keep it cool enough to run, this one is so quiet you have to put your ear to the case to see if the fans are running.

No where am I going to come up with a gift for her? Especially since her birthday is a day before our anniversery?

Ah well it only happens once a year I guess, and she does need a new recliner. Maybe when we go up to pickup our camper...

PS excuse the spelling I haven't got my spell checker installed on my new machine yet...

Jerry 8-6-2002 15:17


I love your bat story. That would be one bag of cloths I wouldn't want to open!

Do you know what? My new horse is named Dori. I knew that name was familiar. I've been trying to place who that name belongs to. Now you have reminded me. Thanks.

Take care you :o)

Rachel 8-6-2002 12:38

Hmmmm. Great typl! HA HA HA

Heather 8-6-2002 11:52

Howard, ((((BUG GIANT HUGS))))
and my most articulate empathies.

It also sounds to me like the bat is trying to tell you something! :oD

Heather 8-6-2002 11:49


I'm very sorry for your loss.

Debra 8-6-2002 9:54

It's a new day.

I was reading in bed last night. It was quiet -- except for Dorie's snoring -- and I was just starting to drift a bit myself when I caught a movement on the edge of my vision. There. executing perfect figure 8's in our 12x24 bedroom was a very large bat! I watched it for a few seconds, then nudged Dorie and told her to look. She opened one eye, said "A bat," and rolled over and went back to sleep.
So I got my heavy work gloves and grabbed a big towel and tried to chase it down. The roof windows were all open wide, but I couldn't get the critter to fly out. It finally landed on the side of the chimney in the spare bedroom and I pinned it with the towel. They chatter! I didn't really want to hurt it, so I gently tried to extricate it from the towel, all the while watching it chewing on my glove. It got loose again and started swooping around the room. It looked like the wingspan was 10"-12" as it flew around my head. I flapped the towel at it again, and managed to knock it to the floor, where it scrabbled under the bed and disappeared in a pile of things we're sorting for the clothing bank. Haven't found it yet. Maybe it got out through the roof window in the night, or maybe someone at the clothing bank is in for a small furry surprise.

The vultures are beginning to circle over Bryce's house -- he's the old gentleman we've been caring for -- and I'm getting calls from people we don't know, and he doesn't remember, reminding us that they're his long lost cousins, and they'd really like to renew family ties. Knot!
Aside from being a royal pain, cleaning out his house is getting to be the most interesting thing you can imagine. This is a microcosm of history -- he never threw anything out -- and some of the stuff I'm finding is fantastic! But I've got to hurry it along, because the DSS wants me to get it ready to sell.
But oh the stories in that old house!

howard 8-6-2002 8:18


I send you hugs.


I am comfortable in my new home. My children are very happy. That is one of the best things about this place. I also love the tree swing in the front yard. I love to get a good pull on that thing. It is so fun!

Hugs to everyone.

Rachel 8-5-2002 21:01

I must be getting short tempered in my dotage.
There's a couple of spots along the highway here in town, where people have put signs for years, advertising field days, pig roasts, lake fest days, crappie derby, circus, carnival, dog show, car show, demolition derby, tractor pulls, horse pulls, garage sales, and community days. It's technically off limits because it's state DOT right of way, and the signs aren't supposed to be fastened to the state sign posts. But everyone does it with common sense, not blocking anything, not interfering with motorist vision, and the sighs are taken down and put away as soon as the event is over.
But now our church put up signs for next week's kids summer program. State trooper requests the signs be taken down. Never mind the rest, these have to come down because signs aren't supposed to be posted there.
"What about the other signs?"
"Nobody complained about them."
"Nobody complained about our sign advertising the free community chicken barbeque hosted by our church a few weeks ago..."
--shrug-- oh well...


Also, we've had two kids in the area, ages 9 and 10, killed this past weekend while riding those @(*^$) 3 and 4-wheelers! Their parents buy them these toys and turn them loose to terrorize the neighbors, then complain if the kids are restricted in any way. I just went out and shoveled a whole pile of stone off the road in front of my house, where 7 of these abominations have been doing donuts, wheelies, etc etc in and out of the gravel pit across the road. One kid stopped to watch, and I asked him (very calmly and nicely, I might add) if this was really necessary, and that I was getting a little tired of picking up rocks from my fromt lawn, even off my front step!
He said it wasn't him, but he'd say something to the rest of the kids, and then he (with his girlfriend on the back) took off into the gravel pit. About a half hour later they all came back out -- slowly -- and all of them were watching my wife and me working in the yard.
Last year I drove out of my driveway and started down the road, only to have one of the big Yamaha 4 wheelers jump right over the front of my truck! I never saw nor heard hom, and he obviously didn't see me, and almost flipped it as he went up the bank to avoid the truck. He went off the top of the bank, right over the right front fender and hood, bounced twice, and took off down the road like a bat outta hades.
Here they all come again, screaming and hollering this time. So much for nice -- guess I'll be thankful if the little buzzards (and buzzardettes) don't burn my house down!

howard 8-5-2002 20:02

Howard, my condolences and prayers for you and your family. And (((((HUGS)))))

Tina 8-5-2002 19:26

It's a rainy sad day today -- doubly so because I just got back from the funeral parlor. We had to help with the arrangements for our niece's funeral.
What made it even worse was that she was our flower girl at our wedding. She was only 39. Her mom, sister and brothers were with her in the hospital when she died, yesterday morning, and her brother was holding her hand. As she drew her last breath she gripped his hand so hard that she buried her fingernails in his hand, and he had to have help getting her to let go. It was quite traumatic for all of them, and he'll very likely have scars from it.

howard 8-5-2002 11:20

The wife and daughter went on a road trip today, delivering some stuff from my daughter's Pampered Cheff party, leaving me home alone.

I took advantage of the situation and did a bit of writing.

Here's a bit of it:

The Pudgy Boy
by Jerry Ericsson

Jerome Inman liked little boys, especially pudgy little boys, they couldnít run fast enough to out run him, and they felt extra soft beneath his body when he had them.

Kevin Anderson was a pudgy little boy of ten years, some five years the junior of Jerome. Kevin had a hard life, his family dirt poor, they moved so often that he had virtually no friends, so when Jerome took an interest in him, he thought at least he had found a friend.

It was only later, when Jerome talked him into coming up to his room where, he said, there was an electric train set. Kevin liked trains and always dreamed of having his own electric train, but he knew he could never have one. Playing with Jeromeís would be the next best thing. Kevin was excited as he climbed those stairs, he didnít notice that Jeromeís parents were gone, he didnít notice that Jeromeís breath was coming faster and heavier as they climbed those steps, but once he reached the head of the stairs, all thoughts of the train were gone, replaced by the fear of what was about to happen to him. Jerome grabbed the little boyís right arm and twisted it behind his back, then reached around and undid his belt, unbuttoned his pants and pulled them to the floor, within seconds, Jerome was on top of the little boy, who now wept in fear and pain, as the older boy entered him, and raped him.

When it was over, Jerome explained that should Kevin ever tell, he would get him, he would kill him. To illustrate the point the older boy grabbed the little boys testicles and pulled, causing him to scream, then whispered ďI can have you any time, any place I want!Ē

Kevin believed Jerome, and left that horrible house, he sobbed most of the way home, when his mom asked what happened, Kevin lied, and said he fell off the merry-go-round when some older boys pushed it too fast. His mom, always busy keeping the house clean for her husband believed the little boy, happy that he wasnít bleeding or broken went back to her housework. Kevin went to his room, where he cried himself to sleep.

In the next year, Kevin was assaulted two more times, relief came only when his parents moved to another neighborhood and Jerome couldnít find him.

Kevin did well in school, but because of the low income of his parents, college was out of the question, so after high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps, it was 1969, and the war in Vietnam had reached the height of unpopularity, students on campus were rioting for peace, hippies in vogue Woodstock was the ďhappening,Ē in the news as Kevin shipped out with his buddies. His specialty, Force Recon, the hardest of the hard corps, the cream of the corps.

When his tour of duty was over, he was no longer that pudgy kid but a cold hard marine. The Corps saw to the hardening of his body, Vietnam the hardening of his mind, what he did there the hardening of his very soul. He took discharge, and came home to the same little town where he grew up.

Jerome, however being a bit ďslowĒ never graduated high school; in fact he dropped out on his sixteenth birthday, after being socially passed from the eighth grade. He worked at odd jobs around town for the money to buy his cigarettes and beer, both of which he enjoyed way too much, and never had enough of. In recent months, Jerome turned to crime to help support his two bad habits, petty theft, then on to burgerlery.

When Kevin got to town, he found an add in the local paper asking for police recruits, the add said that, because of a new government program, Vietnam service was required for the next hire. Being out of work, Kevin applied and was immediately put on the force. His experience in the corps made him an excellent officer, and the town folks were very happy with their new officer.

The town being very small had only four officers on the entire force, the Chief worked day shift, the other officers covered the nights; it was on one of those nights, that the lives of Jerome and Kevin saw their final conflict.

Kevin was doing the required door checks, an operation done in small towns to insure security of the local businesses, where in the officer walked the streets and alleys shaking the doors of the main street businesses, Kevin liked to leave this chore till after the drunks were home safely, and the kids were in bed, leaving the town quiet and secure.

He was nearly half way through his chore, when he spotted movement near the back door of the hardware store. Quietly, as if on jungle patrol, Kevin made his way down the alley, staying in the shadows until he was nearly upon the shadowy figure who, not noticing the officer was hard at work trying to work the lock on the door with a screwdriver and slip jaw pliers.

Kevin drew his service revolver, and stepped from the shadows. ďPut your hands in the air!Ē he ordered in his best cop voice.

The figure froze then made a movement with his hands to his belt; Kevin knew he was reaching for a firearm.

ĒDonít do it!Ē he shouted, and took aim at the offenderís center of mass.

The figure froze again; Kevin hit the burglar in the face with his flashlight, while keeping his firearm trained on him with his other hand. It was then that Kevin realized who it was.

His finger tightened on the trigger, he could see the hammer of the revolver come to the rear, as he could again feel that grip on his arm, the pain in his rear as he was violated.

Jerome must have recognized the officer, as he immediately raised his hands, and began to sob, ďPlease Kevin, I didnít mean to hurt you all those years ago, I was sickÖĒ

ďPut your hands on your head!Ē the officer ordered again.
Jerome began to obey, then must have had second thoughts, his right hand went to his belt, and a .22 pistol appeared in his hand.

Kevin reacted exactly as a peace officer should, he fired two shots in the center of mass, but somehow the one hundred fifty eight grain hollow point .357 magnum bullets impacted n Jeromeís groin area. The burglar went to his knees, but still had the power to pull the trigger on his revolver, a small 40 grain .22 caliber bullet ripped through Kevinís jacket, just missing his side, Kevin fired again, this time his aim was true, the bullet ripped through Jeromeís chest, ripping his heart in two before it lodged in his spine. Within seconds, Jerome was dead.

Kevin was called a hero, not for the things he did in Vietnam, which if they were known to all, were indeed heroic, but for what he did in that alley, early one morning, that too was heroic, as he ridded the world of a child molester.

Kevin did't tell.

Jerry 8-5-2002 1:22

Hi all!

Rachel, you are so lucky to have found such an exceptional home. Not easy to do. I agree wholeheartedly about the speeders. I'm married to one of those, and it is a source of disagreement between us. It's simply Not Worth It to take the risk to get there quicker.

Jerry, strong vibes going your way\\\///\\\///

Robo-Mel, hope all is healing well, and your muse is putting your down time to good use.

So I've been jumping the last couple of weekends. And not surprisingly, writing about it. For your entertainment...

I look out the window as we reach the clouds. A soft mist envelopes the plane, damp against the metal skin, a haze thick enough to block out the view of the ground below. As the ground disappears, something tugs at my brain and gut and heart.

This is fun? My back is cramping from leaning awkwardly against the front panel, my right leg is crimped over Laneís thigh, my left leg is pinched between the door and Bobís elbow while he leans back against me. The air is cool, almost cold, and stale with the ingrained odour of sweat and apprehension and fear. I shift slightly to ease my pinched leg, and to look outside again. The mist thins out as the pilot drops below the ceiling; I check my altimeter and find we are at 6000 feet. Jump run.

I donít have to do this! I can choose not to, can choose to return to the ground safely, with the pilot. I freeze for that moment, and a thousand thoughts run through my head.

Iíve made 26 student skydives, and now Iíve graduated and am on my own. Iíve proven I can do this, proven that I have the nerve and the guts and the eccentric sense of risk that is a common trait of everyone Iíve met at the dropzone. Why do I need to continue? Couldnít I stop now, right here, decide that Iíve been there, done that, and return to living a normal life? Iím wearing a parachute that I intend on buying. When I do, I will have spent more money on this sport than on anything else except my car and house. Is that sane? Why continue, what is left to be gained by throwing myself out again? For the life of me, I suddenly canít answer that question.

The others begin to move, sitting up and turning and putting on goggles and helmets and checking their gear one last time. Bob offers me his hand to pull myself up to my knees. Should I take it? I hesitate; I donít think he knows how close I am to shaking my head, saying Iíve had enough and I am not jumping. Not this time, not ever again. Iíve had my fun, spent my wad, and sanity is returning. Really, how can I justify the money and time and mental energy Iíve spent in the last three months, and how can I justify more of the same? I canít.

But I take his hand anyway; I will be in the way if I donít move. I take his hand and get to my knees; Lane and Jason and Bob are grinning, giving thumbs up and revving each other up while they tighten their helmets.

Itís their grins that do it. It is the same grin that I canít wipe off my face when I touch the ground. The same grin that takes over whenever I think about jumping, about flying. That grin is the common factor between us, four people from vastly different backgrounds, all doing something so much larger than ourselves that it is, quite literally, indescribable to those who havenít shared the air.

So I settle my goggles and fasten my helmet, swallow the tightness pervading my chest, and tell myself that I will be getting out of the plane. Then Kenny calls, ďDoor!Ē reaches over to open it, and the wind rushes in.

The wind. It is a friend who I have carelessly forgotten during my wallow in murky guilt. Now the tight, tinny voice of guilt is drowned out by the soft murmur of the wind. It tells me not to feel guilty for discovering that my home is with the wind! Do not feel guilty about finally finding a reason to live my life. I will not feel guilty.

And now itís time. I watch Bob and Jason climb out, present, and fly away. I count to five and climb out. I am six thousand feet above the valley below, eye level with the distant blue mountains. I am holding onto the strut, hanging loosely. I am letting go.

This is the first time Iíve been here without an instructor, the first time Iíve chosen my own moment to let go. And unlike every time before, I let go of more than the plane and the fear. I let go of the guilt that has plagued me, I let go of my own perceptions about who I Ďshouldí be, I let go of the hampered vision Iíve always carried of myself. I am more than that person, and here I am in the open air, arched hard into the wind who is my friend despite all my failings and flaws. I let go of the examining eye of my inner voice, and release myself into the sky.

And it is time and I pull my pilot chute. I look up to see the beautiful sight of my canopy unfurling into a splendid black, yellow and red wing. I thought my body position was good, but still I have a slight line twist that I kick out of. Slowly, I test this new wing. She is a beauty, smaller and faster than the student gear Iíve used before. I test her, turning and stalling and getting to know her. Oh how she wants to fly, and I want to fly with her and always, always have this place to come to where opinions and problems and misconceptions are blown away.

The questions come back to me, a reflection of thought heard as an echo. Is this fun? Yes, it is fun and it is more than fun. It is a reason to live. How can I justify it? I look around at the valley that is closing around me as I descend and know that I could never justify not doing it. Money is a human currency; the elation of pure freedom is a spiritual currency that I am fortunate to earn and spend in equal portions. Is this sane? This is sanity, uncomplicated by the confusion of survival in this crazy world weíve woven.

I turn into the wind for my landing, happy that I have judged my approach well and will land in the correct area. I wait, wait, take a breath, and now I flare to set the canopy down lightly. No, I am too high, and as I come down I bend and roll into the grass, then stand up quickly as my beauty collapses beside me.

This is the Moment. I have willingly given myself to the wind, no longer a student although still a green novice load-filler. Iím not just skydiving, I am a skydiver.

Steve is on the field; he took pictures as I came in to land and now he comes and gives me a high-five and a hug. Donna comes out, and she is crying. I join her with my own tears; tears of thanks for the canopy I am buying from her, and tears of joy for knowing that Iíve found myself yet again. We cry together. Stimpy comes out with another hug, and when I gather up my chute as I always have Ė in a big ball of nylon in my arms - he tsks and makes me gather it in a new way. With the lines looped up and the canopy thrown over my shoulder, like a real skydiver.

With my friends, I return to the clubhouse still crying. I am sad for Donna, who can no longer join the wind, and happy for myself for finally being released from the drone of life. And I am grinning, a crazy grin that I canít wipe off of my face, a grin borne of emotions that canít be described to those who have never shared the air.

Blue skies!

Tina 8-4-2002 16:36


Hello all ...

Tekay ... Pat McManus, author of THEY SHOOT CANOES DON'T THEY has been and is a big influence on my writing style. Thats not to say that I never had any "style." :-) But if the inner creative doors that led to figures like George and Red were barely opened, reading Pat showed me how to kick them down. I admire the offhand style of writing and have come across it in authors before Pat, but to me Pat refined it annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd his tales of outdoor life are right up my alley. So to say. Now that I have the computer to myself (see second para) I am going to go through all my tales and print them. I promised to do this last year but life, sadly, got in the way.

Second Para...Our son Sean is leaving tomorrow. I will take him Monday morning to catch the Air Force shuttle bus and he is on his way to a four year term with the AF. How do I feel about this? Terminal gloom for a start, followed by weeping despair, aching loneliness, and a world of regret. If that wasn't enough, Sara is leaving today, going to Dallas for a McDonald's supervisor training seminar. She will only be gone a week but ... Will be a dark week for my wife and I I'm afraid. Silence can be very loud in a home that once had children.

Heather and Howard... I listen to WBAP a Fort Worth radio station a lot during the day. The AMBER ALERT is named for a little girl who was kidnaped and murdered in Fort Worth. The AA is just like a severe thunderstorm alert on local radio. All, not just radio media, interrupt local programing with a warning tone. Then follow details of the abduction. The AA is all about getting every scrap of information released via local media ASAP. Time is important with the AA system and it can work. But for cases like Utah where there was a 2 hour delay and in the middle of the night it probably won't.

Amen Jerry, Amen...getting old is not fun.


Randall 8-4-2002 12:35

HEY HEY GO TO MY SITE! i need input and back grounds! but mostly input! and email me i forgot how i found this site and probaly wont be back

Kt My story 8-4-2002 12:06

Howard - I tried real hard not to say they found nothing up there!

Mine was a MRI, and with my claustrophobia, it was a honorific event, they had to shoot me up with so many drugs that I ended up thinking it fun. Then they injected me with some dye and had me wait in the stupid MRI bed thing for what seemed like hours, but was probably a few minutes before doing the scan.

This time they are going to deaden my nose and sinuses then go up there with some sort of scope thing to see what's there.

Getting old isn't fun.

Jerry 8-3-2002 12:47

JERRY -- I had a CT scan of my head a few years ago after a fall off a 6 foot step-ladder. I was standing at the top of it, putting a roof on my back porch, when the ladder kicked out from under me. My feet caught under the top step, and I jacknifed down, landing right on the side of my head. After regaining consciousness I finished the roof, (my son-in-law was nervous about that), but next day I couldn't see straight. Went to hosp, they did a brain scan and CT scan, and they couldn't find anything. :-) They did find a sub-dural hematoma (swelling) and thought they might have to drill to relieve the pressure. Sent me home to rest, but that afternoon at school something snapped in there and the pressure went away. Been okay ever since. Still nothing in there, I guess... :-)
No history of cancer in my immediate family, but I'm the only one that was dumb enough to smoke. Quit in 1982, just 20 years ago last month!
Life is interesting!

howrad 8-3-2002 11:42

Howard - I agree with you, the amber system looks to be a good thing. I understand the lady who found and reported the location of the criminal and his hostages worked as an animal control officer. She did good. Also the sheriff's deputies who shot and killed the rapists did our country a great favor, after all this was in California, the state who loves to let such criminals go if they get a chance. Think of all the money they saved the State, for the cost of a few bullets they saved millions in legal costs, and keeping the idiot in prison for the rest of his life at a cost of over thirty thousand bucks a year.

Way to go Deputies!

I think I can understand your worry about your lung thing, I saw my doctor again yesterday about that stupid sinus condition I've been fighting since before Christmas. He looked up my nose and down my throat, then scheduled me for an exam with an endiscope (sp?). He explained that while he didn't see anything in his limited exam, he wanted to make sure there isn't a cancer up there.

That word, Doctors should take an oath never to use it in the exam room when there isn't a way to confirm it for several days. My appointment for the exam is next Wednesday.

This isn't the first doctor to say something like that, had one before we moved that said the same thing when he scheduled me for a head MRI, and they found no problem when they did the test, but the weeks wait nearly drove me up the wall. This time I understand that it will probably be nothing, or at least I hope so.

The wife just got back from her cancer walk-athon. She wasn't able to walk around the track this year, but did help with the whole program. We pulled our camper up there for her team to have a place to sleep. We've done that every year since we moved down, they have a great time and raise some good funds for cancer research. My wife's mom died of cancer, as did one of my uncle's (Had cancer in his sinuses, strange how that comes to mind when the doctor mentioned that test). My daughter joined her, as she has in the past, boy do they look tired, it was an all night walk-athon with live music and drawings, that sort of thing.

Jerry 8-3-2002 11:11


I am sorry to have taken so long to respond to your post. I understand what youíre saying about not knowing how a house is till you get all your stuff in. We have been in our place for almost two months. I now know that I like it.
Our house was not a leap of faith. We drove up, took one look and fell in love. The place is built in the Victorian style. It is big and pretty. The house we are in looks like it would have an awesome attic room. It however does not. I wish it did. I think a few rooms up in the peaks of the house would be amazing (sighs).
Dan and I have also needed to become shelf organizers. We have put some in and set others up to economize the space that we do have. It has been good for us to have to really look at the stuff we have. We have given away, thrown away a lot of things that we do not use.
My house also does not have much storage space. That was the thing that surprised me. Most big houses have a ton of storage places. This one does not. We have been given space in the barn. It will be open to us after the owner clears the remainder of his stuff out.
I like just about everything about the house we have now better. I canít think of anything I like less. I love that the owners are happy to pay for any improvements that we make. They cover the costs of paint, drapes, all of that stuff. We have needed to paint this place. The colours that were in place did not agree with us. I guess that is the only thing I wasnít keen on. Paint is an easy thing to deal with ;o)
The main bathroom, the one that the children use, is much smaller than the ones we have had in past. This is a GREAT thing. Now there is less space for them to make a mess. With this wee little bathroom, I walk in, pick up and walk out. There is not fourteen feet of counter space to deal with, with cupboards under, in and around, along with two sinks and a massive set of mirrors. I donít like that sort of thing. The less room for mess the better!
Our house would have curb appeal, if you could see it from the curb. There is a twenty to thirty foot privacy hedge around the front of the place. I love our driveway. It gives lots of room for parking and turning around. We have a designated parking area, that could easily accommodate a number of guests. The road out front of our place is busy in the summer. We are on the route to one of the major Provincial Parks. The people get out here and they forget that behind these trees and shrubs are homes, filled with children and animals. I called the Police department a time ago and spent a length of time letting the person who took my call know how I felt about the speed and lack of care and attention used on the road outside my home. I mentioned that they could make a major financial gain just by sitting on the side of the road out here. Since then we have had lots of police out and around our area. I love seeing them hand out tickets.
We have major bugs this year as well. Mosquitos and Black Flies. Yikes! I wish they would all bug off :o( It doesnít really matter to me. They had a taste of my blood when we moved to this place. I guess I donít taste so great (grins). Sometimes the bugs will land on me, fly around a bit, but they seem to favor others over myself for snacking on.
Rhoda, your place sounds fantastic. Iím sure youíll sort out the space issues, and find room for all of your things. I canít even imagine you driving into a ditch. You seem much to level headed for that (hugs). I bet that you are a wonderful hostess. Your nephew is lucky to have such a cool place to stay. As for your fashion model sorts, I will bet that they look at you with the same interest and appreciation. If the dark eyes, dark hair and features you mention are the norm, then it would be those that are not the norm that would draw their gaze. That would be you. It is good that the people are polite. I am happy that you love your new home. That is good news. In time you will know the place as well as any other. For me, half the fun is getting to know a place. I like getting turned around, and learning the ins and outs of my area. A phone book is a must! I would have dashed out to get one of those first thing (grins). How else would I order pizza? A NEW HAIR DRESSER! Rhoda, I hope that goes well. I fear the new hair dresser (grins and laughter). I have sort of funny hair. It has a lot of waves and curls in it. I am able to dry it to do what I want it to do. It is a skill that has taken years. If I donít see to it each morning, or spend a good deal of time brushing it down, then I turn into this toss and mess curl head. Most people who cut my hair seem to think they know what they are doing. Sometimes they donít listen to what I say. In those cases I have to live with quite the look (grins and laughter). I guess I donít really care.
Yikes! I had something happen to my driverís license. I went to the bank to withdraw some money. I was shocked when I was detained. My identification was not accepted as valid! I nearly fell over where I stood. Apparently the holograph is worn off. The woman at the bank really made me feel like a crime monster. It wasnít that she questioned my identification. It was the way that she did it. She snatched it away from me and skulked away, telling me to wait a few minutes. Then the phone calls started and she informed me that my identification wasnít valid. She was not very nice about it. I was a little surprised that she gave me back my license at all. Now I need to get into the branch and have it re-issued.
I hope that the hair thing worked out for you (smiles and hugs).
Take care you.

Rachel 8-2-2002 20:08

Been awhile since I posted here. I agree with you, Jerry, on the AMD K2 400 mhz, got one of my own and it is atleast dependable, but I give you much credit for building one on your own.

Anyway, I am currently working on a romance (I know, many of you may gag), but for anyone interested in reading a bit of it, click on this link or copy and paste it to your internet browser. I've been addicted to this site for weeks now. Even if you're not interested in mushy romance, you may just enjoy reading or posting some of your own literary works:


P.S. If you register for the site, please include my name (kmcmurtry) as the referrer (is that a word?). Thanks, everyone!

Keni 8-2-2002 15:21

The Amber Alert system (from what I understand from the news reports) consists of a statewide network of eletronic highway signs, tv and print notices, and radio announcements for the general public. It has connections with the local, state, and FBI databases for immediate information disbursement, and has provisions for cross-jurisdiction activities. It also is open-ended, so other states and localities can be added if they wish to come on board.

One report on CNN showed one of the overhead electronic billboards over a freeway in California, which was showing the make, model, and license plate number of the getaway car. I think they said they can display pictures (if available) of the perp or victim on some of these electronic billboards, like on a scoreboard at a ballgame.

In this case, the system was turned on only last Friday, and they're saying it was directly responsible for saving the girls' lives. They had at least two sightings of the vehicle shortly after they flashed the info on the boards over the freeway.

I know some civil libertarians are afraid of what it might turn into, and perhapse it could lead to abuse of privacy issues, but I think it's worth the risk. We certainly saw it work in this case!

I'd vote for it in New York, and I think I'll be sending notes to my elected representatives at all levels of government urging them to take a serious look at it asap!

howard 8-2-2002 12:29

Howard - how does the Amber Alert system work?

Heather 8-2-2002 12:07

The latest abductees have been rescued, apparently at the vermin who took and molested them was looking for a place to do away with them.
He was killed by the sheriff's deputies who caught up to them -- apparently after taking a shot or two at the officers.
They credit the "Amber Alert" system -- named after the little Texas girl who was kidnapped and killed a couple of years ago -- with averting further tragedy. Every state ought to adopt this sysem! It appears to work.

howard 8-2-2002 10:33


Tragic what has been happening to little girls over here.

Does your contry suffer from this?

Debra 8-2-2002 10:16


MEL: Long time no see you either. I hope you are doing well.
Good luck with the writing. I know I'd be more likely to get more done if I wasn't quite so distracted by the internet. :-D
Hope your hip will be as good as new real soon.

Teekay 8-1-2002 20:27


DEBRA: Long time no see. What a tragic poem, the ending really just got you by the throat.
If I thought about that type of thing too long and too deep I'm sure I'd go mad.

HOWARD: It must be only cysts or Pneumonia or something like that because nothing serious is to go wrong with you.
Am sending out prayers for you anyway, can't hurt.

RANDALL: I couldn't get the book, but I listened to 'they shoot canoes, don't they', and the guy who read the story is excactly as I imagined you to sound. So during that whole tape, you were never very far from my mind.

Gotta go, real life hollers.

Teekay 8-1-2002 20:25

Hi, Everyone! :-)

I'm way behind on post-reading as it's been too hot to stay long in our diningroom where the pc is; I don't reckon I'll be catching up on the recent conversations here. But I did want to drop a few lines to let you all know I'm thinking of you!!!

HOWARD: Extra (((HUGS))) and prayers!!! Hope you heal and feel better soon.

We may be disconnecting from the Internet for the month of August while I'm on disability. Just in case, I wanted to wish you all a terrific month with lots of writing in it! If we lose the internet, I'll be back in touch in September, when I hope to return to work.

Take care, every one of you! And prolific writing!!! :-]

Mel 8-1-2002 17:06

Sorry to be such a downer the past few days -- I got a bad report from a chest x-ray, and I guess it affected me more than I thought it would. Doc says there's some "nasty stuff" on my lungs, and wants me to do another x-ray in three weeks to double check. He says perhaps it's only pneumonia (but I've had the pneumonia shot) or maybe the recurring cysts that I've been plagued with (I'd bet on that one), but he doesn't want to take any chances, and isn't ruling anything out until we're sure. Dunno how long that will take, but it's getting harder to breathe every day.
I finally said the heck with it, went out to the garden this morning and tilled and prepared a bed for 75-100 strawberry plants. I'll put them in next week (should get them in the mail by then) and they'll get a good start for next spring!

Got to thinking about grampa and the old Oliver tractor. He used to park it under the shed roof that hung off the back of the barn. That old tractor was sometimes a little hard to start, but he had a battery starter on it, and if he had the throttle and choke set just right it would start up with a bang.

There was just one thing about that bang, though. He had a vertical exhaust stack on that tractor, and no real muffler to speak of. Those who know about such things might remember that if you didn't cover the pipe when you shut the tractor off, it would suck cold air down the pipe and warp the exhaust valves, and that wasn't good for the tractor at all.

So he would put a tin can over top of the pipe to cut off the air.

Back to the bang.

If whoever started the tractor (under that shed roof) forgot to take the can off the pipe, the bang would launch it clear to the roof! In this case, that was all of three feet, which didn't leave much reaction time to duck as the can bounced back off the underside of the roof and then ricocheted off the noggin of whoever was nearest. I've still got a scar!

After observing said cannon shot effect a couple of times, it's no surprise that the devious teenage human mind surmised that other things might as effectively be propelled from that stack (we called it a mortar, on account of the Korean War was going on, and we were kind of fascinated by those things then).

So it's also no surprise that we kind of experimented with the first thing at hand -- which in this case just happened to be a rotten potato that had rolled out of the corner of the hog pen, just far enough out of reach that it was just lying there in all its stinking glory. And it just fit (with a modest amount of pressure) down that old Oliver exhaust stack.

Only problem was that the Oliver had set there for a couple of days, and it was sometimes a little cranky about starting after it had set, and it just wouldn't fire. And we didn't want to run the battery down, 'cause grampa wouldn't appreciate that at all. Not even a little.

So we tried to fish the potato out of the stack, but all we managed to do was slice it up a little (it was pretty runny anyway) and it got lodged even further down the pipe.
So we replaced the can, and forgot about it.

Well, that evening grampa wanted to rake some hay he'd cut a few days before, and he wanted us to help load it on the hay wagon. We didn't use a baler then, just piled it in the mow after it got real dry.

He took the can off the stack and tried to start the tractor. Wouldn't start. Cranky. So he primed the carburetor, which meant pouring a little gas into the top of the carb, and then hitting the started button. This was a little tricky, and sometimes you got a little more than a "bang" -- more like a "BOOM!"

He got a little more than a "BOOM"

Remember the potato?




or to be even more accurate,

"BOOM! SPLAT SPLATTER" followed by a few seconds of silence, then the awfullest gagging and cussing I ever heard in my short life. Which I was certain wasn't going to get any longer if he ever caught up to us!

I saw an old Oliver just like grampa's at the fair grounds last evening, and all I could think of was "BOOM!"

howard 8-1-2002 14:08

VIV: Maybe I am just more protective of my kids because I know exactly what it feels like to lose one. I still don't think I am freakish about it.

Mary 8-1-2002 11:42

VIV: There is a big difference between a 16 year old and a 4 year old. If my daughter were 16, I am sure I could trust her with the stove.

Mary 8-1-2002 11:35

Hi Guys!

I've been raveged lately by all this horrible news, especially the missing children. Those bastards who take them. Here's a poem I wrote to pass the feelings.

Monsters In The Hall

He took my baby while we slept
He didnít care how much we wept

On his face was an insidious grin
His heart engorged with evil and sin

He took my baby and ran for the door
He ran and ran and ran some more

Where he went was the mystery
What we knew, surged with misery

What could he be doing we think we know
Those depths our minds didnít want to go

A moment ago our baby so near
Now weíre only paralyzed by fear

Her sweet eyes Iíd give anything to look in
Her skin and breath I pray to feel again

Her future I did have all planned out
being murdered, absent without a doubt

Our baby my baby please bring her back to me
He who snatched her is not human not the same as thee

At first our minds turn to anger with hopes to avenge
Our hearts eventually grow black and succumb to revenge

A thief in the night takes valuables they then flee
They donít steal members of the family.

This monster prays only on those who are small
He takes our baby but with her go us all

© Debra J. Palardy 2002

Debra 8-1-2002 9:43

Just so happens I was in real need of a good laugh this morning, AND I GOT IT TOO!!! I'm always eager to read more about Old Muckers ... he's one cool cat!

Cynthia 8-1-2002 9:26

Thank you Randall! Still chuckling....

And, suuurre you don't know more than a few details about telephone trolling... ;-)

Tina 8-1-2002 1:24

Mary: Absolutely I left them! Not a whole day, a couple hours. Not a series of days, a couple hours. Same as the little woman up the street left her children. It's absolute hell for a mother to have to do this.

Still in retrospect it was great training. Later we had to leave her in America in high school so she could get a high school degree. She not only did that but won a scholarship to two colleges! She was 16 when I left her. Now she's 20 and just finished that last calculus course on the way to becoming an engineer. No more classes from the math department which is nice since that's the department that provokes a lot of comment about teachers taking the time and responsibility to teach.

My kids were also told not to fight with one another and they did it. I didn't allow bickering within the family and I still don't. Result, two sisters that actually take care of one another.

Even if at the time I felt like the end of the world had come and as though my children would not turn out because I left worked out fine. I wouldn't recommend it if you can't lay the groundwork though. The child needs to have the basis of responsibility and respect for the other child. If the child has it, the mother knows it. Since you already said you can't trust your daughter...don't.

Viv 8-1-2002 0:27

Been fighting heat problems with my homebuilt Athlon computer. About ready to toss the whole thing out the door and go back to my old AMD K6-2 400 MHZ machine, at least it worked, albeit slowly.

RANDALL - I know that game warden, used to work with him up in North Dakota, in fact I still get email from him. I think there must be something about game and fish that attracts those bull headed by the book, good old boys who would write themselves tickets if they happened to go over limit even by one little bird.

His son and mine are the same age, and went to school together, so one time we figured we would go fishing together. We took the State boat out on Devils Lake, and once we were in the middle of the huge lake, the motor died. Try as he might, he just couldn't get the motor started, and a good old Dakota thunderstorm was coming in from the south, winds were getting bad and the boat began to drift toward shore. We cast out an anchor, but it didn't hold, and we kept drifting. To top it off, the fish weren't biting, and our kids were getting tired of the whole thing and complained constantly.

He called for help, but the warden who worked Devils Lake was busy in a meeting. So we sat it out, drifting across the lake. Other boaters went by, but when he tried to hail them, they simply laughed, knowing there wasn't anything he could do about it.

Anyhow after what seemed like days (but were several hours) the other warden came with his boat, tethered our boat to his and pulled us to the shore much to the enjoyment of all the other fishermen many of who had been on the receiving side of my friends by the book enforcement.

That night, as we stayed in the State camper, and fried the only fish I caught (anyone caught) the storm hit, producing large hail and even dropped a tornado down just a few miles from the campground.

It was the last time I went fishing with him.

Jerry 7-31-2002 23:58

RANDALL -- I love it! Thanks indeed!

howard 7-31-2002 22:56


Mark 7-31-2002 21:52



Very heavy posts this week my friends. How about some nonsense? Take a break...

Muckers is a yellow catfish who lives on the upper reaches of the Jim Ned creek. A legendary whiskey-barrel sized yellow cat, he has been sought many ways, mostly legal, a few over the line and a couple beyond the pale. But none as outright bizarre as the July expedition one night in 1997. Known in local legend as "Calling John Brooks." Just the mention of "Calling John Brooks" will always bring a big grin to those in the know. But it isn't healthy to bring up the subject to local wino and master of laid back, Red Britches.

