Red Hill

Kathy is fifteen or sixteen, a junior in high school, she often works in her mama’s restaurant as a waitress, and I assume this is where she picks up her spending money.  We have talked numerous times about a lot of things, contact lenses, school, college; boys that are stupid, what movie have you seen.

One thing I noticed about Kathy in our conversations is how important “networking with her friends seems to occupy a large part of her life.”  She is on Myspace and she text messages on her cellphone, she has Twitter and I suppose a few others that I am not privy to.

It just struck me the way that all of this was so effective for her, how it works for the younger generation.  I guess the thing that got me started down this path is the fact that “she and her girlfriends plan things before they do them.” They get together or rather they use the various mediums in their lives and they make plans and create order in their lives or social endeavors.

Now this is a prime indicator of how life in this day and age is important to the internet or different mediums and a necessary aspect of young people and to our society in general.  I found myself thinking about when I was the same age, and how we did things.  Being from small town America, we would drive down to Main Street on Friday night, park and when someone came by and stopped, we would start putting things together.

We did not plan ahead; we had no other way to communicate other than “draggin’ main, burning cheap gasoline, and finding someone else to do it with.”  At sixteen years of age, I was allowed to go into the garage, and use the telephone there to talk with my girlfriends and I was also limited to the amount of time I could spend on the phone, usually about fifteen minutes tops.

My home town, Purcell Oklahoma, has a hill on the north side of town, the name of this hill is “Red Hill.”  By most standards it isn’t much of a hill, 250-300’ high at the peak, I climbed it one time on my motorcycle.  As far as I know I was the only kid in town to accomplish this feat, and I have never heard of anyone doing anything similar in nature over all these years.

Most folks in my generation were adventurous in nature, nothing like that today.  Everything is fairly laid out and in place for today’s generation, and the majority of it doesn’t require nature or the outside in order to accomplish the majority of it.  Skateboarding isn’t an adventure, Dungeons and Dragons, Grand Theft Auto.  A computer controller and a bag of chips, not much adventure in that.

Red Hill is also where Susie introduced me to the pleasures of young manhood, under a clear sky, loaded with stars, and air thick with the smell of summer.  Where we laughed, we cried, we schemed and we dreamed, and we thought of all the world we wanted to see.  We “hooked up on Main Street and we slipped off into the night.”  No pre-planning or networking in that, that was the way it was done.

I often went to Red Hill and sat on the stone fence there and I would stare off to the east to a horizon that seemed to go on and on, almost forever.  I would look in the direction of Boston, or Atlanta, Memphis and Nashville and I would as a young man wonder what it was that was out there and if I would ever see it.

When my relationships went sour, and things did not work out, I would go there, sit down pull out a Marlboro and work it out in my mind.  This was my fortress of solitude, Red Hill, and I often spent more than one long afternoon there blowing the cobwebs out of my head.

Not long ago someone sent me a invitation to join Facebook.  I of course declined, I don’t have the time to sit around and talk about myself and open up my life to basically what I think are virtual strangers.  I do enough of that right here.  Facebook for the most part is a straight jacket for people who have nothing better to do than talk about themselves.

Take a minute today to think about it.

Do you want to know that the “girl you idolized in high school, is now a pudgy housewife with four kids, living in Paducah, Kentucky and cleaning up her cats’ hairballs?”  How about the great looking, blond headed kid that sat on Red Hill for hours at a time, do you want to know that he is now a balding old coot in Oklahoma and he is glad it is almost the weekend.

It might work for Kathy and her gang, but it surely isn’t my cup of tea.

OOO

Graduation Time

Rain on the driveway this morning,  cool and soothing, nice to have it for a change of pace.  It stirs my soul ….  As the rain beats down upon my window pane, as Mother Nature disturbs the peace of mind I have found, as the wind and rain beat so violently upon my window pane, I think of you my love, drip, drip, drip.

An 82 year old man in Germany recently called the police to complain that someone was playing the same song over and over again at all hours of the day and night.  Officers found that the man had a musical card that someone had left on his window sill and when the wind blew a gentle breeze his way, the card would open, and play the music.

Best of intentions gone askew.

The news is on in the background, occasionally I glance over and check it out.  It is much the same, it never changes.  People are nuts, I am going to have to write something on that one day, take a shot at it.  Like this annual reporting of the fat-guy, at the local swimming pool, belly-floppin and making a huge wave, that is not news.

Knock it off Channel five, that is disgusting!

I respectfully now tell the computer …. “NO I DON’T WANT TO UPDATE THAT … LEAVE ME ALONE” and I notice that we are close to the last days of the month.  End of May rolling up, that is the time of the year, that the Oklahoma kids graduate from school, just “in the nick of time” to come home and work the wheat harvest.

