Monday, June 30, 2008

Bank runs, lender closure, all in a day's ruin

IndyMac tanking, and why do we care? It's the largest of the nation's independent lending insitutions, customers are running for withdrawals, and the company sent letters they are closing all loan/lending as of July 1. "Thanks for your business, catch ya on the flip side" essentially.

Oops. Another one bites the dust.

IMF to audit the US

Finally! The hanky panky Wall Street funny business that the average Joe on the street has suspected for years has finally tweaked the curiosity of International Monetary Fund Powers That Be, who announced today that they are swooping down on the Fed to scrutinize confidential papers, in effect, putting an X-ray on the entire United States Banking system.

It's about time!! Key quote:

"Officials with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have informed Bernanke about a plan that would have been unheard-of in the past: a general examination of the US financial system. The IMF's board of directors has ruled that a so-called Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) is to be carried out in the United States. It is nothing less than an X-ray of the entire US financial system.

Above, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reacting to the audit news.

As part of the assessment, the Fed, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the major investment banks, mortgage banks and hedge funds will be asked to hand over confidential documents to the IMF team. They will be required to answer the questions they are asked during interviews. Their databases will be subjected to so-called stress tests -- worst-case scenarios designed to simulate the broader effects of failures of other major financial institutions or a continuing decline of the dollar. "

Anyone taking bets on whether we will pass the 'stress test'? No? How about bets on how bad we will flunk it? How about bets on how long before our own Main Stream Press publishes the news? I read it in an Australian paper this morning. Hmmm.

Meanwhile, back at the war ranch, President Bush declared a United States national emergency. Yup, that's right, during the same week we lifted sanctions on our new best friend, North Korea, and sent 37 tons of wheat to aid their starving population, Bush declared that North Korea is a national threat and put us under an emergency. I'm scratching my head, I'll tell ya.

Someone yell fire in a crowded state! News reports that over 1400 fires are burning in California today and that the firefighters are barely holding their own is enough to make one almost grateful for the occasional tornado.

Floods are getting worse, helicopters crashing in Arizona, bears attacking teens in Alaska, warnings to avoid the dollar at all costs, five earthquakes over 6.0 mag in the last four days, makes one wonder, how far into the end times are we?

Friday, June 27, 2008


I've had a great life and I have seen many, many beautiful things. Here are just a few photos I have collected from my world travels...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh, really Obama? I beg to differ...

In a speech given two years ago but is getting some play these days, Barack Obama said the following,

"Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."

He was quoting from the Pew Center US Religious Survey. Obama had mentioned some statistics just before the above sentence, representing his conclusion. However, he manipulated the statistics to support his conclusion, being that he thinks we are no longer a Christian Nation.

Here is what Obama said: "70 percent affiliate themselves with an organized religion." That is not picture that the Pew statistics revealed. If the issue is that we are no longer a Christian nation, then let's take a look at the exact statistics as published:

76% surveyed said they were Christian. (Evangelical Christians, Protestant Christians, Catholic Christians)

16% said they were unaffiliated
1.4% said they were Jewish
1.4% said they were Mormon
.06% said they were Muslim
.04% said they were Hindu
The breakdowns are more minuscule from here.

There is a big difference between Obama saying "70% claim membership in 'an organized religion''" which is not even statistically correct, and reading the truth for myself, that 76% are Christians. A big difference.

In Parliamentary procedure, 50.1% is a majority. 66% is a Super-majority. And 76% of something is definitely enough to make the claim that MOST people are one thing or another. In today's case, it is enough to say that yes, indeed, we are a Christian nation.

Watch those statistical manipulations, Sen. Obama. I just might think you are a liar, or a damnned liar.

What's That Smell In the Air? Why, It's NorCal Burning Down!

From SFist

"If you've noticed over the past couple of days, it's smells a bit smoky, a bit ashy in Baghdad by the Bay. It seems, according to CBS 5, Northern California is suffering from about 950 wildfire right now. The top half of the state is, in essence, on fire. Yikes! So far, Carmel Valley residents have been forced from their homes due to the massive blaze in the Los Padres National Forest over in Monterey County, which is the largest blaze yet."