Honest John Brooks is an old time Texas game warden. On the front line of wildlife enforcement for fifty years, Honest John is the measure by which other wardens are judged. Not one of the new crowd of college kids educated in criminal behavior and textbook solution, microscope and DNA...but an old seat of the pants game warden out in the field. Amongst Ďem. Just mention his name and wildlife poachers and game law offenders hang up spot lights and fish nets. Forty miles from any road, John can enter a deer hunters camp on foot, swift and silent and unseen. Quicker than one can say "Whitetail," hunting licenses and ID's will asked to be presented by the intrepid officer. Honest to a fault, it is a known fact that one autumn day he shot one to many whitewing doves. One over the daily limit. After discovering his error he wrote a game violation citation to himself! Consequently, an illegal attempt to relocate Muckers from the muddy waters of Jim Ned Creek to a cast iron skillet, must consider the whereabouts of John Brooks.

At the opposite end of the spectrum were a pair of small time conspirators, local malefactors and addicted fish fryers, George "Good God O'Mighty" Grayson and Red "Never seen a wine I couldn't drink before its time," Britches. Blinded by the thought of so much meat on one fish they crossed the line and entered the world of John Brooks.

"Hey George!" I shouted early that July morning. "Here's the starter you wanted."

Far back in George's Auto Repair Emporium I saw two heads pop up behind the carcass of a 1956 Chevrolet pickup. George and Red were at the back bench. George motioned me over then disappeared. I weaved through mounds of engine heads and engine blocks following a well-worn trail through the oily debris of 50 years of auto repair. But not one trip to the local scrap metal dealer. The 1956 Chevy pickup bed was overflowing with old camshafts, crankshafts, brake drums, distributors, water pumps. Inside the pickup cab, were deposited the more "valuable salvage items" old radios, air conditioner compressors, rear view mirrors, side mirrors, west coast mirrors, dozens of side vent windows, alternators, generators, carburetors and fuel injection manifolds. Gathered around the pickup were fishing rods, floor fans, partially dissembled ceiling fans, outboard boat motors, floor jacks all in new or trashed condition. Take your pick. And yes, all four tires were flat.

George and Red were huddled over a partially canvas-covered apparatus of multi-colored wires, spliced into a complex arrangement that a spider would admire. This was bolted to an old two feet by two feet liberated Texas Highway Department road sign. Clearly visible, despite a myriad of bullet holes, NO FIREARMS IN PARK warning listed an unheeded notice. Bolted in the center of the board I recognized an old time crank telephone like your great-grandmother used to have. Sans cover. Highly modified. And real trouble.

Red chuckled as he patted the old telephone. "Get the grease hot! We're going to get Old Muckers this time Randy Boy!"

"Gonna get yourself thrown in jail Red. Telephoning for fish is illegal." I ventured, warily looking over the contraption.

"It's only illegal if you get caught." Red snickered.

"And John Brooks is on vacation." George wiped his hands on a red shop towel. "We're going to have ourselves a fish fry Saturday night, yes sir! We'll need a tub of cornmeal to roll Old Muckers in!"

I noticed a small 12 volt windshield wiper motor bolted to the sign as well. It was connected to the hand crank of the telephone. When the crank is turned manually, electricity is generated by U shaped magnets about 5 inches long. This makes the phone work, al la Tom Edison and bottom dwelling catfish quiver and seek the surface. This is the yellow cat, "My hell! What the blazes is going on?" reflex!

"What's that for?" I asked indicating the wiper motor.

"I made the operation automatic, no more hand cranking." George patted the small motor. "Just clip these wires on any 12 volt battery and the wiper motor will spin the crank. The juice will flow and Old Muckers rise to our eager hands."

Red grinned. "Make things a whole lot easier."

FYI...Telephoning for fish is very illegal, possibly beyond using explosives. Though not above using a quarter stick of TNT for fishing, ("Sure fire bait Randy boy!") George and Red no doubt realized the problems sure to surface when wine and TNT are mixed. A crank telephone in a boat and a wire dragging in the water would be safer than a couple of drunks and TNT. The crank and retrieve process works like this. Initiated by the crank being turned rapidly, powerful magnets supply a charge of current into the water. Fish swimming through the water, no problem. However, fish laying on the bottom are grounded. Stunned, they will float to the surface and be gathered in. This is a bare bone's description and don't rush down to a local creek to try it with Granny's antique phone. There are many things that can go wrong and the lesser of these is being caught and heavily finned, er, penalized.

"Air ye away with us Randy Boy?" Red asked in that quaint mountain man vernacular he sometimes uses.

"Uh, when is the big trip?" I asked, mind working furiously. Must get out of this!

"We uns be up thar tonight!"

"Darn boys! I promised to take the family to the church pancake supper. Maybe next time."

A wise move on my part. The next morning just as I was about to leave for work, I received a phone call. It was George. "Randy? Can you come go my bail?"

"How much George?"

"A hundred is all I need."

George was silent, but stinking of creek water and mud and minnows and dead fish when I picked him up at the county lockup. He asked me to take him to his shop. I offered him a beer when we stopped. (Uh, never too early for a beer!) George looked terrible, hair matted with mud, shirt torn and also covered in mud. There were the remains of moss on his jeans and one boot and sock gone. His face was bruised and scratched and he had a whopping black eye.


As the silence deepened, he sighed. "I don't know where Red is. He bonded out this morning after punching me in the eye."

Indeed George had a remarkable shiner. A real beaut.

"What happened? Was it...?" I began then halted. "Did you see Muckers? Did you get him?"

George laughed softly. "Yeah we got him, then he got us!" After a moment he began. "We put in at Blackwell crossing on the Jim Ned just after sundown. Had a no-fail game plan, a cooler of Thunderbird wine all nice and cold. I borrowed my brother-in-law's trolling motor and a big battery off his tractor."

"The bulldozer he runs?"

"Yeah, the D7 cat. Randy, we went up the Ned as silent as one could want. His brand new electric trolling motor was purring along, quiet as a cat's eyebrow. A full moon was a'shinning down through them old Pecan trees and we slipped along, ghosting through the shadows. We went way up there. Where it gets real narrow and the old Pecan limbs lean over as if their leaves are drinking straight from the Ned. Kinda spooky up there, what with the moon shining through the trees and all. I had the telephone hooked up to the battery and a small mast which held a spotlight. We had it all planned."

George paused and frowned at the empty beer can. I hustled to the cooler and brought him another.

"We stopped and slung the wire into the water. I hooked up the spotlight on the battery and shined it on the water. Red looked at me and nodded. I hooked up the wiper motor to the battery. Randy, it worked perfect. In a flash there were catfish coming up everywhere, but no Muckers. I disconnected and they disappeared. (NOTE: When the telephone crank stops turning, fish regain their senses. Most people never crank longer than 30 seconds as prolonged cranking may harm the fish. Ah, :-) other than these few isolated facts I know little about the process.) We floated a bit farther down and began again. More catfish, no Muckers.

"Course, you know Red. He was knocking back the Thunderbird as if it was water. We worked up the Jim Ned for an hour, telephoning, drinking. That old fool started to sing MOON RIVER like this was some kind of a lark! Anyway, the night wore on and the moon climbed higher and higher, turning from gold to silver. Pretty soon we came upon the old railroad and stagecoach bridge. This was on the Brownwood, Cross Plains stagecoach road, now collapsed into the Jim Ned. Its real shallow along about there, not more than four foot at best.

"ĎI gotta pee,' Red told me. I stopped and tied the boat off. He climbed out and staggered down one bent steel bridge rail that ran close to the water. There was a night mist forming on the water and reflected the moon light up into the trees. Made things bright as day. Actually, I intended to telephone around here anyway and while Red was doing his thing hooked up the wiper motor."

"Oh no!" I gasp.

"Yeah, big mistake. A brain fart. Red was already wet, grounded to metal and had a direct connection to the water. He screamed like a whompas cat and fire leaped from his zipper down to the water like a lightning bolt. I jerked the clamps loose and the light went out. I pulled the wrong wire! Just as I managed to disconnect the right wire, I heard Red hollering, ĎNo! No! It's him! Plug it back in! Plug it in!!' Sure enough, there were Old Muckers right at Red's feet. He was as big as a hog, trembling on the surface, in shock. I glanced down and hooked both wires up, one for the telephone crank and one for the spotlight. Before I could look up, I heard a heck of a splash and Red screaming again. That old fool had fallen in and the telephone was tingling his toes and Muckers fins at the same time."

"I don't believe it!"

George chuckled. "Gets a lot worse. Among all the uproar someone shouts, ĎWhat the hell is going on down there?' I looked up at the bank and underneath one of them old Pecan trees was a man holding a coal oil lantern high. He had a nightshirt on, of all things, and by the Lord of all Coincidences it was Honest John Brooks. In the meantime, Red is screaming, bouncing off the creek bottom as the electric shock is steadily lifting him to high heaven when he touches bottom. Old Muckers is also flouncing around, splashing water and mud everywhere. I'm trying to disconnect the telephone, in shock at seeing John Brooks in the middle of nowhere, stunned that Red could move that fast. At one time Red and Muckers arch into the air passing each other in flight! Red's hair is sparking, Muckers fins are glowing and barefoot John Brooks is running down the creek bank with only a nightshirt on and carrying a lantern. If that wasn't the dangest mess I ever seen!"


"He couldn't have helped us! I finally got the telephone unhooked and scrambled to help Red out of the water. Poor Red, he looked like he went through an A-bomb test in a water park. I swear he was glowing from head to toe."

"What was Brooks doing?"

"Laughing his ass off! That's what he was doing. Sitting on one of them old bridge timbers laughing! You can't fool that old fox! He spotted the telephone, saw Muckers, knew immediately what was happening."

"Was Red okay?"

"You mean before or after he turned the boat over? If you mean before, Red was a little peeved and awful jittery. If you mean after, he, like me, nearly drowned when he tripped over an empty Thunderbird wine bottle in the bottom of the boat. In the process of falling out Red managed to turn the boat upside down dumping battery, telephone, trolling motor, Thunderbird wine and everything we had in the Ned. I though Honest John was going to bust a gut laughing."

"Pretty expensive fishing trip."

"You know it. Now I owe my brother-in-law for a $500.00 trolling motor, a $150.00 battery. My boat is on the bottom of the Ned, along with billfold, truck keys, my watch."

"What was John Brooks doing up there?"

"Camped out! He bought the land on both sides of the creek and was in the process of building a retirement home." George unlatched the pickup door and stepped out. "Old Honest John is a pretty good sort. Gave us a lift back into town, right to the jail of course. Despite being nearly hysterical with laughter, he busted us on a list of fishing and boating safety regulations a mile long. Told Deputy Dewright we were paddling up the Jim Ned, drinking wine and cranking that telephone. Said we went to a lot of trouble to call him up on such an ancient telephone when a cell phone would have worked."

I laughed. "Calling John Brooks! Calling John Brooks!"

George stared at me for a long minute, his face grim. "Say, that is funny. I wouldn't mention it to Red though. Not for a long, long time. Maybe not in this lifetime in fact."

Being a reliable sort of guy who respects his friends wishes, naturally I was mum on the affair for oh, about five minutes...maybe less.


Randall 7-31-2002 20:59


I understand what you are trying to say, and I think it profound enough to mention and expound upon in my post. Society is as it is, but it can change, and we can be part of that change if we are willing.

Even in the old days things were not perfect. My father lost his father when he was ten. This little family with a widow and two children had nothing but the food they could raise on the little Kentucky farm they managed to hold on to, and holding on to that farm was not easy. My father often credits two or three individuals who cared enough to provide the things that got them through. When my father was ten or eleven, a jeweler in town gave my dad a job and appreticed him in watch repair. That job plus the generousity of just a few people got my father through school and allowed that family to survive without losing everything they owned. This all happened in the height of the depression. On the other hand, there was a corrupt judge who tried to take my grandmother's property as he had the property of other widows in the community (everyone wasn't nice). There were also other people who wanted nothing to do with my father's family after they had fallen on hard times. So apathy and unkindness were rampant even then. And the people who were helpful in the 1930's were not the majority. Most were apathetic as they are now.

People haven't changed. Society has changed in that there are laws now against employing ten year old children. The government would have to take care of such a family now and with often disasterous results. I think perhaps the government, well intentioned as it is, has done more to separate people from each other than anything. If someone gets into problems, there is always a government program they can hook into, and we don't personally have to worry about them. Also the news media tells us horror stories about people, so we all believe there is some horrendous socialpath on every street corner. And then there are the law suits. People try to help and then get sued. I think people are just plain too intimidated to put themselves out for people they don't know (I know I am).

That aside, I will only add that it didn't take a lot of people to make a big difference in my father's life, only two or three. I think we can all look back on our lives and remember individuals who were there for us at a critical time, and these people didn't have to provide us a lot of money or material help; they just gave us that extra push to get us over a hump. Sometimes they listened to our problems, they prayed for us, they said a good word about us to a perspective employer, they watched the children while we attended to some difficult or urgent business. They were sensitive to our needs, and they cared enough to put themselves to some degree.

I think if people would aspire to only be sensitive to those around them and provide help in times of need, I think society at large would be much better off. Often, this help involves our time and attention even more than our pocket books, and people seem to have money to give, but very few people have time or consideration to devote to others, let alone their own families.

As far as population, economic prosperity seems to help control the size of families. I do not know one prosperous country, except maybe Saudi Arabia, whose families have many kids. In the United States alone, the poorer families have more kids than the upper middle class. Actually the very rich families have an average of three kids per family, somewhat above the national average.

If you want meaningful population control, then we must find a way for poorer people to work and to improve their lot in life, and that isn't done by giving them handouts. It is done by trading relationships. Also people with fewer children are not necessary more selfish than those with bunches of children. There are so many people I know that limit the size of their families because they want to provide well for every child they do have. Unfortunately the tax structures that most developed nations have is not conducive to large families. And when the mother has to work as well as the father, that doesn't make people want to have a lot of kids either.

However many children the world breeds, you want them heathy, strong, educated and productive. That should be the goal, not numbers.

Has anyone read about China's one child policy and how they are looking at the prospect of a nation with the number of men far outnumbering the women. That is not a comforting propect, all that testesterone with no natural outlet. They should have thought of that when they killed and aborted so many girls. Perhaps with women being so rare in the future, women might be better appreciated, but somehow I doubt it. We will just have to see. It will be interesting.

When I was in college, over twenty years ago, I took an environmental course that warned of the dangers of overpopulation on the world and how it was a great crisis. According to that book, we should all of us be hurting, big time. The earth should already have been destroyed, but that stupid text book predicted nothing that actually came to pass.

Be careful whom you put your trust in.

Rhoda 7-31-2002 13:54

And yes, I do observe people, and have used my observations in some of the characters in the things I write.

More on our church -- we're not a typical Baptist church at all. Conservative, yes, Fundamentalist, again yes, (but our definition of that word may differ from yours, and certainly from the common media definition), Loving, yes. Our senior pastor grew up in our church (an extreme rarity these days) and is the same age as my oldest daughter. Our assistant is also from our area, just graduated from Bible College. We're in the process of searching for another (probably retired) pastor to concentrate on our senior saints.
We're almost to the first building stage of an activity center for the community kids, and plan an after school ministry where they can come and get help with homework, play ball, etc. And we're planning a senior living center to provide housing for older folks who need that little bit of extra help.
So yes, we're trying to make a difference, but we also have to do it with that eye toward the common sense that tells us that while we must love our neighbor as Christ commanded, we still need to be alert as the foxes that He also enjoined us to be.

howard 7-31-2002 12:21

Feeling better now -- I picked a half-gallon of dewey fresh blackberries this morning in our back lot! This is the first of the crop, and it's excellent! Got wet, scratched, bit, but who cares!?

VIV I know what you mean about knowing your neighborhood, but it still doesn't work here. We're too mobile a society. I live out where it's quiet, on a dead end gravel road in the country. We have a drug drop at the end of the road -- not too much activity there since I called the troopers -- and I now have to lock my house and barn when we leave. The school is rife with drugs, and has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state.

We are active in church, and have close ties there as well as in the general community, but unfortunately not everyone does, and we have enough transient population that we just cannot afford to take things for granted.
We have several outreach programs -- clothing bank, food cupboard, deacon's fund, etc) at our church to meet Christ's instructions to minister to the stranger. Many people take advantage of these, and try to "grab it all" for themselves. But we still try.

Bottom line is, people are people.

howard 7-31-2002 11:46

Viv - a lot of the reason I don't see the same people at the park each time I go is because we don't go to the same park each time, and we don't go every day - in fact, we don't go every OTHER day either. We go when the whim carries us there. And we live in a city of 120,000 people.

Back for more when I've finished reading a whole post.

Heather 7-31-2002 11:33

It really has nothing to do whether I am judging that mother or all boils down to the child's welfare and whose moral responsibility it is. Even if it weren't legally wrong to do what she is doing, society itself expects a certain amount of accountability.

VIV: I recognize what you are doing, and teaching your own children selflessness by example, but what does that show the other lady's children? I think it shows them that they don't have to be responsible as adults because someone will always be there, picking up what they drop. That mother should be teaching her own lessons, just like you are. It is probably unfair to measure her by what my own beliefs are, but I don't see how I could not, considering that what she is doing falls short of every standard I have ever known. It is unfortunate that she feels pressured into such a situation.

Mary 7-31-2002 9:49

Howard: Hi!

You make valid points in your last post. Especially about being responsible for your actions and having accountability instead of 'Suing Burger King because you have high cholesterol'; getting up and brushing yourself off when you fall, instead of picking a fight with the guy whose sidewalks are buckling.

I am too young to remember a time when our society was anything like where Viv lives. All I have is a Hollywood image of what that must be like. Movies like 'Stand by Me', where the group of boys are just off running around unattended and nobody seems the least bit concerned about that. They were older boys, but still. 'The Little Rascals'...where were their parents? I understand that these are fiction, but they jive with stories my mother tells me of her time growing up. She and her brothers would take off in the morning, and her mother wouldn't see her until lunch time. She remembers being in charge of her brother,David (she was 11, he was 6) and how David had to be brought home in one of the gang's wagons because he hit his head at the playground while playing 'Swamp Fox'.

Somehow my mother and her brothers survived childhood and I am sure there were at least a dozen eyes keeping tabs on them that they never even knew about.

How could my grandmother have trusted that someone else would watch her children and keep them safe? I am not so sure that Viv's neighbor trusts her neighborhood so very much or she wouldn't tell her kids to pretend they aren't home, and to be quiet or 'people would know/tell'. If the society near Viv is so helpful and caring of each other, why didn't the mother who needed help, just ask someone for it, or why didn't someone formally offer?

I am 100% certain that if that poor mother had come to Viv and said something like, "Viv, I have to work or we don't have any food, but I don't have anyone to watch my children...could you please peek in on them every few hours while I am gone?", that Viv would have agreed to do it, have even been happy to do it, the child wouldn't have to hide, or be quiet and worried all day, the mother would have the peace of mind that at least someone she trusted was keeping an eye on things, allowing her to work better, and the only difference would be the mother would have to ask for help, instead of just assuming everyone would pitch in or basically just not caring whether anyone did or not.

I don't worry about that mother's children because I think that a stranger is going to come and do something horrible to them, although that is a possibility. I worry because kids that young can't really make decisions that are always safe, even if you think they can. I could tell my daughter that the stove is dangerous..she even believes me, and if I am home, she won't go anywhere near it. But, I think that if I left her alone, the first thing she would do is go work the knobs on the stove, even if out of curiosity alone. How likely is it, that my neighbor across the street, if they are even home, will notice that she is home alone and turning the stove on...until it is too late. And why would I even imagine that it is their responsibility to notice that? I made my kids, not them. Making sure they are safe is my responsibility, not something I should just figure will be taken up in the slack by the neighborhood no matter how friendly an environment it is.

VIV: Honestly hon, if your daughter were only 5 years old, and you were living in the same place you are right now, would you leave her home alone and tell her to be quiet and hide while you were at work all day? I have a really hard time believing you would do that.

This post is getting way too long, and I apologize, but I do think I should add one more thing. I am not suggesting that neighbors shouldn't help each other without being asked. If I see my neighbor's kid riding his bike toward the road, and a car is coming, I shout out, flag the car and grab the bike if I can make it in time. If I see a loose dog in the neighborhood, dragging a chain, I will tie him up to my tree and call the number on his tag. Those are all things that good, caring neighbors do without ever being asked. But knowing whether or not a neighbor's kid is home alone and trying to make sure they are safe and fed all day just isn't right. I wouldn't do that to someone else and I think it is a very unrespectful thing to do to a child. How loved can that kid possibly feel?

Mary 7-31-2002 9:13

Howard: I agree with you entirely and the thing I'm trying to point out is that we are the solution. WE have to initiate the process in our own lives and show it to our children. By learning to act "neighborly" (unselfishly and in non-condemning ways) we teach our children. I always teach my children first that there is a big difference between true morality and simply obeying man-made laws and rules. The Roman Government had a nice set of legislators but it was an immoral society. What caused the big shift between law abiding and moral society? There was a big difference in the rule of Constantine, wasn't there? Why?

A neighborhood is a bit the same as a society. Mine is a gaijin (foreigner's ghetto). It is full of marginalized individuals and I'm reminded of Steinbeck every time I ride my bike around the potholes in the street. It could be a scary place if you didn't know the people. I think that being condemning and afraid perpetuates the problem of mistrust and violence. What you need to do Howard is look at what Christ said about community. Why bother to go to a Church week after week?

It's so you begin to know the other people. If you see a group every Sunday, slowly you get to know them. You see what they are like by their actions and in time you understand them. Understanding brings acceptance and forgiveness for big goofs and gaffs. You also can identify the major troublemakers in the group. (And there are going to be some! If you know who they are you can take precautions against getting hurt.) HOPEFULLY everyone is working to acheive those Christian values but often I find churches are a nice mixture of politics and game playing. Sometimes I have to snort when I see how disparate the words of the sermon and the actions of the people are. What is important though is I know the characters and I can predict pretty accurately how they will behave in a given circumstance! That's safety. I know who to trust and who to avoid.

The same goes for your neighborhood. If you take 30 minutes every everning to walk around the block as people come home, you'll get to observe who lives on your block. If you know who lives there and what they look like you have a safety advantage. It might take you a year but that's a short investment of time. Our community is highly mobile but as long as I keep active and outside by watering plants in the front yard, sitting on the front porch, taking walks, riding my bike...and uh, going to church in the neighborhood (most folks are too lazy to get up and go a long way to get to another church) I learn the characters who make up my community. What is nice, they make great characters to write about. Think of this not as a frightening journey among savages but as a character study and HAVE A LITTLE FUN along the way. Good luck!

Say....why don't you write about the people you meet and make up some stories about them. In a year, re-read the stories and see if you were right.

Viv 7-31-2002 8:44

I guess one's view of the child care issue depends solely on the surrounding society. Lets face it, some places in this world -- even in different regions of the same countries -- are simply not nice. VIV, you've found what works where you live (and I wish it could be that way here), but I'm afraid that places such as you describe are becoming very rare.

It used to be that way here too, but we, as well as most of the rest of "enlightened" society, have almost completely outgrown those old-fashioned ideas about respect, love, cooperation, sharing -- the virtues that make possible the social structure you describe. We've allowed them to be replaced by greed, self-gratification, fault-finding, situational ethics, and just plain mis-trust.

We've learned how to use the law that is supposed to strengthen and protect us, to instead take from others what we really don't deserve. And we justify it by saying that that's probably the way they got it in the first place.

And we've learned how to exploit people -- even our own children -- in order to gain status, wealth, fame, or whatever it is that gets us just that little bit closer to some perceived goal.

And we've learned that we do not have to accept the responsibility, nor even the consequences for our actions.

I was just reading in the paper about a law suit that was filed here recently against Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, and KFC, by a 56 year old man who contends that his obesity, diabetes, two recent heart attacks, and other general health problems were their fault -- stemming from his eating their fast food four times a week. Seriously! In this country I can make a pig of myself, get sick, then blame it on everyone but me!

Everyone says it's the lawyers who are at fault here, and that's probably partly true, but they're just taking advantage of a gold mine opened by the avarice of the average citizen.

Heck of a way to start the day -- sorry -- but it's been on my mind lately.

howard 7-31-2002 7:33


*puff* *puff* now where was I? Oh yeah, I would love that the whole world was happy ever after and nobody ever starved and there was no tyranny and peace and love was the goal in everybody's heart.

Utopia, they call it, but utopia is greek for no place.

So long as there are those who lust after power and money and self gain. So long as there is ignorance and hate in the world, and as long as human beings exist that will pretty much always be the case.
Just look at Tibet.
So, I can join in the real world and stand up for the country I love and try and do my best for it, or I can say to hell with it, won't matter to me when I'm dead.

Think I'm finished now.

Teekay 7-31-2002 2:21

JERRY: I am from Ohio and most of the people I know really like Jim Trafficant, even though it is publicly believed that he is as crooked as a dog's hind leg. His main hangouts were only about a half hour south of where I live, so he was constantly in the news here. I personally believe that he took 'gifts', I believe that he had government employees working on his ranch while they were on government payroll time. Everyone I know believes he did those things and others...and yes..we would still reelect him. He is like the big man in the town, who everyone knows is slightly off-color, but you can go to him and he will help you because he can. He speaks his mind, I haven't seen him hold his tongue even once. His hair is too weird to be believed, almost daring someone to say something about it. I don't know...we just LIKE him.

I think it is typical that he was tossed out on his ear by a bunch of people just as crooked as he is. You would think they would at least take care of their own. If they are worried about one bad apple spoiling the barrel, they are too late! I think he was targeted, and couldn't really defend himself very well because he is guilty as sin...BUT..I don't think he has done much worse than anyone else in his position. Geez...we had a President who was worse than this guy and we couldn't get him thrown out!

I am not trying to belittle what he did...if he really did do the things he was charged with(and I believe he did), they are serious! But the general opinion here could an uncrooked man ever even survive in politics nowadays? I want someone representing me who can hold his own with the other gangsters. (Yes, I know...horrible sentiment.)

VIV: My neighbor came to me to ask me to watch her little boy and I happily said yes, but if she had just left for work one day and left him in the house, expecting all the neighbors just to pitch in and pretend they weren't, I would probably just want to smack her. If a mother finds herself in a situation where she is forced to leave her child, that doesn't mean that her responsibility to that child ends when she turns the key. She should make arrangements to see to the safety of her children before she goes off to wherever it is she goes. Pretend they aren't home? Hide? Be quiet? Sneak cookies under the door? Nobody will ever convince me of that being the way to go about things. Sorry. Also, my husband worked for Children's Services here in Ohio for almost two years. Everyone hates a children's services worker, but they do get a bad rap. He said that 75% of the time, the molester is a family member, not some mug-shot looking dude invading your space. Those are the kidnappers and murderers. Humans are humans and America didn't invent child just aren't seeing it with your particular neighbors.

Hello to everyone else too! I suddenly got tired...but I will be back tomorrow to post a shortie topic for Thursday! I know...not much notice, but sometimes that is a good thing!

Mary 7-31-2002 2:11


HEATHER & TINA: On one level I totally agree with you on the birthrate thing. Worldwide it would be a good thing. Less stress on the enviroment, less polution, less need (maybe), but putting it in the perspective of economics and how the world is today and from the viewpoint of being an Australian, our birthrate is really very low, not a big deal unless you consider who's going to be looking after Nan and Pop when they become too old to care for themselves and there's no one to man the nursing homes, or who even wants to, I guess we can have the 5 year olds stay at home and look after them instead, if there are any 5 years olds.

Who's taxes are gonna pay for things like health, education, pensions, roads and all the rest of it? Of course we could just throw open the immigration doors and boost the population that way, but it's not a matter of this generation, it's a matter of the next, and although Australia may look big on a map, only the outer part of it is of much use to anyone.

Another solution is to have people put down when they get beyond their use (judged by society's standards, ranked on wether they are making money, or draining it.)

Or we can force people to take up yoga, give up smoking, no alcohol, no late nights, so they remain in optimum health and don't need aged care and can keep working till the cows come home, or till they drop dead.

Wether Australians have children or not, it's not going to solve the problems in other countries, but if they don't they'll be looking at a big problem of their own in a few years time.

Could go on, but have to take daughter to soccer training.

BTW: I apologise to the feminists. I have so very much to thank them for.

Teekay 7-31-2002 1:57

It sure seems weird that your neighborhoods are so abandoned and filled with strangers. Why would you not see the same women at the park every day Heather? Do you go to the park every day at the same time? I do because that's a great way to make friends. At first, I go at different times and observe how many kids are in the park. The time of day when the most amount of children are present is a good time to start forming the local kid and mother pack. I do that also with the library, little streams or brooks where people hang out. The street is a natural draw but that is because there are few other places to go.

By the same token, I always have a package of bandaids,and a small bag or roll of hard candy in my purse. Makes for handy little offerings when I want to say hello.

Rhoda: It's hard to be new. Here in Japan we take a small gift to each of the neighbors on all four sides and apologize for the "disturbance caused by our moving in." Then you introduce yourself. It takes about 5 minutes and that's it. You don't go in the house. You just let them know who you are and that if you have a problem the lines of communication are open. It's required polite behavior.
I used the same approach in Germany and it worked out well.

Swim lessons given by the Red Cross at the public swimming pools are also great neighborhood attractions in America. I used to go back to America once a year in summer to let my children get to know their grandparents. We spent a month or two in each State . Things were quiet at first. However,we always found a pretty good kid pack by the end.

The competition for a place in the classes was a little stressful. We had to go at 5:00AM to sign up our children. This gave us a chance to stand in line at an unholy hour of the morning and meet each other. I always packed a big thermos of coffee and a bunch of cups with me. Then I sort of took a cup and handed some others out. That took the competitive edge off our placement in line. Some of the classes would fill and you couldn't get in. I also tried not to get in the first 1/4 of the line. I stayed at the mid-halfway point. It wasn't vital we got those lessons, just nice. What was important is I knew what time the lessons began and let out. That was kid pack time because there were lots of kids about on a regular basis. We all got in most swim sessions.

I don't take people into my house much. Everyone is more an outside friend. Our climate is mild. We enjoy being outside because inside the house is so tiny. The park, the church yard, the front step, the backyard are better. In rainy season the kitchen will do but it's always messy in our homes. There is nowhere to put things away. After awhile you just figure that a messy house is like a big nose...once you get to know a person inside and out, you don't notice it. There's also a reason for the outside only rule...I don't want to talk too long. I have to work on my projects.

Viv 7-30-2002 22:39


I viewed some of the pictures. What a lovely family you have and what a lovely sedding.

Rhoda 7-30-2002 22:39

Here, here, Tina!

I wonder, if we traced back all of modern ideas, how long ago was the moment that each was first thought of?
Wouldn't that make an interesting premise for a book.

Uh, oh, here we go!

Thanks, Howard, now I know what joke to tell Mom on her 60th! HA HA HA

Heather 7-30-2002 22:13

HEATHER -- I thought everybody knew by now -- the phenomenon known as global warming is actually being caused by all those baby boomers having hot flashes!


howrad 7-30-2002 21:56

Must say, I've never understood the perception that reduced birth rates is a bad thing. I wish that MORE countries had reduced birth rates. The world doesn't need more people. I feel sick when my government claims that reduced birth rates are the reason for increased immigration. There are plenty of good reasons for immigration, but low birth rates is not one of them. I think Canada is 'over crowded' already, thank you very much I LIKE being able to drive for three hours on a major highway and not go through a town.
And if anyone is thinking 'it's bad for the economy'... well then maybe we should be rethinking the entire concept of 'economy'.
A balloon filled with helium will float, and will float higher with more helium, but too much helium and it goes 'pop!'

Okay that's a crappy analogy but you know what I'm saying... :-p

Tina 7-30-2002 19:57

Oh, and hey, low birth rates are okay. This world has never had so many people on it in all known history. I don't think we have to worry about running out of beloved Aussies!
But, I think we do need to worry about population explosions when children all over the place are starving to death. We've messed with Nature too much!

Not only that - anyone ever thought that microwaves, just zooming all over the place might not be responsible for global warming? JUST THOUGHT I'D GIVE YOU ALL A LAUGH.........:oD

Heather 7-30-2002 19:42

Yes, that WAS indeed the original argument - one that I side with Teekay on. Doesn't matter what the circumstances are, to me, it is NEVER okay to leave kids alone that are that young. Ever.

Heather 7-30-2002 19:38


VIV: Not quite sure how I managed to lodge myself so firmly up your nose.

Maybe it was this:

VIV: I don't know how long you've lived in Japan for, but I'm assuming it's long enough to have become comfortable watching and even excusing a way of child rearing that in other cultures may be unacceptable, and had you never gone to Japan may be to you unacceptable also.

If so, it was merely a hypothetical observation. You may very well feel it's fine to leave a 5 year old to care for a 1 year old wether you were in Japan or not.
Personally I wouldn't give a shit if the Grandparents were living right next door I would never feel comfortable doing such a thing, but like I said, Lucky me, I have the option of choice.

Not quite sure either what you mean by sharing the wealth, by which I assume you're speaking of the monetary kind.

Don't know about this large group of Australians who visited Japan (Poor buggers, where did they get the money???) or their point of view. I know in the 80's things were pretty harsh here, but since then things have been looking up, and there are plenty of jobs to be had, seems they're the ones nobody wants though.
Perhaps your friends were teaching bio linguists and there were a shortage of jobs in that field, still are for all I know, or maybe they only wanted to work in the city, or maybe they're just bloody whingers who felt themselves above manual labour.

In regard to your response to this:

Australia is at the moment going through it's lowest birthrate ever, why?
Certainly not because they're worried about what population growth might do to the enviroment, but because they find a beach house, two cars and a yearly holiday far more attractive than parenthood.
AND because the media, and feminists have been telling women for years that being a mother is just one step down from cleaning loo's. (you get paid for loo cleaning)

I didn't mean it as a good thing. I meant that values are distorted. Materialism is taking a firm hold, chasing a buck is leading this country into an aged care crisis, and perhaps an economic meltdown, not necessarily a bad thing, I like the idea of close knit communities and growing beans, but if it happens there will be other's looking to take it over for its financial viability.

Teekay 7-30-2002 19:03

Ooooph! Rhoda, I think that bit of very wise advice goes for just about anything with more than five ingredients!!!

Heather 7-30-2002 16:13

That's the castle I visited on the way to Quebec City, when we made a stop in Kingston! Loved it - but all I remember is the view from the boat and then the great hall and staircase. Think I'll take a gander at those pictures!
Thanks, Howard! That would have been SOME weddin'!

Americo, 'twas not me! I made up no such rhyme.
Where on earth did 'hack' come from, anyway? Were writers nicknamed 'hack' because of the sound of the typewriter keys?
Somebody? Anybody?

Viv - well, we can agree to disagree on where we might allow our kids to tag along, but helping out the neighbours and friends is something I am always willing to do.
Actually, one of my neighbours about three houses down from us on the opposite side of the street runs a private daycare from her home; one of my daughter's friends told me they had a dog with puppies, so we all went over and I ended up talking with her for a few hours; most of my closeby neighbours have either no kids or their kids are teens, so it was fun talking and watching the kids all playing together. When I take the kids to the park, we often won't see the same bunch of kids/parents twice, or at least not often enough to get to know them much.
Turns out it was not a litter of puppies at my neighbour's, but one really shabby looking mix - between a toy poodle and a chihuahua. I think folks, for the ugliest dog ribbon, we have a winner! It was just so small the kids thought it was a pup.
It had the chihuahua coat with interspersed long, pubic-curl black hairs poking out pell-mell, so that it looked as though it were balding and mangy. Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't have patted it with a fly swatter.


I did see a mix once that blew my mind, and it was a lovely dog. It was a mix between a german shepherd and (forget the name) a weiner dog. It had the body of the weiner dog, but with the shepherd fur, and the head! By God! Adorable, but huge! Huge furry ears. I don't remember what the tail was like, but I was sitting in a coffee shop, writing poetry on napkins, and was gazing out the window, (waiting for that she-bitch of inspiration, no doubt) when I saw the dog. The owner was in a phone booth outside. I actually left a steaming cup of perfectly good java sitting there to run out and ask the owner if I was right about what two breeds had been amalgamated to produce that wonder of a pup! (Hey, if YOU left your coffee in a busy coffee shop, would YOU come back in and drink it anyway?)


Heather 7-30-2002 16:10

Eatin haggis. Lucky, lucky, LITTER, if that is what he is doing. Scottish food is similar to Cajun food--delicious and to be enjoyed, just never, never ask what is in it.

Rhoda 7-30-2002 13:54

Make that Wedding -- not sedding -- doggone tupos, anyway!

howard 7-30-2002 12:14

By the way, there are some candid pix of the sedding at
if anyone's interested. They'll be out there for a while.

howard 7-30-2002 12:07

I sent these Boldt Castle links to TEEKAY and she said that perhaps RHODA would be interested in them as well. Then I thought that anyone who likes castles might be interested in them. This is where my niece was married this past Saturday. It's about 2.5 hours north of here, on an island in the St Lawrence.

