The Beginning....

The Beginning....
When William Least Heat-Moon toured the country many years ago, his steed, if you will, was a van that he named Ghost Dancing. His journey of America was 13,000 miles. His book is Blue Highways, A Journey Into America. My steed will be a Subaru WRX (traded for an XV Crosstrek). My travels will be, what in the past were called, the blue highways of Virginia. Years ago, maps showed secondary roads in blue. Yes, the ones less traveled.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Politics...You Gotta See This.....

Do you folks know about, Gil Fulbright? Running for president....




Go here for more information about Represent Us.

Here's a great article from CBS.

BTW..... Be sure to vote for Bernie. He's the only one who is honest and says what he believes.






Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I've Stopped Going to Funerals...

This  is a repost from several years ago.

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Well, what's the purpose of a funeral? Not giving it a lot of thought, I guess for those not directly involved, it is a way to let those who were directly involved, the family, and loved ones, that you are supporting them and by your presence you hope that it will be of some help in the grieving process. That you being there will offer some comfort, as little as it may be.

Our society somewhat deems the viewing or wake or whatever it's called, the church part, the service at the cemetery, and then usually a meeting somewhere for food, as almost mandatory. 

And, I'm sure that to some extent, the whole ritual with the gathering of friends and acquaintances does help the family weather through a little better. However, the religious part just flat-out pisses me off.


Here's an example of what I mean that I wrote several years ago.


**********************************************************


A cherished friend of sixty years died. How would I describe him? Well, sit and write everything you'd like to have in a good human being, and that would describe him. As a human being, he had it all.

A couple of years before he died cancer started its attack. Gathering speed and resisting all known medical treatments, it soon had the upper hand and attacked with a vengeance. The day before he died I visited him briefly. This strong exuberant person, who loved life and always tried to spread happiness, good will, and humor, had been reduced to lying in his death bed, weighing not more that 75 pounds, eyes open...not able to talk or move. It wasn’t known whether or not he could hear and even if he had the ability, I doubt that he could have overcome the horrible pain he suffered every moment his life continued.

Yes, I went to the funeral. Yes, went to the church. Catholic. There were hundreds of people.
 

I picked a seat at the end of a pew. I watched the faithful come in, kneel, move their hands around saying, I guess, some kind of prayer before seating themselves. Also, a kind of birdbath thing with water. Here the faithful dipped their fingers. Hey, guess it was holy water.

And then the proceeding started. No, I can't remember it all. There were at least four men dressed in, well, sorry, dressed in tacky and ostentatious costumes. They walked up on the stage, or whatever it's called, and spent no telling how long moving around kissing things, mumbling prayers, moving stuff around, opening and closing books and Bibles....and so on. They sat side by side, each jumping up and doing something and then passing it on to another.

As I watched this I just got more and more disgusted and angry. Here was my friend lying dead in his coffin and they seemed to be putting on some kind of show for, of all people, God. They seemed to be praising God! I'm thinking, if God had the all-powerful stuff everyone talked about, why did He allow my friend to die in the manner he did. I found it insulting, praising God, as I found him to be the villain. The Devil, if you will. Isn't anyone pissed off? Isn't anyone mad at God for allowing this horrific thing to happen? No, praising God!

Yes, they did finally speak of my friend, but it was as if he was secondary to praising God for allowing him (my friend) to enter the Kingdom of Heaven…or something like that.

After 30 minutes or so I started questioning if I should stay for the rest of their show. Would I dishonor my friend if I left? Of course, he would never know, so how could I dishonor him? Finally, after ruminating for 15 minutes, I decided I could best honor him by getting the hell out of the church. And, I did.


I may never go to another funeral. I do not like being held as sort of a hostage, to use that term, by a bunch of so-called preachers and priests, who believe in myths, fantasies, fairy tales, superstitions, dress in truly tacky costumes, go through endless worthless rituals, and keep saying things like, "Oh, heavenly father." It all just seems so fucking ridiculous. You know, it's one thing if you believe all the BS that these people spout, but frankly, for nonbeliever it's almost painful to sit there and try to endure.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Yes, I'm Ongoingly a Victim of Confirmation Bias.... And, Once More.....

