Thursday, May 28, 2009

What to Say?

All I have to say is "Thank God it wasn't the swine flu".

UPDATE: Yes I was sick. That's why I stopped writing in the middle of my post on Memorial Day and just passed you to Bob, I just didn't have the zip to write anymore, even though I intended to write considerably more. I would start planning a post, but first would go to other blogs and then was just too - - something - - to post. It broke Wednesday though I was still wrung out. I have spent the last two days in Bay City because my brother from Florida was up with his daughter.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 09

Some time ago I saw movie on either the History Channel or PBS, I forget which was the life story of Thomas Jefferson. Of his many accomplishments the show centered on his relationship with Sally Henning and made it appear that she was the one true love of his life, which he could never acknowledge. At the end of the show the actor who played Jefferson was asked if he considered Thomas Jefferson as a hypocrite because he said so much about freedom and equality and yet owned slaves. The actor said that Jefferson was not a hypocrite but was the victim of a hypocritical age. At first I thought that was a profound observation until I thought about it. There are those who believe that there can be no real heros and that all men are victims. I personally think this goes back to the most destructive "thinker" of the 20th Century, BF Skinner. In a nutshell he believed that freedom and freewill were illusions and that everything you do and every choice you make are predetermined by things beyond your control.

There was a book I read some 20 years ago called The Myth of Male Power and at first I found the book profound but as I read on and on I became disgusted with what I was reading. He correctly pointed out that men do not hold all the reigns of power in this country but in the end he reduced men to simply another group of victims. I remember wondering If everyone's a victim who is the victimizer?

As you watch shows like Oprah (gag) you see a curious thing. The true heros of these people are the victims who have the "courage" to speak out. You see book after book of "I am the victim" because I am this or that and society refuses to recognize my dignity as a human. I can't help but wonder why people would be proud of victimhood; it is handy, and sometimes valid, excuse but it is no source of pride.

What does this have to do with Memorial Day?

A hero is one who sees something far larger and more important than himself and risks, or even sacrifices his life for it. For the victimization crowd this is incomprehensible. Our soldiers who died in battle were the victims of an evil propoganda machine that convinced them to throw away their lives for nothing. They run heros down by proving they were nothing but flawed men, which we always knew and that the hero is an illusion.

All of which leads to this post by the Brilliant, or at least smarter than I am, Gagdad Bob and One Cosmos. He offers a posting that explains why so many do not understand heroes and thus do not understand Memorial Day. I suggest you read this article as I can do no better than he has.

Update: Some time ago I wrote about how WWII affected my mother's family.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


As paranoid as I am about viruses you'd think I'd never get one. In spite of multiple defenses I still finally had to uninstall Firefox, download it's basic program again, and re-install it. I was infected Friday morning just before I went to work, messed with it after I got back and just now got it taken care of.

I'll be visiting other blogs again Saturday evening.

UPDATE It was about 45 minutes before I went to work and I was link jumping through something that had my interest when my main anti-virus reported that an "Isolated Computer" was attempting to do something with my computer and offered to quarantine the offending software that made it possible. It quarantined my Firefox and rendered it unusable. I deleted Firefox entirely, used IE to download it again, including the added bonus of an updated version, and reinstalled it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beloved Classic Music

I have stated before that my taste in music is quite eclectic as I enjoy most types of music, rejecting only rap, blues, crooning and twang-style country, none of which I enjoy much. One type of music that I fell in love with after I graduated from college was what is called "classical music". A lot of people don't listen to it because it is "boring", "snooty" or "upper class" but most of the people who say that they don't like it have never listened to it.

I remember a cartoon of Calvin and Hobbes where Calvin is listening to record called 1812 Overture and comments to Hobbes that the percussion is very unusual. Hobbes tells him that they use real cannons in that piece and Calvin grins as he says "Wow! Cannons! And I thought classical music was boring!"

Beethoven, Mozart, Bach etc are all fantastic but the only "upper echelon" classic composer that I regularly listen to is Tchaikovsky. I prefer, I guess you would call them "the lesser classics" of men that are considered great, but not up with the previous four.

Strauss is perhaps best known for his ubiquitous Blue Danube and that is a masterpiece that I enjoy, however as he is my favorite composer and my favorite piece by him is Tritsch Tratsch Polka. It is energetic and exiting as well as a pleasant melody. I can listen to it over and over again and I can't help by grin with pleasure as I listen to it.

Of course there was another composer named Strauss and he wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra which is often mislabeled as Theme From 2001 A Space Odyssey. I love how this piece overwhelms the senses and emotions. It almost creates a sense of excitement and anticipation just by being listened to.

