Sunday, October 30, 2011

His and Her Dreams.......

Cindy's Dream (last night at 3:00 AM).......

She dreamed last night that her mother died.  She went to the funeral but felt very embarrassed that she had nothing to wear that was suitable---only old shorts and a T-Shirt.  Everyone else was suited out in sartorial splendor.

She quickly went to her mother's home and found some suitable clothes for the funeral.  When she arrived at the church, she was escorted to the front of the church by an usher.  When she gazed at the contents of the casket, she realized the body was not that of her mother!

She told the usher that the body was not that of her mother, and the usher turned to a man standing next to him and said "Then, it must be your mother who died!"

My Dream (last night at 4:00 AM).......

I was part of a group of people who was going to eat dinner.  The establishment was part print shop and part fine restaurant.  There was also a swimming pool present near the dining area. 

While we were sitting at the table, waiting for dinner to be served, I decided to go swimming.  Somehow, I lost my clothing while in the water and could not recover it.  I was now naked.  All I could do at that point was take a small pillow and cover myself up with it as I got out of the pool. 

Naked as a jaybird, I sat in a corner and waited for Cindy to return from a church event.  I knew when she came to the restaurant following church, she would see me sitting there nude and go get me something to wear.

Meanwhile, there were many people walking by me and staring as they went inside the print shop/restaurant.  Finally, a woman who was a hostess in the restaurant, brought me some shorts and a matching shirt to wear.  I got up, and walked naked to the men's room to put on my clothes.

Common themes: 

---Insufficient clothing remedied by changing into something suitable

---Church involvement

---Lack of control

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Coming Up Short As A Christian.......

It was cold and windy and rainy in Knoxville all day yesterday.   Cindy and I left home around 2:00 to do some shopping that we couldn't put off any longer.

I drove through the nasty elements to our first stop; and when I reached the interstate, about five minutes from our home, I saw a man standing on the opposite ramp.  I could only see him from behind, as he faced the traffic that was exiting the superhighway.  He was slightly bent in his posture, as if he had been beaten down by life.  He was holding a sign for the oncoming traffic to see.  He was a pitiful, pathetic sight.  He was cold, soaked and alone.

We were able to see him standing there for only a few seconds as we passed by.  I wondered what was written on the sign.  Was he begging for a handout?  Was he willing to work for money or food?  We will never know, because we had passed by him so quickly. 

But, that terrible vision remained in our hearts all day.  When we returned home, we sat down and discussed our feelings about that solitary man in the wintry weather.

We have seen these poor people many, many times before.  Most are homeless.  All are in severe need of the basics of life.  Many are conflicted.  Many are addicted to drugs or alcohol.  Many are unable to stay on the right side of the law.

Nonetheless, they are human beings upon whom life has dealt terrible cards.  If I am truly honest with myself, I can say that, although I have been supremely blessed by God, I am, in reality, just one or two bad breaks away from being that man.  We all are, if we would be truthful with ourselves.

Jesus said that to help the downtrodden is to help HIM as well (Matthew 25:31---46).

Sitting in the warm comfort of our home last night discussing the fact that we call ourselves "Christians" while not doing what Jesus asked us to do for the less fortunate, I felt ashamed of myself for not trying to help that man. 

Of course, we do know the risks of doing that.....perhaps the man had a weapon and was dangerous.  Perhaps he was mentally ill and would be difficult to relate to.  If we gave him some money, perhaps he would use it to buy drugs...and so on.............

And, we know that we cannot help EVERYBODY who needs it.  What is the answer?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gadgets and Me.......

My first two automobiles were a Corvair and a Pinto.  Back then, cars were purchased by paying the "base price" for the pure vanilla version, and then adding extras like power windows, door locks, radio, air conditioning, etc. 

Back then, I didn't think I could afford any extras, so I leaned across the front seat to open the other windows and unlock the doors; sang to myself in lieu of listening to real music; and sweated up a storm as I motored in the summer months.

