Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Have a Thoughtful Christmas

“O grandfather, how old is Christmas ?”
Her eyes were bright and dark blue at once,
A Wonder as well as a wonderer.

How should I answer ?
For the longing for forgiveness was always there
Wasn’t it?
No one gave it worth or voice in the Maelstrom
Of Creation and its early aftermath.
And little was known of forbearance or redemption for Aeons, even.

Not even when the Macabees won righteous Way
Over pagans and repristinated a Temple.
For Vengence ruled all struggle and all men all those years.

And then, the very Essence of Forgiveness came, as a Child
To flesh out the bones that never knew a pardon or an unencumbered Death.

So was that Christmas just two thousand of our “years” ago ?
Or have we celebrated Hope and Love without account ?
And do these years of lying to our best efforts fade
In misplacement to the Winter solstice?

How can I tell her that it limps on Mammon’s fuel ?
She’s waiting. So I say:

“Your Christmas is as young as your delight in giving...Today.
“And it is Timeless as your longing for a love...and peace...and your rebirth...”

Monday, December 01, 2008

Habitual Grateful Hearts

So, along comes the second of Thanksgiving pieces---This one, inspired by real people who live their grateful Hearts.

Live into your eighties and you will discover there is an excess of baggage and garbage slung at the young.

That's why every “Older” generation loses contact with its offspring, in most cases, however temporarily or unnecessarily.

I know I am not the Archimedes, or the Columbus or the Newton in this deal...the first to Discover, that is. But I lay claim to being in a shriveling minority.

What separates the successful enthusiast from the unsuccessful, but doggedly determined One with a good Plan is...


If you think I mean some militant ritual genuflection to Bright or Dark invisible powers, you are wrong.

I sent out an announcement of a Heavenly Celestial Display Sunday night or the Crescent moon and two plants (Venus and Jupiter) in near-collision type "conjunction".

One beautiful Lady out west; Lea Archer, immediately replied as soon as she had run outside from her keyboard to see the delight. Another important friend, Dr. Charles Hjerpe also thanked me. Like me, hr had never seen Jupiter "bare-eyed" before.

I wrote Lea that I very humbly believed the unbidden, joyful free expression of Gratitude, and the delicious personal gift to ones self of a grateful heart “is transcendent, and probably just a hair’s breadth below Immortality itself, in the total scheme or things...”

I pass this on to those of you who still have some children handy you may infect with the idea.

My Red Headed Goddaughter, Betty Taylor is my favorite template for Gratitude and her adult sons and nephews reflect it. Lucky men.

It wont work on those over 10, inoculated with the ME-ness, of acquisition and greed without right reason. Indeed, after age 12, the lack of the habit of gratitude must be repaired by purchase of it with boundless sin and sorrow.

And...you will probably forget this.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gratitude and Thanksgiving

There have been a lot of souls in my life that have had more to do with sculpturing my concept of Gratitude than all the poetry and speechifying that surround Thanksgiving season.

Some, still hanging around, will read this.

One quote that hammered me into a grown-up type person was my mother, Dottee’s admonition : “Be yourself !”

Later, my bride, Betts, whom I met when she was 15 and married when she was 17, famously stated: “Wht is....IS !”

My granddaddy, Victor Allen advised: “Don’t kid yourself...especially about yourself....”

Ruth Blackmon, who dispensed sanity casually pointed out: “Humility is not bootlicking or being a doormat. It is living honestly to your best self knowledge.”

John Tucker told me: “Folks who try to make a big impression usually don’t.”

Jim Williams said: “If you think you know, then you don’t know...But if you KNOW you don’t know...why THEN, you KNOW !”

And Don Lee said: “To remain sane and calm, you almost HAVE to assume—no matter the evidence—that no one means you ill or harm.”

So, this Season, my Gratitude is boundless. By myself, I am nothing. The Master of the Universe---Ribbono Sel Oylem--- sent all these Pilgrims into my life and me into theirs.

I am thankful and grateful that I have really “Got It”.

The Message, that is.

To be Teachable is to be Spiritual. To be Spiritual is to be Teachable.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Michael Crichton R.I.P

Surely, you have heard Michael Crichton finally expired , "battling" as the dumbasses in media say, cancer.

I never thought of him as just a writer, though he was an excellent, polished one.

To me, Crichton was a scientist. He wasn't "just a medical doctor". He worked in the Salk Institute, and did serious research in anthropology, paleontology and immunology. Also that new craze, Climatology.

He was the most eloquent, best prepared de-bunker of the religion of man-made "global warming".

Sure, he was a great director, creator and producer of "film" successes (ER, Jurassic Park, Twister to name just three) but he was a marvelous "Renaaissance Man.

At six feet eight inches, he was somewhat of a "Lurch" despite his handsomeness. He was married five times.

My favorite Crichton story is a true one from his days as a Harvard undergraduate. He believed that a certain professor was sandbagging him with unfair, depressed grades out of some personal pique.

He went to another professor--a close friend and confidante--and unveiled a plan by which he would unmask his tormentor.

Crichton found a "suitable" essay by George Orwell (1984 and Animal Farm author) and copied it on his typewriter and turned it in. This was in about 1964.

The pompous prof gave Crichton a B-minus for the work, adding superfluous critical notes.


In front of a class and some instructors, Crichton confessed his plagiarism...After he had graduated Summa cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

He and his "baby" brother co-authored under the name "Michael Douglas". He also had nom de plumes cribbed from the names of a famous giant and a dwarf.

Just as an after stroke, it should be noted that immediately following his baccalaureate, Michael Crighton was made a "fellow" and was called to lecture in Anthropology at Cambridge University in England.

He wrote the best "How To" book I have ever seen on programming either AppleII or IBM / PC computers.

If you've missed reading him and getting to know his mind, get cracking! NOW !

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lowest, Worst Journalism is at CNN

When I got my first newspaper job, I was told the story of John Peter Zenger, who, long before there was a United States, refused to print lies and refused to twist facts. He was jailed by King George III.

Zenger and his attorney Andrew Hamilton (no kin to Alex) set the standard for freedom of speech and the press. AND they lay foundation for the First amendment in the Bill Of Rights.

