Thursday, October 30, 2008

A High School Memory

Being on the water has long been a coping mechanism for me. When stressed or even when I’ve been humiliated, I seek the solace of water. I think I first realized this when I was a senior in high school. The first photo is of me as a high school senior, dressed in Navy Blues. I can assure you, I haven’t owned (or worn) a double-breasted suit since. The second, which I have shown before, was taken later in the spring of my senior year.



It was late winter and although the sun was beginning to rise higher in the sky, the trees were still a good month before budding out and the air still chilled when I slid my canoe into the waters of Town Creek, a blackwater stream in eastern Brunswick County. After stowing gear, I laid a paddle across the gunnels to steady the boat and crawled in. Kneeling, I push off from the shore and into the current. In the headwaters, there’s enough water flow in the winter that I didn’t have to do much paddling, just navigate through the bends, as the water flowed around cypress trees draped with Spanish moss. The tannic acid from these trees give the water its dark hue. As I rounded a bend, I flushed up a pair of wood ducks. I floated past the few islands of high ground, where tall longleaf pines reached up toward the heavens, their sparse canopies letting in enough sun to take the chill out of the air. I passed swampy bogs, a likely home for a gator in summer. I found myself having to pull over fallen trees. Standing on the frosty logs, a perfect sunning spot for a cottonmouth in the warmer months, I dragged the boat over and hop back in on the other side. I paddled and observed, forgetting what I was missing out on and the events of the past week. It no longer mattered that I was a senior in high school and had no idea what I’d be doing with my life. As a cool breeze blew into the swamps, I forgot about the girl from North Brunswick who had broken my heart and the one from Hoggard whom I’d disappointed. Forgetting my troubles, I was content to let the water draw my problems downstream toward the mighty Cape Fear, where they join with other waters and were eventually flushed out into Atlantic.

Her name was Cheryl, I think, but I am no longer sure. She worked as a cashier at the same grocery store where I worked and lived across the river in Brunswick County. She was a senior at North Brunswick High, which in itself made her a novelty. All the other high school students working at the store attended either Hoggard or New Hanover High. Attractive, with curly blond hair that fell down upon her shoulders, there was something mysterious about her. She never gave any of the guys at the store the time of day nor did she hang out with any of the girls our age. Coming from Brunswick County, across the river, there was a certain stigma attached to her. She smoked, but that was true of many girls in North Carolina in the mid-70s, back when you could buy legally buy cigarettes when you were 15 years old. My high school, like many in the state at that time, even had a smoking courtyard. I was drawn to her hillbilly aloofness and had a friend from her school, another amateur radio operator, check her out. I learned she was dating an older guy, someone well into his 20s. But one day at work, in mid-winter, this all changed. She started joking with me and that evening, after the store closed, we spent several hours necking in the parking lot. I’d never kissed another woman who smoked, with the exception of my grandmother, and I’d never kissed a woman like we kissed that night in her car. At some point that evening, with the car windows steamy, I asked her to the ROTC ball.

I spent three years in the Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps in High School. It was an interesting program which had, by the end of my junior year, completely turned me off on all things military. For much of my junior and senior year, my identity was blurred. My liberal friends on the debate team, riding me for being in ROTC called me “John Birch,” while my friends in ROTC, who assumed anyone on the debate team had to be a communist, started calling me Fidel (at this time I couldn’t have grown a much of a beard). One of the highlights of the ROTC program was the annual ball. This was a fancy gala in an upscale ballroom, an event that made the Senior Prom in the gym feel cheesy. We’d all wear dress uniforms and those of us who were seniors, having been in the program for three years and who were now officers, got to wear swords and act like we were Stonewall Jackson or at least Admiral Farragut (except that he was a Yankee). As I had not been dating anyone, there had been significant pressure on me to ask Sue, a girl in the ROTC program. I liked Sue and was planning on asking her when I asked Cheryl if she wanted to go with me. When word got around that I was bringing someone from another school, I realized her disappointment.