"Overall, 58,000 acres have been torched over the past couple of weeks. Firefighters from Oregon and Nevada have been imported to help tame the blazes running rampant."

And scientists are "perplexed".

From CBS5: "The storm was unusual not only because it generated so many lightning strikes with little or no rain over a large geographical area, but also because it struck so early in the season and moved in from the Pacific Ocean. Such storms usually don't arrive until late July or August and typically form southeast of California. "You're looking at a pattern that's climatologically rare. We typically don't see this happen at this time of summer," said John Juskie, a science officer with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. "To see 8,000, that's way up there on the scale."

I wonder what could be happening? Could it be a world gone haywire? Associated Press thinks so. I don't. I believe that this 'great unraveling' is expected, orderly, and right on schedule. It is the birth pangs of the End Times described by Jesus at the Mount of Olives, in response to the apostles' query as to what the signs of His return be.

On the other hand, I'm proud of the citizens

And I thought I couldn't GET any more embarrassed at our President

But I was wrong!

From Huffington Post

President Bush met with Filipino President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo today at the White House. Arroyo was in Washington while her country tries to recover from a typhoon that devastated coastal areas and flipped a ferry carrying over 800 passengers last week. Before discussing aide for the Philippines, Bush couldn't resist beginning the sober meeting with a quip about a Filipino member of his kitchen staff.

Read part of the transcript from the meeting and click here to read more about one of the "Philippine-Americans" Bush is referring to. See the excerpt below:

PRESIDENT BUSH: Madam President, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to the Oval Office. We have just had a very constructive dialogue. First, I want to tell you how proud I am to be the President of a nation that -- in which there's a lot of Philippine-Americans. They love America and they love their heritage. And I reminded the President that I am reminded of the great talent of the -- of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at The White House.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

OK, I'm not the first one to think of this

But I love when science fiction catches up with the future! Lt. Uhura, Star Trek television show, 1966, with her wireless communication device planted in her ear.

Below, Bluetooth , which happens to be...wireless communication technology. I remember attending 2001: A Space Odyssey soon after it appeared in theaters in 1968. I must have been about 9 or 10. But one thing I remember clearly is early in the film, when they showed the video telephones, people in the audience sneered and snickered in disbelief. It was thought that such a thing was pure science fiction and out of the bounds of reasonable reach, even for a futuristic movie. Surprise!

Star Trek the movie 2009 is in production I wonder what futuristic devices they will be showing us and if they will come true!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

A daily dose of regularity and normality

It's important to value the mundane. My day yesterday was typically American, but fantastically wonderful if comparing to almost anything else, or if undergoing a drastic change in one's life and then you look back on days like this and say 'I didn't know what I had.'

I was invited to a friend's house for lunch. She makes restauranty-good salads. They are that good. Presented on a large Santa Fe colored plate and with surprises in it like pecans and small chunks of grilled chicken and apples. We ate at a simple Shaker-style table as the breeze flew through lace curtains and drank cranberry juice and had toasted scones for dessert.

The conversation was easy and lilting and we laughed a lot. Afterwards I helped her learn some ways to organize voluminous information and data on her new laptop and though it was a work-task it was fun and we still laughed right along as we had over lunch. I was thrilled to see her so happy, a need was being filled that had troubled her and I was happy to be a part of that.

I drove home to my nice, clean apartment and played with my kitties who had been without me all day. I read up on the news and favorite blogs and then I read the bible for a while. The story of Ahab and Jezebel is pretty interesting.

All of the above things I mentioned are not available to most of the people in the world. Being able to drive 4 miles to a friends' house. Eating fresh greens and healthy food. Having reliable electricity to power a laptop. Having enough money to afford domesticated animals. Being able to practice my religion without fear of reprisal. How many other things do we take for granted?