It's a beautiful place, although it is representative of the excesses of the so-called "Golden Age." But it also shows how far one can rise above poverty in this coountry, if one has a mind to.


and a wintertime picture at

A 360 virtual tour at

There's much more...

howard 7-30-2002 10:19

By the by, TONY -- several of our number are in and from the UK, so there shouldn't be much of a language problem. Except, perhaps, for that crazy Scotsman who doesn't come 'round nearly as often as we'd like!
LITTER! Enough of the haggis now, come back and talk to us!

howard 7-30-2002 9:01

TONYHUGHES -- What you've stumbled across here very much depends on your point of view.
For me it's a group of friends who happen to also be writers, in varying stages. We're a group of people sharing common interests, agreeing (or disagreeing) on the thoughts and things that make life interesting. We come here to rest, rave, recuperate, rant, rejoice, remonstrate, rehearse, rehash,,,and write! (Wrim-shot, anyone?) :-)
Anyway, if you're of a mind, come on in - and welcome!

howard 7-30-2002 8:56

Well, what have i stumbled across here...?

Tony Hughes 7-30-2002 7:05


You seem to have a lovely life and have found many good friends. I wish that our communities were more like that. If I could change things I would, but though I have met many supportive people and have had the opportunity to help out with other's children, I find these situations much the exception.

People here in the States mean well, but it is true that trust is lacking, and sometimes with good reason. It will probably be the end of us all someday because a community where there exists no trust cannot long be a democracy.

People are so busy and do not take the time to know the neighbors. It just isn't a prioity for most people. It isn't that we all fear that the next door neighbor is a child molestor, but we fear ridicule and we fear people seeing that we are fallible human beings who have messy houses.

I have moved around so much that I don't know anyone anymore. Probably the people who know me best outside of my family are all of you here on the Notebook. I think that is pathetic. Cyber friends are great, but nothing can take the place of face-to-face friends. No doubt that is my fault, but just about the time I start making friends or learning about my community, we move, and I know we are not alone in this. Things are topsy-turvy with many, many people

Social life in The United States of America SUCKS!!! I will not deny it. When I think about the rocky start I had with some of my neighbors in Owasso and contrast that situation with the one VIV describes, I want to cry.

All I can do is to try to be part of the solution and not the problem. I don't know how long I will be here in Louisiana, but I feel challenged to do a better job of serving my community than I did in Oklahoma. I realize that as an outsider, I must put in at least two to three times the effort to initiate or further a friendship as anyone else, but it is worth it.

As far as child rearing, I have no argument with anyone. VIV, I do not walk in your shoes and I will never tell you or anyone else how to handle your family. I am glad that whatever you are doing works.

If there was a great argument or debate going here, it was not my intention and it wasn't in my mind. Perhaps I see things a little differently, but I have to operate in the world in the realm of my situation and my experience just like anyone else.

Rhoda 7-30-2002 0:43

Heather, the parachute is an old old idea, you're right. But think of an old wheel on a horse-drawn cart, then the kind on a model-T, and then the blizzak on a modern SUV. There you have the original idea for a parachute, the earliest round parachutes used in the military, and the square/eliptical styles used by sport parachutists today. The biggest differences? Control and reliability. Old style parachutes got you to the ground safely - usually - but with little real control. Sport parachutes - 'ram air' style - are consistently reliable and very controllable, and can be landed as softly as stepping off the last stair of a stairway.

Okay enough technical. Touche, 'It's all been done before' is a proper truism. BUT! Go take a look around an average home, and you will find a long list of things that simply didn't exist 50 years ago, and are now taken for granted.

Viv, I think that when you return to the US, you will be in for some culture shock. It's not about which view is right or wrong, they are just different. Very very different. As a child-less person, I observe child-rearing with a sense of curiosity. My observation about what I've read here is that your way involves a level of trust for ones neighbours that many people in North America have lost.

I'm bushed tonight. I think I'm gonna go kick back, relax, and hold my new gear. Did I mention that she's beautiful? (sigh)

Blue skies!

Tina 7-29-2002 23:41

Hi all, back from a weekend party for my daughter! It was one of those looooong 15 year old pajama parties with as many guests as years old. Whew! Took me a day to recover from that one. I'm getting old.

Jack: Can't let the subject of child rearing go untouched. Too much said in my absence with which I have 100% disagreement and/or agreement. This is too long but I have a lot I want to write.

Teekay: It's nice you live in such a rich community that people only work for luxuries like boats and second homes. Gee! Wouldn't it be nice if the rest of the world were able to share wealth like that.

This is interesting because we had quite a large group of Australians come to Japan to teach a few years ago. They said they couldn't get jobs in Australia! Some Australians might actually not be sharing in the wealth quite the same way you are.

You need to watch those who are doing service oriented jobs. Hotel and groundskeeping services, boutique owners, tailors shops, your pool cleaner perhaps, maybe that telemarketer who distrubed your dinner. You'll see representation from the first generation immigrant community. Generally you will see the Hispanic, Thai, Philappino, African, Chinese, Korean, and Siri Lankan community represented. What's funny is these people have children despite the fact they haven't any money. Maybe it's due to the fact that many are Catholic.

The problems come in childcare when a job is lost, or their support network of family and friends return to the home country. They come as a group and work like they are driven. The family breaks as the father gets sick, the uncle gets married and goes back home, the friend gets homesick and returns.... the mother tries to keep it going alone. Sometimes only the mother is left with the children because it's where she can best make enough to feed the family. In the meantime part of her paycheck goes back to her parents in her country. Family loyalty and loyalty to friends drives them.

Often the Philappina women were in our American military and had to get out because they had a knee or back injury. I think it has to do with calcium intake but they can't take the rigerous P.T. reqired by the peace time army. These women are beyond patriotic. They are loyal Americans to a fault because they just got their citizenship. We have occasional real arguments over things I think are wrong in America because they refuse to believe that the country ever does anything wrong at all. Someday, they dream they'll go to America. Most of them never get that far but they treasure their American citizenship and they call their children proud American names like Candy and Jessie. Sometimes they were only prostitutes who married GI's to get out but got beaten and left for a "better looking one" in Japan.

Often these women have two or three jobs. Seldom do they buy luxuries but what they are rich in is children.

I'm a foreigner so I live among the foreign neighborhood. Here every woman who is home is Auntie. I am Auntie. The kids come over for bandaids and I keep a box handy. If they come with bigger problems, I listen. I keep rice in my rice cooker for snacks and the front door is open and unlocked. When I can I help. I'm working myself, because we have housepayments in the states, and grocery bills, and a yen rate that can change overnight. I also have a teenage daughter who I teach myself, and home to run. I keep to my priority which are home teaching, home, then work and then the outside world. It's selfish but survival. Everyone does the same.

Why do I work? For fun??? Well, I love my job but no, it's not simple amusement value. Beyond the fact that it keeps me from becoming lazy and selfish, I do it so I won't go broke! My husband is in government service, so we are paid in dollars. We do not get Cost of Living Allowance. This can affect your budget strongly when the yen rate changes.

Look at it this way, you rent a house at 110 yen to the dollar. The yen rate changes and suddenly it costs 220 to the dollar to rent the same house. That makes a difference in the way you budget. (and where you rent) Add change in housing costs to the change in the cost of fruit, meat, milk, and vegetables. Add again the cost of clothing when it wears out. Add again the cost of transportation because you either pay for the train or the highway tolls. You come up with a few reasons to keep your hand in at work to help out the husband. Also, it's nice to get out and do a job because you realize what it's like for the other women who work. You find out it's not all fun and games and running around in a power suit. There are politics and rainy days. There are days when you don't feel good, and responsiblities that have to be met by deadline. There are days you want to do more for someone but have to balance your budget of time and energy. It's a balancing act and everyone in the family comes together and makes it happen unselfishly. Then we reach out to the neighborhood and do our best. The others in our neighborhood do the same.

Heather: Wouldn't it be wonderful if all these kids could be taken by the hand and walked across the street. Unfortunately, there aren't any sidewalks and the nearest play place is the church yard two streets over. As there is very little car traffic, we use the streets as playgrounds, the driveway is the place (not for the second car, but the plastic wading pool). Yes, mothers and Aunties sit outside and watch the kids splash. It's a community that works together. It makes it easier for the mother if you go over and chat because she can go inside and go to the bathroom or change over her laundry. It's also nice for a mother to get a glass of tea delivered that she doesn't make herself. These women do too much and never get a real break or mothering.

What the mother has to realize though is unless she puts out the pool, fills it with water, and sits in her driveway too...I'm not coming out with a glass of ice tea for her. I won't be there to watch the kids unless she initiates the activity. I don't put out a pool myself because my daughter is a teenager.

Carol: You hit the nail on the head. I do not raise anyone else's children. If a mother chooses to leave a young child in charge, because she's in a terrible bind...keep that job or loose the work visa....I'm not going to tell child protective services. Women in that bind don't usually tell anyone. You know from the things you hear from the kids or the neighbors. Women who leave children say, "visit Auntie if there is trouble and play with the others like a normal day." Or they say, "lock the door and stay inside. Act like you aren't here. Don't make any noise. People will find out."

You don't talk, you don't try to take over and raise another just say to the kids if you see them in the street, "Hey, your nose is running. You feel ok. Just a minute wait there." You go in the house, get a washcloth, wash the face, neaten the hair, hand the kid a ball of rice with a little tuna and say, "Come over a little later because I got a deal on a box of corn. I need to give some to your mother or it will all go bad."

If the children are in the house alone and you hear them because it's impossible to stay quiet enough in these go to the door and knock. You say loudly, "Oh, must not be home. Darn, and I had these nice cookies to give them." Then you put the tupperware down and leave. If there is trouble they know you are home. That's how you handle the job of Auntie. If they come over later after Mama gets home, to return your dish, you thank them and say that they should always feel free to visit if there's a problem...and if you aren't home to visit Auntie Edna up the street or Auntie Nitnoy across the street. All of us are old women who know how to keep our eyes open and our mouths free of gossip.

If the mother asks we help, but she has to initiate the process. She won't. She's teaching responsibilty for family in her own way. Here everyone is responsible to the family because that's what makes us strong. Our families are stronger than the wealthy families and we don't fight and bicker like they do!

Sorry folks for the last word but from the foreigner's corner you all look kind of silly. And no, we don't have child molesters in our area. Anyone unknown in our neighborhood is the subject of scrutiny. You stand in your doorway and watch that person walk down the street. There is always someone home because most of the jobs are part time. It's not like the houses empty out at 7:00 and then fill up again in the evening. It's a loud, dusty littlle street full of children. No front yards, maybe a narrow strip in the back. I own a luxurious enough place that we can have a small picnic table in our backyard and a little wooden frame greenhouse my husband built for me for Christmas. I've put baskets of flowers all over the walls and on my front fence as well. It looks absolutely luxurious. It's my castle and it's safe. I didn't lock the doors until the wealthy American family that hates brown skinned people moved in close by. They smash my flowers, laugh at the other children, splash us with water when they drive by while we are coming home from work during the rainy season. And they bicker and quarrel. We watch them closely. If one hurts any child on that block, they won't step out until neighborhood justice takes place. The children have already learned this from the other kids, and the parents better watch their step. We're keeping an eye them. Flowers are one thing, being splashed is only unpleasant, but it tells us something of their character.

I think that's why child molesters don't do too well in Japan...especially in our neighborhood. Here children are the best thing we own. We are proudly raising the next generation of Japanese, American, Siri Lankins, Philappino, Thai, Chinese, and Koreans. We look at this dirty flock of little sparrows and all of us beam with pride because we see the future leaders of Japan, America, Siri Lanka, Phillappines, Thailand and Korea. They are the smartest, best, most respectful, wonderful group of kids you'd ever meet. Do you want to see a picture of my child? Oh yes, and then you have to see mine!

What can we do in America? I guess we can look around us and say hello and be friendly to everyone rich and poor. We can watch for places we might be of service to someone in service. Most of all we can watch the young mothers and give a hand where possible. We don't need more laws, we need more kind actions and a lot more understanding for others.

Viv 7-29-2002 22:00

Jack: I did not write the post of 07-25-02 19:54. Someone else used Jon's name to ask the workbook back. I would not use those words to address you.

Considering, however, that the post was for a good cause, perhaps we should forgive the "ghost writer" of our notorious cat and let him/her go with just a good smack on her/his buttocks for the abusive use of Jon's name. Was it you, Heather?

Americo 7-29-2002 20:29

Jon: I still have the Workbook on my schedule, but paying gigs and my divemaster responsibilities have things tied up. Luckily, some of the things I am doing for the paying gig may help me work through what I need to do to get the Workbook up and running. Keep your fingers/paws crossed. Take care.

Jack Beslanwitch 7-29-2002 19:35


HEATHER: I think there's been at least 2 airshow disasters since DEBRA mentioned her dream, maybe even 3, but the last one was 2 days ago in the Ukraine. In the last flyover the plane lost control and crashed into the crowd killing 83 people and injuring so many more.

Teekay 7-29-2002 19:23

Howard, thank you. :o>

Tina - But the parachute itself is quite an old idea.... and the one you speak of is an improvement on that, right?
What innovations does it feature? (I'm so curious!)

Heather 7-29-2002 12:04

Hi all!

Jerry, not 'professional' by any stretch of the most active imagination. 'Novice' would be the word ;-)

Heather, I can name one that keeps me very happy on weekends. The 'Ram Air Parachute'.

Yes I've been thinking about Debra lately. And Allein, and Gariess, and Christi, and all of our lurking/absent notebookers. Hope all is well with you people!

Off to work now. Blue skies!

Tina 7-29-2002 10:23

HEATHER -- That is beautiful!

howard 7-29-2002 7:34

Oh, sorry - TEEKAY - THANK YOU. :oD

Heather 7-29-2002 5:48

Teek, what do you mean EVERY time? I haven't heard of one!

Fly high and proud, girlie!
(If you remember that song, just shhhhhhhh, and pretend you're 21)

Taylor - were you born in the 60's, or the 80's? I'm assuming it was the latter! Either way, you didn't have to walk around in Phentex slippers (ie: banana peels dipped in WD40) nor did you have to hang onto a pole in the wind when your thunder-flapping skin-stinging polyester bellbottoms threatened to take to the air. (Did I mention the 'pants' were red and white striped polyester? With button-down front pockets and a mean whistle?)
You didn't have hair without a part in it, corduroy that whined as you walked, satin jackets that could put an eye out under a disco lamp, the dizzying stench of perm solution permanently singed into your nasal passages, or sequinned anything. Lucky you!

Jerry - I'm SO glad you finally got some rain! I didn't realize it was THAT dry in your area. :(
You know, I think the mentality/attitude, or perhaps even morals that many associate with the 1950s could be attributed to the aftermath of the great depression and WWII.
Oh yes...Tina - most of the great innovations and discoveries of the 20th century were BEFORE 1950. Even the dishwasher and the microwave were both invented in the 40s. Most of what has gone on since the 50s is merely a refinement of technology; the sizing down (and complication) of everything. When we once had telephones with a dial, now we have phones that have as many buttons and functions as can be fit onto the faceplate. The concept of analog cell phones was also a pre-50s idea, as was the video phone (modern version is the digi-cam for the computer, so you can see who you're chatting with). Some ideas just didn't happen to go over well, so the concept or actual technology was ditched until later. Most everything has merely been improved upon - it would be very difficult to name more than ten things invented since 1950! Quite amazing, really.

G'night everyone! zzzzzz

Heather 7-29-2002 5:48


HEATHER: If I'm understanding your poem correctly, it is truly lovely.

TINA: CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU GIRLY!!!!!!!! You sure brought a smile to my face with you enthusiasm.

JERRY: I'm so glad to hear it rained. Seems like this time last year you were telling us about storms almost everyday.
Love a good storm.

Does anybody else here think of DEBRA everytime they hear something on the news about an airshow accident???

Teekay 7-29-2002 1:58

I was so busy in the fifties, I forgot to mention, last night we finally got a good rain. It all started about bedtime, the NWS had a sever thunderstorm warning for most of this county. They didn't include us in the warning though, and I didn't know why exactly, I was watching the clouds on the weather channel, and it looked like it was headed straight for us. The warning said to expect winds in excess of eighty miles per hour and torrential rains.

Well they were right, I guess, the warning expired just seconds before the storm hit here. It had lots of wind, although I don't know how fast, as I went to bed when they cancelled it, after closing up the windows in preparation of the storm.

We lay there in the dark, listening to the howl of the wind, the thunder claps coming one after the other, each louder then the last, until the flash and bang were together, the flash so bright that it lit up the bedroom completely.

Our dog and cat who aren't allowed in our bedroom began scratching at the door, as the thunder got louder they scratch, whined, and meowed louder, then they began jumping on the door, I swear they were both jumping together, until at last the door flew open and both animals were on the bed in a jump, and under the covers so quickly we hardly saw them.

They say that a tornado sounds like a train, and after being very close to a couple I agree, but the sound of that storm was different. There wasn't a train sound, no it was more like a hair dryer, or something close to that, but very loud, a sort of aaawwwwaawww sound, I got up and looked out the window, but could see nothing, the wind had dissipated, and the rain was coming, nice and steady, a rain like we have been praying for for so many weeks, months.

After a bit I realized what I was hearing were the voices of the city, the farmers, the very dry parched drought infected earth itself with an aw of relief, the drought might be over.

We got an inch and a quarter last night, and another half inch today. It's too late for the farmers, as the crops are all but dust, their hay might get the second cutting, but without that first hay will be in very short supply, and of course, straw will be naught, since there was no grain to harvest.

All over this area, farmers and ranchers are selling off their livestock, simply not enough feed to keep them going after the drought, not enough water for the cows in the pastures, and what water was left before last night has gone bad with alkali poisoning.

Hope this rain is just the beginning of a long line of rain storms so at least we can have a week or three of green grass before the snow flys.

So we now have a professional jumper amongst us? Or is it a regular jumper, well at least non student jumper. Congratulations.

Jerry 7-29-2002 0:44

Hi all!

Wow wow wow wow wow wow WOW!

Okay I'm sorry to interupt the rather serious vein of conversation, but WOW!

What a weekend! On Saturday I got off of student status, so now I'm a real honest to goodness skydiver! Then in the afternoon a friend called us up and offered us free tickets to see Chilliwack in concert (a kick-butt Canadian band). Today I went back to the dropzone and jumped the gear I'm buying. I have my very own skydiving gear! Oh yeah baby! Basically, I've had a dream weekend. It doesn't get better than this. Life is good. So good that I can't even comment on the current topics, except to say that I'm thankful for modern technology, that lets me talk to all of you, stay warm and healthy, and take part in an awesome sport that wouldn't be safe and possible without the science and knowledge of the last half century. Maybe we've given up morals for 'progress', but I honestly believe that there is a balance, and it's up to each of us to find it ourselves in order for it to spread out. Truly living life, discovering and living real priorities is the first step.

Blue skies.

Tina 7-29-2002 0:25

Heather - you're right of course, there is no time like the present. I guess I was simply saying that we could use some of the values that we had back in those days. I do recall the first time I was left home alone with my two sisters, both older then I, although I don't recall their ages, I must have been four or maybe five, I wasn't in school yet.

The event was the funeral of a neighbor, one of the few who weren't related at all, but a good friend of the family. The services were held at our country church, and burial in the cemetery just over the hill behind our house.

The first thing my sisters did was to dress me in a girls bathing suit, I don't think I had one of my own so they loaned me one of theirs. Then we did the forbidden - a quick dip in the stock tank out by the windmill. When we were done, and drying in the sun sitting on the old piece of rail road tie that served as our front step, the funeral procession came into view, it would go right in front of our driveway. I was excited, because they told me that Gladys was in that long hearse, and I loved old Gladys, so when it neared the driveway, I ran up the drive, (it was about a block long) so I could wave at her when they passed, I had no idea that she was dead, I don't think I knew much about death then.

My sisters were terrified that mom and dad would see me in that one piece swimming suit and know we had been in the water tank, and they would, of course get a spanking for the infraction. They ran after me and drug me back to the house, I don't recall if the folks saw us, I don't think they did. I'll have to ask my sister at our next card game, maybe she will recall.

What I was referring to, though was attitudes, and I guess on further thought, maybe things weren't so good then, we had the blacks totally repressed in the south, Indians were considered animals, Hispanic folks were thought of as dolt, all carrying knives ready to cut one's throat at the drop of a hat. Oh but we white folks were so very superior, we knew it all, we ran it all, and we were always right.

DWI was considered in the same zone as a parking ticket. Drinking and driving were common traits in everyone I knew. We didn't know what seat belts were (aren't they something in airplanes?) Dad always had a pint in between the back and the seat of the back seat that we kids were in charge of retrieving when he drove to town. Nobody gave a damn if a kid ran the streets while their folks were in getting drunk.

Wild life was there for our consumption, or at least that's what dad thought, and that one time he got caught with too many deer, the warden took them all, and on his way off the place told dad that if we got hungry to let him know as he kept all the meat in his deep freeze and would deliver a bundle for us.

My first grade teacher was fired because he told the class of farm kids that he was late for school one morning because his calf had the scowers.

Women still wore skirts and dresses, they never applied for, or expected a job but knew their place was in the home. Well most women, there were some "loose women" in town that actually wore pants and worked!

Jerry 7-28-2002 22:19

So remind me again, what was it about the 50's that was so much better than now? Or the 30's? Might I add this doesn't have to apply only to the 1900's?


There was once a silken gust of wind,
fresh, tickling,
the smell of dew; they came to me
all these things I have loved,
so fleeting!
I let the wind touch me and then
There was a moment -
of absolute, sweet stillness
before it stirred
the fronds of grass that grow
at the base of your cross
And it whispered...

Heather 7-28-2002 21:03


Being born in the 70's must have been a great time to be born... No offence people.
But never remembered being afraid of anything major. But I remember the jubilation, the excitement that my friends and I felt when they took down the Berlin wall. But can't remember which year that was.

Taylor 7-28-2002 20:51

Strange, Most of my post dissapeared?

Jack am I on rationing?

Let me try that again -
We bathed once a month in a galvanized bath tub that was in the middle of the kitchen floor, in water heated on mom's wood burning cook stove. For entertainment, we had an old battery pack radio, the kind that took a huge battery about eighteen inches wide, six inches high by six inches in depth.

We listened to programs on the radio, much like they do on TV now, and it was limited because of the cost of the battery to so many hours a day. Mom had her soap opera's (Pepper Young's Family), and in the evenings we had shows like The Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid, and Suspense.

We children played games outdoors so as not to bother the folks, who had other things to occupy themselves, such as keeping house, and dad's working the farm.

I think overall we enjoyed our youth on the farm, and the lack of money left us with hand-me-down clothing, once a year we got a new set of cloths and new shoes for school. Our neighborhood was all realatives, so the school was all Ericsson's, well there were a few Ellisons, but they were relatives too. The bad part was that since I was the youngest in school the other boys would recoginze my cloths as their old ones and give me grief about that.

Family was the most important thing to all of us, and our family included all the relatives, cousins and so forth, so overall it was a fairly happy place. We had regular visits with our neighbors, most of which were relatives, but then there were a few older folks who wern't related, those folks were a bit apart, but we enjoyed the break I guess.

Trips to town (25 miles) were made about every two weeks, so mom could sell her egges, and cream (that money was all ours) and they could hit the bar to unwind. In those days, having the kids in the bar was OK with the bar owners, so we got to thinking of them as friends. In the summer, we would play in the alley, and only go in when it rained or the heat got to much to bad. We got well acquinted with the regular drunks in the bar, and often spoke of them at home.

I guess it wasn't the worst of lives, and we did have to worry about the bomb (we did worry about that) and had bomb drills in school, (drop duck and cover!).

Dad used to tell me about his life growing up in the post WWI US. He was born in 1910, so lived in the era you spoke of. From what I heard, at least for him it wasn't the happiest of times, but then he was left to be raised by his father's brothers, after his mother died when he was seven, and his father worked the homestead up here. His uncles lived a couple of hundred miles from here. He was more or less treated like a farm hand instead of a kid, having to work the fields during the day, and sleeping in a shed at night. He told me of being beaten with a horse whip for stealing an orange from the pantry at his uncles, in fact he used to show me the holes left by the lead weight on the end of the black snake whip, the went from his ankles to his neck. He nearly died from that beating, but then there were no such thing as social services, and there was nobody to turn to when that happened.

At any rate, when he was thirteen he left his Uncle's farm and went to find his dad, when he found him he stayed there, and that homestead was the farm where I was raised. During the 30's dad rode the rails back and forth to the west coast seeking work picking fruit, working logging in Idaho, and picking berry crops and apples in Washington. Sounded to me like life was sort of rough then too.

But the 50's, then was when things were sort of inbetween crisises. Well there was the bomb, but folks didn't start realy worring about that till the 60's.

Yep, I think I would prefer the 50's but then I was young and didn't know what I know today, maybe that's why I say that.

Jerry 7-28-2002 20:29

Teekay - while I was young in the '50's I do remember a lot of what it was like. We were very poor, the Federal Government sued my father for his father's federal seed loans, as dad was the administrator of his will. They took one third of every sale he made on the farm, one third of each bushel of wheat, one third of each cow and so forth. This left us with very little to live on, and most of that went to dad's addiction to alcohol.

We lived with no electricity, no plumbing, thus the outhouse was very familiar, as was the slop pail, and the pot in cold weather. We bathed once a month in a galvanized bath tub that was in the middle of the kitchen floor, in water heated on mom's

Jerry 7-28-2002 20:27


JERRY: Ah, the fifties. The closest I come to the fifties is watching 'Happy Days' on T.V. I LOVE 'happy days'.

I'm also thinkng that pre world war one wouldn't have been too bad a time to live, on the conditions that one was rich.
The only drawbacks would have been childbirth and killer diseases.
And primitive toileting.
And being too cold, or too hot a lot.
And not being able to watch 'happy days' on the box.

But in reality even the fifties had such a lot wrong with it, only mostly it was all swept under the mat.
It was the beginning of the age of discontent.

CAROL: I adored the book 'Little Women', but I think I was in my 20's before I read it. Same with 'Anne of Green Gables,' and I think I appreciated them all the more for it. My childhood was taken up with Nancy Drew and Enid Blyton, ah, such sweet sweet memories.
What's got me beat is how censors can stand up and decry the content of Enid Blyton's books as racist. Never at any time did I relate the golliwogs as negro's, and what if they were anyway, is there something terrible about being a negro?


Teekay 7-28-2002 19:14

Mark - I'm well aware of the history of Vietnam. You would have to admit though that the war had a lot to do with the 60's, it gave the students cause to protest, it gave many American's cause to flee to Canada, it killed many of our nations youth. It forced hundreds of thousands of kids to college to avoid the draft.

It was a major event in history that effected our civilization in so many ways.

But no I agree, Hippies would probably have came to be without it, free love may have, the massive usage of drugs may have happened without it, and thankfully Rock and Roll would have been born without it, but many of the greatest songs of the period dealt with the war.

Jerry 7-28-2002 12:34

Eisenhower sent troops to Vietnam. He was '50s. Kennedy left the status quo there while he wrangled Kruschev. Johnson took Vietnam to its full heighth. Nixon began pulling us out. Each man had great political capital, each had real human failings. But don't associate Vietnam with '60s, hippies, or Democratic presidents.

Mark 7-28-2002 12:09

I think we've all got this planet confused with someplace actually civil.

The problems didn't just start in the 70's. The seventies were the result of the decade or two before it. In the fifties, what was repressed in so many people that they acted out ten and twenty years later?

What was done then that has never been done before? NOTHING.

As the Bare Naked Ladies might say, "It's all been done."

Heather 7-28-2002 10:22


Happy news about the Pensylvannia miners who are alive and getting pulled out, as I type this they have just pulled the seventh out.
At about quarter past ten or eleven when they broke through to where the miners were. After lowering down the mic, they heard all the voices. The Governor's way of telling the press was quite funny.

*He walked to the Podium... bent his arms to punch the air with them both. Then stepped away, rolled up his sleeves and said, "They're all alive"*

Well thought it would be nice to share that. A nice-ending moment in history so to speak.

Taylor 7-28-2002 2:32

We had another point in history this week when the House of Representatives kicked James Trafficant Jr. out of the house after being convicted of accepting gifts for helping constituants. I have been following it closely, not because he's my representative or anything, he's not, in fact he's not even from my state, but he interested me.

Mr. Trafficant was a Sheriff, who was elected to the House by one of the largest majority's in the history of his state. He has been in congress, I think they said for seven terms, and always been the favorite in the elections by a large majority.

During the last administration, Mr. Trafficant called for an investigation of then Attorney General Janet Reno, calling her a traitor to the nation for her actions during Ruby Ridge, Waco, and several other incidents where the Justice Department usurped their authority, always on her orders and committed crimes against our citizens.

Shortly after that speech on the floor of the house, the Representative's tax returns came under heavy scrutiny by the IRS, the FBI began investigating his background, trying to build a case against him. His assets were frozen and he was forced to borrow money, just to stay alive. (These loans were part of the case against him).

He was charged with a violation of the Racketeering laws, some of the most archaic laws in our nation, laws put on the books for the sole purpose of catching the mob.

Mr. Trafficant beat that case, representing himself in Federal Court, but the Justice Department wasn't satisfied, and kept after him. Finally after nearly five years of work, they again brought him to trial, before a judge who the Representative had been against when she was proposed as a Federal Judge. He was not allowed to bring forth nine witnesses that would have shown his innocence, and after a long bitter trial, again representing himself (he isn't a lawyer and I fear had he had one the case would have come out different) he was convicted.

He is awaiting sentencing, but the house decided that since he was convicted they should remove him. He was first asked to step down, but replied that he was innocent, as an appeal will surely show, but the house went ahead. The vote came yesterday, after one representative moved to wait till they house got back from their break, so the appeal could go forward (one juror has come forward saying there was a real problem with the verdict) the house removed him.

It was a sad day for our nation, and as Mr. Trafficant stated, he will probably be the only representative elected back to his office while behind bars.

I could be wrong, he could well be guilty, but watching the hearings on Cspan moved me to believe it a railroad job.

All because he called it like he, and I might add many Americans saw it.

Jerry 7-28-2002 1:01

Teekay - Oh my no, not the 70's THE 50'S! The seventy's were when this all started, well it started with the Vietnam war, and the protests, then there were the burning of draft cards, followed by the burning of the bra, burning of crosses, and all that. Well the crosses were long before that, and were entirely different, but they burned them too.

I don't think there is any going back, and I do fear we have started something that will lead our civilization, not just the US but all of our civilization to the same fate of the great Roman Empire, and the rest. When one becomes complacent with one's life, and begins living "the good life" civilization declines until it all goes to hell, then some time in the future some other nation, somewhere completely different comes up with a new way of civilizing the world and all will again begin the cycle.

Well maybe not, but it's a thought.

Jerry 7-28-2002 0:45

Now what you mention Teekay, I can relate to. The child rearing, I can't comment on, I've never raised my own. Though I have been very aware of my actions as they are perceived by my neices and nephews and my step-children. I cannot discipline, I cannot try to influence my siblings on the way I believe they should raise their children, its their choice. They were raised the same as I, they have the same values, its a difference on how they perceived it for themselves.

Back to Teekay's comment -- indeed, as writers we have the ability to influence others through our work. I know which pieces of fiction influenced my life. I remember a thin book titled "Follow My Leader" which became very worn from reading as a child. Because of this book and its influence, I not only raised German Shepherds, I also donated a puppy from each litter to the Leader program for the blind. Louisa May Alcott's book reinforced my parents teachings in living a natural life, full of education, fun and exercise with healthy doses of respect for others. Every book that became a favorite from the day I understood the written language to today has had an influence on who I am as a person. If you wish others to at least consider the validity of your opinions -- write and submit!

Carol 7-27-2002 22:16


"In one hundred years it won't matter if I scrubbed the walls, or tidied the linen closet, but the world may be a different place because I was important in the life of a child"
A beautiful quote that I have managed to hack up a bit, from someone I can't remember.

JERRY: I don't know if reverting back to the way things were in the 70's would enhance child rearing much.

I do believe humanity has gotten way too caught up with what's important and what isn't and the media are the main culprits for enforcing that message, and sad to say, there are a lot of people who believe what they are told, and, sometimes it's only when you get past the 30 year mark when you wake up and think 'He-e-ey, wait a minute!!
Some people don't wake up at all.

Australia is at the moment going through it's lowest birthrate ever, why?
Certainly not because they're worried about what population growth might do to the enviroment, but because they find a beach house, two cars and a yearly holiday far more attractive than parenthood.
AND because the media, and feminists have been telling women for years that being a mother is just one step down from cleaning loo's. (you get paid for loo cleaning)

So, scary as it is, man generally is an animal that can be controlled, emotions moderated by the influence of others.
You think you're in control HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA good one.

How do you stop something like this?

We're writers, we have the power of the pen and can use this power as we see fit.

Think about why you write, is it for the hoped for end result of fame and fortune, or is it because there is a deep inner craving to get those words out on pen regardless of the outcome?

We are the first step to changing the world. It won't happen in a few years, maybe not in twenty, maybe never, but we have been endowed with a gift, it is up to us how we use it.
Another of my favourite sayings is -"the longest journey begins with just one step."

HEATHER: I meant where there was a larger readership. :-D

Have a terrific day all, remember, it may just be your last.
Now, don't go gettin' all excited 'bout it, you'll jes' hafta wait yer turn.

Teekay 7-27-2002 19:29

Howard - you ask how we can turn things back, back to a time when children were safe, homes were castles, and all was right with the world?

Short answer - We can't. Simply because we have evolved to another stage in civilization. A stage where we believe that it takes two pay checks to support a family in a manner that Madison Avenue tells us we should. We have come to depend on unqualified, sometimes uncaring folks to care for our kids, in the form of day care, and our schools. Our schools have, because of these beliefs, changed from a learning institution, judged on the product the produce - our children's education, to day care expected to always teach our kids right from wrong (because most folks don't teach that any more ((present company excepted)). We have allowed our schools to change from a pass-fail institution to a feel-good factory, where no child is failed because of the negative impact it may have on their future.

How to change it back? Well I would suggest that we don't need two cars in every driveway, we don't need three televisions in a house, nor a two week cruise on a ship every year. We don't need new furniture, when the old stuff still works. We need to realize that money isn't the root of all happiness, not in the least, raising a good, great, super kid is. Mom's should be encouraged to be "stay at home mom's" at least till the kids are well into their elementary school years. We should go back to my parents era that when the school calls to tell us that a child has misbehaved in class we believe the teacher and punish the child, instead of lashing out against the teacher, the principal, or the school. School boards should stop punishing teachers for disciplining students and throw the offending student's parents out of the meeting instead of siding with the parents and disciplining teachers for doing what is indeed right.

Can we turn it all back? I doubt it, that door closed somewhere in the late 70's and I fear the bar is in place for a long long time.

Ok enough of a rant, I know I swore I would stop ranting and raving here in the notebook.

Jack 7-27-2002

Return to

Jerry 7-27-2002 12:24

Bringing up our children - It has been a very interesting debate. The one thing that worries me about it all is the lack of mention of extended family influence.
During the past four years or so, as many long term posters here will already know, my children have gravitated to the district where I live from around Europe and elswhere. Even when they were abroad Anita and I were important infuences in the minds of our grandchildren as we travelled to be with them whenever we could, and certainly, without fail to be present at any crisis.
Now, with my whole family within five minutes travel from our house, we see them every day.
I have already raised four children and now I am helping to raise their children. I know that I am a very important figurehead in this extended family and it forces me to see the responsibility that the position carries with it. My grandchildren are as much at home in our house as they are in their own, sometimes more so, as we have more time for them than the busy mothers.
The experience of grandparents must never be underestimated, we can play an incredibly important role in the difficult task of child rearing and the rewards are priceless.

Eddie Simply Writing 7-27-2002 8:06

Pray for it.

7-26-2002 23:49

Teekay: There was somewhere to publish that. HERE.

Heather 7-26-2002 23:41


Hi All;

Did a bit of a catch up on the posts.

HOWARD: What a freaky experience! I sure hope your neck's okay.
Pity the poor kids in the back of that truck, and probably their kids and their kids etc.etc.

HEATHER: Your OCD episode was REALLY well done. Frightfully well done. I wish there was somewhere you could publish that.

It's interesting to listen to the debate you guys are having on child rearing. While reading, the main thought that occured to me was how our enviroment can so directly influence us.

VIV: I don't know how long you've lived in Japan for, but I'm assuming it's long enough to have become comfortable watching and even excusing a way of child rearing that in other cultures may be unacceptable, and had you never gone to Japan may be to you unacceptable also.

HEATHER & RHODA: You guys luckily live in a society that allows that children are helpless and need parental guidance. It is also a society that allows for anybody to have children wether capable of rearing them or not. You live in a country of choice, both good and bad.

I too am lucky to live in a country that on the whole regards children as children and as such as vulnerable.

Would my views change if I were popped into another country where views regarding children are quite different. I would like to hope not.
But who really knows?
Who knows what may become acceptable in order to get on with life. To hold a job, to make a buck, to survive.

Not me you might say, I wouldn't change, but then consider what simple men did during the holocaust. Look at the atrocities that father's, mother's, human's inflicted upon each other, look what they closed their eyes to, look what became acceptable.
Brainwashed by circumstance.
Look at the atrocities that go on world wide today.

We are all human. We're all on the same team, but what bloody wars and petty hatreds we hold against each other, and for what? For material gain, sometimes for survival, but mostly because of a difference of opinion.

I'm lucky I live in the country I do, and I know it.
I'm lucky to have choices and I pray I may make the right ones.
I'm lucky I live where my voice can be heard, and my opinions matter, and rather than judge the actions of countries whose citizens have different values I will spend my energies being grateful for my own.

I went for a walk in a cemetary once, There was a tiny little grave there, with an old headstone. The inscription read.