As I compose this, just minutes ago, I saw an interview by a person who climed his name was "Griffin" with Governor Sarah Palin.

He asked her what she had to say about a renowned Conservative, writing in National Review (The Flagship of the "Right").

He told her thje writer could not decide whether she was stupid, poorly informed, dishonest and corrupt or...

Here she interrupted him and asked "Who wrote that ?"

"Well, they...uh...they..."

"Who wrote that?" Palin rerpeated. "I would like to talk personally with them."

Griffin said he didn't know, didn;t have the name of the author, but he demanded her reaction... She gave it in a kind, softly voice, dripping with pity: disbelief, some concern "if what you say is true".

But it turns out that Byron York, who SOMETINES writes for NR did not write the quote in NR. He wrote in a post on the internetg, and what he was doin when he used those words was saying that if one believed everything that had been written by reporters for AssPress, the four big left wing dailies, one would be led to believe:"b;ahblahb;ahblahbla..."

So, CNN aired a torturously twisted-backwards quote whose author they could not identify, gave a source that never offered the words in ANY form, and tried to play "GOTCHA" with them.

Now, millions and millions of people have been leaving the old three alphabet networks and clicking their remotes to cable. You can get the figures at DRUDGE or the NIELSEN site.

And they get, not just garbage, but manipulated, deliberate Lies.

Is this a preview of the "Fairnedd Doctrine" that RTeagan ridded us of ??

As Sam Goldwyn famously said:

"You should just include ME OUT..."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bureaucrats....The Plague Quickens

Gilbert Keith Chesterton on bureaucrats:

"They fight by shuffling papers.

"Have bright, dead, alien eyes.

"They look at our labor and laughter

"As a Tired Man looks at flies..."

A nice creative articulate lady named Jessica Hughes was minding her own business this week when her cell phone interrupted her thoughts.

"Hello", said the bright voice of a young lady, Are you a supporter of Barack Obama?"

"No," Jessica said. Silence.

"Well, why not ?" the voice sounded different to Jessica. So, she replied, "Because he voted four times in his political career to let many infants die unnecessarily..."

"Well," the voice said, "I am a volunteer for Obama in Texarkana and we..."

"Pardon me," Jessica interrupted, "You should find something better to do with your time !"

And, she hung up her cell phone.

Then, Jessica was visited by two Secret Service agents who told her they were investigating a "death threat" she had made against Barrack Obama. They said the Texaekana volunteer told them Jessica said that "your candidate will end up dead on a hospital floor."

"That is not true, Jessica told them. She enlisted her husband as witness, and asked who made the coimplaint.

(This was all taking place on the Hughes front porch.

The agents ignored her question began to ask about her "thought patterns" and her "feelings".

She clammed up. She asked for their badge numbers. They refused. Jessica asked for cards. The female agent said: "You gettin' no card."

The male agent gave her his card and said: "If there is a problem, you can contact Houston."

She says she also will contact Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and probably the Center for Law and Justice and Judicial Watch.

Later, on a conservative thread, several postings wondered about the politics of the Secret Service agents. Were they "leftists"? What was the agenda when they attempoted to police Jessuca Hughes' thought-and-feeling processes ?

I can solve that one. Just as the Great G.K.Chesterton did.

They're not "left" or "right"...They're bureaucrats.

Like the men who dressed in plain clothes and crushed Jew skulls and gutted others on Kristallnact in Germany, and who directed millions into the gas chambers and ovens of the camps. Nothing personal. Just policy.

Bureaucrats' only weapon is...intimidation. They curdle and melt like a salted slug without it.

But tyrants have built many empires with bureaucrats as "point men".

Stick around....Stay tuned. America at the tipping point. Some show !!!


(Jessica Hughes' Blog is: http://ywc.blogtownhall.com/)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Criminal Threats and Edits

It's just too delicious not to bite into again.

Although The Chosen One served on TWO boards of TWO community and school orgaizing and reform groups with bomb-thrower Bill Ayers in Chicago, the NYTimes and the AssPress call the relationship "tenuous".

Although Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn hosted political fundraising inttroductions for Barry OPbama in their home, Obambi says anti-American Ayers "was just a guy in thje 'hood.."

We are waiting with bated breath to hear the explanations of his sponsorship at Colimbia, and elsewhere in the world by the America-hating, jew-baiter Professor Khaled..or Khalid..or whatever.

Although the revered Washinton Post called the disgraced Franklin Raines an Obama advisor, he claims not, now. Raines helped drive Fammie Mae mortgage giant into BailoutsVille, and was fined millions for "accounting errors" and escaped prosecution.

The volume is being turned up on these "incidentals" as we post.

Leading crier..."Point-Zamboni" if you will...in trumpeting these morsels, which have been hitherto ricocheting around the blogosphere, is Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican veep nominee.

She will again be accused of being "shrill" and "strident" and "reckless".

Will she be threatened with criminal prosecution like the anti-Obama citizens of Missouri? Or the non-camopaign groups pursued by frothy-mouthed lawyers for daring to produce truth-based videos about the Democrat candidate's past?

Stay tuned here and to Druge and Real Clear. They are fearless.

Meanwhile, do you reckon the American people realize the difference between the Palin of the "Melting Biden" debate and the recorded-on-tape "pincushion Palin" of the Gibson and Couric appearances was....was....lost on the cutting room floor?

In other words, poisonous editing ???!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Validation & Vindication

Last year--in July of 2007--we republished here a story from the UK that established clinically the FACT that at least one in seven schizophrenic onsets were TRACEABLE to use of marijuana (cannabis sativa). Now, from researchers comes further damning evidence. The Japanese have known this for many years. Dr. Gabriel Nahas died before convincing the right people in the USA. I have known it since 1982. Every time another clinician gets it RIGHT, it will be noted here.


Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:04pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Researchers from Spain have found a strong and independent link between cannabis use and the onset of psychosis at a younger age. The association, they say, cannot be explained by chance, and is not related to gender or the use of other drugs. It is, however, related to the amount of cannabis used.