Okie kids go in early and they are released early that is the way it goes.  I remember one year they had a sign out in front of the school that read:  LEXINGTON HIGH SCHOOL ANAL EXAMS MAY 27TH, 28TH AND 29TH.  LAST DAY OF SCHOOL MAY 29TH.

Higher education in Oklahoma.

This is also the time of the year when you hear all those stirring commencement speeches from political dignitaries and wanna-be’s.  Stuff like:  “I come to share the memories of a troubled past and a hope for a better tomorrow.  Our future matters, and it is up to us to take it back, put it into our hands, start marching toward a better tomorrow.” Which was the speech given by Hillary Clinton when she was running for some office, I forget.

So now you are graduating, good for you!  Welcome to the REAL WORLD 101 where you now will be indoctrinated into the nuances of good living in America.  Where even the language and the terminology is different, much different.  You will learn new meanings in your new beginnings.  Lethal assistance which means Afghanistan Aid, business ethics … Bailout for the rich and the corrupt … friendly fire, incoming from your own people, cover and duck!

Genuine veneer, uh huh sure.

If you are lucky, truly lucky, you might land a job in the government sector of our country.  This is where they provide us the answers to the issues, they give us the rules and the procedures, they set the standard for the rest of us.

This is the gold mine of good community living where you can be subject to racially sensitive issues.  Take the Delaware Department of Transportation who recently has been accused of insensitivity towards others.  They released a pamphlet advising employees to avoid such “workplace faux pas” as asking gay co-workers whether they’ve “thought about getting help”, offering black co-workers “chicken or watermelon” for lunch, and asking Latino co-workers, “can you help me out with my landscaping?”

It appears that in America, it is still necessary to shock people every now and then in order to get their attention.

Believe it or not, I can fondly remember graduating from High School way back in ’65, I graduated “first in my class” believe it or not.  (The shortest senior boy and girl, always went first, tradition and all that y’know?)  When I graduated from High School I got a trip to Vietnam for my Senior Trip, hopefully that will not happen to the graduates of 2009.

When I came back some four years later to my hometown and did my best to blend into the local economy and society in general, they told me that my naval training would assist me in the private sector.  Unfortunately, American Airlines wasn’t hiring any tail-gunners at the time, so I went to work for the Railroad.

High School taught me one important lesson in life.  “Whatever you practice most is what you will eventually become.”  When you get down to the “nitty-gritty” the nuts and bolts of it, that is about it.  Or just do like my Grandma used to say, “Donnie, when are you going to learn to zip your lip?” that will work too.  (warning it is not for the faint of heart)

Have a great Tuesday.

OOO

Memorial Day

flagI suppose a lot of folks look at this day from a perspective of a day off from work.  Maybe a barbecue or cookout in the backyard with friends and neighbors.

Big NASCAR race on today, along with the running of the Indy 500, both now American Traditions.

Being a vet and all, this day carries with me a special meaning, and not long ago I got into a little heated debate about it with some of the Deacon’s in the church.

You see, my church for whatever reason they have deemed appropriate consider this day a day to “celebrate the dead in the church, all those old saints that went on before us” and not to acknowledge the sacrifice of veteran’s in wars now long past.

One thing that was required was “to stand in honor of these elders who have passed on” and I did not stand.

Which of course was noted and after wards I was approached about it and asked for an explanation.  Me being me (you know how it is if you are regular reader of this page) had little trouble expressing my thoughts on the subject.  Suddenly I found myself more than eager to tell them what I thought about it, and explain why it was “I did not stand in honor.”

Having seen a lot of my brothers come home “wrapped in the flag” (draped over their coffins) I don’t cotton to paying respect to those who did not bother to serve.  It just doesn’t set well with me, and I make no apologies for my behavior in church or elsewhere when it comes to this holiday and the flag of this country.  These people made the ultimate sacrifice for us and our nation, and they deserve the respect and honor accorded to them.

This is a day to step back from it all, think about all those who gave so much and pay homage to the Nation’s war dead, it is not a celebration of war, but an heartfelt acknowledgment of a patriotic soul who served and died on a foreign shore.  I for one intend to do that, drive to the cemetery and place a wreath or packet of flowers on a buddy or two.

Although they have been gone for what seems eon’s of time, they still hold a special place in my heart.

OOO

We Did It Anyway

voter

THIS IS THE EMAIL OF THE WEEK, I RECEIVED IT FROM ALABAMA OF ALL PLACES.