Over the next few weeks, Cheryl and I talked about the ball. Although she seemed excited at first, as the date approached, she began avoiding the subject and when I said something about it, she seemed fidgety. So I wasn’t surprised although crushed, when, the weekend before the ball she told me she wasn’t going to be able to go. Sue already had another date and I was too shy to go out at the last minute and try to find someone else. Instead, I skipped the ball and as I’d already asked for the weekend off, set out early that Saturday morning, my brother helping me shuttle my car, to explore Town Creek. I began in the headwaters, launching the canoe at a low bridge on a gravel road, and floating downstream. As more water flowed into the creek, it became larger and wider. After the confluence of Rice's Creek, down near the river, the hardwood swamps gave way to vast fields of marshy grass where rice once grew. Somewhere along the way, in this ecosystem where waters rise and fall with the tide, where the osprey hunt and the shad run, I realized I would survive. That Monday, back at school, when my friends were all talking about the ball, I told them about my adventures.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"W" A Movie Review (and a look into why I've been so busy)


The photo has nothing to do with the movie, but shows the beginning of what has consumed much of my life for the past couple of years!

I saw “W” this weekend. I’m still not quite sure what morbid curiosity within me caused me to go see this movie in a theater and not wait till it was out on video. After all, it seems a bit early to do a serious work on our lame duck president. In some ways, I was expecting a comedy, but I should have known better as this is an Oliver Stone film. It was serious and although there were some humorous moments, the movie definitely wasn’t a comedy. And some scenes that would have been funny in other movies, like the Animal House scene when “W” (played by Josh Brolin) was pledging to a fraternity at Yale, was more pathetic in this movie as we all knew we were looking at a future president. At best, that scene serves as a morality tale, reminding us that our past will often continue to haunt us.

The movie jumps back and forth, between events of “W’s” Presidency to that of his upbringing and earlier careers. Often these events or vignettes are separated by a dream of “W” being in centerfield in a baseball stadium and running back and catching at the fence a hit that would have been a homerun. The movie shows the tension within “W”, of him being both a privileged kid and a desire to be what I’d call a Texas Redneck. It also shows his battles with his father (played by James Cromwell). W wants to please his old man and to be free of his father’s reign. This battle is best seen in “W’s” desire to best his brother Jed. According to the movie, “W’s” decision to run for governor of Texas and eventually the Presidency comes from his father proudly telling him about Jed’s intention to run for the governor of Florida and how Jed might eventually make a run for President.

Religion also plays an important and complicated role in the movie. His faith is credited with helping W overcome his drinking problem. On a personal level, the movie displays “W’s” faith as genuine. He really believes God has called him to his role as President. Even his prayers at the White House are humbly depicted. However, there is a shady side of his faith, as seen in “W” becoming an advisor to his father in his 1998 campaign, helping his Dad win the support of the religious right. The older Bush bristles when “W”, surrounded by right-wing religious leaders, suggests he uses “code-words” such as “born-again” when discussing his faith in public.

Laura (played by Elizabeth Banks) also plays an important role in the movie. She’s seen as strong and supportive of her husband and also of bringing a certain amount of respectability to him (compared to a former woman he’d dated, who resulted in his father calling and telling “W” to act like a Bush). Several other characters stand out. There’s Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss is a dead ringer for the VP), who often stands next to the wall or next to the door, listening in the conversations with a devilish smirk. Colin Powell (played by Jeffrey Wright) stands up to “W” and others in Cabinet meetings, even pointing out to “W” the difference between him and his father in their approach to Iraq. Powell then goes before the UN, saying what he doesn’t believe about Iraq, which earns him the praise of Bush even though this action seems to diminish his role. I don’t think Powell appears in the movie after the UN scene. Karl Rove (played by Toby Jones) is depicted as a behind the scene operative (at one point, Powell wants to know what Rove is doing in a cabinet meeting) that helps create “W” into a politician (down to working with him on talking points that he can say and not screw up).

Over all, the main tension in the movie is between “W” and his dad. George complains that his father can never praise him to his face (the elder Bush does this through notes). W is infuriated when his dad, working through Brent Scowcroft, questions the wisdom of the Iraqi war. Near the end of the movie, “W” dreams that he’s in the Oval Office and his father comes in and berates his son for having destroyed the family name. In a scene reminiscence of a earlier fight between the two (one that Jed broke up while Barbara was yelling), the two go at it and then “W” wakes up screaming.