This will be brief. Many months ago, Trump remarked that he'd be proud to have Sarah Palin in his administration, At the time, Trump was somewhat of a novelty to most of us. However, as time passed, most of us started to realize Trump is a contender.

And, yes, I buried that Palin remark deeply enough so that it just surfaced again, when Palin endorsed Trump.

At the beginning, I truly liked Bernie. No, I'm not going to go into the whys. The fact that he says what he thinks and is honest is enough to separate him from most politicians.

Yes, I'm one of the few who watched the recent  Democratic debate. I said then, I'd vote for Trump over Clinton. Anyone, other than Clinton. 

And, now Palin shows.....


Is Trump pandering, or does he really think having Palin endorse him is meaningful?

Thankfully, our country seems able to weather all storms, at least until now. Governed by a bunch of mainly corrupt and or sleazy politicians who are bought by those with the biggest bucks, our country has made horrible decisions that have destroyed so many lives since we last decided we wanted to go to war.

If I believed in a god, I'd start praying that Bernie topples them all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Criminal Attends Obama's Last State of the Union Address.....

Well, won't waste much time on this one..... Yes, you religious whack jobs may well think this is special. And, no one is fessin' up to who invited her. This doesn't speak well for us. Yes, sadly, many of us are afflicted with the god virus. Ain't no antidote. Only reason, common sense, and logic will help.





OK, now we know.... From CNN.

"The lawmaker who invited Kim Davis is Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). "Kim Davis used our ticket. Our staff heard from the Family Research Council that Ms. Davis and her family hoped to attend the State of the Union address and so we offered a ticket," he said."

Friday, January 8, 2016

Have I Found the Perfect Musical Instrument? Well, for Me at Least, I Might Have.....

All photos courtesy, Strumstick.
I've always been in awe of and envious of folks who can play music. And, over the years I've tried to learn several instruments.

At six I had accordion lessons and I still have the accordion though haven't played it in years. When I was 30 I took piano lessons for a few months.

I've always had a few harmonicas around. Don't play them well, though can play simple tunes but still can't bend notes.

About eight years ago I bought my first ukulele. Since that time, off and on, with varying degrees of enthusiasm and commitment, I've tried to play them. Frankly, I can barely go from one chord to another with any smoothness. But, hey, I do have eleven ukuleles.

A few weeks ago, I bought a dulcimer. Yes, definitely an impulse purchase. I had listened to a talk radio station that featured a dulcimer player. Wow, it sounded great. Yes, to the Internet and two days later one was on the way. Dulcimers are like harmonicas, they are diatonic. They have only white keys. No sharps or flats (well, there's the 6 1/2 I think it's called). They have four strings, two are doubled-up (my term), and the simplicity is that you can just fret the melody strings while strumming all four strings. And, they sound pretty cool. Yes, I like my dulcimer.
Yes, this is a Strumstick....
Looking around on YouTube for information about dulcimers, I happened across the Strumstick. Wow, it was amazing. It's basically a dulcimer, with three strings, that's held and played like a guitar. And, yes, I bought one. There was a $40 off, so I bought an upgraded "G" with Padouk wood. It is well made and I have no buyer's remorse. 

Yes, I'm strumming away and having a great time. OK, yes, I'm still talentless! But, it's fun to plunk away on my Strumstick. 

There are many instruments available similar to the Strumstick, so why did I pick the Strumstick? I would imagine that most similarly-priced instruments would be well made and provide years of music-playing pleasure. One thing that impressed me about Strumstick was their website, both the professional appearance and the vast amount of information about their products and many videos about how to play the Strumstick.  

Yes, I've spent a few bucks in my pursuit of trying to find something I can make music with. I've finally found the instrument that has allowed me to immediately have fun and enjoyment just plunking away. 

I've learned one song and am working on Bonaparte's Retreat, that's featured here. Yes, this is going to take a while.

You other talentless (and, talented) folks out there might want to consider a Strumstick: reasonably priced, great quality and well made, portable, and you can start making noise immediately.

Lest you think this is a toy, take a look at YouTube. Here are some links.









Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My New Years' Resolutions For 2016....

OK, folks. How many of you make resolutions? Possibly more importantly, how many are able to
keep those resolutions?

Anyway, I have a bunch listed, though will only mention a few.

(1) No more in-your-face-militant atheist. I have truly been a real crap head (see number two) over the years in challenging people about religion. And, to what end? The only thing I've accomplished was being a jerk and obnoxious. To me, religion just makes no sense. Yes, I know why people believe things that aren't true and for which there is no evidence. Anyway, enough of this. But, I may still write about religion.

(2) This one is pretty simple. Yes, I'm going to clean-up my language. I'm no longer going to use any language that I wouldn't use around my mom. And, I doubt if I ever said damn around her.

(3) I want to be a better person. Yes, I know, that's vague.

And, now I will see whether or not I can keep these resolutions.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Jason, A Ray of Light and Beacon of Hope in the Digital-Age Jungle.......

Needed a real phone. I'd been using a pay-as-you go phone but my phone needs changed.

Found an unlimited calling service for $20 a month, About two weeks later I still hadn't used the phone. In fact, I now had two phones. On a Friday evening I was told that they were turning it over to the IT department and it'd be 12 to 72 hours. The following Tuesday morning I sent them an email. When I didn't hear back I sent them a note saying I was "quiting." Yes, giving up on their company.

Back to the Internet. Quick trip to K-Mart. Back home with a $25 phone and a few minutes later, connected to PureTalk for $24 a month.

Then I found myself needing an Internet service. Decided I wanted a hot spot connection. Back to the Internet. Signed-up for a service and two GBs. Didn't like that it would take at least seven days. Oh, well.

Last night decided I wanted to buy five GBs instead of the two. Called the company. Waited 15 minutes or so and got shuffled around and then got cut off before speaking with anyone. Called back and ironically got the salesman who I had bought the service from. I asked how much five GBs would be. He said he didn't know and he only handled new accounts. Yes, he knew, I had bought the service from him.

You surely know how much five GBs cost! Tell me how much!

He gave me a price.

I have one more question.

And, he transfered me.

That did it.

Sent them a note cancelling my order.

Called my local T-Mobile. A few minutes later I'm at their store and Jason, a delightful and knowledgeable young man, had me fixed-up with T-Moble's hot spot. He installed the SIM card for me and when I got home I had my new Internet service working in a couple of minutes. Thank you, Jason and T-Mobile.

The drama continues.

Called FedEx to cancel the order (the Internet service). Was on hold about 20 minutes. They told me I'd have to call USPS as it was being transferred to them.

This morning I started again. Yes, a 15 minute wait. Told USPS what I wanted to do. They said I needed the USPS tracking number, not the FedEx tracking number.

Another 15/20 minutes waiting at FedEx and I have the USPS tracking number.

About 20 minutes more and I talking to USPS again. Oh, no. You can't cancel the shipment!!!!!! Only the company can. Why wasn't I told this when I called earlier????? Anyway, USPS apologized......

Well, folks, What have I learned from this? The next time I need something digital, I'm going to see Jason. If any local folks read this, you can reach Jason at 455-5804.

And, so it goes.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Dang, Back-to-Back Gin Reviews.... Battle Standard 142 Navy Strength Gin......

OK, folks, yes, this is my fourth gin review. Well, review?  I don't think my few uneducated
comments, if you will, rise to the level of review by any definition. 

So, I was out of the hard stuff except for a bottle of Sacred that I'm saving. Yes, the last of the Fighting Cock is gone. Soooooo, off to the booze store.

Went to the gin area. Normally I shop one of two ways. I know what I want, grab it, and I'm outta there. The other way is to meander among the bottles reading labels...... Tonight was a little different. I saw the bottle of Battle Standard perched proudly on the top shelf. I looked at it a few seconds, turned it around and read the label, and I knew I had found my gin for the evening.