Above, small wildflowers growing in a crack in the gravel in Comer GA

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sometimes accountants can be funny

The Hindenburg Omen has appeared in the markets today. Doesn't that sound just so doomy? What a spectacular name! Chalk one up for the financial guys!

Hindenburg Omen is a financial situation requiring five specific criteria to be present in one day, and if they are, this predicts a...well, a major Hindenburg-like crash and burn of the market. The Wikipedia write up goes like this:

"The traditional definition of a Hindenburg Omen has five criteria:
--That the daily number of NYSE new 52 Week Highs and the daily number of new 52 Week --Lows must both be greater than 2.2 percent of total NYSE issues traded that day.
--That the smaller of these numbers is greater than 75. (this is not a rule but a function of the 2.2% of the total issues)
--That the NYSE 10 Week moving average is rising.
--That the McClellan Oscillator (another great sounding omen thingie!) is negative on that same day.
--That new 52 Week Highs cannot be more than twice the new 52 Week Lows (however it is fine for new 52 Week Lows to be more than double new 52 Week Highs). This condition is absolutely mandatory.

These measures are calculated each evening using Wall Street Journal figures for consistency. The occurrence of all five criteria on one day is often referred to as an unconfirmed Hindenburg Omen. A confirmed Hindenburg Omen occurs if a second (or more) Hindenburg Omen signals occur during a 36-day period from the first signal."

Oh my. Good thing I am not an investor. It sounds bad. The Dow did finish way down today. Anyone spot the dirigible yet?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

An Inconvenient Truth

People try to refute the fact that Jesus is the Son of the Most High God. I used to be one of them. I used to think that Jesus was a prophet, rabbi, teacher. A good man, who taught some nice things. But God incarnated? That was a stretch.

As I've studied, prayed, and grown, I have learned that there are many irrefutable facts of the Truth. Jesus rose from the dead. People saw it. People wrote about it. People proclaimed it. They died for it. If the reports were false, the people hearing this news who were in the vicinity would have refuted it. The tomb was empty. More than that, the grave clothes were laid out with an impression of a human form still billowed underneath them. The two ton stone was moved. And so on. There are seven points of this fact of history excellently laid out here, with some excerpts below:

"The writers of the four Gospels either had themselves been witnesses or else were relating the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events. In advocating their case for the gospel, a word that means "good news," the apostles appealed (even when confronting their most severe opponents) to common knowledge concerning the facts of the resurrection.

"F. F. Bruce, Rylands professor of biblical criticism and exegesis at the University of Manchester, says concerning the value of the New Testament records as primary sources: "Had there been any tendency to depart from the facts in any material respect, the possible presence of hostile witnesses in the audience would have served as a further corrective."

"You can trust God right now by faith through prayer. Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. If you have never trusted Christ, you can do so right now."

The prayer I prayed is: "Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and trust You as my Savior. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Thank You that I can trust You.""

Facts are facts, Caesar conquered. King Henry had 8 wives. Alexandria had a magnificent library. Jesus lived, died, and rose again. Call upon Him now as your Savior! No man knows the number of his days. Wouldn't you like to dwell with Jesus in heaven forever? Repent now and accept Him. Amen!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Councilor Mancini resigns

It is great to see our hometown newspaper getting the scoop on the news. I enjoy reading the news from my previous hometown and I give congratulations to the crew that keeps the site so fresh!

I read this on a Gray blog a couple of years ago, "Is Gray Quitter Town?" I am sad to see that the revolving door of civic commitment closing ever more inexorably. The people suffer when institutional memory is lost; when the people aren't represented by elected officials but instead by a parade of appointed councilors sitting in short terms till yet another election is held. Sigh.

But on the lighter side, I enjoy looking at all the pet photos on the site!! What a great idea! Who doesn't like a cutie pie doggie or kitty!

Updated tornado trends

I took NOAA's data and made a bar chart. The first bar is an average number of tornadoes for the last ten years. Compare that graph to this year's number. Wow.

The intervening bars are the three previous year tornado count.