"God borrowed you to us for such a little time."

I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Teekay 7-26-2002 23:14

Another little girl today -- this one in Missouri.

Any suggestions on how we can get the world back together again?

Or who we could ask to help us?

Maybe if we all asked together?

And acted as if we meant it?

howard 7-26-2002 23:13

Rhoda, I know what you mean! My son had a bruise on his side from leaning against the sandbox for hours, playing. When we went swimming, I got 'the eye' by other parents, until I explained. The bruise was right next to his birthmark, too, which didn't help~!

I am not overly permissive, nor am I an 'all clamps in place' mom. I have had so many people tell me how well-behaved and angelic my kids are, and I really don't think it's just luck!
Actually, two weeks ago a friend told me that anyone else's kids would have torn up their house by now (we were visiting, and my son was inside the house, visiting with her plants!) while we were on the porch, peeking at him through the window. My kids just don't do that sort of thing. I couldn't give the recipe, but when your kids respect you, they respect your friends, and family, and others. If a punishment needs to be given, I always have respect for my kids' feelings as well as having respect for them on the whole - any punishments are discussed between my husband and I, and we do what we decide is fair.
I have had to smack Hailey's hand when she was small, and my son as well, in both instances they were very young and going to touch something dangerous. I remember my son was going to put his hand through a fence to pet a barking dog - a dog we didn't know. I remember yelling 'STOP!' so it surprised him, before his little hand could make it through the links. Had I been less attentive, my son's hand might have been bitten.

Anyway, I'm on the go - there were probably a few points I had intended to make but didn't!
Back later.......

((((HUGS))))) RHODA!

Heather 7-26-2002 22:26


I too am cautious with my children. Had I Viv's kids, the story might have turned out a little differently, but I had mine and Frank's kids, and they are like no other.

My children were and are hard-headed. They cannot be told something only once and believe it. I don't know why that is, but I sware that it is true. I am not a permissive parent, nor am I a harsh one. I have been told by strangers that my kids are angels, and then two days later receive dirty looks and sometimes horrible comments from other adults in another situation when my children cut-up or are noisy. My children are a handful. There is no other way around it. They are noisy too, and they are not always tactful.

Some mothers I know never have to spank their kids. I applaud them, but I don't think my boys would still be alive if I didn't spank them for doing very dangerous things when they were little. As they get older, corporal punishment is increasingly rare. Things like grounding, losing their allowance or game boys get their attention far more.

I just cannot get over the fact how judgmental some adults are over spanking. New Mexico was bad about that. There the social workers got mad about having to investigate the abuse claims that came from someone seeing a kid spanked in Wal-mart, but by law they had to investigate every claim no matter how trivial. It happened to one woman I heard of and the social worker was profusely appologetic. These trite claims steal the time the social workers need to take care of really abused kids.

My neice and my daughter were playing at the swing set a few years ago when my daughter accidently knocked her cousin in the eye and gave her a black one. A couple of days later, my brother-in-law and his wife got into an argument with a woman who was to buy their condo. Out of spite the woman filed a complaint with child protective services about their daughter whom my daughter had accidently decked. There are some places where it is so bad that parents keep their kids home from school whenever the kid has an accident that leads to a bruise. Yes, HOWARD, there is a lot of official bs, but there are a lot of people among the public who have no quams about using a law and a system that was meant for good to visit havoc on others.

Rhoda 7-26-2002 21:02

Strange -- Computer Boggle knows "shekel" and "Arab" but it doesn't know "Jew" or "Jews" -- conspiracy? Anti-semitic? The implications are mind-bog... nevermind...

howrad 7-26-2002 19:51

Viv - I'm not saying you couldn't in that situation run out for a few minutes, or course you could, but to run uptown to get groceries and leave a five year old, is a bit too much, at least in my opinion.

I know there are folks out there who anger when they see a child disciplined in a store, in fact several years ago when I was still working, I attended a class (mandatory per state orders) on child welfare. The instructors were very harsh social workers, who instructed us that should we see a mother spank her child in Kmart when we were off duty, we should immediately take that mother into custody charge her with abuse and take the child to the social welfare department.

She bristled when several of us began to argue with her, and when she insisted walked out of the class. Some things are just too much, and pushing intervention that far is outrageous. Kids need to be swated once in awhile, those who don't turn out like the kids in Colorado who killed their classmates, or the American Telaban.

What I'm saying is that common sense has to prevail, we must take care of our kids, and leaving them alone at age five isn't caring for them, at five most kids don't have the knowledge or nature to stay away from the forbidden. Heck when my son was eight, daughter seven, they were alone in the basement, (that's where their bedrooms were) we smelled smoke, and found that they were lighting the strings of some helium balloons and letting them float till the string burst the balloon. Had we left them at home at that particular time, we would have had no kids, no home, no nothing, and I assure you we would still be in the pen.

Jerry 7-26-2002 18:47

Actually, no, my kids are hardly ever in the kitchen when I'm cooking. I am not making monimer souffle, nor am I concocting hydrochloric acid sauce. I have taught my children to be respectful of me, and to stay clear of the stove. THEY LISTEN.
If we're making cookies, they can take part in the mixing, the sprinkles, the measuring; anything but the actual baking.
A chemistry lab may well have safe places in it, but how can you say that you can actually get any work done without taking your eyes off the children for minutes at a time?

And yes, that is exactly why I work at night. I would never have considered taking my kids along to work with me, unless it was in the day, to the front office to pick up my paycheque (no where near any chemicals or machinery); but the fact is, I haven't brought them out there.
I don't know what the chem lab is like where you have been, Viv, so I can't really say if I'd consider taking kids to it. We could argue this point forever, but I don't think we'd ever agree.

My kids have been exposed to possible dangers in very tiny increments - when they were old enough to walk across the street holding my hand, and when we were on the sidewalk, if they were to the point where they would not veer off, and watch for cars as well, then I would allow them to walk along the sidewalk without having to hold my hand. I haven't allowed my son to cross by himself at age 5. Am I being overprotective? No. Is my son careful enough to cross the street by himself? Probably. But I'm not taking any chances until I'm SURE.

There is an old adage that might sum up my feelings on this: Better safe than sorry.

Heather 7-26-2002 16:52

The post that is closest to the top of the page is the correct copy. I forget to put the "free" in one of my sentences. Have a good day all!
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 7-26-2002 14:11

Under the current circumstances I feel like I should make my opinion heard.
When I was 7, my parents felt that I was responsible enough to walk by myself to school and back. Of course, my mom was raising 4 kids at home and my dad taught at the school where I walked. It was no more than 5 blocks away and my parents drilled me on the necessary precautions of walking alone. e.g. look both ways, don't accept rides from strangers, ect. It was also a very small town with close to no crime rate. I obeyed them. I was also spanked when I was naughty. I respect them today, even though i don't always agree with them. When I was 9 they trusted me enough to walk with my brother and sister and when I was older I walked all 4 of them to school with out parent assistance. It wasn't that our parents didn't love us enough to stay by us every waking moment, it was just that they were too busy to not trust us to take care of ourselves. I also started babysitting my siblings when I was in 5th grade. It was a great help to my parents money wise and a great responsibility for me being a pretty young age. What I'm trying to say is if my parents didn't put that much trust in me when I was younger I probably would have turned out worse than what I am and that goes for the discipling factor too. Kids have to learn that their parents are people who should be respected and obeyed and if they aren't obeyed there are consequences for not obeying them. I'm not trying to say that all parents have earned the right to be called parents, but the taking out the physical discipling out of school and home is a little much. There are some kids out there who can't be punished with out being spanked and there some adults who could use a good spanking as well. I don't mean to go so far as abuse but there is a fine line to walk when it comes between discipling a child and abusing him. Every child's needs, demands, and disciplines are going to be different. It's up to responsible, loving parents to find out the child's limitations when it comes to discipline and abide by that child's limitations. Well that's my view on the current topics. Feel free to disagree. I do respect the other views out there that I have read. This is only my oponion.
Now that that is all out of my system, I'm going to bid every one of you a grand day and plenty of smiles to you on your day's journey.
Till Niagara Falls.

Elaine 7-26-2002 14:09

Under the current circumstances I feel like I should make my opinion heard.
When I was 7, my parents felt that I was responsible enough to walk by myself to school and back. Of course, my mom was raising 4 kids at home and my dad taught at the school where I walked. It was no more than 5 blocks away and my parents drilled me on the necessary precautions of walking alone. e.g. look both ways, don't accept rides from strangers, ect. It was also a very small town with close to no crime rate. I obeyed them. I was also spanked when I was naughty. I respect them today, even though i don't always agree with them. When I was 9 they trusted me enough to walk with my brother and sister and when I was older I walked all 4 of them to school with out parent assistance. It wasn't that our parents didn't love us enough to stay by us every waking moment, it was just that they were too busy to not trust us to take care of ourselves. I also started babysitting my siblings when I was in 5th grade. It was a great help to my parents money wise and a great responsibility for me being a pretty young age. What I'm trying to say is if my parents didn't put that much trust in me when I was younger I probably would have turned out worse than what I am and that goes for the discipling factor too. Kids have to learn that their parents are people who should be respected and obeyed and if they aren't obeyed there are consequences for not obeying them. I'm not trying to say that all parents have earned the right to be called parents, but the taking out the physical discipling out of school and home is a little much. There are some kids out there who can't be punished with out being spanked and there some adults who could use a good spanking as well. I don't mean to go so far as abuse but there is a fine line to walk when it comes between discipling a child and abusing him. Every child's needs, demands, and disciplines are going to be different. It's up to responsible, loving parents to find out the child's limitations when it comes to discipline and abide by that child's limitations. Well that's my view on the current topics. Feel to disagree. I do respect the other views out there that I have read. This is only my oponion.
Now that that is all out of my system, I'm going to bid every one of you a grand day and plenty of smiles to you on your day's journey.
Till Niagara Falls.

Elaine 7-26-2002 14:09

VIV -- All you're saying is very nice, and in a more perfect world it might work as you say. But not here, not now. Our child protection agencies are so overrun with bureaucratic bs that they many times cause more harm than good. And the public is not much better.

When our eldest daughters were three and one, we took them Christmas shopping. At the checkout counter Karin (3) kept reaching out and grabbing the goodies they stack along the checkout lanes to entice last minute impulse buyers. After telling her three times to leave the pretties alone I took her hand and slapped it -- not hard enough to make her cry, but enough to get my point across.

The lady behind us in the line immediately started to berate me for "striking that poor child," and said that I should under no circumstances do it again. I told her that this was my daughter, and I would discipline her as I saw fit. She kept huffing and puffing and yakking at me until I finally said "Lady if you don't shut up I might be forced to spank you!" She shut up, and several others in the checkout lines actually applauded.

But if she had reported me for child abuse, our "system" could very well have taken both children from us, based only on this loonie's observations.

On the other hand we very often hear of children who have been brought to agency attention by worried neighbors or relatives, but who have been ignored -- for whatever reason -- and suddenly are found seriously injured or dead.

I'm afraid things here are very different from what you're used to, and as I said before, most children are not brought up with the love and attention (and training) that they need.

howard 7-26-2002 11:58

Heather: That's why you work at night. Certain portions of a chem lab are perfectly safe. If you are a chemist you know where and when. Your kitchen is actually more dangerous. Do your kids come in the kitchen when you cook?

Jerry: Yup, I didn't leave them alone too much but when push comes to shove, what do you do when the 6 year old's friend runs into your house and says that ... is up a tree and can't get down and the tree is next to the busy intersection? If there's no one to sit, you tell the kids to behave and expect good behavior. That's the beauty of good parenting.

Also, who doesn't have fire drills? What's wrong with that scenerio? Your kid should know how to get out of the house and have a fire plan by age three. If they can get out of the bed alone, they are ready for a fire plan. You plan ahead if you are a decent parent. By the way, do you and your wife have a fire plan? What do you do if the house catches fire? You don't move fast either.... think about it. If you sleep on the second floor, can you get out? Do you have a fire ladder? We do in all three upstairs rooms and the kids know how to use them. (And they also knew not to play around with them.)

Get real folks and stop depending on the babysitter or childcare center because by teaching your children to go it alone you teach them to survive.

Viv 7-26-2002 5:27

A chemistry lab? Never. I wouldn't bring my children into the plant where I clean, and I'm not going near any of the machinery, which is OFF.

Heather 7-26-2002 3:01

You know you might leave that five year old with the one year old twenty times, for under an hour, or a bit over, and the twenty-first time the house catches fire, and both die.

No, leaving a five year old with a one year old simply isn't a good thing to do. I know you may say that the five year old knows what to do, and when to do it, however it only takes once for them to die.

That's why we have laws to protect the kids, that's why social services is there to take them from parents who don't care enough for them to insure their safety. All the child abduction cases in the news of late simply shows another reason to protect the little ones.

I've seen way to many little ones hurt from being left alone just for a little while, to think it's ever OK.

Jerry 7-25-2002 22:13

That advice wasn't let them learn their own values. It was advice on how to leave your kids long enough to walk a block to the grocery store on a rainy day when the baby has a cold. It's also good for when your oldest child gets lost on the way home from the school bus. (Yes, this happens when you have a first grader.)

It can be extended up to a half a day or even until 3:00 for an emergency trip to the doctor, giving birth, or an emergency on the job (ie: you had someone set up to watch your child on a "meet with the head of the department day" and that someone got called away on a business trip. The someone in this case was always my husband and believe this was an all out PANIC situation!) My husband and I took the kids to work with us always. We juggled schedules so if there was a reason you couldn't take them on "your day", it caused a real emergency.

Employers have to be sensitive to the issue of bringing your child with you to work. Ours are or we wouldn't work for them. Now as older folks who kind of run the show, we have to allow the younger folks the same advantages.

My husband runs a chemistry lab, and the workers are free to bring their children if they need to. He also has some folks above him who are not aware of this and won't be told. He takes that risk. Everyone does. We all just are very quiet about it.

I do the same thing in my classroom. I allow mothers and children to come. Sometimes a sibling brings in a younger child. These are humans I'm working with. I never had any trouble because the parents/siblings are good with their children. They behave like everyone else in the room. If they are toddlers, we ignore typical baby behavior or work with it together as a group. If someone comes who might not like the situation we do the "hide that kid, routine." In a case like this a 5 year old could be stuck in an office with a one year old for about an hour. It's shush, be quiet! This is an emergency! It works out fine.

A classroom is one thing, a chemistry lab is another. The kids are taught immediately by their parents where they can and cannot go. (And nope, this isn't legal...and it won't be evident if anyone who might squawk walks though) The kids know that their parents depend on intelligent behavior on their part. The result is a kid sitting quietly coloring or playing with a toy while the parent walks around chattering to the child. A young child is worn on the worker's back and put with another person if there's anything dangerous to be done. Same as you would see in any kitchen environment. No big mess or fuss, it's just you won't see a child sitting on the floor or toddling about. That is dangerous in a chem lab. So is leaving a kid for any length of time. Those kids would be ushered out fast if someone who was against children walked through. Usually we know ahead of time. They might have to be told to run to the park for a little bit, or taken by one of the youngest workers on a quick trip to get a hamburger. If you are wondering about school...well, we homeschooled and got away with it! Life just keeps on rocking, no matter how you play the game with kids.

A parent has to choose jobs with the child in mind. You make sure the boss understands that you are a parent and you put your children first. That way all emergencies are containable.

There is not an economic reason to neglect a child. However there are those horrible days in parenting when NOTHING goes well. Like I said, the oldest child gets lost, once my friend's child got stuck up in a pine tree and all the mothers had to leave their kids and help. It was next to a busy intersection. (Yup, that also happens and no, that child should not have been there! It was a bad time for him when he did manage to get out of the tree)
We left the young ones at home. They had to stay alone for a little bit...maybe an hour or two. It's not good but it happens.

Those are times you leave a five year old with a one year old, pray and sweat and yup, it seems to always turn out ok.
I do not know how we all survived but we did. Even the kid who went up the tree next to the busy intersection survived. He's now in the Army, lives in Europe and has a child on the way!

I think if a mother depends on child care she looses the freedom to act in an emergency. I've noticed the "nursery mothers" "hoikun mama" can't trust her children. She's gone everyday from 7:30AM until 6:00PM. She expects someone to come sit her child all the time. She doesn't develop a working relationship with her child so in an emergency she hasn't any recourse. The child isn't prepared to stay alone. Then she runs around like a chicken with her head cut off and when she's "between" sitters.

Her child is untrained and can't be left for a moment. Worse yet, he/she is spoiled by nursery school "outings". He/she expects every second to be exciting. If you take a kid like that to the circus he'll/she'll yawn and say, "I'm bored." You can't take a kid like that to the library or hand him/her some crayons and say, "You have to be extra good today because we've got a real problem to handle."

Family values come from trusting each other and working together. It's amazing what those little ones CAN DO to support their family group.

Wow, got me going again didn't you Howard. I've got to get some work done so no more from me on families. I've raised mine...sort of...time to find my 14 year old.

Viv 7-25-2002 20:20

This baby-sitter topic always comes up when ever women get together enough.

First off, I do not leave my eight year old alone. On rare occassions when I know I am going to be gone not much more than an hour I will leave him with his eleven year old brother. My daughter who is 14 babysits quite often for us and I pay her when she does. When I had my census job a couple of years ago, I paid my daughter one dollar an hour for the times she was responsible for the younger siblings.

My husband's stock account is shot to pieces, and my husband's company is bleeding badly. It is so bad that when people get their paychecks they run, not walk, to the bank and get the checks in before the company announces bankruptcy. That hasn't happened yet, not is it emminent, but after all that has happened, one never knows. We are doing well, but times are uncertain, and my husband wants me to get a job. My only concern is that I do not want even my fourteen year old to come home to an empty house, and I don't want this for the younger ones either. Statistics show that more teen-age pregnancies and teenage substance abuse occurs between the hours of 4:00 - 6:00 pm. My daughter is a very good and responsible girl, and I don't believe that she is at this time vulnerable to these evils, but who knows about the future. All these things happen to nice kids who feel a lot of pressure and stress and BOREDOM. I believe having a parent at home even for teenagers is important. The more supervision, the better for a variety of reasons.

I was a latch-key child from nine years old on into my teen-age years. I never did anything unsafe or risky and I was a good kid, but I hated coming home to an empty house with only my older brother in residence. It really sucks. And then when my mother came home, she was so tired and stressed from work it would be over two hours before she was fit to talk to anyone.

I would like to work, but teaching is about the only thing one can do that provides the flexablity to be home when your kids are home. Then there are part time jobs.

I don't like it that women are so terribly judgmental of each other's decisions to work or stay-at-home. While I do not like the idea of putting any of my kids in day-care, I do know that some day-cares are very good places. I also know that some women have come up with creative solutions to see that the children are well supervised while they are at work. I have been around women who think stay-at-home moms are lazy and worthless. I have also been around plenty of stay-at-home mothers who have terrible things to say about working mothers. I thought women were given the freedom to have choices.

As far as five year olds being at home with infants while the mother is working, I believe that is criminal negligence. I don't know about anyone else's five year old, but I have never had one with the presence of mind to care for an infant or toddler. I think it cruel to lay that much responsibility on one so young, and I think it horrible to put the younger child into such care. There was a case in Houston some years ago when a five year old girl smothered her infant brother because he would not stop crying. Turns out they were alone everyday while the mother worked. This is an extreme case, but it does make one think.


I too refused to let my seven year old walk to school alone. My husband thought he would be OK with his ten year brother, but I thought differently. I walked Daniel to school often and got a lot of good exercise doing it. What is the hurry to let these kids off on their own too early?

My husband struggles with these freedom issues because he remembers the good times he had riding his bicycle to the store when he was ten years old. I had much the same freedoms, but it is a different world now, and kids must be more protected. It is true that much is lost because most kids do not have the freedom to explore and to be kids in the big world, but until we get people off the streets who harm kids and until the world becomes less urbanized, those days are gone.

I contend that the permissive attitude we have in the United States towards child molesters and parents and step-parents who harm children shows a total lack of respect for child-hood and innocence, but that is a different topic and I could write a book on it. Americans do not hate children, but in the society at large, children are a very low priority.

Rhoda 7-25-2002 20:14

Jack is slack,
we want the workbook back,
let's give him a smack,
the bloody old hack.

Jon 7-25-2002 19:54

Did I mention that I work away from home ONLY when my husband is here to watch the kids when I'm gone? That's a very important point. I found work that would accomodate mothering as my primary role and that's the way I think it should be - but there are many people who have to work full time during the day while the kids are in a daycare.

Daycares have strict standards - there are daycare worker to child ratios for each age-group, etc., and all workers must have first aid and CPR training.

Heather 7-25-2002 19:21

That should have been 'until they are 18 OR don't live with us any more'.

Heather 7-25-2002 19:11

I do think it's wise to have your children educated with what to do in emergencies (and not so pressing events as well) BUT I think the best way to do this is LITTLE BY LITTLE. My kids know what to do if they cut themselves, even though I'm always nearby. My kids know what to do if a stranger approaches them, even if I'm three feet away. Someday I won't be just a few feet away, so it is much better that they are practicing, and already know what is wise to do and what is wise not to.
I would never leave my kids alone to leave the property (ie: the yard, the house). My kids come with me to the nearby store if my husband isn't home and we need to pick something up - they would still have to come with me if it were miles away. To me, it's not an option to just HOPE we have taught the kids well enough. They have another few years to prove it. I won't leave my kids alone in the house until my daughter is legally old enough to babysit; in Canada that is 12 years of age. Even at that point it will just be to run to the store or the post office, for another year or two until I can be sure SHE'S comfortable. It is not that she couldn't competently watch her younger brother right now, but I couldn't, in good conscience, allow that. Brothers and sisters fight. Kids can be indecisive. Things can happen that no one is trained for. If something did happen, I am ultimately responsible. I am still ultimately responsible (as is my husband) until the kids are over 18 don't live with us any more! That's the way I see it.
If I want my kids to be 'raised by the village' then I'll have the village in for tea and crumpets.
I still work and have a business from home and raise my kids with my husband's help (when he's home from work) and my inlaws and parents all chip in to help when it's time for Wayne and I to have some time to ourselves.
I walk my kids to and from school until they are 9 years old and want to walk with their friends. Most people have stopped walking their kids by age 7, but I feel that's too young with all the crazy shit going on in the world.

I see nothing wrong with children knowing that there are neighbours that they can trust in case of an emergency. What would happen if I was the one to get hurt?
I see excellent value in my daughter taking the CPR and first aid babysitting course before she can be responsible for other kids, AND over the age of 12. The MORE responsible WE ARE, the more responsible our children can be.

Anyway, that's my take on things.

Heather 7-25-2002 19:08

FOWT -- (Found On Web Today)

If the metric system really took hold, we'd have to change our thinking to
the following:

* A miss is as good as 1.1 kilometers.

* Put your best 0.3 of a meter forward.

* Spare the 5.03 meters and spoil the child.

* Twenty-eight grams of prevention is worth 453 grams of cure.

* Give a man 2.5 centimeters and he'll take 1.06 kilometers.

* Peter Piper picked 8.8 liters of pickled peppers.

howrad 7-25-2002 16:36

VIV -- I appreciate your candid approach, but I fear you're in for a rude awakening when you come back here. I think you'll find that too many parents have opted for the "let the TV keep 'em occupied while I do what I wanna do" mode of child rearing. And kids raised on short sound bites and video clips tend to develop extremely short attention spans, which are not what you want when raising little brother.
And I don't agree at all with the "let them be -- they'll work it out on their own" theory either. It's the parent who is ultimately responsible for the way the child turns out. So it seems logical that the parent whould be the one to teach, nurture, and protect the child, guiding him or her in the right direction. Call me old fashioned, but I believe the mother's first responsibility is to raise, instruct, and guide her child. A child needs to learn values, morals, ethics, etc at home -- from his parents -- not from some "global village." If the parent can delegate part of that responsibility to a relative or friend who shares the same values, that's fine, but the mom has to be there for her kids.

This is not to let dad off the hook. He has to be there too, supporting and encouraging, developing that lasting relationship that will help the child through the rest of his or her life.

For what it's worth, I think the Dr. Spock influence is manifesting itself in the self-centered me-first if-it-feels-good-do-it MTV generation we're seeing today. And from the road rage we encounter daily, to the abduction-rape-murder of a five year old girl, things appear to be getting worse -- not better. I think this is a result of the "let them find their own values" method of child-rearing. And what's really disturbing is that this is the very generation who will be running the nursing homes they put us into.

Kiddies, can we say "Soylent Green?"

howard 7-25-2002 14:16

Nadya: That didn't work! It didn't post correctly in Cryllic. Here I'll try it with English letters that look like what I'm seeing in Cryllic. Pyccko-aHT JHHCKHH CJIOVapL: IIOHCK! It doesn't look quite right because the H is off and the Umlat is missing. Can you please imagine the Welcome.

Someone good at computers. Please go to Your Dictionary Altic Languages:
Fiddle around until you find the list of dictionaries and then go to the one in Russian. Look up the word by typing Welcome in the blank.

Now here comes the part I can't figure out. Get the cryllic alphabet to come out on this website when you copy and paste from Word!

Somehow we're going to give Nadya a decent welcome in her own language!

Sorry Nadya! I'm just not that computer literate.

Vv (again) 7-25-2002 10:15

–ůŮŮÍÓ-ŗŪ„ŽŤťŮÍŤť cŽÓ‚ŗūŁ: ÔÓŤŮÍ Nadya. I hope that correctly reads Welcome!

We look forward to hearing your stories, short stories, minitures and screen plays. Please share them.

Where are you from in Russia? (It's such a big country)

One thing I'm interested in, do you have any ghost stories in Russia?

All other folks: Hope I didn't scare you all off by my views on mothering. I don't think all American mothers are bad and tried to post a little bit about why I wrote that. For some reason only the middle copied and pasted.

1. I was bullied by an American radiologist who wanted to leave her child at my house because I was the only American mother around. She had the attitude that all women who didn't work outside the home were crazy but should keep her child while she drove off to work in her Merceedes. She really put the pressure on me to babysit for her. It takes a village seems just like something she would have said.

2. I'm aware there are quite a few women here on line who are full time mothers who have careers in writing. They work during the "huge amount of free time" they have left over after they get their children settled into a project. I got kind of hot on the issue after thinking a minute of the pressure they might be feeling to "babysit". It set me off on that rant.

3. Sorry Jack for hitting that send button twice. Husband was letting me know that I was LATE.

Viv 7-25-2002 10:06

Hello Friend! Glad to see you!
I am comedy master,russian screenwriter, use an original, not ordinary ideas in my work and have written many ridiculous comedy scripts, stories, short stories, miniatures, novels, screenplays.
I shall be glad to be useful for you!

Nadya Platonova

Nadya Link 7-25-2002 0:47


You raise 3 questions here.
1. What is the proper legal action against a family that leaves a child unattended?
2. What responsibility do adults have as parents?
3. What responsibility do we have as neighbors?

The proper legal action overseas when a five year old is left with a one year old is a bit like the old saying, ďIf you donít have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.Ē In other words, if you canít help, donít bother the children. Generally, if a five year old is trusted with a one year old, the five year old is competent and has been set up to do the job correctly. It wonít be perfect but that baby will live until mother returns. This pertains in Japan, Germany, and Thailand. Although in Germany, you know thereís a grandma or an older woman somewhere out there keeping a weather eye on the situation. Back off unless you want trouble.

What responsibility do adults have as parents? They are responsible for teaching their children to stay safe. They need to provide a safe way to manage if the children must be left alone for any time at all. They are responsible for setting the rules of behavior. Ie: Donít open the door to strangers, donít use the stove or knives, donít pick up the baby from the crib until I get back to the house even if the baby cries. If you can, amuse the little one by providing a toy or a bottle of water or juice I will leave with you. If the crying gets to you, please close the door and turn on the radio until you feel calm enough to deal with the smaller child.

Why do I know this? Because overseas we hadnít child care systems until now. In Germany we had the kindergarten after the child was potty trained. Before that, nothing. I sometimes had to run to the market to get bread and vegetables for lunch. In Japan, I had to run my child to the kindergarten and pick her up. Often I encountered my friendís four year olds babysitting while they ran the same errand for the oldest child. Itís often the only way a mother can do an errand on foot during lousy weather when the baby has a cold. In Japan and Germany often the women do not drive cars to do the marketing. Until recently, in Japan our refrigerators were not big enough to hold more than a dayís worth of food and freezers were tiny. Now we have more things and childcare is rearing itís horrid head.

Did I ever go out to just play? NEVER.

Did I take my children to work with me? Often.
Once in a while I needed to work part time to make ends meet after a move. I have even breast fed while teaching a class of young fathers. It was simply do or we donít get to hear well enough to have class. We just did what we had to and kept working. The men were sensible and so was I. The child was a child. My children grew up learning to sit still and behave when they were brought to the workplace. I dressed them in proper work attire, they brought quiet activities and amused themselves for hours. They were responsible as I was for bringing the income to the household. The job needed to be done by all. My work is always part time. Sometimes itís an entire day of teaching and sometimes it is a two hour class. I try to limit my hours to only the money we need to get by. It isnít to buy fancy things.

What responsibilities do we have to our neighbors:
Did I ever leave a five year old with a one year old unattended. Not for over an hour, but I could have and I knew it. My children were responsible. My neighbors also could be counted on to look in and see how things were going.

That is how we work the ďvillage raises the childĒ overseas. What the Americans donít get is that you donít baby sit and you are never asked to do that. What you do is provide a place for a child to run if there is a problem. You keep a weather eye on your neighborís child and perhaps take a snack over mid-day to kind of check on how things are going. If you hear the baby cry a long time, you go over and say, ďHey, howís it going?Ē You do not absolve the child of the responsibility. It is his/her chore. You simply quietly observe. If there is real need, you are there. Iíve only bailed a child out of one mess. In Japan the oldest son, age 7 cut his hand on the lid of a can. It needed a butterfly bandage until the mother could get home and take him to the doctor. There was a prodigious amount of blood and the youngest, age two came to my doorÖfrightened and alone. Younger sibling was handling the emergency. Older sib was very upset that I discovered the ďmistakeĒ. I could barely get him to sit still long enough to accept the bandage. I got out ASAP and let him take over again, because I was hurting his pride.

When I deal with American mothers I find two problems. I end up baby sitting and feeling a lot like Horton the elephant in Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Suess. There are a lot of problems with parenting in my generation. I was part of the 70ís ďshe can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and do everything just like a manĒ advertising campaign against motherhood. Many women feel as though if you donít work and stay home, you are mentally inadequate. Then there are the Maizie, the lazy birds. Both want the stay at home mother to ďcontributeĒ to society by accepting their responsibility. When Iím approached I always feel as though I do better when I say no up front. First itís better for my own family because by accepting Maisieís child Iím getting a boat load of problems from a child who has been shown inadequate attention and parenting. It forces my kids to the background while I teach Maisieís child to behave. Also, by forcing the family to take a hard look at their responsibilities combined with what reality says is possible, they learn to care for their children and create a good family. Their families learn to work together to do what is possible. They wonít earn a Merceedes, but they will survive and probably become closer since theyíve had to work through tough times.

That little Japanese 7 year old who had to depend on his two year old brother learned a great lesson. Both of them can do a lot for each other as they grow up. Theyíll work together and their family will be a stronger team. The two year old was busting his buttons with pride that heíd been cool headed enough to help his team. Yup, the village is there, but itís not responsible for raising the children. The parents are. If anyone is too busy or too stupid to do the job of good parenting, then the laws of natural selection apply. Itís unfortunate, but God did set up a system by which the unfortunate will most likely not reproduce effectively and it does apply in real life. This sobering fact is enough to make all parents and grandparents take their roles in society very seriously, as they should.

Quite frankly, the American radiologist was a spoiled brat. Her social worker counterpoint was an idiot. Creating more laws is not the answer. Creating responsible families is.

Viv 7-25-2002 0:00


You raise 3 questions here.
1. What is the proper legal action against a family that leaves a child unattended?
2. What responsibility do adults have as parents?
3. What responsibility do we have as neighbors?

The proper legal action overseas when a five year old is left with a one year old is a bit like the old saying, ďIf you donít have anything nice to say, say nothing at all.Ē In other words, if you canít help, donít bother the children. Generally, if a five year old is trusted with a one year old, the five year old is competent and has been set up to do the job correctly. It wonít be perfect but that baby will live until mother returns. This pertains in Japan, Germany, and Thailand. Although in Germany, you know thereís a grandma or an older woman somewhere out there keeping a weather eye on the situation. Back off unless you want trouble.

What responsibility do adults have as parents? They are responsible for teaching their children to stay safe. They need to provide a safe way to manage if the children must be left alone for any time at all. They are responsible for setting the rules of behavior. Ie: Donít open the door to strangers, donít use the stove or knives, donít pick up the baby from the crib until I get back to the house even if the baby cries. If you can, amuse the little one by providing a toy or a bottle of water or juice I will leave with you. If the crying gets to you, please close the door and turn on the radio until you feel calm enough to deal with the smaller child.

Why do I know this? Because overseas we hadnít child care systems until now. In Germany we had the kindergarten after the child was potty trained. Before that, nothing. I sometimes had to run to the market to get bread and vegetables for lunch. In Japan, I had to run my child to the kindergarten and pick her up. Often I encountered my friendís four year olds babysitting while they ran the same errand for the oldest child. Itís often the only way a mother can do an errand on foot during lousy weather when the baby has a cold. In Japan and Germany often the women do not drive cars to do the marketing. Until recently, in Japan our refrigerators were not big enough to hold more than a dayís worth of food and freezers were tiny. Now we have more things and childcare is rearing itís horrid head.

Did I ever go out to just play? NEVER.

Did I take my children to work with me? Often.
Once in a while I needed to work part time to make ends meet after a move. I have even breast fed while teaching a class of young fathers. It was simply do or we donít get to hear well enough to have class. We just did what we had to and kept working. The men were sensible and so was I. The child was a child. My children grew up learning to sit still and behave when they were brought to the workplace. I dressed them in proper work attire, they brought quiet activities and amused themselves for hours. They were responsible as I was for bringing the income to the household. The job needed to be done by all. My work is always part time. Sometimes itís an entire day of teaching and sometimes it is a two hour class. I try to limit my hours to only the money we need to get by. It isnít to buy fancy things.

What responsibilities do we have to our neighbors:
Did I ever leave a five year old with a one year old unattended. Not for over an hour, but I could have and I knew it. My children were responsible. My neighbors also could be counted on to look in and see how things were going.

That is how we work the ďvillage raises the childĒ overseas. What the Americans donít get is that you donít baby sit and you are never asked to do that. What you do is provide a place for a child to run if there is a problem. You keep a weather eye on your neighborís child and perhaps take a snack over mid-day to kind of check on how things are going. If you hear the baby cry a long time, you go over and say, ďHey, howís it going?Ē You do not absolve the child of the responsibility. It is his/her chore. You simply quietly observe. If there is real need, you are there. Iíve only bailed a child out of one mess. In Japan the oldest son, age 7 cut his hand on the lid of a can. It needed a butterfly bandage until the mother could get home and take him to the doctor. There was a prodigious amount of blood and the youngest, age two came to my doorÖfrightened and alone. Younger sibling was handling the emergency. Older sib was very upset that I discovered the ďmistakeĒ. I could barely get him to sit still long enough to accept the bandage. I got out ASAP and let him take over again, because I was hurting his pride.

When I deal with American mothers I find two problems. I end up baby sitting and feeling a lot like Horton the elephant in Horton Hears A Who by Dr. Suess. There are a lot of problems with parenting in my generation. I was part of the 70ís ďshe can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and do everything just like a manĒ advertising campaign against motherhood. Many women feel as though if you donít work and stay home, you are mentally inadequate. Then there are the Maizie, the lazy birds. Both want the stay at home mother to ďcontributeĒ to society by accepting their responsibility. When Iím approached I always feel as though I do better when I say no up front. First itís better for my own family because by accepting Maisieís child Iím getting a boat load of problems from a child who has been shown inadequate attention and parenting. It forces my kids to the background while I teach Maisieís child to behave. Also, by forcing the family to take a hard look at their responsibilities combined with what reality says is possible, they learn to care for their children and create a good family. Their families learn to work together to do what is possible. They wonít earn a Merceedes, but they will survive and probably become closer since theyíve had to work through tough times.

That little Japanese 7 year old who had to depend on his two year old brother learned a great lesson. Both of them can do a lot for each other as they grow up. Theyíll work together and their family will be a stronger team. The two year old was busting his buttons with pride that heíd been cool headed enough to help his team. Yup, the village is there, but itís not responsible for raising the children. The parents are. If anyone is too busy or too stupid to do the job of good parenting, then the laws of natural selection apply. Itís unfortunate, but God did set up a system by which the unfortunate will most likely not reproduce effectively and it does apply in real life. This sobering fact is enough to make all parents and grandparents take their roles in society very seriously, as they should.

Quite frankly, the American radiologist was a spoiled brat. Her social worker counterpoint was an idiot. Creating more laws is not the answer. Creating responsible families is.

Viv 7-25-2002 0:00


These crimes against children are awful... Heard that that Pratt girl ws kidnapped more than likely because of her father involved with drugs.

Taylor 7-24-2002 23:37



Uh, on the uncaring adults. I believe there was a recent incident (in Texas?)concerning a woman who went into a beauty shop, indeed spent three hours there. When she returned, lo and behold both her children were dead, strapped into their safety seats...dead from the heat.

