We Didn’t Have the Green Thing

I copied this from a post on SlingShotForum.com.

Checking out at the grocery store recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right about one thing — our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then…? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day here’s what I remembered we did have….

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days.

Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.

We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

 

Robert Found Some Money

This is from my Panama Newsletter in 2008.

Robert is a neighborhood character. He makes a living of sorts doing odd jobs. He used to live in the US, but the story is that he killed a man there and fled home to Panama. Everyone in my neighborhood, regardless of economic circumstance, gets treated with respect, but
Robert may command just a bit more than others. Whatever the truth about what happened up North, Robert is a good worker and keeps himself busy doing the hard, dirty jobs that others don’t want to do.

Last week Robert came to my house and wanted to talk about something he had found. There had been a burst water pipe just up the street from our house, and when IDAAN finally (after 6 weeks) got around to fixing it, they dug a very large hole, leaving a big mound of dirt and clay in the street. Each rain since washed away a bit of that dirt, until a plastic bag with some coins and the remains of a chicken were exposed. Robert found the bag and removed the coins, but was afraid to spend them so he had come to me for advice.

It is quite common in Panama to make a sacrifice before moving into a new home or remodeling. The sacrifice usually consists of a chicken and a few coins, and is believed to appease the evil spirits who can cause any number of bad things to come into your life. Such a sacrifice is what Robert had found. I suspect that if one dug up every yard in my neighborhood, a large number of coins and chicken bones would be found. Robert lives a hand-to-mouth existence, and any found money is welcome, so I knew what he wanted to hear, but also knew what he needed to hear, so I advised him to return the money to where he found it. Of course Robert already knew the answer, because while I respect the belief, he believes it. He said “I knew you were going to say that”. Then he went to get a second opinion, and was again told, this time by a Panamanian, the same thing I told him. So Robert very reluctantly compromised by giving the money (74 cents) to a friend who doesn’t believe in evil spirits. 74 cents may not seem like a big deal to you or me, but in Robert’s world it can mean a full meal today instead of not quite enough, or a couple of cold beers at the Chino’s.

Not unexpectedly, Robert dropped by the following day to “borrow” a quarter so he could get a cup of coffee. I told him I was fresh out of quarters and he would have to settle for a dollar, and remarked that God had probably arranged it that way to reward him for doing the right thing with the found money.

Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

This letter was written by Charles Grennel and his comrades who are
veterans of the global war on terror. Grennel is an Army Reservist who
spent two years in Iraq and was a principal in putting together the
first Iraq elections, January of 2005. It was written to Jill Edwards, a
student at the University of Washington who did not want to honor Medal
of Honor recipient USMC Colonel Greg Boyington a University of
Washington alumni’s, prior to a planned ceremony early February 2008.
Ms. Edwards and other students (and faculty) do not think those who
serve in the U.S. armed services are good role models.
_________

To: Edwards, Jill (student, UW)

Subject: Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Miss Edwards, I read of your student activity regarding the proposed
memorial to Col. Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor winner. I
suspect you will receive a bellyful of angry e-mails from conservative
folks like me.

You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of generations
of servicemen and servicewomen on whose shoulders you and your fellow
students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways of youth and your
naivete. It may be that you are, simply, a sheep. There’s no dishonor in
being a sheep as long as you know and accept what you are.

_William J. Bennett, in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy
November 24,1997_ said: Most of the people in our society are sheep.
They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one
another by accident. We may well be in the most violent times in
history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most
citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each
other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

Then there are the wolves and the wolves feed on the sheep without
mercy. Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the
flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this
world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or
pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

Then there are sheepdogs, and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the
flock and confront the wolf. If you have no capacity for violence then
you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity
for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have
defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity
for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have
then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the uncharted path.
Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal
human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep.
They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can
accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire
extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout
their kids schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting
an armed police officer in their kid’s school. Our children are
thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by
school violence than fire, but the sheep’s only response to the
possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or
harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the
wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference,
though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm
the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little
lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way,
at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that
there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn’t tell them
where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our
airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would much
rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white,
and go, Baa. Until the wolf shows up; then the entire flock tries
desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high
school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have
had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they
just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack,
however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the
officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them.

This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is
at the door. Look at what happened after September 11, 2001, when the
wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever
before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and
military personnel? Understand that there is nothing morally superior
about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also
understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing
around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that
go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the
young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a
little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when
needed, right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep
pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day.
After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is,
most citizens in America said, Thank God I wasn’t on one of those
planes. The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, Dear God, I wish I could have
been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference. You
want to be able to make a difference. There is nothing morally superior
about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage.
Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an
environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted
of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory
crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement
officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims
by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness.
They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select
one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself. Some people
may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be
wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one
they want to be, and I’m proud to say that more and more Americans are
choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was
honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall,
was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone
to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When they
learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as
weapons, Todd and the other passengers confronted the terrorist
hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers,
athletes, business people and parents from sheep to sheepdogs and
together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of
lives on the ground.