"The clinical importance of this finding is potentially high," Dr. Ana Gonzalez-Pinto from Santiago Apostol Hospital in Vitoria, and colleagues write in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, given that cannabis use is extremely prevalent among young people."

The researchers also report that "estimates of the attributable risk suggest that the use of cannabis accounts for about 10 percent of cases of psychosis."

The findings are based on 131 patients ages 15 to 65 years who needed inpatient care for a first psychotic episode during a 2-year period. The subjects were evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders, and clinical and demographic data were also collected.

The results showed a significant gradual reduction in the age at which psychosis began that correlated with an increased dependence on cannabis. Compared with nonusers, age at onset was reduced by 7, 8.5, and 12 years among users, abusers and dependents, respectively, the researchers report.

In further analysis, the effect of cannabis on age at onset "was not explained by the use of other drugs or by gender," they also note. The finding was similar in the youngest patients, suggesting that this effect was not due to chance.

These results "point to cannabis as a dangerous drug in young people at risk of developing psychosis," Gonzalez-Pinto and colleagues conclude.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, August 2008.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Feynman's Admonition ! Media, Heed !

There are some really great men whose lives and words affect us all forever and inform our existence in ways we never know and most of us pass on before we ever know their names.

One such man, whose name I came to revere was Richard Feynman who won the Nobel prize for Physics, worked on the Manhattan project (A-Bomb) but who most famously translated the abstruse and chaotic world of Quantum Mechanics and particle physics into plain language “suitable for college freshmen” as he was wont to say.

Despite being a celebrated “popularizer” of difficult subjects, he was a joyful fellow, a prankster, an accomplished percussionist, picker of locks and a monogamist who lost his bride to wasting illness while he was at Los Alamos.

From a marginally observant Jewish family in Far Rockaway, Queens, Feynman wanted to go to Columbia University, but that August successor to Alexander Hamilton’s King’s College had a restricted l “quota” for Jews in the late 1930's and early 40's, so he went to a struggling Massachusetts Institute of Technology and helped make that fine place famous.

At one time, Albert Einstein, who bad great affection for him, begged him to come back to Princeton, where he got his PhD in physics—to lecture at the Institute for Advanced Studies. He was ending a five year gig at Cornell at the time.

But he almost froze one night in Ithaca, NY trying to put sleet chains on his auto, and he promised the Heavens he would never be cold again. So, he took a position in Pasadena, at Cal Tech. There he dueled with his friend Murray Gell Mann. Murray once said Richard Feynman was “half genius and half buffoon”, but by the time they BOTH had brought many honors to CALTECH, Gell Mann revised: “I was wrong...Dick is 100% genius and 100% buffoon...”

Feynman’s videotapes, and editions of The Feynman Lectures have sold three million copies in English, one million copies in Russian and nearly 750 thousand in other languages. Nanotechnology and the discovery of the sixth Quark are due to Feynman’s thought and equations. And, much more.

All this is prelude to my offering you a quote from his last commencement address at Pasadena to all the young scientists:

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that."

Darned B I G order...

I suggest all Journalism schoools adopt this admonition for graduating “media” professionals from this day on.

Not an unreasonable standard for THEM, either, is it ?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mercy Now

In delirium, seeing and hearing things that were not there,
I screamed, It isn’t Fair !

A broken neck, the shattered vertebra collapsed,
Led to paralysis. I whined : not ME!!

And Anger and resentment followed me when I lost sight
For just a flicker of a cry
For Justice !

Ah, yes. When I was green, with no experience in Life,
I sought an equilibrium,
With rosy dawns to even out my dark tornadic fear.

That’s IT! Why it could come out even !
“It isn’t Fair, where’s Justice?” was my wail.

But all those times were my agnostic days...
I opt for Mercy now...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Closed System = Closed Minds


Things occasionally DO come together, and coalesce into a rational whole. Sometines the result is unsettling.

This week there was a query in which the writer was making painful efforts—a;; in vain—to draw some sort of parallel between the “religions” of Islam and Christianity.

His effort lays bare the reason why that particular exercise in Diversity Construction will be fruitless.

Islam is a System, NOT just a religion like Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism or Baha’i. And, it is a CLOSED Sstem.

Muslims all are part of an intricate, complicated structure of laws, educational strictures, rituals, traditional family rules and practices, and...yes, beliefs and a Faith, of course. And, within the system, there are internecine wars of murderous intensity over which sect of Islam descends from the True Caliph–which sect Allah smiles upon to inherit the palpable pre-Paradise World.

That was with, also is systemic and systematic.

And, then, there is AQIYYAH—the doctrine beloved of the Shi’ia and coveted by many Sunni, which allows any but the infidel non-Muslim to lie, misrepresent, swear falsely and perjure one’s self
with impunity in Allah’s name, for the good of Islam.

That is the way I understand it. All this becomes obvious and underscored as Muslim taxi drivers in St. Paul refuse to haul people with alcohol breaths. when girls absent themselves from school when they are denied head scarves, when more and more, Sharia law sneaks into small town city council meetings amid heated debate.

It becomes more and more difficult to see this whole system as simply a religion, does it not?

As I was answering my correspondent in this vein, a bulletin from Gaithersburg, Maryland caught my attention. A high council of construction engineers, metallurgists, disaster specialists and academics presented the DEFINITIVE explanation for the implosion and destruction of WTC-Seven on September 11, 2001.You can see the report here: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/4278874.html

You may not have noticed, but a strident, moiling group calling themselves “”“truthers””” have long advanced a conspiracy theory that this particular building, which housed some U.S. Government offices, was the site of an immense detonation of explosives that brought down the WTC.

Ms. Rosie O’ Donnell, allying herself with their cause without proffering any credentials from Carnegie Tech or Cornell, affirmed:

“Everybody knows fire won’t melt steel....” Or something to that effect. I may have the video somewhere...

Well, all the specifications are there, including temperatures, frangible exponents...all of it, including draftsmen’s art and animation as well as video. It’s available online. Just Google WTC-7 Explained.

