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Showing posts from April, 2008

Kolaches and Doughnuts Anyone?

For as long as I can remember, I've entertained the idea of retiring from Chemical Plant life, sitting back in my easy chair and just taking life, well…easy. I bought into the idea of easy street; easy living – easy everything! Yup, Ol.. Baytown Bert was going to enjoy the fruits of his labor and everything that I had done that was physically demanding to that point was going to prepare me for sitting down and doing nothing, unless it was fun of course. Fortunately as my years have gone by in the Chemical Plant work environment I've noticed things have indeed become easier for me and operators in general. Of course there are still some places which are not modernized and operators still slave away hour after hour, but I think I can safely say that many of us have grown soft and spend more time sitting on our duffs, than we do climbing ladders, walking up countless flights of stairs, or truthfully – breaking into a sweat performing our duties.My apologies to those who do not …

The Times They are A-Changin`

"Come gather 'round people wherever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown and accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you is worth savin' then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'".

I followed a link on the Internet to the far-away city of Chang Mai, Thailand. Chang Mai is in northern Thailand; the ancient country of Siam from The King and I movie fame. It has a core population about double the size of Baytown.

Now at one time, I lived about 200 miles south of this beautiful and exotic city and even though I made it a point to travel around the country, I never made it to Chang Mai. I was stationed at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force base for just shy of 2 years and the nearby (City of) Bahn Takhli was a filthy little hamlet with trash and refuse everywhere. It was a rough and chaotic place, with over 30 bars and nightspots which catered to the thousands of se…

Searching for the good

I have a book on my shelf titled Searching for the Good by Thomas A. Brewer. It’s about his journey to war and back during the Vietnam years. Like my son, Thomas Brewer was wounded in action and like me; he endured the vicious heat, monsoons and the oppressive elements of the tropics. I relate to his experience in so many ways, having endured over 21 months as a G.I. in South East Asia and all that goes with it for soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors.

I never saw a bullet fly past me in anger though, but much of what a service member endures is shared by all members and can be quite difficult to bear. Remote assignments, extreme weather conditions, impossible missions and long hours of sometimes severe physical and mental stress are all chalked up as routine duty in the life of an American fighting man or woman.

This book has special significance for me, as it has photos and details about the father of a friend, who was a combat medic in Vietnam and who shares my first name – Bert…

The road not taken…

The path which appears to be rough and full of hardship, is rarely the one I decide to take. Why should I? I am a privileged American. I deserve to take the easiest route. I almost always expect some form of reward for the simplest accomplishment. I want recognition in the double digits and by golly I am going to get it. It's all about me.

I don't want to suffer or want or wait. I want everything now or yesterday if possible. I want a 32-inch waistline, but I don't want to sacrifice one bit to achieve it. I want and want and want and I want more. I want more stuff before I pay off the stuff I bought last year or the year before it. I want a new car, a newer more expensive car and I don't want to wait until I can afford it or the one I have now.

When I get old, real old, I want to sit on a stack of worldly goods the size of Mount St. Helens before it blew to smithereens. And I will still want more. I am the average American; the one pursuing happiness through spending and…

Father - Daughter Talk

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words, redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough t…

Earth Hour - Lights out

This letter to the Baytown Sun is so right-on, that I am posting it on my Blog:

Lights out

Being a good American and wanting to do the right thing I turned off my lights Saturday night per Earth Hour (they suggest turning them off for one hour to save the planet). I quickly found there was not that much to do without some kind of light and hastily found one candle. I thought I had many more but I guess I used them in various vigils these past few months. I have no idea where I stored my flashlights and figured the batteries were probably dead anyway.

Ten minutes into the self-imposed blackout I tripped over the dog while going to the restroom. The candle was great for vigils but produced almost no light. The candle fell to the floor and went out. Now it was really dark, and I suppose a lesser man would have flipped the light switch.

About this time the phone rang and while I knew where it was I had no idea where the dog was hanging out and laying in wait. I decided to answer the phone and…