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, April 27, 2016

Cruz and Fiorina.........

Today, I watched Ted (I'm a Christian first, American second)
Cruz's speech announcing Fiorina as his running mate. I had to keep reminding myself it wasn't a Saturday Night Live skit.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Doug Hughes, Hero?

Well, I was saddened today to learn that Hughes received a four-month sentence. Regardless
of what we think, Hughes is definitely committed to his cause of bringing attention to the rampant corruption in our political system. Unfortunately, it's a heck of a price to pay: loss of his aircraft, four months in jail, loss of job, the stress and upset on his family, and now, of course, loss of his voting rights and ability to run for political office. Some folks are calling him a hero, what do you think? 

And, unfortunately, it's doubtful that his protest will bring any changes to our flawed and corrupt political system.

We, here, in the US, regularly scoff and make fun of countries that we refer to as Banana Republics, for their corruption and the plundering of their countries resources and money. Are we any better? Of course not.

Most of our elected officials behave and act as though they were anointed, not elected to do the peoples' business. They have become an elite class who do the bidding of the highest bidder regardless of the cost to the citizens. 

A joke? from many years ago.

There was a gathering of several friends who had had a few drinks. The host's two-year-old son was in attendance. 

What do you want your son to be when he grows up? 

I'd like for him to go to college and get a good job and live a happy life.

Well, we can test him now, the friend said. The friend placed a Bible, gun, and a bottle of whiskey on the coffee table. This will tell what he's going to become. Bible, preacher. Whiskey, a drunk. Gun, a criminal.

The child wobbled over to the table and grabbed all three.

No, no, said the friend. He's going to be a politician.

Actually, Hughes would be the perfect running mate for Bernie.......

I wish Mr. Hughes and his family the best. Yes, I think we need more people like Mr. Hughes.



Cruz, Again......

The photo says it all....well, maybe not. Hey,
elect this guy and maybe he'll institute the Religious Police like some of our coalition partners have.


Here's the link to the article.

Trump, Cruz, Hillary, or Bernie? Come on, folks. Send Bernie $27!!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Amazing, Trump for President? And, Now Tennessee May Have the Bible for the State Book! What Next Folks?

From the state that has a sniper rifle for the state gun....now, they may have the Bible as the state book.


I was going to have a photo of the Bible and one of the rifle, but.....thought this would do nicely.

Yes, the gun is the  .50-caliber Barrett sniper rifle. Here's a link about the rifle.

And, here's the link about the Bible.

Those folks from Tennesse are, well.....hmmmm......really something. Of course, I'm sure Mississippi will soon outdo them.

EDIT: Just checked a dealer at random. You can be the proud owner of the State of Tennessee's official gun for about $6,000.

Another edit: According to Wikpedia Tennessee ranks 41st for high school graduates. Maybe they should spend a little time trying to improve the school system instead of wasting time promoting the Bible as the state book...... Oh, well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Hobbies Out of Control, Passions Taking on a Life of Their Own....

Do you have a hobby? Is there passion in your life? How do you spend your free or spare time? Do you have any interests?

Without a lot of thought I've always said folks need passion in their lives. Whether this is pursuing a hobby, education, volunteer work, trying to be the best person you can, trying to make the world a better place, and so on.

This is an interesting fellow who has a nifty blog. Can't find his name. Yes, I've spent a little time here. His passion, West Virginia hot dogs. Fascinating.

I think we'll all agree that James Reiger's hobby went beyond getting out of control or taking on a life of its own. Here's some information about Reiger.



For the past 16 years, Bruce Zaccagnino has worked alone to build what is thought to be the world’s largest HO-scale model railroad set. Featuring more than nine miles of track, Zaccagnino's masterpiece also boasts 400 bridges, 3,000 miniature buildings and 50,000 streets. Welcome to your childhood fantasy. Welcome to Northlandz.  (From CNN March 28, 2016)


Ahh, almost forgot. Relationships, now there's something that can stir the passions, take on a life of its own, and definitely get us out of control.

This fellow was distressed about his former wife. I think we'd all agree that he was a little out of control. Here's the CNN version. Yes, he did get to talk to her. Mission accomplished? 

To add a little levity.... There's a new gun that should be for sale sometime this year. It looks like a cell phone, is double barreled like a Derringer, and chambered for .380. I just had to show you folks these snaps. Go here to learn more about the pistol. 












Tuesday, March 1, 2016

This Is Getting Serious, Folks.....

When this presidential stuff launched a few months ago, Trump (1) was kind of refreshing. You know, tells it like it he sees and such. However, it's no longer entertaining or funny. At this stage, after having watched all of the debates and many of his speeches how could anyone vote for him?

I started out rooting for Sanders and thinking anyone but Clinton. Now, I'm definitely....anyone but Trump. Yes, even those two religious whack-jobs, Rubio and Cruz. Gosh, never thought I'd say that. Clinton is looking better and better.

Well, John Oliver does a much better job than I. 

(1) Watch the Oliver video and you'll understand this. There is an extension to use with Chrome that turns all mentions of Donald T. into Drumpf.








Here are some words to go along with the video.

EDIT. Yes, in a few hours voting for Bernie.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Well, Can't Make This Stuff Up!!!!!!!

"Marzian's bill, which she acknowledged when she introduced it last week has no chance of passing, would require men seeking erectile dysfunction medication to:
  • Make at least two office visits to a doctor.
  • Swear on the Bible that they are married and will use the drug only when having sex with their current wives.
  • Present signed proof of permission from their wives."
Here's the complete article from NBC news.

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.

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

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.