I did this because unlike the previous two NOAA graphs of tornado trends, NOAA has diluted the graphical presentation by muddying it with additional and extraneous data. I took the actual data and presented the information more cleanly so the truth of the situation is more visible.

Will the real Barack Obama please stand up?

"I am not a Muslim!" says Barack Obama.
Better tell your brother. Have him expunge the family photo album. Before this gets around on the internet and everything. Left, Obama with his half-brothers in 1985. Three years later Barack met Michelle and began attending Trinity Church in Chicago.

Obama Statement January 24, 2007 to LA Times:"Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ."

But a few weeks later the LA Times wrote that Obama's friends wrote in to say, hey, wait a minute! "his childhood friends and teachers report that as a boy Obama was registered as a Muslim, studied the Koran in a Muslim school, and prayed at the local mosque."

In response, the Obama campaign issued a statement: "Obama has never been a practicing Muslim. The statement added that as a child, Obama had spent time in the neighborhood's Islamic center."

Oh. So he just hung around Muslims. But puzzlingly, then there's this:

According to Tine Hahiyary, one of Obama's teachers and the principal from 1971 through 1989, Barry actively took part in the Islamic religious lessons during his time at the school. "I remembered that he had studied "mengaji" (recitation of the Quran)" Tine said. The author of the Laotze blog writes from Jakarta: "The actual usage of the word 'mengaji' in Indonesian and Malaysian societies means the study of learning to recite the Quran in the Arabic language rather than the native tongue. "Mengagi" is a word and a term that is accorded the highest value and status in the mindset of fundamentalist societies here in Southeast Asia. To put it quite simply, 'mengaji classes' are not something that a non practicing or so-called moderate Muslim family would ever send their child to. To put this in a Christian context, this is something above and beyond simply enrolling your child in Sunday school classes."

Israel Insider says: Emirsyah Satar, CEO of Garuda Indonesia, was quoted as saying, "He (Obama) was often in the prayer room wearing a 'sarong', at that time." "He was quite religious in Islam but only after marrying Michelle, he changed his religion." So Obama, according to his classmates and friends was a Muslim until the confluence of love and ambition caused him to adopt the cloak of Christianity: to marry Michelle and to run for President of the United States."

I wonder how Obama's childhood friends and family of half brothers feel about his calling their religion a "smear" on his website

I'm not voting for this guy.

America is not a "free speech zone"

Quarantining dissent

A preacher from Repent America was preaching the gospel in Philadelphia outside the entrance to the Liberty Bell Independence Park. He was standing aside, not obstructing pedestrian or vehicular traffic, preaching the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Park Rangers told him to stop, but that they would offer him a "verbal permit" to speak at a "free speech zone" down the block and around the corner in back. Somewhere. The preacher respectfully declined the "verbal permit" on grounds that the First Amendment gives him the right to speak. He also respectfully declined to move. Or to stop preaching.

Soon after a covey of Park Rangers surrounded the preacher and his fellow men who were standing there holding a sign and not speaking, and brought the preacher to the ground and arrested him. He preached the whole time, holding the bible aloft as long as he had a free hand. He was brought before a judge and the judge found him guilty of speaking outside a free speech zone and of interfering with park operations. Here is the Youtube video of the event. Here is the news story of the event.

Just as in George Orwell's book "1984" any behavior not approved by the State is punished quickly and harshly to set a public example. I would posit though, that denying someone the right to speak on a sidewalk surpasses even Orwell's 1984.

The bible promises that in the End Times Christians will be persecuted.
Mark 9: [Of the End Times] But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.

Wikipedia: The Liberty Bell, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a bell that has served as one of the most prominent symbols of the American Revolutionary War. It is a familiar symbol of independence within the United States and has been described as an icon of liberty and justice. The inscription on the bell states: "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof Lev. XXV X"

The source of the above inscription is Leviticus 25:10, which reads "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family."

How ironic that the man being wrestled to the ground is holding aloft the very source of the incription on a bell named Liberty that proclaims freedom.

Friday, June 13, 2008

This is your brain on popcorn, er cell phones

Do your brains feel scrambled after using a cell phone? Watch this. Only 45 seconds...

