Monday, December 26, 2005

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Morn

The sons seem pretty happy this morning. Son2 racked up on the Lego and video game front but son1 could not have imagined what his present from Santa would be this year.

It happened a couple of weeks ago. One of those right place, right time sort of events.

The Bride was doing some last minute shopping at Target, fingering all of the DVD's and PS2 games, trying to come up with some ideas, when she sees a man taking an XBox 360 up to the cash register. We're not so sheltered as to have not been aware of the hoopla over not being able to get these things.

So, she moseys up to the cash register and asks, "You have XBox 360s?"

"Well, we're not advertising them," replied the pimply-faced clerk, "but I have one left. Want it?"

The little Bride began to tremble as she nodded her assent. She later said it was one of those situations where you don't even think about it, you just act. I guess she has spidey sense when it comes to shopping.

So, fast forward to today. Son1, who has been working full time for about six months now, had mentioned that he wanted to buy an XBox 360 with his last paycheck, but "you can't get them."

The expression on his face this morning made it all worthwhile.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Temporary Safety

All I’ve been seeing for the last few weeks, and from some folks I respect and admire, is a rant about how we must renew the Patriot Act. Fingers are pointed, accusations made and the bottom party line seems to be, “if it bugs a bunch of whiny pussies to have their civil liberties violated in order to keep our country safe and free from Islamoterrorists, then so be it.”

Then there’s usually some sort of comparison to liberals wanting to take away our freedoms being the ones to yell loudest.

Shame. Shame on you.

You are the same ones screaming bloody murder about criminals being released from jail on technicalities.

Well folks, those technicalities happen to be our United States Constitution. And any of you idiots, right or left, who think our founding fathers weren’t smart enough to foresee modern times, and that the constitution is outdated and quaint, couldn’t be more wrong.

Those technicalities are what keeps us free. They are what separates us from the rest of the world. They are in fact what makes us the most successful country on the planet.

I kind of like the “technicality” that our government can’t spy on me without clearing it with a judge first. I think it’s fitting that they can’t come into my home on a whim and snoop through my belongings. I’m pretty enamored of the idea that they can’t drag me from my home and keep me in a cell somewhere for years without charging me with a crime.

And, if some bearded idiot with a checkered do-rag commits a crime in this country because I enjoy these freedoms, so be it. When we give up our freedoms to protect ourselves from them, they win.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Benjamin Franklin

Monday, December 12, 2005

Trout Fishing in America

This article on trout fishing in Arkanasas made me remember back going trout fishing on the White River and being warned to get your boat out of the water "cuz they's gonna start generatin' up at the dam."

The river starts to flow pretty hard when they do that and a little trolling motor ain't much help...

link tip via Fly Fish Magazine.

Shoe Flinging Part II

Since my post on flinging shoes across power lines aired last week, inside sources tell me about an oddly local custom of flinging shoes into a tree up in the mountains.

To further complicate things, the tree was downed in a storm and now confused shoe flingers are tossing into any old tree...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Register Your Guns

It happened in Australia, and now it's happening in Canada.

It will happen here. Be prepared.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

School Days

Son2 has a couple of friends across the street he walks to school with. I think they make a pretty swell looking group. Don't you?

Friendly Advice

Here's some things that were pointed out to me that you should keep in mind if you ain't from around here...

Advice for first time visitors to Arkansas:

1. That farm boy standing next to the feed bin did more work before breakfast than you do all week at the gym.

2. It's called a 'gravel road,' No matter how slow you drive, you're going to get dust on your Navigator. I have a four wheel drive because I need it... not just to keep up with the neighbors.

3. We all started hunting and fishing when we were seven years old. Yeah, we shot Bambi. We got over it.

4. Any references to "corn fed" when talking about our women will get your butt whipped by our women.

5. Go ahead and bring your $600 Orvis Fly Rod. Don't cry to us if a flatheadcatfish breaks it off at the handle. We have a name for those little trout you fish for -- bait.

6. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.

7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of mallards are making their final approach, we will shoot it. You might hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

8. That's right. Whiskey is only two bucks. We can buy a fifth for what you pay for one drink at the airport.

9. No, there's no "Vegetarian Special" on the menu. Order steak. Order it rare. Or, you can order the Chef Salad and pick off the two pounds of ham and turkey.

10. You bring Coke into my house, it better be brown, wet, and served over ice!

11. So you have a sixty-thousand dollar car you drive on weekends. We're real impressed. We have quarter of a million dollar combines that we use two weeks a year.

12. Let's get this straight. We have one stoplight in town. We stop when it's red. We may even stop when it's yellow.

13. Our women hunt, fish, and drive pickups, trucks and tractors because they want to. So, you're a feminist. Isn't that cute?

14. Yeah, we eat catfish. Carp too -- and turtle. You really want sushi and caviar? It's available at the bait shop.

15. They are pigs. That's what they smell like. Get over it. Don't like it? Interstates 40 and 30 go East & West; Interstate 55 goes North & South. Pick one and use it accordingly.

16. The "Opener" refers to the first day of deer season. It's a religious holiday. You can get breakfast at the church.

17. So every person in every pickup, waves. It's called being friendly.

18. Yeah, we have golf courses. Don't hit in the water hazard. It spooks the fish.

19. That Highway Patrol Officer who just pulled you over for driving like an idiot .. his name is "Sir"... no matter how old he is.