Eventually, of course, I caught up with everyone else and began enjoying the modern creature comforts of a happy motorist.

Then, when CB radios became all the rage, I was the last in my group of friends to get one.  I guess I submitted to peer pressure because I was the butt of many a joke for not being up-to-date.  As it turned out, I got rid of the thing after only a few "good buddies" and "10-4s".  The CB radio craze turned out to be a fad.  Good riddance. 

My reluctance to be up-to-date helped me avoid the rush to get a pager.  Back in the 1980s and early 90s, it seemed everyone had one of those thingies hangin' from their belt---except me.  Frankly, I was in sales and didn't WANT anyone to be able to access me. 

Yes, before I could be pressured into getting a pager, cell phones came along.  I was the last to get one of those, also---I couldn't afford one.  It cost something like $.20 a minute, and God forbid I should get into a long conversation.

Of course, nowadays, you can't live without one, and I have the latest and greatest model that does everything except digest my food.  But oh my!---remember those early models?  They were about the size of a quart bottle of milk and about as heavy, too.

I was also last in my group to get a large screen TV.  I'm glad I waited on that one, because by the time I got one earlier this year, the prices had come down and the quality had gone up.  So, you see, there can be something said for being slow to change.

English humorist and poet Alexander Pope once said "Be not the first to try the new; nor the last to lay the old aside."

Good advice, I'd say.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


My New Phone
After a couple of years of putting it off and trying to rationalize why I should ditch my stoneage flip cell phone for an up-to-date smartphone, I finally caved and took the plunge this week.
My Old Clunker
It took me so long to make this decision because A) I don't need a smartphone and B) it costs more to upgrade.

But, long story short, I wanted one.

Mostly, it's my daughter's fault.  She kept telling me how I was becoming out of touch.  I wasn't able to text, which is all the rage now.  My grandson couldn't communicate with me the way kids communicate these days.

And besides, she showed me her phone, which can connect to the internet and social networks and stream videos and take pictures and display weather and breaking news and play music and so much more, and I wanted one even though I don't need it.

So the nice lady at the phone store showed me several models and the Cinderoo and I each got a Samsung Mesmerize with a family plan that allows us to become part of the 21st century. 

I have spent the past few days trying to learn how to use the little bugger.  It really is a phenomenal invention.  Of course, you all know that already, since you undoubtedly already have one.  So forgive my euphoria and childish excitement. 

I don't have to take my computer with me on short trips any more.  The little rascal has a GPS unit built into it, so I can just tell it to give me directions to wherever, and a soothing lady's voice guides me there.  The weather and the news are at my fingertips.  I now receive texts.  Hey!---I'm connected!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

That'll Be HOW MUCH???????.......


About six years ago, Cindy and I were invited to a dinner party at the home of friends.  There were three other couples besides us, and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and conversation. 

As we arose from the table following dessert, my blood pressure  decided to crash.  I felt it coming, but was unable to sit back down in time.  I ended up sprawled out on the floor of the dining room,  the coffee I was carrying splashed on the nice carpeting with me unconscious.  It made quite a floor show --- pun intended.

Of course, my fellow dinner partiers were horrified.  They thought I was having a heart attack.  Panic ensued.  An ambulance was called.

Of course, I knew what was happening to me because this is a condition that has dogged me since childhood.  About once a year, at unpredictable times, my B/P crashes and I go down for the count.  I am usually "out" about 2 seconds, and then my strength returns and I can function normally.  I don't know what causes this seemingly random condition, but I have learned to live with it. 

Although I did not want or need to ride in an ambulance, I felt my friends would feel much better if I did.  So I allowed the medicos to transport Cindy and me to the hospital---a ride of about 10 blocks.  I went to the ER, got examined, received fluids, got a brain scan (they found NOTHING...Ha), and was released within three hours.

Cost:  $8,000

To say I was shocked would be a gross understatement.  When I asked about the bill, the response from hospital administration was this:  "Don't worry about it---your insurance covers it".