/There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil
of evil men. Edmund Burke/

/Only// the dead have seen the end of war. Plato
/
Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of
police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep,
real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are
wolves. They didn’t have a choice.

But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you
want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision. If you want to be a
sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand
the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are
going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you
want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt
you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you
want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior’s path, then you must make a
conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare
yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes
knocking at the door.

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy.
It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of
degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep
and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist
completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between.

Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum,
away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and
appreciating their warriors and the warriors started taking their job
more seriously. It’s OK to be a sheep, but do not kick the sheep dog.
Indeed, the sheep dog may just run a little harder, strive to protect a
little better and be fully prepared to pay an ultimate price in battle
and spirit with the sheep moving from baa to thanks.

We do not call for gifts or freedoms beyond our lot. We just need a
small pat on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the emotional
tank which is drained protecting the sheep. And when our number is
called by The Almighty, and day retreats into night, a small prayer
before the heavens just may be in order to say thanks for letting you
continue to be a sheep. And be grateful for the thousands, millions of
American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.

/May God richly bless all the Sheepdogs of America!/

A Tribute to a Great Woman

This is from my newsletter written in August 2008.

Judy Dixon was a long-time close friend of mine and Nora’s best friend. When I first came to Panama she helped me enormously with getting my papers in order. Judy passed away 4 months ago.

Judy had been personal secretary to several powerful Panama government ministers, and finished her career in President Perez-Balladares office, as a trusted assistant. She was one of the movers and shakers in CONEN (Consejo Nacional de la Etnia Negra, Panama’s equivilant of the NAACP). Her funeral services were held in a school gymnasium, because no church which could accomodate the expected crowd was available.

May 30 was her birthday and CONEN held a celebration in her honor in a large hall of the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama City. Hundreds of people, including the Mayor of Panama City, several cabinet members, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court were there, and of course, Nora and I, who were homored with reserved seats on the second row. The President of the Republic was scheduled to attend, but the crash of the 35 year old helicopter, which had been used by the late General Omar Torrijos, into a crowded store on Central Avenue had occupied all his attention.

I was scheduled to give a talk at another, unrelated function at 7:30 and told my friend Charley, (Judy’s husband) that I would have to leave at 7:00. At 6:45, the first speaker was introduced, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In a triumph of hope over experience, I naiively thought he would speak for no more than 15~20 minutes, so I could stay for his speech and still get to the next function on time, and even if he spoke longer, I could “answer” my cell phone and pretend to have an emergency, and everyone would understand my walking out on the Chief Justice’s talk. As he began to speak about the African Slave Trade and how Europe profited by it, I looked around at the sea of brown and black faces, and realized that there was no way on Earth that this blue-eyed white boy was going to walk out until he was finished.

By the way, he is an excellent speaker and held my interest for the full 45 minutes. At no point did he say anything that could be taken as an attack on white people; instead he focused on how people of color around the world, including Panama, had lifted themselves up by hard work and faith in God. I left feeling uplifted, myself.

Irish Lives Matter too (1625)

Irish Lives Matter too (1625)*

Note: Sources such as the New York Times, Snopes, and other revisionist Left-wing propaganda outlets will call this a myth, but this is true. Calling slavery ‘indentured service’ does not change what happened.
The Irish slave trade began when 30,000 Irish prisoners were sold as slaves to the New World. The King James I Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.

Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.

From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.
During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.
Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.
As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.
African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African. The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.
In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.
England continued to ship tens of thousands of Irish slaves for more than a century. Records state that, after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, thousands of Irish slaves were sold to both America and Australia. There were horrible abuses of both African and Irish captives. One British ship even dumped 1,302 slaves into the Atlantic Ocean so that the crew would have plenty of food to eat.
There is little question that the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is, also, very little question that those brown, tanned faces you witness in your travels to the West Indies are very likely a combination of African and Irish ancestry. In 1839, Britain finally decided on its own to end its participation in Satan’s highway to hell and stopped transporting slaves. While their decision did not stop pirates from doing what they desired, the new law slowly concluded THIS chapter of nightmarish Irish misery.
If anyone, black or white, believes that slavery was only an African experience, then they’ve got it completely wrong. Irish slavery is a subject worth remembering, not erasing from our memories.
*I cribbed this from a FaceBook post by a fella named Daniel Wissert.
 

