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Showing posts from June, 2007

Was Theodore Kaczynski right?

In 4 days we will celebrate Independence Day; a day commonly referred to as just "the fourth of July", by those who care less about preserving heritage and liberty, but still want a day off. For many of us, it’s a patriotic day of remembrance and celebration and I look forward to it every year. Each year I try to reflect on what in the past year has changed in my country and this year is no exception. Some changes have been quite good and some are alarming.

Freedom - my freedom - my personal freedom in the United States of America and my personal state of independence as an American citizen and the state of Texas is still important to me. Did I enjoy the benefits of freedom this last year, as much as any other past year? Was my personal freedom enhanced, enlarged, reduced or restricted in the last 365 days? Has my idea of what freedom is (in this country) changed, or do I feel like society has redefined what is an acceptable amount of freedom?

Has my government taken steps to …

Here Is How I See It

I am supposed to be in a state of euphoria, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Apple’s new iPhone. The latest “just to die for” techie gizmo is scheduled to arrive in stores tomorrow, June 29th. Some gadget-salivating people have camped out since last Monday awaiting the arrival of this contraption and at 500-plus dollars, plus service contract, they are either rich, obsessed with compulsive buying, stupid or all three. I’ll pass. Thank you.

This new convenience will allow the “average” user to surf the text and picture-based Internet on the giant 2 inch viewing screen, while listening to their favorite MP3 music library and yakking on the built-in phone while taking pictures and movies with the onboard camera – while driving – in the lane next to you! That’s awesome dude!

I sure hope all these iPhoners have automatic transmissions in their cars. Imagine trying to field those pesky text messages while shifting gears and navigating through traffic on Garth Road or slowing down unexpe…

I Admit - it is My Own Fault

I’ve gone down the wrong path so many times, it’s a wonder I am still alive. I’ve ignored perfectly sound advice to pursue what seemed at the time, a good idea and suffered the consequences. I’ve stood with my toes dangling over the edge of the crevasse, blindly leaning forward, too many times and every time, it was a conscientious choice I made, which put me in that position.

You see, we have the innate ability to justify every course of action or entertainment we desire, so ultimately, we do what we want, instead of what is good for us. We all do it, some more than others, but we all do it.

With few exceptions, it is always our choice. We choose to follow the crowd, or give into peer pressure. We choose to look the other way to validate our own actions. We make the decision to eat ice cream more often (and larger portions) than is healthy. We stay up later than we should and we know we will be sorry when we suffer at school or work the next day. We allow other people to aggrav…

Cursing, vulgarity, swearing and profanity

About 30 years ago, I cleaned up my speech. Other than a dad-gum now and again, I pretty much say exactly what I mean and I use adjectives instead of expletives to express myself. Sadly, this practice has placed me squarely in the minority, it seems. I call it the minority because it appears the majority of people not only participate, but tolerate others promoting this bawdy kind of social intercourse.

Many otherwise good people feel at ease spicing up conversations these days and it doesn’t appear to need a social acceptance confirmation. Four-letter words and multi-syllable “#$%&’s” flow from their lips like dirty water and with relative and practiced ease. Ribald jokes are something to share with semi-strangers and never mind passing someone talking on their cell phone in a store, because nothing will be censored.

X-rated music blasts from car speakers at the local carwash and no subject is taboo or sacred in today’s music. Angry conversations are enough of an excuse to cu…

Easy come, easy go

“Daddy, what was it like back in the day, when America was a world power”? “Well, son, that was the baby boomer generation, before my time even and if I knew the answer to that question, maybe I could tell you, however I can tell you this – folks say it was a lot of hard work”.

This is a futuristic scenario I fear my children and grandchildren will realize. The so-called Greatest Generation fathered the Baby-Boomers and I realize now why my parents made us do chores, told us we had to work part time jobs and instilled values and work ethics in us. The BB’s were a chip off the old block, not the block itself.

I am a part of that aging baby-boomer generation and even though I did not have it easy by today’s standards, I surely grew up under the close direction of my parent’s scrutiny and paddle. I’ve never carried pails of water from the well to the house, churned butter for hours on end, or went without a meal (as is quite evident). I didn’t rise early to chop wood for the stove, wal…

Most of us don’t have a clue

Recently, I posed these questions on the Baytown Sun Forum: “What are the signs to look for in your neighborhood of possible illegal immigration? How would a person know? Do they talk differently, or dress differently”?