But here is the point. Any and Every conspiracy theory is an impregnable system, as intricate as the mighty, 1300-year old system of Islam.

And every healing balm, every painstaking attempt to take the pain and death dealers out of the mix is doomed to fail.

Systems without ventilation, renewal and repristination are all durable unto themselves only.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Big Hell-Low

You would think, wouldn’t you, that those inscrutable, immutable Control Freaks, the Chinese communists and their Red Army could impose law and order and successfully ordain that all American tourists would be returned to the bosoms of their terrorized Detroits, Miamis, D.C.’s and New Orleanses unscathed by Oriental hands.

But, one lone crazed 47 year old man stabbed three admirers of the 800 year old Drum Tower outside Beijing Saturday, 8-9-08, killing one. Teo others, one American and a Chinese guide were slashed.

Then the attacker leaped off the tower, 130 feet to his death.

And thereby casting a fecal stink over what Matt Drudge called “the Greatest Olympics Opening Ceremony in History...”

So, what I am getting at...asking, in fact, is:

Is there ANY security, available ? Any personal safety ? Anywhere ?!

One of my Gurus in the 1980's--- a psychologist named Sheldon Kopp-- rather famously put it this way:

“This is it. You cannot ‘hide’. Besides, there is nowhere to go. When you get ‘there’, you will still have ‘You’ and another ‘Here !’. And, anyway, safety, security and progress are all Chimeras—-mirages...”

There is a great deal of evidence to support this theme. Yea, even in the Old Testament, and the New Testament. All of History, of course.

Maybe we’ve been indoctrinated in a lottery-anchored materialism that leads us to believe in “luck” and possible physical Forever-ness.

But, as it has been written since Moses, Lot, Job, James, Peter and John, there is no Earthly Physical defense against Human Evil.

Not even by Mister Wu and the Chinese Red Army.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It Ain' Necessarily So...

A lovely, gentle and thoughtful email from a favorite correspondent nudged my memory toward one of the most brilliant insights a tutor ever entrusted me with, and it is so fragile that I hesitate to limn it now, for fear I may bruise it.

Viewed alongside the matrix of “Political Correctness” or the collateral fear of “Offending Others”, my guru’s dictum is startlingly instructive.

He said:

“Others cannot, REALLY ‘hurt your feelings’. Only YOU can hurt your OWN feelings by the way you consume and use--what you tell yourself ABOUT --- what they say or do.”

This is of course a more firm and basic locution than the singsong “Sticks and Stones may break your bones” jingle, which no one ever really internalizes.

To liberate psyches, I used to–in my other life as Therapist–tell Pilgrims “If Joe or Sally calls you a paper clip, does that make you a paper clip ?” Or, I’d press on with: “Does anyone’s opinion trump a fact you have bought with your own pain?”

For there ARE a great many FlimFlam artists around who will always get some poor brain weary fellow’s fat wallet by saying: “I am your BETTER! Are you going to believe ME?..Or your lying eyes ?!!”

So it is with political correctness and offending. If a man or a woman or even a youngster in school, does not perform assigned tasks efficiently and / or profitably, then we cheat them when we do not correct them, restart them or...*gasp*..replace them after repetition of failure.

The corrected person knows, at some level, whether a judgement by another is a canard or an opportunity to learn.

Well, if one cannot learn at all, that is another galactic sphere of reality, after all.

But the point of it all, is that the way a person “factors” the words one hears, the deeds one does and sees, is subjective, personal and sculpturing of personality.

If you tell me a behavior is “creepy” I WILL react to what you say. But I am not required to go into a depression or self destruct or hate you. I am required to silhouette your judgement against my own—AND my experience. You could be wrong.

I may not BE a paperclip.

It is very liberating, to the same extent that “political correctness” is restrictive, muzzling and basically cowardly. It causes more hatred than it ameliorates.

Just think....All those scornful schoolyard jibes, teachers’ hurtful stereotypes, kinfolks' put-downs and the wild gossip that your “clique” and those “others” spewed...all of it was so shattering and tumultuous. But mostly garbage.

That email said we should completely forgive those who have hurt our feelings.

I suggest we forgive OURSELVES for what we said and did to ourselves about what THEY said and did !

That’ll teach us !

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Thousand Phantom Summers

Here it is July the Fourth and Summer almost half gone and I haven’t caught my first frog !

After 83 summers, (79 of which I cam remember something about) and because I can remember so many things about so many summers, it seems like I’ve lived a thousand.

And like all older people I am going to say it—and say it in a new way: “We just don’t MAKE summers like we used to make ‘em !”

Because, we DO make them. God PROVIDES them, but we fashion their flavor by the way we run out and away through the dew and return in the dust, searching for shade, a breeze, a spring of natural water.

The first summer I can remember well was in New Jersey on the tar and pebble roof of an apartment house, and walking to Caruso’s pasta restaurant several blocks away...AND going to Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus in Manhattan at Madison Square Garden...AND getting a neat little sour-smelling whip that I used to terrorize another boy in the apartment building.

I’m sure the NEXT summer was the first one I remember in Georgia, the aroma of gardenias in bloom under the window of the room where my most favorite person on earth, my Mur-Mur grandmother, lay dying.

They wouldn’t let me go to the funeral, and my young Uncle Royce made me a sprinkler truck from a grapefruit juice can. I can SEE myself in that backyard drive, forlornly watching them hide Mur-Mur in the hearse and go away. I can smell my sun hot sandals, feel the tears.

Next, the summer of fishing for the first time from the red clay bank of a pond that smelled like nothing I had ever smelled before...last year’s leaves, damp moss, scummy green water and “Turtle” Briard, who gave me Kipling’s Just So Stories, trying to help me get a wriggling catfish off my hook, and both of us getting finned, and he made my puncture bleed more and his puncture swelled up badly and mine didn’t. I can smell it all, close and funky, now.

The first summer I had to wait for, imprisoned in Miss Daisy Shadburn’s classroom, was so delicious that all I remember is that it actually ARRIVED. Miss Daisy, who also taught my three sons in first grade, said she could not keep me quiet. This accounts for the fact my handwriting has always been poor, despite the fact Miss Johnson spanked me quiet the next year.