A few weeks ago I saw an interview with Oliver Stone. The director said something like “I came to admire “W” while abhorring his policies.” This comes through in the movie. Of course, there is so much not covered in the movie (We've had nearly 8 years of this man and the film is only 2 hours). Hopefully we will not be treated to a W2 or W3. Maybe there is a place for a Halloween Bush, for this administration has become somewhat of a horror tale.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A hodgepodge of stuff

The morning is gray and it’s dark till long after 7 AM. The sun is still an hour away when I walk out across the driveway and listen to the crunch of seeds from the maples under my feet. This year there looks to be a bumper crop of maple seeds and also of pines. The white pine in the back if filled with cones. I’ve noticed that jack pines are also heavy with cones and, when I was down south earlier this summer, the longleaf pines were filled with green cones. The old wives who spin tales warn of a bitter winter ahead and with our economic news I wonder if the abundant seeds may be a sign. Yet, biologists suggest that many trees have developed a pattern of producing large crops of seeds every half dozen or so years as a way for survival. If they produced the same number of seeds every year, the squirrel and bird populations would increase and they’d be no seeds for reproduction. By having an infrequent bounty, they insure that some seeds will survive and make it to the ground where it will have a chance of germinating. At least we’re not seeds, the odds are against them. I hope the biologists are right and the old wives are wrong, for we could do without any more hardship right now.

So far, our fall weather has been pleasant. We’ve only had two brisk mornings that have dipped into the upper 20s (-2 or 3 degrees for your Celsius folks). But that’s supposed to change this weekend and early next week as we get a foretaste of winter. It won't be long till it's time to star waxing skis.

Diane, in her blog, posted a link to a Ron Howard video yesterday. The former child star of Andy Griffith show and teenage star of Happy Days is now a middle-aged director who, like me, is most often seen with a hat. He spoke in favor of Obama. In the video, Howard went back to his character of Opie and talked to Andy, who told him why some people are afraid of change. Then he went and saw the Fonz, from Happy Days, who also spoke in favor of Obama and admitted (with Cunningham's help) that he had been wrong to want to give Bush a chance. The video gave me hope. I know Obama is talking about hope and change, but seeing this video, I have hope not just for change in the country, but change in my hairline. You see, Ron Howard and I share a similar head with very little hair on top. It was exciting to see Howard so easily transformed from a balding old guy to a teenager with a mop of red hair. This is the change I’ve been hoping for! Would it be a violation of election laws if I offered to vote for Obama in exchange for one of Howards toupees? (For information on Howard making this promo, click here.)

Finally, I was looking through my spam email box yesterday, seeing if any messages I wanted got lost there, when I came across the email I copied below (I took out the url). Folks, if you’re going to try to steal my identity and the 28 dollars and 53 cent I may have in a bank (which happens not to be Wachovia), at least get your details correct. Citigroup gave up on buying Wachovia several weeks ago and it’s been sold to Wells Fargo…

WACHOVIA CORPORATION NOTICE.

Citigroup announced a buyout of Wachovia brokered by the FDIC. All Wachovia bank locations will be in the Citigroup merger to prevent failure of Wachovia. The Citigroup/Wachovia would focus on upgrading banks' security certificates. All Wachovia customers must fill the forms and complete installation of new Citigroup Standard digital signatures during 48 hours. Please follow the installation steps below:

Read more>> (url removed)

Sincerely, Winifred Benton.
2008 Wachovia Corporation.
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Daydreaming (in the dark)

When I was out running the dog this evening, I noticed the giant square of Pegasus, the fame mythological winged-horse, high overhead. I wanted him to sweep down and let me jump on his back and take me to a place where I can see from horizon to horizon, where the sun rises red in the morning behind desert mountains and sets the same way in the evening, where the wind picks up in the mid-afternoon and blows till sunset, where one can be alone with the vast expanse of creation, a place like this…

I think this photo is from Burns Junction, Oregon, I know its somewhere between Winnemucca, Nevada and Boise, Idaho. I snapped the photo in late August 1990 and copied it from a slide.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dreams (along with another autumn photo)


I took this photo on the river last weekend. It’s the reflection of a sycamore in the water. I was looking at my calendar today and realized that I’ve only had a day and a half off in the last three weeks. I’ve been going to the gym regularly, at least four times a week, which helps me keep my sanity. Thankfully, the next two weeks look a little less stressful! We’ll see.