I have to admit that I got part of my love for classics from watching some Stanley Kubriks works. He may have had a screw loose but he knew good music.

And of course there are classical works that are vocal rather than just pure instrumental, though many songs known primarily as instrumental pieces have lyrics as well. However, some classics are vocal through and through. Handel's Hallelujah Chorus is such a piece and it is so overwhelming that George III couldn't help but rise as he listened to it and there are some who insist that one should stand as this song is performed. Perhaps they're right.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Close Call For A Little Boy

Events at work can be eye openers. Even if they don't directly involve your job. While I was sleeping this morning two of my co-workers dealt with a situation that was not in the book.

The woman who would take first shift this morning (the security crew consists of four people, one on at a time) was just coming in at about 5:30 AM and as she walked up to the guard shack she thought she could hear a baby crying and mentioned it to the guy who had third shift. He stepped outside and, as he actively listened, he too could hear it. He stayed at the shack while she went to investigate. It was coming from the direction of a dumpster at a tire store which is near the plant and she had sickening visions of a baby thrown into the dumpster. As she approached she realized it was coming from a little further away so she went back and got into her car to drive into the store's lot to see where it was coming from. She saw the child across the road standing in the doorway of a surveyor's office. He was two years old at the most, wearing pajamas and a diaper. The slippers of his pajamas were soaked and the temperature was mid 30s.

She took him back to the guard shack and called the police while the guy who was in the shack noted that he was otherwise clean, healthy and well-cared for. The sheriff's deputy called protective services who came and got the child. A phone call a few hours later revealed that the child was back with his family. What had happened was he was staying overnight at his grandmother's and when she last checked him, around 1 AM he was sound asleep. Apparently he got up in the middle of the night and went for a walk, my guess is he wanted to go home, and the only mistake Grandma made was neglecting to lock the door so he was able to get out.

What struck me though was how close he was to a main road. The speed limit is 45 and is not well observed. The road is not well lit, though there is a few lights. If he had been there twenty minutes later he would have been in the middle of a rush hour. His pajamas were true blue and not intended to be seen outside at night. How easily I or anyone else who was traveling down that road at night could have struck and killed him? Could you, under those conditions, have seen a two year old in time to stop? Thank God that nothing happened to him but I realize that it could have been tragic. And in other similar cases it has been.

I was once seated on a jury for a woman whose neglectful actions had caused the death of one her grandchildren and I wanted nothing to do with that trial. Fortunately she accepted a bargain just as the trial was starting so I didn't have to make the decision. I would have \hated to see another grandmother in that position.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two Michigan Stories.

First off. Our Economy
When Ronald Reagan first assumed the Presidency he gave a public address about the economy which I well remember. Impersonator Rich Little later did a variation on it in which he Mr Reagan took a pie (which represented the US economy) apart and shoved into various jars of water, boxes etc, smearing it all over the table and himself and afterwards said "and that is our economy" in which someone said "Mr. President, that's nothing but a mess" to which Little/Reagan replied "Exactly!"

That's Michigan's economy now and it is going to get a lot worse in the near and not-so-near future. Everyone's greed, and I mean everyone including the Executives, Stockholders, customers, workers, retirees, government and management, combined together to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. The only innocents are those who are uninvolved and are victims of the collateral results. Everyone wanted more money without producing more wealth within the industry and it finally reached a breaking point.

Michigan's unemployment rate will probably reach 20%. The seeds for this destruction were laid in the 1950s when everyone saw the Auto Industry as a source of unlimited wealth where everyone from the CEO to the Shareholder to the line worker to the janitor to the Tax man could find a bounty of cash. The limit has been reached and the bubble has burst. The management, the stockholders, the unions and the tax collectors must all share in this guilt because they all did it.

Central Michigan University
A former CMU women's basketball player is suing her former coach for revoking her scholarship. Why? The lawsuit says it was because she was straight. Now I don't know all the facts and this could be nonsense, but it could also be exactly what happened.

"She was not only kicked off the team, but her scholarship was taken away because the coach kept telling her that she wasn't her 'type,'" Victor explains. "And when Brooke would ask what was that, [Guevara] would say 'I don't want you to wear makeup, you have a boyfriend, I don't want you to have a're too girly girl' -- that type of thing."

If that is indeed what was said then she definitely has a case against this woman. The gay community needs to understand something. They are pushing too hard and are getting very nasty and arrogant and there will be a backlash and they won't like it when it happens. Very soon even people who are somewhat friendly to them will say that "enough is enough".