How about the guy who sexually assualted and killed the little girl in California? The woman who drowned her 5 children in Houston? Sadly, these brutal acts can not be prevented. Criminals and/or mentally incompetent people are always ahead of the law. Police departments, as a rule, only react to crime. Will our children see the day when their children only go outside under the protection of adults? In the late 60's a friend told me the day would come when you could only dump your household trash if covered by a friend holding a shotgun. Could be.

I believe there are percentages involved here. There are and always be persons among us, who, for some reason commit acts like this. I don't think you can call it stupidity. Could anyone forget their children and leave them in summerheat with the windows rolled up? I don't know what to call it actually. It defies rational logic.

The percentages of these kinds of persons among us increase with population growth. We are truly moving into a logic free zone. And it scares me. Really does.

Thank you Jack for the common sense censorship. No word from the Dallas FBI office as yet. Will keep you informed if I do. We have a litter of kittens and were outside watching them play till nearly 10. Heck of a moon coming up!


Randall 7-24-2002 23:20

Just finished writing 7 pages! I feel good, like I knew I would now. tada tada .... hehehe

Carol 7-24-2002 14:50

Hi All :)

Well, the cold has finally left most of my body. My mind seems to be functioning at its normal level (normal for me you understand). Now it's time to get back to my writing. I do hate these dry spells whatever causes them. It takes several days for me to get back up to speed, up to the three pages I like to accomplish.

Mel - its good to see that you're progressing. I had one surgery that gave me a six-week recuperation time. I remember well celebrating when I could sneeze again, when I could actually let out a little laugh without severe pain. Amazing the little things we take for granted. Hubby was fantastic during my recup time, doing all the things around the house that I normally do. He even went beyond the call of duty by setting the table each night - with candles. We normally just eat in front of the tv on trays. Such a sweetie, think I'll keep him. :)

Randall - thanks for reporting that "thing" and Jack, thanks for the censorship. :)

Howard - its hard to know what to think or feel under the circumstances of children. On one hand, I hate to see them hurt in any way, but on the other, I remember well my own childhood and how young I was in being given responsibilities. Granted, I was 11 before I did any babysitting outside of the home. I think I was 9 when I was responsible for myself and younger brothers. At five I was responsible for standing on a chair and very carefully drying the silverware. Helping Mommy at that young of an age was fun. Now the silverware and all the dishes air dry. One of the main disadvantages of not having my own kids. hehehehe I wonder if some would consider that child labor and denouce the mother who required a child to dry dishes at such a young age? Personally, I always considered it just part of growing up - something I was very anxious to do in those days. Let's hope the young mother you mention finds help and is able to raise her children in a slower manner of granting responsibility.

Now - its time to WRITE!!

Carol 7-24-2002 13:06



7-24-2002 12:33

I know I pick on telemarketers, and will almost certainly continue to do so, but there is the occasional bright spot! I heard on the news this morning that a telemarketer made a routine call, to a home in Islip, Long Island, and the phone was answered by a child:
"No, mommy isn't home, she's working."
So the woman asked to speak with an adult, and the girl said that she and her little brother were the only ones at home.
The woman became concerned, and asked the girl how old she was.
"Five," was the answer.
"And how old is your brother?"
At this, the telemarketer held the child on the phone, and contacted the local police on another line.
Sure enough, when they got there they found the five-year-old babysitting her one-year-old brother while their mom was at work, a situation that had apparently been going on for some time.
The mom has been charged with reckless endangerment, and the kids are staying with relatives.

The incident brings out lots of thoughts and emotions, and questions:

1) Why would a mom do something like this? Ignorance? Desperation? Wilful negligence? Didn't know where to get help?

2) is our society becoming too uncaring? Didn't the neighbors notice, or care that she needed help? Where was her church, and where were her family and friends?

3) Are our government agencies becoming too intrusive and invasive? Should they have the right to interfere with a family issue, if there was no real immediate danger? I know there are child protection laws, but do they overstep their bounds at times? And please don't tell me Hilary was right about needing a village to raise a child.

At any rate, the answers are certain to be complex ones, and I thought this incident might spawn a story or two.

howard 7-24-2002 10:24

Had a big post ready but unfortunately hit a strange key combination and lost it all. At any rate, I put a NYT link on my page, it updates itself with all the latest headlines involving books and the lot.

Broke my toe a couple of days ago, but because of my back trouble didn't even notice it till yesterday. Looks like it'll heal OK but does look a bit nasty now all black and blue and swollen. There are advantages I guess to having some nerve damage.

Still turning the long short story thing over in my head, the more research I do into this racist stuff the more I doubt that I should write it, simply because of the hatred that's involved. The KKK have changed their pages since the last time I visited, a few years ago after seeing Mississippi Burning on TV. Their hate messages are much more subtle now, and seem wrapped in patriotism and the flag.

One simply must keep in mind that minds such as those who wrote that stuff are the same that applauded McVey in his murders in Oklahoma City.


Jerry My Page 7-24-2002 0:58

Sorry to do a bit of censorship, but I have deleted Slavic's post. At any rate, just got through dragging in all of my dive gear from a very hot car and feeling a bit chagrined at myself to not realize that 88 degrees in Seattle is a bad bad thing for all of my dive gear. My save a dive kit has some nice melted wax blobs.

At any rate, back to the wonders of writing. Most of my writing these days has been to write down dive log reports. Fran and I are planning to do at least seven dives over the weekend. She will be getting her first underwater camera this weekend and if she gets anything cool and developed I will try to post it here. Take care everyone.

Jack Beslanwitch 7-23-2002 21:31


Welcome back Mel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A BIG HOWDY girl from TEXAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See ya! :-)))


Randall 7-23-2002 20:19


Dear Slobo...

Go back to Slobovania or what ever rock you crawled out from under. I note you did not include any e-mail addresses of the "pigeons" you listed. Why is that Slobo? If you're so proud of your scam why don't you include personal e-mail address? Not into technology, dickhead, just screwing old women and innocents out of their money?

FYI...jerk, I just e-mailed your PYRAMID scheme to the FBI office in Dallas. As you know the FBI can and will trace this message. They use a special computer/server locate program and will trace the post to point of origin. Most recently used to track the killers of Mr. Pearl in Pakistian. Hope you get a nice tight cell in a real shit hole with a white nazi racists named Bubba Jo for interstate theft by wire. You might wish to prepare by doing touch your toe exercises.

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Dallas Field Office
1801 N. Lamar, Suite 300
Dallas, Texas 75202
(214) 720-2200

Arab terrorists and their running dog lackeys use these schemes to finance terrorist activities such as murdering innocent people. Friends, do not ever get involved with get rich schemes such as these. They are illegal, theft by wire and mail and if something is too good to be probably is.

Stupid jerk off!


(And I will not use caps on the word nazi.)

Randall 7-23-2002 20:11

Ah, Howard, you've got me beat. I don't have a 'car secretary'. I keep a stash of (hope nobody works at a bank here) deposit envelopes in my glovebox, and pens in the ashtray/shelf thing. I don't know how many red lights it takes to make a sentence, but I could start adding...
So many times I just can't jot down an idea, so I try repeating it until I get where I'm going and can write it down then. Once, while in line at the Tim Horton's drive-thru, I got up to the speaker and repeated the line instead of ordering a coffee! WHOOPS.
That'll teach me to leave home without my secretary. On second thought, (Wayne's handwriting is abominable)
gotta get me one of those hand-held tape recorders!

Heather 7-23-2002 19:44

I think that Slavic guy just thought this was considered a 'newsgroup'. NOT!!!!!
Though, I am VERY VERY HAPPY to hear the latest news on how MEL is doing, right from MEL herself!!!
So good to hear from you!
Well, not all of your summer vacation will be blown, recovering from your surgery.... will it? I hope not!
Hey, maybe we'll have an 'Indian Summer'?
(How many more weeks/days before you're fully healed?)

Mary and I have been busy as a hive lately! We've just posted another bag in the 'Elementals' category for anyone interested in having a look.

I'm not sure if there was a topic posted earlier this week or not(Sometimes I don't scroll down far enough to catch every post) but I sure miss having shorties to read on Friday mornings!
Is there a topic for shortie night this week? It's time for a shortie night revival!

sloppy grins and ice-cream chins,

Heather Hemlock Bags 7-23-2002 19:38

Robo-mel - super to see you up and about again, my mom had a knee replacement a couple of years ago, and she is so very happy with the results. It took her about a month of therapy to get back up and about, but after that she took off faster then ever. At 75 she is doing great, she walks an hour a day on her treadmill (had to repair it twice now since moving back) and plays cards at the drop of anyone's hat anywhere there are three to five others willing to pick up a hand.

Modern medicine is great considering what would have happened twenty years ago with the same injuries.

Jerry 7-23-2002 18:40

ROBO-MEL! -- It's good to see you up and at'em again! And you progress is impressive! I only had a piece of bone taken from the top of my hip (for splints and spacers in my neck) and it took me a couple of months before I could lie down in a real bed by myself. I can imagine what it must be like with a hip replacement!
Have your hubby get you one of those little tape machines, battery operated, with a standard cassette. Then when your muse tickles your ear you don't have to hobble for the computer, even a pen -- you can just pick it up, push the button, and talk!
Heck, they're handy even if you're not laid up! I carry one in my vehicle when travelling, so my wife doesn't have to "Take this down, honey, before I forget it..."

howard 7-23-2002 14:44


This is Robo-Mel, just passing though...
Wishing a good day to all of you! :-)

Three weeks since surgery...
seems like a bazillion moments
of time slowing
to a
Robo-Mel is Slow-Mo Mel...

Then again,
3 wks has flown fast--
I can climb a flight of stairs, with one crutch and a hop;
I can now move my operated leg into, and out of, bed by myself;
I can slide into - and out of - the car with less difficulty;
and I'm almost sleeping through the whole night again.

It still takes me just as long to read NB posts, though,
and feels like Summer "vacation" is some kind of bad dream...
Yet, my muse curls, napping, near my ear;
I think she is just waiting for a bit of chocolate to waft beneath her dainty nose...

So before the rain puts me to sleep, I'm going to read some more of TINA's ms. :-]

Carry on...

Robo-Mel 7-23-2002 14:15

Damn, can't even come here and be free of SPAM!

I guess what that slob or slov or what ever he calls himself qualifies as writing, just not the sort of writing that anyone ever wants to read.

You know I was just sitting here thinking, I do that a lot now days, anyhow what was flowing through my grey matter was a question.

What ever happened to old adages? You know like "if you can't say something nice about a person, don't say anything!" That sort of thing.

I think they got lost in the crowd of new sayings like "have a nice day" or "don't knock it till you've tried it." Maybe not, but do you ever tell your kids "if you can't say....?" I don't think I ever said that to mine, at least I don't recall. But I do remember my dad telling me that when I once complained about my twin cousins who were a few bricks short of a load.

Maybe we need a few more of them, the old adages did direct us in the right direction, and today I think we could use a right direction what with all that goes on in this world today.

Maybe we've outgrown them, but then again, maybe not.

Jerry 7-23-2002 11:04

Hey SLAVIC -- in order for your scam to work you gotta add "STUPID" to "FAIR" and "HONEST."
Ain't no stupid people here.

Bug Off!

howard 7-23-2002 8:03

Slavic 7-23-2002 7:44

Yeah, the shriners bring the circus to town every year. I used to beg my parents to take me. I can't say that I'm inclined to go these days, but I would LOVE to go to the Circe du Solei (sp?) They have three permanent shows - Montreal, Vegas and Florida (I think) and one day I will go. I've seen them on TV, and they are absolutely spectacular and amasing.

Randall, that is a nice story to read/hear. You're right, we only hear the bad type traffic stories. Anyone else have a good one to share? I'm thinking....

Oh, has anyone ever heard of magic mud? It's a concoction of cornstarch and water, mixed so that the cornstarch is wet but not dissolved. It is very cool, very messy stuff. It will run through your fingers like a slimey liquid, but if you squeeze it it feels solid. Did I mention that it makes a mess? Now imagine 18 8 - 10 years old playing with a huge bucket of it. Now imagine the state that the bathroom would be in afterward. Now you know what I just spent 1 1/2 hours cleaning. What I won't do for skydiving money....

Blue skies!

Tina 7-23-2002 1:33

Howard - according to the announcer this is the fifty-first year in a row that the Shiners have brought a circus to town. Good men those Shiners.

It does seem that the shows get smaller each year, that is a shame, but then the audiences get smaller too, so I guess it is as everything, prone to progress, or is it regress?

One thing though, if you ever get a chance, go to the circus, and if you can, take a child it makes everything so much more fun hearing their laughs, and squeels of delight as the clown does his thing, or the lady gets shot out of a cannon, and the magic shows at this production still have me scratching my head, how do they do those things?

Jerry 7-23-2002 1:07

Sorry everyone!
I just found out that we took 2nd place for my last two parades. I needed to blow off some tension, and boy, was it fun to write that little post! WHoowie! I wouldn't mind doing it again, but I think that that might scare someone.
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 7-22-2002 20:18

Sorry about that. I had a Flinstone moment. I must be watching too much TV...I've been averaging 2 pages per day or so for writing, which I like extremely well. I'm still on vacation visiting my grandparents' house by the inland seas. It wained weal good todway and I'll get that stoopid wabbit yet! Oh no! I was hit by an Elmer Fudd Bug! I wonder which character will pop up next as I'm writing to all of you... Suffering Succatash!!! Oops! (imagine hand covering mouth up) M'mp mmpphf.. I'm sorry, there I go again! I say, now I say, boy, you've got to show genius when going against a chicken... It's the attack of the Cartoon Character Quotes! Hurry! RUN! Save yourself! Eh. What's up, doc?

Elaine 7-22-2002 20:14



Viv! Fear not! What you are reading are isolated events with the road rage thing! I see far more GOOD things on the road than bad and I have been driving for over thirty years!It's just that negative events seem to get more attention.

Let me tell you what I saw on the 3rd of July. A positive. Preparing to celebrate the 4th, a large group of bikers were going through town headed for a motorcycle rally in Austin. I was sitting in my little delivery pickup at a very busy intersection scoping them out. The Harley-Davidson crowd to be sure.

There is a lady in town confined to a wheel chair. She was sitting patiently in her motorized wheelchair waiting for the walk signal. (Roll signal?) Anyway, the light changed and she started across the highway. Suddenly the battery driven wheelchair made a left turn. No matter what she did it would only go in circles to the left.

Imagine this intersection where dozens of cars, trucks and motorcycles are waiting for a light. To her left the MC band was sitting at the light watching the distraught lady go in circles. I couldn't decide what to do. I didn't have to do anything. A small man, denim clad, beard to his chest, tattoos all over, the works stepped from his Harley, set the kickstand and strolled into the street. Seconds later a dozen more bikers also left their bikes and walked to her aid.

The light had changed by now. Several cars attempted to enter the intersection but several bikers stepped in front of the vehicles and held up their hand. Most people stop when confronted by six feet tall, pot-bellied bikers with beards to their chest and chains around one shoulder. So did these cars! In the middle of town all traffic stopped as the bikers looked her motorized wheelchair over. After a close inspection four bikers picked up wheelchair and girl and carried it to a nearby parking lot.

I had to get back as deliveries were fierce that day, but I later heard the police showed up. They found the girl surrounded by many motorcycles, men and women. Aided by some of the finest mechanics in the world soon her motorized wheel chair was operable and off she went. I will remember this for a long time because a few men displayed a lot of compassion for someone in trouble.


Randall 7-22-2002 20:00

Hi all!

Mel, hope you are healing well, and taking it easy.

Well, I resisted temptation to go to the dropzone on the weekend. I stayed home to clean, do chores, and WRITE! Well, edit actually, but it still felt great.

But why is it that I can still 'fix' scenes and wording and dialogue on the sixth (or is it ninth?) edit? Argg! The story is better for it, but will my sanity hold up? That is the question.

I still haven't sent out my query letter to any agents. Mostly because I've been so blasted busy with selling the house, starting two new jobs, and skydiving, but I have to get down to the nitty-gritty and do it. The book won't publish itself, not even close.

My mind is too much mush right now to reply to anyone about anything. Busy busy day at work. I think I'll hit the gym and work out the cobwebs! Maybe that will distract me from thinking about skydiving. I'm doing my graduation jump on Saturday, (I won't be a student anymore, just a 'novice'. That just means that they figure I'll remember to pull the pilot chute, not that I actually know much yet ;-) Needless to say, I'm already getting excited.

Blue skies!

Tina 7-22-2002 19:33

Telemarketers -- gotta love 'em!

"Mr Tuckey? I'm Julia, from National Dental Labs. How are you today?"

"Fine, thanks, mostly, I guess..."

"That's GREAT! We're doing a survey, and I can send you a free whitening kit if you'll answer a few questions for me."

"Whitening kit? Can you make me look like that guy on "CHIPS?"

"Well, we can certainly try,,, if you'll..."

"Why would anybody want to look like that guy on "CHIPS?"

"Well, I..."

"Why don't I just mail you my teeth, and you whiten them and send them back, and I'll let you know?"

"Oh -- you have dentures?"

"For almost forty years!"

"Oh, then have a nice day!"


howrad 7-22-2002 16:29

VIV -- America is still the best place on earth to live, but I'm still glad this is only a temporary assignment! :-)

JERRY -- I've never been to a circus. Used to go to the James E. Strates Shows carnival, but never to a real circus. When I was 5 or 6 we went to the carnival, and I remember standing in a tent, around a rope ring, watching a monkey ride a pony. They got around in front of us, and the monkey jumped off the pony and landed on the rope, right in front of me. I was fascinated! Then he jumped from the rope onto my shoulder, and bit me right on the bridge of my nose, right between my eyes! Exit fascination. We went to the ER, got stitched up, and went back home for ice cream. Never could figure out why that cute li'l monkey wanted to bite me!

howard 7-22-2002 10:21

Howard: Just read your post about your neck. We have a couple of bullies who live next door. It's hard to handle my anger at the unfairness of having urine poured into the air vents of our cars, and my roses lopped off by garden shears, I keep reminding myself that the only worthless human is one who does bad things on purpose.

Hope that neck feels better soon and that the bullies all take another road from here on out.

I have to drive when I get to the states. This is someone who thinks doing 40 klicks is really making time. I also am used to driving on the left side of the road. This ought to be interesting....just hope no one punches me for doing something stupid or driving too slow. I'm more than a little scared to come to America. This is not going to be a joy tour. I'm just trying to salvage the house so we'll have a place to live when we retire. Looks like the stupid electric system is shot.

Viv 7-22-2002 9:39

More on Alan W. Eckert -- Check out his web site at !!

Check the list of books published -- 59 to date -- and then look at the "Unpublished Works" page.


Then get back to writing!

howard 7-22-2002 7:29

There is absolutely nothing that brings that feel of youth back to we, the ancient and decrepit better then a circus.

We went this afternoon to the "kids" show, the daylight show, san big top. It was much smaller then I remember, or maybe I was so much smaller when I first went. The acts were much less exciting, but exciting none the less. The show much smaller, but a good show at any size.

The little ones running up an down the bleachers, some with blue mouths, others bright red from the snow cones. The littlest, those tottlers in mom's arms so amazed at the fact that the fingers stick together when you crush cotton candy in them.

There were the elephants, (three to be exact) and they did a good job of entertaining us, a clown (didn't there used to be a clown troop?) who was very good at clowning around. The dog show, (no pony or horse show though) a couple of aerialists on the flying trapeeze, a high wire act, short wire but it was high, other high acts, the twirling ladies (well lady)and a great bear act. The leopard act was sad to say the least, those poor cats were so overweight that they could barely jump on the stands, the one that was in good shape, a black panther refused to act for the trainer, and it really screwed up her act.

Oh but the smells, smell brings back memories completely forgotten in years of worry over jobs, money, high finance, education and the likes. The popcorn, mixing with that exotic smell of the animals took me back to the days when the shrinners gave free tickets to kids, and me and my buddies went, without parents to keep us in line. We used to climb on top of the dugout's and watch the show from there. Things and times have changed. Now the dugouts have steel roofs, I think that should a kid climb on top, he would quickly jump down, much like the cat on the hot tin roof.

Overall though it was a good show, six bucks each to get in, but well worth the green. It did shock me just a bit to watch kids beg mom for the popcorn, then watch mom put out first one dollar, then two, and finally a third for a single box of popcorn. Three bucks for popcorn, the same for bottled water, snow cones and cotton candy. I guess they gotta make a buck, but come on. Oh yes then they had the elephant rides, they put like five kids at a time on the top of an elephant and lead it around the ring twice, that at three bucks a head, fifteen bucks a group. And for three bucks, you could put your kid in one of those moon jumping huts or let them slide down a "circus slide", a blow up vynal slide. But hey it's for the kids, and I saw kids of all ages having a blast.

The weather cooperated for a change, I doubt that it got much over seventy five today, the first cool day in weeks. I knew it was coming, the good weather that is, as the past three nights have held a bit of rain, not enough to break the drought, but in today's Dakota, any rain is a blessing. The weather man says we will return to normal temp now, that being a high of 75-80 and overnight lows in the fifty's. Great news.

I did miss the "Mickey Mouse in a Glass House" balloons that they used to sell at the circus in my youth, guess Disney cracked down on such things, but they had the famous light sabers, and regular balloons, so I guess the kids all had a chance to spend more of mom's money at the circus.

We have gone to the Circus now every year since we moved back, this one was a bit different in a different way. The ones in past years displayed one American flag, then flags of other nations, Mexico, Canada and the nations that act's hailed from, usually Italy, and some of the South American nations. This year, it was all Old Glory, I counted twenty four US flags in the rings, and atop the tents on the side lines. The acts were all dressed in red white and blue, as were all the bunting on the animals, and cages etc. They opened the show with the National Anthem, again unusual.

I do miss the old band that used to accompany the circus though, and was considering suing the bastards for killing more of my hearing, as they had huge speakers turned up full blast, so loud that my ears are still ringing. In fact the night show was playing a couple of hours ago, and I could hear the music down here, we live three blocks from the arena.

At any rate, we had a grand time, some super memories, and were well entertained.

Jerry 7-22-2002 0:18

Make that "Winning," not "Wining!" Although the latter could definitely present some possibilities! :-)

howard 7-21-2002 23:14

Sonagun! I just reviewed that Bulwer-Lytton site and found an entry by one of my favorite authors -- Alan W Eckert! Famous writers need mental breaks too! Or maybe exercise outside the box!
RANDALL -- I think it was you that I referred to AWE's "Wining of America" series, with an emphasis on "Wilderness Empire" and "The Frontiersmen." Look him up on for an excellent read!

howard 7-21-2002 23:13


The final word on doomsday. According to David Merchant's web site we have, (drum roll please) 125 months... 5 days... 5 hours... 20 minutes...and counting, 44 seconds till the Aztec calendar predicts the end of the world December 23, 2012

(Better Christmas shop early in 2012!

On another countdown he has 315 months... 11 days... 5 hours... 17 minutes... 5 seconds till Asteroid 1997XF slams into North America somewhere in the Dakotas on October 25, 2028.

(One heck of an early Halloween, uh Jerry?)

On the up side the Sun should be around another 6,000,000,000 years, or so.


PS Just kidding Jerry! :-)

Randall 7-21-2002 19:53



Came across this as I was reading a site relating to auxiliary generators and power invertors ... survival equipment.

"Barring any of these scenarios, there's STILL the larger-than-Jupiter-sized "Planet-X" supposedly headed our way with a close encounter possible in mid-May of 2003, causing global, devastating EARTH CHANGES."

GOOD GRIEF! And on another site they even have a name for it...Nibiru.

"Nibiru's orbit around the Sun is highly elliptical, according to (Zecharia) Sitchin's books, taking it out beyond the orbit of Pluto at its farthest point and bringing it as close to the Sun as the far side of the asteroid belt (a ring of asteroids that is known to occupy a band of space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter). It takes Nibiru 3,600 years to complete one orbital journey, and it was last in this vicinity around 160 B.C.E. As you can imagine, the gravitational effects of a sizable planet moving close to the inner solar system, as it is claimed for Nibiru, could wreak havoc on the orbits of other planets, disrupt the asteroid belt and spell big trouble for planet Earth."

Yeah, yeah I know...more wacky survivalist BS. But very high on the weird scale... In 1997 I dreamed of just such a calamity ... and wrote my book "Flowers" about an encounter with a celestial object. A close passage of a large object to the Earth. Some of you have read parts of the manuscript. I believe I even posted some on the notebook... This nocturnal intruder plot was the clearest, most perfect dream I have ever had.

Sitchin's novel THE 12TH PLANET places Nibiru's passage at the time of the Sumerians so you could possibly add 1,000 years to the above statement. Even a remote consideration of such an event would warrant a close look at the math ... and it's in the ballpark.


No, of course I don't believe anything like that could happen. Come on! (Pause) Course, May of 2003 ain't that far off either.


Randall 7-21-2002 19:30

HEATHER (and ELAINE) -- thanks -- I don't generally go looking for trouble, but I do have a problem in being rather slow to get out of its way sometimes... No, I've never tried holistic healing.

TAYLOR -- Maybe I did read it wrong -- sorry about that...

I mentioned the Bulwer-Lytton contest a while back -- just got this from a friend:

see for explanation of what the
Fiction Contest is about.

The Winner.

On reflection, Angela perceived that her relationship with Tom had always
been rocky, not
quite a roller-coaster ride but more like when the toilet-paper roll gets a
little squashed so it
hangs crooked and every time you pull some off you can hear the rest going
bumpity-bumpity in its holder until you go nuts and push it back into shape,
a degree of
annoyance that Angela had now almost attained.


The professor looked down at his new young lover, who rested fitfully, lashed
as she was with duct tape to the side of his stolen hovercraft, her head
lolling gently in the breeze, and as they soared over the buildings of
downtown St. Paul to his secret lair he mused that she was much like a sweet
ripe juicy peach, except for her not being a fuzzy three-inch sphere produced
by a tree with pink blossoms and that she had internal organs and could talk

Many more at:

howard 7-21-2002 16:51

HOWARD: Oh My Goodness! I got worried when I read your last few posts! I'm glad that your safe and that people aren't measuring you for a long wooden box! Some people should learn manners! I just did my first 'real' city driving, and I wished I was back and safe up Nort'. Right now I'm still on my vacation in Michigan. I had to drive in Detroit and people drive scary there! Passing, left and right, speeding up to the traffic lights, and sometimes getting into your lane with a space no larger than a jelly bean!
ALL: HI!!! I noticed a lot of new names when I came on. Welcome, if it isn't to late to welcome you to the NB. I got caught up on what I missed for my week and a half of no computer (horror!) and I saw a lot of stuff that I liked, like a sonnet and a poem, some shorties, and vacation stories, just to name a few. I'm able to write for a while yet, but again, I'm writing larger posts than usual. It must be all the writing that's been backing up in my system. My muse is well, for now, and at the moment so am I besides the usual cough. I hope that anyone who is sick or injured will recover, and everybody else: STAY HEALTHY!! That's a request, thanks. Well, that's all for now. I'm hoping to get on tomorrow some time too.
Till Niagara Falls!

Elaine 7-21-2002 15:33

Randall - That first round a shot shell, I've heard of that before. This old deputy sheriff I once knew, must have been sixty one years old, carried an old Colt New Service chambered for the 45 Long Colt round. He carried it with the hammer on an empty chamber, the next chamber had a shot shell. Now I had a couple of problems with that, number one, the New Service was capable of being carried with all chambers filled due to it's hammer block function, and secondly, in a real situation, where someone is shooting at you, would you really want to just piss him off worse by pelting him with bits of bird shot that would probably never even reach him if he were beyond your physical reach?

I always carried with one in the chamber, and back in the days when I carried an old .45 Government model Colt, carried it cocked and locked. Now I even had folks come up to me and ask if I realized that my pistol was cocked, for which I always replied, yes I knew that, but it was on safety and with the strap of my holster between the hammer and firing pin, it couldn't accidentally discharge, but I wanted it ready if I ever needed to use it.

I guess that's why I eventually got the Astra A-100 because I could carry it with one in the pipe and hammer down due to it's double action first shot capability.

Now in your case, should you ever need to use your .25, you would have to first get it out of your pocket, second, pull the slide to the rear, third fire that shot shell, which, if I'm not mistaken wouldn't have the power to work the semi-auto action, so if that shot shell doesn't work, you would have to again work the slide to chamber a real round, and then you could fire that little pea at a charging pissed off dude bent on killing you.

Taylor - I always figured that folks I met would remember me, well if I knew them for awhile I figured they should.

When I first got in country in Vietnam, they put me in a room in the commo hooch with a couple of other guys, one was Frank the other Matty. Now Frank was a dopper, big time, he used just about anything he could get his hands on, and over there you could get your hands on almost anything. Matty used pot, and booze off and on, and it was Matty that I sort of paled up with for my first month or two, till he went home.

It was Matty I was sitting with one night in the House of Jacks, a little bar on base that bragged of being the first bar with it's own pool (we were engineers remember). As we sat there drinking our beer, talking of home and everything we would do when we got "back in the world", when Matty noticed that Roberts, another communicator had been gone for a long time. He asked if anyone had seen him, as we figured he was going to the latrine. At any rate someone said they saw him at the pool, (which had yet to open for business).

At about the same time, everyone at the table said "ROBERTS CAN'T SWIM!"

We all rushed to the pool behind the club, and there was Roberts, laying face down in the pool, Matty jumped in and pulled his body from the pool, he was stone cold dead.

Well Roberts got a medal, I don't recall which, or what they said in the citation, but to say the least, he was listed as killed in action. Matty got an Army Commendation Medal for pulling the body from the pool. I got drunk.

At any rate it wasn't long before Matty rotated home, and as things went in Nam at that time, he was never replaced, a couple of weeks later, Frank was sent home, and I had the room alone. I was moved to another room, and our old room was converted to a day room.

A couple of months ago, I found Matty's name in, and since I didn't pay the price of a full member, his email was hidden, but I remembered where he was from, and did a search at four11, and found him.

I emailed him, and yes, he recalled all that happened, he remembered the room, but couldn't place me. I guess since I was fresh off the farm, Matty made an impression on me, but I must not have made an impression on him.

I was a bit dissapointed, but I can understand things like that. But it makes me wonder, who will remember me after I'm gone, just my family? And when their gone, then who will remember? Who will care that I even lived?

With this in mind, I sat down last week and wrote my new will, as well as a living will. I will take them to the bank on Monday and get them wittnessed and notorized, just in case. After all I am mortal, and I will die. When I don't know but I want to have a bit of say what happens to my body, where it will be planted, who can "pull the plug" if necessary and all that.

I gave it a lot of thought, I listed the songs I want played at my funeral, the coffin I would like, the grave linner, what cloths I should be dressed in, that I want my old badge in my hand.

Something everyone should do. I was most impressed with my old buddy from Bowman, when I went to his funeral, he had done this, it made the funeral somehow more personal, more him, knowing that this is exactly as he wanted it to be. I know it made things much easier for his wife and child.

Jerry 7-21-2002 13:58


HOWARD: I think I came across wrongly. I have no doubt that I would be remembered by people who know me. I just don't want anyone to feel sad at my funeral. I would like people to pay respects if they like, but not to go too far out of the way.
In fact as I tried to say, to honour my memory just go out and have a blast and have fun.

Taylor 7-21-2002 4:57

GOOD GOD, Howard, I'll pray for that neck of yours. What a horrible thing to have happened to you.
My dad was grabbed by some maniac on the freeway once too, when Dad happened to put on his brakes too fast and the guy driving behind him smashed into his van. Not too bad a smash, mind you, but this guy got out of his car, and started grabbing my Dad by his shirt, and ripped off all the buttons - when I heard about it I nearly cried. Nobody does that to my DAD!!!!! It's not that my Dad was a big wimp, he was completely shocked when the guy grabbed him, obviously he'd expected a verbal fight. I think my Mom toned down on the part where my Dad told the guy to get back into his car until the cops arrived. The way she made it sound, my Dad calmly told the guy to bugger off! I doubt that would have had much effect!
My little brother was attacked at the end of a hockey game once, too. (My parents and my little brother all live in the US) My brother is a big guy. He smashed the crud out of one of the opposition with one of his trademark 'squisher' bodychecks. (The kind that squish the lunch out of ya). After the game this guy and one of his teammates attacked my brother, holding him down on the ice and smashing him in the face. I told him, if I HAD BEEN THERE I would have jumped over the boards and given them shit with a fist myself! My mom was at the game, but she didn't do the 'board hop'. My little brother was a teen at the time. Is it just me, or do most people just not DO anything when this sort of thing happens? It's not like my mother didn't see it happen, and it's not as if she wasn't completely HORRIFIED.
Then again, my 5'2" mom against two huge teen boys with skates and helmets on might have been a good reason for her not to go jumping over the boards. She got the coach instead, but by that time my brother was pretty well banged up.

That's my rant for the eve.
Sorry, Howard, I got all side-tracked there. Have you tried holistic healing for your neck? Not to replace the surgery, but as an added measure?
You just never know.
((((((GENTLE HUGS))))))

Heather 7-20-2002 23:32



Jerry...when you mentioned qualification, an old memory tumbled out. In the Navy I was a Gunners Mate, (they called GM's Cannon Cockers) and worked a lot with small arms. We were the Master at Arms on the ship, sea going cop if you will.

Our ship was in Sasebo, Japan when our young Gunnery Officer decided we needed to be qualified with the 45 automatic. I mentioned young cause this kid was as fresh an officer as one could be. Anyway, a dozen or so cannon cockers loaded up on a naval station bus with all our 45s from the armory, a thousand rounds of ammo and headed to the indoor firing range. Which was under the jurisdiction of the Marine Corps.

Wouldn't you know. A crusty old Gunnery Sergeant was standing outside the range building as the bus pulled through a large chain link gate. There was a "Smokey the Bear" hat firmly in place and a large black whistle around his neck. His khaki uniform was bedecked with fruit salad (medals) and starched as to be bullet proof. And he was standing at attention and glaring at the bus load of intruding squibs. Now, there is something about these old Marines that grab your attention right off. Their mouth.

"Line up here," he shouted. "Gunnery Officer, you stand there. All right sailors when at my range and under the supervision of the United States Marine Corps you will..." And followed up with a long and LOUD list of do and don't, and your ass is mine if you fail to pay attention.

Our little Gunnery Officer was so intimidated he only nodded. The Marine lined us up and MARCHED us into the range. I had been in the service for three years then and hadn't marched in formation since boot. The first class gunner's mate ahead of me couldn't even stay in step! Inside the range was as immaculate as a hospital operating room. The concrete floors had a sheen you could comb your hair in. Furniture inside was sparse but what there was, was positioned in exactly the right place, the right distance, seemingly at attention as well. High on a wall was a four foot by four foot painting of "Chesty" Puller. Chesty is or was at that time the most decorated Marine, ever.

After a brief lecture ... "On firing the United States Government Colt automatic 45 caliber pistol you will ..." and "On firing the United States Government Colt automatic 45 caliber pistol you will NOT ..." The Gunnery Sergeant then positioned each one of us alongside a small table facing down range. "You will stand here, do not pick up the weapon until I tell you to, do not step forward or backward from you not fail to understand my instructions."

I noted my assigned pistol was near the edge of the table. I moved to push it back. That is when the whistle blew loudly and quicker than you could say Semper Fi, the Marine was in my face.

"Sailor, I said do not touch the weapon until given permission."

"Sir, I was..."

He poked me in the chest with a finger the size of a horse pistol barrel. "Sailor do not touch the weapon until I give the command."

You don't argue with these guys. It's just not done and honestly I wanted the lesson over and would not prolong it by arguing with a man who viewed Marine Corps legend "Chesty" Puller as the right hand of God.

Up and down the line he went, instructing, ordering, haranguing. Finally we were allowed to load the magazines.

"Pick up the Colt 45 automatic pistol with your right hand. Hold it at a 45-degree angle and with the magazine in your left hand insert the magazine in the magazine well and keeping the muzzle down range ..."

Down the firing line there was a loud "Thonk." The gunnery officer had allowed the slide to move forward and loaded the gun. A big No No. I picked up a whoosh of strongly pressed khakis as the Marine rushed behind the line behind me. With great cordiality he took the pistol from the red faced officer and had him reload the magazine back in the pistol.

After a brief conversation with the young officer he stood behind us and shouted "Commence fire!"

Which was followed thirty seconds later by a whistle blast and, "Cease fire! Clear your weapon, remove the magazine, lock the slide rearward and step back away from the firing line!"

He walked down range and examined every target. Muttering and shaking his head he returned. "Reload, insert the magazine and at my command, commence fire! But this time sailors, aim!"

Again a dozen Cannon Cockers blazed away.

"Cease fire! Cease fire!" he shouted.

Again the target inspection. He then walked to my table and dissembled my pistol. He did the same to every pistol we had. By now the Gunnery Officer was at his side asking what the heck was going on.

"Sir, the weapons under your command are clean and oiled. However, I would strongly recommend that if in a combat situation to throw the weapon at the enemy. The barrels are shot out (eroded from firing) and incapable of maintaining an accurate sustained rate of fire."

Well, that ended our qualification and back to the ship we went. Did we receive new weapons? Nope. Did this story make the rounds of the Marine NCO bar that night? Without a doubt.