I found myself as an adult, back in school. Teaching the class was Mr. Briggs, my fifth grade teacher. Mark, a friend of mine from the 5th grade, was also taking the class. When the first class was over, I went up to talk to Mr. Briggs while Mark waited at the door. I was shocked that he was the splitting image of JJ, a friend of mine. I wanted to show Mr. Briggs an article that I’d published about my 5th Grade experience, but I decided it would be better to wait till the class was over. I then remembered that my parents had brought his house when we moved to the Wilmington area. I asked if he remembered me and he said he did. I told them about my parents and that they still own that house, even though they brought lot next door and over the decades, it has grown considerably. Mr. Briggs then asked me about my brother (who was a grade behind). He said he felt my brother would go into banking or finance. I told him that he was an engineer and whom he worked for and Mr. Briggs seemed happy to know that he has done well. I never knew that he knew my brother and felt slighted, like he was more interested in what my brother had done than me (but then, I was probably one of his worst students). Then he said something about the group of boys, which included me, who came to him from Mrs. Forbes 4th grade class, who had driven him crazy and out of elementary school teaching. I corrected him saying that it was Ms. Freeman, not Mrs. Forbes. He insisted he was right, even though admitting he don’t always remember everything. I told him that I’d recently found my 4th grade class photo and I knew that I was right. I then woke up. It was 5:30 A.M.

After nearly a month of not dreaming regularly, it seems that I’m back in the pattern of regular dreams. I’ve woken up the last three mornings thinking about dreams I’d had. This morning, I had three dreams. I didn’t write down the dream that woke me at 4:30 AM, but I remember this one and another brief dream that I was having right before I got up. This dream was interesting in that I haven’t seen Mr. Briggs since I was a student at Bradley Creek Elementary School. After the 7th Grade, Mark and I didn’t hang out much with each other and, if I remember correctly, he graduated from high school on the extended plan. The last I’d heard about him, which was a few decades ago, he was working as an operator at the same plant that my brother works at. Although I haven’t written an article about my 5th grade experiences, I wrote several blog posts about that traumatic year (I was in his class the spring of ’68). However, several years ago when I was writing a newspaper opinion column while out living out West, I wrote about a friend who’d died, who had survived Bataan and the Philippine campaign. As Mr. Briggs had been a survivor of the same campaign and had been a Japanese POW for three years, I tried to find him. (He quit teaching elementary school the next year, after which those of us who hung out together began bragging that although the Japanese couldn’t break him, we could!) I was unable to locate him and assume he may no longer be with us. I’m not sure what the Forbes/Freeman exchange was about—except that I’d recently been thinking about Forbes Field (which is where the Pirates played before Three Rivers Stadium).

Follow the links for my 5th grade stories: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
For my picture of Ms. Freeman’s class, click here.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fall Colors and a Meme


Life’s been too crazy for me to even think about writing stories… I even missed the debate the other night because I was in a 4 hour meeting with architects and construction managers and the like. So I decided to quickly do a "fantasy/I want" meme that came from Mother Hen. I am also posting a couple of photos of local color for those of you who don’t get to feast on the leaves changing during fall. I had a meeting out of town this morning and decided to take the more direct (but it takes longer) dirt road back! The first shot was taken through the windshield. Enjoy.



If I can have any car in the world…

I really don’t lust after cars. Maybe a Model T Ford or a 1969 Opal GT,

If I can live anywhere on this planet

It’s have to be somewhere in the Northern Rockies or maybe Eastern British Columbia or maybe at a hot spring on the Izu Peninsula in Japan.

If I can have the talent for any sport…

I’d lead the Pirates to the World Series and have stars up there in the nosebleed/cheap seats out above center field, indicating where Willie Stargell and I hit home runs. Oh wait, those stars were in the old Three River Stadium and it’s gone, but this post is a fantasy so it doesn't matter.

If I can have anything to drink in this world….

It would be a bottle of well-aged Jefferson Reserve bourbon from Kentucky. Second on my list would be a bottle of Flora de Cana Grand Reserve Rum from Nicaragua.