That post-first-grade summer, James Tapp, Martin Lawler and the Puckett boys and I discovered the Tarzan Woods behind my grandfather’s house—--some hardwoods canopied by Kudzu vine so that very little sunlight got in.

We invaded a small branch running through the jungle and captured what we called “spring lizards” until we were in our 30s and using them for troutbait. They were several species of salamanders and newts, some with spidery “ears” that hypnotized us.

We invented a game we had no name for that involved taking prisoners and four or five years later, as Boy Scouts, I remember we thought “Capture the Flag” was too restricted by rules...almost sissy.

In May, corralled in that old dusty red brick school house and rock infested game area where we played dodge-ball in the elementary grades, you could smell June coming through the windows in the breezy midafternoons.

Marbles were just interim and schoolyard competition, because the woods, willow-cushioned creeks and small ponds beckoned.

As did baseball by the time we were in the fourth grade. We never saw a softball until I was 16 or more. There was a semipro team in our town, and the great prize was a big league bat splintered at the handle. We all know how to cut a wedge, glue and screw the splint back, tape it with friction tape and wear them out.

All Louisville Sluggers, they had strange big leaguers’ names like Pepper Martin, Jim Bottomley, Joe Cronin, Paul Waner and, mirable ! George Herman (Babe) Ruth. This was in the middle of the depression, 1935 when I was ten.

I remember an uncle sold bats made in Athens, Georgia, called “Bat-Rite” and one of the semipro players, Red McSwain, shattered as many as my uncle would give him. They had no “hard’ face.

I don’t think the Athens people understood about “curing” ash and large willow.

The smells are haunting. I remember them, but only experience the nostalgic jolt when I an in the North Georgia and North Carolina mountains, looking for Lady’s Slippers in the coves, marveling at the huge tulip popla r trees, or stumbling along the stony banks of Fodders Creek or the Soque, or the head of the Nantahala in the Whitebark Bottoms, under Chunky Gal’s shadow.

Then, and there, I can sense the presence of lacewings, dragonflies and waterbugs crazily etching the still slack pools...though I can no longer see them. The smell of mountain water changes, markedly, from the swift current’s rush to the still, almost stagnant pools ringed with multicolored moss. The smell also changes from April to late June and July, and again, in Autumn, when the trout spawn.

First frost on the Tallulah or upper Chattahoochee is a distinct, unforgettable aroma. Undescribable and not explicable, even for this connoisseur and sometimes wordsmith.

Smells are what shatter the summers into thousands, I believe.

The odor of the plastic-cloth first baseman’s mitt I bought at Sam Singer’s dime store with money I earned digging “Wriggler” earthworms near our swimming hole on Tarzan Branch and collecing spring lizards that the older Puckett men used for bait.

I preferred the mitt to a nice leather glove, and I was exactly 51 years old and doing some soul excavation before I realized I loved that ten-cent-store mitt more because it was MINE, and that it was the first thing that was not a boon of my family’s fawning generosity. That cheap mitt probably saved me from a shroud of privileged “Liberal” soul-death. The point is, it smelled horrible when it got hot in the sun.

Later, with a professional level glove from A.G. Spalding’s in Atlanta, I learned to lose my dreams in the aroma of neat’s foot oil and genuine calfskin along with the mythical horsehide essence of the new baseball.

And, though my extended family owned the semipro baseball team, the only new baseball I ever owned in my life, I got one memorable summer for selling Saturday Evening Post magazines. On Saturday.

The magazine man’s name was Ed Winship, and he had a 1934 Ford Coupe. I can see (and smell) that baseball now, in a box lying in the back space, behind the seats. Unlike the standard “big-league” baseballs used by the semipro team, Reach, Rawlings or Spalding, with stylized red stitching–-this Saturday Evening Post ball had blue-green and red-orange stitching.

I thought that was really neat and distinctive and I busted my chops, legs, and back selling magazines, got the ball, and never wavered in my dedication to it when the stitching colors faded in the first foggy dew, the cover split when Franais Lawler orbited it onto Wynelle Shadburn;’s porch, or when it went lopsided like an ancient Irish potato.

I just taped it up and remained staunchly loyal to it. I couldn’t SMELL it any more through the friction tape, but I loved it because I earned it.

I like to believe I earned all the smells and textures of all my summers. They will always be more than phantom to me.

Friday, June 13, 2008

No Accidental Successes

An erstwhile Texas drinking buddy who once helped me pack a sedan with 18 cases of Coors to take home to Jekyll Island from Denton, north of Fort Worth, sent me an internet puzzle last week.

He is obviosly still sipping Coors. Either that or he forgot I am blind. The puzzle involved maneuvering similar to Chinese Checkers, of which my late, Beloved Princess Betts was the undisputed intergalactic champion.

When I reminded my sons of this, they turned to the task of defeating the puzzle in less than two minutes, which was supposed to be the “second grade test” for Asian children.

Well, hell yes. They learn the matbles-jumping game before they can walk, I thought.

It took us all day to do it in four minutes. Actually, that is not fair. One of us obsessively cleared it up in less tan Five minutes the first time. That was NOT me.

During all this nostalgic replication of hours, days, years of defeat at the feet of our Number One Lady, one of the fine men confessed:

“I know solving it wasjust a great accident...”

And I pounced on him. When I shared my “pounce” with the Golf Editor of ESPN.com, Jason Sobel, he said:

“Bill ! You save and use that good prose. You tryin to make me jobless ?”

So, I pass it on to readers of the blog. Might be worth saving:

"In the well-intentioned or Spiritually fueled life, there are no coincidences and no accidental successes.

"That is why Golf at its best is so Spiritually pure. A hole-in-one or a double eagle is exactly what one most desires, and is attempting to accomplish, and sometimes deserves !"..

In the Midwest, a very close friend complained that if she had a perfectly tuned, equipped auto, made no errors and was crashed into by an idiot THAT would be no “successful” accident.

But that is a purely pessimistic, plan-plus-doom approach.