Don't believe it? How about the Japanese friends doing the same thing. If this deserves debunking, then go for it!

Non sequiturs

I am drinking a fantastic smoothie I just made. Ripe and dripping cantaloupe, frozen strawberries, non-fat plain yogurt, and a splash of vanilla soy milk. Blend. Slurp. Ahhh.

School's out for the summer!

Announcinnnngg, the color "red"!

The architecture of the building is a nice throwback. So sixties!

Dinner tonight: a veggie burger on homemade bread and a tomato. Yes, I said a tomato. But the highlight was the boiled asparagus. With no salt, butter, or any other adornment, the asparagus was terrific. It was the best asparagus I'd ever had. It was that good.

Tim Russert dead at 58

He died with his boots on, completing and filing an interview and in the middle of doing voice-overs for Sunday's Meet The Press show. A massive heart attack, he could not be revived.

Psalm 39:4-6
"Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath.

The industry reaction to his sudden death, the snatching away of a well-respected colleague and peer in political circles and others, shows us once again that the LORD has a number to our days, and what we make of them is ours to choose. Will we be snide, negative, using our influence for personal means and selfish gain? Or will we be respectful to others, happy, productive, doing the best we can at our work and loving our family well and foremost, like Tim?

The eulogies are cascading like a waterfall, streaming in as a torrent from all quarters, from competitors, peers, colleagues, politicos, all indicating a high respect for the journalist. He died with his boots on.

Oh my Goodness

This'll make you feel old. The Monty Python Flying Circus first debuted in Britain almost 40 years ago. October 1969.

Not to beat a dead parrot or anything

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Scenes from a neighbor's yard

Money money monnnn-ey!

"With the Dow closing at 12,083.77 yesterday, we would have to honestly admit that the dollar really only has 79.8702% of the purchasing power it had in 2000 using the government's own figures, which, it could be argued, are a little suspect themselves."
~~George Ure, Urbansurvival

Whoa! No wonder a $20 bill at the Dollar Store only gets me a few items! Can you say, "inflationary depression"?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Things that make me go hmmm

I just read an interesting statistic. For every $1 we earn, we spend $1.26.

“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess.”
~~Martin Luther

You decide.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I never noticed I had this picture

And I really like it. Snapped inside a chicken house in Madison County Georgia. Poultry is a major industry in Northeast Georgia

This is why I left Maine

Reason 2,043 why I left Maine. The cabin I used to live in, on Crystal Lake

War...rumors of

Connect the dots below:

1. US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack
2. CentCom Chief Admiral Fallon Resigns
3. The War Camp in Death throes is intent on striking Iran

And just to be sure I made my point:
4. U.S. Weighing Readiness for Military Action Against Iran
5. 'Unavoidable' attack on Iran looms, says Israeli minister

Ok, here's the part where I say weird things.

Fasten your seat belt, because we are deep in the End Times. This is a time spoken of by Jesus while he was on the Mount of Olives responding to His disciples' questions regarding the signs of His return. The bible tells us that in the end times, a war emanates from the Euphrates River in which two-thirds of all the people on the globe die. Terrible tribulations are coming, indeed, have already started. The prophesied wars, rumors of wars, familes, pestilences have begun. "We've always had wars, you silly!" I can hear the skeptics saying. "We have always had famines, pestilences!" Yes, but now it's worse, getting exponentially worse every day. More on that later.

However, in Joel 2:28 He promised also that in the end times--

“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions."

He is coming again soon. But for now, for a short time that remains, we still have time to turn to Him and accept His saving grace through faith. Here's how.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Lifetime markers on the road to salvation

A person doesn't just automatically become converted and accept Jesus as Savior all at once. A kid growing up in a Christian household doesn't automatically mean they will follow their parents. It is always and specifically the work of the Holy Spirit in and around that person. Choosing to be open to it, recognizing the Holy Spirit's influence when it occurs, is always uniquely individual. Accepting Jesus Christ is a personal decision, not something that can be sprinkled upon a baby or absorbed through osmosis or found through good works. It is a conscious decision made by those who understand what they are doing and why.