A Question for my Government

Have You Lost Your Minds?

I know that there are limits to how much credit I can afford, what level of debt I can “service” without losing my home and cars. I am well aware that I cannot keep borrowing money forever. I realize that it is insane to borrow money to pay monthly expenses as a normal way of life.

Yet for some unfathomable reason, the President of the United States, his advisors, the US Congress, and apparently about half the people of the US don’t understand that simple fact. I’m bewildered because the President, his advisors, and the Congress are all supposed to be smarter than the rest of us. If you doubt that, just ask them.

I heard on TV news that the interest on the National debt would soon be more than $1,000,000,000,000.00 per year if the US does not stop borrowing and spending money like a drunken fleet of sailors. That is not a typo. It is, though, incorrect. Drunken sailors stop spending when they run out of money.

One Trillion dollars.
In interest.
Per year.

That is money we cannot stop paying without bringing the whole system crashing down around our ears. That is money that has to be paid before the first dime goes to national defense, foreign aid, school lunch programs, bank bailouts, and Social Security checks. About the only thing we can be sure will be paid ahead of the interest payments are Congressional salaries.

There seems no end to it. No one in government is even talking about reducing spending, much less paying off the debt. Are they all insane? Is there any other possible explanation?

The Old Prospector and the Gunslinger

Note: The author of this story is unknown.

An old prospector shuffled into the town of El Indio, Texas leading a tired old mule. The old man headed straight for the only saloon in town, to clear his parched throat.

He walked up to the saloon and tied his old mule to the hitch rail.

As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, “Hey old man, can you dance?”

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, “No son, I don’t dance… never really wanted to.”

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, “Well, you old fool, you’re gonna dance now!” and started shooting at the old man’s feet.

The old prospector, not wanting to get a toe blown off, started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet.

Everybody standing around was laughing.

When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled 12 gauge shotgun and cocked both hammers.

The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air. The crowd stopped laughing immediately.

The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly.

The silence was deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin 12 gauge barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man’s hands, as he quietly said;

“Son, have you ever kissed a mule’s ass?”

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, “No sir… but…but I’ve always wanted to.”

There are a few lessons for all of us here:

*Don’t be arrogant.
*Don’t waste ammunition.
*Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.
*Always make sure you know who is in control.
*And finally, don’t screw around with old folks; they didn’t
get old by being stupid.

I just love a story with a happy ending, don’t you?

Three Boxes

The Founding Fathers gave us three boxes to use to preserve our freedom.

Box number one is called the “Soap Box” and is embodied in the the First Amendment to the Constitution. It prohibits the government from infringing the right to free speech and freedom of the Press. Unfortunately for all of us, Hollywood, the Media, and our schools have been taken over by people who oppose the freedom we have enjoyed for so many years, and now actively deny access to the Soap Box to any who oppose their radical ideas. Hollywood bombards us with messages about homosexuality, political correctness, and violence. They mock traditional values. Universities have become fortresses for the narrow minded, intolerant, non-thinking proponents of socialism, political correctness, and free stuff. The Media seem incapable of reporting the news without filtering it through their intolerant beliefs about conservatism. In short, the Soap Box has been taken from us by people who hate the freedoms we have.

Box number two is the Ballot Box, or our system of electing public servants. We used it to tremendous effect in November 2016, only to have the Insane Left, the Media, and about half the Republican Party immediately begin efforts to overturn our vote. The Ballot Box can only work when elected officials follow the will of the people, and it is obvious that Republicans are following the will of their big money donors. Republicans deliberately sabotaged repeal of the disastrous Affordable Care Act, despite having campaigned and been elected, on the promise of immediate repeal when they had a majority in the House and Senate, and the White House. Many Republicans are working hand in glove with Democrats in efforts to remove President Trump. There is still a remote possibility that the Ballot Box can stop the assault on freedom, if we come together and remove as many Democrats and Republicans traitors from office in 2018, as possible. In particular, Republican “leaders” like McConnell and Paul Ryan need to be removed. All the Democrats need to go.

Box number three has only been successfully used once to my knowledge. It is the Bullet Box, also known as the Second Amendment to the Constitution. The Second Amendment prohibits the government from making law that infringes on the right of the People to arm themselves, and bear those arms. We have seen one instance in the 20th Century where people exercised the right to remove a repressive government by force of arms. You can read about the Battle of Athens here. http://www.constitution.org/mil/tn/batathen.htm

I pray that we will never have to open the Bullet Box again, but I am also well aware of the violent assault being waged by Black Lives Matter and AntiFa on our freedom. This assault is being financed by people who wish to replace our system with one where citizens have no voice. It is encouraged and supported by the Democratic Party, the Media, and many socialist college professors. They are largely unopposed by many city police forces which allow them to riot without opposition. They appear to want open warfare.