What I have in mind is the fruit of concerted effort, like tying on an Adams bi-visible, casting it past riffles until your arms are leaden and retrieving s20-inch, four pound rainbow from a pool that had heretofore produced only a pounder in the odd year.

Or walking into a fraternity house sock hop and meeting the girl you’ll spend 57 years with, after she tries to teach you Chinese Checkers.

There just ARE no “accidental” successes.....


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Heroic ? Or..Criminal ?

I am not convinced that the majority of even those franchised to elect governments in the West are well informed enough to save the civilization they now enjoy.

Thus, it is true that we get the governance we “deserve”, huh?

Now, WAIT a minute...in case you think I am dealing in an elitism I abhor, I have a particular dilemma in mind.

There are three outworn polemical artifices that come to mind:

(1). Free speech does NOT extend to the person crying “FIRE!” in a crowded theater.

(2). Chicken Little was an unwitting idiot for warning the barnyard the “Sky is Falling” when a flax seed struck her comb.

(3). The venal shopkeeper who amplified and puffed up the dangerous invasion of snakes, rats, wolves, panthers...whatever...to increase his sales of traps, weapons, ammunition and boots.

The latter is venal...corrupt...criminal, actually.

But are we equipped to tell the difference in our empirical (dare I use the word “environmental”)
situation, as regards which of the three listed mechanisms are at work on our “will-to-action” these days?

I sincerely doubt it.

We are pummeled and pelted with exhortations to:

“Tax every fart and exhalation of CO2 gas !

“Drill offshore and in Anwar Now!”

“Punish people who eat beef as we do smokers”

“Cripple the Big Carbon Footprint Makers”

“Boycott Gasoline manufacturers”

And on and on...

But where is the thoughtful, objective, humane compass? All the hot button shrieking transfers money or power from the productive, wealth generators to an arid bureaucratic Gobi-Sahara.

( Right here, I can hear the echo of a 21st century “skool poison” asking “WTH is a Gobi-Sahara???” and I die a little.)

And, THAT is the point.

The people who will make the ballot choices that will limit and expand governance just are not equipped with historical information or empirical wisdom to make those choices in their own best self interest—or the best interests of civilization.

The soft fascism of the gangsta media and the Marxist political educators has delivered an erstwhile free people into the dungeons of the Thieving Shopkeeper, Chicken Little, and the Manic Fire-Screamer in the Theater.

Vigilance is always Heroic. But venal fearmongering is criminal.

Is it too late?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Kinda Hypothetical

Lets’s say my grandson reports he is accosted at school by an older fellow who tries to sell him hard drugs, threatens him, extorts money from him and then destroys his textbooks and other possessions.

Now, with my stellar academic background, I am involved in a political campaign as principal candidate for school superintendent.

Will it be unwise for me to “stick up” for my grandson, encourage his parents to take their complaint to the school’s bureaucracy ? Or, failing to receive proper hearing or favorable action from that bureaucracy, to take civil legal action against the school, and lodge criminal complaint against the bully with juvenile authorities ?

Should I just decide to withhold my emotional support, shirk family involvement and counsel that we should “talk” to the miscreant ? Without pre-conditions, you understand. Should I opt for a “dialogue” instead of firm response?

And, whose good and great admiration and trust am I seeking here ? Whose best self interest should I serve ?

Would it be “pandering”, or “weasel-wise” to put aside confrontation in favor of...maybe, just MAYBE...salvaging the beginning of a Thuggish career ?

I am lost in these hypothetical moral and ethical complexities when I hear and read the news these days...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ode To B.O. & Hill (Hat Tip: Eugene Field)

The Duel

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
‘Twas half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’other had slept a wink!

The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.

(I wasn’t there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!
And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!

(Now mind; I’m only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! What shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! How the gingham and calico flew!

(Don’t fancy I exaggerate—
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat,
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this:


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dozin in a Tornado Watch

It was while dozing in the embrace of thunder rumblings, unaware of a tornado watch imposed by the weather gurus, that I remembered forty or more April Fools' Days that marked the first day of trout season in the mountains.
Now...if you do not believe it is possible to doze through a tornado watch, listen to these points:

(a) My mother took me to a big window in the middle of an electrical storm when I was about six and intoned: "No use to be scared of thunder, because if you can hear the thunder, the lightning that comes with it has already struck somebody or somewhere else...." Then she showed me how to count Chattahoochees to see how far away the lightning was.

(b) I am mostly deaf...
Back to April Fools day trout-seeking, Of the forty or more opening days, only about 16 were truly fruitful where the creel weight was concerned. Half of them were rainy and somewhat windy (from the East--falling pressure). And, I never did well in a trout stream in the rain. Plethora of natural food coming downstream, you know.

But I HAD to go. The Brits have their August 12 for grouse. I had April Fools' Day for rainbow and brook trout.

My beautiful Betts, pf the snagged waders and prize rainbow in the Nantahala went with me on the first (and her ONLY) April 1 after we wed and her pronunciamento was "They picked the right day for you trout nuts !"

One misty day, I invited an old Indian dog trainer, Bert Black, originally from Big Cabin, Oklahoma, to go with me.

(They ain't no rainbow in Oklahoma" I thought.)

Well, when we got to the river, Bert took an old mildewed fly-purse with moth-eaten shearling lining out of his jacket. It had four warped black dry flies in it. No assortment..just the tawdry, inky curiosities.

"Oh, heck Bert," I said. "Lemme give you some of my worms...a couple of my spring lizards...."

He laughed, shook his head, ties on the sorry looking thing and we split up. He even went downstream.

Three hours later, we met at the car. I had one diet sized specimen. Bert had five rainbows, from 10 to 14 inches. Natives, colored like their appellation.

I stood there in the misty morning...educated again.
And I never found out how he did it. There isn't any larvae "stickbait" available in early April, is there? I didn't see any grasshoppers or crickets around for him to "tip" with.

It was just another April Fools' Day in the Appalachians.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Remember, Awaken & Repent

I can’t READ books. My eyes make it necessary for me to LISTEN to books, and this usually is a great gift that keeps on giving—for me, anyway.