I had and continue to have responses and one thing is very clear. Most of us, although dutifully concerned - don’t have a clue.

Mixed into the banter is finger-pointing slander towards the American Hispanic culture and towards me for suggesting (what?) with these questions. Ethnic stereotyping is alive and well, both towards and by Hispanics, Rednecks and the general population. One character said a surefire way to spot an illegal alien, is by their “sombreros”. I’m suspecting this was written in jest.

I posed this also: “Since so many people are up in arms over illegal immigrants, is there a way to tell who is illegal and who is not, strictly by observation of culture, habits, or clothing? In my neighborhood, there is one house which has close to 10 cars around it…

North Main’s Dirty Dozen Revisited

Eight months ago, I wrote about a dozen or so property locations on North Main which needed attention. I called them Baytown’s N. Main’s Dirty Dozen or so. Mayor Stephen DonCarlos agreed that it was time to give business and property owners a nudge to get their property in compliance with city ordinances and asked me to be patient, as city gears move slowly.

Channel Eleven News picked up on the story and contacted me wanting to run a feature. I respectfully declined their offer, telling them that Baytown’s problems were ours alone and we did not wish to make them something for other people to ridicule.

Eight months and 11 days later, I figure its time to take another look and see if something (anything) has changed. To my pleasant surprise, a lot has changed and some of it has made a big difference in the appearance of one of heaviest traveled roads in town.

Here are the photos...

Take a look at the posted pictures and information. As I stated eight months ago, my intention is not t…

Television and the Stupidity Index

Teach a child to love books and you will feed their brain for a lifetime. Put them in front of a television and they will be entertained for a spell.

I recently bought five boxes of books from a neighbor and one of the boxes contained many children's books in near perfect condition. Most of the books appeared to be unread. I was delighted when I realized what I had bought, as we have a young visitor at our house fairly often and I plan on sharpening my old geezer skills, by reading to him. My nephew, who fathered this little guy, came over yesterday and when he left, I gave him one of these books and instructed him to read it to his son and then make a big deal setting it on a shelf, so the boy could begin building his own library.

I explained that I began my love of books that way and as an adult; I still hoard books for the knowledge they contain. It all started for me at a young age by realizing books were special and something to desire. I received books for Christmas a…

It was 40 years ago today...

June 1st, 1967, The Beatles told the world “It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Peppers taught the band to play”. That was 40 years ago June 2nd for the American release and the Band is still playing in the hearts and minds of millions of followers worldwide.

Liverpool’s “The Quarrymen” become Beatles set out to make a truly artistic album and 129 days and $75,000 later; they recorded Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. The year was late 1966-early 1967 and they used a then state-of-the-art 4-track recorder to tediously record an album that stayed on the top of the charts (#1) for 15 straight weeks. The album has sold in excess of 10 million copies and as of today, ten million and one. I went to Wal-Mart and bought the CD…again.

700 hours of recording went into this endeavor which Rolling Stone magazines says is the “most important rock and roll album ever made” and rated it number one out of the top 500 albums ever produced. “A day in the life” is stated as the most complex song on t…

How to get back at the oil companies!

Let's boycott ______ gas!

Fill in the blank with whatever oil company you own the least amount of company stock in.

I can't imagine how the escalating price of gasoline is catching anyone by surprise. The same people, who opt for a fancy-schmancy largish poor mileage vehicle, when a smaller more economical vehicle would have done the trick, have no one to blame, but themselves, in my not so often humble opinion – okay, it's rarely humble, I know.

At what point does a person wake up and decide a lifestyle change is in order, when it comes to a vehicle CHOICE? I came to Texas in 1970 in a 1968 Shelby GT-350, burning rubber and grabbing gears every chance I got, but I drive a 4-banger compact car now which gets 35mpg and it can't pop a wheelie to save its young life. If I had my druthers, I'd still be driving the Mustang or my lifted Jeep TJ with 33" mud-terrain tires, that got 12 mpg, but the price of gasoline and the gawd-awful waste of revenue, which accompan…