In my opinion, we have one last chance at the Ballot Box in 2018. Remove every Democrat incumbent. Remove every Republican who has opposed the President’s effort to clean up the Washington political cesspool. Join me in praying that the Bullet Box will not become necessary.

The $400.00 Fuse

The $400.00 Fuse

The A/C fan in Nora’s car stopped working. It was intermittent and making noise so we knew it was the fan motor. We took it to the shop which has been doing excellent work for years on different cars. The first warning flag went up when the “technician” told Nora that they could replace the fan without taking down the dash, but there was a danger that the brakes might accidentally lock up afterwards, if it wasn’t done properly. That sounded very bogus to me, but she was assured by a manager that the shop knew how to do it properly without taking down the dash. As it turned out, the fan is accessed by removing the glove compartment, but unfortunately, I didn’t learn that until after. This repair cost almost $400.00.

The replacement only took a couple of hours and everything was fine, until a couple of days later, when she turned the A/C on “High” and the fan stopped working. Nora took it back to the shop, and they found a blown fuse. The “technician” also informed her that one of the two engine cooling fans was not working, and since we had spent more than $5,000.00 replacing an overheated engine last year, we decided to have the motor replaced. That cost another $400.00, but hey!, better than a $5,000.00 engine, right?

So, the next day, we went for a test ride and turned the A/C to “high”. Bam, the fuse blew. So, we bought some replacement fuses, and finally remembered that when we first bought the car in 2008, we bought a repair manual on CD, and I proceeded to trouble shoot the system, myself. Though I suspect that the two-speed cooling fans operate at separate temperatures, the manual is not specific on that point, and since we did not get the old motor and I can’t test it, I have no way proving my suspicion that the “technician” replace a perfectly good fan motor. What I did discover is that the A/C blower circuit uses two 15 amp fuses in parallel, and when the car left their shop, it had only one in place. I added the second fuse, and now, a week later, we have had zero problem with the A/C.

This was an expensive lesson (I believe), but now we fully realize that not even people with whom you have successfully done business for years can be trusted.

Memorial Day 2017

Today is Memorial Day, 2017. It has been a day of mixed emotions for me. Sadness, at all the lives lost in wars. Anger at a nation complacent enough to allow its government to wage perpetual war. Sadness at a populace with far too many citizens ignorant of the meaning of the day. Disgust at the poorly educated college students and graduates who are far too eager to discard the freedom and safety for which more than 1 million Americans gave their lives in favor of socialism. Contempt for a Congress that ignores the clear wishes of the people. All that combined with the desire to choke the living (expletive deleted) out of the company who sent me “Happy Memorial Day” greetings in a sales flier. With that in mind, please understand if I write about something other than Unicorns and puppies today.

I remember my first cousin, Don Minton, drafted into the Marine Corps, and sent to Vietnam as a rifleman. Despite being forced to serve, like most good old Texas boys of the day, he accepted his lot and served well enough to make Corporal in a highly respected fighting force. He was wounded in a fire fight on a hill top, and killed by a napalm strike which saved most of his buddies. This account differs a bit from the official version, but I heard it before the historians sanitized it. This in no way is meant to diminish Don’s courage and love of country, or his sacrifice. I tell it to foster understanding of how I, with 28 years of military service, have come to detest the so-called leaders of our country who are only too willing to send teenagers, fresh out of high school, to their deaths in foreign lands which pose no threat to the safety and security of the United States. Years later, I learned that Lyndon Johnson was deeply involved with Brown and Root, and Halliburton, and made millions from the war.

My most vivid memory of that time, though, were the heart-broken sobs and wails of anguish of his mother, my Aunt Lessie, at his funeral. Her grief marked a turning point in my life, and I withdrew my application for a second tour in Vietnam shortly after the funeral. I couldn’t bear the though of causing such grief to my mother.

Today, however, was not all doom and gloom. My cousin, Kenneth, posted a picture of his father, Judge Murphy Smith, who island hopped the South Pacific with the Marines in WW2. For some reason that triggered a story of my two grand fathers, Henry “Acie” Smith and Benjamin Bridges, men in their 40s when the war broke out. They spent an enjoyable afternoon in a Beaumont bar, and in a fit of alcohol induced patriotism, went together to the recruiting office and volunteered to join up and go kill the enemy. Fortunately, the recruiters were apparently sober and sent them home. Too young for WW1 and too old for WW2, they missed the chance to go to war

Lastly, I pray that someday, there will be no place on Earth where Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, or Marines are dying to enrich the evil bastards who keep the US in perpetual war.