Because I really believe I miss less. It is very difficult to go back on a cassette or CD and “bookmark” a paragraph or page or phrase. This means conscious concentration, similar to effort years ago at Emory (the last two years, anyway). And, at UNF in 1980.

This week I ran across something that completely changed my mind. Up until I “read” this material in a mostly historical tome, I was temperamentally concerned about Senator John McCain. I have been known to refer to him as "a nutty old coot who doesn’t know who or what he is angry about--who does not care about free speech or secure national borders."

Being an old coot myself and seen as nutty on occasion by my grandchildren and great grandchildren (when I am prankish) I can cut the Naval Person a teeny bit of slack when I am pointedly reminded of his basic, tough, implacable love for our Nation.

Some of you may need to be reminded that when Ronald Reagan proposed that American scientists could fashion a "shield" against H-Bomb missiles and shoot them down as they were launched, a boozy Senator Teddy Kennedy scornfully derided the idea as "Star Wars" fiction.

The Strategic Defense Initiative is no longer called "Star Wars" by the extinct dinosaur media. It is now universally referred to as The Missile Shield.

Because it works. It’s "radar eyes" will be installed in Poland and the Czech Republic, and Russia’s Putin and his lapdog Medvedev are hissy mad. (Parenthetically, why should they be, if they mean no ill?)

The point of this screed is to recollect how that when Reagan made the daring suggestion, Kennedy and some fellow left liberal senators called for a hearing.

And, mirable dictu, who did they gather up as witness major against what they called "Star Wars"?

Carl Sagan. You will remember him as the fellow who was wont to stand in front of "the sky at night" and drivel on and on about the "bill-yuns and bill-yuns" of stars bigger than our sun. He allegedly taught atheism in his college classes, too.

Well, in this hearing, John McCain dismembered him. He forcefully took Sagan into realms of scientific mechanics and warfare and disassembled his mind, exposing him as a pretentious, clueless blowhard. Further, his questioning of the prophet Richard Perle (the great American whose "baby" the SDI Shield was) was intelligent and effective.

Since the SDI Shield research and development broke the back of the Communist Soviets, freed Eastern Europe (with help from Pope John-Paul II) we should all be forever grateful to Senator McCain.

So I, for one, am. I admit my childish error in attitude, and salute hum.

But I STILL wonder, now that he is a viable candidate for president, does he really believe it should be illegal for ANYONE (or some SPECIAL ONE) to donate money to a political cause of his choice ? As in McCain-Feingold, I mean ?

But that’s another story.....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spawn of Hypocrisy

A really nice man in Texas recently sent me an "apologia" by one Rev. Jim Wallis for the excesses of Barrack Obama's pastor and mentor, the excremental Jeremia Wright. This was my answer:

Dear Friend P___,

I certainly agree with the main thrust of this.

Any seeker of the presidency should have his beliefs and advocacies examined without any reference to pigmentation.

Obama, who seems perfectly content with branding his grandmother a racist and equating her, morally, with his detestable, excremental "Spiritual Mentor"--- just because she feared an aggressive panhandler---was, through his youth a follower of a notorious communist / Marxist (Frank Marshall Davis) apparatchik. He followed the same path at his Ivy League schools. His Chicago mentors and backers, in addition to the sleazy Reszko, include Bernadine Dohrn, a self styled Marxist revolutionary dedicated to overthrowing the U.S. governmenty by force or violence, and her lover, Bill Ayers.

Dohrn and Ayers were unrepentant terrorist bombers in the Weather Undergound.

I think we should take a searching look at ALL this...Regardless of "race".

When this man was elected to the Senate, I heralded him as "one Hope of the future" in published piece.

I FAITHFULLY and consistently debunked the falsehoods on the internet about Obama's middle name, and his alleged "Islamic" indoctrination.

But turning from family atheistic confusion to Jeremiah Wright--and 20 years of affinity, yea, adulation of such an evil-intentioned bullshooter---shows poor judgment coupled with mendacious South Side Cook County aggressive political ambition.

Folks, nowadays, see what they want to see in the pols.

My physical eyesight is impaired. But my Soul's tenor will never vibrate sympathetically to hypocrisy.

And, as La Rochefoucauld said: "Hypocrisy is the compliment VICE pays to VIRTUE.."

All doctrinaire Marxists are, in my eyes, demonstrably, spawn of Hypocrisy.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Equinox Compass

(Every Palm Sunday, we try to pen a line or two for our most favorite and most solemn Holy Days. Here's the 2008 offering)

How measure a memory, indeed?
From fevered embrace to aghast goodbye?

Jews say religion’s march began with Abraham,
Sparing the life of a son...and then amend it in a way
To include Sinai and Moses with The Law.

The Christians count beginnings with a star-bathed birth
And rebirth saluted after brutish
God-slaying and the fall of an Empire.

Six centuries later, in a cave, the Prophet heard a voice
And built some more grim beliefs on Gabriel’s words.

But far before these things, the Persians worshiped fire
And Bedouins knelt to whirlwinds and large stones. Some still do.

But hear! I tell you now that only once in all this wild
Bewildered contrapuntal cacophony was there relief: one word.,

Forgiveness, introduced from bloody lips ,
Golgotha-rooted, on the Tree of crucifixion
Between the Thieves.

Until He said “They Know Not.....”
The concept was not Known, Done...or Recommended..

Where are we now?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Buds WILL Come....

Forty-eight years ago, in a March after the groundhogs did NOT see their shadows, and we were promised an early Spring, I caught a Greyhound in Memphis and rode all the way East to Murphy, N.C. in a sleety blizzard.

A magazine assignment in Hernando, MS was aborted and we joined a rowdy group outside Graceland to welcome our Elvis home from Germany in a snowstorm. All flights were grounded....Thus, the bus.

Deep in the night...or wee morning hours...I staggered from the bus and found a dilapidated taxi to take me 23 miles to my mountaintop home.

When we got to the foot of the mountain, my new friend refused to try the ascent. I paid him double and shared brandy with him before I stashed my luggage at a fish camp shed.. He broke into a fish camp unit, eschewing a blizzardy blind return to Murphy.