A new state law passed today in Oklahoma, 37 to 9, had a few liberals in the mix, an amendment to place the Ten Commandments on the front  entrance to the state capitol.  The feds in D.C., along with the ACLU, said  it would be a mistake. Hey this is a conservative  state, based on  Christian values…!

Guess what  …….. We did it anyway.

We recently passed a law in the state to incarcerate all illegal immigrants, and ship them back to where they came from,  unless they want to get a green card and become an American citizen.  They all scattered. Hope we didn’t send any of them to your state.  This was against the advice of the Federal Government, and the ACLU, they said  it would be a mistake.

Guess what  …….. We did it anyway.

Yesterday we passed a law to include DNA samples from any and all illegals to the Oklahoma database, for criminal investigative  purposes.  Pelosi said it was unconstitutional.

Guess what  ….. We  did it anyway.

Several weeks ago, we passed a law, declaring Oklahoma as a  Sovereign state, not under the Federal Government directives.  That, for your information, makes Oklahoma and Texas the only states to do so.  Guess what  …… More states are likely to follow.  Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, both Carolina’s, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas,  West Virginia, just to name a few.

Should Mississippi act, so will Florida.  Save your confederate money,  grab yo’ Dixie Cups, it appears the South is about to rise up once again.

The federal Government has made bold steps to take away our  guns. Oklahoma, a week ago, passed a law confirming people in this  state have the right to bear arms and transport them in their  vehicles.  I’m sure that was a set back for the Kennedys and Ms Pelosi.

Guess what  ……. We did it anyway.

By the way, I imagine Mr. Obama does not like any of this.

Guess what …. who cares … were doing it anyway.

OOO


“The cartoon courtesy of Center for American Progress” (online)

Call It What It Is

pigVentured out yesterday for some stamps at the Post Office, did not see anyone wearing a mask over their face, so I assume the swine flu pandemic scare is officially over.

Which is a good thing, especially for me, because I love BLT’s (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwiches.  I would absolutely hate to see anything conflict with that part of my life.  No more trips to the Cracker Barrel for me, and that would create a hole in my world you could drive a bus through.

So today, this morning, let us develop a healthy curiosity in the world of pigs, swine creatures of media fame here of late.

Drive through the Oklahoma Panhandle and you will see it dotted with shiny tin roofs, new hog barns, there is a huge profit in the raising and caring for of hogs.  But there are also drawbacks.  Hogs are nasty, they produce about 8 times the waste of a human each day, they take an ocean of water to clean them up and all hog farms have huge water retention ponds to collect their waste.  Potential breeding grounds for all the little ugly things that attack us and make us sick.

Eventually all this nasty bio-waste makes it thru the food chain to you.

Here’s the connection: if a commercial flight is a prime breeding ground for airborne infectious disease, consider the digs of modern hogs. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), also known as factory farms, bring together tens of thousands of animals in quarters that make a sold-out 747 look spacious. Keeping a cap on disease in such conditions has risen to a sort of macabre art form involving the use of antibiotics (including the “non-therapeutic” use, which means that they feed the animals antibiotics as a preventative measure) to ward off the infectious diseases you might expect to thrive in such a place.

This practice has been linked to the spread of drug-resistant MRSA bacteria, but is not likely the cause of the influenza outbreak. Manure lagoons, the gigantic receptors for the millions of gallons of excrement expelled by the thousands of animals, may be the more likely culprit.

All of this beside being an obvious health nightmare presents a public relations nightmare for the hog farmer.  I suppose hog farmers and pork producers would prefer we call it something else, other than swine flu.  Perhaps it would be better to use the scientific name, A(H1N1) 2009 but that just seems so benign, no ring in that, where is the snap, where is the crackle and pop?

We seem to gravitate towards the outrageous, the completely insane in this country when it comes to descriptive metaphors.  Calling this Swine Flu just doesn’t seem appropriate.

Look at the auto companies and the banks for instance.  We use terms such as financial meltdown, bailout, huge losses, bankruptcy and other insidious terms that reek of socialism, “nationalism” comes readily to mind here.  All of them basically negative in nature.

So we change it up, we refresh the negative and we call it something else.  We say “unexpected profit inversion” or “asset augmentation” or “new and unique profit-partner partnerships between the private sector and the government.”

Like our now long gone moose gooser from Alaska would say … “We continue to put lipstick on the pig” and call it everything other than what it really might be.  There is an old expression that goes something like this:  “You can try and teach a pig to sing, but it will not work, and all you do is irritate the pig.”  Call it what it is, and stop renaming all of this stuff.