So how did I, a kid growing up in an atheist/haphazardly spiritual home come to Christ? I mentioned the play I went to as an 11-year old, Jesus Christ Superstar, and the effect that experience had had on me. Listening to the soundtrack over and over the events of Jesus' death and resurrection stayed in my heart. I did not reject it.

Another marker on the road to salvation was God's creation itself. I'd see a sunset over the Andes, and think, this beauty was just happenstance? I'd see a pod of dolphins cavorting in our sailboat's bow wave, and think, how amazing and diverse are all earth's creatures. These just...evolved? I'd peer into the interior of a tiny shell, and notice its growth chambers orderly progression of sizing..and later learned that is called a golden section of Fibonacci numbers. I traveled the world. The world is too delicate, too complicated, too elegant to have "just happened". I saw an intelligent Creator.

Later, after I was saved, I read the following in Romans:

Romans 1:19-21
19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Praise the Lord that I saw God through His creation, and thus my foolish heart was not darkened

Friday, June 06, 2008

Speaks for itself

U.S. Code: Title 36; § 301. National anthem

(a) Designation.— The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem. (b) Conduct During Playing.— During a rendition of the national anthem— (1) when the flag is displayed—

(A) all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart;

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Afternoon Interlude

As I was sitting at my table writing this morning, I heard gravel crunching under a fast-footed animal. Thinking it was puppy Grace in an unusually fast moment, I looked down at the driveway. No, it was a very tiny, tiny deer. Smaller than the puppy. But a fawn nonetheless. And fast!!

Below, the horses saw it too. They are looking at it disappearing over the hill.

Below is a stock photo of what the fawn looked like.

Morning Interlude

It's 8 am, it is warm but a lovely breeze wafts over the table, fluttering the antique lace curtain. The horses graze outside and the pond is glimmering in sunlight that has barely topped the trees rimming it.

Vegetable hash simmers on the stove: celery, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and an egg, in moment will be a nourishing breakfast. Music selections: Keep on the Sunny Side/Aloha Oe', rockabilly folk tune with Hawaiian twist by Travis James Humphrey, and One Holy Night/Ode to Joy (Traditional Hymn with a Native American twist) sung by Red Nativity. The music provides a quiet background and accompaniment to the natural noises: pond splashing, heron, frog, breeze in trees.

It's a quiet start to a quiet day in the quiet life.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I repeat: colossal political blunder

I said it before, I'll say it again: "noooooo!"
"Clinton Campaign in Talks With Obama About VP Slot, CNN Says"
By Chris Dolmetsch
"May 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senator Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign is in formal talks with Senator Barack Obama's campaign about becoming his vice presidential running mate, CNN reported, without citing anyone specific."

"The two Democratic campaigns are talking about ways for Clinton, from New York, to drop her bid for president that may include joining the Illinois senator's ticket, CNN reported. Talks are in a "very preliminary'' stage and are described as "difficult,'' the network said."
Whatta disaster that would be!

You need the right tool for the job

Monday, June 02, 2008

You need the right tool for the job

When I moved into this apartment it was fully furnished, right down to the silverware. The landlord said that I could keep or give her back what I wished. I kept the bedroom set to use and a chair but I let her take back the rest. But I did keep her appliances, this was a big savings to me, not having to pay to pack and move them, not having to go out and buy new ones. Especially the vacuum cleaner. Those are expensive.

Unfortunately the vac never worked well.

I struggled and struggled, wondering if I was using it right. It was an expensive and fancy vacuum. I changed the bags. No go. I had a cat, then three cats, and I thought maybe the cat hair was getting to be to much for it. I kneeled and wiped the rugs by hand with a damp cloth.

Finally, I said, I need a better vacuum. I need the right tools to get the job done. It's worth the money. When you have the right tools it is a lifesaver in the long run.