A friend was recently diagnosed with diabetes.  His doctor told him he needed to sit in on ten hours of instructional classes to educate him about his condition.  When he asked how much this ten hours of instruction would cost, the nurse told him.

Cost:  $3,000 

To say he was shocked would be an understatement.  When he asked why the instruction cost $300 per hour, the response he got was:  "Don't worry about it---Your insurance covers it."


A family member recently had an onset of what I would describe as a "panic attack".  She thought she was having a medical emergency.  She thought she was having a heart attack.  Her husband rushed her to the hospital ER.  She was admitted into the hospital, and for three days she underwent a series of tests to try to diagnose her ailment (which disappeared within a few hours of admission).  When she was released after a three day stay she was presented with a bill.

Cost:  $17,000

To say she was shocked would be a gross understatement.  When she asked about the bill, the response from hospital administration was this:  "Don't worry about it---your insurance covers 90% of it."

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Collective Nouns, Revisited.......

A while back I posted a list of collective nouns for groups of animals.  Today, I thought it might be fun to make up some collective nouns of my own for groups of people.  I had some fun with this.  Can you think of some appropriate collective nouns for  specific groups of people?

---A Profit of businessmen
---A Glass Ceiling of businesswomen
---A Polling of politicians
---A Keystone of cops
---A Blaze of firemen
---A Location of real estate agents
---A Trickery of lawyers
---A Flu of Physicians
---A Giggle of comedians
---A Lasso of cowboys
---A Stench of garbage collectors
---A Creel of fishermen
---A Gospel of preachers
---A Nosy of neighbors
---A Return of tax collectors
---A Flush of plumbers
---A Rumble of motorcyclists

Friday, October 14, 2011


I drank my coffee and read the paper this morning; and then, as   usual, I felt a gnawing in my gut that signaled the onset of hunger pangs. 

Without even thinking, I arose and ventured to the fridge.  Peering inside, I spied a container of homemade tuna salad---there was just enough remaining to be used in the construction of a sandwich.  Perfect, I thought to myself.

I found the mayo in the back of the fridge, hiding from me as it always does.  Now, all I needed was two decent slabs of bread, and breakfast would be complete.

But......where the heck was the bread?  It wasn't in the pantry.  It could not be found on the countertops. 

Then, it hit me---throughout our marriage, the bread has been a point of contention. 

Woman believes (she got this from her momma) that bread should be stored in the freezer.  That's right---every time you want some bread, you gotta go to the freezer, find the loaf that is, of course, unusable because it is a frozen solid mass, remove it, pry two pieces of bread from the mass, being careful to not break any of it in its brittle state, place the two slabs in the microwave for 20 seconds (or in the toaster for two minutes), and then return the bread to either the freezer or the pantry.  NOTE:  if you decide to put the bread in the pantry, you will find that the bread will thaw and become soggy.

Now, to me---a simple man with a simple outlook---bread should not be kept in the freezer unless it will not be used for a long period of time.  But I use bread all the time---sandwiches are a quick and easy way to satisfy one's hunger. 

But, my wife has this deeply ingrained neurotic insistence on placing the bread in the freezer.  This, I have determined, has its roots in her upbringing, where her momma practiced this odd behavior.  I checked with Cindy's sister, Patti, and found that she, too, has a freezer fetish for her bread.  Apparently, this condition has no remedy.  After all these years of marriage, I have been unable to change her behavior in this regard.

So, I guess you can say that I am now "trained".  I made my sandwich and then put the bread back in the freezer.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thoughts at 4 AM.......

No one gets through this life without being impacted by the terrible condition called "cancer".  It touches us all, even if we ourselves never contract the disease.  It is everywhere.  And we seemingly know so little about it, even after having spent decades and trillions of dollars on research.  One thing is generally true:  we basically treat it the same way we did a half century ago---surgery, radiation (before that it was X-Rays) and chemo.

Just almost impossible to believe, isn't it, that we still cannot cure it?
And in most cases we still don't know what causes it or why some people get it and others do not.