Randall 7-20-2002 19:06

My Epitaph

He used to lust
He used to leer
But thatís all stopped
Ďcoz now heís here

Retilt 7-20-2002 16:31

Howard - scary stuff, road rage. I used to get a bit that way when I was off duty and some idiot would cut me off in traffic, but never bad enough to stop and fight about it. The wife used to try to calm me down, and I was always care full to hold my temper when the kids were in the car.

Now if it happened in the town where I worked at the time, I would pull them over by flashing my headlights and give them a bit of an ass chewing, or if necessary a traffic citation (we all carried them off duty, as well as our sidearms and badges.)

It doesn't bother me anymore, I simply think that the idiot will do what ever it was he did one time too many and end up in hospital or dead. I must have figured out somewhere down the line that because someone else wants to be an idiot behind the wheel, doesn't mean I have to be too.

I haven't carried a firearm since I left the PD, never felt the need. South Dakota has a "Must Issue" concealed carry permit system that simply states that the sheriff or chief of police "must issue" a concealed carry permit to a resident citizen so long as that citizen is not prohibited by law. Legal prohibitions are conviction of a violent felony, a chronic alcoholic, drug addict, (shown by convictions of drug offences or hospitalization) or has a history of mental illness.

I know I could get a permit, but don't really see any necessity of getting one.

Could come from the old feeling of distrust for the "big government" but I think it's simply that I don't think I need one any more. It did bother me for a few months, going out without a firearm after having carried one daily on and off duty for over twenty years, but to tell the truth, it felt kind of good not having to carry one.

I still have my old duty weapon, it's a .45ACP Semi-auto double action with a 10 round magazine, with a short barrel for ease of carry. Mine is an Astra, made in Spain and is an exact copy of the much more expensive Sig Sauer German handgun. Has all the same features at half the cost. I carried it for my last six years on the force, and never had any trouble qualifying with every six months as required by departmental policy (State law only required annual qualification). I used to enjoy qualification day a bunch, as we always competed to see who could get the best qualification score. It was sort of funny, the old Sheriff who was 72 years old and had been the Sheriff for over 30 years had an old S&W Military and Police Model (now known as a model 10) in original military parkerization, that he was issued when he was first elected. He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn at ten paces, probably couldn't have with a brand new Colt Python, but somehow the fellow from the Highway Patrol that did the scoring found invisible holes in the Sheriff's target and qualified him. The only good thing about that was that the Sheriff rarely if ever carried his sidearm, being much more comfortable with an old .30 Caliber M1 Carbine that he had stashed under the front seat of his car.

Jerry 7-20-2002 14:33


One more time....

My obit?

Husband of one, Father of three, Brother of one, Son of two, Friend to many, Enemy to none, Writer Wannabe, Worked his whole life, Died poor and rich ... Any questions?

Also...FYI... Found these quotes at the Comedy Zone. Most quoted? Who else! George Burns!

"You know you're getting old when you stoop to tie your shoelaces and wonder what else you could do while you're down there." George Burns.

"My grandmother was a very tough woman. She buried three husbands and two of them were just napping." Rita Rudner.

"On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done as easily lying down ." Woody Allen.

"People ask me what I'd most appreciate getting for my eighty-seventh birthday. I tell them, a paternity suit." George Burns.

"I do wish I could tell you my age but it's impossible. It keeps changing all the time." Greer Garson.

"At my age flowers scare me." George Burns.

"I'm very pleased to be here. Let's face it, at my age I'm very pleased to be anywhere." George Burns.

"I don't plan to grow old gracefully. I plan to have face-lifts until my ears meet." Rita Rudner.

"My uncle Sammy was an angry man. He had printed on his tombstone: What are you looking at?"
Margaret Smith.


Randall 7-20-2002 11:42



Howard...well, don't pull over in situations like that is all I could say as well. Hindsight is always 20/20 so that does not help either. The guy in the pickup has the "Kill me" syndrome. This was explained very well in Puzo's novel THE GODFATHER. Sonny had it, as did the Godfather's bodyguard. There are persons who are asking to be killed. Well, perhaps not asking, but by their action and behavior seeking death. The ultimate ego induced self-destruction complex. They blow up like your guy did over situations unworthy of such an over reaction. In my 55 years on the planet I've seen such people many, many times. These kind of folks barge through life bullying others till they meet someone with the same complex. If one goes through life asking to be killed sooner or later someone will oblige.

My wife, God bless her has a touch of the same problem. Honest. When we're traveling it galls her to no end when she is passed by another vehicle. If a vehicle cuts her off or does not make a maneuver on the road to her approval, she rages at them. On the interstate highway in New Mexico, east of Santa Rosa the speed limit is 75. We were on vacation along this highway and cattle haulers were, at first, passing us like we were sitting still. Debbie was driving and I knew what would happen. Sure enough soon we were passing them, at speeds up to 90 MPH! Aware of her problem I managed to talk her down to a reasonable speed of 80, (!?) but it was scary. Ego will kill you just as dead as a bullet.

Another short tale and I'll shut up. I attended school with a classic school yard bully named Billy. He made everyone's life hell. He was physically large, loudmouthed, overbearing and not afraid to resort to fists and feet when making a point. Billy dropped out of high school and I soon forgot him. I was at mom and dad's one night many years later and reading the local paper. Billy's name was in the obits as deceased, funeral to follow. I mentioned this to mom and she told me the "rest of the story."

It seemed Billy was going through a messy divorce and with his style abusing everyone involved. His wife moved back with her parents seeking sanctuary. Billy, despite a restraining order kept prowling around the house. The woman's dad warned Billy to stay away several times, the police warned Billy, the judge warned Billy. But the self-destruction inside, the raging ego would not allow him to walk away. He was on their front porch one summer night shouting to see his estranged wife. Her dad, behind a locked screen door, said no and go away. Enraged Billy kicked the front screen door in, tore it from the hinges and walked in the house. That is when the woman's dad let him have both barrels of a 12 gauge shotgun and blew him back through the door, off the porch and 20 feet unto the front lawn. Game over. No charges, and everyone breathed a little easier in town. Poor Billy. Some quirk of genetics led him down a road of self-destruction to a violent death.

Well, its going to be a beautiful day outside. I'd better get off here and find something to do a'fore my wife does for me.


Randall 7-20-2002 11:14

HEATHER -- HA HA HA HA!!! I love it! But that earlier piece did hurt, which goes to show how effective and powerful it was. Thanks for both!

TAYLOR -- We've got to get you out of this "not gonna be remembered" tack you've been on. Yes, life is only a temporary assignment. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it, or make a difference in it!

howard 7-20-2002 8:53


Carol and Viv: Hope you two feel better ASAP. I have been recovering myself. So get better soon.

Heather: I liked that joke.

On guns: I wouldn't know the real the difference of a .45 or a Magnum or whatever. Though been trying to find out

My Obit:
A guy who liked to have harmless fun and enjoy himself when he could. But hopes that people would not mourn his passing but fondly remember his life. And remember that Death is not the end of everything it's just the end of a life.

Kind of short.... But if that's read out at an empty funeral, or a small gathering, I would like that

Taylor 7-20-2002 3:02

Hey, I laughed:

A priest walked into a barber shop in Washington, D.C.
After he got his haircut, he asked how much it would be.
The barber said, "No charge. I consider it a service to the Lord."

The next morning, the barber came to work and there were 12 prayer
books and a thank you note from the priest in front of the door.

Later that day, a police officer came in and got his hair cut. He then asked how much it was.
The barber said, "No charge. I consider it a service to the community."

The next morning, he came to work and there were a dozen donuts and
a thank you note from the police officer.

Then, a Senator came in and got a haircut. When he was done he asked how much it was.
The barber said, "No charge. I consider it a service to the country."

The next morning, the barber came to work and there were 12 Senators in front of the door.

Heather 7-20-2002 2:04

HEATHER -- That wasn't depressing -- it hurt!

howard 7-20-2002 0:38

RANDALL -- 10-4 on the gun thing, but unfortunately they won't let us carry them here in the "civilised world." Not supposed to carry any "real" weapon -- knife must be under a specified length, no billy clubs or brass knuckles, numchuks, certain chains, etc, etc. But I do have a short (3 ft) grub hoe handle that got broke off, and for the last 20 years it's been in my truck -- right beside the driver seat -- 'cause I'm taking it to the ag store to measure for a replacement. Then there's the US Army entrenching tool, nicely sharpened, pretty well balanced, that's behind the seat. It's not as lethal as the Russian model, that's even better balanced, almost razor sharp, and comes with the claim that it can be used 29 different ways to inflict fatal bodily injury. Gotta get me one of those! After all, I might get stuck and need another shovel...

None of that stuff was any help on Labor Day weekend in 1987, though -- as I was caught totally off guard. Traffic was horrendous that Friday afternoon, and I was going up rt 81, headed home from a meeting I had after work. I was in the passing lane, doing about 60 or so, (speed limit was 55 back then) but passing the solid line of cars in the driving lane. No problem, I'm looking for a place to get back over. But there was no place at all! There was a solid line of cars in the driving lane, and nothing in front of me for 10 or 12 car lengths, and we were catcing uip to them fast!

But the guy in the red pickup behind me thought I wasn't going fast enough. He flashed his lights and moved up to about 6 feet from my rear bumper. I cranked up the old Dodge to about 70, still not able to pull over because of all the traffic. He stayed on my tail, and pulled even closer, and started a horn serenade to accompany the lights. I took it up to about 75, and gently tapped the brake pedal, just enough to flash my brake lights at him without slowing the truck. He backed off for an instant and came right back at it. I could see him jawing at me, and could just imagine what he was saying. There was another guy in the cab with him.

About this time I could see, back through his rear window, that he had someone riding in the open pickup boxas well. Situation changed, for me anyway, because I've seen what a high-speed rollover can do to people in the back of a pickup. It ain't pretty. So I stepped on it some more, and headed for the first available opening to pull into. The lane ahead of me was opening up, but all I could think of was to get out of this guy's way.

I came up to a gap between two cars, that really wasn't big enough to pull into safely, and I knew I'd have to hit the brakes and try to match speeds as soon as I pulled in.

I tried.

I didn't make it.

As soon as I could see that there was enough room to pull in I started to move right, signal and all, but the guy jerked his truck over, floored it, cutting off the van I had just passed, and passed me on the right! And as he went by I could see there were five kids in the back of that truck, bouncing around like jumping beans, and the oldest one couldn't have been more than ten years old!

Just to spice things up a little more, some kid in a primer coated Monte Carlo, who I hadn't noticed behind the truck, passed me on the LEFT! I had pulled back over to the left shoulder as far as I could to give the red truck enough room to get by me, and this other guy was completely out on the grass, going down the back side of Two Mile Hill! He made it by me and the red truck, and pulled in front of him, almost hitting him in the process, and motored on down the road. He must have been doing a hundred by the time the dust cleared.

Anyway, I got back into the right lane, shaking like a leaf, and slowed back down to the speed limit. A couple miles down the road is my exit, so I slowed to get off, and there was that red truck stopped on the shoulder just before the exit, driver standing in front of it waving at me to stop, and kids hanging off the truck and off the guard rails! I shouldn't have stopped, but I was so pissed at this guy that I was not thinking too straight.

I pulled in front of him, downshifting into first as I did, and stopped, rolling my window halfway down to ask what the hell he was thinking of! I looked in the mirror to see where the kids were, and here came the otherone, a big guy -- maybe 16 or so -- and he was running up to the passenger side of the truck. He grabbed the handle and tried to open the door, but I generally run with that door locked. I think it may have saved my bacon that day. He was pounding on the window when the driver got to my side. He was spitting and foaming at the mouth, and I asked him what his problem was.

He screamed "Get out of the &$@#(( truck!" and punched me in the side of the neck, laying me over on the seat. I never even felt it at the time, but it turned out he did some significant damage. I sat back up, and he reached for me again, and I grtabbed his wrist with my right hand, and shoved up on his elbow with my left. I wanted so badly to break his elbowm but ended up only pinning it to the window frame. Then I thought to ease up on the clutch.

Advantage mine.

He didn't have the leverage to pull free, and it was all he could do to keep up and not get dragged under the truck. Meanwhile the kid was screaming and slapping at the passenger side, and I think that if he had managed to open that door I would have pulled back out into the three or four 18-wheelers going by right about that time. They were all blowing their horns, and I know they didn't miss this bozoid by much!

I finally let his arm loose a little way into the exit ramp, and pulled a way further to stop and write down his license number. They saw me stop, and started running after me again! Meanwhile the kids in the truck had all got out, and in my rear view mirror it looked like they were playing tag all around it!

I stepped on it then, and drove down the road far enough to see if the guy followed me or not. By this time I'd thought of the grub hoe handle, and picked it up. I reallly think I might have done serious bodily harm to at least one of them with it.

He must have decided against following, as I eventually saw him going on up the highway.

I was feeling rather poorly by the time I got home, and my wife almost went into hysterics when she saw my neck all red and purple and swollen. So I called the State Police and reported the incident.

I was told they could do nothing about it except possibly issue an "appearance ticket," which would probably only aggravate matters, as it would let the guy know where I lived. I asked "What about the assult," and she said it was my word against several others, and it was probably best all around to let it drop, unless there were serious injuries.

I asked if they could give me his address, based on the license number, and she said no, only that he lived around Kirkwood. Then she said "Next time don't stop!" Like I didn't already know that!

I told a friend of mine about it (he was curious about the bruise on my neck a few days later), and he asked me for the license number, saying that he was tight with a big state trooper dude. I guess it was his brother in law. He said to forget about it, he'd take care of it.

Anyway, it turned out that they had been watching this idiot for some time -- dunno why -- and I heard later that they caught him in a bar off US 11 a few nights later, (they were off duty) and that he somehow picked a fight with them, and that he wasn't going to be bowling any more that season -- maybe the next season either.

I asked what the guy's name was and they said I didn't need to know.

I was thinking about that incident yesterday, in the MRI machine, getting more pictures of my neck. I'm losing the feeling in my arms and hands again, and wondering if I'm going to have to have more surgery on my neck. Already have four cervical vertebrae fused, with a metal plate and eight screws in there, and now they think the next level is causing problems.

I wonder if that maniac is bowling this year?

howard 7-20-2002 0:19


Heather 7-20-2002 0:01

I think the guy in the rest stop was germophobic, personally, but the 'itch-wash-itch-wash' cycle might be, in a germophobe's mind, the 'worm' crawling under their skin, causing itch, therefore must scour hands until dead. Insert 'germs', 'bacteria' or any other little wee beastie in place of 'worm'. Inside the mind of someone who is obsessive-compulsive, the reasoning may be something as strange as an old wives' tale they believed and held onto, and like a broken record, cannot get the needle of thought to pass that scratch in the LP. We cannot truly know the rationale behind their actions unless we ask. (Like I'm gonna? Ha ha)
But, I am making an assumption here that the itching and washing and the fear of being infested are all from the same load of laundry.
Bleach, please. And plenty of Dettol!
That is an assumption from experience and a whack of education in psychology and nursing. Mind you, I'm a bit rusty 'round the edges due to being out of the field for a number of years. Amazing how the technical details fade when you don't use them on an everyday basis. Oh, speaking of which, can anyone explain a gerund? I seem to have misplaced that data.

Ok, let's just do shortie night on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, shall we? I'll begin...

Can't start, can't start, can't start until three three three. Until. Didn't say until three times, now I did, now I did, now I...
Something hard hit the inside of her ribcage. Fear.
"C-c-coming, Ma!" Coming ma, coming ma, I'm three times three...
"If you are in that hallway shutting and re-shutting your bedroom door, I'm going to yank your goddamned hair out by the roots!"
Mother's voice was painfully hoarse. Thay meant real pain if she didn't hurry.

Click, turn, a quick glance in, click, turn, almost there...
almost there, almost there-
"GABBY!" The pain was at her left ear first. Left ear, left ear, left...
Mother's left fist closed tight into her hair, white-knuckled. Then the right one. Gabby saw only a flash of ceiling, and then the grain of the wooden door, blurry as it whizzed past.
She shut her eyes, anticipating the inevitable smash, her thoughts pushing away the noise of screaming. Two!
Only two hands, only two... Two times, two times. It's all about two. It's all about two...


Um. Sorry. That was a bit depressing. :o(

Heather 7-19-2002 23:57

There are two things good about summer reruns, first they leave lots of time to watch VCR movies. Last night we watch Harry Potter, wonderful film, but what was that language they were speaking?

Number two, you can always watch some of those old movie reruns, as tonight, I am watching Magnum Force, Clint is at it again!

Jerry 7-19-2002 22:34

Hi everybody! Great posts. We ought to have a shorty week using roadside rest stops as a topic. Good one for August when everyone is traveling. I don't know of one person who doesn't find those places dead scary. Day or night, they are the place you'd most expect to find a creepy crawler of the human variety.

Probably the guy in the washroom was safe. OCD's are usually just neurotics. Cigarette smoking is classified as an OCD as well and if you think about it, it's kind of strange for someone to go around sucking on a tube of paper and dried leaves. Yet you see all the heros in the old movies doing just that. Wouldn't it be funny if they'd had those actors washing their hands instead of smoking every time the action got intense!

You know what is weird about the handwashing OCD? It's often connected with common atopic dermatitus. Appears someone goes to stop an itch, uses hot water because it speeds the reaction up and gets the itching over with quicker. In the process the skin is damaged so the area gets dry and chapped. That starts the itch out again and the guy goes into a cycle of itch, wash, itch, wash. Nice to always know what motivates your character. I learned that when I studied MacBeth at the same time as I was studying psychology 101. I asked the professor if guilt would cause someone to really wash hands and got that wonderful reply. That was one of those Eureka semesters, I can't wait to go back to school.

Back to work. I'm nursing the same cold as Carol. Not a fun experience. It's got me slowed WAAAAAAY down.

Tina, good luck on the house. Must be a good house to get a nibble this quickly.

Viv 7-19-2002 20:59



Well if you're right Howard, I guess I got snagged by Mark's hook! :-) father-in-law was as rough as they come. Verbally abusive to his children and wife and not above physical actions either. During his funeral, for a second I though the old Catholic priest was talking of someone else!

25 caliber pistolas are popular around here for their size. They can be carried in pants pocket and no one will notice. At any given time in our store there at least two men carrying. After the incident at Luby's in 1991 I swore I would never be caught without a means of defense. God gave me the intelligence to make decisions regarding my safety and Sam Colt furnished the wherewithall. I would rather have a gun at hand all my life and never need it, than for one horrific moment need one for defense and not have it.

Outta here


Randall 7-19-2002 20:46

Hi All :)

Well, I'm starting to breath easier and the coughing is down to once every hour or so. Hey, I think the brain is even starting to work to some small extent. hehehehe Tina -- I'd love to take echinechea, but I discovered during my last cold that it doesn't mix with lupus, it only makes the immune system go bonkers even more, making the cold worse. Pooh! I used to swear by that stuff too!

Cynthia - I wear nice high loud sounding heels when shopping at WalMart with hubby -- he can hear that tap, tap, tap all over the store and home in on me anytime. And luckily for me, hubby is quite tall and wears unusual hats making him highly visible over the heads of others. But -- I do love your story! hehehehehe Especially that smile in the window.

Carol 7-19-2002 15:11

HEATHER -- You wil? Me to!

howard 7-19-2002 13:30

If there is one typo in my obituary, I swear I'll return just to correct it!


Heather 7-19-2002 13:07

Hi all!

Eddie, those books made good time! Enjoy.

Carol, one word.... echinechea! =c) Take it easy, and heal up! It will go away... eventually.

Randall, I don't know anyone else who loads their gun like that! My hubby's pistol is kept in the same state of readiness, including the shot shell. It doesn't come with us - not allowed here and it's meant for home protection and is locked up - but any a#@$ole who breaks in will have a rude surprise. No victims in this house.

I'm jealous reading about all the writing y'all been doing. We have a bite on the house right now, so my fingers are crossed.

Off to work. Blue skies!

Tina 7-19-2002 11:17

EDDIE -- Don't worry about it! I would have bought the books anyway! :-)
And if it will make you feel better, I just moved some paper here on my desk and found the book I'd promised to send back to Mark several times over the past few months!

I'm thinking about writing an op-ed piece for our local paper. Actually have it started, but it's a hard one to write. I've had several of them printed, along with a few letters, but this one is going to be difficult. The part about "know your audience" is much tougher in a mid-sized paper. We've got everything from rabid liberal to even more rabid conservative, each extreme having their own rules of (mis)interpretation! And that great unwashed middle...

howard 7-19-2002 9:20

How bad can it get??
I just finish apologising to howard for forgetting to send the books off and what happens?
The books arrived this morning. Thank you very much.
I'm just going to stand in the corner for a while. Excuse me.
You may throw rotten fruit if you wish!

Eddie french Simply Writing 7-19-2002 8:37


Obsessive hand washing is the most common manifestation of OCD. Bugsy Siegel was said to have been afflicted with this disorder. Years ago we had a Mr. Cleanhands in our sales office. This guy insisted on having the hot water kept at maximum temperature and washed his hands at every opportunity with no tempering from the cold water. When he was handed cash by a customer he held out the paper work for the customer to drop the money on and carried it, at once, to the cashier and dropped it on her desk. It was said that when he first started, he wore cotton gloves in the office, and the management insisted that he stop wearing them.

Some of my best friends are Jews.

Howís that for incongruity?

Remember, everyone,

Youíre not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.

gariess 7-19-2002 1:33

Speaking of .25 caliber automatics, I had a couple of them in my gun days. One day we were called to a bar fight, seems this native American fellow was sitting at the bar, minding his own business, which at that time was a can of Budweiser, when this cowboy came up to him and began giving him a hard time. You know the type, joking about drunken Indians, about how Indians couldn't hold their liquor and how it used to be illegal to sell "red skins" booze. Well the old Indian fellow took it for quite some time according to the bartender, but when the cowboy drew his little .25 acp pistol and demanding that the Indian dance, it was too much. The old Indian cold cocked the cowboy, and as he went down, the little .25 Raven automatic went off. When we got there, the Indian was sitting at the bar again, nursing his Budweiser, and the drunken cowboy was on the floor.

We hauled both of them in for statements and all, and when we were done, we locked up the cowboy and offered the Indian fellow a ride back up town or home if he wanted. He decided to go uptown, so we all piled in the squad car, and drove him back up to the bar. As he got out, I noticed a bit of blood dripping down the back of his shirt. I called his attention to it, and he felt up his arm.

"Damn, I think I got shot!" he said. We ripped open his shirt, and sure enough there was a little .25 caliber hole in his arm. He hadn't felt a thing.

We took him up to the doctor, where he was treated and kept overnight for observation, and as we left, my partner turned to me and said "If anyone ever shoots me with one of those .25's and I find out about it...."

Funny thing about those .25's, they are the least powerful semi-automatic firearm built (well regularly manufactured at any rate) and with all their low power, they are among the top of the list of guns that kill. Why, one may ask? Simple they are cheap, easy to get, easier to use, and most folks think they are so under powered that they aren't afraid to use them. But like any firearm, if the shot is placed just right, it can and is fatal.

Oh, an obit? How about:

He lived.
He died.

Jerry 7-19-2002 0:35

RANDALL -- Great description! And I know from experience that those shot shells do sting! No, it wasn't done intentionally, but by accident, a ricochet, really -- I was shooting voles in the woodpile in the cellar, and hit the stone wall. Dumb. Not stupid. That would have been the second time, because I stopped at dumb. And I think Mark was just having you on...

Obituary? I guess the only thing I'd want said is "He lived what he believed, and didn't need to apologise for it."

Reminds me of one -- no, two -- of my favorite stories. I wish I'd written them:

Three men at a funeral parlor stood looking into the casket of the departed.

One said to the second: "Bill, if that was you, and you could hear what was being said, what would you most like to hear said about you?"

"Well," said Bill, "I guess I'd like to hear someone say that I had been a good friend and co-worker, someone who would go to the wall for his friends." He turned back to the first man and said "How about you?"

"I guess it would have to be that I was a good father to my family, a good husband, and a good example to the boys in my neighborhood."

They both turned to Art, who had been standing there listening, and asked what he would most like to hear someone say about him. And he replied:

"Look! He's breathing!"


The other is about the meanest, nastiest, lyin'est polecat in town, who also happened to be the richest. He and his brother had owned the town together, having lied, cheated, and stolen from everyone in town, and having bullied the whole town into subjection. Why, they even owned the mortgage on the church and parsonage, a fact the surviving brother made very plain when he came to tell the preacher what he wanted said at his brother's funeral.

"I want you to stand up there and tell this whole town what a righteous, godly man my brother was -- a real saint!"

The preacher tried to stand up to his bullying -- "I can't do that!!! It would be an outright lie, and you know it!"

The mean brother said "You will, or I'll call in this mortgage, and I'll own the church and the parsonage, and I'll burn 'em both down for the insurance!"

The pastor just shook his head, and tried to think what to say to convince him that this was very wrong. But he couldn't, and the man left, certain that he'd won.

Next day, at the funeral, the evil man came up to the pastor and said "Looky here -- I even sweetened the pot! Here's an envelope with both mortgages, and ten thousand dollars to boot. Do as I said, make it known that my brother was a saint, and it's yours, lock, stock, and barrel, with enough for that new roof you been a-prayin' about! You can even hold the envelope!"

The pastor took the envelope, put it into his pocket, bowed his head for one last conference with the Almighty, and stepped up to the pulpit. The whole town was there looking up at him.

"Dear friends and family of the departed," and he inserted the long pause he was noted for. "We all knew this man in one way or another, as family, or," another long pause, while he tried to form the word 'friends' without choking on it. "Acquaintences." He looked at the evil old brother, who was sitting in the front row leaning forward so he could hear every word.

He took a deep breath and continued. "And we all know what a miserable, evil, nasty, good-for-nothing snake he was!"

The brother started forward, not believing what he was hearing, and his face began to turn as red ad the ink he was fond of seeing on other peoples' account books.

The pastor went on, "He lied, he cheated, he stole," (the brother was clutching his chest by this time, gasping for breath to vent his rage, "and he continually, by his very existence, blasphemed the Almighty!"

At this, the brother keeled over, gasped once or twice, and began to choke on his last miserable breath.




howard 7-18-2002 22:05



Mark, I never said the pistol was loaded. I am a gun person, familiar with most types of firearms, handling and characteristics...I carry the little 25 at condition three. That is ... it takes three steps to fire the weapon. Or it is three steps away from being fired. The pistol as you no doubt realized is an automatic, modern revolvers being scarce in 25 caliber. The magazine is loaded, (first round, shot shell) but not a load in the firing chamber. To fire the weapon...First, the safety will be manually shifted from safe to fire position. Second, the slide manually brought to the rear and released. As the slide moves forward it picks up a shell from the magazine and chambers the round as the spring forced slide closes. This action leaves the hammer cocked and in a firing position. Finally, step three. The trigger must be pulled to initiate the firing sequence.

Mark, all of this takes a little more than a heartbeat. (But may be a very long heartbeat.) The site of a weapon in the hands of a person determine to protect himself and family will "usually" deter criminal intent. If not, then one must weigh in their own mind what is the worth of your life? Family's life? There are evil people in our society, witness the abduction and killing of the little girl in California. These persons are cowards and seek the easy route to fulfill unholy desires. That guy in the restroom could have just as easily been washing blood off his hands after he murdered someone, perhaps a young child. The last thing he wants is a witness. And worse a gun in the hands of someone looking at him. This will bring forth official attention and that is the LAST thing he wants. And Mark, he does not know if it is loaded or not. Then the choice is his. Easy road or hard road.

Mark, I mentioned shot shell above. This is a debilitating round. A mini-shotgun shell. I only seek to protect my person and family, not slay. Easy road for him, all he has to do is go away. That is the primary reason for an honest person to brandish a weapon. They want someone to go away. The first round loaded is a shot shell. The rest are regular bullets. So I am giving any person intent on harming me an opportunity. First, the sight of a weapon. If he still pursues, a round of dust like pellets in the face. If this fails, I will shoot till the magazine is empty. Hard road for him. But it was his choice.

I see you snagged the hook I offered ... "business at hand." And Mark, I only need one hand to urinate. :-)


Randall 7-18-2002 20:33

Cynthia, that's why I don't do Walmart.

Heather 7-18-2002 17:50

EDDIE -- Believe me, it's not a problem! I thank you for pointing me at the series -- it's very good so far! And as I collect books, especially older ones that I enjoy, I would have bought this series anyway! I have to hurry up and finish them, though, because the old gentleman we've been caring for has just given me a complete set of Zane Grey!
We've got to sell his house now, and the vultures are already beginning to circle. I had a call from a realtor, representing some "anonymous" buyer who's interested in the house. I told him that he'd just lost, because I was just about to call him to assess the house (per DSS request) in order to establish a fair market value. I can't call him for that now, as it'd be a conflict of interest to assess the property when he has a buyer waiting for it in the wings. Too bad!

Gotta run along and get some supper -- storm coming.

howard 7-18-2002 17:22

Howard --

I love the poem!!! It's great, I'm still grinning ear to ear and chuckling to myself. Thank you yet again!

To anyone who cares --

I mentioned a traumatic experience at Walmart in my post to Howard last night. I told him how much I appreciated the much needed laugh I got from reading his post about the guy with the Ďclean hands fetishí. I still find myself laughing about it today. Now, I can look back on last night and realize how silly it was. But, you know, it's never that easy to see at the time.

My fiance and I went to Walmart and did the unthinkable. We both agreed to separate and then meet back, not stating the minute, second, or the exact place we would meet. He did tell me the general area he would be in --
We must have traveled that store in circles, him on one side and me on the other. Because when I found him and told him, quite emphatically, that I had been looking EVERYWHERE for him (including the automotive section, which proves that I really tried) and he was NOWHERE to be found, he replied that he'd done the same. Ha. I'm still not going for it. I had traveled the maze of foods, beverages, paper products, movies on DVD, cheaper movies on VHS and checked all of the electronics aisles more than once. NOTHING. I thought of the movie 'The Vanishing' and panic began to make it's move. I felt it like a gust of wind from a tornado. Panic can encompass many emotions and I think I felt them all. I wanted to just stop and sit down in the floor and cry like a baby. I wanted to throw a tantrum! I could have done that in the deserted baby section, which I passed through three or four times to avoid an always
crowded intersection. You've seen them, buggies jammed up bumpers to rear ends! Well, at that point I didn't have a buggy yet, so I detoured (sans buggy) through the baby section.
That part was a unique experience because I'm almost always pushing a buggy. Actually, I'm pretty good at it due to practice. I've been told that Walmart must be my second home. I always start out zipping my buggy around showing off my steering skills which, considering the design of the vehicle, are pretty impressive. Then, by the time I'm finished shopping, I'm usually hanging over the child's seat, my arm's on either side, with only the lowest portion of my legs still moving. My limp body probably resembles a piece of raw bacon hanging from a stick over a campfire. Sometimes I envision that -- as I struggle for strength to make it to the always distant check out. Finding one that is open with fewer than three or four people, their buggies loaded to maximum capacity, is difficult and rare. They must have fifty registers but only about eight employees who can actually run one. Maybe some are fake registers (I have a conspiracy theory about this type of situation). But, that is another story.
I don't know if it really happens, but at that point my face starts to feel like it's contorting. It feels so disgusting that I try to avoid catching anyone's gaze, especially a child's. Sometimes I would swear I "FEEL" my gruesome face shifting position!
I wonder if there really is a visible change? I should stop by the hair accessory aisle and look in one of the many dangling mirrors. I'm really curious now.
Sorry, I got sidetracked, but I did at last acquire a buggy, if for nothing else than to have something to carry ME. Then, I decided to check the last place I could (and did) look. The check-out line.
I wanted to kill him.
I thought about killing him.
I was too weak.
I slung two cans of tuna, a spray-bottle of bathroom cleaner (which I silently vowed in my anger NOT to use), and a jug of windshield washer (for MY car) into his buggy while verbally declaring my anger. I'm not sure of the entirety of my tirade but I do know that I got my point across because HIS face began to contort. I watched it. I enjoyed it.
Then I said "I'm going to the truck" and walked out. My adrenaline must have been going through the roof because I don't even remember the walk, which at Walmart is always a considerable one. I think they have fake cars parked in the spaces nearest the door. I don't know why they would do this but I can't think of any other reason that there is NEVER an available parking space near the door! You've noticed this too haven't you? I think it's just one more facet in the Walmart conspiracy.

He got to the truck and we finally departed Walmart in absolute silence. I think it was around 11 PM or a little after. We had arrived at around 9 PM. We left with six regular size bags and a jug of windshield washer.

On the way home he said one thing. He said, "I can't believe you threw such a fit in front of everyone!!!" Upon hearing that he considered whatever I'd said to him in the check out aisle a "fit". I did one thing. I turned my head to the passenger side window next to me --
and I smiled.

Cynthia 7-18-2002 16:22

Hi All :)

Now how can I write my own obitutary when I feel dead already? I have never had a cold that has affected me as badly as this one. The brain is dead. Is the cold doing that or the codeine cough syrup? "She died with glazed eyes and a smile on her face." hehehe

In spite of this dead brain, I tried to add to my story today. Scary. I wonder what it will read like when I'm alive again?

There's a bear cub that has started visiting our yard on a daily (like 5 a.m.) basis. The dogs start barking. He advances on the pen. I throw on my robe, grab the 22 and fire a shot in the air. He runs. So far. Hopefully the gunshot will continue to scare him off. Now I just have to look carefully outside before I go for mail or hang out the laundry. I don't know where his momma is and that's the part I keep wondering about. He's a cutie though. All black, shiny fur as he gracefully runs away, blowing air with each step.

Ok, maybe I'd best not post with a malfunctioning brain ....

Carol 7-18-2002 16:02

I've just picked myself up from the floor. Looks like I've joined that miserable lot of promise breakers. Shame on me.
The books are wrapped up in a snazzy minature file box.....guess where?.. You guessed it..just behind my head on a shelf in my office. DAMM!
Oh well, I've got something to read tonight. (Must be the sixth or seventh time now)
Sorry...Went clean out and all that.

Eddie french Simply Writing 7-18-2002 14:07

RANDALL !! You bazy crastard.

my little 25 cal. automatic would have been in hand real fast . . .
in my palm as I completed the business at hand . . .

The "business at hand" being literally AT HAND
You'd hold a loaded pistol in one palm while using both hands for privates and zipper ??

Yes. I want to include that scene in my comedy movie.

Mark 7-18-2002 11:23

Speaking of houses, when we moved down here I went ahead and bought our house before the wife saw it. I was, however, well briefed on what the house MUST have. The one I got had nearly all the prerequisites, and thus far after over five years we are both very satisfied with my purchase.

I gotta tell you though, I was sweating bullets when the wife first took her tour, knowing she would find it totally unacceptable. I was so pleasantly pleased that she liked it. I guess when you live with the same person for over thirty years, you learn what they like and dislike.

Howard - scary stuff. We here in South Dakota think we are isolated from such things, but to tell the truth it happens here too, it's just that there are so few people that it's a rare occurrence.

I had a buddy who was a detective on the Dickinson PD, a small (by anyone but North Dakota standards) department. He was very good at his job, and gained the reputation of a case cracker. There was a murder case up there (this during the oil boom) that appeared to be a random act of violence, and in fact it was. An old lady and her daughter were bound gagged and murdered in the residence area of a motel up there. It took him over a month, but he solved the case, and the fellow was convicted and sent to the pen for life.

Word got around about his great powers of deduction, and it wasn't very long before the state crime bureau asked him to come to work for them. He jumped at the chance, after all this is a big step up, from local detective to Crime Bureau Agent. After a bit of training, he was stationed in the other part of the state, and I didn't hear from him for several years. Then one day, he came walking into my office, seems he was transferred back to Dickinson, still with the bureau, but home where he wanted to be.

He used to stop in from time to time when he was in our area, one day he came just as I was getting off duty, and said he needed a beer. I went home changed, and met him at a local watering hole.

He was depressed, fed up with the whole thing. It took me an hour to get to the bottom of what was bothering him, but after his sixth scotch and soda, he said it was all the child molesters. He said that for every theft case (the most prevalent crime in ND) there were two child molesters cases, and working every day, day in and day out investigating the most heinous of crimes had him at his witt's end.

A month later, I heard he quit and went back to work for the Dickinson PD. I knew why, and couldn't blame him a bit.

I have arrested several child molesters in my days on the PD. After talking to the victims it is so hard to restrain yourself when arresting them, but you must or have them kicked because you violated their rights.

Like you, I'm effected by each and every report of missing or abused kids. It's hard to imagine the sickness in the minds of the molesters, one would think them monsters, and under their normal looking skins they are, but on the outside they usually appear to be loving people, who would do anything for kids when in fact they want them for one thing and one thing only.

From what I've read about these scum bags they will never change. You can lock them up for thirty years, and the first thing they want to do when released is to "be with" a child. It's the one crime where life without parole, or death would be a fitting punishment.

As far as Jew bashing, the closest thing I can recall to Jew bashing was when Garries mistyped my name as Jewry, but latter apologized for the typo.

I guess some folks just love trying to read what they want said between the lines. That or their just stupid kids who shouldn't be allowed near the keyboard.