I’ll never forget that mountain climb in the 16 inch snowpack. I actually recalled some of Admiral Richard Byrd’s “ALONE” That had so enthralled me in 1935.

When I got to the house, my mother in law, Lucy thought I was a home invader-cum-ghost. My three sons, delirious and my beautiful Betts very warm and grateful for my early return.

“We sledded to Kimsey’s store yesterday”, ( three quarters of a mile away). “All we had room for was some soup, three loaves of bread and two sacks of dog food....”

There had been no vehicular traffic in days, and we had a kennel full and a house full of pointers, beagles, Brittanies and poodles.

I really despaired of ever seeing Spring, or a rainbow trout or any bird but juncos again.

But, three weeks later, there were tender buds everywhere. Another week and I was hip deep in the river, fly-fishing, taking trout.

So, now, at 83, I pass on one of my favorite quotes from William F. Buckley Jr., who removed to the True World last week:

“So not EVER despair ! Despair is a MORTAL sin !”

Saturday, February 09, 2008

If I Don't Agree, Is It Hate Speech?

Three things just happened for me in a kind of Confluence of Truth.

First, my favorite young writer, Jonah Goldberg, Editor-at-Large for NRO and son of Lucianne, found his new bopk, Liberal Fascism number three on the NYTimes best seller list. And I began a quest for a recorded ccopy or someone to read it to me.

Second, I read where the French fascist, LePen had been convicted of “Hate Speech”, and given a three month prison sentence (suspended) and a 14,000-Euro fine. His “crime” was to write and say in a speech that Nazi occupation of France “was not all THAT bad...”

Third, words of a member of Code Pink,instigators of the Berkeley (CA) City Council’s attempted Bum’s Rush of Marine recruiters from the center of that city. What she said was:

“It is my understanding that my right to free speech means I can say anything I believe without recrimination....”

In other words, she can CRIMINATE. But you and I, and the free press, or other protesters cannot RECRIMINATE, meaning DISAGREE with her.

If we do, in some places (say, like La Belle France or Boston ?) we are guilty of HATE SPEECH.

Of course, all this reminded me of a great column of Jonah’s in which he branded Jacques Chirac’s France “La Fromagerie des problemes du Monde!” Cheese Factory for All the World’s Problems...)

The roots of Fascism are in the refusal of an enraged and bombastic minority to suffer others the right to have any contradictory opinion or the right to advance any contrary evidence. Mussolini began as a “liberal” pamphleteer in Calabria. He morphed to smother opposition, Hitler’s original stance was as left-socialist anticommunist antisemite. NAZI is an abbreviation of National SOCIALIST German Workers’ Party.

I believe everyone has the right to CRIMINATE and you and I have the right--- Providential as well as Constitutional—to RECRIMINATE. That is, to disagree.

It is very sad that the courts of France have begun to erode this right, bought at the price of so much blood in rvolution and re-revolution so dear to the heart of Thomas Jefferson. Will our courts follow suit? Is FASHION so powerful in the 21st century as to trump logic?

It is equally sad, and much more ominous for free Americans, that many pea-brained politicians in this country scurry about in indulgent subversion attempting to isolate a definition for “hate speech”.

This is equal to taking the blindfold off the eyes of Justice, sowing the seeds of lawless autocracy, parent of totalitarian fascist mind-control.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cloud Hovering..Larger Than A World's Future

Prowling the Net after the exciting dethronement of the Bahstin Pahtriahts by the Monsters of New Joisey and Manhattan, I was given a bitter nightcap to take beddybye.

An extensive survey of thousands across Great Britain found that one fourth of the citizens believed Sir Winston Churchill never existed.

Yes..But WAIT !...Even MORE Brits were absolutely convinced that Sherlock Holmes was real, live flesh and blood----and NOT a figment of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fecund imagination and subsequent literary creation.

Now, I have become inured to the fact that many believe the Holocaust slaughter of millions of Jews by Hitler and the Nazis is a “myth”. But that is a political, anti-Semite stance...mostly held by jew-hating Muslin militant extremists.

We have been all dumbed down by the omnipresent Britney Spears stories, and who has not argued with a friend violently in regard to the severity of Lindsey Lohan’s blood alcohol content.

(What IS a Lindsey Lohan, anyway ?)

I am even accustomed to unsmiling former U.S. Senators and club owners issuing judgments on the guilt of dopers in baseball. And then being unable to support their wild assumptions.

We live in a veritable daily thunderstorm of apologies from people whom we never heard of to all manner of other less known people.

It is not unusual to see the great columnists and Bloggers of our day use subjects and predicates that do not agree. The number of misused “awokes” and “awakens” is historically uncountable...matched only by the “lains” and “laids” lying around. The proper use of “laying” is lost to everyone not a farmer or an egg merchant.

Poor grammar is rampant, especially among the more busty and leggy of our TV anchors. But NOT limited to them.

Anyone who graduated from a Giver Mint (Public) school since 1970 is hopelessly ill instructed, and carries no valid information around about History, Geography or what we used to call “Civics”.

I KNEW all that. I have heard high school students argue about Alexander Hamilton’s role in the Civil War. And, a wonderful fellow about 25 years younger than me who worked in a highly paid position in a hospital where I was a consultant, once said about George Washington:

“He was a helluva crook, huh ?!!” He was schooled (not Parochially) in Boston.

So, I am well inoculated against cretins, ignorant or nescient.

But if a quarter of the Brits don’t believe Churchill lived, and DO believe Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson lived and scampered over the moors and the Baskervilles...then what do Americans believe? And NOT believe?

My fancy goes wild. I wager Americans believe that gunpowder won the west. But Booze did. Or that the men in th continental congress were ALL revolutionary patriots...When, actually, General Washington had to send Gen. Nathaniel Greene to root out the thieves.

But I don’t think Texans and Tennesseans disbelieve that Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and Will Travis died in the massacre at the Alamo.

But can ANYONE swallow the TRUTH that 17 Texas boys from Gonzalez, Texas fought their way INTO the Alamo to defend it and die ?

Naw ! That’s too much like Sir Winston Churchill.