Monday, May 11, 2009

5 11 09

First off I saw Star Trek and it was a very good movie. The fact that it didn't fit in with the previous story lines was explained by one little over-looked phrase used by both Spocks: Time travel caused an alternate timeline. Ok. It works. Barely. But where was Yeoman Rand?

On a more important note Patrick Conlon has a very good posting on how our generation blew it, which is something I have spoken of on a couple of occasions. Between being coddled into laziness and extreme egotism, and listening to the deadly siren-call of socialism, my generation has virtually destroyed an entire civilization. UPDATE: Here is a link to my posting over two years ago on this same thing.

As my old family home is being sold, we spent a portion of the day removing things that have been left behind. It's an odd thing and will take a couple more days. I don't think it's really hit me yet that that house will soon be the property of another family.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom and Two Grandmothers

Note: I had meant to post this earlier today but could not find the CD that had a couple of the pictures I wanted on it. Found it after I got home from work.

My maternal Grandmother was born in Malmo Sweden in 1900 and migrated to America as a teenager. In order to pay for her passage to America she worked as a maid for some wealthy folks around Mt. Pleasant Utah. Her mother unfortunately died before the family migrated due to health problems that today are easily managed. Her marriage to my grandfather was her second marriage as her first husband died quite young. Grandpa was 16 years older than her when they married in 1932 and my mother was born 4 years later. (My maternal grandfather was actually born almost 10 years before my paternal Great-Grandfather). She herself died at the age of 40 from a health issue that today is fixed with a daily pill. Of course I never met her, but here is one of three pictures I have of her.

My Paternal Grandmother was born in Flushing Michigan in 1917. My father was her second child (she had 6 children) and was the daughter of a factory worker and a housewife. She started working in a hospital, back when few women worked when they had children, and eventually earned an LPN with no formal Nursing training. (I don't know if that's even possible anymore). By the time she retired she was supervising all of the RNs in the surgical ward and was the surgical nurse of choice for most of the doctors and she learned it the hard way. She was a traveller and quite the cook as well. Sadly I didn't realize how much she loved us until I was older as her displays of love were more practical then affectionate. She died in 89 due to several serious medical problems hitting her simultaneously.

My mother was born and raised in Ogden Utah and married Dad while he was stationed at a Marine Barracks near there. They had known each other 6 weeks when they were married and have been together for 53 years. She had the difficulty of being raised by a widowed father who an old-country Swede but she pretty much turned out alright. She has had four sons (no daughters) and is an official grandma to 8 kids (young adults really except for one) and a grandma at heart to several others as children just seem to gravitate to her and naturally love her.

Correction: I was going on memory (always a mistake) and got my Paternal Grandmother's birthplace wrong. She was born in Tuscola County.

Friday, May 08, 2009

I Need Some Discipline

When I first started this I posted a couple of times a day and kept busy at it. I only worked about a mile away so I would walk to work, walk home, and along the way back would buy a newspaper and read it while I ate lunch (I got out of work at 1:30 PM), and then post on what I read. My whole schedule seems to have changed.

Now I post maybe twice a week, which is not enough.

Big problem? Two of them. Computer games and You Tube music videos. Both are so addicting and I waste a lot of time with them.

I need to work on that and try to go no more than 48 hours between posts. It's not the end of the world if I don't post but there is no excuse for it.

Now I have to go to work shortly. Maybe I should start taking Newspapers.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

To Save Pontiac

One of the big stories in Michigan is the demise of the 80 year old Pontiac brand of automobile. General Motors plans to phase it out by late 2010.

I have never owned a Pontiac but my father has owned a couple and they were nice cars. I certainly do not want to see them die out for several reasons, not of the least of which is it would be one more Michigan brand down the proverbial toilet.

A Pontiac dealer in Davison Michigan (a modest sized community just outside of Flint) named Jim Waldron has made GM an offer to purchase (video embedded at link) the brand and resume production of the Pontiac. If it was just him I would be skeptical that it was nothing more than a pipe dream, but he does have other investors interested as well. He would use abandoned plants to set and begin production.

GM says not so fast and Pontiac is not for sale and that the Government rescue plan includes the phasing out of Pontiac (video embedded at link). If the purchase plan is serious and the money is there why not? Some find it difficult to believe that the rescue plan would rather destroy a brand than save it through sales.

Perhaps the new bosses in Washington do not want a company that they are gaining control of to face private sector competition? Perhaps if he offered Obama a bunch of stock gratis he would get the brand name for free. Perhaps the UAW would rather see people unemployed than they have to deal with another manufacturer.

They may not place it in Michigan if they get it, unless they get a few incentives, but at least it would be American workers making American cars.