Jerry 7-18-2002 11:00

EDDIE -- congrats! And I almost forgot -- I stopped into a used book store and found a copy of Eon. Now have that as well as the second book, so if you haven't sent them yet, you don't have to.
I'm still looking for that other short story, and will send it to you as soon as I find it.

howard 7-18-2002 8:30

Several incidents made our NC trip notable. On the way back, after picking up our granddaughter Brittany, we stopped at one of the welcome centers in West Virginia or Maryland to get a state map and some bottled water. My wife went in, and stayed a bit longer than I thought she had intended to.
When she finally came back out, she said she'd been watching -- with several other people -- the news monitor in the welcome center. They were just reporting the news about the 5 year old girl who was abducted from her front yard in California.
Dunno if it was the heat, my blood sugar level, or travel stress, but it really got to me, and we just sat there for a few minutes.
We had decided to stop over instead of pushing on for another six hours all the way home, so we pulled in to a motel in Williamsport, MD.
As I got out of the car I noticed a guy standing in the portico between the motel sections. He was huge! Fat! Beard. Red bathing suit, with a belly hanging over that almost hid it. He was resting his elbows on the top of one of those tall waste barrels, smoking a cigarette.
And he was watching Brittany.
Call me paranoid, over protective, whatever, but that fat sob was watching her every move.
I went about unloading the car as if I hadn't noticed him, but keeping an eye on him all the while.
And he kept watching her.
We started toward the office to check in, and he was still following her with his eyes until finally I just put down the bag I was carrying, turned to face him, and just stood looking directly at him.
I didn't move or speak, but he blinked and gulped, and turned away, and we never saw him again.
I put a chair under the doorknob in the room that night just for some added comfort, and as I was doing it I couldn't help wondering "What have I/we allowed to happen in this country -- in this world -- that can cause people to act as he -- and I -- were doing?"

Didn't sleep much.


The news about the Runnion girl is still getting to me, and I think about our own grandkids, and pray for them constantly, thankful that things like that don't happen around here.

But they do, don't they.

This morning I heard on the news that a 14 year old girl was approached by a 74 year old man who tried to lure her into his car. She refused, and reported it to the police, who have arrested the man already. Turns out he has a criminal record.
This happened about an hour west of here, in Elmira, where Melanie lives.

The queation keeps coming back -- What kind of world are we creating here?

howard 7-18-2002 8:26

Hi everyone,
I don't think I would hang around that stinking hut with Mr. Clean-Hands for too long. Reminds me of Howard Hughes.

Glad to see that you are settling in ok. It's good to have nice people around you.

I got my 'proof' today for the publication of Shooting Star. It is out in August and will be in Anthology #3. So now I have work in Anthology nos. 2 and 3.
I must get to work on my longer stuff now. I have done some work on 'In The Green', but not nearly enough. Too many distractions!
I will write...I will write
I will write...I will write.

Eddie french Simply Writing 7-18-2002 8:22

CYNTHIA -- Thanks for the chuckles on the rest area piece, glad you enjoyed it, and I'm happy I was able to play a small part in the reconciliation process! :-) I just sent you a note that I think might send you into hysterics! It's something my wife sent me last week, and it's a hoot!

RANDALL -- The thought of real danger never crossed my mind, and I don't pack heat -- though I admit there are times when I've wished I had a .44 -- so I guess I'd have been out of luck if the guy had turned out to be a psycho. No, this was just a poor case of a pinochle deck in a poker box -- several cards short of a ten-high straight. (Just made that one up -- like it?) :-)

howard 7-18-2002 7:32

Rhoda! Your house sounds fabulous! When Frank's finished with the utility room cabinets, wanna send him to Canada? I can think of a few places I might like some new storage...

Heather Hemlock Bags 7-18-2002 5:05

Some self-absorbed person must have ticked me off today!

Heather 7-18-2002 5:03

Ahhhhh, the wake (or is that waik?) is what you speak of, Taylor. The kind my father has planned. He set aside a huge sum of money just for his own 'sending off (to the hereafter)' party. He wants us to whoop it up and get plastered the night of his wake, and I flat-out told him no way, not unless I could get fifty male strippers, an elephant, a white tiger, three purple geese and a tap-line leading from every keg in town. ;o)

On the Phantasium Project: I'm shootin' for this Hallowe'en for having the whole manuscript sent off. Mark, thank you for your help so far, and I'll send off another two or three soon! If it weren't for your help in the editing department, I'd be burning every last printed copy - oh, wait. Sorry, I'd have already burned 'em.
No, none of you need glasses (or bifocals). I said THIS Hallowe'en. Go ahead. Laugh.
As Cynthia mentioned, it's amazing what a good laugh'll do!

For anyone who must check in the mirror every half hour or more, and also the dictionary (to check if your picture is yet under 'genius', 'prodigy' or 'wet-head', here's a quiz for you:


1) The only reason you have your monitor's brightness toned down to the lowest setting is so that you can see your own reflection

2) Your nails are incredibly buffed from all that rubbing them on the front placket of your shirt. Also, the cuticles of your nails are more interesting than Oprah, Diana Krall, or John Lennon reincarnated as Iggy Pop's great great grandchild (hold on a minute; even your belly button lint is more interesting than Oprah).

3) You know a heartbeat ahead of when the parsley actually lodges in between your front teeth. With you, everything's an art

4) There is mail in your mailbox... you sent it. You always sign it, 'Your beloved' and don't even bother to disguise your handwriting

5) You count the minutes in between farts and at any time now they might be five minutes apart and you'll have to rush to the clinic at St. Burtram's Hospital (though why they didn't name that great hunk of modern architecture after you, no one knows).

6) There isn't a day that passes where you aren't in it. There. You have proven your theory. Any day with you in it must be an important day. Any pair of shoes for that matter, must be King Shit of the shoe department if your fugglies are to slip inside.

8) You spend inordinant amounts of time writing, which, as we all know, is the utmost of egoist self-entertainment.

7) Every exception to a rule gives you the warm fuzzies, since they are obviously talking about you

8) What quiz? You are too self-absorbed to read this, since you are busy staring at your reflection
*bzzzzzzzt! Caught you!*

Heather 7-18-2002 5:00


Orbituary thing... I think I would be happier if instead of going to my funeral they will go out and party and have a great time

Taylor 7-18-2002 2:26

Howard --

The previous post, thanking you for the laugh which relieved my fiance and I of our "Walmart trauma" was from me, Cynthia. I often hit the 'enter' button before thinking to put my name, etc. in the appropriate boxes. Oops. Well, thank you again...

Cynthia 7-18-2002 0:44


My fiance and I just got finished reading your post about the guy at the rest stop with the "clean hands fetish". I was laughing out loud to the point of tears (literally) and my fiance (who was in another room at the time) thought I was crying! He rushed in to see what was the matter with me and I looked up clasping my chest (it hurt from trying not to laugh out loud) and after apologizing for frightening him, I asked if he wanted me to read it to him. He said if it was that funny, yes, he did. I hadn't actually reached the end myself but I started at the beginning, out loud. Oh my gosh! I probably woke the neighbors! Sound really does echo like crazy here, I wouldn't doubt that someone heard me. I read it, continuing to clasp my chest (if I have a heart attack we'll know to blame you Howard) and we both laughed out loud (I was hysterical). I got to the point of tears again and then beyond, I was a mess. I couldn't stop laughing. I don't know when I've ever read anything as funny as that!!!

I sincerely want to thank you Howard. My fiance and I had been all sulled up and not speaking to each other because we had been to Walmart (which is a place he equates with Hell anyway) where we became separated from each other. By the time we found one another (at least an hour had passed) we were fit to be tied. Well, now we are laughing and have gotten over our Walmart trauma. Thank you for the much needed laughter. It really is the best medicine!

7-18-2002 0:39


I appreciate the house more and more each day as I get it cleaned up. It is hard to know about a house until you get all your things in it.

This house was a leap of faith, because Frank bought it without me ever seeing it. I think he did pretty well. It is a bit smaller than the old house and we lack the big attic room I used as my office. When we had that room we could just put stuff or leave stuff we did not wish to deal with at the time. This house is more like a jig-saw puzzle. There just isn't as much storage space, so we have to be more careful and more enterprising. Right now Frank is installing a cabinet in our bathroom. We are going to put more cabinets in the utility room also.

There are things about this house that are better than the old one. For one thing there is more cabinet space in the kitchen, and the kitchen is bigger. The utility room is big enough to fold and sort clothes in. I no longer have to use my bed for the task. The bathrooms are all bigger and I am actually free to jazz them up a bit by adding accent pieces. The wall paper is tolerable enough that I feel no compulsion to change it.

The down-sides are a smaller yard, a bit less curb appeal, a narrow driveway (I am always afraid I am going to back my van into the ditch), and a detached garage. I never thought the detached garage was going to be a problem, but whenever I go out in the evening to get anything out of there or put something in it, I get ambushed by a cloud of mosquitos. Also I no longer have ready access to my small hardware which I had always kept in the garage. That is why I desire the utility room cabinets.

The people here are among the sweetest and friendliest I have ever seen. Everyone in this neighborhood waves at you whether they know you are not. People are polite and patient. That is a change, because my old neighborhood in Oklahoma had a tendency to be a bit stuffy. There are some of the most handsome and attractive people I have ever seen also. Many of these peole could be fashion models with their dark eyes and dark hair and even features.

I will have a crash course on the city here when my nephew visits this week-end. He will stay nine days, and I am perusing my guide books planning some day trips.

So far I love it down here. There are times I am frustrated because I don't know where everything is. Now I have a phone book, things are better. I opened it, looked up beauty parlors, chose one and took my chances. I go tomorrow. Hopefully they won't turn my hair green. The only thing I refuse to cold call is a dentist. My poor piano is in desperate need of tuning. I need to change my cell phone over, get a new driver's licence, plates, etc. The to-do list is endless. I have moved countless times, but this process never gets easier because every state does things differently. Down here they are not in any hurry--to do anything. That can be good, but that can also be I-r-r-i-t-a-t-i-n-g. The nice thing is that I don't have to be in any hurry either. Also down here they enforce speed limits. They didn't in Tulsa, and I got real sloppy.

Rhoda 7-17-2002 23:52



WHOA! WHOA! I want to say, right here and now ... Old Muckers, the yellow catfish of the Jim Ned Creek, is not Jewish! Let's get that right out in the open! No sir! True, many have wanted to bash Muckers, quite a few have tried to hook Muckers, one guy wanted to electrocute Muckers, (a future tale of why old-time crank telephones, bayou water and Thunderbird wine don't mix) many would like to fry Muckers, one guy was even dumb enough to throw a net at Muckers one night, but darn few have ever seen Muckers, much less bash him... :-)

In a moment of misplaced emotion I asked Red Britches one time what his nationally was.

"75 % Anglo," he stated proudly. "Some Pawnee Indian, a touch of Mexican, my maternal grandfather spent 25 years in West Africa as a missionary. (I'll let you guys work that out.) But mostly I'm hell on wheels, with no reverse and not prone to share my wine with nosy peckerwoods like you Randy!"

Red ended that discussion real fast!

Howard ... if I had run into that situation with the guy in the john ... my little 25 cal. automatic would have been in hand real fast. No, not pointed at him, just resting unseen in my palm as I completed the business at hand and left. Paranoid Randall? Bet your ass! If you're not paranoid these days, you're crazy! I'm a firm believer that Samuel Colt, not God, made all men equal and being prepared is better than being a victim.



Randall 7-17-2002 21:49

Whoa! Love my glaring errors...
Almost as brilliant as glo-ink!
*wink wink*

Heather 7-17-2002 20:13

Howard, there are more people like that in the world than we could probably ever count! Some of them were in my nursing course - and yes, we were all required to be meticulous hand-washers, and were even tested on it with a glo-ink and black light. You smeared the glo ink all over your hands, and then did your hand-wash for the teacher. When you were finished, you were excorted into a storage closet to display your hands under the black light. If there were any leftover smudges or spots of the glo ink, YOU WERE IN DEEP CA-CA! Well, you probably just failed...
I am happy to say I extracted every last splotch of glo ink from my pores.
I would say that the weird guy in the rest stop was obsessive compulsive; but there are other disorders that are similar, but not quite the same - there are germophobes, like Mr.Clean, who are likely to wear rubber gloves to cook food or touch doorknobs...
Actually, according to the rationale in the nursing manual, in order not to pick up bacteria from taps or anything else, you must not use the same damp towel you used to dry your hands - you need a dry paper towel. Otherwise, the bacteria/viruses/spores can travel with the moisture. So, you can guess what kind of water wasters the nursing clan was! Leaving the tap running until we'd carefully dried our hands so that we could use a dry towel.
In microbiology, we did an experiment, where we swabbed the toilet seat, bowl, bathroom door handle and sink faucet handles. Guess which one grew the most lively of infectious colonies?

It was NOT any part of the toilet. It was the faucet handle.

Heather 7-17-2002 20:10


I read that weird post. It doesn't even really make sense. I don't get what all those writers have to do with Jew bashing... Talk about weirdness. I think that some people just get a hold of lists of internet sites, and send out this sort of trash. They are likely half cut (drunk) when they send it out. On a lighter, nicer topic... How is your new house?

Take care you.

Rachel 7-17-2002 16:26

Whaaat a trip! Round trip from upstate NY to Chapel Hill NC -- started Monday at noon, got back at 1PM on Wednesday.
Road Rage!?!? Well I guess! Had several times when we thought 18-wheelers were gonna kiss our tail. And we were averaging at least 10mph over the speed limit -- more in some places!
My blood sugar went nutso (I'm a diabetic) -- it's usually around 140-150, but Monday it made it to almost 400! Scary!

My Obituary? Well, for starters, on my tombstone I want:

"I told them I was sick!"


Have you ever watched the people at rest areas? They can be good fodder for stories!

We stopped at one in West Virginia yesterday, and it turned out that it was being rebuilt, and they had some temporary trailers there. The gentlemens' facility was pretty bad - just a trough and a couple of plastic potties, and a two-sink vanity with one side having a broken faucet.
When I entered this porcelain palace, (heard that somewhere) I observed a strange looking individual standing at the sink, furiously scrubbing his hands, with quick, nervous, almost meticulous movements that told me "this dude bears a bit of watching."
So I managed to keep one eye on him while I tended to business (in that setup one is not forced to pay much attention to "aim") and this guy was unreal!
He kept pulling paper towels out from the dispenser, and wiping delicately between his fingers, then rinsing again and repeating the process.
Just as I thought he was done, and I was ready to wash my own hands, the service door opened and an attendant came in with a container of hand soap for the soap dispenser hung over the one functioning sink. (The other dispenser had soap, and was working all right.)
The nervous clean-fetish dude (I had by now categorised him rather efficiently) just stood there watching as the attendant read the instructions and placed the soap into the dispenser and clicked it closed. The attendant looked at the dude rather strangely, and turned and left. I thought Mr. Clean was going to follow him, but he didn't. He had to try the new soap now. He lathered up right well, and proceeded to scrub again, then rinse with a vengeance, using several paper towels in the process. This process really didn't take all that long, but I was beginning to think that (with my required frequency of pit stops), I was gonna have to repeat my own process before I got out of there!
At last he turned for a dry towel, and I cleared my throat to let him know I might be getting impatient (did I mention it was very hot and smelly in there?), and he mumbled something and moved over to make room.
I watched in the mirror as he tore a small pice of towel off the sheet to use around his pinky nail.
As I was drying my own hands I saw him DROP the small piece! Then he bent down and used the rest of the towel to pick it up off the floor, and dropped the whole thing into the waste can beside the sink. As he did so, his hand brushed the side of the lid, and he jumped back like he'd been stung! He looked at his hands again, mumbled "Oh God!" and reached for the soap dispenser again, and I think he actually started to cry!
I wanted to put my arm around the poor guy and talk to him, but I was afraid he'd really freak out, so I just walked out and left him there. Maybe I should have waited for him outside, but the attendant was there when I walked out, and he looked in and saw the guy at the sink again, and just stood there shaking his head. "I'll get my boss," he said, and I nodded and left.
Ya never know...

I'm wondering -- the preceding actually happened yesterday afternoon -- how many started laughing (maybe quietly like I did) then at the end had to blink a couple of times? As I drove on towards home from there I couldn't help but think that there are probably lots of people like Mr. Clean-hands out there, and maybe it's a part of our job as writers to make sure people know it.


howard 7-17-2002 15:26

Hoo de heck iz dis Yacky-Bazooka kariktur??? Ya thank he's jes a tryin ta stir thangs up a bit? I do. Hez bin a sniffin shine I'm a thankin. Ell I'll jus be fer tellin im dis rit chere, FER-GIT-IT!!! I alreddy did 'at wit muh ponderin' of 'tis & 'thee n sech. SO THAR 'YA GO Mr. Wacky-Yakityzoo!!! It dunn bin dunn lowng afore u come a lowng thankin yuz gunna be ferst!!!

I bin a workin on muh spellin -- sowndin it owt n awl -- ope itz a workin. Got muh techer ta writ dis owt fer me -- cept I mayd it up mesef...

Old Mr. Wackity-Yakityzoo,
One day got a pebble caught in his shoe,
He whined and cried--what a hullabaloo!
He cursed and he yelled and then he turned blue,
Then killed over dead, but no one there knew--
Why he took such a fit--we found no clue,
But for a wee pebble found in his shoe.

Ha-Ha Hee-Hee, doubt he'll guess it's me!

An old friend of Shakespeare, Mennonites, Aliens, and Time Travel 7-17-2002 14:44


Who is Jew bashing? I did a search of this web page and found no mention of Jews except in your post. Before you come on a web-site and start blasting your political views, why don't you read it and familiarize yourself with it and the personalities involved. We rarely ever bash anyone here, but none of us enjoy people who shout at us.

Rhoda 7-17-2002 12:27

A Correction:


Black Yakuza 7-17-2002 12:05



Black Yakuza 7-17-2002 12:00


What you say about being in control, but knowing the animal is letting you. That is what my son experienced last night. Our Pony has decided that she will go for this person on her back thing. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him with her last night. She didn't try to rear up, not even once. She moved through her paces very nicely. She did try a few little tricks, but let them go quickly. I think it could have to do with the new bit and bridle that we got for her. Even our daughter Jordan was able to ride unescorted. Cinammon kept it to a sedate walk for her. That was nice. Sebastian would live on the pony if he could. He loves to sit up their and hold the reins. We of course have a hold on them by her head, Sebastian however, believes that he is in control. He gets the widest smile on his wee face. It is something to see.

We are also having some heat in my part of the world. It is not the same as where you are. We would all melt and drain away if that happened to us (grins). It is still hot enough. We had to fix some parts of the fence yesterday. That is wicked, hard work. After that was done, or done enough for one day (grins), Dan went to work on building a tack shed. There is one on the property, it is used by the neighbours. They have a lot of stuff in it. To avoid confusion we are simply going to build our own. Dan has almost completed the shed.


So much for that lurking thing I was going to do (grin/winks). I guess I'll get to that later. I know that in the fall with my classes starting I'll not have much time. Once the semester sets in I'll be able to lift my head and take a look around again (smiles).

Take care all.


Rachel 7-17-2002 10:38

Shortie Night Theme: Your own obituary

Mary 7-17-2002 8:37



My wife said she was losing me. I asked why and she said is was something in my behavior that worried her. Never, say I! A woman knows she retorted, her brown eyes large in the night. For instance why do I spend so much time in the camper? Well, I listen to my music out there and sip a cup of coffee. The cab-over-camper sits in the driveway not 10' from the front door. No big deal. It's not like I was at the bar, on bar stool mountain, sipping on a cold one. But I can see the worry in her. Perhaps it's the coffee pot and turning 55. A focus of concern perhaps?

I mean, I've wanted a glass peculator coffee pot for a year now. Most of you should remember my plea last winter? Well, I found a dandy recently, a Pyrex, complete with all the goodies. Makes 6-8 cups and I get to watch the whole process of water turning brown. (Sigh) I suppose I'm moving beyond TV and videos and computer games, back to my past through present and future decisions. My folks had a glass peculator when I was young. I remember watching heat rise through the water, bubbles small, then large moving up the stem, then splashing into the grounds. It kindles old memories of home in the winter.

Debbie made her comment last winter actually. I was ensconced in the camper as a ferocious wind swirled through a cloudy winter night. The coal oil lamps were burning brightly, shadows on the walls swaying as the camper rolled slightly. Taos resident Michael Martin Murphy was on the CD, singing of WILDFIRE and CAROLINE IN THE PINES. It was late Saturday night and Debbie came to see where and why her husband had departed the house. Why don't you turn on the lights she ventured? I like the lanterns. You know coffee will brew faster if you would use electricity she said. I like to watch the coffee peculator. (I had a small, two cup glass percolator then.) She and Scooter, our small Mexican dog, (can't spell his breed) were huddled in a blanket. Both have brown eyes, though Scooters seem green some time. Scooter and Debbie both looked at me the same way...This guy is nuts! Say it in three words, Cer-ti-fiable.

And, I recently turned 55. Double nickels! Fodder for AARP! A lot closer to the end than the beginning or as Winston said ... "It may not be the beginning of the end, but at least, the end of the beginning." Yeah Winston, the beginning is long behind a lot of us. Sean leaves in three weeks for the Air Force. It's a toss up as to who will have the nervous breakdown first, Debbie or me. Still, we all go ever forward. I think it was Frodo who said. "What ship could bear me ever back over such a wide ocean?" Heard that my furry footed friend.

Read the posts on horses. For the last few days or so I have been revisiting my MMM CD. WILDFIRE is a big favorite. So I guess I was with you guys in spirit as my WN presence was lax. Horses have never been a part of my life. However, someday I would like to ride from here to Utah. Gather a group of experts in tack and horses and such and take off. Er, ride away might be a better phrase. "Pony away?" Take a summer off and see the west as our great-grandparents did. Saddlesore and happy! I get a kick of imaging the scene as a group of riders and pack horses move through a city such as Lubbock or Santa Fe. Probably bring traffic to a standstill .....

Better go


Randall 7-16-2002 22:32

Hey Jerry -- I'm sorry to hear about your suffering with the hot weather. You know, I'm sure it's just the humidity.

Cynthia 7-16-2002 15:54

Sorry! I accidentally hit the 'enter' button before I took responsibility for the previous entry. I don't want you guys blaming some innocent, more rational person, so ... it was me ... Cynthia. I'm the weird one : )
Can't help it I guess?!

Cynthia 7-16-2002 15:50

Well, last night I dreamed about another movie star. What is the deal here??? I'm really starting to wonder!

I don't remember it as clearly as I did the Charleton Heston/Sea creature dream I told you about, but there is enough of it to make me wonder about the state of my subconscious.

I dreamed that Gene Hackman was my boyfriend (but he most certainly did not look like my boyfriend, who is only 32 years old)! ... Anyway, in the dream he took me to see a boat that belonged to someone he knew. It was a very peculiar but interesting boat. It looked like a 1950s black Buick station wagon. Actually half of it was -- you see, it was half car, half boat. The boat half ended up being on the bottom (I thought I should give that visual since in my dreams -- you just never know). I loved it! The upper, car half, had been mechanically reworked to accommodate a boat engine. I never saw an engine though -- only a muffler making the water bubble as it pulled away. The owner of the boat drove it away just like you would drive a car (except, of course, without the wheels). The interior was still intact and remained original to the car, the shifter was located on the steering column and the gear window above the steering wheel just where it should be for a car that age. What an incredible boat! I told Gene I wanted one.

Well, that's it for the next chapter in my obviously disturbed mind. At least these situations are only occurring in dreamland. My boyfriend no doubt disapproves of me hobnobbing with the stars as often as I have been lately. I have to tell you though ...


7-16-2002 15:46

I swear the next person who says "it's not the heat it's the humidity!" is going to get a piece of my mind to say the least. The heat has dropped to a livable 88 degrees but the humidity is up to 90 percent, it feels hotter today then yesterdays 108, well almost as hot.

Jerry 7-16-2002 14:42

Rachel - I too love horses. While we don't have any, and I doubt that I ever will, growing up with horses left me with the love for the animal.

There's something very special to be astride a beautiful horse that's galloping across the prairie, that wind in your face feeling of total freedom, knowing that your in perfect control of such a great animal, yet knowing that the animal has the power to carry you where ever it wishes, that it obeys you because it loves you as much as you love it. Ridding those horses across our pasture is something I will never forget so long as I live.

The heat has relented a bit, it's now down to 85, cool enough to sleep, I hope. The weather man says if you think today was hot, you ain't seen nothing yet!

I hate the weatherman.

Jerry 7-16-2002 0:25


I like just about everything in relation to the horses. I go out and clean up the pens. I like to take them out to graze in the next field over. I like to brush them, feed them, pick out their feet. I could care less. All of the horses come when I whistle. They all trot on over for their scratches and chats. They seem to like me well enough. When our pony is on a wild gallop around the pens, I walk out and stand still in the middle and wistle to her and she comes to a halt fast enough. She seems fond of me. I was told she doesn't like adults. I wonder what that says about me... She and I have an understanding. She head butts me and I'll give her a smack. I think that perhaps she and I are dealing on a woman to woman basis (grins and laughter). I think that she also likes that I fix her mane, forelock and tail nicely.

Today I had a dog come to live with me. He belongs to the owner of the house I rent. The guy had asked if we would take the dog. Dan and I both said no. A few days later, the owner took the dog out to be put down. I was shocked by the news. I thought he would just take ole Buddy down to the states with them. That was not the case. When I heard he had been put down I cried (bet that sounds stupid). I really liked that old fellow. Since Bud left our Zoe dog has run off twice. Today I went up to the pound to make sure Bud had been done in and was not sitting for adoption. While I was there I discovered that our Zoe had been found. I paid a stupid amount of money in fines, impound fees and licence costs, then took our dope of a dog home. A while after we got home a heard a familiar woof. It was Buddy! I ran to that silly old thing and gave him some pats. I admit that I had tears in my eyes (I didn't really cry all the way). The owner asked if Bud could hang for a little while. I told him he could stay for as long as they needed. I'm such a sap. Now We have the owners house, bird and dog. My dog ate their guinnie pig, or we would likely have him too. My dog also tried to eat the bird... My dog is a piece of work (sighs). I love her anyway.


Has anyone else noticed that the bugs are extra nasty this year? We are getting eaten alive! At least most of us. The bugs aren't really too keen on Daniel or myself. They seem to want to munch of everyone else though.

Take care one and all.

Rachel 7-15-2002 22:51

Hi all!

Viv and Mel, thanks! Viv, there's no sheer terror anymore. I look forward to and enjoy every single moment. I feel blasphemous for typing this here, but I think skydiving is my home even more than writing. Nothing can compare. That said, if I couldn't use language to express the experience at least a little, I'd be a wreck.

Mel, you're a trooper! I'm sure your muse was just being considerate, giving you time to get it together again. She'll be back, no doubt.

Jerry, I like heat, but that would do even me in. 109oF is what, 43oC? Yikes! =oP I hope it goes away soon, just don't send it up here!

Gotta go. Blue skies!

Tina 7-15-2002 20:49

Another day of unbearable heat, it's 109 right now, and that's at 5:30 local time, this is the time when it's usually safe to open up the house and shut off the air, not today. I was planning on getting up town, but it can wait, our little window air is doing a nice job of keeping the living room cool, and that is, after all where I live, so I'm safe. The wife had to go to a meeting tonight, so she has to face the heat, hope there's air in her meeting room, or I bet the meeting is a short one.

Thanks for the offer of the rain, we could sure use it. The announcer at the rodeo explained that they had dumped over eight thousand gallons of water on the rodeo arena to soften up the sod for the cowboys to land in, and it still looked dry when they hit the dirt, but the dust was kept down. On normal years, we parked in tall green grass for the rodeo, this year it was brown, and when examined closely, there wasn't a hint of grass there anymore, just brown powder on the grey soil. I swear if it rains, we will hear the very earth itself say "aaahhhhh"

Jerry 7-15-2002 19:41

Tina: Thank you for the fine poem. I could see it from your eyes and it was nice to be up in the air seeing and hearing what you do before sky diving...without having to feel the sheer terror.

Howard: Thanks for waiting. Lately life has been like xeroxing squirrels. Haven't even looked at the textbook ideas because between the house falling apart, the renters moving out, the final exam week and the cold I caught my hands are full. It's nice to know there's a project I'll enjoy waiting for when I get there. Knowing there will be someone there to help will get me back to the project instead of giving up because "it's too late".

Mel: Hope you're better soon!

Carol: Haven't seen you for a while. Miss you. How's your cold? Mine is finally pulling up out of my chest.

Viv 7-15-2002 18:05

Hello all,
I wish we could send some of the rain up to you. It's raining here again. We've only gotten about an inch here this time but the other parts of the county are up to four or five inches. All that is sitting on top of the ground. Nothing soaks in any more. The news said this was the wettest July in recorded history and was on its way to being the wettest (That's not spelled right) month, period.

Sounds like you're doing great. You'll be up running races with your kids in no time. Maybe we can think up a story about horses with fins. I think mine are starting to grow some.

Out o' here now.

Rosemary 7-15-2002 12:54

TINA: Umm..."that" style of poetry... I wonder what "hat-style" would sound like! :-) Typos...!

Mel 7-15-2002 8:38


Hi, everyone... Just skimming posts these days, so I hope I don't forget anyone...

TINA: Lovely poem! :-) I like hat style of poetry - used to write some of that sort years ago; haven't been inspired lately. You put the words just right! :-]

JERRY: Hang in there in the heat - we're about to get some of that really hot stuff in New York too - I'll be in my bedroom with the A/C blowing over me then. I haven't read all your rodeo posts but a glimpse made me smile - I attended a rodeo back in 1963 in Idaho - I thought it was great fun! :-)

RACHEL: You've got horses? How wonderful! :-) We had one when I was in high school - I loved taking care of it, stall cleaning and all (something wrong with me??). I have an uncle who has had horses for many years - he always says there's nothing better than the smell of fresh horse manure! 8-]

I'm almost to the two-weeks-after-surgery mark, thank goodness! Staples will be removed this Thursday, then I can use the shower again (sponge bathing is such a pain!). Yesterday I managed to climb a flight of stairs; the day before that, I walked a block and back with my trusty little walker (and husband, of course!). Now I need to do these things more frequently, more extensively, slowly increasing, of course. I've got energy only for one day at a time; I guess that's as it should be. Not sleeping all night yet, so am tired through my days. But I started reading again yesterday (Stephen King's bio, ON WRITING -- great book!) and I may start writing again today, if I can keep my eyes open! Maybe Ms. Muse will return to perch on my shoulder if I give it a go...

Have a great day, everyone - write to your heart's content today! :-]

Mel 7-15-2002 8:34

Just to damn hot to rodeo today, we holed up at mom's playing pinochle all day (she has central air). Temps were over a hundred and two today, with hotter expected tomorrow. I sure could use some of that rain that folks are complaining about. Today we learned that there is a fire danger index above extreme, they call it red flag, that's where we were classed today, with red flag you can't even be on the prairie, not walking, not driving, not nothing, just stay away from the dry stuff that was once grass.

This is not the norm for South Dakota, it's rare for us to see a hundred degree day, much less weeks of it. Maybe they have something with this global warming thing?

Jerry 7-15-2002 0:55

Driving to Chapel Hill, NC tomorrow, back in a few days!

howard 7-14-2002 22:39


Hi you :o) I don't think I've ever had you crit any of my work. From the words you left on the matter, I believe I would love to have you do so. I however will not burden you with my requests at this point. The posts I leave on the NB are correspondence. They are not supposed to be stories. I suppose that they are stories in their own way. They tell the story of my days. I have left some short stories. Those are the sorts that I crank out in about the twenty minutes I have to catch a breath. I'm sure that for the most part they are quite weak. I'll let you know that I'm open to crits as long as they are not trite and the flim flam, backwash of other greats, who had the know how to crit. I think that the worst thing about my writing is that I leave to much open. I need to slow down and fill in the blanks. When I read over my writing, I often find that there are portions that could cause confusion. I attribute much of the confusion to poor sentance structure. I am working on these issues and many others that I have with my writing. I've found that needing to writing academic stuff is helping a great deal with my creative writing. The reason I went back to school was because I wanted to learn more about the technical aspects of writing. I feel that the more I understand the more my appreciation and skills will advance. At the same time I suppose I could have done nothing and applied myself to the dedicated improvement of my writing. I simply didn't take that path. Anyway, I'm having fun at school. It busts me up ;o)


We have three horses/ponies on our property. We have an Arab (Jag), who is a total spaz. He spooks at dust. Then we have Cola. Cola is a quarter/morgan cross. He is about as steady as the day is long. He is an adorable pig. He is the King of the coral. Then there is our little Miss Cinnamon. She thinks she is the queen of all the world. She is a nicer ride each day. Sebastian has been up on Cola and Cinnamon. He loves to be on horse back. Seb is such a funny little bug. Dan and I hope to get a horse for the two of us. We need to see. We almost had a Clydsdale cross come into our care. That would have been a blast. I loved your post about growing up with the horses. It made me smile so wide.

Hope you are all having a good weekend.

All the best.

Rachel 7-14-2002 20:29

Summer finally arrived today!
We were up and out at 07:30. (Loaded up and out to a boot sale) Selling - made £100.00 on the day for just junk from the attic!
What a glorious day.. I'm red and stinging but happy.
Lovely sunshine all day long.
I just love summer.

Eddie French Simply Writing 7-14-2002 16:50

Hi all!

Mark, that is stuff to think about.
I don't have much time here, but here's my first reaction to your post. A critic also has to remember that there is a fine line between critique and critical. One empowers, the other destroys. Too many 'critics' cross that line.

Here's a poem that I wrote last night after jumping.


The low sun spreads its golden crown
Along the sparse white clouds
Etching joyous light across the sky.
The vibrant memory of lightning and thunder
Throbs beneath the awakened sunlight
As it flies on soft wings across the valley.
Hills and mountains wear shimmering halos
Touched with the clarity and grace
Found only in the wake of a thunderstorm.
Sunlight creates a gem-encrusted quilt
The diamond glisten of reflections
Whispering over waves on the lake below.
Though the wind drifts silent to the ears of the world
It rushes past me where I float in the sky
And I look across the glistening world, and it is good.


Blue skies!

Tina 7-14-2002 14:00

MARK -- Great description of the critical process! It has to be a difficult one, because the author (especially the young, or novice) is convinced that her baby is precious and essential to the whole world, and we all know that every baby is perfect.
Then we send them out and editors -- many of them using that same critical process, or parts thereof -- send them back as wanting. Most times they don't say exactly what is wanting, so we get discouraged, and we take it out on the editors and the critic.

50s and 60s, really? :-)

ALL -- Make sure your virus protection is up to date! I've received four Emails, one last night and three this morning, that all contained the klez virus. Norton caught them all.
There were references to a new game, "A IE6 patch" and a couple of salacious thingies. All came from different addresses, but a scan with Outlook Express (without opening them) suggested that they were from the same (possibly 3rd world) source. I say 3rd world because the grammar was representative of errors I have seen from some of the 3rd world students I tutored in the writing center at school.
One came from a address -- MARK will recognise that as Lockheed Martin, but I'm sure it was a forged address, as this klez is known for that.
Just beware!

howard 7-14-2002 7:59

Cynthia - interesting you should dream of Charleston Heston, who, as you know now leads the National Rifle Association.

When I dream, it's usually of someone I know, or knew in the past, never have dreamt of a movie star. Well there was that one recurring dream of my very youthful youth, when I dreamed of ice skating with my sisters, and being caught by witch hazel, who wanted to eat my fingers. Now that was a nightmare.

Another wonderful night of rodeo. Sadly there was an injury today, one of the very first bare back riders tonight was bucked off, got caught in the rigging, and was drug for some time. Now the dragging didn't seem to hurt him too bad, but when he finally got free, he rolled, and the horse kicked him square in the jaw. His poor face was a mass of blood and flesh, the ambulance carried him away, but word came back that he would be OK after some fixing and some time in the hospital.

When we went out there at six PM, it was 99 degrees, and deathly still, with nary a breath of wind, but after a few minutes, a nice breeze came out of the north, and about half way through the rodeo we needed the jackets that we were sitting on. We took lawn chairs tonight, so I was able to see the whole show, but sadly only eight of the twelve scheduled bull riders showed for the show. Seems there was a ten thousand dollar purse at the bull championship in Bismarck, and many of the riders deserted our show for the big bucks. Can't say as I blame them.

The rodeo clowns were super tonight, one of them even had a super soaker and trooped the fence line hitting all the little brats who thought everyone in the bleachers were there to watch them climb on the fence line like monkeys instead of the show on the other side of the fence. There should be several of those clowns at every performance, and maybe we wouldn't have the kid troubles. Some parents simply have no respect for others, or just don't care if their little ones fall through the fence and get trampled.

The parade was great this afternoon, the theme was the flag or course, so the floats were all patriotic. I was surprised, at parades the last couple of years we who stood and uncovered when the colors passed were few and far between. Today as the colors passed, there were none left sitting, everyone stood, heads uncovered, hands over their hearts. Guess 9-11 is felt just as strongly here as elsewhere.

Jerry 7-14-2002 0:22

I want to get back to something that came up about critics. At home I sit at a desk with two keyboards. At work I have as many as four keyboards controlling four screens and up to seven computers. In both places, I sometimes start a process on one screen and move to another to monitor the process. Oversight, checking to see that things run smoothly in their own boxes and still run smoothly after they communicate out to other places. From where I sit, I'd say that's a necessary part of application design or network design. I'd also say it's the work of a critic.

Stories work or they don't. Why? A good designer can answer that question.