Now, what I call the "cancer industry" has developed into a gigantic entity employing millions of medical personnel and encompassing billions of dollars annually in research and treatment.  And yet, with all of our vaunted technology and genetic models and so on, we cannot cure it or prevent it.

I was struck yesterday as I watched television by how pervasive cancer awareness has become.  Here were four commentators---all tough ex football players---discussing the upcoming game to be televised...and all wearing pink ribbons.   The pink ribbon is ubiquitous.  So ubiquitous, in fact, that it has lost its meaning.  I see them on businessmen and women, children and even automobiles.

I hate cancer and I even fear it, but I must say I am really tired of all the sporting of pink.

What would happen if a cure were found?  Would our economy collapse because of the many millions of medical personnel left jobless?  What would happen to all the medical facilities and equipment?   What about the drop in drug company profits?  Would that cause further layoffs?  Would insurance rates suddenly fall to 1/2 of their previous levels, causing more layoffs? 

Your thoughts?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Final Vacation Photos.......

Cindy Loves the Beach
  Boo Hoo.  Our wonderful vacation is over....but the good news is that the memories linger.  We had a great time.  Cindy said she could become a beach bum.  I know how she feels.
I Had to Sneak up Behind Her to Take This Shot of Her Reading a Romance Novel

Daughter Lucinda Observes From Our Condo Balcony

Sand Castles Abound

Ducks Frolic in the Creek Beside Our Condo

Marshes Teem With Aquatic Wildlife

Boys Love to Build Castles With Moats

I'm Out For a Stroll

Sunshine Creates Silver Etchings in the Surf

The Largest Ferris Wheel in the World is at Myrtle Beach

Tens Of Thousands of Beach Homes Like This One Line the Coasts of North and South Carolina

Sea Oats Doodle in the Ocean Breezes

Night View From Our Balcony

Afternoon Refreshments---MiniToasts of Toast, Fig Preserves, and Brie (with an adult beverage)

Oh, The Spectacular Sunrises!

The Trawler, Miss Carolina Ann, Trawlin' For Shrimp 300 Yards Off Our Beach

The Fishing Pier at Sunset Beach, North Carolina

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Myrtle Beach...Day II.......

A Small Part of the Wall of Celebrity Pics at Akel's Family Restaurant Where We Had Breakfast
After sippin' strong joe out on our balcony yesterday morning, taking in the myriad sounds, sights and smells of the beach and ocean, the Cinderoo and I began our day.

Me Playin' the Fool at Barefoot Landing

Me Kissing a Cow at Barefoot Landing
First, to look for a suitable restaurant for breakfast.  We wanted something local...something NOT a chain.  What we found turned out to have good food and very loud, elderly customers who laughed a lot and yelled at each other to communicate.  I think maybe their hearing aids were not turned up loud enough?

A White Egret Prowls the Lake at Barefoot Landing
Then, to Barefoot Landing---a huge, touristy outdoor shopping mall built around a lake.  There is wildlife everywhere---on the lake and around the shopping areas.  Cindy got freaked out when she saw a sign that advised tourists that the alligators and other wildlife will bite---please be careful.  Ha.  Gee, I thought alligators were tame and could be petted.  Sheeeez....

Some Really Nice Natural Beauty Around Barefoot Landing
We pretty much wore ourselves out at Barefoot Landing---there is a lot to see.  Cindy found a Wolfard hand-blown gas oil lamp she couldn't live without, so I bought it for her as a Christmas present.  Poor woman has been looking for one of them for five long years, so I couldn't pass it up.

Wolfard Glass Oil Lamps
Then, to the supermarket, where we provisioned.  Daughter Lucinda and grandson Canyon and son-in-law Tracy will be here later today, so we needed groceries.  Then back to the condo.