We are good at this, we have after all, have been transferring blame and changing the language for years.  Adultery … An affair.  Abortion … Lifestyle choice.  Genocide … Ethnic Cleansing.  We do it all the time; a housewife is no longer a housewife, she is a domestic engineer.  Used Car Salesman … Finance Specialist and the list goes on and on infinitum.  A four door hoopie from Ford or General Motors is now a “sports sedan” … Television evolved to wireless cable …. which is pretty stupid really and then there is … Mercy Killing.

That one I do not understand at all.  But I am usually a little slow on the uptake anyway.

Sadly one rule of life is …. “What you practice the most, is what you will become.”  As long as we continue “to shade the truth” and not face it, we will have problems in this country.

The worst of it all, was not here nor was it in Israel, where they steadfast refused to call it swine flu for religious reasons, but in Afghanistan where they moved the only pig in the Kabul Zoo into a locked room out of fear of swine flu.  Now that was some progressive thinking there, that saved a lot of lives no doubt.

Have to go now, I am off to check out this latest email rumor I received yesterday.  It concerns a woman who left her two-year old son at a day care center yesterday morning in Seattle, and when she returned to pick him up in the afternoon he was completely grown!

Day care officials are crediting the Obama hot lunch program.

Me?  I am not buying it.

OOO

Inviolable Reasoning

Some days are going to be good days and then some days are painful and not all that good.  Like it is when you have that small pimple on the bottom of your nostril, and you know you have to squeeze it, and at the same time, you absolutely KNOW that it is going to hurt really bad.

Yesterday was one of those kind of days.

I am in line at the bank, there are eight windows, and ONE TELLER so the conversation is strained at best, you can cut the tension in the air with a knife.  So rather than being somewhere pleasant and nice, I find that I am over at the bank and this lady in the line is all hopped up about what she calls “Obama Money.”  It is some kind of stipend that is currently being distributed to retiree’s and people on Social Security, the amount I believe is $250.

She wants to know if I have mine yet?

Not overly concerned about $250 in mad money from the government, I ponder this one very disturbing thought …”How does this complete stranger know that I am retired?”  …. It is a sad state of affairs when people recognize you as a retired person without really knowing you, I must have that “rode hard and put up wet” look about me again.

lobster hatThis always happens when I venture out without my hat.

When you notice that no one bothers to ask you if you are a “senior citizen” for the 10% discount, then I would say you have officially arrived.

Here is a little ditty about two retiree’s.

Recently in New York retired rogue cops Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, who were convicted in 2006 of assisting the Mafia for many years were sentenced to life in prison.  However, because the men retired from the force before they had been charged with crimes, they are entitled by law to their lifetime pensions of $5,313 a month and $3,896 a month respectively.

No word if they are to receive Obama money.

You ever stop to think about this $100 million President Obama has ordered cut from his $3.5 trillion budget.  This represents a reduction of 0.0029 percent not exactly worth crowing about or writing home to Mama.  If a family with an income of $100,000 cut a comparable amount from its budget, it would spend just $3 less over the course of a year.

Might be why the average Joe is rigidly locked down and staying in place these days.  With the decline of housing prices and the economic uncertainty the populace is not moving.  Some 35.2 million Americans changed residences this year, the lowest number since 1962, when the nation had 120 million fewer people.

Have finished what I consider a good read, “Brothers” which is a compilation of 26 stories of love and rivalry.  The complete issue was originally published in the March issue of Playboy.  One story that was extremely interesting was the segment of what it was like to be the Uni-Bomber’s little brother.  Weather has turned off rather nice, stopped raining, you can slink out onto the porch sit in the chair and read a page or two before the dogs wake up to greet the meter readers in the backyards.

Life in the suburbs.

I read where a 17 year old Eagle Scout is doing fine after being stranded for almost three days on New Hampshire’s Mount Washington.  Having sprained his ankle during a routine day hike, he spent numerous days on the mountain.  He decided to take a short cut down the 6,288 ft peak which proved not to be the right move.  Snowpack and running rivers blocked his path, and also his retreat from the normal route of trails.

He said that he slept beneath pine trees and in large crevasses and started fires with hand sanitizer gel.  He was finally spotted by rescuers after he decided to head up the mountain, towards a weather observatory.  “I would never do it again during snow conditions” he was quoted as saying.

Now on the other hand, I got lost when I was twelve years old, in a national forest for about 26 hours.  Not all that scary, but it was an “eye opener” for sure.

Not having a clue as to where I was or where I was going, I eventually sat down beside a fallen giant and started a campfire with my zippo lighter and was sitting there smoking a Marlboro when a national forest search agent walked up to me and said, “You must be Don Smith, and this must be Fritz (our family weenie dog).” And I replied, “Yes, I am.”