Some stories work so well we want to read them again. Some stories are page-turners that we can't put down, but once done we don't pick up again. Why is that?

As animals we are not unique in having language. We are (as far as we know) unique in having metalanguage: language about language. We have sentences, nouns, verbs, subjects, objects . . . symbolic references, structural criteria, and frame-of-reference-continuity. META -- from the Greek for 'above' or 'beyond'; so we have metaphor, metaphysics, metabolic (and, yes, gariess, metamucil). Metalanguage. Language about language.

A critic is a writer. Yes. Is a writer. But a writer with a different purpose. As a critic, I find myself constantly asking "Why does this piece work?" Occasionally I read something that doesn't work at all and I ask why not. My answers usually entail ideas about the work's structure. That's quite different from the original author's intention.

You (Tina, Gary, Howard, Heather, Viv, Rachel, Randall, Hallee, Cheri, Cynthia, Jerry, Rhoda, Teekay, Eddie [who'd I miss?]) write the story with one intention and I send it back with comments from a different intention. You write intending to strike readers with rich visual or emotional brushes and I'll write back to say your strokes are vertical in one place and horizontal in another.

If I do a full and correct job, you'll know both the intention of the author and the underlying methods that made the work succeed or fail. Only a writer can do that.

Some groups of critics will say that the intention of the author is never knowable. Others will say that historical context must be ignored because it can never really be known either. I have to give those arguments some credence. But writing is always a human activity and authors always have intentions (even if they are sublimated). Again, from where I sit, you can't take the human author out of criticism.

In a note to Heather earlier today I compared young drivers with young writers. Both see individual pieces of the job, but fail to see the whole experience. Remember wondering which way to move the turn signal lever? As it is behind the wheel, so it is on the page. Remember wondering whether the stuff in paragraph 3 would work better in paragraph 8?

Examples. In "The Soul of a New Machine," Tracy Kidder wrote the human story underneath the development of a new computer at DEC. His organization is a human organization rather than a machine organization. His book works. In "Growing Up," Russell Baker gets a bit more complex. His story is about both growing up and growing as a writer and his story organization must reflect both. It does. It works.

Sometimes it seems simple. Jump out of the plane. Pull the rip cord. Feel the 'chute. Aim for the target. Hit, tuck, roll. It is simple. So simple that we have instructors. People have confused the order. Just like writing. It is simple. So simple that we have instructors. People have confused the order. Ever hear someone tell a story, get into it and proceed something like this: "Wow, when the chute opened, I was feeling like, wait, wait, let me tell you about jumping out of the plane, no, wait, let me tell you about the cord . . . "?

It is so simple.

Mark 7-14-2002 0:16

Yup. My mother and my wife want me to keep jobs with benefits and pension plans. I just want to make top wage and pay my own way through our medical and retirement morass. We have ample example of mismanaged retirement funds here with Endicott Johnson. And more. At home (where's that anymore?) Let me rephrase . . . As a kid I learned to NOT trust the big company with my financial future. A great uncle worked for an outboard motor company that went bust. Unc (as he was known to most everybody I knew) had invented the outboard motor reverse gear. Came out of it all with no money, no job and no prospects. He lived the last 15 years of his life at his sister's house, living with her husband and kids.

Mark 7-13-2002 23:11

MARK -- I remember several references to the "dead wall," as well as the comparison between dead letters and dead men. Never gave it much thought, but you're right -- Melville did use it to lead the reader where he wanted him to go.
Can't see my name ever being linked to a literary device -- except, perhaps as an example of misuse of commas...
We had our church "community day" today -- we put on a free chicken barbeque for the community. Had over 300 people stop in, but some left when they found out they couldn't pay for it.
One of the high points was an old couple from our church, who have got to the point where they can't make it to regular services, but one of our deacons went and picked them up for today. Rex is 94, Laura is 93, and they've been married for a while -- last Valentine's Day (also Laura's birthday) was their 73rd anniversary! Rex worked for 40+ years for the EJ Shoe Company, and gets a princely $7.00 a month pension. Seven dollars a month! But they don't complain, just go on trusting God.
That's the way I'd want to be remembered!

howard 7-13-2002 22:36

HOWARD -- you could use "cell phone dead zone" in a story. In "Bartleby the Scrivener," Melville uses lots of innocuous 'dead' references to lead up to Bartleby's eventual death. One of the more interesting is the view of a "dead wall" Bartleby has from his cubicle in the attorney's corner. Found a reference once to 'dead' as an architectural term. Has something to do with being windowless, I believe. So, it's a real term, just like the references to dead letter office and dead laws in the story. Add them all up, however, and each actual dead reference has greater symbolism.

Maybe someday we'll talk about how Tuckey uses dead reckoning, dead weight, dead wood, dead letter office, and cell phone dead zone as preludes to a character's demise.

Mark 7-13-2002 21:32

CYNTHIA -- We've had quite a few brushes with miracles. One afternoon about 20 years ago I was driving to work, and not paying much attention, and came up on a blind curve that has been the site of several accidents. They have a mirror there now, placed so you can see what's coming the other way, but this was before that.
Anyway, as I neared the curve, going about 50-55, a robin suddenly took off from the side of the road, and flew directly into my path. It bounced off the leading edge of the hood, and hit the windshield directly in front of my face. I can distinctly remember looking into its eye, and it seemed to be looking right at me, and I knew it was already dead from the impact.
It startled me so that I hit the brake and slowed right down -- left marks on the road.
At that same instant a kid in a 65 Ford came around the corner half in my lane, skidding out toward the edge of the road on my side. He had to be doing 80!
If I hadn't already been on the brakes and slowed down, we'd have hit head on. As it was, we very narrowly avoided a collision.
I know that God used one of His critters that day to save another.

howard 7-13-2002 17:52

When I was a little boy, we got our "share" of a pony that my grand dad left to "all his grand kids". He was a shetland quarter horse cross, and was super with kids. He didn't like grown folks one bit, and would nip them and even try to kick them if they got too close, but with us kids he was great. We would ride him all over, bare back, of course as all he came with was a bridle and halter. We had him for a couple of years, then passed him on to our cousin's much as we received him from other cousins. It was with Barney that I learned to ride, and to love horses.

For a time, on our second farm we cared for some town folks horses, there was Babe, and Lady. Babe was a big plow horse, but she liked being ridden, and would never break a trot, except to prance, which she loved to do. She would prance sideways down the road, or across the pasture looking much like some sort of show horse.

Lady was totally different, she was broken, but never ruled, and would take her head at times and go where she wanted no matter the wishes of her rider. She was a small horse, rumered to be the offspring of some race horse somewhere down her linage. We used to ride them, and occasionally when both my sisters were home, Barney too, through the pasture, along the roads over hills, down gullies across streams to the aspen grove, a solitary stand of aspen trees in a small isolated valley, hidden from passer by's by tall hills, and farm fences.

We had wonderful times playing cowboy's and Indians. Many times when we got home from the neighbor's (they had television!) we would play out the drama western's we watched from Rawhide, or maybe Gunsmoke.

When I first began riding, I was on old Barny, we were at my uncle's house, as Barny was with them at that time, anyhow I was ridding across their yard, when Barney decided that the grass beneath the cloths line was greener, and trotted over to it. When he got there, he stopped abruptly, and I fell off, right beneath him, between his front and back hooves. He stood absolutely still till I was back on my feet, then nudged me toward the house so I could get a band-aid on my skinned knee.

Now Lady was the opposite, I was ridding with my sister one day, and she got Babe into one of her prances, Lady always needed to be in the lead, and seeing Babe in front of her took off on a gallop, down into the ditch, and up against a barbed wire fence. When she saw one of the fence posts, she shied away, and threw me right across that fence, I landed on my back on the other side, and Lady kept up her gallop till she was in front of Babe and my sister.

For a brief moment, I thought I was dyeing, but it was simply the first time in my life that I had the wind knocked out of me, my sister was quickly by my side, and I think she thought I would die too, as she had a worried look on her face but when I started breathing right again, all was well.

Anyhow, horses are super, I used to love riding, and today's parade brought that all back, as it was filled with horses of all breeds, shapes, colors, and sizes. Some with adults, teen agers, and very young babies ridding on their mothers' knees. We were very lucky in that there was absolutely no horse exhaust in our part of the street.

Jerry 7-13-2002 17:40


I know how it is with rushed vacations (grins). I can't think of a vacation we have taken that hasn't been a rush. My husband likes to cram as many different activities into one trip as he can. I like to get to a place and plant myself. I can't think of the last time I got to do that. I've started to dig in and limit the number of activities. I really don't like to come home from vacation dizzy. This year we aren't doing much. We plan on one short trip (camping) the rest will be yard events. Our kids have pretty much taken up residence in their tents. I don't care about that. I think it is part of being a kid. They have also figured out that if they are burning around the yard in the middle of the night that I don't really care as long as they don't wake me up (grin/wink)! Tonight my son (Daniel) is having his 11 birthday party. He is having six friends spend the night. Our weather has also turned a little bit. We have tents and tarps set up. We've got the wood set and covered and have also cleared out the front room in case of true British Columbia rain. What I'm saying in all of this is that its okay that you can't make it out. We will need to try to hook up some other time. I think it is great that you now get weekends off. That should be nice for you. When I worked out of the home I used to look forward to the weekends with much excitiement and anticipation. I loved the idea of meeting up with friends. It's easier to do that when you have the same work week. Know what? I have to go out into the yard and do a little work. We took down a couple of small trees that were slashing up kiddies when they went to high on the tree swing. I don't want to have all the kids get to my house and trip all over the fallen trees (don't I just sound like a brute of a woman - grins - ARGH YEASSS, I'll drag me down some tree fall - winks). I hope that you have a great time at the air show. Happy jumps to you:o)

Rachel 7-13-2002 14:39


I just read the story you posted the other day about the preacher's widow and I just keep thinking, whoa, that is one strong love. You know, I think people who have lost loved ones always hope they stay connected somehow. I think we do, at least, I certainly hope we do. Honestly, I really did shiver when I got to the first "You'll be all right, hon." and still find myself wanting to read it again and again. Sounds like she experienced more than one miracle!

On a quite different note...

Do you want to hear about a strange dream I had? Well, here it is anyway...

First, I was sitting on a beach with Charleton Heston, who, now that I think about it looked a lot like Vincent Price. Then, as I began to play in the tide that was gently rolling in ... I almost landed face down on what appeared to be a nurse shark barely covered with sand! I jumped away just in time to not fall face forward on it! Then, as we were studying the shark it suddenly became a sea turtle! (I adore sea turtles and I am not afraid of them in the least!) Just as I was feeling excited to be so close to this sea turtle, it changed again ...
This time it was some kind of huge fish with teeth!!! But, for some reason it didn't seem quite as scary as a shark. It looked like something out of prehistoric times. I've never seen anything like it (except in this dream, of course). For some reason this thing never did change much in size, only in shape. Well, then the dream shifted back to Mr. Heston and some guy (a friend?) who was with him. I suddenly noticed that during all the commotion with this sea creature they had gotten sunburned, mostly on their shoulders and upper arms (don't laugh, I was a little sunburned too!). Well, I knew I needed to get them some Aloe Vera right away because it takes the burn out and the skin usually won't peel. It makes you feel a lot better, too. So, after checking to see if they would use it, which they agreed to do, I was off in search of some Aloe Vera. I always keep some around so I suppose I went back to my hotel room (I'm assuming I had a hotel room since I don't live on the beach), that part is where it starts getting fuzzy ... I just remember franticly looking for my Aloe ... you know, you don't want to keep a big movie star waiting!!!

Well, that's all. I hope I finally found some. It seems like I never can find anything when someone is waiting for it! I should have dreamed about sunscreen, too. The Aloe won't help them much if they stay out there on the beach with no sunscreen!!!

I really dreamed every bit of that. I know I kid around a lot but my imagination isn't THAT good! I think that's probably the strangest dream I've ever had!!! If there's ever been one weirder, I sure didn't remember it!

Cynthia 7-13-2002 13:12

Rachel, I'm still chuckling at that image.
Hey, about August. I will have a grand total of two days off; head down on Saturday, stay over at the airport, watch the show on Sunday and come home. The shitty part of new jobs is that I get no time off except weekends (which is pretty nice, I've never had weekends off before!) So it'll be a rush down, and a rush back. We really really really want to find an imax and see 'Space Station' while we're down, but I still have to find out if it's playing anywhere other than Canada Place imax.

Clouds moved in over night, although it's still warm. I'm just hoping that it holds out so that I can jump. (fingers crossed...)

Gotta go. TTFN!

Tina 7-13-2002 12:51


I saw your post about the rodeo. I get to watch rodeo rides pretty much every day. At first I was only filled with concern. Now I admire my sons persistance. He has talked to people and learned how to bring this pony of ours in hand. I've been given every piece of advice from never let him sit on the pony again, to let him ride her as much as he can till she will co-operate and everything in between. What it comes down to is I know my son. The pony is a Welsh/Morgan cross. She is stubborn as the day is long. My son is also quite set in his thinking. Long to short, the pony, after some weeks of resistance will walk and do a semi-co-operative trot. It is nice to see him moving at less than a full out run. Whe she does break into a gallop Daniel is able to slow her down and take some control of the ride. He has received a lot of coaching from many different experienced rider. I am pleased that she isn't jumping the fences any longer. It really stresses me out to see my son flying over jumps (no we did not set up jumps. She jumped over the barriers between the different pens. We have since removed them. If she wants to jump now it will need to be right out of the pen). Daniel has also accepted that it is not wise to try vaulting on our pony just yet (that was how he broke his nose one of the times). I guess that is enough of a blab from me.


I'll do more than lurk now and then. I kind of feel bad about being such an on and off participant in the group. I never used to understand when people talked about feeling that way on the Nb, now I do.

Take care all.


Rachel 7-13-2002 11:52

Just got back from the Rodeo, had to leave early, but enjoyed what we got to see. I was amazed at the change in cowgirl clothing, well amazed is probably not the word I am looking for, suffice to say that had cowgirls dressed like that when I was a kid, a couple of things would have happened, first off, they would have been arrested for indecent exposure, and secondly, we, the cowboys of the town would have walked up and down the streets and the hallways of our school with large textbook's carried just below the large silver belt buckle height. Man, if those gal's had their blue jeans any lower they would have needed band aids to cover the plumbers crack, and those tight fitting (form fitting?) thin ever so tight tops worn sans bra's left absolutely nothing to the imagination. Those were, of course the gals in the audience, the ones who walked back and forth in front of the bleachers, the cow-girls in the rodeo dressed in the traditional rodeo garb.

The clown did a super job, they let him have two clown shows as breaks in the action, he and his fellow clownette were great.

We left before the bulls, damn I didn't want to go, but the old back simply gave out, and sitting was no longer an option. I hate it when that happens, and I could see by the look in her eyes that the wife was very disappointed, but she did understand. Tomorrow I'm not going anywhere till it's rodeo time, then maybe we can stay for the entire show. Well I guess I will have to go up for the parade at 10:00 AM, but after that's over, I swear, it's straight to the recliner and rest till it's again show time in the Rodeo arena.

I was planning on taking some photo's, but naturally I forgot the damn camera, oh well, tomorrow's another day, and with over four hundred entrants in the rodeo, I'm sure there will be some decent pics' during the next two days.

Enough on me and the rodeo, hope all is well with everyone, have a super weekend, I know I will.

Oh and WRITE ON!

Jerry 7-13-2002 0:41



Sorry Tina! (BIG Grin!) A temporary loss of composure. :-) Bless the written word, cause words do that to me. (As well as music with lyrics that send me so fae away into fantasy, al la ELUSIVE BUTTERFLY or GENTLE ON MY MIND.) I'm not talking down to everyone here :-) but I sense passion in words ... and your emotion about being an artist blew me away.

Stunning weather huh? The high Saturday in Cen Texas will be mid 80's, low mid 60's! This is Texas? There are rain showers all around us and the possibility of high water a real possibility! Again! Salt Lake had 104! Is this the El Nino?

Gotta work tomorrow.



Randall 7-12-2002 22:31

Hi all!

Sas! Hi you :-D

Rhoda, I'm totally bummed to not be able to help ;-) Happy unwrapping...

So hot... yay!


Tina 7-12-2002 22:18

hello persons i sasquatch was going to say something but i am not remembering it. i must go.

sasquatch 7-12-2002 21:42

You're not going to berieve this! Check out

It's a hoot, and apparently for real!

howard 7-12-2002 18:03

Hi All :)

Lurking only - don't want anyone to catch this cold. Excuse me while I sneeze in the other direction .... HONK!!

Carol 7-12-2002 17:49

Owhard - yep, gives one the shivers. Way back when, when my sister's oldest was just three, they were stopped at a stop sign at a blind intersection here in town. She began going through the intersection when the image of a skull appeared on her windshield, she slammed on the brakes just in time to miss a speeding youth in his camaro, who was clocked by the police who arrested him at over sixty miles per hour on a city side street. Don't know who put that skull there but my sister and her daughter are so very thankful.

We have had a couple days relief from the heat, and our Rodeo begins today. The temps are supposed to stay in the mid 80's today but be in the triple digits (over 100) for the weekend. We plan on going to the Rodeo tonight, and weather permitting Saturday and Sunday, as it's a three day competition, with over 400 cowboys signed up to compete. Looks to be a great Rodeo. Went to the town tent yesterday for the steak feed, our town has a tent that is one city block long and six lanes wide that they put up on the north block of Main Street for the Boss Cowman days. Lots of activities in the tent, beginning with the steak feed, then a dance every night of the four day celebration, skits, plays, lip-sink, beauty pageant (with guys in drag) gospel singing every day at another tent in the park, lots of great stuff. All this for the price of a button (20 bucks a person, and that includes the rodeo's).

We will be busy for the rest of the weekend. Lost our telephone and internet last night, just ours not the whole town. I don't know what the trouble is, it's the third time now we've lost it in the past month. We call it in, and the phone company does something at the central office and get's us back up. It is annoying, and just started when we got ADSL service.

Anyhow gotta go, will be checking in when I get a chance.

Jerry 7-12-2002 13:35


I hereby invite you to come visit and share my joy. Together you and I could unpack my boxes and put my children's rooms to right. Seriously, if you are ever in the area, look me up.


I have no view of the sea or any body of water whatsoever. Water here is to be found in the bayous and they are quite nasty this time of the year with lots of algae and slithering, crawling types of creatures. I am about 50 miles from the sea. There is one Louisiana beach and it is at Grand Isle. When asked where the best beaches in Louisiana are the customary answer is, "Mississippi." The southern extremes of Louisiana consist of a big, huge swamp. Now there is the swimming pool down the street where we joined. It is pretty and clean, but the water is 80 degrees.

Now I have to see if the Internet filter will let me search the Internet for a nice place in New Orleans for my husband and I to eat at tonight.

Rhoda 7-12-2002 13:28

Just got back from a great morning on the pond with my grandson. Saw a Great Blue Heron, swatted lots of deer flies, got a lot of casting practice in, but no fish. No problem -- it was good.

GARIESS (and anyone else interested) -- check
for a sound clip of "No crying in baseball" -- left click to play it, and right click to save it to your disk.

howard 7-12-2002 12:32

GARIESS -- Yep, great line from one of my favorite movies!

RHODA -- Welcome back indeed! Good luck with your ISP.

Busy day! I've got so much to do that I know I can't possibly get it all done without a comprehensive plan, so I'm going to take my grandson fishing, hoping that the act of sorting through my tackle box will inspire me to sort through the rest of the day.

howard 7-12-2002 7:00


The Ted Williams thing shows how awry things can go when a legend takes flight. I remember when Williams played in the fifties. Even with Tedís rowdy heckling section the team was so drab they couldnít draw more than 3 thousand people to the park. His hecklers were so bad, he lost his cool in the outfield and started flipping the bird one day. You know what a thing like that meant in the fifties. A player, today, would have to wag the one-eyed weasel to get a response like Tedís finger got back in those days. Maybe not even then. He was a great player, no question, but this stuff is sadly stupid. I liked the remark of a girl commentator on one show when her co-host corrected her on cryogenics. "Itís cryonics," he told her. "Cryogenics is something else."

"Cryonics?" she said. "Thereís no cryonics in baseball." I cracked up. If anyone doesnít get that. Iíll let you explain it, Howie.


Please do not think that I was trying to trivialize your attention to your training. I was just making a dumb play on words again, intending that people would know the kind of dives I came out ot were the kinds with the swinging doors and loud CW from the Juke Box escaping through the door on a cloud of blue tabcco smoke fortified with the smell of woodwork marinated in stalebeer/whiskey/wine/limewedge/orangewedge/marascino cherry/olive/onion blend Listed in declining percentages of ingredients. Thats why nobody takes any interest in counting the kind of dives in my resume. They go back a long way. Iím a reformed bum.

Dear Rhoda,
So good to see you.

So glad you are here

gariess 7-12-2002 1:35

Hi all!

But Randall, how will we keep our spouses from finding out? Long distance e-marriages are hard to work out... ;cD

Welcome back Rhoda! I'm so envious of you, out of the old place, moved in to the new. It's so much work, but right now I'd take it happily. Glad all went well(ish?) and you're back on-line.

Turquoise blue water laps at the rocky shoreline. The thin beach is spread with people and dogs, candy-coloured bathingsuits and towels decorating the fist sized pebbles. Ponderosa pines descend right to the water on either side, framing the lake that stretches away in gentle waves. Boats buzz across the water, kids shriek happily, and dogs pursue floating sticks with eager joy.
It took 15 minutes to hike to the beach, and when I step into the beckoning water it is a burst of refreshment. I dive in, and the cool shock rejuvinates me. The summer sun has lost its authority.

Tina 7-11-2002 23:36

RHODA: Do you have a view of the sea?

Teekay 7-11-2002 22:35


Hi all,

HOWARD: THat doesn't give me this shivers at all. I think it's wonderful - affirming.

Teekay 7-11-2002 22:34

Good to see you back on-line.
I hope the move was not too disruptive. Anyway, you seem to have your priorities right - Computer - ISP - logon - animals - kids - hubby!! :¨)
Hope you're settling in ok.
No, it's not at all that cold here - just gray and wet and humid.
Later all,

Eddie French 7-11-2002 22:17

It is this new Internet service I got. It is their fault. I had a nice post and it just beeped away.

Anyway, I am finally in Luling and I have managed to cut my way though enough boxes and get my computer hooked up.


Summer is here in Louisiana in all of its splendor. I'll send some your way minus the late afternoon downpours. The nice thing about down here is when it gets hot and humid it rains and clears out the air and drops the temperature.

I cannot find anything around here! They haven't yet sent me a telephone directory. Incidently I am going to have to can this Internet service. The filter is so bad that it won't let me connect to my own web page.

I can't wait to go through and catch up on all the posts I have missed. It is good to be back.

Rhoda 7-11-2002 21:12

I just lost my post!

Rhoda 7-11-2002 21:06



"Instructors are just critics we pay. They are no more 'right' than anyone else with some relevant education on the given subject. I agree with some, disagree with others, and learn from them all by carefully distilling what they have to say. Sometimes I find one who has valuable things to say; sometimes I find one who is all hot air; usually I have to sift what they say to find the treasures.
'Thee' and 'thine' are like impressionism; old, good, and valuable. If I paint an impressionistic painting, even a really good one, it probably won't sell. I don't give a damn. I will still paint an impressionistic painting if I want to, and will still enjoy the process, learn from it, and hang it on the wall if it's good enough. And I will continue to call myself an artist."

Lordy, Lordy! I love it!!! Tina...will you marry me?

Computer went down my friends, so I've been away a while. Had a heck of a flood in town last weekend. Not like Rosemary's in SA but still bad. Our NAPA store flooded and we could not even get inside till Tuesday morning. Removing the water was easy. But the mud was hell. The owner called in help from his other 14 stores, (a pair drove in from Hobbs, NM) so we had nearly 40 working and cleaning. I was given the task of dumping tons (it seemed) of old soggy, stinking invoices! Brownwood was on the FOX channel several times. Anyone see us?

Love the comments on "Thee" and "Thine!"

Cheri, find out what your grandfather did in the war. Then write it for the future. There can be no greater gift to him, you or others to follow than a historical record of his actions in the war.

Heard PT 109 was found by Bob Ballard. Rush said he wondered if Ted Kennedy's car was next on Ballards list of things to find?

Gotta go.


Randall 7-11-2002 19:59

How how howard! Don't know how you managed no commas. I feel like I'm stiff as a sheet of iron trying not to let a comma slip by me.

There. I made it. Phew!

Heather Hemlock Bags 7-11-2002 18:17

Two things on my earlier post -- it should be "dead cell phone ZONE" -- not "sone."
Also please accept my apologies for going "commatosis" and using up everyone's weekly allotment of the critters. Please also note that I've not used up any more in this post.

howard 7-11-2002 16:17

EDDIE -- It got down into the 40s here last night, and it's been chilly all day!

howard 7-11-2002 15:25

I don't know if you can get any of the UK news services over there but if you can you will know that Summer has just failed to arrive here at all. This talk of beach weather is really making me green with envy!
Temperatures have been hovering around the low seventies (F) for most of the month. That would not be too bad if it would just stop raining!
My back lawn is just sodden. If we try to walk on it, it just turns to mud. The grass is growing out of control because the ground will not take the mower. (I have cut it only twice since early May)
I made some timber garden furniture earlier in the year to go with the timber and canvas parasols that we brought back from Germany a few years ago. We have yet to put them to any prolonged use.
I suppose there's time yet.
Roll on Summer! (Dreaming)

Eddie French Simply Writing 7-11-2002 14:02

Here's something that will make ya stop and think -- it actually happened last night...

First some background -- My wife's brother (a Baptist pastor) was killed in an accident a few years ago. His widow (Judy) is now a member of our church, and we see her often.
OK -
Yesterday evening Judy was headed home, driving up the 2 lane road from Endicott to her home in Whitney Point, and she was alone in the car.

As she neared a busy intersection (it has a flashing light -- yellow for her) she slowed a bit to make sure it was safe, saw cars stopped for their flashing red, and kept on going. Just as she got to the intersection she clearly heard a voice saying

"You'll be all right, hon."

An instant later, just as she entered the intersection, another driver ran the red, and plowed into her driver side door, shoving her off the road on the other side, into a ditch. She was banged up some, but not seriously hurt, even though they had to use the "jaws of life" to extract her (through the back door) from her car.

As she was sitting there waiting for the dust to clear, another driver, who had witnessed the whole thing, ran over, couldn't open her door, went to the other side and pried open the passenger door a little, and tried to make sure she was okay.

She assured him that she was, for the moment, and he said he'd run over to a local business (it's a dead cell phone sone) and get the police/ambulance, and would stay and help with the report, as he'd witnessed the event. And as he left he said:

"You'll be all right, hon."

Dunno about you, but that gives me the shivers!

howard 7-11-2002 11:57

Hi all!

Jack, it's good to hear that every less common sport has it's variety of wacky traditions. Dive naked in the pacific northwest? Are they nuts? :-p

We're heading for 40o today. Yay! I love the heat. Especially since I don't work today, and can hit the beach later on.

Blue skies!

Tina 7-11-2002 11:53

Gariess: Very Very early on, my first open water dive instructor stressed the improtance of keeping an accurate and ongoing dive log. Particularly if I planned to dive at resorts and wanted the independence to dive as I wished. Northwest divers are reknowned world round as some of the best technical divers around and as such we are trained tightly to have top buoyancy control, accurate navigation, equipment knowledge and troubleshooting and all the rest that might go into being a divermaster. I am just beginning to get into my divemaster candidacy, but it is progressing. The one thing I did say to my divemaster instructor/mentor was no and hell no when he mentioned that the usual rule of thumb for the 100th dive was to dive naked. The water may be warmer than January, but not that much warmer :-)

Jack 7-10-2002 23:55

GARIESS -- David Frost? George Burns?! :-) I just caught that in the archive -- nice turn, bub!

Can you believe the Ted Williams thing!??! His son evidently wants to have Ted's body frozen so that he can someday sell his DNA. Then they could clone a whole team of .400 hitters and he could make a bundle as their agent. But like the guy on tv just said -- "If the son is an example of Ted's DNA, who'd want it?"

Must get along -- mails to go before I sleep... (sorry, RF)

howard 7-10-2002 23:55


How can you count 99 dives? I lost track after staggering out of the first 5 or so. So, you have jury duty eh? Just remember one thing; if they werenít guilty they wouldnít be there. Hang Ďem! Hang Ďem high!


Iím glad you liked the story. I hope all your house problems work out.

To all,

There has been some talk of alien abduction in the NB. Well, the talk was in the NB. I donít know where the abductions took place. There is some cryptic mention of the abductors getting to know the object of their exercise in very personal ways, etc. I donít know how piqued your curiosity is, but I thought I might mention that most alien abduction reports include accounts of anal probing. I canít think why this is. One would need to know things about the curiosity of aliens that I do not. That, or one would have to know something about the collective imagination of people who report these abductions. Either way, I find these alien abduction reports very curious. I am glad that the account we were priveleged to read showed the reserve it did. After all, there are certain images we simply donít need to contemplate.


If you suffer from multiple personality disorder, you are not alone.

gariess 7-10-2002 23:20

To Mr. Ben Jon(-h)son

Dear sweet Ben Jonson, thank you so much for your incredibly enjoyable sonnet. I truly loved it!

I will try to remember to keep the 'h' out of where it does not belong (h)e is a slippery fellow, though, so forgive me in advance if (h)e sneaks in at some other unguarded time. I wish I could turn out sonnets like you obviously can. Sigh.

Cynthia 7-10-2002 22:44

Ahh no, my friend. The lobster it was, accompanied by a very nice port, and a salad of the finest greens and wild mushrooms. Then again, perhaps it was one of the mushrooms?
At any rate perhaps it's the White Rabbit you're thinking of? Or even Yeats' "Memory," with its Mountain Hare?

LC 7-10-2002 20:28

Miss Cynthia, that is Jonson, without the aitch. Ben Johnson could run much faster than I.

ben jonson 7-10-2002 20:09

Mark -- Now, you know I was just kidding. I was, however, abducted by aliens several years, 'tis always an incredible experience with newfound beauty! Thee should try it, thee might like it. Just let me know, I'll put up my batty-signal for them!

Cynthia 7-10-2002 19:39

LC -- "the lobster"? I'd have thought it was the hare. The wild hare.

CYNTHIA -- I'm enormously flattered. I've never been treated so romantically before.

Mark 7-10-2002 18:00

I just did a stupid thing (first one today!) I was cutting some of the undergrowth along the back of the house, and there was a maple sapling growing between the gas tanks and the house. I reached in with the loppers to nip it off, slipped, and cut the gas line instead! The gas company can't fix it until tomorrow. The woman I spoke with actually gave an understanding chuckle, and told me to go spend the rest of the day in a lawn chair. Didn't want me to mess up anything else today, I guess. :-)

howard 7-10-2002 16:22

Help! The internet police have contacted me and are insisting that I must suffer from multiple personality disorder. I've been beside myself with worry ever since!

allofus 7-10-2002 15:51

CYNTHIA -- :-) :-) :-) :-) Your prose is even fresher than your poetry! I know you're just starting sonnets, but please keep up with the prose too -- you do it well!

LC -- "the lobster?" I'd have thought it was the Hatter!

howard 7-10-2002 15:46

A disclaimer --

"'Twas brillig and the slithy toves"
was not my thought, yet I suppose
you'll not believe me, caught in throes
of laughter as you study to review it.
The Jabberwock got up my nose
I'd really thought to write it prose
And now nobody really knows
How awfully near it was I came to rue it.
But Alice, typical of those
who see the world through lights of rose-
hued lenses made me glad I chose
the poetry, instead of saying "Screw it"
But now whichever way it blows
No matter any grief it grows
It's time, my friend that I disclose
That scalawag, the lobster, made me do it.

lewis carroll 7-10-2002 15:20

I wish to sincerely thank...
Mark (who brought tears of pain with his welcome but brutal honesty)
Howard (who I greatly admire and always makes me laugh)
Tina (who brought a hopeful smile and a laugh)
Jerry (who caused me to laugh and consider moving to a Mennonite colony)
Cheri (who gave me a very inspired idea for the title of my future book of sonnets - after all, I might as well call it like Mark sees it...and I'm still laughing)
Will S. (who most kindly took the time to write a sonnet in response to my confused state - I very much enjoyed it!)
Ben Johnson (who also wrote a sonnet in regard to "the bard" - 'twas indeed fine Mr. Johnson!)

Thank you, I am grateful to you all. It never occurred to me that I might cause such a commotion when I asked my question.

After careful consideration, I have arrived at a decision...

I am going to build a time machine. I have already begun drawing up the plans. But, before I continue further, I must temporarily hide these plans. Perhaps by having them secretly encoded in my KJV Bible. I will then move to a Mennonite colony where, hopefully, I will blend in without suspicion. This should not be a problem considering the fact that I speak their language fluently. After securing a barn or such a place to accommodate it's approximate size, I will then assemble my time machine. I hope to hide my machine (probably under an obliging bale of hay). There it should remain until I make can make contact with some old friends whose help I will need to continue to the next phase. They are, in fact, aliens who abducted me the first time some ten odd years ago (for scientific purposes). During these last several years I have come to know them on a personal basis. However, the cause of our more familiar relationship is not appropriate conversation for such a public place as this. Suffice it to say, they most likely know me better than I know myself. Now, to the point which necessitates the aid of these friendly aliens...
I plan to abduct Mark (with the use of their alien craft) and deposit him, temporarily unconscious, in my time machine. I will then proceed send him back in time to such place as my research shows that I might find Mr. William Shakespeare. I will also send to Mr. S. a copy of the most recently archived Writer's Notebook, containing all text in reference to archaic words and their controversial use. I will bundle the pages in a plain package, stating only Mr. Shakespeare's name, and will secure it with ordinary twine. I do this in the hope of not frightening him by the use of more modern materials. I cannot help that the introduction of Mark may frighten him more than modern packaging materials. You see, after regaining consciousness, unaware of his travels and not recognizing Mr. S., Mark may very well tell Mr. S. exactly where he can put all his thee's and thou's. I dare say, Mark would most likely do this in his very modern language which could put a completely new spin on the subsequent work of Mr. William Shakespeare. My time machine will be set to automatically return as soon as the weight becomes (approximately) that only of the machine itself. Then, after briefly but thoroughly enjoying what a fine mess Mark would potentially make, I will use my time machine once again. This time to retrieve Mark (the aliens will erase any memory of his trauma) and undo whatever damage has been done. Of course, all this is theoretical.

Cynthia 7-10-2002 14:22

JACK -- Thanks for the archive! I was afraid some of those with slower connections couldn't get into the NB, and there was some interesting stuff going on. Especially the critique posted by MARK on GARIESS's essay. That was a gem worth saving. Those who would like to know the classic structure of a true essay should definitely take the time to view it in the archive.
The discussion on the use of archaic words in contemporary settings is also worth review, as it had good points from both sides of the question.

VIV -- No problem -- I know what it's like to be busy! I thought I'd be making a trip to North Carolina tomorrow, but it looks like I got a reprieve this time. may have to do it next week instead. It's about a 10 hour drive from here, but it's for my granddaughter, so I don't mind.

MARK -- I think we've disturbed the ghosts again! Ben Jonson's sonnet/comment may have been in response to the suggestion I made earlier to Will, even though it looked for a moment like it was directed at your post. But it was posted too soon after your last. :-)

howard 7-10-2002 10:21

Well, I'm back and glad to be. Jerry, I'm downloading that sentence reader. It's going to be a tremendous help to my students if it works with normal intonation. I'm going to try it out. It'd also be interesting to hear some of my longer sentences in Pommes and see if they are too run on.

Gariess: Your story was great. I think that's important right now and I'm glad you expressed it. I hope you pubish that right now, might make people think a little before taking out fears on others.

Howard: I'm still waaaayyyy behind and it's not getting better before the 23rd this month. I have to read these finals I wrote and they are doozies. Why didn't I go for simple ABC type questions that are easy to grade. NOOOOOOOO, I went for essay questions and wow, what a purple pain in the backside! Why'd I do that when I'm already swamped???

Essay questions really are better than ABCD because first they don't encourage cheating and second I can see in print exactly what the student heard me saying. I give my finals early and print out what the kids missed and give it to them. I give a party on final exam day and show points that everyone missed and play games centered around the points. We all missed directions this time. I just must have taught it badly. Past tense needs review as well. Pfffff!

On the house, found someone to come in and do the electrical work, put the walls back together, and paint, plus knows where to get carpet cheap so we can recarpet. He has a brother who works in real estate so I can get rid of the dishonest idiot who is mis-managing my property. Also got a lawyer ready to go in case this gets stinky.

The bad part is I have to leave my husband and daughter for two long months and get this junk accomplished by living in my basement while the repairs are going on. With the drought I'm going to learn about water management. This will seem very odd during typhoon season. Right now we have a nice gentle typhoon watering my garden. I can't imagine a drought.

Viv 7-10-2002 7:52

Howard made the point that we had reached top levels for the Notebook at 700 plus k. So, I have archived and will have the past Notebook up shortly. However, here is a tabula rasa for people to write heavily upon. I am on jury duty this week, so a little sidetracked. Also, did my 99th dive this evening. Take care everyone.

Jack Beslanwitch 7-10-2002 1:34

Post your comments to the Notebook

Return to

[ Administration ]

Copyright 1999-2000 TD Forum 1.2