If I can excel in any profession…

I would be an engineer on a mountain railroad. Maybe I could work for Union Pacific on the old Denver Rio Grande route, making the run from Denver to Salt Lake, climbing up over the Rockies. But there are many others, making the run through the Sierras over Donner Summit, from Reno to Sacramento; or the old Feather River Route, coming off the Black Rock Desert and winding through the northern Sierras. Then there are routes in the east, along the Chessie Line from Charleston WV to Charlottesville VA… or the Clinchfield Route in the Southern Appalachians. To experience the seasons, the colors in the fall, the blankets of snow in the winter, the flowers of spring would be half my pay.

If I can have any man in this world…

I’d shoot myself… Not really, but I'm not interested in having a man... But if it was any woman, I’d take the young Veronica Lake or maybe MaryAnn (of Gilligan's Island, that is before she became the pot-smoker pin-up girl)!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An Afternoon on the River


The colors are just beginning to glow brilliantly as in the reflection I caught in the water yesterday during an afternoon trip down a local river.
As you can see with the photo of my dog (who hates cameras), not all the trees have given up on summer. But some have and they are beautiful. The river was beautiful, the weather warm, the mosquitoes at take out were terrible and the fishing wasn't much (I caught only one fish, but I didn't spend a lot of time fishing).

I had to get gas today and it was $2.95 a gallon, a good 60 or 70 cents cheaper than my last fill-up. Of course, I have a large tank and when I'm not driving out of town, I can go several weeks between fill-ups! As good as it was to see gas back below 3 bucks, it doesn't make up for the hit my retirement accounts have taken.
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Life here continues to be busy... Hopefully, someday soon, I'll have the time and motivation to write more stories. Until then, or at least over the next few weeks, I'll post photos of the fall colors.
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I've done this post many times including this trip last spring, when the redbuds were in bloom.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Something else to ponder...

I’ve been thinking a lot about humility lately and came across this story… The reward of humility may be that it keeps us from getting in over our heads.

The Devil appeared to one of the Desert Fathers, disguised as an angel. “I am the angel Gabriel and I have been sent to you,” the Devil said. The humbled brother responded, saying “You must be mistaken. See if you were not sent to someone else. I do not deserve to have an angel sent to me.” Immediately, the devil disappeared

- From Jack Kornfield and Chrsitiana Feldman, Soul Food: Stories to Nourish the Spirit and the Heart ( HarperSanFrancisco, 1997), 274.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Something to ponder...

I’m not generally paranoid, but I wonder if something more sinister is up with the huge economic plan that got forced through Congress. So far, the plan hasn’t helped. The plan was to restore confidence, but there is more fear in the market than ever. It seems the more governments do in our current economic crisis, the worse it gets. Why did they think it was so critical to act immediately? Why do people who are supposedly so wedded to the principles of free market all of a sudden do an about face and support the nationalization of troubled companies? Could it be that this administration is so afraid of the elections, knowing that unless the economy quickly turns around they will not only lose the White House, but also large chunks of Congress, that they decided gamble in order to shore up things in the short-run? If that’s the case, they lost. If that’s the case, we all lost! Like I said, I’m not generally paranoid, but after Iraq, I don’t put anything past this administration. Are we to become, as Paul Theroux described the Ethiopians, "a race of aristocrats who have pawned the family silver?"

On a positive note, I hope to make another river trip tomorrow! The leaves are changing, maybe I’ll have some photos to share.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Debate Rant and a Modest Proposal


I shot this photo yesterday, of autumn flowers in a meadow. I'm posting it here in an attempt to brighten up things, but it's rainy season here in the Michigan and the markets are getting scary. Here's my lastest rant against the machine...


I’m disappointed. I watched the debates last night, hoping to either find out that one of our candidates has a clue to the economic mess we’re in or, at the very least, having some comic relief. I was disappointed on both accounts. Instead, they both clung like glue to their sound-bites and talking points. Watching the debate, I felt like I’d been married to the two of them for years and we were an old three-some, having a conversation on the sofa. As soon as either one of them said two words, I found myself finishing their sentences. The only really new things I heard is that McCain thinks it will be easy to find Bin Laden and to fix Social Security. We’ll, after seven years of looking, I’m sure it will come to some surprise to our military and intelligence community that the man with the most unkempt beard in the world is so easy to be found. I wish we could have heard some of the easy details of fixing Social Security. If you’re not going to raise taxes, the only other alternatives would be to drastically cut benefits or to increase the death rates of our older citizens, neither of which is an attractive option as I’m only 15 years away from my “golden years.” Although I felt Obama did a better job with the debate (at least he shows us he can prioritize when pushed to), I was greatly disappointed in his answer to the last question concerning what they don’t know. McCains answer, that he doesn't know the future, reassured me that at least he doesn't think he's a deity (I was beginning to wonder since he thinks its so easy to fix Social Security). Both of the candidates skirted the question about what they don't know, which I sad as I thought was the best question of the night.