He then instructed me to put out the fire, led me back to my parents who were overjoyed to have their wayward child back.  My dad asked the guy, “How did you find him?” and the ranger said, “I saw his campfire smoke and walked up on him, he was sitting there smoking a cigarette and staying warm.”

At that point my mother promptly grabbed me and hugged me for all it was worth, later on my dad, whipped my butt for smoking again.

Proof again, that all stories do NOT have a nice ending.  To this day I remember it as not being lost, but rather, just powerfully confused.

Some days are diamonds and some days are stone (from the song with the same title and/or lyrics).  Now I return to my Clark Kent atmosphere, my duty in life that compels me to walk this uncertain, often turbulent path, to faithfully do what meets the needs of the day or pays the bill, and not what it is that I truly want to do.

What is your Clark Kent job this Wednesday, are you lost or just powerfully confused.

Our operators are standing by ………..

OOO

Higher Education

In the spirit of doing what I say and not what I do, one leader of the Mexican drug cartels called “The Family” has insisted that when gang members are not selling cocaine and murdering their rivals, that they attend gang-run classes in ethics, values, and personal improvement and also abstain from drugs and alcohol.

Now don’t you feel just terrible, all this time you were thinking they were just your run of the mill murdering thugs, and it turns out that they do have socially redeeming qualities after all?

While we are the subject of education.  Nice blend, eh?

A woman in Irving Texas has convinced school authorities that her daughter cannot wear her shirt tails tucked in, for religious reasons.  Yeppers, you read that right.

The 7 year old had been ordered to tuck in her shirt by her school principal, but she argued that she was “being persecuted” for being a Christian.  The Bible requests that “woman to adorn themselves in modest apparel with propriety and moderation.” The mother said the shirt out was a necessary thing, because “she did not want her behind showing.”

Check please.

Now her is a classy mother, seem to be on a mother kick this morning, don’t know why.  A mother in Los Angeles did a total makeover when she hired a stripper to attend her 10 year old high school reunion in her place.  Being a self conscious geek in school, she evidently could not stand the pressure of facing her classmates.

So she hired the stripper and with the aid of an ear piece she coached her stand-in counterpart, who wore, and then shed, a slinky dress and fishnet stockings.

Now there is a picture for the yearbook staff.

No brainer of the month.  As a cost cutting measure, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has been allowing prisoners to transfer themselves.  Unescorted from one prison to another, who is the brainchild of this novel idea?  Officials recently confirmed that “some prisoners at minimum security facilities are given bus tickets and told to make the trip to the next prison on their own.”

And of course … Here it comes … “some prisoners have used this opportunity to escape on their own.”  Well ….. Duh?  Despite this one apparent drawback, officials have announced that the savings are substantial.

Protecting nature.  Swiss voters in the Alpine state of Appenzeil have outlawed the practice of hiking in the nude.  The tiny state had been recently inundated by hikers wearing nothing but socks and boots, most of them from the neighboring country of Germany.  Which reminds me, “Do you know how Germans tie their shoes?”:  With little knot-sies!

Yeah, I know pretty bad.  Okay moving on!

Germany, whose national culture encourages public nudity as healthy and freeing had nothing to say about this.  The Appenzeil government, though, said that most residents find the swarms of nude hikers “thoroughly disturbing and irritating.”

My ancestral roots are German, Guben Germany to be exact, and if you do not believe that last statement about it being ugly and all, drop by my house any night of the week around bath time and I will prove it to you.

Macho men, such as those who read this tripe and myself, are slowly being replaced anyway, we are a dying breed.  Take for instance the recent reports coming out of Japan that explicitly point to Japanese men as being more and more, classified as sissies.

The new generation of Japanese men are insufficiently macho it seems.  Unlike their fathers, those young men “don’t see women as sexual objects” (what is this world coming to!) instead they are gentle in their relationship with the other sex.  More men these days in Japan are interested in fashion or their own hobbies than falling in love.

Here in the west (America) men might be called metro-sexual.  In Japan, they are called soushokudanshi or “grass eating men.”  The grass eaters will happily graze alongside their female companions. Without any desire to mate.

Personally, being a lover of Asian women, when I see one, the last thing in the world I consider eating is … grass.  And that is a fact, yeah I know, don’t write me any letters.

In all fairness and honesty.  This is a problem, because Japan much like the U.S. is starting to gray out.  If the birthrate declines any further, the economic decline will accelerate, as fewer workers support more and more retiree’s.

So in essence the problem intensifies with this generation of men.  The modern Japanese male may be able to do without women, but Japan will not be able to do without couples and the offspring they produce.

Come on Mi-aggie-Son, go for it!

OOO