          
Ok, folks, what do I think? Mixed a gin and tonic (1 gin, 2 tonic, and
lime juice) and sipped a couple of ounces in a one-ounce shot glass.
Yes, definitely another winner. I really like sipping it. It sort of lights
up your mouth, if you will. In a good way. No, you won't feel as though
you need to rush to the ER. (Just took another small sip.) This gin
should satisfy folks who like their booze straight, who just like to take it
easy and take a sip from time-to-time.

Sorry, folks. Just can't get this formatted correctly.


          Here's the link to the distiller. Please go here to learn what Navy 
          Strength means. I think you'll find it fascinating. Also, learn about the distillers.
          I tried posting it here, but I couldn't get it to format correctly.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

OK, Folks, I've Had a Live-Changing Experience and Have Discovered a New Gin!!!!

No, I'm not going in detail about what I'm calling my life-changing experience; however, I will spend a little time about a gin discovery. For the past year or so I've been receiving information about gin from the folks at Gin Foundation.

Anyway, I decided I wanted some special booze to accompany me on a vacation. Yes, this will be a special vacation. About as special as a vacation can be; at least for me. Yes, I'm heading back to the mountains of Virginia. The Blue Ridge Mountains. Wow, what a beautiful part of the country this is. I've vacationed at the cottages at the Chesley Creek Farm twenty-plus times. It is truly an amazing place.

Back to the gin. No, I surely know nothing about evaluating booze; that said, I bought two bottles today. I've had a few gin and tonics (one part gin, two parts tonic, and a spec of lime juice) and an ounce straight, sipping out of a shot glass (it's really smooth and interesting?).

This is now my favorite gin. But, folks, it's a little pricey. And, I had to call my favorite booze store (here in Virginia all booze is sold by state stores) and ask them to find me a store that had it in stock. Yes, I drove a few miles.

I hope all is well in your lives... And, hey, if you want a really cool gin, try Sacred!

Here's a little information about Sacred gin.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Oh, Well, What Can Be Said?

Senator Cruz declared, "Any president who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander in chief of this nation."



Really don't need to comment......

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Another by Derren Brown. Yes, He Creates a Faith Healer....

I would be hard pressed to come up with people more evil than so-called faith healers. These people actually get away with killing people, murdering people, if you will. Yes, the ones who come to them for help, and who they tell are healed of cancer and other diseases and tell them they no longer need medications or treatments. And, of course, we, our government, do nothing, because after all....it's RELIGION.

I would become a believer if there were a god who would create a hell and immediately send all of the healers. But, alas, there are no gods and no justice in the world of religion.

In this video Derren not only shows you the tricks and deceptions of faith healers, he actually creates one. Believer or not, you should watch this video.



Friday, October 30, 2015

Do You Folks Know Derren Brown? You Should!

I would imagine that if asked his occupation, Darren would say he's a mentalist. I've watched many of his videos, but just finished watching this one for the first time.

This is a video about a bet of one Pound that Darren made with a well-known art gallery owner. Darren bet him that he would steal a specific expensive painting. Not only that, he told him when he would steal it... he specified the date and the time, 3:00 PM. He even gave him a photo of the person who would steal it. This is an amazing video. I won't tell you whether he succeeded. And, for we older people, maybe life isn't over at 65, 75, or whatever age.





Friday, October 23, 2015

Do You Folks Know Pat Condell? You Should.

Ahh, as one of our presidents said, Islam is the religion of peace.

You folks should meet Pat Condell.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Today I Was Humbled and Brought to Tears......

In August, I posted a comment. Yes, it was about Postrcrossing, a group of folks from around the world who exchange postcards.

Yesterday, I was given a person to send a postcard. I took a look at her profile, a place where folks tell a little about themselves. This lady mentioned that she sent postcards to seriously ill children.

Here are the links.....

http://www.sendkidstheworld.com/  (Kids around the world)

http://marzycielskapoczta.pl/en/  (Kids in Poland)

http://www.postpals.co.uk/ (Kids in the UK)

I read some of these histories and was brought to tears (well, you know what I mean). Many of us feel sorry for ourselves for whatever is going on in our lives. Most of  us really don't know what problems are. Most of us have it really good.

I just ordered a bunch of children's postcards and stamps. I hope to send at least three postcards a week. I hope that this is one project that I will follow through with.