The Grounds Around Our Condo Building

Our Room
Then, to the beach!  We took a long walk, sand squishin' between  our toes and sun tannin' us in the nice breeze.
While We Walked the Beach, We Saw This Seagull Feasting on a Small Fish She Had Caught

North Myrtle Beach---Pic Taken From Our Condo Beach

Shrimp and Hash Brown Potatoes with Cold Chablis
When we got back to the room, we were famished.  Cindy boiled the shrimp and cooked the hash browns.  I popped the cork on a nice cold bottle of chablis.  The shrimp were delicious.   As the sun dropped and the beach died in a golden glow, we crawled to bed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina's Crown Jewel.......

The Dawn Comes Up Like Thunder Over the Atlantic Ocean.  Shot From Our Porch at 7:00 AM
Yesterday we were on the road, leaving Knoxville at 7:00 AM and finally arriving on the grand strand of North Myrtle Beach at 5:00 in the afternoon.  We were tired.  We checked into our beach front condo,  ordered some take-out and RELAXED.

Cindy Relaxes on Our Porch Balcony After A Long Drive

Me---Enjoying the View From Our Balcony Over Drinks

View From Our Balcony Looking Toward the Atlantic Ocean and the Beach Bistro
The beach is beautiful and our porch overlooks the pool and ocean.  An ocean driven creek ebbs and flows  with the tide and winds through and around the property.  Pelicans ride the wind currents overhead.  Seagulls squeak their forlorn calls to the depths.  An occasional dolphin rolls in the surf.  The water is a combination of deep blue and steel gray.  The October wind is refreshing in the 70 degree heat.  The beach is almost deserted.  We love it.
View From Our Balcony Looking Toward the Atlantic Ocean

We pour a round of toddies and repair to our porch.  Two raccoons amble along the poolside fencing in search of sustenance.  Ducks call out to the poolside guests for bread crumbs.  My binoculars come in handy as we search the adjoining condos for activity.  Life is good.
Sunrise at 6:45 AM

We slept like the dead, but were up early to enjoy the spectacular sunrise.  Today we will explore the strand, prowl through Barefoot Landing, shop for provisions and sink our bare feet into the Atlantic ocean, enjoying the feeling of sand squishing up between our toes. 

There is a God.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tatoos, Motorcycles, and Being Different.......

Most of us have a yearning to be our own unique person---different from others in an acceptably interesting way. 

Of course, there is always a peer group at work, telling us that we should conform to its standards of the day.  The peer group begins to exert its pull on us at an early age, when we are urged to behave and dress and think a certain way.  The peer group exerts more and more influence as we age---until, that is---most of us get old enough to be tired of the games and the control, and we say "to hell with what others think."

But, I digress.

What got me to thinkin' about all this is the current rage of tatoos.  When I was growing up, there were two types of people who got tatoos---sailors and people with rather low intelligence quotients.

After all, my mom told me that you couldn't undo a tatoo; and what might seem like a good idea today might look just the opposite in a few years.  That made sense to me then, and it still does.

But tatoos are everywhere today. They have definitely gone mainstream.  And more than that, there are so many folks walking around with multiple tatoos.  They got 'em on their arms, legs, chests, backs, necks, faces, and even other places.

I have to shake my head and ask "Why?"

Is it a cry for attention?  Is it a submission to the peer group?---an attempt to "fit in" with the crowd?  An appeal to be accepted?

I am reminded of the old John Hartford song, "Natural to be Gone", in which he poses the question, "What's the difference being different when it's difference now that looks alike?....."  Ha.  That about nails it, doesn't it?  If everyone has tatoos, all of a sudden having a tatoo is not different, but the same.  And all of a sudden it's guys like me who are different because we DON'T have tatoos.  This is delicious.

Motorcycles are another one---used to be that if you rode a chopper, you were a wild thing. My momma told me to avoid guys who rode motorcycles because they had a bad reputation.  There were stories about Hell's Angels and lawlessness and raping and killing and so on.

But now, motorcycles are everywhere.  Motorcycles aren't different anymore.  If you wanna be different as man, DON'T get a chopper.   Ha.

Let the comments, especially differences of opinion, begin!