I am a big proponent of this. Anyway I bit the bullet and went to Fred's (the inexpensive but clean cheap-o place). They were having a sale on vacuums, amazingly. But I was told by my friend Tim that I should avoid the bagless. They have lower suction. And I was looking for big suction. The store only had one bagged vacuum, a Euro-Pro "Shark." Ohh, I like the sound of that. A shark. And then the box said "Huge Suction." Even better! (I really like straight-to-the-point blurbs.) Unfortunately it was also the most expensive, $60. I had only brought $40. 'I guess I can use my credit card,' I thought.

As the clerk rang it up she said, "Hey it just went on sale! It's only $29.99!" "I need some of your luck, honey," the lady behind me said.

The Shark only required two screws to assemble it, the bag was already inside. I started vacuuming right away. Eureka! Oops, I mean Shark! It gobbles up everything on the floor! With one pass! No Carperpetuation for me! (kar' pur pet u a shun - n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.)

I was so happy. Even though it was 82 degrees with the A/C off I vacuumed all day. My carpets are clean. See? You need the right tools for the job.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Good Life: An Original Play

I went to see the locally written and produced play "A Good Life" last night and it was wonderful. Madison County resident Stephanie Astalos-Jones interviewed many, many Madison County residents and recorded their histories, their memories, and their stories. She collected these stories and edited them down, auditioned actors, again all local, and produced a staged reading. Though to their credit most of the actors did not read but acted. The Georgia Council for the Arts and the Grassroots Arts Program made it possible through a grants and support.

Held at the high school the play opened with a traditional folk song "Bright Morning Stars are Rising" as the entire company marched in from the rear of the auditorium. It is a traditional spiritual sung a Capella.

The stories began with local lore and information about the times of the Native Americans, Conestoga wagons, and then the first set was struck with a very cute roundabout in the old General Store, 1949. If you wanted moonshine, all you had to do is ask for a pair of shoes, size 10 1/2 with a wink wink. The men dished, "Didja hear about the deacon that ordered liquor and had it shipped by freight? Well, my cousin works for the railroad and he saw the manifest. That deacon thought no one would know! But my cousin did. When the box got here it was marked "songbooks" but it was leakin'! Omer called him up and said "Joe, yer songbooks is here and they's leaking!"

Memories of the river: baptisms, cooling off after picking cotton, family outings...the party lines on the telephone. The woman who wore a gunny sack with a string but when her house caught fire ordered the firemen to unearth all her lard cans full of hundreds. She was filthy rich all along. Chicken Alley: the place where the farmers brought their spare chickens or their eggs once a week and sold them to the man who came around, offering wives a few pennies to stretch their meager budgets between cotton harvests.

The Sheriff in the 50s who stopped a speeder. Asked his address, the speeder said "Pocataligo." Sheriff goes back to his vehicle, asks the deputy, "How do you spell Pocataligo? If I don't spell it right, the judge gonna throw it out." The deputy says, "I dunno." "I know!" says the sheriff. "We'll let him go and then pick him up in Ila!"

Relations between blacks and whits were addressed, it seemed that at times they were easy, other times very hard. One black man spoke of the times in the 1940s and 50s when the Klan was trying to make a comeback. He spoke of parades down Route 72, and the men in white sheets trying to recruit at the high school. The sheets, he said, were the men's pathetic attempt to shield their identities. But, he said, the blacks were all domestic workers in the white's homes. "We washed those robes. We knew who they were."

The overwhelming theme was one of connection to the land. This is agricultural country after all. But also that the land provided a good life. The people, the churches, the games, the socials, all were good, hard, clean...lives of people who care for one another. And the lives, black and white, educated and poor, from Carlton to Danielsville, all combine to make the tapestry that is Madison County.

"A Good Life" at the ranch

I was briefly waiting for a friend to pick me up. We were going to the play "A Good Life" at the High School, a locally written and produced play based on the history and stories of local people. More on the play later. While I was waiting I snapped a few pictures. It was 7:30 in the evening and the sun had just gone down below the tree line.