A Modest Proposal: We’ve got one more Presidential debate to go and I have a modest proposal. Let’s resurrection the Gong Show! Anytime a candidate doesn’t directly answer the question, or if he throws out clich├ęs or worn out campaign sound bites, he gets gonged. If he goes over his time limit, he gets gonged. If he uses an old joke, refers to everyone as a friend, or (heaven help us) winks, he gets gonged.

My lastest on Ms. Palin: Speaking of pit pulls with a wink, Sarah Palin and her husband released their income tax statements a few days ago. Although they are definitely not rich (I suspect McCain's wife spends more on clothes in a year than the Palin's make), I couldn’t help but gasp at the amount that the two of them gave away last year. Now I know I’m treading on sacred ground here and for most of us, what we give to churches and charities is between us and God and the IRS (who think they’re a god). Palin and her husband gave away (cash and in kind gifts) $3,325 in 2007 or 1.5% of their adjusted gross income. They did a little better in 2006, giving away 3.3% of their income. Still, this is way below the standard of a tithe, which is strongly encouraged in every Assembly of God church with which I'm familiar. I think it was Sam Jones, an old revivalist from the 19th Century, who said that he last thing converted is one's pocketbook. Maybe that's true for Palin.
According to a recent article I recently read on giving in America, Palin's family giving is ahead of all self-identified Christians households in the country, but her household would be well behind the giving (based on % of income) those who attend church regularly (as defined as 2-3 times a month). She is also well behind the amount which those in non-Christians religions give, but ahead of what those with no religious preference give to charity. On average, non-religious Americans give less than 1% of their income. In fairness, I tried to find what the other candidates gave. But after a few minutes with no results, I decided I really didn’t have time. Anyone seen such figures for Obama, Biden and McCain?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Stuff

I took the photo last October on a river trip.


It almost got to freezing last night—it was 33 degrees at 6:30 AM! Knowing that cooler weather is coming, I spent some time this afternoon splitting wood. I don’t like to start the fireplace season until it’s freezing, but that won’t be far off. My weekend has been crazy and with a lot of extra stuff going on with work. Next week won’t be any better. I’m already beginning to long for the week I’ll spend down east in North Carolina this November. Let’s just hope its cool enough for the Blues to start running along the coast so that I can enjoy a few days fishing.

The big news for Michigan is that John McCain is pulling out and conceding the state. I’m not sure if it’s because of the work of Karen, or maybe it’s because he learned that Big A, Murf’s husband, is supporting a Democrat for the first time in over two decades. The good news is that we’ll not have to listen to as many political ads. The bad news is that the state will still be in an economic depression.

Like a lot of you, I watched the debate the other evening. Palin wasn’t the entertainment value that I’d hoped, but she did better than I expected. Her strategy appeared to be, “when in doubt, or when you don’t want to answer a question, talk about drilling.” Biden did a good job, but he never had the potential that Palin had for a total meltdown. I was hoping the Senator would ask the Governor, “In what newspaper did you read that?”

It is amazing that Congress couldn’t pass the 700 billion dollar bailout, but easily passed one that included another 150 billion in additional pork projects including help for wooden arrow makers. Heaven help us! Just in case, I think I’ll reread The Journey of Crazy Horse (which I never got around to writing a review). In it, the author tells about how the Sioux make bows and arrows (believe it or not) without congressional supplements. With a fine bow and a quiver full of arrows, I’ll be ready if the economy goes completely south to harvest a few deer that seem to like my bird feeders. Yes, I do own a few guns, but the powers-that-be here tend to frown on discharging firearms within the city limits.

Okay, enough ranting, someday soon I hope to be back to publishing regular post. If not, I’ll have to start recycling older posts.