Now please, enjoy your visit. Just don't overdo your stay.

Shoe Flinging

It’s one of the great mysteries of urban life: Why do people throw sneakers across power lines? At last, we have an answer.

Unfortunately, it’s not a very satisfying one. The New York Times recently interviewed a New York sneaker-thrower, and his explanation was that, well, he had some old sneakers and the power lines were there. If this sounds familiar, it’s the same reason that graffiti vandals give: I have this can of Krylon and the wall is there.

Background: You’ve undoubtedly noticed that, in some urban areas, there are sneakers dangling from power lines, often in the middle of the street. It’s clear that somebody took the trouble to tie sneakers at their laces and toss them over the lines. But why?

Common beliefs: Sneakers mark gang territory or maybe places to buy drugs. But New York police officers say it isn’t so. Drug corners aren’t “the sort of thing that people advertise by leaving a sign,” a police spokesperson told the Times.

So the Times went to the source, a 16-year-old sneaker-thrower named Christopher Campbell, who lives in the Bronx. In Christopher’s neighborhood, there’s an intersection with 40 pairs of sneakers dangling from overhead wires. Why would Christopher and his pals go to such trouble? Simply to tell the world that they were there, he said. “We really don’t care who likes it or not,” he said. “This is something for us.” Someday, Christopher mused, he’d like to come back to his old neighborhood, remember the good times and see his old Reeboks swaying in the breeze.

Footnote: Con Edison, the power company, doesn’t like sneakers on its wires and removes them when it finds them. And neighborhood people, too, find the practice offensive. “I think it’s disgusting,” said one woman who lives near the 40-sneaker wires. Is sneaker-tossing illegal? That’s not clear, but it could be considered a form of criminal mischief, a police official told the Times.

I found this interesting tidbit at Civic Strategies.

Happiness is a Present Condition...

I've always striven to be happy wherever I am. To have fun, whatever I'm doing. And, blissfully ignorant of what others think about me.

These traits will enable you to work for a company like this for many years and not realize how unhappy you really have become.

The guy in the corner over there, the one who has been following my blog since I began it, knows that I escaped such a company a few years ago by being tossed out on my ass. The great thing about that was, I woke up and realized that to be really happy, I needed to be as independent as possible.

I need to be able to work as a greeter at Wal-Mart, and still be okay financially.

I'm working hard at that goal, and am making great progress. And, I'm feeling freer now than I ever did at twenty-one...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A Date That Will Live In Infamy

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

And so we did. A moment of silence, please.

Friday, December 02, 2005

It’s going to be a merry Christmas after all!

Another re-post of a heartwarming Christmas tale...

It was cold and brisk Saturday as I drove up and down the aisles looking for a parking place at the mall. Quite a hike it turned out to be and I nudged my jacket collar up and braced against the wind. The southern sun twinkled off the plastic holly and glass balls affixed to cars as holiday ornaments.

As I walked, I could only think about how cruel this season is. The pressure that comes from having to fight crowds to buy that “perfect gift” and the endless string of parties with people you don’t like. I felt my spine stiffen with resentment, more with each step.

As I neared the mall entrance, between Luby’s and Dillards, I couldn’t help but notice a small, dark-haired boy sitting dejected on the curb. He couldn’t have been more than twelve years old, and as I drew nearer, I could see he was crying.

The feelings of resentment and anger began melting as I started to open the door. It would have been easy to pass him without another thought. It’s not my problem, right?

I hesitated, then turned and walked back to where the lad sat weeping. “What’s wrong,” was all I could manage to get out. He looked up at me with large watery brown eyes. Slowly he stood to face me.

“Our Christmas money,” he whispered almost choking. “My mother works two jobs to take care of us since dad left last year. She doesn’t have time to shop for us for Christmas.”

“She saved all year, and dropped me off here with two hundred dollars and told me to pick out nice presents for my two sisters, my brother and me.”

“As she drove away, two boys from my school saw me. They are the same boys that shove me on the play ground. Sometimes I’m scared to ride the bus home because they have said they would follow me and hurt me. Mom’s never home when I get there after school. She works so much…”

“One of the boys grabbed one of the hundred dollar bills from me and they both ran away laughing. How can I ever explain to my mother that I could only buy half as much for my sisters and brothers?

I could tell that he had already decided to spend what was left only on them, with no thought for himself. “Did nobody try to help you?” I asked.

“No,” he replied, “They all kept walking by.”

“Did you cry for help?” I asked, really having trouble believing that nobody, I mean NOBODY, would stop to help this poor waif.

“Yes,” he said quietly, “like this – help!”

It was barely more than the whisper that he spoke in. “Is that as loud as you can yell?” I asked, beginning to understand why no one came to his aid.

He nodded, and looked down, ashamed.

I cast a furtive glance around the parking lot to see if anyone was watching. They weren’t. I snatched the other hundred dollar bill from his hands and ran as fast as I could to my car. I never looked back to see if he went for help.

A hundred dollars! It’s going to be a merry Christmas after all!

'Tis the Season.

You can say I'm sick, you can accuse me of being a Scrooge, but this here is funny, I don't care who you are... A re-post because it's that time of year again.

Now by and by
the kids may cry,
'Cause there's nothing on Christmas mornin',
But the word just came in, from headquarters men
That Santa had gone over to Bin Laden.